Shades of flawless turquoise and rusty orange flood my vision, as clean, crisp sea air cleans my soul.
It’s around 19° – the perfect temperature, or so my warm blood dictates. I close my eyes and lean into a gentle breeze while feeling high – although that might be a sugar rush from the three pastel de natas (traditional egg tart pastries) eaten for breakfast. The last time I felt such travel-induced euphoria was cycling over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It’s uncanny then, to open my eyes in Lisbon, Portugal and see the Gate’s spiritual sister, the 25 de Abril Bridge, in the distance. (Not to mention the Christ the King statue, which resembles Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer).
Its 70m-tall towers, built in 1962, are unmistakable, visible from many vantage points around this famously hilly city. They’re especially commanding from where I’m standing – the doorstep of Lisbon’s centerpiece: the sprawling 11th century São Jorge Castle [below].
I made a beeline straight for it, such is its Medieval allure, navigating the city’s winding mosaic sidewalks to the first of many stunning views. From here, the bridge’s distinctive color is echoed in the quaint terracotta of a thousand rooftops in the foreground. It’s gorgeous.