Sailing Long Distances

Modern architecture and celebrities

Along the river Tejo, starting in Cascais, six marinas for the boating folks are scattered along the northern shore. We are always interested in alternative sites where to go, so we checked out all marinas by train and on foot. One was left, the marina Parque das Nações (park of nations), like it’s called today, next to the side of the World Expo which took place in 1998.
Once an abandoned industrial site, it has developed into the ultra-modern center of economic Portugal. Instead of a sterile office or residential area with the usual apartments – two windows and a balcony -, local and international architects were allowed to develop their creativity here.
The Expo sights and attractions were enlarged steadily and attract many people, as travel guides write. For us, another reason to combine the curiosity for possible marinas with a trip into modern times. Thanks to a fantastic infrastructure, we took the metro, paid 1.50 Euros per trip, and whooshed underground to the Oriente stop. The stops in between were refreshingly differently arranged. One resembled of a former industrial plant with pillars made of red-painted tubes, another one in blue described a fairytale scene, the third one rather an artist’s studio.
The Oriente station was spotlessly clean like all the others on the way; no smear marks or graffiti. The architects let off all their energy and creativity with the subway and the train station above. A real pleasure for our eyes. Openness and yet protected from the weather are two keywords. How refreshingly diverse one can build when the climate is much milder as in Northern Europe. The station building also houses the largest bookshop we have seen in Lisbon so far. Open to the top, protected all around by high glass panes so that young people who are crazy about reading do not enjoy studying the books at night. It was not entirely clear to me what the shop does to protect the books by droppings and attacks from above, caused by intensive reading pigeons for example. At night by sheets, but during the daytime?
The station is joined by the temple of consumption, Vasco da Gama. Two high-rises flank the building, Gabriel and Rafael, named after the ships of the former Portuguese navigator da Gama. The towers resemble two cruise liners and are said to be the most expensive apartments in Lisbon.
If you search long enough in the worldwide network, you will not only find information such as that the Portuguese President lives right next to the marina in Cascais. Sooner or later, names pop up like Monica Belluci, John Malkovich, Michael Fassbender, and Madonna, to name a few who have a home in Lisbon. Probably one of many. Who knows, we might meet Monica or John during a stroll in the park or for dinner at the table next to us and arrange a sailing trip the next day…Read More