Ana Raspini is a traveler, besides being an English teacher, and a writer.

Minha foto
Brasileira, professora de Inglês, escritora, mas acima de tudo, viajante.
Lyrical Travel Journal

A personal, slightly lyrical, point of view on the places I have been to.

quinta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2015

About walking (or Ode to my feet)

We went hiking last week but I was not completely prepared, and it got me thinking about feet.

First, let me explain: every time I go hiking, I know exactly what kind of terrain I'll face and prepare accordingly. If the track needs resistance because of time, I take longer walks in the previous weeks. If the track has uneven terrain, I practice walking in similar circumstances.

However, I didn't know much about that track, and because of a busy semester at work, I could not prepare much. I walked just a little, and on flat surfaces. Big mistake.

When we got to the hiking spot, the terrain was incredibly steep and, not enough to scare me, it was also slippery and irregular: it went from wide fields to closed forests, from stones to mud.

In a struggle both internally and externally, for my blushed face did not let me deny it, I doubted if I would be able to get to the top. I had my family with me this time, and my mother was facing similar problems. At a certain point, I told her: "It's always like this: we think we won't be able to get to another yard, but when we do, we try another one, and another. That's also how traveling is, a new breakthrough every minute."

That was when it hit me: the importance of walking. Every step is a breakthrough, be it on a steep hiking when you think you won't make it to the top, be it on the many miles visiting a new country. The steps get harder and harder, but the feeling of being able to continue is liberating.

Walking has something mystical about it, for it is almost transcendental to cross miles with your own feet. Walking is proof that resilience is key to great achievement, or great distance, which is basically the same thing.

Every time I get home from hiking or from a long trip I take the time to look and massage my feet. That's my personal homage to these tools that have already taken me so far. I take care of them so that they can keep on taking me where my heart desires.

As Johnny Walker likes to say: keep walking!


For the Portuguese version, go to Diario Lirico de Viagem

quinta-feira, 27 de agosto de 2015


An infinity of beings in one island. Prevented from growing to the sides, it grows upwards, over the mountains and over the sea... and inside each person.

The beach is their refuge, it's where evil goes to redeem itself, it's where the capital melts away in foam. Even though it can take hours to get to it, the beach is the biggest dream of those who chose the "Magic Island" to live in.

They love the beach so much that wearing bathing suits for work or school is acceptable. It's like they don't want the summer to end... The road to happiness is the same road to the beach, if the traffic allows.

People from the whole state of Santa Catarina love the island. They come from the mountains, from the far west, from wherever they are to dream in that island. Geographically incoherent, having to go to the capital, which is so far away, ends up being a desired getaway, a happy inconvenience.

The Azorean heritage is not only in the oldest buildings, it is in the present tense. The food, the narrow streets, the hills remind us of Portugal. The accent, however, is unique to that piece of land. And it's contagious!

Hercílio Luz bridge is a landmark, the most photographed spot, the certainty made of concrete that you are, indeed, in Floripa. Yet, it's also a headache. The pointlessness and the price of the bridge are equivalent to its symbolic and touristic value. Equivalent to the love the Manezinhos have for it.

Working out in the seashore is a duty, and an art. Having a meal at the Public Market at least once in your life is a necessity. Oh, and you must have your meal while smelling the fish, it's part of the experience. But please, always remember to stop and ask for the price of the mullets, and, if you can, stop to watch the lady who cleans the shrimps... She cleans them without even looking, so automatically that she serves the customers at the counter, tells prices, complains about the economy, everything at the same time. And she does that so quickly that she must have cleaned a kilo of shrimps while you read this text.

Florianópolis is a case of love and hate. However, if the traffic is kind and the weather is sunny, more love than hate.


For the Portuguese version, please visit Diario Lirico de Viagem

Photos 1, 2, and 3 are by Meiry Peruchi

segunda-feira, 24 de agosto de 2015

Tuscan Cats

I haven't always loved cats. When I was a child, we didn't have any pets. I believe that was a consequence of living in the countryside, which meant, for most of the population, that having animals was for consumption only.

First we had dogs, when we already lived in the "big city". But one fine day, an experienced street smart black cat gently made her way into our house, along with her kitten and they stayed for a while. After some time she decided to wander the world, and then another cat, gray fur and the world's most expressive eyes, arrived at our house meowing one afternoon and gained our hearts. Nina stayed with us for nearly ten years.

When I got married, I stayed without any pets for some months. But on a given Saturday night, when my husband and I were having wine and watching our favorite series, I said: "You know what's missing? A cat." We adopted a ginger kitten soon after that.

More than love, I nurture admiration for cats. Cats are elegant, athletic, agile, and have an enviable sense of self-respect. That's where all the admiration I have for cats, which makes me want to pat and photograph every cat I see, comes from. Friends traveling with us must find it very weird that we even go out of our itinerary to see cats!

In Tuscany I found that, apparently, Italians love cats. They are everywhere and don't even care about the hundreds of tourists. In some villages, they are more numerous than humans.

Below, you'll see my "photo-tribute" to the cats that make of Tuscany the most charming destination in Italy!

The sequence below happened in a restaurant in Sant'angelo in Colle, in the city of Montalcino, and made me think of the great traveler, writer and chef Anthony Bourdain, who always says that a good restaurant must have a cat or a dog sleeping on the floor or in one of the chairs. In the first picture, we see the cat waiting in the kitchen door, and then, satisfied, sleeping on the floor among the tables.

Mr. Jones

I wish I had the grace of the felines
and those big eyes
that understand everything.
Full peace of mind laying in the sun,
not a height too high,
and no fatal fall.
From resting to fully alert in one second
and total disdain with other's opinions.
with muscles much less agile,
atrophied self-esteem
or with the charm of a porcupine,
we must learn
that learning
is not optional.

Ana Raspini

sexta-feira, 21 de agosto de 2015


Yay! I was nominated for the Liebster award by Kay, from iTravelista!
Thank you, lovely!

The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers by other fellow bloggers and is a way for them to be discovered as well as connect and support the blogging community.

But that's not all! Every blogger must create 11 questions for the other bloggers to answer. And then, every blogger must nominate 11 blogs s/he enjoys!

Here are the questions I was given:

1. What has been your most enjoyable place you have been to?

I enjoyed many places: Portugal, Germany, Uruguay... But I think my favorite one was Alsace, in France. It is such a perfect combination of good wine, amazing food, beautiful architecture and the quiet feeling we get from being in the countryside that I would move there without thinking twice!

2. What has been the worst situation you have been in while traveling?

The worst situation I faced was, without a doubt, when my husband (fiancee at the time) and I were coming from Germany (where he's from) to Brazil (where I'm from) to get married. Lothar had only bought a one-way ticket to Brazil, for he planned to live in Brazil with me. However, being a European citizen, authorities in Spain were not allowing him to check in for our flight because he had to have a ticket to go back to Europe in less than three months, which he didn't! We were supposed to get married in two weeks, and I thought I would go back to Brazil by myself! In the end, we managed to buy an absurdly expensive ticket, which was nearly not refundable. We did get married two weeks after that and have been living together in Brazil for the past 6 years.

3. What camera do you use on your travels?

Barely starting: Nikon 5100.

4. Most memorable moment when traveling?

Oh, so many... But as food is really important to me, I'll have to say that my most memorable moment was when I had a piece of the best chocolate cake in the world, the one from "Pão, Pão, Quejio, Queijo" in Lisbon, while seated on the sidewalk, looking at the ocean and at Torre de Belém. It changed my life!

5. Worst food experience in any country?

It was not in a country, but in an Air China airplane, where I was served rice and fish for breakfast, it was just so weird! 

6. How did you gain courage to do your first solo trip and where was it?

I still haven't done that... I always travel with my husband or friends, but I sure want to have that experience one day!

7. What do you use most to stay in: airBnB, hostels, couchsurfing or hotels?

I usually stay at hostels, but I have already had two experiences with AirBnb, and they were great!

8. What are 11 fun facts about you?

1) I'm Brazilian, but from the south, and that means that it snows every winter where I was born;
2) I learned English by myself, through songs;
3) I'm married to a German;
4) I'm a Brazilian who hates soccer and carnival;
5) I'm scared of butterflies and aliens;
6) I have a Masters in English Literature;
7) I'm an animal activist;
8) I've been an English teacher for 12 years, even though I'm only 30;
9) I can speak 5 languages;
10) I actually have a TOP 20 list on my computer, with the 20 countries I most wish to visit;
11) I've already been to 10 countries from those TOP 20 in my wish list.

9. What is your favorite app to use while traveling?

I'm a big fan of Trip Advisor! I think personal experience is a great way to evaluate a place. I usually browse the website looking for someone who has similar opinions, and then I take his/her advice seriously.

10. What have you learned about yourself?

I've learned that I'm insignificant in such a huge, complex world, but at the same time, it is a privilege to be able to travel and witness such complexity and beauty.

11. Favorite photo you have taken?

It has everythink I love in one photo: Castles, windows, reflection, dry leaves...

Here are the instructions for my nominees:

Create a blog post on your site answering the questions that I have provided below;

In your post, be sure to link back to the blog who nominated you (which is me, Facebook page and Blog);

After answering the questions I gave you, provide 11 questions for your nominees;

Select, list and link 11 other bloggers with under 200 followers and provide these instructions;

DON’T FORGET to create 11 questions for them to answer;

Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do;

Once you’re done, come back here and comment with the link to your post so I can check out your answers.

Here are the questions for my nominees:

1. Have you ever suffered any kind of prejudice while traveling solo?

2. Did your solo trips changed how you faced trips with friends/husband/boyfriend?
3. Was there a place you visited that you immediately felt connected to and dreamt of living there for good?
4. Tell us your best AND worst food experiences while traveling. Where and why?
5. Show us your favorite photo from your travels.
6. Tell us your best experience with wine or beer while traveling. Where was it, how was it?
7. Tell us your dearest memory from a trip.
8. How do you communicate in a country whose language you can't understand? Do you use English or try to learn the local language?
9. List the TOP 5 most beautiful places you've been to.
10. Tell us 5 fun facts about you.
11. What was the biggest, most profound discovery you had about yourself while traveling?

My nominees:

As my blog is both in English and in Portuguese, I'll split the nominees by language!

5 in English:

Diana Corridori from

Katy from
Swati Saxena from
Nika Dobrovolna from
Cristian Figueroa from (in English, Spanish and Portuguese)

And 6 in Portuguese:

Milene Maciel from

Rafael Souza from
Thais Sores from
Gabriela Schotten from
Fernanda Castelo Branco from
Adriano Gonçalves from

segunda-feira, 17 de agosto de 2015

The One that Got Away

I’m sure you all heard about that syndrome travelers suffer from that is characterized by the urge to add a million destinations to a small trip. You check the map and there is just so many interesting things around your route that you decide to include every single one of them to the itinerary. The problem is that you depend on time, and the time frame you have in your mind is very different from the one in real life. Time flies by fast and you struggle to keep up with your plans, but only ends up visiting the place in a hurry, that is, superficially. That or worse, sometimes you end up giving up on that destination in the middle of the trip. And we ALWAYS regret it afterwards…

I’ve learned that the hard way: giving up Giverny on a trip to Paris for lack of time, giving up Colonia del Sacramento on a trip to Montevideo for the same reason… And now I have to live with the doubt of questioning myself if I will ever have time go visit those places again and reclaim what I missed…

However, maybe worse than planning to visit a place and giving up on it while in transit is discovering the existence of an amazing destination very close to where you traveled AFTER you get home.

Yes, that has already happened to me many times and that sudden acknowledgement always gives me a feeling of stupidity! If I researched about that destination for months, how can I have let that one amazing place get away?

Let me mention the most recent example. We planned a trip to Italy for over a year (!) with some friends and we thought we had a great itinerary in our hands: some days in Rome, slow travel around Tuscany, finishing up in Venice and Verona. The trip was amazing, of course! It’s always a pleasure to finally visit a place you have been dreaming about your whole life! Yet, a month after I got back from Italy, I laid my eyes on these astonishing ruins of an abbey, the Abbey of Saint Galgano, and researching for it on Google Maps I discovered it is only 25 kilometers away from Siena, where we stayed for three days!

I have this fascination for ruins and, can’t quite explain why, especially ruins that still have walls, but have no ceiling. As if the sky was the only thing we were to supposed to have over our heads. Baths of Caracalla, in Rome, for example, is so hauntingly beautiful I still sigh while thinking of it today. Lisbon also has something similar, that I also let get away: the Carmo Convent. The ruins of a convent with no ceiling in the heart of Portugal’s capital city. At the time, we decided to check the convent on our last day in Lisbon, however, our last day there was December 24th. What we didn’t know was that, in Portugal, not only December 25th is a national holiday, but also the 24th. When we got there, the place was closed and I nearly cried.

It really bumps me out when I discover beautiful places right after I’ve just been there. Of course I try to see it on the bright side, that if I am ever to go back there, I’ll have something new and amazing to see. But I’m not a full-time traveler and it scares me a bit thinking that I may never have the chance to go back.

Has this ever happened to you? Tell me your story and how you feel when that happens!


sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2015

Post-Trip Depression - PTD

This always happens. I just can't help it.

Since 2007, when I had my first long trip, this always happens.

A few weeks after I come back from a trip the world stops making sense, small pleasures are not as indulgent anymore, and the bureaucracy of life goes from annoying to unbearable.

It took me a long time to get this feeling. I must have only recognized it the second or third time I felt it. So I started calling it Port-Trip Depression, or PTD for short.

I'll try to explain it to those of  you who have never felt it, or for those who have felt it but couldn't tell what it was all about. During the Port-Trip Depression phase, it all gets more difficult and less interesting. Small everyday bureaucracies such as waking up early, washing your hair, working, washing the dishes come surrounded by questions like "why?" or "what for?"...

But what makes me really sad is losing the right to self-indulgence. In a normal state of mind, of non-PTD, you work all week and by the end of it you allow yourself some wine or beer, some gourmet food, or some fried treat, or waking up late without remorse. And that self-indulgence is good for you, that's the outlet you needed to forget the week behind and face the week ahead of you.

However, in a PTD state of mind, those things do not give you pleasure anymore. The problem is that you realize the wine you're drinking is worse and more expensive than the ones you had in Portugal or in France; The beer you're having is worse and more expensive than the ones you had in Germany or in Belgium; The gourmet food you're having is worse and more expensive than the ones you had in Italy or in France; That fried delicacy is nothing compared to the ones you had in England, or in Uruguay, or in Holland...

Those are desperate weeks, because the life you're leading stops making sense and that makes you feel lost. The questions of "why?" or "what for?" start applying to everything in your life and not just to the bad things. And questioning every part of your life is quite painful.

Yet, the days go by and you learn to accept that you cannot be on vacation for the rest of your life and that the world will always be there to be explored. The depression becomes smaller and smaller alongside with the digestion of the trip. You chew, swallow and digest everything you learned with that trip and that makes you better, more mature and calmer.

Life bothers you like new shoes. Then you get used to it.


For the Portuguese version, go to Diario Lirico de Viagem

quinta-feira, 23 de julho de 2015

Travel as Union

On an article I read last week, Brazilian writer and traveler Amanda Noventa, from the blog Amanda Viaja, wrote about how a trip can be a type of therapy. She wrote about how a trip can mend the pieces of your broken heart, or clear the mists which were covering that answer you longed so much about your life. However, a certain sentence made me think: "A trip helps the lonely find new friends, it helps families reconnect, it helps friends reinforce their friendship, and it helps couples discover whether they really want to be together or not"...

That last park struck me: it helps couples discover if they really want to stay together... A lot has been said recently about traveling solo, especially for women, something I admire and support, even having a series about it here on the blog, where I interview friends about their solo adventures. I really want to have the solo experience one day, for I imagine it to be a tremendous discovery about oneself.

However, traveling with your spouse/life partner/boyfriend/girlfriend can also be a profound discovery. Moreover, it can be a serious test.

I have always thought that a partner must be chosen not based on his/her preferences, but based on his/her life goals. If your biggest goal in life is to purchase goods and have a stable life, don't get married to someone who does not have a clue about financial literacy and goes around buying ephemeral things. If your biggest goal in life is to have kids, don't get married to someone who doesn't want them. If sleeping is one the biggest pleasures of your life, don't get married to a hyperactive person who sleeps 4 hours a day and thinks sleeping is a waste of time.

It seems easy but it's not. I know.

Yet, besides finding someone with sleeping habits and life goals similar to yours, for someone who is a traveler it is extremely important to find a partner who is also a traveler. A traveler soul seeks another, right?

Nonetheless, when the trips have only started after the financial stability provided by the joined income and shared bills between the two, as in my case, there was no way I could know beforehand what kind of travelers we were going to be together.

I don't believe in soulmate or prince charming either, or in that falacy of love stories that were "meant to be". I know that life is hard, and that love is built every day, step by step, with a ton of effort and willingness to learn. I know that I've been describing what is actually life itself, and that is not news. What I want to say is that a trip is like life, but more intense.

On a long trip, everything is maximized: the joy, the delight, the pain, the problems, the learning process... There is no "routine" on a trip, and that is why traveling with your partner can be a tougher test than life itself can be.

Not only because of the habits of sleep, or bathing, or eating, but also because of the pace of walking, which is a different pace on the streets, on the subway, in a church or in a museum. The frequency you feel like photographing something, or showing something to the other, of stopping to observe something. The kilometers you walk easily, then with a lot of will power, and the moment to take a break. Getting lost and coming back to the last familiar place or keep walking to see where the street ends. Turning left on a touristic information plate or turning right because you saw a nice tower at the end of the street. Every step is a mutual decision on a trip, and it can be hard or easy.

The dynamics of everyday life are enhanced on a trip which makes the nuances of such dynamics very clear to both, either positively or negatively. If not everything is synchronized as a pocket watch between the two of you, the trip (like life) will teach you that if both adjust a little bit, the gear will work well. But the trip will also point out parts that will never fit.

Let a long trip to far away test your relationship. If it works, it's nearly indestructible. If it doesn't, travel to find a new love.


For the Portuguese version, go to Diario Lirico de Viagem