There is no God. We shall start this essay by saying this. I write WE, but it’s only me who is writing these words. Nonetheless my knowledge and ideas are built on the efforts (in all directions – not even only on those related to the topic) of many thousands of humans that have come before. These words are destined for a few alone though, who might take from them much more than what a text could possible convey.
For whom it may concern. Why do I start by stating such a thing? I believe you should be aware of such before reading further – at least you have to be aware that that is my belief.
When we take into consideration a God that is an individual entity, above all, omnipresent, self conscious and self driven with objectivity and morals, that God, cannot exist. We will see though, the role such a God can play in the outcome of human business. You see, some people use the idea that a God is watching you, that everything you do is in a way to be weighted against you, both the good and the bad (If we look beyond humans and into some other mammals, specially primates we’ll see that there’s a sense of justice, empathy and probably ethics at play in their social relationships, so a conscious idea of God isn’t needed nor abstract thought, still, the kind of ethics of humans go beyond that of sharing equally, they have much more subtleties and repercussions – so please bear with me)
Back to this lovely city. I’ve been here twice before, almost 2 weeks the first time, during xmas two years ago, again almost 2 weeks in the beginning of my journey through Europe, in April, and now 2 complete weeks again. I bought the flight in a bad timing and it cost me about 140€, with everything included. I had my big backpack, plus my small ones, and I needed flexibility in case I changed my mind. If you’re traveling just with a small backpack and a hand bag you can get it much cheaper – the same flight would have been 80€.
It has been three months and a few days in Prague. So some last information about prices in Prague, in case you’re thinking of visiting for longer periods of time:
Ok, to Berlin, I think I’m gonna divide my thoughts on it in 2 or more posts, not only due to the city’s major importance due to the current state of things in Europe, but also because I really liked it. Maybe it’s due to being summer already and perhaps a trip during winter would have made me feel quite differently about it, but I only experienced it during 2 shiny weeks and I actually fell in love with it.
4.500km until now :ohhhhhwwwwwowwww:
So where to begin? I took a flight there, as I had already explained, which was the cheapest and quickest way to get there. I usually rather not fly, but take trains, coaches or share rides, you know, carbon footprint and being able to discover more and meet more people, but due to the sheer distance it was easier to just take a goddamn flight and land directly there. I had already heard about Berlin and everybody told me it was quite open, multicultural and cosmopolitan although I didn’t think it would deviate so much from my own preconceived ideas of the german way of being. In a sense it doesn’t, I mean, it’s organised, well laid out and planned, services work very well and all that, but on the other, it embodies quite a big variety of cultures, languages, nationalities and interesting things to do.
There I went to meet Raquel, a portuguese friend of mine that set out to live there a few months ago.
it’s been a long time since the last post, which means this one will be gigantic!
So after my long stay in Switzerland I traveled to Torino, in Italy. There I would have a place to stay in the house of Catarina, sister of a long time friend from Portugal, Gonçalo Almeida. He’s currently finishing a degree in London Film School and she’s doing an erasmus studying medicine in Turin.
3.350km ! ohhhh god!
I know Catarina since she was a small child, really. From the times I went to hang around Gonçalo’s house when we were kids. She’s four years younger than me. She lives with other 2 medicine students. Elena and Joana, italian and portuguese respectively. This was my second time in Italy, which is a country I really like. I had been there 2 years ago, doing a Leonardo DaVinci internship at the studio of Luca Masarà, working on retouching with him and Georgina. If you need photographic services near Padua, look them up! They do some amazing work and I learned quite a bit while there, besides being treated in a very pleasant way. I was never in Turin before, I had been to Padua, Venice, Bologna, Verona and Parma. I was there through Check-in, a Lisbon based interchange association providing young people with opportunities to go abroad and do voluntary services or internships in creative areas. They in hand coordinated with XENA, the italian association headquartered in Padua.
So after having slept in the street I took a long walk through the city.
It was sunday and the streets were almost empty as the day began, apart some workers cleaning the leftovers of a saturday night and the casual sports guy going out for some exercise early in the morning I was alone in the streets of Paris.
I went through some cool neighbourhoods, saw the Shangri-La hotel near Iena metro station and then went down to the river Seine. After that I was very close to the Eiffel tower and I went to check it out. What can I say, it makes an impression but once you get close to it, it’s kinda dull. I also met someone on my way there, totally high on something I’m not sure what it was, he talked and talked and talked.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was traveling to Lyon from Barcelona through idBus. It was a great choice in the end. I found them through carpooling.co.uk, because they were a partner company to that ride sharing platform. They do a lot of itineraries in France as well as some connections to nearer countries such as Spain and United Kingdom. For 35€ in a night coach to do around 640km with WC, wi-fi (although I was going to sleep mostly), power sockets to charge equipment and large chairs, I thought it was a cool deal. We left at 11pm of 14th April and arrived the next day around 7am. We stopped after entering France, to have our id’s checked and we did a hour stop later, to eat, stretch, etc.
During this stop I’ve met and talked with a very nice couple, Onofre and Adelaide, who were catalan (he) and italian (she), since I don’t talk catalan we talked italian. They were going to Lyon on vacations and from there to the middle of nowhere, a calm spot near a monastery, to enjoy nature and calmness. This is a portrait I made of them when we arrived and also a sneaky portrait of a gay couple who met upon arrival.
I love the city, to be honest. It’s warm, beautiful in details and with a lot of interesting things to see. The culture really appeals me. Having grown in Portugal I find many of its traits similar, although a different language always makes things different, or at least seem different.
I’ve been in many other places after Barcelona, in this trip, and I had been there before, about one year and half ago for about a week.
I keep on doing my regular morning meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and this is a portrait during one of the times I did it in Barcelona.
Like I said before, I think it helps striking a balance, not only because of what it does biologically (and seems to be proved, but I mean, you can find those effects in regular exercise as well) but most importantly regarding what it does in terms of your consciousness and/or psyche. It’s quite freeing in the sense that sitting with your eyes closed for 20 minutes, even though you have so many things to do and explore, sets you free from the materiality of life. And this doesn’t mean a complete disconnection from the outer world, from emotions, from life, family, friends and obligations, it just means a temporary disconnection from that plan of existence, from the idea of a Self that is constructed upon those many characteristics, narratives and layers.