I heart NYC

Just got back from NYC and it was great! Having said that, I hope my NY friends will forgive me but I have to say the city didn’t wow me as much as Chicago did. Perhaps I expected less from Chicago…

What exceeded my expectations: the food and the people

What failed to live up to expectations: the Rockefeller Center, particular the Christmas tree, which I had always wanted to see

I’ll write more about the trip later but for now I’ll leave you with a few pictures. I’ll add some caption to the pictures later… Click on the picture to view the slideshow. Déa e Ana: podem baixar as nossas fotos do flickr

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New York, New York

i_heart_nyWe just got back from Montreal on Sunday and I leave on Thursday for New York City. I have a conference to attend from Jan 2-5 but there will be plenty of time to wander around the city. The only time I’ve ever been to NYC was for a very quick visit – I got a research scholarship when I was an undergrad and went to the library at Columbia University to look at a microfilm. I stayed with a friend in New Jersey and was only in town for one day and since there was a big snow storm that day, I didn’t really get to walk around or visit anything. The little bit that I saw made me want to go back so I’m pretty excited about this trip. I bought the Moleskine City Notebook and I’m busy filling it with tips for restaurant and cafes. Any suggestions? I’ll also be meeting a few friends from the blogosphere, which is quite exciting.

Food

Traveling, for me, means trying different foods. Most of my research and preparation before a trip is focused on learning about local foods, restaurants, markets and my main memory about a place is always related to its food. The same applies to my childhood memories. If you are like me, you’ll enjoy Time’s photographic series on what the world eats. It’s pretty cool.

My favourite foods/cuisines are always changing but during this past summer I was into an Italian/Mediterranean kick eating lots of tomatoes, basil and bocconcini. That was mostly because of the availability of amazing produce and a couple of inspiring meals at a Sicilian friend’s place near Barcelona last June. Last winter I was into thai and Indian food – lots of freshly made curries of all kinds. I’ll probably continue that trend once the weather cools down.

What about you? What kinds of food are you into at the moment?

Busy day in Madrid

After four weeks in Spain, we began our journey home early wednesday morning (June 18th) when we left the house at 7 AM to catch the 8:30 AVE to Madrid. The plan was to stay overnight in Madrid and catch the new Air Canada flight to Toronto. Although we don’t know Madrid very well – the weather prevented us from really enjoying the place last time we were there – we had quite the day meeting friends.
We arrived at 11:15 in Madrid and after checking in at our hotel, we went off exploring. The weather was much nicer than in our previous visit (a sunny 20 C) and we wandered the narrow streets of the Huertas (aka Barrio de las Letras) and the Plaza Mayor. For lunch, we took advantage of the tradition in this part of Spain of the tapeo – which basically consists of ordering a drink to get a free tapa at local bars and cervecerias. Luckily, in Madrid one can get a free tapa by ordering a very small glass of beer (a caña), smaller than a half pint. Here are some random pictures of our wanderings:

Click here for slideshow

After a short nap, we went off to Atocha station to meet a friend from the blogosphere – Erin, the wandering woman. I was so happy to be able to meet her in Spain, a place we both like so much. Erin is a true free spirit and it was so easy to wile away the afternoon in a shady spot of Plaza Santa Ana, hearing about her exciting plans for the future and her experiences on the camino de Santiago.

After accompanying Erin back to the train station, we visited the memorial for the victims of the 2004 Madrid bombings. Hundreds died when bombs were simultaneously detonated in commuter trains arriving at Atocha station and last year a memorial was inaugurated to remember the victims. It is quite a moving site. You can see a picture of it in the slideshow above.

After resting a bit at the hotel, we met Mireia, a friend from Barcelona who is in Madrid on business, her colleague Lydia, and Yaniré, a Chilean we met in Barcelona who has since moved to Madrid after marrying her long-time madrileño boyfriend. It was great seeing Yaniré again after over a year. We had tapas and beer at a local bar until past 1 AM and it was a great end to our month in Spain. We have no idea when we will be back since I have decided not to make any travel plans until I’m finished my dissertation. But I’m finally mentally ready to get it over with so hopefully I can finish within the next 12 months.

Tossa-Lloret

We had quite the eventful weekend. We gad been invited to a party on Saturday evening at Lloret de Mar, a town about one hour north of Barcelona, at the Costa Brava. While I was checking out the schedule for the bus to Lloret, I realized that 20 mins after Lloret was the town of Tossa de Mar, a place I had heard much about and which I had always wanted to visit. So I convinced Alan that we should leave Barcelona early in the morning, visit Tossa and then go back to Lloret to meet our friends later. He promptly agreed and you can read the rest of the story on his blog.

Tossa