Porto’s Alma 1
I found you when I visited Porto and I already have to say here, it wasn’t only you I found. By finding you, I found me, I found a spirit humming the same melody as my soul. I’m feeling a little silly admitting that discovering Porto amounted to following the main tourist streets leading off the center. It’s a habit of mine when getting to know a new city. I check the map, the tourist information and then head towards the significant nodal points of a city. When ambling along a city’s streets, I hide my map because I don’t like behaving like a tourist, especially not in Portugal as Portuguese feels like my soul language. Furthermore, inside a city one does not need a map because the mass of tourists already produces an accumulation of significance one only needs to go with the flow. It’s a little bit like an ant trail and yes I look at it both ways, good and bad. Especially in Portugal, I always feel uneasy about being a tourist. As a German who once studied and lived in Lisbon, I’m totally in love with the Portuguese culture and my heart always jumps when I hear a mere trace of a Portuguese word. So this is the background, I feel you should know before I set out to discover you. So familiarizing myself with the city by pounding the tourist streets gives me the security I need to dig deeper into the original heart of a city. In my opinion, this should be the reason for travelling in generally, finding the true heart of a city. Without a resident guide, I can only find it by following its veins, meaning its main tourist streets and on Rua das Flores, I found Porto’s aorta, by finding you. In that main tourist street, I stumbled across this beautiful picture of you and for me it was something spiritual even holy as I would put it. There are these three women I like to look at as one soul combined in their trinity. It pleases me to sense some religious vibe touching me by looking at them. Hidden in the holy trinity, I see you covered in a veil that could be a Catholic habit, a Muslim burka or even a Hindu garb and I love that it is not clear which religion you feel connected to. Maybe you are not religious at all but I sense of strong spirituality in your lines, your folds, your traits and it directly communicates with my own spirituality while genuinely opening my third eye. I know that your creator is the street artist Hazul because he always signs his pieces with his name. But these streetart stories talk about the woman he created, they talk to her, they talk with her because through her, the city of Porto was talking to me, to my eyes, my soul. I found you in the main tourist street and I am happy that you picked me up, because otherwise I would have never dared to stray from the main streets. I like to compare this to the main paths of life I am used to following. I hate that about me. I have always admired people who leave school early, start working, and belatedly enter finishing school. Or people that just admit to themselves that they are artists and completely break with the safety of a structured curriculum vitae outlining an academic career or whatever conventional professional history. Gaps in your personal data streak are the most valuable life experiences feeding your personality and yet no business man seems to know that. But because I know that, and I think you also know, otherwise I would never have found in you the soul of the city; I mustered all my courage and out I stepped leaving the main touristic street. Your spirit lifted me up, your aura put me under your spell, so I followed you, I entered that little street that rose up very steeply, I entered the unknown, I entered the unsafe, I entered the path leading to your heart.