Lisbon in Us

Lisbon in Us by Luís Bayó Veiga

April 28, 2021 getLISBON 2Comment
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We present to you a great friend and collaborator of getLISBON since day one with his images and teachings. In Lisbon in Us by Luís Bayó Veiga, this lover of the luminous city of the seven hills, a collector of books, magazines, postcards and several other items related to the city, reveals his two perspectives, of today and of yesterday…

Lisbon from my eyes: those of today and those of yesterday…

I’ve just arrived! Once again I’m here, in this large and sunny place: Luís de Camões Square, with the statue of the prince of the poets right at the centre. An arrivals site, meeting place, departure point, for all those who frequent Chiado or who occasionally pass through here…

I went up Rua do Alecrim from Cais do Sodré quickly, without breaking a sweat. To me, someone who was born in Lisbon, and whose large part of his life’s journey has been done in this city, Chiado is an attraction, a collection of sights, memories and experiences that are part of me.

Lisbon in Us by Luís Bayó Veiga

It’s from here that I start my usual walks along the itineraries that I like to do over and over again. Until Rato square, going up Rua da Misericórdia and going through the “Seventh Hill” or going down Rua Garrett and through Rua do Carmo, reaching Rossio and then the streets of downtown. Alternatively, submerging in the labyrinth of streets of Bairro Alto until Príncipe Real. Or even going through Rua do Loreto, reaching Alto de Santa Catarina and from its southern viewpoint viewing the Tagus river at your feet. Before that, I can’t help but take a tender look around the pleasant neighbourhood of Bica, stretched downhill to S. Paulo, and around its “Jóia da Coroa” (jewel of the crown), the lift, the umbilical cord of the neighborhood that gives it its name.

My Two Perspectives

Lisbon in Us by Luís Bayó Veiga

I’m still here, sitting on a bench at the square, doing my morning reflection.

My reasonable librarian collection of books on Lisbon that I have, combined with thousands of iconographic reports that I collect, among which the illustrated postcards, make me almost always have, in the traditional Lisbon with which I live, two perspectives on each place or nook where I go.

My perspective of the present where the new shops of occasional and opportune commerce sprout, the people are rushing and focused on themselves, where we have the honking of the cars, the tuk-tuks, the buses, the stores of banal gifts for the crowds of tourists (before the pandemic) and the noises and gases that pollute the city.

And in contrast, there is another perspective of mine of a time that wasn’t mine but that existed in the far away Lisbon of the 1800s and that was registered in writings of memories, photos or engravings. There coexisted the carriages, the chaises and the coupés with the Americano cars and later on with the trams, together with the morning bustle of the market of Figueira Square and further away, next to the Ribeira Square right in front of the Tagus, enlivened by the bustle of the varinas (fishwives) that gathered at sunrise to sell fish at the fish market. And then, with covered baskets filled with fish balancing on their heads, they’d leave in a rush, meandering barefoot or wearing clogs, on their way to their civil parishes spread throughout the neighbourhoods of the city.

In more recent times, throughout the 50s and 60s of the last century, I still lived with the musicality of traditional hawking, and the popular proclaiming of the ardinas (paperboys), or as a teenager, I remember the frenzy felt by the mild perfume of an elegant woman “en passant” in the late afternoon, perhaps meeting her group of friends, for the “habitué” 5 o’clock tea accompanied by toast, smiles and gossip, somewhere in one of the fine patisséries that then proliferated in Chiado: Garrett, Imperium, Benard, Carmelita, Marques, Baltresqui, Ferrari, or downtown in Suiça or the Palladium, of which only Benard in Chiado remains…

Beyond Chiado

Other times, other perspectives, which I have captivated and keep in myself as I return now to the reality of my eyes today…

In truth, there’s much more than Chiado that I like in my Lisbon:

I like its light to the east and the orange tones to the west over the course of the day, of course!

From the Tagus River, the wedding veil of my Lisbon radiating sparkling silver rays on sunny days, accompanied by the peculiar quack of seagulls, their hymn of everyday life, with the blue sky above.

Tagus of my dreams, which, since I live in Almada, I cross almost daily in the typical cacilheiros (boats that connect the two banks of the Tagus River), where through its windows, I renew on every trip my look on the panorama of the entire riverside Lisbon…

And I like the pombaline buildings with their austere façades, some with guillotine windows still.

And the artistic pavements that are so peculiar and characteristic of my Lisbon. Especially the curious undulating illusion of the pavement of Rossio.

The unmissable panoramas over Lisbon, from the S. Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint and the Senhora do Monte Viewpoint on the opposite side, or even from the view of the Castle hill, from Martim Moniz.

And I also like the traditional shops that still, stoically, survive and, when entering them, we feel the glamour and the good vibe of the interior decoration, or the greeting and courtesy of the employee with decades of loyalty to his job of a lifetime.

I like visiting the two bookshops that still remain in Chiado: Bertrand and Férin, which until some years ago, competed with the bookshops Sá da Costa, Portugal, Aillaud, Portugália and Gomes that also existed in Chiado, or with the bookshops of Diário Notícias, Século, Romano Torres, Francisco Franco or Parceria A.M. Pereira, which were located between Rossio and the streets downtown, all of which have disappeared!

The second-hand bookstores remain and resist, mostly scattered on the streets of Alecrim and Misericórdia, Calhariz and Calçada do Combro, which are my usual place for frequent visits, where under the theme of Lisbon, I look for what I haven’t found for a long time, or discover what I didn’t even know existed…

Well, it’s time to leave this place that today was my place of arrival and of choice to write this chronicle.

The clock is ticking and time has flown by. I didn’t get the chance to talk about the other Lisbon I love: its traditional neighbourhoods, especially Mouraria and Alfama. Perhaps in another opportunity.

It’s time to start my walk. Where am I going? I’m not sure.

I go at the pace of each step, and wherever today’s gaze catches me or the nostalgia of yesterday calls me…

See you.

Lisbon in Us by Luís Bayó Veiga
Mini introductionBorn in Lisbon in 1948, living in Almada.
Has a degree in Chemical Engineering from IST. Two post-graduates from ISCTE; Collector of old Portuguese comics and of Illustrated Postcards of Lisbon,with thousands of examples in his collections.
Has a significant collection of books, newspapers, magazines and accessories related to Lisbon.
Author of some books on memories and local history of Cacilhas and Almada.
Co-author of more than a dozen documentaries on aspects of ancient Lisbon.
Member of the Grupo dos Amigos de Lisboa.
Regular attender of conferences, colloquia and others, organised by several public and private entities, within the scope of Olisipography.
Curious and lover of Lisboa
An inspiring placeS. Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint and Portas do Sol Viewpoint
An unmissable visitThe National Museum of Ancient Art and all the second-hand bookstores of Lisbon
His mouth waters with…Codfish pastry followed by a pork steak sandwich accompanied with cold white wine…
A song…Lisboa Antiga music by Raul Portela, lyrics by José Galhardo and amadeu do Vale and sung by Hermínia Silva;
O Homem das Castanhas, music by Paulo de Carvalho, lyrics by by Ary dos Santos and sung by Carlos do Carmo
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