A Travellerspoint blog

Sorrento: What we did there

This is a somewhat long post - yet it brings tips on everything we did in this beautiful city! :D

Previous Posts: How we got there and Where we Stayed

- What we Did

PIER

Right at Piazza Tasso you can take a flight of stairs that takes you down to Pier of Sorrento. There is also a paid elevator – more info on that on the part about the Chiesa de San Francesco. Once at the pier, you find a series of bars and bathing areas. We settled for Peter’s Beach. Coming from Brazil, where the beach is known for being the most democratic area of the country, it is quite something to be reminded that, in Italy, beaches are mostly private. So be prepared to pay for deck chairs, changing areas, seating areas. Prices range a lot and are not cheap, especially if you’re with a bigger group – or simply a family of four, for instance.

C84DA96F2219AC6817FCF96111C48EB5.jpg270_DSC04737.jpg
DSC04739.jpg
90_P1120370.jpg
DSC04746.jpg
DSC04748.jpg

We didn’t want to swim nor bathe – we were just getting familiarized with the area – so we stayed at their restaurant, a table under the shade – yay! – yet facing the sea. The place was full of families and children running around – very child friendly, if you ask me. You don’t pay to enter the area if you’re going to their restaurant – because you’ll pay there for what you eat or drink, obviously. We ordered a portion of peperonata – yellow and red bell peppers, prepared Italian style, great! – and it accompanies a batch of bread. The small portion is big enough for three. If your batch is empty they will keep bringing more bread for no extra cost, so behave yourself, you little bread eating machine! As drinks, plenty of water and limoncello. It’s the best thing, besides wine, that you can ever drink in Italy, seriously. Our bill with three or four limoncellos, water and the peperonata portion was around 18 Euro, if I remember it well, or the price of the daily rent of one sunbathing chair.

P1120391.jpg

ELEVATOR AND CHIESA DI SAN FRANCESCO

Sorrento is located some 50 meters above sea level, so once we decided to leave Peter’s Beach and look for other things to do, we decided to try this elevator out. Behind Peter’s Beach there is a path with signs leading to it. The one-way ride costs 1 Euro. It takes you from the city to the pier and vice-versa. There was a small line – small, really – and we needed to wait some three to five minutes to get in. Once you’re there it is really fast and drops you off at a very nice public garden area, with an observation point to the coast. Take your time, it’s beautiful. Out of the elevator and to your right is the way to the Chiesa di San Francesco.

Don’t miss the entrance to the cloister. For me it’s even better than the church itself. There is a small sign on the wall pointing to it. It’s calm, beautiful, picturesque, with lots of green and a few places to just sit, rest and reenergize.

The cloister and church are free to enter and look around. When we were there, there was a wedding going on at the church, so it also becomes quite a thing to just watch those families get together, people interact, have a toast.

P1120420.jpg270_DSC04763.jpgDSC04760.jpgDSC04749.jpg

VIA PADRE REGINALDO GIULIANI & VIA SAN CESAREO

After visiting the church we started walking around with no real objective. We strolled down Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani, very close to the Chiesa, and looked at the stores and people sitting at the restaurants. I got myself a nice white hat at the first store in the right corner and we continued a bit. You can find restaurants of different types, little souvenir and clothing stores, and, the star of the street – for me – a store that sells artisanal limoncello. Buy, buy, buy! I’ll never get tired of this, seriously.

We turned left at the cross of this via when it reached Via San Cesareo. There you can find many other restaurants, always with lots of people sitting outside and also some live music – a guy in his piano singing some Italian classics. From there you can see the beautiful bell tower of the Duomo of Sorrento – this red and yellow tower. Continue to the duomo if you wish or turn left for little stores and perhaps some fantastic ice-cream at RAKI – more on the “Where to Eat” section.

P1120428.jpgDSC04767.jpgDSC04765.jpg

MARINA GRANDE

Bite me, but I just did not become a fan of this place. Don’t get me wrong. There are some restaurants, colourful buildings, some freshly painted fishing boats and one can relax, enjoy a meal by the sea, or again, rent a chair and stay at their rocky beach. Keep in mind that most beaches in Italy are rocky and prepare yourself for sometimes looking like a drunkard trying to walk, especially if you’re used to Brazilian sandy beaches. We got to Marina Grande by walking. It is quite a walk, including through a car tunnel – maybe it was just the path we got, but we like walking without maps, so I am sure if you plan in advance you can find shorter ways. I also swear we passed by a church although I cannot find it on any map. We saw and decided we did not want to stay at Marina Grande and decided to head to Punta del Capo instead.

DSC04770.jpgDSC04773.jpgDSC04775.jpgDSC04781.jpgP1120496.jpg

PUNTA DEL CAPO & BAGNI DELLA REGINA GIOVANNA

I had heard these were the most beautiful places to see in Sorrento, so we decided to make our way there. There are buses, but we preferred to walk. So we made the way back from Marina Grande and asked some three different people if we were on the right path to Punta del Capo, which they indicated so. Get water anywhere you can. You will walk alongside Via Capo on a small sidewalk until the sidewalk ceases to exist and you literally walk between the cars. So keep to your right, folks! My mother freaked out the whole way through but we made it there alive.

You will then enter a smaller street right to a gas station and also pass in front of the Regina Giovanna parking if you go by car. That is Via Punta Capo. Don’t be fooled, once there you will still have to walk quite a bit, pass in front of this dodgy-looking Kalimera bar/dance club, go through stone streets and eventually through stones and sand. It is totally worth it, because when you see the Bagni della Regina Giovanna things start making sense again.

P1120510.jpgP1120512.jpgP1120518.jpgP1120526.jpgP1120565.jpgDSC04787.jpg

There were some people there but it was absolutely not full. They were all Italians except us. So now you know why this Spanish queen used to go there for her private swimming time. Crystal clear waters, secluded area, still rocky but absolutely calm and free to swim. It’s amazing, the highlight of the stay in Sorrento. We swam for a bit and decided it was time to continue, so we went up and walk around Punta del Capo a bit. It is again a rocky area, so people lie down on top of the rocks and sunbathe. The view is amazing.

There is a boardwalk and if you continue there you will find a restaurant and more places to sunbathe and swim. More on the restaurant, Lido la Solara, on the “Where to Eat” section.

DSC04797.jpgDSC04798.jpgDSC04799.jpgDSC04802.jpg

We made our way back with the bus because well, it makes sense if you value your life. Buy the tickets at the corner store near the stop and pay attention to the timetable, as buses are not so frequent. The bus leaves in front of the gas station / restaurant right in front of Via Punta Capo and dropped us off at Piazza Tasso. There are other stops in between, inside the city. Tickets cost around 3 Euro, cannot remember, but the value is printed on the ticket. One tip is to check the timetable when you arrive and calculate at what time you should head back. Another option is just to go back whenever you want and wait at the bench – like we did. The interval between buses was around 30-40 minutes. Easy to wait if you’re on vacation, but annoying if you have to avoid the not-so-funny small talk of two Italian guys who think it’s funny to pretend they’re mafia members and “want to learn” about Brazil.

IL VALLONE DEI MULINI

Once we got off the bus at Piazza Tasso, we decided to check this spot. It is very close to the Piazza, so we made sure to see it both during the day and during the night, as it creates two completely different atmospheres. The ruins of the ancient mill in the middle of the city absorb you. There are lots of green, running water and one cannot help but wonder how things were. It is located on a valley in the middle of the city, quite something to see. Go back at night to see it, it’s hauntingly beautiful! You see it from the top, I don’t think it’s possible to go down there.

270_DSC04807.jpg

Posted by dindiosk 00:00 Comments (0)

Sorrento: Where we stayed

Fantastic service and a room upgrade!

sunny 28 °C

Previous Post: How we got there

So once we finally reached Sorrento, we had to reach our destination for those days, Maison Toffani!

- Where we Stayed

Everything I write here is based on what I directly experienced, so I will only write about places where I have stayed. Our choice for the two-night stay in Sorrento was MAISON TOFANI (http://www.maisontofani.com/), a hotel located in the heart of Sorrento’s city centre, at Via San Cesareo, just off Piazza Tasso. It is a pedestrian street, full of little shops that stay open until near midnight. We arrived by taxi and were dropped off at the entrance of the street. We walked some two minutes until the entrance of the hotel – you will see a blue and orange little flag with the name of the hotel.

P1120601.jpg
Our always joyful street

Once you arrive, to your right is the reception and to the left a flight of stairs that takes you to the part where the rooms are. We checked in and Luciana, a very friendly member of staff, went to show us our room and the breakfast saloon – incredibly beautiful, rich in details. We were informed we had been given a free room upgrade – isn’t that always delightful?

Our room was spacious and beautifully decorated, with big carved wooden doors, hand-painted tiled floors, coffee-making appliances, writing desk, wardrobe, fridge, chairs, and plenty of space to store your things. The bathroom is modern and new – my only downside would be the size of the shower. Fine for us, but a bit cramped if you need more space. The room has a small balcony that opens to the bustling Via San Cesareo, yet one cannot hear a sound. There is Wi-Fi in the rooms that you access through an ID and password given by the staff – but connection was a bit unstable. Go enjoy the city instead!

270_DSC04734.jpg
Beautiful door inside our bedroom
270_DSC04733.jpg
It was a triple room: this was the single bed, we also had a double one;
270_DSC04732.jpg
90_DSC04731.jpg
270_DSC04730.jpg
The bathroom and my Jim Morrison shirt! <3

The breakfast area is an attraction in itself. Beautiful, spacious, a wonder to admire. There are fresh fruits, different types of bread, cold cuts – you’re in Italy, eat all the Parma ham you can get! – German-style breakfast (cucumber and sausages, for instance), potato tortillas and a beautiful selection of pastries. I am not the one with the sweet tooth, but it is beautiful even if you just look at them. There is plenty to choose from and the coffee you choose is prepared and brought to your table. We were served by Maria, who runs the Maison and is very friendly to talk to – and had visited Brazil in many occasions, so yay for us!

90_P1120648.jpg
Halls to the courtyard
90_P1120647.jpg
90_P1120645.jpg
photo__1_.jpg
A small selection of what they had to offer
DSC04811.jpg
From the small balcony on our room, my mom and Rosemarie downstairs!

Giovanni is the manager and is also delightful to talk to, always with interesting suggestions and going the extra mile to guarantee the guests are comfortable. He was the one who organized the taxi to take us from the hotel – in fact from nearby Piazza Sant’Antonnino – back to the train station when we had to go to Positano. We paid 10 Euro for the taxi, which is good when you’re three people with luggage.

90_P1120649.jpg
Bye, bye Sorrento!

Next post: What we did there!

Posted by dindiosk 23:37 Archived in Italy Tagged vacation hotel italy summer sorrento italia maison_tofani Comments (0)

Getting from Basel to Sorrento

August and September 2013, updating almost a year later!

sunny 28 °C

These are entries I had written almost a year ago, totally in English. I had meant to create a blog with posts both in English and Portuguese about this fantastic trip to Amalfi Coast, in Italy, but work and life commitments got the best of me. I apologize for not having them in Portuguese below, but I feel better publishing the English version, that I wrote with so much love! <3 Posts are divided into categories:

- How we got there
- Where we stayed
- What we did
- Where we ate

Take them not as indications of what one should do, but rather experiences of what we did and suggestions that may or may not be useful to you. I will publish two of these posts a day. This is the "How We Got There" one.

Essas são memórias que escrevi há quase um ano, totalmente em inglês. Naquela época, eu tinha a intenção de criar um blog com posts em português e inglês sobre essa viagem maravilhosa à Costa Amalfitana, na Itália, mas os compromissos do trabalho e a vida acabaram me ocupando mais. Perdão por não incluir traduções em português abaixo, mas pelo menos me sinto melhor publicando os textos que estavam guardados em inglês, que escrevi com tanto amor. Talvez o Google Translator ajude? Os posts estão divididos nas seguintes categorias:

- Como chegamos lá
- Onde ficamos
- O que fizemos
- Onde comemos

Veja esses posts não como indicações do que cada um deve fazer, mas apenas experiências do que vivemos e sugestões que podem ou não lhe ser úteis. Publicarei dois posts por dia. Esse é aquele sobre "Como Chegamos Lá".

SORRENTO

- How we got there

We flew Easyjet directly from Basel, Switzerland, to Naples. The Coast is located in the province of Salerno, in Italy, and going directly to Naples was, for us, the easiest way to get there, as there were daily flights to and from Basel. Other European cities offer the same connections. If you’re flying from outside of the continent, Rome may be your first stop. Rome and Naples are some 190km – I don’t dig miles, sorry – apart and there are trains available between the cities. Make sure you get the faster ones, not the intercity-I-will-stop-everywhere ones.

Flight time from Basel is around 1h10-1h20 depending on the wind. Our tickets were not cheap: approximately CHF 350 return, but, buying in advance and flying during week days can make it cheaper.

1240438_71..546881328_n.jpg
Lake/river? between the mountains
1150892_71..023288292_n.jpg
Above the Alps!
1150270_71..793744984_n.jpg
Landing in Naples

Naples’ airport is small and easy to get around. We collected our luggage and went to the information counter to get some basics on how to find the bus to Sorrento, our first destination. If you can communicate in Italian things get much easier. They really don’t mind your Italian being less than perfect – which is the case with mine – so it’s totally worth it trying if you can. We were pointed to a bus stop on the left of the main exit of the airport, close to a McDonald’s “restaurant. Don’t enter, people! You’re in Italy, everywhere else offers better food.

We waited – under the sun, although in line – for a bus. It was some ten minutes later when an Alibus vehicle came. So I go inside and ask the bus driver for three tickets to Sorrento. He’s very friendly and says, also in Italian “Oh, no! For Sorrento you just keep walking a bit more, pass near a roundabout and see it to your right. And so we went. If you prefer going to Sorrento by train through the Circumvesuviana, Alibus would do the trick for you, as it stops at the train station. Tickets cost 3 Euro. If you arrive during the night, beware. Every train station of major European cities is dodgy, and with Naples it is no different.

We walked some three or four more minutes and found the right bus. They belong to a company called CURRERI VIAGGI (www.curreriviaggi.it) and depart roughly at every round hour. Check their website for detailed departure times as they slightly change in the afternoon. You can buy the ticket with the driver and it costs 10 Euro per person. There is also 500 ml water bottles for purchase on board, 1 Euro each, which might not sound much, but remember this is Naples and everywhere else in the city you can buy 1.5L bottles for 50 cents, literally. We were thirsty anyway, so there went three of our 1 Euro coins.

The bus we got had air-conditioning and looked okay, although people seemed to leave their empty water bottles rolling around the floor of the bus. It was almost full, but since we were the last ones to enter, I managed to get a two-seat row just for myself, where I could nicely listen to my MP3 player and appreciate the view. The journey lasts around 1h15 but depends on traffic. It was a Saturday around 12h when we left and got virtually no traffic. The bus will pass by the entrance of Pompeii, and then continue its journey to Sorrento – and some smaller cities on the way. The driver announces them once we are there.

The bus goes through the highway/Autostrada until finally starting to go around the high cliffs of the coast. If you suffer from vertigo, get the seats on the left of the bus. I found the driver to be very good, so the journey was as smooth as it could have been.

The bus leaves you at Sorrento’s train station, a very central area of the city. From there, there are taxis available or one can just walk to their hotel, depending on the distance and/or one’s energy!

Next Post: Where We Stayed!

Posted by dindiosk 01:20 Archived in Italy Tagged vacation italy trip naples sorrento travelling easy_jet Comments (0)

London - Day 3, from the West to the East End

Londres - Terceiro dia, de West End até a região de East End

sunny 14 °C

For our third day in London, we decided to be a bit spontaneous and follow the advice of one of the guys working for Vinopolis, the company behind the wine tasting experience at the London Eye. On the day before, he mentioned that, on Sundays, Vinopolis offered a special wine tasting experience, plus a mini tour of and also a two-course meal for 35 pounds. Their tour + wine tasting usually costs 27 pounds, so paying 8 more for the lunch seemed probably the best value for money in there. We decided to skip breakfast and left the hotel at around 11h, heading for their building. They had advertised the lunch experience for 12h30, but that Sunday being the day of the London marathon, we decided to leave earlier to avoid any disappointments.

Para o nosso terceiro dia em Londres, decidimos ser um pouco mais espontâneos e seguir o conselho de um dos funcionários da Vinopolis, a empresa por trás da degustação de vinhos na London Eye. No dia anterior, ele falou que aos Domingos a Vinopolis oferece um pacote especial com a degustação, um pequeno tour e uma refeição com dois pratos e que custa 35 libras. Apenas o tour com a degustação vai sair por 27 libras, então pagar 8 a mais pelo almoço pareceu um bom negócio. Decidimos não tomar o café da manhã e saímos do hotel lá pelas 11 horas, na direção do prédio da Vinopolis. No site, o pacote de almoço estava marcado para as 12h30, mas já que aquele Domingo era o dia da maratona de Londres, decidimos sair um pouco mais cedo para evitar decepções.

So we got the tube at Holborn station, changed at Bank and finally went to London Bridge station, since Vinopolis’ building was just behind the Borough Market. The Market is closed on Sundays so it is very different to see it without all the beautiful things going on when it is open. There are plenty of signs pointing to Vinopolis, and it makes sense that it is so, considering what a huge complex it is. The building extends itself for an enormous area around the Southbank of the Thames, and has countless rooms. We bought the package at the reception and it was indeed too early – considering staff were still being briefed on the day and the bartender seemed confused by our presence. His unprofessional attitude put us off a bit but seeing the guys we met at the London Eye the day before changed the whole situation, as they were friendly and accommodating. I got an orange juice to start the day, and Andi chose an espresso.

2014-04-13_11_29_00.jpg2014-04-13_11_34_40.jpg

Pegamos o metrô na estação de Holborn, trocamos em Bank e finalmente chegamos até a Estação de London Bridge, já que o prédio da Vinopolis se localiza bem perto do Mercado de Borough. O Mercado está fechado aos Domingos, e é bem diferente passear por lá sem as barracas lindas e tudo que faz aquele lugar tão especial. Existem muitas placas e indicações para o prédio da Vinopolis e faz sentido que seja assim, considerando como o local é imenso! O prédio se extende por uma área enorme que fica na região de Southbank, sul do Tâmisa, e é cheio de salas e espaços para eventos. Compramos o pacote na recepção e era realmente ainda cedo – os funcionários estavam recebendo as informações do dia e um bartender estava confuso com a nossa presença. Ele ainda agiu de forma pouco professional, mas encontrar com os funcionários que conhecemos na London Eye mudou nosso humor, já que eles foram bastante amigáveis e nos fizeram sentir bem-vindos. Eu pedi um suco de laranja para começar o dia enquanto Andi foi de café expresso.

Soon we were served a Bloody Mary each, as it was part of the package. I gave it another try as it really is not something I enjoy and three sips were all I could take. Andi finished both. :D From there, we headed to lunch. For starters, I went with a three-cheese and leek quiche, garnished with green salad, and Andi chose the duck terrine, also with green salad and a couple sliced of homemade bread. As for the main, we both chose the same: a beautiful meat roast, served with Yorkshire pudding, sautéed potatoes, parsnip, carrot, green beans and broccoli. No need to say my entire broccoli portion ended up on his plate. Food was very nice, and a very friendly Hungarian waiter, who had lived for some time in Colombia and also used Portuguese and German expressions to talk to us, was also responsible for our table.

2014-04-13_12_04_34.jpg2014-04-13_12_41_58.jpg2014-04-13_12_50_41.jpg2014-04-13_13_02_10.jpg

Logo, fomos servidos dois Bloody Mary, um para cada, que também eram inclusos no pacote. Experimentei o drink mais uma vez, já que ele não é dos meus favoritos, mas três goles foi o que deu para passar. Andi acabou bebendo os dois. :D De lá, seguimos para o almoço. Para entrada, fui com um quiche de três queijos e alho poró, enfeitado com uma salada verde, enquanto Andi optou pelo terrine de pato, também acompanhado de salada verde e com algumas fatias de pão caseiro. Para os pratos principais, acabamos escolhendo o mesmo prato: um assado lindo de filé, servido com “Yorkshire pudding”, uma espécie de bolinho típico inglês, da região de Yorkshire, batatas sautée, chirívia, cenoura, vagem e brócolis. Nem preciso dizer que toda a minha porção de brócolis foi parar no prato de Andi. A comida estava uma delícia e um garçom húngaro muito amigável, que viveu por algum tempo na Colômbia e usava expressões em alemão e português para se comunicar com a gente, era o responsável pela nossa mesa.

When lunch was over, we proceeded to the wine tour, or more precisely, a systematic wine tasting overview. It was a conversation on how to taste a wine, what to look for, and what makes things different. It was short but interesting, and it took place on a small auditorium. We were six people as talks happen every thirty minutes and people choose when to take them. Then, it was all about deciding what we wanted to try out. Vinopolis uses a system that was new to me: they hand you a card with 7 tokens, or credits, that you can use on different wine dispensing machines. The machines are equipped with four bottles of wine each, in between reds and whites, tawny and desert wine. They also have a section for champagne and spirits. There is a description above each wine and most will cost 1 or 2 tokens, which should be some three sips. One can also find wines for 4 tokens. It is possible to recharge the card for an extra cost, but we decided to stay with the tokens we had. That gave us a white, two reds and one absinth in the spirits section. We also got a complimentary tasting of a Georgian red, courtesy of the guy we met the day before in the London Eye. Overall, we stayed in there for some four hours; time flew by! It is a great way to spend time in London, especially if you already know a bit of the city.

2014-04-13_13_37_42.jpg2014-04-13_13_55_05.jpg2014-04-13_14_00_08.jpg2014-04-13_14_01_37.jpg2014-04-13_14_06_42.jpg2014-04-13_14_20_56.jpg2014-04-13_14_07_03.jpg

Almoço terminado, seguimos para a visita e degustação de vinhos, ou, mais precisamente, uma visão geral e sistemática de como degustar vinhos. Foi mais ou menos uma conversa sobre como provar um vinho, o que observar e o que diferencia um vinho de outro. Foi curta mas interessante e, aconteceu em um pequeno auditório. Éramos seis pessoas no total, já que as “mini-palestras” acontecem a cada trinta minutos e cada um decide quando participar. Finalmente chegou a hora de decidirmos quais vinhos provar. Vinopolis utiliza um sistema que não conhecia ainda: eles te entregam um cartão com sete créditos que você pode utilizar em diferentes máquinas que guardam os variados tipos de vinhos. As máquinas são equipadas com quarto garrafas cada, em variedades de brancos e tintos, tawny e de sobremesa. Há ainda uma seção para champanhes e destilados. Acima das garrafas é possível encontrar uma descrição de cada bebida e a maioria delas custa entre 1 e 2 créditos, o que garante uns três goles. Há ainda vinhos que custam 4 créditos. É possível recarregar os cartões por um custo extra, mas decidimos provar apenas o que tínhamos. Isso serviu para um branco, dois tintos e uma dose de absinto na seção de destilados. Ainda ganhamos mais um tinto extra, da Geórgia, cortesia do funcionário que conhecemos no dia anterior na London Eye. Acabamos ficando por lá umas quarto horas no total, o tempo passou voando! É uma excelente maneira de passar algum tempo em Londres, ainda mais para quem já conhece um pouco da cidade.

From there, we got the tube to Green Park station and then changed to Covent Garden, to look for a cupcake place we always made plans of visiting. The region of Covent Garden was bursting with life. People were on the streets, in bars by the sidewalk, walking around and listening to street musicians, enjoying the day, doing some shopping. It was very nice to see it as it is such a nice neighbourhood. There were also many people in the most-marathon setting, with their running clothes and medals hanging around their necks, proudly enjoying a cider or a beer. We then found Primrose Bakery, the cupcake/sweets shop we were looking for. A very friendly girl greeted us and we bought two cupcakes to eat there: a red velvet for me, and a chocolate one for Andi. We also bought a third one to share on the next day: a white chocolate topping on a chocolate cake. This is Jude Law’s favourite cupcake place, but in all honesty? Emma from Lilimoo’s, our favourite place in France/Switzerland, still wins the cupcake wars!

2014-04-13_15_54_11.jpg2014-04-13_15_59_58.jpg2014-04-13_16_07_32.jpg

De lá, pegamos o metrô na Estação de Green Park e chegamos a Covent Garden para procurar uma loja de cupcakes que já queríamos conhecer de outras viagens. A região de Covent Garden estava cheia de vida. Muita gente nas ruas, em bares nas calçadas, caminhando e ouvindo os músicos de rua, aproveitando o dia, fazendo compras. Foi muito bom poder ver tudo isso, ainda mais porque é uma vizinhança muito bonita. Vimos muitas pessoas pós-maratona de Londres, orgulhosos exibindo suas medalhas, e bebendo uma cidra ou cerveja. E então chegamos até a Primrose Bakery, a loja de cupcakes/doces que estávamos procurando. Uma funcionária muito amigável nos recebeu e compramos dois cupcakes para comer por lá: um “red velvet” para mim e um de chocolate para Andi. Ainda compramos um terceiro para dividirmos no dia seguinte: um bolinho de chocolate com cobertura de chocolate branco. Esta é a loja favorita do Jude Law, mas falando sério? Somos mais os cupcakes de Emma da Lilimoo, nosso local favorito na França/Suíça. Ela ganha a Guerra dos cupcakes!

We hopped on the tube one more time, starting from Leicester Square, to go in the direction of Knightsbridge, the super fancy neighbourhood around Hyde Park. The area is, again, full of luxury shops and car dealerships. We were trying to find a nice place to have a drink around the park, but since there were none in sight, we decided to enter the park and find something in there instead. (Andi’s note: because wifey didn’t believe the husband! We would have “found” beautiful drinks where I said!) The park was full of people running, using the city bikes, skating or just strolling around. We sat for a while by the Serpentine while having some water and started to make our way back to the hotel to change, put some more clothes and head towards the final part of the day!

2014-04-13_16_43_41.jpg

Pegamos o metrô mais uma vez, desta vez partindo de Leicester Square até a direção de Knightsbridge, uma vizinhança super luxuosa perto de Hyde Park. A região é repleta de lojas de luxo e concessionárias caras. Estávamos procurando um bar que parecesse interessante para um drink de frente para o parque, mas como não havia nada em vista, entramos no parque e procuramos por algo por lá. (Nota de Andi: porque a esposinha não acreditou no marido! Teríamos “encontrado” drinks lindos onde eu apontei!) O parque estava lotado de pessoas correndo, usando as bicicletas públicas, andando de patins ou só dando uma volta. Sentamos um pouco na região do lago enquanto tomávamos uma água, e decidimos voltar para o hotel para trocarmos de roupa, colocar algo mais quente e iniciar a parte final do nosso dia!

We had booked, while still in Switzerland, a walking tour around the Whitechapel region: the Jack the Ripper walking tour, with Ripper Vision agency. Since I was a child, the story from Jack the Ripper puzzled me, and I thought it would be a nice way to visit this region that was new to us. So we headed towards Aldgate East station, where our meeting point was. (Andi’s note: weird people around the station!!) Our group consisted of some forty people and was very diverse, in between an 10-year-old boy with his mother, people with rock shirts, lots of women and older men. Our guide was energetic and rich in details about the stories and theories surrounding the murder. They use lots of facts and publically available information. Also, there is a small portable projection she uses to show images, and it makes the whole experience more complete. We spent almost two hours walking around a region we would not normally decide to visit in London. At times it looks dirty and hectic, even a bit unfriendly, but there are nice places to see. We passed by the famous curry region on London, revisited some of the murder scenes, passed by many other walking tours and even faced a random person screaming at the group – apparently this is common and you’re seen as a weirdo if you take this tour. We ended the visit on a parking lot with lots of conspiracy theories and gloomy feelings. No need to say that walking to the next station, alone, in a region on London we’re not familiar with and with no maps was a thrill.

2014-04-13_19_23_13.jpg2014-04-13_19_33_24.jpg2014-04-13_19_33_32.jpg2014-04-13_20_01_43.jpg2014-04-13_20_04_04.jpg2014-04-13_20_27_31.jpg

Havíamos reservado, ainda na Suíça, um tour a pé pela região de Whitechapel: o tour de Jack, o Estripador, com a agência Ripper Vision. Desde criança, a história de Jack, o Estripador sempre me deixou fascinada/apavorada, e achei que seria uma boa maneira de visitar uma região que era nova para a gente. Seguimos para a Estação de Aldgate East, onde estava marcado o início do tour. (Nota de Andi: que povo esquisito ao redor da Estação!) Nosso grupo era formado por mais ou menos quarenta pessoas e era bastante heterogêneo, entre um menino de dez anos acompanhado pela mãe, pessoas com camisetas de bandas de rock, muitas mulheres e também homens mais velhos. Nossa guia era cheia de energia e contava as histórias e teorias sobre os assassinatos em riqueza de detalhes. O tour apresenta muitos fatos e informações que estão disponíveis em arquivos públicos. Além disso, há ainda um pequeno projetor portátil que é utilizado para exibir imagens e completa a experiência. Passamos mais ou menos duas horas caminhando por uma região que não necessariamente escolheríamos conhecer. Whitechapel e o East End parece muitas vezes confusa, suja, pouco amigável, mas com suas riquezas. Passamos pela região de Londres que ficou famosa pelos curries dos imigrantes, revisitamos alguns dos locais dos assassinatos, cruzamos com muitos outros tours a pé e vimos até um rapaz que gritou coisas desagradáveis para a nossa guia – parece que isso acontece sempre e muita gente considera quem faz tours desse tipo como maluco. Terminamos a visita em um estacionamento, ouvindo mais histórias sombrias e teorias da conspiração. Nem preciso dizer que a caminhada, sozinhos, até a estação mais próxima e passando por ruas desertas, sem mapas, foi uma emoção.

We reached – unharmed – Liverpool Street Station and decided to make a quick stop at Marks and Spencer foods to get what would constitute our dinner: an orzo salad with dried tomatoes, pasta salad with pulled barbecued pork, crisps, pita bread and some Parma ham. Another direct tube ride to Holborn station, and we soon were at the hotel to enjoy our food and get our well deserve rest!

Chegamos – ilesos – até a Estação de Liverpool Street e decidimos fazer uma parada rápida a uma loja de comidas da Marks & Spencer para comprar o que faríamos de nosso jantar: salada de orzo com tomate seco, salada de macarrão com porco desfiado e molho barbecue, batatas chips, pão pita e um pouco de presunto de Parma. Mais uma viagem de metrô até a estação de Holborn e logo chegamos ao hotel para nosso jantar e ter também o nosso tão merecido descanso!

Posted by dindiosk 14:05 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london united_kingdom vacation wine uk marathon covent_garden whitechapel wine_tasting vinopolis Comments (0)

London - Day 2 and Lots Accomplished

Londres - Dia 2 e Bastante Coisa Feita

sunny 15 °C

So it turned out that today was a very big day for us in London! We woke up naturally around 8h in the morning and were out on the street at around 10h. We decided to head for breakfast at the Borough Market, in Southwark, one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, a place I really enjoy visiting. It is right next to the Southwark Cathedral, so it is really a pleasure to buy something at one of their many food stalls and sit by the Cathedral to eat it. We got the tube at Holborn and got off at Borough station thinking it would be a better one, but, in fact, London Bridge station is much closer to the market. This is what happens when one starts to get too comfortable around the city and does not check maps anymore... Truffles, chocolate, fresh juices, hams and cheese, olives, spanish, chinese or vietnamese food, veggies and fruits, pastries, sandwiches, dairy free cupcakes... Name it and you might find it there! We went for a fresh orange juice, a red berries juice, and a pulled pork with mustard sandwich served on brown bread. For dessert, a dairy free brownie for Andi and a small red velvet gluten-free cupcake for me, treats we enjoyed by the Cathedral while laughing at a baby french bulldog's attempt to attack everything and anything around him.

2014-04-12_10_39_45.jpg2014-04-12_10_43_55.jpg2014-04-12_10_45_57.jpg2014-04-12_10_47_31-2.jpg2014-04-12_10_49_21.jpg2014-04-12_11_05_10.jpg2014-04-12_11_05_13.jpg2014-04-12_11_08_21.jpg

Acabou que o dia de hoje foi imenso para a gente em Londres! Acordamos sem despertador às 8h e estávamos na rua lá pelas 10h. Decidimos seguir para o café da manhã no Mercado de Borough, em Sourthwark, um dos maiores e mais antigos mercados de comida de Londres, e um lugar que eu adoro visitar. O mercado fica bem ao lado da Catedral de Southwark, então é um grande prazer comprar alguma coisa em uma das muitas barracas do mercado e sentar no terreno da Catedral para comer. Pegamos o metrô em Holborn e descemos na estação Borough achando que seria a melhor opção, mas, na verdade, a parada de London Bridge fica muito mais perto do mercado. É isso que acontece quando uma pessoa fica confortável demais numa cidade e não lê mais os mapas... Trufas selvagens, chocolate, sucos frescos, charcutaria e queijos, azeitonas, comida chinesa, espanhola ou vietnamita, vegetais e frutas, doces, sanduíches, cupcakes sem lactose... Pense em uma coisa e você pode encontrar por lá! Decidimos por um suco fresco de laranja, outro de frutas vermelhas e um sanduíche de carne de porco desfiada servido com mostarda num pão integral. Para sobremesa, um brownie sem lactose pra Andi e um cupcake red velvet pequeno para mim, comidinhas que apreciamos na Catedral enquanto ríamos de um bulldog francês bebê que queria atacar tudo ao redor dele.

From the Market and Cathedral we decided to head towards Waterloo station and check the London Eye. We had tried to get tickets to their Wine Tasting experience before to no success, so we wanted to check it out in person if it would still be possible to try that out today. We've been to the London Eye twice before today, always with the Champagne Experience, and we absolutely adore it. The champagne experience is a bit pricier than a regular ticket, but it also means virtually no time waiting in their huge lines, and a nice treatment while appreciating the views from the top. The visitor's centre of the London Eye was packed with people wanting things, certainly more hectic than one would expect, but we left there with the good news that there were still tickets available for the Wine Tasting ride, so we got our tickets and knew we had to go back shortly before 17h30, when our 3rd ride on the London Eye would take place.

2014-04-12_11_46_18.jpg

Do mercado e Catedral seguimos até a estação de Waterloo para vermos a London Eye. Havíamos tentado comprar ingressos antes para o pacote de provar vinhos mas não conseguimos; então queríamos ver pessoalmente se ainda seria possível conseguir ingressos para aquele dia. Antes de hoje, já fomos duas vezes antes ao London Eye, sempre com o pacote do Champagne, que adoramos totalmente. A "Champagne Experience", como chamam esse pacote, é um pouco mais caro que um ingresso comum, mas vem com as vantagens de quase não aguardar em fila alguma - e as filas por lá são imensas! - e um tratamento especial enquanto observamos a cidade de cima. O centro de visitantes da London Eye estava lotado com pessoas comprando diferentes pacotes, definitivamente mais caótico que das outras vezes em que estivemos por lá, mas saímos com a boa notícia de que havia sim ingressos disponíveis. Compramos os nossos sabendo que deveríamos estar de volta pouco antes das 17h30, quando a nossa terceira subida na London Eye iria acontecer.

Tickets in hand, we decided to walk around the region of Southbank, a now-bustling area full of galleries, new buildings, and that is adjacent to the southern bank of the Thames. We soon reached the Southbank Centre, a complex of artistic venues and Europe's largest centre for the arts. There are three main buildings and lots of rooms and gallery halls surrounded by nice new bars and restaurants. There were people seeing everything, children playing in some of the parts, and a nice small market, also full of food coming from different parts of the world. Andi decided to get a coffee with almond milk and I was tempted by a "pastel de Belém", a portuguese egg tart pastry I love. It was nothing like the original, but okay for a British attempt at it. With some time to kill before heading back to the London Eye, we decided to travel a bit further and see the new Emirates Air Line, the Thames cable cars , a gondola lift across the Thames that also offers great views of the city. And there we went!

2014-04-12_12_29_17.jpg2014-04-12_12_31_59.jpg2014-04-12_12_36_45.jpg2014-04-12_12_41_11.jpg
2014-04-12_12_43_41.jpg2014-04-12_12_45_37.jpg

Com os ingressos em mãos, decidimos caminhar pela região de Southbank, uma área revitalizada cheia de galerias, novos prédios e que fica adjacente ao lado sul do Tâmisa. Logo chegamos ao Southbank Centre, um complexo de espaços artísticos que é o maior espaço da Europa para as artes. São três prédios principais e muitas salas e espaços de exposição cercados por novos bares e restaurantes. O local estava cheio de gente vendo tudo e crianças brincando, além de ter ainda um pequeno mercado de comida repleto de pratos de lugares diferentes do mundo. Andi decidiu tomar um café com leite de amêndoas e eu me encantei por um pastel de Belém português. Na verdade, não chegava aos pés do original, mas estava ok para uma tentativa britânica. Como ainda tínhamos tempo antes de voltarmos para a London Eye, decidimos nos aventurar um pouco mais longe e ver o novo Emirates Air Line, o teleférico que cruza o Tâmisa e oferece boas vistas da cidade. E lá fomos nós!

To get there, we got the underground until North Greenwich station. We did not really know the cable cars were very close to the O2 Arena, this huge music venue that hosts some of London's biggest concerts, so it was a nice surprise to be able to see the area - it is huge, with some restaurants and bars around it, and seems to be in constant expansion, with more construction already visible. We also saw a bit of the venue itself, surrounded by music memorabilia. It is also possible to climb to the rooftop of the Arena, but we skipped that and finally went to the cable cars. We waited a minute or two in line, and got return tickets for a special price considering we are Oyster card holders - here's one more advantage the card brings! The ride takes some ten minutes - per leg - but it can be faster depending on conditions. Today there were not that many people - though some - and the nice touch is that they do not overfill the gondolas with people, allowing plenty of room for everyone, and lots of space to enjoy the many views one can have from there. On the way back, some locals gave us tips of places where to go next, and we decided to listen to them and head to the Greenwich city centre, where the Naval Museum is located, the prime meridian and some other nice attractions.

2014-04-12_13_46_59.jpg2014-04-12_13_49_12.jpg2014-04-12_13_57_34.jpg2014-04-12_14_06_14.jpg2014-04-12_14_05_31.jpg2014-04-12_14_05_41.jpg2014-04-12_14_06_29.jpg

Para chegarmos lá, pegamos o metrô até a estação de North Greenwich. Não sabíamos que o teleférico ficava tão perto da Arena O2, um enorme espaço de música que recebe alguns dos maiores shows de Londres, então foi uma boa surpresa poder conhecer a arena - que é enorme, cercada por bares e restaurantes e que parece estar em constante expansão, com mais obras visíveis. Também conhecemos um pouco da arena por dentro, cercada de muitas lembranças musicais. É possível subir até o topo da arena, mas decidimos deixar isso para outras oportunidades e irmos finalmente ao teleférico. Esperamos um ou dois minutos na fila e compramos ingressos de ida e volta com um preço melhor, já que temos cartões Oyster - mais uma vantagem para eles! A viagem leva cerca de dez minutos por trecho mas pode ser mais rápida dependendo do vento e horário. Por lá, não havia gente demais - mas algumas pessoas - e o legal é que eles não enchem as gôndolas do teleférico com gente demais, deixando bastante espaço para todo mundo observar a vista e tirar fotos. No caminho de volta, alguns locais nos ofereceram dicas de onde irmos em seguida e decidimos então aceitar o conselho e seguir para o centro de Greenwich, onde o Museu Naval está localizado, assim como o meridiano zero e mais atrações.

We chose the bus as a means of transportation to get to the centre of Greenwich. Although the bus allows those who are riding it to see what's outside, we got a traffic jam that slowed us down quite a bit. By the time we got to the area where we wanted to be, we realized we should start soon heading back to the London Eye. We saw only a bit of the region, but enough to make us aware we need to get back there, especially because we did not have time to see the meridian zero! It is also by the river and has some nice cafés and restaurants around. We stopped at a Nando's for a quick snack - the first time ever at a Nando's, I was particularly curious to try it since I have seen so many on my previous trips to the UK!, but let me say right ahead it's nothing special. We got hummus with pita bread, a small sweet mashed potato pot and some garlic bread. Pit stop for food complete, time to head back to Waterloo and start our Wine Tasting Experience!

2014-04-12_14_36_00.jpg2014-04-12_15_15_34.jpg2014-04-12_15_18_08-2.jpg2014-04-12_15_21_26.jpg2014-04-12_15_30_19.jpg

Decidimos ir até o centro de Greenwich de ônibus. A vantagem é que, no ônibus, é possível ver todo o caminho e o que acontece do lado de fora, mas pegamos um engarrafamento que nos atrasou um pouco. Quando finalmente chegamos onde queríamos estar, percebemos que em não muito tempo deveríamos começar a voltar para a região da London Eye. Conhecemos um pouco do centro de Greenwich, o suficiente para combinarmos de voltar ali e apreciar tudo com calma, ainda mais porque não vimos o famoso meridiano zero! A região também fica adjacente ao Tâmisa e tem alguns bons cafés e restaurantes. Paramos em um restaurante Nando's para um lanche rápido - até porque eu já vi dezenas de Nando's e nunca tinha entrado em um, mas deixe-me adiantar que não é nada especial. Fomos de hummus com pão pita, um potinho de purê de batata doce e pão de alho. Com a parada para o lanche completa, era hora de retornar até Waterloo e iniciar nossa degustação de vinhos.

We waited at the visitor's centre for the scheduled time and had some fun people watching those who would join us on the same capsule. It was mostly couples, older than us, and a mother/daughter pair. The wine tasting experience lasts 60 minutes, so instead of one round at the big wheel you get the chance to do it twice, which is an advantage. ClueQuest has a run for their money on what are the fastest 60 minutes in town.The afternoon was beautiful, sunny, clear, one could see everything! We tried five different types of wine: a sparkling from Domaine Carneros, in California; a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, a beaujolais from France, a carmenere from Chile and, finally, a tawny from Australia, the only one I threw away as it was too sweet. Some salty snacks are also offered throughout the ride, and softdrinks are available for everyone. Staff from Vinopolis, the company that provides the experience, were friendly and approachable. We spent some time talking to one of the guys, who also gave us more information on Vinopolis itself. We might be at their headquarters tomorrow for something else... On a side note, we absolutely love the London Eye, seriously. If the city ever needs people to promote it, we're game. It was our third time there and one might think there can never be anything that will push a person to go more than once, but as soon as we stepped outside, Andi and I looked at each other and said... "We'll so come back!". The Champagne tasting experience will be our next attempt!

2014-04-12_17_45_57.jpg2014-04-12_17_49_55.jpg2014-04-12_17_50_34-1.jpg2014-04-12_17_58_28.jpg2014-04-12_17_54_22.jpg2014-04-12_18_12_37.jpg
2014-04-12_17_59_09-2.jpg2014-04-12_18_22_11-1.jpg

Aguardamos pelo horário marcado no centro de visitantes e nos divertimos "people watching", observando as pessoas que estariam conosco na mesma cápsula. A maioria era formada por casais mais velhos que a gente, além de um par de mãe/filha. A degustação e passeio na London Eye duram 60 minutos, o que consiste em duas voltas completas na roda gigante mais famosa do mundo. A verdade é que o ClueQuest ganhou um grande concorrente na lista dos 60 minutos mais rápidos de Londres. O tempo passa e você nem percebe! A tarde estava linda, ensolarada, com céu limpo e vimos tudo mais uma vez! Experimentamos cinco tipos diferentes de vinho: um espumante da Domaine Carneros, na Califórnia; um sauvignon blank da Nova Zelândia, um beaujolais francês, um carmenere chileno e encerramos com um tawny Australiano, o único que acabei não terminando de beber - estilo porto, doce demais. Alguns petiscos são também oferecidos durante a degustação e água e refrigerante também estão disponíveis. Os funcionários da Vinopolis, a empresa que organiza a degustação eram amigáveis e acessíveis. Conversamos um pouco com os meninos da Vinopolis, que também nos deram mais informações sobre a empresa. Um dos planos do Domingo é ir até lá experimentar um pouco mais do que eles têm a oferecer... Mas olha, a gente ama essa London Eye, sério. Se algum dia a cidade precisar de gente pra promover a roda gigante, pode chamar a gente na hora. Essa foi nossa terceira vez por lá e embora muita gente pense que se você for por lá uma vez não precisa voltar, assim que a gente saiu da cápsula, olhamos um para o outro e dissemos... "E vamos vir aqui de novo!!". A degustação de champagnes será nossa próxima experiência!

We headed back to our hotel to change and rest for some half hour before continuing our journey of the day. I had booked us a table at a placed in Camden Town called "The Blues Kitchen", a blues bar and restaurant with lots of south-of-the-US food and live music. We got there by bus, a bus we got close to Russell Square, and the bus dropped us off some two minutes away from the restaurant. Once we got it... It was crowded and loud! The decoration and the place look very interesting, and we automatically liked it. The waiter working with us was super friendly and attentive, in spite of all the people coming and going. Andi and I both ordered the same thing, a sirloin steak with sweet potato cuts, and it comes with cherry tomatoes still on the vine and a bit of green salad. I had an amazing peppercorn sauce with the steak, Andi went for the dairy-free BBQ sauce. For drinks, water, gin and tonic, and gin and lemonade for me. We got there at 20h30 and it was shortly past 22h30 when the live music started. Sadly, although the band was interesting, it was not exactly what we wanted. People continued to be loud and not really focused on the music, so it was hard to see anything or engage on the music from where we were sitting. We decided to approach the stage but the pushing and shoving of the twenty-year olds was also too distracting. Are we really that old? I was hoping for some heart-felt blues where we could just sit back and dive into the music... We'll keep trying!

2014-04-12_22_49_49.jpg2014-04-12_20_57_57.jpg2014-04-12_20_52_12.jpg2014-04-12_20_27_49.jpg2014-04-12_20_27_12.jpg

Voltamos ao hotel para trocar de roupa e descansar uma meia hora antes de continuarmos a jornada do dia. Eu havia reservado uma mesa em um lugar em Camden Town chamado "The Blues Kitchen", um bar e restaurante de blues com muita comida do sul dos EUA e música ao vivo. Chegamos lá de ônibus que pegamos bem pertinho do hotel e também nos deixou quase na porta do restaurante. Assim que chegamos lá... Estava lotado e bem agitado! A decoração e o local são bem interessantes, com fotos de artistas de blues e outros símbolos e gostamos logo de cara. A garçonete responsável pela nossa mesa era super amigável e atenciosa, mesmo no meio de toda a gente pra lá e pra cá no restaurante. Andi e eu escolhemos o mesmo prato, um contra-filé com batata doce que vem ainda com tomates cereja nos galhinhos e um pouco de salada verde. O meu prato veio com um molho de grãos de pimenta delicioso enquanto Andi escolheu o molho BBQ, sem lactose. Para bebidas, água e gin tônica e gin com limonada. Chegamos no restaurante às 20h30 e era pouco depois das 22h30 quando a banda começou a tocar. Infelizmente, apesar da banda ser interessante, o local não era exatamente o que estávamos procurando. As pessoas continuaram barulhentas mesmo quando a música começou e não dava pra ver nada de onde estávamos sentados. Decidimos pagar a conta e ir para a frente do palco mas a galera empurrando e não dando a mínima pra música nos distraiu demais... Estamos ficando velhos? Eu estava na esperança de um blues honesto onde a gente pudesse sentar e apreciar a música... Vamos tentar de novo!

Bus back home and we finally threw ourselves in bed! It will be a nice, big and beautiful day tomorrow!

Mais uma viagem de ônibus de volta pra casa e nos jogamos na cama! Amanhã será um dia lindo e repleto do que fazer!

Posted by dindiosk 00:48 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london london_eye united_kingdom thames greenwich camden emirates Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 19) Page [1] 2 3 4 »