A Baixa vista do Jardim de S. Pedro de Alcântara

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A strange and sunny day had hit the city when Pedro Alves and I decided it was time to face the mighty challenge of sketching the crown jewel of Roque Gameiro’s portfolio. Beforehand, we had the minor challenge of having to climb half way up the São Roque hill. We’ve been avoiding this because of its time-consuming potential, but an unusually long break from work had blessed us.

From the vantage point, with the whole downtown at our feet, we could pinpoint almost all of the sites where we had sketched in the footsteps of Roque Gameiro through the old town of Lisboa. It was the perfect afternoon to look back on our learning curve while dealing with this challenge and to think about all the good things it has brought us. One final thank you to Pedro Cabral is owed, who challenged the Portuguese sketchers to discover this trail of art.

Um dia estranho e solarengo atingiu a cidade quando o Pedro Alves e eu decidimos que era tempo de enfrentar o desafio de desenhar a jóia da coroa do portfolio de Roque Gameiro. Antes, tivemos o desafio menor de subir meia colina de São Roque. Andávamos a fugir a este desenho por causa do seu potencial consumo de tempo, mas fomos afortunados por um intervalo inesperadamente comprido no trabalho.

Do patamar elevado, com a baixa inteira aos nossos pés, conseguiamos apontar quase todos os locais onde tinhamos desenhado no trilho de Roque Gameiro pela Lisboa Velha. Foi a tarde perfeita para considerar a curva de aprendizagem que haviamos percorrido ao lidar com este desafio e para relembrar tudo o que este exercício nos trouxe. É devido um agradecimento final ao Pedro Cabral, que desafiou os desenhadores Portugueses a desbravar este trilho artístico.

A Baixa vista do Jardim de S. Pedro de Alcântara by / por Roque Gameiro
A Baixa vista do Jardim de S. Pedro de Alcântara by / por Roque Gameiro

Rua do Século (antiga Rua Formosa)

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From the Alto da Cotovia, many stories have rolled down the hill – a cleptomaniac arsonist, doomed construction sites, an underground water reservoir that still exists to this date, with an unconspicuous underground path to São Pedro de Alcântara and branching out in all directions of the hill of the Jesuits. All these stories are already better told that I could ever tell them, right here.

Our story is a much simpler one to tell: having depleted the Roque Gameiro sites in our jurisdiction (those which our lunchtime allows), Pedro Alves, Tomás Reis and I were forced to run uphill to sketch, sheltered from the rain, the next closest site – the start of the Rua do Século. After the work was done, there was barely time enough to find a tasty soup and a tastier schnitzel sandwich in the place that brags about having the best empadas in the city – to be checked.

(to be continued)

Do Alto da Cotovia muitas histórias já rolaram – um pirómano cleptomaníaco, construções falhadas, um reservatório de água subterrâneo que ainda hoje existe, com uma ligação insuspeita ao miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara e ramificações em todas as direcções da colina Jesuíta. Todas estas histórias já foram bem melhor contadas do que eu o poderia fazer, aqui.

A nossa história é bem mais simples: sem mais locais desenhados por Roque Gameiro na nossa jurisdicção (aqueles que o horário de almoço nos permite alcançar), Pedro Alves, Tomás Reis e eu fomos obrigados a correr pela colina acima para, abrigados da chuva, desenhar o local mais próximo seguinte – o início da Rua do Século. Depois já só havia tempo para descobrir uma bela sopa e uma belíssima sandes de panado, no local que se gaba de ter as melhores empadas de Lisboa – a verificar.

(continua)

Rua do Século (antiga Rua Formosa) by / por Roque Gameiro
Rua do Século (antiga Rua Formosa) by / por Roque Gameiro

The cornershop of yummy

Ever since coming back home from Sweden, we’ve been getting reacquainted with Lisboa, meandering familiar old streets renewed with brand new establishments based on more or less innovative business ideas and hip cafés catering for the busy young creative class of the emerging design districts – seems like every corner of Lisboa aims to be one nowadays.

Desde o regresso da Suécia que nos temos estado a familiarizar de novo com Lisboa, percorrendo as antigas ruas refrescadas com novos establecimentos, baseados em ideias de negócio mais ou menos inovadoras e cafés da moda ao serviço da frenética classe de jovens criativos, os ocupantes dos bairros criativos emergentes – e parece que qualquer cantinho de Lisboa ambiciona sê-lo hoje em dia.

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It feels very reassuring, however, that some of our favorite spots are still just the way we remembered them. One such place is the São Roque bakery, right in the corner of Rua da Rosa and Rua D. Pedro V. This old cornershop bakes and sells the puffy, greasy, buttery delights of Portuguese pastry that will make you climb the steep streets right to the very top of the 17th century district of Bairro Alto. All this in a heavily decorated Art Noveau atmosphere of columns, tiles, cherubs and floral elements, straight from the early 20th century to your tummy!

É muito tranquilizador, porém, que alguns dos nossos sítios favoritos ainda estejam da forma que os recordavamos. Um deses sítios é a Padaria de S. Roque na esquida na Rua da Rosa e da Rua D. Pedro V. Esta antiga loja de esquina tem pão e pastelaria de fabrico próprio e é fofa, gordurosa e manteigueira o suficiente para nos fazer subir o Bairro Alto inteiro até ao topo. Tudo isto num ambiente Arte Nova amplamente decorado com colunas, azulejos, querubins  e elementos florais, directamente do princípio do século para o seu estômago!

The staff seems to be family, and all are grassroots Lisboa-dwellers, as attested by one girl that proudly claimed to have been part of the teams of two different parishes in the Marchas Populares of the Lisboa’s festivities of June. All the while, on the wall-mounted TV-set, local team Benfica utterly crushed Estoril in a championship match, by six goals. From behind the counter, the staff prayed for the seventh, but it never came.

O pessoal parece ser todo familia, primas, tias e sobrinhas umas das outras, e são todas típicas lisboetas, como confirmado por uma das raparigas que afirmava de peito feito que fez parte de duas equipas nas Marchas Populares de Lisboa. Entretanto, no televisor montado na parede, o Benfica esmagava o Estoril no campeonato nacional por seis bolas a zero. Detrás do balcão ansiava-se pelo sétimo, que não chegou a aparecer.

Lisbon sketching tour

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A couple of friends traveled all the way from Istanbul with their multi-national art class, for a few days’ field trip to Lisboa. I was honored to be invited as an instructor in a 3-hour sketching workshop/tour around the old squares of the capital’s downtown. It was one of those rainy April days, and neither one of the sketching stops I had planned were sheltered. I had to resort to a sketchy (pun intended) plan B. We took shelter wherever we could and altered the route just enough so that we’d be a little bit more comfortable. The workshop took us to Terreiro do Paço, Largo Camões and Largo de S. Domingos, city squares with different atmospheres and historical backgrounds. I didn’t have much time to sketch myself as I was trying to go through the sketching activity of the talented young ones.

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After a brief respite, we all went to a fado show in an auditorium in Bairro Alto. The singers started off slow, but got a hold on the crowd soon after. He whose dedication never waned was the man playing portuguese guitar. His strong but intricate fingering of the strings was what was keeping the show in pace!

dinner, Cervejaria Trindade, Trindade, Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, food

The afternoon ended in the only semi-traditional semi-touristic restaurant that was large enough to fit the entire crew of talented young artists and their talented not-so-young teachers. I was most happy and proud to join them in this short journey across my adopted home town.

 

Classical ballet

The awesome cooperation between Urban Sketchers Portugal and the Dance School of the Conservatory (EDCN) allows for sketchers to attend some of the classes and doodle the classical ballet and contemporary dance students in action.

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Taking advantage of this very intimate hours of these youngsters feels very weird at first – like an invasion of a private moment and space. But soon after the concentration levels are high, everyone just minds their own business and focus on what they love best – the students, the sketchers, the dance teacher, even the pianist who’s setting the tune for the whole act.

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It’s an extraordinary weekly opportunity for sketchers to grasp the shape and movement of bodies in their finest moment. Although it is very challenging at first, the exercise pays off in the end. It’s also an excellent visual memory stimulant, to save in the mind’s eye a single pose, or a single movement in the myriad of elegant steps and twirls these students undertake for the three hours of the duration of the class.