January 9th, 2014
The first part of our holiday trip began in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon, which is the oldest part of town (over 800 years old). This area is well known for its hilly streets as well as the close quarters (residences are side by-side, with buildings only several feet apart in some areas).
Exploring the nooks and crannies by foot is always our favorite travel activity and, in fact, we averaged walking about 8 miles a day…loving every minute of it. Wherever we walked, it was Bill at the front with me at the rear, and Brook sandwiched in between. It works out well for us that Bill is the navigator (he’s great with maps), and with Brook sandwiched at the center we can keep a close eye on her (so that she doesn’t wander off too far). And I’m usually at the end, happy with my camera at the ready.
It seemed that wherever we went, there were photo ops, such as this everyday scene of a pretty cloth hung out to dry. It’s coming across these everyday things that stops me in my tracks – to me their casual, humble beauty is stunning.
What else was stunning were the gorgeous views at the tops of the hills. We were so lucky to arrive at this sight when there was sunshine…oh how good it felt! It was the perfect reward after a tough red-eye flight.
Here’s a shot of Bill and I fresh off the plane.
And here’s one of me and Brook. After all the walking up the steep hills, we needed a little break so we leaned up against a huge castle wall.
Bill noticed that the walls were made with actual shells and coral, which fascinated him to no end. And actually, everywhere we went Bill often stopped to inspect the walls. I like how he enjoys looking deeply at things too – whenever Bill discovers interesting finds and shares it with us, we also get to benefit from the experience. Having more eyes makes it more fun! By the way, Brook has a good eye too and during our trip she turned us on to many sights that we might otherwise have overlooked.
Going slow gives us a chance to spot wonderful surprises like these lingering peacocks. They also chose to take a rest on the walls…
…so that they could enjoy this incredible view of the sun going down (Bill captured this glowing scene from atop a precarious wall with his phone camera while I was busy trying not to fall off the edge!)
And speaking of things going down, way beneath the castle (encountered during the next day’s walk) there was an abundance of graffiti everywhere.
I’m not so sure that I like all of this personal expression on public space. It feels like an invasion of some sort and to me, it ruins the beauty of what’s underneath or next to it. I guess I don’t really get it.
However, I do get the one below.
And I got it even more after getting home. I translated the message into English (thanks to Google Translate), and it reads “In doubt, tell the truth”. This message speaks to me, in its simplicity and also in its complexity.
Another graffiti sight that stopped me in my tracks was the one below. It’s minimal and not so in your face, but I liked it. I liked the handwriting and I liked the color and composition…so simple yet direct. And I had no idea what it said or meant…
…until I got home and did the Google Translate thing again. It reads “There is light within you”…can you believe that?! You can image how excited I felt when I first read those words! The message is exactly what I believe. And to see it with my own eyes that someone else sees it the same way…way across the ocean, in another land, and in another language. I just love it. I love that others know this light, that they feel this light, and that they believe that everyone has this light. With all this light, the world can be an amazing place…and it is an amazing place. How lucky we are to be in it together.
Shine on my friends and be bright! And don’t forget to go slow so that you can take it all in. Sometimes it’s literally written on the walls…it is everywhere.