Archive | April 2014

Craziness in Lisbon: 25 de Abril (Liberation Day) – Celebrations in Lisbon

Introduction – After the concert from the night before it seems the celebrations hadn’t finished. Lisbon was absolutely crazy all day!

Summary:
I was given the impression that there was little happening on the day and it was all the night before leading into the early hours of the morning.
However at 2pm I heard drumming from my balcony and followed the noise to Marquês do Pombal. It was crazy, it took me a while to work out that it was the start of a procession. I was actually watching this from on the statue. Then followed it all down to Praça do Rossio. I met some poor tourists who were completely lost in the procedings.

Arriving in Avenida
From what I had seen and heard I wasn’t expecting much and as it was a beautiful day I was sitting on my balcony enoying the sun when I heard drumming in the distance. It continued for 5 minutes. I kept telling myself if I left then, by the time I got there it would have passed. In the end I thought I might catch up and there might be more so I left my flat there and then.
The sound seemed to be coming from Marquês de Pombal so I thought if I walked to Avenida de Liberdade I could walk up from there. When I got closer to Avenida it was apparent that more people were heading up the Avenue to Marquês do Pombal, however it was only when I got round the round I noticed to what extent. It was absolutely crazy! There were literally thousands of people streaming up. It actually took me a few minutes to realise that the road was closed to traffic (which is strange as it is one of the main roads in the city) and there were police everywhere.

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My first view of the road looking down to Praça de Restauradores

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A little further up the road, approaching Marquês do Pombal

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The craziness in Marquês de Pombal

Marquês do Pombal
I was completely lost when I arrived in Marquês do Pombal. There were people everywhere. There was a square almost cornered off by the use of banners and I couldn’t work it out at all.
I continued to wonder around. I started to notice that everyone had the red flowers which on the 25th April 1974 they put in the barrels of the guns. I bought 2 while I was there. People were selling them in the street.
I also noticed that Avenida had people almost waiting on the side once they had streamed up and people standing in groups with banners around them.
I headed to the middle; a) to explore and b) to get a better view to understand what was going on. The statue itself was covered in people like Benfica celebrations.

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The area which seemed cornered off

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One of the groups; complete with flags and banners

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There was press everywhere: Some were film crews and some just journalists with cameras and dictaphones

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The view into the middle of Marquês do Pombal

The Statue in Marquês do Pombal
I headed straight for the statue. I did get a lot better view from there. In the end after seeing a girl in a short dress sucessfully climb the statue I decided to join in my skirt. I didn’t come dressed for this, only for the sun.
I met 2 students and got chatting to them. One was actually Portuguese. He explained to me about the political part of all of this. To me it almost seemed ironic that this was a day celebrating democracy but they used it as an excuse to complain about the democracy they had. It suddenly became obvious to me that all the banners were about pensions, salaries, taxes, etc. He actually expected more than what was happening as apparently they had been a lot of talk about fighting and wanting to get what they wanted.
However, from on the statue there was a great view of everything going on.

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The people of the statue who I decided to join. Yes, health & safety doesn’t seem an issue here.

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Me on the statue in Marquês do Pombal

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My cliché photo which I copied: Sitting at the end of the photo with a red flower and the craziness in Avenida in the background.

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A view of the craziness from the statue

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Even the press was on there

Video – Panning around the area. Especially with all the drums seeming to compete again each other. [Good way to get a feel of the atmosphere there]

Leaving Marquês:
When everyone started to slowly move (I mean slowly move) I said goodbye to my new friends I started to head down and follow everything towards to Praça do Restauradores.
On the way of course I took lots of photos of some of the groups and general scenes of everyone leaving Marquês do Pombal.

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Actually taken from the statue but this is a group of traditional folk dancers who randomly started dancing in Marquês

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The same group again as they were about to leave for Avenida

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See you would never guess what this was for

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The queue they had around the inner roundabout

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The view from Marquês de Pombal down Avenida de Liberdade

Walking down Avenida de Liberdade
I followed it all the way down the road (which is about a mile or so long). There were various groups playing music, chanting, etc. As always I took lots of photos and filmed other parts.

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Looking back to Marquês de Pombal from a bit further down the road

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Half way down the road looking to Restauradores

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Exactly the same place as the previous but looking up the opposite direction

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Just made me laugh what film crews would do to get the best shot. Poor traffic light!

Video – Just of the general atmosphere

Video – Of what I think was the loudest group there!

Praça do Restauradores and past Rossio train station
The guy I met on the statue thought it would finish at Restauradores. He wasn’t quite right. It continued around the corner to Praça do Rossio.
Also in Praça do Restauradores were people playing drums in the middle and dancing. Also, like Marquês do Pombal there were people on the statue.

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Approaching Praça do Restauradores; please note the temperature 😉

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The group singing and dancing in the middle

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People on the statue (this was a bit too high for me)

Video – A group who basically passed the train station twice. [About a minute they start walking backwards and then basically charge into Rossio]

Praça do Rossio
In the middle or Rossio was a stage with a film crew. It was just basically one lady going on and on. This seemed to be where everything finished.
I also got chatting to a British tourist. They all looked so confused and she stopped behind her friends looking the most confused. They had no clue what was going on they. They just booked a long weekend to the city lol.

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The stage in Praça do Rossio

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The film crew in Praça do Rossio

Video – Just of this lady going on and on lol

The rest of Baixa
I walked around a bit more of the Baixa and Rossio area. There seemed to be not much on apart from the same food market thing Lauren and I ate at the night before in the neighbouring square of Praça de Figeira.

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The view of this square – I got a strange look from the police so I was trying to look at touristy as possible

What I missed
As my battery was getting low and there seemed to be little else happening now I headed home. I called by the supermarket which was open. Surprisingly everything was still open as normal.
When I got home I put on the TV. Of course it was on TV not just of Lisbon but all over the country. Porto looked just as crazy. Then they went to Praça do Comercio and I realised I hadn’t gone far enough in the city. There was a helicopter tipping literally thousands of red flowers over the square. They described it as rain of flowers. Also throughout the city was apparently big photos taken at the time back in 1974 which I had missed.

Link to all my photos from the day

The following day in Praça do Comércio
As I had missed everything in Comércio I decided to go and still if some was still there. It was strange that the first thing you see at the moment as you enter is a tank. There were lots of soldiers walking around and there were tents up with different things, some were for children, some had simulators, some just seemed like mini museums. One even was for taking photos with some soldiers. I didn’t do that.
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The tank which welcomes you to the square
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The archway complete with tank and sign</strong>
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All the tents
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Tents and lots of soldiers
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The one for kids
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On display in one
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The flight simulator

The photos
This wasn’t only in Praça do Comércio but everywhere which played a big role in the Liberation. They put big board of photos of that place on 25th April 1974 which I caption in Portuguese and English. I did find it funny though that the ‘English translation’ on each one contained random Portuguese words. Even like ‘e’ rather than ‘and’.
I won’t caption these, I will just share the photos.
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The Celebrations of 25th April in Praça do Comercio

Introduction – The 25th April is ‘Liberation Day’ which happened in 1974 and ended the 40+ year dictatorship. Part of the reason they are impressed by it is because although the army basically invaded the town, this coup had nobody killed as no shots were fired. This is why people put red flowers in the barrels of all the guns of the soldiers afterwards.
Anyway, this is a bank holiday for all Portuguese and I wanted to know how to celebrate. Everyone I asked and everywhere I looked online pointed me to this free open aired concert in Praça do Comercio (the big square by the river). Thus Lauren and I went (nobody else could make it).

Summary:
The show basically consisted of 3 parts:
1 – A projection onto one of the walls of the square showing the history of the day.
2 – A 2&1/2 hour free open aired concert with about 20 or so Portuguese artists of many different genres.
3 – A ‘spectacular’ fireworks dislay. Well, they weren’t over exaggerating.

The History Projected:
We arrived at about 10:30pm in the square as we had just come from work and got something to eat from one of the stands in Praça de Figeira.
When we go there about half of the square was already filled with around 2000 people I would guess. We only saw the last 10 minutes of the projection. It was difficult for us to understand as a) it was in Portuguese and b) it was difficult in places to make out what was being projected.

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This is part of the projection

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I only took 2 photos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxjz5bpbrpA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dHTCd6hTNM
These are 2 videos I took to give a better idea. [You probably will only want to watch one though]

The Concert
Just as the projection finished, the concert started on the opposite side of the square. Everyone started streaming over to the other side.
The concert was good. It was nice that all (but 1) song was in Portuguese rather than English. They were all Portuguese artists of different genres from Rock to Fado. We didn’t know that many names but it seemed other people did. Personally I found it interesting.
At the back of the stage they had a large screen projecting things, some had images from that day, one had the Portuguese flag and some nothing at all.
By midnight the audience was absolutely massive and filled the whole square (which is a massive square by the way).
This concert did go on a bit. On the internet it said it would finish at 12:05am, on the poster it said 1:05am and in the end it finished at 2:05am. And although not particularly cold it was cold enough when you had come straight from work and were not prepared.

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The view from where we were standing of the stage

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The guy who had the Portuguese flag in the background

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The view behind us [taken about midnight]

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The view towards the river

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One more randon photo as I didn’t film anything

The Finale:
The last person to sing was the most famous Fado singer, Camané. Lauren was completely right. She had predicted that he would be last to perform. We actually were just about to head home as we wondered how long it would go on for. When we saw him we decided to stay on.
When he had finished all the artists came back and started singing with no microphones. We didn’t know the song but most of the audience started to join in. I recognised the song though from some videos I watched earlier in the day about the revolution. When they finished there were some fireworks. Most were over the river but some were around the square. They lasted about 2 mins.
We thought that was the end of the fireworks… but perhaps not. Then the choir came back on stage started singing and the fireworks started up again. They actually matched the tone of their singing and continued throughout the whole performance. By the end it was quite impressive as the song got more dramatic so did the fireworks.
Video – Camané (The famous Fado singer) Singing
Video – The end of the concert with everyone singing followed by some of the fireworks (I didn’t film it all)
Video – The choir singing with the fireworks

The Actual Firework Display
Everything went quiet so we thought that must be it. They said there would be fireworks and after about 10 minutes of them we thought that would be it. However, then a guy started speaking and marching type music started playing. I thought that was just their goodbye but suddenly just as we got to the centre of the square fireworks shot up from all around us. It was quite scary as I wasnt expecting it and they surrounded us. The music and speaking continued as did the fireworks!
At the beginning there were just a few around us and most over the river. By the end there were just as many around the square than over the river. Although it was 2am, the whole square was illuminated. They described it as a ‘spectacular’ fireworks display. Well they definitely didn’t dissapoint.
I had never seen a fireworks display which was 360° around the audience and being in the middle of square was the best place to be. I couldn’t keep up with filming it all. That is why I made the comment as Lauren was laughing at me.
It was more impressive than it seems on the video.
Video – The Firework Display