Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If not San Gimignano than ...


Volterra is not so well known as San Gimignano. But definitely it is worth a visit.

It is equally interesting but less crowded. The town is located on the top of hill with a wonderful view over central part of Tuscany.  It is a little bit out of the main tourist trail. The town is known for its alabaster and salt, and its history goes back to the Etruscan. You can find the remains of Etruscan epoch such as fortified walls, Porta dell 'Arco, aqueduct and several burial places.  Expositions of the artefacts from that period are held in the Palazzo Tagani and in the Museum Guarnacci.

In recent years, the town became known as a place of the saga about vampires "New Moon" by Stephanie Meyer.  It is the second part of the saga "Twilight". It is said that the town is experiencing an invasion of tourists in love with the characters.  But we did not meet too many of them in the middle of the holiday season.  Maybe they preferred touring the town after dark.
You will find more information at the dedicated website about Volterra.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Roman Bridge in Ponte de Lima


Ponte de Lima is one of many charming towns in the Minho region. What deserves a special attention is the Roman Bridge.  It stretches with its low arches over the river Lima. Definitely the place must have played important role in the past.  Because the name of the village comes from that fact of having a bridge over the Lima river.   Ponte de Lima means literally a bridge of/over (the river) Lima.
Roman Bridge - Ponte de Lima - Portugal
Another interesting monument is Convent of Santo António from the 15th century.  It is not open all day long, so you must be lucky to see the interiors. You can also find information, in some guidebooks, about the market, which is held over the river every Monday. But those who want to find something local over there may be very disappointed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dancing House


Dancing House is a famous building designed by Frank Gehry.  It is also often called Ginger and Fred. You can find history of the place and the building in “a view on the cities” blog. So there is no reason to copy it over here.

But I have always been curious how the interior look like. And I found during my recent visit to Prague. There is a gift shop at the ground level.  Actually it looked like it was closed down, but I hope it was just impression. At the top level there is a terrace from which you can admire panorama of Prague. Indeed the view is worth a visit to this place. There were tables so I presume you can have a coffee there.
Dancing House panorama

Downstairs there is a restaurant which also serves as a gallery of modern art. I do not know whether it was an occasional exhibition or the paintings and art works are presented there on regular basis. The austere interior helps to focus on the art because there is no other element which would attract attention.  The food was pretty good but nothing exceptional.
Dancing House Prague

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Garota de Ipanema - Rio de Janeiro

This time about food

If you are looking for a place for lunch or dinner in Rio de Janeiro, it is worth taking a look at the place, which makes parto of the city's history. Most of us have heard the song “Girl from Ipanema” and its characteristic warm rhythms.

Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim enjoyed life and sought inspiration in an ordinary bar called Veloso. It is said that muse and inspiration was Heloisa Pinheiro, who walked by the Veloso bar on the way to the beach. The bar quickly became a popular meeting place for artists.  Thanks to the huge popularity of the song it has gained a new name Garota da Ipanema.

Like many similar sites, now it is one of the tourist attractions and a bar/restaurant. It offers typical Brazilian food and more international options, but most importantly, it is tasty.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


The capital of Colombia is located in the Andes at the  altitude of 2 640 meters above sea level.  The climate is stable.  The  temperature and weather stays the same throughout the year. It seems an ideal option for clothes.
Bogota is another big city in Latin America, where moving around may be a challenge. Public transport has been designed for a much lower number of commuters.  It means full buses are the only option as there is no tube. Another challenge is dense traffic and never-ending traffic jams . Thus, if you want to see anything without rushing, you'd better plan your stay for aat least few days.

Cathedral - Bogota - Columbia
Tourist highlights include la Candelaria, la Catedral with Plaza de Bolivar and the Gold Museum. Of course, the list of museums is much longer.  Among othere there is ,a museum of Fernando Botero – a must-see for art lovers. The historic districts la Candelaria and La Catedral are full of students.  Numerous university buildings are located in there and in neighbouring area.   The city seems to be as many other capitals all over the world.  Yet hotels and taxi drivers warn tourist not to move around by themselves especially at night.  Our taxi driver event told us not to cross the Bolivar square. I do not know whether that was just caution or a real threat.  But we did no check if there was a raeson for such a warning.  We just walked around la Candelaria.

Cerro Monserrate - Bogota - Columbia
The best point to admire panorama of Bogota is Cerro de Monserrate.  The sanctuary is located at the altitude of 3 152 m above sea level.   The top can be reached by cable car, funicular or on foot. The view is indeed impressive, especially in the evening when the city is lit up. Sanctuary itself is a fairly simple building from outside.  And it was already closed when we got there. Cerro de Monserrate is not only the sanctuary but also the recreation area. To find out more about it visit the Monserrate site.

My visit to Bogota was very short, a kind of stop-over en route.  I left with mixed feelings.  On the one hand it offers cycling Sundays, modern residential areas, active lifestyle. On the other hand, we hear about slums without paved roads and infrastructure.  It is perfect example where lack or little knowledge about city works against it. But I will come back one day.

For those who are planning a visit – official city site.