In Photos: Lisbon through a different lens

with 10 Comments

I can be quite the information seeker. But there are some discoveries that can rarely be attributed to a blog, guidebook or travel websites. One of those is the relationship between cities. There are a few cities that I know well enough to call home. Calcutta though will always remain my first home, the place where I lived longest and keep returning to. Imagine my surprise when I found a vibe quite similar to Calcutta’s in Lisbon. Not just architecturally, but culturally too. During our week in Portugal, I may have squealed in familiarity on discovering elements similar to Calcutta, inviting stares from strangers and gestures to speak softly from Bharat.

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Calcutta, present quite literally in Lisbon.

 

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Trams are a permanent fixture in both cities too!

 

Looking back at our photographs from Portugal, I feel the same sense of familiarity and excitement – that of having discovered a new city and in that process, finding an unexpected connection to my home city. Portugal and India are no strangers to each other. The two countries are historically linked through the spice route and have thrived on exchange in the past. Looking up on the style of architecture in both cities, I note the heavy influence of Gothic style. While the Moors invaded Lisbon and left their own impression, Calcutta is largely influenced by Mughal and British styles of architecture. 

As a non-expert in architecture and admirer of all things mundane and pretty, I was struck by the colors, intricate patterns, symmetry, those tightly constructed buildings and the use of tiles in Lisbon.

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Few cities can lay a claim on the crown of charm without its people and the locals in Lisbon seemed to narrate a story of their own as they appeared on streets, corners and even outside of their windows. Notice the influence of football, inclination towards art and the perpetual state of idleness? Yup, Calcutta all around. 

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While we are here, let me also touch upon the fact that people in both cities take their sweets very seriously. The average Bengali with his staunch affection for nolen gurer sondesh could have much to discuss with his Lisbonian counterpart, who can discuss which pasteis de nata makes the cut at great length. Or which Portuguese sweets are actually better than pasteis de nata. I no longer doubt the idea of twin cities. It’s been a year since we visited Portugal, and while I wait to visit another pair of cities that are this similar, why don’t we sit back and celebrate the sisterhood of Lisboa & Kolkata? 

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Supriya
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As a kid, Supriya had to be brought back to reality from her daydreaming excursions. A digital marketer by profession, she enjoys reading, writing and photography. Her wanderlust list changes each week, but she's strongly eyeing countries in South America, the Middle East and Japan as destinations for her journeys :)

10 Responses

  1. Pilar
    | Reply

    Awesome comparison! I use to travel focusing just in one place but it’s very interesting that you are getting a deeper insight on the particular similar characteristics of cities :), I haven’t been to Portugal but I’ve been to India and it’s awesome you mentioned Portugal has Mughal and British styles of architecture, I love it and I think I’m gonna like it when I visit!
    xoxo,
    Pilar

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Hi Pilar (what a lovely name)

      It’s only recently that I’ve started understanding the deeper meaning of travel. Connecting cities is probably just one of them. Since you’ve been to India, I’m sure you’d enjoy the architecture and vibe in Portugal too – it is very distinct, yet familiar 🙂

  2. Adelina
    | Reply

    Beautiful photos. I love how vibrant the buildings are. And that intricate tile is gorgeous
    Adelina recently posted…Exploring Shibuya Through Its FoodMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Glad you liked the tiles Adelina – they sure were stunning. I regret not buying myself a tile!

  3. Sandy N Vyjay
    | Reply

    Loved the pictures. They give a refreshingly new perspective of Lisbon. You have captured the city and a slice of life in it in vibrant and loving colours. Love this kind of candid photography that captures moments.

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Thank you Sandy. The photographs have been clicked by Bharat and me both and we’re so glad you like them. Candid is our favorite style of photography, though increasingly, wedding photographers have turned candid into a planned trend!

  4. knycx.journeying
    | Reply

    Lisbon always has a place in my heart and the culture left a great memory in my heart. Glad that you found a special memory in Lisbon for you, too! @ knycx.journeying

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Our feelings are likewise Kenny 🙂

      Lisbon is one city where we could return in a heartbeat!

  5. I didn’t know that India and Portugal had ties through spice exchanges, that’s really interesting! Love the photographs.

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Oh yes Nina, we have a long, drawn-out history with the Portuguese. Glad this post was able to share a fresh perspective with you!

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