We didn’t plot a route. We intuited one. So the beauty we encountered was serendipitous: the mosaics of black and white stone with which so many of the sidewalks, esplanades and plazas are paved; the tiles — yellow, green, white — with which so many of the buildings are faced. Mosaics like these I’d seen elsewhere, though they had a special dominance and whimsy here. But tiles like these, used this way, were a revelation. It was as if Lisbon wore a set of jewels that other cities didn’t bother to.
(…)In Lisbon I have freedom. I can sprint into a random cafe to wait out a sudden downpour, discover that I like the progressive English folk music (Fink) pouring gently from the speakers, learn that the house white wine is utterly drinkable and just 2 euros a glass, and decide to stay for an aimless hour. This is what happened 15 minutes after I left the Church of São Miguel, which sits on a round plaza with a single thick palm tree in the center, and this is the true meaning of vacation.»