2017 is off to a frosty start, which means it’s time for me to return to blogging after a long, well-needed break. With my novel manuscript in the revisions stage, I have some more time on my hands, and I’m looking forward to turning some attention back to La Viajera. This week’s photo comes from my favourite city in the world, dear old Amsterdam. While the Netherlands hasn’t seen much snow this year, the air has a bite to it, and I have to remember not to leave the house without at least one pair of warm gloves for the long cycles across town.
There’s something strange about packing for home the way you would pack for a holiday, choosing what to bring and what to leave behind. That’s what I’m doing right now as I prepare to return to Canada. I’ll arrive exactly a year after I left. 365 days of traveling, living, and working abroad.
This time, I’m returning home with the dawning awareness that I’m not nearly the person I was when I left. As always, the places we go, the people we meet, and the experiences we have change us, and this year, these changes have ingrained themselves more deeply than before.
I’ve felt priorities shift, flirted with the idea of settling in one spot, but still found myself wandering as often as I can, stepping foot in new lands and encountering new cultures. As always, the friendships I’ve formed have been paramount in defining who I am and where I’m headed.
This week, my brother and I are finishing up our three-week self-driven road trip through southern Africa. We’re in Cape Town at the moment, and today we spent our final day visiting some of the townships here.
The first photo was in Langa township at a shack that acts as a shebeen. Here they serve umqombothi, a maize beer that the owners brew themselves. A fire just outside the entrance was maintained to brew the beer, and the smoke seeped in while we drank. This place is especially popular on the weekends, when crowds of men will sit here to drink and dance.
If you’re looking for quality street art in South America, there are three stops you must add to your itinerary: Bogotá, Buenos Aires, and Valparaíso.
Tucked on the coastal hills of central Chile, “Valpo” — as it’s affectionately known — is one of Chile’s oldest and most important fishing and shipping ports. For tourists, it makes an attractive day trip or long-term backpacker hangouts. Valpo is filled with hostels, small boutiques, and plenty of restaurants, (including many healthy options). But the main draw of the city is its colours! Valpo is filled with street art, and even most of the residential houses are brightly painted. One of the best ways to spend your time there is to take a long walk through the hills to admire all of surrounding artwork.
Make sure you take a stroll past Pablo Neruda’s Valparaíso home. It’s one of the three residences that the poet maintained in Chile.
A year ago today, I was wandering the colorful alleyways of Lisbon. It’s the kind of city in which you can spend the entire day just exploring; there is so much to see and so much going on all the time.
One of the unique features of the city is its tram and funicular system. There are three funiculars in the old town, which lead up to various miradores (lookout points). This funicular is the Gloria Funicular. It began operation in 1885 and links the downtown area with Bairro Alto (an old, but now trendy neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants).