The walk from the plane to immigration yesterday felt very much like being imprisoned in a long twisted high corridor with all sight of external things shut off by patterned glass and drawn curtains. It wasn’t a good first impression, but it was big – as were all the public spaces I saw in the airport.
Then on the metro, the tunnels are really huge compared with London or Paris systems. Perhaps the rock was softer and cheaper to tunnel, but I can imagine the very diameter of the tunnels could have been reduced along with the spend. David Cameron would have been calling for the small society.
Another “big” is in the public buildings and memorials, some of which reminded me of Soviet grandiosity and emptiness. Railway lines into a capital often show the seamier side and some of the big items along the coast were run down, needed some paint or grass taken off the roof or graffiti scrubbed away.
In the city the Avenida da Liberdade is a triple carriageway down the hill towards the coast. That was lovely to walk along, even when the mosaic pavements were uneven underfoot. I had to turn south and a bit west to get to the railway terminus. All of a sudden the area changed to narrow streets, steep hills, old trams and unexpected open squares – so beautiful. Here are some photos: