Tuesday, July 4, 2023


The following post was written by our Adventure Associate, with only the barest amount of editing for fact checking and legibility. Enjoy!


And on our second day at Sevilla, my mom said we were going to a flamenco show but at that moment, I thought I miss placed the G and the C for the flamingo when it was actually a flamenco I miss placed it with flamingo*. And before that we went to the flamenco museum. And it even allowed us to go into the dressing room and see you all of the dresses and earrings that the dancers use.(it was just a fake dressing room.) and they had like screen things that show dances of flamenco dancers. and then we went to story up, and there was little machines that taught us how to twirl, even though it was just a little screen. and then we went into a special room, where there was a wooden box with a crank that had two little wooden feet on it to and then when you put it on his particular rhythm you just turn the crank, and it makes the wooden flamenco shoes dance. then we went back to where we enter the museum and then we got the best seats for the flamenco dancer show. and it was so fun there was even human singers**. I’ve never^ gone to a show with human singers besides my mom’s musicals. and it wasn’t on speaker so unlike LA at my school. and my mom was so nice she bought me my own pair of castanets. They’re like little things that you very gently^^ slap together and make sound they use that in the show so that’s why I wanted to get them. then after the show my mom said hey animal do you want to take a flamenco dance class? And I said yes so today which is 7\4\23 it was amazing  but after my heels got so red from the flamenco shoes because it was my first time, actually wearing high heels, even though they were like half high heels***. I was like flopping around in the shoes, even while I was dancing.(not purposely). and I love the new word called, “ole!” which means like, “wow amazing great good”. and professional flamenco dancers use it while they’re dancing. I think the clothes they are wearing are very very fun. Everybody in the world should hear the word flamenco or, if they are lucky, GO SEE A SHOW!

Love, Animal

*She was actually very disappointed it wasn’t an animal show, but when she realized it was dancing, she was excited again.

**and a guitar player

^not exactly factual but keeping for posterity

^^Animal and I have different definitions of the word “gentle”

***She made an excellent joke about them being “reverse Luboutons” as they were red with black bottoms

See our dance video here!

Monday, July 3, 2023

¡Bienvenidos de Sevilla!

 Hello from Sevilla! After our bus arrived from Faro we were all quite famished - especially our newly-minted adventure associate. We also couldn't check into our apartment until 15:00 so we had enough time to grab a quick lunch at the bus station. We then summoned an Uber (no UberXL option in Sevilla) and met our driver outside the station. There's not a great place for non-Taxis to pick up their fares so we quickly loaded our bags and the stroller and we were off to find our apartment. The old part of Sevilla is filled with churches, squares, and very narrow meandering streets. I recognized our building from pictures online through an alleyway as we drove by on the main road, but the driver's GPS couldn't quite line us up with how to get there so we ended up walking the last hundred meters or so. We have a very nice two bedroom one bathroom apartment with a kitchen and a little living room. We took a quick siesta and that evening we explored a park and the general neighborhood. We had tapas for dinner which Sarah and I enjoyed....Bunny still needs to improve on her adventure-eating. As CEO I'm encouraging her to make that a 2023 KPI. We did do some exploring of a local parque infantil, but it was so hot out that there were no other children to play with and we could only play for a few minutes before coming back for some water.

Sunday morning, we were a little worried that everything would be closed, but it turns out that most restaurants and cafes were open as well as many of the little shops in the old city. We started our day with a standard fare of coffee, chocolate and churros before venturing out on our first Sevilla adventure.

We did an app-based guided tour that Sarah found which took us to many points of interest around the city.

After a siesta we went out to dinner where Bunny decided she might like Paella, but ended up eating grilled chicken. After dinner we went on a paseo in a horse-drawn carriage to see the sights. Our caballo was named Romero. Bunny was very surprised that a carriage with only 1 horsepower could go so fast since there were some parts where we were traveling on regular roads with cars.

This morning I woke up early to go for a run and then we went to the same cafe that we went to yesterday for churros, chocolate and coffee. We then caught the city bus to the Mercado de Triana. When we arrived, many of the stalls were still closed or just getting opened up for the day but we got a lot of little things including some wild boar salami, a cono of jamon iberico, a variety of olives for Sarah, some sliced dragonfruit, some queso sevilla 1972 and a few other things to keep in our kitchen for future meals. At a few of the fruit and vegetable stalls there were some tomatoes that were bigger than anything we've ever seen. After a brief discussion with one of the vendors, we determined that those tomatoes are "Miracles from Sevilla." We'll take their word for it ;-) We finished off our trip to the mercado with some coffee for Sarah and I and a jamaica for the associate.

We then hopped on a different bus back to our apartment and had a small lunch before we take our requisite afternoon siesta. Bunny is very excited to go to the Flamenco museum later today, although she was somewhat disappointed to learn that there's no flamingos dancing. More to come later in the week on that!

Our Algarve Adventure

 The contributors emeriti were kind enough to book a large bus capable of handing all their luggage as well as the standard ShapiroAdventures backpacks for the trip to Algarve. Our driver left us off at the Pine Cliffs Resort where we stayed in the residences. While there, my sister arrived with her husband and baby boy. Bunny had a good time reading some age appropriate literature to DJ and her little cousin.

At the resort, we were able to eat an excessive amount of food while also enjoying the beach and the pool.

 Animal enjoyed playing at the Porto Pirata (kids club). Once a week there is a reptile show at Porto Pirata where you can hold different reptiles. Sarah was very scared of a monitor lizard that seemed quite docile (very atypical for this breed of lizard). Animal got to hold a ratsnake and I supervised Dorian holding an iguana - the first time he's held a reptile.

All in all, it was great to see the contributors emeriti as well as my sister and her family. After our time in Algarve ended we caught a cab to the Faro bus station and hopped on what we thought was a 3.5 hour bus ride to Sevilla, however due to the time change between Portugal and Spain, it turned out to only be a 2.5 hour bus ride! More to come from Sevilla!

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Lisbon Adventures

Flying internationally with the family was overall uneventful. We had one hiccup in the airport as AirFrance would not let us gate check the carseat/stroller, so we had to check them all the way to Lisbon. Since we were checking those, we also checked my duffle bag to free up hands at the layover.

During the 11 hour flight, DJ, our intern, slept most of the way! He didn't much care for the bassinet the airline provided, bolted to the bulkhead, but had no problem sleeping in my arms. All in a days work as the Chairwoman of the Board. Our Associate, Bunny - who would like to be called Animal, spent most of the flight watching a telenovela on her iPad. We tried to convince her to rest up for adventures, but you know how those young associates can be. We had a layover in Paris, where the CEO treated us all to macarons! We then had a 3.5 hour flight to Lisbon, where we all finally got some rest!

When we arrived in Lisbon, it was around 3:30 in the afternoon. We took an Uber to our "Apart-Hotel" (only 17€!), did a quick unpacking, then we went outside to explore. We walked down our little street of Dos Sapateiros to Parque Rossio, a plaza with two large fountains surrounded by shops and restaurants. There we saw the "bubble man" who made a million bubbles for tips to the delight of many children, including Animal. We went into an interesting "Sardine Circus" shop, as well.

We went to dinner at a famous Marisquero restaurant, where they make only one dish - a seafood rice pot! We ate many small sea creatures, and Animal tried a mussel and "sort of" liked it!

Our first full day in Lisbon, began with breakfast with our Contributors Emiriti, who are also the parents of our CEO. We then caught the Yellow Bus to Belem, which is a double decker tourist bus that you can hop on/hop off. We stopped at the Museo de Coches. There was a huge imaginary vehicle that was like a motorcycle inside a wheel! There were also many carriages uses by the royals, ambassadors, and religious classes of Portugal. 
Our Associate got quite tired, so we rode the Yellow Bus around to see some other historic sites from the outside. We took a siesta, had a yummy fish dinner, then grabbed some desert while we waited in line to ride the Elevator of Santa Justa. This elevator takes you up to a viewpoint that offers views of the city. 

It was a late night and we went home right after. Unfortunately, our intern had a rough night and was very vocal in his complaints. It was difficult to wake up early the next morning, but we did to catch the 8:11 train to Sintra. Once there, we took the 434 bus up to the Palacio de Pena. Sadly, we weren't able to get a ticket to view the interior of the castle, but we spent about 2 hours in the Parque, the huge grounds and gardens surrounding the Palace. They had a "Pena Quest", a kids interactive search that led us around the grounds where we checked in with a QR code at various spots. Our Associate showed off her reading skills as we explored the gardens.
it was quite hot, so we skipped the Castello de Mouros and grabbed some lunch in the Centro Historico before taking the train home. We took a much needed siesta before heading out to dinner at a wonderful Fado Club called Duque do Rua. We drank wine, ate tapas, and enjoyed the wonderful music in this intimate venue.
After some pastel de nata flavored Gelato, we headed to bed. Luckily, everyone slept much better. We packed up, got some pasteles and coffee and juice, and are now en route to Algarve.

Here are Animal's final thoughts:
Favorite thing: getting Gelato at the Museo de Coches
Interesting thing about Lisbon: that double decker busses exist outside of London and Disneyland
Favorite Portuguese food: pasteis de bacalhua (fish croquet)
Favorite activity: playing with bubble man

So there you have it - Shapiro Adventures with expanded staffing in Lisbon.

Monday, June 19, 2023

What did we pack for extended travel with two children?

Ok. So I know three weeks isn't exactly extended travel, but it's long enough that we will have to do laundry a few times, so what we've pack could work for more time than we're going. 

After doing massive amounts of laundry, calling in reinforcements in the form of my mom watching the baby (thanks, Nana!) and trying (in vain) to explain the concept of a capsule wardrobe to my Adventure Associate, we begin with her packing. My goal was to pack about a weeks worth of clothes that could be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. I told her we could pull out everything she thought she wanted and then would remove things if it didn't all fit.

She settled on:
-2 pairs of leggings
-1 pair of lightweight long pants 
-2 pairs of cotton shorts
-1 skirt with shorts built in
-1 jumpsuit and 1 romper (in lieu of a dress)
-6 t-shirts/blouses (1 sleeveless, the rest short sleeved)
-1 lightweight sweater and 1 warmer sweater
-4 pairs of pajamas (I couldn't convince her to go any lower!)
-8 pairs of underwear and 8 pairs of socks
-2 bathing suits (1 one-piece and 1 bikini)
-1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of sandals
-1 baseball hat (not pictured, we added it later)

And what do you know? It all fit! Her toiletries fit nicely into the front pocket. You can see her check list:

Next, I moved onto Intern stuff. This was pretty easy since he can't argue with my choices. Also, his stuff is small, so it all fit into a small backpack that fit under the stroller. In addition to his clothes, we will bring his carseat and folding stroller, boppy (I traveled without it this spring and really hurt my shoulder- I say it's worth the carry), and a sleeve of diapers and wipes. We're bringing enough to get us through a few days and will buy more along the way.

Intern packing list:
-8 onesies (4 with legs/shorts; 3 tank tops, the rest short sleeved)
-2 lightweight pants and 2 shorts
-3 pairs of pajamas and 2 swaddle sacks
-1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of booties, 5 pairs of socks
-bathing suit (and swim diapers), rash guard, 2 sun protection hats
-1 changing mat, 1 burp cloth, 1 extra boppy cover
-6 bibs/kerchiefs (he drools... a lot)

Intern toiletries (in my bag):
-baby sunscreen
-baby lotion
-forehead thermometer
-nail file

Then it was time to pack for myself. I expanded my usual travel kit, probably to about 2 times what I used to pack. First off, as I'm nursing, I wanted everything I brought to be accessible for that. On the plus side, nursing tops have built in bras, so I didn't have to pack those! Well, except for sports bras, as I did decide to pack exercise clothes. I've gotten into a good post-partum workout routine and I want to keep it going. Lastly, given the volatile nature of diapers, I figure I want enough clothes to be able to change more than once a day without doing laundry every other day! While not "ultra light" the way we used to go, this is still pretty slim packing and could have easily fit in my old backpacking pack if I still had it...

I ended up with:
-3 pairs of lightweight pants
-1 pair of shorts
-5 nursing tank tops
-2 nursing dresses
-1 jumpsuit
-2 lightweight weight layers and 1 nursing sweater
-1 bathing suit
-3 exercise outfits (leggings, sports bra, shirt)
-8 pairs of underwear, 8 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of washable nursing pads
-1 pair of flip flops, 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of walking sneakers
-1 sun hat (not pictured)
-1 "backpack" style baby carrier, 1 ring sling baby carrier

I put a lot of my stuff into travel size containers. I find I am getting pickier about what I use as I age.
-face wash, scrub, face cream with spf, night cream
-shampoo, condition bar (a new purchase I'm excited to try!)
-hair cream, gel, leave in conditioner
-toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
-contacts and solution
-inhaler, nasal spray, allergy meds, vitamins
-hairties and clips
-light makeup bag (eyeliner, mascara, elf "bite" pallette, powder)

I packed everything up into a duffle bag with wheels. I know, I know, a rolly bag isn't exactly Adventure gear, but considering I will often be wearing the baby, it made sense to give myself the option of rolling the bag.

Matt packed his bag while I took the kids to Target for some last minute toiletries (like swim diapers, baby sunscreen, hair ties...), so who knows what he packed in his backpack. Allegedly it includes:

-lots of athleisure wear
-one nice outfit
-bathing suit
-flip flops, running shoes
-toothbrush, allergy meds, face razor

Update - Matt's packing photo:

Between the 4 of us we have:
3 back packs, 1 small rolling duffle, 1 large purse ("personal item"
Stroller/carseat, boppy.

And it's all coming on the plane with us. We've made it through security...

Here we go!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Staffing Updates at Shapiro Adventures!

 Hello Loyal Readers and all new to the Shapiro Adventure Blog!

While our posting has been on hiatus for many years, the adventures have continued! We are excited to bring you new content beginning summer 2023. Before we can do that, we need to introduce you to the new members of the Shapiro Adventures team.

In 2015, we hired our first Adventure Intern - Bunny. In her first 2 years as our intern, she adventured all over the US, from Los Angeles to Indianapolis, and even had an international adventure to Baja California. Sadly, the COVID-19 Pandemic halted our international adventuring for a period of time, but she has become proficient in many applications, including Google Sheets. She did such an amazing job, that in 2023 she earned a promotion to Adventure Associate. We're so happy to have her as part of the full-time team! She will be launching our new video blog on YouTube very soon. 

With Bunny's promotion, we decided to hire our second Adventure Intern - Dorian. He has already adventured around the Southern USA and is about to embark on his first international adventure only 4 months into his internship! Look out for content featuring our new intern, as his skills are developing daily.

Well, readers, we look forward to writing to you during our upcoming adventure!