A Virtual Vacation: Bem-vindos a Lisboa!

>American tourist, Gertrude LeGendre, photographing boats in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Toni Frissell, 1945. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g12113

American tourist, Gertrude LeGendre, photographing boats in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Toni Frissell, 1945. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g12113

When I am about to set off on an adventure, as many are about to do this summer, I prepare both my luggage and my expectations. Along with reading guidebooks, I like to search through images of the destination, from both the past and present, in anticipation of the sights my eyes will see. The images tell not only something about the history and landscape of the city, but they also indicate what attracts other visitors, and perhaps gives ideas for what to seek out in my limited time visiting. Fortunately, the Prints and Photographs Division is a ripe source for visual vacation research.

Recently, I traveled to the colorful City of the Seven Hills: Lisbon, Portugal. There are many things that initially attracted me to visit the city, including the famed intricate and colorful tiles, medieval architecture, and alluring alleyways. As I began to search the online catalog, the images I found both amplified my excitement and gave me ideas of how to sculpt my walking routes.

The photo to the right taken by Toni Frissell brought me straight into the adventure; I could picture myself in Ms. Gertrude LeGendre’s shoes, photographing the boats myself.

<em>Palace, Lisbon</em> Photo by Bain News Service, 24 January, 1919. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.00061

Palace, Lisbon. Photo by Bain News Service, 24 January, 1919. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.00061

 

Spain. Lisbon water front & Plaza of Commerce Photo by National Photo Company, [between 1910 and 1926]. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.32006

Spain. Lisbon water front & Plaza of Commerce. Photo by National Photo Company, between 1910 and 1926. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.32006

From the above photographs, I knew that the Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio) would be an important historical destination. However, when I arrived, I had not anticipated the magnificent size of the space.

Commerce Square, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Lara Szypszak, April 7, 2016.

Commerce Square, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Lara Szypszak, April 7, 2016.

The Frissell photo below sparked my imagination about distinct neighborhoods that had their own character within the city, and Alfama was a must-see for my bohemian curiosity. In looking back at my own photographs- I noticed the ironwork of the street lamps is still the same!

Medieval street in Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph by Toni Frissell, 194-. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g12122

Medieval street in Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph by Toni Frissell, between 1940 and 1950. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g12122

Alley in the Alfama District, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Lara Szypszak, April 8, 2016.

Alley in the Alfama District, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Lara Szypszak, April 8, 2016.

The image below warned me that fish would be bought, eaten, smelled, and prized in this harbor city along the Tagus River. The hustle and bustle of the fish market was just as fascinating as I had anticipated, too.

Noontime, fish market, Lisbon, Portugal. Stererograph, copyrighted 1911.

Noontime, fish market, Lisbon, Portugal. Stereograph, copyrighted 1911. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.12307

Another of my favorite things to do before a trip and after, is to compare historical images to my own. I will plan ahead and seek out viewpoints to take my photos from, and upon my return, I can pore over the images side by side, noticing what remains the same, and what has changed. Lisbon of today, I must say, still appears very much the same as it did in 1919.

City View, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Bain News Service, 24 January, 1919. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.00064

City View, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Bain News Service, 24 January, 1919. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.00064

City view of Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph by Lara Szypszak, April 7, 2016.

City view of Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph by Lara Szypszak, April 7, 2016.

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