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  • Writer's picturesi newell

Lisbon & Porto #myeuropeansummer18

Day Nine Packing up to check out and a final breakfast and Pastel da Nata! Many of us met at the airport where we were flying back to all parts of Europe. I have so much enjoyed the symposium - meeting so many great and talented people is the highlight for me - even more than the actual sketching itself. I can’t wait for Amsterdam in twelve months!

Day Eight After a night out with too little sleep, I managed to get to my second workshop - Simo Capecchi, ‘One page says it all. A reportage on Porto wine’. It was a useful look at creating a story within a sketchbook and it took us across the river to Gaia, the place where wine from the Douro Valley was stored before being distributed around the world. Then all 800 sketchers met in the main civic area, Placa da Liberdade for the final crawl followed by a grand final photo. Then all back to the conference centre for a final reception and the announcement of the venue for next year - Amsterdam!!

Day Seven The day starts with a walk to the symposium base at the Alfandega conference centre for my first ever workshop with Eduardo Bajzek - 'Graphite is The Matter’. We walked to a very cute little square up winding streets towards the cathedral. After a demonstration, we all had a go at the new techniques. After a great lunch with an American architect I had met in Chicago, I went to the sketch crawl area around Sao Bento station and tried my best to sketch in amongst the crowds of people and buses! More meeting up with friends for drinks, food and some scribbling later.

Day Six A first proper full day of the symposium and a location north of Ribeira was chosen as the sketch area - Leoes. More sketching in a tranquil square in the morning and afternoon with a break for a lively lunch with some Brits and Americans. The essential daily Pastel de Nara and glass of port followed and met with more friends for dinner and drinks into the evening meeting more sketchers from Spain, France and the US. I love these events more everyday!

Day Five The morning starts with a wander up to the Casa da Musica in the north west of the city. Designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, the building is an interesting contemporary structure sitting in a relatively non-descript part of the city. I found the reflection of angled glazing juxtaposed with more traditional architecture on the opposite side of the street interesting and attempted to try to capture this in a sketch. Then registration for the symposium and a huge sketch walk up to the Ponte do Luis with the 800 official sketchers and an estimated 200 more! Great to catch up with so many people!

Day Four

An early train from Lisbon to Porto and and early hotel check-in (thank you House Ribeira). Then straight out towards the waterfront and a bite to eat. Already I could see how stunning Porto is and a further walk along the quayside reinforced this - it is truly beautiful and quite unlike anywhere I have visited. A long sketch along the Cais da Estiva and met up with so many other Urban Sketchers - old friends, friends I had met and last seen in Chicago last year and new friends from around the world. There is apparently around 1000 Sketchers in Porto at the moment! Then a fun dinner and to bed waiting for the symposium to start proper.

Day Three Better weather today and a perfect beach day. Before that however, a breakfast meet with one of the sketchers at a rooftop cafe in a department store. Then got a minibus from Praia Principe Real to Costa da Caparica across the bay to the south. A stunning sandy beach inspired me to do a watercolour of the panorama in front of me including the amazing kite surfers. A further scribble was undertaken over a lazy beer in the beach cafe waiting for the the other guys to join us. Then back to the city in the evening for dinner and a final sketch of one of Lisbon’s most distinctive landmarks, the Elevador de Santa Justa - albeit very difficult in the dark!

Day Two Another day to explore the city starting with a sketch at Praca Do Municipia on the way to see a really interesting regeneration of an old factory - LX Factory. A quick sketch here to try and convey some of the life and energy of this quirky new urban intervention. Then another walk back to explore the Principe Real and Bairro Alto areas and meet up with sketcher friends for drinks and dinner at a Fado restaurant.

Day One The annual Urban Sketchers World symposium in Porto is approaching so a trip first to Lisbon for a few seems a fine idea. After an early flight, I arrived to check in at a Christian Renaldo hotel in a great position close to the waterside. Urban Sketchers Lisbon had organised a walking sketch crawl of a fascinating part of the city (Alfamar) so I had to rush straight out. It was great to meet them and others including some members of the Cape Town group that I had been in contact with whilst I was in South Africa but never actually met! Then a meal at Time Out and a venture out to see Lisbon night life in full flow.

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