Tag Archives: Road Trip

Portugal: Alentejo Road Trip

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-3-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Near Arronches

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Bela Natureza

This morning, departure from Avis towards Arronches, in the district of Portalegre (Alto Alentejo, close to the Spanish border). On the program: visit the most important group of prehistoric cave paintings outdoors in Portugal, in the Junco Valley (Vale de Junco).        

Classified national monument, they were designed between 4000 and 2000 years before Christ and represent the consecration of the place: the scientific interpretations differ (photo below). Last year I returned to the superb Archaeological Museum of Côa (Centre of Portugal). I am fan: child, I wanted to be a paleontologist, archaeologist …    

Magnificent nature! We continue with a walk on the walking path PR1 ARR “Feel Alentejo Nature” – Percurso Pedestrian da Esperança (about 6km / 1:45 / low difficulty level) in the Serra of Sao Mamede Natural Park. Better than a thousand words, a few photos! And old girlfriends, cows ; )

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Pinturas-Rupestres-do-Vale-de-Junco-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-5-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-6-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-8-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-9-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K


Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

The Old Town

Estremoz for lunch. I really enjoy the small intimate streets of the old town, deserted at lunchtime. Occasionally, a silhouette crosses. The contrast between blue sky and white walls, brightness, the South. As a photographer, I need a beautiful natural light!

What I also really like in Portugal, Japan and Croatia: it’s clean, streets are super clean. A real pleasure!

Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-7-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

The Lunch

A place not to miss the Mercearia Gadanha restaurant, where we had a long lunch. Very good food in a cool atmosphere and decoration (photos below). And for chocolate addicts: a large selection of chocolates (including Belgian chocolates) in the deli section of the restaurant.

Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-5-Restaurant-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K


Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Open-air Museum      

Like Saint Emilion in France, Monsaraz is an open-air museum medieval city in which you aimlessly wander … Just for the pleasure. And enjoy an Alentejo wine tasting on the rooftop terrace of the Ervideira winery.    

Some boho shops, winding clean streets and an arena that in September and Easter hosts bullfighting festivals. And panoramic views of the river Rio Guadiana (last photo). Now we drive to the famous Évora.

Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-5-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K  Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-6-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-3A-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-7-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-2-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Next stop: Évora


Visit Alentejo & Visit Portugal


Many thanks to Visit Alentejo and Visit Portugal for this amazing invitation. As always these are my opinions.

Umbria, Italy: Towards Amelia and Perugia

Umbria-Italy-Amelia-1-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

A Benedictine Abbey

Umbria-Italy-Abbazia-San-Pietro-Valle-Ferentillo-1A-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

This morning we leave Norcia

and the elegant Palazzo Seneca (déjà!) to Perugia. On the road, we stopped at the Abbazia di San Pietro in Valle, a Benedictine abbey dating back to the eighth century, on the Mount Solemn.

Surrounded by unspoilt landscape with tall cypress (my favorite trees), the place lends itself to introspection and quiet. Beautiful autumn light, soothing silence and superb frescoes of the small church dating from different eras.

The legend says two hermits from Syria, John and Lazarus built a hermitage that became a place of worship for local populations. Later Faraldo II, Duke of Spoleto, had a vision in a dream. St. Peter ordered him to build a church in his honor. During a hunt, the Duke spotted the little oratory of John and Lazarus and decided to built there the church dedicated to St. Peter and the monastery.

Next stop: the Cascata delle Marmore Marmore waterfalls). Road trip …..

Umbria-Italy-Abbazia-San-Pietro-Valle-Ferentillo-2A-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore Waterfalls)

Umbria-Italy-Marmore-Falls-Cascata-delle-Marmore-1A-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

It rains

when we come to the Cascata delle Marmore, the highest artificial waterfall in the world, with a height of 165 m! Water makes a deafening noise: first impression of power (above photo montage)! I feel like a lilliput.

The three levels waterfall (the biggest level measures 83 m), was created by the Roman consul Curio Dentato (in 271 BC) to drain standing water. You can borrow several paths to reach the different levels. The two most beautiful points of views are the Balcone degli Specola and Innamorati (Lovers Balcony).

On a trail, we come across Gnefro (or rather the opposite, lol!), the mascot of the falls (a kind of green goblin), played by an actor who tells the children the legend of Velino.

One day the shepherd Velino saw from the top of a cliff nymphs. Surprised, they fled, except Nera, the most beautiful. Nera and Velino madly fell in love and get married which put the gods angry. They transformed Nera in river. Inconsolable Velino threw himself into the river. But before he reached the water, he was transformed in cascade by Jupiter.  

Umbria-Italy-Marmore-Falls-Cascata-delle-Marmore-2-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K


Umbria-Italy-Amelia-Museo-Archeologico-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

The Archaeological Museum  

After a late lunch in Amelia, one of the oldest cities of Italy (built previous centuries before Rome) and probably the oldest settlement in Umbria: I visit the Archaeological Museum. I like the austere architecture of the cloister (pictures above).

The museum’s centerpiece is a bronze statue of Germanicus (Germanicus Nero Claudius Drusus), born in Rome in 15 BC and son of Senior General Drusus, brother of the future emperor Tiberius (picture 4 on the photo montage above).

Germanicus had a brilliant political and military career. He died at 34 years old of an unknown illness. Suspicion felt on his uncle and adopted father, Tiberius who didn’t like his growing popularity.

Umbria-Italy-Amelia-Teatro-Sociale-Cisterne-Romane-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

The Teatro Sociale and Cisterne Romane

I follow Michela, our guide, in a maze of small streets in the top of the old town. Colorful facades and beautiful panoramic views of the valley (see the first picture in this article).

At the corner of a flourish narrow street, the bright yellow façade of the Teatro Sociale (Rosita Bassini), built in 1782 by architect Stefano Consacchi. With a capacity of 200 seats, his stage mechanisms are still used for concerts and plays. On the above photo montage, a picture of the balconies and ceiling. 

Then we head towards the Cisterne Romane (Roman Cisterns). While we choose our helmets, the excitement grows. These ten cisterns built when Amelia became a Roman municipality, remain intact. Rain water was stored there and inhabitants could use this water freely.

On the photo montage above: the steep stairs, one of the tanks, the main entrance and one of the exits to move from one tank to another. A must “visit” for all lovers of ancient history!

Dinner in Perugia

Umbria-Italy-Perugia-Dinner-Ristorante-del-Sol-Gelateria-Artigianale-Biologica-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Hi Perugia! It’s 8 p.m. when we arrive in the historic center of Perugia. Dinner at Ristorante del Sole with excellent truffle risotto (1), breaded turkey filets and a panoramic view over Umbria. Too bad it’s already dark …

The medieval center of the city is gorgeous … and crowded! Perugia is a student city with a vibrant lively atmosphere. Good vibe! In dessert, a biological icecream at the Gelateria Artigianale Biologica (Corso Vannucci 93), highly recommended by Francesca, a proud native and resident of Perugia : )) Buonasera ai tutti!

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés


Regione Umbria et Alitalia


Many thanks for this beautiful invitation to Regione Umbria et Alitalia. As always these opinions are my own.

The Center of Portugal: Viseu, Faia Brava & Castelo Rodrigo

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-6-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Oporto via Lisbon


The Journey

Our flight to Oporto is not direct. During the stopover in Lisbon, we walk from the airport to Expo for a coffee facing the Tagus. Euphoric blue sky! The LIGHT, brightness of Portugal … Picture above: the Oriente Station of the Spanish famous architect Santiago Calatrava.

Arriving in Oporto, we met Manuel, the guide of our next walks in the mountains. After the flight, the highway towards Viseu, the city with the best quality of life in Portugal. 


Portugal-Center of Portugal-Viseu-1-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Petiscos For Lunch,

the Portuguese tapas, in the covered terrace of the cozy Maria Xica restaurant (photos above). The atmosphere is cool, young customers and good electro music and superb view of the historic center of Viseu.

While new dishes are following, I take a short time to take some pictures of the impressive Viseu Cathedral Sé and lazy terraces (photos below). Under a blazing sun, we leave the beautiful Viseu, for the Natural Reserve of Faia Brava, it’s already 4 p.m.  

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Viseu-3-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Center of Portugal-Viseu-2-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Faia Brava

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-1-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Our First Walk 

Golden light of late afternoon. A landscape that recalls more the Mediterranean than the Atlantic. The Reserva Natural da Faia Brava is well known for bird watching, especially the various species of vultures.

Manuel guides us to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking several hills (first photo and pictures below). No vulture, just wild horses: gorgeous shiny coat and totally indifferent to our presence. Nobody cares little men, what perspective …

We walk on hilly trails lined with bushes. I don’t want to leave, it is already more than 7 p.m. and we hit the road. Road movie!

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-2-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-3-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-4-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-5-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-7-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Center of Portugal-Reserva da Faia Brava-8-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Castelo Rodrigo

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Castelo Rodrigo-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

The Sleek Casa da Cisterna 

is nestled in the castle of Castelo Rodrigo, the medieval beautiful village on a hilltop. You can feel out of time and in a new world. And I sorely lack time to take pictures of the village. I need to check in. 

Upon our arrival, Anna, the owner of Casa da Cisterna and her team, do their best to please us. I go to my room and what a pleasant surprise! Simplicity, comfort and attention to detail (more in a coming post)! Each object is arranged with taste. 

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been disappointed by the Portuguese hospitality. We have dinner on the terrace with a XXL view of the village and countryside (photos below). A feeling of fullness. Recharging the batteries before our next nature walk tomorrow. To be continued …

Portugal-Center of Portugal-Castelo Rodrigo-Casa da Cisterna-1-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Center of Portugal-Castelo Rodrigo-Casa da Cisterna-2-Photo ©Mademoiselle Le K

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés


Visit PortugalTCP/ARPT Centro de Portugal, TAPA2Z AdventuresHistorical Villages


Many thanks for this beautiful invitation to Visit Portugal, TCP/ARPT Centro de Portugal et TAP. Thanks to Manuel Franco and the team of Casa Cisterna too. As always these are my opinions.