Headed to Italy for the first time?
If you are visiting Italy, for the first time, I know you are super excited but you are probably a little anxious, as well. It can be a little overwhelming when planning for a first trip to another country. Don't worry! I have a gathered up 10 of my best suggestions and few of my favorite Italy travel tips to make your first trip a memorable one.
Venice is without a doubt one of the most magical places I've ever been! Around every corner is a postcard worthy picture! From the canals, to the gondolas to the grand palaces, Venice is city like no other! Is Venice on your bucket list?
Italy is abundant in diverse, eclectic dishes. No matter where you choose to go throughout the country, you'll get an entirely new dining experience. For instance, when you head towards the lagoon, you'll get to enjoy Venetian cuisine, and if you head towards the shores of the Adriatic Sea, you’ll get to experience traditional seafood dishes.
Ever read about a place and decided you have to go there?
Well, that's how I felt about Osteria Zi'Umberto in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome.
It all started back in Richmond, Virginia where I tried bucatini al'amatriciana for the first time at Mama Zu's and was hooked. It's a simple pasta with tomatoes, pecorino cheese, wine and guanciale, but oh so delizioso! I honestly hadn't found a place to make this pasta as good as Mama Zu's until we went to Zi' Umberto's.
There’s a fabulously old and twisty neighborhood in Lisbon called Alfama. It’s easy to get lost and turned around in Alfama but that’s just part its charm. It was built that way, on purpose to confuse invaders. Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and has survived earthquakes and abandonment. This delightful neighborhood is filled with azure tiles, charming restaurants and shops and the friendliest people. Make your way up to one of the many miradouros for a sweeping view of Alfama’s terra cotta rooftops and the Targus river.
Barcelona is a fabulous city situated on the Mediterranean. So much history, architecture, food and neighborhoods to explore. There is so much to do and see that you could spend way more than five days here. We decided to go Thanksgiving week and it was a great decision. The weather was great for that time of year and it wasn't crowded at all.
We arrived at our hotel around 6pm after an exhausting travel experience from DC, but the staff Retrome Urban Retreat welcomed us with smiling faces and a glass of wine that soothed our nerves! After getting settled in to our room, we headed out for a bite to eat at BETLEM- Miscelánea Gastronómica which was right across from the hotel. By far the best pan con tomato we had while in Barcelona. Such a simple dish, but so delicious. Of course, we were still on American time, so we were early to eat, but we took our time, ordered several of the delicious tapas offerings and of course, vino!
Do yourself a favor and get some of these delicious works of art the next time you are in Barcelona! What are Pintxos, you ask? Pintxos, pronounced "peen-chos," (can also be spelled Pinchos) are skewered food, typically with toothpicks, served all over Spain, but originated in Northern Spain. They can be meat, fish, vegetables, cheese and are often a combination of two or more.
When at a bar that serves pintxos, order a beer, grab the pintxos that you want and pay according to the number and type of toothpicks on your plate. Enjoy them with friends and if you're lucky enough to stop at Blai 9 while in Barcelona, marvel at each miniature food art before delighting your tastebuds!
Long-haul flights are never easy.
Any flight that lasts 6 hours or more can seem pretty intimidating, and we totally get it—they are! You probably have all types of questions going through your head.
All I wanted to see when I got to Costa Rica was a sloth. I mean who doesn't love a sloth? We are going where they just hang out wild in trees everywhere. Bring on the sloths! I've heard numerous stories of all the amazing animals you get to see when you are in Costa Rica, but on our trip, we were not quite that lucky. I think the animals said "Amy is here, let's vacate the premises!" HA!
Our very first stop was the Lucky Bug B&B. The property is beautiful and lush and the hosts were fantastic, but did we see any parrots, toucans or sloths? Nope! But how can you be upset with views like these?