Jetsettin’: Girls Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

BocaDoInfernoPortugal

Several weeks ago, several beauties and I headed over to Lisbon, Portugal to get away from our normal, everyday lives. The husbands, kids, and fiances were left to handle things on their own for a few days. We chose Lisbon due to weather and affordability. Little did we know, this hidden gem would be a trip of a lifetime. I went in assuming we would do a little sightseeing and spend the rest of our time sipping wine at the apartment or at a local restaurant. Nope, we spent almost the entire time exploring all that Lisbon had to offer.

GirlsTripLisbonPortugal

Seems as though we brought the rain with us from Holland and Belgium so we spent the first day on a Greyline tourbus (26 euros for 48 hrs, if you were wondering) taking notes on where we wanted to see once the rain subsided.

On our second day, we headed over the Sao Jorge Castle to soak in the views from the top of the hill. I was a little bummed that the fog was so heavy but it was still pretty cool to see the April 25th bridge peek above the fog. Of course, I managed to do a little shopping. Souvenirs in Portugal are ADORABLE and AFFORDABLE. The combination of the two was dangerous for someone like me.

We ended up cramming a lot in on our last full day. We took the long tour bus ride (~2 hrs) to Boca do Inferno, Jeronimo Monastary, and Belem Tower.

Can I just say the the restaurant right by Boca do Inferno is probably the best seafood I’ve had in a long time…maybe EVER! It was so fresh that they didn’t have to do much of anything to it. I was on cloud nine with every single bite. We never had a mediocre meal in Portugal – and the way to my heart, is food.  I don’t know if it’s because we were so hungry from our long treks, but I’m pretty sure the food was just THAT good. Granted, we ate at restaurants near the monuments which are probably considered tourist traps – but they were still scrumptious.

I didn’t vlog nearly as much as I should have but enjoy what I got!

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My 30th Birthday Getaway: Venezia

Next up, we have Venezia!

Let me tell you, the minute I stepped out of the train station, I was amazed that I was standing in VENICE. I mean, it’s the world renowned, VENICE! Ok, I think you know I’m in Venice. LOL.

We arrived in the evening so all we had planned was grabbing a quick bite to eat and getting settled into our apartment that we rented through AirBNB. A one way ticket on the vapretto was 7 euros or you can opt for a full day ticket for 20 euros, 30 euros for a 2 day pass and so-on, so-forth.  We only bought a one way ticket to the apartment and walked around most of the time since we stayed in the heart of San Marco.

When I read that you don’t need that much time in Venice, they were pretty spot on. We went to check out the San Marco Basilica, a couple free museums, and the grand canal. There were plenty of alleys to get lost in and countless overpriced restaurants to dine in.

San Marco
San Marco

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Of course we had to do the gondola! That’s the whole Venice experience, am I right? We paid 100 euros because I wanted a sunset ride. If you ride before 7pm, it’ll cost you 80 euros. Pricey, I admit.

Amazing Gondola Ride in Venice, Italy
Amazing Gondola Ride in Venice, Italy

Venice is beautiful. It is a postcard city just like I had imagined. If you have the chance to go, DO IT. But let me warn you that you probably won’t need much time there. We probably would’ve been fine with leaving a day early, but at the same time, this forced us to relax a little.

Amazing nighttime pics at the Ponte dell'accademia
Amazing nighttime pics at the Ponte dell’accademia

Vlog? Here you go.

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My 30th Birthday Getaway: Pit Stop in Milan

Milan Italy

From Marrakech, we flew into Milan. I have to say I was a little disappointed in how inefficient the airport was! As soon as we got off the plane, we were greeted with a security check AND a passport check. There was only 1 person checking the international passports and unfortunately, the other passengers on our flight didn’t understand the concept of a queue. We had about 40 minutes to get on our train to Milan Centrale so it was a bit stressful.

Luckily, we managed to get on our train with with mere minutes to spare! We quickly checked in our luggage at the station so we could explore without the hassle of dragging it around with us. We paid 6 euros per piece for the entire day. I’d say that is a pretty good deal if you plan to spend several hours there.

We paid 1.50 euros each way for the metro tickets to the Duomo. The ride was only 10 minutes and it was pretty easy to navigate.

We decided we wanted to go up the top of the Duomo so we paid 15 euros per person to go up to the top plus elevator ride. You also have the option to pay less to use the stairs but of course we opted for the lazy way. Unfortunately, the ticket agent only charged us for 2 tickets so I had to wait in line AGAIN for the remaining ticket. This wasted another 40 minutes in the scorching heat. I had only allotted 2 hours in Milan so we had to literally run through the Duomo. Running plus heat was not a good combination.

I can’t say I have much of a desire to return to Milan but I’m glad we got a chance to visit for that short amount of time and take some amazing pictures!

Obligatory Duomo di Milano picture
Obligatory Duomo di Milano picture

Milan Italy

Inside the Duomo
Inside the Duomo

Milan Italy

Milan Italy

On top of the Duomo!
On top of the Duomo!
Ah-mazing!
Ah-mazing!

And here is the VERY short vlog from that afternoon!

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Jetsettin’: More Hong Kong Goodness

On day 2 in Hong Kong, we mostly spent the day exploring the Causeway area. We shopped in Times Square and were trying to hunt down a phone for ourselves. Our efforts were unfruitful. The phones we were looking for was sold out EVERYWHERE! And no, we weren’t searching for iPhones or a Samsung galaxy. THOSE were EVERYWHERE. Woosaahhh

I managed to snag a few items for myself and for others. I may do a haul video in the near(ish) future.

On our last full day in Hong Kong, I wanted to check out a temple or two. First, we made the hike (by “hike” I mean we rode the metro for longer than normal) to Chi Lin Nunnery. We wandered the paths of the lush gardens before entering the temple gates. The garden is impeccable. It was so well manicured that I was starting to think that some of the trees were fake!

Chi Lin Nunnery

After we were finished admiring the beauty of the gardens, we stepped into the temple. We were greeted with the aromas of incense. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the temples which I can respect. Each building held a different buddha statue that represents a special virtue. The intricate statues were surrounded with offerings from visitors.

Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery

Next stop was Wong Tai Sin temple. This is probably the most popular temple in Hong Kong. In contrast to Chi Lin Nunnery, Wong Tai Sin Temple was very busy with worshippers.

Entrance to Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong
Entrance to Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong

Nevertheless, we admired the architecture and walked the zig zag bridges at the gardens to the waterfall. Supposedly, the zig zag bridges are meant to make you focus on the here and now and be attentive. Hm…

Gardens of Wong Tai Sin Temple
Gardens of Wong Tai Sin Temple

We did a bit more shopping at the street markets by the central. There were so many little hole in the wall boutiques with the cutest affordable clothes for kids. There were probably alleys for adults, but I was on the hunt for my little girls back home. We literally had maybe 5-10 minutes to shop so I did what I could so we could make to our next stop.

The hike to the peak station was much further than we anticipated. We were sweatin’! We stood in line for maybe 30-40 minutes to purchase tickets only to find out we could’ve worked around it! The signs outside the station were quite vague. I knew that we only needed the octopus card to ride the tram, but I had no idea we could also use the octopus card to pay for entry! Learn from my mistake – load up your octopus card and skip that line! The line really wasn’t so bad though. It looked more intimidating than it actually was.

We used Ittybot to our advantage nagged ourselves some decent seats on the tram. Although we were on the wrong side, we still enjoyed the nearly vertical trip up to the peak gallery. If you’re going to take the tram, try to sit on the right hand side. You will get an amazing view! You can still see from the left side but the photographer in me wanted pictures from the window. I know, I’m needy.

Peak Tram
Peak Tram

Once we went up what seemed to be 20 escalators, we made it to the viewing deck. The city from above is quite impressive. Skyscrapers were packed into view with trees surrounding the frame. We made it before sunset just like we had hoped. We watched nightfall on the city and saw the lights illuminate the bustling metro.

Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak

After watching day turn into night on the skydeck, we went to grab dinner and did more shopping! I really wanted to see if I could find some mini instax film for cheap. Unfortunately, they were about the same price as amazon but I did find some savings on the designed versions of the film! I can’t wait to put them to use!

Hong Kong treated us well. We ate lots, shopped even more and had quality family time most. We were lucky to get a few days in Hong Kong AND knocked it off The Mr’s bucket list. This is a city we can see ourselves visiting again and again.

Check out the vlog!

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