Tag Archives: Long Weekend

Our Second Roadtrip in Andalusia, Spain: Marbella

  

A late afternoon in Marbella

  

Olá Marbella!

After a first roadtrip in Andalusia few weeks ago, here we are again! The itinerary between sea and mountain is differen. We arrive at 4 p.m. from Mijas, a very pretty (and very touristy) village in the mountains. Olá Marbella! First surprise: the city is much bigger than I thought.

We park on the beach side of Marbella, at Playa del Faro, where we start our discovery of the city. The long walk stretches along a huge beach (first photo of the article). Many 70s-80s buildings, some cafes and restaurants. The whole remains really pleasant despite a lack of architectural harmony. 

As night quickly falls, we prefer heading towards the very charming old town with its small streets and squares, mandarin trees and old stones. Second surprise, everywhere people are friendly. I like to walk without a goal. At a random street, we have a drink in a lovely small hotel.

    

A Short Stop in Puerto Banús

Before Marbella city,

we made a stop in Puerto Banús, the marina of Marbella. To be honest, I was not impressed. The buildings housing luxury shops and restaurants are outdated and deserve a facelift.

Of course, there are yachts … But I saw some more impressive ones in the beautiful small port of Bonifaccio (Corsica). My advice, go directly to Marbella, much more nicer! 

     

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

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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.

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Visit AzoresVisit PortugalTAP

Related articles : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

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

Switzerland: Graubünden Ski Weekend (Day 1)

Allegra (Hello)!

Perfect Timing

Flight to Zurich with SWISS airline, then a train and bus to Lenzerheide with a Swiss precision and I really enjoy it! From Brussels center to the hotel in Lenzerheide, it takes more than half a daytime in transportation.

Stunning landscapes and pure air: a real change of scenery, the Swiss Alps (first picture of the post). Welcome to the Graubûnden! In the early afternoon, we arrive at the cozy Hotel Schweizerhof Lenzerheide, ideally located opposite the bus station in the center of the village. 

The sun plays hide and seek. What a pleasure to discover my vast bedroom! As always, I didn’t sleep the day before my trip. The bed looks so comfortable … Neat simple interior design, I feel like in a nice cocoon with a panoramique mountain view from my balcony (below pictures).

  

The Scalottas Terroir

  

Gourmet Dinner

For this first evening: a 5-course tasting menu dinner at the Scalottas Terroir, elaborated with local high quality products. The restaurant is a 5 minute walk and belongs to the owners of the hotel. Forget the high heels, wear after-ski boots to go to the restaurant. LOL! My little team was really entertained when I arrived at the hotel reception desk in high heels!

Left picture above: our table nicely set up in the “Mountain Pine Parlour”. The atmosphere is cozy (thanks to Simone, our super waitress!) and the concept is based in slow food. The restaurant selects its ingredients at local producers concerned about sustainable development.

Since I don’t eat meat except chicken, I had a slightly different menu. Let’s say a (chicken) version of the menu dishes (below pictures):

a Grisons tartar duet (with une brioche de pomme de terre), Mountain pine soup (composed with apple raviolis), Swiss egg (poched egg with patatoe, cabbage, waffle and Andeerer Grantit cheese foam) and Highland ox duet. The dessert (a mix of sorbet and fruit pie) is also delicious. To be continue …

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés

Informations  

Graubünden FerienLenzerheide, ArosaSWISSSwiss Travel System (STS)Switzerland TourismHotel Schweizerhof Lenzerheide & Scalottas Terroir 

Related posts : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to the Graubünden Ferien, Lenzerhaide, Arosa, Switzerland Tourism, SWISS and Swiss Travel System (STS) for this beautiful invitation. As always, these are my opinions.