This is how houses used to be made.

The first time I stood in front of this house was three years ago. I was walking through the Alfama neighborhood and I saw it. Gorgeous. Unique in its style. The smell of the clothes hanging outside and the uniqueness of the architecture immediately struck my attention. I stayed quite a while in front of this house, I was bewitched.

Before long, a young man passed by, who saw me lost in my thoughts, and said, “Precisa de ajuda?” I quickly came back to my senses and answered him, “yes thank you, I really need help, can you tell me something about this house?” He smiled, and told me that I was standing in front of the oldest house in Lisbon. A shiver went down my spine. I thanked him and paused for a moment longer.

Had this house really survived the 1755 earthquake? How had it managed to stay standing? What people had lived there, and especially who lived there today? Millions of questions began to pop into my head. I would have liked to ask that boy more, but he, in the meantime, was gone. So I was left alone, alone with all my questions.

I came home and read that very few houses had survived the earthquake of
1755, that many were later destroyed with time, and that the house I had just seen on Rua dos Cegos had indeed been identified as the oldest building in Lisbon. It was indeed her, what a marvel!

I wonder how that house was once lived in and especially how people lived in that neighborhood. I would like to take a time travel for a moment. Why? Because I would like to see this with my own eyes, to realize how much has changed.

Even the walls of Alfama taste of “Saudade.” Nostalgia for what once was, and what today, unfortunately, is no more.

×