The Heartbeat of Lisbon

By Austin Clinkenbeard

Where there is color there is culture

I have never felt the heartbeat of a city so deeply as I did in my nights in Lisbon. The evening breeze would waft the enticing aromas of Portuguese nights up into our open windows, beckoning us to leave the loft and enter the unknown. Each evening I felt my own pulse quicken descending stairways and ascending hills into new neighborhood heights.

Every tile-hewn street had a unique flavor, color and vibrancy. Flowing red wines, sweet delicious port and flaky pastry to be consumed after a simple prego sandwhich. Faded pink walls, the stark blue tiles, the old red trolleys, the yellow pastry fillings, there is color abundant here. Where there is color there is culture. Energetic nights followed melancholic days in Bario Alto. The city is old but the people here are young.

Lisbon is what dreamers imagine San Francisco to be. The cities are superficially similar in a literal sense: topography. Hills abound and cable cars crammed full of visitors climb through sinewy twisted streets. Here we exchange sourdough for pastais and hops for port yet the artisan and individually crafted ideal remains. My hidden hipster side loves Lisbon.

Portugal once was. She dreams of the days when unimaginable wealth was shipped home from new worlds. Her sons once strode Gaia’s oceans on wooden planks and plundered foreign lands propelled by their canvas sail. This place is still home to those adventurers’ melancholic spirits. They roam the marble monuments and haunt the hallowed plazas. Statues to glories past abound, yet Portugal is no Ozymandias. We need not despair. Her ruins are still alive and celebrated. Life pumps through her veins and arteries and alleyways of these rising, twisting stone streets.

Let us celebrate that!

Photos by Austin Clinkenbeard

This is the first travel article Austin has written

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