Bem-vindas em Lisboa

Personal, Travel

In June I re-visited Lisbon on my way to Azores and spend there two weekends. I was lucky enough to live the last days of the Santo Antonio festivities and visit my favourite beaches: Guincho and Caparica. The city shined in the light of the sun, or yellow lanterns during the night.

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It changed greatly as well. The infrastructure is much better since the airport connects the city centre with a metro line. The Tagus river bank has now a boulevard to enjoy the sunsets while listening to the urban beat (often: Brazilian, Angolan combo of sounds – so good…). There are, however, more tourists than before. Lisbon became one of the ‘hottest European destinations’, and it is perfectly understandable. Fascinating history, quirky architecture, sunny weather, best beaches in Europe within 1 hour drive reach, great cuisine, English-speaking services and affordable prices. Sounds great, but too familiar for someone who lived 4 years in Barcelona, where ‘normal life’ has become unbearable due to the massive tourism.

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That’s why I am worried that the authenticity of Lisbon is at risk. My Lisbon friends no longer visit Alfama, as it is mostly invaded by tourists on segways, or worse: tuk-tuks creating serious traffic jams (!) on the little cobblestone streets.

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I don’t want to rant about tourism in general. This is what we all do if we want to discover new places, don’t we? But then let’s call it travelling. Lisbon is one of its kind, special location and I always love to come back there, but when I do, I try to respect the locals, and their everyday lives and customs.

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I always feel so welcome on the tiny streets, bars and pastelerias where time stopped years ago. I look at the faces that have seen different times, and now staring at the unconscious or intoxicated tourists passing by with the same indifference. Yet if you try to live the spirit of the traveller living the night and day of Lisbon, you will notice the difference.

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Bem-vinda seja, Lisbon seems to tell me anytime I land there. And soon I’ll be there again, on a my way to a very interesting art conference!

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Nascimento em Lisboa

Music, Personal

The idea behind this post lays partially in my current state of mind: being extremely busy, somewhere in between the unfinished stuff and the forthcoming events which will pretty much decide on how the next months/years of my life will look like. Partially, in one particular request for posting something related to Milton Nascimento’s work. Last but not least, in recent requests for writing something about Lisbon, as one of my friends currently is living there, working as a guide showing the city’s deepest secrets (Polish speakers are much welcome to visit her www.sekrety-lizbony.pl or Facebook Fan Page where she posts some hilarious photos from her favourite neighbourhood Alfama!), and another one is planning shortly a weekend get-away.

To create an amalgamate of these three topics I decided to show you some of my favourite Lisbon’s murals. The quote ‘Para nascer Portugal; para morrer o mundo’ is authored by Antonio Vieira, a Jesuit who shared his life between Portugal and Brazil and can be found written on a mural closely to Sé de Lisboa. Nowadays this quote has definitely another meaning. Given not only difficult economic circumstances, but also insatiated curiosity, there are millions of Portuguese spread all over the world. To me, this might be a reflection on a globalised reality, just as illustrating one’s craving to discover the world.

Milton Nascimento’s ‘Tudo o que você podia ser’ is an anthem for those, who are not afraid to change, to go beyond mainstream or to take difficult decisions. He underlines that the only obstacle on our way to become who we would love to be is fear. Recapitulating with another famous quote: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Wiki:

Nascimento – birth (also, a surname of a famous Brazilian musician, Milton Nascimento)

‘Para nascer Portugal; para morrer o mundo’ – To be born in Portugal; to die in the world

Sé de Lisboa – Cathedral of Lisbon

‘Tudo o que você podia ser’ – ‘All you could become’ (a title of a famous Milton Nascimento’s song)