Fragments of Lisbon

I knew before I even stepped foot on the ground in Lisbon that there was one thing that was going to dominate the photos that I returned home with:  the tiles. The draw of the Portuguese azulejos was strong. There is something about a facade covered in elaborate tile that appeals to me, despite my personal design preference for a more minimalist look.

So as we walked through town, it was no surprise that I constantly lagged behind my husband and daughter, trying to capture every last tile that we came across.  (This is a theme in our travels - I'm always trying to catch up!)

And as much as I love capturing a grand facade or the perfect doortrait, I found myself zooming in on all the details. How can you not? Because while the big picture is a gorgeous one, the story of these tiles and facades is certainly in the details. In the color. In the pattern. In the design influence. Is it Moorish? Italian? Dutch? Is it derived from a Renaissance, Baroque, or Art Nouveau style? And the story is certainly in the wear and tear. In the discoloration. What history have these walls been witness to?

So here are the fragments - the details - that caught my eye.

I have taken to becoming a matchmaker with these fragments, trying to find each one's perfect pair - its design complement that more than likely resides across town, in a different neighborhood, on a different hill.

Some seem to go together naturally, while others seem to stand on their own quite well.

I imagine I'll always be playing around with these images - arranging and rearranging them, finding similarities that I once overlooked.  They are like my own little tiles, little fragments of facades that captured my attention and formed my lasting impression of Lisbon. 


It's official.  My husband and I have been talking through our plans for the upcoming months, and we realized that we have reached THAT point - the one where the list of places we want to go is longer than the amount of time we have to visit them. It would be wonderful if that meant that we are traveling constantly for the next four and half months, but unfortunately, we're not. There are wonderful friends to host and not-so-wonderful work trips to take, and the last few weeks will be absorbed by organizing and packing and, well, saying goodbye. But, in between, we have a few final plans to travel both near and far.

This weekend, we embarked on one of those trips.  Rye, the historic town on the southeastern coast of England, has long been on my wish list.  I'd be lying if I denied that the list was shaped, in part, by Instagram. The truth is, I find Instagram to be an incredibly inspiring place to plan one's travels. Rye was a local Instagram darling this past summer, and I wanted to see why.

Rye's virtues were immediately apparent.  We arrived early and had the run of the empty, historic streets. And when I say historic, I mean HISTORIC. Buildings in Rye date from the 12th century; many bear notations about being RE-built in later centuries - you know, recent times like the 15th century. It's truly amazing to walk these streets and consider the stories they have seen.

And walk these streets we did.  I have a thing for photographing streets.  And I have a major thing for photographing curved streets, which England thankfully indulges me in more than I could have ever possibly hoped for.  Rye is a series of beautiful interconnected streets, many of which are charmingly cobbled, and many of which are wonderfully curved.

The most famous street in Rye is Mermaid Street, which is covered in tiny, rounded stones and is lined with the most stunning timber and Georgian homes, many with clever and cheeky names.

The foot of Mermaid Street in Rye, East Sussex, England.

And my own little cheeky one couldn't help but pose for a photo at the top of Mermaid Street.

The other highlight for us was climbing the bell tower of the Parish Church of St. Mary.  It was a bit narrow at times - the perfect size for my three-year-old, a little tight for us - but the views were worth it.

Rye, you are truly a stunner. Your cobbled streets and timber buildings will long be a favorite of mine.