Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Driving in Code Orange Snow Or How We Love Visiting Valkenburg and Maastricht in Christmas Time

It is not easy to hold a car on the snow. Specially for a Portuguese that touched snow maybe eleven times in all life. 7 hours from South to North could be a really terrible experience but when a couple is together listening to nice Christmas songs and thinking about what a nice weekend we had, things become very special.

Radio news talk about how the snow is hitting all Netherlands and we were able to be on the red spot all the time. We were coming back from Maastricht, a very special city in the South of Holland, so close to Germany, so close to Belgium and with a lot of French language everywhere. I see it as a small place full of charisma. Shops are classy, cafes are full and there is a breakfast vibe you hardly see anywhere else in the Netherlands. Pastry fill windows and people fill up the tables inside with a Chocomel with chantilly to heat the hands. We were so lucky to have snow. It created us several detours on our journey and time constrains, but we had exactly what we were hoping for.

Maastricht is a Christmas city. We like to park the car next to train station, not only because it is cheaper and safe, but also because we can walk one of the main streets in direction to the bridge Sint Servaasbrug. I alway have a II World War feeling when passing it and a mix of feelings is always there. This time we were close to each other cover in thick clothes, gloves and scarfs. It was misty as snow was falling hard, but the beauty is quite impressive. The Christmas lights make the city a beautiful gigantic tree. The streets are crowded with people and different shops.

We went there for the Christmas Market that takes place in Vrijthof, the centre square of Maastricht. On the way we pass all the cafe terraces where it is always quite hard to find a place, but it is an excellent way of enjoying the vibe of the city while trying out different beers. The entrance to the market was a gigantic christmas ball where people get crazy taking their selfies. The atmosphere is beautiful as people get covered from the snow on their clothes but still walk everywhere to enjoy the "wursts", the smoked salmon sellers, berlin balls... Floor is slippery and we decided to go inside of the biggest tent in the market to have a nice warm coffee. Atmosphere is impressive as people smile all the time while listening to Christmas songs. At the same time we look outside and see how the snow makes everything even more magical!

But our trip down to the South is not only to pay a visit to Maastricht. That is not actually the main reason we go there. We are lovers of Christmas markets. We just love the music, the mechanical small toys that cost a fortune but that are amazing when put together as parts of a city, the food, the smell of a hot chocolate, the family atmosphere and the good vibes you get from people. These are the ingredients why we go to Valkenburg.

Valkenburg is close to the city of Maastricht and it is very special to Netherlands as you have a kind of mountains landscape, which is very unique here. Again we use the Train Station to park our car and then we can walk all the way to the centre. The station had last year a huge bear with christmas lights and a huge tree next to it. This year it was still there. A few meters away you have a funny house all "dressed up" for the season or... for Halloween? It has a creepy feeling like the house from the tale of the two kids that get lost in the forest and find a house made of cookies and chocolate and sweet things.

It is a 5 minute walk from the station to the market. All the streets have lights and it feels very cozy. People are everywhere and enter all shops that are open. The market gathers hundreds of people and you can hear the man playing "Last Christmas" on the accordion. This year is the twentieth edition and there are more shops than before. Over 50 they state! The underground caves are, of course, the most important landmark there. The temperatures vary so much from outside, so start clean your glasses. It is a maze inside and people go in all directions but the feeling is amazing. Entrances to the caves are paid (around 7 euros), but you get to experience something very unique for Christmas that you won't regret.

I have been in some German Christmas Markets, but still this is absolutely our favourite! See you next year Valkenburg!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Top Unique Things About Dutch People and Netherlands

Breathing and talking at the same time
One fun fact I found in Dutch people is the ability of saying some short words while breathing in! That still makes me laugh when I hear it. The older people can do it better so I guess this ability requires experience. Of course I am not referring to long sentences but a "yeah" or "no" and sometimes repeating it twice. This is so usual then when I was sharing this with my girlfriend and friends they realize it and start laughing. I always say that the reason is because Dutch people hate to loose time and waisting energy, so they try to speak as little and as efficient as possible.

Dutch architecture
One of my favourites in the Netherlands is the houses. They do not build so many high apartments and the houses have an order and respect their traditions. Every time I feel I am in a fairy world, with cosy houses. In Groningen it is hard to find a house, so most of them are divided so that they can be rent to as much people as possible (it happens because it is also a student's city). Big window is the uau factor. I was so surprised to be able to watch people inside watching tv. Everything inside is exposed and this makes it so beautiful and the sense of security is very big, even when walking on the streets.

Dutch lunch
When I started my job in the Netherlands my biggest concern was the food. My eight hours of work per day included one extra hour in the middle of the day to have the so called lunch. The problem was that when I was checking my workplace I never saw any small cafe or restaurant around. So I had to go shop with my girlfriend on the day before my work start to buy a tupperware with a spoon, a fork and a knife. Then I had to figure out what could I take. The sandwich is the most common. The bread with ham and cheese and a cup-a-soup next to it.

So many bikes
Such a flat country gives one of the biggest advantage. Transport is easy as bikes are everywhere and I am still to find one Dutch person that doesn't own one. Actually I read that there are 2,5 bikes per person. And yes you can see it. Everywhere! It is amazing to have bike lanes and to have the possibility of go to the market, or to the post office, or to visit friends or to drink a bit more. It may seem very hard in the beginning to ride one (with so many rules), but at the end it becomes the favourite thing you can do. Bikes are mostly destroyed as you can buy them for around 50 euros second hand. And they will be stolen, so there is no purpose in spending so much money. By night you cannot forget your lights!

It's always cold
There is something called Summer here but it rains and it's not hot. Maybe the hottest season here is the end of the Spring. Being lucky is having sun and warm temperatures for around 4 weeks per year. It becomes quite frustrating as everybody is anxious for the cold temperatures to go up and then you go to a beach and it starts raining. So many times we just gave up and remained on the towels with some rain drops on the body. Winter is very cold. These are temperatures that can make your ears fall in the ground. At least it feels like that. But the bike is still there and you can see many people with a special suit for the rain. You arrive to work and just take it out and you are as good as new.

Habits and traditions
Contrary to my believes before living in the Netherlands, Dutch are very conservative people. They are very attached to their traditions and this means there are different rules in different situations. Birthdays are usually several chairs in a circle where everybody says "happy birthday" to everybody. Then conversations are here and there while having some snacks and the famous Tompoes, the cake that has youtube video instructions on how to eat it! Days like Sinterklaas, Koningsdag, 4th May Dodenherdenking, 5th May Bevrijdingsdag are celebrated by everyone on very specific ways. There is no discussion on what to do on those days. Habits are there and they should be respected.

Drop and Frikandel
It was quite strange to find all these small windows in various walls with some kroketten and bitterballen. Then I understand that you often need to stop and insert one coin to kill your hunger. Snacks in most are fried in the Netherlands and you can get them almost everywhere: in the pubs, streets, supermarkets... Just be careful when someone offers you a drop! Mine was a salty one and I guess it was the first time I had to spit something...

The most frequently used word in the Netherlands. At least I hear it all the time. Meaning nice or cool or tasty, I still don't understand why in my own language we also don't make it so simple. One word fits all, and if a sandwich is lekker, also the travelling may have been lekker.

Kijken, kijken, niet kopen
Look, but don't buy. The first expression I leaned in the Netherlands. It seems that Dutch people are know for being very tight with the expenses. This is something I actually admire, and I have see many times exchanging gifts like a common shampoo, toothpaste or a cheap perfume. Is it related with being cheap or it is just practical? Anyway, I can identify with this part of it.

Dutch hardly talk during lunch
My job was a very isolated one. We were several people on the same room doing a few calls per day but communication was not the best. Each person was taking care of their own business, so I guessed the "decompression" was happening at lunch time. How I was wrong... There was a common area where 10 or 15 people sit together to...read magazines! The silence feels awkward but Dutch people are fine with it. Having a conversation with my colleague was always heard by everybody else. Also, I have never heard my toasted sandwich chewing noise so present!

3 Kisses
So... my question is how do I go back to my 2 kisses Portuguese version? Once you are in the Netherlands, saying hello to a lady is done with 3 kisses on the cheeks. This is mostly done with people you know well, but I have to say it is more interesting than just the formal handshake.

Don't refuse
It is very polite in Portugal to say "no" is someone offers us something. Then Portuguese usually insist and we get it in the end. Well, in the beginning I was offered many times a coffee or a piece of cake. I said "No, thank you" just to be nice, but the question didn't pop up anymore. At the end I was hungry and thirsty and looking at everybody eating and drinking...

Nothing escapes the agenda of my girlfriend. Sometimes my girlfriend tells me she will has a dinner on the next days with the girls and I get a little surprised. At the end of the day it was my fault. That dinner was already booked 6 months in advance, and I was the one not paying attention. There is no last minute coffee meeting like in Portugal. That will mess with the Dutch planning and may bring serious consequences!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dubai - Explore the Future

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C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\2012-06-25\Dubai december 2012\DSC_1228.JPGNo words can describe the impact of this place. I’ve been there with a very good friend of mine. We were here for 5 days and it’s enough to see the main highlights. If you really want to enjoy the weather and the sun, then you should go for a week. For a cultural trip it was good enough. I advise you to organize at home the attraction you want to do and the places you want to visit. For example, we wanted to go on top of the Burj Khalifa and planned this before. This way you don’t lose precious time. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed in Dubai. Planning on what to do, like ski for example, will save you a lot of money, as you can do most of the times online and the prices are very distinct as if you pay at the place.

7 Top Things to See
C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\2012-06-25\Dubai december 2012\DSC_1416.JPGDubai marina is the most popular area in Dubai. The atmosphere is amazing with nice restaurants and terraces around the harbor. Especially in the evening is it a really nice place with locals and tourists. We enjoyed here a shisha and enjoyed the beautiful view. Here you find around 200 high buildings, most of them more than 300 meter.

C:\Users\Silla\Pictures\2012-06-25\Dubai december 2012\DSC_1498.JPGBurj al Arab is one of the most famous buildings in Dubai. It’s 321 meter high. It’s a very luxury hotel, the only 7 star hotel in the world. It’s  made on a artificial island in the sea. Nobody knows for sure, rumours points to costs of more than 650 million dollar to build this hotel. The price for 1 night sleeping here is from 500 till 50.000 dollar. So it’s also cool to make photo’s in front of it

Dubai Mall
and the Dubai aquarium is something you can visit for free. Dubai Mall is the biggest shopping centre in the world. With 1200 shops and a luxury style is it really impressive to walk here but you also have local shops and restaurants. In here you find the Dubai Aquarium, also the biggest one in the world. Even in the desserts they like snow. In another shopping Mall called Mall of the Emirates you have the biggest indoor Ski place of the world.  It’s 85 meter high and penguins are living here. I don’t like cold so we didn’t do these things but it’s nice to see it behind a glass.
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Burj Khalifa. You can visit this highest tower of the world. We’ve been to the 124th floor. This is 452 meter from the ground. From here you have a beautiful view on the city. Before I was very scared. It’s too big for your imagination. It’s unreal to go in a elevator which goes 42 km per hour. The ticket you order comes with a time when you need to be there. Next to that you have a safety check comparable with how it is on an airport. All this made me cry and I really didn’t want to do it. I was in panic and the big path to the elevator made it even more exciting and scary. But why going to Dubai without going up this tower? I never regret this experience and of course I was very proud.

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Dubai Fountain is an amazing show! I didn’t have expectations and I was really impressed. Later I read that it’s the biggest and most expensive show in the world. the height can reach 150 meter. The atmosphere is cosy and romantic, the water moves on different songs what makes it a complete unforgettable show.
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The Jumeirah Mosque is the only mosque which one you can visit if you are not Muslim. I never visited a mosque before in my life but it was a beautiful experience! It’s an amazing calm place. In the old part of the city you see a completely different world. For me it was a shocking contrast between the most rich place I ever seen next to such a poor place. But don’t forget to go there for wide your cultural view. Here exist also a lot of souks were you can buy traditional souvenirs. You can visit different souks with markets or goldsouks for one of the world’s cheapest gold.
Dessert. One day we arranged to go Dune bashing. We picked up in a SUV. I was a bit scared because I had no idea what was going to happen. They dropped the air out of the tires and we started racing in the dessert! If you like adventure and exciting then you can’t miss this! You can make it a full program with for example camel driving, which we did. Next to that you get belly dancers and a nice dinner!

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Friday, November 3, 2017

The Amazing Place Chosen By Cristiano Ronaldo

It is no secret that I am from Portugal, and I can't deny that the biggest ambassador at this moment of my country is no other than Cristiano Ronaldo. This fantastic soccer player has the possibility of choosing the most beautiful places in the world to live. So it is quite impressive that decided to have a vacations house in his own country. Born in the island of Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo heard of one of the most beautiful places on Earth, called Gerês. 

It is quite impressive how Gerês is still out of the eyes of the majority of tourists in Portugal. The name of Cristiano Ronaldo is indeed on the reasons Portugal is right now on the map of many travellers. Big cities like Lisbon, Porto and of course, the region of Algarve are already destinations that got a lot of attention for many reasons. I will come back to provide more information on them, but at this moment I want to plan as best as possible to describe them.

Cristiano Ronaldo built a luxurious mansion right next to "Barragem da Caniçada". This is a very isolated place with an easy access to the river. It is possible to be around his house, but the best view to choose is actually the opposite mountain of Rio Cávado. There is a small village named Pandoses and the there is savage tracks that you can do to enjoy nature. 

There are plenty of houses there with huge dimensions: Cristiano Ronaldo built the best for the comfort of his family. His room has 26 m2 and the closet 11 m2 with a private bathroom of 14.50 m2. Ok, it is not open for travellers, but it's nice to know out of curiosity. It is quite common to see his boat on the river, or the jet-skies. It is quite impressive how this says so much of the people living there. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest starts in the world, but he is able to find tranquility in the area. 

Silence is something you can find on the summer or winter evenings of the Gerês area. There is a lot to say, as this amazing nature place is well know by the hot water lakes in the middle of nowhere. My favourite is the sky in the evening. Because it is only small villages and lost houses, there is no light pollution. It is an amazing and magical place!

The National Park of Peneda do Gerês is a protected area in Portugal. In this vast mountain area of around 60 000 hectares, almost all of it forests, it is intended by the state to protect the soil, water, flora and fauna. This area is quite big and holds the provinces of Minho, Trás-os-Montes and Galiza (Spain). There are two big rivers. The one mentioned Rio Cávado and Rio Lima.

Visiting Gerês may not seem so easy, but you can easily take a train from Porto to Braga for around 5 euros. You can enjoy the city of Braga and stay there or decide to stay in Gerês. This area can be quite crowded in Summer or also in Winter. Still you can find houses that can hold 8-10 persons for around 100 euros a day. Gerês is big and you can decide how you want to explore it. If you are a big fan of nature, 8 days may not be enough to know the most important places. So, this is why I advise to rent a car in Braga or in Porto. This will allow you to get lost in this area and still having the opportunity of visiting Spain. Food is amazing in almost every restaurant in Gerês, but I will soon review one of the favourites of Cristiano Ronaldo... Mine also!

The landscapes are incredible. You will find all colours in rocks, in the trees, in the animals (crows, wolves, eagles...) and flowers! There are lots of lost roman roads that were connecting Braga to Astorga, known as Geira. There are two important spiritual catholic places, Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda and São Bento da Porta Aberta. They are very popular and attracts hundreds of people in local events in different seasons.

There is a lot to say about the amazing Gerês. There are hundred reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo choose this place to bring his family and I will come back with more details. For now, I really advise Gerês as a destination if you are going to Portugal, or landing in the North West of Spain.

Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Travel Alone

I love company! I like to share my experiences (and this is why I write on Dear Small World) and specially to enjoy a meal together with someone. But not all the time this is possible. We live in a busy world. We can maybe enjoy vacations around one month per year. A couple tries to manage their time together to go on vacations, but if when you are single the story is very different.

So how to travel alone? Can I answer it?

Of course I can! So many times in my life I was not able to control my vacations and it was really impossible to set some dates with my friends. I was working in a casino, with a very hard schedule and, because of the events, programming the days to travel was always a big mess in my head. I can't say I did not freak out. I was always used to travel with company, my friends, or my family or my girlfriend, but I did not want to be dependant on going somewhere just because I had no company.

I had to set my mind first. I had to realize what would be the best way to do it and what locations could I visit to feel myself more comfortable. Working and doing the same routine everyday was quite easy but stopping that would make me realize how lonely I was at the time. I had one relationship that ended and I was a little bit lost. So I knew I had several limitations to start with the planning. I was going to travel solo.

At this moment I will base my opinion on more practical methods. Maybe one day I will develop on how I prepare my mind into doing it.

Before You Travel Alone

1 - Control your budget!

Everything  moves around money. Well, not everything, but this is always your engine start and fuel to do your travelling. Researching your destination on the web, checking your flight, hotel and food costs, will give you a good idea on how much you will need. Saving money to travel is having an amazing reward for all you hard work.

2 - Choosing the destination

Your confidence on how far you can be away from home can dictate your destination. After that you can adjust it according to your budget. I always wanted to go to New York, but I decided not doing it alone. It was a bit too far on my mind, and I really never imagined going there alone. Of course I could do it, but it was not the right time for it. So I choose to decide on places I imagined I could control more. 

It is good to have a destination that allows you to wonder around and not considering so much travelling from there. This will save you money and will slow your mind. I believe that travelling alone demands attention for detail and embracing smaller things, rather than going on a bus or a train and all the time reading a book.

Do you want to move on a city, relax in the mountains or enjoying the sun? These are questions to ask yourself on what you enjoy to do alone. I am sure my girlfriend would choose to go on a city if she travels alone. This way she will not have a standing boyfriend every time she wants to buy clothes...

3 - Choose an hostel

I have travelled alone to cities where I had friends living there. At the time they were working intensively and I really did not want to spend most of the time waiting. I wanted to have action, meet new people and having a little bit of community feeling. So I have choose hostels when I want a more social travelling. I do not enjoy so much to share a room, but I did it many times and I (almost) never regret it. But there are also many hostels with double or single room. Then you have the common areas, like terraces, living rooms, kitchens... Read review on the hostels atmosphere and look for what you want. I have many amazing friendships around the world with people I knew while trying to open a bottle of wine. You can go out to a club, you can join a group to go to museums, you can do the free touring around cities... There are so many different personalities that you will make friends easy.

4 - Pack Less

Be free of your stuff. Why taking so much clothes to vacations when you want to spend less time as possible to go back to the hostel all the time to change clothes. You will be able to wash if you need some of your pieces and you will feel free. It is terrible to take so many valuable items and then your mind is more on "is someone going to steal this", than actually on having fun. I always take my camera and tablet, so that demands a bit of caution, but because it is so less, I can just put it on the lockers and go out with peace on my mind.

5 - Choose nice restaurants

I hate to eat alone. I really love to enjoy checking a menu with somebody else. But if at that moment I do not have that chance, I just enjoy anyway. Eating is one of the best things you can do while travelling alone. Sitting on a restaurant and enjoying a nice meal will make you feel like you are really enjoying what you should when travelling. Yeah, take some snacks so that you don't spend money all the time, but at least make one of your meals an important highlight of the day. You were saving money to travel, not just to pin another country on your map!

6 - Stay in touch, but not too much

Keep track of the places you visit, the restaurants you tried, the beach you have found on that bus going anywhere. At the end of the day just skype your family and your friend and talk about it. It is very nice to have some words with somebody we know and realize that the travelling is still an experience to share. Writing about it will make you smile in the future. You will miss those days. Even if it is not your favourite thing to do, travelling alone will make you grow and proud of yourself!

7 - Adapt to your new destination

Don't rush to the places you checked on the internet. Take your time to get to know your surroundings. Travelling is about checking small details. Everyone takes that picture of the Statue of Liberty, but maybe they miss the bird next to the hotdog man. Enjoy unique smaller things, look at your window and realize your neighbours. If you rush you may miss one "Hello".
One thing I did all the time was chatting with the hostel people. They know everything around and it's part of their job to welcome you and showing you what you can do. 

8 - Don't be the tourist

Keep safe and low profile. Don't go out with your big camera on the first day and walk with the map on your hand. I have been in many dangerous places and I was able to look like a local because I did not behave like I didn't know anything or where I was. If I had to look at the map, I would stop next to a shop and check it. 

9 - Take day tours

Well, don't be the tourist, but be a tourist! Maybe you have all the track you need to do, prepared on your phone, but maybe it is not a bad idea to take one tour, even if you have to pay a bit more. You can check for someone that can offer something unique and just invest on it. This will give you space to relax and to maybe getting to know someone next to you.

10 - Take a book everywhere

If everything goes well, you will be very tired. Enjoy a coffee, a local snack and just sit and have your book with you. I love to check people around and can be hours just looking at the movement of people, but sometimes we can just chill and read our book.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How to be a Local Tourist

Everything is about perspective. We may choose to be passive about the surroundings or we can choose to absorbe and understand all the details around. This is something that saved my life when I move to Groningen. When we think about travelling and going somewhere, we always have the feeling of a monstrous event that will hunt us every minute. What to do? Should I just get a nest and save the money?

As an outsider to Netherlands it was easy for me to find interesting things around. My girlfriend is Dutch but she is very active on Facebook or websites to try to find out what is happening. Reality is that not all the time something is happening and we have to make an effort. That's why we match so well.

When coming to the Netherlands it was all about the houses! I didn't care so much for most of the stores, as I could also find them in Portugal, so I have started to check architecture, people, habits.

1 - Get a camera!

I was all the time with the phone on my hand taking pictures of the houses and sharing it on Instagram was an eye opener for Dutch. My friends and colleagues started realizing how beautiful their houses are! Amazing doors, detailed windows and well presented garden. They were impressed and started doing the same. Taking pictures to something they were seeing everyday but not capturing them. A camera will give you more inspiration as you know that if you leave the house with it, you need to find something inspiring. Yes, quality of phones are amazing, but try zoom to check details. What a difference!

2 - Attend events!

I am still very surprised that I only live in The Netherlands for 1 year and I have already been in more Dutch places than most of my colleagues. There is a big focus on vacations and, of course, they all like to fly somewhere else. So they simply don't realize that inside there is big treasures to find. In Groningen many events are organized on weekends, but going to the market is one of my biggest interests. There are days when museums are free or with a low entrance fee, there is classic music on the street, there are races and even if you never thought about stopping to see people run, there is always something you can do in those days, like grabbing something special to eat. I realize now I don't mind seeing people running!

3 - Check stores!

This is full of Zaras, H&Ms, Berskas and so on and so on. But in the middle of all this franchise noise there are special shops that locals fight to have them open. And it is so amazing to find something special. Here in Holland, cheese shops are beautiful, but I can never stop entering vintage shops where I can see second hand items. It is like going in the museum. My girlfriend she is not so fond of it, but I love it because I really see things that are unique. She has the same feeling when in Portugal. Now she goes in with me and she realizes that are things worth of being in museums.

4 - Have a drink!

Do you ever stop to check your street? Do you wonder what people are doing or talking about? Well, I'm latin so it's in my blood, but this is really something I love to do. Terraces are the place to be. You can have your dose of oxygen and just enjoy a drink. In Portugal you would have 5 beers! Here in the Netherlands either you are rich or you can't just do it. So, I prefer to spend a bit more and order that special beer I never heard about. And it tastes good or bad, but one thing I promise. I don't forget that moment. I started doing terraces as soon as I arrive and this was my way of realizing people's habits.

5 - Take your bike!

Well... Easy to say when you are in a country where mountains are rare! I am very lucky that I can just decide to go somewhere and my bike can take me there, not spending money at all. I usually go to Google Maps and check what is around, lakes, small villages, and take my camera with me. I can bike for 2 or 3 hours, just calm and enjoy all the roads that take me there. Is is impossible to do it in a different country? No! In Porto, Portugal, roads are not plain at all, streets are busy, but still, with my Dutch friend, I decided to take him on a bike ride. He loved it! We were able to see so much and at the end of the day it was really nice to have to carry it on the side because people were walking everywhere!

6 - Check restaurants close to you!

Do you realize you are the one responsible for the ratings on Tripadvisor? Just go out and decide something different. Try restaurants and don't be afraid to repeat the experiences. If you really enjoy it, try to check what is special about it and write! Share your experiences with your friends. I love when my girlfriend goes out with her friends and tells me to try something out. She also loved that I wanted to try something specific and almost "force" her to experience something she never thought of. The best restaurants in Porto are far from the first rated ones. And this is because they are too small, out of touristic areas and the attention is just no there. Let's fight for it! We are the locals. We should be official reviewers!

7 - Read about history!

I am usually very lazy and the documented history of places I visit, I explore it only after being there. Is this good or bad? I am really not sure. Here in the Netherlands, many places are rich in history because of being so close to the II World War. For me it is impressive how much a place can be a picture of its history. Checking the pictures before and after can give us so much information on how the cities are growing and evolving. Take a historic route or read after being there. I am sure you will come back to the same place with a different perspective.

8 - Act like a tourist

Take pictures to the shops, to the people preparing your favourite snack, to the rooftops, gardens. It is free publicity and maybe someone will thank you. Every time I go to a different place in the Netherlands, close to where I live or a bit hard, I have a bunch of curious people who ask me where I have been, how was it, what can they do there, was it expensive. They know I am still the "tourist" here. And I promise you that next time, you are maybe part of a bigger group!

local | travel | budget | museums | friends | tourist | museums | save money | bike | restaurants | store | camera