This last weekend – from March 11th to 13th – I went to Porto with my friends for a mini-vacations out of Lisbon and all the nervousness surrounding me. We’ve been trying to plan this for years now and back in January we finally decided to go ahead with this. It was one of the best weekends in my life and I had the best of times in the North and in one of the most beautiful cities in my country. If you ever plan to come to Portugal, I recommend you to visit Porto (after Lisbon, of course hehe xD).
I am not going into details about my time there but I will take a few minutes to describe one of the most beautiful and most wonderful experiences in my life. Of course that if you follow me on Instagram you will know what’s coming up next. If you don’t, well, you will know now.
In case you didn’t know, Porto is the city where J.K. Rowling lived when she was married to a Portuguese journalist and teached English as a foreign language. Let’s not dwell on that because we also know just how miserable her life was with her husband… moving on.
It is said that she used to visit this bookstore called Lello. Actually, it is said that the Hogwarts’ staircase was inspired in this bookstore. Finding pictures online of that place, you can definitely see the influence.
Of course that when we decided to to go to Porto, my initial resolution was “I have to go to Lello’s Bookstore”. And, as you can imagine, I did go to the bookstore and it was simply a breathtaking experience.
Let’s begin by saying that as soon as you enter that bookstore, you are transported into a whole new world. It is indeed one of the most beautiful book-stores I’ve ever been to. And those stairs… Merlin’s Beard… those stairs!!
The whole bookstore feels like Hogwarts. The wooden pannels, the ceiling, the lamp posts (yes, even the lamp posts) and, repeating myself, the freaking stairs! I could barely take pictures since I was having a lump in my throat and having, what a friend of mine called, a nerdgasm!
I’m sharing with you a small video I recorded there (sorry it’s from Twitter but I can’t upload video to the blog – bummer!). My phone camera wasn’t focusing so I have very few pictures of the bookstore and I’m still waiting for my friend’s pictures he took of me inside the store. I have a few nice ones on those amazing stairs.
(I’m actually saying “Oh My God!”)
However, knowing the story of the bookstore, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of Harry Potter themed items. I guess I was expecting like a huge wall dedicated solemnly to Harry Potter books and merchandise. You know, since the bookstore is known exactly for that. Instead they had only a small corner with the books in both Portuguese and English and that was it. I was hoping to buy some merchandise there but ended up not buying anything HP-related.
Oh well… at least I bought something there because I had told myself I would buy a book there. Any book… I just wanted a souvenir from Lello.
After browsing the store with my friend Gerson – he was the one who went to the store with me and witnessed my nerdgasm and my HP emotional rollercoaster – I lied eyes on a book that made me gasp and pretty much squeal within the store. A hardcover edition of my favourite classic/book. I couldn’t leave Lello without it.
One thing I forgot to mention before was the fact that you have to pay 3€ to enter the store. But… wait a wait before you guys start saying that’s unfair and such (it isn’t if you think thank people used to go to the bookstore because of HP and left without buying anything): you can use that money inside the store as a discount for any item.
So, continuing with my story!
I told Gerson I was going to use my ticket and buy that book. I didn’t care! I wanted it and I would not leave the bookstore without it!
When I went to pay for the book, the guy at the cashier told us that I could use Gerson’s ticket and get a 6€ discount on my book. Since Gerson wasn’t going to buy anything for himself, he gave me his ticket. 6€ discount for a book (and a postcard and a bookmark for my mum), that’s pretty neat!
So, you must be wondering “What did you buy?”. Well, my friends, take a look at my new and gorgeous edition of Jane Eyre:
It’s so beautiful, such like the bookstore. I left Lello with a gleam in my eyes and a wonderful experience that I will never forget. And Jane Eyre is now part of it.
Lello is definitely a place for you guys to visit when in Porto. And if you’re a Potterhead, you’ll get all the feels when entering it. Because, seriously, knowing the story behind it, you can’t help but noticing small details that makes us so emotional, as if we are watching HP taking shape before our eyes. It isn’t Hogwarts, but it felt close to it, as if I could open an door in the bookstore and enter the wizardry world that the Queen created.
I will never, but never, forget this experience!