Confined tours through the citadels of Faro

With the city practically empty, our traffic speed decreases even more and we start to hear better the breathing and the heartbeat of the city

Faro in times of pandemic – Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação

We live in such troubled times that we do not yet know how they will influence what is left of our so short life cycle. We can speculate or theorize about the impacts of a pandemic such as Covid-19 on our health status, our family and professional commitment, our behaviors, our social relationships, the use of our free time.

But one thing is certain. The state of emergency, social etiquette, confinement, working at a distance, as they slow down our routines and rhythms of life, make me evoke the relationship between speed and knowledge, a little like the theses of philosopher Paul Virilio on relationships between speed and politics.

When I travel on a highway at more than 120 km/hour, I see practically nothing around me, because my attention is totally focused on driving. When traveling on a national road and respecting the maximum speed of 90 km/hour, I am already able to observe the views that surround the lanes. When I travel on a municipal road at 50 km/hour, my observation becomes recognition and knowledge. When I'm on a dirt road in the countryside, I no longer travel, I walk through the countryside around me.

What is the relevance of this relationship between speed and knowledge in the present moment? With confinement and hygienic walks in the morning, I discovered, little by little, the various “hidden citadels” that hide behind the city of Faro, the capital city of the Algarve.

And, with the city practically empty, our traffic speed is even lower, our focus of attention is more refined, and we start to hear better the breathing and the heartbeat of the city, but also the light, the colors and the smells, as if they were all our traveling companions.

And that's when the almost melancholy citadels of Faro they reveal themselves in all their splendor. At citadels they are, obviously, a metaphor for some facets or distinctive signs of the city that the rhythms of life and haste do not allow us to appreciate properly. I bring here some of these signs, by way of example, as they were revealed to me by my long morning walks.

Firstly, the most typical neighborhoods of the city and the people from Faro who inhabit them, as well as the manor houses of the old bourgeoisie who insist on resisting the passing of time.

Second, the toponymic citadel of Faro it reveals to us illustrious people that we do not know and fascinating worlds that are very varied, which alone are reason enough for many guided tours to the heart of the city.

Thirdly, the picturesque citadel, the squares and squares, the alleys, the alleys and the countless corners that the city contains and which are many other stories of life.

Fourthly, the panoramic citadel, the views of the city, its high points and privileged observation posts, but also its blind spots; as I did not use the drones on my morning walks, all these views can of course be further revised and enlarged.

Fifthly, the citadel of legends and narratives, inevitable in such an ancient city, which tells us not only the legends and narratives, but also the myths, the literary landscapes, the sayings and the popular anecdotes, in short, the stories of the simple people.

Sixthly, the citadel of the illustrious Farenses, distinctive landmarks of an era, which we sometimes find in statues and toponymy, but which are certainly flawed by default; the school of arts, culture and technology, the new school of the XNUMXst century, has an added responsibility here.

Seventh, the urban and landscape citadel, which my visual observation was able to register, has to do with urban architecture and the countless examples of rehabilitation that are currently taking place throughout the city of Faro. It is a new world that is opening up with the current tourism-induced rehabilitation boom.

Observing the typology of this rehabilitation is an open-air school: shapes and volumes, windows, doors, platbands, walls, terraces, floors, mosaics, paintings, materials. In addition, it is important to observe the vegetation, floristic composition and landscaping of the city and see how they combine with urban rehabilitation. Guided tours can be organized to observe this huge variety of urban and landscape solutions up close.

In eighth place, the citadel of the Ria Formosa, the ria that goes beautiful, but not safe. The capital city of the Algarve has a special responsibility with regard to the Ria Formosa, which will always be the city's calling card and most distinctive sign. On my morning walks, I observe the estuary, which is beautiful, but not safe, almost every day. It is, despite everything, for the countless species that it shelters and for its serenity, a gentle delight for our senses.

Ninth, the citadel of the countryside of Faro, its surrounding rural area, is a small lung to slow down the pace and pulse of the city. The countryside is an integral part of the city, a kind of mirror of the Ria Formosa, the two have a crucial role in the city's well-being, not only in the local food supply system, but also in the pulse of collective life and its trades. traditional ones that it is important to preserve at all costs.

Finally, the citadel of disappointment and disappointment, as I don't want to forget that on my morning walks through the neighborhoods and streets of Faro I find many signs of poverty, institutionalized abandonment, embarrassed old age and many signs of metal illness. Note that in ordering priorities, the last are the first and this is one of the worst sequels of the current pandemic.

Final grade

Here, then, in brief but heartfelt words, the little nothings that life has, a revelation that has been mounting along my morning walks in time of confinement and pandemic.

I hope these small confined walks done at low speed can alleviate the boredom and fatigue that plagues us all.

And if readers can be accompanied during your walks, then that would be great.

And why not convert some of these morning walks into guided tours? There is no lack of distinctive signs in the city of Faro and its surroundings. The suggestion remains.



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