Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Capital City Stockhom

Old Town - "Gamla Stan"
Your first destination: Gamla Stan. The medieval Old Town, with its charming cobblestone streets, museums, shops and restaurants, straddles three of 14 islands that make up Stockholm. The well-preserved Old Town features the original network of streets, and some of its buildings date from the Middle Ages.

Gamla Stan is relatively small, so it’s okay to lose yourself here. The main pedestrian street is known as Vasterlangatan (“the long western street”). You can cross all of Gamla Stan on Vasterlangatan. But feel free to permit yourself to be detoured. You won’t get lost — for long.
Don’t miss the 15th-century Gothic Storkyrkan, also, thankfully for the English tongue, called the Stockholm Cathedral, or Church of St. Nicolas. No matter what you call it, the church features Scandinavia’s largest medieval monument, a wooden sculpture made of elk antlers and oak carved in 1489 representing St. George battling a fierce Dragon.
Round the corner and make your way to the 18th-century Royal Palace inner courtyard for the changing of the guard at 12:15 each day except Sundays.
Afterward, just a few steps away is Gamla Stan’s largest square, Stortorget, stunningly beautiful and bordered by tall, narrow, colorful Amsterdam-like buildings, the Nobel Museum (worth a visit) and cozy coffee shops.
Wander around Gamla Stan, then head to the adjacent island and Södermalm, where you’ll see the Katarinahissen lift, built in 1883. Take it up to the arguably the best-value and undeniably best-view lunch in town at Gondolen.
The City Hall
After lunch, head to City Hall to admire the Blue Hall, where the Nobel Prize banquet is held annually, and the Golden Hall, with its more than 18 million glass and gold mosaic pieces. Nobel prizes are awarded each December, except for the Peace prize, which is awarded in Oslo. Climb City Hall Tower for a bird’s-eye view of Stockholm.

It’s a good thing that Stockholm enjoys 20 hours of sunlight during summers, because now you’re going on a boat tour. At Stadshusbron by the City Hall, board the steam-powered SS Drottningholm, built in 1909, for a voyage through Lake Malaren to Drottningholm Palace, an hour’s chug away. Drottningholm has been home to the Swedish Royal Family since 1981.
Icebar Stockholm
When you return, make your way to the world’s first permanent “Ice Bar,” situated in the Nordic Sea Hotel, near Central Station. The price of admission includes use of capes, mitts, and slippers to keep you warm inside the below-freezing bar and an Absolut cocktail (or lingonberry juice) served in glasses made from 100% pure, clear ice from the Torne River in Swedish Lapland. In fact, the whole interior of the bar is built from the ice.

After your cocktail, find a special place for dinner before returning to your hotel. The favorite of Evert Taube, the famous author, artist, composer and singer who lived from 1890 – 1976, was Den Gyldene Freden, which has been a restaurant in Gamla Stan since 1722. The Nobel Laureates do lunch here during the ceremonies week.

Get out of bed and pull back the curtains. What a view! Better get going. It looks like it’s nearly noon outside. But wait. It’s only 8 a.m. The sun rose this morning at 3:30 a.m. Back to bed — for now.
Days are long in Stockholm during the summer. The sky will only dim tonight, as the summer sun leaves streaks of color strewn across the sky long after it sets at 10 p.m.
On the longest day in June, you’ll have 18 hours, 38 minutes and 26 seconds between sunrise and sunset to explore Stockholm. Enjoy the sunlight.
Vasa Museum - One of more than 70 museums

Today, you’ll head to Djurgården, the former royal hunting grounds that became the world’s first city national park. You’ll get there by walking along Strandvägen, one of Stockholm’s most exclusive streets.

Walking along Strandvägen, you can see some of Stockholm’s best-known museums, situated just across the water on Djurgården, including the Vasa Museum.
Stockholm has more than 70 museums, but the crown jewel is the Vasa. It is almost impossible to prepare yourself for what you will see inside the museum: a warship — yes, the actual ship, not a reproduction or model — that capsized after being launched on its maiden journey in 1628. The Vasa was brought up from its watery grave in 1961 and today is an amazing exhibit.
Head across the street from the Vasa Museum to spend a couple of hours walking through several centuries of Swedish history at Skansen. The world’s first outdoor museum serves up “Old Sweden” or “Sweden in Miniature,” with farms and villages reconstructed from more than 150, 18th, 19th and 20th century buildings that have been brought here from throughout Sweden. You’ll also enjoy the zoo, featuring primarily Nordic animals such as bear, lynxes, wolves and wolverines.
Royal Djurgården
You might consider renting a bicycle to explore more of Djurgården. As you pedal through this vast park, you’ll find it easy to forget that you’re in a city. Your ride takes you along country roads, forest paths, past small horse pastures and gardens. There is no hint of city — anywhere. No wonder that Stockholm was named Europe’s first Green Capital.

Follow the shoreside and canals around Djurgården and, after an hour or so of leisurely riding and stopping, find your way to Rosendals Tradgård, where you’ll visit the gardens and greenhouses that belonged to the 19th-century Rosendal Palace.
For a light lunch, do as the locals do and pick up a glass of wine and a sandwich from the cafe situated in one of greenhouses. Then find a shady spot in the apple orchard to picnic. Most of the food is produced locally or comes from the gardens.
After returning the bike, head to the ferry landing at the Vasa Museum to cross the water to Nybroplan. See the beautiful building across from the ferry landing? That’s Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern, and that’s where you’re headed next.
Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman got their starts in acting here, and Ingmar Bergman staged productions here. Go inside for a tour if you wish or admire the theater in passing, as you walk alongside it up Nybrogatan, on the left side facing the theater, to Saluhallen, which opened as a market in 1888.
Östermalms Saluhall - Since 1888
Step inside this “Seattle’s Pike Place Market meets Your Upscale Grocery Store and Food Court” for culinary treats that are a feast of the eyes and the tummy.

After leaving the market, time to shop. Make your way to Stureplan, being sure not to miss Biblioteksgatan, an upscale shopping street. You’ll also want to visit Sweden’s largest department store, NK, at Hamngatan 18 – 20. The Orrefors shop, situated on the bottom floor, has more original glassware than anywhere else in the city.
Late afternoon. It’s time to board your ship and sail away. Don’t worry, you’ll see more of Stockholm on the three- to four-hour transit through the beautiful archipelago. True, you left much unseen in Stockholm, but there’s a fix for that. Save it for another day, another visit. You’re always welcome back.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lisboa - Lissabon - Lisbon

Reference: http://www.morepep.com/p.312.jpg

"The capital of Portugal, Lisbon has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with a contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today's Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that face the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city. Lisbon enchants travelers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination."

In this post I am going to give you an exciting travel guide on what to do and where to stay in Lisbon!

*Why a trip to Lisboa is definitely worth it*
In the summer months, Lisbon swelters under a cerulean blue dome. ‘A praia’ (to the beach) sings out from the city’s sun-kissed, begonia blossomed streets as surf boards are stacked on top of cars and everyone makes for the beachy ‘burbs of Cascais and Estoril – 20 minutes drive from the city-centre. The aim being to cool off in the frosty Atlantic, get some sand between their toes, and tuck into the seaside classic of a plate of garlicky ameijoas (clams) washed down with a tumbler of brain-freeze cold lager.
Set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, this dainty sun-kissed city lives in a Latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions.
Just check out the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way among the seven steep hills over which this city lies. Or witness the best of this bygone heritage by wandering through the Baixa district, where age-old herbalists, haberdashers and tailors rub shoulders in the baroque streets of the ornate city centre.
*When to go*
Rarely too hot or cold, Lisbon is a year-round destination. The first buds of spring usually appear around late February while the last puffs of the Sahara-warmed winds keep the mercury high well into November. Much of the city shuts down in August, when many restaurants and bars close and locals escape the steamy city for the cooler Atlantic shores.
British Airways flies from Heathrow, EasyJet from Gatwick and Luton, and TAP Portugal from Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick.
From the airport, taxis to the city centre take 25 minutes and should cost about 12 Euro. The Aerobus 91 (3 Euro, 8am-8pm) departs every 20 minutes from outside arrivals, takes 30 minutes and stops and picks up from Pombal, Avenida da Liberdade and Praça do Comércio – all in the city centre. Public buses 44, 45 and 43 (about 1.15 Euro, 7am-9.30pm) depart from outside, go to the city centre and take around 40 minutes. 
*Public transport*
The city has a pretty comprehensive network of metro services, buses and funiculars cost about 1 Euro. The tram service has recently been hiked up to 2.40 Euro, making it a largely tourist-only experience these days. One-day travel passes allow unlimited travel on all the above. They cost around 3 Euro and can be bought at any metro station.
These are very useful for getting around the suburbs and out to the city’s fantastic beaches. The train to Cascais and Estoril departs from Cais do Sodré, the train to Sintra from Rossio station. Both servoces depart every 20 minutes, take 40 minutes and cost about 1.50 Euro.
The undisputed highlight of the waterfront Belém district is its 16th-century monastery, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It was commissioned to trumpet the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, now interred in the lower chancel.

Nova Pombalina invariably fills up around midday for its leitao – a suckling-pig sandwich, served at lightning-fast speed. Other popular fillings include prosciutto and roast chicken.

*Eat and drink*
Stone walls, low lighting and twisting corridors are the hallmarks of Fabulas, a cavern-like café preparing imaginative salads, pasta, burritos and hamburgers. It’s a worthwhile place to linger with a coffee or bottle of wine.
Located near Teatro São Luiz, Café no Chiado is a laid-back café specialising in Portuguese classics, such as bacalhau à brás (cod, scrambled eggs and julienne potatoes) and arroz de pato (oven-cooked duck with rice). Tram 28 rattles past the terrace.
A lively bistro, Santo António de Alfama wins the award for Lisbon’s loveliest courtyard – all creeping vines, twittering budgies and fluttering laundry. The menu includes gorgonzola-stuffed mushrooms, and roasted aubergines with yoghurt.
Olivier sees chef Olivier da Costa prepare French-inspired dishes amid gilded banquettes and low-hanging chandeliers. Favourites include duck magret with port-wine sauce, and fish, prawns and spinach in puff pastry.
Overlooking São Domingos Square, Lisbon Story is a small, welcoming guesthouse where rooms have Portuguese themes: one celebrates azulejos, while another pays homage to the country’s greatest writers, and comes complete with a typewriter. The shoe-free lounge, with throw pillows and low tables, is a nice touch.
The family-run Casa de São Mamede is an 18th-century villa with stylish flourishes – a red carpet graces the stone staircase, while tinkling chandeliers crown the exquisitely tiled dining room. Large, serene rooms also sport period furnishings.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Barcelona is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all. Furthermore, Barcelona is also a great city for students to study in.


Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia and Spain's second largest city, with a population of nearly one and half million people (nearly five million in the metropolitan area).
This city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town under its old name, Barcino.

In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry.
This had the effect of changing the city in ways that are still felt today with neighbourhoods renovated (and in some cases levelled) and the intense focus of modern design permeating all aspects of life in Barcelona from public buildings to something as simple as a park bench or an event poster.

Best things to do in Barcelona

*Discover the city on foot*

Barcelona is a big city, but it's the perfect size to discover on foot. Spend a day away from the metro and the tourist bus, and take your time strolling around and stopping to recharge with some of the city's great gastronomic options. If you're in the mood for visiting some of the most impressive buildings and parks, you'll want to see all the Parc de la Ciutadella has to offer as well as the Parc de Joan Miró, and the Montjuïc castle, but there's also a Barcelona you won't find in guidebooks. Get off the beaten path and head up to Horta, get to know the charm of the Sant Andreu district, see a lesser-known side of the Eixample and take in breathtaking panoramic views.

If your legs are more up to the task than your feet, you can also see the city by bicycle. Of the numerous ones around town, we've weeded out 10 routes in the city and surrounding areas for you to discover Barcelona while you pedal, whether you're a lifelong cyclist or still wobbling about without those extra wheels in the back.

*Explore Gaudí and modernism*

Without a doubt, one of Barcelona's top attractions for tourists (as well as for those who live here) is admiring the city's modernist architecture, and the works of Antoni Gaudí in particular. Just walking around you'll come across various examples of Gaudí's work throughout the city, be they civil or religious buildings. The most famous are the Sagrada Família, impressive both outside and in; Park Güell, a space that's out of a fairy tale and emulates an English garden city; and La Pedrera. But don't miss the opportunity to visit other Gaudí buildings that sometimes occupy smaller space in guidebooks, such as Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Vicens and (if you have time to venture a bit outside Barcelona) the crypt of the Colònia Güell, in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.

*Fill up on tapas, pintxos and vermouth*

Pintxos, in essence, are Basque tapas - plates of bite-sized goodies served atop a piece of bread - and they're also a culinary trend in Barcelona. Tradition calls for you to pick at the food with toothpicks, and at the end of the night you will be charged for the number of toothpicks that you have used. One of the best places to give them a try is Euskal Etxea, where you can get stuck in to ham empanadillas (a type of pie), pintxos made of chicken tempura with saffron mayonnaise, melted provolone with mango and ham, or a mini-brochette of pork. But lest you forget, there are many more pintxos places in town as well.

*Climb up the magical Montjuïic*

Montjuïc mountain is the perfect place for a leafy stroll with great views, but it does take a bit of legwork to get up there, so it's less populated by tourists. But don't let that deter you. Aside from the natural surroundings and spectacular vistas, you'll find buildings from the 1992 Olympic Games, including the Palau Sant Jordi and the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. If you're feeling full of beans and you get to the top of the hill, you can check out the Olympic stadium and the Jardi Botànic. Plaça Espanya, at the foot of Montjuïc, is the most common access point to the mountain, and where you can also visit the Pavelló Mies van der Rohe and the CaixaForum cultural centre.

*Walk on the arty side*

In Barcelona, taking a walk in the park is not only a way to relax, it can also lead you to discover some great art. Get up and get out for a walk around the lush gardens of the Teatre Grec and then head over to the Fundació Joan Miró, one of the largest museums in the world and home to a collection of over 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and graphic pieces by the Spanish surrealist painter, along with a number of works by his contemporaries.

Listing all the museums and art galleries in the city would take quite a bit of time, but one of the jewels is the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), with pieces that represent Catalan art from the Romanesque period to the mid-20th century.

*Get to know the city's history*

When visiting a new city, it's always good to learn a bit about its history in order to understand its architecture, its art, what makes it tick, and something of the character of its people. As an international city, Barcelona is full of diverse cultures and heritages, and with every step you take through its streets, you'll stumble upon some of its history.

*Chow down fresh seafood*

No one leaves Barcelona without sampling the seafood. The city toasts the fine and luxurious Galician restaurant Rias de Galicia in Poble-sec, as well as Cachitos in the Eixample, for their fantastic assortment of seafood. Cal Pep in the Born is known for its trifásico, a mélange of fried whitebait, squid rings and shrimps, and exquisite little tallarines (wedge clams). The Barceloneta restaurants La Mar Salada and Can Solé display a spectacular haul of fresh seafood every day, which is likely to tempt you if you're piscatorially inclined.

*Take a dip in the Mediterranean*

Barcelona has a little over four kilometres of beaches where you can spread out your towel, stab your umbrella into the sand, smear yourself with sun cream and find a very safe place for your rucksack. From the beach of Sant Sebastià, passing through Barceloneta, to the beaches of Nova Icària or Mar Bella - and each has its own selection of chiringuitos where you can get a refreshing respite from the sun (most also have a bit of nightlife later). And just a few minutes by train or a short drive in the car, you can take in other coastal towns with gorgeous beaches, part of the gift of the Mediterranean that just keeps giving.

*Sip a cocktail on a terrace*

The best place to kick back and enjoy a cold beer in Barcelona is one of the many outdoor bars and cafés in the city's terraces. Bar Colombo is a little tapas bar with a sunny terrace overlooking the port, while the Australian-run Bar Kasparo offers outdoor seating beneath shady arcades overlooking a playground for children. Another option is Bar Calders, a friendly hole-in-the-wall with a terrace. There are also a number of bustling cafés with terraces along La Rambla, such as Quim de la Boqueria. And don't worry, the terraces aren't just for summer; they're open all year round.

*Wander through the neighbourhoods*

Many visitors tend to spend their days in Barcelona visiting the most central areas (the Born, the Barri Gòtic and the Eixample), but the city is so much more. Gràcia (voted best neighbourhood by the city's residents) is full of life at all hours of the day, and among its little streets you'll be able to scratch that consumer itch in its many quality shops. Sarrià, while more on the posh side, still has the charm of the small town it once was; and Montjuïc is full of parks and gardens to take a nature break away from the crowds and stroll or have a picnic. But these days, Poble-sec and Sant Antoni are definitely the places to be, especially for their top cuisine and quality entertainment.


Una visita en Madrid


...the capital of Spain, located in the heart of the peninsula and right in the center of the Castillian has a population of over three million. 
A cosmopolitan city, a business center, headquarters for the Public Administration, Government, Spanish Parliament and the home of the Spanish Royal Family, Madrid also plays a major role in both the banking and industrial sectors.
Most of its industry is located in the Southern fringe of the city, where important textile, food and metal working factories are clustered. Madrid is characterized by intense cultural and artistic activity and a very lively nightlife.

Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain
If you are planning to visit Madrid however you’re seeking more non-traditional tips and alternative spots to visit take a look at the recommendations below. From shopping to eating and spas galore there will be lots of great spots in Madrid to visit.

Location of Madrid


In Madrid there are a plethora of small boutiques that stock a variety of beautiful and intricate garments so if you’re one of those people that cringes at the site of spotting someone across the street wearing the same thing as you, it’s the small shops along the streets of Claudio Coello, Jorge Juan & Villanueva in the Salamanca district that are meant for you.

For  fresh, contemporary and innovative buyers, one of the most interesting stores is Yube (Fernando VI, 23). You will be able to find some of the best international brands such as Vanessa Bruno, See by Chloé, Woolrich, Moncler, Attic & Barn and Filippa K.  However, if you like to follow trends but you also think minimalism is the “must” and “less is more” you should stop by Popi&Hafner (C/ Lope de Vega 3), a very young but promising Spanish fashion brand.  It is the best place for women who love to feel feminine, elegant and sensual

Another boutique named NAC (Génova, 18) offers a distinguished selection of the best national and international designers throughout their inventory. With their incredibly decorated space and the enticing clothing in it, it’ll be hard to leave empty handed.

If living alternative is your lifestyle of choice, shop the cool and unique clothes at the storefront, David Christian (Almirante, 18). Maria Roca offers an extended selection of custom clothing to wear during the day or at night.  In fact it’s her cocktail dresses, golden belts and palazzo pants in unique fabrics that are her specialty.


Ten con Ten (Ayala,6) is one of the most fashionable restaurants in town.  A great spot for people watching while simultaneously having a great lunch or dinner.  Definitely make sure to swing by with some friends to have a snack or a drink, a delicious cocktail prepared by his recognized barman, and of course taste their amazing menu.

The Sexto (Fernando VI, 6) offers an extensive menu of Mediterranean and market cuisine, with fresh, homemade dishes. A perfect place to go have breakfast, lunch, dinner or for an afterwork drink with friends.


Le Petit Salon (Almagro, 15) is a charming beauty center created by Elena Comes in a true Parisian boudoir style. Since their doors first opened, it has become one of the top spots for many beauty addicts and celebrities alike.  My Little Momó (Lagasca, 3) is known for their manicure and pedicure treatments at the cutest salon with the soothing and ideal ambience one looks for in a spa.
But if you just want to spend a cozy evening at home because it’s cold outside, flowers and plants are the perfect way to add beauty and warmth to your living room. Verde Pimienta is a deliciously laid floristry shop that brings the exquisite world of floristry closer to the public by delivering high-end, trendsetting floral designs.

Gran via, Madrid

Reference: oliviapalermo.com