I am not a natural traveller. .I don’t constantly yearn for the views of new shores or the silhouette of unknown horizons, I enjoy it when it happens, and after a while of pottering around my everyday life I do begin to feel the urge to pack a bag and pop off to somewhere that isn’t home for a while, but what I’m doing now just never normally happens, because at the moment I’m in the beautiful and historic city of Lisbon in Portugal for a very long weekend break with some friends, and this only a few days after returning from my lovely climbing holiday in France.
Sometimes breaking the old routines can be a good thing though, and now, here in Lisbon, with its baking heat and constant blue skies I find myself with some different perspectives. To begin with, for anyone not familiar with this lovely city, Lisbon is a city that straddles a wide and meandering river, a river that’s probably over several miles across in places. Now the upshot of this is that both sides of the city have spectacular views across the river to the distant shores and horizons of the other, and whether it’s because of the distance or the water or the heat or a combination of the three, but the views of the far horizons are constantly shrouded in mist and haze.
Fortunately there are many places in the city to sit and gaze at the lovely views, but the even more woundrous thing for me is the contrast with England at the this time of year. For mid September to the end of October in the UK is also a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but the contrast couldn’t be greater. For in England this is also the time of year when the first edge of winter starts to be felt and when the afternoons are often still warm and lazy but the mornings and evenings are cool to the point of being cold, and when autumnal festivals of Halloween and bonfire night become the highlights of the calendar ahead. Yet here in Portugal it seems as though Summer still has the firmest of grips upon the world and thoughts of even Autumn are still a way off.
I’m not sure why I find this to be so poignant, perhaps it is the gardener in me that even while rejoicing in the bounty that the Autumn brings, is also looking ahead to the winter and even the spring. I know when I return