How To: Be a Tourist In Europe

So you’ve decided you are going to travel to Europe this summer. Congrats! Maybe you’re not the 1%, but you’re at least part of the wealthiest 5% of Americans. You deserve to celebrate that. Here’s how. First, fly to one of Europe’s capital cities. It doesn’t really matter which one, everything in Europe is just old churches anyway.…

First Pizza Delivery

Ordering takeout or delivery has never been a habit in my house. If we’re feeling uninspired or lazy in the face of cooking dinner, we’ll have a sit-down meal at a restaurant. Usually we’re driven by a change in cuisine; we frequently go out for Japanese or Thai, sometimes Indian, and occasionally Lebanese, Greek, or Italian. Pizza is usually reserved…

The U.S. Doesn’t Have These

What does Europe have that the United States doesn’t? Bidets, Magnum ice cream bars, and towns like Óbidos, Portugal. I’m not sure whether there’s less tourism to the U.S. or whether it’s just different tourism. Our big cities are much more spread out, plus our shorter history yields fewer noteworthy sites for tourists to visit. In Europe, small towns thrive…

Fado in Coimbra

A definite must-do for visitors to the university town of Coimbra, Portugal is see a fado show. Fado is a traditional genre of music similar to opera. The Coimbra style of fado is performed by men who are current or former students of the university, while the Lisbon style is most often performed by women. …

I Am A Tourist

Tourist. Usually the word comes from our mouths in a nasty tone, more spat than spoken. We look down on the people who aren’t assimilated into our own cultures, who represent elsewheres instead of heres. Yet being a tourist isn’t a bad thing. It means you are willing to admit your lack of knowledge about…

Convent of Christ

Tomar, Portugal We left Évora (which, by the way, is lovely) and drove north about 2 1/2 hours to Tomar for a day trip to see the Convent of Christ. The monastery was built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar. Its enticing architecture is, like many sites in Portugal, a combination of styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Roman,…

Rebirth

On November 1, 1755, an enormous earthquake hit Lisbon. Thousands of people had left their homes for church early in the morning to light candles in honor of All Saints’ Day. As buildings shook and crashed to the ground, they erupted in flames, and the people of Lisbon ran down to the large open plaza near…