A few of our favorite places
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil recently hosted the 2014 World Cup, and Rio the 2016 Summer Olympics. In addition to excelling at football and those delicious Caipirinhas (Cachaça, muddled lime and a hint of sugar served over ice), Brazil offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world such as Praia da Pipa near Natal, Porto de Galinhas in Recife, Jericoacoara in Ceara and Rio’s very own Copacabana Beach, which just happens to be one of the slider images on our home page. The country's vast size and diverse geography include the world’s largest tropical rainforest (Amazon), the world's largest tropical wetland (Pantanal) and the Foz de Iguaçu – those great falls you’ve seen in the Bond films. When in Rio don't miss the cable car to Pão de Açúcar, the amazing view from the statue of Christ overlooking the city (Cristo Redentor) or the incredible beaches of Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana. Add the amazing food from every region, an incredibly warm and inviting culture that boasts Capoeira, Carnival and Bossa Nova and you'll quickly see why Brazil is so easy to fall in love with, and Rio is the place to do it!
Rio truly is the Cidade Maravilhosa!
San Gimignano, Italy
We've had the opportunity to explore just a taste of Italy with trips to Rome, Portofino, the Amalfi Coast and several cities in the Tuscan region. One of our favorite places so far is San Gimignano. So much so, that you may have noticed it's also one of the slider images on our home page. A member of our team took that beautiful landscape of this small Italian hill town encircled by 13th-century walls with its unique skyline during a group vacation a few years ago. It’s Tuscany at its best and while some us were less than thrilled at rising before the sun, the photos taken that day were nothing less than spectacular. The morning fog lifting from the fields of grapevines, just days before the harvest, was cinematic and downright awe inspiring. And that was the feeling long before we indulged in the local vineyard’s delightful reds. Tuscany is full of amazing scenes from the rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves, to the cities of Florence and Siena with their Renaissance art and architecture. There's no better way to enjoy all of this than gathering a few friends (new and old) and sharing delicious antipasti and a bottle (or two) of red. While Brazil will always be in our heart, Italy and its hidden Tuscan treasure San Gimignano, will forever be in our blood!
Cabo da Roca, Portugal
On a recent trip to Cascais our hosts took us to Sintra and Cabo da Roca. Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, is part of the Portuguese Riviera and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's not to be missed with traces of humanity back to the Bronze age and is rich in Portuguese history and culture. Located in the Sintra Mountains the views are incredible and the town full of charm. After a splendid lunch we headed off to Cabo da Roca which is the westernmost point of continental Europe. What starts out as nothing more than a scenic lighthouse perched on the end of a peninsula quickly transforms to an absolutely breathtaking view of the cliffs overlooking the sea. You immediately feel as if you just reached the end of the world, and it couldn't be more beautiful. We could tell you about the historical significance of the location, or describe the landscape that unfolds before your eyes, but you’re better off Googling some images on your own. In the end we think this simple quote by Luís de Camões, Os Lusíadas, probably sums it up best:
“Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa..."
[Here, where the land ends and the sea begins...]