Things To Do In Antigua

Things To Do In Antigua – A Video Overview

The Central American country of Guatemala is known for its lush and wild jungles.  The name Guatemala means “land of trees”.  With thirty-three volcanos, four of which are active, the landscape is rugged and rich in minerals.  Guatemala is near the equator and receives ample rainfall and sunlight to make a fertile environment for agriculture to flourish.

Guatemala’s flag consists of two blue blocks hugging a white block in the center.  The flag symbolizes the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that hug Guatemala in the center.  As the most populous country in Central America, this flag represents sixteen million residents that speak twenty-two different languages.

Things To Do In Antigua

Things To Do In Antigua – Explore The History

The city of  Antigua, Guatemala was once the capital of the country.  It’s rich history spans the Mayan Empire and Spanish rule.  In 1524 it was originally founded as Santiago de Guatemala.  This area is prone to natural disasters, including floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and avalanches.  Through a series of natural disasters that destroyed the city multiple times authorities decided to move the capital to Guatemala City.  At this time the city adapted the name it now holds, La Antigua, Guatemala which fittingly means “Ancient Guatemala”.

Things To Do In Antigua – A Land Riddled With Volcanos

Antigua is a growing tourist destination.  It’s driving distance from Puerto Quetzal and the now capital, Guatemala City.  The drive winds through the beautiful countryside.  To the west of the city are a pair of peaks, Acatenango and the Volcán de Fuego or “Volcano of Fire”. To the south of the city is Volcán de Agua or “Volcano of Water”. If you feel like taking a hike, climbing Pacaya Volcano will give you a magnificent view of the surrounding valley.

Things To Do In Antigua – Delve Into The Cobble Stone Streets

The uneven cobble stone streets of Antigua are endearing.  Sight seeing tourists must be mindful that, while watching their step, they must also beware of the bay windows that jet out into the street.  These exterior ornamentations add character to this beautiful place.

The city of Antigua is one of the best examples of Latin American town planning. Straight lines established by the gird of north-south and east-west streets make it easy to navigate.  Each neighborhood has its own temple, square and hospital.

Antigua Guatemala transports you in time.  You feel that you are living in history.

Among the many historical buildings is the Palace of the Captains General, the Cases de al Moneda, the Cathedral, the Universidad de San Carlos, Las Capuchina, La Merced, Santa Clara and many other noteworthy sights.

Things To Do In Antigua

Things To Do In Antigua – Guatemalan Cuisine

Guatemalan cuisine is also based on the influence of the Mayan and Spanish cultures in the region.  Mayan cuisine prominently features corn tortillas which, in this area, have added limestone to increase calcium to the diet, chilies and beans are also key ingredients.  The Spanish introduced ingredients such as citrus fruits, olive oil and garlic.  Almost all dishes include some form of black beans, white rice and corn tortillas.  Meats typically come sautéed in chili sauce or boiled in savory stews.

Many locals still make their food by hand using traditional methods.  Meal time is informal, with its focal point being socializing with their community.  Common crops in Guatemala include bananas, cocoa, coffee and sugar.

Things To Do In Antigua

Falling in love with the charm of the city is one of the easiest things to do in Antigua.  This is a place that I would like to spend more time in. With so many things to do in Antigua, my time here was far too short. I will be returning again soon to this magical spot.

Indonesian Food – Recipes From Bali

Jade green stalks of rice shoot up from the murky waters of the terraced landscape. The sapphire sky contrasts the scene creating a sense of balance. On my scooter I putter through the rice fields soaking up the mystical beauty of Bali.

A place that beckons travelers from around the world, often you hear visitors explain they are on a spiritual retreat. I came to Bali to learn about the cuisine and take the flavors home with me to share with others. I believe eating is a spiritual act. The best way to experience a culture is through their food.

indonesian foodNavigating the bustling local markets with our instructor, we picked up fresh spices, along with produce that was fresh from the farm. I watched as a young man gutted and descaled our fish in no more than 15 seconds, his catch from earlier that morning would end up in our meal. It was amazing.

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One of the best things about traveling is sharing the experience with others. These are recipes we cooked while in Bali. I hope you will try them for yourself and enjoy these authentic Balinese dishes.

indonesian food

Indonesian Food – Recipes From Bali

Pindang Serani

Yellow Fish Soup

indonesian food

What You’ll Need:

2 pounds of fish tuna, mackerel or other fish of your preference

1 handful of fresh basil

2 Kemangi Salam leaves or bayleaf

3 thumbs of galangal, peeled & sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 thumb of ginger, sliced

3″ piece of turmeric, peeled & sliced**

2 Kafir lime leaves, torn into pieces

2 lemongrass stalks, crushed, then tied into knots

1 red pepper, deseeded & sliced

7 cloves of garlic

8 small shallots, sliced

14 Canbera Wit – Thai chilies, destemed*

3 green onions, sliced

1 lime, juiced

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 tablespoon mushroom stock pearls*

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

indonesian food

What You’ll Do:

In a soup pot over medium high heat add the coconut oil. Add the galangal, onion, lemongrass, red pepper, shallots and green onion to the pan and sauté until tender. Combine the garlic, turmeric, and ginger with 2 tablespoons of water in a blender and purée. Pour this sauce into the soup pot. When the soup pot becomes fragrant add the chopped fish to the pan. Pour 2 cups of water into the pot. Toss in the whole chilies and ripped Kafir lime leaves. Add mushroom stock. Sprinkle in the salt and sugar and simmer over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and basil.  Remove from heat. Serve.

*Do not chop the Thai chilies. Keeping the chilies whole minimizes the heat they give off. If you chop them the dish may become inedible.

*If you cannot find mushroom stalk, substitute with vegetable broth concentrate.


Jackfruit Curry

indonesian food

What You’ll Need:

1 pound young jackfruit, chopped*

1 thumb of fresh turmeric, peeled & chopped

5 red peppers, deseeded & sliced

7 cloves of garlic, sliced

3 green onions, sliced

3 thumbs of white ginger, sliced thick

2 Romano tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon mushrooms stock pearls*

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Optional garnish: 1/4 cup fried shallots

What You’ll Do:

Boil ginger, turmeric and red peppers for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend this mixture together with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth. Pour the contents of the blender into the pot and reduce the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a medium soup pot add the chopped jackfruit, cover with water. Boil until tender and then drain.

Add the reduced curry sauce to the jackfruit pot. Mix in the green onions and coconut oil. Stir in the curry powder. Add 1 cup of water and coconut milk. Segment the tomatoes into the curry and stir. Add mushroom stock pearls and salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

*If you cannot find young jackfruit you can use potatoes or meat instead.

*If you cannot find mushroom stalk substitute with vegetable broth concentrate.


Pepes Tahu

indonesian food

What You’ll Need:

1 thumb sized piece of palm sugar

1 red pepper, deseeded & sliced

1 thumb size galangal, peeled & sliced

5 small shallots, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

1 Kefir lime leaf, destemed

1 Romano tomato, chopped

16 ounces Tofu

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 eggs

1 tablespoon mushrooms stock pearls*

1/2 teaspoon salt

banana leaves

indonesian food

indonesian food

What You’ll Do:

In a sauce pan over medium-high, heat the coconut oil. Add the palm sugar, red pepper, galangal and Kefir leaf. Reduce heat and simmer until the palm sugar melts. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the tofu dry.

In a medium sized stock pot add the shallots, green onions and tomato and tofu. Stir in eggs. Remove the Kefir leaf from the sauce pan and pour the contents into the tofu mixture. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place water in your food steamer and bring to a roaring boil.

Scoop one cup the tofu mixture into a banana leaf and roll it up. Skewer the ends with bamboo picks. Steam for 15 minutes. Serve.

*If you cannot find mushroom stalk substitute with vegetable broth concentrate.


Easy pickles

indonesian food

What You’ll Need:

1/2 onion, chopped

2 large cucumbers, segmented

10 Canbera Wit – Thai chilies, destemed*

1 large carrot, peeled & julienne

1/2 cup hot water

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons sugar

What You’ll Do:

Add all ingredients in an airtight container. Shake. Serve.

*Do not chop the Thai chilies. Keeping the chilies whole minimizes the heat they give off. If you chop them the dish may become inedible.

**Tip: To quickly and easily peel ginger or turmeric use the edge of a spoon to remove the skin.

Indonesian Food

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Things To Do In Dominican Republic

Many of the things to do in Dominican Republic center around the sun and surf. The Dominican Republic is a Hispanola island that shares its western boarder with Haiti. Flying into Cabarete’s Puerto Plata airport (POP) travelers are greeted at the airport exit by many locals offering transportation into town. Be prepared to pay a $10 tourist tax when entering the country.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – Visit Cabarete

Driving into the township, one notices the extreme poverty in which many live in this country. Wooden homes that seem to be barely standing house happy children that play out front as their parents sell local goods to make an income. Venturing into Cabarete, more shops spring up and a different picture of the island comes into view.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – The Epitome Of Beach Life

Frothy white capped waves roll to shore, splashing against the beach. The sound of the water breaking is rhythmic and calming. The fine tan sand glitters in the sunlight. Walking on the edge of the beach, a mixture of sand and water washes over the soles of the feet and swirls between the toes, creating a tickling sensation which breathes life into the soul.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – Kiteboard

Sun kissed babes in tight and bright bikinis unravel the ropes of their kites anticipating a dance across the ocean as the wind leads. The dudes watch these girls as if hypnotized. The beach is lined with colorful kites in shades of orange, pink and green. On the horizon kiters sail through the sky as if they are weightless.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic

Lush palm trees spread their leaves over the landscape, providing a canopy of shade, welcoming escape from the heat of the Caribbean sun. The bright orange flowers of the Flamboyant tree create a vibrant contrast to the clear blue sky. The large seed pods that dangle from its branches are often used in instruments like the maracas you hear bands play at night.

Small wooden shanties of varying colors line the beach where locals offer surf or kite lessons for a nominal fee. It is the perfect spot to sit on the beach and enjoy a refreshing drink while being entertained by the kiters as they fly through the sky.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – Punta Cana

As you take the six hour drive from Cabarete to Punta Cana the simplicity of life unfolds before you, revealing a new dimension of the island. Cows roam freely, grazing in grassy fields; the only fences are constructed of trees planted tightly together in rows along the roadside. The flat plains give way to cliffs and mountainous terrain the further inland you drive.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – Expect The Unexpected

Whilst navigating the roads, one must be aware of their surroundings. Pot holes the size of small children seemingly spring up out of nowhere, grabbing your tires when least expected. Moto concho or motorcycle taxis zip by at record speed as a family of four are seated on the back, all helmet free, wind blowing through their dark hair. On a two lane street, cars drive in either direction while vehicles pass through the middle of traffic and people zig zag in between.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic

A resort town, Punta Cana (PUJ) has a completely different vibe. Here, you will be able to relax on the beach under a palm tree or umbrella, work on your sun tan and sip on fruity tropical drinks. You will also find American hotel chains and restaurants sprinkled in with the local flavor.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – An Adventurer’s Paradise

Plan your trip well in advance. The island is spread out and sight seeing from one city to the next can take many hours of travel. Cabarete is known for its water sports and all things involving surfing: kitesurfing, windsurfing, bodysurfing. Punta Cana is better known as a resort destination for those that want to relax on the beach. Santo Domingo (SDQ) is where Columbus first landed. Full of history, this bustling metropolis is the capital and largest city in the country. This is where Fort Ozama, the National Pantheon and the Catedral Primada de Americas, is located.

The Dominican Republic has beautiful weather year round as the average temperature is 78°F. Many say that February is the best time to visit because between February and May, the peak season rush dissipates. Snow birds love escaping to the warm weather of the tropics for vacation this time of year.

Things To Do In Dominican Republic – Tips

The D.R., while gorgeous, can be described as rough. It is ill advised to be walking outside after dark. If you choose to take a gamble do so in large groups. Many travelers are mugged yearly.

It is best to drink bottled water over tap water.

Be sure to have plenty of D.R. pesos on hand as many businesses do not take credit cards. Cash is king here.

Saipan Island

Saipan Island A Beautiful Oasis

The best possible thing has happened—you have ended up on a nearly deserted island, a tropical oasis, Saipan Island.  Vast white sand beaches give way to 80 degree ocean waters.  Not many people know of Saipan Island and fewer have traveled to this pristine playground.  Saipan Island has its share of challenges. However, it still remains one of the Pacific’s best kept secrets.

Saipan Island – How We Discovered It

We set out to climb Mt. Fuji, excited for the adventure ahead I breezed through customs and immigration.  Upon exiting the secure area I did not see my husband who was behind me in line…waiting for 20 minutes I became worried.  I asked a security officer for assistance and with a stare I knew I was in trouble, guilty by association.  I was escorted to a back room where I saw Joby; we were told to wait for a translator.

Come to find out he had less then 6 months of travel time left on his passport and was being denied entry into the country.   After an 8 hour flight across the Pacific Ocean, I was not wanting to jump on the next flight back to the states.  One thing we knew for certain was we were not allowed to stay.  The translator suggested we hop a flight to Saipan Island, which is west of Hawaii and south of Japan.

I’m embarrassed to admit but I didn’t even know where this Saipan Island was, let alone that it is the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands—a commonwealth of the United States, which meant no passport, no problem, we only needed a drivers license to enter.  The dollar is the local currency and local inhabitants are US citizens.  I felt that history class had really let me down.

Saipan Island

Saipan Island – A Gem Of The Northern Mariana Islands

Saipan Island is only 14 miles long and 5 miles wide.  We thought we would just grab a bus to the center of town and figure out a plan.  We quickly learned that there is no public transportation on Saipan Island.  To get around, you must rent a car or moped.

There are taxi’s on the island however, the official taxis are only allowed to take you to and from the airport or your hotel.  With such stupid logic, so a handful of illegal taxis sprouted into existence.  They have become the Uber of Saipan Island, as they undercut the taxi cartel on price and efficiency.

We put renting a car on hold to figure out where we would be staying…it’s always good to know where your going.  We hopped on AirBnB and found a local, Nicky, who offered to be our personal tour guide for a couple of days while we stayed at his house waiting for Joby’s new passport to arrive.   Things were working out.

Saipan Island

Saipan Island – It’s All About The 80’s

We woke up in a beautiful mansion over looking the ocean.  Excited to explore the island, we set out with our new friend.  The weather on Saipan Island is amazing.  The average year-round temperature is 84°F (28.9°C) and boasted 80% humidity.  Saipan Island holds the Guinness World Record for most consistent temperature.  The only deviation to Saipan’s perfect climate is the rainy season from July-November with August bringing the heaviest amount of rain falls.

The white sand beaches give way to crystal clear aquamarine colored waters with 150 feet of visibility.  The 85 degree water makes you feel like you are soaking in a healing bath.  The warm temperature allows you to play in the water all day.

When visiting Saipan, you’ll feel you have the whole place to yourself.  We quickly learned that Nicky knew everyone on the island and everything about this oasis.

Saipan Island

Saipan Island – The Grotto

We decided to visit the Grotto.  Parking the car in the parking lot, Nicky led us on a  short walk that opened up to an beautiful view of the Grotto.  A popular scuba diving site, there are three different exit holes out to open ocean.  Once outside, there are beautiful walls, swim-throughs, and caves to explore.  This site is one of the four dive sites most frequently visited by professional dive shops on Saipan Island.  The Grotto is a popular and challenging dive.

We were not prepared to scuba dive, we were just taking in the scene.   My husband thought this would be the perfect setting to teach me how to high dive, I wasn’t as sure but I went along with it.  From a large cliff which others may describe as a small jump, I set out to learn how to dive.  From below Joby and Nicky coached me to lean forward with my hands over my head, push off with my feet and just let my body follow my head into the water below…no big deal.  Well, I would love to say that I dove gracefully from the giant cliff but I did not…instead, I belly flopped and I hit hard, so hard that the wind was knocked out of my lungs and my face and chest began to burn from the sting of impact.  A glutton for punishment and not wanting to disappoint my husband, I climbed back up the cliff to try again and again with the same result; I was mastering the bellyflop.  Here is a video for your comic relief:

Saipan Island – The History

Saipan Island has its share of challenges.  In 2009, Saipan was hit by near economic collapse, which can been seen in the deteriorating infrastructure on the island.  They are still recovering.

Many of Saipan’s “tourist attractions” center around it’s involvement in WW2.  One of the islands biggest attractions is the sight of a mass suicide, known as Suicide Cliff.  At this spot, 1,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide so they would not be captured and imprisoned. Even before knowing the history, the site gave off an eerie vibe.

Saipan Island

Saipan Island – Points Of Interest

  1. The old Japanese jail:  In the middle of town there is a jail where some have reported that Amelia Ernhart spent her last days.
  2. Forbidden Island: Unlike reality TV you don’t want to be stuck on Forbidden Island. Originally occupied by evil spirits, it is now a bird sanctuary.
  3. The Last Command Post:
  4. The Garment District: Saipan was home to a thriving garment industry from the mid 1980s until 2009.
  5. Garapan Street Market: The place to meet locals, try local cuisine and buy handcrafted goods.
  6. The Old Man by the Sea: One of the most popular pocket beaches on Saipan, this rock is like an x marks the spot treasure hunt.

Saipan Island – The Local Flavor

While in Saipan you must try some of the local cuisine. The Apigigi is a sweet treat.  It is made of grated young coconut and tapioca flour.  Over an open fire the Apigigi is grilled in banana leaves.  A dish called Kelaguen is served as a side dish or main course.  The interesting thing about this meal is that no heat is used to cook the meat (cooked chicken, raw shrimp, fish or beef meat/liver) instead the “cooking” property is the acidity of the lemon juice that is used in the recipe which cooks the meat over time.

Saipan Island – The Infamous King Larry

At some point during your stay on Saipan Island, you will learn about King Larry.  In 1969, Larry Hillblom developed the courier system, now known as DHL.  He is the “H” in DHL.  This company  helped cargo save money by getting documents to customs before the ship docked, saving days or weeks at port.  By 1979, DHL was operating in 120 countries.  In 1981, he moved to Saipan Island.

Hillblom was a hero among the islanders.  He successfully sued the US government for its mistreatment of locals by persuading a judge in Guam to sanction the US for not issuing enough passports to residents.  He also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Saipan Island against the inspector general.  When the case came up in court, he was the presiding judge.  He rendered a decision that the inspector general was not allowed to audit tax returns of commonwealth citizens; this ruling was favorable to Hillblom, as the inspector was trying to get to his tax records.

When fighting Continental Airlines for control over Air Micronesia, he used the court system to force the trial of the case in Saipan.  He gained control of Air Micronesia, and became the largest individual shareholder of Continental.

As the Hugh Hefner of Asia, Hillblom loved young virgin girls and is suspected of sleeping with hundreds of them.  The reason he wanted only virgins is that he is said to have been a germaphobe and was literally deathly afraid of contracting AIDS.

On May 22, 1995 he boarded his plane, as an unlicensed pilot Hillblom often took off on illegal flights around the Marianas.  On this day, he never returned.  The plane’s wreckage and the bodies of two passengers were recovered. Hillblom’s body was never recovered.  This incident caused a lot of speculation.

After his death, many illegitimate children came forward looking for their inheritance.  In the end, four children were able to prove that they were Hillbrom’s offspring.  Each of them received $90 million.

The history of Saipan Island is one splattered with character.  The beauty of the Saipan Island is unmatched, a picture perfect embodiment of paradise.  I learned a lot on our trip from our now dear friend Nicky—if you make it to Saipan, you should look him up.

Things To Do In Singapore

There are hundreds of thousands of things to do in Singapore.

Singapore is the New York City of Asia except much, much cleaner (like you could eat off the floor in the subway) and without the crime.  So really, its only similarities to New York City are the epic shopping that one can partake in and the many vendors hawking gastronomic ecstasy.

Things To Do In Singapore – Explore The History

Things To Do In Singapore

Shops line the roads from Orchard Street to Haji Lane and thousands of stores can be found sprawling miles underground as well.  Singapore is a hub for business of all types.  A financial powerhouse, in just 50 years, this country has been cultivated from poverty and instability to one of the most prosperous nations the world has ever seen.

Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence it has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries and boasts the world’s second busiest port (after Rotterdam).

Well-placed at the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, straddling the trade routes between China, India, Europe, and Australia, Singapore is a hub for business. 5.5 million people live in the city, it is second only to Monaco as the world’s most densely populated country.

Things To Do In Singapore

The island became independent on August 9, 1965.  That means Singapore celebrates it’s 50th year as a free country in 2016.  When we take into consideration all that this country has accomplished in such a short period of time, it is astounding.

1.5 degrees north of the Equator, Singapore’s weather is generally sunny with high humidity. The monsoon season in Singapore is from November to January.  During this time, sudden, heavy showers will breakout, pouring water over the city.  These rain falls typically do not last longer than an hour.

Things To Do In Singapore– Visit The Hawker Markets
Things To Do In Singapore

A multicultural melting pot. Singapore’s cuisine is influenced by many cultures. Singaporeans are gourmands who love to eat. You will find quality Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, American and other foods in this city-state.

Of the things to do in Singapore, the number one thing to do is to eat.

The cheapest and most popular places to eat in Singapore are hawker centers.  Basic noodle and rice dishes start at $3.00 a bowl. The vendors in the hawker market were once street vendors who sold satay or other delicacies for those passing by.  Due to government regulation and to promote higher standards of hygiene, vendors now take up residency in what Singaporeans refer to as hawker markets.

You want to stop and enjoy a meal at these three hawker markets: Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Tiong Bahru Market and Newton Food Centre. Seating at all hawker markets are first come. When you find a table, place the package of napkins you brought with you on the table; this will reserve your spot while you order. If you forgot to bring your napkins, you can purchase a packet of tissues for $1.00; napkins are not provided. Tipping is generally not practiced.

Things To Do In Singapore– Eat, Eat and Eat Some More

Pretty much every meal you order is guaranteed to be delicious. Here is a checklist of foods you do not want to miss.

  1. The traditional peanut pancake, also known as min jian kueh.  This is no ordinary pancake.  With a crisp outside and chewy inside this pancake is doused with roasted, finely ground peanuts. The mixture of sweet and savory makes this dish perfect anytime of day.
  2. Chili crab. This dish is not for the faint of heart. A whole crab will be delivered to your table drenched in hot chili sauce. As you eat, the heat compounds until your  mouth becomes a fiery inferno.  This dish is messy, so have lots of napkins on hand or order the alternative peppered carb.
  3. Satay. Barbecued skewers of meat (chicken, beef or mutton) can be found at nearly every restaurant.
  4. Kampong. Aka “carrot cake”. Made of daikon radish and stir-fried in warm seasonings this sweet dish is reminiscent of the taste of carrot cake. Once you try it, you will never be that same and it will be a meal that calls you back for more. It can be ordered black or white. I prefer black kampong.
  5. Noodle bowl. With endless possibilities of flavors everyone can find a noodle dish they will love. At the hawker markets you can pick the vegetables, meat or noodles you want in your custom bowl. A meal will cost you between $3-5.00.
  6. Traditional Ice Cream Sandwiches. This is not your average ice cream sandwich. A block of ice cream in the flavor of your choosing is placed in folded slice of bread. Eat it quickly or you will have a mushy mess on your hands.
  7. Bubble Tea. My favorite is the Ginger tea with aloe and coconut bubble.

It’s not always easy to find vegetarian food. However, Indian stalls may have a number of veggie options. Some hawker centers will have a Chinese vegetarian stall or two.

If you want to splurge on a meal, Samy’s is a place you wont soon forget. Instead of using plates your meal is served on a banana leaf. Every dish is served family style and the portions are generous so when ordering be prepared to eat…a lot.

Things To Do In Singapore- Take In The View

Things To Do In Singapore

Singapore is best viewed from the sky and the New Asia bar paints and impressive picture of the bustling city below.  The Divine Wine bar is another must see foodie attraction. The exterior of the building is reminiscent of Gotham City. Once inside, order a bottle of wine. Women wearing fairy wings ascend a tall wine rack to retrieve your bottle of wine before serving you. The wine is pricy however the experience is with it.

Things To Do In Singapore- Go Shopping

Shopping is second only to eating as a national pastime in Singapore. Miles of shopping malls line the streets from Orchard Road to Suntec City.

The Marina Bay Sands towers over the city.  This hotel, casino, shopping mall, convention centre and museum all rolled into one boasts the beautiful Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. This oasis of nature in the midst of the city is a great place to spend an afternoon. If you are looking to spend time in the casino you will enter the most profitable casino in the world. Locals have to pay $100/day or $2,000/year just to get in. As a foreign visitor you can penter for free when you present a passport.

Things To Do In Singapore- Explore The Amenities


Singapore’s transportation system is easy to navigate. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus system quickly and cheaply gets you around town. Single-trip ticket will cost from $0.80 to $2.20.

The most expensive part of your trip to Singapore, after the plane ticket will most likely be your accommodation. If you are willing to stay at a hostel and book in advance you could get a bed for about $20 a night. For a low to mid-range hotel you will pay $100-$300 per night. Luxurious hotels will cost more then $300 a night.

A food lovers paradise, Singapore should be on every food lovers travel list. Stop for a few days to eat to your hearts desire and then eat some more.

Things To Do In Ecuador

Things To Do In Ecuador – The Video Review

Quito is the capital of the country of Ecuador. Sitting at 2850 meters or 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the highest capital city in the world. (Mistakenly, many believe La Paz, Bolivia is the highest capital in the world; however, La Paz is not the capital of Boliva, Sucre is).

The name Quito literally means “the middle of the world”. Since Ecuador sits on the Equator, there are no seasons per se; however, the locals have a saying, “the weather is the like the girls, beautiful and unpredictable”.

Things To Do In Ecuador

7 Things To Do In Ecuador

1. Compañía de Jesús, Quito – This is one of the best-known churches in Quito. Decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings it is considered one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America.

2. El Panecillo – Here you will find one of the best views of the city. On a hill high over the city you find the Virgen de Quito or the “Dancing Madonna” watching over the bustling city below.

3. Basílica del Voto Nacional – A Roman Catholic church located in the historic center, it is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas.

4. Old Town – This historic district can be navigated by foot, though you will mostly likely feel exhausted by the end of the day. Be sure to explore the three main squares – Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza San Francisco. There are many free walking tours offered online—just do a quick Google search to find one that seems interesting to you.

5. Teleferico – A cable cart takes you up the side of Pichincha. Here you can take in a panoramic view of the city and hike through one of the 45 National Parks and reserves of Ecuador. Be sure to go early, because the clouds cover the mountain mid-day and your view will be obscure.

6. Travel to the middle of the world. There are three options:

La Mitad del Mundo – This is the spot that Things To Do In Ecuadorexplorers calculated to be the equatorial line back in 1736. It is highly photographed and if you Google images of the equator, this monument will dominate your search. It has now been proven that this tourist attraction is off by 240 meters.

Museo Intiñan – Calculated by GPS (with mixed reviews and results) this museum is designed to test the physical forces of the equatorial region. Some of the experiments are tricks, but others are demonstrations of physics. Either way it is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.

Quitsato Sundial – The equatorial line in this location was conceived from satellite information.  Here you will learn about the history of the region and cultural implications of the equator through astronomy, geodesy and archaeology as ancient civilizations observed the position of the sun at the solstices.

7. Hike through the central Andes and volcano alley.

Things To Do In EcuadorThe Andes are the longest mountain range in the world and boasts some of the highest peaks, most of which are volcanoes. One of the most famous volcanos in the region is Cotopaxi. Mountain climbers from around the world travel to Cotopaxi National Park to summit this stunning peak. There are 44 volcanos in Ecuador with varying degrees of technical difficulty.

Of the many things to do in Ecuador getting altitude sickness is not one of them.

Since Ecuador is almost two miles above sea level many tourist suffer from altitude sickness. Know the early

symptoms of altitude sickness which include: headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and insomnia. If altitude sickness persists later symptoms include: shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, respiratory failure, cerebral edema, coma, or death.

Things To Do In EcuadorOne of the best ways to ward off altitude sickness hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Avoid caffeine and alcohol which depletes the body of water. Incorporate potassium rich foods into your diet to help you acclimate. Eat foods such as broccoli, bananas, avocado, cantaloupe, celery, greens, dates, potatoes and tomatoes. Carbohydrates are also great for stabilizing your blood sugar while maintaining your energy.

If you are climbing to even higher elevations, remember to ascend slowly; climb high but sleep low and continually access how you feel. The most effective treatment for altitude sickness is to descend. In extreme cases, you may need an oxygen treatment or professional medical treatment.

The rich volcanic soil found in Ecuador is great for growing produce and flowers. Ecuador is one of the biggest exporters of roses in the world and 60% of the roses grown in this region are exported to the United States. If you buy roses on the street, you can get 24 stems for $2 USD.Things To Do In Ecuador 

Things To Do In Ecuador – Eat Like A Local

Ecuadorian cuisine should not be missed.  Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken) is a traditional dish as well as Ceviche. Try the Choclo. This dry roasted Andean corn is the perfect snack to eat while walking the city. One of Ecuador’s best known, and most beloved, dishes is Llapingachos. These potato patties are made with cheese, and cooked on a griddle until golden brown. I especially loved the Locro Soup which is a hearty, potato-based soup made with cheese and avocado. Cuy or Guinea Pig is a local delicacy which I opted out of trying, let me know what you think of it if you dare to order this little rodent. Finish the evening with a Canelazo. This alcoholic drink is made with a clear, anise-flavored liquor, cinnamon, lemon, sugar, and water. It will knock you out for the rest of the night.

Things To Do In EcuadorThings To Do In EcuadorThings To Do In Ecuador








If there is one word I could use to describe Ecuador, it would be VIBRANT. The people are vibrant, friendly and warm. The landscape showcases vibrant, lush, green terrain against the bright blue, vibrant sky. The textures of the cuisine vibrantly contrast each other creating a medley of sensations for your tastes buds to enjoy. This vibrant country should be on every traveler’s list of places to see.

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Places To Visit In Portugal

Visiting Portugal will make you believe in love at first sight.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Lisbon

Chunky pieces of limestone and basalt of all different shapes and sizes lead your eye across mosaic walkways lined by towering trees full of lush green leaves. The sidewalks bring to life the history and culture of Portugal. Each stone is laid by hand; it is a labor of love. There is no other place in the world quite like it.

Places To Visit In Portugal

In spring and summer you will find the Portuguese sitting at corner cafes catching up with friends laughing over a shared bowl of Feijoada Trasmontana. This traditional bean stew is hearty, the kind of meal your grandmother would make you when you come for a visit. This meal sprung forth at a time when people could not afford to waste any part of the animal or their food, so a hodge podge of unmentionable meats add intriguing flavors to the stew.

There are as many ways to get to Portugal, as there are places to visit in Portugal. I’ve taken a boat across the Atlantic Ocean through the Azores, I’ve flown into Lisbon’s Portela International Airport (airport code LIS). I’ve also made the drive from Spain. Portugal is a land locked country with a few islands sprinkled just off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

The capital city Lisbon or Lisboa is a great place to fly into and start your journey. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, as friendly people greet you with “Hola!” as they scatter in different directions on their merry way.

With many places to visit in Portugal the hop-on hop-off buses are a great way to get an overview of all that a city offers. A 24 hour pass on the bus will cost an adult 14.50€. Once you have an understanding of the cities layout and places you may want to spend more time, you can venture off on escapes that could fill days or weeks worth of time.

Places To Visit In Portugal


Lisbon is reminiscent of San Francisco as you see trolleys buzzing down the streets and the “25 de Abril Bridge” is a burnt orange suspension bridge designed by the San Francisco architect who designed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Be sure to stop at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos to view prominent examples of Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. It is an inordinate detailed and expansive structure that evokes the reverence of visitors.

The Alfama is the old quarter of Lisbon and a picturesque neighborhood as the bright terra-cotta roofs accent the white buildings below and contrast with the vibrant blue sky. The streets are a maze where one can easily get lost as you wind through the cobble stoned streets soaking in the scene before you. Local vendors set up stands along the side walk for tourist to buy their hand made goods and musicians elicit the music pouring out of their hearts. It’s a wild romanic and inviting area to spend the day.

Places To Visit In Portugal

The Praça do Comércio or Commerce Square has a long history you can review as you have lunch at “Martinho da Arcada”, Lisbon’s oldest café. The Tagus river Triumphal Arch is a lined one. Near the center of the square, you will find the bronze Statue of King Joseph I.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Sintra

If you plan to spend all of your time in Lisbon on your trip to Portugal, then be sure to make Sintra a day trip on your itinerary.

Lisbon has an easy to navigate public transport system which is a cost effect way to travel around the city and into the outskirts of town. A 20 minute ride from Lisbon is the charming late 14th century palace of Sintra. Pena Palace is the oldest surviving palace in Portugal. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also one of the seven wonders of Portugal. It sits high on the hill above the town of Sintra. The palace has held many titles including the role of a monastery and private residence. The sprawling terrain of park will keep visitors busy for hours, be sure to wear your walking shoes as the park has over 200 hectares to explore.

Places To Visit In PortugalQuinta da Regaleira is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. The grounds are exquisitely kept and one should take time to stroll through the entire property. With great detail the palace, chapel, lakes, grottoes, wells and fountains are gorgeously designed. The property gives shrouded with a veil of mystery as secret tunnels and caves weave through out the property. One such tunnel leads you past a waterfall into a dark cavern that opens up to the “Initiation Well,” which was never finished as it was not meant to hold water but constructed for ceremonial purposes. The Quinta da Regaleira should be on your list of interesting places to visit in Portugal.

Places To Visit In Portugal: Porto

Places To Visit In Portugal

From Sintra you can catch a train through the rolling green hills of the Portuguese country side as you travel up the coast to the second largest city in the country, Porto. Porto is the birth place of Port Wine. In the 14th and 15th centuries this coastal city moved into the forefront of ship building. The wine of the region was shipped from the vineyards down the Douro? River in large wooden casts. It comes in semi-dry, dry and sweet varieties. Though most know port wine as a red dessert wine in also comes in a white variety. Unlike other wines, Port wine can be recorked and drank over a period of two months. A wine tasting will cost you 5 euros. The town is marked by its mid-evil? feeling and burnt orange terra-cotta roof tops. Enjoy a glass of port from the deck of the Yateman hotel, it is the best view of the city. The city can be easily walked and most of the sites can be seen in one day. If you prefer, there is a hop-on, hop-off bus or metro that can be taken for about 20 euros. If you forego the sight seeing bus and choose to walk the city center you can see everything on the tourist map for less then 20 euros, including lunch.

Places To Visit In Portugal: The Azores

Image courtesy of:

Image courtesy of:

A short plane ride off the coast of Portugal will land you in the Azores. (Be aware that if you are flying one of the low cost carriers, you will most likely be charged 40 euros for your carry on bag, and prices go up if the weight of your bag is over 15kg. Also, the acceptable size of a carry on bag in Europe is much smaller then carry-on bags in the United States). The largest of the Azzore islands is São Miguel Island. The beautiful landscape will capture the heart. When driving around the island, be aware of the cattle that roam the streets as they move from pasture to pasture to feed, which make sense as the leading industries are agriculture, dairy farming and livestock ranching. Once and active the Azores have fertile soil and a rich history. In the crater of the volcano you will find Lagoa das Sete Cidades otherwise known as twin lake. This is a special lake as one half of the lake appears vibrant blue and the other half of the lake is emerald green. Legend says the lake is made up of the tears of torn lovers. One lover had blue eyes, the other green and as they said good bye forever the lake was divided, holding their tears forever together.

Of all the places to visit in Portugal, I have not visited a city I have not not instantly fallen in love with.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro – The Worlds Largest Party

Night descends and cheers erupt.  The fast tempo of the Samba keeps dancers moving furiously.  The beating of drums, chapping of hands and whistles blowing creates an atmosphere of electrifying energy urging you to break out of the stands and join the crowd, dancing below in the streets. The butterflies in your stomach begin flapping their wings feverishly with anticipation that the worlds largest party is about to begin.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival is celebrated in many countries around the world each showcasing different rhythms, themes, floats and costumes depending on the region in which you choose to celebrate.  The biggest and most well known celebration happens at Carnival Rio de Janeiro.  Over 500,000 tourists will travel to Brazil to join more than two million people who flood the streets all day everyday for the five wild days of carnival.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

The top Samba schools compete against each other each year with over the top passion.  The goal is to be crowned the best Samba school in the country, a highly sought after honor.

Planning for this years festivities has been building since the closing of last years party.  The floats that move past the spectators are colossal in size.  The music blares and lights flash making the whole scene glow.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival Rio de Janeiro


Almost blinded by the reflection of thousands of rhinestones that make up the dancers costumes I wonder if any fabric has been used or if the shiny stones have been glued to the women bodies.  Brightly colored feathers of aqua, magenta and canary explode off headpieces like fireworks.  In a trance, unable to peel your eyes off the scene unfolding before you, waves of bodies move down the street to the pulsating music.

I’ve never seen so many beautifully bronzed people in one place.  Everyone is fit and can move there bodies in ways I could only dream of doing.  Yet, caught up in the moment I shimmy and shake with everyone else in the crowd.

Carnival Salvador

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

If celebrating Carnival in Salvador one must participate in a “blocos”.  These rowdy street parties are typically organized by groups of neighbors during Carnival.  Less extravagant but equally crazy  the floats at these parties consist of stacked speakers of epic proportion on the back of 18 wheel semi truck flat beds.  With deafening decibel levels music is pumped into the streets making every cell in your body vibrate.  Be sure to bring earplugs or you will be deaf for a couple of days after.  Be sure to buy tickets in advance as they sell out quickly.  Tickets allow you to take part in the celebration.  Once you buy a ticket you will be given a t-shirt to wear with thousands of other people in your Blocos tribe.  The shirt you wear will identify which float you will follow.  I suggest you customize your jersey (tie it up, cut it, generally make it look cool).

Another more expensive option is a camaruche.  These parties overlook the action of the Blocos in the streets below. It’s more of a luxurious VIP club vibe.  The parties boast delicious food, beautiful people, great music and vendors that will do your makeup, hair or give you a massage.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival Rio de Janeiro



After Carnival, once you have recovered from the sleepless nights and sensory overload there are many other amazing sites to see in Brazil.  In Rio you might want to decompress with an afternoon on Copacabana Beach one of the worlds most famous beaches.  Be sure to take a day to visit Sugar Loaf and the world famous Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city.  The view looking back on the city is spectacular.  For a different side of Brazil take in a football game.  Brazilians take football very seriously.  Make sure you are sitting on the correct side of the stadium and cheer for the team everyone around you is cheering for or else…

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

If you make it all the way to Brazil and do not visit a Brazilian steak house, a churrasco, your whole trip has been in vein.  Boasting an endless buffet of meat and a expansive salad bar you won’t leave hungry.  When you are seated you are given a block that is red on one side and green on the other.  When the green block is showing this indicates to the waiters that you want to be bombarded with cuts of exotic meat from their skewers.  Flip it to red and they will stop offering you the juicy cuts of meat.  Keep room for a slice of the grilled pineapple, it will rock your world.

Have fun and play it safe.  There are a lot of pick pockets in Brazil who are not afraid to rob you in broad daylight.  Be aware of your surroundings and try not to attract attention to yourself.  A money belt is a great idea.  Don’t carry anything with you that you don’t mind losing. Now let loose and enjoy your trip to Carnival Rio de Janeiro – The Worlds Largest Party!

Places To Visit In Spain

With so many places to visit in Spain, it would behoove travelers to allocate a month’s time to exploring the vast country side. Once you arrive in the country, you will get caught up in the lively, vibrant atmosphere and be intrigued by the multifaceted culture and people that inhibit Spain. There are many charming towns in Spain, from Zargoza to Bilbao, León to Valencia. Here, I will highlight my favorite places to visit in Spain and why they are worth exploring. If you plan your trip in late summer, you will be able to participate in some one-of-a-kind festivals.

Places To Visit In Spain: Buñol

Places To Visit In Spain

The last Wednesday in August, the biggest food fight in the world is held in Buñol, a little village outside of Valencia. La Tomatina attracts tens of thousands of people annually. 130 tons of tomatoes are trucked in for this event. There is a $10 euro registration fee to participate and tickets should be purchased in advance.

As I walked the cobble stone streets to the center of town, Plaza del Pueblo, I was passed by people wearing face paint and goggles. One gentleman ran by wearing a hallowed out watermelon on his head like a helmet. I thought to myself “what am I getting myself into?” At this point, it was too late to change my mind; I was committed to taking part in the largest food fight in the world.

A shot rang out, echoing through the square as the sound bounced off the side of the buildings. The crowd began cheering. In the distance, the brave man wearing the watermelon helmet was trying to shimmy his way up a two story tall greased pole to retrieve the prized ham perched at the top. Once he reached the ham, the tomato fight would begin. He was having a tough time scaling the slippery pole so the crowd, anxious to start, began using their bodies as scaffolding to help the greasy climber reach the goal. He grabbed the ham and flung it into the crowd.

Suddenly, fire hoses began spraying the crowd and dump trucks full of tomatoes began to inch their way down the narrow streets. Standing in the road amidst thousands of people, I thought, “There is no way this truck will fit down this street.” I was wrong. The horn of the trucks blared as people were made into human pancakes squished against the walls and boarded up windows of the buildings. As we struggled to breathe, unable to bat an eyelash in such tight quarters, people in the bed of the dump truck flung tomatoes at us. It was at this point I wished I had googles and a watermelon helmet. These tomatoes were not ripe at all! They were actually quite hard.

The rule was that all tomatoes were to be crushed before throwing them at other participants…being smacked in the face with a rock hard tomato, I soon realized that not everyone had read their welcome packet outlining the rules. This was anything goes, full on war and people were aggressive. I found myself chucking tomatoes at strangers and getting covered in a sticky paste. A few minutes passed and another truck could be seen inching its way down the street, threatening to squish us along with the tomatoes under it’s tires.

Abruptly, ice cold water came raining down from the sky. The people in the apartments above the street were throwing freezing cold buckets of water out their windows on the crowd below and laughing about it. The street became a slurred mess. Repeatedly, I took a barraid of shots to the face, chest and arms. It was time to take cover. I looked for an out.

It wouldn’t be easy, but I saw a stairwell halfway down the street and made my way towards it. The stairwell was a gantlet. The people trying to escape were easy targets and the crowd took the opportunity to pelt them with tomatoes as they ran up the stairs to safety. The beating was worth the risk so I went for it, knowing that the short term pain would be nothing compared to staying in the trenches. The bruises forming on my skin were all the battle wounds I needed. This experience tops the list of places to visit in Spain.

Places To Visit In Spain

Places To Visit In Spain: Pamplona

Of the places to visit in Spain, running with the bulls in Pamplona is a must. Running with the bulls in Pamplona takes place July 6-14 each year. Each day, visitors have the chance to risk life and limb to run with the bulls. This festival has been held annually since 1592. Running with the bulls is a time honored tradition in honor of Saint, San Fermín.

Running with the bulls in Pamplona takes place July 6-14 each year. Each day, visitors have the chance to risk life and limb to run with the bulls. This festival has been held annually since 1592. Running with the bulls is a time honored tradition in honor of Saint, San Fermín.

Running with the bulls is a bucket list experience for many. Some actually kick the bucket when they are gored by a bull charging after them in the streets. Actually, less people die running with the bulls then at the parties, so a word to the wise, run with the bulls and then skip the after parties.

Driving into Pamplona in our RV, we again had no clue what we were in for. Hundreds of people walked by dressed head to toe in white. The men wore white linen pants and t-shirts while the ladies were in long white dresses. Red scarfs were tied around their necks and waists. There are two different reasonings as to why such attire is worn. One explanation is that patrons wear white to honor the saint, San Fermín and the red scarf is worn because he was martyred. Another reasoning is that runners dress like the butchers who first began the tradition.

At 5 am, runners still hung over from the party the night before stagger to the start line as workers frantically hurry to construct the large wooden fence that divides the spectators from the participants. The fence is a map for racers, charting the course they will take. As the sun rises, streaks of red and orange wash over the sky as a beautiful water colored picture is painted of the morning. One could cut the tension in the air with a knife or a bull horn as the impeding race weighs on each persons’ mind. Officials comb the crowd, removing the weak and elderly; not everyone that wants to run is permitted to.

I was under the impression that runners raced down the street with one set of bulls charging after them. This was not the case at all. Waves of bulls are released from their holding pens throughout the race. Just when you think you are in the clear and the bulls have passed you, another wave of bulls come charging towards you. The half mile course seems miles long when a 2,000 pound bull speeds after you like rocket on your heels. The animal is pure muscle and high on adrenaline. You can feel the warm stertorous breathing on the back of your calves as the creature gasps for air and swings its head and horns at you to get out of the way.

With a rolled up newspaper in hand, the goal and the deciding factor if you are a real man or woman is if you touch the bull with your newspaper. A risky proposition I am unashamed to admit is that in this definition of being a real woman, I am not. I did not get close enough to a bull to touch it with a newspaper and instead a cowarded on the side of the fence praying not to get gord.

Then I saw the most manly man in the world. A man that seemingly did not have a healthy fear of death or he was still drunk from the night before. Either way, he was crazy. The raging thunder of the bulls hooves intensified moving closer to where I cowered. This man was running in-between two bulls with his bare hands nonchalantly sitting on their backs like old friends do. Like in the movies, the crowd parts and everyone turns their focus to the hero as he emerges, time slows down for a brief second and everyone watches, awe struck. As quickly as he appeared, he is gone, ushered down the street by the bulls to the finish line—the arena where the bullfights take place.

Spectators pack into the arena to watch the matadors “toy with the bulls,” I mean fight the bulls before they are slaughtered. Super soaker water guns are filled with sangria from the large buckets the crowd has brought with them. Spraying the sangria into the air the crowd is drenched in the sticky, sweet, red mixture. The red liquid staining the white clothes the crowd is wearing, we now look like the butchers we are dressed as. The matador enters the arena and the crowd erupts into a Spanish chant and boisterous cheering. Sadly, the bull will soon be dead. In its last few moments, I find myself cheering for the bull to win, to somehow make it out of the arena alive. I know this will not be the case. The difference between bullfights in Spain and those held in Portugal is that, in Spain, the bulls dies while in Portugal they no longer kill the bulls. Earlier in the day, there were protests against the killing of the bulls but for now, the tradition continues.

Places To Visit In Spain

Places To Visit In Spain: Barcelona

There are two big cities that make our place to visit in Spain list. To be candid, I prefer Barcelona over Madrid. The artistry is what makes this town special. Every tile on the facades of each building are unique and tell a story, which brings to life the Spanish culture. The renowned artist Antoni Gaudí has masterful and quite intriguing pieces of artwork sprinkled throughout the city. Gaudí’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church, has been under construction since 1882 and is not set to be completed until 2026.

The hop-on hop-off bus (32€) also operates in Barcelona and is a good option for travelers. The metro can also be easily navigated from one attraction to the next and averages 2.15€ per ride. The entrance fees are moderately priced and should be factored into your travel budget.

Places To Visit In Spain: Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain and a bustling metropolis as the third largest city in Europe. There is much to see in the city as the country has done a great job at preserving the infrastructure of the historic city and, in such, the feel of this ancient yet modern town. The Madrid City Tour bus, at 21€ for a 24 hour pass, is great way to get an overview of all this city has to offer. At your leisure, you can get off at stops to learn more about the monumental landmarks. The night life in Madrid makes this one of the places to visit in Spain, it is not to be missed. Dance floors come alive as men and women move their bodies to upbeat latin music. You will get hot and sweaty whether you’re dancing or observing. Hotels can be quite pricy so I suggest booking a room through Airbnb or a hostel. (For a $25 credit towards your next stay with Airbnb visit: Hostels will also be able to give you discount admission prices to many local attractions).

Places To Visit In Spain: Granada

At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range is the city of Granada. Rich in history, Granada is most commonly known as the home of its prize jewel the Alhambra. In the hillside outside of the city, visitors can experience one of the most beautiful palace fortress complexes in the world. With the attention to detail in the architecture of the Alahambra, the layout of the grounds and the placement of this magnificent structure, it is no wonder that 8,000 people a day visit this site each year. 55 euros will get you a guided tour, which brings to life the rich history of this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even with the hefty price tag of this tour, everyday it sells out, so be sure to book your tour well in advance.

Places To Visit In Spain: Málaga

Near Granada, you will find one of the oldest cities in the world, the port city of Málaga. This artsy town was the birth place of Pablo Picasso. Today, you will still find local artists featuring and selling their work on the roadside. My favorite aspect this quaint stop are the tapas. Tapas are small plates of food otherwise known as appetizers in America. In Malaga, you get a free tapas with each drink you order. Sitting at a table under an umbrella in the summer, months of watching people move to and fro while sipping on a red wine from the Rioja wine region in northern Spain and nibbling on delicious Spanish cuisine is perfection. Everyone loves free tapas which is why this destination makes our places to visit in Spain.

Places To Visit In Spain: Toledo

Next, on our list of places to visit in Spain is Toledo. This town is southwest of Madrid. The narrow, winding, cobble stone streets are enchanting. The ancient buildings surrounded by the old city walls transport you back to a much different time. The town, though modernized, still has an old time feel, allowing you to picture yourself living centuries earlier.

Places To Visit In Spain

It took on the nickname Holy Toledo as the Christians, Muslims and Jewish religions converged in the city. The phrase “Holy Toledo” is said to have sprung from the concentration of churches, which made the city holy. Many religious buildings in the area have preserved the history and architectural treasures of the Gothic, Renaissance and Spanish Mission decor.  A guided day trip is a great way to experience the city.

The memories you will take away from your time in Spain will be memories that will be cherished and recounted for the rest of your life. If you haven’t booked a trip to Spain yet, you need to do it today. Heck, let me know when you are going and I might just join you and add more stories to the fond memories I have of this amazing country. The places to visit in Spain listed here are a great start.

Driving The Alaska Highway

Road trip! Join me on the journey of a lifetime as we drive the Alaska Highway

The winding road of the Alaska Highway is legendary and is reserved for the most fanatic travelers.  Making it on the bucket list of travel junkies worldwide, it is for many a once in a lifetime undertaking.

We are on a race against the clock.  We have 4 days to make the 2,826 mile drive from Seattle to Anchorage and there is a lot of ground to cover.

Alaska Highway














The Alaska Highway is nestled in North America’s last frontier.  Billions of trees have rooted their earthy brown trunks in the rich soil below, supporting the branches full of lavish green leaves that reach into a turquoise sky to embrace the sun’s warm rays.  The mountain range in the distance is violet and looks like crushed velvet and capped with snow. The colors appear to be more vibrant in the north, the stark contrasts extenuate an already brightly painted canvas.

In order to see the most breathtaking view, one can image all you must do is open your eyes.

The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada and travels 1,390 miles (2,237 km) to Delta Junction, Alaska in the United States.

An engineering marvel, the Alaska Highway was built in just 9 months.  In February of 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie Kings agreed to the construction as a means of connecting the U.S. and Canada.  Less then one month later, construction began.  The Alaska Highway is fondly referred to as the “Alcan.”  This stretch of concrete cost the U.S. approximately $140 million dollars.

Many of the towns on the path sprung forth as a result of the building of the highway.  You will not find a large metropolis on the journey; just quaint little pit stops inhibited by only a few hundred people where you can evacuate the vehicle to stretch your legs.

As the odometer clicks by mile after mile, be sure to take time to visit these roadside attractions.

Alaska Highway

Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway is in Dawson Creek.  It is an obligation to stop and take a picture under the sign announcing “You Are Now Entering The World Famous Alaska Highway”.

The next big town on the Alcan is Fort Nelson which is known for the large reserves of oil and gas nearby. On the way to Fort Nelson, you will pass over Pink mountain, which is the highest point of the trip—and if you blink, you will miss it.

The next 300 mile stent is home to Summit Lake and Muncho Lake, which are renowned for there jade color waters.  This unique color is attributed to the copper oxide that has leeched into the the water from the bedrock below.  Stop here for a picturesque picnic lunch.

Pause for a moment at the Laird Hot Springs. It will cost you $10 to get in but you can stay as long as you like; they are open 24 hours a day.  A long wooden boardwalk ushers visitors through the marshes where bear and moose are often spotted. These natural sulfur springs are a nice way to relax after a long day of driving.  The heat will relax your muscles and the fern covered embankment evokes a peaceful abeyance.  There are no public showers, so if you do not have an RV to shower in after your dip, you will smell a little like rotten eggs— but it is well worth it.

In Lake Watson, you have the opportunity for another photo op in front of “The Sign Post Forest”.  72,000 signs are on display. Look for the “Alaska or Bust” sign and snap a photo there.  The sign forest started in 1942 by the homesick layman Carl Lindley who posted a sign for his hometown of Danville, IL. Without knowing it at the time, he created the most famous attraction in Watson Lake.

Alaska Highway

Trucking along, you will come to Whitehorse, a town that boasts 2/3 of the Yukons residents with a population of 36,000.  Here you can see the S.S. Klondike on the banks of the Yukon River, “Log skyscrapers” which are small two or three-story log cabins and the Whitehorse Waterfront Trolley.

When you reach Haines Junction, you are entering Kluane National Park and Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Keep driving and you will find yourself at the gateway to Alaska, the U.S. Border.  From here, you can continue on the Alaska Highway to its official end in Delta Junction or you can branch off and head south to Anchorage, which is what we did.

If, at any point in the drive you see a sign warning “Rough Road Ahead”, proceed with caution.  “Rough Road Ahead” actually means, beware of the potholes which are the size of small children that are quickly approaching. Unevenly grated roadways, loose gravel and dust storms from speeding semis are in your immediate future.

Expect to see a lot of wildlife on the trip.  Big game like buffalo, elk, bear, moose, reindeer and antelope all call this place home and I noticed that many of their homes were right on the side of the highway. There are plenty of fishing holes where you catch the biggest fish of your life. Take time to hike around one of the many lakes along the road and soak in the 360 degree panoramic views. Remember, you are in bear country, so do not leave food out and be alert to your surroundings.

We made it to Anchorage ahead of schedule, taking 36 hours to make the 1,580 mile drive. If I were to do it all again, these are my three tips to make your journey more enjoyable.

Tips To Navigate The Alaska Highway

1 Take at least a week to complete the drive. You can do the drive in a couple of days; however, you’ll pretty much just be driving and not soaking up all the beauty the landscape has to offer.

2 Take a friend with you that is willing to share in the driving responsibilities.  You can do the drive alone; however, it will be much more enjoyable if you can switch off drivers.

3 Pack a cooler full of food. If you’re looking for fine dining along the drive, you’re not going to find it. If you do not pack some food you will end up eating a lot of gas station snacks.

A camera can not capture the beauty I’ve seen with my eyes. The journey of a lifetime on the Alaska highway showed me things I had never seen before and will probably never experience again. If you are considering taking the drive, go for it, it will be well worth it and the stories you will harvest along the way will bring you lifelong joy.