Saudade. On my last evening in Lisbon I felt it like the tide that streams into the Tagus River. The Oxford Dictionary defines saudade — woefully inadequately — as "a feeling of longing, melancholy or nostalgia". I was standing by an empty pool in the Jardim Torel, under a pink, cloud-speckled sky, alone save for one or two passersby. Lisbon’s hills rippled out beyond the balustrades: a jumble of tiles, concrete, stone and glass — as close and elusive as the recent past. I spotted the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in the distance where my sojourn in the city began. When it opened in 1959, it was the city’s first grand hotel, built with the lavish, enthusiastic support of Portugal’s then dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar. Almost 60 years later, it still has no equal. There are many reasons to love this hotel: the impeccably gracious service; the snatches of piano playing at tea time; the elegant, spacious rooms overlooking Eduardo VII Park. The rooftop running track has sweeping city v...

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