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The Last Old Place: A Search Through Portugal
     

The Last Old Place: A Search Through Portugal

by Datus C. Proper
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A former American diplomat, linguist and ardent fly fisherman, Proper ( What the Trout Said ) combines a travel journal, rich in astute, witty commentaries on Portugal and its people, with self-revealing personal recollections. The route selected by the author and his 77-year-old Portuguese companion took them, on foot and by car, from Lisbon and the southern port of Sagres, from which Prince Henry the Navigator launched western expansion, to the northern Douro Valley, famed for its port wine. With a sure, deft touch, Proper evokes the essence of places as different as the walled city of Evora, replete with Roman-Moorish-Christian grandeur, and the inviting countryside, where they paused to sample savory fare and test the trout streams. The book offers an engaging portrait of a small country ``top-heavy with history'' and its hospitable though in many cases impoverished people. Illustrations. (Mar.)
Library Journal
One of the most enjoyable ways to get to know a country is through reading autobiographical travel writing. Proper and his guide, a 77-year-old Portuguese, ramble throughout Portugal and reminisce about the history and heroes, language, culture, and character of the Portuguese people. The author frequently quotes from Luis Vaz de Camoes's The Lusiads, and he enlivens his work with subtle humor, whether describing quiet fishing expeditions or detailing culinary delights while conversing with locals in the countryside. His reflections are not light reading but more an intellectual study of many aspects of the country and its people. The coverage of his journey is well balanced and enriching. Recommended for more specialized collections.-- Jo-Anne Mary Benson, Osgoode, Ontario
Richard Paul Snyder
Ah, Portugal! Land of Prince Henry the Navigator and Nuno Alvares; "bacalhau" and "fihos"; "pelourinhos" and "Dia". Most everyone has at least heard of the noble prince, human symbol of the Age of Discovery and inhabitant of many world history textbooks. But how many know about Nuno Alvares, the "El Cid" of Portugal, epitome of chivalry that the Spaniard wasn't? "Fihos" are doughnuts sans holes, everything our oversweet, greasy, holey ersatz doughnuts aren't. Translated, "bacalhau" means codfish. Always salt-cured in Portugal, it was once cheap; now it's almost as expensive as lobster. "And worth it," says the author. "Pelourinhos" (pillories) are no longer in use; many, however, serve now as tourist attractions, being pleasingly ornate. "Hard to chew as leather steaks," an unfolded "O Dia" on a man's breakfast table alerts the world that he is a serious man who recalls with reverence the halcyon days of decent government in Portugal. The aforementioned are but tidbits spilled from the banquet of Proper's delightful travel narrative, an erudite ramble through one of Europe's most underappreciated countries. But not for long! Armchair travelers will want to join the author and his Portuguese friend, Adriano, as they amble through historic sites, eateries, trout streams, and more. Then they'll know why Portugal is fast becoming Europe's hottest travel destination.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671782269
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/04/1993
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 8.66(h) x (d)

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