Monday, 20 November 2017

Monday Mural - Your trash, his art

Among a dozen other murals, this was the mural I most wanted to see when I visited the 
LX Factory I mentioned in my previous post - the Bee. 

Made in 2016, by one of Portugal's most talented street artists - Bordalo II - his unique creations are made with urban rubbish - cans, tires, scrap wood, appliances, etc that he turns into very tactile colourful animals, by making a collage with the waste and spray painting them to complete the piece. 
He's not only recycling trash but also using it to critique the way we live in a consumer society, mainly buying trash anyway.

The Bee
Bordalo II, aka Artur Bordalo was born in Lisbon in 1987, and grew up watching his grandfather - Artur Real Bordalo da Silva, a famous artist paint his Lisbon landscapes. 
He started as an illegal graffiti painter in his youth but turned into a street artist using his inspiration and daily experiences.
His "Big Trash Animals" are a series of artworks drawing attention to the production of waste, non recycling of materials, pollution and its effects on the planet. 

For other murals from around the world please follow this link.

Let's bring nature back to the city. Join the movement

And just as a curiosity, here is some information about Bordalo II's grandfather and his work.
Artur Real Chaves Bordalo da Silva, was born in Lisbon in 1925 and died in June 2017.
He studied art at the National Society of Arts and his urban landscapes of buildings and  historical locations of Lisbon were mainly painted in watercolours and oils.
And here are a few of his masterpieces (photos from the internet).

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Artur Real-Bordalo - Cais

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Portugal - Meeting friends in Setúbal & Lisbon

On Wednesday September 13th we borrowed my Dad's car and my husband, my daughter and I drove across the 25th of April bridge to Setúbal (1h from Cascais) to meet up with a friend who actually lives in Perth, but was there on holiday in his home town.
Nuno is a great food appreciator and wanted to treat us to some fresh fish in a simple restaurant. 
The bridge was originally named after the Portuguese dictator Salazar, who was Prime-minister from 1932 to 1968 - "Ponte Salazar". Right after the Carnation Revolution on the 25th of April 1974, the bridge was renamed "Ponte 25 de Abril".
Setúbal was previously an important center for the fishing industry, specially sardines, but unfortunately the factories linked to this industry are no longer operating. However the maritime and commercial ports still keep the links to the ocean alive. But the excellent beaches, resorts, hotels, the Arrábida natural park and the dolphin colony that inhabits the Sado River means that tourists are attracted to this area.
Crossing the Tejo River

Approaching the end of the bridge you can see the statue of Christ the King (Cristo Rei) in the town of Almada overlooking Lisbon on the other side of the river. The statue was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 40 tonnes cement statue took 10 years to be built and was inaugurated in 1959. The distance between the hands is 28mt, the same height as the body and the whole monument is 110mt high.

It was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. The statue can be climbed and apparently has great views of Lisbon.
In the 12 years I lived in Portugal we crossed the bridge a couple of times on our way to visit my parents who at one time lived on that side, but we never visited this monument.

When we reached Setúbal we called our friend and met in front of a shopping centre and then followed his car to his choice of restaurant.
Just across from the Sado Bay, the "Restinguinha" seafood restaurant looked very plain and basic, but the fresh fish was grilled on demand and tasted beautiful - the men had grilled sardines, and my daughter and I had the grilled cuttlefish with salad. 

Somehow I forgot to photograph our meeting or the food!
Restinguinha Fish Restaurant - Setubal

(photo from the net)
Sado Bay beaches across the restaurant
After a long lunch we unfortunately had no time for sightseeing as we had another meeting with childhood friends of my husband in Lisbon. So back in the car, back across the bridge, we parked in an underground car park by at Chiado Square (Largo do Chiado) and walked across to "A Brasileira" Coffee shop.  

It was a joyous occasion for my husband who hadn't seen these childhood friends for over 30 years, only having contact with them via facebook. So we spent another couple of hours catching up and reminiscing about funny things they remembered when growing up in Mozambique.  Neither of those friends live in Portugal either and were on holidays too.


The coffee shop at 120 Rua Garrett near the Baixa-Chiado metro stop, is one of Lisbon's oldest and most famous cafes. It was opened in 1905 with an Art Deco interior, a beautiful ornamental door and outdoor tables to sell Brazilian coffee, a rarity in Lisbon then. 
Over time it became a meeting point for struggling intellectuals and artists and later becoming a tourist attraction as a cafe.
One of it's frequent visitors was the writer Fernando Pessoa, and a bronze statue of the writer was placed outside the cafe in 1988.

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The lavish interior of A Brasileira Cafe (photo from net)
The impressive door, the statue of Fernando Pessoa with my husband sitting on the chair across from him
Fernando Pessoa was a writer, poet, literary critic, publisher and philosopher, who was born in 1888 and died in 1935, and is considered one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portugal.

You'll notice the sign "Casa Havaneza" just behind the statue, and that shop specializing in tobacco and respective accessories, was inaugurated in 1864 in that same spot and has been there since.

Some buildings around the Chiado square area
And after much animated conversation we had to part again to meet another group of friends for dinner!

On the way there we made a small detour to LX Factory so I could photograph some murals. I found them this time!!

Situated in the suburb of Alcantara, just under the 25th of April bridge, this old textile factory dating from 1846 was abandoned and reopened as a trendy spot for the younger generation, with flexible workspaces in the top floors and plenty of eateries and boutiques on the ground floor. There was an interesting open air restaurant with live music and so much to see, so it was a pity that we didn't have time to wander around properly.
There's a fabulous book shop - Ler Devagar (Read slowly), that I didn't get to visit either, and you can even have a coffee and cake while browsing the books, how good is that?
Hopefully I'll visit it sometime in the future.
LX Factory entry, building across the entry (future museum) - shops decor, open air restaurant
One of the open-air eateries at LX Factory, just under the 25th of April bridge
Ler Devagar © Ler Devagar
Ler Devagar (Read Slowly) bookshop (photo from net)

And at 8pm we finally arrived at the "Restaurante O Xico", just in time for dinner with our friends. Situated in Paço de Arcos, about halfway between Lisbon and Cascais, it was also a seafood restaurant. This time we had a seafood rice.
We met these two couples in Perth when they came to visit their daughters who are my friends, and it was lovely to meet up with them again. 

The 3 couples after dinner
And so ended a lovely day when we sat around food and friends for most of the day. That is so typical Portuguese!

Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Portugal - Mercado da Ribeira & Oriente - Lisbon

On Monday 11th September, my husband, daughter and I took the train from Cascais into Lisbon.
Both of them had renewed their Portuguese ID card on Friday and were going to collect it from the Registry office, so I accompanied them for some sightseeing.

Mercado da Ribeira

Just 300mt down the road from Cais do Sodre Station, is the "Mercado da Ribeira" where we went for lunch. Previously known as Mercado 24 de Julho (24th of July market), as it's situated on 24th of July Avenue, it opened in 1892 as a fresh food market.

In 2014 Time Out Lisboa magazine, took over the management adding food stalls offering traditional food. It has now become a major food destination, and although it's a bit more expensive that other traditional restaurants in the city, the atmosphere is great and there's a great choice of food from top chefs to local brands. There are also drinks stalls in the center between the long tables and a couple of shops selling traditional Portuguese products.

The market is open from 10am to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 2am from Thursday to Saturday.

The upper floor was opened in 2015 and has a concert hall that seats 350 people (650 standing) an art gallery and Time Out lisboa magazine information desk, as well as a couple of fancier eateries.

The eating area inside the Market

The top floor area by the staircase is decorated with beautiful tiles, the entry atrium is paved with black & white limestone

I ate a dish make with Codfish and vegetables looking more like a small quiche, my husband and daughter had cuttlefish with black ink rice
After dinner I couldn't forego a Custard tart or "Pastel de Nata", from Manteigaria, which I thought was amazing!
My husband had a coffee and enjoyed a chocolate cup with Cherry liqueur which is very popular in Portugal.

Commerce Square (St George's castle at the top)

After lunch we walked along the Tejo river, towards the Terreiro do Paço Underground station (blue line), walking past Commerce square, that I had shown on the previous post.
Just across on the riverfront is Cais das Colunas (Columns jetty).
There's no documents pertaining to it's construction, but they appeared in drawings from the 18th century (1792). It comprises two pillars on the side of some steps leading into the water, representing the pillars of Solomon's temple - Devotion and wisdom.
Due to the construction of the blue line of the underground, they were removed  in 1997 and then placed back in 2008. Queen Elizabeth II of England disembarked here in 1957.

The Tejo river, Cais das Colunas, Commerce square and the 25th of April bridge in the distance

On the narrow stretch of sand by Cais das Colunas, a "stone artist" displayed his art.
A lot of people stopped to look at his work and he told us he loved working with stones and shapes and was a happy person. We gave him a few coins and bade farewell.

Boat Bar

Further along we came across a boat-bar and some people relaxing on sun chairs facing the river - that's life!

A couple of stations later we changed to the Red line on the underground and got off at Oriente Station. This station under the train station where the trains depart to the North of Portugal. You'll be able to see some beautiful photos of the station on this link.
Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava it was built for the Expo 98 World Fair, that was held along the river which is just across from the modern shopping centre built in front of the station.

Oriente Station

Some of the pavilions used during Expo 98, still used for sports and concerts

The Oriente area of Lisbon is one of the most modern, as whatever was there was demolished to give way to a park, new buildings, sports pavilions, the Aquarium, etc, all done for the Expo 98.

After a short walk we arrived at the Registry Office and my husband and daughter collected the new ID's in a jiffy.
We contacted my brother in law who works nearby and he came down to meet up for a coffee across from his workplace.

This poster was in the Cafe, and I thought it was funny
This massive tile mural with comic strip characters was in the building where the coffee shop was.

 After coffee my brother in law went back to work but we arranged to meet 1 hour later, further down the road when he would pick us up and drive us home to Cascais.
In the meantime I took the husband and daughter on a wild goose chase after some non-existent "beautiful" mural, which I presume had already been destroyed or had the wrong address. We walked and walked and asked many people, but no one remembered it.

"I'm not looking for murals again with you, my husband said"!! Of course not, I'll do that on my own.
But I found a tree with nice flowers.
And then it was about 6pm and my brother in law arrived and we jumped in the car to go home.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Lisbon.

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Map of the Lisbon underground

Monday, 13 November 2017

Monday Mural - The fish vendor

The "varina" - female fish vendor -  is depicted here in Bairro dos Pescadores (Fishermen's neighbourhood) of Cascais (Portugal) for Muraliza Cascais 2016.

The mural was painted by Diogo Machado, AKA Add Fuel, who happens to have been born in Cascais.
I like his style of painting using stencils to create the traditional look of the blue and white Portuguese tiles.  With this specific mural I didn't like the lady's strange duck face.

I actually met the artist when he came to Perth to paint one of his murals at Curtin University during Perth Form 2016.

For other murals from across the world please follow this link.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Portugal - Saint George's Castle & Commerce square - Lisbon

On Sunday 10th of September,  I caught the train from Cascais into Lisbon to meet up with the 3 Doctors in the city. 
When I arrived at Cais do Sodre station, I caught a tuk-tuk to Saint George's Castle built on the highest of Lisbon's hills, one of Lisbon's most visited sights with 360 degree views over the city and Tejo River.

Named by King John I who was married to the English Princess Philippa of Lancaster, after Saint George the warrior Saint, a popular Saint in both countries.

I have on a couple of occasions  gone up to the Castle's entrance, but the queues were always enormous, so I never visited inside.
On this day one of the Doctors offered to queue up and bought the tickets while we sat down at a nearby eatery - "The world needs Nata" - and ordered sandwiches and of course the fabulous Portuguese custard tarts or Natas as they are known in Portugal.

Entry tickets costs €8.50, and free for children under 10. The castle is open from 9:00- 21:00 (Mar-Oct) and 9:00-18:00 (Nov-Feb)

The World needs Nata - sandwiches and Custard tarts
After lunch we went inside the castle and wandered around for about 2 hours climbing up and down the towers...
There are free tours at 1pm and 5pm in Portuguese, English and Spanish, but our visit didn't coincide with one of the English tours.

Map of the Castle

The original medieval citadel was built by the Romans, then taken over by the Moors who used it for their defence.
In 1147 the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques  conquered the castle,  expelled the Muslims and opened the door to the Christians.  He also moved his Court into the Castle turning it into the Royal Palace.

King Manuel I who reigned during 1495 to 1521 found the Royal Alcáçova Palace of St George  unsuitable as a royal residence and ordered the construction of the Ribeira Palace (which no longer exists) near the Tejo river, so the the Castle lost its importance. 

An earthquake in 1531 damaged the old castle, but in 1569 King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments to use it as his official residence. The works were never completed due to the apparent death of the King at the Battle of Alcacer Quibir (Battle of the Three kings) in Morocco.

During the 60 years of Spanish rule the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. This ended in 1640 when John II, the Duke of Braganza waged the Restoration war and was acclaimed as King John IV.
During the 1755 Lisbon earthquake the castle was destroyed, but was extensively rebuilt after the 1920's Republic government. 

The huge patio from where you have a view of Lisbon and the Tejo River
The 25th of April bridge in the distance and the Christ the King Statue in Almada (other side of the river)

The Carmo Convent and Church (ruins due to the 1755 earthquake) and the Santa Justa lift next to it (in black)
National Pantheon where Kings, Presidents and dignitaries like Amalia and Eusebio are buried
Romantic Gardens - ruins of the former Royal Palace of the Alcáçova 
One of various peacocks in the gardens

There are 9 zones in the castle, as per the map you are given when purchasing your tickets - which include an archaeological site with objects found in the area, showing the different periods of the history of Lisbon.

There is also a "Dark Room", with an optical system of lenses and mirrors providing 360 deg views of the city in real-time, including the monuments, river and the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.  Because there wasn't an English show at the time, we didn't get to see this exhibit.

The Museum houses a collection of objects from the various cultures that inhabited the castle, including some from the Muslim occupation before Afonso Henriques's conquest.

On top of one of the Castle's 11 towers

The Portuguese flag (red/green) and the Flag of Lisbon
Scenes from the castle - I loved the colourful additions to this house's backyard and the terraced garden backing into the castle's walls, with a sun-room with a view over the city, bliss...

I loved our visit and wouldn't mind going back another time to see what I didn't see this time, the views were just fabulous and the weather was perfect too!

I found this English youtube video of the castle and the neighbouring suburb of Alfama that you might enjoy.

After leaving the castle we walked down the cobbled street until the Santa Luzia Lookout, from where you get a good view of the river where a couple big ships were anchored. It's also a popular place for buskers and we stood there awhile listening to the happy rhythms of an African band. 

Santa Luzia lookout

We carried on walking down the hill, going inside Lisbon's Cathedral, to take some photos. This Roman Catholic church is the oldest in Lisbon, and it's construction started in 1147. It was also partially destroyed in a couple of earthquakes, the worst being the 1755 earthquake. Was rebuilt in the 20th century to what it is today.
Lisbon's Cathedral
Back to ground level we reach the Commerce Square, which is Lisbon's main square, located where the Ribeira Palace used to be until it's destruction in the 1755 earthquake.

Three sides with symmetrical yellow buildings with arcades face the square while the south side is open to the river.
When the square was first built it was here that ships would unload their goods.
On the north side stands the Rua Augusta Arch through which you reach Rua Augusta (Augusta street), Lisbon's most famous boulevard.

The Arch was built to commemorate the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake, and was completed in 1873. On top it's adorned with statues of important figures in the Portuguese exploring history. You can also climb this monument, which I did last year.

In the middle of the square is the bronze statue of Joseph I (1750-1777) who was the King during the great earthquake.

It was in this square that on the 1st of February 1908, King Carlos I, the penultimate king of Portugal was assassinated.
The King and his family were on the way back to the Royal palace in Lisbon and while crossing the square shots were fired from the crowd by 2 men, killing the King and the heir Prince Luis Filipe. The men were then shot by the bodyguard, and later recognized as being members of the Republican party. 
Prince Manuel was only hit in the arm. Upon the death of his father he ascended to power as King Manuel II, but was overthrown by the Republicans 2 years later.

Walking along the river bank we reached Cais do Sodre station where the 4 of us boarded the train departing to Cascais.

Posts from last year about Lisbon's best lookouts and the Rua Augusta Arch: