Tenerife: An Island of Wine

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The Canary Islands are a highly underrated wine producing region. Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the islands, has many wonderful wineries just a short drive from the main port town Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Just east of Santa Cruz is the La Baranda Winery. This is an excellent vineyard that also has a museum describing some of the historical aspects of wine-making. There is also a restaurant on the grounds that has fabulous views of the nearby mountains. Both the red and white wines are excellent.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The views from the Baranda Winery are magnificent. Terraced vineyards can be spotted on the mountainside down to the ocean.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Alvero Bodegas is the best place to find the perfect Tenerife wine. A large selection of wines allows visitors to find the perfect wine to match their desired taste. In order to truly experience the wine in the proper way, they offer excellent Spanish tapas to go with the red and white wines. A sparkling wine called Cava is a real treat.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The bodega is filled with old bottles and barrels, many dating back many years ago. The dates of the wine may be difficult to determine, but the spiderwebs and dust give some indication. The bodega is antique looking and provides a real Spanish experience.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Any wine-lover will enjoy a visit to Tenerife with an exclamation of: ¡salud!

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

A Christmas Market in Germany!

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany has one of the world’s largest Christmas markets, or in German Weihnachtsmarkt, with locations spread all over town.  Wandering the Christmas market leads you to sections of the city that you may not have explored otherwise. Visitors from all over Europe come here to see the wonderful Christmas decorations, partake in the magnificent shopping experience and taste the great German Christmas sweets.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Of course best treat at the Christmas Market is the Glühwein, or hot mulled wine.  Glühwein has been made in Germany since the 1400s and it is believed this is the place where it originally was made.  With the hot wine and the smell of cooking sausages in the air you know you are in Germany.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

One of the largest Christmas Markets in the city is under the City Hall. The Hamberger Rathaus, or Hamburg City Hall, is a city landmark. The current structure was completed in 1897 after a fire had destroyed an earlier city hall. The building is known for the tower and the small clock on it. Standing under this impressive building in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Market lets you know its importance in the city.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg is the location where the Alster and Elbe rivers come together. There are many other small rivers that come nearby, making bridges necessary to move about the city. There are over 2,300 bridges in the city, meaning that is has more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam –combined.

All the way from Germany I wish everyone a joyful holiday, or in German Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Christmas Time in København, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Hej (hello in Danish) from Denmark!  The city of København, or Copenhagen, is one of Northern Europe’s jewels.  As in elsewhere Northern Europe the city has a network of canals that were used to establish a trading empire, but today they provide marvelous charm. Christmas time is a wonderful time to visit because it is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the world. I loved it here so much I have vowed to make a trip to Copenhagen a Christmas tradition.

On this day it seems that everyone was out doing their holiday shopping. People were out exploring the stores and Christmas Market stalls all over town. The most picturesque section may be the stalls along one of the canals. The sailboats, Christmas lights and colorful buildings make for an amazing sight.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

A cup of Glühwein, a hot mulled wine, is the drink of choice here at the Christmas Market. It is a perfect way to warm up while strolling through the cold. To make this tasty treat, you combine heated red wine with cinnamon, cloves, citrus flavoring and other spices. What a delicious treat!

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

One magnificent smell that permeates through the streets is that of hot roasted almonds. These treats are toasted, coated with sugar and cinnamon right in front of you as you walk down the streets.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

København is a magnificent city any time of year, but it particularly so during Christmas. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or as they would say here in Denmark, Glædelig Jul!

Sweden: A Winter Wonderland

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Göteborg, or in English Gothenburg, Sweden is the second largest city in the country. I am not sure if it was the Christmas Market, Christmas decorations, the Swedish people or the lovely snow, but I absolutely fell in love with the energy of this beautiful city.

One of the landmarks of this beautiful city is the Statue of King Charles IX of Sweden sitting upon his horse.  The King who founded the city to be a center of trade, and in those early years of the city there were more Dutch nationals than Swedish. But as the city grew the Swedish nationals flocked to the city. The city is now centered around the Gustavi Domkyrka, or Gothenburg’s Cathedral, that has a clock on its tower.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Water is integral to the city of Gothenburg, which means there are many bridges over the natural inlets and man-made canals. As one would expect, December in Sweden that means snow. The locals seemed to take in it stride, going about their daily routine.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

The city of Gothenburg decorates the pedestrian walkways to create an amazing Christmas atmosphere. The Christmas atmosphere permeates from the streets into the shops and cafés.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

But it is the Christmas Market that has that most Christmas feel. Vendors have their small stalls set up selling all types of different things. Vendors seem to try and out do one another with the evergreen garlands and lights. There are so many sweets that are so enticing.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

One tradition that a visitor to the Chirstmas Market must enjoy is a mug full of glögg. Glögg is hot mulled wine, and when paired with a pretzel makes an excellent snack.  The hot wine combined with the warm pretzel is an excellent combination that can be used to combat the cold weather so you can continue to enjoy the Christmas market in Gothenburg.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

True Taste of Galicia

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Some locations are synonymous with great wine–Bordeaux, Tuscany, Napa. One more should be on that list, Galicia. As those of you who routinely follow my blog notice that I have a the privilege of visiting many fabulous wineries all around the world. (Hint: click on Vino in menu bar to the right to see all my wine postings.) The Galician wines are very similar to the Porto wines located just south of here in northern Portugal. One of the areas renowned wineries is the Agro de Bazan Winery, located north of Vigo in España. The winery grounds were nearly as fabulous as the tasty wines.

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Granbazán Ambar, Granbazán Verde and Albariño Contrapunto are all three excellent wines. There is an immediate visual appeal when pouring the golden colored Granbazan Ambar. This wine also gives off an pleasant aroma of sweet fruits and flowers.  Granbazan Verde a typical Albariño wine that is made with white grapes. It has a slightly salty after-taste and has an aroma with hints of green apples and fennel. Albariño Contrapunto has fabulous fresh fruit aromas.

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Cambados is another port city on the Spanish Atlantic coast. This village is a charmful town with lots of character. Being on the coast, fish is a large part of the economy and diet here. Unfortunately I arrived too late in the day and missed the daily fish market which is said to be superb.

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Tobogganing of the African Coast in Funchal

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Olá (Hello in Portuguese) from one of Portugal’s finest islands, the island of Madeira. This island offers something for everyone. From beaches, to mountains, to shopping, to visiting wineries, to climbing a volcano, to hiking in rainforests, it is amazing the variety of adventures you can find on this small island. However there are two things which are a must do on the island. The first is to take the cable car from the port of Funchal to the town of Monte which is 1,800 feet up the mountain. This 15 minute ride provides the most breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

It is not a cable car in the San Francisco sense. It is more of a closed gondola that hangs from a rope similar to a ski lift.

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Upon reaching the top you will find the best attraction on the island–the toboggan ride! That is right, ride a street toboggan down the mountain in the most amazingly wonderful experience!!! Two people may sit in the wooden toboggan wagon, while two experienced men steer you safely down the steep mountain roads. Since the 1850s this has been the best mode of transportation down these steep cliffs. The guides are remarkable as they manage to bring this basket down the mountain while all the cars pass by. This mile-long thrill ride beats most roller coasters. Reaching speeds of 30 mph it seems much faster as you have neither seat belt nor a helmet. So, say a prayer and hope these Portuguese guides have a successful journey for you!

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

This picture captures the steepness of the hill. Halfway down this hill brings you up to full speed!

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

The semitropical environment with the volcanic soil give the grapes of Madeira a very distinct taste. These of course can be used to create wonderful wines, making the island a must visit for all the wine lovers out there. One of the island’s finest wineries is Blandy’s which has an incredible selection of wines from the white sweet all the way to the dry. As always, my favorite is the dry red wine. Unwinding by sipping some of Blandy’ dry red is a great experience after the thrilling toboggan ride.

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Madeira, Portugal - Designerella

Constanța, Romania

Constanza, Romania - Desigenrella

Once behind the Iron Curtain, the city of Constanza, Romania is becoming a fabulous tourist destination on the Black Sea coast.  The people of the city are so wonderful and welcoming! I would encourage anyone seeking to explore this corner of the world to check out the city of Constanza. Let me give you a hint to the hidden jewels of this city.

Visiting the Archeology museum provides a wonderful understanding of the long history of Romania.  Ancient artifacts from Greek and Roman times help to describe the importance of this area. Original clay and stone objects and art dating back from centuries B.C. are found here. Among the other exhibits are real skeletons found in the area that used to reside in coffins. Even the exterior of the museum is a work of art.

Constanza, Romania - Designerella

Another highlight of my trip was a stroll through Old Town passing the Turkish Mosque and a visit of the Orthodox Cathedral, St. Peter and St. Paul. Known in Romanian as Catedrala Sfinţii Apostoli Petru şi Pavel din Constanţa, it provided me with a wonderful introduction to the world of Orthodoxism.  As today was Sunday, I was able attend a service and experience what a typical Sunday church service was like for the Romanians.  The service and the cathedral were such a beautiful and peaceful place, it was an experience I will cherish forever.

Constanza, Romania - Designerella

Constanza, Romania - Deisgnerella

One of the jewels of Constanza is the impressive casino. Designed in the Art Nouveau style and built on the shores of the Black Sea in the period between the two World Wars, it is a location that cannot be missed. I found it a beautiful location to just relax and soak in some of that Romanian sun!

Constanza, Romania - Designerella

Just outside the city is a town of Murfatlar which is home to the Murfatlar Vineyard. It is the largest vineyard in Romania at nearly 7,500 acres in size.  A visit to the wine cellar shows a fabulous sample some of the local white and red wines.  A tasting lead me to my favorite which happens to be their best selling dry red wine, the Zestrea Pinot Noir.  What a delicious red Romanian red wine! Cheers to Romania for providing such a wonderful experience.

Constanza, Romania - Designerella

Corfu, Greece

The Greek island of Κέρκυρα, or Corfu, is the second largest Ionian island after Cephalonia and is a tourist destination for people of all ages. The island has crystal clear waters, quiet and sandy beaches, hidden coves, mountains and an active nightlife. So the small island of Corfu has something for everyone.

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

In the mountains in the northwest of Corfu is the Monastery Paleokastritsa dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The white washed buildings, the beautiful gardens, and the beautiful sea views make this an excellent location for the monks to reflect. There has been a monastery here since 1228.

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

A visit to Theotoky Estate shows the local countryside. Here a Greek family has been growing grapes and olives to produce wine and olive oil. The trip to the estate takes you through the Greek countryside where you can find many goats, chickens, and horses. At Theotoky Estate a nice spread was prepared with Greek tomato salad, cheese, fresh salami, and of course fabulous wine from the estate. The white wine is so good it is even preferred by James Bond in the movie “For Your Eyes Only” (although I prefer the red).

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

The largest and busiest town on the island is Corfu town also known as Old Town. This is where many people begin and end exploring the island. With many local cafés and shops there is plenty for the tourist to do in this town. Here you can find your favorite knickknack made out of olive wood.

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Corfu, Greece - Designerella

Welcome to Designerella’s First Post!

As I begin my graphic design career I am excited, nervous and anxious about what comes next. Here at Designerella’s blog I will explore my creative side discussing topics including graphic design, fashion, travel and food. However none of this would be possible without the love and support from my friends and family. I would like to thank you all for sticking by me and believing in me. Cheers! Cin Cin! Prost! Živjeli!

Cheers!

The first Designerella promotional item is a wine bottle label that I will share with my closest family.  They have always given me the support I needed and for this I am eternally grateful.  I am blessed to have their love and support. Thank you so much and I hope you all enjoy my creative designs and inspirations on my blog.

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