Interview with photojournalist Monique Jaques

Last April, photojournalist Monique Jaques’ exhibition “Gaza Girls: growing up in the Gaza strip”, dressed up Lisbon’s streets with pictures. The photographer gave us some time before leaving the hotel to answer several questions posed by GatRooms’ team.

Monique Jaques is a Brazilian American photojournalist based in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work focuses on the representation of women through documentary-photography and video, while framing women’s stories differently. That is to say, portraying daily lifes of women in Gaza who sing, surf and who are figuring out how they want to grow up.


What did you aim to achieve with this work you are showing in Lisbon, “Gaza girls growing up in the Gaza strip”?

I first went to Gaza in 2012, just to cover the war and to see what was going on. And there were two things I realized with the images I was seeing as someone who was outside: they were all of violence and of men.

But, when I was there, I was also seeing different people living, like girls, and I felt this was not represented. So, I started this project to show that more things are happening in this place other than violence. For instance, girls are figuring out how they want to grow up and who they want to be.

What called your attention the most in Gaza?

This was something I saw that was not shown anywhere. And I did a lot of research! I just couldn’t find this sort of stories. So, I started talking to a lot of other girls and, at first, they didn’t understand what I was doing, they were saying they were not special nor unique.

First of all, everyone is special and everyone’s story deserves to be told and to be heard. These are daily lives and are very important. They finally got the sense when they saw the work, and they really responded to it and appreciated that I had been there for so long.

What is it in your images that breaks up more stereotypes about women in the Middle East?

I think, the fact of showing images of women in the Middle East that aren’t completely covered and sitting at home, is really important to everyone. When people think about the Middle East they often think at this one thing, and I am trying to show that it is not true: they surf, they sing, they have friends and they live lives that are very much like yours and mine, they just have a different religion.

There are many goals with the work I have been doing, but one of them is to create a greater understanding of what the Middle East is. I am trying to say that it is a very complicated place, where things are very different to our reality, but there are girls breaking up the boundaries, and surfing and doing all sort of things.

At what point did you decide to focus your work on representation of women?

I felt women are very underrepresented in the media, unfortunately a lot of storytellers are men and often they tell stories about men.

And you wanted to change the pattern.

Generally, I did a lot of stories about women that do things a little bit different. A lot of my work is about stories that aren’t heard in the news and things that aren’t been consumed all the time. It is about portraying things that are happening all the time and no one pays attention to it.

Vegetarian Lisbon

@nesuxi at PSI

According to HappyCow, an online directory of vegan and vegetarian restaurants and health food stores, Lisbon is Europe’s second most veg-friendly city. Their survey of European countries has revealed that the Portuguese capital comes second only to Amsterdam in terms of how easy it is to find dining options for vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians.

To make it easier for you to find just what you’re looking for, we have compiled our very own selection of plant-based restaurants that offer mouth-watering dinners, freshly-pressed juices, and delicious brunches, along with a little vegan secret…shhh!

The Food Temple transforms eating into a pleasurable experience that is bursting with colours and flavours – even more so if you make your meal a picnic on the stairs in the square outside during the warmer weather.


Make sure you leave room for dessert at Ao 26 Vegan Food Project!
It would be a crime to leave without trying this avocado lime cheesecake.


Fragoleto has a little secret: their salted caramel, vanilla and hazelnut and chocolate ice creams are vegan-friendly, too!


Treat yourself to a weekend brunch at Aloha Café
Their cuisine is influenced by macrobiotic nutrition, their bread is organic and all their desserts are sugar-free!


Order a freshly-pressed fruit juice at the House of Wonders
and enjoy it on the best terrace in Cascais.


In addition to the great choice of plant-based eateries in the city, many of the organic supermarkets – such as Miosótis or Purobio – have small cafés where they also serve food.

If you are looking for fresh, organic fruit and veg during your stay, take your pick between these municipal markets: Mercado da Ribeira, Mercado Biológico do Príncipe Real or Mercado de Campo de Ourique.

Don’t forget that Hotel Gat Rossio serves exquisite, freshly-squeezed fruit juices, too, so make your way down to the heart of the city and enjoy one on our exclusive terrace in the Baixa neighbourhood!

In the mood for colours – Berlin & Lisbon

The Hotel Gat Rossio presents the exhibition “In the mood for colours: Berlin & Lisbon”, work of Brazilian photographer Maria von Staa, which will run from 4th May through 29th June.

“Berlin brought me the consciousness of space, architecture and dimension. Lisbon made me get closer and focus on small fragments. I like to document unique moments of light, patterns and shadows that happen by chance. The subject could be texture, color or shape”. Behind these words of Maria von Staa, hides the intention of this exhibition that portrays how “beautiful and colorful the randomness of our everyday life can be”. The pictures are of Berlin and Lisbon, the two homes of the artist. 

The exhibit’s opening took place on Friday, 4 May 2018, at 18h30 at Hotel Gat Rossio (R. do Jardim do Regedor, 27).


6 enchanting bookshops in Lisbon


Portugal is a land of brilliant writers such as Lisbon-born Fernando de Pessoa and Luís de Camões, José Saramago, native of Alentejo, and José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, who was born in the Greater Porto region.

The nation’s capital, Lisbon, treasures and guards their literary masterpieces in a huge variety of bookshops ‒ some are tiny and quaint, some large and well-stocked, some ancient and others modern. We have selected six of the city’s bookstores that have a unique attraction and seduce window-shoppers and serious book-lovers alike.

Portugal’s oldest bookshop


Located on Rua Garrett in the Chiado district, the Livraria Bertrand first opened its doors in 1732 and is renowned for being the oldest bookshop in the country. Over the years, its shelves have witnessed great discussions on politics and literature between intellectuals who sought to change the world.

A 117-year old book club


The 19th-century Livraria Ferin is also in Chiado. This old-style establishment is ideal for taking refuge from the bustling local streets while you select a book and enjoy a coffee in what used to be a crypt on the ground floor.

The tiniest bookshop of all


Nestled at the foot of the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão (steps to Saint Christopher) in the traditional Mouraria neighbourhood, is a bookshop the size of a shoe cupboard. This bibliophile heaven is a hole in the wall called Livraria de Simão and is named after the bookseller, who you will inevitably bump into during your visit.

The captivating smell of old books


Rua do Alecrim, in the Chiado district, is home to the Campos Trindade and João Trindade second-hand bookshops, which battle to safeguard relics of Portuguese literature against being lost or forgotten. Stepping through the door is like a journey back in time.

Where bicycles and books take flight


Ler Devagar (read slowly) is located within LX Factory, Lisbon’s creative mini-city set inside an old industrial complex. It invites visitors to read and relax in a creative haven among floor-to-ceiling books and eclectic artistic installations such as a flying bicycle. Cultural magazine Flavorwire has named it as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.

After a busy day browsing through some of the literary gems held in Lisbon’s enchanting assortment of bookshops, make your way back to the Baixa neighbourhood in the heart of the city, where the Gat Rossio hotel is waiting to help you take the weight off your feet and enjoy a fabulous night’s rest.