I couldn’t quite put my finger on how every single air molecule seemed to be filled with light until I mentioned it to a waiter at Lisbon’s iconic Café Brasileira. With a sparkle in his eye, he told me that the city’s white limestone mosaic pavements were expertly polished so that they could reflect daylight all year round! I also know that this type of pavement is still common in former Portuguese colonies like Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and Macau in China. How exotic is that? The craftsmanship of carving cubes out of the local limestone has been one of Lisbon’s objects of glory since the mid 1800s’
Tragically however, I hear that they may soon be covered up with cement as there aren’t enough skilled artisans to maintain this sort of pavements.
This is only one of many occasions where I have witnessed European craftsmanship being threatened to die out completely by the time my children are adults. Entire communities in Europe suffer from the East Asian competition but I am confident that our increasingly responsible shopping behaviours can turn things around before it’s too late.
Check the ‘made in’ label before you buy something. Don’t let greedy global chains force-feed us with ‘fashionable’, cheaply-made, cheaply-paid, over-priced stuff. It’s not that easy to find quality things at affordable prices here in Norway, but things will change if I have anything to do with it!
We deserve better. Choose European quality.
On a lighter note: aren’t fine craftsmanship, small boutiques and passionate people one of the reasons we find the South so charming? I mean, who wants to shop at Hennes & Maurits in Tuscany, Andalusia, Provence, the Algarve or even in Bavaria on their next holiday? Not moi!