I've always heard Portuguese people are poets. I'm starting to get why, when reality isn't good, we imagine something better – a poem, a song, a door.
Do you like train stations? I love them. Santa Apolónia is in the center of Lisbon, next to the river Tejo. It has a unique ambiance. The travelers arriving from Hendaye or Madrid, the working and studying people from the northern suburbs, the taxi drivers waiting outside the main entrance (why are they always screaming at each other?), the pigeons and the resident homeless (it’s one of the places where food is delivered), all mixed in one of those picturesque scenes that make Lisboa so special.
You can still find some old man in uniform that will carry your luggage in a stroller. It is also the place where some of the cruises arrive and it is just next to Alfama, the most touristic neighborhood in the city and where you can visit Museu do Fado. I guess it’s a great place to arrive in Lisbon for the first time.
Since the opening of Gare do Oriente station in the World Expo 1998, Santa Apolónia lost some of its movement. But the opening of a subway station and a supermarket that’s open until 11pm made it regain a great importance for the people living in its surroundings.
Well, the problem is that we, inhabitants of the neighborhood in the north part of the station, have to risk our lives everyday to get to the subway, bus or supermarket. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Check this out.
In the past, there was a door that should be only for delivering goods to the station but since the door was always open, everybody used it. It was perfect because there was a passage for people under the train lines that was a direct connection to the subway. There was also a wood passage in the train lines. Since the train station doesn’t have a lot of traffic out of rush hour, it was not dangerous to pass there and it would give a sensation of being in a small train station from the countryside – yes, in the middle of the city.
But now the door is closed and everyday people have to risk their lives in that incredibly narrow street. It is impossible for two people to pass without one going to the road – now imagine if you have a baby stroller or if you are disabled…or blind!
So, someone imagined a door. Everything is set for it, the only thing missing is the goodwill of the people in charge. There is a zebra in that place, just before the street gets too narrow, and the door would give access to that passage under the line that I told you about. It’s just a hole they have to do in the wall. Why do humans love walls so much?
Please, sign the petition for the opening of Santa Apolónia’s North Entrance. And don’t forget: Make Doors, Not Walls! (: