What does Hans Christian Andersen and the US Embassy in Lisbon have in common?


To Travel is To Live

To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.

Hans Christian Andersen has been a big inspiration for me. His fairy tales are not only among the first books I read myself, they have also been very useful references to our Danish cultures while traveling in the part of the world where nobody knows about Denmark. Like in China where Andersen for many years were among the only legal foreign writers and therefor stories all Chinese knew about.

Officially H. C. Andersen published 5 travel books. But in my ‘world’ he did one more: Fodreise fra Holmens Canal til Østpynten af Amager – which I read while writing a thesis in school about Amager where I grew up.  This book is about Andersen’s ‘travel’ from Holmen’s Kanal in the city of Copenhagen (where Annette and I are married) to the Eastern part of the Island Amager where I grew up (now a part of Copenhagen).

The other travels Andersen wrote about was his visits to Harzen in Germany, Italy and Spain – some of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. It was during the latter he visited the sons of the former Portuguese Consul in Denmark: José and Jorge O’Neill whom Andersen met as a young boy in Copenhagen.

Jose and Jorge lived in Quinta do Pinheiro on the outskirts of Lisbon – where The US Embassy is today – the answer to the question above:-)

Finally we turned off a narrow street with walls to either side and started going up a steep and difficult path, which led to an ancient and isolated country house on one of the highest points. It was called ‘Pinheiro’, or Pinietraeet in Danish (…) When I arrived the flowers in the garden were still in bloom. There were lots of roses and fire-coloured geraniums, as well as creepers similar to the ones in our forests and passionflowers hanging like great carpets over the walls and bushes. The white flowers of the elder and the red flowers of the pomegranate trees combined to form the Danish colours (…) How full of charm this country is!

H. C Andersen:about his visit to Quinta do Pinheiro

H C Andersen A Visit To Portugal.jpg

The English translation is free for download online. Its easy to find 😉

I am now rereading Hans Christian Andersens: A Visit To Portugal

Thanks to The Internet Archive where I found and downloaded A Visit To Portugal – chapter 2 of his A Visit To Spain – I have just stated rereading Andersen’s encounters with Lisbon and Setúbal & Palmela and Sintra from his visit back in 1866.

While reading I note down the places he visited. When I’m finished I will map them – I’m sure H. C. Andersen’s Guide to Lisbon will be an interesting and different way to discover the city.

When, God willing, I am once again walking
Among the beech trees in my homeland,
My thoughts will often return
To the beautiful country that is Portugal.

Namaste and Happy Dashain from Tings Kathmandu

Thomas 🙂

If you are on the way to Lisbon or want to refresh your memories from previous visit(-s) we a have made a digital version here:

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