• 24 January, 2019

    AMPARITO ROCA – MADRID – A memory of good taste

    One of our last discoveries in Madrid; an elegant place with an exceptional service & decoration.

    Jesús Velasco, the Master and Commander of AMPARITO ROCA, is always on the top of the things with a very nice sense of humour and always sympathetic enough to give dary opinions about your meal orders if he considers better any other combinations.

    Broad & spaceful tables with plentiful natural light creating a laid back atmosphere is highly recommended for business-lunch venues.

    The restaurant name is taken out from a traditional dance/song -Pasadoble- called “Amparito Roca” (the name of a lady). There are just a few concrete walls in the dining room; and one of them is decorated with this lady’s picture.

    The restaurant offers a cuisine which appeals every day and of which you never get tired.

    A simple sea-food salad “salpicón de carabinero” is a good example of how surprisingly simple things can taste.

    Despite it might seem slightly costy, we find it really worth it.

    www.restauranteamparitoroca.com

    Google maps

     

     

     

     

     

  • 16 April, 2018

    MADRID OFF THE BEATEN BITE (LA CERVECERA)

    It is easy to like the beautiful, but it is the simple and the authentic what makes you fall in love.

    Thank you Carlos I. for bringing us here.

    Google maps

  • 13 February, 2018

    LE BISTROT DU PARADOU, LA PROVENCE (FRANCE)

    This restaurant is located in a handsome and traditional building at Paradou, in the Provence.

    Le Bistrot du Paradou is a local institution in this beautiful village and has a great atmosphere.

    They offer a daily set menu only.  Good value if you eat and drink well.

    https://www.viamichelin.com/web/Restaurant/Paradou-13520-Le_Bistrot_du_Paradou-4674-41102

  • 23 March, 2017

    EL PARAGUAS, MADRID (THE UMBRELLA)

    EL PARAGUAS

    www.elparaguas.com

    At the umbrella of a lovely street (Jorge Juan) which is situated at the heart of the most emblematic quarter of Madrid (Salamanca), one finds EL PARAGUAS restaurant: a fabulous, classical, elegant, upmarket site which is specialized in the culinary delights coming from the Asturias region (at the north of Spain, between Galicia & Santander area), such as sea bass fish and poached beans.

    Asturias is a region of Spain (with Gijon & Aviles as its 2 ports) renown not only for the high quality, but also for very generous portions…

    El Paraguas offers a generous quantity of atributes which makes it quite a high-light in Madrid.

    The restaurant TEN CON TEN in Ayala Street (we have a tip for it) belong to the same owners.

    Google maps

     

     

     

  • 23 March, 2017

    UNWIND & WINE

    HEREDAD SEGURA VIUDAS: D.O. PENEDES

    www.seguraviudas.es/en

    The influence of the sun and of the Mediterranean sea make this region a privileged territory for winegrowing, halfway between Barcelona and Tarragona.

    The beautiful Estate is situated in the heart of an appealing landscape surrounded by a stretch of vineyards with a family mansion & cellar at the edge….At the far background one can indulge the views  of the unique shapes and multi-peak Montserrat mountain range, which turns pink during sunsets.

    The visit to the cellar and the vineyards is a top of the class experience. It is not touristy, as it might be expected or compared with other famous cellars of the area.

    The Estate has an official passionate enologist called Jordi who walks you inside the vineyards and gives you all kind of technical and amene introductions about the soil, curiosities about the climbing vine plants, the grape varieties, the flora and fauna of the ecosystem…including a funny “sex confusion” of the wine butterflies.

    The tour inside the cellar is also very interesting as it is well preserved and has some modernist architectural designs such as the blue tile walls. The tunnels down the cellar are also worth it.

    And the best of all: the family mansion and its rich decoration with rich oil paintings split around the various living rooms.

    And talking about the living rooms, one could “live” there foreever…They serve a truly genuine and delicious catalan breakfast (or lunch…or dinner in summer) consisiting of fresh regional products which shouldn’t be missed…and its wine…and cava, ¡of course!

    Google maps

     

  • 10 March, 2017

    DRIVE & DIVE THROUGH FRANCE, from London to South Provence !

    For Shashi:

    Out of the several excellent options for this country, we would conceive a “TOUR DE FRANCE” on a clock-wise round direction.

    The only upsetting fact for anybody challenging this trip, would be daring to cover the large geography of France on a tour; as it will be impossible not to miss wonderful spots just a few milles within your proximity throughout the whole journey, because France is the perfect country (THIS IS A MUST THING TO TAKE IN MIND) “to switch-on the eco-GPS mode” and drive and stop as it goes with the flow…

    If it is your 1st time in the french country-side, you will have to agree that France is truly majestic,  from a natural point of view & also from a historical perspective: dozens of beautifully preserved and ancient villages will be on your route (and off your route too, unfortunately).

    There is a web-site which we strongly recommend as a reference guide, (this official site lists the most beautiful villages of France). You can click the map and choose your preferred route…the whole country is spotted by true marvels:

    http://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr

    http://www.france-beautiful-villages.org/en

    To reduce the journey towards Provence to a shorter tour, we would highlight 4 main sections which we consider not to be missed :

    PROVENCE REGION, (further south would  not be as pretty).

    Provence has an iconic scenery such as the Italian Tuscany, or the British Cotswolds, or Cornwall.

    The Provence is wonderful, specially during late spring (early June is the month of the lavender harvest collection).

    Here are a few name of villages and spots which we would suggest not to be missed :

    LOURMARIN, GORDES, ROUSILLON, BAUX-EN-PROVENCE, THE CASTLE OF “MARQUIS DE SADE” .

    All these landscapes had inspired many impressionist painters such as Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne and this reason is why many impressionists made famous the Provençal colors (inspired by the natural beauty).

    https://goo.gl/maps/4zwXmhTi55U2

    AUVERGNE & MASSIF CENTRAL (Central Plateau of France)

    This is the largest volcanic area within the whole continental Europe.

    The scenery here is pretty amazing, rolling hills everywhere and extinct volcanoes which are nowadays covered by green valleys, (hence this is not a typical lava landscape; more to the contrary it is a lush green fertile area).

    https://goo.gl/maps/FyZaU6NPJ3S2

    Reducing this south-bound journey through MASSIF CENTRAL (direction to PROVENCE) would represent missing out Lyon city (aprox 150 milles East-bound, from the Auvergne area).

    Lyon would alternatively be as worth it, considering this city is the gastronomical capital of France and arguably the worldwide coulinary capital tooconsidering that The Red Michelin Guide was born here.

    The city itself is the second largest in France (together with Marseilles, same sized) and has an interesting city centre, mainly focused on upscale restaurants and a vibrant night-life.

    AQUITAINE & BURDEAUX

    Aquitaine has undoubtfully some of the most beautiful French Atlantic coast which only Bretagne could be able to rival.

    In Aquitaine one can find unspoilt landscapes of LANDA trees (endemic from France) and The Dune of Pilat (the largest sand dune in Europe which is so emblematic that it is even being represented in some french coins).

    BOURDEAUX area (close to Aquitaine) is, as everybody knows, a temple of wine. Hence, this region is spotted by pretty vineyard hills and pretty villages, all over.

    https://goo.gl/maps/2FLHknNmwT32

    LOIRE VALLEY

    This alluring valley flows along the Loire river and is famous for all the Ancient Castles on each side of the shores of the river. Truly appealing. Specially since you can sleep in these castles. Find some fast facts of Loire in this article from the GUARDIAN:

    https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/sep/21/loire-valley-france-where-stay-eat-drink

    A beautiful stop, on the way up to LOIRE VALLEY coming from the south (AQUITAINE), would be the ÎLE DE RE (near La Rochelle), but it all depends on the available time.

    IMPORTANT TO NOTE:

    A great alternative to LOIRE valley and aprox at the same latitude, is the amazing BRETAGNE coast, however when looking at the map, the longitude of BRETAGNE results quite large, and a long drive is necessary to reach FINISTERRE (BREST area).

    Bretagne is best along the coast,  (rather than in the hinterland), and remarkably beautiful are the small islands of OUESANT & BELLE ISLE EN MER.

    After this overall 1st glance, one would need to plan the journeys according to the longest leg distances, which are here for further reference (BASED ON GPS- ECOLOGICAL MODE)

    LONDON – CALAIS – GIVERNY (3 HOURS TRAIN + 4,5 HRS ECO DRIVE TO COVER 250 KM FROM CALAIS)

    https://goo.gl/maps/FKC5t3dCto92

    GIVERNY – AUVERGNE (7,5 HRS ECO DRIVE – 500 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/MZf3J3dqLF92

    AUVERGNE – PROVENCE (6,5 HRS ECO DRIVE – 400 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/GZy8KBBvRWn

    PROVENCE – LOT REGION (7 HOURS ECO DRIVE – 420 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/LuYs89Gkfi62

    LOT REGION – AQUITAINE (3 HRS ECO DRIVE – 200 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/VdMSFcfyZT92

    AQUITAINE – LOIRE VALLEY (6 HRS ECO DRIVE– 450 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/cBuyFefosao

    LOIRE VALLEY – CALAIS (7,5 HRS ECO DRIVE – 450 KM)

    https://goo.gl/maps/hZTFZoY9YTB2

    Choose which area might be more interesting to explore in depth…

    Above proposal (suitable for a challenging road-movie short holiday) would take 7 legs of aprox 400 km.

    DAY 1 & start of DAY 2 would be proposed as follows:

    DAY 1. – LONDON / CALAIS (3 HRS BY TRAIN) + CALAIS / GIVERNY (4,5 HOURS ECO DRIVE – 250 km)

    Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny is one of the best known gardens in France. Some of Claude Monet’s most famous works were painted in Giverny. These include his Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge paintings. The Impressionist artist lived in Giverny from 1883 until his death.

    An optional place to stay overnight would be LA ROCHE-GUYON (listed as some of the most beautiful villages in France), just 11 km from Givenchy.

    https://goo.gl/maps/Xzoao6aa82m

    DAY 2. – STOP OVER IN VERSAILLES PALACE in the southwest out-skirts of Paris.

    Distance from Giverny 65 km (55 minutes).

    If you already know the Versailles Palace (a pre-booking would be worth-it) it would be ideal to continue enroute from Giverny direction southeast (avoiding the highways)…towards Massif Central /or Lyon.

    For anybody challenging this tour, IBERICA MARITIMA will be delighted to give some closer “zoom-in details” as France is one of our well known neighbourhoods.

  • 3 November, 2016

    SECRET PLACES

    www.secretplaces.com

    May it be a simple romantic hotel committed to the best local cuisine, a small charming hotel placed within breathtaking landscape, that boutique hotel in the bustling city centre or a simple bed and breakfast above the ocean. If you’re looking for that special place – you might find it here.

  • 3 November, 2016

    PANAMA CANAL from above

    An enjoyable air-view journey along and across the Panama canal…

    https://vimeo.com/74006476

    Aerial DP Waldo Chan
    vimeo.com
    Google maps:
  • 3 November, 2016

    The new SUEZ CANAL, enlarging the world’s largest canal…

    A must see video:

    https://vimeo.com/130528117

    Suez Canal expansion – a race against the clock.
    vimeo.com
    Google maps:

    https://goo.gl/maps/4mTxEMF4gfC2

SELECT YOUR ESCAPE