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The River

The Tejo (or Tagus) is an incredible river. It’s impossible to imagine the city without it. And yet, a lot of times, it feels like it’s something no one thinks about.

Sure, you can find people at Cais das Colunas, and all the way to Cais do Sodré, the renovated part. They’re enjoying the water view, there are a couple of kiosks selling food & drinks, there are musicians playing their guitars, and you can catch a glimpse of what life could be if the rest of the river bank got the same kind of attention. Sadly, it does not.

(For those not familiar with the city, this part is a very very small section of the river front.)

On most of what’s left, kilometers of it, you’ll find parking lots, warehouses, semi derelict, a few restaurants and clubs, marinas, but it all feels very much abandoned.

Homeless people call it home, the smell of piss mixed with the scent of the river, and poorly graffitied walls are the norm.

Today we went to Lapa, one of the fancy areas in town, and walked down to the river. We crossed the train tracks, and walked a bit along the water. It’s not nice.

A few people running and cycling, but that’s it. It’s mostly an empty area, until we get closer to the station at Cais do Sodré. Once there you can expect the usual crowd that seems to gather at every single city train station in the world: winos, junkies and other assorted people dealing with addiction and homelessness.

We were looking for the nice man playing the saxophone, he was so sweet yesterday. There was no one else around, he played for tinyMovieStar, she loved it, we danced. We were not carrying any money then, and we were about to fix that. He was not there.

We walked back, the usual climb. Not sad, but a little disappointed. With everything.