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Irene Starland

To my Portuguese readers

I’m a writer from Estonia but I have a special relationship with Portugal. I came here for the first time in the summer of 2003 and knew immediately, as soon as I saw the lights of Lisbon from the plane’s window, that I had arrived home. It amazed me how friendly and welcoming everybody was, not once did I feel like an outsider or even a foreigner.

My love for Portugal has endured. I left, but couldn’t help coming back again. And again and again. Because Portugal didn’t let go of me and I couldn’t let go of Portugal. So I’ve been coming whenever I can and each time it is more difficult to leave. Now I spend my summers in Estonia and my springs, autumns and winters in Portugal.

There are many places in Portugal that I love, but my heart belongs to Lisbon. It was the first place in Portugal where I lived and it has stayed in my heart ever since. I love to walk by the Tejo, especially in the evening, watching the sun set. I’ve travelled a lot, but have never seen anything more beautiful than Lisbon at night. If you are wondering where was this book written, then of course in Portugal. First in Lisbon, living in one of Alfama’s charming neighborhoods, then in a little village Nogueira do Cravo near Serra da Estrela, and finally in Castelo de Vide – one of the most beautiful places in Portugal that I know.

A few words about my family. My husband is a journalist and I have three daughters: Julia, Aurora and Estrella. Julia to whom this book is dedicated to, is nine and she has a very rare genetic condition called Angelman Syndrome. She is like a one-year-old baby and will stay that way, but that doesn’t prevent her from being the source of my strength. I don’t think I would have written this book without her inspiring me every day. Aurora is seven and Estrella is one and they are both full of energy and sunshine – must have something to do with the fact that they have spent a lot of time in Portugal :)

I hope that you enjoy my book.

With love,



Publicações do autor
Commander João G - Confessions of an Extremist
Commander João G - Confessions of an Extremist
Irene Starland
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