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Poetic Portugal

Having a coffee and a chat with my pal Fernando Pessoa(the chat was a little one-sided though might I add...)

Having a coffee and a chat with my pal Fernando Pessoa
(the chat was a little one-sided though might I add…)

I had to visit Portugal to see the country with its history intertwined so closely with Brazil. And I had a particular fascination with Lisboa because of the poetry of Fernando Pessoa. If you haven’t read any of his works, then at least read the one I have included below. His originals are in portuguese, but this english version does this particular poem justice!

Autopsychography 

The poet is a faker

Who’s so good at his act

He even fakes the pain

Of pain he feels in fact.

And those who read his words

Will feel in what he wrote

Neither of the pains he has

But just the one they don’t.

And so around its track

This thing called the heart winds,

A little clockwork train

To entertain our minds.

—-

If I thought that Paris was a great city to explore unplanned on foot, then Lisboa is even more so. Wandering around from ruined cathedrals to city forts perched on the hill, its a historic city with rustic views around every corner without the faster pace of Paris.

For a stimulating read, try Fernando Pessoa’s semi-autobiography, “The Book of Disquiet”. If it doesn’t change your views on a number of topics, then it will at the very least stimulate you into thinking about them.

I ran into fellow backpacker, Gemma, who had spent six months in Brasil and spoke portuguese as well. So we celebrated by nostalgically drinking a few espressos or ‘cafezinhos’ at the famous Cafe do Brasil in central Lisboa. That may have followed with some traditional cachaça testing as well which resulted in the rest of the night being somewhat of a blur…