FIVE LIFE LESSONS FROM MY TIME IN SAO PAULO // SAO PAULO , BRAZIL

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What an experience ? I still pinch myself when I remember my time in Sao Paulo. The opportunity to visit Brazil and spend time in this city has been one of the most significant life experiences of my thirties. Unfortunately, I don’t have a guide for you because I spent most of my time in the city working or commuting to and from work and/or nourishments. However, through interactions in those settings, I discovered away of being and life in Sao Paulo that I think I (we) could all do more with in our day to day.

KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. I cannot even tell you how many times strangers stopped to help me without prompting or asking. They saw the perplexed look on my face and always stopped to help. There were at least two occasions where I handed my phone to strangers to give the Uber driver directions on how to find me. The Sunday afternoon I arrived, I decided to make the most of the free afternoon to explore the city. I ended up at a cafe trying to figure out the paper map because my phone was acting up. A lady at the restaurant spent ten minutes helping me sort out how to get where I wanted to go. That willingness to lend a hand was really touching and made me love the people more. How could I forget mentioning after a meeting how several friends in the states had asked me to bring back Brazilian coffee but we were working too late for me to get to the supermarket before they closed. A member of the team made plans for someone to pick up coffee packs for me and my colleagues delivered to the office. If we all made a daily effort to give/show kindness - imagine how much better our communities will be.

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LEARNING TO SLOW DOWN THE PACE OF LIFE. The pace of life in Brazil is slower than the western world and initially I found that irritating because I have spent all of my adult life living and working in the United States and United Kingdom which is crazily fast paced but is that really the only way ? Most of my days are spent glued to my Computer and phone and since moving to the UK, I feel the work never stops - those hand held things that keep us connected have also become the source of more stress than I am willing to get into in this post. It took me almost a year of working in the UK to stop having panic attack of thinking I needed to be available 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, they work really hard in Brazil, there were days when we worked several hours past closing time; but It is not handled as THE most important thing and it as do or die as (I think) we approach it in the West. There is not a mad sense of urgency and they don’t let work consume them. They genuinely seem less stressed and happier than we are in the West so maybe there is something to this approach. I wonder how much more normalized my blood pressure will be if I put work in its place - meaning work hard; but also step away from it and experience life.

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IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY. They seem very community orientation (at least with those I interacted with); everyone looked out for each other. I am sure there is a Brazilian version of Corporate competition; but there was a sense of people and relationship first and everyone seemed supportive of each other. I observed this in the work setting; dining out and in the hotel we stayed in during our visit. There is something about that sort of connection that I think is a great value add for my life here and for all of our groups and communities.

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VALUE OF CULTURE. Brazilians truly love their culture and they are happy to share it with others and help you experience it. They are patience to share their traditions and discuss why it is important; they take time at lunch/dinner to explain the cuisine and the ingredients. They remind me of my people (Nigerians) that way. Even more important than loving and sharing that culture is the willingness to embrace and inquire about others and strive to get to know about others. There are times when people ask a question about where I am from and as soon as the words leave their lips, they are tune off. That was not the case in Sao Paulo. They are happy to share about their traditions and willing to listen and learn about mine as well. We could all do better listening (truly listen).

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WILLINGNESS TO REACH ACROSS. This goes hand in hand with my last point; their willingness to reach across and make other comfortable. I was the one visiting their Country and the only Portuguese words in my vocabulary were “Olá” ; “Obrigado” and “Por favor”. Everyone I interacted with made a great effort to communicate with me in English; even when they only knew a few english words; they strung those together to make me feel comfortable and welcome. I felt very ashamed - given I was the one visiting their Country; I should have been the one going above and beyond to communicate with them and not the other way around.

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My interactions with locals left a positive impact that makes me want to return to Brazil in future. I hope to properly explore Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. I want to visit the Christ the redeemer statue; get to beautiful beaches (maybe ring in the new year on Copa Cabaña) and spend time interacting with locals.


THE BASEL CITY GUIDE - HOW TO SPEND A WEEKEND IN BASEL , SWITZERLAND

Oh Basel

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I am typing this on my flight from Basel to London and let me confess - I am already having withdrawal symptoms. I loved Basel. For years Switzerland has been on the bucket list and I finally got a chance to tick it off the list. Before we get into the fun bits, lets clear the air. Yes! everything you have heard about Switzerland being expensive is true but don’t let that discourage you; with a little bit of planning ahead, you can visit Basel / Switzerland without breaking the bank. Before you board your flight, keep in mind that Switzerland does not use the Euro; they use the Swiss Franc which is about a one to one with the British pound.

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Getting there. British Airways offers direct flights from London Heathrow to Basel daily. Flight is under two hours so why not. When you arrive, make sure to take the exit for Switzerland and not the one to Germany or France. Look for Bus 50 outside the arrival gate; that bus will take you to Basel SBB (the main train station) and from here you can hop the tram or bus to the city or take a train to other parts of Europe or Switzerland.

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Where to stay in Basel, Switzerland. I recommend staying at a hotel - any safe neighborhood that works with your budget is fine because hotels provide a free travel card for the duration of your stay. With the travel card, you can get on the bus, tram and other transportation modes within Basel for free. The card also offers a free two-hour bus tour; discounts for tours and museums. I found a great deal on Expedia for Hotel Wettstein. I loved staying here; it was not quite the city center, but with the free transport I could get most places in under twenty minutes. The hotel is less than a five-minute walk to the tram station; great restaurants within walking distance and the service was incredible. Also, the mini bar is free. You read that correctly - FREE. The only downside, my room did not have air conditioning but I had a standing fan which worked great. I also had a room not facing the street so I could leave my window open. All in all, I did not find the lack of air conditioning to be a burden.

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What to do in Basel, Switzerland. Basel has got something for everyone - architecture; art; culture; food; entertainment. Everything! The things I will recommend for your itinerary. Take a tour of the old town, the tickets cost 10 CF and it was very informative. You can get tickets from the tourism office or online. The meetup spot is by the fountains at Theaterplatz. The Tinguely (Fasnacht) fountain in Theaterplatz is a must see. Trust me, this is not like any fountain you have seen. If you explore the old town on your own, don’t miss the Basler Munster (cathedral); the Rathhus (Town Hall) with its impressive facade cannot be missed - make sure to go inside - it is beautiful. Take a walk along St. Alban riverbank which offers great views of the old city walls and one of the three historic gates to the city and Rheinsprung street. There is also a free street with both high end and high street shopping.

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Cross the river Rhine by taking a walk on Mottler Brucke - an impressive bridge with great views of the city. You can also cross the Rhine on the Basel ferries which are only powered by the flow of the river. Away from old town, visit two of Basel’s old city gates - Spalentor and St. Alban-Tor. My favorite part of Basel is the fact that you can be in three countries at the same time - do not miss the Tri-border point - this is where France, Germany, and Switzerland converge. Even more impressive you can take a stroll across the Weil am Rhein bridge from Basel (Switzerland) and be in Germany / France in under ten minutes.

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Basel is the perfect hub because of its proximity to other parts of Europe and Switzerland. The Alsace region of France - Colmar is under an hour by train from Basel SBB; You are also under two hours from other Swiss cities - Lucerne; Zurich and Bern. The black forest in Germany is also less than two hours from Basel (are your bags packed, yet).

Basel is known for a lot of things including - Basel carnival and Art Basel. It is estimated that Basel has about one museum per kilometer and a half - everything from the paper mill museum to Foundation Beyeler (the most visited museum in Basel). On to another art form - architecture - Basel has some stunning architecture - some of my favorites were the stairs at the former Warteck brewery; Messe Basel (aka window to heaven) and Bis by Mario Botta.

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Where / What to eat in Basel, Switzerland. Because Switzerland is quite expensive in comparison to London and other European cities, I did not eat out as much as I usually do. I did manage one meal out daily and quite enjoyed everywhere I ate. Possibly the best Pasta I ever ate was at Hotel Restaurant Resslirytti right next door to the hotel I was staying in - Hotel Wettstein. Brunch at Les garecons Basel was incredible - if you like the Mediterranean - I recommend the Mediterranean breakfast - delicious. Save some of your money for Schiesser tea room across from Rathus. This tea room has been around since 1870 churning our incredible dessert. For about 12 Swiss francs per person, you can get a great dessert and tea or coffee. You are in Switzerland so you have got to try Swiss chocolate and there are a lot of shops around the old town to buy from or even the supermarkets. There is also the Basel gingerbread delicacy of Läckerli  - I really enjoyed the ones from Schiesser tea room.

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HOW TO PREPARE FOR A MOVE ABROAD - 17 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE YOUR MOVE

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It has been about fourteen months now since I packed up a decade of doing life in Dallas to move to London. It has been a roller coaster of a move and while I have settled in a lot of areas; there are still days I feel completely out of my depth. One thing that has kept me moving forward has been this space and I am hoping this year; in addition to the travel guides; I can also share the practical ways to travel more and fit that around your work life. Now on to the point of this post, I did not realize how much was entailed in moving countries and there I a few things I wished some one told me before I started the process and ultimately made the plunge. I am not saying it will have impacted the decision to move, but I will have planned better and sooner. If you are thinking of moving abroad for whatever reason, here are twenty things to keep in mind as you prepare. Some will be no brainers and other mights surprise you like it did me.

1. Cancel your services. Make a list of your monthly bills; if you tend to have direct debit set up for your bills; it helps to print out a copy of your bank statement to help you make a list of all of the services I needed to cancel/defer. Some of the more common ones are car insurance; rental insurance; Appliance rentals; toll tags; utility service; cell phone; internet service needs to be suspended or canceled; streaming service that will not work in new home country. Because I travel back to the states a few times, I chose to downgrade my cell phone service to the cheapest option available.

2. Submit your move out notice if renting or Put property up for rental. Most apartments will charge an additional fee if you give less than 60 days move out notice; so as soon as you know you are moving, submit that notice immediately. If you are moving before your lease is up; you may incur cancellation fees. In my case it was one month rent (and my contract did not reimburse me for that). If you own your place, make plans to put it up for rent or sale.

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3. Cancellation fees. The sooner you start prepping for your move the better. Don't forget to factor in cancellation fees for apartment lease; cell phone; utilities etc in your move budget. Those add up to a lot of money.

4. Credit Cards - I recommend keeping at least one credit card open even if you are making a permanent move; it always helps to have that financial connections if you decide to return. One of my colleagues move back to the UK after almost two decades of living state side and it was very useful to have maintained their banking here while they were away; they avoided the hassle that is the process of setting up a bank account/line of credit in the UK. My credit facility in the UK does not offer similar perks as the one in the US i.e. airline/hotel points ; cash back; no foreign fees so I often use my US credit card when traveling. Just make sure to update your travel alerts appropriately.

5. Make a declutter schedule. Start by getting rid of any items you would (should) have gotten rid of move or not. . Hopefully, you have ample notice before you have to move. When you think a move is probable, start decluttering. Don't underestimate what you have accumulated over the years. Be brutal with the process. This process will help streamline the items to ship; store or donate. This is one I wish I did; I crammed everything into the last month of my move and barely slept the entire month.

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6. Schedule Donation Pickup. In line with point 4, figure out what items you are packing and what you are donating early and schedule pickup. Organizations like Salvation army will come pick up donations but require time. I scheduled mine three weeks ahead of schedule and I barely got a date that will not conflict with my actual move date. You also want to do this early one so you have time to clean the property especially if you are renting.

7. Excess luggage vs. shipping. If you will staying in temporary housing while you settle into your new home country. Consider shipping some of your possessions instead of having to log it from airport to temp accommodation and then to the my new home. You can request the shippers deliver it to your new home once you have permanent accommodation sorted. This is another reason to start preparing early, various countries have different requirements for shipping items in and these may be burdensome process. A week before my move, I decided to pay for excess luggage to move my possession because the paperwork involved with shipping was time consuming and tedious. Shipping would have been cheaper.

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8. Store ; Ship or Sell. If you are temporarily moving you might consider storing some your items that you won’t be need i.e. furniture or car. I chose to sell my car and furniture. I donated all of my kitchen appliances and moved personal items only. I have 8 bags; a carry on and a backpack (don’t judge, I had a lot of shoes).

9. Make plans for your mail. Switch as much as you can to electronic mailing only and for everything else, find a mail service that can sort and forward your mail to you. I could not find one in the time I had to move; thankfully family and friends have been kind to store my mail in my absence. If you use a mailing service, don't forget to get a notarized form 1583 for your mail forwarding service - most mail forwarding companies will require this of you.

10. Schedule appointment with Healthcare providers. Get your annual physical done; visit your dentist and ophthalmologist before you leave and while you have health insurance. It might take weeks or months to find a healthcare provider in your new home. I fell ill within a few months of moving here and have had to pay out of pocket for all my doctor visits. While you are at, make sure to get prescriptions filled for you needed medications.

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11. Make a to-do list for your new home. if you are going short-term - have a to-do list of all the non-work stuff you want to experience and do. Let's face it - work experience was only 50% of why you chose the expat life. If it is a permanent move, then maybe you need not worry and focus on settling into your new home.

12. Make a shopping list. This should be of items you make not be able to purchase in your new home country. I absolutely love the first aid beauty red clay skin care line. The brand is not available in the UK or Europe and I will need to pay to have it shipped to me. Thankfully, I was aware of this early one and order a few back-ups to bring with me.

13. Professional licenses and Continuing education. Look into whether you can defer compliance while abroad or if CPEs taken abroad will be considered towards your CPE requirements. If not (and you want to keep current on your license) then you have to make sure to schedule time while abroad to keep up with your CPEs.

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14. Update your calendar for birthdays; anniversaries; profession certification renewal and any important dates of your nearest and dearest.

15. Make one last visit to your favorite places. My friend "S" gave me this advice and I cannot stress how important this was to me to have one final drink at my favorite wine bar; mani/pedi at my favorite spa.

16. Inform people. Believe it or not, this is one that actually gets lost the process and you don't want people sending a search party for you.

17. Schedule a going away party. You want to spend some time with your favorite people before moving on to new adventures and you can one final goodbye and not fifty mini good byes. Time is of the essence that last month before your move.

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THE ULTIMATE NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE : 35 OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO EAT IN NYC

This year marks year seven years of spending time in New York in the summer. I have spent as little as three days and as long as two weeks exploring and eating my way through the city. I have dined at a lot of restaurants - some really good ones and others not so much. With all that food knowledge, now seemed the perfect time to share my guide to eating in the city. This list has been curated based on years of research and if it made the list then you can trust it is a good one. These are from the city and surroundings - Brooklyn and Williamsburg. If you are in need of more NYC food recommendations or food recommendations in general - I share food recommendations from my travel around the world - here

COOKSHOP

Let’s start with the markets. If you are traveling with a large group with different tastes, a market is a great place to head for nourishment because you can satisfy everyone’s culinary tastes with one stop.

THE MARKETS

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  1. Chelsea Market. Located close to the highline; this could your reward for walking the highline. This indoor market has got cafes; florists; artisans. There are several food options from seafood to burgers; noddles and pizza. There are also a few dessert spot here. The market gets crowded so keep that in mind.

  2. Eataly. The Italian grocery store located by the flatiron is one of my favorite food destinations in the city. Their food court has a variety of food options. Some quick and others are more traditional. My favorite spot is the nutella bar. The waffle with a scoop of ice cream drizzled with nutella is delicious.

  3. Smorgasburg. This is a weekend food market that runs seasonally. There is also an indoor food market; there are over 75 vendors serving a variety of cusines. I love walking around a trying a little bit of everything. Make sure to have cash on hand; some vendors only take cash.

EATALY
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BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

  1. Jack's Wife Freda. This is one of my favorite brunch destinations in the city. I am never disappointed. The madame Freda is a favorite and if cantaloupe juice is on the menu - get it !

  2. Sara Beth. There are multiple locations including one close to Time Square serving American style brunch. Order the french toast and let your life be forever changed. The cookies are also very highly recommended.

  3. Bubby's. Multiple locations. Love the one in Chelsea. You can walk off all the delicious food by strolling the Highline after brunch. I recommend pancakes and apple pie.

  4. Sylvia. This spot is known for both its history and the food and has hosted some greats including former presidents. The brunch lines on weekends requires resilience, but if you can brave it, you will be rewarded with amazing soul food. I recommend the chicken and waffles and the cornbread.

  5. Two Hands. This Australian brunch location with multiple locations, including one in Soho has been a favorite brunch destination for years. The menu is not complicated but the dishes are seriously delish. I always recommend the acai bowl but the avocado toast has triggered a lot of food envy on my part.

  6. Bluestone Cafe. Another Australian import with several locations around the city. I love the vibe of the collective cafe in Greenwich. There is a lot of talk about the avocado smash but I go back often for the green baked eggs. They also make an excellent cold brew.

  7. Cookshop. This is a new favorite discovered on my last trip and I can’t believe I have just discovered it. Located by the higline and serving really good food. The biscuits are amazing.

  8. Pie n’ Thighs. I discovered this Brooklyn brunch destination a few years ago; but did not get a chance to dine here until my last trip to the city. They serve brunch all day - always the chicken and waffles; their doughnuts are excellent.

Bubby's.
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SWEETS AND COFFEE

Some of my favorite brunch spots also serve excellent coffee including two Aussie imports that have staked a legitimate claim on the NY coffee scene. Two hands and Blue stone cafe. Did I mention the cold brew from Blue stone already ?

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Sweet moments cafe
  1. Toby's Estate: There are multiple locations around the city serving great Coffee. If coffee is not your thing, the Chai tea latte is excellent.

  2. Devocion: If you are in Williamsburg then you should stop by; it checks all the right boxes - coffee and ambiance. This is a great spot to get coffee and also get work done.

  3. Maman Coffee: I went for the ambiance and stayed for the coffee and the adorable floral coffee cups. Don't be distracted by the instagrammable exterior, they know how to make a great cup of coffee

  4. Birch Coffee: Multiple locations | The very best chai tea latte. The rest of the menu is excellent.

  5. Sweet Moment: The coffee shop is known for their cold brew with incredible latte art. If you are looking for perfection in a cup then you should give a cup of their cold brew a try.

  6. Bibble and Sip. The mid-town location is always packed for good reason. The matcha lavender latte is one of the best things I have ever tasted.

  7. Dough : Multiple locations | Donuts the size of your face. I recommend the Tres des leche and the regular sugar donut.

  8. Four and Twenty Blackbird: Worth a trip to Brooklyn and they know a lot about how to make an incredible pie. The menu changes daily. Get the black bottom oat if it's on the menu.

  9. Doughnut Plant : Multiple locations | Order a carrot cake donut; then send me a thank you note (donut attached, of course !).

  10. Levains : Delicious cookies the size of your face. Ok, maybe not the size of your face, but quite large portions. Locations in Harlem and on 72nd street. Expect long lines especially at the 72nd street location but the chocolate, chocolate chip cookie is worth the wait and/or trip to Harlem.

  11. Egg Loo: China town has one of the best-kept secrets for sweets. The hong kong style waffles with mounds of ice cream and toppings is a must have a treat.

  12. Dylan's Candy Store: Midtown location has a sit-down area on the second floor. Order yourself a sundae. Make sure you have a friend with you to share and prepare for a sugar high.

  13. Momofuku milk bar : Multiple locations serving cereal milk soft serve every time. It tastes like the milk at the bottom of cornflakes.

  14. Magnolia Bakery : Fans of Sex in the City will be familiar with this one. The cupcakes are awesome. The red velvet cheesecake checks all the right boxes. Light and fluffy.

  15. Taiyaki: The Japanese phenomena that ruined me for good. Fish shaped waffled stuffed with airy light Japanese ice-cream drizzled with topping of your choice. Give me a moment while I find my happy place

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LUNCH AND DINNER

  1. Marta. I have been dining at Marta for as long as I have been visiting NYC. It is a very popular destination for lunch meetings so you may have to wait for a table if you don’t want to sit at the bar. (Located in Midtown East).

  2. Blue Ribbon Sushi. If you are lucky and they feature the soba noodle ball with duck meatballs on the menu. Order it immediately. You are welcome.

  3. Shake Shack. While Shake Shack is expanding across America; I still love stopping by the one by the flat iron building to order a chicken burger and a milk shake.

  4. Totto Ramen. This was one of my first food destinations in New York. I stumbled on it on a cold / rainy day in 2014 and I have been returning for their ramen offerings since then. You may have to wait to get in but there are three locations to choose from Midtown West ; Midtown East and Hell’s kitchen.

  5. Grimaldi's. This cash only Pizza spot in Brooklyn is a favorite of mine. I have read mixed review but I quite enjoy their Pizza offering. The queue to get in can be ridiculous at time so keep that in mind.

  6. The Butcher's daughter. This plant based restaurant is the only spot I will visit when I am craving delicious and healthy. I have often said if other restaurants did healthy like TBD; I will never have a problem eating healthy. They serve a variety of vegan; vegetarian and gluten free options.

  7. Ippudo. This is another favorite go to Ramen spot. Their specialty is tonkotsu ramen, and that is what I always get because it is amazing. There are a few locations around the city.

  8. Baek Jeong NYC. I am a lover of Korean food and any time I have a craving for Korean food in NYC; this is where I go to satisfy that craving.

  9. Fred’s at Barney’s. For a real treat yo self experience; it is always Fred’s. The Nicoise salad is a personal favorite but the menu if packed with a variety of delicious offerings

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WHAT TO DO WITH 24 HOURS IN VERONA, ITALY

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Verona, Italy

We were in Milan for a few days and had planned to spend a day in  Lake Como and Bellagio. It had always been on the bucket list and this trip to Italy was going to be the one we got to tick this off the bucket list. Mother nature had other ideas though - we woke up to rain and thunderstorms in Milan and surrounding areas and Lake Como was a no-go. We explored multiple options including Bergamo; Venice; and Verona. Venice was at the top of the list but I had been there the weekend before and other members of my party were saving Venice. Our hotel concierge recommended Verona over Bergamo so after a lazy morning we set out for Verona via train from Milano Centrale.  The train ride took about an hour and a half plus a twenty minutes bus ride to the city and we were ready to start off our day in Verona. If you can, I think the city deserves a weekend to fully enjoy it, but if like us, you don't have the luxury of a weekend, I think a day gives you a glimpse to the heart of this artist hub also known as the city of love. Here is what we got up.

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Verona, Italy
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Arena de verona. The arena is right in the heart if the city in Piazza Bra.  In the summer months, you can catch a show here and when our hosts in Milan heard we were heading to Verona. He could not stop gushing about the shows hosted at the arena (which looks something like the Roman coliseum. The elaborate set design available for public viewing in the piazza held promise of soemthing spectacular behind the arena walls. Unfortunately we were out of luck getting tickets.

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Verona, Italy

Via Mazzini. If you looking to do some shopping, then Via Mazzini is where you want to spend your time. It is very busy street  lined with both high street brands and big designer shops. If you have more than twenty four hours in the city then you have head to the designed outlets in Lake Garda. It was highly recommened and may just be a reason to plan a return trip to Verona. Don't limit yourself to the main avenue, take a detour to side streets for hidden archictecture gems.

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Piazza delle Erbe. At the end of Via Mazzini to the left, we stumbled on Piazza delle Erbe. The Piazza seemed to be heart of the city housing both history and present. The square is lined with quaint architecture; restaurants; cafes and bars with a day market operating in the center of the square. The square is also home to Torre del Gardello and Fontana del Madonna.

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Palazzo Maffei. Located in Piazza della Erbe. The baroque facade of the Palace cannot be missed. The top of the facade facing the Piazza has six statues of greek divinities - Hercules ; Jupiter; Venus; Mercury; Appollo and Minerva. If you have time to explore the interipr. It is home to a helicodia stone staircase that makes for spectacular photographs.

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Verona, Italy

Piazza dei Signori. From Piazza Delle Erbe, walk through the Costa Arch to arrive in Piazza del Signori. The square is less busy than Piazza delle Erbe but dont let that put you off. The Piazza is the perfect place to view the facade of the domus nova; renaissance loggia del consiglio and the monument of Dante. Just off the Piazza is small arch leading to Mercato Veccho (Old Market) with the Scala della Ragione (Stairs of Reason); home to the Modern art gallery of Verona and Torre dei Lamberti (aka tower of love) which offers incredible views of the city from the bell tower. 

Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy

Scaliger Tombs. Because Verona was a sponteneous trip, I did not have the luxury of planning. I left the rest of my party at Via Mazzini to wander off  on my own. I stumbled on Scaliger tombs in the process. The tombs is located outside church of Santa Maria Antica. It is a gothic style monument to celebrate the Scaliger family who ruled Verona in the 14th century. As an architecture fan, I can tell you I have never seen anything quite like it and it ranks high up there in my book. Also, pictures don't do it justice.

Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy
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Casa de Romeo. Just down the road from the tombs, I stumbled on Casa de Romeo. Yep ! that Romeo - the one from Romeo and Juliet. I heard some tour guide say they are no 100% sure it is his house but given the information available - it is most likely than not it is his house. Take that as you will. 

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Casa de Guillitte. Not too far from Casa de Romeo was Juliet's house. Compared to Casa de Romeo, there is no doubt this place was "Juliet's home". There is a museum in her honor and you can go up to the balcony for a photo op and re-live moment from the fmaous Shakespeare tragedy. In the courtyard, there is a statue of her which you can touch in hopes of finding love in your life.

Verona, Italy
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Ponte Pietra. Wandering through narrow roads, I found myself at Ponte Pietra which is the oldest bridge in Verona and offers an incredible view of Castel San Pietro and a panaromic view of the city. I am told the bridge has a history like the city and if you are a fan of architecture, the history is one to look up. If you are not, it is still a great spot to visit in Verona. 

Verona, Italy

Castel San Pietro. Before planning out sponteneous trip to Verona, I knew exactly two things baout the city Castel San Pietro and Lake Gardi. Unfortunately, I could not see the latter due to the short visit and the rain which eventually caught up with us in Verona. The rain also ruined plans to hike up to Castel San Pietro, instead, I admired it from the banks of Ponte Pietra. It is quite impressive.

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I think we could have done and seen a lot more than we did but we spent about two hours of our time there in Zara hiding from the rain. I found my new favorite summer shoe in the process so I am not complaining. Don't leave Verona without having a meal. One of the best meals I have had in Italy was in Verona at a spot called Ristorante Greppia - the Caprese salad was divine.

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Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy
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Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy