Romance & Relaxation
Thursday, 11 October 2012 00:00
Cooking and Nature - Emotional Hotel, a new four star in Alvados in the town of Porto de Mos, opened on September 24, 2012. The new hotel has 12 rooms, a restaurant, spa, indoor and outdoor pool, meeting room, lounge and children’s area, plus garden and porch swings, free wi-fi, and bicycles. The hotel covers an innovative concept, or a different space that appeals to the senses, the emotions and the imagination, combining nature, cuisine, relaxation and unique experiences. http://www.cookinghotel.com/
Monday, 13 August 2012 17:46
The Lisbon Hostel is the world’s best hostel, according to international voting at the Hostelworld.com Hoscar Awards. The Lisbon Hostel joined 4 other Lisbon hostels in the top 10 list: Lisboa Central Hostel (3rd place); Living Lounge Hostel (4th place); Goodnight Hostel (5th place) and Rossio Hostel (6th place). This marks the 2nd year in a row that Portugal was rated first in the list of top 10 best hostels list of the Hoscar Awards.
The awards recognize hostels around the world for their high standards, with more than 25,000 properties eligible in 180 countries.
Monday, 26 March 2012 00:00
Only one hour south of Lisbon, Comporta, along with the Costa Vicentina, is one of Portugal's most unspoiled and alluring beach destinations, offering vast stretches of pristine beaches, turquoise water, excellent local wine and fresh fish. Surrounded by rice paddies and an umbrella pine forest, Casas Na Areia opened in September 2010 and looks out onto the Sado estuary famous for its stunning sunsets, salt pans, flamingos and flocks of dolphins. Owned by Andreia Revez and her husband TAP Air pilot João Rodrigues, four thatched beach huts sit on a sandy plot of land close to the tiny fishing hamlet of Carrasqueira. Three are bedroom units with concrete floors and minimalist white Corian open plan bathroom units. A cozy intelligent-design kitchen block serves as a dining and sitting area, which uses natural and raw materials. Wattle and bullrush roof and walls with a carpet of fine sand, which is underfloor heated during the night, ticks all the boxes. Portuguese designer Jorge Correia do Vale was ubiquitous as ever, using a long wooden dining table from German designers E15 to dominate the space while Gervasoni Ghost chairs and sofas sit neatly above the sand. Playful wooden masks and drums from Mozambique lend a tropical theme to the Manuel Aires Mateus-designed cabin structure. This may feel like Bali but within a ten minute walk from the house, a ramshackled, hand built Portuguese wooden fishing dock branches out into the water on stilts. Porto Palafita serves as the hub of the local traditional wooden fishing boat community and a vast privately owned 12,000 hectare wildlife sanctuary makes up what is called Herdade da Comporta. CasasNaAreia sleeps 8 adults and can be rented for 500-600€ per day.
Thursday, 22 March 2012 00:00European H.O.G Rally, Harley-Davidson is again gearing up for a seasidespectacular. The event is now heading to the Atlantic to its new home for 2012 -From June 14-17, Cascais and Estoril will be play host to the European H.O.G. Rally 2012. Known as “the land of kings and fishermen’ historic Cascais earned its fame as a royal resort at the turn of the last century. These days you're more likely to bump into cosmopolitan crowds from Lisbon - but this June royalty will be welcomed back as Road Kings rumble into town. Just 15 miles west of Lisbon, Cascais is a picture-perfect coastal town. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful countryside the town itself is a maze of cobbled streets that lead you down to its harbor and beachfront. It's here that this year's event will come alive as Harley-Davidson takes over with live music on two stages, hospitality bars, demo rides and a village for Harley-Davidson dealers.This year's Custom Bike Show will take place in nearby Estoril, by the beachfront in the plaza of Europe’s biggest casino. Bring along your beautiful customized creations for a chance to win some fabulous prizes, including a trip to Sturgis for the Best Modified Harley.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 20:48If you stand within the thick granite walls of the medieval town of Trancoso, in the mountains of the Centro Region, you would never guess that one of Europe’s great love tales began here. The king D. Dinis (1261-1325) was a renaissance king long before the renaissance. He was the first European leader to drop Latin as the language of the court in place of vernacular tongue. He empowered dozens of towns with charters, built a string of innovative castles to defend the frontiers, invested in improving agriculture, and planted a vast pine forest near the royal palace in Leiria that still stands to this day. But a great king deserves a great queen, and D. Dinis was to wed a princess from Aragon whom he had never met. But her portrait showed a sensitive, lovely young woman with green eyes, green as the pine trees he so loved.
So, even without meeting her, he knew he loved Isabel. As she made her long journey to sunny Portugal, he could not wait in the capital in Coimbra, but rather, he rode to Trancoso, a day’s journey from the boarder, and waited. When they met, he was awe struck, and vowed to himself to woo his bride so that she would him too. And thus, they became friends, and then fell much in love.
It was Isabel’s overwhelming generosity and concern for the poor that D. Dinis most admired. From their palace, perched high above the Mondego River in Coimbra, she could look down at the Poor Clair’s Convent, built at the river’s banks. In winter, the river would flood the convent, causing damage and discomfort, and the queen would quickly pay for repairs. The level of her help reached a point that the royal treasurer had to protest to the king that his ambitious plan to refortify the frontier was endangered because of the expense the queen was throwing at the convent. D. Dinis knew he had to rein her in, and rehearsed a long stern talk, but when the time came to tell her, he found himself muttering something about the treasury, and to stop spending money on rebuilding a convent that should never have been built on a river bank in the first place.
Months passed, Isabel heeded his words, and then a winter flood in January washed through the convent of the Poor Clair’s nuns. Isabel knew she couldn’t use royal founds, so she took her own gold and jewels in a box, and walked down to the convent to offer it to help the nuns. Dinis sat at his window –when he saw his bride holding a box under her cloak and walking to the river, he followed her progress, and then realized what she was doing.
The king called for his horse, and made off to the river.
He caught up with his wife at the gate of the convent. For the first time she saw anger in his eyes. He dismounted, walked to her and demanded to know what she was holding under her cloak?
Isabel knew she had no way of explaining this to her husband, who was beyond reason. She prayed for assistance.
“I bring roses, my lord.”
“Roses?!? Do you think I would believe that any rose could bloom in this cold month?” he scoffed.
“But, they are roses!” She exclaimed and opened her cloak, to reveal divine roses.
The king knew this was a miracle, and dropped to his knees, asking her forgiveness.
D. Dinis was man of his word, and he granted his wife the revenue of several towns so that she would have her own funds to help the needy. The first town he granted her was Trancoso, the second was Obidos – a charming town near Lisbon.
And not too many years past, Isabel was canonized, and become the patron saint of Coimbra. Every June the city celebrates her with a huge parade bringing her statue from the New St. Clara Convent (yes, they moved it to the top of hill!), where the queen’s remains are buried, across the river to the city for a blessing. And from the Azores to the North, Rainha Santa Isabel remains Portugal’s favorite saint.
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