a journey through Lisbon


photo by Sérgio Freitas

With the moon illuminating my way, I can' t forget the marvelous sound of a cello, sweetened by the notes of an accordion in the distance, it seems to invite me to continue along. Simple steps. My shadow glides over the streets. A beautiful voice singing a duet with a guitar, it is always so comforting to near the stringed heart and softly cry at it' s knee.The voice echos in my mind: "Lisbon is a city to visit on foot,
you can' t get to know Lisbon if you don' t take the time to walk".

The dusty memories of love, always at my side, desperation sometimes taking hold. I carry her image on my back like cold autumn leaves, but I can' t hear her voice: I wait for the miracle to reappear. Soft streams of light illuminate the sky, the fragance of plants and flowers attract my eye. A vision of hillsides covered with dainty multi-colored flowers, and emerald colored leaves, waiting for the sun to bathe them with it' s warmth. As the light gains strenght, the colors of the sky slowly change, and the rays, still soft, filter through the leaves on the trees. The heat slowly reaches a cluster of houses on the hillside, without realizing it I have arrived at a high spot on the hill: A lookout, from where I can observe the more than eight hundred of years reflected as if in a mirror between the houses and the beautiful antique constructions so well preserved as part of the many villages and neighborhoods that have been founded on the seven hills of the city. Nature sings amongst the houses where the villagers reside. Now is a good time to dust off the memories, as the view changes every passing moment. I have been standing here for hours watching and discovering myself as I discover the city. A nostalgic feeling comes over me as I view a river so big that it looks like a sea, from here I listen to it' s seductive chant. I can' t but help following.

As I arrive, the setting sun surprises me. I watch as the people gathers at the Tejo, just for the pleasure of being there, enjoying a sublime moment at the river' s edge. You can hear it' s stories told through the flow of it' s waters. Night falls and the Tejo takes on a new brilliance, the moon arrives with it' s usual punctuallity. Among the hills, thousands of tiny little lights illuminate the city. The people gaze veguely upon the horizon in complete silence, some crying at the river' s edge that seems to turn the tiny droplets into swirls of ivory.

Clouds of memories, floating like spheres upon the night, the enchantment appears to last forever, nothing else matters. A woman sings: "The house of the water, house of the city I was born".

Daybreak, a time of peaceful rest, still I do not feel tired, I am yet hipnotized by the music that guides and invites me to continue. Times passes so slowly, now my shadow creeps along the streets of Alfama, where amongst the alleyways are written so many more stories of hope, desire and love. As the notes of the cello become louder, taking elegant shape upon the air, the tireless heart with it' s strings continues to illuminate my way through the streets as the noble memories of my wanderings become mistily nostalgic. I continue my way, leaving part of me in this city that with such kindness has offered me it' s generous wisdom. Friendship, adventure, happiness, uncertainity: everything in one. My journey has ended, yet the hope will live on.

Federico L. Hernández.
Traslation by: Patricia Ann Vaughn.


Madredeus - O Porto

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