“Lisbon is a city of timid geometry – hills, sharp corners and a swelling river offering reflections and a chaotic range of colors, depending on the days and the tides. A body to explore without haste,” writes José Cardoso Pires in “Lisbon, A Journal”. Nicely put, but our time is limited – we have only until Sunday.
The lift man has been opening and closing the iron gate of the elevador for more than 30 years. He nods us “Good day” with a smile and we are infected by his air of tranquility. The feeling vanishes five minutes later when we enter one of the hippest places in the city, the lilac house of Fátima Lopes in the middle of Lisbon’s working class neighborhood, Bairro Alto. This bundle of energy lives on the top floors, from where she runs her modeling agency and fashion brand.
Downstairs, revealing garments are sold to the sound of booming house music, day and night, as the store also doubles up as a bar. Hitting a club in your new outfit just seconds after you bought it – why had no one ever thought of it before? It’s also nice for partners who don’t like to go shopping with you but do like to go to bars.
The sun starts to sink and we find a beautiful place to watch it: the Miradouro de Santa Catarina. Students and hipsters look out over the Tagus, drinking beer. In the little square in front, some elderly men are oblivious to all but their boisterous card games.
In the morning, clubbers will gather to watch the sun rise at the same spot, refuelling themselves with strong coffee. We resolve to do the same – and we have about a hundred other resolutions.
All of Lisbon is at our feet. The night is young.
Looking for a place to stay in Bairro Alto? Check out this bohemian gem!