A Walk to The Valley

A Walk to The Valley

There’s an area close to our home I call “The Valley.” It is a valley, a fairly sudden drop from our rather high perch on a plateau at the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills. And while it is a valley, I have no idea what it is called. It’s an area with much blight on the way into it, at the bottom, there is at least one farm, the roosters can be heard crowing. Numerous gardens, probably community gardens, can be seen looking down into the valley. Because the land is open, without too many streets, people plant vegetables and flowers. It’s a little early to tell what is growing without getting a lot closer.

The Valley

The buildings that aren’t showing signs of neglect are made of stucco, painted in the pastel colors so commonly seen in Lisbon. Full shades cover the windows early in the morning. Our home has shutters instead of shades; at night in Lisbon, everyone’s windows are completely covered, sometimes all day.

The Valley

Sometimes a worn-out building shows signs of life. Someone obviously lives here and puts out their plants and hangs the laundry outside. Often these are icons of life inside; without them, it may be an empty building behind the façade.

The Valley

Occasionally there are structures that defy how we think of living. The rooms on the end of this building must be strange indeed, definitely not big enough to include more than a single bed, maybe just a child’s bed. They could just be sitting rooms.

The Valley

Some homes are clearly abandoned. It would be difficult to live in this one, and the bricked up windows and doors prevent squatting.

The Valley

Of course there’s graffiti. Although one would expect everything in this area to be covered with wall art, it’s not. There is still respect for the buildings that people live in, and that combined with the rough surfaces of decaying structures makes tagging more difficult. Sometimes it’s just funny.

The Valley

On the way home, probably about half a mile of uphill walk, I find a way to give a broad view without trying another handheld panorama. It’s similar to where we live, with buildings in decent, if not exceptional, condition. Next time out, I’m going to try to get down to the farm, or maybe farms, and see what I can discover.

The Valley



Out and About

Out and About

No rain and clear skies all day! It’s going to rain tomorrow but today was a good day for wandering the city. We took the bus out of our neighborhood and just started walking, probably five miles by the time we got home in the evening. Some nice parks (always called Jardims here), some alleys, and some touristy areas, although not intentionally. Of course the spot with the best view was covered in tourists and it took a while to get up front to take one of those sweeping vista photos.

Lisbon Skyscape

One thing I have always enjoyed doing is shooting into open windows and doorways. In France, this brought trouble, and someone’s housekeeper chased me down the street with a broom. I still can’t resist.

Lisbon Window Peeping

The alleys are always interesting although cars constantly intrude now. When I first came to Europe with a camera – Spain twenty years ago – there were far less cars and most of the time it was easy to avoid modern distractions. Can’t bring back the past though…

Lisbon Alley

I’m sure I’ve said this before, there is food everywhere, and it’s often on display. Restaurants like to show how fresh their seafood is to entice customers.

Lisbon Octopus

Graffiti is as ubiquitous as seafood in Portugal. Almost every wall that isn’t privately owned has some graffiti on it. Interestingly, homes are left alone. Some walls often show their failure to restrain nature, and when that combines with graffiti, it demonstrates the collision of two worlds.

Graffiti Meets Green

An old subterranean church had its door open so I wandered in and down. It felt abandoned, with nobody in it. I liked the light in the stairwell.

Lisbon Underground Church

Tomorrow it will be raining and we have some household chores to get done. Maybe it will clear up a little on the weekend.

Finally, A Nice Day

Finally, A Nice Day

15 days in Portugal and we finally had a beautiful day, a bit cold but dry after 10AM. It seems everyone in Lisbon felt the same way, as the streets were packed with people. We went out for a “random exploring” trip using our transit cards and headed towards the water, then walked back in towards the city. Without much thought put into it, we ended up in the Alfama, an old section of town with a blanket of tourists on everything. It was a bit of work to take some snaps without tourists in them, mostly looking up.


One thing that nice for photography – with the tight streets and the interesting rooftops, the shadows were intriguing, especially with the ancient walls.

Alfama Shadow

And then there were the beautiful skies over the rooftops. It felt like a dreary curtain over the city had been lifted after two weeks.


Many people have washing machines but no dryer, so clothes hang outside to dry. The break in the weather meant clothes hanging everywhere as weeks of wash needed to be finished.

Alfama Wash

Lisbon occasionally provides scenes reminiscent of San Francisco. Well not quite, the steps are pretty unique to Lisbon. This unfolded in front of me as I walked down the steps and had to turn around and take a photo.


Wandering back onto the main streets, there were Sunday mini-festivals in squares and along the boulevards. One was a market with mostly sausages and cheeses at each stand and an accordion band. Another was a DJ and lots of couples dancing, probably ecstatic to be outside without umbrellas and raincoats.

Lisbon Dancers

Tomorrow we are expecting a bit more rain but the rest of the week should be conducive to outdoor wandering.

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