Time Flies – Take Me Back To Europa

I truly can’t believe how fast time seems to be flying by these days. It’s been 2 years since I returned from studying abroad in Florence, Italy and 1 year since I crossed the pond to intern for my company in Lisbon, Portugal. Both summers were experiences of a lifetime, and I feel so very lucky to have been given each of the opportunities.

As a food fanatic, I was impressed by both Florence and Lisbon’s culinary identity. I’m sure you can guess the kind of food I was eating in Firenze: pasta, panini, vino, cappuccino, gelato, pizza, vino, risotto, pasta, bread, pasta (good thing I’m not gluten free). Every single meal in Italy, even a quick panino between classes, was truly a delightful dining experience. The ingredients in all of the dishes are fresh and flavorful, and it makes all the difference in the world. Spending my summer abroad opened my eyes to the way others live, and I love the Italian life style – Dolce Far Niente, “The Sweetness of Doing Nothing”. I spent many of my days doing just that , while also trying to perfect my Italian (I’ve since gotten very very rusty).

One of my favorite experiences in Firenze was centered around a course I took while I was there: The Food and Wine of Italy. While we did spend our fair share of time doing some hands on (or should I say mouth-on) learning, we were also challenged to learn about the history of Italian cooking and eating – dating all the way back to the first centuries. Of course, we studied this material over a bottle of Chianti 🙂

246902_1823480822540_1721886_nTypical meal in Firenze

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Learning to make gelato in our Food and Wine course254109_1817090022774_3493130_nWith friends in the Chianti region of Tuscany (about 30-40 minute drive from Florence)

SAM_0210Beautiful Chianti regionSAM_0189Siena, ItalySAM_0059My Florentine room-dogsSAM_0143Waterside view of the Uffizi (famous works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Botticelli, and many others are housed here)

photo-65Gelato on the Arnoimage-112Aperitivo in Oltrarno (beyond the Arno)

SAM_0451Ponte Vecchio (bridge that crosses the Arno River)

264205_1847781550043_6180007_nDelicious fish in Cinque Terre

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My experience in Lisboa (working) was different than Firenze (playing studying abroad), but just as enriching.  I can’t explain how lucky I feel to have been selected for a global internship with my firm – I can only be thankful for such a wonderful experience! One of my favorite aspects about Portugal is the fact that it is far underrated, thus not inundated with tourists. Lisboa was much quieter than Firenze, and although I had trouble picking up the Portuguese language, I almost felt more comfortable there than I did in Italy. In my experience, the Portuguese people were the kindest of any country in Europe, and they make me want to go back!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you all the delicious cuisine I encountered during my time in Lisboa. Much to my delight, Portuguese cuisine incorporates A LOT of fish. And Lisbon’s location on the water ensures that this fish is fresh. Some of my favorite traditional dishes included:

  • Bacalhau – The Portuguese National Dish – Cod
  • Pasteis de Belem – Deliciously hot mouth watering pastries in the Belém neighborhood
  • Sardines -Better than you think they are
  • Esparregado – Creamy Spinach

These are just examples of the traditional foods one will encounter in Lisbon – the list of fresh seafood you can find there is so long it would probably not fit on my blog. Plus, a picture is worth 1000 words so I’m sure you’re ready for me to stop talking.

IMG_1898Festival of St. Anthony in nearby Sintra, Portugal

IMG_1886

Festival of St. Anthony in nearby Sintra, Portugal

IMG_1857Breakfast with a view

IMG_174425 de Abril Bridge in Lisboa

IMG_1894Picturesque village of Sintra

IMG_1711The colors of Lisboa

IMG_1872Palacio Pena in Sintra, Portugal

IMG_1956Date night at a trendy Lisbon restaurant when Derek came to visit

IMG_1854Ritz Carlton in Sintra, Portugal

IMG_1970Drinks with a view when Mom & Dad came IMG_1919I love them

IMG_1772Being touristy

If you ever have the opportunity to visit one of these lovely destinations, I must insist that you do. And take me with you, Please!

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3 thoughts on “Time Flies – Take Me Back To Europa

  1. Pingback: City of sardines – Lisbon, Portugal | Journey Around The Globe

  2. Pingback: Day trip to Sintra, Portugal | Journey Around The Globe

  3. It is nice to see how much did you like the visit to Lisbon and Sintra. It is always a pleasure to see and read about our city. Cod we have more than 1000 recipes and there´s much more than Cod fish. On Cooking Lisbon the concept is Portuguese Traditional Gastronomy and we use also other fish/seafood like crabs, mussels, oyesters, monkfish, seabass, Swordfish, Bluemouth, Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish. On the meat we have from lamb, cow, pork, chicken, besides the vegetables. Great article, pictures and contribution for other readers. Congratulations.

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