VoX Team: Susan Webb, President & Gerlinde
Perera, V.P. Client Services
“That's what vacation is for: to live the life we want to lead – the life we
dream," said Luis Barros, Consul General for Portugal in Canada during a recent
luncheon at the University Club of Toronto.
There were close to 20 delegates representing Portugal at the event, each
selling dreams of landscapes, history and wine.
The Douro region in Portugal is actually most popular for wine – as we discovered with the lovely wine we enjoyed during the
luncheon. Along with this, the value proposition
for 5 star properties make Portugal a very enticing destination. A taste of the
luxe life can be enjoyed at very reasonable rates.
This is likely one of the reasons Portugal has registered a
25% increase in Canadian visitors. To accommodate the
increasing touristic demand, Air Transat
expanded its service from Montreal to Lisbon by 40% this year. Air Canada
rouge, the newest airline flying to the region, is also extending its service
for 2015/2016 from Toronto to Lisbon.
For me, the most prominent mention was the Pena National Palace found in
Sintra. It sits on the top of a hill and on a clear day it can actually be seen from Lisbon approximately 33km away. The palace was originally a chapel but in 1838 King Ferdinand II transformed it into
a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.
Several people at the event referred to Ferdinand
as a madman because the design he set out
for the palace is such a wild mish mash of styles
and features. For starters, it consists of various colours: purples,
pinks and yellows and also features a clock tower, a drawbridge, gothic arches
and sculptures as well as the original chapel walls.
I wonder what kind of dreams he had? Perhaps he indulged in a little too much Portugese
wine before executing his architectural designs.