City stories
Hotels and destinations
A taste of Bruselas
Brussels, Belgium
You can expect just about anything from a city capable of exporting the best chocolate in the world and Brussels sprouts (the name didn’t come by chance). The Belgian capital is a city of contrasts that will leave you with a good taste in your mouth. 
Be txikitero, my friend
Bilbao, Spain
In Bilbao there are not residents, there are txikiteros. This is the name given to the people who drink txikitos, small glasses of wine served in the bars. Be a txikitero, my friend.
From Madrid to heaven (or so they say)
Madrid, Spain
One of the most popular Madrid sayings has it that there’s only one better place than Madrid, and that’s Paradise. Since it’s hard to visit the latter, let’s begin with the former.
Ancient but modern. Oldie but goldie
Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is the oldest capital city in Western Europe. But it blends that antiquity with a ragingly modern spirit. Maybe because beauty is never out of style. 
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar, Spain
Pola Giverola is a resort located between two lovely coves of turquoise waters and fine sand, just a few minutes from Tossa de Mar.
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When in Rome: history of the marianito
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Unmissable visits
Unmissable visits
A pagoda among the cathedrals
Unmissable visits
A pagoda among the cathedrals

To appreciate Brussels you have to look heavenwards. The skyline of the Belgian capital is dotted with pinnacles. Medieval towers and the steeples of churches and cathedrals reach the clouds. Among all the Gothic Modernist and art nouveau marvels, there stands out a building that appears to have been uprooted from its place of origin and transplanted here.

A Japanese tower 40 metres high stands out against the grey Brussels sky. The Belgian king Leopold II bought it from another country: not Japan but France.

The Paris world’s fair of 1900 stunned everyone with its constructions. It didn’t have an Eiffel Tower (that was opened in 1889) but it presented other iconic buildings like the Orsay train station (today the Orsay Museum), the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais and the Alexander III bridge. But what most impressed the Belgian monarch were a Japanese tower and a Chinese pavilion.

He bought them and moved them to Laeken, on the outskirts to Brussels. Today the tower, the pavilion and the Museum of Japanese Art make up the fascinating Museum of the Far East. They are inside a park and surrounded by trees. When spring comes and the almond trees flower, visitors almost think they really are in the East.

The Japanese Tower was erected without using nails, according to traditional techniques. It houses that part of the collection of the Museum of the Far East dedicated to Japanese decorative porcelain. It was opened in 1905 following a large celebration in the park. Since then, it has become part of the Belgian landscape.

The Chinese Pavilion is lower but equally impressive. It follows the traditional Chinese aesthetic, more heavy, strident and golden. Together they make up something different and well worth seeing.

The buildings have been closed to the public for an indefinite period, but their charm resides in the architectural whole, and the peace of the park. Just for that it’s worth a visit.