It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: When it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. – Charles Dickens
It’s March. “The month of the Irish,” my grandmother used to say. The magic of the luck of the Irish is too powerful to celebrate for one day, although Saint Patrick does deserve his own party.
The month of March, when everything green turns to emerald, has a certain energy about it for the Irish. It is the beginning of something fresh and verdant, as rain gives way to sunbeams, and crocuses push through cobblestones. For us, our first taste of spring this year was on a day trip to lovely Lisbon. With family in town for a visit, and 70°F with sun in the forecast, our plans were set in stone.
As we stood at the crown of the biggest park in central Lisbon, Eduardo VII, and gazed over history straight to sea, we knew were seeing Lisbon for the first time. We have spent many days in this glittering city but never understood it the way we did this spring. The seven hills perched on the stately horizon, coving the Avenida da Liberdade, unify the capital city of Portugal. Each peak somehow invited us to explore its unique sensibility while protecting us from the indelible shadows looming in every city.
On foot, by car, and by saffron yellow tram, we ascended and descended, curating aspects of each distinct neighborhood as we explored. From Baixa to Graça, Alfama to Belém, the pieces came together and we finally understood why Lisbon is on all the travel lists this year.
Lisbon is mysterious and magnetic, and the streets belong to everyone. In past visits, we felt somehow disconnected and lost, as if we were on the outside looking in. What we realized last week is that Lisbon was waiting for us to stop trying so hard to understand her, because that very effort makes her impossible to see with clarity. The moment we surrendered our agenda, wandered into churches, savored roasted chestnuts, stopped to talk on park benches, and waved at ladies stringing laundry through urban allies, we were rewarded with a much deeper understanding.
In the words of James Joyce, we “lived and laughed and loved and left,” but we will be back, Lisbon, for how could we bare to say good-bye to Lady Luck just yet?
Today’s Tweetable: Lisbon is mysterious and magnetic, and the streets belong to everyone.
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