Lisbon whispered in my ear:
Come. I have coffee and crispy pastéis de nata waiting for you.
I have the most romantic corners for you to hide in. There’s a chance you will daydream about the handsome you are going to, one of these days, be walking these streets with. Don’t forget that lovely shop with traditional Portuguese stuff – “A Vida Portuguesa” / “The Portuguese Life” (at Largo do Intendente) – of which existence you want to let your readers know of, and that sells, amongst other things,
overpriced Zé Povinho figures.
And because you love the Portuguese equivalent to the Average Joe or, in Dutch, Jan met de Pet, I will bring you back Zé Povinho related memories from 2015, which will make you grin like an idiot.
I will marvel you with the cobblestones and the architecture as though you had never been here before. [right: Fábrica Viúva Lamego at Largo do Intendente]
You will fall in love with Portuguese ‘azulejos’ again. [Tile masterwork at Biblioteca Camões]
You will have the chance of a reencounter with your favourite square in the world, currently named after Praça do Comércio. You will call it by its old name Terreiro do Paço, as usual.
Hey. Your beloved Tejo hasn’t seen you in a while. And you know how walking Ribeira das Naus revives you. By the way, you could use some rays of light, hun?
Come, my dear. You will meander in town as in the old days, get excited over the tiniest things: the laundry hanging in front of the windows, the old folks chatting the afternoon away, the hills that you joyfully climb as if you were an indefatigable child. You will push your friends to walk everywhere because “the way to get to know Lisbon is by foot”. You will grin from ear to ear at recollections of your old Lisbon life, and grin again at the present opportunity of creating new ones.
I am going to guide your steps to a new cosy café / restaurant overlooking the little square from which the Bica yellow tram departs (Ascensor da Bica). Once there you will eat tapas and chat with its friendly owners and will crave the local designs they have for sale. Ironic Lisbon‘s mural quoting Almada Negreiros will remind you that “Joy is the most serious thing in life”.
I promise to make encounters happen and to be a faithful keeper of awesome memories, that will take place on the same streets you have walked up and down, countless times, half of them inebriated.
I will provide the conditions for you to infect your friends with your love of ginginha – the typical sour cherry liquor -, which you will buy at the quiosque at Praça de São Paulo and, later on, refill at Largo do Camões. You will drink the last one as you walk Chiado’s cobblestones, down to Martim Moniz, searching for the next stop for the evening.
Finally, I will make you hum this song. “Lisboa, menina e moça” is staying with you. After this trip something will fall into place inside of you.
[Carlos do Carmo]
Tell your readers that if any of them wants me to whisper in their ear too, they might want to take these tips of yours into consideration.
See you soon, my dear.