…… Leaving Riera Alta it was time for lunch, so we backtracked. Upon leaving the store we turned right onto Rua do Rosário, then the first right onto Rua de Miguel Bombarda until reaching Rua de Cedofeita, where we turned right again and continued on until we reached Lopo Xavier again at which point we crossed the street and turned left on Rua de Santa Teresa walking passed Café Progresso, another landmark here in Porto and onto Rua do José Falcão where we turned left and crossed the street to where we were going to eat. Here Sara said her goodbyes as she had other obligations to attend to and wouldn’t be able to join us for the rest of the afternoon.
Our first choice of restaurants, La Piada, unfortunately was closed, something I happened to have checked in the morning before leaving the house. So we ended up going to O Diplomata where I’d never been before, and passed by quite often not even realizing it was a café. We all chose the daily menu of spinach cream soup, either a salad or Presunto sandwich with potato skins and a drink of choice. We had a nice relaxing meal while chatting to one another. At the end of the meal Maria José left as she too had other obligations for that afternoon, and so the 5 of us continued onto the next non-crafting destination.
Taking a left upon exiting the cafe we walked down the rest of Rua do José Falcão and then left on Rua das Carmelitas where a few paces to the left we encountered a covered up Livraria Lello. This iconic bookstore is very well known and has been in its current location for the past 110 years, since January 13, 1906. The architecture, both inside and out, attract tourist from all around the world and because of this, you now pay €3,- to enter the bookstore. This gets deducted if you purchase a book. The reason for this being that they can now limit the number of people inside the structure and give the people inside the chance to browse at their leisure without being trampled by the masses so to speak. Now I did not go in this time, but I will do so some time in the future at which time I will go more in depth on the history of the building and the bookstore itself.
When the ladies who had gone inside, finally came out, we walked a few meters down the block to the corner of Rua das Carmelitas and Galerias de Paris to visit another non-craft related shop, A Vida Portuguesa – A Portuguese Life. Before I go into details about the shop, I should mention that the building itself, both the inside and outside are quite interesting, well if you’re into architecture that is. So a bit about the history of this shop. A Vida Portuguesa was founded to showcase our Portuguese Heritage. The shop sells only products made in Portugal and has resurrected packaging of certain brands of goods. For those who have grown up in Portugal, the majority of the goods available are something that they have known since childhood, for those of us who have only recently returned to the country or tourists for that matter, it is a way of seeing these 100% Portuguese Made item and their original packaging. The shop has been in existence since 2007 and the flagship shop was opened in Lisboa, the shop we visited in Porto has been open since 2009 in partnership with a well known Portuguese Brand, Ach Brito, known for making soap.
The first product that A Vida Portuguese revived were the ceramic swallows which they recreated using the original molds made by artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (I’ll do a post sometime soon about his ceramic creations), very well known for this ceramics. Another item that was revived were 8 different packaging of the Viarco brand, currently the only existing pencil making factory on the Iberian Peninsula and which has been in existence since 1907.
I could go on and on listing the items available in the shop, but really I suggest you visit the shop either in Porto or Lisboa to have a look for yourself, it really is worth the visit……