Lisbon - Making Senescence Look Good

 Lisbon is a beautiful lady, who was once stunning. She has lived a full life, smoked too many cigarettes, and spent many sleepless nights. She wears her age well, but there is no hiding the wrinkles and blemishes. Many friends her age have endured multiple surgeries in an attempt to defeat time, as if time were a hated enemy who must be struggled against.

 To Lisbon time is simply part of who she is. She is no longer 200 years old and has no desire to play the pretend game. She is who she is. Like Popeye -- if Popeye had once been gorgeous, which I highly doubt based upon some very unfortunate physical features no number of tattoos are ever going to cover up.

 She has seen it all. Born sometime between 800 and 600 BC, she isn't even totally sure of her exact age. But unquestionably she wouldn't have trouble getting senior discounts at many attractions and hasn't been carded at any restaurants in centuries.

 Lisbon possesses a confidence that only comes from experiencing anything life can throw at you and throwing it right back. Other cities may not outwardly give her all the respect she deserves but are in some ways jealous of her all the same and none of them can realistically claim to making better pastries. I wasn't even aware that tastebuds could actually quiver with excitement until biting into my first pasteis de nata.

 Her buildings may be a bit tattered around the edges: Paint peeling, tiles chipping, walls and roofs stained with soot and time. Too often bits of her are covered with the horrible tattoos of disrespectful tattoo artists who write their own names across her beautiful features, proving only that they are sad and lonely people, feigning toughness as a means of crying out to be seen.

 Yes, Lisbon has imperfections, but she bears them with dignity and when she smiles they fade away. She flashes that smile and the sun falls upon her and you are taken aback by her beauty. She is suddenly that young, vibrant city of a few hundred years ago. The imperfections don't fade away per say, but you see them for what they truly are: Evidence of a life well lived and a beauty enhanced because of it.