Tag Archives: Gardens

Azores: São Miguel Island

From Ponta Delgada To Furnas

Chá Gorreana

Yesterday I was in the small island (and gem) Santa Maria. Today, we discover the largest island of the Azores archipelago São Miguel with an area of 744.7 km ². Same team and awakening to dawns! We drive to the tea plantations.

After the tea of the Seychelles, the one of the Azores! So we visit of the Chá Gorreana family factory which produces organic tea. In the photos above and videos below: some key steps in the manufacture of tea (from leaf to tea bag). 



If you have trouble watching the videos, refresh the page and move the cursor a bit forwad on the timeline. And if it doesn’t work, do not hesitate to leave me a comment.. 



Next: Furnas

Poça da Dona Beija

Arriving at Furnas, we head towards the Poça da Dona Beija thermal baths with ferruginous spring water (photos above). I really enjoy the setting: the garden at the entrance of the complex reminded me of Kyoto. I guess I miss Japan.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to test the water’s benefits. Our timing is tight. We are on our way to the geysers in another area of Furnas (picture below). 

Caldeiras Termas

A lunar landscape with boiling water wells and smoke. It’s fascinating and mostly because these geysers are so close to homes (photos and videos below).



At Furnas Lake

End Of Cooking The Lunch

A short drive to Furnas Lake to attend the last step of cooking the Cozido das Furnas, a traditional dish cooked in the earth (quite similar to the French Pot au feu). The attraction is very touristy, but it is not annoying as the landscape around is beautiful!

Each restaurant has a dedicated “oven” (a deep hole in the earth), where the meal has cooked for several hours. A reduced team of men digs up to take the dish out of the earth. Then loaded in a van trunk, it will be delivered to the corresponding restaurant. For us: the restaurant of the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel. 



The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

A Smart Art Deco Hotel

We have lunch at the cosy Terra Nostra Garden Restaurant. The art Deco interior evokes the felted world of Hercule Poirot (the super star detective of Agatha Christie)!

Our main dish, the Cozido das Furnas is made up of different meats and vegetables cooked “à l’étouffée” (sort of a steamed stew). I defenitly like the local bread, its texture is close to the pancake, so delicious!

Then a long walk in the Terra Nostra Botanical Park with the huge 35-40 ° ferruginous thermal pool and superb gardens with over 2000 species of trees and a magnificent collection of camellias (video and photos below ). Yes, I love camellias! 


Before Leaving Furnas

A coffee at the Furnas Boutique Hotel (pictures below), decorated by Nini Andrade Silva (yes again!). In my article about Ponta Delgada, you can see her interior design for the Azor Hotel. 

Third photo below (and video): the wide swimming pool of the Pedras Do Mar Resort & Spa where we tasted some Gins of the Azores in late afternoon! More original than an umpteenth cocktail! And nice minimalist contemporary interior design.



Dinner At The Caloura Bar In Lagoa


In A Small Creek

Close to fishing boats, we dinner at the Caloura Bar in a friendly genuine atmosphere. The grilled fish is really fresh and tasty!

The Next Day

Before The Plane

Already our last morning in the Azores! Early departure to the Ponta Delgada market where I buy cheeses to offer (the “scent” in the suitcase, lololol!). Then we arrive at the soothing Lake Fogo, located in a nature reserve (photos and latest video below).

And we are lucky, nobody’s on the site! Short walk to one of the peaks around the lake. I am super happy (I need to exercise). But quickly, we have to go down and to rush to the airport! We’re almost late! 




Bye Bye Awesome Azores!

Sete Cidades  

A last view of the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend have been formed by the tears of a pastor and a princess having a forbidden love.

Question (from a former student in Anthropology): why are lakes and waterfalls often the results of forbidden love in different cultures? If you have any explanation, you’re welcome to leave a comment below! 

At midday, the Ponta Delgada airport. Next stop : Cascais via Lisbon … and I hope an ice cream at Santini!


Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.


Visit AzoresVisit PortugalTAP


Many thanks to Visit Azores, Visit Portugal and TAP for this superb invitation. As always, these are my opinions.

Algarve, Portugal: Anti-stress Massage @ Vila Vita Vital

Vita Vila Parc-Algarve-Portugal-1-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

Long weekend in an amazing location in the Algarve, 

South of Portugal: the superb Vila Vita Parc, part of The Leading Hotels of the World! Exceptional retreat to reconnect with the elements: blue for the sky and the ocean, and green for the beautiful gardens (bougainvillea, hibiscus and a thousand other trees, plants and flowers)! Bathed in an incredible brightness.

Vita Vila Parc Spa-Algarve-Portugal-1-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

As I take a break at the spa, 

I check out the “Anti-stress 50 minutes” massage done by Margarida. While I am lying on stomach, the therapist diagnostic all my old tensions and chronic contractions. She starts by getting the muscles and tissues of my back by so-called movement “Swedish massage”, more and more strong.

Then she alternates different movements: kneading, stretching, pressure, muscles friction and effleurage movements becoming stronger all over the back. At times that’s a little painful. But much less than Thai or Martine de Richeville massages!

Vita Vila Parc Spa-Algarve-Portugal-2-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

To eliminate the pain and continue the massage 

with higher pressures, Margarida applies to my back a hot wet towel twice. And my back, shoulders and arms muscles start deeply relaxing. I lightly dozed. 

Change of position,  I turn on the back for the foot massage with reflexology pressure and work on points related to the back and shoulders and those connected to stress, to extend the relaxation effect. When the massage is finished I’m half asleep! My upper back is much more fluid and flexible and I can again turn and tilt my head! Thank you Margarida.

Vita Vila Parc Spa-Algarve-Portugal-3-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

An anti-fat miracle machine? 

The spa has the Hypoxy, a “revolutionary” new machine for body sculpting, slimming and toning. Depending on your specific needs, the therapists of Vila Vita Vital can make you a program. From what I understand, the principle is to eliminate localized fat on the waist, stomach… (lower body) alternating high and low pressure to stimulate the circulation of blood to improve the removal of fat. 

Do not dream: for great results, the Hypoxy program must be associated with a hydrocarb free diet to burn your old (buddy) fat. Forget bread, flour, potatoes, pasta, rice, and tutti quanti …! But the results may be quick, visible and lasting! Now I am convinced this machine was made for me (LOL!). If I have the opportunity to try the program, I’ll let you know about the bikini body! ; )

Photos : Mademoiselle Le K – copyright 2014, tous droits réservés. 


www.vilavitaparc.com & Vila Vita Vital 

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I was invited by the Vita Vila Parc and as always these are my opinions. Many thanks to the whole team.

Vila Vita Parc, Portugal: A Luxury Suite in Algarve

Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-5-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

We arrived in the early evening       

at Vila Vita Parc under a mixed sky, after 2h30 drive. It’s raining! It seems we have left the heat in Lisbon! The Algarve is a region of southern Portugal, supposed to be more sunny than rainy.                     

We were dropped in karting in front of our Oasis Suite Premium Rooftop which overlooks the gardens and the main building currently under renovation (photo below).

Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-10-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

The night falls quickly,

I can’t see the gardens. The property seems huge … Lovely surprise entering the room: beautiful orchids and flowers with a bottle of Portuguese champagne greet us!  

The decoration is classic and comfortable: white walls, spotless bedding and fast wifi. There are also small fireplace and a large dressing. I feel good and enjoy the sheen of discreet luxury.

Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-6A-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-9-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

A book of the Leading Hotels of The World                       

whose the Vila Vita Parc is a member, is placed on a secretary. I flip through the Vila Vita Parc’s magazines, the articles of various restaurants, beaches and activities we discover tomorrow.            

In the large bathroom, Villeroy & Boch sanitary and Portuguese traditional tiles and soap dish: I really like the Claus regressive packaging and excellent conditioner. Claus is a famous soap brand from Porto.

Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-7-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-13A-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

The suite has two bedrooms.

Too happy to chat about our latest adventures up more time, we fell asleep in the big bed of the main room. The second room will be a supplemental dressing room and office, LOL!    

Woke up at 10am in beautiful sunshine. And here is the little building with our first floor suite and superb rooftop terrace with Moroccan lamps.       

On my way to the breakfast, I discover thousand lush green plants! Green vertigo and I haven’t seen the ocean yet … To be continued ….

Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-11A-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014Vila Vita Parc-Portugal-Luxury Suite in Algarve-12-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

Photos : Mademoiselle Le K – copyright 2014, tous droits réservés.


Vila Vita Parc & Oasis Suite Premium Rooftop

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My friend and I were guests of the Vila Vita Parc. Do I really need to add all my opinions are mine? Many thanks to the Vila Vita Parc team.