Lisbon is full of bookstores. They are everywhere, tucked into odd-shaped nooks so that they almost blend in with the facades. Some were ancient, and so resembled museum exhibits that I simply stared at them from afar, not realizing that we could actually go inside.
This was my initial reaction to Livraria Bertrand – the oldest operating bookshop in the world, established in 1732. I looked at it from a distance, through glass, and thought “how remarkable”, the way one would any other work of art. You marvel at it, but you do not touch. You certainly don’t step inside. But Rand was not limited by such strange hangups, and seeing that he was able to walk in without being yelled at by some unseen authority figure, I quickly rushed in after him.
The Bertrand smells faintly