I fell completely in love with Lisbon staring out the window of our taxi as we wove through the city to our rented apartment. As my family chattered excitedly around me about the warm weather and the sights, I kept commenting on the colours, the cobblestone, the TILES, the doorways; Lisbon felt like my perfect pastel daydream.
The colour palette of the entire city was soft and rich at the same time; the butter-yellow buildings contrasted against strong emerald green doorways and trim… the deep terracotta roof tiles and creamy white stucco. Each combination is paired with the bluest of blue summer skies. Even just writing about it makes my heart feel happy.
We bought a trolley pass and spent hours (very) slowly riding through the (very) narrow streets. It’s obvious why taking the trolley remains a popular mode of transport despite the leisurely pace — there’s barely enough room to drive through some of the streets! I loved the yellow siding and worn wooden interior. The trolleys felt of a different age and yet were equipped with some of the fastest wifi I’ve experienced in Europe — Lisbon had the juxtaposition of old and new down to a tee.
The rainbow of colour is only the very beginning of what makes the city so astoundingly beautiful. There’s so much texture and movement around each turn — no detail is spared. I was completely amazed by the black and white cobblestone streets. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in Canada — we just don’t celebrate the same level of artistry in our city streets. Here, we pave our sidewalks, occasionally fix a pothole and call it a day. But in Lisbon, the swirling patterns and intricate motifs make each step through the city and experience. An experience, you feel called to be part of.
Lisbon offers something spectacular from every vantage point: walking through the city streets I was captivated by the cobblestone sidewalks and glossy emerald doorways; from my balcony, I admired the warm-toned buildings complemented by the turquoise waters of the Tagus River; above the city, from the Castelo de Sao Jorge, all of the colours and textures melted away to make space for the sea of terracotta tiles.
As a designer, I’m always affected by my surroundings. I love travelling because it opens my heart to new ideas, colour schemes and the function of beauty and art. Lisbon was a city that I know will end up represented in my future home someday — as will all of the other cities I’ve fallen in love with over the course of my life. Perhaps it will be in rough stucco interior walls painted in earth tones or bright glossy turquoise tiles that make the light dance like sun rays through water. Or maybe it will just be through framed photographs or postcards tacked up with washi tape. Either way, I brought a piece of Lisbon home with me. Isn’t that what travel is all about?
Até à próxima, Lisboa.