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The Queen of the Sea - Report of Lisbon, 2014 Fusenet PhD event

The 2014 edition of the Fusenet PhD event was in Lisbon and so I took the chance to visit the European capital called also the Queen of the Sea.

I didn’t have high expectations, Lisbon isn’t as I know at the first choices for a trip in Europe but never less the low cost airplane, a Boeing (so big), was full. Maybe because the ticket was less expensive than a rail trip from Manchester to Birmingham, or maybe because the city has a particular mystery that attracts people from over the world, even from Australia.

The first thing that I noticed when I arrived in the true city center, Baixa, is how white is the dominant colour (or all the colours for a physics speaking). Of white graphic games are played over the front of the building, of white tiny clear stones all cover the pedestrian streets. The result is something very bright, even in the most cloudy and rainy day.

From Baixa you can move to the Chiado and Barrio Alto. These are very distinct South-Europe districts, clothes and plants needy of light are hanging from the windows and surprise, the bricks are not covered only by plasters painted with the most reserved colours, ceramic tiles of other realities complete the scenery improving that melancholy that made felt in love hundreds of artist and painters.

I continued to investigate this melancholy on the streets of Alfama, by night, in the bars were the Fado is played, the equivalent Portuguese of the Blues, an exotic suffered voice like everyone that comes from the soul

Far away from these quarters and the center, you can move to Belem, the ancient waterfront of the city with the monument to the Portuguese discoveries between the 13th and 14th century. From there hundreds of caravels departed to conquer the world. If you close the eyes you may imagine the confusion and the smile of the sailor that managed to arrive in Japan, in a time that wasn’t still clear that the Earth was spherical.

At the end Lisbon is a real queen, mysterious as women know. Take your time. The place that I will hardly forget will be the class neighbourhood Alfama. With its intricate lanes, narrow and irregular, made of steps, maze where enchanted gardens with citrus tree are embed in the empty spaces left by the stones.

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