Thursday, September 19, 2013


The above lake, largely free of light pollution, is the first site in the world to have been declared by both UNESCO and The World Tourism Organization as the world's first starlight tourism destination, on account of the clarity of the night sky. 
At one and half hour of drive southeast from Lisbon, this 250 km2 Reserve with a 1,200 km lakeside of about 85 km long - today's biggest artificial lake in Europe -, is surrounded by cork forests, vibrant olive groves and vineyards, now and then dotted by small medieval white towns, making the whole Alqueva Region be a wonderful destination to whoever looks for unique sensations as well as the opportunity to navigate using only the stars.

The never ending nature and the picturesque medieval castle (World Culture Heritage) of the ancient walled village of Monsaraz town (photo above)  are waiting to be discovered by you. You will feel like in the Middle Age!

Thank you!
Enjoy the weekend

Monday, September 16, 2013


The town of Vernon, in Normandy (France) offers some peculiar sights but I was caught by surprise as I saw this nice old mill, a half-timbered construction probably built in the XVI century. It lies straddling two piers of the ancient bridge over the Seine, precisely at Vernon. 

The bridge was destroyed for several times and the mill was about to fall into the Seine River when the town of Vernon decided to undertake its renewal, preserving the character and the history of the structure.

However, much before, it had belonged to an opera composer, Jean Nouguès. A few years later, Nouguès sold it to an American millionaire but after the latter's death, the town of Vernon tried to find his heirs but didn't succeed.

The old mill and its peripheral structures that were immortalised by Claude Monet, is now a symbol of Vernon. It even illustrates the postal logo of the city!

I hope such a beautiful mill will stand for another thousand years, while France and the world continues to change around it.

Thank you!

Friday, September 06, 2013


The Kingdom of Morocco has come for ten days to Sintra (a small town located not far from Lisbon) with the aim of organizing several cultural activities, ranging from traditional products and handicrafts to workshops of calligraphy, not missing a nice buffet of Moroccan food and music performances. 
All of these were held at a very symbolic site, the Moorish Castle that reminds the Muslim past of Portugal to whoever visits it. Mind you, the Castle was built during Moorish occupation, 8th to 9th centuries. It seats on the top of Sintra hill, prviding a panoramic view that spreads from the old town to the farming area till the Atlantic coast.
It seats on the top of Sintra hill, providing a panoramic view that spreads from the old town to the farming area till the Atlantic coast.

Inside the Castle, normally a bit gloomy, there was a colourful atmosphere that for a while made me get the illusion I was somewhere else in the enchanting country that Morocco is. 
The weather was very co-operative with the event and I enjoyed every moment of the time spent over there. As soon as I saw a calligrapher at a stall, I didn't hesitate to ask him to write my name in Arabic letters. Surprise of the surprises: Queen Leonor had been written in the paper! I could not help but smiling at him!
I returned back home crowned, yet not feeling the weight of the crown. Maybe it was made of paper!!!

Thank you!

Have a very enjoyable weekend!