Monday, 7 January 2008


Istanbul! To leave it? The hardest moment of our journey. To write about it? This blog’s hardest task. Fact: I fell in love with this city, my favourite in the whole of the World I’ve been given the chance of visiting so far (Porto apart, as this is a whole different story). Question: was it love at first sight or was this feeling born long before I first laid my eyes on the Capital of the former Ottoman Empire?

My love for Istanbul is inherently bound to the love I have for my Muslim Brother Emin. How much of my affection for the city is a simple reflex of the love I have for this unique guy is a question I doubt I will ever be able to answer. Indeed, in the beginning there was only Emin. During the year we spent together in Brussels a curiosity about each others’ country’s history, culture and traditions grew along with our friendship. Through “our endless (mine in general) philosophical speeches”, our adventures in the delicious Turkish and Portuguese cuisines, through our constant expeditions to the “Turkish and Portuguese quarters of the town”, this curiosity quickly evolved to a sincere admiration. Slowly, even our daily routines found themselves “invaded” by once exotic and strange rituals (hey, who needs expresso when you can have a “çok sikerli Türk Kahve”?). Long before any of us set feet in each of the cities, Istanbul and Porto were already, to some extent, our homes as well. Prejudice was overcome: we were “open to the other side”, ready to admire them with our eyes and minds wide open. This being important when visiting any new city, it’s almost a “sine qua non” condition when the new city is the one once known as Constantinople.
Nonetheless, Istanbul is way too proud to “borrow” feelings from anyone. Besides, it can be quite overwhelming on its own. Don’t let yourself be deceived by the first impact: usually it’s not a pretty sight. Immense (some would say endless), crowded, chaotic, dirty - those are among the most popular adjectives newcomers dedicate it. No, Istanbul is no “one night stand”. It is doomed to be the love of your life, demanding commitment to fully perceive its magnitude, blooming in front of your eyes only when you realise its perfection lies within the thin balance of all its flaws. Due to Emin, I was lucky enough to arrive there with my “first date” already scheduled.

“A gate to a new and admirable World, whether you are coming from the east or from the west”. That’s the best image I was so far able to come up with to describe Istanbul. What else could one expect from the only capital in the world lying on two continents rather than an immense melting pot? What rather than a place where the east and the west live hand in hand in any corner, sharing not only the present, as well as the wounds of the past. As if teaching the whole world a lesson which has Aya Sofia as its most perfect metaphor?
Istanbul is not an expensive city. Rather, one of expensive habits. Here the “how” is more relevant than the “what”, the “ritual” rather than its content. In Istanbul, more important than what you do is, beyond any doubt, how you do it.

But, can one actually put Istanbul into words? How to define the architectural chaos from which the breathtaking view of the old town emerges when overlooked from Haydarpasa train station? The unique ritual of crossing the Bosporus by ferry, breathing the cold morning breeze while holding a hot cup of tea in your two closed hands? The constant appeals to your smell while exploring its narrow, dodgy, nevertheless irresistible alleys? The feeling of losing yourself in the Old Bazar, wondering around as if the clock stops ticking when you enter its walls? How to explain you end up finding yourself, at some point, drinking your Raki with pleasure? No, Istanbul cannot be defined. Istanbul is to be lived, experienced with each one of the 5 senses!

Yes, I fell in love with Istanbul and the only things that eases the pain of leaving it is the certainty of my return!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Our journy under the "Sunlight"

Dear all:

Today an article on our adventure came out in Sol, a nationalwide Portuguese weekly newspaper. With the report out and our new adventure towards Beijing and the Olympics launched, we finally find the motivation to do something we were long due: to close this Blog.

On the next couple of days, the 3 remaining posts will be published, Istanbul, The Journey and the plans of the new adventure being the topics. Stay tuned and should you have any question, suggestion or support for the Beijing Adventure, feel free to get in touch(

Tiago and Le Deuch

My Muslim Brother takes the floor!

Tiago, meu irmão,

Once again I had the opportunity to feel like "at home" by your visit: We continued to cheer up our little moments, kept on our endless (yours in general J) philosophical speeches and ate and drunk limitless as we experienced everywhere in Europe. Not mentioning the kebabs, even we had a Francesinha at home, but with some raki flavor this time.

I am glad that you felt the amazing atmosphere of Ali Sami Yen, this little and old stadium where we could shout “filhos do dragao” and even dared to show off the Portuguese flag with dangerous colors in there J I am happy that you liked it; I was nearly sure that you would.

And me, I had the opportunity to drive your 2CV, that amazing toy, on the hills of Istanbul. Most of the times we had difficulties to ascend the hills but the most dangerous was to descend from that hills with its breaks almost “kaput”! I remember once the following dialogue:
TMA – "Emiiiin, stop! Use the breaaaks!"
ES – "I am man, I am!" :)

It was really marvelous to drive the deuche! When you drive it, you can feel the people looking at you, first with a pity but then with a huge sympathy. And once again, you made real a dream of mine, to drive a foreign car, this time in my own city. Well, I am happy and glad to welcome you in Istanbul and I will always be!

Porto – Istanbul, two sides of Europe, very far from each other. Really? I don’t think so!

P.S. By the way, I know a place in Brussels where you can eat rips as much as you can. Would like to join me by foot?:)

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The road finally came to an end. Only for now, though.

We couldn't have ended this journey in any other fashion: 3 days of pure adventure on the road! I'll write you about that later on, but must warn you all there won't be enough words to describe it. Guess only Mr. Magalhães (the Deuch Mechanich) will have a close call after taking a look at the tired little one.

Home, safe and sound. Can hardly believe the journey had finally come to its end. HUGE, HUGE time we had on the road, to say the least! After a long desired portuguese meal with my parents and some of my father mates, talking nothing else but about my journey, a nice long shower and some hours at the office (at least to let them know I still didn't forget where it is), I'm on my way to the big match: Porto vs Liverpool! To make the transitions more gradual, I'll be meeting my brother Luis in 5 minutes, to warm up with some lager. Nhamy, Super Bock!!! Am missing that as well!

The journey is over, but not the adventure. During the returning trip, the Deuch and I already started cooking the next chapter! Ah, the road is over, but not this blog. Keep posted, as there is still many things to share with you!

Love, now finally from my home Porto,
TMA and the surviving Deuch!