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Our neighborhood

Lisbon

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Arguably the best part of this location — even more than closeness to places of interest in Old Lisbon — is its hominess. Knowing that at the end of the kitchen is a table for two within easy reach of French windows that look out towards the Tagus river, for instance. My guess is our coffee will be of the pour-over persuasion and that there will be some protein added to each plate on this table; but you get the idea.

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Rooms are arranged with a caring taste, is my impression. The apartment is meant primarily as a place to live and be comfy, rather than simply a piece of profitable real estate. And insofar as our host has needed to use mass produced furnishings, it's evident that such decisions were made, wherever, with an instinctive flair for design and relaxation and, well, hominess. As if it matters to the hosts that this place should touch lives sweetly. What a change from most rentals, in that respect.

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Neighborhoods are more than collections of apartments, of course. Buildings find themselves arranged between or on top of or (!) underneath other buildings — sometimes only remaining vertical because of supporting walls that were already there courtesy of adjacent, older structures. Whether in neat, military rows or higgly piggly strewn around random plazas, the feel of a neighborhood is sensed in such curious assemblages of walls. History to touch and hang pictures upon.

The photograph above shows the wide alleyway (diagonal from lower left) whose terminus, for us, lies somewhere through that curved archway next to the pink building. Our entrance lies in there. Out of the lower frame is that cluster of Coca Cola umbrellas pictured on the Lisbon Page.

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Or we can return from a day's exploration using this front sidewalk opening and ramp. It leads mysteriously to a parallel alleyway and our own green door. As we wander in here trundling suitcases behind, on that terra firma Saturday morning, likely we will turn around to bid farewell to our Riviera, tied up just across the avenue.

A hundred or so yards beyond stands the Lisbon cathedral. Whose bulky Romanesque architecture projects strength and a kind of certainty that the faithful will never be threatened by the Moors, driven from the region in 1249.

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They're Going Again!