Londres – Cidade antiga e ultramoderna

“Quem se cansa de Londres, é porque não gosta de viver (S. Johnson).  Eu gosto de viver, por isso não me canso de ir a Londres.  A última vez que estive nessa cidade foi em junho deste ano. Perdi, por apenas duas semanas, o casamento do príncipe Harry com Meghan, enlace feliz de uma história verdadeira de príncipe inglês que casa com uma americana sem gota de sangue azul. 

Não me surpreende que grande parte dos britânicos continue fascinada pela monarquia. Reis e rainhas, príncipes e princesas, e a classe nobre inglesa,  ao longo da história do país, têm servido de inspiração para romances, peças de teatro (quem é que não ouviu falar de Shakespeare?), filmes, e séries de televisão famosas. Mais recentemente, a Netflix popularizou a vida dos nobres com as séries “The Tudors” (2007), “Downton Abbey” (2010), “The Crown” (2016), para mencionar apenas algumas. O mundo todo quis assistir à cerimónia de coroação da Rainha Isabel II, aos casamentos de Diana e Charles, de William e Katherine, de Harry e Meghan. 

O ambiente sumptuoso da Westminster Abbey, da catedral de São Paulo, do Buckingham Palace, do castelo de Windsor, a todos faz sonhar. Sempre que a minha neta Lua pede: “Avó, conta-ma uma história verdadeira de príncipes e princesas”, não tenho qualquer dificuldade. Recorro à história inglesa que é fonte inesgotável. Já lhe contei sobre a princesa portuguesa Catarina de Bragança, que se tornou rainha ao casar com Charles II, no século 17, e deixou aos ingleses um legado inesquecível – ensinou a corte a apreciar chá, e criou o gosto pela “marmalade”, doce feito das laranjas que mandava ir de Portugal.  

Londres, porém, é mais do que a cidade da “Tower of London”, das “Houses of Parliament”, “Big Ben”, e de centenas de outros monumentos antigos. Nesta última visita à cidade, em junho de 2018, deslumbrei-me com os edifícios modernos, assinados por arquitetos de renome internacional. Surgiram nas últimas duas décadas, e dão à cidade, um perfil e cunho particulares. A arquitetura antiga da cidade, o ar vitoriano que nos é familiar aparece-nos em harmonia com obras de arquitetura arrojadas que podem chocar alguns, mas causam a admiração de outros. 

Quem visita Londres nestes dias, vai admirar as espantosas estruturas como “The Schard”, uma pirâmide esguia de 87 andares e 306 metros de altura, perto da Torre de Londres, o “Tate Modern”, museu de arte moderna e contemporânea, ligado a St. Paul’s Catedral pela ponte Millennium, e o “The London Eye”, um dos mais procurados observatórios da cidade, em forma de roda gigante, na margem esquerda do Tamisa, e tantos outros.  

Escrever sobre Londres é impossível sem mencionar as pessoas. Devemos imenso à ciência, à música, à literatura, ao cinema, à televisão, às artes plásticas, em resumo, à cultura produzida na Grâ-Bretanha. Mas, esse teria que ser um assunto a desenvolver numa outra crónica.

O Canadá é um dos quinze países da Comunidade das Nações (Commonwealth) e a soberana de Inglaterra tem alguma influência, mais simbólica do que política, no país. Visitar a cidade de Londres será uma boa experiência para os canadianos pois encontrarão no Reino Unido as raízes da cultura anglo-saxónica que nos é familiar.

Ir a Portugal via Londres é uma boa alternativa para quem não gosta de viajar à noite. A Air Canada tem um voo diário que sai de manhã e chega à noite. Infelizmente nenhuma companhia oferece “stopover”, isto é, faz escala, para se poder parar uma noite ou duas, e seguir viagem com o mesmo bilhete. É preciso comprar dois voos diferentes. Não faltam opções de voos, incluindo companhias “low cost”, de Londres para Lisboa. 

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