Rua Augusta, Saturday noon, the sunny, wind-scattered heat in mid-November feels like a mid-August elsewhere.
Purple jacaranda florets are in bloom.
We are sweating and drinking ginjinha, a sticky, sweet liqueur-like digestive made of sour cherries. I love the soaked cherries, not the syrupy brandy itself, but I’m drinking it all for solidarity with my two sidemen – true Lisbonites – my friends and hosts, Pedro and Luis.
Europe’s westernmost capital, once an imposing colonial and maritime power, feels relaxed and easygoing that I feel oddly comfortable already upon arrival. I love when new places do that, it’s rare.
it will inadvertently tempt you to unveil the hidden truths
I receive a text message from a friend elsewhere, asking if I am at the end of the world.
I reply: almost – in Lisbon!
In that case, he says, you better go to Praia de Guincho, rent a board and do some surfing!
I show the message to the guys and they agree that it’s an excellent idea but, after checking with a few sources (or meteorologists on dial?), we are notified that, unfortunately, there are no waves today.
I am certain it is warm enough for a swim, or at least a tan. It is November, but the weather is great – like a perfect Indian summer.
As we descend through the winding maze-like streets of Alfama neighbourhood, we get entangled in an impromptu football match near the grandiose Sao Vicente de Fora Monastery with the kids from the neighbourhood.
Their game, as much as their smiles, is fun and warm, a symbol of an agreeable attitude of this city.
Soon enough their mothers jointly call out for them, as in a choir, to come home for lunch, and we wave goodbye to the smiling faces.
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