As I wrote in my January recap, I waited a while for my 2017 to begin. After returning from India right before Thanksgiving and spending all of December and January either in New Jersey or New York, I was ready to take off – and take off I did. In February, I landed on a new (to me) continent, added five more countries to my list, and, for the first time, visited a European city and country I’d been before.
Although I’ve been in the Paris airport multiple times, as it’s a major hub for Delta, I’d never been to France until last May. Kater and I planned a trip to Switzerland in between her trip to France and Italy, but a few weeks before we left, we decided I would meet her in Lyon, France instead of Geneva, Switzerland as originally planned. This would be my first chance to set foot on French soil.
So many of us call ourselves explorers. But we depend on Google Maps, Rick Steves, GPS, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. The explorers who set off from the coast of Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries had none of those resources and accomplished so much more than finding the most delicious sandwich in New Orleans or the greatest bar in Manhattan.
What do you do in a town when the main reason you went in the first place isn’t there? Kater and I experienced this dilemma when we went to Bern in the middle of our week in Switzerland. From our standpoint, the most exciting part about Bern was going to be seeing the bears that live in the middle of town.
Lucerne is known as the tourism capital of Switzerland and it’s easy to see why. It’s right out of a fairy tale. I only had a few hours to spend in all its charm, but I think I made the most of it. If you find yourself in Lucerne, make sure you check out the following:
Earlier this year, multiple people asked me if I would be attending a bullfight while in Spain. “Of course not!” I’d say, vehemently against the barbaric killing of animals for sport. So color me surprised when I fell in love with La Torre del Oro, a bullfighting bar in Plaza Mayor, Madrid. This bar did not have live bullfights at the bar, as that would have been muy peligroso, but was rather a place where people who love bullfights could gather.
When my sister, Katie, and I went to Porto, Portugal in March (while I was still 29), I knew I was going to have to suck it up and try port wine because that’s what you do in Porto. You travel across the river to the town of Vila Nova de Gaia and have a tasting at one or more of the 17 port wine manufacturers located there. We’d been on the river by boat the day before so we chose to walk across one of the seven bridges that mornin
Read my guest post for Fluent City’s blog about my visit to Ireland as a teenager here! For another entry about this trip to Ireland, follow this link. xx
My cousin Mike once told me, “Every time I see you outside of a family gathering, you’re surrounded by potato skins.” He’s not wrong. I *love* potatoes and cheese. To me, there is no better duo – forget Simon & Garfunkel, Cory & Shawn, and Taylor Swift’s cats, Meredith Grey & Olivia Benson. My list of potato and cheese combinations starts at potato skins, but it doesn’t stop there: potatoes au gratin, cheese fries, cheesy potato soup, cheddar and sour cream potato chips. I can’t get enough.
The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer. I have had my luggage lost twice in the past year, and both times I lost more of my patience than I needed to. The sinking feeling in the gut when the crowd starts disbursing from the luggage carousel is one with which I am familiar. My luggage has often been last on the belt (maybe I get to the airport too early?), but until my trip to Montreal in the fall, I’d always left the airport with everything I came with.
This particular ad on Tim Ferriss had been for ExOfficio’s travel underwear and I decided to give it a shot myself. I’ve never washed clothes while traveling, choosing instead to pack more than I need and tossing things out along the way. But since I was going to be on the train almost every day of my week-long Switzerland trip, I thought I’d do better with a smaller bag. I packed a pair of ExOfficio underwear to save space, in place of a few extra pairs of my normal ‘wear.
Avid readers of this blog may know that I am somewhat of an art nerd. It all started in the ’90s when I would go to “Art Goes to School” with my dad while he talked about different paintings to my sister’s classes. It got really bad when I started to wear a red French beret everywhere I went (for visual proof of this, check out this post). While I know some people avoid museums like the plague when they travel, seeing my favorite artists’ work is often a big draw for me when traveling. If you feel the same way about art, here are some of the best spots in Madrid and Barcelona to get your fix. And if you don’t feel the same way about art, hopefully this post can inspire you to try it out anyway.
A definite highlight of our time in Porto was our experience with Taste Porto Food Tours. Andre, our amazing guide, not only showed us around the best eateries and gave us the best food in Porto, he also gave us a tour of the city, language, culture, and the history. Andre took us to the best views, the trendiest ‘hoods, and pointed out his five favorite tiles in Porto along the way to our tasting locations.
I’ve been a fan of Flytographer’s work for while now, since two of my travel buddies (the World Wanderer and Lola) have had some amazing experiences with them. Flytographer is a company who sources local photographers in over 130 destinations for personal, candid photoshoots of you, your family, and friends, enjoying your travels. My family has not had a professional photoshoot in quite some time (I’m the littlest one):
While we were eating dinner our first night in Porto, my sister asked me what my favorite thing about Lisbon had been. Without a beat, I said, “the color yellow.” I saw yellow everywhere I looked in Lisbon and it seemed to me a pretty unique trait for a city. If you don’t believe me that it was everywhere, just read on.