Category Archives: Travel

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A little bit of Spain in one week – Part two: Antequera

Another place I visited in Andalucia was Antequera. It’s beautiful and it has a great historical past. We have many places to eat and drink, trying the amazing tapas. The surroundings are amazingly beautiful and still full of green Nature. This is a place where I think I could live. It’s so good to be in a middle of a city with lots of places to visit and things to do but still see Nature all around you.

Antequera is known as “the heat of Andalusia” since the early 16th century, not only because it is a very central place, but also because of the contributions in the fields of agriculture and craftery.

Nearby you have El Torcal, which I only saw in the distance, but I want to visit and see closely some other time. El Torcal is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range. I don’t have pictures of it but I found this one on the internet to show you what I’m talking about.

torcal-de-antequeraFrom http://www.jetviajes.com/viajar/escapadas-naturales-espana/

 

Antequera has two burial mounds/dolmens dating from the 3rd millennium BC. They say that when archaeologists opened the graves they found several skeletons inside. One of the dolmens dates from about 1800 BC.

You can also find evidence of Roman invasion. I have some pictures of the roman baths, which can still be seen very clearly and you can distinguish the hot, medium and cold water places.

Antequera was also invaded by Muslims, and after they were driven out the city became a Catholic fortress against the Muslims who were still invading Granada.

There are many catholic monuments all around. You can visit, for example, the Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, a 15th century church that is amazingly beautiful. In the main entrance of the church you can see a statue of Pedro Espinosa (you can see in the the pictures below), a spanish humanist, on the Plaza de Escribanos. In here there is a nice cafeteria with tables outside where you can enjoy the sun. We didn’t go inside the church, but from the pictures I’ve seen afterwards, it must be really beautiful.

Another one I’ve seen on the outside is Insigne Iglesia Colegial y Mayor Parroquial de San Sebastián, or Real Colegiata de San Sebastián. This one is in the middle of a square where you can also find good places to eat, drink and rest a little bit from a long walk around town.

You can make the big shopping there since you have bigger supermarkets and it’s quite cheap. There are also pubs to go out at night and lots of types of restaurants and shops.

Here are some pictures for you. I have to say sorry to two of my friends who got caught in some of them.

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A little bit of Spain in one week

Not long ago I was in Spain on holidays, spending a week in Andalucía. I am going to write a couple of posts about the places I visited because I don’t want to make a single post that is too long to read.

The house I was staying in it’s placed in the middle of mountains. I did a lot of sleep and eat and read and watching movies. It was brilliant to run away from a big city craziness and routine. In the morning I would wake up to the sound of the birds and in the evening all I could hear was the amazing song of the crickets and some dogs barking. No traffic, no city noises, no packs of people.

The house is surrounded by trees and it has a small river nearby. It is amazing to wake up with the sun on your window and listen to the birds outside instead of cars. I could even find the first poppies of the year in the middle of big green fields.

The weather there in the beginning of April was real spring time, with the warm sun and a gentle breeze during the day. The sun went down between 8 and 9 p.m. At night it would get a little bit cold but the fireplace was the perfect solution for that.

These  are some pictures of the surroundings of the house I was staying in.

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Arroyo Coche is a small village next to Los Palomos, where I was staying. It took me and my friends more or less 20 minutes to walk there and it was a pleasant walk because we were in the middle of a beautiful landscape all the way there. You can find shops for the basic things and there is a bar where we ate delicious paella and some good tapas. People are friendly and nice to you, even if your Spanish is not that good.

I don’t have pictures from Arroyo Coche. The ones below were taken on the way home.

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Soon I will post some more about the places I visited in Spain and some nice pictures as well. I hope you like it!

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Sintra, my paradise

I know I posted about Sintra already (click here to see) but many of you didn’t know my blog yet. You can’t imagine how I love this little fantasy corner near Lisbon. It’s magic, it gives me inspiration, it makes me feel peace.
Lord Byron wrote once: “I must just observe that the village of Sintra in Estremadura is the most beautiful in the world”. I don’t know if it’s the most beautiful one, but it’s definitely on the top 5 list.
Hans Christian Andersen said that Sintra is a true vignette of the Thousand and One Nights, a fairy-tale vision”. That was so long ago but many people still agree with him.
Many things happen in Sintra. It’s almost like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but different. I’m not going to tell you about that 😉 But you can read. Believe me when I say that many of the things you read about Sintra (depending where you read it from) may seem weird or unbelievable but many of it are true.
Sintra as the power of making people happy. Also, people feel they want to explore. The  sense of adventure grows inside each one of us. We go inside the green forest, in the middle of the trees, climbing rocks.
Apart of that, you can see beautiful houses, visit amazing monuments, eat tasty food.
Lisbon is an amazing city but Sintra is special.
Here are some photos taken by me the last time I went there. I hope you enjoy it.
 
 
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The life in the center of Lisbon, Portugal

Very close to each other (same metro station and everything), you can find two of the most beautiful and magical places right in the center of Lisbon.
Baixa and Chiado are my two favorite places where I can easily go anytime I want, because the transports are really good and being in the center of Lisbon I get there quite fast.
There you can see all types of people, from suited men in the middle of a day of work, to goths and hippies, and families of tourists on a daily walk. It makes me feel good to see all these different people, the diversity of human race.
In Baixa there are a lot street artists along the many streets: statue man/woman, musicians, dancers, and all kinds of performers. In Chiado you can find it too, specially around the metro station where lots of people stop to watch and listen… It doesn’t matter if they are shopping, if they went there for a drink, or if they just finished work and are on your way to go home: most people stop and join the crowd.
One day I went there with my boyfriend on one of his first days in Lisbon and I wanted to show him the magic of the place. It was amazing when we were going up on a big street in Chiado and we see lots of people just standing there listening to a couple who was playing violins and singing opera, in the middle of the street. Simply magical!
In Baixa the streets show you the old Lisbon. The buildings, the statues, the pavement. You go down until you arrive Terreiro do Paço and you can sit down and watch the river.

One of the many streets on Baixa

 

 

When you arrive to Terreiro do Paço

 

Inside the square of Terreiro do Paço

 

In Terreiro do Paço, the statue of D. José I, king of Portugal (someone told me it’s São Jorge…I’m just telling what people told me)
And if you are hungry, you can go up again on the opposite direction of the square to the tower (Torre do Relógio). You can find lots of restaurants, some with fast food, some with big and nice cooked meals. Some of them are quite cheap, by the way, you just need to look for it instead of going in the first restaurant you see.
Torre do Relógio

When I was there with my boyfriend the first time, I took him to a nice restaurant right in front of the tower where they serve, among other very tasty things, Francesinha, a typical Portuguese dish from Porto (in the North of Portugal). I know I should have told him to eat something typical from Lisbon, but I love francesinha, and it’s hard to find a place where they make it well. When it’s well made, it’s divine!
It’s a mixture of meats, including beef and sausage, chips, fried egg, bread, ham, cheese and an amazing sauce with lots of things I can’t quite remember them all. Sometimes it’s a little to spicy for me, but I always eat it all, because I really, really love it!

 

Francesinha

If you go up a little further you arrive to another square: Rossio. The train station also stops there.

Rossio

 

In the square of Rossio

Again in Baixa, you can try to find the way to the castle, Castelo de São Jorge. On your way up you see lots of churches and  beautiful places where you can have an amazing view of Lisbon.

Really cool tree on the way to the castle

 

One of the churches you see
And this is part of Lisbon; you can see it on your way to the castle

 

 

I’m sorry, I don’t have any photos from the Castelo de São Jorge… My fault!

And if you are in Chiado you can go up a little bit and you find yourself in Adamastor, a place to chill while having a drink with your friends. It’s really romantic too for couples, specially because of the sunset.
The place is always crowded. You can either sit on the little coffee shop, in the stones on the ground where you can stay near the river, or in the grass.

 

 

 

 

But if you are there at night, you might want to go back to Chiado, at Praça de Camões, maybe drink a ginjinha there (really good drink!), and then go up to Bairro Alto. There are lots of types of bars, with different music, ambiance, people. You just need to choose.  It’s my favorite place to go out at night.
And it’s still the old part of Lisbon, so you can enjoy the architectural beauty anytime.
I’m sorry if this was a long post and it gets a little confusing… I want to show you this part of Lisbon the best I can. Feel free to explore these places on the Internet. I don’t have anymore pictures to show you. Hope you liked it.
— Ladybug
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Sintra, land of poets

 Today I’m showing you some pictures I took on my last trip to Sintra, one of my favorite places in Portugal.
If you come to Portugal some day and if you have a chance, you really need to visit this beautiful village. It has a great historical power, if you want there are some websites on the Internet where you can read about it.
What I love the most about Sintra is the feelings I have when I am there. It’s mystical, magic, romantic. Lord Byron wrote about it in his poems, like some other of poets and writers, and when I am there I can feel inspired by it’s amazing views.
Nature is all around Sintra, wherever you look you can see it, and you can feel it when you breath. Sometimes there’s a fog in the village that makes it even more mysterious.
There are lots of cultural activities you can do there and I can’t get tired of visiting the palaces, the castle (Castelo dos Mouros), the monuments. 
Estrada Velha (click for info) is a bar where I go almost every time, and where in can eat and drink for good prices. Lord Byron has a restaurant there with his name, which is really nice too (click here to see).
There are lots of places where you can eat good food for good prices. You can try some of the traditional food, meat or fish and you really (really!) have to try queijadas de sintra and travesseiros de sintra… sweet and really tasty! You can feel the smell of it when you get to Piriquita coffeehouse and I feel like I can’t resist it no matter how much I tried (but I really don’t want to try resisting :p ). Click the name of each pastry and the coffeehouse to read about it.
I really love Sintra. Whenever a friend from other country comes to Lisbon, I do the best I can to take him/her there.
Someone I know said it’s like a realistic Disneyland. I am not sure of this, but I know I always have lots of fun there, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and magical places I’ve seen. It’s simply amazing.
You really show try to find information on the Internet about it. It’s really worth it.I wish this pictures could show half of what Sintra really is, but this is one of those places where you need to go to understand what I mean.

You have to feel it, you have to live it!

If any of you have been in Sintra before, leave your opinion in the comments if you want. Or you can comment if you heard about Sintra before too. It’s always good to share opinions.

I hope you like the pictures 🙂

LadyBug