At the top, a panoramic view of the park and its surroundings await.
“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”.
Last month I went back to Beijing. While I was there working half of the time on a project, I did get to visit some of the sights around the city.
The morning after my arrival, I took a stroll in the neighbourhood Yuyuantan Park 玉渊潭公园.
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.
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
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.
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
It was of pure luck that I picked Antiqvvm – a Michelin one-star restaurant helmed by chef Vitor Matos – for dinner on our second day in Porto.
The restaurant sits on top of a hill overlooking the Douro river
Ponte Dom Luis I
The iconic Dom Luis I bridge that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia was built in 1886 by Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustav Eiffel.
Palácio da Bolsa
The Stock Exchange Palace was built in the 19th century by the Commercial Association of Porto in Neoclassical style. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a spectacularly decorated interior.
Churches with Tiles:
Igleja do Carmo
Situated kitty-corner from the University of Porto, this Late Baroque/Rococco style church is built in the second half of the 18th century. The front façade is crowned with sculptures of the four Evangelists.