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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Woody Allen Should Make a Film in Lisboa!

We've just arrived in Lisbon and it's beautiful, on a bright sunny day it is shown to full advantage. As we were told at the airport Woody Allen should make a film in Lisboa. After all he has already immortalized London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome. We can't believe we are here and have weeks to enjoy the city. The flat is enormous and as advertised, we are so happy to have found it, thank you Henrique and Miguel.

We went for a small walk and found a mirador or viewing point just up the hill. A small park opens up to a view of the city, the castle, cathedral and the ocean. The pavements like so many here are patterned and remind me of other we have seen in Rio. The park has  a cafe and wooden benches, I can't wait to sit there and read my book.

 Walking out to the mirador, the view above.

We are in the heart of the Barrio Alto on the Rua Norte, it's a pedestrian area though the cab driver wangled his way in so we could drop off our bags right at the door. We are on the first floor and our living room is directly above a trendy cupcake bakery called Tease which plays hypnotic music and is  lit like a club. Perhaps I could eat a lot of cupcakes but still look good in the dim lighting?

On our street, at night it is full of people.

The non-descript restaurant across the street that was recommended  is completely packed by 8:30pm. It had been described as cheap and good but the chap manning the door says they've been written up by the NewYork Times and that Oprah ate there, not sure I should believe him!  However, while other places have hawkers outside to bring people in, this place has a guy keeping you out and no menu posted. We'll let you know what we think if and when we make it past the gastronomic gatekeeper.

The apartment is very well located with the metro and tram running from the square at the end of the street. You know you're in a flash area when  all you can find are organic supermarkets and Hermes is only a few hundred yards . However, as D pointed out we're equally close  to Footlocker, ahh the glamour!

Portugal is in yet another year of austerity and the unemployment rate (particularly for the youth) is extremely high, it may be hard to see the economic pain in this neighborhood but we saw this demonstration by leftist on our first night.

Lisbon is a city of hills, views and water. Here's the view from the mirador at night. We're looking forward to seeing lots more of it.