Lisboners leave to make room for WYD to enter

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Luísa and Beatriz don’t know each other, but when it came time to plan their vacations, they had no doubts: the week of WYD was the time to leave Lisbon. The two have different opinions about the return of the event, but prefer not to see their lives affected by the flood that will enter Lisbon in the coming days.

It’s as if the city is starting to make room to let pilgrims, volunteers and the curious in. Over the next few days, Lisbon is expected to have more than a million people moving between the various stages of the great event that is World Youth Day. Public and private companies expect the difficulty of mobility in the city and, therefore, many have given employees the possibility of teleworking during these days. But there were those who did not expect it and took advantage of this period to take a vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.

SAPO24 spoke to several Lisboners and residents, Catholics and non-Catholics, who chose to watch WYD from afar. Today it tells the stories of Luísa and Beatriz who prefer to avoid the restlessness and constraints that the city will go through next week.

Luísa Braga da Cruz Barosa is a yoga teacher and explains to SAPO24 that it was two months ago that she decided to leave Lisbon. “I did it. I tried to be away and choose this period to take my vacation. I fear the confusion of the city, I don’t like crowds so I would never be in the middle of so many people.” Beatriz Martins, a communication technician at JRS, an NGO of the Society of Jesus, also started planning her escape from the city early, “since April, May, I’ve been trying to come up with a plan to get out of Lisbon.” She tried going out with her friends, but “good internet for teleworking” always proved to be a problem, and she believes “there are many people, like us, trying to find a way not to be in Lisbon this week.” Beatriz couldn’t find a solution to be away for the whole event, but she was lucky enough to be given the 3rd and 4th day at work and took advantage of it. “I’m going on Wednesday night to my house in Ferreira do Zêzere. And then I’ll be back on Sunday, as late as possible. I’m going to look at the traffic, it’s going to be one of those days that will also be crazy. For now this is the plan, if I could, obviously, I would stay there all this week and the next, because there are many people from outside who will stay in Lisbon.”

Luísa is also returning to Lisbon on Sunday, but she can’t play with the arrival time because she’s going abroad and is scheduled to fly back. “I don’t know how it will be. I didn’t think… At least I’m in the opposite direction to people. I had considered it… and then I regretted not coming later, but I couldn’t be taking more days off at this time either, so it was as possible”, she explains.

For one and the other, confusion is the main reason for leaving, Luísa guarantees that if it weren’t for the vacations “I would be closed in closed”, mainly because she lives in the center of Lisbon and knows that her “area would be very conditioned”. On Friday, July 28, she spoke to SAPO24 before leaving on vacation and said she was already noticing “some movements” there. Beatriz also wants to escape the “chaos”, explains that she has never seen “something this big”, however, she is not sorry to lose it. “Fortunately there will be journalists who will inform me of what is happening, I don’t want to be in Lisbon”, she jokes. And what for Luísa would be plan B – staying at home – is plan A for many of Beatriz’s acquaintances, “there are people who are going to stock up in advance at the supermarkets so as not to leave during the week of WYD. For me that’s too much, too crazy, too much confusion, noise etc.” And he extrapolates based on what he sees around him, I think there are a lot of Lisboans wanting to go out. On the day I’m going out, I haven’t even seen which roads are going to be cut off.”

Beatriz believes that living in Camarate would not affect her directly, but she is “sure that there would be a lot of movement there.” Both Beatriz and Luísa will not be renting out their homes in the period they are leaving, but both know of cases nearby that will.

And if, for Beatriz, the only proximity she wants to WYD is through the media, Luísa is “very sorry not to see Pope Francis, it’s the big drawback” of going, she says. She explains that she went to see “Pope Benedict XVI when he was in Praça do Comércio” and also saw Pope John Paul II passing by when he came to Lisbon.

Although the two agree on the distance, their perception of the event differs. Luísa thinks “it is very positive at all levels. It is an opportunity for the country. The country needs to mature in that sense. We took the opportunity to improve some infrastructures, which is something the country needs. Essentially, I think it is an opportunity for both the country and young people, I think it is healthy for young people to get together, as long as it does not slip too much, but it is good.” And he summarizes, “in the end, it is a source of pride for the country, an opportunity to grow and evolve a little.” Although, he points out what he believes to be “a little Portuguese, everything is not yet 100%, but everything will be resolved at the last minute”, and exemplifies “I have a relative who is going to be a volunteer doctor, and last week I still didn’t know what I was going to do”.

Beatriz has many doubts about the outcome of the event, although she hopes and expects that in the end the country will do well and benefit, “I don’t know if it will be positive, I have doubts. There was a very large investment, I don’t know if the profit will pay off. In the end, I would like them to share the accounts and show how much the country has benefited. I hope and I would like that, but I don’t know, for now it is unknown.”

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