Photo from the Road: Macau’s Portuguese Past

2011 in Review
January 1, 2012
Arrival in Macau
January 10, 2012

Photo from the Road: Macau’s Portuguese Past

One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Macau was for its architecture. I love walking around cities, looking at building facades. I remember especially fondly, doing this in Portugal, particularly Porto.

I love the Catholic Churches. I love the painted blue title work. I love the mosaic-like stones that make up the pedestrian-only zones.

Macau had all of these. For two days I walked around the city. At night the yellow glow of the street lights cast a European mood all around. All seemed Euro except for one thing—the people.

I mentioned to Juno that if this were Europe, these tiny plazas and irregular neighborhood squares would be filled with people. The plazas, or Praças, would be lined with cafes; kids would be playing, old folks sitting on benches. Europeans are outside people. Their cultures flourish in public spaces. This is why we love Europe and why Europeans love life.

Another of the lingering refinements from Portuguese days is the prevalence of a proper cup of coffee and the appetite for custard tarts, now a local specialty.

Except for these fleeting moments, its history and architectural remnants, Macau today is very much a Cantonese city. A look in the seafood, vegetable, and meat markets, the majority of eateries, and the faces of nearly all the resident will reveal this. See photos of the different sides of Macau.

custard tart from Margarets
A custard tart from Margaret’s

St Larenzo Church in Macau
St Lorenzo Church at night

Senado Square Macau at night
Largo do Senado

at Sanado Square
At Largo do Senado

Macau streetlamp at night
A street Lamp in Macau

Macau at night
Macau at night

Dom Petro V Theatre at night
Dom Petro V Theatre at night

Ruins of St Pauls
The ruins of St Paul’s

near St Lazarus Quarter Macau
The courtyard of Albergue Santa Casa da Misericordia

in St Lazarus Quarter Macau
In St Lazerus Quarter

St Lazarus
St Lazarus Church

architecture of Macau
Architecture of Macau

DSC_0589
Painted tiles

Fountain outside Cathedral
A fountain outside the Cathedral

Curry crab and prawns
A Macanese specialty:curry crab and prawns

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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