Monday, 31 October 2016

See You Next Year October!

October came and go in a flash, leaving good memories and the taste of an Indian Summer in its final days.

Although a cold get me a little under the weather for almost a week, had the time to work hard on the blog (new posts on Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris, Florence, São Paulo and Buenos Aires), to walk around in the city and take countless photos to share with you, and to enjoy friends and family whenever it was possible.

Now is time to prepare for the cold and rainy days to come, but I must confess that is difficult to me to part from the summery days of sun and and lazy moments by the seaside. I'll try to be strong and share with you all the pros and blessings of Autumn.

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

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Lisbon Chronicles | Indien Summer

This last few days we've lived in an idilic Indian Summer. Beautiful, warm days, nice for walking around in the city or relaxing in the beach. Maybe not experienced all over the globe, at least Southern Europe and North America have, in the middle of Autumn, this period of warm, dry weather, with sunny and clear skies and  above normal temperatures, occurring late October to the first weeks of November. It can last just a few days or, sometimes a all week, but is surely a blessing before the long, cold winter.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Chronicles from Buenos Aires | Park Tower Hotel

In our stay in Buenos Aires, we have chosen the Park Tower Hotel, situated in the Retiro district, near the Plaza San Martin and in front of the iconic “Torre de los Ingleses”. Opened in 1996, this hotel operates in a modern tower of twenty-three floors, with fantastic views over the city and the River Plate.

Recently renovated, welcomes us with a careful and comfortable style. The rooms are spacious and well equipped, with the usual treats of chocolates, Argentine wine and Dulce de Letche, in addition to an amazing view. The bathroom is large and very well appointed, and the amenities agreeable.

The Lobby and the Lounge, impact with the decoration of the space, the light and the harmony of colors, coordinated with a gorgeous original French tapestry, depicting Alexander the Great paying homage to the mother of Darius, the king of Persia.

Afternoon tea is served in the Lounge, and judging by the look, should be delicious. In addition to the St. Regis Restaurant, where we had dinner on the first night, guests can access the bar and restaurants of the Sheraton Hotel which is next door.

The attention and excellent service from the staff contributed to a most enjoyable stay.

All images above via Park Tower Hotel

Park Tower, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Avenida Leandro N. Alem 1193,
Buenos Aires 1001 Argentina
Phone: (54)(11) 4318 9100

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Chronicles from Buenos Aires | Retiro

Via Park Tower Hotel

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city! With the light of Lisbon, the avenues of Madrid, the parks of London and the luxury of Paris, takes us to Europe in the middle of South America. Clean, well cared for and organized, the wealth of times past is visible, and we felt welcomed and safe at all times.

The city is divided into 48 Barrios (districts), of which we visited seven (Retiro, Puerto Madero, Palermo, Centro, San Telmo, Recoleta and Boca), although we have made a ride on the Bus Hop In Hop Out, which let us know the main points of tourist attraction of the city.

Our hotel was in the Retiro district and the first images we have of Buenos Aires were from there. We arrived at night and our first glance, from the hotel room, were of the nearby square in front of Retiro railway station, the English Tower and the city lights.

The garden square, opposite the Retiro station, is very nice, with the tower surmounted by a clock. The Station, in French style, was declared a national monument. Crossing the Libertador Avenue, we have before us the garden that leads to the Plaza San Martin. The beautiful Plaza San Martin, is surrounded by palaces and hotels and features an equestrian statue of General Jose de San Martin.

Across the square, there is the Kavanagh Building that at the time of its inauguration in 1938 was the highest building in Latin America. This building is on the corner of Calle Florida, a trade street reserved for pedestrians, which is one of the points of interest in the Retiro barrio. For those who want to shop, the Pacific Galleries (inspired by Victório Emanuel Galleries  in Milan) are the place of choice where you can find the most differentiated shops.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Lisbon Chronicles | Palácio Fronteira

Built in seventeenth century, as a hunting lodge, for the first Marquis de Fronteira, D. João de Mascarenhas, a hero of the Portuguese War of Restoration, this beautiful palace is located on the edge of Parque Florestal de Monsanto, in Largo de São Domingos de Benfica.

The Palace was enlarged in the eighteenth century,  in a "rocaille"  style, and remains in the family to the present days. Currently, is the residence of the 13th Marquis de Fronteira, and is possible to visit some of the rooms, the library and the garden.

The majestic garden, of about 13 acres,  is breathtaking for its amazing details and design. In a day full of the beautiful Lisbon light, this sumptuous Italian gardens will make want to stay forever, so you better schedule your visit with enough time to enjoy so much beauty. Wondering through the garden you'll get lovely views of the statues, buildings and plants, finding a photo opportunity at every turn.

The visit may begin in the chapel terrace and the Terrace of Arts, both overlooking the Venus Garden. The Terrace or Gallery of Arts is almost entirely covered with tiles, blue, white and manganese, where punctuate niches with statues and busts. Stone benches and flower pots contribute even more for the tranquil beauty  of the place.

Step into the Garden of Venus where  you can find a great diversity of plants and flowers, and also the Tank of Ss, so named for its form, that stands in front of a small pavilion called Casa do Fresco. This House of Freshness or of Water, has a fountain in the center and served as a refreshing secluded place to rest in the warm days. Its facade is adorned with stones, shells, broken glass and pottery pieces. It is said that these pieces are the remains of the chinaware that was used in a banquet in honor of the King, that were broken into pieces so it could not be ever used by no one else.

Around the tank you can find stone benches covered with tiles depicting several themes, from fishing, to mythological figures, and including "monkey business" ("macacarias") with fable like imageries of monkeys playing the parts of doctors or music teachers with cats as patients and pupils.

From the Venus Garden, walk to the Gallery of Kings, that is over the Tank of Knights, before you descend to the Formal Garden of the seventeenth century. The large tank on the southern limit of the Formal Garden, presents decorated tile panels at both levels. At the higher level you can find a gallery with decorative niches containing busts of Portuguese kings. At the water level, the tiles depict the family's ancestors knights, reflected in the waters of the large tank.  The tank has big fishes and a pair of black swans. Although beautiful and full of grace, you must beware of the feisty black swan for it acts like a regular guardian of the thank.

The interior of the palace can be partially visited in a guided tour held in English, French and Portuguese. The guides have a deep knowledge of the history of the family and the building, and are more than willing to answer your questions. The interiors are rich, especially the Hall of Battles, with its beautiful panels of blue and white tiles with scenes of the War of Restoration,  and the Dinning Room, adorned with Dutch tiles and with frescoes  and portraits of the Portuguese nobility. Is also possible to visit the Library situated in the Logia overlooking the formal garden, some decorated rooms and the chapel. You are not allowed to photograph the interior of the house.

Palácio Fronteira has an unique collection of seventeenth century Portuguese tiles, even more important for it is practically the only one in which the tiles are still in situ, particularly outdoors. Take your time to admire the Dutch tile panels of the dinning room, the tiles of the Hall of Battles in which are narrated eight battles of the Wars of Restoration (1640 -1668), the tiles on the tank of the Knights,  the copper-plated tiles on the Gallery of Kings,  possibly of Spanish origin, the polychrome panel "macacarias", on the benches that surround the tank of Ss, and all the tiles of the Terrace of Arts.

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira
Largo de São Domingos de Benfica, 1
Phone: +351 21 778 4599

Opening Hours and Ticket Prices:

October to May: (Monday to Saturday) 11am and 12am
June to September: (Monday to Saturday) 10.30am 11am, 11.30am and 12am

House & Garden - 7,5 € | Garden - 3 €

To get there you can take the subway to Jardim Zoológico station and from there walk about a mile to the palace (I really don't advise it) or take the Bus 770 (Carris). Alternatively you can opt for taking a taxi, its only a short ride from the city center.

If, while traveling, you love to find this more off the beaten path places, you'll surely enjoy the collaborative post recently published by Got The Travel Bug Too where you can find several suggestions of hidden gems all over the world.

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