My Biggest Regret About Living in Italy

My Biggest Regret While Living in

Every time I mention that I lived in Rome for two and a half years (that half is really important) people generally respond with “Oh you must be fluent in Italian then?” and then I must guilty reply “Well, actually….No”.

 

This is by far the biggest thing I regret about living in Italy.  How did I live in Rome and have a life there but not speak the language?  Yes I could get by.  I could have a basic conversation, order food (which is truly important) and identify all the food in the grocery store but I couldn’t go farther than that!  I could go ahead and give you all the excuses that I used while I lived there for not learning the language better:

The Romans always respond in English.

All my Italian friends speak better English than I do.

I am an English speaking tour guide

 

The truth is though, that I was embarrassed.  I was embarrassed about how bad my accent was.  I was embarrassed about how little I knew.  So instead of confronting this and studying and learning I chose to do nothing.  Looking back on this I realize now what a HUGE mistake this was.  I missed out on a lot of opportunities to get to know the local Romans more and to learn even more about the city that I love to hate but love so much.

I cannot describe how much I love this city but also how much it frustrated me.  Perhaps if I had known the language better I would have been able to interact with our neighbors and feel more accepted.
I cannot describe how much I love this city but also how much it frustrated me. Perhaps if I had known the language better I would have been able to interact with our neighbors and feel more accepted.

I always suggest to people to learn a little of the local language before they travel somewhere.  It helps to know hello, please, thank you to get by and show the locals that you are trying.  Language can open up so many doors while you are traveling.  It is such an imperative thing to learn before you go anywhere and I dropped the ball.

 

Alex and I plan on returning to Italy and to Rome in the near future and I am trying to rectify this mistake.  Nothing will change the fact that I did not learn Italian while I lived there but hopefully by the time I return all those Rosetta Stone lessons will have worked.  I want to talk to locals about their traditions, their life and learn more about this beautiful country.  I don’t want to be held back because I am embarrassed about not knowing the language.  Fear never gets anyone anywhere.  After all what’s the worst that can happen if I mispronounce something?


The goal for 2015 is to become fluent in Italian.  
Soon I will have much more free time on my hands and I can study more.  I will become FLUENT.  Internet and dearest readers I need you to help keep me accountable.  It may not be December 31st yet but I am already planning my resolution and I will not fail this time!

The Best of Utah

In Europe we always say something about the Japanese way of traveling: 10 Countries in 10 days is insane. Just taking a snapshot and moving on again, off to the next country. While I can be very critical towards other people’s way of traveling, I realized something…  wasn’t I driving around like a madwoman recently myself, cruising around the US and doing 4 national parks in 4 days? Crazy all the same!

delicate-arch-small

During my 4 week roadtrip, I visited 7 different states. The one I was most surprised by was definitely Utah. When I look at the places I normally enjoy traveling to most, it’s the mountains, forests and crystal clear lakes. Glaciers and wildlife, that sort of stuff. Not the red rocks and a desert kind of landscape.

I was afraid that I’d get bored after the second park. That I’d seen enough red rocks and that I made a big mistake by spending about a week in Utah, while I could have been out hiking in the Rockies and meeting grizzlies in Yellowstone. I shouldn’t have been afraid though, because Utah was even more amazing that I would have ever imagined. With good planning and a bit of luck, you can see a lot, just by spending one day (or less) in each national park. I’ll be sharing my favorite sights and activities with you:

Best place for hiking: Zion National Park
For most travelers, Zion is the place to go. It’s one of the most visited parks in the US and it’s easy to see why. Located within reasonable driving distance of Las Vegas (approx. 2.5 hours only), it’s an easy trip. Access into Zion Canyon is by organized buses which is a bit of a shame. However, if you wake up early, you should have no trouble escaping the crowds.
angelslanding9
Zion is the place to be for hiking. There are two magnificent hikes that are mentioned in every hiker’s wishlist and with a bit of planning, you can do them both in one day. The one I picked as most important was Angel’s Landing. It’s a strenuous 4 hour hike to a plateau high up on a rock, with stunning panoramas all over Zion Canyon. It’s not for the faint hearted; you have to hold on to chains various times with nothing but very steep drop offs on both sides of you. But once you reach the top, the view is just phenomenal and you won’t regret the effort you had to make coming up.

angels-landing

The other hike I can definitely recommend is The Narrows. Basically, the Virgin River is the hike, you mostly just wade through the water. Sometimes it’s quite easy, sometimes quite a challenge, depending on the water level. For shorter hikes I can recommend the Weeping Rock, which makes an easy evening stroll, or the Emerald Pools & Kayenta Trails. For the best views of Zion without doing Angel’s Landing, make sure to do the Canyon Overlook Trail, an easy 45 minute trip.

( For a detailed hiking guide to Angel’s Landing, go here: http://www.we12travel.nl/angels-landing-in-zion-should-you-do-it/ )

Best place for sunrise: Bryce National Park

overlook bryce2
Even though Zion and Bryce are often mentioned in one sentence, they are completely different from each other. The most amazing sight within Bryce is the natural amphitheater and its hoodoos. Never before I have seen such a stunning geological feature. You just can’t help but wonder “how?!?” If you are visiting Bryce, make sure to start all the way at the far end of the park and work your way back to the entrance. If you really want to see something special, then make sure you are at Sunrise Point to see … the sun rise! It’s pretty amazing to catch the first rays of sunshine lighting up the massive hoodoos one by one. Just make sure you are there early since you won’t be the only one…
sunrise bryce

Best place for sightseeing: Arches National Park

Arches National Park is relatively small and that makes it a perfect day trip from the nearby town of Moab. If you make it a long day, you can easily see all the important sights in one day. I spent around 12 hours in the park and started off with breakfast near Balanced Rock. Then I drove up to Devil’s Garden where you can find the fragile Landscape Arch. A piece of this arch collapsed a couple of years and nobody knows how long the rest of the arch is going to last. Most arches are easy to reach, no need to walk a lot. The best place to be for sunset is Delicate Arch, however once again you won’t be alone. The sun lighting up the arch with its final rays of the day is just stunning, as are the snow covered La Sal Mountains in the distance.  Other sights within the park worth visiting are Tower of Babel, Fiery Furnace (book your entry ahead, I was too late!) and Park Avenue. You will definitely be amazed by the beauty of Arches National Park!
balanced-rock

Best place for viewpoints: Canyonlands National Park
When you are looking for 360 degree panorama’s, Canyonlands National Park is the place to go to. The park is divided into three sections by the Colorado and Green Rivers and the best accessible part of the park is Island in the Sky. I spent just one morning here, my aim was to witness the sun rise on Mesa Arch. Just Google Mesa Arch and you will get the image I wanted to get. Even though the gentleman at the Moab Visitors Centre told me I would be disappointed that the orange glow wouldn’t be there, I was not disappointed. Waking up at 3.00 am was definitely worth it.  Further down the road, the views into the distance at Grand View Point overlook are just amazing. Just sit down and imagine how this was all formed centuries ago… On the way back out, also make a quick stop  at Upheaval Dome. Very impressive.

mesa arch 5

( For a blog about how to capture sunrise at Mesa Arch, go here: http://www.we12travel.nl/sunrise-at-mesa-arch-how-you-can-capture-this/ )

Unfortunately, I had no time to visit Utah’s fifth national park: Capitol Reef. Instead of being sad about it, I’m happy to still have something to come back to, which makes a great excuse to also head back to the other parks one more time.

As you can see, each of Utah’s national parks has its own unique features. I won’t decide which was my favorite because basically, I loved them all. Sure, the first park you go to is always the most impressive because it’s all “brand new” but still, looking back at this great adventure, I can definitely say that Utah has been given a lot of mother nature’s best…
About the author:
Antonette is the female half of we12travel, an outdoor adventure blog. She loves to go on treks all over the world and enjoys camping in nature. When home, she’s an office worker and travel writer for her own blog and various Dutch travel websites. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

A Tuk Tuk Ride Through Phnom Penh

The humidity slapped us in the face as soon as we stepped off the plane in Cambodia.  It had been hot in Thailand but after the plane ride and air conditioned customs the humidity was a wake up call.  We were in Cambodia! Cambodia, a place I had dreamed about going for as long as I could remember.  The country that held the mystical Angkor Wat, ruins that the archaeologist in me had been racing towards this entire trip.  But first we had to make it to our hostel in Phnom Penh.

Serene Cambodia

As soon as we recovered from that first wave of humidity the onslaught of tuk tuk drivers began calling our name.  As we negotiated through the throng with our bags we finally found one who would take us to the Mad Monkey Hostel at a reasonable rate.  Now we had been in a tuk tuk in Bangkok but that did not prepare us for the next twenty minutes of weaving in and out of traffic, vying with bicycles and scooters where school girls rode side saddle without a care in the world.  We had been in Asia for 2 weeks and for the first time I felt that we had truly arrived in the Far East.  The traffic, the chaos, the noise and even the pollution was invigorating.

Rural Cambodia

The ride into the city was timed with school being let out and the streets were chaos.  There were street vendors crossing at any opportunity with their carts full of steaming exotic food which filled the air, swirling with the smell of diesel.  The students, on bikes, scooters and on foot, weaved their way through the traffic in their blue and white uniforms pausing as they passed us to give us huge smiles, looking at the three tall, white and gangly Americans crammed into a tiny tuk tuk with our luggage.

Tuk Tuk in Cambodia
The buildings that lined the street into the city were in various states of disrepair, some crumbling while others showed signs of reconstruction.  As we neared the city center the building began to reflect a more modern city with cell phone stores a plenty and mini marts.  Then we reached the Independence Monument and the grand boulevard of Preah Sihanouk Blvd and we were treated to stunning architecture surrounded by a lush lawn.

The grand architecture of the palace in Phnom Penh
The grand architecture of the palace in Phnom Penh

As soon as the tuk tuk passed round the roundabout we were back into the maze of streets.  As we were nearing our hostel we suddenly came to a halt.  The streets were jammed packed and we could barely see the intersection that was causing all the chaos.  The chaos was caused because everyone simply decided to ignore the light that was working.  Our tuk tuk driver came to the rescue just as I was feeling car sick (between the lurching of the tuk tuk and the diesel fumes and the vodka we drank back in Bangkok, who wouldn’t?) and instead of crossing through the intersection we just went over the curbs instead.  The man was my hero as our hostel was just on the other side of the intersection.  We had finally arrived at the Mad Monkey and I was so excited to explore….right after a beer and a nap 🙂

When Travel Becomes an Addiction

Travel Becomes an Addiction

I am addicted to travel.  Most people would say that is a good thing; I often say it is a good thing.  The problem with addiction is that it has withdrawals.  Alex and I have been in the same country since November and it is eating at my nerves.  No matter what we do: fun day trips to places we have never been, longer road trips to the Pacific Northwest, planning a round the world trip, it isn’t enough.  It doesn’t replace being on the road and having the freedom to do what you want.  All I want to do is recklessly drop everything and leave; be done and gone and start a life on the road.  A life where I can do what I want.

 

I know that kind of life won’t be easy.  I will have to rely on myself to fund my journey and stretch that dollar just a little bit farther to survive, but I know that I can do that; I have been through this before and ended up making a life for myself in Rome.  There will not be a steady income coming in (unless this whole blogging thing pays off), I won’t have a home to escape to when all I want to do is rant at the world; it will be tough and challenging.  But maybe that is what I miss.  I need something to challenge me.  Today the most difficult thing I did was take out the garbage at work and I was stressed over it!  That is absolutely ridiculous.  And I stressed over it because I didn’t want to be at work, I wanted to be on the road.

 Walking Along the Pacific Ocean

So of course those are the withdrawals kicking in.  I live in an amazing town, I have a fairly decent job where I feel useful about 70% of the time, and all I do in my spare time is go to awesome restaurants and drink a lot of wine for free (one of the benefits of being in the wine business I suppose), so what do I really have to complain about?  Well my answer is “It is because I am not in Paris” or “I haven’t been to Machu Picchu yet” or “So what if I can order Belgian beer here, I would rather be in Brussels”.  This sounds super whiney and it is.  I get that.

I am plainly indulging in being a spoiled little brat about travel right now.  I realize that I have been able to have opportunities that others have not.  I am lucky that I have parents who support me no matter what.  I also am incredibly thankful for the life I do have.  I have a good life but unfortunately I also have had the opportunity to travel and I am no longer content sitting still and being in one place.

Travel is an addiction and I am hooked.  It seems that I will never be able to settle down.  There is always somewhere else to see, somewhere new to go.  Travel caught me in her web and perhaps I will never be happy in one place.  Maybe I will never be able to settle down.  Sometimes that thought frightens me, maybe I am not meant to find a home, a place to settle down in.  I thought it was Rome but of course that two year mark hit and I needed change.

I needed change so much in Rome that I became depressed.  I developed severe back and shoulder pain and for the first time in my life I had panic attacks.  I couldn’t handle being stagnant and I was even traveling all the time while in Rome.  It is something I cannot explain.  I rebelled against the city; I couldn’t stand the noise, the traffic, the judgmental looks on the bus (you try wearing sandals before June 21st), and the stupidest little things that would crop up during the day.  It seems kind of ridiculous now when I look back on it but at the same time these little things are cropping up again.

The Hagia Sophia
I am becoming restless and unsettled.  Although this time around I know what is coming and I know how to fight the withdrawals a little better.  The circumstances are different as well.  When I realized that Rome was not working out, it was a dream crumbling around me.  Rome was always the end goal after I graduated college.  I saw myself living in Rome for the rest of my life.  This time around it is different.  Healdsburg was always a means to an end; it is a great town and has been a wonderful experience living here but the round the world trip is what is in our future.  Now I just need to concentrate on the fact that we are going to be leaving, this life is just temporary (and not a bad temporary at all) and soon we will be on the road.  

So what if travel is an addiction?  Hell I have been addicted for a while now.  The withdrawals can be trying but it will all be worth it in the end.  Travel is always worth it in the end and I will never regret the choices I have made to allow me to travel but there will always be a restlessness in me.  The curse of the wanderer I suppose.

A Few Hours with Gadhafi

Fiddling with my cigarette box I waited in the airport; my current location was  pre-revolution Tripoli, Libya. I was staring at the two military guards who stood with a dictatorship swagger as they held their automatic weapons with a nonchalance, yet also with a terrifying sense of authority.  Behind them was  a poster of a large portrait of Gadhafi staring down upon all of us. Wherever I went in the airport I felt as if I was being watched. Intimidation surrounded me and all I wanted was a gin and tonic as I’m not the most calm person in an airport in the first place. I don’t like flying and the added pressure of big brother did very little to help my stress level. Unfortunately gin and tonics are a rare sight in Libya.

I spotted a smoking area across the room.  I opened my box of camels and counted how many cigarettes I had left.  The room had no door separating the smoking from the non smoking area; it was packed and a steady stream of smoke was flowing out of the area where a door should be.  As I walked in all the men in the room stared up at me. Not in a judgmental way, just in a slight curiosity of why a 19 year old kid was in Tripoli.  One man scooted over and waved me over to sit. I squeezed into the space pulled out a cigarette and lit it up. The room was hot and smelled of body odor and sweet tobacco. I rubbed my eyes and looked over at my Italian compatriots taking photos with the soldiers. I thought they were crazy, posing and mimicking the Gadhafi poster with their aviators.   I just wanted to be in Ghana; I did not want to be in this airport.  I just wanted to be enjoying a star beer on the beach. I came out of my daydream and noticed a man staring at me from across the room. I pulled out another cigarette and lit it up trying not to make eye contact with the man.

I’ll be honest, I knew very little of Libya at the time. Being in this airport was nerve racking and not welcoming, I felt as if Gadhafi was one step behind me at all time. Nothing but suspicion and fear and there was nothing I could do but sit quietly and smoke my cigarette. I will never forget the feeling I had in that airport, it was not of security but a sense of hush intimidation. Libya is a country that I will visit one of these days. I will pass through those airport doors and explore the culture of the country. That experience put fear into me but with that fear came a flame of excitement and maybe next time I won’t have to destroy my lungs just to stay calm.

Abbey Theater, Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Maybe I am different or maybe I am the same as everybody else; I want a place where I can go and get away from everyday life, a place where everybody knows your name. While living in a Rome I had a hard time finding a group to fit into. I was 18 years old, had just moved to a new country and was feeling a bit homesick. I needed a place that was familiar, I need a place where I could escape Rome even if it was just for a night. Bennie Mangiardi found me that place. Bennie was a junior at my school when I started out and she told me to come out one night with her to a place she called The Abbey. I did not know at the time but I was about to walk into place that would change my entire future when it came to Rome. I had finally found a place I could call home in the eternal city.

165652_1632320900377_2748099_n
Abbey at its finest!

Now I have tried to write this article about three times now. I got rid all of them because I had been having trouble getting the feel of the Abbey just right. It is not easy to convey why a place is so special.  The Abbey Theater is an Irish pub on the corner down an alleyway in central Rome. It does not stick out, it has nothing flashy to point it out; it is just a pub on the corner. That is what first drew me to place as Bennie took me to this pub. It was off the beaten track and away from the noise and public display of drunkenness of Campo de Fiori. When I stepped inside the Abbey for the first time I felt as I had left Rome. People turned and looked at who was coming in and they all seemed to recognize Bennie and they all greeted her. Names were being yelled and inside jokes are being said as we enter the front of the main bar of the pub. The volume was upbeat in the pub as everybody seem to know everybody in the bar. English was the primary language spoken in the pub. I knew instantly that this was a place I wanted become apart of. I was hooked before I even knew what I got myself in for.

246703_10100254503709357_5665906_n
Abbey is where I met Ashley. Thank God I did!
38405_1425598012434_1353728_n
Mangiardi, my mentor, and Simba!

A lot of my life in Rome was spent at the Abbey after that night. I slowly became a familiar face in the bar and became friends with some of the other regulars. The place became a home to me and my friends became family. It was a place I could escape to, a place where I knew a good time was going to happen.  A place that had a wake for Bennie when she moved away from Rome. A place where you can sit side by side with a Catholic priest in a Dallas Cowboy Jacket and watch a game of football and enjoy a shot and a beer. A place where Ashley and I met and got caught on camera for the whole bar to see making out in the stairway. The place where if you did not watch your drink carefully a manic bartender would steal your drink right out of your hand and say, “ oh was that yours?” as he drinks it down. A place were bets are taken seriously and if you lose you will pay dearly. I lost of full head of hair, buzzed off in the bathrooms, over a bet once. Or you may find yourself sitting next to a Irish man with red hair comfortably asleep at the bar.

10391727_1227236693525_2921466_n
Mangiardi’s wake! Here is to her!
231147_1067687904905_3600349_n
Mangiardi and Sleepy Sam! Sam could sleep anywhere.  I miss the Abbey.
222969_1083214613063_4180351_n
Best Friends enjoying drinks. Abbey at its best.

Jameson flows freely as well as many other shots. Days and nights were spent at the Abbey, closing the place out after hours smoking cigarettes and gulping down a few more beers as the bartenders closes down. Then we would all leave through a side door that spits you out into alleyway as you pull your coat tighter in the winter and light up another cigarette for the late night walk home. We would all say goodbye and the usual see you tomorrow. Leaving Abbey was hard but usually well advised, as I began my walk home, back out in real life to responsibilities until I was back there tomorrow with a beer in my hand.

224603_503622185793_4951379_n
Mangiardi and I at our finest! Thanks for bringing me to the Abbey Mangiardi!

I always knew that no matter how bad things got I could always count on the Abbey to pick me back up. I often think of the Abbey since I left Rome and have kept in touch with some of the regulars. It is no longer apart of my everyday life but I know it will always be on that corner inviting new people in with open arms and giving them a bit of an escape from reality. Abbey Theater was a home for people displaced from their homes were we all understood what it was to be an immigrant in a new country. This is where we can go, relax and relate with other folks. The first thing that I will do when we land in Rome is head straight to the Abbey and sit at the bar and have beer and meet the new inhabitants of the pub. Abbey Theater will always be a home away from home.

44339_462682921284_5151155_n
Just outside the Abbey with the crew!
208502_1062334011061_3477055_n
Abbey is home and the regulars are family!
10392164_1197381867173_6239343_n
Abbey in Sweatpants! Mangiardi teaching me how it is done.

 

This post is part of the #WeekendWanderlust and the #SundayTraveler Series.  This week A Southern Gypsy has an awesome post about top things to do before 30, like sail around the world!  We are so in!

Weekend-Wanderlust-Logo

 

Check out the #SundayTraveler hosts Chasing the Donkey who are all about Croatia!  If you have ever wanted to visit they are the people to go to for advice on this beautiful country.

 

SUNDAY-TRAVELER-BADGE-BLUE1

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Perfect Day in Lisbon – A Guest Post by Tripper

Welcome to a perfect day in Lisbon

 

Welcome to one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe and to your perfect day in Lisbon. Before we begin, and to get into the city’s mood, there will be plenty of walking and a lot of public transport riding. We will make the best use of our great public transport system: for six euros you can purchase a twenty-four hour ticket, valid for both companies Carris (buses and trams) and Metro (subway). As an alternative you can purchase the Lisboa Card, that not only allows you to use all the transportations for free, it also gets you free entrances and discounts on most of the must-visit places.

 

Breakfast at Pastelaria Suica

 

As you probably have been hearing since you were a child, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How about pairing it with the emblematic Pastelaria Suica, between Praca da Figueira and Rossio, where you can enjoy eating outside? It is said that famous personalities like Maria Callas and Orson Welles have once visited this cafe. Portuguese are known as coffee lovers, so take it the way we do: “bica” style – an espresso shot, creamy and full bodied, to kick start your morning.

 

Explore Lisbon on the Tram 28 Route

 

Well now after an indulging breakfast, you are busting up with energy to spend aren’t you? Let’s take a walk to the nearby neighborhood of Martim Moniz and catch the old 28 tram (or as we say in Portuguese “eletrico”). Take note of the mandatory stops: Miradouro Santa Luzia to overlook the city and to walk down to visit the nearby National Pantheon, the Sao Vicente de Fora church, on Sundays and Tuesdays Lisbon’s Flea Market called “Feira da Ladra” and to visit the St. George’s Castle; Se to visit Lisbon’s Cathedral built in the 12th century; and finally Chiado where we will drop off for some mid-day exploring and relaxing.

 

Taking a break in Chiado

 

Before there were shopping malls and high end stores, Chiado was the commercial hub of Lisbon with its old warehouses and traditional shops. In 1988 a fire that started in one of the most famous buildings destroyed all this and with it a part of Lisbon’s history. Nowadays, after some serious restoration work, Chiado is again filled with the energy of the past. To take a moment to embrace all this, after maybe browsing some of the shops for souvenirs, let’s go up Rua Garrett and take a break at Brasileira — the art deco cafe with the bronze statue of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa sitting outside.

 

Lunch at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

 

Lunch at a Museum? Yes. And more: lunch in a garden with a view at the National Museum of Ancient Art. The access to the Restaurant and the gardens is free, but take some time before to visit the collections from the 12th to the 19th centuries: on the first floor, European Paintings and Decorative Arts; on the second floor, Portuguese jewelry, pottery, Portuguese glass and Oriental arts; on the third floor, Portuguese paintings and sculpture. The entrance is six euros only or free if you are visiting on the first Sunday of the month or if you purchased the Lisbon Card.

 

 

From Belem to the world

 

You are enjoying the view delighted with your Portuguese cuisine lunch, sipping a nice Portuguese red wine or beer, overlooking the Tagus river wondering where river ends and ocean begins. The Portuguese history has been linked for centuries to the ocean, the Age of Discoveries, our need to go and explore. Let’s follow the trail of the men who made history, taking the 714 bus just outside the Museum and dropping off in Belem. The first monument that you lay your eyes on is the Jeronimos Monastery, in its 16th century Manueline style architecture magnitude, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built by Infante Henrique O Navegador (Henry the navigator, a crucial figure in the early Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries). If you’re not too overwhelmed by the beauty of the Monastery, let’s head to another World Heritage site: the Belem Tower near the river. Also built in the 16th century as part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon, it now stands as one of the most famous symbols of Lisbon.

 

Secret Recipe Pastries For Afternoon Snack

 

All this History around you and the sight of the river really opens up your appetite doesn’t it? Fortunately we don’t have to walk very far. Let’s go to Pasteis de Belem for a cup of coffee (another “bica” if you will) and a couple of these pastries. These treats have been around since 1837 and no one knows (except for those who bake them) the secret recipe behind them. What can be revealed, is the best way to eat them: warm and sprinkled with powder cinnamon. Absolutely divine!

 

Sunset by the river

 

The city is quieting down, people returning home from work are starting to fill the buses and the trams, but somehow you still can’t feel it’s crowded. From Belem, just across the street from Pasteis de Belem, we’re taking tram 15E and dropping off at Praca do Comercio (also known as Terreiro do Paco). This great open space is a large pedestrian area, surrounded by many cafes and restaurants, but that’s not what brings us here today. After dropping off, we’re crossing the square and reaching the river, to the beginning of newly restored Ribeira das Naus. Sit here, watch the ferries cross hundreds of people back and forth to and from Tagus southbank, wait for sun to set. Let all your energy flow because night is coming and we have great things planned.

 

 

Dinner and a song

 

Let’s walk along Ribeira das Naus until Cais do Sodre. From Cais do Sodre we’ll go up Rua do Alecrim, then Rua da Misericordia and take a left turn to Travessa da Queimada at the famous Bairro Alto. A beautiful sunset deserves a dinner with the live music of the traditional Fado at Cafe Luso. Nothing goes better with Fado than the typical Caldo Verde (a rich cream soup made with chopped cabbages), served with “broa” (corn bread) and “chourico” (pork sausage) and a bottle of one of their selected red wines. Truth be told, anything from their menu goes amazingly well with Fado.

 

When in Bairro Alto…

 

You just finished your dinner, stepped out of the restaurant and this energy of the people around you invades you. That’s because we’re in Bairro Alto, a quiet residential neighborhood of narrow streets by day, with a few shops, that turns into bar town at night. Since the bars are so small, most people will be outside drinking and talking. You can stroll down and up the streets to find a place that suits your mood, which isn’t hard. You find something for every taste, with an original decoration to go with it.

 

 

Before you go

 

Are you sure you can’t stay for a little longer? We have so much more to show you and places to take you! Oh well, if you must… We enjoyed showing you a perfect day in Lisbon. Just a final suggestion before you leave: shopping for souvenirs. Let’s buy something original and that supports our local designers and entrepreneurs, shall we? Visit one of these shops: Lisbonlovers (for original gifts like wine bottles with custom made labels) and Portugal Gifts (for the typical Portuguese crafts with a contemporary twist).

 

Thanks Tripper for this awesome introduction to Lisbon!  We cannot wait to take your advice when we visit the city next year!  Also don’t forget to visit Tripper on facebook and follow them on twitter at @TheTripperApp to learn more about their new app coming out about how to escape off the beaten path!