As I sit with a heating pad in my lap, a blanket over my shoulders, and listen to rain pour down all clickity-clackety on our roof, I stopped to visit this sequence of shots of a bubble artist we saw on the river front in Porto, Portugal in May 2015. Bubbles are so great in that they produce these beautiful shapes and a rainbow of colors that come from items you probably already have at home: water, dish soap, rope, sticks, and a bucket. They are simple creations that bring smiles to faces and a sense of wonder to the mind.

This is a bookstore.

Last May, my husband and I traveled to Portugal for 10 short days (Side note: In my opinion, if you’re coming from the U.S., 10 days is not long enough to explore anywhere outside of the States). On our last leg of the trip, we ventured to Porto to visit my friend Gail, who showed us around this city she now calls home. One of the places of interest she brought us to was the bookstore Livraria Lello & Irmão. Unfortunately, it was late in the day, and it wasn’t open. But a couple of days later, we showed up before lunch, walked in, and stepped into this magical spectacle of a bookstore. Here’s a little collection of photos I took. You can peruse more here.

You can only imagine the insane amount of foot traffic this place gets. You’d think that it would drum up a good amount of business, but I think a lot of people just want to go in, look around, and take tons of pictures, with little intention of purchasing anything. Gail’s recent post Making Friends With Livraria  Lello & Irmão goes into the history of the bookstore and how it has been managing being open to curious tourists and making a profit. Per the post, “In July 2015, Lello started charging an entrance fee of 3 euros, which is deducted from any in-store purchase.” We feel lucky to have been able to walk in without having to pay a fee, and take pictures without too much of a crowd. We enjoyed sitting for coffee and cake and purchased a few souvenirs on our way out.  If you’re ever in Porto, a visit to the bookstore is definitely worth a visit.