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!