Sunshine Blogger Award: Q&A’s

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by The Travel Architect. She gave me this incredible opportunity to be nominated for this award and challenged me to answer these 11 questions (+1 bonus question). They contain some really personal information that not a lot of people know about.

Because I am so passionate about my blog and I love sharing more personal details with you, I answered the questions here, for you, my loyal followers to read. Enjoy!

Where do you land on the introvert – extrovert continuum?  How about the homebody – out-n’-about and the night owl – morning person continua?

I wouldn’t label myself as an introvert nor an extrovert. Sometimes I can be social, outgoing, extrovert. Other days, I like to be on my own, social contact is less important, and I want to spend my day in my own bubble. I think we all have different sides to us – and it’s just a matter of which side we give more power and energy to.

Secondly, the out-n’-about type suits me more. I love discovering places, going out to have a drink at any time of the day, go into the city to do some window shopping or visit my favorite places. I am living in Lisbon and it is such a beautiful city. Spending time at one of the many beautiful spots is something I love to do during my free time. On the other hand, to quote Drake: I only love my bed and my momma. I could lay in bed all day. But if I am out and about, I do not regret it at all.

Lastly, I would consider myself as a passionate lover of sleep and rest, slow & easy mornings/noons and long and calm nights. A.k.a.: a night owl. Let the mornings be short and filled with sleep and let the nights be long and tranquil. Amen. Sleeping out, going out for breakfast or brunch is my ideal start of the day.

If you could create one new law for your country, what would it be?

It would be a law concerning the wellbeing and peace of the habitants. People with mental health issues do not get enough attention nor help. In my country, you can get help, but there’s a huge waiting list. And that is very important – you want your people to be healthy, happy, enjoying their lives.

One of my favorite categories (to write about, not experience) on my blog is When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers.  What W.B.T.H.t.G.T experience has befallen you?

My first night in Curaçao was disastrous. My luggage came out as very last ( on a long haul flight there a LOT of passengers), then I was too late to change my currency at the local bank so I couldn’t pay for the bus to my hostel. The ATM’s did not accept my credit cards; only special types of ATMs accepted non-local cards. Luckily, I found a store who accepted some euro’s and gave me change in local currency. Then I missed my bus which only came once an hour, but nobody knew when – so after one hour and a half, I took the bus and walked to the hostel. When I arrived at the hostel, I wanted to unpack, but my luggage code did not work and my suitcase did not open. In despair, I tried every code possible and looked up YouTube videos about how to open a locked suitcase. Nothing worked. I went to sleep thinking I’d have not suitcase the entire trip. The next morning, I saw messages of my mom (it was her suitcase) she sent some codes and fortunately, one of them worked. So all good at the ending, but you don’t ever want to be without money, transport or luggage.

Knowing what you know now, if you could do it all over again, would you have the same job/career?  If not, what would it be?

I am at the beginning of my career as a digital creator / travel blogger. My previous jobs gave me a lot of experience (I worked as a flight attendant, hostel receptionist, customer service representative and studied PR) and that experience is something incredibly valuable that I take with me everyday. If I had known what I know now, I would have started earlier with my passion – traveling and writing + documenting about it – so I could catch up earlier and build up my audience at an earlier stage.

Tell an interesting little tidbit or factoid about yourself that your readers probably wouldn’t know.

I think this a fact not a lot of people now about me. I played theater for 9 years. It was an amazing experience. I did fun plays, solo plays, poetic pieces – a bit of everything. I had the best teachers and a really close group of friends I played with.

If you could eradicate one of the world’s many injustices with just the snap of your fingers, what would it be?

Basic needs/rights. Health care, clean water, food, a roof above your head, the feeling that your voice matters. I believe everybody on this planet should have those. We are all equal. And we all deserve these basic human necessities and rights.

A lot of bloggers like to write about their bucket list destinations.  Let’s do the opposite.  Thinking of places that generate lots of travel buzz, what’s one place that just doesn’t interest you?

Do you know those surprise travel companies? You pay a certain amount, choose your travel dates and you get to hear your destination when you’re at the airport?

The thing that is holding me back to try one of those surprise travels is the fact that I dislike destinations in cold, northern countries. What if I secretly want to go to a warm country, but they send me to Berlin, or Norway? I like warm climates – tropical is the best description. Add a vivid and beautiful city to it and you’ve created my perfect travel destination. Offer me the complete opposite and I will run. To the Maldives.

You’re given a surprise day off work (or whatever obligatory time-sucking activity fills your days) – money is not an issue, you’re not allowed to do chores or errands, and there are no family members around to care for or accommodate – just unadulterated free time.  How do you spend the day?

I would go to nearest, most beautiful beach, grab my favorite food, a bluetooth speaker, and – since money is not an issue- rent off the whole beach for the day. (If I am not near a beach, I would catch my private yet to the most beautiful beach nearby, obviously).

Would you rather time travel to the past or the future?  What time/place would you travel to?

To the past, without a doubt. I would pay a visit to my dear friend and inspiration Cleopatra and walk around in that mystical, historical world. I studied Latin for only one reason: the stories. The myths. I love those. Being able to travel back in time to the ancient Greeks or Egyptians would be a dream come true.

What parts of travel/travel planning (regular travel that is, not theoretical time travel) stress you out the most and how do you deal with them?

Time planning. Finding days to get off work, the best flight tickets and then combining those two together and find an actual “perfect date”. Disastrous!

I started blogging because I wanted to write about my experiences while I was traveling. I’ve always loved writing, reading and traveling, so why not combine those? I also write some poetry occasionally.

A post I would love to see receiving more recognition, is make the jump: go solo female travel. This is a motivational post about why you should start solo traveling as a woman. I’ve written other posts with Q&A’s about solo travel, but this one really focuses on the solo female travel and offers inspiration and motivation.

Optional Bonus Question! (I’m something of a rule-follower.  Adding a twelfth question is an act of rebellion against my true nature.) If there is one question above that you’d skip answering and replace with your own question, which would it be and what question would you put in its place?

That would be the last question about which post I’d love to see getting more attention. I would replace it with: What is your truest passion, what makes you heart sing, what makes you happy while doing it? And is that what you are doing as a daily job or not? Why not?

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I also owe a thank you for this nomination to the very best @Thetravelarchitect. It has been a pleasure answering these interesting questions for you.

An Insider’s Guide To Lisbon

For the most of us, discovering a city happens in the same way: you look up the main attractions, the most popular spots, and you go check them up. For me, discovering a city during a citytrip isn’t about the popularity of attractions, monuments or places, but it’s about the experience. That is why I created an insider’s guide to Lisbon, especially for you, the curious, open-minded, adventurous traveler.

Lisbon has a lot to offer. Gastronomy-wise, culture-wise, and viewpoints-wise! That category was invented by Lisbon. The many miradouros in the city offer breathtaking views from different hidden spots. Sure, you have some popular miraoudors, but did you know about the less known ones?

As you can see, I created three categories: what to visit, what to taste and what to see.

What to visit

What to visit is all about the most beautiful and impressing monuments, places and parques that are worth paying a visit to. You can enter these places, often for free. There are exceptions, however: Cristo Rei monument offers (at a rate of €6) an elevator that takes you to the feet of the monument, offering you panoramic views of not only Lisbon, but the whole surroundings over the river and the other side of the river.

What to taste

In what to taste, I put the main drinks and dishes that are deliciously Portuguese and often not so known, but so worth tasting. I also listed the places where you can get the best ones. Of course, this is just a recommendation and if you’re blown away by one of these dishes in another restaurant, please, let your fellow foodie know.

Let me give you some more explanation regarding the foodie part! Pensão Amor is an authentic cocktail bar and udes to be a brothel (many, many years ago). This theme is conserved very well, as they created their own signature cocktails , referring to the “madames” of their golden years! Take one of the cocktails (aphrodisiac level is also indicated) and enjoy a night back in time.

Ginjinha do Carmo is a local spot to try out a ginjinha. a cherry liquor, often poured into a chocolate cup. Yes, a cup made out of chocolate, which you can devour after your free refill!

At Casa do Alentejo, a hidden tavern in the Morrocan-inspired, hidden spot at Restauradores, you can enjoy traditional Portuguese dishes with products from the Alentejo region. My favorite ones are scrambled egg with farinheira and Migas’ fried roll with pork meat. Try out the Alentejo bread and olive oil and the house wine (red of course) and your lunch cannot be any better nor on a better budget.

A Tigelinha is my favorite dinner spot in Lisbon. Freshly grilled fish, homemade dishes, salads, sausages and 1 liter of delicious red wine for €3. Leave with a full stomach for less than €20 for two people at this local, hidden and small restaurant. note: their alheira sausage is to die for. Also is their homemade cheesecake.

Cova Funda is the place to be for a nice atmosphere, friendly waiters and good (and so much) food. Grilled salmon with cooked vegetables must be my favorite dish. Try it with the local green wine (vinho verde) for a refreshing taste.

Next up is the manteigaria. This pasteís de nata factory is the perfect quick stop if you want to try out this Portuguese deliciousness. Try it for only €1 and put some cinnamon on the warm goods. I guarantee you, this is the start of a pastel de nata- addiction.

I discovered Cruzes Credo on Momondo app – you can choose your city and the theme of things you want to explore (obviously, I choose dining) and they promised me the best chocolate cake was to be found at this little restaurant. Since you’re reading about it now, you already know the outcome.

What to see

In what to see, I listed places and viewpoints that will leave you breathless. Especially during sunset, Lisbon can offer stunning views – whether it be in summer or winter, the setting sun in the rio or the golden light shining over the city of Lisbon makes you not want to miss any sunset. At these places, you can just relax, order yourself a drink and enjoy the beautiful views by day, during sunset or by night.

Sidenote: if you are looking for accomodation, I stayed the Largo da Sé Guesthouse, as it name says: close to the Sé Cathedral. Our rooms were modern, luxurious and the facilities were great. Breakfast was served with local pastries and anything you would like to try, they would provide it to you. Largo da Sé Guesthouse is the perfect balance between a luxurious and authentic experience of Lisbon. The location is perfect for when you want to discover the colourful and authentic part of Lisbon – Alfama district!

Enjoy, fellow salty soul, foodie, discoverer, adventurer, photographer. And be aware: I cannot promise you that you won’t turn into a lisboeta (habitant of Lisbon). It is very contagious!

7 Easy & Beautiful Day Trips From Lisbon

There are many advantages about living in the authentic and vivid city Lisbon. You can find a couple of them in my previous blogs about Lisbon. One of them is being able to travel quickly outside of the city center, direction praia – a beachy getaway. Or, if you’re more into mountains, move up to the hills of Sintra and see one of the many gorgeous castles in this area. Let’s take a look at seven easy and beautiful day trips from the Portuguese city of tiles.

1. Belém

Belém is the closest and most easiest city to reach from Lisbon. You can take the train, tram, bus, taxi, whatever pleases you most: it is only 2 km from Lisbon and it won’t cost you much.

Belém has a lot to offer. Get out at the train station and start walking on the beautiful riverside promenade, surrounded by the burning sun, birds flying around and the salty smell of the Atlantic Ocean. Must-see attractions are:

  • Torré de Belem, a beautiful tower surrounded by water
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument dedicated to the discoverers of Portugal
  • Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, an impressive, 500 year old monastery

Stroll around the village of Belém and make a stop for a meia-de-leite and some delicious pastéis de nata at the famous Pastéis de Belém. This trip is perfect for all year round, since it is so close to Lisbon and you can also enjoy this village in winter time.

How to get there: by tram or train from Cais do Sodré station.

2. Cascais

Care for a trip to the beach, do some shopping and eat delicious meals in a wide variety of restaurants? Then Cascais is your pick for a perfect day trip from Lisbon. Cascais’ architecture is one of a kind, you will find beautiful picturesque buildings in this small town. Head over to the beach, small yet cozy and perfect if you’re not int surfing and don’t need big waves, this is a perfect place to relax at the beach.

How to get there: by train from Cais do Sodré station.

3. Sintra

Feeling like passing your day off in a fairy-tale village surrounded by dreamy castles, palaces and mansions? Or are you feeling adventurous and in the mood for some hiking? Then head over to Sintra by taking the direct train from Lisbon (Rossio).

While walking in Sintra village, you almost feel like being in a fairytale. Its surroundings are so surreal – especially if you visit the Pena palace, which architectural style is also based on the same elements. Game of Thrones fans, gather around for a hike to the castles of Walls (Castelo dos Mouros) and imagine you’re in the middle of a scene of GOT.

Castelo dos Mouros

As for the nature lovers; you won’t be left in the dark during this day trip. You can enjoy the tranquility of the Portuguese hills and mountains and instead of driving up from Sintra village to the castles, you can take a hike of one hour to reach the top.

Last but not least, the stunning mountain views overlooking the Serra of Sintra are a feast for the eyes of everybody. So relax, take a break and indulge yourself in the nature of Western Portugal.

How to get there: by train from Rossio station or Oriente station.

4. Arrábida 

My favorite city escape must be the area of Arrábida. The only barrier to overcome here is that you will need a car since traveling by public transport is very difficult in this area.

Arrábida is a region that stretches out from the coast until deeper in the Portuguese mainland. You can either visit the Park or you can go on a road trip, what I like to call: Rocky Road! It is basically one long road at the coastside. While driving past all the beaches, it is hard not to get out every 5 minutes and run to the every beach that you see. But it is definitely possible to do in one day.

The clear, blue beaches are separated from the road by immense walls of beige rocks and in between that you find the soft, light sand which gives you a beautiful contrast to enjoy to the maximum.

If you continue the Rocky Road, you will end up in the Natural Park of Arrábida. So, either way, it is all up to you: beach or park?

How to get there: by car.

5. Sesimbra

Sesimbra is my second favorite destination for a day escape from Lisbon. Why? Sesimbra is a modern. stunning city with a coastline bigger than your goals. Cozy, relaxing and beautiful is how I would describe Sesimbra.

Beach and city is the perfect combination for a daily getaway trip and that is what you will find in the Portuguese city of Sesimbra. Walk on the beach side promenade, breathe in the fresh air of the ocean and feel the sun burning on your skin. Look to your right and you’ll see pretty palm trees and Praia da California, Sesimbra’s beach of the Atlantic Ocean. Look to your left and you’ll find local Portuguese cafés, restaurants and shops.

How to get there: by bus (TST) from Praça de Espanha.

6. Setúbal

Setúbal is the perfect getaway for Southern Portugal vibes, and it is twice as big as Sesimbra. It has a cozy city centre with many locals restaurants, pastelarias and cafés. And, of course, you can also check of the beach, since it has a wonderful coast. So, again, it depends on what you are looking for exactly for your day trip. You can easily make a day or weekend trip to Sesimbra or Setúbal.

How to get there: by train from Oriente station or by bus (TST) from Praça de Espanha.

7. Caparica

Last but not least we have Costa da Caparica. This is one of the many beaches in the region of Caparica. These beaches are endless, and that is the amazing thing about this place. On a busy day, you can take the bus or taxi and travel away from Costa da Caparica. Like this, yo you can visit more private beaches, like Fonte da Telha or Praia do Castelo.

The main attractions in Costa da Caparica are the spacious beach bars and restaurants, the long decks and of course the possibility to do some surfing. The main reason Caparica has so many visitors is for water sports, like: surfing, wind sailing, etc. Be sure to visit the centre of Caparica, where you will find shops, restaurants of all ethnics (like a decent Greek restaurant – finally found one in Portugal!) and some hotels if you are planning on spending the night there.

How to get there: by bus (TST) from Praça de Espanha.

Praia Fonte da Telha

So whether you’re living in Lisbon or just on a holiday there and you want a quick getaway for one day or a weekend, then your options are endless. It all depends on how you want to spend your day or weekend. Enjoy the Portuguese nature and hospitality, dear salty soul. 

Top 5 Safest Cities for Solo Female Travel

Solo female travel. It is a delightful thing, isn’t it, ladies? You have all the freedom and adventure in the world. You can broaden your horizon just by taking a plane on your own and going on a solo adventure. You expand your limits by jumping into an unknown experience. Yes, most of us have been bitten by the travel bug. And that’s okay.

The taste of freedom while traveling solo is even sweeter when you travel to a safe environment. A place where you don’t have to worry about being harassed or robbed. A serene yet interesting travel destination, perfect for perhaps your first solo trip.

But where can I find these perfect destinations, you might wonder? Let’s see what are the top 5 of safest cities for solo female travel in my experience. I went to each of these cities alone and I am happy to share with you my honest and true review about solo travel to these destinations.

5. Uruguay, Colonia

Colonia is a small Uruguayan city close to the border with Argentina. Yet, even though it is close to Buenos Aires and the habitants have the same accent, the safety changes drastically when you’re at the other side of the pond. Colonia is a warm, cozy and beautiful city. You feel yourself at home while strolling through this city , smelling the fresh forests, the salty ocean and the sweet flowers. This is a place where you can find true and deep peace.

As you can already imagine, this Uruguayan pearl is super safe for anyone to visit. The locals are super friendly and relaxed, making you feel welcome in their tranquil city.

4. Belgium, Bruges

Being born in Belgium, it is easy to know which places to go to and which places to avoid. Bruges is definitely a must-see when you have to chance to visit the country of beer and chocolates (and let’s not forget the waffles). Besides the rustic architecture and the many cafés (and types of beer) you can find here, you can come to complete relaxation when in Bruges.

Belgium is overall a very safe country to stay at, and in Bruges, where tranquility meets history, you will find yourself in a safe environment. You can pass your time strolling through musea and visit old, big buildings and get to know their stories.

3. Italy, Venice

I don’t think Venice needs an introduction. With is romantic rivers running through the whole city and its small islands all sticking together to create what may be the most beautiful city in Italy, it is well known worldwide.

Venice may be a destination not so loved by solo female travelers because it is so popular and crowded. But if you are as much an Italian food and culture lover as me, then you will find a way to make this destination an amazing solo trip.

I recommend you to stay not in Venice itself, but on the mainland of Italy, close to the train station. A train will take you to Venice in no-time. It is totally safe to stroll around this authentic city, and since there are so many people, you will never be alone so you can always address somebody to ask for help if you – like me- are really, really, really bad in orientation (and the little Venetian roads don’t do no good, trust me).

2. Portugal, Lisbon

Lisbon is the central hub of Portugal. With its charming style and stunning architecture, this is perfect destination for solo female travel. Spend your golden hour at one of the many rooftops bars with gorgeous views – stretching all over city until the other side of the river – order some pastel de nata and drink a café meia-de-leite in peace without anyone bothering you. Lisboetas are in general really friendly and social, so you’ll make local friends in no time. Also, there are lots of international visitors and especially Brazilians who love to visit this Portuguese capital, which makes the atmosphere in the center so vivid.

I took a trip to Lisbon with a friend last year and a couple months later, I found myself living in the capital of tiles. I love a lot of things about Lisbon, and a big factor is that it is so safe. As a woman traveling alone, you will experience a city that is so popular and crowded, but peaceful at the same time. The only strangers that will address you are some guys in the popular streets asking if you want to buy something. But they even address the locals, and they will do no harm to you.

1. Malta, Valletta

Valletta, the capital of the small island Malta, was declared the European Capital of Culture in 2018. And does this marvelous, Italian-influenced city deserve this title. Not only historical and architectural lovers will adore this lovely city; I am talking to you, dear foodies, because Malta has an amazing gastronomy. That is why I chose this destination to spend my first solo trip. And after returning for a couple of times, I still do not regret discovering Malta- more precisely, Valletta.

Lose yourself in the interesting history and architecture of the ex-British colony and pay a visit to the many museums. Stroll around the dockside for a lookout to the Three Cities (Birgu, Senglea and Bormla) and grab some pastizzi for on the way.

But let’s not wander too far from the real subject here, which is: safety for solo female travelers. Valletta always made me feel comfortable and welcome, since the moment I set foot in this city. It is a completely safe and cozy city, where you can be sure to enjoy your travels the most.

Thalassophile’s paradise

The subtle wind brings you the smell of a salty ocean while your feet sink deeper and deeper in the soft sand. Every step brings you closer to the warm and beautiful Mediterranean ocean.

Palm trees cast a pleasant shadow over your body while you lay your feet in the burning sun. In the background, you hear relaxing music playing softly from the beach bar next to yours.

While resting your head on the soft pillow of your beach bed, your fingers slide through the warm sand while all your worries dissolve slowly.

The water surrounds your body and all the stress and worrying thoughts easily drift away from your mind. With every dive you take, the water becomes more and more pleasant.

There is a strong feeling arising, the urge of staying inside the refreshing and wavy ocean. You never want to leave again.

Thalassophile (n.) a lover of the sea, someone who loves the sea/ocean.

The Trip That Didn’t Go As Planned

Destination: Buenos Aires.

The plan: stay in the city. That’s it. One goal. One plan. One place. 

An excited, yet half asleep girl is strolling through the hallway in the airport while in the background there is a subtle smell of coffee and the metal spoons clinking against the coffee mugs of other awaiting passengers slowly waking up. Gate A30 is calm and quite so early in the morning. She holds her freshly printed out boarding pass strongly in her sweaty palms. With all her strength, courage and braveness she could gather, this 19- year old girl is on her way to her first solo trip, holding on tight to her over packed backpack and overweight suitcase. Her backpack is stuffed full of notes, preparations, tickets, plans, and itinerary’s. Also awaiting her: a trip that didn’t went a single second as it was planned.

Do you remember your first ever solo trip? Do you remember that feeling of being lost and being found at the same time? Of being in control of your life, but at the same time having no idea what you’re doing? That feeling like all the control you have in your life is slipping right out of your hands?

It all started mid-flight. Since I worked as a flight attendant when I was a student, I always make some small talk with the flight attendants. I told them about my plans, where I was staying – I booked 4 (!) accommodations – and basically everything about my trip.

When I got out of the plane, I cancelled all four accommodations and booked a centrally located hostel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Needless to say that my inner planning freak was on the loose. I didn’t plan this.

I arrived in the hostel and started to pack out. I passed my first night quite panicked and stressed after I found out that it was impossible to open my suitcase with my code. My inner planning freak? At this point, she’s in a corner, crying.

Day 2 of my city trip to Buenos Aires. I booked two tours that will keep me occupied the entire day. Full of excitement and positivism, I am waiting at the meeting point. As groups of families and old couple are gathering and some people are approaching me asking me if I am the tour guide, I start to realize that maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

I think it was the moment when the group in front of me departed – I saw the tour guide guiding everybody holding a stick with a flag – and everybody with their headset on following the guide like a horde of sheep, that I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I am like a bird, you cannot keep me in my cage. I have to be free in this world to fly wherever I want to. So I went to the leader of the group, told her I was sick – while everybody could follow our not-awkward conversation because her mic was still on – gave her back the headset, and just ran off. Literally.

We’re Thursday, day 4 of my first solo trip to Argentina, Buenos Aires. The plan? Staying in the city. The reality? I am currently in Uruguay, walking around in an unknown city, without any WiFi or internet or a map, with a friend I made one day ago. My inner planning freak? She’s already had a couple of breakdowns, I’m sure she could handle this one as well.

Saturday, day 6 of this unforgettable adventure at the other end of our dear world. Location: a gas station near the local airport of Buenos Aires. Time: 4 A.M. After an attempt of getting cash at three different ATM’s in sleepy Buenos Aires, I succeeded to get Argentinian pesos for my trip to the airport. Note to self: always get enough cash.

Day 7. I am currently attempting to survive a 6- hour hike at the waterfalls of Iguazu in Northern Argentina. As you see, my plan of staying in the capital has failed uttermost and I almost crossed the border to Brasil, which would be the third South-American country I would visit during this “city”trip. Note to self: know what you want. How’s my inner planning freak, you might wonder? She’s become an old lady, consumed by all the stress, quietly sitting in a corner in my head, drinking whisky and smoking cigarettes in her sofa, totally defeated and given up on her job.

Day 8. I am sitting in the courtyard of my hostel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have never felt so grateful and strong. Grateful for this life and these adventures, strong because I did it. I did it. I finally understood that it is not about the plan, or the schedule, but about the journey. About what is happening in this very moment. Life is not about what is going to happen, but what is happening around you, here and now.

Destination: wherever life takes me to.

The plan: to enjoy the ride.

Majestic Milan

Ah, Milano.

Every traveler’s go-to spot for the newest and trendiest fashion pieces, delicious artisan ice cream, and beautiful views at typical Italian cafeterias overlooking the Duomo di Milano. 

Magical mornings in Milan

Waking up in Milan is magical. You wake up, go outside, stop by a small Italian bar, order a latte macchiato and a croissant con Nutella and you start your day. After jumping on a local bus, be sure to look around you and enjoy the sun coming through the romantic, vintage styled buildings of the Milanese suburbs.

Milan is known to be a modern, trendy city, but I experiences that it holds a strong authentic, Italian vibe. You can move through the city using the old trams and the city architecture is beautifully antique. The vintage, romantic Italian style is without a doubt well present in this major fashion hub.

Buonissimo!

One of the reasons for me to go back to Milan would be the delicious gastronomy. Spaghetti Carbonara, Risotto alla Milanesa, Cotoletta alla Milanesa, … the list of mouthwatering Milanese dishes is endless. After a delicious Mediterranean meal, be sure to drop by an ice cream shop for some homemade gelatocon tiramisu, Ferrero, Nutella, this ice cream doesn’t even match your wildest fantasies. It is safe to say Milan is a mekka for fashion lovers as well as for foodies.

Fear not: the history-, architecture- and even religion-lovers will not be left in the cold. The stunning piece of architecture il Duomo and the fantastic fountains and churches in the city will provide you Instagram-worthy material all year long. Even inside the iconic mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele has a magical point which you have to pass: the bull’s balls. IN the middle of the hallway, you will find a mozaïc of a bull and on the place where his testicles should be, there is a hole – made especially for your heel. Tradition says that if you rotate backwards around three times, you will have good luck for the rest of your life. Look at that, another advantage of this amazing city!

You will leave with a full stomach, an Instagram feed for the rest of the year, and good luck for the rest of your life. What else would one want?

“The Italian Maldives”: Beautiful Budoni

That summer breeze, that endless ocean, that lagoon blue ocean that is so clear you can see every little fish and sea shell floating on the sand… is there anything better than a good ol’ tropical beach?

I agree.

Having Greek and Italian roots, my parents used to take me to the most beautiful Mediterranean hidden treasures – small and cozy, yet beautiful villages, relaxed beaches, gorgeous viewpoints and impressing castles – nothing escaped our family vacations.

Now that I am an adult and I travel by myself, it is less evident to find such places – until I ended up in Sardegna last year to visit my Italian family. It was the first time I was there and it is clear that my blood relatives still have this influence on me.

In North-Eastern Sardegna, the most known place is Olbia, a lovely, vivid city that connects the small island Sardegna to the outside world.

Further away from the city, you will cross Maiorca. Basically, Maiorca’s nightlife is of another level. It’s not so much about the clubbing and going out, but more about the social and outside life that is highlighted in this authentic area. The biggest public street is closed down every night just so people can put up their market stalls and walk in peace during the whole evening and night. Restaurants, bars, stores, ice cream shops: everything is open until late night.

In the morning, be sure to get up early and get in your car or jump on your bike, because it is time to explore the most beautiful beach, or – as my Italian grandfather calls it – the Maldives of Europe: Budoni.

Budoni is a hidden pearl, only known to the locals of this small yet charming village. Not only is the water as blue as a lagoon and as clear as the cloudless sky, the sand is extremely soft and a walk on the beach will relax you in the deepest ways. The tropical vibes will hit you while you’re being surrounded by hammocks, sandbanks, little stalls at the beach and, not to forget: coconuts.

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If you ever get tired of swimming in the Mediterranean ocean and laying in the hot Italian sun (it’s hard to believe but at some point, you will) you can take a break and walk to one of the local fresh seafood restaurants. Since we’re at the Italian coast, be sure to try the best of the best in this region, which is: any combination of pasta and fish.

At night, you can eat some more of the Italian “la dolce far niente” and take a stroll in the crowded promenade in the center of mesmerizing Maiorca.

Cape Town Calling

6 days.

In 6 days I accomplished something I never thought I could.

I ate something I never thought I would and I laid my eyes on things I never thought I would.

South-Africa, that’s all because of you.

There are a few sides to visiting Cape Town. Firstly, there is the historical and cultural side -District Six Museum educates you about the history of the South-African capital, while Robben Island takes you back to the prison where Nelson Mandela once was held.

Secondly, you have the natural and wild side of Kaapstad. Hiking Table Mountain might be the most challenging and exciting goal I ever accomplished.

Strolling down the botanical gardens of Kirstenborsch during a lovely (free) walking tour opened up my eyes and made me realize how diverse and magical Mother Nature really is.

Not to be missed: a safari tour in one of South Africa’s many private wild reserves. To check off “seeing the Big Five” on your bucket list is a goal, I believe, we all have in common.

Next, let me show you some real South-African vibes. Enjoy some biltong while waiting for your braai to get started, or finding yourself in a state of relaxation while enjoying the warm sunset on Signal Hill. How about hiking up the Cape of Good Hope? It is a challenge, but the views are more than rewarding.

Or you can bring a visit to Boulders Beach, where you will not only find a beautiful beach by see through water, but also expect to be surrounded by the cutest little visitors – African penguins.

The main goal of my travels to South-Africa was to visit my best friend. But boy, did that turned out to be one of the best trips I ever made. If you ever visit this warm, vivid and exciting country, make sure to get the best out of it and take you time to do so.

Bailanda en Buenos Aires 

Buenos Aires. It would be an understatement to say that you surprised me. You know that feeling when you have a certain image in your head, and it turns out to be even better than that? Yeah. That happened.

Astonishing artsy alleys 

I started off my first day in Palermo Soho. In contrary to Palermo Hollywood, this sparkly and colorful barrio is full of hip, cool and modern restaurants, bars, clubs and stores- it most certainly deserves it’s second name, Soho. Strolling around in these graffiti-filled streets keeps you fascinated, since your attention keeps going from one cute store to another astonishing artsy alley. 

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Fill your boca with La Boca’s empanadas

You can’t have been to Buenos Aires without visiting La Boca. One of Argentina’s most popular football clubs is based in the capital and runs through the veins of los porteños (the locals of Buenos Aires). 

Nonetheless, if you are not really into football, you can skip visiting the stadium and continue your voyage to the most fun street in BA: el Caminito! When walking through this street and admiring the tango dancers, vivid architecture and positive vibes you can just feel the passion of this South-American metropolitan. 

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There’s two sides to every cup

While on one side you have the authentic and warm Argentinian barrios, on the other side you have a more modern and fancy neighbourhood (a.k.a. my future home), ladies and gentlemen I present to you: Puerto Madero! 

One moment you are walking through skycrapers and business offices, and before you know it you find yourself standing in front of a lagoon, surrounded by food markets and vendors on the street. 

All these barrios have one thing in common: parks. So many gorgeous, spaceous, blossoming parks. Speaking about blossoming: be sure to make a drop by Floreria Atlantico. This flowershop may look ordinary at first, but hidden you will find one of world’s best 50 bars. 

No costa nada!

Have I mentioned that a lot of things are free in Buenos Aires? To be correct, you will find almost every activity or event to be free of any charge. 

My best experiences with cosas gratis were: 

  • Centro Cultural Recoleta 

This cultural center offers not only art exhibitions, you can also hang out on maybe the most gorgeous terrace of BA. Later on, grabe a drink or a bite at the romantic and cozy fair just at the exit of the cultural center. 

  • Cemetario Recoleta 

Even though it may not sound so appealing, you should visit this cemetary during your trip. It has gravestones higher than your goals. It has temples, little roundabouts, and a housecat wandering around. It has remembrances of all kind of important figures of the Argentinian history, and thus of all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds. 

  • Yoga in the park 

If you want some balancing of your mind, body and spirit after dancing all that reggaeton and drinking all those cerveza’s, you might want to check out your nearest park – there’s a great chance you can drop in to a free yoga class there. 

  • Reservado la Costañera

Remember the lagoon I mentioned in the barrio Puerto Madero? Exactly, you will find it in La Costañera. Put on your running shoes and get ready to breathe in some fresh air and take in some beautiful nature portraits. 

  • El Rio de la Plata 

Unfortunately, Buenos Aires does not have a beach. Wait. Don’t pull back from your idea of this trip. I know it is a big step to take (going to a destination without a beach), but you can do it. I believe in you, okay? 

Besides, you can always cool off at the river side. Stay around until the evening and catch one of the free festivals. Get ready to party all night long at the rio!

Long story short: Buenos Aires’ diversity and passion surprised me in a good way. This may sound cliché, but this vivid city really has a lot to offer. Hasta la próxima, Buenos Aires!

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The Most Beautiful Spots In Lisbon

Lisbon, you are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. But, in case you do want to be somewhat prepared, I’ve listed the most beautiful, chill and delicious spots in this surprising city.

Wether if you’re visiting Lisbon or living there: let me save you some time and serve you upon a plate right now: the most fine spots in the Portugese capital.

If you read my previous blog, you already know Lisbon offers a lot of beautiful miradouros – also kown as viewing points.

Mesmerizing Miradouro

Miradouro Santa Luzia consists of a few chill spots: there’s the lower deck, as I like to call it, and a higher deck. Both offer a sort of garden-ish feeling, where you can chill out sitting on the colourful walls covered with flowers and plants. Here’s the catch: if you walk to the upper deck part and keep on walking towards the end, you may find a pitoresque stairway that leads to… a small, cozy, cash-and toiletless cafetaria. This cafetaria de Santa Luzia offers the best view in town, if you ask me. Um café com leite e um pastel de nata, por favor!

Cristo Rei Rocks

Another must-see when in Lisbon is the Cristo Rei statue. It may look like it’s at the other end of the world, but it is easily (and cheap) to reach by ferry and bus.

When you arrive at the bottom of the statue, you are already blessed with an amazing overview of the river and Lisbon itself. I recommend to take the elevator towards the statue. Even though you may think you will have the same view, trust me, you will not. The mighty Christ statue, sunset vibes and an overview of the bridge, river and city will give you some serious chills (and make you feel like you´re in Rio de janeiro!)

Cristo Rei Statue in Lisbon

The Cristo Rei Statue

A delicious meal that won’t cost you a thing

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry over here. Although there are some tourist traps in each city, in Lisbon you have some more chance to find a really good restaurant that’ll give you the best meal of your life. Yes, I’m giving some credits to the underrated Portugese food. Farinheira, bacalhau a bras, salmao grelhado,… you will not regret skipping out on Mc Donald´s for one of these delicious dishes.

Rockin’ rooftop bars

Last but not least, I’m taking you a level higher right now – literally. Although Lisbon has a lot of ups and downs, hills and stairs, steep streets and elevators – and other synonyms for a hilly landscape – there are some benefits attached to this. i am talking rooftop bars and restaurants. Wether they’re expensive, touristy, local, cheap or hidden: if you look properly, you can find one on almost every building.

TOPO bar has the best view ánd vibes. Hiphop, house, rnb: whenever you get at this cozy yet modern bar, you won’t be sitting around much for long. Visit during sunset and you’ll be surrounded by a wall of golden/ pink Portugese residences.

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TOPO rooftop bar

PARK bar may be the most popular rooftop bar in Lisbon. Owing its name to the real life parking this bar is built on, be ready to get dancing whilst holding a (pricy) drink in your hand. Their style of music is a mix of hiphop, trap and oldschool hiphop. Offerng a view over the city with the bridge and Cristo Rei statue in the distance, be sure to pass by this bruising piece of nightlife.

These were a couple of the many goregous and relaxing spots Lisbon has to offer. I would like to share more of them with you, but now I’m craving some farinheira, a glass of red wine and some city views during sunset. I’ll see you at the next blog for some more inspo. Até a vista.