If you ever locate oneself in Cascais, Portugal, please stroll previous the beaches.
Head into the heart of the old town, but do not quit. Ignore the line at Santini’s ice cream shop, spend no focus to the imposing fortress and what ever you do, keep far away from the smaller industry in front of the Marechal Carmona Park.
You will have time for this stuff later.
For now, maintain your eyes straight ahead and stroll away from all the activity and crowds. Stick to your map towards these picturesque houses and targeted traffic-much less streets of the quiet neighborhood just west of the town center. Maintain walking, even when you feel you have gone as well far. You are on your way to the genuine highlight of Cascais.
Your location is 310A Avenida Emidio Navarro.
You will know when you have arrived. Although the sign on the sidewalk is smaller and straightforward, the huge, unmissable hanging plant, with its bold pink flowers, covering the complete front facade, tends to make this address stand out amongst the other people.
And now, all that is left to do is enter.
Welcome to Arte No Livro Bookbinding and Restoration.
For the duration of our random stroll by way of the element of Cascais that apparently handful of other travelers stroll about, we located ourselves attracted by the word “livro” (book) on the sign. Had we been walking on the other side of the street we would have conveniently missed it.
As soon as inside, and expecting a bookshop, we stepped into a planet not so a lot like a bookshop at all but extremely a lot as opposed to any other planet we’ve wandered by way of ahead of.
We knew absolutely nothing about the art of bookbinding. I in all probability never ever gave it extra than a handful of seconds believed, if that, in my complete life. But that was all about to alter.
We have been greeted by Fernando, the 68 year old owner of Arte No Livro. His father, Vitor, began the small business back in 1917, becoming 1 of the most effectively recognized bookbinders in all of Portugal. As soon as he passed away, Fernando took more than.
We then met his daughter, Andreia, who gave up her profession in 2010 to dedicate her life to the loved ones tradition.
Just after hearing the initial story of the small business, we had a couple of concerns, and ahead of we knew it, the answers have been supplied by a total tour of the peaceful and intriguing two-space operation.
Andreia seemed extra than delighted to take a break from her perform in order to show two foreigners about, and to clarify each aspect of what they do, even although we clearly have been not going to bring them any books to be re-bound.
The wide variety of strange-searching and effectively worn machines and tools they use these days to restore books are all original, most of them dating back 60 years. They all nonetheless function specifically as they need to.
There are book components scattered everywhere, along tables smaller and big, shreds of paper, book covers, spines…there are pieces of book components galore as effectively.
The dying books dropped off by prospects from about Portugal rest silently on the tables and shelves till it is their turn to be brought back to life. These are the books so valuable to an individual that these people today are prepared to commit superior cash to have the binding stripped, pages unsewn and covers removed, all so that they can be replaced with finer, extra spectacular and sturdier versions.
Fernando makes use of a narrow tool to carve off an old book cover though his daughter shows us the delicate sticks she makes use of to generate lovely engravings on the front covers of newly restored books.
In the far back corner a lone and comfy lounge chair waits patiently for any individual searching for an excellent spot to study. A reading lamp subsequent to it is extra than prepared to present the light.
Although the principal space of Arte No Livro is dimly lit and the wooden furnishings heavy and critical, the general atmosphere remains light and cheery. It is the atmosphere of a hidden location lost in time, however containing so a lot joyous wisdom, limitless like and delightful devotion.
If you told me a bookbinding small business would be the highlight of Cascais for us, you know how it goes. A chuckle possibly? Or a wave of the hand in that ‘you are silly!’ sort of way?
But it is accurate. It was the highlight of Cascais. And it is also why I like travel.
We remained inside for a mere half an hour, having said that, this is far extra than you would feel provided the size and concentrate of the location.
Our final ten minutes have been spent flipping by way of the books on the public bookshelves. There was an appealing pocket sized book about an island in Amsterdam, elaborately bound, absolutely with a history that most probably no one knows. A couple of books on these shelves we’d heard of, most we hadn’t, however there we have been touching and opening them all, as Andreia had instructed us to do.
It was not possible to not really feel a kid-like happiness though inside. It was also not possible to not really feel a deep appreciation for the energy and prospective of all books and even extra, for the committed, however seldom-thought of, craftsmen and craftswomen who maintain these books alive.
To these involved in the respectable art of bookbinding, I offer you a genuine salute to you.
As we lastly turned to leave, we noticed what appeared to be a remarkably tiny book in a show case. It was the size of the finger nail on my pinky finger.
We asked Andreia if it was a genuine book.
She smiled extensively, opened the show case and took out this magnificent issue, with its very detailed cover and pages complete of actual text inside. You’d have to have a extremely sturdy magnifying glass to study it but this naturally created the book even extra impressive.
All we could do is shake our heads in wondrous disbelief.
With that we stated our goodbyes and thank you’s, thank you’s which have been as sincere as could be.
We came to Cascais for the beaches and the old town. And confident, we spent time at, and completely enjoyed, each.
But if you ask me about this quaint fishing village outdoors of Lisbon and my eyes light up with a trace of some fondly remembered secret, you now know exactly where that light comes from.
Fortunately, that secret location is open to everybody. And it is effectively worth discovering.
Are you prepared? Do you have any ‘highlight of Cascais’ experiences to share from your personal travels?