Summer Palace, Beijing Part 1

“Yiheyuan” 颐和园 (Summer Palace of Beijing)  is an imperial garden from the Qing Dynasty. Built in 1764 as “Qingyiyuan” 清漪园 during the reign of the Emperor Qianlong. It was burned down towards the end of the Second Opium War by the Anglo-French troops and was reconstructed in 1888 by the Guanxu Emperor to celebrate the 60th birthday of Empress Dowager Cixi, adopting its present name. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for “its harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value”.

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Douro Valley, Portugal

At the Porto airport, a Sixt rental agent was trying to upsell us a Mercedes-Benz. It’s only 42€/day she claimed – 18€ more than the Smart car we booked off Expedia – and it would come in handy when you drive those mountain roads. She almost had us, that is, until we reviewed the total amount and realized that, contrary to our understanding, the daily rate had now jumped to 66€ (almost tripled the amount we had initially signed up for) and we were going to be driving for 9 days. We politely declined her offer and kept our Smart.

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Recipe: Portuguese Walnut Tart

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We had this tart for breakfast at Hotel Albergaria do Calvário in Évora, Portugal. It had a good nutty flavor and was not overly sweet as the other pastries we’d had in Portugal. I loved it! The hotel kindly shared their recipe with me. So here it is how to make it!

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Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands

My days in Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands went like a dream. It wasn’t so much of a “dream” come true – because, honestly speaking, both destinations weren’t particularly high on my list – I only went because I was awarded a trip of my choice by my company with additional vacation days to spare so I wanted to do something different. What I ended up having was an amazing jaunt brimming with new discoveries and cherishable memories.

From the magnificent sunset in Nyhavn

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A Day Trip and More to Eat in Porto, Portugal

It’d been almost an hour since we’d been waiting for bus no.2 by the Braga train station. “C’est compliqué en Dimanche” – said the Portuguese woman to a French couple nearby before she jumped on her bus and took off, leaving us clueless tourists behind.

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We decided to grab a taxi, which conveniently delivered us to the hilltop of the religious sanctuary named Bom Jesus do Monte, that boasts a beautiful church

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