The guesthouse staff welcomed me with tea, pastry, personal charm and endless patience. My bed was comfortable. Went for an orienting walk – assigned myself the task of finding milk, bread, and chocolate. That’s generally a good place to start in a new town. There were other people on the streets, but it felt (blessedly) empty compared to the surge and swarm of humanity in the center of Madrid. I am fond of the tiny, bent crones I see here, carefully dressed in their multiple layers of Sunday best, who seem to have stepped out of my grandmother’s era.
The streets and sidewalks were paved in small square-ish cobbles that undulated in patterns – more like mosaic than the mathematical precise stone or solid lumps of cobbles.
Slept in a profound and restful silence. The auditory equivalent of being wrapped in white velvet and gently rocked. So quiet I can hear that seashell hum in my ears. You don’t realize how braced you are against the battery of crowds and cacophony of shouting and whooping threat of police sirens, or how anxious and tired your body becomes until it stops. Lisbon will have its own demands – every step is either uphill or down, like San Francisco – but I say bring it on.
I had to open my (double pane) window to hear the birds – the birds! – singing in the boughs of the trees in the park I could see from my window. Trees thickly canopied with spring leaves, trunks so huge a single one blocks the width of the sidewalk and spills into the street. It would take three of me to put my arms around that trunk.
There’s an aqueduct that runs along side the park- stone arches and pillars dwarf the rectangle of greenery and worn wooden benches. A small coffee kiosk and playground squealing with children – a happy sound. The children reminded me that the name of this place Largo do Rato. I expected a piper in motley at any moment.
The breakfast options were varied and fresh, and tables await in either a den, the sun room, or in the enclosed garden. Star jasmine was blooming, mixed in with the ivy on the wall.