Urban Sketching in Lisbon and the memories I Want to Capture Forever

Urban Sketching and the memories it holds

I’ve said it before, urban sketching is the best way to engrave moments and memories in ones brain. They tend to stay and linger there forever, very welcomed I may add. Exploring Lisbon one day going to the Monastery Moisterio Dos Jeronimos I took shelter under the shade and decided to sketch. Had a good hour or so soaking in every detail, every shadow and crevice this magnificent building had to offer. Until today I can recall every single moment of the experience from the fresh breeze on my face, children’s chatter around me to birds chirping. The most treasured of memories is a young boy coming behind me clapping his hands using his body gesture to tell me how good my sketch was. All we had was body language to connect for that merest of moments which I will never forget. That is the bit that only urban sketching can do. Being present in the moment doing your art in what ever shape or form, connecting to everything around you with every being of your existence. Bliss!

Sheltered in the shade sketching away and the world is a happy place!
The Bell Tower of Moisterio dos Jeronimos

Portuguese hospitality and best of times spent with my friend!

This time was different I was going to a country where I had a friend. A good friend who cleared time in her schedule to come all the way from Leiria and meet me in Lisbon. Which brings me to Portuguese hospitality. Not only did she leave home to spend few days with me but her family got on board. Everyone cleared a time slot to meet us, drive us and shows us around. All of them where greeting me as if they knew me a lifetime. Even her sisters friend came along. If that doesn’t say big heart and welcoming nation I don’t know what does.

I will never forget this day. From our drive to the sea, visiting the home of my friend’s sister to taking a ride around the city then ending it with a visit to Pasteis De Belem.

Pasteis De Natas I was told were born from the need to use up all the egg yolks that were left after the monks and nuns would have used the egg whites to starch their clothes, so the monks came up with the recipe and Pasteis De Nata were born. Today in this famous shop exactly next door to the Monastery the Pasties De Natas are called Pasties De Belem. This is the most famous place that makes them and I was told that they are to be called Pasteis De Belem NOT De nata as they take pride to stand out among all the others, therfore assuring that they are differentiated by name because they are the best. You can read more about the origins of this story here.

Urban sketching in Lisbon
My Last sketch before heading for the airpot. It’s safe to say that I haven’t skipped a day without treating myself to one!

One whole day was designated for Sintra and I was in gardens of heaven. To think that people had the luxury to build such costly estates with huge extended garden or rather gardens is something beyond luxurious. It was like being in a magic garden. I wanted to soak everything in. So, I managed to squeeze one tiny sketch between site seeing, enjoying my friends company and our lunch break. It was then while sketching that she translated to me with a smile, explaining how a mum on the next table to ours was telling her child to go and have a look at what I was doing and how that was important. Again one of those moments I shall never forget.

Then there was one day dedicated to walking around Lisbon and visiting as many places as possible. You know you’ve got a good friend when she is willing to patiently wait while you are sketching ! Not only that but takes your pictures as you work and because she is so patient I managed to do my best sketches that day. There is so much to say about the places we’ve been to but I will let the pictures this time do all the talking.

Urban Sketching at Lisbon Zoo

I have spent one day walking around exploring the area around my hotel and ended up at the zoo! Never have I been to a zoo where peacocks are walking gracefully among the visitors in such close proximity one could almost touch them. I ended up the visit with an amazing dolphin show where when seated waiting for the friendly creatures to come, I’ve mustered up another fast sketch. One I was allowed to colour and finish at the end of the show after everyone had left. The friendly staff chatted to me and pointed how they will give me extra few minutes before they have to close the doors for the next performance. Once again they had so much admiration for my work and the fact that I was sketching while I had the biggest admiration to this nation’s love of art! How they always go beyond their ways to stop and take part. One is always noticed and appreciated.

Ending the day with a very wonky sketch of a cute food truck that captured my attention on the way into the zoo. I decided it shall be my lunching place on the way out. Family owned business and tapioca served with love. The host was very friendly! He told me all about the business and how it started. His brother and wife owned the project (the wife being the chef) while he joined working along with them. He then said that he would love to take a photograph of their truck sketch and if I didn’t mind, after which he presented me with a dessert option tapioca on the house. Turns out sketching earns you free treats! Yet even better, grants you those human interactions that happen while out and about which one could never put a price tag on.

Ending the trip there was a day of visit to the Aqueduct and a final panoramic view of the whole City. I fueled myself with fresh baked bread and sour cream in a little grocery shop that had a lovely bar style seating by the window. Sometimes the simplest of things taste the best. It was a hot day. Going all the way up and then back down again wasn’t easy and that is one place I haven’t managed a sketch when I wanted to. Perhaps one day when I go back. I know now I have a reason to return, actually many reasons !

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