The rain of a few minutes ago has left the tar and sidewalk covered in a fine veil of droplets, shining bright against the reclined sunlight. Leaving the fabulous Jardim da Estrela and the lively Largo do Rato behind me, I turn to Rua da Escola Politécnica, by the old fountain, and it gives a welcoming constrast from the rainy image of before. The first dozens of meters mark the transition to a trendier part of town, the neighbourhood of Príncipe Real - there is an architecture studio, a fashion store, and a bookshop, several restaurants and galleries. The curving housing looks chic.
Along the narrow sidewalk, everyone is part of a constant flow of people, locals and visitors, making the streets vibrant. Not very far, a series of palmtrees unexpectadly rises from between the rooftops, a sign announcing the approaching museum. The building is majestic, presenting a wide facade of elegant neoclassic design, with sparce ornamentation - a triangular frontispiece sits above tall collumns, sided by banners, showing varied fauna and flora. Turned to the busy street, the gates of Museu de História Natural e da Ciência are open.
The sun has cleared the clouds away, and smears the picturesque neighbourhood ahead with irregular patches of light. The perpendicular roads allow for regular visions of Lisboa in fragments, like souvenir postcards - the city spreads wide and long, filling the horizon. Little by little, through Príncipe Real, I approach Jardim França Borges - a burst of intense green growing from the middle of the housing.
I notice an unusual commotion as I arrive. There are a few stands and then some more - it is a food market, releasing perfumes made of the mixture of all the products on sale: vegetables, fruit, jam, honey... A lively group of people has gathered round the stands, and everyone shares their impressions on delicacies or nutrition, joyfully. Very soon, adding even more to the festive ambiance, someone starts playing a flute. For a moment, the surrounding town is no more, and there is only this welcoming reunion on the lush park.
The market is set by the outer sidewalk of Jardim do Príncipe Real, but inside the gardens are lively just aswell. Children run across the lawns and flood the playground. The adults stroll by the trails, or enjoy the sun under welcoming trees. There is as much shade as there is light. I walk past the central lake, and the popular magnolias, casting romantic shadows on the benches. One last sculpture of white shows the way out of the lush square, towards the town roads once more.
I follow down the sidewalk of Rua D. Pedro V, stepping on the yellowish leaves scattered about. Stores, bars, cafes and restaurants, studios of various arts and businesses, populate the ground floors of colorful facades, under the typical charming balconies. At Largo do S.Pedro Alcântara, my final stop, visitors and pidgeons alike are strolling by. The pleasant, wide open viewpoint offers vistas of Lisboa that everyone wants to capture on their camera or mobile phone. A small amplifier releases chords that reverberate throughout the entire span of the square. There is a man, singing and playing carefreee songs on his guitar, a soundtrack to the afternoon sightseeing.
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