Friday, 24 February 2017

Best Things to Do in Lisbon | Two Tours off the Beaten Track





Lisbon has numerous attractions and although most of them can be quite touristy, there are also some new small companies developing interesting activities and touring amazing places that are off the beaten track (even for locals!). That is the case of Lx Secret Places, that promises to take you on memorable tours to historic places in Lisbon. I did two tours with them and I can say they really hold to their promises!







SPLENDID PALÁCIO FOZ

Next Programed Tours - 18th March

Most visitors to Lisbon pass by the beautiful pink palace at Restauradores and many have surely entered the Tourism Office that stands in part of its ground floor. Only a few have visited the interiors, currently reserved to official functions and receptions. But is possible to visit the splendid rooms and to learn a lot about its history if you book a tour with Lx Secret Places. They will guide you to the Noble Spaces of Palácio Foz, from the sumptuous Staircase, to the cozy Hall of the Fireplace, the gleaming Noble Hall (of the Mirrors) and the unique Louis XVI, Panels and Dinner Rooms. The visit has a duration of 45 minutes and it can be held in English (for booking a non programed tour please visit the site).






MYSTERIOUS WINE ABBEY

Next Programed Tours - 18th March

In the basement of the palace lies the secular space of the old Abadia Vínica Restaurant. This mysterious place (unknown to most locals) is surrounded by secrets, full of stories and all covered with symbols. Private clubs, secret societies, groups of conspirators are the ingredients of the stories your guide will tell you in the scenic ambience of this underground place. The tour includes the visit to the Claustrum, to the Refeitorium, without forgetting to go through mysterious cells. This visit also has a duration of 45 minutes and it can be held in English (for booking a non programed tour please visit the site).








Monday, 20 February 2017

Food Chronicles | Skye Restaurant (São Paulo)


Photo via Hotel Unique


The Skye was the first restaurant that I visit in São Paulo. In fact, had just arrived from an intercontinental trip (Lisbon – São Paulo), of more than ten hours, and hubby, who certainly wanted to impress, took me directly from the airport (another hour by car!) to the restaurant.

Despite being exhausted, it is certain that I was impressed. The Unique Hotel (designed by architect Ruy Ohtake), on top of which is the restaurant, is absolutely stunning. The Skye has an independent entrance and we go up to the restaurant in a panoramic lift, but is when we get to the terrace, that the view of the São Paulo’s skyline sweeps us out of our feet. Looking to a city that continues to the horizon, with a drink in hand and the warm  November breeze touching the face, is almost possible to forget the long flight.



Photo via Hotel Unique


The view is gorgeous, the service is attentive and very professional and the dishes served rely on the creativity of Chef Emmanuel Bassoleil. Reflection of the cosmopolitan and multicultural character of the city of São Paulo, the restaurant menu is quite eclectic, been its inspiration from Brazilian, French, Italian and Japanese cuisine.

If your budget allows it, is certainly an experience that will please the senses. You can also visit the Skye for a drink or for breakfast.



Photo via Hotel Unique



Skye Restaurant and Bar - Hotel Unique
Av. Brigadeiro Luis Antônio, 4700
Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo
+55 11 3055-4700









Friday, 17 February 2017

Best Things to Do in Lisbon | February (2)





The first post on this series was a success far greater than expected. Reassured of the interest of this kind of random information on Lisbon's events, Best Things to Do in Lisbon series returns this week with two activities that you can held independently, benefiting of the help of a batch of great books that I found recently.

You know I love tiles and street art. And I know that many of you love it too. The two great things I propose you to do while in Lisbon is to look for the best tiles in the city and / or look out for many amazing street art installations scattered all over Lisbon, both from national and international artists. Sounds good?





LOOKING FOR AZULEJOS IN LISBON


All over Lisbon you can find tiled panels. In museums, churches, on the building walls or in the subway stations, is impossible to miss them. But you want to check the most significative and beautiful, from the 16th century white and blue tiles to the contemporary artists works that beautify the city. In the 1st book you can find some of the best examples of what you can find in Lisbon. The second book presents itineraries trough the city to find some of the most interesting Lisbon's tiles.

Some of my own suggestions: Palácio Fronteira, Museu do Azulejo, Subway Stations (Parque, Oriente, São Sebastião, Colégio Militar and many others), façade of Vida Portuguesa store at Fábrica Viúva Lamego, São Vicente de Fora Monastery and Sintra National Palace.






LOOKING FOR STREET ART IN LISBON


Lisbon has so many impressive pieces of urban art that you can take almost a day to visit every site. So, if you like street art you better prepare yourself and plan ahead. One way of doing it is to consult articles on line or have a book like Street Art Lisbon where you can find some of the best works, how to get there and even GPS coordinates to easily find them.

Some of my own suggestions: go to LX Factory, walk down Calçada da Glória, visit Fábrica Braço de Prata, look for Vhils works scattered trough the city and for Bordallo II trash sculptures. You will be amazed by the work of this Portuguese artists.

You can find this books at Zest Books.






Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Love Chronicles | Romantic Spots in Europe




In total Valentine's spirit I've invited a few fellow bloggers to choose a city of their preference and present a city spot and  one or more activities for a great romantic experience. The lovely ladies from Doro Henrietta, Got the Travel Bug Too and Atlas Adrift joined me in this sweet task and here you have four Valentine's Day suggestions that not even the most romantic soul could refuse. Amsterdam, Rome, Venice and Sintra are overloaded with romance and just waiting for you to drop by.


AMSTERDAM by Doro Henrietta





There’s nothing more romantic than a walk along Amsterdam’s canals with your loved one. Being such a popular destination among tourists, Amsterdam tends to get pretty crowded though – not necessarily what you’re looking for on Valentine’s Day.

To escape the crowds, I’d suggest taking a walk through the “Westelijke Eilanden”, the “Western Islands”. These three manmade islands were built in the 17th century, as part of the third enlargement of Amsterdam. Nowadays, the area which has a village like feel to it, is a popular place of residence among Amsterdam’s creative souls.

The Western Islands are just a short walk south-west of the Central Station. Despite their central location, it is a very peaceful and quiet area, and probably my favorite hidden gem in Amsterdam. With its narrow street, beautifully restored 17th century canal houses and wooden draw bridges, the waterfront neighborhood is just perfect for getting lost!

If you fancy a drink or a bite to eat after your walk, you can head over to Jordaan District. The area is full of nice restaurants and little “terraces” and easy to reach from Amsterdam’s Centrum.



ROME by Got the Travel Bug Too





Rome is a magical city that could easily spark romance! I believe that Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck really brought out the romantic vibe of the “Eternal City” in their movie, “Roman Holiday”. It was filmed entirely in Rome and the story centers around Princess Ann (played by Hepburn), who sneaks out of the embassy and explores Rome without her security guards.  She meets an American reporter, Joe Bradley (played by Peck) who finds her sleeping on a park bench near the Roman Forum. Later, Joe decides to take Ann on a tour of Rome all while getting a juicy story for the newspaper (unknowing to Ann.)

At Piazza di Spagna, halfway up the Spanish Steps - Audrey Hepburn’s character sat and ate a gelato with her new friend, Joe. The Spanish Steps is the perfect spot for a romantic outing day or night. There is something magical about sitting on those steps with the one you love! In the piazza, there are many opportunities for a romantic carriage ride, including roses!



VENICE by Atlas Adrift





Ah Venice, the eternal city of romance! Pastel houses reflected onto calm waters make for the perfect getaway with that special someone. Honeymoon, anniversary, or just because.

Try to hide the blush as you lock lips with your sweetheart over a quintessential gondola ride through the twists and turns of the quiet canals. Take the scenic route from Barcino Orseolo to arrive at the Grand Canal. Touristy or not – this is an experience which can’t be missed!

Next, indulge in a gelato tasting together. I highly reccomed La Boutique del Gelato, where there are 100’s of delicious flavors to choose from!

Laugh and play together as you feed the pigeons swooping by in St Mark’s Square. Skip the long line at the bell tower of St Mark's, and take in the view from the San Giorgio Maggiore instead.

Enjoy dinner at Cantina Do Spade, the historic where the famous lover Casanova laid the pathway for romantic gestures. He was rumored to wine and dine women here in hopes they would fall for him. Sip red Italian wine at Do Spade bar on Calle de Spade, near the Rialto Bridge, where most of the love locks have sadly since been removed - a reminder of love and commitment around the world. 

After dinner, swoon over a ballet or opera performance amidst the gold balconies of Theatre La Fenice  opera house. 



SINTRA by The Wanderer's Chronicles





Less than an hour from Lisbon, Sintra is the epitome of romanticism. The luxurious woods in the mist, the castles and palaces, the small hotels and cosy restaurants, the beautiful parks, the legends and the stories, all contributes for a special feeling of romance and adventure while you wander its narrow streets and mountain roads.

Choose some of the attractions so you can enjoy them calmly and take a picnic for lunch. Do not forget to buy some sweet travesseiros on arrival at Sintra. You can find this pastries at Piriquita in the town center. Head to the palace (by buss or more romantically by coach) and make the tour. Than you can walk trough the park and visit the Chalet of the Countess of Edla, the romantic hideaway of D. Fernando and Elise Hensler.

Have your picnic at Monserrate park. The Park and Palace of Monserrate are some of the most beautiful architectural and landscape Romantic creations in Portugal. The gardens have received species from all corners of the world, and a walk trough its grounds after lunch will surely be an enjoyable moment.

You are not that far from the town, and you're just on time to have your afternoon tea at Lawrence's (the oldest hotel in Portugal) before return to Lisbon. For extra  romance, you can stay for dinner or even for the night, as the hotel has the most romantic suites with stunning views to the park.










Monday, 13 February 2017

Chronicles from Paris | Paris Trough my Instagram Eyes




"At night I dream that you and I are two plants that grew together, roots entwined" 
Pablo Neruda


Paris is considered as one of the most romantic cities in the world and this aura, as well as all the imagery created by books and films (and most recently by social media), contributes for its special atmosphere propitious to romance.

Of course that romance is not in the places themselves but in our hearts and in the way we relate with those we care for. Love is in our gestures and in our thoughts and is not conditioned to a specific place or time. So, don't wait for tomorrow to celebrate your love for someone and don't wait for Paris for a romantic gesture. Just love!

But when in Paris, give wings to your romantic self, and go to all those iconic places you have seen in the movies. A glass of wine, a lock of love and a walk by the Seine will be remembered forever!

All that being said, this post is not a romantic city guide  of Paris but only a collection of some of my Instagram pictures where Paris is the subject and scenery. Invite you all, to wander around this beautiful city trough my eyes.



A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on




A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on









A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on


A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on


A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on


A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on




A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on


A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on


A photo posted by The Wanderer's Chronicles (@thewandererschronicles) on





Friday, 10 February 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | 6 Hotels to Fall in Love





With Valentine's Day approaching most travel blogs and magazines will bring us articles on places to go and things to do with that special person in our lives. And I couldn't resist to jump on the band wagon and bring you some suggestions for those of you who live or are visiting this city I love so much.

And is also about my life long love for Lisbon that this post is about.  In this small city, full of light, you can find, in each neighborhood, a specific moment in the story of Lisbon, a different atmosphere and a myriad of things to do. Some of you may prefer an historical district, others a more bohemian ambiance, a cultural experience or a more trendy place. But I'm sure everyone will find their perfect spot to stay in Lisbon.

Therefore I selected 6 amazing places to stay across the city where you can surprise your loved one and enjoy a good time together. Some are housed in historical buildings or are part of historical areas in the city. Others stand out for their architectural features and interior design. Luxurious rooms, remarkable restaurants and top of the line SPAs are factors that will contribute to an unforgettable experience. The view of the city that you can reach and the outstanding service are a trademark of them all.


ALTIS BELÉM HOTEL & SPA





The Altis Belém Hotel & SPA is a modern boutique hotel situated in the historical Belém district. Although not in the city center, Belém is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich neighborhoods of Lisbon, combining UNESCO World Heritage sites with new and striking architectural projects.

Overlooking the Tagus River, this small design hotel represents a contemporary view of the Golden Ages of Portugal during the Discoveries, which is translated in a curated interior design that transports its guests to all the places the Portuguese traveled to.


The photos are courtesy of Altis Belém Hotel


The Tagus banks are perfect for a walk, hand in hand, or to wait the sunset, seating together in the steps by the river. If you choose Altis Belém to stay with your loved one, you can be sure to find a spacious room, with a contemporary decor, where the bespoke panels, evocative of distant places, make each room unique. Marble bathrooms with large soaking tubs, terraces with a stunning view where you can rest with a glass of a good Portuguese wine in hand, can surely add to a pleasurable stay.

Love is all about experiences together. So, why not schedule a couple massage (B in love) at the Hotel in-house Spa, BSpa by Karin Herzog? This awarded signature spa, that is the only exclusive spa of the Swiss brand in Portugal, presents amenities and treatments that are nothing but outstanding.


The photos are courtesy of Altis Belém Hotel


To start the night you can book a table at the Hotel signature Restaurant Feitoria (One Michelin Star) that this 14th February holds a special Valentine's Menu for dinner. That night, Chef João Rodrigues adds to his award wining suggestions a menu designed for lovers and crafted with the best of Portuguese ingredients. Pairing this delicacies with some of the best Portuguese fine wines will make this dinner an unforgettable experience.




CORINTHIA HOTEL LISBOA




In the first half of the 20th century Lisbon expanded north and away from the river bank. The new residential and business neighborhoods were designed along broad avenues, lined with modernist buildings.  Today, this part of the city is known as Avenidas Novas and it's in this district that you can find Corinthia Hotel Lisboa. With a direct view to Monsanto Forest Park and the monumental Aqueduct, the Corinthia is in walking distance to Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, that holds one of the best museums in the city, and of upscale shopping areas.


The photos are courtesy of Corinthia Hotel Lisboa


Checking in to the Corinthia Hotel Lisboa, you will find a carefully decorated hotel, with spacious social areas and dedicated service. The rooms are large and luminous, and welcome you with all the comfort you can aspire. Settle in and go out, exploring the city with your partner.

After a visit to the museum or just a walk in the beautiful Gulbenkian gardens, come back to the hotel and indulge in a Valentine's Couple SPA experience. The Corinthia SPA,  is extraordinaire in every way, and together you will be able to enjoy not only an hour of total relaxation in the Aqua area, but also some of the treatments with  the world-renowned  ESPA products, delivered by a pair of expert therapists. There are several options among the set of special offers designed for Valentines Day, to find out your favorite check here.



The photos are courtesy of Corinthia Hotel Lisboa


Relaxed and revitalized with the SPA experience, you just have to dress up and come down to the restaurant Típico where the menu showcases a fusion of Mediterranean and international cuisine along with a fine Portuguese wine collection carefully selected. The Lobby Lounge has entered the Valentine's spirit too, and created a special offer for the occasion, with hot drinks and a selection of pastries, to warm your heart and sweeten your lips, if you are in the mood for an afternoon snack.




FOUR SEASONS HOTEL RITZ LISBON


The photo is courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon


Located in a different part of Avenidas Novas district, at the top of one of the Lisbon's seven hills, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is an architectural and design landmark in the city and a privileged view point for its historic sites.

The hotel overlooks the gardens of Parque Eduardo VII and is the perfect starting point for exploring Lisbon. Coming back to the hotel is not the end of your visit to the city, as the Ritz is an attraction itself. The elegant 10-storey building, designed by the modernist architect Porfirio Pardal Monteiro, presents an outstanding collection of contemporary Portuguese tapestries, paintings and sculptures, including dozens of works from some of Portugal's most renowned artists, such as Almada Negreiros, Pedro Leitão, Estrela Faria and Querubim Lapa.


The photos are courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon


The rooms are spacious, comfortable and elegant, providing all the services and amenities one can desire. If you want to relax, the Ritz Spa is the place to go. With windows overlooking the garden and park, the SPA presents an indoor pool  and selection of treatments with top tear brands like Swiss Perfection, ESPA and Sodashi.


The photos are courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon


This year, the Valentine's Day dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon will be held in the intimate setting of the Ritz Spa, by the candlelit pool. For the couples in love, the moment will be accompanied by an exclusive and sumptuous three course dinner, specially designed by executive chef Pascal Meynard. On any other days, the restaurant Varanda, with its privileged view over the park and the city and a menu characterized by the rich variety of authentic and diverse Portuguese cuisine, is, no doubt, a special place to go.




PALÁCIO BELMONTE


The photo is courtesy of Palácio Belmonte


Palácio Belmonte is not a hotel. Is a Guest Palace where beauty and simplicity are the key words, and aesthetic and ecology are considered of the out most importance. You will not find a formal reception or a TV in your room, but the light, the colors and, above all, the details will conquer your heart.

Perched on the Castle's walls, in the Castelo neighborhood, Palácio Belmonte stands on milenar foundations. The noble residence of the House of Belmonte, opened to guests in 2000 after a careful reconstruction that lasted six years. The works, respecting sustainability and history, bring the 16th century palace to our days, providing their guests the luxury of natural simplicity.


The photos are courtesy of Palácio Belmonte


You may find difficult to choose one of the 10 suites. The light and the views are sublime. The care taken in the interior design is exquisite. The space is the one of a small apartment and the feeling is the one of owning a palace. So, if you want to go the extra mile in surprising your loved one, this is the place. The privilege of staying in a room lined with 18th century blue painted tiles, with a breathtaking view of Alfama and the Tagus, may not be for every day, but can make a day a very special one.


The photos are courtesy of Palácio Belmonte


After wandering the old town neighborhoods, return for a special dinner at the Palácio Belmont restaurant, Leopold. The restaurant is reopening the 11th February and Chef Tiago Feio will be waiting to surprise its visitors with a menu where the natural ingredients used and the mastery of cuisine technique are key.




PESTANA PALACE HOTEL


East of Belém district, situated near the banks of the Tagus River, the palace, that houses the Pestana Palace Hotel, was built in the first years of the 20th century by a cocoa baron who gained his fortune in Brazil. The luxurious nature of the southern hemisphere was brought into the surrounding gardens, filled with subtropical trees. Classified as a National Monument, went under extensive restoration before it opened as a hotel in 2001. Therefore, a visit to the palace itself, with its fresco decorated ceilings  and Regency style furniture, is a must.  Not very far from the hotel you can find Ajuda's Botanical Garden, a truly romantic spot, where you can spend a few hours totally in love.


The photos are courtesy of Pestana Palace Hotel


The royal suites in the original palace are huge, and the bedrooms with grand canopied beds and antique furniture contribute for a truly regal experience. For this season, the hotel holds a special Valentine's Day promotion including accommodation and dinner that you can find interesting. A visit to the Magic Spa by Pestana is also a experience to have together, and there you can choose from an exclusive menu of face and body treatments of the highest quality.


The photos are courtesy of Pestana Palace Hotel


After being pampered in the SPA, prepare yourself for a special dinner at the Valle-Flôr restaurant. There you can enjoy the best of Portuguese cuisine. The classical atmosphere of the beautifully decorated room  is the right scenery for a perfect evening. The company, the food, the wine and the discrete and attentive service will make this memorable experience. 




SANTIAGO DE ALFAMA





Santiago de Alfama is a small boutique hotel nestled in Alfama neighborhood.  Housed in the recovered 15th century Palácio dos Castros, the hotel is situated on Rua de Santiago, the road where the hotel site says "globalisation was financed, Christopher Columbus married and (is Lisbon's) start of the Caminho de Santiago de Compostela". So, if you have the travel bug inside of you, this seems to be the place. Right in the heart of the oldest bairro of Lisbon, you are in walking distance to downtown, to Castelo, Graça and Mouraria districts.


The photos are courtesy of Santiago de Alfama


The 19 rooms of Santiago de Alfama are all different but share the spacious and fluid layout and the bright  light that enters trough its numerous windows, presenting a simple yet luxurious decoration where modern art pieces punctuate the carefully recovered spaces. Would not be easy to choose among all the nice options available. But if you follow my advice, the Santiago Suite with its panoramic view is the perfect choice for a romantic night. If you want to get an extra dose of beauty before dinner, just head to the Beauty Bar, where you can choose from a menu of treatments from facials to manicures, accompanied by a cocktail.


The photos are courtesy of Santiago de Alfama


At the Restaurant Fábrica de Santiago, under the direction of Chef Carlos Robalo, the clients can find a cosy room, attentive staff and seasonal menus created with locally sourced produce. Specially for  the occasion, the restaurant is presenting a special Valentine's Day menu that surely will satisfy the more demanding palates (the Valentine's package also includes some treats that I can not disclose). The guests will have their dinner accompanied by live music and how romantic is it to end the night over a drink at the bar to the sound of Bossa Nova?









Monday, 6 February 2017

Chronicles from Barcelona | Palau de la Musica Catalana




The Palau de la Musica Catalana (Palace of Music) is a famous music hall and one of the most beautiful examples of the modernist architecture in Barcelona.

Unfortunately, in the day we have planed to visit it, the Palace was closed for a private event and no visits were allowed. If I need any excuses to return to Barcelona (and I must tell you that I don't!) this would be a strong one!

Looking at the exquisite architectonic and decorative work from the exterior is an experience in itself, but the images from the interiors (you can check it in the site) make me believe that a complete visit must be totally worthwhile.

This historical building, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, was built between 1905 and 1908 by the Catalan architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner. This was the same architect of  Casa Lléo Morera in the Block of Discord and is easy to see some of the ideas already tested in that private house grow to a new dimension in this public building.

It is possible to have guided visits, and I strongly advise booking ahead and make sure it is possible in the days you are visiting the city. The experienced guides, will show you all the wonders and details of this architectural jewel of modernist architecture.











Palau de la Musica Catalana

Opening Hours and Ticket Prices:
Tours every 30 minutes
Daily: from 10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Easter and July: from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
August: from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Individual Rate: 18 € | Children under 10 years inclusive, accompanied by a family - free







The Palau de la Música Catalana is near to other sights as Barcelona Cathedral, the las Ramblas or Boqueria Market or you can get there traveling the Subway to station Urquinaona (L1, L4).