LOCAL LISBON FARE

Every bite of food in Lisbon was completely unbelievably delicious. Looking back on the photos, there may have been a few too many bites for two days.  Three tours (all involving food and alcohol)l,  a visit to the Time Out Mercad da Ribeira (a wonderful food emporium), a visit to a 137 year old patisserie (Pastéis de Belém), a trip to the Nutella store helped fill my belly.

I tried sardines, cod fritters, black Iberian ham, custard tarts, and the most magical salad with ice cream on it.

The tawny port was complimented by cheese and Queen’s jam “Romeo and Juliet.” I tried two types of the Ginjinha, a delicious cherry liquor. I tried the white and red vinho verde (green wine) and preferred the white.

I hope you’ll go soon and try all these delights and more!

LISBON I LOVE YOU…

I flew into Lisbon with two days to spend touring, eating and learning everything I never knew about this underrated European capital.

In an effort to wave off jet lag, I booked the “Experience Lisbon: Small-Group Walking Tour with Food and Wine” through Viator which began exactly two hours after my plane landed.  Eeek!  Luckily I had no delays (on this leg of my trip), and had plenty of time to drop my bag off at the uniquely beautiful and well-situated Independente Hostel & Suites.  I enjoyed the people, the food and the tour so much I booked two more tours through Inside Lisbon.

My two day stay was jam packed with amazing views and sights and I filled myself to the brim with the most amazing food and drinks – but we’ll talk about all that very soon in an upcoming post.  For now, enjoy!

**Remember you can just click on any photo you would like to enlarge or if you prefer a slideshow view.

PLANNING MY WAY TO GREAT TRIPS

Over the last 12 days, I visited Lisbon, Seville, Deia and Barcelona.  This was a trip six months in the planning.  Here are a few of my recommendations to you for planning your next dream escape.

 
Why Spain and Portugal?  Primarily because I hadn’t been before and they are safe.  As a solo female traveler (who has done the whole violent country thing) my mom likes to buy off on safe adventures.  Spain and Portugal are also a little cheaper than the rest of Europe and reportedly great for retirees… not that I’m anywhere near there, but who doesn’t like to pretend shop for future neighborhoods?

  1. Kayak.com:  Kayak is my favorite website for two things, comparing flights and housing an entire itinerary.  You don’t need to book everything via Kayak, you can just send confirmation emails to trips@kayak.com and add tours, hotels, flights, cars, or anything else to one trip itinerary.  I love having all of my confirmation numbers, check in times all in one place, and then writing little notes to myself about whether breakfast is included or I requested an early check in,etc. 
  2. Viator.com:  Before leaving on this trip I had two tours booked (one in Lisbon and one in Barcelona). In actuality I went on four tours.  Viator is a great option for viewing all of the tour options in a city and comparing inclusions, pickup times and prices all in one place.  I have also booked Viator tours in Rome, Capri, San Francisco and Nassau.
  3. Pinterest.com: I am a big fan of creating a board on Pinterest for each destination I am planning.  It is a wonderful place to keep articles, photos, restaurant reviews, basic language translations, and customs for referencing later. 
  4. My newest trip planning App is Tripomatic.  I upgraded for the map availability when I was offline and not connected to WiFi and found this to be great.  I started using it to roughly plan my daily itineraries and it was fantastic to have the routes mapped to each of the sites I wanted to see, in order to walk in a logical path.  Also, I found the restaurants that were featured in the App to be very good.  I went to at least three of them during this trip.

In addition to these online resources, I enjoy reading the New York Times 36 Hours articles, watching Rick Steves and Anthony Bourdain, and in general learning what other people loved and disliked about a place so that I can weigh how I want to spend my valuable vacation time and dollars best!  

I hope you will enjoy reading about my Iberian Peninsula likes and dislikes soon!  Please share your tips for a great trip, I would love to learn from you. 

FIVE FAVORITE THINGS: DECEMBER

Here’s a list of what I’m enjoying this month…

    1. Neil GaimanWinning: Possibly the first time I’ve ever won a prize (other than at ancient skating competitions) was at a corporate holiday party this month. Not only did I win the grand prize, but I had no idea what I won till later – a Surface Pro 3. Very exciting. Let’s hope it’s just the beginning of my new-found lucky streak.
    2. Wild: Loved the book more (of course), but enjoyed seeing the film version with the lovely Reese Witherspoon. Almost inspired to venture on a solo hiking and camping adventure next year… almost.
    3. Becoming Inspired: during a Strong and Bendy yoga workshop where I learned new variations of poses, and things to work toward. Coming soon… forearm stand!
    4. Learning: as much about Spain and Portugal through books and the Travel Channel in preparation for my next adventure.
    5. Writing New Year’s Resolutions: to strive toward every amazing day of 2015.

Let me know what you’re enjoying this month, and thanks so much for stopping by!