Spending New Years in Lisbon, Portugal!

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.

Gorgeous weather.

Love this teal building.

Yellow tram cars!

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Restaurant Review: Osteria Al Squero in Venezia, Italia!

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.

Osteria al Squero!

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Drinking Our Way Through The Barolo Region In The Rain!

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.

All 8 made it to Barolo village.

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A Lovely Food Tour Through Trastevere, Roma!

As part of our big family trip to Italy in November 2021, Dan and I signed everyone up for an evening food tour through Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. We did this for three reasons: (1) several of us on this tour love a good food tour, (2) Dan and I lived in Trastevere when we studied in Rome wayyyy back in 2008 and we wanted our families to see the area, and (3) we previously did a food tour through Testaccio and really loved it!  We booked our tour with Eating Italy Food Tours for our first evening in Rome, meeting on Tiber Island around 5:00 PM. Unfortunately, we got hit with an insane rain storm en route to the meeting point and we all got soaked… In any case, the tour went on! Due to the rain, we quickly moved to our first location in Trastevere, which I was verrrrry excited about!

En route back from our food tour, without rain!

Stop 1: Trattoria Da Enzo al 29

Yes, you read that correctly. Our first stop was at the famous Trattoria Da Enzo al 29. Da Enzo is a well known Roman trattoria that is very, very popular. You will frequently find it on “best food in Rome” lists. Da Enzo does not take reservations and there is almost always a wait. As such, our group actually got in before the restaurant opened to the public, something we never could have pulled off on our own! Our group and another couple on the tour were seated between two tables dressed in red checkered tablecloths. Classic southern Italy. Our guide poured everyone a glass of Prosecco and out came the food. First, the famous carciofi alla giudìa (or Jewish fried artichokes). These artichokes are  famous Rome and not difficult to find when in season, but tough to find elsewhere in Italy. Basically, this is a deep fried artichoke topped with quality sea salt. Very simple, yet incredibly good. On the table was also Italian bread, burrata, tomatoes, and olive oil, which were suggested together as a type of little bruschetta. I loved the burrata and actually preferred it to the artichoke. Stop 1 was off to a good start.

The famous Carciofi alla Giudìa.

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Restaurant Review: The Church Restaurant & Bar, Dublin, Ireland.

For years, since my Samantha Brown Passport to Europe Days, I had wanted to visit The Church restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. However, despite having visited Dublin numerous times, I had never made it to The Church. So, on our trip in February 2022, I made dinner reservations for a Monday evening. This is my review of The Church and some tips and tricks for those planning a visit!

The gorgeous interior.

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