Travel #3: Porto (Part 4)

Hello 😀

Well, I know some of you have been waiting for the Porto saga to finish. So, last but not least, let’s talk a bit about what to see in Porto and where do you really have to go. This has been a though post to write, since Porto is one heck of a beautiful city with tons of sightseeing. So, obviously besides this few options that I am going to provide you, there are tons of other ideas even better than these.

What to see when in Porto:

  1. Historic Centre of Porto 

This is the oldest area of the city and has been classified as World Heritage by UNESCO since 1996. This area is comprised of the civil parishes of Sé, Vitória, São Nicolau and Miragaia. By roaming around here, you will be faced with various incalculable monuments on Porto typical streets. In this area there some must sees that you cannot miss, such as:

    • Sé do Porto (the Catedral), which construction began in the 12th century by Bishop Hugo, is an imposing fortress with beautiful Gothic details and an amazing terrace with a wonderful view over the city.
    • São Bento Railway Station is Porto’s central train station. It is were there used to be the Benedictine nunnery in Porto and got its name from it. With an inspiration of Parisian architecture, if you peek inside you may see a wonderful arrangement of historical tiles that were hand-painted by Jorge Colaço.
    • Igreja de São Francisco was constructed around the 15th century and mixes Baroque and Gothic architecture. I believe this is one of the most beautiful churches I ever saw.
    • Igreja and Torre dos Clérigos, is one of the tallest buildings in town (and a hard climb to the top), and is also where you can have a 360º view over the city, so it is totally worth it.

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    • Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, it is on the other Douro margin and was built around the 16th/17th century. Also here you can have a panoramic view of Porto, and is where some of the best photos are taken.
    • Palácio da Bolsa is were Porto’s Chamber of Commerce is held. The only way to understand the value of this monument is by going inside. I was amazed with the Arab Room and all its details and richness. Usually this room is used for concerts, due to its acoustic.2016-02-15 15.29.43
    • Praça da Ribeira is one of the oldest squares in Porto and is facing the river. From here you can observe two bridges and, on the other margin, you can see Vila Nova de Gaia.

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     2. Port Wine Cellars

Porto Wine Cellars are definitely a must see and a must taste. Porto Wine is the brand image of the city. Although, you may not be a wine fan, you will be impressed with the history of this wine and how it is made. If you are a fan, don’t miss the opportunity to know more about its production and the free tastings so you can find the perfect one for you.

Personally, I visited Taylor’s which was founded in 1692 and is now open all year round for guided visits which end with a Port tasting. I would recommend you to ask for Marta as your guide, she really turns you into an enthusiastic! We got there and since the first words about it we were completely conquered and inside her story. At the end, we had the pleasure to taste 3 varieties of Porto Wine: White, Ruby and Tawny, and they even teach you how to taste it with.

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Besides Taylor’s, you may visit some more cellars like:

  • Sandeman, which was founded in 1790. The brand image is a man in a black cape and it also offers wine tasting at the end of the tour.
  • Ferreira, founded in 1751 and belonged to D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, a very determined woman. She had a dominant position in the production of wines from the Douro Vinhateiro, something really rare for those years.
  • Croft, one of the oldest companies, was founded in 1588. This company is well known for their ability to reinvent Porto Wine and were the firsts to produce a Porto Rosé.
  • Real Companhia Velha, was founded in 1756 by a Portuguese King D. José de Portugal and is considered to be one of the oldest producers and exporters of Port in Portugal.

3. Other spots you cannot miss:

  • Lello Bookshop, which was inspiration to some of Harry Potter’s books details and is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world;
  • Porto University building;
  • Santa Catarina Street, with shops all the way down the street;
  • Casa da Música;
  • Jardins do Palácio de Cristal.

There is something you must do when you go to Porto, which is simply to walk around town by foot and discover places by yourself. I discovered one beautiful viewpoint near an old church by accident where I could have a different panoramic view of the city, which is this one.  Mostly enjoy the city and take some good company with you, I guarantee you will like this trip.

And with this I finish here my saga about Porto. If you have any question, you can reach me through my e-mail info@newestintown.com or within the comments section.

 

XOXO,

S.

A traveller’s dream #1: Greek Islands

Hello everyone 🙂

Let’s talk about something I guess all of us do at least once in our lives or maybe once/twice a year if you are like me: dreaming awake about the trip you would like to do next.

For those who really are into getting a great tan and also explore amazing views, I believe this is a destination that already went through your mind. The Greek Islands have everything: good vibes, sun, beach and beautiful views.

So Greece has more than 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, which makes almost impossible to visit them all. At least, you should try to visit some of them and why not the most famous ones like Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Crete or Skyros?

I have been dreaming about spending a few days on one of these islands just facing the sun and relaxing, but also to explore a little. Did you know that some of the oldest civilizations like Cycladic have developed on these islands? This makes this destination also very rich in culture, archaeology and architecture.

So, on my search I found that the easiest way to get to any of the islands would be by taking a plane to Athenas and from there they have ferries everyday to the most important islands. I searched here what ferry I could take to Santorini, Mykonos or Naxos and the price range is from 90€ per person (with return included) to 150€ more or less, that is influenced by the duration of the trip and the type of seat you choose.

About where to stay there I only searched on Booking for 4 and 5 stars hotels or resorts and with pool included because I am crazy about swimming pools. Apart from that, I went to look on Airbnb where I found some good offers for a reasonable price. I really trust in Airbnb housing and usually I choose it when I want to have a whole house for me to be able to cook and save some money, but when I’m on a lazy mood I just go for a hotel where I don’t have to care about anything unless enjoying my vacations.

Now, the most important is coming… Photos! Enjoy some images I gathered to make you dream about your next vacations..

 

XOXO,

S.

 

Recipe #1: Elephant Birthday Cake

Hello again 🙂

Another post, another topic! So, you may not know but I love cooking and baking and most of my friends and family tell me that they love my cakes.

Due to my sister’s birthday and her love for elephants, I had the idea to give her an elephant shaped cake for her birthday. I thought that it would be rather simple to do it, just bake it, cut it and finish with sugar paste on top.

Although this was not the first cake where I used sugar paste, this was my first solo experience.. and what an experience!

So, the departure point was to bake the cake. I decided to go for an simple cake without any specific flavor. I used this recipe, but since it’s in Portuguese here is the translation:

  • Ingredients:
    • 10 eggs
    • 300 gr of sugar
    • 200 gr of potato starch
  1. Pre-heat oven at 180ºC. Oil a cake pan with butter and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the yolks with the sugar for about 15 minutes, or until they have tripled in volume and are whitish.
  3. Beat the egg whites.
  4. Mix a 1/3 of the whites in the egg yolks, beating until homogeneous. Mix the remaining whites, carefully, using a spatula.
  5. Sift the starch over the dough, gradually, mixing gently and gently so as not to break the whites.
  6. Pu the dough in the cake pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a pastry rack before deforming.

This is the simplest cake ever and I did use it without any filling but if you want you can cut it in half and fill it with Nutella or custard cream, just to sweeten it up a little bit more.

Now, here comes the hard part. I had to draw the elephant on a sheet of parchment paper first to make sure it would fit on the rectangular cake I had, but if you are a design expert you may just go free without the drawing first.

So if you use the drawing first technique, you have to fix the sheet on top of the cake with toothpicks to be sure it doesn’t move at all. Then, just use a knife and start cutting around the drawing but always make sure that you are also cutting the top half of the cake and that the drawing is being marked on it. After you are completely sure about the shape of the cake, cut everything out and perfect all corners until it is ready to get the sugar paste.

About the sugar paste you can either buy it on party stores or make it yourself at home, but I went for the first one. I got grey, white and black for this cake and sure it was enough. First, you start to stretch out the paste as much as you want but I did make it very thin since when it’s more thick it is just too sweet for me.

After stretching as you want, just carefully place the sugar paste on top of the cake and start shaping it around the cake (check on YouTube some videos with detail on how to cover a cake with fondant). Cut the ear of the elephant on what’s left of the sugar paste/fondant and design the eye, mouth and tail.

To keep everything together you can use a sugar syrup or small amounts of condensed milk and I assure you that nothing will fall apart! Here is the final result!

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XOXO,

S.

Celebrity looks #1: Selena Gomez

Hello everyone,

As I told you before, I do also appreciate fashion a lot. Despite I’m not a fashionista or always use the latest trends, but I guess all of us like to keep an eye on what our favorite celebrities have been wearing these days.

With this, we may not be able to fully copy the looks they have (no money nor body), but we can get a lot of inspiration and great ideas.

Selena Gomez, a former Disney actress/singer, has evolved a lot in her style and slowly she is establishing herself in fashion. She has the ability to go from mega casual looks to a stylish woman with lots of grace. This last week she has been roaming around New York City between press conferences, interviews and other events and obviously gave us the opportunity to gather some of her best looks so far this week. Check them all here:

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Small thoughts #1

Did you know that according to a Plato dialogue in The Symposium, Aristophanes stated that humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and one head with two faces. As a punishment for humanity’s pride, Zeus decided to split all humans in half and condemned them to a life of looking for their other half. It is said that once you find your other half you will reach a state of happiness and peace.

XOXO,

S.

Brand new #1: Primor

Hello 🙂

Every month I do some online shopping and some mall shopping, so I decided that it would be a good idea to start sharing my small shopping sprees in here.

Don’t expect some amazing top brand products because I am a little cheap and don’t like to spend too much money on something that I don’t believe it’s worth that value.

With this said, let me talk you about a website called Primor, where I shop almost every month since it has cosmetic, makeup and perfumes at a smaller price than what I could get here in Portugal. This is a Spanish website and usually if I order something on Monday by Thursday I already have it with me. So far not only they never let me down, but they keep surprising the customers by sending a small gift with the order you do.

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As you can see, this week purchase was mainly about shampoo. I have a thin hair and it’s also oily so I really have to be careful with the products I use. Until last year I only used supermarket brands and I was constantly changing brands because there was not one that would clean my hair and make it feel fresh.

On the search for a new shampoo, I decided to try Wella Balance Purifying shampoo and it has made wonders for my hair. I can now wait one more day to wash it, I feel it fresh, cleaned and with life.

Since I also have a thin hair, I went also on a journey for a shampoo to help with that and I found L’oreal Professional Density Advanced. After some couple uses, I found that this shampoo helps me controlling hair loss and thin hair and also brings some volume to my hair.

So, besides shampoo I decided to try on a new compact powder since mine has finished and I went for SuperStay 24h from Maybelline.

Now you should be thinking that all of this may have been quite expensive (for my eyes), but the Wella Shampoo was only 4,95€ for a 250ml bottle, the L’Oreal Professional was only 10,95€ a 500ml bottle and the Maybelline Superstay 24h Compact Powder was just 6,99€. Plus, they still offered me MUA Intense Colour Eyeline Pencil which I really appreciate.

XOXO,

S.

One night “stand” #1: Hotel Inglaterra Estoril

Hello everyone,

As me and B. still leave at our parent’s house privacy is not something that we have a lot, so sometimes we like to go on a one night getaway to a near hotel or guesthouse. It helps a lot breaking our daily routines and just be by ourselves sometimes.

Yesterday, while at work I got a text from B. saying that we shouldn’t sleep at home and we should head somewhere to be together. What could I say besides let’s go? After some indecision we decided to book a night at Hotel Inglaterra in Estoril.

For those that do not know, Estoril is a town on the well known Portuguese Riviera in the municipality of Cascais, where you can find Casino Estoril and Tamariz Beach.

First we head out to dinner and then we rushed home so we could get what we needed to spend the night away from home.

When we arrived, we were amazed on how well decorated the hotel is and with the hospitality at the reception. We got a room on the 3rd floor of the hotel and we quickly went upstairs to check the room and to leave our stuff.

Regarding the room, it was not a big room but it was enough for us. Everything was very cleaned and the room had a large bed and a window through which we could see the ocean. Again, the room was very well decorated with neutral colors and had a big Samsung TV, a safe and a full mini bar. You can see some photos of the hotel at the end.

We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunshine (Lisbon in May, what else?), after a well rested night, to take breakfast at the Bar/Restaurant of the hotel. Regarding it, there was not much variety but truly everything we needed was there from butter croissants, bread, homemade cake, jam, butter, scrambled and boiled eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurts, cereals and obviously coffee, and some more things.

After breakfast, we went to see the pool but unfortunately I forgot our bathing suits so yes we only did manage to see it but not enjoy it. Despite a small lounge space, the pool area is really good and we look forward to spend there an afternoon taking some sunbaths.

I really enjoyed spending the night at Hotel Inglaterra and despite it was a short stay we really enjoyed almost everything and I would definitely recommend other couples to visit it. Thank you for a great getaway 🙂

 

XOXO,

S.

Travel #3: Porto (Part 3)

Hello there!

I am back today with the best part of the trip which is…. What to drink!

Regarding what to drink when in Porto there is an easy answer that is mandatory to follow, that is Port Wine. This type of wine began to be produced back on the 17th century and it is a fortified wine produced only in the Douro Valley. Despite being typically a red wine, you can also have white port wine which is also marvelous. It has a sweet taste and is excellent to try as a dessert drink.

Port Wine is produced from grapes collected from Douro Valley to which is added aguardente (other portuguese drink) to stop the fermentation process. The wine is stored in barrels inside wine cellars for as long as the producer wants to, but usually the older wine is better.

When in Porto I would definitely recommend you to visit some wine cellars (I will talk about it later) where you can learn more about the production and history of this wine and also try some Port Wine styles.

Although trying a single Port Wine is amazing, when I was in Porto I had to try something called “Porto Tónico” which is something like a gin only with tonic water but instead of gin they use Port Wine. It’s a refreshing and easy going drink where you can taste white Port Wine the best way.

I could tell you some bars you should go to but I won’t do so, instead I tell you to go to a place called Paris Gallery which is really close to Clérigos Tower and University of Porto. In here you will find some of Porto nightlife with excellent bares where you can start by trying a cocktail, taking a beer and end with a great wine bottle in front of you.

Obviously, besides trying Port Wine you should try some of the regular wines produced in the Douro Valley such as Quinta de La Rosa, Barca Velha and Porca de Murça. I guarantee you that you’re going to be amazed with the quality of Portuguese wines.

See you soon,

XOXO,

S.

Portugal, Salvador and Eurovision

Did you really think that I would only talk about Benfica? Oh no.. Saturday was the craziest day in Portugal.

We had the Pope in Fatima, Benfica as a champion and, while we were celebrating the championship, Salvador Sobral was announced has the winner of Eurovision 2017.

Congratulations Salvador! Thank you for what you’ve done!

Salvador and his sister Luísa took one of simplest songs to the festival and they won. Why? Because everyone was touched with the music even if they didn’t understand the words Salvador was singing, people felt the music in their hearts and realized its true meaning.

A naked music, a simple interpretation and a great singer was all that was needed to get the prize home, who would know? We have been participating in the contest for almost 50 years if I’m not mistaken and until now our best prize was a 6th place with Lúcia Moniz, another amazing singer.

Well, as FPF shared on twitter ‘ 10 months later, a new #11 conquers Europe!’.

Review his performance here and if you are like me the music will just be stuck in your head for hours.

XOXO,

S.