Finding the words to describe my recent trip to Lisbon has been a puzzler. It wasn’t a very eventful trip, but good vacations, in my opinion, are not supposed to be. Despite a lack of crazy stories, I can say one thing with certainty: I love Lisbon more than any place in the world I’ve visited.
The majority of my trip with Keith was spent wandering semi-aimlessly to all corners of the city, taking photos, stuffing our faces with the local offerings, and breathlessly and repeatedly professing our love for the place to each other. For Lisbon is, indeed, a lovely place. The streets are narrow and haphazard, the buildings weather beaten for centuries, the cobbled hillside roads both stunning and treacherous. There truly was no need for a visit to any museum, because the city itself was the biggest and best museum of them all.
It’s something of a challenge to say what I enjoyed the most. Early on in the week, I became obsessed with the ornate tiles that dominate the landscape. I took so many pictures of these, and here are a few of the loveliest.
As the week wore on, what Keith and I both began to appreciate was the pace of life in this amazing city, and perhaps that was the best thing of all. We quickly abandoned our early plan to wake up as early as possible and not waste a second of any day, trading this pressure pace for enjoying our time there no matter what course it took. Some days we slept in; others, we started early. It was rainy at some points and sunny at others. I rediscovered the pleasures of a small glass of strong milky coffee in the mornings, of long, ambling walks, of sitting and watching, of not being tuned into the daily horrors broadcast over the news on a constant basis (I am usually a news junky, in case you didn’t know). I experienced for the first time the joys of warm beef sandwiches (sandes bifana, in case you’re curious), ginja, several-times-daily pastry consumption, roast suckling pig, octopus, grilled sardines and bacalau.
As for knitting, well, I did some. Not a lot, but some. This was mostly because the city all but shuts down at around 7 PM everyday, so there’s not much to see or do in the evening that can’t be better done in the light of day. Besides, I stopped being a night owl a long time ago. What we got instead of an active night life was better: evenings in our rented apartment in the Alfama neighborhood, the lone survivor of the 1755 earthquake that felled the rest of the city. Windows wide open, we took in the nightly Fado performances happening just steps away from our temporary home.
While listening to the Fado, I knit a fancy pair of socks.
Rather, I knit socks until I ran out of yarn. Fortunately, I ran out exactly at the toe decreases, and I had more of the right yarn at home (the socks are finished now. A sock roundup is is forthcoming). Plus, I planned ahead and packed yarn and needles for a second project.
This amazing hat pattern by Veronica Parsons, Kaweah, was knit over three evenings of Fado at home. I couldn’t recommend this pattern more highly. The yarn is Madeline Tosh ToshDK in the Cousteau colourway.
So, that was Lisbon. It was amazing. Life changing, even. I will never forget it, and I can’t wait to go back.