Streetscape of Lisbon

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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I don't believe in love at first sight; lust or instant attraction perhaps, whereas love I believe requires time to develop. Nonetheless, I have fallen in love with many cities on my first visit throughout the years, like New York, Berlin, Venice, Antwerp, Tokyo, Helsinki, Porto and Lisbon etc. My relationships with these cities would change over time (if I get to return again), and my 'love' would increase or decrease based on my experiences and expectations.

Even though Lisbon is an international and cosmopolitan city, it somehow still retains the charm (thankfully, not provincial) of a smaller city. It is laid-back (or 'slow' compared to New York/London), hospitable, retro and slightly run-down. It lacks glitz and glamour, yet its characteristics shine through, which makes it feel somewhat authentic and honest.

I think Lisbon reminds of the old London, a time when Londoners were more individualistic, creative, effortless and laid-back ( yes, I am sounding more like an old fart these days). London has undoubtedly lost its edge and charm in the past decade or so; although it is more cosmopolitan and 'happening' these days, it is also more stressful, commercial, crowded, trend-driven and segregated. This is not what I consider as 'cool' or as the Mayor relentlessly proclaims: 'the greatest cities on earth'.


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To appreciate Lisbon fully, it is necessary to walk (mostly uphill) or take the tram. You are unlikely to get bored because there is always something quirky or interesting that would grab your attention.


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When I arrived in Lisbon, it was just days after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack took place, and I could see the conspicuous 'support' shown by the citizens of Lisbon in the streets at different areas of the city.


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The Portuguese also share something in common with Asian people esp. the Chinese, and it is their habit of hanging laundry outdoor! The sights of laundry being hung outside of houses/ flats/ even on the pavements are ubiquitous in China, yet similar sights can be seen on the streets of Lisbon and Porto. Though what is surprising is how meticulous these articles are being hung... often according to sizes, categories and sometimes even colours! I think the Portuguese are qualified to publish books on the art of laundry hanging!


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I am aware that the economical downturn has hit Portugal hard, and when I spoke to the locals, they complained that many young people have moved to cities like London for better job opportunities. I guess this is understandable. Nevertheless, I believe that when the economy of a city/country suffers, it also empowers the citizens to unite, think more creatively and contribute more towards the community or society as a whole for improvements.

And being an artistic and cultural city like Lisbon, one of the best way to express the citizens' frustrations, disappointments, aspirations, passion and creativity is through art... namely street art, which I will cover in my next entry.


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This post was posted in Photography, Travel, Portugal, Lisbon, Street life and was tagged with Portugal, Lisbon, street life