Ode To Adamastor

Lisbon’s both a reminder to me of so many cities in Europe, but also like no other place I’ve known.

It’s the first Paris of my memories, the Budapest of my dreams. Some liken it to Rome, for its supposed seven hills.

Way, way more hills than that in Lisbon. And all paved with calçadas that slick under the rain.

But for your climb up those hills, you get a miradouro, a golden view, typically out over town onto the Tejo, a river as wide as a bay near the city. The most emblematic of these, for me, has been the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, known to the locals as “Adamastor,” for the avant-garde statue of the legendary icon sculpted into rock there and graced with a symbol of anarchy, sort of.

Adamastor held the perfect elements in tension. The view (of course), the just-right kiosque, the swanky restaurants and hotel nearby, along with the humanity that traded (supposedly) both drugs and kindness there. 

I sat on February afternoon last year at the kiosque having an Lx APA looking out over the river, at marching clouds across the far shore. No one asked me for a score…but the cloying scent of weed floated past me from a nearby table—but since personal possession isn’t criminalized in Portugal, no one really cared.

Now Adamastor’s boarded up, the Camarâ de Lisboa says to beautify it, make changes to improve its aspect. How can you improve upon such a page from the photo album of life? Its reality, its realness was fine by me.

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