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Luvaria Ulisses (Portugal)

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Boutique glove store in Lisbon, Portugal / Address: Rua do Carmo, 87-A 1200-093 LISBOA, PORTUGAL / Tel: 351 213420295

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      18.01.2011 11:40
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      the oldest glove shop in Portugal

      Gloves and umbrellas have one character trait in common: they're not faithful to their owners and more often than not drop out of service without giving notice - they simply disappear. The consequence is that I only buy cheap umbrellas now, I've vowed never to spend more than 2,75 Euro from now on. With leather gloves, however, things aren't so easy, as there are no cheap varieties, at least not in Germany.

      I have warm gloves for winter, the palm made of leather, the top made of wool, the inside lined with wool-like synthetic material. But I also like wearing gloves before winter starts and when the cold season has ended but it's still chilly, gloves made of fine leather without lining. I've bought some in Florence over the years where they cost less than in Germany but I haven't been there for a while. When my last pair left me, I was wondering where to buy a new one until we decided to go to Lisbon and I found the address of a glove shop in our guide book.

      No, not the address of *a* glove shop, but *the* glove shop! It's in the Chiado area, the noble shopping precinct, in Rua do Carmo, 87-A, not far from where it starts from the Rossio Square, on the right side of the street. The building is Art Deco, the glove shop Ulisses was founded in 1925 and has been in the same location ever since. Nowadays the Luvaria Ulisses is the last shop in Portugal selling exclusively gloves. Everybody who's anybody buys there. (Open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm)

      The production facilities are in Lisbon, the gloves are made by qualified professionals, the manufacturing processes have remained unaltered over the decades, no cheap stuff from Asia here. New styles and colours have been introduced to attract also the younger generation. If the clients' wishes aren't too exotic, any combination can be made in the course of two days, if they are exotic, it may take a bit longer.

      One has to be attentive not to overlook the shop. Once one has found it, one doubts that the term 'shop' is appropriate at all. Two shop windows displaying gloves in artful arrangements flank a door. This is usually open and the expectant customer steps in - and bumps straight into another customer if there is one! The 'shop' consists of a counter behind which a slim shop-assistant can stand and a tiny space in front of it for the customer(s), all in all the 'shop' covers 4 m². When I entered, I bumped into a slim young man standing beside his slim girl-friend. I'm not fat, either. My grandmother alone would have filled the space completely! A narrow opening leads from the space behind the counter into a bigger room into which the customer can't look, it's were the gloves are stocked. They offer six different types of gloves, the material is satin, wool or leather (lamb, calf, antelope, pig or game), in six different sizes. I don't know how many colours are available. I only know that the type I wanted was also available in orange and turquoise (the young woman beside me tried them on).

      My wish was modest: black, no lining, no frills. The friendly woman, who speaks good English, told me to put my right elbow on a small cushion lying on the counter. She then took a pair of gloves, widened each finger with a kind of wooden scissors, powdered the inside with talcum powder and put the glove on my right hand (my writing-hand, as she called it, she had asked which one it was) finger after finger. Surprise, the glove expert had chosen a pair which was too big. The shopping ceremony was short nevertheless, she gave me the smaller size, it was just what I had wanted, black, plain, no lining, only with a small bow tie at the rim. She dusted the talcum powder off my fingers with a thick brush, I paid 47 Euro and left.

      Now I know that it takes some time until one can put on new gloves easily, at the beginning they don't glide smoothly. Back in the hotel I wanted to put on my new gloves and admire them, but the rim of the left one was so tight that I was afraid I might tear the leather if I continued. As the shop was only a three-minute walk from the hotel, I went back and asked the shop-assistant what to do. She praised my prudence to consult the expert and then worked quite brutally on the rim, I'd never have dared to do that, gave it back to me and said that it was now fine. Which it was.

      Hopefully, these gloves want to stay with me for some time, but if they don't, I'll have to go to Lisbon again!

      --------------------
      P.S. The German word for glove is Handschuh = handshoe

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