CLIMB THAT HILL – See people struggling with the steep hills of Lisbon
It was was July 2014 when I visited Lisbon for the first time together with my friend. Once we had
settled down in our hotel, we went out to discover Lisbon. We didn’t have to walk that long after we
realized how pretty and aesthetic Lisbon truly is – all those pastel colored Google photos were creating
the correct picturesque image of Lisbon. But what left us literally gasping for our breath, wasn’t the
architecture nor the lively atmosphere, but the hills, the numerous steep hills in Lisbon. Coming
from pancake-flat Helsinki (Finland), we weren’t used to climbing that steep hills, one after
another – especially not in a 35° heat.
Fortunately those hills didn’t traumatize me for life, and Lisbon left me wanting for more. After
4 months I found myself organizing my move to Lisbon. Now I’ve lived here almost for 1,5 years
and I’ve already settled my disagreements with the hills. Now that I feel a bit more like a local,
I have started to see the amusement of the first-time visitors and the hills. And even though
the locals must’ve become accustomed with the hills and developed calfs and thighs of steel,
the heat of the summer sometimes leaves the locals breathless too. There’s the reason why the
sunny side of the streets are usually always empty of pedestrians. Also the guaranteed winter
rains and harsh wind straight from the cold Atlantic, sets its challenges.
During the last four months, every time I had an opportunity, I went out with my camera to
capture these poor souls that were struggling with the brutal hills of Lisbon. While stalking
people with my camera, in their moments of despair, breathless and sweaty, I could not avoid of
capturing the beauty of Lisbon at the same time. After all, together with the colorful architecture
and the relaxed atmosphere, the seven hills play a huge role in making the city as beautiful and
charismatic as it is.