We decided to travel to Porto by train from a motorhome stop in a town with bus links and a railway station. ‘Where would you go in the city if you were only there for a day?’ I messaged my friend Salty Dog who raves about the place. ‘ Livraria Lello.’ was the immediate suggestion that she came back with. It sounded interesting. There was just the small matter of persuading a very dyslexic man that he’d like to visit a book shop.
Never ever have I be to a bookstore where you have to pay to get in the door. That doesn’t put people off. There was a massive queue to get in. Luckily I’d done my research and bought prescheduled tickets on the Livraria Lello website. We skipped the line and hopped through the door. ‘Welcome in.’ said the lovely doorman who was otherwise being harangued by fraught ticketless tourists. I think that he was pleased that someone had got their act together.
And once inside wow! It would appeal to anyone’s brooding inner Goth. There’s a wonderful stained glass roof and carved wood everyone. Except that’s it’s not wood. It’s painted plaster. Hot Stuff pointed that out. He was perking up a bit. The most amazing thing is the curly wurly staircase which I’ve tried to capture in my pictures. ‘That took some engineering!’ said Hot Stuff whose interest was now truly piqued. The store has Harry Potter connections. J K Rowling used to live in Porto and apparently took inspiration for Hogwarts from its quirky interior design. Myself, I thought that it would have made a very good wand shop.
Our entry fee would have entitled us to a full refund if we have bought a book but we left empty handed. Much of the stock is in Portuguese. Duh! Oporto is in Portugal. With all the selfie chaos going on though I suspect locals go elsewhere to buy their reading matter. The English section is in the main an odd selection that didn’t really take my fancy. It mostly reminded me of a remainder store expect all the stuff was at full price. Of course the entire Harry Potter series is available. ‘Wouldn’t you like to read one of the books?’ I asked Hot Stuff who has enjoyed all the films. ‘Why would I do that when I know the stories already?’ he replied. Alas, his inner bookworm remains dormant. At least I tried and we both enjoyed our visit to ‘the most beautiful bookstore in the world’.