Two days are hardly enough time to visit Lisbon, but this is the part where my job gets in the way a bit. I would love to stay here longer and take in the city even more, but I must move on to cover other places. Were I to take a regular tour with Insight Vacations, my visit would be longer and the pace slower. But as a media guest invited by the company (full disclosure), I am seeing the highlights, which at least are enough to convince me that this is a city worth exploring.
I ended my last night in Lisbon having drinks by candlelight and resting from a long day, while listening to Fado in the trendy, night life area of Bairro Alto. The evening was cool and rainy and beautiful.
Over the next week I will be joining the nice people of Insight Vacations for another fabulous tour. This time, I will be going on an Iberian adventure which will kick off at Lisbon, Portugal and end in Madrid, Spain.
The itinerary promises to delight my senses with the food, sights, and sounds of these two countries. Other stops are: Evora, also in Portugal, and Sevilla and Madrid in Spain.
Packing and getting ready for another trip and making sure I have all the essentials. I will be setting out on another fabulous adventure with Insight Vacations (read about my earlier tour with them and all the fun we had) and we will be visiting Portugal and Spain. The stops include: Lisbon, Evora, Seville, and Madrid.
Not too shabby, huh?
Suffice to say, there will be a lot to share in Instagram, Tweets, and Facebook updates. So, it makes sense that my treasured essentials are my camera, my laptop, my phone, and my mobile power charger. Lucky for me (and full disclosure), I have just partnered with Schneider Electric to take part in their #HolidayPower sponsored campaign to check out a couple of their products, starting with the APC Mobile Power Pack.
I was on a walking tour when we came upon the Bethesda Terrace.
I love this area of Central Park because it is where most artists congregate. As a former singer, I can appreciate the perfection of the acoustics of the lower passageway, so often sought out by singers and musicians who have been retained by the city to play there.
The beautiful ceilings carved to depict wildlife and seasonal motifs, give off a golden glow on the sunniest of days and beautiful shadows in movement on days that might not be so bright.
We are coming to the end of the fall foliage season in New York City. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around there will be only a few leaves left hanging, much of which will fall at the slightest gust of winter wind.
I shared a lot a fall photos last year of Central Park, my favorite place to take the colors in, but thought I would share some more with a few tidbits I learned during a complimentary (for all!) walking tour hosted by the New York City boutique hotel chain, Triumph Hotels, and led by Andrew of Streetwise NYC.
I always recommend that you, dear readers, take tours when you travel and around your home town, because you will walk away with insight you didn’t have before. I learned something new almost every time I go on a tour and see my city, and others I visit, in a totally new way every time.
What things did I learn on this tour?
If you do a Google search for brunch in New York City, you are bound to come across the growing complaints from long time city residents about how it has become an all-day drinking fest, a form of binging sport lacking anything that resembles the leisurely Sunday gatherings with friends and family so many of us have known and loved.
But there are still places in New York that welcome that sense of community, places that seek to become that favorite spot you take your best friend to and look forward to visiting every weekend. Not so much for the trendiness, as much as for the good food and friendly ambiance.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I am almost always the biggest (fattest) person on almost every single travel media trip I am on. I am sometimes almost always the oldest too, but that’s not as obvious sometimes. Definitely not as obvious as my physical self.
I was recently on a trip where the tour guide didn’t know I could speak Spanish and referred to me as “la gordita” (the fatty), when speaking to her partner. I said nothing.
When I was a girl living in the Dominican Republic, I spent a lot of my weekends in all-inclusive resorts. These resorts are not just tourist havens, but also weekend getaways for many wealthy Dominican city dwellers looking for beach time without the fuss.
My father, who works in the hospitality industry, worked often with management and executives of these resorts and so I became familiar with them, how they run, and what to expect.
I also noticed how often times the very people who work so incredibly hard to make sure that every guest had all they could ever need during their stay, were often invisible.
I must’ve have been 10 years old. I had just moved to the Dominican Republic from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I was spending the weekend at our family’s beach condo.
My father had said I could venture to the beach across the street on my own. That it was safe. I only needed to go through the hotel which was built in front of the beach and had since claimed it for its guests. I just had to let them know I lived in the condos across the street and I would be given a wrist band to wear to show that I belonged there.
As I sat on the beach, I noticed security guards along the premises and asked one of the women serving me my cold lemonade, why they were there.
“The new face of hunger represents people that you and I would never dream would be faced with this situation.” – Lisa Houston, FIND Food Bank, India, CA.
I was a lucky child growing up. Even when living in the poverty stricken area of La Perla in Puerto Rico, my single mother managed to always find food for my sister and I. I remember, still, almost 38 years later, the face of hunger in the other kids where I lived who weren’t always as fortunate and the stress my mother experienced almost daily. Because I didn’t experience much hunger growing up, I can think back at our poverty and not be sad about it.