Friday, July 20, 2012

Livrarias & Co.

The true measure of a city's greatness is the quality of its bookstores. I've been to otherwise perfectly lovely places and left with a pain in my chest at not finding a single good bookstore despite there being a strong local literary tradition (I mean you, Granada, Nicaragua). But then there are the places where you would fly in for a day just to spend a few hours at a place like Miami's Books & Books, or New York's Idlewild or The Strand  or Boston's Trident Books or Philadelphia's House of Our Own Bookstore or Buenos Aires' El Ateneo. Just writing their names makes me swoon a little.

Happily, my recent travels to Lisbon, Portugal and Copenhagen, Denmark were filled with discoveries of lovely bookshops. In Lisbon, I stocked up on Portuguese literature and children's books at Assirio e Alvim and Livraria Bertrand in the Chiado and at Ler Devagar (pictured) in the LX factory of the Alcantara neighborhood. Should you find yourself in Lisbon, the Chiado is easy to find and picture-perfect for strolling around. To get to the LX factory, take tram # 15 and get off at the Alcantara stop, then walk a few blocks to Rua Rodrigues Faria. The factory is at the end of that street, with other cute stores inside, but I only had eyes for the bookstore.

In Copenhagen, our friend and local guide led us to the absolutely charming Børnenes Boghandel, a brightly lit children's bookstore that made me want to learn Danish on the spot, just so I could take home one of everything on display! We bought an English translation of a Pippi Longstocking book that we read THREE times home on the plane. We also managed to walk out with two small Danish-language books. My friend was kind enough to translate the gist of the first book, but since the second one is all labeled pictures of things relating to dance stars, pop stars, veterinarians and other professions children dream of becoming, Malanga Girl and I are learning some new vocabulary.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Les Vacances!

A post in snapshots.

 St. Jean de Luz, France

 Pamplona, Spain