Friday, 30 September 2016

Goodbye September!

September is always  my favorite Summer's month and this year the weather was nice and warm  until the last day. September 2016 will be remembered  as a great month, working on the blog, revisiting loved places ,that my heart was missing for a long time, and finding  new ones that will be cherished from now on. The time never seems to be enough and many plans rest to be accomplished (maybe next Summer). But the gratitude for the great moments lived this September will warm up the colder months to come.

These nine photos are the Top 9 for September on our Instagram account. You can follow us there for daily photos and tips.

Food Chronicles | Kaá Restaurante (São Paulo)

Kaá restaurant, the name comes from the Tupi “leaf, grass, bush”, is undoubtedly one of the nicest restaurants in the city of São Paulo. The discrete entrance in Jucelino Kubitschek Avenue does not let you guess the stunning architecture of the interior.

The room scale, combining indoor and outdoor elegantly, the water mirror and the vertical garden with lush greenery, as well as the setting of the bar and the ample seating areas, all contribute to the feeling of having entered a different world.

During the week the Kaá is an usual place for business meals, but especially on weekends is visited by families and groups of friends and, in any situation, it has always a very pleasant ambiance.

Although the prices are high, the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, as well as the quality of the dishes served make a trip to the Kaá an experience that you want, always, to repeat.

All images above via Kaá Restaurant

Kaá Restaurante
Av. Juscelino Kubitschek, 279 – Vila Olimpia,
São Paulo, SP, Brazil
+55 11 3045-0043

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Chronicles from Greece | Blue Palace (Crete)

Two years ago we went to Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands and one of the most popular touristic destinations of the country. We choose Elounda, in the northeast of the island, staying at a resort opposite the island of Spinalonga.

Crete and the Blue Palace Resort & Spa proved to be a perfect choice. Days of wonderful sunshine, not too hot (my fear) or too windy, the sea water and the pools at the perfect temperature, and the hotel with the exact combination of luxury, simplicity and style. Through an architecture that integrates with the landscape, the Blue Palace provides comfort and privacy to its guests, in a totally  tasteful atmosphere.

Several restaurants that allow a choice, several swimming pools, spa and fitness center, a well-equipped beach where walkways solve the discomfort of pebbles, everything has been designed for the visitors to have a relaxing  and charming vacations.

The rooms are spacious, comfortable and well appointed. The sea view is breathtaking and  you can opt for a room with a terrace or including a private pool. Although the resort pools are wonderful, do not miss the opportunity to swim in the sea. The temperature and water clarity is unmatched. Despite the hotel have a pier that allows you to dive directly in the sea, if you want to get more gradually in the water should go prepared with rubber sandals because the beach is pebbly, what makes walking absolutely uncomfortable.

The restaurants at the resort have a varied and quality offer, but if you visit the Blue Palace you must  visit the restaurants in the small village of Plaka, where fresh fish and seafood are wonderful. Wonderful is also the hotel breakfast, with a variety and quality able to satisfy the most discerning palates. The Greek yogurt made of goat milk with honey from the region is a delight!

The temptation to go back again this year was great, but there are so many places to visit that we will not repeat … yet!

All photos above are courtesy of Blue Palace Resort& SPA 

Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
P.O. Box 38, Elounda, Crete, 72053, Greece     
Phone: +302841065500

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Reader's List | The Island

I love books and although also love to travel, I'm not that much into travel books. Maybe the ones I've read were too boring or too much autobiographical for my taste. On the other hand, I must confess that many times, the plans to visit some place, country or city started with a book and, other times, reading a story located somewhere visited before brings the gift of remembrance, perhaps even more powerful than a photo or a film. The Island, was read with the memories of Crete and Spinalonga on the back of my mind  and is my choice to start this Reader's List of books that inspire to travel or evoque places already known.

Victoria Hislop´s The Island is a summer reading, nice, fluid, showing a good preparation and research on the subject and the location – the island of Spinalonga. Although not the kind of book that usually choose, after having spent some time in Crete, in a hotel just in front of Spinalonga, the curiosity to read it took over me. The book was a success and was even made a TV series (filmed on site) that became one of the biggest hits of the Greek television. All the shops of Plaka had the book for sale and when I got back home I had to bought a copy. Here it is a synopsis.

“On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.

She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…”

The island was successively occupied by the Venetians, who built a fort there, and by the Turks. Already under Greek rule in the last century and until the late 50's housed a leper colony until the discovery of a cure for this disease enabled its inhabitants to return to their families.

Patients of Crete and from the continent were brought to this island where there were a hospital, but those inhabitants also had the experience of a small village with shops, church, school for children and cinema.

The houses had doors and windows painted in bright colors and had flowers and plants through the streets. We can still walk the streets of the village and although many houses are already without roof and falling apart on the main street is kept a museum and a shop.

During the summer there are  regular boat trips from Plaka and Elounda, and the tour around the island is nice (if early in the morning or late afternoon).

Trying to imagine what may have been the experience of that community, united in a common misfortune, and remember that many were closed in this small island to the end of their lives, made even more valuable  my health and the freedom to walk from one side to the other.

After the visit, the boat was coming and I could go back …

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Chronicles from Greece | Knossos (Crete)

On a trip to the island of Crete is a must to visit the Palace of Knossos. At about five kilometers from Heraklion, the main town on the island, the site combines the ruins of the archaeological site with the reconstruction of part of the old buildings. This reconstruction, although controversial, help the visitor to get an idea of what may have been the size and appearance of the palace complex, with the strong colors of the columns and frescoes, the terracotta pots, the porticos, colonnades and corridors.

The huge buildings that included both residential areas, workshops and storage facilities, made this sophisticated city of Minoan civilization, an important economic center that maintained commercial ties with most cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

Archaeological Site of Knossos

Phone: +30-2810-231940

Opening Hours and Ticket Prices:

8 am  -  7 pm daily

Adults  € 15 / students over 18 and senior citizens 8 € / children and up to 18 free

Special ticketing package for the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and the Archaeological Site of Knossos: € 16 (reduced: € 8)

Monday, 26 September 2016

Lisbon Chronicles | Cais das Colunas

Cais das Colunas is the emblematic double columned pier  in Praça do Comércio (Downtown).  This pier was an integrant part of the reconstruction project for the square after the great earthquake of 1755 and along the centuries constituted a noble gateway to the city. Today is a friendly gathering place both for tourists and locals, where one can relax under the sun, and look the city, the river and the south bank.

Close to the traditional Lisbon ferries - Cacilheiros - the Cais das Colunas is a privilege place to watch the boats crossing the Tagus river. Recently, sand was added near the pear, forming a small beach, and visitors get another nice place to sunbathe.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Lisbon Chronicles | Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

Lisbon is a beautiful city with many great viewpoints (miradouros), but I believe that the Miradouro de São Pedro  de Alcântara is probably one of the best. The extended view over Downtown Lisbon, the Castle and the river is breathtaking and the garden it self, landscaped on two terraces is a delightful place to rest an have a refreshing drink.

Last time I went there besides the usual kiosk there was a small market with food, crafts and a spectacular sangria.  Across the street you can find the bar of the Port Wine Institute where you can sample this famous Portuguese drink.

You can get to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara walking from Príncipe Real or from the Largo do Chiado. If you are Downtown, you can get the Glória funicular  up the street (ticket 3,60€).

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