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Hotel Lupaia – Tuscany

Magic Magic Magic Magic!!!!!!
Tucked in the hills of Val d’Orcia, staring at the city of Montepulciano is the Tuscan gem, Hotel Lupaia. Lupaia is everything you dream about when searching for a hotel in Tuscany. Nestled into the perfect 1600s Italian farmhouse, this charming Tuscan hotel has abundance flowing. The joy is easily found in the staff, rooms, views, location, grounds, everywhere you look – everything is what you wish it to be.

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Service is extraordinary from the moment of booking. For instance, we promptly received a very informative email outlining the different routes and attractions for our drive through Tuscany. Their suggestions  were perfect for us, and as a result, we found several lovely spots along the way.

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Tenryū-ji – Kyoto

Built in 1339 by the ruling shogun of the time, Ashikaga Takauji, Tenryū-ji is another gem in Kyoto.

The famous garden was designed by Muso Soseki, who also created the fabulous garden of Kokedera (Moss Temple – which requires much advance planning and is on our bucket-list).

As Tenryū-ji is a large complex network of temples and gardens, we have the following recommended itinerary:

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Petit Comité – Barcelona

When in Barcelona, consider a visit to the informal restaurant of Michelin stared chef Nandu Jubany .  You can learn more about Jubany as he is a member of the “Science & Cooking” talks at Harvard University.

The restaurant itself is of modern design, with clean lines and a general air of significance.   A combination of formality and professionalism abound.

Our amuse bouche was a calamari salad and potato pillows.  They were quite elaborate via the effect of double frying at different temperatures.

Of course,  we had the Catalan staples of cocas con tomate (bread with tomato), and  escalibada,  (grilled vegetables) with anchovies and romesco sauce. (Though we would probably order a bowl of the Romesco if possible!)

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Kyoto Imperial Palace

Sort of an easy one in Kyoto, the majestic residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868, it immediately went through a Meiji Restoration in 1869. From the impressive gates of cypress-wood, throughout the entire complex you will be awed as you are in most of Kyoto.

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Ninna-ji – Kyoto

Ninna-ji was originally built in the year 886-888 by Emperors Kōkō  and Uda as the head temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.  However, none of the buildings from the temple’s foundation in the 9th century still survive.  The oldest buildings date back to the beginning of the Edo Period in the early 1600s.  The Kannon Hall, the Niomon front gate, the Chumon inner gate and the five storied pagoda are standouts among the temples..

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Worth note is the Goten.  The former residence of the head priest, in the southwestern corner of the temple complex.    Here sliding doors (fusuma) provide a broad open view to the beautiful stones and pond.

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