Monday, 20 August 2012

How I Fell for Lisbon

"(...) Wandering is what I relish most in a place that I’m still learning, and Lisbon encourages it, because it doesn’t come with the long inventory of must-see museums and must-photograph monuments that so many of its European peers do. There’s no equivalent of Madrid’s Prado, though I do recommend the Tile Museum, dedicated to the decorative fillip that makes the city so distinctive. There’s no religious structure as visually iconic as Florence’s Duomo, though you should treat yourself to the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, just outside the center. It’s a fascinating example of a peculiarly ornate, late-Gothic style of Portuguese architecture known as Manueline.
While the sort of checklist you carry in Venice or Berlin can be thrilling, it can also be oppressive, a gilded prison of obligations. In Lisbon I have freedom. I can sprint into a random cafe to wait out a sudden downpour, discover that I like the progressive English folk music (Fink) pouring gently from the speakers, learn that the house white wine is utterly drinkable and just 2 euros a glass, and decide to stay for an aimless hour. This is what happened 15 minutes after I left the Church of São Miguel, which sits on a round plaza with a single thick palm tree in the center, and this is the true meaning of vacation.
IN Lisbon it occurred to me that maybe our favorite places are simply those in which our expectations are routinely exceeded, happenstance cuts in our favor, and it doesn’t matter which fork in the road we take. It leads somewhere we’re happy to be. (...)"

New York Times, by Frank Bruni
Published : May 25, 2012

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