2019-2020, Coimbra, Portugal

  • Economic upturn, downturn
  • COVID-19
  • Fado

Coimbra, a riverfront city in central Portugal and the country’s former capital, is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra. Rich in history, progressive student ideals, colourful nightlife, blossoming art scene, 2019 Coimbra is frayed around the edges but recovering.

Economic crisis (2007-2008), deep depression, followed by the financial bailout from the EU (2011) and extreme austerity measures seemed to be in the past. The year 2014 marked the start of the recovery of the Portuguese economy with increases in investments, exports, tourism. 2020 and COVID-19 took progress and the wellbeing of the population backwards.

Did the elderly woman survive the wave of the virus? Is the restaurant still empty? The students rely on tips from tourists to offset costs of university, education. What will their futures bring?  Presently (summer of 2020) still struggling with challenges of COVID-19 they are looking into a dark unknown. Hopefully there is some light through this doorway.

Fado music/singing is known for being expressive and profoundly melancholic. Coimbra-style fado generally is about finding hope in the everyday hardships that people live through.