City Guide to Portland (New England)
Not to be confused with its namesake in Oregon, this charming New England city is a collage of bobbing fishing boots, pretty historic houses and abundant lobsters.
Portland, New England is known for
Lobsters, lighthouses, longfellow
Sitting right on the pier, J’s Oyster serves lobster (of course) and oysters with water views.
With a new twist on New England classics, Evantide Oyster Co. has a funky vibe and an interesting bar menu.
Central Provisions does a great brunch in historic surrounds.
Out & about
This historic east coast city, which irresistibly describes itself as a place where grey flannel and plaid flannel coexist companionably, is a quaint mix of old-world charms and modern sensibilities.
One of the joys of exploring here is strolling the historic heart of the city, taking in the pretty houses of clapboard and red brick; head towards Congress Street, State Street and the old harbour.
Greater Portland Landmarks has self-guided tours.
Also, the Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in the state, dating back to 1791 when it was commissioned by George Washington.
Cruise Casco Bay on one of Maine Sailing Adventures' two-hour sails, which offer up everything from sunset soul music to sunrise yoga sessions.
Maine is a shopping haven, with hip fashion, local design and vintage pieces in abundance.
Check out Portland Trading Company, with its quirky roster of goods including kitsch Maine Wildlife Conservation patches and frisbees.
Portland Dry Goods Co. has preppy designs for men and women.
Portland Flea-For-All is a vintage, antique and artisan market in the Arts District.
The ultimate experience
Grab a take-away lobster roll – fresh, juicy chunks of lobster on a New England split-top bun toasted until golden and then covered in mayonnaise, with potato chips and coleslaw on the side – and head to a picnic table at East End Beach to take in the stunning view.
Housed in a 1960s gas-station-turned-laundromat-turned-bakery, Tandem Coffee & Bakery roasts its beans locally, and baker Briana Holt’s baked goodies are much celebrated. Bard Coffee in the old port brews seriously serious coffee too.
Stay & play
Each room at the gorgeous Pomegranate Inn is filled with lashings of colour and personality.
The light and bright Mercury Inn provides ‘modern sustainable lodging’, with vintage pieces throughout and locally sourced seasonal breakfast included.
Housed in a former newspaper headquarters, The Press Hotel has 110 rooms and suites inspired by 1920s writers’ offices.
City guide to Sucre, Bolivia
Bolivia’s constitutional capital is an elegant city of narrow streets and colonial architecture set deep in the country’s central-south.
Sucre, Bolivia is known for
Its beauty, it being bolivia’s capital and Bolivian chocolate.
Sucre's Eat streets
For a small city, Sucre has a diverse dining offering. For snacking, explore the three levels of Sucre’s Mercado Central – with its cafe dedicated to Bolivian cuisine at the top, and jugo ladies on the ground floor making freshly pressed juices.
Make a beeline for El Patio or Flores to try Sucre’s best salteñas; a type of Bolivian baked empanada, or savoury pastry, usually filled with meat and a sweet and spicy sauce.
For main meals choose from humble home cooking at Pension Dona Petra and fine(r) diner La Taverne.
Sucre is also good for vegetarian fare.
Try El Condor and El Germen, which serve meat-free Bolivian dishes among others, or newcomer Prem – El Arte de Vivir, which is all-out vegan
Out & about
Sucre is Bolivia’s first capital city and its symbolic heart. Although La Paz has been its administrative capital since 1899 (holding the seat of government and treasury), Sucre retains its capital status according to the constitution and in the eyes of its proud citizens.
Sucre has a moderate (for Bolivia) altitude of 2790 metres, which makes it a good stopover for those wanting to ease into high-altitude living and fend off soroche (as Bolivians call altitude sickness).
It means you can navigate Sucre’s elegant, narrow streets with ease, taking in the white-washed buildings that earned the city its nickname La Ciudad Blanca, ‘The White City’; and the wealth of religious buildings that date to the 16th century.
In 1991, the city was declared a World Heritage Site. Most stops on your itinerary will be within a five-kilometre radius of the main square, 25 de Mayo.
You’ll find tribes of digital nomads in sucre’s cafes: the wi-fi’s good for bolivia.
If you’re in the market for some Bolivian textiles, you’ll find a colourful and high quality selection at the Sucre store of not-for-profit organisation Inca Pallay, which seeks to improve lives of indigenous weavers in some of Bolivia’s poorest communities.
And then there’s chocolate.
With its long history of chocolate production, Sucre lays claim to yet another moniker: the ‘chocolate capital of Bolivia’.
You’ll find the best at Taboada and Para Ti, which uses local ingredients such as quinoa, coffee and chilli.
The ultimate experience
Sucre was founded by the Spanish in 1538 as Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo (Silver Town of New Toledo), on the lands of the Yampara people.
In 1825, the region became the Republic of Bolivia and it was at the Casa de la Libertad (House of Freedom), in Sucre’s main square, that the declaration of independence was signed.
Today, the building – originally a chapel constructed in 1621 as part of the Convent of the Jesuits – exists as a museum dedicated to this period in Bolivia’s history and provides a fascinating insight.
Sucre’s cafe scene is ever-expanding: try Abis Cafe, Metro Cafe and Cosmo Cafe on the Plaza 25 de Mayo for a decent cup of joe.
Stay & play
Casa Verde B&B is a homey stay with clean, comfortable rooms plus a pool.
Mi Pueblo Samary Hotel Boutique, has sleek rooms that open out to patios overlooking a lovely central courtyard.
A five-star hotel, Parador Santa María La Real is set in an 18th-century colonial mansion just one block from 25 de Mayo square.
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