To celebrate the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, Dan and I flew to Lisbon, Portugal (where we got married!) for four nights and five days. We had great weather and a lovely time, despite the crazy Omicron Covid testing requirements in place at the time (no longer in place). This article details what we did, ate, and drank in Lisbon in the winter!
Me and Dan celebrating 2022!
DAY ONE – LANDING IN LISBON, EATING AT THE TIME OUT MARKET, & A 25 EURO TASTING MENU!
Dan and I arrived in Lisbon very early in the morning and luckily, we were able to immediately check into our hotel room at the Intercontinental Lisboa. Not surprisingly, the Intercontinental Lisboa was still decorated for Christmas and everything looked very nice. Due the early hour of our arrival, a nap was most certainly in order.
Christmas decor at the Intercontinental Lisboa!
After a pretty sizable nap (we did arrive before sunrise), Dan and I walked from our hotel to Lisbon’s TimeOut Market for lunch. The walk from the Intercontinental Lisboa to the TimeOut Market goes through some pretty parts of Lisbon and we took lots of photos. We also picked up some Covid tests en route, as the rules were super strict and if we couldn’t get a PCR test, we would need to self-test before entering any restaurants, etc. Unlike the US, at-home Covid tests were cheap and plentiful.
In light of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in the United States, I am writing about a fun restaurant that I have been to on two separate US Thanksgivings in Venice – Osteria al Squero! While I love this place, I will disclose that Osteria al Squero is by no means a secret or even “off the beaten path.” In fact, Osteria al Squero is listed in many a guidebook, including Rick Steves (with whom I have a love/hate relationship, LOL), and it definitely falls into the “touristy” category. All of that said, Osteria al Squero is still a fantastic spot for tourists to try cicchetti, or “Venetian tapas” for those not in the know. This article details how to enjoy cicchetti at Osteria al Squero.
Dan and my families’ Italian Thanksgiving trip last year started in Piedmont for the Alba International White Truffle Festival. The town of Alba also happens to be right in the middle of the world famous Barolo wine region. So, while in the area, we took a day to explore the Barolo countryside and try some of its well regarded and pricey wines.
A map of the Barolo wine region. Lots of specific little areas in Barolo!
STOP 1 – BAROLO TOWN.
We left our hotel in Alba at 9:00 AM to start our Barolo tour. It was unfortunately raining, but we made it to the, very, very hilly and twisty Barolo countryside pretty quick without any issues. People with carsickness beware. The first stop of the day was in the town of Barolo, which is an adorable little wine village that reminded me of a fairy tale city. The rain luckily stopped for a few minutes and we were able to walk around the town.
A wine town in the mountains of Rhodes, Greece probably does not come to mind when thinking of this beachey destination just of the coast of Turkey. However, there is such a town, named Embonas, in the mountains about an hour outside Rhodes Town. Embonas is famous for its wine and grilled meats! Its also a small town and an easy way to spend a morning or afternoon on Rhodes. We planned a morning wine tasting in Embonas on our recent trip to Greece!
I guess this means winery in Greek!
As Embonas is located about an hour from Rhodes Town, on some very twisty roads, we hired a driver to drive us around and stop at wineries that the driver had picked out and reserved in advance. This was super helpful, because we would not have known where to start. Information online is…sparse at best. We left Rhodes Town around 9:30, stopping for some fantastic coastal pictures en route, and ended up at our first winery about 30 minutes later (outside of Embonas).
Leaving Rhodes Town and driving to Embonas. This is a view point en route.
While in Rhodes, Dan and I took a day trip from Rhodes to neighboring Symi Island, as it was ranked as one of the top “things to do” on Rhodes. All, in, it was a good day trip, but I’m not sure its worth the time if you only have a few days on Rhodes. The day trip to Symi is better suited for those spending a full week on Rhodes, IMO. That being said, I did find Symi stunning and would love to return for a few quiet days of relaxation.
Arriving in Symi via boat from Rhodes.
WHAT IS SYMI ISLAND?
Symi Island is a tiiiiiny Greek island 25 miles from Rhodes, very close to the Turkish coast. A visit to Symi a popular day trip from Rhodes, due to the islands’ proximity. Despite being neighbors, Symi Island has a totally different feel than Rhodes, being much, much smaller and more Italian than Turkish feeling. While Symi almost exclusively a tourist island now, Symi has historically been known for sponge diving. It’s also well known for its tiny Symi shrimp.
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