The city of Lisbon makes me have so much to say that I really had a very hard time to decide what I should talk about. I thought about the places and the history, the river and the hills and finally decided to talk to you about the colors of my city, having inside my heart the secret hope to discover the exact things I should tell you in my next letter. Not surprisingly, I had the same problem selecting the photos to present to you. Nevertheless, I selected the photos you can see below. I really believe they portrait the very heart of Lisbon. Ok, some might say, watch out, where is a heart there is blood. But relax, that’s not the case here!
When I think about Lisbon I really can’t imagine a day when darkness completely covered the city, even during the winter. This is because the buildings have different colors and some of them are covered with glazed tiles or have a group of glazed tiles to make them more beautiful. This is true for old buildings but also new buildings. The first photo below shows the Tagus River on the left (in Portuguese: Rio Tejo) and blue glazed tiles on the right (in Portuguese: azulejos). The light over the river seems to come from him and not from the sun. In fact, the reflections from the waters in a summer afternoon make me feel a strange feeling: something in between the kiss of a mermaid and the astonishment of a child when he or she first contemplates the blue waters. The dry heat mixed with the blue of river mixed with the yellow of the buildings and the pink of the flowers are something that spreads over the air as a dream misplaced in time.
But this city is not only made with yellow buildings. Please look to the second picture bellow. There you can see the strange combination of the violet flowers of this tree, in June, and the color of this 18th century building. Please stare at the photo for a moment. Maybe you are understanding the city the way I did a few years ago… The old city is like a doll house where we can imagine ourselves as citizens of a neighborhood inhabited by real people and real ghosts. And everything in a day of Summer, in June or July, sees us surrounded with the pleasant and white smell of candles just snuffed by a mad person that likes smoke that is wholly and completely nonthreatening. To live in Lisbon and go to the center of Lisbon, to downtown, is like going back in time to the 18th century. Don’t worry, I will explain this to you in my next letter.
Now, I gently invite you to stare at the third photo. There you can see some colorful ribbons and a peace of wood that says “Alfama”. Alfama is the name of one of the most typical quarters of Lisbon. The ribbons are there because the photo was taken in June during the preparation of the most important party of the city, that takes place in June. Certainly, there’s a Saint involved in this party! Santo António de Lisboa, or Saint António from Lisbon, that is also Saint António from Pádua, in Italy, the city where he died in 13 June 1231. It is believed that this Saint can bring about good weddings and this is great news for you, my friend, because if you want to marry soon you just have to came to Lisbon on 13 June and pray! Yes, if you are in July you must wait all year… That might seem very unfortunate but you can start praying right now!
My dear friends, now I have to finish this letter and return to my colorful life, letting you behind, suffering the absence of my next words. You should wait for my next letter… Where I will explain you the recent past of this city. By recent past I mean the 18th century.
All the best,
Rui is an app developer in Lisbon and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.