Notebooks from Portugal

I vacationed in Portugal last fall, and returned with a nice little pile of notebooks:

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The first ones I bought were this set of 4 stitched cahier-type notebooks. They were a bit expensive at 15 Euros, but I guess that was to be expected as they were bought at a very touristy location. Nice smooth paper and cool patterns on the back, showing Lisbon streetcars and Portuguese tile and lace patterns.

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Then there were a few that I bought in a store devoted to iconic Portuguese products:

First, the Emilio Braga notebook. The company is almost 100 years old, and these notebooks are considered a classic Portuguese brand. They come in funky colors,  and I love the old fashioned look with the contrasting corners and the label on the front. The marbled edges are a great touch too. The pages inside are blank, and the notebook includes a sheet with grid on one side and lines on other to use as a guide. Unfortunately there is a really big cover overhang, too bad. I would also love it if they came in a smaller size.

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Also from the Portuguese product store, a “bloco”, a small lined notepad featuring the Torre de Belem, another big Lisbon tourist destination. Shown next to it is a small, plain graph paper notebook with a black paper cover.

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Another unique Portuguese item, the Serrote letterpress notebook, with a wonderful woodgrain paper design. Each of their designs is a limited edition of 2000.

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The next two notebooks were bought in random school-supply or art-supply stores. When I unwrapped the Oxford notebook, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, with beautifully smooth, bright white paper. It feels very solid, and it’s my favorite size. At 6.40 euros, not too expensive. It has only a very small cover overhang, another plus. It’s quite generic and not at all Portuguese, but of all these, it’s the notebook I’m most likely to actually use.

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The Canson sketchbook below offers only 50 sheets  for 6.30 euro, so wasn’t quite as good a value. It has rougher paper, no pocket, and more cover overhang, but it does have a nice cover, and is pleasantly slim.

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This last notebook was bought at a museum, I forget which one. It’s a nice size, thin, and flexible, with a thicker elastic than most. The  cover is weird, it seems to be one layer of fake leather glued over another, and it’s starting to come apart a bit, with the edges getting crushed due to the overhang. I could kind of tell when I bought it that it was a little beat up, but it was the last one they had. In fact, there is really nothing great about this, but I was just on a roll gathering notebooks and for some reason, I had to have it!

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All in all, I was pretty pleased with my Portuguese purchases– some were brands I’d heard of and wanted to try, and some were new discoveries that I’d never seen– just what I love to find on my travels!

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6 Responses to “Notebooks from Portugal”

  1. Nice post! I have been “collecting” journals and notebooks for several years. I guess I’m first attracted to the cover and material first and then the pages. Then, after I’ve made the purchase, do I start to think about something useful for my notebooks rather than sitting pretty on a shelf (which isn’t a bad idea in of itself I guess).

    What catches your eye when buying a new notebook or journal?

  2. […] reader named Steve asked this question in response to my Notebooks from Portugal post. I have been “collecting” journals and notebooks for several years. I guess […]

  3. Which notebook do you think was the best to travel as well as a working notebook?

  4. […] comes with an extra sheet of paper like that is the Emilio Braga notebook I bought in Portugal, reviewed here. I feel like I’ve seen others that had it, but I can’t remember where! From Drew: I […]

  5. I’m a big fan of your blog and was curious if you could help me find a notebook I just saw in the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition (January 24, 2015). The journals appear on the last page (108) and mentions they come from Lisbon. I could send you a copy of the article that shows a photo in which the journals appear.

    thanks so much for any help you may be able to give.

    Andy Marcus

  6. I noticed that WSJ photo too and was quite intrigued! They didn’t look like any of the notebooks I saw in Portugal, and it was hard to see from the photo exactly what they were like. I wondered if they could be from Emilio Braga, as it looked like they had a contrasting spine and corners as those do.

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