A Visit to Portugal is the diary of the trip he made to that country between May and September of 1866, invited by the O'Neill family whose children, José and Jorge, were friends from youth when their father was a consul of Denmark in Lisbon. He planned to make the trip by sea from Bordeaux to Lisbon, but at the last minute, he opts to continue his journey by train and carriage through Spain - passing through Burgos, Madrid, Mérida and Badajoz. In this diary he also writes some notes on Spain, although he had already made a previous trip to that country, and of which he published In Spain three years before.
In Portugal he stays at his friends' house in Pinheiros in Lisbon, and from there he makes other trips to Setúbal, Aveiro, Coimbra, Cascais and Sintra. It is a slow, simple, entertaining, friendly and animated narrative. It presents Portugal as a place of beautiful lands and peaceful inhabitants, with pages wherein he gives a general description of some aspects, and others in which he enters into details.
Those sentimental trips had a slow pace, very different from what we are used to in contemporary travel books; but the places, situations and social settings of a century and a half ago are recognizable, although with a certain nostalgia mixed with the reality that things are not so different. The story includes the characters of the high class Portuguese society, which includes the royal family and the aristocratic nobility, artists, writers and the popular traditionalism of a people of the south that contrasts with its Nordic European origin. He also makes a reference to some common details of the landscape and the people. In short, a quiet reading which does not surprise or amaze but entertains and recreates endearing experiences.
Hans Christian Andersen (Odense, 1805 - Copenhagen, 1875), a famous Danish writer with enormous literary work (poems, theater, novel, stories for children, biographies, travel diaries, etc.), is known worldwide as the author of children's stories like Tom Thumb, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match, etc.