A minha Lisboa, that means „My Lisbon“. Providing views of the city, so intimate that they also sharpen the perception of those with whom they are shared. That’s the idea behind this column, which is the heart and soul of Lisboa-Soulcity. And it’s what the current exhibition A minha Lisboa does, by Lisbon’s illustrator Joana Viegas, ongoing until March, 16th in the O das Joanas Café, Largo do Intendente, 28. It can be reached with the green metro line, but it is situated in the center anyhow, being the prefect startpoint for a stroll through the Mouraria.
Here at Lisboa-Soulcity, the artist goes even further: She gives us pictures of her city, not only with her paintings, but live – in the relaxed neighborhood of Campo de Ourique, where she grew up.
Lisbons day by day – like a postcard
Even our onboarding – namely in the famous tram 28 – turns a typical tourist-must-do into a normal piece of Lisbon’s daily life: We meet in Chiado, from where Joana, being a student, used to take the eléctrico 28 home almost every day.
The closer we get to Campo de Ourique, the more you notice how much Joana likes to come here. „The people really live here, they don’t just sleep here. The streets are full of life, there are still little shops for everything, not just supermarkets. You have many squares, small parks, outdoor cafes …“ Joana breaks off and simply indicates to everything around. As if an exclamation mark was still needed, what is ultimately convinicing is the warmth with which she adds: „I am from here.“
Campo de Ourique:
History is made
The same attention to detail with which she often defines the focus of her paintings becomes evident immediately after disembarking. Joana doesn’t need to go far, to Rua Saraiva de Carvalho, 135, to make the eyes wander upwards. A memorial plaque reminds of the night of October 4, 1910, informing that here, a first grenade had exploded before the revolution began: A harbinger of the proclamation of the Republic the next day. The long-simmering discontent with the state in the hitherto ruling monarchy culminated on October 5th in the formation of a provisional republican government under Teófilo de Braga, intellectual and writer.
Much more personal memories are driving us a few steps further, to a peculiar looking church, the Igreja do Santo Condestável. As a child, the parks around meant playground and meeting space for Joana. Today, she tells us of a not so obvious connection to the famous Convento do Carmo, the ruin of which is one of the landmarks of Lisbon: The relics of the monastery’s founder, Nuno Alvares Pereira, lie in here in Campo de Ourique, in a shrine that is to be found in this church, inaugurated in 1951.
Ancient or modern? Here, once more Lisboa can do both at once
It is obvious enough that this is the center of the quarter – even by the fact that not only the modernist church dominates the square. Next to it, you also find the big market hall of Bairro, the Mercado de Campo de Ourique. Joana talks about how she often accompanied her father here for the weekend shoppings – the market hall being full of traditional market stalls back then. „Everything is completely different now,“ she whispers as we enter. What awaits us, is first of all a huge gastronomic choice, ranging from little cheese snacks and afterwork aperitifs to full menus. Always at its best, and often accompanied by a cultural agenda.
But they still exist, the stands with all the different scents and colors, from fresh bread to fruits and vegetables to flowers. They have just been shifted aside a little bit. The concept of Lisbon market halls becoming events is a success story, it has this revived not only this one thoroughly and is being considered for an increasing number of halls in Lisbon. But how does Joana think about it? Does she enjoy the flair as much as the other visitors do or is it rather saudades what she feels, for the market of her childhood? „Rather saudades„, is her first reaction. Just to have another look around after a few steps and smile: „But I also like this!“
Nevertheless – for a sweet little break, Joana even gives another idea: Practically around the corner, at Rua Tenente Ferreira Durão, 62a, the place calls itself O Melhor bolo de chocolate do mundo, „Best Chocolate Cake in the World“. In any case, it makes Joana feel like it when she comes over here. The result, being tested on location: Joana’s favorite version is tradicional doce, made from chocolate with 53 percent cocoa, whereas the German test palate prefers even more the by no means „bitter“ variation meio amargo, with 70 percent cocoa. Probably best you try them both …
The heart of Campo de Ourique:
Strolling, not marching
The home of O Melhor bolo de chocolate do mundo is rather small, outside, a wonderfully warm January sun is shining … and in any case, Campo de Ourique makes you feel like strolling around, with its friendly serenity. This is especially true for the Jardim da Parada. Not only Joana calls him quite naturally so, even though it has been officially renamed at some point to Jardim Téofilo de Braga, after the first president of the republic, proclaimed in 1910. The big square has fortunately been redesigned to a park that would no longer suit parades – but wonderfully serves for promenading, around the beautifully laid out pond. Even the ducks there are particularly decorative. Joana remembers that, in early kindergarten age, she could even scud peacocks here.
Especially for those who understand a little Portuguese, Joana has a special tip: The Livraria Ler in Rua Almeida e Sousa, 24c. The bookstore was established in 1970, and it serves the quarter also as a cultural meeting place, strongly anchored and commited in Campo de Ourique. You can feel it even when you enter the store for the first time: You are welcome. Whether you want to browse undisturbed or seek advice with expertise and commitment. The books are carefully chosen and arranged. It is easy to imagine how Joana has already felt at home here as a baby. So much that she regularly dug through some books to leave a wonderful chaos, as she says, laughing.
Lisbon artists, made in
Campo de Ourique
As we continue to walk through the streets of Campo de Ourique, approaching, slowly and with small detours, the Jardim da Estrela, Joana also recommends the Casa Fernando Pessoa at Rua Coelho da Rocha, 16. The last 15 years of his life, until 1935, the writer with the many pseudonyms, who also wrote in English, had lived here. You can visit his room, and the house provides a comprehensive cultural agenda. The dates can be found on the website, available in English.
The Rua Coelho da Rocha not only houses the cultural heritage of one of the most important 20th century icons of Lisbon, but for Joana, also a „piece of Paris“. Not quite the way you’d expect, given the already-present Savior vivre in Campo de Ourique: A small, hidden backyard settlement, which by no means appears glamorous. But quite a few artists have their studios here. Take a look through the archway at the number 69 … Lisbon always makes room for creativity, becoming evident not only with this insider tip by Joana Viegas.