Monday, November 24, 2014

Ten Cities I'd live for 1 Year

If you are around this blog for a while you know that I'm not really a city person. I will visit cities of the World that apply to me or are famous but I don't think I'd live forever in a city (never say never). But in a certain way there are cities out there that are beautiful or I felt a really good vibe as soon as I got there. Do you know this feeling? You smile just walking in the streets and feel you kinda belong there. 
I enjoy to make lists just for the fun and few days ago I wrote a list of ten cities in the World I've been before and wouldn't mind to live for a year... or two. 
Barcelona :: Spain. I'm a vivid fan of Antoni Gaudí and his art is everywhere in this city (Parque Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló...). It's definetly a place with all in the pack: good beaches, awesome architecture, delicious food, nice pubs and cafés, alternative lifestyle. And a plus if you speak spanish.

 Berlin :: Germany. Although all the cold in Winter time I'm sold out for Berlin. It's a relatively cheap city with a lot to explore. You have a party every night of any type of music. I can't believe that they turned an ex-airport into a park where you can go skating or biking, drinking a beer or organize a picnic. I also love the abandoned places like this abandoned amusement park I explored with Claudia and Joana, we had to climb the fence, what an adventure!

Istanbul :: Turkey. A city divided in two continents: Asia and Europe. You can feel the best of both Worlds and the result is a learning process. I could spend an entire week admiring mosques inside and outside, not that I'm religious, but the architecture work is simply amazing. I also like the idea that there are students all over the World and also that all the alternative turkish come live here.

Lisbon :: Portugal. To be honest, I'd add Porto in this list as well but I wanted to choose only one city of each country. Lisbon is full of history and culture, you don't really need a plan to visit the famous spots of the city, I say get lost and you will be surprised with all you'll find; from old pretty houses, to great views (Adamastor, to the bridge...), passing thru Bairro Alto during the day and night, yummie food (including the famous pasteis de Belem), interesting events going on all the time, fado in a tasca with red wine or sangria as your company. I consider Lisbon one of the most beautiful capitals in the World.

Lyon :: France. You cannot go wrong with a city with not only one but two rivers! I like the multiculture environment that is going on, especially the turkish quarter and their bizarre food. I love that you can walk everwhere and they have the most beautiful park I ever been in my life: Parc Tete D'Or . The cafés and restaurants in downtown are french style: well decorated and with great food. [More about Lyon here].

Melbourne :: Australia. It's not only the beautiful downtown with a bunch of stunning buildings, inspiring street art, artists playing in the main avenue, arts and arts and arts, it's also the dandenongs, the Great Ocean Road and one of the best festivals in the World. It's deeply organized and the transportation works very well. I found pretty awesome second hand stores and one of my favorite areas is St. Kilda where you find the beach. The only thing I don't like are the rules everywhere, for example, you gotta wear an helmet when riding your bike or you get a ticket. I love to feel my hair when cycling and they are taking all the joy, "for safety".

 Prague :: Czech Republic. The black statues you can find here are one of the most beautiful things I ever seen, they look so neat! I enjoy the environment in the city and the hidden gardens. The cheap beer and the fact that is so international also give it some points.

 Rio de Janeiro :: Brazil. For many people is the most dangerous place, for me is the place to be. I have this dream of living in a Favela of Rio and help the community with social projects. I had great joy exploring the Botanic Gardens, The florest of Tijuca and other parks. As you can see it's not only a big city, it's also a place you can find amazing nature. Brazilians are pretty friendly and they love to have fun. So much culture going on there! I can drink a caipirinha while I watch a capoeira circle all day or learn how to dance samba. What about the Carnival? And the fact that you spend New Year's Eve on the beach wearing white clothes? Yes, yes, please.

San Francisco :: USA. I'm not a fan of living in the States but there's something magic about this city. All my life I heard about the sixties in San Francisco, how people tried to be free, fighting for their rights, for peace and love, it was the best decade, full of history, the time I'd love to live. I adore the lifestyle, the artsy stores, the international food you can get and people are very nice. I like the idea of Flea Markets along the bay and the bay itself. I could easily live in Haight Ashbury and work as Social Worker with homeless in Sonoma or Market Str. When I needed peace of mind I'd head to Golden Gate Park and to the beach.

Toronto :: Canada. I usually say that Toronto breath culture and cultures. I think it's such an alternative place to live with great bookstores and design, antique stores, unique handmade stores. It's great to get lost in Chinatown and to explore by bike. I'd go on a boat trip every weekend :)

Do you like my selection of cities? Which Cities would you live for 1 year? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Victorian + Alternative Neighborhood of SF: Haight Ashbury

Guys, I owe you ten thousand posts about San Francisco! I've been trying my best to write down all the interesting things you should visit in this awesome city I love more and more. But the truth is that I go with the flow and totally forget about internet and my blog stays a bit behind... here Iam! 

After spending more then a month working and visiting my friends/american heart family, we finally decided to rent a car and explore South of California. Guess what? We couldn't rent a car because we do not have a Visa, Martercard or American Express Card... What a BIG bummer. USA without a car sucks big time, if only transportation was good and organized... not happening. 
When you're traveling sometimes you gotta come out with a plan B, C and D, well plan E is welcome too. Specially if you travel like me, plan a bit here and there but mostly go with the flow. 

We had no option but using the bus. This means our options were pretty limited. So we decided to travel the famous cities: San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. We've been in San Francisco last year but we had a feeling that was missing a looooot to see. We also been in LA but our flight off USA is there so we will stay with our friend Sue (again) this time in Huntington Beach, apparently a fancy area of LA, she has swimming pool and jacuzzi so guess where I'm gonna be my last days in California? :D 

Anyway, ready for a bunch of pictures from my favorite area of San Francisco?

 Remember last year when I been in Haight Ashbury and was kinda sad that didn't have a chance to visit during the day? Guess what I did very first morning in San Francisco? Yep, you got it!

Haight Ashbury was the meeting point of hippies in the 60's who were looking for peace and love. Now a days you still can find some hippies there but mostly you will find hippies wannabes, known as "zippies". They are homeless, usually stoned or drunk and beg for money all day long in Haight Ashbury. That's the only thing I don't like there but still I love the place and will come back always!

 When you are walking up hill you find the most beautiful victorian style houses, they are in such good shape and condition! As I look at them I start dreaming of one day to live in one of this pretty houses but I don't think they are affordable... at least for right now!

Also you will find a lot of cool street art, either in the front of the alternative shops or just in random walls or buildings. For someone who's into grafitti you'll find a great source of inspiration here.

 You can make a break of walking the street and go hike in Buena Vista Park, it's on the way. This park is a hill with oak trees, pine trees and eucalyptus with an OK view, I was expecting for a better view to the city but the tall trees don't want to ;) Still, it was a good break from the city and to relax a bit.

 The clothing shops are tooooo good to be true, you'll find vintage, second hand, etnical, anything unique and different. I can't believe I bought 4 dresses in Goodwill Store! Well, I needed and the money goes to a social project so it's all good right?

I really stopped myself of buying more stuff, I thought about my back and I'm the only one who will carry my backpack but If I lived in San Francisco I'd get a bunch of stuff here, it's definitly one of my favorite places to go shopping in the World!

 If you have been in Camdon Town in London, you'll think the area is similar but Haight Ashbuty is bigger and gives you more options of clothing shops, restaurants and cafés. Talking about restaurants, we had dinner in a Puerto Rico restaurant, never tried their food before and fell in love! So mch flavour and delicious, yummiiiieee... The staff was pretty friendly and the decoration is super cozy. Oh the restaurant is called Parada 22. Don't miss it!

 Stay tuned for the coming San Francisco posts and also San Diego! California rocks! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oh So American: "Hello, how are you?"

There are all kinds of stereotypes about americans: they are very patriots or they think their country is the best, they only eat fast food and are over weighted. Obviously this is not true, only a small percentage of americans might be like this, but also in every single country you will find people with these characteristics. This is something humans have to change, we have to stop making absurd generalizations and start thinking a person as unique personality and not an entire nation as a whole. We are one.

What I figured about americans and I really love, is the fact that whenever you make eye contact with them, they will say "Hi!" or smile. Many times they will say "Hello, how are you?" and you are just passing by. When going to grocery store there is a staff person saying "Good morning, how are you today?" Even if they are paid to say that, they will bright my day for sure.

So, doesn't matter if you are a stranger, americans are friendly. What happens often and I wish really hard that was like this everywhere in the World is that if someone likes your hair or shirt, or anything about you, they will let you know verbally. So many times I was in the street or in a shop and I listened "Nice dress!" or "I love your hair!". If you like something from someone you should tell the person, giving compliments make people happy about themselves.

Besides being friendly, americans can be truly helpful. There was one time I needed a public phone to make a quick call so I asked a girl where could I find one and she immediately landed her phone. Another day I was lost and got in a decoration shop to ask the employee if she knew where was the street I was looking for so she printed out a map from google maps I could follow! These are small examples, actually situations like this happens often. I feel that if I need something there will always be an angel giving us an hand.

As an american, do you agree with this post? When you travel overseas do you feel people are less friendly or helpful? Non american do you feel same way as me when traveling USA?
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