You are browsing the archive for Sienna Vance, Author at YoTravellers.

Don’t Just Head to Lisbon–Go to Porto too!

September 3, 2018 in Blog

I absolutely love Porto, Portugal. Like Lisbon, there are colorful houses everywhere and loads of hills. I honestly think that there are more than in Lisbon, but also, when I did visit Porto I had a bad case of bronchitis, which made climbing them all super difficult. Maybe that’s why I think that Porto’s are worse. Still despite the hills, I still adore Porto. It’s a bit grittier than prim and polished Lisbon, but that’s what gives Porto its uniqueness. The nightlife is booming and so are the bodegas—known for their exceptional sweet, but strong flavored Port wine, native to Porto’s surrounding vineyards. Also, if you’re into Indian food, Porto is actually a good place to go if you want some of the best. In Porto, my boyfriend and I ate more Indian food than Portuguese. If you’re into sweets, Porto has the best spot for the ultimate sweet lover: Nutellandia. And yes, Nutellandia is what you think it is—you can eat all different kinds of sweets with Nutella on it. Crepes, waffles, icecream—you name it.

The Tram– The tickets for any tram line cost 2,50€ (each way), and you can buy them inside the tram. You can also get a ticket called Porto Tram City Tour (8€/adult and 5€/child between 4 to 12 years old), which is valid in any tram line during 24h. You can buy the Porto Tram City Tour 24h’s ticket:  inside any tram At the Tram Museum Hotel Travel agencies.

Cable Car – the cable car journey from the top of the Dom Luis bridge down to the end of the Vila Nova de Gaia waterfront is short but gives you a different perspective of the city.

Porto Segway Tour– Save your legs and see the city’s highlights on a Porto Segway Tour. It’s a fun way to see the city!

Boat Cruise: Sail down the River Douro along the route of the old “Rabello Boats” that served Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Reach the Foz do Douro, and more.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make the Move Abroad

September 3, 2018 in Blog

Things hardly fall into place when you move to a new country all by yourself. When I studied abroad in Oviedo, Spain I had a lot of support from my university, my host mother and the 13 other girls who were also participants in my study abroad program. Basically, I wasn’t alone when I got to Oviedo.

My time in Vigo, Spain was different.

I got a job here through a program called North American Culture and Language Assistants. In this program, English speakers from The United States and Canada get paid 700 euros a month by Spain’s Ministry of Culture, Education, and Sport to work in English classes in Spanish public schools. I worked 12 hours a week and primarily served as a U.S. cultural ambassador and conversation facilitator for students.

My Dad came to Vigo with me to help me find an apartment, but after he left, I was alone. From this point, I had to make a life for myself. I had to meet people and socialize. I had to do things that I never did before. I went to group meet-ups at bars and people’s houses when I didn’t know anybody. I visited to the Cies Islands with three random strangers who eventually became some of my best friends. I messaged people when they didn’t message me first. I soon developed meaningful friendships, but it took some time. And I had to realize that was okay. Wherever you go in the world, you will make friends if you put in the effort. You may not meet them immediately when you first arrive to a new country, but it will happen. Living in Vigo taught me this.

Don’t be afraid to take the step to live abroad in a new country. It may be scary and you may feel alone at times at first, but all of this will pass if you’re proactive and fully immerse yourself in the new country’s culture. The experience will teach you many valuable lessons about the world and yourself at the same time.

Romantic Activities to do in Paris

August 6, 2018 in Blog

There’s no better place to take a honeymoon in than the city of love. Paris certainly lives up to its reputation of being romantic. There’s no shame in showing the world how much you love someone in this city. Everywhere in Paris, there are couples holding hands, kissing and embracing each other. A blissful romantic holiday here will take you to places like the Eiffel Tower—where you can wine, dine and see some incredible views of Paris, the Lourve—where you can experience the world’s biggest art collection, and to Montmarte—a lively neighbourhood where you can get a taste of local Parisian life and the famous Sacre Coeur Basilica. Paris is the perfect honeymoon destination if you want an experience filled with beauty, history and amazing food. The best part about the City of Lights is that you can have any type of holiday here—it can be super relaxing or super busy. You can visit a bunch of museums or, simply hang out in parks and cafes. It doesn’t matter if your sticking to a tight budget, or are ready to splurge on a super romantic honeymoon. A vacation in Paris can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. With so many things to admire and plenty of cultural sites to see, Paris offers a plethora of experiences to suit all types of honeymoons. Here are a few romantic activities you and your significant other can enjoy together:

The Eiffel Tower For lovely panoramic views of Paris, head to the iconic Eiffel Tower where love is always in the air. Enjoy the irresistible ambience with a glass of pink Champagne at the top-floor Champagne Bar to celebrate your honeymoon.

Cruise over the “Old Paris”-  A visit to the old district of Paris is always a treat for any newlyweds. Take a cruise on the canal St. Martin to admire its peaceful water and beautiful foot bridges.

Montmarte– Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood has more local color than in the center of Paris. Walk through the cobblestone streets of this hilly urban village to see where some of the greatest French artists and writers used to live. You can climb or ride the cable car up the hill to the beautiful Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre. The basilica was built to restore Paris’s spiritual community after the country’s military defeat at the hands of Germany. The best part is that it’s free to enter.

Place de Voges– The Place des Vosges is one of the oldest and most gorgeous squares in Paris. Have a romantic stroll under the arches or along the paths of the central garden, where you and your significant other can take time to admire the beautiful facades of red brick. The square is the ideal departure point if you want to take walk in the Marais, one of the most charming historic neighbourhoods in the capital with a variety of museums, cafés and clubs.

Wine Tasting in Paris– Couples who love wine and cheese can enjoy a relaxing wine tasting in the heart of Paris. You’ll taste some of 4 the most interesting wines in the region with some top-notch cheeses to pair with them. You can book a tasting here on the website.

 

Hamburg Isn’t Too Famous for Hamburgers, But That’s OK!

July 22, 2018 in Blog

Initially, I thought that Hamburg, Germany would be hamburger paradise on my first visit to the city. Considering that the word hamburger has Hamburg in its name, it’s right to assume. After all, Danish pastries are a staple of Denmark, Gruyere cheese is named after the Swiss town Gruyere (what a surprise) and buffalo wings are Buffalo, New York’s pride and joy. But, Hamburg, instead, lacks the in-your-face mouthwatering burger joints you’d expect it to have at every corner. It’s not like Rome or Venice when it comes to food. Here, touristy pizza and pasta restaurants try to entice you everywhere. So, why doesn’t Hamburg market the hamburger like Italian cities do with their famous foods?

The answer is—the hamburger was most likely invented in the United States and not Germany. The term hamburger actually does derive from Hamburg—similar to how frankfurter derives from Frankfurt. This is because it still played a part in giving the hamburger its name, but not really in its creation. In the 17th century, Russians introduced recipes for steak tartare to the port of Hamburg, which was one of the largest and most important ports in Europe during this era. Due to the European colonization of the Americas, immigrants to this port often shared their recipes with each other. When European immigrants sailed from Hamburg to the US, they took this steak tartare recipe with them. Further on, in the 19th century, the “Hamburg steak” then became a popular menu item of many restaurants in New York City’s port. Later, what we know as the hamburger evolved from there.

Another reason for Hamburg’s lack of hamburger-related market is because it’s not a touristy city—at least not yet. Rome and Venice know how to cater to their tourists and understand that food is part of the overall travel experience. Hamburg is still up and coming and still has a long way to go to up its tourism game. However, don’t get me wrong! There are still amazing places to see and eat at in this hip and modern German port city. There are burger restaurants here that are actually really freaking good! They’re just not so in-your-face and touristy, but that’s always great for budget travellers anyway. Try the city’s Burger Lab or Burgerlich for some really good pub fare. You’ll find that these burgers definitely live up to Hamburg’s name after all.

 

 

Travelling in a Group? Know Your Travel Style!

July 22, 2018 in Blog

Travelling solo is definitely different from travelling with a group of friends. What do I prefer? —the company, of course! Group travel lets you socialize, make memories with friends and share ridiculous fun together. But although it can be tons of fun, it’s important to know your travelling style. This type of knowledge will help you determine the best type of group to travel with and how to avoid conflicts with your travel peers.

Whether you’re high-energy and into touristy sights and museums, or simply like to relax on beaches and green mountain tops, it’s important to communicate your interests to your friends. Have a group meeting to discuss activities that you like and don’t like to do when planning your itinerary. If you already know the people well that you’re travelling with, you probably won’t have too many issues.

When my boyfriend and I travel, for example, I never get frustrated with our travel plans. We both have a relaxed style of travelling and obviously know each other very well. That definitely helps a lot! When we travel, we usually like to go to one or two touristy sights, stop in bars or cafés to have a few drinks and we always like to eat lots of food—it’s one of the most important parts of our travel experience.

Other people, more than often, don’t have this same travelling style. I noticed this when I visited Bordeaux, France twice last year. Bordeaux is a city in the southwest of France located in a region known for producing some of the best wine in all of Europe. When my boyfriend and I visited here, we definitely took things slow to fully immerse ourselves in Bordeaux’s local culture and atmosphere. Because we’re foodies, we focused mainly on trying lots of the local cuisine. We indulged in charcuterie plates, Tibetan cuisine, crepes, entrecotes, duck and lots of rich Bordeaux red wine. We did relaxing activities with a few French friends, like walking along the Garonne River, visiting a nearby beach, drinking wine and going to a live music show. It was a very relaxing trip without any set plans.

When I went to Bordeaux a second time, it was the complete opposite. This time, I visited the city with my best friend and her two friends. I saw parts of the city that I never even witnessed with my boyfriend on this very fast-paced trip. We went into a Gothic church, walked down the bustling shopping street, Rue St. Catherine, browsed a flea market in St. Michel square, spent time in a cultural museum and went to a few wine bars. Since we were here during the winter we also visited Bordeaux’s Christmas market a few times, which was a spectacular spectacle of lights, food and gifts. At the end of the trip, I was exhausted, but grateful. This time around, I got to know Bordeaux a little bit better than before and developed a new appreciation for the sites of the city. However, I did have to adapt to another travelling style that I wasn’t necessarily used to.

I think my ideal Bordeaux trip would have involved something in the middle of these two different travelling styles. I like relaxed travel because in my view, you really get to live like a local. But, fast-paced travel is also great if you want to see amazing sites of a city in a short period of time. Remember, no one’s travelling style is the same, so make sure you communicate with your group of friends about which type of travel suits you best. Planning your next trip soon? Take this quiz to find out!