The view of the city from above is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Porto. From the Dom Luis I Bridge you get an unblocked view of the city and its mix of medieval and red-roofed architecture. We went over the bridge three times, twice by foot and once by tram, and each time it was right before sunset when the city had a haze over it. It was a great time to take in the view, talk to some strangers, and listen to the music flowing from the boardwalk below.
These next two photos are of Porto from Gaia, which you can reach from across the bridge. It’s probably one of the best views of the city, although Gaia itself isn’t as appealing.
The week before
I’m an inherently high-maintenance gal, no thanks to my great genetics that have forced me to wear night contacts since third grade, slather on skin products that probably don’t do anything to fix my acne, take the occasional Claritin, and get sick about 15 times a year…..
That being said, there are a lot of important things I need on my person at all times. This means big bottles of makeup remover, contact solution, and moisturizer all have to fit into my backpack or my carryon. I usually order travel-size contact solution on Amazon because it’s a lot cheaper and then squeeze other things into smaller bottles (from Muji or CVS). I don’t know what I would do if my luggage got lost and I didn’t have access to these things.
The day before
Always check-in to your flight! I used to not do this but it has changed my life. It’s so much faster, especially if you don’t have luggage to check in, and you also get to choose the aisle seat and make your life 10x easier.
I make a huge personal fuss about greasy hair on the plane, having to stare at ugly nails, and feeling gross in general, even if those things don’t bother me much on regular days. If I’m in China, where services are cheap, I’ll get these things out of the way so I don’t have to think about them on the plane or on the road.
The day before a flight I get my hair done so that I get through the flight and maybe a day or two of the trip with perfect (clean) hair. And I’m honestly too tired on those first days to wash my hair anyway. It saves time and energy and makes you feel a lot better on the plane. Getting my nails done is the same, and it’s nice to have them done well for the next week or two.
The minutes before the flight
Yes, I wear makeup on the plane. I’m not at that stage of self-confidence or skin where I can just waddle onto a plane with all eyes on me and feel fine. For short flights, I just leave it on the entire time. For longer ones, I hog the plane bathroom for a good 15 minutes (sorry), take it all off and do an extra hydrating skin-care routine, and then brace for the angry stares I get when I exit. Then two hours before the flight lands, I’ll go back in and put my makeup all on again. It sounds tedious, but getting up and walking is a blessing on a 14-hour flight.
I grab all the fruit I can in the stores around my gate. Apples or fruit cups are great. I do this every single time, even if I don’t always eat them on the plane. I don’t really mind airplane food, and if it’s bad I just stick it out, so I rarely buy full meals to replace flight meals. I will, however, always buy a bottle of water because flight attendants are the hardest to get a hold of for a dumb cup of water on the plane.
I also make sure I have all my good playlists on Spotify downloaded. This last flight I had to go all 14 hours without this one song I’d been addicted to for the past week. It sucked.
I’ll pee 5 minutes before boarding time so when I come out the line is just starting. It’s not the most important to get onto the plane first, but getting a good spot to store your carryons is, and it also helps avoid finding someone already in your seat because they want to switch seats with you.
I am a sucker for a good palace….A palace or a castle that gives you a glimpse into the life of royals back in whatever century. The Schonbrunn gives you a look at the heart of the Hapsburg Empire in all its glory, and the chance to learn a lot about people like Maria Theresa or Sisi (a princess who led an incredibly depressing life).
This was my second time at the Palace in Vienna. They have an amazing (and free) listening tour that takes you through the main rooms and tells you the stories of everything in them. Despite having listened to it before, the tour was just as good the second time around. Of all the palace tours I have been on this one was the most up close and personal.