Matador Network
Matador Network is the web’s largest travel magazine. Our fast growing community includes independent travelers, as well as athletes, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers we sponsor to produce original investigative works. Our mission is to empower, connect, and feature travelers promoting culture, conservation, and sustainability around the world.

#MatadorN reader @scott_kranz waking up above the clouds at Wing Lake before climbing Black Peak in North Cascades National Park, Washington. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#clouds #light #camping #mountains #washington #nature #outdoors #sunrise

Only shop on Via Tornabuoni.

Florence has some great shopping, but head to Via Tornabuoni or any of the shops that line the Piazza del Duomo and you’re sure to pay extra for the location.

Locals don’t like paying for designer labels, so take a cue from them and do your shopping at the markets. The best one is the Ciompi Market in Piazza dei Ciompi. Unlike most of the markets that are only open on certain days, Ciompi is open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 7pm, as well as the last Sunday of the month.

Come in the summer.

It’s not worth it. With scorching hot days, swarms of mosquitoes, and even bigger swarms of tourists, sightseeing in summer is almost a surefire way to ruin your day. The locals who know better escape to the hills or seaside instead.

Springtime is perfect because you can enjoy the city’s gardens and a more moderate temperature, or come for the winter holidays to see the Christmas lights and the famous Santa Croce Christmas Market. In any season besides summer, you’re sure to have less crowds and more peace.

Order the wrong food.

Each region in Italy has its own unique cuisine. Florence is home to Tuscan food, which is definitely different from what you’d eat in Rome. Don’t screw up your trip by ordering basic tourist dishes like pasta al pomodoro, or worse, a salad.

Most classic Florentine meals are simple dishes with a rustic flavor. Try an antipasto of crostini di fegato, thin slices of lightly toasted bread spread with a chicken liver pate. For a primo, try the ragù al cinghiale (pasta with wild boar sauce) or tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta covered in a truffle sauce), a specialty found nearly exclusively in Tuscany.

Afterward, split a bistecca fiorentina with a friend. This mammoth T-bone steak is so thick it’s cooked on its front, back, and side and usually weighs three to four pounds. For the best fiorentina, head to the Trattoria Bordino in Oltrarno.

Use the Ponte Vecchio to actually cross the river.

The Ponte Vecchio is beautiful, a historic landmark, and filled with interesting people, but that doesn’t make it a particularly useful bridge. Connecting the city center with Oltrarno, the bridge also houses the Vasari Corridor, connecting the ancient Pitti Palace with the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio so that the nobles wouldn’t have to walk among the common folk. But even today, you won’t find an Italian on the overcrowded bridge.

Go at least once around sunset to check out the jewelry shops and the beautiful view of the Arno, then stick around to listen to the live music that starts after nightfall. After that, use one of the nearby parallel bridges if you actually need to get somewhere.

Wait in line to climb the Duomo.

If you don’t have a lot of time in the city, climbing the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo’s cupola is definitely not worth it. The Duomo is magnificent, and the view from the top is mesmerizing, but it’s not the only place to catch an awesome view of the city. Skip hours of waiting in the sun, and use the time to hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a more relaxed, definitely more satisfying, and free view of Florence. Or, if you have a longer day, take the #7 bus from the train station to Fiesole, a city that sits in the hills above Florence, for a more romantic view.

If you’re still dead set on climbing the Duomo, you’ll likely be able to skip the line if it’s November and you get there at least half an hour before it opens at 8:30am.

Neglect Oltrarno.

Oltrarno, or “the other side of the Arno,” is the neighborhood located across the Arno River, away from the city center. Home to the Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Pitti, and Piazzale Michelangelo, it’s also a vibrant neighborhood with some great shopping. Once the artisan quarter of Florence, it’s still home to dozens of workshops and studios.

You can spend hours talking with the artisans, or shopping for real products from Florence (instead of the mass-produced ones at San Lorenzo Market). The Sarubbi Brothers on Sdrucciolo dei Pitti create handmade prints and hand-drawn maps, or visit Monaco Metropolitana on Via Ramaglianti to learn what it takes to make leather shoes and purses.

From: How to ruin your trip to Florence //

Technicolor sky over #Brensholmen, #Norway. Photo by #MatadorN reader @hammerphotos. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#nightsky #sky #northernlights #travel #longexposure #tromso #colorful #color


FOR MANY people who’ve traveled extensively and/or lived abroad, home can be a tenuous subject. It’s easy to lose a sense of it when you’re constantly on the go or have changed addresses six times in two years. I left my “home” of Vancouver when I was 31 and after longterm traveling in Europe and SE Asia, then living in Australia, I sensed it was no longer my home. When I returned in 2010 for the Olympics as soon as I stepped foot in the city I knew it was not home anymore. Even after moving to Nelson, BC four years ago — which is where I call home nowadays — it took me a long time to settle in and plant some solid roots.

Keweenaw County

Not having a place to call home can feel unsettling, but it can also be very exciting. This month we’re exploring this topic in our next #MatUTalks Twitter chat on Thursday August 14 at 2:30 EST.

We will also be giving away a few copies of Images of America: Keweenaw County, a photo book authored by MatadorU student Jennifer Billock. The book topped the best-sellers list in June for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and reached #6 for the entire state. During the chat we will randomly draw from participants.

To participate in the chat, follow MatadorU on Twitter and use the hashtag #MatUTalks to find and respond to the questions.

From: Not having a place to call home can //

10 super useful Portuguese phrases

1. Ó, desculpe! Com licença! – “Excuse me”

You can strike the “com licença” and just say “ó, desculpe!” over and over again until someone hears you. It works everywhere, from asking for help in the streets to ordering food.

2. – “Hey,” “So,” and other meaningless interjections

“Pá” is the Portuguese equivalent of “che” for Argentinians. You use it at the beginning or ending of a sentence. Or you can just say “Pá…” and scratch your head, while thinking about something.

During the Carnation Revolution, a French journalist came to Portugal (without knowing much Portuguese) and, after talking to a lot of people, made a note to see a guy named “Pá” since he was always being mentioned. That’s how much we use it.

3. E então? – “So what?”

If someone’s bothering you, or accusing you of doing something, you can say “E então?” like you just don’t give a damn about their problems, and move on with your life.

4. Vai mais uma? – “One more?”

This is what you should say when you’ve been at the bar a while, everyone’s getting tipsy, and you’re unsure whether or not to order another beer. Just call the waiter — “Ó, desculpe” — and look to your friends and ask, “Vai mais uma?”

5. Que se foda a Troika! – “Fuck Troika!”

This one will win you a lot of friends and a general look of approval. Portugal has been in deep financial crisis, and three global financial organizations — the IMF, European Commission, and the European Central Bank — aka, the “Troika,” have stepped in to help. Gladly, they’re almost gone, but most of the measures implemented by the Troika were deeply unpopular, and basically made everyone poorer.

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#MatadorN reader @supersonics101 enjoying the view at the top of Mt. Pugh, Washington. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#washington #mtpugh #view #mountains #travel #hiking #trekking #outdoors #nature #landscape

Explore Utah - Riding Moab

Matador filmmakers and adventurers Scott Sporleder and Josh Johnson hit the trail on some of Moab, Utah’s famous trails. For more killer destinations in Utah and beyond go to

Who’s ready for an adventure? Photo by #MatadorN reader @mmmargotttin Big Bear, #California. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!
#bigbear #kayaking #friends #summer #water #light #adventure #travel

IT WAS PATTI SMITH who said, in a talk at Cooper Union in 2010, that “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling.” Smith wrote in her memoir, Just Kids, about coming to New York as a “down and out” young woman, scraping by in a cheap apartment, creating a community of artists, and even at times paying rent with artwork.

But New York City has long since priced itself out of this lifestyle, with rent in Manhattan averaging $3,822 and in Brooklyn (the “less expensive” option) $3,035 per month. This means living in Brooklyn costs, on average, over $36,000 a year — higher than the salary of your average “young creative.” Our salary increases certainly have not kept pace with the cost of living.

When I was living in Brooklyn, I was paying $800 per month to split a three-bedroom with two other girls. We were living on the border of Lefferts Garden and Crown Heights, a quickly gentrifying neighborhood which, while it wasn’t bad, wasn’t exactly the bustling downtown area people expect when they hear “New York City.” When I initially moved to Brooklyn, I was looking for work as a writer / editor, which I found, sparingly. I was working as a writing assistant making $500-$600 a month, which is not much in general and is basically pennies in New York.

I can’t imagine that I’m alone in my experiences. Early creative work, what many call the “portfolio-building years,” inherently involves a lot of low-paying and non-paying jobs. We’re often seen as “apprentices” to our trade, despite our college educations and numerous internships. I’ve found that young creatives who desire to be financially independent from their families (which — despite what you may have heard — is most of them) do one of two things: They find a “real job,” a term I use skeptically, and attempt to pursue their passion in their free time; or they find a way to commodify their passion.

I was part of the former group, taking a job as a receptionist at a fertility clinic in midtown Manhattan. I ended up having a strong love / hate relationship with this job — I loved the patients and found myself getting very involved in their care, and I found the scientific aspects of the field absolutely fascinating. I learned a lot, both about medicine and about people, in my time there. However, this was not the reason I came to New York. I’m a creative, passionate, intelligent human being, and while I was able to inject this job with a bit of those qualities, it certainly didn’t force it out of me.

The “commodification” direction is one I saw many friends take — those who were interested in writing took jobs at social media companies as SEO bloggers, and those who wanted to work in film and TV found themselves working as assistants to talent agents. These jobs, while technically in the “creative industry,” probably utilized as little of my friends’ creative skills as my receptionist job did of mine. While this is probably the objectively better option, not everyone even has this opportunity — securing these competitive positions often requires years of unpaid internships and some degree of “connection,” leaving out those of us who had to work part-time or full-time jobs during college and were not able to devote our time to volunteer positions.

Unfortunately, both of these routes are problematic. Let’s explore.

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#Travelstoke! Standing on top of the world in #Geiranger, #Norway. Photo by #MatadorN reader #geirangerfjordservice.

#fjordnorway #nature #outdoors #trekking #view #travel