A good night’s sleep had us forget about the full day in tin cans on rails and up in the air. After that, the first thing on the ‘to do’ list was to have a proper Portuguese breakfast. Down at ‘Talismã’, a corner snack bar in Benfica, we ordered a couple of long due galões (sing. galão) – coffee with milk in tall glasses – with torrada – dry bread toasted with butter – and pão de deus misto (lit. mixed god’s bread)- a sweet bun topped with coconut custard with cheese and ham.
Screw lattes and muffins! This is the stuff!
Later, I munched on one more pão de deus at Areeiro, overlooking some modernist/fascist buildings. Can’t get enough o’ them! The sweet buns, that is.
Time! Time is a sketcher’s greatest ally. Time was what abounded in the plane trip back home for a few weeks of holidays.
Apart from the short bursts of slight turbulence and the lacking of depth in one’s perspective (which usually accounts for the fish-eye sketches), I’d say a plane is one of the few places where you don’t get much distraction from your sketching activity.
One other place being the very airport where said plane lands. Themes are as varied as can be – cars, modular buildings, coffee cups, assorted machinery and tarmac bric-à-brac, hostesses and passengers and a plane with the old Lufthansa logo and paint job being towed.
So it goes when sketching becomes a tool for meeting people and networking. I had met Marie Flood some months ago, during the exhibition at Martas Café. She was there as part of a fanzine market and we talked about meeting afterwards to sketch together. And we did, during a sunny afternoon – way too sunny for this latitude. We sought the relief of shade and the comfort of caffeine and talked for hours about art, architecture, people and ourselves before we even laid pen on paper.
When we finally did, I was happy that I chose an A4 sketchbook, so that the background would fit together with her portrait. I also had the chance to go through Marie’s impressive sketchbook. It was inspiring for me not only because of the quality of her sketches, but also because she sketches mainly from her imagination – something that doesn’t come naturally to me any more after years of sketching what I see. She says imagination is like a muscle and needs practice. I guess she’s right. It’s like every other skill.
Jakriborg is a neigbourhood in Hjärup, a suburb of Lund. Whoever glances at it from the passing train might find it very old and well-preserved in its quaintness. It’s not! It’s deceiving and mischievous. It’s the trickster’s doing.
It was actually built in the 90s by realtors Jakri AB as a pastiche of medieval building styles backed by modern building techniques – below these impressively high gables you can occasionally find a concrete base with underground parking. The streets were designed to mimic medieval vernacular urbanism, with curvy streets and narrow alleys but it all comes out too neatly. It’s not even local Scandinavian architecture that is pastiched, the whole thing just feels very Flemish or German.
Despite all this, the town common was nice enough to spend a few hours and have a picnic. The town is completely car-free in its inner streets and that certainly improves the quality of life for its denizens. Not a sound was heard for hours, except for a few neighbourly conversations. Doesn’t take medieval fake architecture to create nice living surroundings, but Jakriborg succeeds in that at least.
SFI, or Svenska för invandrare is the swedish language course that all communal schools for adults provide to immigrants – free of charge. If you have a swedish ID, you get to get classes. It’s not easy to get out of work two times a week to cycle to the boundaries of the city for a two-and-a-half hours of classes, but the teachers there make it feel as smooth and easy-going as possible. Plus, you get to meet people from all over the world.
In the last class of the term, a few days ago, the school invited us for a little mingling between classes, some snacks and some singing along. Typical swedish songs for the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer (Den blomster tid nu kommer, Idas sommarvisa, Oh boy!, this last one by swedish blues and reggae musician Peps Persson).
And yesterday was the final level exam day. Around 4 hours of testing of reading, listening, writing and speaking, with a lot of breaks. A long day, hopefully, with a happy ending.