For those who love to live in countries with four seasons, February is the the shortest and the longest month at the same time. By this time, we are all longing for warmer days and it seems like Winter is far from over. Lisbon has been gray, gloomy and rainy for the past couple of days but I still see a fair amount of tourists wandering the streets. Which proves my point: you can visit the Portuguese capital any time of the year; there is always something for you to see and to do.
Don’t let the dark clouds fool you, this is a festive and colorful month. Carnaval is, literally, just around the corner. Although it’s not as grand and iconic like the one in Rio de Janeiro, or in Venice or in New Orleans, we still celebrate across the country. Some will be very close to the Brazilian model, some will be keen on keeping old traditions (especially up North in Bragança). Lisbon may not be a city that celebrates Carnaval (officially), but that doesn’t mean that people won’t make the best of the three days off from work and school. “Fat Tuesday” (it always sounds better in French: Mardi Gras) is not an official holiday, but most companies and public offices will be closed on this day.
This month, until Ash Wednesday at least, it’s all about make believe and… masks. A visit to the Puppet Museum seems, therefore, to pair perfectly with this season. Besides a beautiful collection of African and Asian masks, there is of course a vast collection of puppets from different parts of the world and with different techniques. They are also having a Japanese Mask and Dance Workshop lead by Beniko Tanaka on the 8th, in case you want to have a try at exposing your creative self.
Still on the creative side, even though Lisbon may not be associated to street art at first sight, visit the exhibition about Alexandre Farto aka Vhils at the National Theatre Maria II. He has a very unique approach to street art by sculpting faces in walls, out of carving off plaster and paint. His work can be seen in different areas of the city but in this post we are picturing his work in Alcantara. As part of a mural celebrating the forty years of the April Revolution in Portugal, his original work (the sculpture) was reinterpreted by adding a clenched fist as a symbol of the revolutionary motto: “the people united will never be defeated”.
Next month we (finally) welcome Spring, sunshine and warmer days and I’ll be focusing on the urban parks and great outdoors!