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Travel

My Well Traveled Year of 2015

January 2, 2016

For the last few years, or actually since my blog exists, I am trying to keep up with the tradition of writing a summary of my previous year in terms of my work and travels. Looking back at my previous posts from previous years (20122013, 2014) is a great opportunity for me to see my growth personally and professionally.

2015 has been quite a busy year for me.

I’ve been traveling to Europe, the US and Africa. The latest has been an eye opener experience I will not easily forget. And while I was back in Tel Aviv, I was busy shooting stories in the city for various magazines in Europe. Tel Aviv seemed to be a popular destination to write about.

In January I have travelled with my boyfriend to Val Gardena, in the Dolomites of South Tyrol. As a semi pro skier, he wanted to teach me how to ski. Since I have never skied before (not even when I was living in New York) and after three try outs that failed to keep me standing still on the snow, I have preferred to take pictures and document others skiing, then sliding the snow slopes myself.

Travel in Val Gardena

Travel in Val Gardena Italy

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Editorials

Shooting Lisbon’s Food Scene for Virtuoso Magazine, September Issue

September 1, 2015

Those of you who follow my blog and my recent travels, know that I have a soft spot for Portugal in general, and Lisbon in particular. For the last three years I’ve been visiting Lisbon six times already and shot hotels, restaurants and street scenes for various magazines.

From an outsider point of view, and as a photographer, it is great to see how the city has changed through these year.

The city is buzzing with tourists, the cafe’s are packed with people, new wine boutiques, boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, chefs’ restaurants, colorful tik-tok taxies, yellow trams riding back and forth the historic route of Lisbon. Even the sardines smell better. I call it The Revival of the City. 

When Virtuoso magazine has asked me to shoot ‘Lisbon Tasty Renaissance’ a food story about Lisbon, I said Yes right away. Especially since the Portuguese kitchen is one of my favorite.

I was lucky to shoot some of the top chefs in Lisbon, such as Jose Avillez and Joao Rodrigues, who both won a Michelin star. I also shot the new Mercado da Riberia and some other great restaurants and bars. It was a great way to discover Lisbon through the food.

You can download the full article here, or scroll down for some highlights and addresses from the article, for your next travel in Lisbon.

 

Mercado da Ribeira

Start your exploration of the Mercado da Ribeira by nibbling on petiscos, the Portuguese equivalent of Spanish tapas, a tradition of small bites that is rising in popularity in Lisbon. These might be a vinegary octopus salad, fried green beans, or local cheeses. Sip wild cherry liqueur and eat a prego, or steak sandwich, served on soft, circular bolo do caco bread. Sample bites of cured ham and sausage, sourdough acorn bread, and creamy cinnamon gelato from Santini, and make sure to buy a small bottle of local piri piri chili oil. With around 30 stalls, you can easily wander and try whatever looks good. One of the best souvenirs is inexpensive but high-quality tinned fish at the Conserveira de Lisboa outpost. For kitchenware and other Portuguese-made finds, browse the shelves of local favorite A Vida Portuguesa. Rua Anchieta 11.

Mercado da Ribeira for Virtuso Magazine

Mercado da Ribeira for Virtuso Magazine

 

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Design & Lifestyle Travel

Very Eco-Friendly Hotels in Portugal

July 30, 2015

Luz Hotel

In my recent visit to Portugal (beginning of July) I had the opportunity to stay and experience three different Eco-Friendly, Nature-Connected kinds of hotels.

In fact, it wasn’t the first time I stayed in an eco-friendly hotel in Portugal. My first time was last year, when I spent one night at the Eco Suite in Casas do Coro.  I remember this experience very well, and since then, I was seeking for more opportunities to stay in places like this.

Eco hotels and Nature connected ones are on the rise these days in Portugal. The tourists who are traveling outside of the big cities such as Lisbon or Porto, might be looking for something different or more unique.

There are the well known Pousadas hotels in Portugal, which are mostly castles and palaces that have been transformed into hotels, and there are also these new eco-friendly, nature hotels, which offer a different type of experience.

The Luz Houses in Fatima

Luz houses is a 15-room village in the city of Fatima. The terra rossa colored houses are located in a garden surrounded with trees, which allows privacy and an immediate connection to nature. There is the ‘mother-house’, which includes the reception desk, the dining area and the comfortable living room with a fireplace. The color scheme is perfect, in my opinion. A combination of redish brown walls outside with light turquoise and white as for the furniture.

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Luz Hotel

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The rooms are light and pastel colored, with wood’s natural colored elements and simple concrete floor. They are very opened spaced and airy and the bathing area is an integrated part of the room itself, with no dividing doors. Each room has a small kitchen and a dining area, especially for guests traveling with kids.

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The couple behind Luz Houses is Pedro and Ana, who live with their two little girls just next door. They didn’t hesitate to accept a challenge and convert the simple and ancestral houses, into a small designed paradise to those who are seeking to get away from the stress. Ana, who is an architect, is the one who is responsible for the design, the colors, the furniture and the little details that make this place so magical.

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For reservations: Luz Houses, Rua Principal nº 78, Moimento, 2495-650 Fátima, Portugal

Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel 

I didn’t get the chance to stay in Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel, but I had a delicious lunch under the trees. When I first entered the hotel, I was welcomed by a familiar wall collage made by my talented friend, Margarida Girao. I love seeing her Art in beautiful locations.

The hotel has 12 different rooms, each room is designed differently, expressing a certain emotion. The highlight of this hotel, beside its gorgeous outdoor pool surrounded by nature and trees, is the cooking experience it offers. Dinner can be in the format of a cooking lesson. How fun can it be to cook dinner with your friends or family in a well equipped and designed kitchen and not to worry about the dishes? Grab an apron and join the chef to cook dinner using the best ingredients this region has to offer.

Watch the movie of the hotel here.

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For reservations: Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel, Rua Asseguia das Lages nº 181, 2480-032 Alvados – Portugal

Areias do Seixo Hotel

In my last day in Central Portugal I got to stay in quite a magical hotel, called Areias do Seixo. Located in Santa Cruz, an hour drive from Lisbon, the hotel is just about off the sea, separated by some sand dunes and pine trees. I could easily step out of my room and walk toward the private beach of the hotel. Even though weather was a bit grayish, I took off my sandals and walked barefoot on the sand dunes. It felt so good. In a way, it It reminded me of my childhood.

The hotel is definitely connected with Nature. Using materials such as regional stone, pebble, glass and wood, with natural polished concrete floor and olive trees growing almost everywhere, including in my bathroom. I like the simplicity of these bare elements, and yet, every detail of the design was carefully and perfectly chosen.

This hotel is an ecological place using the principles of sustainable tourism: energy efficiency, renewable energies and the use of natural resources.

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The hotel has a great restaurant, which is opened to everyone (reservations are highly recommended). The philosophy behind it is to make the most of what our Earth has to offer; whether getting fresh herbs and vegetables from the hotel’s organic garden, or fresh seafood from the sea. While I was having lunch, I could spot the chef stepping out from the kitchen and hand picking some herbs and spices for my salad. When the chef heard I was vegetarian, he made sure to spoil me with some delicious home made bread and aubergine spread. The menu is changed regularly in order to adapt to only the freshest products.

Check out the restaurant website for more info.

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The hotel has only 14 rooms in the main building and eight villas for family rentals in a building next door.

Each room of the hotel is designed differently, but they are all overlooking the garden and the sea. (I think only the penthouse suite has a sea view). I stayed in Oliveira Princesa room (the Olive Tree Princess) named (clearly) after the olive tree I had in my bathroom.  Needles to say how many pictures I took of this bathroom heaven.

The hotel has few room types; The Gold Rooms (5 rooms) which focus on the secret world of color, texture and sensation. The Tree Rooms (4 rooms) which has some African inspirations. The Love Rooms (4 rooms) with some North African Moroccan inspirations, and The Land Room (1 room) also called Jasmine. It is the only room that doesn’t have a sea view but instead, has a small private garden with olive trees.

The hotel also offers various SPA treatments with two massage rooms, sauna, Turkish bath and relaxation room, outdoor swimming pool, cinema room (where you can choose a movie from a selection of DVD’s) and a beautiful Greenhouse, which is mostly for events and celebrations.

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For reservations: Areias do Seixo, Praceta do Atlântico, Póvoa de Penafirme, 2560-046 A dos Cunhados, Portugal

Another new Eco-Friendly hotel is Vale do Rio, located in the North region of Portugal. The hotel produces its own energy using a mini-hydric system that was on site since the end of the 1800’s. I haven’t been in this hotel, hence there are no images, but I promise to update once I stay there.

 

 

Travel

The Feast of the Trays in Tomar

July 28, 2015

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If you happen to be in Portugal during the month of July, I highly recommend not to miss the beautiful city of Tomar and the Feast of the Trays celebrations.

However, there is a catch. The Feast of the Trays, or Festa dos Tabuleiros, is taking place only every four years, and the next time will be in 2019.

I was lucky to experience this beautiful festival this year and learn more about the city’s traditions.

The Tray Festival or the Divine Holy Spirit Festival is one of the most ancient cultural and religious events in Portugal. If you want, you can compare it to Thanksgiving, as both holidays’ origin is in the Harvest. It is a very colourful festival, thanks to the beautiful paper-flowers decorations in the streets of Tomar and the flowers tabuleiro (tray) the girls carry on their heads.

The citizens of Tomar are getting ready for the big celebrations a few months in advance. They spend hundreds of hours making endless number of paper flowers to decorate their streets. The residents of each street are coming up with an idea or a theme or colour, and they work together on creating the decorations for the festival. It was great watching them uniting around these decorations; from young kids to the elderly; They were all motivated to have their street the best it can be. (One of my colleagues was joking and said that this is the time there are no arguments between neighbours… )

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But beside the paper decorations, the citizens of Tomar are decorating their terraces with their best colourful blankets. I’ve learned it is a Portuguese tradition (not only in Tomar) to put the best blankets outside the windows, when there is a religious festival or a procession. Most of the time, these blankets are hand made and pass from one generation to another, mostly for these religious holidays.

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There are several ceremonies of Festa dos Tabuleiros that are still maintained and kept in Tomar and some, that are slightly changed and adjusted to current days. For example, the Butler procession. Originally, the butler procession was a symbol of wealth and abundance, represented by bulls, or ‘The Holy Spirit Cows’. These bulls were paraded in front of the locals and afterwards were slaughtered and their meat was shared among the crowds. Whether rich or poor. This act was a symbol of brotherhood among the locals. However, since 1966 the act of slaughtering these bulls has been stopped and the meat is obtained from the owners of the Butcher shops to the families who need the most.

The parade is followed and accompanied by the local orchestra players. A great honour is given to the Butler of the parade, the City Mayor and the communities members who are dressed black and white, with a red ribbon around their neck.

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The most colourful and beautiful part of the parade is the Partial Parade, followed by the Tray Parade. It is when the girls from the different chosen parishes are carrying flower baskets on their heads and march from a location outside of the city centre and pass by the Nobel Court and City hall, where the Butler of the parade, the City Mayor and the Town Council are sitting and observing the parade.

The girls are the ones who carry the heavy flower baskets, decorated not only with flowers but also with bread loaves, which are later on given to the public.

Every girl is accompanied by a guy, who is not allowed to carry the basket but only there for help and support in case the girl is losing her balance or the basket is falling.

The parade passes through Tomar old town, through the City Hall and ends at the park, where the baskets are nicely put and held before the last parade, taking place on the same evening.

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If you have the chance to plan your next trip to Portugal, don’t miss Tomar with its beautiful streets and welcoming people.

Travel

Fifty Shades of Green, Terceira Island

May 21, 2015

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Have you ever wondered how many shades of green there are?

I stopped counting when I reached the top of Serra do Cume in Terceira island in the Azores. Serra do Cume is a complex of mountains and the view from the top was beyond beautiful; Hundreds of squared green patches of grass, which are mainly used for feeding bulls and cows. This scenic viewpoint is considered one of the island’s most beautiful landscape, and I highly recommend to drive up the mountains and not just drive through them.

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I have stayed in Terceira only for 24 hours and drove through a combination of Nature and City life. If you are visiting this beautiful green island, here are few suggestions not to be missed.

My day started with a climb to Mount Brasil and ended with an overview of the city of Angra de Heroismo (see below). The entire city spreads out over the gentle hill that faces the sea, and in the background is the almost circular form of Mount Brasil.

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Mount Brasil is a volcanic mountain which has a central crater surrounded by four hills. It forms a peninsula creating the bay of Angra.

If you climb up the mountain (probably by car) you should reach the Pico das Cruzinhas (the peak of the little Crosses) where old items of artillery recall the days of Second World War. This is a place for a few minutes of awe and inspiration, and to enjoy the beautiful view of Angra do Horoismo.

The city of Angra de Heroismo is best explored by foot. Walking through the cobble stone streets, you will discover some bright coloured facades with windows coloured frames. Don’t miss a beautiful view of the port and pay a visit to the city Cathedral.

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Walk up Rua Recreio dos Artistas, where colourful houses (coloured doorways and windows) form part of the city’s characteristic structure, and walk through Rua da Se, which has been the main route through the city since the 16th century.

I happened to visit the Se Cathedral of Angra do Heroismo, with its majestic entrance staircase. I was quite surprised to see its modest interiors, quite different than what I’m used to see in Churches. Apparently, there was a massive earthquake in 1980 in Terceira, which caused an extensive damage to the building and one of the bell towers was completely destroyed. Five years later, a great fire destroyed most of the interiors, from the carpentry, the organs and the framed ceiling decorations. Despite these disasters, the Cathedral is still one of the most important to the Azores.

Travel

Finding Beauty, Religion and Heritage in São Miguel, The Azores

May 14, 2015

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For the last three years I have been traveling to Portugal to photograph its beauty.

I have been to Lisbon a numerous times, captured Porto on a rainy weekend, been to the university of Coimbra, passed through Aveiro, and wined and dined in Alentejo, the so-called Tuscany of Portugal.

The country is fascinating and has all the elements to make it (if not already) as one of the most desired and affordable destinations to travel this year.

It was only a matter of time for me to travel to The Azores Islands, (total of nine islands) which were created out of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The islands are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, only one hour flight from Lisbon and five hours flight from Boston. The SATA airline, which has various routes, makes the Azores more accessible and closer than ever.

In previous posts, I mentioned my love for Portugal mostly thanks to its people and their desire to travel. The Portuguese are known for discovering and mapping the coasts of Africa, Canada, Asia and Brazil, in what became known as The Age of Discovery. Therefore, many of the Azores’ inhabitants are descendants of explorers who settled there several centuries ago.

Throughout the history of Portugal and with the restoration of Portuguese independence (1640) São Miguel, the biggest of the nine islands, was considered a central commercial base where ships crossing the Atlantic, stopped there for fuel. The island was sometimes considered as ‘The gate to Europe’. 

In this island, which can be easily called Heaven on Earth or Paradise, I have found timeless natural beauty and timeless heritage sites.

Here are the ones not to miss;

* Lagoa das Sete Cidades: 

The Lagoon of the Seven Cities is a twin-lake resort, Lagoa Verde (Green Lake) and Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) are so called for the reflection of colour in the water; each side of the lake reflects the sunlight in different colours and shades and creates this beautiful sight. Even though technically it is considered as one lake (it is only divided by a narrow passage and crossed by a bridge) most refer to it in terms of two separate ones. They are located inside an inactive Volcano with a 12km perimeter.

As weather can be very tricky in the Azores, this lake (like others) can be hidden from sight when it is foggy. I had to return a second time to experience this view in full glory when it was sunny.

In 2010, the Sete Cidades Lagoon was voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal and became a sacred place in the Island.

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* Lagoa de Santiago: 

Here is a confession to make; the view of Lagoa de Santiago from Pico da Cruz, is one of the most remarkable sights I have ever seen. I had to take a short video with my iPhone as a proof to myself that I was actually there.

The ten minute walk from the parking lot all the way to the peak of the mountain and the vista point were easy to walk. Not even the luscious flora along the way prepared me to what I was about to see.

I was very curious to see and understand what my tour guide, Cecilia, referred as Paradise, or as The most beautiful place on Earth. ‘I consider myself very lucky’ Cecilia kept telling me, ‘because I live in Paradise and soon you will see what I mean’.

And indeed, it was a jaw-dropping experience. Lagoa de Santiago is one of the most beautiful natural sites, and words cannot well describe it.

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* Lagoa do Fogo: 

Lake Fogo or Lagoon of Fire, is located in the center of São Miguel in the crater of an extinct Volcano. This enormous lake with its clear waters, peninsulas and white sand beaches (in some of its parts), is classified as a Nature Reserve. I reached the vista point of Pico do Barrosa on a very windy day, but luckily a clear day with no fog.

This lake is the highest above sea level in São Miguel and one of the largest of the water-bodies in the Azores.

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Driving through São Miguel’s many Volcanic craters and green mountains, I couldn’t help but think that this island can be the perfect backdrop for the movie set of Lord of the Rings.

On my second day, while I was visiting one of the churches, a group of men in colourful shawls and scarves, with back-packs on their backs, gathered outside the church in a circle and chanted some prayers. For a second, I thought someone was filming a movie and these men were actors, but apparently these Romeiros (Pilgrims) were following a tradition of walking for eight days across the island, from early morning till night. This tradition is taking place in the period of Lent, before Easter. These Romeiros carry backpacks, filled with food they get from families who host them and offer them a place to sleep during the night. (It is considered an honour for these families).

It was then when I realized that São Miguel is also renowned in terms of religious belief.

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On my last day in São Miguel I stayed in Ponte Delgada, the biggest city in the island, where most of the religious monuments are located. The original plan was to have some free time to walk around and experience the city, but a meeting with Eduardo Elias from Turismo office of the Azores, turned this day to one of the highlights of my trip. Eduardo, who heard that I am originally from Israel, prepared a special tour following some important religious sites.

* The Holy Christ of Miracles:

We started with the Holy Christ of Miracles, which is located in the Convent of Our Lady of Hope, (in the church of Nossa Senhora da Esperanca). We were directed to one of the rooms in the lower level. At first, I was admiring the colourful flower ornaments around the room, but only then did I notice the image of the Lord Holy Christ of Miracles opposite the main altar and at the end of a blue Azulej tiles corridor.  The glorious image of the Lord of Miracles is an impressive bust of natural size, representing Jesus as ‘Acce Homo’

The image of the Holy Christ of Miracles is from the beginning of the 16th century and was given by the Pope Paulo the third to two ladies from São Miguel, when they went to Rome to ask permission to build the first convent of nuns in the island. It was first located in a convent in Vale de Cabacos near the sea, but since the convent was exposed to Pirates attacks, it was agreed to move the image of the Holy Christ of Miracles to the Monastery of Esperanca, where it is today.

Since 1700 there are celebrations in honour of the Holy Christ of Miracles which last for one week in May. During the second day of celebration, which is a Sunday, the people of São Miguel are showing their faith and devotion for the Holy Christ by walking the streets of the city, carrying the image of the Holy Christ of Miracles. This week is one, if not the most important week in Ponta Delgada. It is followed by celebrations, feasts and cultural events, and thousands of Azoreans fly from Portugal, Brazil, US, etc to participate in these celebrations.

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and last, but not least was visiting the Synagogue Shaar Hashamaim in Ponte Delgada. I must admit that this visit was one of the peaks of my trip and brought some tears (of happiness) to my eyes.

* Synagogue Shaar Hashamaim:

We met with Dr. Jose de Almeida Mello, an Historian (who carries numerous honour titles) at the entrance of an old building in Rua do Brum. The domestic architecture of the building, the lack of any Jewish symbol didn’t prepare me to what’s inside. If I was by myself, passing this building on a regular day, I would never have thought that behind its doors there is the synagogue and the Hebrew temple of Ponte Delgada.

Dr. Jose Mello, who I fully admire, was appointed by the Israeli Community in Lisbon in 2003 as a co-ordinator of a committee which was responsible for the restoration and conservation of the synagogue. For the course of 12 years, he has investigated the history of the synagogue and took upon himself its restoration in order to turn it into a valuable and cultural patrimony of the city of Ponte Delgada.

The synagogue itself is hidden behind a wooden door. When the door is closed, nothing really hints that behind it, there will be the praying room, coloured light blue, with good natural light coming through two windows. In the north part of the room, there is the holy Torah with the prayer books inside.

Shaar Hashamaim is about to be opened soon to the public as a museum and a space for culture and tourism.

I encourage everyone who visits São Miguel to pay a visit to this museum, as a reminder of history, heritage and one person (Dr. Jose Mello) devotion.

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Stay tuned for Part 2.

Editorials Travel

Marie Claire UK, October Issue

October 5, 2014

October starts with some great news and with my debut in Marie Claire, UK version.

This is not the first time I have my images in Marie Claire. First time was in Marie Claire Italia, April 2012 featuring my ‘Intimacy under the Wires’ story, and few months later on September, the magazine featured an image of Jaffa Flea Market.

But this time is bigger and better. Deluxe Travel story about Lisbon with some of my fave images of the Portuguese Capital. This piece really makes me want to book a flight and visit Lisbon again.

If you can get your hands on Marie Claire UK, October issue, here are the details;

Must Do: Ride a vintage yellow tram, no. 28 takes scenic route; dine on fresh fish Aqui Ha Peixe in Bairro Alto; bring home stylish gloves from Luvaria Ulisses. 

What to Pack: Dresses are the ultimate holiday staple. Go for block colors that can be livened up with some carefully chosen accessories to take you from sightseeing to cocktail sipping.

Stay At: Palacio Belmonte, a luxurious ten-suite hotel inside the walls of medieval Sao Jorge Castle with terrific views over the city. Add in a swimming pool, garden and gorgeous 18th century azulejo tiles and you are all set for a romantic break.

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Editorials Travel

Featured in Virtuoso Life Magazine, July / August Issue

August 5, 2014

Since I visited Porto on February 2013, the city was chosen as European Best Destination for the year of 2014. And no wonder. The city combines a rich History alongside contemporary architecture and great dining scene thanks to the wine industry in Douro Valley.

The timing to visit Porto was a great one as I managed to experienced the city before it became too touristic or maybe over-written. My Porto images were in Huffington Post, Elle Decor and now in Virtuoso Life Magazine, July/August Issue.

Excited to have my debut image of Porto with Clérigos Church’s bell tower in the background, as an opener to ‘Porto Perks Up’ article by Jeanine Barone.

To read the full article, please click here or skip to page 128.

Design & Lifestyle Editorials Travel

Featured in Elle Decor US, May Issue

April 16, 2014

I am very honored and excited to have my debut image of Porto featured as the travel story opener in Elle Decor US, May Issue.

Beside Travel Magazines that inspire me, Elle Decor is an inspiration for everything that has to do with design. Quite often I get myself a copy of the magazine and dive into the homes and lives of others. Therefore, I was quite excited when the Photo Editor of Elle Decor has contacted me two months ago, asking me to share some images I took of Porto.

I visited Porto last February and spent a long weekend in that old mysterious and gothic city. I was quite lucky to experience so much in such a little time and get a sense of that city, which left me, of course, with the desire and curiosity to visit it again and experience it even more. (Hopefully during the Summer Season).

If my A Long Weekend in Porto post doesn’t convince you to book a flight or a vacation in this city, maybe the fact that Porto has just been selected as the Best European City for 2014, will do the trick.

 

 

 

 

Design & Lifestyle

Going Eco in Casas do Coro

March 7, 2014

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My recent visit to Central Portugal was hectic and full of great surprises. Not only did I get to see the beautiful landscape of the region, drink some really good local wine and meet some incredible interesting people. I also got the chance to stay in these people’s hotels and hear their inspiring stories.

One of them is Paulo Romao, the owner of the beautiful hotel Casas do Coro, who seems to be a natural with anything that has to do with fine cuisine, great wine and the art of hosting. He is also a full time businessman and a family man who travels everyday from the hotel and back home to be with his family.

Casas do Coro is located in the Historical Village of Marialva; a hilltop Medieval village with a Medieval Castle from the 16th/17th centuries which used to be a strong military base. When we got to Marialva it was already late. I couldn’t see what was around us but by the bumpy drive uphill I had a feeling we are on our way to a quite high and rural location.

I was right!

When I woke up the next morning and went for my morning run, I was breath-taken by the beautiful views of the valley, the cobble stone roads, the stone-village houses surrounded by light pink almond trees and the simple yet friendly local people. I felt as for a second I was transported to a different time in life.

A different era.

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Casas do Coro is definitely a good reason to stay in Marialva Village. Built in the year of 2000, the resort is actually a handful of restored homes that make up to a charming and luxurious rural tourism unit down the hill of the Medieval Castle. Each house unit is quite spacious and very welcoming. It is like your ‘Home away from Home’ experience. It is fully equipped with king size beds, marble baths, linen sheets, comfy sofas in the living room, TV, sound system, free WiFi and a modern kitchen where guests can cook all kinds of meals.

During Summer times the guests can enjoy the terraced gardens that lend themselves to picnic areas under the shade of olive trees and heavy vines next to the pool and jacuzzi. By this coming December a new SPA will be ready for the guests’ services.

If you don’t feel like cooking, you can always enjoy the home made gourmet cooking at the Casao prepared and cooked by Carmen. But remember to ask for it in advance. The dishes are inspired by the traditional and regional Portuguese cuisine, using fresh and local grown ingredients. And let Paulo choose the wine for each dish. He is an expert. The wines he drinks are produced in the Douro Valley and Dao. I completely surrendered to Paulo’s choices and ended up drinking three different wines in one dinner. (It was a first for me).

But the highlight of Casas do Coro is the Eco Suite. Located on a resorted hillside overlooking the village, in the middle of nature, the Eco Suite can be a perfect setting for a romantic getaway, enjoying all the services offered by the hotel, and yet, being secluded.

The Eco Suite, which was designed by the well known winning interior designer  Tomás Alía, consumes less energy than a conventional suite thanks to solar panels built on the outside of the suite. The solar panels heat the water and allows a 65% reduction of CO2 emissions. The materials used in both the constructions and the interiors are mostly natural, ecological and recycled and guaranteeing maximum comfort, calmness and well-being.

The Eco Suite is equipped with a king size bed with fresh white organic linen, private bathroom with a glass shower, bath in open space with a great view of the vertical garden of the suite, private deck surrounded by olive trees where the guests can enjoy the great Nature.

I only wish to see more of this Eco trend suite in more hotels throughout the World.

For booking the Eco Suite, please visit the link.

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