In Barri Vell, the old town of Girona, narrow alleys and fascinating medieval stairs appear around every corner. Suddenly I stumble upon Portal del Colleccionista, an antiquarian bookshop. The smell of dusty book shelves always has a magnetic effect on me; this Girona bookshop is no different.
Inside, I’m chuffed to see old books and manuscripts fill every little nook and cranny. There’s travel literature and every other kind. The proprietor, Señor Cortés Lopéz, is happy to chat and let me photograph his shop. He digs out books in Russian, English, French, Spanish and Catalan. Holding a leather-bound parchment manuscript from 1792, feels like transgressing the boundaries of time.
The nearby resorts of the Costa Brava teem with tourists of all nationalities. Yet, the majority of visitors to his shop are Russian, Cortés Lopéz says. We briefly discuss the Russian people’s love of books. One of the first things I noticed during my first visit in St Petersburg (back when it was Leningrad), was the many Dom Knigi (book shops). Much great literature has emanated from Mother Russia. During the oppressive years of communism, the Russians were at least spared mind-numbing television programmes. Books were what counted. Have the Russians held on to that noble tradition?
I hate to leave this wonderful Girona bookshop and the promise of further engaging conversation. But sadly, I have a plane to catch.
Girona is the capital of the Costa Brava, one of Europe’s oldest beach destinations, in the autonomous region of Catalonia in northeast Spain.
Those piles of books are insane! I like bookstores, but I coudn’t handle the clutter if I were that store owner.
I think I would never have left that bookshop. And yes, the Russians love to read. Many years ago I was sitting in the subway in Moscow and just about everybody has his nose in a book.What a fabulous shop.
Wow, now that’s what i call a proper bookshop! I’d prob be a little intimidated by it though!
Love it! It bears a striking resemblance to my office.
@Vera – wow, I’d like to see your office 🙂
chuffed?? How cool is that word? Methinks I am going to have to use it as my word of the month. Many, many times. And relating it to books?? Yummy!
that last photo could definitely be used as a promotional tool for any e-reader device. how the hell can you find anything in there?
i love it and find it ridiculous at the same time!
Old bookstores are so magical! Even though I almost exclusively use a Kindle (my BFF as a traveler), I can’t help but wander through every used bookstore I find. It’s a compulsion I just don’t want to shake. 🙂
What an amazing shop and so nice that you could chat with the proprietor.
That looks so great. Have you ever seen the series Blackbooks? it reminds me of the bookshop in that!
@Jozef – No, I haven’t heard of that series. But just googled it, sounds like something I’d like. On to Net TV.
I love finding places like this when I travel. Makes me remember the town different and have much more of a connection to it.
i sure need assistance if u get in to that book store can’t imagine if i work there too mush thing to work and i don’t know if the costumer can find the books they want.
Wow, is there enough room for customers in that shop? It doesn’t look like it from the pictures. What a great find. I love old books. New books are so sterile and unloved.
I could spend hours in there and I’m sure my bags would have been overstuffed with books. What an amazing shop!
Oooooo I love this bookshop! I could spend hours here. Great find!
Very interesting – though I have to wonder how he finds anything in there! =)
That is a fabulous bookshop. We could lose ourselves for hours in that place. Interesting fact about the Russians being so keen on books – I guess it makes sense if they were deprived of them for so long.
I love posts like this which unccover little treasures and share them!
I always wonder how bookstore owners keep track of their inventory in shops like that!
The magic of a musty old bookstore!
Wow so many books… how is he able to find anything?
Finding little over-stuffed bookshops like this is one of the things I like about traveling. We don’t really have too many indie bookstores where we live, and I really miss the sense of adventure and discovery you get when shopping an indie or antiquarian shop.
I love dusty, old bookshops.
I love the smell of old book shops as well! I would never have escaped this shop 🙂
Nice post, Sophie.
I like the photo where the bookshop owner appears to be trapped in the store by his books.
Wow, he is literally surrounded by a mountain of books!
What a fantastic adventure! You never know what great reads you might find in one of those piles.
That’s so true about the Russians. Their knowledge of literature and art is astonishing.
Amazing! I think I could live in this book shop.
This definitely looks like mind kind of place?
Have any of you read El Sombre Del Viento? This book resource is kind of how I pictured it in the novel. It may be a fairly accurate vision – I was reading it in Spanish while being a low-intermediate myself!
Yes, a charming store and luckily for me living in Barcelona, Girona is an hour by train. Love walking the bridges there.