16 novembro 2020

O testemunho no. 1 do Victorien (Spin Association)


I arrived on Friday the 30th of October in Lisbon, leaving France the first day of a new national lockdown. It gives an idea of the global context. And so, here I am, escaping France to the sunny and free Lisbon.

Firstly, I spend three days visiting a lot of Lisbon. I have been to the mains districts such as Chiado, Alfama, Bairro Alto, monuments such as The Castelo de São Jorge and Jerónimos Monastery. On the other hand, I wanted to visit less touristic districts like Ajuda and Almada on this other side of the Tagus. The idea was to spend those first days in place where I may haven’t reason to go once in my daily life in Lisbon.

The most impressive aspect of these days is the feeling of being in a city less populated than usual. While speaking with locals, flatmates and expats living here for a moment, I understood the pandemic has stopped mass tourism and we can see it directly. According to the opinions I heard, it’s a previously unseen situation. In some points, it has positive consequences because of the saturation of the infrastructures and city centre when tourism was at its peak. However, most of the feedbacks I heard were sadly impacted by this sensation of not seeing Lisbon as much buzzling and exciting as before.

I can’t say that much because I have no way to compare. However, as far as I am concerned, I really enjoyed the vibe of the city, built between mountains and the Tagus. This special environment gives to the city an amazing and unique soul. From France, the rhythm looks slower and more peaceful what I love. The first days were the the opportunity to try different dishes, specially fishes but also cheese and wine which I really enjoyed.

I set up in the flat proposed by SPIN, situated in Anjos, a lively and multicultural district, away from touristic neighbourhoods. Anjos looks like really authentic. I am sharing flat the with four flatmates: Marco & Elena from Italy, Angel from Spain and Nabil from Morocco. The three first quotes were former volunteers from SPIN who decided to stay in Lisbon while Nabil is doing his ESC program in street football centre at Bairro Padre Cruz. Seeing that the former volunteers were staying here is pretty positive and promising 😉.

I had a warm welcome and we had dinner together on first Friday and Saturday. On the first Saturday, Marco proposed me to visit the Coleção Berardo Museum which is fantastic and then we could try the famous Pasteis de Belem. A place well-known for making the “best” pasteis de nata. Usually, overcrowded, the place was finally really accessible because of Covid-19.

I also had the opportunity to meet all the new volunteers in SPIN and in the different associations linked to SPIN such as Viver Telheiras, SPEAK and SPEM during a welcome day. Also, were present four volunteers from SPIN (where I do my volunteering program). This welcome day is a chance to all get to know a bit better with a presentation of the staff, a delicious lunch made by the SPIN volunteers and a presentation of each new volunteer. Such a brilliant way to start the program.

What I am really impressed by is all the efforts and organisation made by SPIN for make yourself comfortable. The association seems really involved in your first days and strongly want to meet everybody progressively. It could be stressful and anxious to move to a new city where you don’t know anybody or don’t speak the language and SPIN is making everything possible to reassure you. 


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