When our clients confirm a Journey with us, we gather our Recommended Reading List on the location and send a gift bag of books, an enticing surprise!
The hilly cobblestone streets of Lisboa are interrupted by life-size statues of their favorite poets and writers. The proud city is decorated with many monuments to their writers, heroes and politicians, including a round the clock soldier standing guard at a memorial on the Belém waterfront. The Monumento aos Combatentes do Ultram, is a peaceful sobering reminder of a soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice paid by those who serve in the military.
Bookstores have been gathering places for critical thinking, creative writers may gather here daily for conversation. Sadly, in the U.S., bookstores are struggling to survive, but in Portugal, they are still a vital element of local life. Behind a picturesque façade of blue and white tiles, the world’s oldest bookstore, Bertrand Bookstore which opened for business in 1732, has a wide selection of Portuguese writers and also many books with English translations. Located in the chic Chiado neighborhood, next door to the opera and a cozy coffee shop. Include it in your Lisboa strolls.
The Book of Disquiet was written by one of the greatest Portuguese writers and poets of all time, Fernando Pessoa. He was so well loved that his home and his office have been turned into tourist attractions and his statue appears throughout the city. This book, which was discovered and published after Pessoa’s death, is a dark type of biography that questions everything, including life, other people and even our subconscious selves.
Ponder poetry with the bronze statue of Portugal’s best-known modern poet, Fernando Pessoa, in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, a lively nightspot. The charming Café A Brasileira coffee house has lines of spectators waiting to Instagram with Fernando Pessoa. The Café Brasileira is one of the oldest and most famous cafes in Lisbon and is the original home of the Bica – a very strong espresso. The Cafe Brasileira historically attracted intellectuals, poets and writers who would debated the issues of the era in the smoke laced cafe. The art deco interior hasn’t changed in 100 years and is a local and tourist stop for shots of strong coffee. After dinner stop in for a ‘dark tar’ with the locals.
Portugal has as a rich literary tradition born of its culture of maritime exploration and political struggles. Portuguese literature is also heavily influenced by the cultures of Brazil, Africa and various other regions where Portuguese explorers founded far flung colonies.
Another recommendation is The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. This interesting novel was written by José Saramago in 1984. Saramago went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis centers around a man named Ricardo Reis, who returns to Lisbon after more than a decade in Brazil, and wanders the streets of the city, contemplating life in conversation with his dead poet friend.
Fernando Pessoa was a highly regarded Portuguese poet but he came to the Brasileira not for the Bica but for the hallucinogenic Absinthe of which he drunk copious amounts keeping his creative mind active.