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:
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 being in Paris for 4 nights I took an Euroline bus and headed back to Lyon, as it was easier to go to Switzerland from there, besides that I also had a Regus office right near the train station, which made it easier to work and then hop into the train. Also, I did the trip during the night so it eventually gave me one more day free of the hassle of finding a place to sleep. I arrived quite early in the morning and since I knew my way around from the previous stay at Lyon I just took a walk and then a bus and got into the office.
The trip from Paris to Lyon was 35€ and the train from Lyon to Lausanne was 44€, with 3 changes. I was going to stay at a longtime friend’s house and he was going to pick me up at Lausanne, from where we would go to St. Croix, where he lived.
3.050km so far
Switzerland is rainy and most of the time grey, even though I actually caught a few days of shiny sun. I wasn’t counting on staying as much as I did, about 2 weeks, but due to some problems I did. It was great that André was there otherwise I would have been screwed. Besides being with someone I enjoy he made my stay very pleasant and helped a lot. I cooked a few times but mostly it was he who took care of that. He has worked for the past 5 years as a cook and he’s a great one. Besides that, he’s very talented regarding music, not that he has any kind of formal education on it, it’s just something natural I guess. You can check a music he wrote (and he is singing as well) for which I made a small videoclip. It’s dark, but in a way I like it, it’s raw and it certainly convenes the ambience of Switzerland with its rainy and cloudy days. It also reminds me of some of Thom Yorke’s solo work – which is good.
It’s a shame that once again I didn’t photograph what we ate, but in a way that looks kinda instagramish for me and also, it would make you envious and drool over your keyboard, so who would want that.
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.
It’s been about 4 years since I started practicing Transcendental Meditation daily (with a few exceptions). Before having decided to learn this specific technique, which is extremely easy and can, if you will, be learnt by yourself, I had tried meditation many times, through other simple techniques (such as meditation through the following of your breathing) in an intermittent fashion.
My interest in meditation comes from a long time, the first time I did it objectively I had 16 years, much by influence of esoteric doctrines. The interest was always there although I never practiced it in this continuous fashion until 4 years ago.
I have never written about the subject before (the original in portuguese was written and shared in April, 2013) but I have talked about it with several friends and acquaintances and today I decided to write my ideas about meditation, with special attention to Transcendental Meditation. I will start by mentioning some thoughts based on other persons opinions and works and then share my own.
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.