By Antonio Malara
Whenever I thought of Lisbon, Voltaire's novel “Candide ou l’Optimisme” always came to my mind. In fact, the story set in 1755 opened from the capital of Portugal in a tragicomic way and saw the protagonist in the middle of an incredible earthquake. I read the book more than twenty years ago and yet until recently, I connected Lisbon with the story of Candide and I never bothered to study this city seriously. In fact, the real discovery of Lisbon was born unexpectedly and had an exponential growth that gave me the sensation of a divine vocation. It was as if Lisbon called me and said: Antonio what are you waiting for to come to me!? In a certain way, after discovering Lisbon, I had a mad desire to visit it and I think it was one of the few destinations that I was able to visit immediately after the "desire". The first input was given to me by a German blogger, after visiting Lisbon she began to publish several posts about this city until it was clear that it had become an obsession for her. For me reading instead it was pure curiosity above all because in fact I didn't know anything about Lisbon. When at one point she published a post only about a particular place in the city, I understood that I had to visit Lisbon at all costs. As if that weren't enough, another girl I know posted a photo of a very particular tower and it struck me immediately, when I found out it was Lisbon I was happy and excited. After her, another talented girl who I follow on a social network traveled to Portugal and published a series of photos that made me discover other very original places. Later when I started studying the city to plan the trip, I discovered that Lisbon had one place more beautiful than the other and I couldn't wait to see those suggestive places. In 2018 I contacted my travel partner of the time who accepted my proposal to visit Lisbon and we planned the visit for October of that year. I believe that the excitement of visiting Lisbon had its own character and never as for that trip have I been so precise in organizing everything. We reached Lisbon from Rome but then returned to Italy via Bergamo spending the night awake at the airport. In this post, I will talk about the city describing its beauties through its most famous neighborhoods, putting many of the main attractions of Lisbon in the "Center" section. I will close with a visit to the "Aqueduto das Aguas Livres" which was the "detonator" I mentioned at the beginning.
The first thing I did after landing in Lisbon was to buy the Lisbon Card, the transport card to use for public transport. Once on the metro I saw that from the airport to the center it was only seven stops! The center of a city is always a personal concept, for me everything that I can get around on foot is the centre. In the case of Lisbon, for me the center had been the whole area that went from “Marquês de Pombal” to “Praça de Comércio”. An area of about three kilometers which was slightly downhill but which I nevertheless walked calmly every day because my hotel was near Pombal. If it weren't for the uneven parts, Lisbon would have been all the center for me, however I must say that I was able to visit almost all the neighborhoods without using public transport. The first experience of the city was the long and tree-lined "Avenida de Liberdade". A four-lane road that was also a sort of park due to the thick vegetation it had, on the street there were also the fashion design stores. The road ended at "Restauradores" a rectangular square which had a monument in the center in the shape of an obelisk except for the plan which was large and had statues on the four sides. Restauradores was the first place where I could appreciate the particular architecture of the city which saw buildings of various bright colors such as blue or pink but above all those covered with tiles. An Art Déco building overlooked the square that I didn't know at the time and to which I dedicated only one photo; it was the “Teatro Eden” which is now a hotel and has shops on the ground floor. Restauradores was also a place full of restaurants and my partner and I often went there for lunch or dinner even though I personally preferred another area for dining.
Another road was the watershed between Restauradores and "Rossio" an important square in the city. Right on that street was the Rossio station whose building immediately caught my attention. It was cream in color, on three levels which had three different heights, in general the red windows were arched, larger on the ground floor and smaller above. The whole was decorated with small pointed towers that were applied to the facade, at the top in the center was the clock which was the highest part of the building. It was a structure that didn't respect precise geometries and for this reason it struck me immediately, the fact that I didn't know it made me appreciate it even more because it increased my pleasure of discovery. Rossio was a smaller square than Restauradores with two fountains at the ends, in the center instead there was the statue of King Dom Pedro IV placed on a column and it was paved with tiles that had a different design than those present in Restauradores. The "Teatro Nacional" which was in neoclassical style overlooked the square and then all around the typical houses with symmetrical windows. At Rossio I discovered the "Pastel del Nata", round-shaped sweets made of puff pastry and filled with custard. After trying them for the first time, every morning we stopped at Caffè Gelo for breakfast, me eating pastel del nata and my partner with eggs and bacon.
After Rossio it began a part in the shape of a grid that led to the sea, it was an area full of commercial activities and restaurants, all a bit the same but which I slowly began to distinguish. The first time I walked it in the direction of "Praça del Comércio" on the street called "Áurea" because from there I was able to stop and admire the "Elevador de Santa Justa". I had seen this work during my study of Lisbon and was eager to see it up close. The Elevador was an all-iron elevator with many decorations but what struck me most was its shape: a tower with a platform that projected well beyond the structure. It was a design that fascinated me a lot, moreover, a bridge started from the platform that led to the "Barrio Alto" because in fact the function of that lift was precisely that. The particular thing about the bridge was that looking at it from below, it was lost on the roof of a building, a strange thing that I was curious to verify for myself. “Áurea” was not one of the central streets of that grid, however walking along it one reached the extreme of “Praça de Comércio”.
This square struck me immediately for several reasons. The first was the beauty and grandeur of the "Arco da Rua Augusta". A structure that defining it as an arch was an understatement, in fact it was composed of several columns that supported a very high arch which, in addition to various decorations, had multiple statues including those at the top which were larger. The arch literally connected two separate buildings and in fact two city blocks. On the side facing the street, the buildings were yellow and white and had porches. In the center of the square there was the equestrian statue of Dom José I but in those days that I was in Lisbon, the square was also the site of another demonstration, in those days there was a sort of marathon which saw “Praça de Comércio” as an arrival. The square was full of barriers and only had usable spaces, this was a bad thing both for photos and for enjoying the place in a quite way. In my opinion, the most beautiful part was not compromised, in fact the access to the panoramic pier was open and it was a real beauty. The final part called “Mirador de las Columnas” was a paved area that reached into the water. There were two very fascinating columns that were in fact always covered by water with their bases. The place was also very nice for the view it had on the Almada district but above all on "Cristo Rei" and "Ponte 25 de Abril". What made the place even more surreal was the slight haze when I first saw it. That sort of pier that ended in the water and the columns standing on the sea as if they were stone guardians fascinated me in a particular way. It was something different, an uncommon panorama that could hardly be observed around.
Another place I visited nearby was “Praça do Município” the city hall square which had a spiral anchor statue in the center. Although the city hall had a beautiful neoclassical building, that day together with my partner we focused too much on the spiral statue and surprisingly I realized that I hadn't even taken a photo of the municipal building. Together with the "Eden Theater" it was a lack on my part due to my too much enthusiasm for taking pictures of each other. The mania for photographing us in original places made me lose two opportunities to take more meaningful photos.
Once we explored the grid area, we took “R. Augusta” which was in fact the pedestrian street that started from the arch and reached Rossio. The street was beautiful with decorated tile flooring that made the beauty of the buildings stand out even more. The street was full of shops and restaurants and crossed some less frequented streets where I liked to wander around and discover more secluded restaurants that I preferred.
The last place regarding the "Center" that I want to describe is the Barrio Alto. I got there via “Elevador da Biga” (I'll talk about this later) and discovered a neighborhood that I hadn't studied at all. Walking through the streets we headed for the “R. Garrett” a route with a beautiful pavement. The place was very populated and there were some houses covered in tiles that were very nice. My goal was to visit the “Museu Arqueológico do Carmo”, a medieval stone building and archaeological site that no longer had a roof. I had seen it in photos and it was very suggestive, however upon our arrival I discovered that the building was closed to the public so together with my partner we limited ourselves to observing it from the outside where it still retained some interesting views. Nearby was “Elevador de Santa Justa” and I had planned to go back down via that to try this experience too. However just behind the Museu we discovered a beautiful place. It was a very large terrace that developed on different levels, with a view both on the tiled buildings and on the beautiful “Elevador de Santa Justa”. The place was breathtaking, both to admire and to photograph and together with my partner we had fun in it. We still had time available and there was a bar nearby, we decided to get two glasses of wine and drink them right there sitting in front of that beauty. I think that was one of the best moments of Lisbon; unexpected, scenographic and thoroughly enjoyed. I love these unplanned moments that arise from divine will. We stayed there until sunset also enjoying the night version of Lisbon, then we took the Eelvador where I discovered that the bridge I described earlier rested right on the building, which served as the terminal for the Elevador.
A famous thing about Lisbon were its Elevadores, in this case I'm not referring to the classic elevators but to the trams. In Lisbon there were three famous ones, one of which had always intrigued me because of the images I had seen. These trams covered short sections of altitude, a comfortable and fast way to move effortlessly. They had been preserved and today they were also a tourist attraction as well as a conventional means of transport. The first Elevadores we visited was the “Glória” which was located in a side street facing Restauradores. The visit was born out of a need to optimize times. In fact, that morning we had gone to the station to take the train to Sintra but I discovered that I had made a mistake with the departure times. We went to the “Glória” and after a few minutes we got on the tram. The ride was short and climbed a curve, the walls either side of the tram were all covered in graffiti. The interesting thing was the view at the end of the ride, although there was a very nice park, this was closed for maintenance, however there was a part where we could admire a view of the city. The Glória was so short that we decided to walk back down without waiting for the departure time of the tram. As the first Elevador, the Glória was a sufficient but time-saving experience.
Getting inspired by the images was something I loved but persevering in figuring out the exact location of them was something I did too meticulously. Understanding the position of a place was fine but seeing the images in detail through Google before even visiting it was something that had to be carefully dosed. Most of the time I was wrong in this and “Ascensor da Bica” served me as an example which is always better to measure my visual curiosity. The Ascensor in question was one of those places that I was unable to see on google, not understanding its height difference or even seeing the entrance. It was something that had given me a certain disappointment because it was the place that most attracted me from the photos; the image of the tram going uphill with the sea in the background. I hadn't been able to see anything like this on google and in the end I gave up. That visit was the example that then led me to always do this; limit visual curiosity. In fact, once I arrived with my partner in front of "Ascensor da Biga", rather than a tram, I found a building! It was a yellow building with two arched doorways, one of which was the entrance. Right outside the door and past the people in line, could be seen the tram tracks. Basically the ground floor of the building was the Ascensor station. I had also seen something like that in Prague, but the entrance had the appearance of a station rather than a building. The one in Lisbon, on the other hand, blended in perfectly, up to a step from the entrance, the Ascensor was visible only for the sign. My partner and I took the first available tram and got to the top. The street was very narrow and in some sections there were graffiti on the walls. The houses were inhabited and in general the neighborhood was very popular. It was a decidedly different experience than the “Glória”. From the top I could see the perspective I had seen in the photos, however in real life there was less compression. This was because people photographed the tram with telephoto lenses making the sea behind the tram look very close. Live the effect was similar but not the same. We walked down the rails and stopped in front of the colored buildings; there was a black and yellow one that caught my attention also for the writing it had on the wall. It was a phrase that also had meaning in my dialect. Probably the most suggestive part was the first meters after the departure station, I mean the view on the downhill part though. With my partner we had fun taking pictures in the middle of the rails and on the sidewalks that were stairways, trying to feature the tram in the pics as it passed. Afterwards we climbed up to the top and after that we visited the “Barrio Alto” as I described in the previous section. The visit to Ascensor da Bica was a very interesting visit and deserved to be visited again. It certainly taught me an important lesson about image perspective and visual curiosity.
“Ascensor do L'avra” was the last one we visited and in general one of the last visits made to Lisbon. We actually saw in a moment when we didn't have anything to do, that's because it wasn't very popular. The Ascensor was located near Restauradores and was one of the most deserted we had seen. That morning there was no one, not even local people and since the tram didn't leave immediately, we decided to walk up the side stairs. This neighborhood was probably the richest in graffiti, at least the walls and houses along the tram route. The most beautiful thing was at the top and it was the entrance to the Ascensor; a white wall where an arched door opened and above it was the sign that followed the shape of the entrance door. It was a short visit where even on the way back we decided to get off on foot and not use the tram. I remember that day with a little melancholy because it was one of the last ones left in the city.
Belém was an area facing the sea about five kilometers from the center of Lisbon. Mostly I was intrigued by a monument that was there; “Torre de Belém” but studying the area I discovered that it had several monuments and places of interest to visit. This detail increased my curiosity about Belém, a neighborhood which, although not in the centre, could be easily reached by tram in about ten minutes. It was exactly the route we took, we walked to the “Praça de Comércio” and then took the tram to the nearby “Cais do Sodré” station. The tram left us right in front of the "Mosteiro dos Jerónimos", a sixteenth century monastery in the Manueline style, a sort of Portuguese Gothic. I was vaguely familiar with the monastery and hadn't researched it for the visit to Lisbon. The goal was to see it only from the outside and some time ago, when I discovered the beauties it has inside, I regretted it in retrospect. The beauty of the building was given by several things; size, color and decorations. The monastery made quite an impression on me and my partner we spent lot of time around the building taking many pictures. In short we had forgotten that we were there to see something else. Perhaps there was something magical where people of faith decided to build their temples and in fact once there, we began to take things slowly even though we had to see many things. It was a pleasure to walk through the "Jardin da Praça do Império", square-plan gardens right in front of the monastery. The gardens towards the sea ended in "Rosa dos Ventos" a square with a pavement that depicted the wind rose and which housed a very imposing and suggestive statue called “Padrão dos Descobrimentos”. It was a marble monument dedicated to sailors and had the shape of a caravel where on the sides there were the statues of the greatest Portuguese explorers. The central part was a sort of flat skyscraper inside which there was an elevator that took people to the top. The structure had fascinated me in photos and I found it even more beautiful live. The fact that the bow of the caravel landed right on the river was a unique thing for a work of that kind. The monument led me, as a visitor photographer, to be right on the sea to admire and photograph it trying to immortalize the bow. There too, as for the monastery, time seemed to stand still and no one hurried the other. I was able to admire that place from different points of view including that of amazement for a work that fascinated me much more live. From that area there was also the view of "Ponte 25 de Abril" and "Cristo Rei" statue but from the opposite side of the one we had from "Mirador de las Columnas".
We walked from the statue to “Torre de Belém”, bypassing a small port and returning to the sea again. It was a walk in a very suggestive context given by the panorama first and by the beauty of the park later. The reward of the walk was the view of the tower, which appeared to us on the left side, the one facing east. “Torre de Belém” was an ancient fort that also served as a port. From there the Portuguese explorers departed to discover the East, today the tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The style, as for the "Mosteiro dos Jerónimos" is Portuguese Manueline and personally it enchanted me immediately from the first time I saw it in a photo. In addition to the style, what intrigued me about "Torre de Belém" was its location or probably the combination of these two elements. The tower was located on the river bank and was accessed by a footbridge. Probably based on the tides there were moments in which the tower was completely surrounded by water. The tower was of an "unnatural" style; it had four floors and a bastion which was the point that remained inside the river. That type of structure was easier to see on top of a rock or in any case inland, perhaps surrounded by meadows and trees. What I loved at first sight and made the tower unique was just the combination of the factors I mentioned earlier. In real life the tower was even more beautiful than in the photos because it maintained its characteristics but became a real element. Unfortunately upon our arrival, on the wooden walkway that extended over the water, there was a very long line of people. I was actually hoping that could disappear soon and together with my partner we started taking pictures of the tower and ourselves. Starting on the east side we walked around the tower exploring it from behind to the west side. From some perspectives the sunlight was not optimal but the experience was still rewarding. Although we took things slowly, returning to the east side, the walkway was still crowded with people, which made us lose all hope of visiting it inside. In fact, with my partner we agreed on avoiding the long queues to enter somewhere. I reluctantly left "Torre de Belém" not only because I could not visit it inside but because I could not appreciate it in its depths. By this I mean being able to see it without all the crowds of tourists around, in order to appreciate it as a work of art and not a tourist attraction. I would have liked to see it in its soul and not in its matter usurped by human beings. Even today the "scholars" have not understood the reason for the location of the tower, fortunately their "knowledge" has not managed to establish a fact thus avoiding writing "history" that no one has ever seen. At least for this, the tower showed its beautiful and mysterious soul.
On the way back to the tram I noticed that at the "Padrão dos Descobrimentos" there were only a few people outside the entrance and I approached to confirm my impression. I proposed to my partner to visit the monument since there was no queue and we had time available. We went up to the monument by paying very few euros thanks to the advantages of the "Lisbon Card" thus making an unplanned visit which proved to be very interesting. In fact, from the terrace of the monument there was a perfect view of all the areas of interest in Belém. Moreover, its rectangular shape directed to the panoramic points automatically. On one side the "Torre de Belém", on the other the "Tago" river with the background of the "Cristo Rei" and "Ponte 25 de Abril", from the north instead we could admire the monastery in all its entirety. The rooftop visit was definitely nice and I recommend it to anyone going to see the Belém area. But there was another work in that neighborhood I forgot to visit just because I was taken by the enthusiasm of what I had already explored. It was the Maat, a modern art museum that overlooked the river and whose design intrigued me. Inexplicably I forgot it, not only that day but also in the following ones, I remembered the museum the first time I saw the image on the internet.
Lisbon was famous for its trams and there was one that was more famous than the others; the tram No. 28 which made a tour through Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon which stood on a slope and housed important monuments such as “Castelo de São Jorge” and the cathedral. I had intended to reach the neighborhood precisely with that tram, in doing so I would have made a tour using a means of transport that was also a tourist attraction. However, moving to different squares where there were stops, this tram never passed. After a while I decided to take the first one to Alfama even if it wasn't number 28, it was less poetic but definitely practical. We stopped at “Portas Sol” just in front of the viewpoint where there was the statue of “Saint Vicente”. I knew that perspective on the city because it was very popular and photographed. From there, there was a view of the lower part of Alfama, the houses were striking with light colors that contrasted with the red color of the roofs. From the sea side we could see the “Igreja de Santo Estêvão” while from the mountain side the largest “Igreja there is São Vicente de Fora”. The only horrible thing about the view were two huge cruise ships docked at the port which did nothing but obstruct the view of the sea. I will never stop cursing this type of mass tourism represented by cruise ships, they are like modern SUVs parked in the historic centers of ancient cities. Then we moved further down visiting the "Miraduro de Santa Luzia", a panoramic point with a park and an adjoining church of the same name that was truly special. Although it was lower than the previous one, it offered a view that was perhaps even more beautiful because it was in closer contact with the houses and the sea. Nearby we discovered a very large mural, entirely in blue tiles, which depicted the Alfama district seen from the sea.
The next visit was "Castelo de S. Jorge" and to get there we took some narrow streets that offered very beautiful views of the sea. A rare case where the path to a place of interest is itself a particular and suggestive place. We arrived outside the walls of the Castelo after about twenty minutes, I hadn't studied anything about that place because I wanted to discover it live. There was a path all in stone, long enough that from one floor, it climbed up to the entrance. Two of the various towers of the castle soared from below and had flags at the top. After purchasing tickets we entered as one enters a castle that dates back thousands of years; crossing a bridge where, however, there was no longer any water underneath. In just a few steps we found ourselves immersed in a very large and imposing fortification, especially from the internal courtyard, it felt tiny compared to the walls. Climbing above them, the experience changed and it was us who dominated everything below. I must say that the stone path along all the walls was unique, something perhaps only seen in a few films and which for this reason had a fairytale or fantasy connotation. In fact this was my impression walking on those walls, of something that is considered too scenographic to be true. The Castle not only had a very particular architecture but gave an impression of power, of an indestructible construction. It truly remains a mystery to me how they could have built such structures thousands of years ago, at least if we trust history. Moving from one tower to another we reached the top of what was the most central panoramic point. In fact, in the end, the castle served as a guardhouse and today that privileged observation point was left to all of us who could enjoy the most beautiful view of Lisbon. The other singular and unplanned thing about that visit was that we did it before sunset so towards the end, the landscape and the reflections of light were of a very warm yellow. That detail was a plus to the atmosphere and beauty of a structure that was very distant in time compared to the present day.
But the visit to Alfama didn't end with the castle, in fact I decided to walk the serpentine-shaped streets and walk back down. It was a very nice experience to discover original stairways, original houses and murals made by street artists always present on the walls. We stopped outside the cathedral, which was a simple building but not small. It had a location on a slope that made it unique even if the view wasn't the best. The tram rails passed right on one side of the cathedral and the tram could barely pass through that very narrow street. To have an enjoyable view of the cathedral, I had to stand right next to the tracks and be careful that a tram didn't run over me. An original but dangerous location, however nearby there was a small triangular-shaped square, there we stopped in a kiosk to have a drink with a sideways view of the cathedral, thus saying goodbye to the Alfama district.
The exploration of the Almada district began in the late morning from the "Cais do Sodre" pier, just behind the station of the same name. The journey on the small ferry took about twenty minutes and was not particularly interesting as the day was a bit windy. The pier on the opposite side was in the Cacilhas area where we took a tram that brought us towards the center of Almada which was slightly uphill. I purposely stopped at one of the first stops in order to explore the neighborhood until arriving at the "Cristo Rei". I must say that the center of Almada was quite new and I was not particularly impressed, however the last part, the one right next to the Christ, was very characteristic. There were narrow streets lined with low, colorful houses. We have arrived in the huge area of the "Cristo Rei" right behind the statue. The structure was much more impressive than I thought, especially its height. It was formed by four pillars of reinforced concrete connected at the top in the shape of an arch where there was the platform on which stood the statue of Christ with open arms. From below there was a certain disproportion between the base of the pillars and the statue, probably because from the Lisbon side I could mainly see the upper part so I didn't imagine there was such a high base. For about half an hour we had fun taking pictures of the statue, from every side and perspective, it was a very large area where the monument tried to measure its size with its presence. I personally noticed that the combination of such a large statue placed on a peak and surrounded by a very large area gave me an incredible feeling of freedom. But the beauty there was not limited to Christ, just ahead of the statue there was a sort of park that overlooked the sea, Lisbon and "Ponte 25 de Abril" which was so close that it gave the impression of being able to touch it . The bridge was just over two kilometers long, it was five hundred meters shorter than the Golden Gate Bridge, which inspired it because it was built by the same company that had built the one in San Francisco. Being in front of that bridge and that view reminded me of the day I visited the Californian bay, however in Lisbon I was luckier because unlike San Francisco, I was able to enjoy a clear and fog-free view.
When we went inside to go up to the statue, there was an area on the ground floor where there were photos showing the statue under construction. I particularly love these kind of pictures because they make me travel with my imagination. At the top I definitely separated from my partner because I was too excited by the statue. For some strange reason I was fascinated by the position of Christ with open arms, like the one in Rio de Janeiro. That figure reminded me of flight, power and superiority and had a superhuman charm. Being right under that figure which was enormously bigger and more imposing from there, gave me a sense of superiority too. Rather than feeling dominated by something superior, I had a sense of being a part of that superiority. Even though I'm an atheist, I've always loved the figure of Jesus Christ because I studied him without censorship, without the personal interpretations that teachers have always given at school and more than all the interpretations given by religious figures. I probably have a Jesus Christ syndrome inside me for this I was electrified by the figure of the statue. From up there there was also an even more dominant view of the bridge, although the divine figure exerted a great influence on me, I must say that I also devoted myself to the panorama of the bridge and the city of Lisbon.
The return trip to Cacilhas was quite fast and once we got there we also explored that area a bit. The main attraction was the “Farol de Cacilhas” a red iron lighthouse which had a round pavement with a beautiful decoration. Compared to classic lighthouses it was almost above sea level and looked more like a decorative element than a lighthouse. Another nearby attraction was a submarine in a dock. I had never seen one and I enjoyed photographing it from several sides despite having an annoying and high fence. That was the last thing we did there before taking the ferry back to the center of Lisbon, that morning visit was far beyond my expectations, something that happened very often in Lisbon.
Aqueduto das Aguas Livres
The visit to “Aqueduto das Aguas Livres" took place before departure and I mean precisely that morning. Our flight left late in the evening so we made the most of the time available. We had actually gone to see it a few days earlier but on the way my partner fell ill and we went back. The aqueduct was close to our hotel only it was in the north of Lisbon, a new area we never frequented. The route ranged from newly built skyscrapers to becoming classic near the aqueduct with the typical tiled houses. We entered the small garden of the aqueduct where an elderly gentleman made us pay a ticket which was a sort of tip and gave us information about the place in his English, after which we set off. The peculiarity of that day was that it was only me and my partner walking on that unique work with a somewhat claustrophobic shape. The aqueduct was a stone wall that developed from one hill to the other hill where there was the "Barrio da Libertade". The pedestrian parts were on the sides where there were two narrow streets with a high wall on one side and a stone parapet on the other. Along the part of the wall there were small towers placed at a certain distance from each other but seeing that long endless road could be intimidating. The most suggestive part was certainly the one that crossed the valley, where we found ourselves suspended over the void but with a beautiful view of the houses. Moreover, from there it could be seen that in reality the aqueduct made a corner right after the valley and continued into the Barrio. For the way back we decided to take the opposite side and in doing so we saw the inner part which was very narrow and housed only the canal for the water. The opposite side offered an interesting view of the valley and in the distance we could see "Ponte 25 de Abril" and the "Cristo Rei" only that they could be seen very far away. That was the view that struck me when I first read the German blogger's post. When I entered the aqueduct, I immediately understood it and I wanted to leave that perspective that had been the detonator for visiting Lisbon, as the last thing to do in the city, a virtual tribute and thanks for the girl. The visit to the aqueduct had more of a celebratory sense and fate meant that we visited it right at the end of the trip, thus making it even more memorable and iconic.
Born out of curiosity and the desire to read and discover places through the eyes of others, the visit to Lisbon has left a strong imprint on my memory. I really mean that contrary to other trips, I perfectly remember moments and situations I experienced in the Portuguese capital. The exponential discovery of the city while I was studying it before leaving had confirmations and beauties superior to those I imagined. Lisbon was a crossroads of favorable circumstances that took me from zero to a hundred in seconds. From reading to images, passing through a wish that I was able to realize almost immediately after its birth. If I don't exaggerate my Lisbon experience, it's only because the following year I did another one in Spain that gave me the same vibes but had a different story. I hope this post about Lisbon can make people think about the importance of modern reading in the form of blogs, something that unfortunately is already dying or perhaps already dead. Reading is losing its value on the wave of the easy access of photos that exists today but it is reaching its apotheosis with videos. In fact, I consider reading the most creative form for the imagination, a fundamental stimulus for the mind, an exercise that must always be nourished. Although I express myself better with photos rather than writing, I hope that the phenomenon of telling a story or a place with words can be more present on the web than the visual arts. Lisbon was also this cycle for me; discovered by reading with "Candide ou l’Optimisme" and then with a blog, fueled by photos, fully experienced and told above all with words.
Pictures: Antonio Malara
Camera: Fujifilm XT-20