travel europe

4 Ways You Are Undermining Your Health Efforts

Having trouble achieving your health and fitness goals? You may find the biggest obstacle within yourself….and here’s what it might be:

Using the phrases “I can’t”, “I won’t”, or “I don’t”.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: After 14 years of personal training and nearly 18000 hours of one-on-one sessions, I find that this factor determines one’s sustainable success more than any other (and it makes sense). Consider the language: The very nature of these phrases are negative and self-limiting. Is one truly open to the change that he needs to make or is he only willing to do something as long as it doesn’t compromise his wants? “I won’t cook.” “I can’t possibly make this change.” “I don’t workout.” Hard-line phrases that express unwillingness to determine and consider what one must really do to reach success. Even though the verbal resistance may sit at the tip of the tongue, the alternative phrases, “How can I make this work?” or “Let’s examine the possible solutions”, are positive options that might open new doors to one’s well-being.

Haven’t established a routine.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Long-term sustainable change relies on a foundation of routine and habit. While a quick fix to lose 30 lbs in 3 months is enticing, it will soon be part of a never-ending life cycle. Most fasts, pills, and detoxes serve an impulsive need and rarely establish the structure needed to maintain the weight loss. The strongest habit has been reinforced daily for a 30-day stretch. It has become part of a new normal operating on autopilot at times. The further the habit is from a day-to-day routine the longer it needs reinforcement (45-60 days). Lack of this focus will most certainly lead to short-term change and a return to the prior normal that led to poor health.

Lack of distinction between “wants” and “needs”.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Unfortunately, the grammar school curriculum lacks the necessary lessons on the physical, mental, and emotional selves. Children (and adults) are left to haphazard self-discovery and assessment as well as, often, misguided mentors. Essentially, students are never taught how to recognize their true needs and are left to figure it out on their own over a lifetime. With the barrage of mix messages, seeking optimal personal health is a confusing and frustrating journey. All of this might change, though, with the simple question “Why do I feel this way?” It is the first step of awareness - An examination of the underlying influence on behavior and its physical manifestation. With guided investigation and testing, true needs can be identified while no longer depending on haphazard guesses related to wants.

Unwilling to accept what needs to be changed and the necessary steps to change it.


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Although awareness is an important first step in change, acceptance is necessary before adaptation takes place. Is one willing to accept a current state of being (healthy or not, it is what it is) and the needed approach to redefine health? Surprisingly, acceptance is the roadblock for most. Without accepting a current state and the necessary path, doubt, frustration, and insecurities will unravel the new efforts It may emotionally steer the adaptive process in the wrong direction and stunt it as a whole.

Photo Credit:
brobible .com–Is the answer to change sitting in front or inside of you?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Ways You Are Undermining Your Health Efforts
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

Quick Diet Guide to Losing Weight

Here is the quick weight loss guide I share with my personal training clients to steer their new dietary choices:

Baseline Intent (Philosophy)

Eat nutrient dense foods. If you make any change in your diet, this is it. Filler foods are sooooooo 1984. You’re better than that. “Eat with intent” is your new mantra! If you’re hungry, feed your engine with something meaningful!

Inflammation and Deficiency

Inflammation

Healthline says (reviewed by Seunggu Han, MD): “Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system. This response includes the release of antibodies and proteins, as well as increased blood flow to the damaged area. The whole process usually lasts for a few hours or days in the case of acute inflammation. Chronic inflammation happens when this response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on your tissues and organs. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation could also play a role in a range of conditions, from cancer to asthma.”

Inflammatory Foods

- Grains including whole grains or all-bran products (breads, crackers, rice, cereals, etc.)
- Processed foods (products with additives and preservatives; genetically modified foods; or anything else not in its whole, natural form)
- Dairy (butter, milk, and cheese processed from animals)
- Alcohol
- Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Animal protein with high levels of saturated fat (red meat, pork, wild game, etc.)

If I don’t eat those inflammatory foods, then….

- If you need fiber, substitute grains for beans or dark leafy greens.
- If you need calcium or vitamin d, substitute dairy for dark leafy greens.
- If you need antioxidants, substitute red wine for grapes.
- If you need protein, substitute the protein supplement shake for lean meat, eggs, fish, nuts, etc. Please note that the plant-based option is the least inflammatory in most bodies.

Deficiency

The body is made up of 2 main systems, core and peripheral. The core system is the engine, and it has very specific demands to maintain of state of homeostasis (the perfect balance of being in terms of effectiveness and efficiency). The peripheral system handles the adaptive software to manage behaviors, compensations, toxins, or compromises of our natural processes and operation of our biological clock. It helps the body manage periods of fasting and stress and day-to-day physical hacks. It can also help the employee assigned to the midnight shift adapt her biological clock to meet her basic needs….even if it's beyond ideal. It’s important to note that just because the body can adapt, it doesn’t mean it’s sustainable or ideal. The body will always try to steer you back to its original processes. Long story, short: Yes, you can survive on periods without food but consider how the body may compensate (and it may not help your health goals).

Starved or Stuffed

You never want to starve (can lead to the compensating, deficient state described above) or stuffed (your body may hold onto more than it needs or convert even the extra good stuff into fat, triglycerides, etc.

Specific Food Approach

General Guidelines

- Daily caloric range: 1200-1500 calories (you must determine the healthiest amount for you).
- Meal caloric range: 3-500 calories
- Meals per day: 3-4 every 3-5 hours (allow enough time for proper digestion and absorption)

Simple Plate Ratio

Use this breakdown for every meal, small meal, snack, or what my 20-month old son, Preston calls “snat”.
- 45-55% Plant Nutrients/Vegetables (dark green, starchy, red/orange, etc.)
- 25-40% Protein (lean white meat, fish, soy, eggs, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.)
- 25% Fiber (beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, vegetables, etc.)
*****Although I haven't specifically mentioned it, you should still be mindful of the number of good fats (nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.) in your diet, too. You shouldn't exceed 15% in any given meal unless deemed necessary.

Biological Clock and Circadian Rhythm

Your body wants to be an efficient machine that operates on autopilot. Most of the time it depends on its biological clock - a blend of natural and reinforced forces. With this being said, you can train your body to efficiently release a flood of hormones to help you utilize the fuel you feed it at the same times each day. You already did this in grade school when you ate lunch at 11:37 every day and still felt the hunger pangs at the same time over your summer break. The principle also applies to your efficient recovery while you sleep each night. Your body will naturally wake you slowly over the course of 3 hours prior to your waking time. Going to bed at the same time every night will reinforce this habit and wake you without an alarm clock at the same time as well!

Photo Credit:
Taste of Home .com–Is this the plate ratio that will help you lose weight?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
Quick Diet Guide to Losing Weight
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

4 Quick Meals for Weight Loss (Only a 12 Minute Prep)

One of the reasons why my personal training clients avoid eating healthy is the usual time required to cook. With the Instant Pot, cooking at home is no longer a task. My wife, Sammy, and I recently tested several recipes and found 4 great ones (with some changes) to help you lose weight.

 

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Feel free to substitute any 1 lb of meat with 2 cups of beans, quinoa, or lentils. Also, sauté the onions and garlic in the Instant Pot first if you have the extra 3-5 minutes.

 

**********************************

 

INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

INSTANT POT GROUND TURKEY LENTIL CHILI

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 minced garlic cloves

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dry green lentils

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper

 

-Turn your Instant Pot onto “saute.” Brown the ground turkey. Add in the diced onions, garlic, tomato paste, and salt and cook until meat is browned and onions are soft and translucent.

-Add in the lentils, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, and pepper.

-Cover the Instant Pot and turn it to “manual,” set the timer to 13 minutes. Make sure the valve is set to “sealing.”

-When the timer beeps let it sit for 10 minutes and then slowly release the pressure by moving the valve to “venting.”

-Remove the lid and ladle the chili into bowls. We topped ours with some diced green onions.

 

Source: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-ground-turkey-lentil-chili       

 

***********************************

 

HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

HEALTHY INSTANT POT CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

 

INGREDIENTS

½ cup of minced onion

½ tsp minced garlic

1 lb asparagus, ends, and tips snapped off

3 cups of cauliflower florets

3 cups of vegetable broth

1 tsp thyme

1” strip lemon peel

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp onion powder

½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/8 tsp ginger

¼ cup white wine

1 cup of coconut milk

1/8 tsp white pepper

Shaved almonds (topping)

Hemp seeds (topping)

 

-Add the onion, garlic, asparagus (expect for the tips), cauliflower, vegetable broth, thyme, lemon peel, bay leaf, onion powder, salt, cardamom, ginger, white wine, coconut milk, white pepper and mix well.

-Place the asparagus tips in a foil packet and place on top of the asparagus mixture.

-Put the lid on and make sure the steam release handle is set to sealing, or closed; change to the manual setting on high and set the time for 2 minutes.

-Carefully move the pressure valve to steam release handle and release the pressure manually. Set the foil packet aside for serving. Discard the bay leaf and lemon peel.

-For the blender, transfer the cooked asparagus and cauliflower mixture to your blender along with nutmeg. Blend until smooth and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

-Serve topped with the asparagus tips and sprinkles of shaved almonds and hemp seeds.

 

Source: Adapted from the book The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your Instant Pot

 

***********************************

 

INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

INSTANT POT FIRE-ROASTED BEAN STEW

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of soaked (or drained from a can) white (or cannellini) beans

2 cups of soaked (or drained from a can) kidney beans

1 large onion, diced

1 (15 oz) can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, diced and undrained

1 cup of vegetable broth

¼ cup dried parsley

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

3 cups baby carrots

3 cups cubed sweet potatoes (1-2 medium)

2 cups chopped celery (about 4 stalks)

2 cups sliced white button mushrooms

1 tbsp minced garlic (or 5 garlic cloves chopped or thinly sliced)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

3 tbsp hemp seeds

 

-Place all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker.

-Place the lid on the cooker and make sure the pressure knob is in the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL function high pressure, and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 20 minutes.

-When the cooker beeps to let you know it’s finished, switch the pressure knob from the SEALING to the VENTING position, administering a quick release. Use caution while the steam escapes—it’s hot.

-Open the cooker and stir everything in the pot, adjust salt to taste.

 

Source: Adapted from the recipe “Fire-Roasted Beef Stew” in the book Instant Loss Cookbook

 

***********************************

 

INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

INSTANT POT TUSCAN SHREDDED CHICKEN STEW

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb chicken breasts

2 cans white (or cannellini) beans

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes, undrained

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white or black pepper

1 cup white wine

1 tsp minced garlic

3 cups diced red potatoes

1 cup diced zucchini without skin

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Italian seasoning

 

-Place all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker.

-Place the lid on the cooker and make sure the pressure knob is in the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL function high pressure, and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 12 minutes.

-When the cooker beeps to let you know it’s finished, switch the pressure knob from the SEALING to the VENTING position, administering a quick release. Use caution while the steam escapes—it’s hot.

-Open the cooker and stir everything in the pot and shred the chicken, adjust salt to taste.

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Quick Meals for Weight Loss (Only a 12 Minute Prep)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

The Detailed Itinerary You NEED for a Long Birthday Weekend in Mexico City

I now know that Mexico City, home to 23 million people, is the best-kept secret in the Americas. Rich with architecture, public art, and an incredible culinary scene, Sammy and I won’t wait long to take another long weekend trip south (only a 4-hour direct flight from Chicago!). Under Spanish rule for nearly 250 years, you clearly see the European influence throughout the city. While you must be mindful of any city you visit, we felt completely safe exploring the vibrant and interesting neighborhoods of Polanco, Roma, and Centro Historico. Here is our itinerary for my recent birthday trip:

General Itinerary

Airfare: About a 4-hour direct flight that left Chicago at 8:35 pm and arrived in Mexico City at 1:50 pm. Flights ranged from $500-600 for direct, roundtrip flights. We’ve spent $450 roundtrip for nearly the same flight to San Francisco.
17th: Fly to Mexico City from Chicago, Arrival and the Centro Historico Neighborhood
18th: Bike Tour, Cocktails Overlooking the Ruins, and the Polanco Neighborhood
19th: Cooking Class, Castillo de Chapultepec, and the Roma Neighborhood
20th: Shop in the market and fly to Chicago from Mexico City (2:40)

Sprint International Call Settings

Samsung Galaxy Phones

Go to settings, click on connections, click on mobile networks, click data roaming, turn off all domestic roaming (voice, text, and data), turn on all international roaming (voice, text, and data). We’ll receive a welcome message when we arrive.

Money Overseas

Charles Schwab Brokerage Checking Account

Transfer cash for free ATM withdrawls and no transaction fees.

Credit Cards

Bring the Chase Sapphire, Mileage Plus Explorer (20% off on-flight purchases), and Chase Business Ink for no transaction fees.

Currency

1 USD = 19.16 Pesos: Think about $5 USD for every $100 Pesos. Overall, dining is cheaper in Mexico City. Most experiences are 20-30% less than Chicago after a 15% tip (sometimes as high as 40% less expensive for a meal). A few of the historic sites were free or only as high as $10 USD.

Traveling Throughout the City

Although we could’ve taken public transportation (bus or train) throughout the city, we always chose Uber…which was a reliable, safe, and cheap option. With this being said, be prepared for a 15-43 minute ride to a neighboring area. I’ve never witnessed more traffic in a city (sorry Manhatten). With this being said, though, we enjoyed the ample time to look at the public murals, sculptures, and parks along the way. The fare is still cheap (USD 5-10) for this length of time, and you avoid taking the chance on the cabs (avoid the pink cabs). I highly encourage to plan your trip with a neighborhood for the day in mind (to minimize back and forth travel time). Walking is also an option, but you must know the adjoining neighborhoods and stick to the busy streets to be safe.
Our lovely, artistic Mexico City Airbnb

Our lovely, artistic Mexico City Airbnb

Where We Stayed

17--20th: Mexico City (Centro Historico Neighborhood)

Airbnb Listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/17924711?guests=1&adults=1
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 1:00 pm
-Directions: Uber was an easy, cheap, and safe option to Dirk’s Airbnb (20-30 minute ride for $8-10 USD).
-About the Airbnb: The apartment consists of 3 private rooms and 2 terraces in this vintage Mexico City home. We enjoyed the privacy and quiet of interior designer, Dirk-Jan Kinet’s trendy upstairs apartment. The space was a true reminder of why we stay in Airbnb homes across the world. The unique design inspired us to begin transforming our home, and the hospitality was unmatched (sorry hotels). On our first day, Dirk’s partner, Jose Luis, gave us an informative 2-hour walking tour of the historic area with a sneak peek into the local life and bountiful suggestions. Of course, we couldn’t resist sipping the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine left in our new home later that night! Without a doubt, this Airbnb enhanced our experience in our first visit to Mexico City.

Airbnb Mexico City

Airbnb Mexico City

Airbnb Mexico City

Airbnb Mexico City

Centro Historico Neighborhood in Mexico City

Centro Historico Neighborhood in Mexico City

Day 1: Arrival and the Centro Historico Neighborhood

Since we arrived early afternoon, we didn’t book any tours. We started our journey with an espresso from Café Jekemir and a tour from our host around the Centro Historico neighborhood…the city center for government buildings, a public square, cathedrals, pyramid ruins, historic buildings, and hidden restaurants. After seeing the Mexican military remove the national flag in Zocalo Square at 6 pm, we ventured over to Azul Historico. From the outside, the historic building gives very little insight into the gastronomic experience floating in the air inside. As we entered, it opened into a closed courtyard of dining tables among a forest of trees. This famed restaurant typically featured chefs from different regions of Mexico and, that night, we met the various tastes of Veracruz. After indulging in traditional cuisine that included tortilla soup, the shrimp and mackerel ceviche Rojo mixto, and the mouthwatering empipianadas rellenas de minilla dishes, we explored the city streets and found performers practicing traditional Aztec dances in an unassuming area. Night one: Check!

Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City

Centro Historico/Centro/Alameda Central Sites

-Alameda Central (visited)
-Palacio de Bellas Artes (check out the top floors, walked by)
-Catedral Metropolitana (visited)
-The Zocalo (where the marathon began in the 1968 Olympics, visited)
-Palacio Nacional (walked by)
-Museo del Templo Mayor (visited)
-Gran hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico (incredible interiors featured in a James Bond movie, will visit next time)
-Palacio de Carreos de Mexico (will visit next time)
-Museo National de Arte
-La Ciudadela Centro Artesanal (market for artisan crafts and more)

Azul Historico Restaurant Mexico City

Azul Historico Restaurant Mexico City

Azul Historico Restaurant Mexico City

Azul Historico Restaurant Mexico City

Centro Historico/Centro/Alameda Central Restaurants and Bars

-Azul Historico (Make reservations)
-Puntarena (Beautiful courtyard restaurant in the same building as Azul Restaurante, great breakfast)
-El Mayor (Beautiful rooftop views of the ruins near Zocalo) -Café Jekemir (coffee)
-Bar la Opera (tequila, will visit next time)
-Miralto (amazing rooftop views, will visit next time)
-Casino Espanol (checked out an event…perhaps we weren’t on the list 😊, will visit next time)
-El Cardenal (lunch)
-Nonsolo Mx (traditional Mexican)
-Maison Kayser (pastries)
-Hosteria “La Bota”
-Café de Tacuba
-Tio Pepe (historic bar)
-Beer La Bota (late night bar)

Puntarena Restaurant Mexico City

Puntarena Restaurant Mexico City

Bike Tour Mexico City

Bike Tour Mexico City

Day 2: Bike Tour, Cocktails Overlooking the Ruins, and the Polanco Neighborhood

What do you do in Mexico City if you’re a personal trainer? Sign up for a bike tour, of course! With the tour starting at 10 am, we had time to eat chilaquiles in Puntarena’s open-air courtyard nearby, though (don’t tell my personal training clients). The grassy wall with a tricycle created a memorable backdrop for our breakfast. Considering the amount of traffic in Mexico City (the most we have ever witnessed in a city), we needed to jump in an Uber for our 24-minute ride to the Polanco neighborhood after a time-pressed meal (assume it could take 13-43 minutes to drive to any neighborhood). Upon our arrival, we jumped on our bikes and began our private tour of the city. From Polanco and back, we traced Mexico City’s history across many neighborhoods and documented the Spanish and French influence on its architecture, public sculptures, and art. The city was a far cry from the rural Mexican style we envisioned. After 250 years of Spanish rule, you clearly see the European influence on every neighborhood (especially the Centro Historico).

By the tour’s end, we covered most of the historic sites and parks in the nearby neighborhoods and stopped in a traditional taco stand to indulge in Roma’s authentic cuisine. Feeling parched, we took an Uber to the terrace restaurant, El Mayor, in the Centro Historico. While enjoying the 70-degree weather, we sipped margaritas and look over the Aztec pyramid ruins. To cap our night, we enjoyed a drink at Unica before our reservation in the celebrated traditional Mexican restaurant with a modern finish, Dulce Patria.

Reforma Mexico City

Reforma Mexico City

Polanco Sites

-Mexico City Bike Tours (http://mexicobiketour.com.mx/): $38pp, 4-4.5 hours, includes a tour of the Polanco, Centro Historico, and Roma neighborhoods (and everything in between) and a taco stop -A walk through the beautiful tree-lined streets looking at the mansions
-Castillo de Chapultepec and the Museo Nacional de Historia (Castle on the hill looking down on the French-inspired street, Reforma)
-Bosque de Chapultepec (one of the biggest parks in Latin America)

Castillo de Chapultepec Mexico City

Castillo de Chapultepec Mexico City

Inside the Castillo de Chapultepec Mexico City

Inside the Castillo de Chapultepec Mexico City

Dulce Patria Restaurant Mexico City

Dulce Patria Restaurant Mexico City

Polanco Restaurants and Bars

-Pujol (book reservation 2-3 months in advance, one of the top 5 restaurants in the world, will visit next time)
-Dulce Patria (a modern twist on traditional Mexican dishes, restaurant design is very simple with an 80’s flare, book reservation 1 month in advance)
-Quintonil (book reservation 2 months in advance, one of the top 5 restaurants in Mexico City, will visit next time)
-Jules Basement (speakeasy, will visit next time)
-Unica Restaurant (neat place for a drink, too)
-Contramar (seafood restaurant, will visit next time)

Cooking Class: Mexico City

Cooking Class: Mexico City

Cooking Class: Mexico City

Cooking Class: Mexico City

Day 3: Cooking Class, Castillo de Chapultepec, and the Roma Neighborhood

With no time for breakfast, we went straight to our cooking class at 9 am in Roma’s Aura Authentic. Luckily, our chef-teacher, Graciela, already had breakfast in mind for us. Before preparing homemade salsa, a zucchini salad, tortillas from scratch, white mole, and cornbread, we ventured out to a local market for ingredients. On the way, we stopped at a delicious corner quesadilla stand to taste a familiar dish in a not-so-familiar way (quesadillas in Mexico City are made without cheese and filled with a variety of ingredients including squash blossom and cactus). After learning about the differences between peppers of various regions, we capped our first meal with Oaxaca worms, grasshoppers, and flying worms (and, yes, we did taste each and they tasted good). Once we returned to the kitchen, we began preparing our master feast that finished with a traditional birthday song and a candle on cornbread.

With daylight hours to spare, Sammy and I Ubered to Latin America’s biggest park, Chapultepec. During our visit to the Castillo de Chapultepec, we hired a docent to explain its history. Soon after, we returned to Roma for Italian cuisine at Rosetta and a night of cocktails in the same area.

Parque Mexico

Parque Mexico

Roma Sites

-Aura Authentic Cook Class (https://www.auramexcooking.com/cooking-classes): $75pp, 4.5-5 hours, includes a morning market tour, meal, and drinks -Plaza Rio de Janeiro
-Parque Mexico
-Templo San Francisco Javier and Plaza Romita

Rosetta Restaurant Mexico City

Rosetta Restaurant Mexico City

Roma Restaurants and Bars

-Rosetta Restaurant (excellent Italian restaurant, booked reservations 1 month in advance)
-Sabrinos (great breakfast, will visit next time)
-Contramar (seafood restaurant, will visit next time)
-Licoreria Limantour (recently ranked on “The World’s 50 Best Bars” for cocktails)
-Maison Artemisia (bar, will visit next time)
-Cardinal (coffee)
-Maximo Bistrot Local (excellent French restaurant, booked reservations 2 months in advance, will visit next time)

 

The Detailed Itinerary You NEED for a Journey to Lisbon, Porto, and Madrid (and the Best Restaurants in Each)

Recently, Sammy, Preston, and I had set out for a European adventure to explore earthquake ruins, port, and Spanish tapas. We started in historic Lisbon, Portugal and headed North to Porto before finishing in the Spanish metropolis, Madrid. Here is the quick itinerary of interesting places to stay, historic things to do, and an expansive list of restaurants to indulge in.

General Itinerary

25-26: Fly to Lisbon from Chicago
26: Lisbon
27: Lisbon
28: Lisbon
29: Lisbon
30: Train from Lisbon to Porto
1: Porto
2: Porto
3: Fly to Madrid from Porto
4: Madrid
5: Madrid
6: Madrid
7: Fly to Chicago from Madrid

Sprint International Call Settings

Iphone 7

Go to settings, click on cellular, click cellular data option, click roaming (turn voice and data on), International CDMA should be off. We’ll receive a welcome message when we arrive.

Samsung Note 8

Go to settings, click on connections, click on mobile networks, click data roaming, turn off all domestic roaming (voice, text, and data), turn on all international roaming (voice, text, and data). We’ll receive a welcome message when we arrive.

Money Overseas

Charles Schwab Brokerage Checking Account

Transfer cash for free ATM withdrawls and no transaction fees.

Credit Cards

Bring the Chase Sapphire, Mileage Plus Explorer, Chase Business Ink, and Delta Skymiles Gold Amex for no transaction fees. Call to see which exchange rate is lower (Most base it on the Wall Street Journal).

Preston is excited for his first flight overseas....and so is the guy sitting behind him.

Preston is excited for his first flight overseas....and so is the guy sitting behind him.

Flights/Trains

25-26th: Fly to Lisbon from Chicago

United Flight UA972 from Chicago to Brussels
Total cost: 60k miles per person plus taxes and fees
Seats: 34E, 34G (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 6:00 pm (04/25) ORD (8 hr 5 mn with bassinet)
Arrival: 9:05 am (04/26) BRU

TAP Portugal Flight TP647 from Brussels to Lisbon
Seats: 16B,16A (Priority boarding with a child , check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 11:30 am (04/26) BRU (2 hr 50 mn)
Arrival: 1:20 pm (04/26) LIS

30th: Train to Porto from Lisbon (Unconfirmed seats)

Train 125
Total cost: $130 (1st Class, choose seats at checkin, child on lap), arrive 1-2 hours to book train time and seat
Depart: 12:09 pm Lisboa Oriente (flexible time)
Arrival: 2:44 pm Porto Campanha

3rd: Fly to Madrid from Porto

Ryanair Flight 5423 from Porto to Madrid
Seats: 2F, 2E (Already checked in month early)
Total cost: $217.94 (Priority with 2 cabin bags per person, child on lap)
Depart: 3:35 pm OPO
Arrival: 5:50 pm MAD

7th: Fly to Chicago from Madrid

Lufthansa Flight LH1113 from Madrid to Frankfurt
Seats: 20A/20B (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 12:55 pm (05/07) MAD (2 hr 30 mn)
Arrival: 3:25 pm (05/07) FRA

Lufthansa Flight LH432 from Frankfurt to Chicago
Seats: 34G/34F (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 5:15 pm (05/07) FRA (9 hr 5 mn with bassinet)
Arrival: 7:20 pm (05/07) ORD

View of Lisbon at sunset

View of Lisbon at sunset

Airbnbs

26-30th: Lisbon

Listing: Comfortable, versatile best quarter with Fadoflats
Travessa João de Deus 8 (2nd floor right)
Lisbon, Lisbon 1200 Portugal
+351 91 985 8312
fadoflats-c2vmqwuwpkay6y9d@host.airbnb.com
Check-in: 4:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
-Directions: A taxi from the airport should take you to the flat in about 30 minutes and cost you around 15-20 euros (please tell the taxi driver flat is in Chiado quarter, very close to Cervejaria Trindade - Trindade Brewery). In alternative you can take the subway and drop out at Baixa-Chiado station. It will take you about an hour and cost you 2 euro per person.Third alternative is hiring our private transfer service (for you only): a 7 seats van will be waiting for you at the airport for the price of 30 euros to be paid directly to the driver. In any case I would appreciate if you could text me or call me after picking up the bags and passing passport control at the airport.
Notes: Great 2 bedroom, vintage space that once was a palace before the 18th century earthquake. Great location and size for our needs. Plenty of nearby restaurants and more. The Alfama neighborhood to the East is another option (more historic and quaint).

30th-3rd: Porto

Listing: Caldeireiros Home Two - feel at home with Fadoflats
Rua dos Caldeireiros, 4050-250 Porto, Portugal
+351 91 714 1223
alcina-77maoh3q8wdkxxbx@host.airbnb.com
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Directions: Walk to the flat from the Sao Bento train station 2 blocks away.
Notes: Great modern space with the perfect location. Truly a wonderful host.

3rd-7th: Madrid

Listing: Pta. del Sol- Pza. Sta Ana, Madrid with Miriam
Calle Núñez de Arce 10 2b, 28012 Madrid, Madrid, Spain
+34 699 915 788
miriam-zu29zer8pxbllkz5@host.airbnb.com
Check-in: 2:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Directions:
-Taxi: You will find taxi stands ouside all the airport terminals. Always use the official taxi services and do not take offers from drivers inside the terminal. Trip duration up to 30 minutes depending on traffic. -Bus: The yellow airport express bus runs 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. You can take the bus from terminals T1, T2 and T4 and the ticket costs 5 euros. The journey takes aproximatelly 40 minutes and the bus makes only 3 stops along the way, the corner of O’Donnell and Doctor Esquerdo, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha train station (from 6:00 am until 23;30 pm).
-Metro: You can take metro line 8 from all the terminals of the airport and head to Nuevos Ministerios station at the center of Madrid. From there you can hop to another metro line until your end destination. The journey until the Nuevos Ministerios station is 15 minutes and the metro operates daily from 6:00 am to 2:00 am. Tickets can cost up to 5 euros depending on your end destination.
Notes: A very central location but we don’t recommend staying here unless it’s cheap and you don’t mind a Super 8 hotel experience.

Exploring the historic Belem area of Lisbon

Exploring the historic Belem area of Lisbon

Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

Random Notes

-Use ‘The Fork’ phone app or call to book restaurant reservations
-Restaurants (5-10% tip and bread/olives aren’t free), most restaurants open 12-3 and 7-10
-Most museums free until 2:00 on Sundays
-Taxes after 9 pm cost more
-Lisboa card for attractions (askmelisboa.com)
-Buy 24 hour pass (metrolisboa.pt)
-Book a tour: https://www.withlocals.com/experiences/portugal/lisbon/?adults=2&children=1
-Travel with kids: https://kindertravelguide.com/destination/europe/portugal-with-a-baby-or-toddler-2/lisbon-with-a-baby-or-toddler/

Belem Ruins

-Jerónimos Monastery, Praça do Império (free entry to the church, €10 for the rest of the monastery) -Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos-entry fee €4) -CCB (Belém Cultural Center), Coach Museum (Museu dos Coches) -Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque

Rossio Neighborhood

-Parque Eduardo VII (northwest of Rossio Fountains, down the Ave da Liberdade)
-Confeitaria Nacional near the Praca de Figueiro for pastries
-A Ginjinha – Local sweet liquor spot near Igreja de Sao Domingos
-Rossio Fountains/Park (24 hour cafes nearby)
-Churches: Igreja de Sao Domingos, Praca da Figueira (next to each other)
-Elevador da Gloria: Take you from the Praca dos Restauradores up to the Bairro Alto neighborhood
-Ride the Tram 28 to see the historic parts of the city on a ride. Expect lines.

Rooftops of the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon

Rooftops of the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon

Chiado Neighborhood

-Elevador de Santa Justa down to Baixa Neighborhood
-Convento do Carmo & Museu Arqueologico
-R Garrett Street: pedestrian street
-2 Michellin Star Restaurant: Bellanto
-Nightlife strip: Tv Carvalho

Baixa Neighborhood

-Nucleo Arquelologico (free underground tunnels)
-R Augusta: Pedestrian street from the Praca de Comercio on the water

Bairro Alto Neighborhood

-Church: Igreja & Museu de Sao Roque
-Elevador de Gloria
-Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara
-Restaurant: Lost in Coffee Café (corner of Tv da Agua da Flor and R Sao Pedro de Alcantara)
-Public toilet under Largo Trindade Coehlo
-1800’s Beer Hall on R Nova da Trinidade
-Fado bars on R da Alalara

Alfama Neighborhood

-Tram 28 stop: Near Se (free Gothic Cathedral)
-Restaurants and Fado: Cruzes Credo Café, Clube de Fado (8 pm – 2 am), Memmo Alfama Rooftop Bar, Guitarras de Lisboa – Food and Fado, Senhor Fado (8 pm -2 am), Mesa de Frades (Fado in old small chapel 11 pm)
-Museu do Teatro Romano (free Roman Ruins)
-Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora (monastery)
-Panteao Nacional (10 am – 6 pm)

A taste of Lisbon....plenty of seafood and fish!

A taste of Lisbon....plenty of seafood and fish!

Restaurants in Lisbon

-Fabrica
-Pasteis de Belem
-Manteigaria
-Café A Brasileira
-Cervejaria Ramiro
-Feitoria
-A Taberna da Rua das Flores
-Belcanto
-Bica Do Sapato
-Prado
-Café Tati
-Merendinha do Arco
-Cantinho Lusitano
-A Baiuca
-Marisqueira Nunes
-Tasquinha do Lagarto
-Beco dos Surradores 5
-Tasco do Vigario
-Varina da Madragoa
-Zé da mouraria
-Bairro do Avillez (went twice)
-Time Out Market (Such a neat food scene on the weekend)
-Cantinho do bem estar
-Cevicheria
-Solar dos Presuntos
-Palácio Chiado: Renovated palace turned into food court
-Restaurante Carmo
-The Sandeman Chiado (best salmon we’ve ever eaten, try the 40 year Tawny)
-Royale Cafe (best octopus we’ve ever eaten)

Exploring the rooftops of Porto

Exploring the rooftops of Porto

Things to do in Porto, Portugal

Sightseeing in Porto

-São Bento station
-Use ‘The Fork’ phone app or call to book restaurant reservations
-Take the train or drive to Duoro Valley for wine tastings (2 hour ride)
-Walk over the Ponte de Dom Luís I and take viewing cart (teleférico) over the river to the port warehouses (major port producers have their warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south side of the River Douro)
-Visit the bar Vinologia for port flights and charcuterie
-Garrafeira AMS (wine shop)
-Sé do Porto (free admission)
-Armazém
-Ribeira Square
-Handy Resources: What to Do in Porto: http://portoportugalguide.com/porto-guide/porto-in-2-days-itinerary.html, https://catavino.net/travel/portugal/porto/
-Clérigos Tower (Igreja E Torre Dos Clérigos)
-Lello bookshop (Livraria Lello): Inspiration for the book store in the Harry Potter movies
-Sao Bentro Train Station
-Porto Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace (Sé Do Porto)
-Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
-Igreja de São Francisco
-Villar d’Allen

Spoiled with shrimp in Porto

Spoiled with shrimp in Porto

A raw approach to food in Porto.

A raw approach to food in Porto.

Restaurants in Porto

-Confeitaria Serrana
-Cantinho do Avillez
-Michelin-starred Pedro Lemos restaurant
-Stash
-Centro Português de Fotografia (free)
-Torre de Clérigos (admission 3 euros)
-Caldeireiros
-Trasca
-Porta’O Lado
-Brasão Cervejaria
-Fonte dos Leoes for a francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich filled with cured ham
-Café Guarany
-Café Majestic
-Matosinhos
-Vila Nova de Gaia
-Flor dos Congregados
-Rei dos Galos de Amarante
-Adega Quim
-Casa Aleixo
-Tasca da Piedade (Adega Rio Douro)
-Conga
-Casa Nanda
-Adega Vila Meã
-Taberna do Largo
-Taberna Santo António
-Maus Hábitos
-Guindalense Futebol Clube
-O Buraco
-Cantina 32
-BASE
-Miss’Opo
-Café Candelabro
-Traça
-Casa de Ló
-Bar Tolo
-Bite Me
-Boa Nova
-Vinum restaurant at Graham’s port lodge: Gorgeous rooftop
-Ode Porto Winehouse
-Camafeu
-Pedro Limos
-Casa da Horta
-Bacalhua
-O Comercial
-Bufete Fase
-O Paparico
-Grelhador da Boavista
-Pateo das Flores (loved the francesinha and tuna poke cones)

Gorgeous cathedral in Madrid

Gorgeous cathedral in Madrid

Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Things to do in Madrid, Spain

Random Notes

-Many dine out at 9 pm or later
-Handy Resources: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/madrid-food-tour/, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/21/travel/what-to-do-36-hours-in-madrid-spain.html, https://www.eater.com/maps/best-madrid-restaurants-38

Sightseeing in Madrid

-Plaza España
-Gran Via (shopping)
-Palacio Real
-Plaza Oriente
-Barrio de la Latina
-El Rastro (Spain’s largest flea market, Sunday)
-Puerta del Sol (popular plaza)
-Chocolateria San Gines
-Plaza Mayor
-Mercado San Miguel
-Watch a flamenco show at Cardamomo
-Retiro Park (huge park)
-Palacio Cristal
-Reina Sofia
-Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
-El Prado (world famous art museum)
-El Bernabeu Stadium
- Las Salesas (shopping)

Our food tasting tour of historic bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Our food tasting tour of historic bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Restaurants in Madrid

-Bocadillo de Jamón y Champán
-Duquesita Pastelería (century-old pastry shop)
-La Venencia (sherry bar)
-Bar Cock
-Pum Pum Café
-Círculo de Bellas Artes (drink with a panoramic view)
-Amazónico (an opulent jungle-inspired space)
-Chocolatería San Ginés (since 1894, a mug of hot chocolate and six churros)
-El Imparcial
-DiverXO
-San Mamés
-Lakasa Restaurant
-Kappo
-Sala de Despiece
-Nakeima
-Quesería Cultivo
-Bread at Panic
-StreetXo
-Tortilla de Patatas at Casa Dani
-Coffee at Toma Café
-1862 Dry Bar
-Bodega de la Ardosa
-Vermouth at Ángel Sierra
-El Cisne Azul
-La Tasquería
-La Tasquita de Enfrente
-Casa Salvador
-Del Diego Cocktail Bar
-Tapas at La Catapa
-Takos al Pastor
-Horcher
-Viridiana
-Pastries at La Mallorquina
-Sherry at La Venencia
-Chuka Ramen Bar
-Cocktails at Salmon Guru
-Casa Revuelta
-Bistronómika
-Corral de la Morería Restaurant
-La Sanabresa
-Yoka Loka
-La Copita Asturiana
-Santurce
-Bar El Boqueron
-Cocido Madrileño at Cruz Blanca Vallecas

Our personal tour guide

Our personal tour guide