Marriage to the River
When I lived in Lisbon (I left in 1972) the city was divorced from the river.
Ugly and dirty banks, abandoned buildings, dangerous territory!
With EXPO 98 Lisbon rediscovered the river, and now Tejo is not only the traditional theme for poems and fado, but also a well maintained resource, with lots of places where we can safely stroll, rest, or practice any kind of sport.
I was not invited, but I do celebrate the second marriage of Lisbon to the river Tejo.
“Wow! What a lovely color! What tree is that?”
I couldn’t answer to my friend Jordan, marveled by the colors of Lisbon in June.
Now I know – it’s Jacaranda.
One of the beautiful trees that, in many avenues, shine under Lisbon’s sun.
After many years despising the river, the inhabitants of Lisbon are gradually learning to enjoy it.
Restaurants and bars line the north bank, and fishing is a popular sport.
New rules may turn it more difficult (and expensive) but, for my surprise, some samples justify the costs and risks.
However, only locals or fishing maniacs would spend all those hours looking at the water and missing… Lisbon.
A weekend in Lisbon
One million people flock each day to Lisbon, turning it in a nightmare of cars, full transports and restaurants, noise and confusion, common to all big cities.
When the weekend comes, everybody seeks somewhere else the tranquility and peace of spirit needed to compensate the stress of a hard week.
The confusion is then mounted in Cascais, Estoril, Sintra, Ericeira, Sesimbra, Arrábida, i.e. in all the good places at a short distance.
There are many weekend destinations for who lives or works in Lisbon.
Those who don’t mind much with fuel prices go even further – Algarve is a temptation, or the search of each one’s origins in the centre or north of the small and accessible country that is Portugal.
Resting is changing, and if, for those living in a city, the countryside is a relief, for who lives in the countryside (like me, in Turquel, a weekend destination for many “Lisboetas”), changing is… a big city.
Lisbon on Sunday! Wow! Easy traffic, parking everywhere, most of it free of charge, people moving slowly with time, at last, to see and live their city, lively gardens, museums… shows… sports… malls… All available at a healthy pace.
Oh! The pleasure of finding a new detail in a city that you thought you knew for more than 50 years! The bright eyes of that kid, happy for having his parents back to his exclusive property.
The unique sensation of watching people in search of their human dimension in the breaks of the formal day by day.
Weekend in Lisbon! A must.
In my student days (so long ago!) I lived in a street called Oliveira Martins, but, frequently, the taxi drivers insisted in taking me to Sousa Martins st.
Who the hell would be that Sousa Martins?
Well, I discovered him later, in a discreet square of Lisbon, called Campo Mártires da Pátria, where people passes without time to look, and only in a free day we get time to stop and look around.
Sousa Martins was a doctor, pioneer against tuberculosis, and his success turned him in a saint, in most popular minds.
His statue, facing a medicine school, is surrounded by marble plaques, each one as a remind of a miracle.
Stop and have a look! “Tons” of miracles!
Address: Campo Martires da Patria