‘We leave peace behind and face noise with fear’

After 50 years of delay, the Government has finally decided on the location of Lisbon’s new airport and considered the former Alcochete Shooting Ground (Campo the Tiro Alcochete) the best place to build the new Aeroporto Luis de Camões. An infrastructure which – according to the local tabloids – had ‘almost transformed into a national trauma.’

The decision came after an extensive study made by the Independent Technical Commission (CTI), that evaluated numerous sites, including Santarem, Montijo, Vendas Novas, Pegões, Rio Frio and Beja, amongst others.

Alcochete, in the Setúbal district, proved to be the best option as it is located on public land – some 3400 hectares – and relatively close (45 km) to the capital. The first runway will be constructed by 2030 and the airport should be concluded in ten years.

In the meantime, the capacity of Lisbon’s overcrowded Aeroporto Humberto Delgado will be increased to 45 departures and arrivals per hour by investing around 300 million euros in terminals and accessibility, to ensure the current airport can cope with the increasing number of passengers until the new Luis de Camões airport is built. 

At the same time, the government decided to build a third bridge for trains and cars. This Third Tagus Crossing – Terceira Travessa do Tejo (TTT ) – which connects Chelas (Lisbon) with Barreiro (Setúbal), will ease traffic from the two other Lisbon bridges (25 de Abril and Vasco da Gama) and shorten trips to or from the southern Algarve province.

Finally, a high-speed railway connection between Lisbon and Madrid – a requisite of the Iberian / Moroccan deal to organize the 2030 Football World Cup – will have to be linked to the new airport. All this has very strict timelines, not least the Lisbon-Madrid high-speed rail, which has to be completed in time six years from now.

The objective is to construct an airport with a capacity to accommodate up to 100 million passengers per year after 2050, with ample space for two further runways. The costs of the airport don’t include the third bridge over the Tejo and the railway links. These are to be paid separately and supervised by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing.

The investment for the construction of the new airport has been calculated at over 6,1 billion euros, involving 2 runways to start with, the first to be concluded in 2030 (costs at least 3.3 billion) and the second (costs 2.8 billion) to be ready by 2031.

In Santo Estêvão (St Stephen) – a village of approximately 2100 inhabitants and closest to the future airport – the opinions are divided. There are those who expect ‘more employment and improvement of the infrastructure’, but also those who ‘fear the noise and increase in the cost of living.’   

Have a great week         Tenha uma ótima semana      (pic Público/Sapo)

Poet, essayist, writer, novelist and academic

On the 17th of March Nuno Júdice, one of Portugal’s most famous contemporary poets died in Lisbon at the age of 74.

Nuno Judice was born in Mexilhoeira Grande (Algarve). Poet, essayist, writer, novelist, and – until 2015 – professor at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the New University of Lisbon, where he graduated in Romance Philology and received his doctorate in 1989 with a thesis on Medieval Literature.

Júdice held the position of director of the literary magazine Tobacconist (Tabacaria), served as cultural adviser of the Embassy of Portugal and was director of the Camões Institute in Paris. He organized the European Poetry Week within the framework of Lisbon ’94 – European Capital of Culture.

Besides poetry, he published an overwhelming number of prose, essays, anthologies and critical editions of literary studies. His literary debut was in 1972 with ‘The Concept of Poem.

Throughout his literary career, he was distinguished with numerous awards such as the Pablo Neruda Prize, Spain’s Queen Sofia Ibero-American Poetry Prize, the Pen Club Prize and the D. Denis Prize.
He received the Grand Prize of Poetry from the Portuguese Association of Writers for ‘Meditation on Ruins’, a finalist for the European Prize for Literature.

Júdice was a member of the editorial board of Time magazine and curator for the Jose Saramago Foundation. His works were translated into Greek, Chinese, Arab Spanish, Italian, French and English. After his retirement, he continued to work for theatre and translated authors such as Molière, Emily Dickson and Shakespeare. His most recent work is called ‘A Harvest of Silences’ (2023).

Lisbon light

The light crosses my room between
the two windows, and it’s always the same light, although
on one side – where the sun is now – is the west and on the other
– where the sun was before – is the east. In my room
west and east come together, and it’s this
light that is misleading to the eye, that does not know when
the first light is coming. Then, I look at the line
running through the space between the two windows,
that seems to have neither beginning nor end; and
then I pull that line towards me
into the room, and roll it up, as if I could
tie both ends of the day
to midday, so that time would stand
still between two windows, on the west
and on the east, until the thread again
unrolls, and everything
starts all over.

(from The Matter of Poem, 2008)

Have a great week         Tenha uma ótima semana      (pic Lusa)