Lisbon is the city of seven hills, or as the Portuguese say, "Cidade das sete colinas". And I think I have climbed most. Or pretty close to it.
My apartment is at the bottom of the hill leading up to Alfama, the oldest part of Lisbon. There are trams that can easily whisk me up the hill. In fact they are right outside my front door.
When I ask my landlady about Alfama however, she points and says, "Just walk straight up this street."
"How far up is it?" I ask.
"Not that far. You can do it. Just follow the road to the top," she says.
So I do. Twice. The first time, I make it one third of the way. And give up. No excuses. I give up after seeing no end in sight to the steep incline.
The second time, I am very determined. And I make it. I do stop a couple of times. Okay, four times, but who's counting? Each time, I make like I am taking in the surroundings, enjoying the architecture, reading menus in tiny restaurant windows. I do anything and everything, to stop anyone whizzing by me, from thinking I am anything but fit to take on that hill.
What I am doing though, is talking to God. Dear God! Is there no end to this?
I see a restaurant on the first truly flat piece of land I come to and immediately head in. I need water, and it is my oasis in this desert of steep inclines. I stay for lunch, because, who is in a rush to climb yet another hill? Not me.
Then there are staircases. Lots of them. Everywhere. I am embarrassed to say that again today, I abandon my climb, and I make no apologies for it.
The plus side to all of this huffing and puffing, is that it is great exercise. My calves are toning even as I type this. And the calories I'm taking in from all the pastry eating I'm doing, are just melting away. All in all, not a bad way to tone muscle and lose the calories. Which, given my diet today, is a good thing.
|First I ate this|
|Half way up the abandoned stairs|
|Could have been the stairway to heaven, but I did not find out|
|Drank GINJINHA (cherry liquor) on the sidewalk|
|Took a break|
|Prayed for strength|
|View of River Tagus from Alfama|