“You can have it in any color you want as long as it’s black” said Henry Ford.
It was a joke, in fact, as he was referring to the Model T that was available in a wide range of colors, including fire-engine red and hunter green. The thing is that most of the posts about Algarve, south of Portugal, focus upon the nature: the beaches, the rocks, the sailing trips, the caves, the dolphins, the surf, the kayak… No one can deny that the nature here is not spectacular and unique. Still, there are a few urban details worth mentioning.
Wanderlust, Algarve Style
It is really amazing how Portuguese little towns, with their traditional small white houses and their nice, cozy, old school vibes, can also be the scene of some stunning conceptual avant-garde design. In the south, in the (still) sunny Algarve, the city of Lagos offers some of the most contrasting mixes I have ever seen.
To begin with, Lagos is indeed surrounded by beautiful nature. It’s got a beautiful big marina and a huge city beach, Meia Praia, just behind it. One comes to Algarve, the south of Portugal, especially for the stunning natural scenery – and as a matter of fact, I also came here for nature and not for the city, at all: two years ago, on my first trip to Portugal, I just wanted to be closer to beaches and ocean, hence chose Lagos. But, while being here, I grew fond of the city, as well.
Here is another amazing city beach, Praia do Pinhão.
Some Patterns of Lagos
And, when back in town, the place looks, more or less, like this. As in any Portuguese city, the church bells are quite a presence from any place in the city’s downtown you’d be. The streets are quite narrow, usually paved with nice designs (calçada portuguesa is entirely handmade and can cover thousands of square meters or just small streets) and the houses, if not covered in azulejos – mostly white.
One of the central squares has got a beautiful optical design, in great contrast with everything around – traditional architecture, a monument dedicated to those who died in the big war, souvenir shops, Portuguese cafes and tourist oriented restaurants…
Centro de Ciencia Viva has got its facades designed by art director Luisa Pacheco. It is a center for science and study as well as a museum, and it is on the hill of the old part of the city, right above (and in great contrast with) the historical fish market.
Each street has got its own pavement design. Each square, as well. Calçada portuguesa is a way of making each part of the town be unique.
This graffiti is a collaboration between Add Fuel and Samina, two well known Portuguese graffiti artists. Add Fuel has got his ‘signature style’ of tile-like patterns, while Samina – of mixing portraits and geometrical designs.
I am around Lagos since September the 30th. As I was saying, this is my second ‘residency’ here, after one month in 2014, month that also meant my true start as a digital nomad, working remotely while enjoying the city and the ocean.
This is one of the places around Europe that became, in time, a kind of home to me. It seems I usually come to the Lagos ‘home’ when in doubt. Or when having to choose between two extremes. Maybe that is why I like the black and white pavement pattern so much.