Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Venice Over the Sea

Venice is a small city located in the north of Italy in the Adriatic Sea. Venice is part of small islands linked by bridges. From the airplane you could see the highway bridge that would lead to the city. Once there, there would be no other kind of transportation to take people from one point to another, expect taxi- boats and gondolas. There was of course a more primitive way to go around the city, one that I am very fond of… walking J
The gondolas would take people through the canals and the boats could carry people from one island to the other, such as going from Venice to Murano and Burano with a taxi- boat, you can check that adventure right here.  One of the reasons why the city has no other kind of transportation is because it was built over the water, making it quite impressive with its architecture and narrow streets.
Venice is divided by 6 villas or areas, called sestieri. All maps of Venice will show these 6 sestieri. The sestieri are Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce. You can walk from one sestieri to the other, the maps are very easy to follow, of course you can also take the gondola if you get tired of walking. There are many of them going around with tourists, I wonder if there are any gondola traffic jams, with the amount of tourists visiting and going on them, I didn’t witness any kind of traffic jam, but that would be very funny! J

The amazing thing about this city is the way it was constructed, it has its own personality. The architecture of the Piazza de San Marco and the bridges are amazing. Its alive day n’ night and as I said in previous posts, I think it is important to see a city by day and by night and appreciate it for what it is. 

The food is amazing! One should definitely try as much as possible, the pasta, the polenta, the pizzas, ice creams that have intense flavors and the Aperol and Campari Spritz drinks that are typical of a sunny holiday. And if you can and know, try to speak the language using your hands at the same time, it’s fun and you can actually learn something about the culture!

Thank you! J

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Hidden Wonder

Something completely surreal for me is visiting one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, something I’ve had on my bucket list for ages and finally got the opportunity to see one of them, Machu Picchu. I have no words to explain exactly the feeling of seeing something so unusual and beautiful. The architecture of Machu Picchu is amazing and the history of the Incas is very interesting. Unfortunately the pictures do not make justice. Only few places have made me loose my breath and this was certainly one of them. The experience is unforgettable!!

The train ride in the Peru Rail Vista Dome, from Cusco to Machu Picchu was very pleasant and the sights were filled with green, water and blue sky, with windows placed at the roof of the train you might not even take a nap, just to enjoy the scenery. After the train I took the bus to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Well… that was challenging, because the roads are very narrow and going in zig-zag, the size of the busses also don’t help.

The Inca trail goes all the way up the stairs at Huayna Picchu, the stairs are very narrow and small, going up might be tiring, but going down the stairs might not be a very good experience for people that suffer from dizziness. It’s a real challenge. I did not go up the stairs to Huayna Picchu, but for those that are brave enough the reward must be amazing just because of the view of this amazing wonder. Nature is definitely present in Machu Picchu, and you can find all sorts of wild life. The history and their beliefs are also present in the architecture of Machu Picchu specially the puma, the snake and the condor hierarchy.

Entering the site makes your imagination travel back to the past wondering how it was all built and thought of during the Inca days. Men transporting huge stones through the mountains, to build one of the most important spots in the history of mankind. Well, something they did not anticipate, for sure. But I must say, they made history in less than one century and left their footprint on earth.

If you want to check out more of my adventures in Soutn America and my tips, then you should check the post from when I was in Puno

Thank you! :)

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

It’s Snack Time!

For me snack time is always a good time! It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. I just like to cook up some simple treats to indulge myself in between meals. Here are some of the things I like to prepare when I feel like I am becoming hungry.

Fruit option. I love bananas. I don’t think there is a single person on earth that doesn't like banana. I also love cheese! But when you combine banana with cheese…it’s like heaven on earth. A strange combination? Well bananas are a tasty, sweet fruit filled with good nutrients. The saltiness of the cheese counteracts that sweetness, making it a delicious combination. Try it and let me know what you think!

Smoothie options. Smoothies are a delicious nutritious drink you can make at home. You can add whatever fruit or vegetable you love, some milk or water, blitz it, add some ice and it’s done. The ones I like are:

Pink smoothie
1 banana
 4-6 frozen strawberries
1cm ginger
 cold milk
Yellow Smoothie
1 banana
4 medium slices of melon
1 cm ginger
Cold milk

Dairy option. This is a great treat if you need something a bit more substantial and filling. Although the smoothies already give you a filling sensation, Greek yogurt with Marie biscuits pared with a Pink/ orange smoothie could be a great breakfast option. You can add some honey or chocolate chips for sweetness.

Pink/orange smoothie:
4-6 strawberies
2 carrots
1.5 cm ginger
Cold water

Avocado options. I absolutely love avocados. So I decided to try avocado on toasted multigrain bread, and it is absolutely delicious! Of course, I cannot live without a glass of warm water. Yes, warm water! Especially during the winter, it just gives me a cozy feeling. Mashed avocado with Port wine is also a delicious treat! I add a bit of sugar on this one for sweetness. Half of a mashed avocado to 1 tbsp of port wine is good enough.

These are very simple snacks, you can whip up when you are getting hungry or when you want to eat something delicious and sweet. They are filled with nutrients and goodness, great to fuel up your tank. :)

Try it and let me know, what your favorite is!

Thank you! :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

About Plitvice Lakes

You know what is funny about travelling? You think you know what to expect but you don’t, at least not until you are actually at the place your visiting and actually breathing, feeling and touching the places you are going to visit. Yes, the internet is there to help you, that’s the funny part, because probably you know somebody that talks a lot about places in the world and knows a lot about the culture and stuff, but hasn't actually been there! So the point is that knowing and researching about stuff is good, but travelling to the places is even more fun. Of course you can research and have that knowledge about the places, make it part of your bucket list and maybe someday you will finally decide to go there! That is how I feel when I think about Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. I read about it and saw the pictures on the internet, but when I was up close it was just breath taking.

After a 2 nights stay in Dubrovnik, as you must remember from a previous post, I headed to Plitvice. The day was sunny. The way I like it! Great for sightseeing, but not so great for picture taking (the pictures were overexposed)! LOL

But anyway I did get to capture some good moments out there and relive them every time I look at the pictures. 

The visit began with a boat ride on the lakes Kozjak and Glovac. The waters were calm and peaceful and it was a very enjoyable ride. After the boat ride the walk into the park was also pleasant and not tiring at all. You start watching the small lakes, turning into waterfalls and then turning into some amazing big lakes, that have amazing big and tall waterfalls. The surrounding forest makes it all come together and all seems to be kept untouched. The park itself was so big and had so many paths one could follow, that when I got at the end, it seemed like there was more to see. It is truly a place worth visiting. So keep it in your bucket list... hurry up! And go visit the lakes, let me know how it went.

Take care! :)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Mouth Watering Food

Hey guys! Hope you are hungry because today’s post is all about some of the traditional food you can eat in Portugal. These dishes are traditional from some regions of Portugal but all very delicious and tasty! :)

Appetizers. Normally when you arrive at a restaurant the best thing to sooth the live volcano inside your belly (hunger) is to start with having some olives, fresh cheese, fruit such as melon, presunto or paio with some bread. Cheese and ham are traditional in Portugal. There are many kinds and many types depending on the regions. The fresh cheese is put inside a cup and it’s white in colour. You can eat it as it is or you can do like me and add some salt and pepper and it will enhance its flavor. You can also be served other kinds of cheeses, more dried ones or more spicy… just indulge on it! The presunto is very salty but very good. The paio is also a kind of ham, also salty but not as much, it’s very good too.

Main course options. If I had to choose between a fish dish and a meat dish I would always choose the fish option, because I love fish. Grilled sardines with boiled potatoes and a green salad is just the most delicious thing. Cod fish with some boiled potatoes and veggies or with baked potatoes is also delicious, topped up with olive oil just makes my mouth water! If you are ever in the south of Portugal in Alentejo you have to… just HAVE TO try Migas. It’s a tradional dish from that region, made out of bread, served with pork meat. There are many kinds of migas, with tomatoes, with asparagus. It’s a must try dish, very delicious! And if you are not drooling yet with so much deliciousness, than I have one more option and it’s something you can find in the north of Portugal in Beira Baixa. Maranhos is made out of goat meat and rice with herbs and it’s cooked inside a small bag made out of the skin of the goat’s stomach. Wait!! Wait!! You don’t need to be grossed out because I can assure you it is a heavenly dish, trust me!

To finish off your meal you can have a bica. An “expresso” kind of coffee, strong and served in a small cup. The kind that will probably keep you awake for some hours, if you are not used to strong coffee, but after a meal like this, you will definitely need one!

If you want to know the name of the dishes in the pictures, here goes, from top to bottom:

Appetizers- Fresh cheese, olives, presunto, melon
Appetizers- paio, olives, cheese, sliced bread
Main course- Cod fish or bacalhau with baked potatoes, green beans and a side of veggies
Main course- Sardines with boiled potatoes, a salad and bread
Main course- Tomato migas with  pork meat
Main course- Maranhos with a salad
Expresso coffee or bica (Translation of the saying in the sugar pack "Lovers exchange secrets through a coffee")

Restaurants where you can find the food: 

Curral dos Caprinos in Sintra (for the maranhos)
Adeguita do Farrobo in Évora (for the Migas)

Enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Travelling to South America

Hey guys! How are you all doing? This is the first post of my first time to South America, more precisely about Puno in Peru. Travelling to South America from Europe can be really exhausting. Well, if you are already bored with your 30 minute train trip to your job, imagine travelling for 9 to 12h inside an airplane. It’s pretty exhausting just sitting there browsing the in- flight electronic entertainment, just to avoid the awkward next door neighbor looking intently to your every move.

But after a 3 to 4 hour sleep before you arrive to your final destination, you can finally enjoy the beauty of Peru when you gaze upon the Andes. There is something really unusual and special when seeing the Andes from above the clouds and also looking at it up close in land. Puno is unique, actually Peru is unique. The streets are filled with people doing their thing, during the day and during the night too. The markets are packed with colors from fruits, vegetables and all kinds of goodies. 

One thing you must visit in Puno is Lake Titicaca. It is damn big with its 165 km and with Bolivia on the other side. I visited the floating islands of Uros and found some pleasant and friendly locals living there with their families. Everything they had was very un-technological, not at all fitting for the 21st century modern man, with no mobiles and no tv but they did have some solar panels, so they could use its energy for electricity, pretty awesome! Water was stored in a tank and for food they hunt birds and catch fish from the lake. The island is hand- made from reed and they also eat it. After visiting and chatting with the people at the floating islands I visited the island of Taquile and got to know more about their culture and lifestyle. Men and women know how to cook and to sew, they do hats that have different meanings for single men and married men and clothing items too, there is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s part of who they are and they do it very well.

Other things you must be prepared for when visiting South America and the Andes region is the altitude. Yes. It is pretty damn “uncomfortable” :P. That is something you don’t want to feel when you are visiting a new place. Staying in your bedroom hotel is not something you are paying for when you go travelling, so my advice is to have some ibuprofene or paracetamol, and take lots of “mate de coca”. That tea helps to relieve the discomfort. Other stuff you should pack is a universal adaptor specially if you are taking electronic devices that will need to be recharged. Research before you travel, depending from where you are you might not need it. A mosquito repellent will also be very useful such as a sun lotion. And don’t forget to pack your Spanish dictionary, because it might be useful too. 

Thank you! 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The true colors of Murano and Burano

Hey guys! How are you all doing? So today I decided to talk a bit about Murano and Burano islands, close to Venice. Yeah… I know I should have started talking about Venice. But I think these beautiful islands are as awesome as Venice and needed a post of itself.

I was lucky with the weather and got the opportunity to enjoy the islands and what it had to offer. The boat ride from one island to the other island was quite nice, a bit chilly and windy, but that is how boat rides work out! LOL 

Murano is well known by its glass and in fact it is very unique. You can actually visit the factory where they manufacture the glass and have a sneak peak of how they produce it and how they make the different colours you see in the glass. The shops are filled up with items made of that traditional handmade glass. Each shop bears different and unique items, no shop will have the same item as the previous shop, with the same coloured glass. All of the items different and unique. Quite amazing!
Burano is an island filled with colours and water. Is just the perfect island to make your spirit lighten up, with so much life and so many different colours. The streets fill up with people and there is a lot of shops selling all sort of touristic items and typical Italian stuff. There are a lot of restaurants where you can pick and choose where to have a meal and if the weather allows you can sit outside and enjoy the movement and the surroundings.

When visiting Burano and Murano you must take a full day off to enjoy it and with all those boat rides it will take some time to go around from one island to another island. These two islands are quite small so you can visit them during one day and then go back to Venice. 

When and if you go there I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and let me know of your adventures out there.

Take care and Thank you :)

P.S.- I forgot to mention that the last 4 pictures are from Burano and the rest is from Murano! :S