Convent of the Capuchos: a Souvenir in the Forest


The inner yard of the Convent of the Capuchos. Sintra, Portugal.

The inner yard of the Convent of the Capuchos

Probably, you have often seen toy home decorations such as tiny fountains. Each one has its plot: a little bit of mountains, a little bit of bushes, a tiny home or a mill with a small waterfall, or something similar. They are like bonsai, and they have one thing in common: they all seem to be from a fairytale. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we love them. Which of you did not love to listen to fairytales in your childhood? Please, raise your hand. Not one hand. I knew it.

These small home fountains are part of our childhood. Now, imagine such a home decoration in full size, like a real house. That is the concept of the Convent of the Capuchos in Sintra, Portugal, or Convento de Santa Cruz da Serra da Sintra.

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Two Wonderful Excursions: Swiss Cheese and Swiss Chocolate


Gruyeres quiche. Gruyeres, Switzerland.

Gruyeres quiche. Gruyeres, Switzerland.

I am not sure what is the biggest source of pride for the Swiss: Swiss cheeses or Swiss chocolate. In Switzerland, they proudly say that they are the first in the world for the consumption of chocolate per capita. However, I don’t think they are far behind for Swiss cheese consumption. And for sure, these are not the residents of Gruyeres!

Gruyeres is one of the most interesting places to visit in Switzerland. Here, you will find at least three tourist attractions: a Swiss cheese plant; the factory of Swiss premium chocolate, Maison Cailler; and the beautiful Swiss Alps all around. Going to this country, we knew exactly what to do in Switzerland, and that on arrival to this country we would go on a chocolate-cheese diet.

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Pompeii and Herculaneum: Two Beautiful Mummies

By Irina

Johann Goethe said about Herculaneum,
“Humanity survived many disasters, but no one of them brought so much pleasure to descendants.”

I walk along the street which has been uninhabited for two thousand years and enter the next house. Some frescos are preserved on the walls, and Doric columns stand in the patio. People used to bake bread in the kitchen and make love in the bedrooms on the second floor. We are in the abandoned city that was hidden from view for an unimaginable two thousand years—in Herculaneum, Italy.

The Augustus College or Collegio degli Augustali. Herculaneum, Italy.

The Augustus College or Collegio degli Augustali

A thirty-meter thickness of mudflow (lava, dirt, and water), which covered the city after the Vesuvius eruption, killed much fewer people here than in neighboring Pompeii. Most of the citizens managed to escape, but their city was preserved for many long years. Today, the empty Herculaneum lies in a huge funnel very similar to a volcano crater.

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