Anyone remember old nursery rhyme? No? Here, let me remind you
You really just need to listen to five seconds before it drives you nuts. The point is, this is the song that played in my head during my after-work adventure. But I’m jumping ahead of the story.
I’m learning very quickly that no two days are alike here in Lisbon. Just when you get used to the gorgeous weather of blue skies, sunshine, temperatures hovering between 18C -20C, boom, the rain clouds decided that they had a bad case of incontinence. I was looking forward to another sunrise that looked like some potent cocktail, alas, it was cold, windy and wet. Geez, and here I thought all that had been left behind. By the time I hunkered down at my desk in the office, the rain transmogrified into a monstrous storm and I could see my plans for another photography escapade evaporating. Here was one consolation though, shot from the Uber on the way to work:
The rain eventually stopped mid afternoon, but by that time it was my work station that had gone bonkers and frustrated me to no end. I was so ready to call it a day. One step out of the building and into the gusty wind was all the confimation needed to cancel the trip to the waterfront, nevertheless, that nagging sense of adventure was alive and kicking, so I took my first official bus ride home. While waiting, I looked up and this is what smiled down at me:
The Portuguese are incredibly helpful – no sense of decorum on the roads at times, but as a people always friendy, patient, and never stingy with information. I wasn’t sure where to swipe my bus pass, and the lady behind me explained it in English, without anyone muttering some rude comment as it would have happened in Berlin for holding up the line. I swear it was probably the slowest bus ever, and I wondered whether Google Maps had lied about the estimated travel time. It didn’t matter though, I loved looking out at all the shops and buildings I passed by, it was almost like being on a tourist bus sans the chatty tourguide. Considering how narrow the streets are the further away we drove from the financial district, I understood why the bus crawled at a snail’s pace. There really no possible way for it to go any faster without scraping cars on both sides… picture an elephant in a crockery shop! All highly entertaining and great for soaking in the local pulse, not to mention admiring the gorgeous tilework on the buildings.
My stop was the second to the last on the line, and when I got off, gone were the tall imposing corporate buildings and I back in Old Lisbon among the cobbled streets. Turning the corner onto the Rua da Senhora da Gloria (Our Lady of Glory Street), I stood at the top of road and stared at the path ahead of me, unsure whether to laugh or cry.
Slow and steady wins the race, or in this case, gets me home. At least I discovered where the laundromat is, and that there actually is an ATM on this remnant of antiquity. Half way down the road I came upon a mini plaza of sorts, in front of a rather non-descript building. Intrigued, I walked up to it and realised it was a church. A little old lady was just opening the doors and I asked permission to enter. I had effectively found the Church of Our Lady of Glory, reminding me of many a quiet and quaint village church in Spain. There is something about the prayerful silence of an old church that never fails to move me, poignant reminders that no matter how challenging and difficult things are in my, faith will always pull me through.
Call it divine providence or grace, but something in God’s plan has led me to Lisbon. The hostel I’m staying at is called the House of Divine Grace, located along the Our Lady of Glory Road, and today I found my way to the church. Fate or faith?