by Hazel Jane - Scotland-based Independent Celebrant

Journal

journeys | Lisbon

The view from Miradouro de Santa Catarina

The view from Miradouro de Santa Catarina

I had already known I would love Lisbon long before the heavy heat met us from the plane door. But I worried that our time was too short. Is four days enough to get to know a place? I say it is, and gorgeous Lisbon isn’t coy - she welcomes you in.

In the scorched days and balmy evenings, windows and doors stay open, ever-inviting to curious eyes and lost strangers. So often we were met with genuine, helpful smiles, and I grinned my clumsy ‘holas’ in return. The Portugese are a relaxed people, with quick wit and soft voices, and I so loved getting to know them. Late September in Lisbon is idyllic; the tourist season is on its way out and the locals are happy to stop and chat.

We were there under a full moon and everything felt bigger. The sunsets burned hot across the river; the nights were laced with anticipation. In 28 degrees, you can dance down the streets in the early morning hours and never once wish for pyjamas and a mug of tea. We watched as tourists and locals alike ate outside, sprawled across steps, bare legged, skin glowing, enjoying green wines and red sangria.

I live in Edinburgh, which is brimming over with charm of its own, but much of the UK is known for its cold, brutish design. Function, we cry as we pass post-war concrete structures, is deeply superior to form. But I know that to walk through streets filled with a divine beauty, shaped with love and history, is enough to brighten your mood and change your entire outlook as you get to where you’re going. In Lisbon, you can while a day away simply hiking up cobbled streets dotted with carnation pink houses. The shiny pavements bounce light across the tall walls of the inner city, guiding you around each corner and before long, you’ll be at a ‘miradouro’ (a viewpoint), the perfect place to rest with a glass of wine and a good book. If you were wondering, I was reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (great conversation starter, terrible for weight allowances).

There were so many things we didn’t see, and I feel compelled to return as soon as I can. But Costa da Caparica, the flea market at the Pantheon, Sintra - each place was more remarkable than the next. I think a piece of my soul remains in Quinta de Regaleira, entangled somewhere in its heavenly architecture and endless greenery.

The food was exquisite, and I couldn’t rave enough about it. For vegans, Lisbon is a pleasure. We were overwhelmed with the quality and diversity of the food available to us. Really, I would go back for the food alone. Have you ever had a vegan cheese board with 9(!) different kinds of cheese? No? You, my friend, are missing out.

Lisbon reminded me of how much I love to travel, and of all the places and people I have yet to find. I love my home, but I can’t wait for the next adventure. Where to? I’m not sure yet, but she has a tough act to follow.

I will be posting my 35mm photos to my Instagram soon.

~

Food (All Vegan):

The Food Temple

Jardim de Cerejas

AO26 The Vegan Project

Eight - The Health Food Store

Sanskar Nepalese

Drink:

Topo

PARK

Casa Independente

Sights:

Costa da Caparica

Sintra - Quinta de Regaleira

Miradouro de Santa Caterina

Literally every street