Porto/Braga Trip – Part 6 (Save The Best For Last)

Most people tend to save the best for last and I am no exception. When I was a kid, I loved to save the food I liked the most for last and thus the taste of it could linger in my mouth. Now I love applying the same theory on traveling so that the unforgettable memories of it would keep me very content.

Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore) is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and consistently being considered as one of the top 10 bookstores in the world. Rumor has it that the bookstore was part of an important inspiration for  JK Rowling to write Harry Potter’s library scene in Hogwarts as she enjoyed having coffee at the cafe of the bookstore during the time she lived in Porto back in 1990s.

Its fascinating story already aroused my interest in visiting the bookstore, but what made me decide to go there desperately was actually its intricate interior design.

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Honestly, I was extremely nervous on the day I visited the bookstore. That nervousness was almost no different from the butterflies I get when I have a crush on someone (please don’t ask me when was the last time I had a crush on someone) 😛

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The cramping sensation from my nervousness went away immediately once their staff opened the bookstore. When the crowd was fighting for a good spot to take pictures, this astonishing masterpiece made me hold my breath in awe. I had a hard time to understand how time travel actually happened. I lived in a modern world just 5 minutes ago, but almost everything had changed into Neo-Gothic style after I stepped into the bookstore. All I saw was a world of old glamour infused with romantic vibes.

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Before I was deeply hypnotized by the facade, there was an aura from above caught my attention. It led me to the second floor where I saw a stained-glass skylight. Although the facade captured most of the attention from visitors, the stained-glass skylight was as attractive as the facade in my eyes. It directed natural light to the bookstore created a great contrast to the wooden decorations. Such an impression sank deep in my heart before I left the bookstore.

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Being able to tick Livraria Lello off my bucket list uplifted my mood for the rest of the day and got me ready for Braga.

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It only took me an hour to go from Porto to Braga. The minute I arrived here, I already started loving this city. Watching the sky changed from a lighter sky blue to a darker sky blue presented itself as a natural art gallery was enjoyable. Soaked in its rich cultural atmosphere and imagined that I was lucky enough bumped into a storyteller to tell me historical stories of Braga – from the time when it was once a significant metropolis of the Roman Empire to present.

Simply walking around already took me more than 2 hours, I almost forgot the ultimate reason why I had to go to Braga was to visit Bom Jesus do Monte – a Portuguese sanctuary.

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Standing at the entrance of the sanctuary, I already felt its special vibes.

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When I took my time to appreciate the surroundings, I found a miniature chapel placed at each corner of the stairway that led me to the major site of the sanctuary. I originally planned to go all the way up to the main site, but the chapel and the luscious green trees altogether created one of the most beautiful fairy tale scenes stopped me from doing so.  Instead of stopping and staring at the scene, I closed my eyes and let it rejuvenate me with the tranquility here.

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When the Baroque staircases placed in a zigzag form stood in front of me, it was the moment of truth. I finally came to know what its hype was all about. Camera could never do its justice for how magnificent it looked. Words could never describe the feelings I had when I first saw it.

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Enjoying a breathtaking view at the stairway left me speechless. I felt like I was on top of the world with the sun as my companion. ❤ What else could I ask for? 😀

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Porto Trip – Part 5 (The Art Of Wandering)

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The sound of seagulls squawking awakened the adventurous side of me. The one who usually prefers a well-planned travel itinerary finally changed for a day to experience the art of wandering. Wandering aimlessly left me extremely nervous at first, but then I learnt to trust the magic of Universe.

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Instead of planning where I should head to, I knew the path itself would lead me to where I supposed to be. Having a carefree mind while walking down the street allowed me to see things from a different perspective. The more I walked, the more I felt as if the whole city was smiling at me.

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I had no idea whether it was the positive energy I received from walking down the street or the magic of the Universe sent to the Cafe of my dream – Majestic Cafe. Whatever the case, I knew it must be a place where I meant to encounter.

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A sense of romance permeated the cafe – dimly chandeliers and Art Nouveau decorations were perfect settings to intoxicate anyone who walked in. I was almost drowned in the world of romance until their waitress woke me up from daydreaming to take my order.

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I would have gone back to daydreaming, but my order finally arrived. The smell of Rabanadas Majestic Style (French toast in Majestic Style) kept me awake and made me realized that it was the time to enjoy it.

I felt the love floating in my mouth when I first tasted it. Every bite of the French toast gave me delightful warmth and sweetness that melted my heart completely.

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The feeling of love left me wanting more…A cup of tea would be the best to complement the taste of the French toast, but a glass of Sangria was perfect to continue the feeling of love.

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When the Sangria traveled down my throat, I could feel the alcohol slowly running through my veins. A blurry image of Belle Époque kept flashing in my head…I couldn’t help it but to think of its old charm. It made me forget how busy the cafe was. It was a moment when everyone was frozen, except me and the cafe dancing to a romantic song.

“Excuse me! Would you like another drink?”, the waitress asked. There I knew I should leave my fantasy behind and let the magic of Universe take me to another destination.

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Just left the cafe, I saw a small crowd moving towards the same direction…I didn’t even question where they headed to, but simply followed them. After all the traveling, I reached a place where I believed it was a fairy tale. Grasses at its finest, trees at its tallest, sunbeam was caught by the luscious greens radiated a ray of hope.  However, nothing quite like the smell of seashore.

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I still couldn’t understand how the smell of it led me to a world with palm trees waving their hands in the breeze and clouds drifting in and out to catch my attention. I would like to stay here longer to enjoy the relaxing vibes, but the smell of seashore kept haunting my mind.

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The smell of it was no longer haunting my mind after I found my final destination – Pergola da Foz.

I stood aside to soak up the romantic atmosphere as a breeze gently touched my skin. It was a moment when I felt the presence of my Prince. He hugged me from behind while we listened to the sound of waves together. Our love seeped through every corner of the Pergola. There I knew the sparks we had would be ignited forever…

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It sat deep in my heart and kept me content when travelling back home. It also made me proud of myself getting out of my comfort zone to experience the art of wandering.

The experience of wandering changed my perspective about traveling. It left me more than just romance. It was a gift with treasures – the unexpected, the excitement, the joy and the love were all wrapped in one.

When Spring Brings In Good Old Memories

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I always thought what I love the most about Spring was only when the plants went luscious green and the flowers started blooming. It is a scene I always fancy since it gives me rejuvenating feelings which I feel like everything has begun to reborn. I still have the same feelings about it. However, my thoughts about Spring has changed slightly when I walked pass Clausena Lansium tree my grandfather planted unintentionally long back. He threw a seed of Clausena Lansium in our backyard after having the fruits of Clausena Lansium more than twenty years ago and it somehow grew into a big Clausena Lansium tree. Unfortunately, he can’t be here to see this tree is still going strong even after so many years. However, I’m glad that my grandfather left this precious gift to my grandmother who can still feel his presence and spirits through this luscious tree. I know it means more than just a gift. In fact, it is what feeds her soul. It seriously means a lot to her. I truly hope the tree keeps growing healthily! Also, I would like to thank the sun and the bees for taking extra care of this precious tree apart from the massive amount of care she has been putting into! ❤ Moreover, I would like to thank Spring for bringing me good old memories which made it extra special! 😉