Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #36: Around the Neighborhood in Lisbon

Oh salty sea, how much of your salt Is tears from Portugal?~Fernando Pessoa

Tina has challenged us to capture our neighborhood in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #36.  That’s a great idea, Tina.  I love getting glimpses of where people live around the world.

This week we’ve been exploring the neighborhoods in the ancient and beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal.  Here, spring is hovering and retreating, much like the sun.  Hours of warmth are followed by flashes of chilling rain.

One night, we walked down to the harbor, where for centuries, Portuguese explorers set sail for distant lands.  At this spot, a series of foreign invaders also fought for a foothold in this rich and beautiful land.

Lisbon Harbor at Sunset

Regardless of the unpredictable weather, the streets are filled with people, window shopping, listening to music, and eating in sidewalk cafes.  One night, a group of break dancers entertained spectators in Chiado Square.  Behind them, you can see the statue of the poet António Ribeiro.

Break Dancing in the Square.

Chiado is one of several distinct neighborhoods in Lisbon, famous for its bohemian and artistic past.  Distinguished writers like Fernando Pessoa composed poems and stories in the local cafes and restaurants.

Rossio Square, Lisbon, Portugal.

We were astounded to learn that Lisbon is older than Rome.  It can trace its history all the way back to 800 B.C., when it was occupied by the Phoenicians and the Greeks.  Successive waves of invaders occupied the city and left their mark–most notably, the Moors, who shared their artisanal crafts of making tiles and mosaics.

The city has endured, even when a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck in 1755.  Most of the city was destroyed and then rebuilt like the beautiful Rossio Square.  (By the way, the wavy mosaic tiles are an optical illusion.)

Byzantine Wealth on Display, Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Much of the city’s culture and history is shaped by its proximity to water.  This influenced the creation of fado, the uniquely moody and nostalgic Portuguese music created by sailors and their families who longed for their return home.  These waters have also shaped the cuisine of Portugal, famous for its fresh and delicious seafood.  And it also accounts for its fabulous wealth, as seen here in the city’s oldest Byzantine church, Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa. Yes, that is gold.

We’ll continue our visits to the neighborhoods of Lisbon and the surrounding countryside before moving on to Madrid later next week.  When traveling, it’s easy to see a place with “new” eyes.  It’s far more difficult to keep finding the unique and unusual in familiar surroundings.  But isn’t it true that we are all travelers on this earth–no matter if our voyages are around the block or far away on other continents? This quote by the famous Portuguese writer José Saramago, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, reminds us all of that fact.

The journey never ends. Only travelers end. And they too can be prolonged in memory, in memory, in narration. When the traveler sat on the sand of the beach and said, “There’s nothing else to see,” he knew it was not true. We must see what we have not seen, see again what we have already seen, see in spring what we saw in the summer, see what we saw at night by day, with the sun where the first time it rained, see the green crops, the ripe fruit, the stone that has changed places, the shadow that was not there. We must return to the steps already given, to repeat them, and to trace new paths alongside them. You have to start the journey again. Always…José Saramago.

I hope your week is full of discoveries in your own neighborhood and beyond.

To join this week’s challenge (#36), link your post to Tina’s site.  Next week, it’s my turn to host the next Lens Artist Photo Challenge #37.  We hope you join us!

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52 replies »

  1. Older than Rome? Wow. And love that break dancing scene – those kind of street shots are so time stamped because there will never ever be that particular photo opp or shit again.
    Nice take on neighborhood

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a beautiful city, Patti, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Had I known or thought about it sooner I might have been able to fit in a visit. As things stand I have a full diary and not got the energy to reorganise things, I’m afraid. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Recently, some of you got to meet my cousin Richard and his fabulously talented author-photographer wife Patricia “Patti”.  Here is a sample of her work which, I’m sure, will tempt you to visit Portugal. 

    All my love,HMR

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Patti, you’re outdoing yourself, both as a photographer and a  writer.  I’ve just now forwarded your work to all my children and grandchildren. 

    What part does Rich play in your work, apart from being the most supportive husband?  I’m so proud to be part of your family! All my love,Henny

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a beautiful post, Patti! Photos and quotes – the Saramago one is very strong. My favorite must be Rossio Square. I have only visited twice, as a short stop, and 42 degrees in the shade. I remember just gliding around the corners on the lookout for shadows. Thank you for the visit – now I know more what it really looks like!

    Liked by 1 person

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