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Travel

Mykonos, Greece

August 24, 2018

From Santorini we took a ferry over to Mykonos island. It was a very fast and efficient process compared to taking a flight over. Our thoughts on Mykonos were a bit different then Santorini.

Santorini is more relaxing and peaceful
Mykonos is known as the party island
Santorini is a lot of couples relaxing at nice resorts
Mykonos is a lot of young drunk people out till 10:00 am
Santorini has lots of cute little shops with dresses under $50
Mykonos is filled with luxury shopping and barely anything under $150 haha.

Those are just a few differences between the islands that were apparent in the first 24 hours. We stayed at Rocabella Mykonos which was nice but a bit far out of town. We didn’t realize its a lot harder to walk into town then in Santorini. The road to get to town was only about 5 min but took about 10-15 due to the majority of it being one lane with lots of cars, buses and ATV’s. Since we had to always catch a ride into town I planned one for 7am to go take photos…they looked at me like I was crazy. Its not till we got into town the next morning that I really understood why. All bars and clubs were still open and in full party swing. People don’t go home..they stay and party till 8-9 or even 10am. Some bars even turn into breakfast spots after the partying.

While in Mykonos we heard of the famous nightclub Cavo Paradiso so we checked the lineup for the nights we were in town and sure enough one of our favorite DJs was playing, Alesso. We ended up heading to the club at 1:30am and Alesso went on about 3:00am. While we aren’t party animals who stay out till 9:00am it was a fun experience to be in one of the most well known clubs in the world for a night.

Overall Mykonos had beautiful streets, wonderful food and gelato BUT we definitely feel like we are more Santorini people. We enjoy the more quiet side!

xoxo

A

Travel

Santorini, Greece

August 23, 2018

Our next stop, Santorini!

This was Justin’s absolute favorite! Two important criteria for our honeymoon were the Dolomites and Charisma Suites (a specific hotel in Santorini). From social media, I discovered this incredible location and knew it must be included.  There are only 8 suites, allowing personal service and the sense of being the only occupants.  It’s quite the journey from the main road but we were greeted with wine and cheese. The staff equipped us with a map of the island and recommended highlighted stops.  Also, a cell phone was included in case directions or assistance were necessary.

Charisma Suites is perfectly located to view Santorini’s famous sunsets.  Most tourist crowd the narrow streets attempting to get a good view.  A memorable highlight for us each evening, was enjoying them from our private terrace sipping champagne, with fruit and cheese!

In Santorini expect steep hills, and hot weather in July. During sunrise, we explored and took photos.  Then back to Charisma for an amazing breakfast followed by relaxing/napping by the pool. Then into town for lunch and back to the Charisma for our amazing sunset view.  Our favorite restaurant was the Lotza. We should have eliminated all the other choices.

We fell in love with this picture perfect destination and hope to return someday!

xoxo

A

Travel

Spain, Portugal and Morocco Itinerary

August 22, 2018

Below I am sharing my itinerary for a 10 day journey traveling from California to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. This is based off renting a car in Barcelona and driving all around Spain and Portugal and returning the car before flying to Morocco for the last few days of the trip.

Day 1 

  • Travel to Barcelona (We flew from John Wayne airport in Orange County to Chicago and Chicago to Barcelona)

Day 2 

  • Land in Barcelona (We landed at 1:30 and picked up our rental car before heading into the city)

What to see in Barcelona:

  • La Boqueria (This is the largest open air market in Europe)
  • Gothic Quarter
  • Casa Batllo
  • The Sagrada Familia (To go inside you must buy a ticket. Cost are $18-$35 per person depending on which ticket)
  • Park Guell (It is free to observe the outside section and about seven euro to get in)
  • Temple of Sacred Hearts (It is free to enter the church but you have to pay for parking and to use the elevators to the different view points)

Day 3 

  • Drive Barcelona to Porto, Portugal (10 hour 30 minute drive)

Day 4

  What to see in Porto:

  • Leca Swimming Pools
  • The Church of Sao Francisco (Six euro admission)
  • Livraria Lello (I believe its five of six euro to enter since its so popular and its recommended to book in advance)
  • Church of Saint Ildefonso
  • Clérigos Church
  • Porto Cathedral

Drive Porto > Aveiro, Portugal (45 minute drive)
More specifally we went straight to Costa Nova Beach. This is the cutest little fishermen village situated between a lagoon and the ocean. Its filled with the cutest painted houses and wonderful seafood.

  • Optional: From Aveiro you can head to Covao Dos Conchos, Lagoa Comprida, Portugal which is a unique sinkhole in the lake but can add a good amount of time if you are trying to do only a 10 day itinerary.

Drive Aveiro > Sintra (2 hours 30 minute drive)

What to see in Sintra: 

  • Castelo Dos Mouros (be prepared for a big hike and paid entrance)
  • Palace of Pena (I believe entrance was seventeen euro and depending where you park it can be a long hike up the castle. My advice is go towards the end of the day and go to the very top. People start seeing one open spot and parking without realizing there is parking after the castle as well. This is definitely a castle you don’t want to miss)
  • Palace of Monteiro

Drive Sintra > Lisbon (30 minute drive)

Day 5 

What to see in Lisbon:

  • Livraria Ler Devagar Bookstore
  • Torre De Belem Lisboa
  • Palace of Queluz
  • Carmo Convent

Drive Lisbon > Carvoeiro (2 hour 30 minute drive)

  • Relax. Enjoy sunset on a cliff. Go to the beach. Enjoy live music and dinner downtown!
  • Explore the whole coast from Carvoeiro to Faro
  • Visit Benagil Caves (The cave can only be reached by sea. So you can rent a boat or kayak or swim..we decided to save money and opt for the swim)

Day 6

  Drive Carvoeiro > Seville, Spain

What to see in Seville: 

  • Alcázar of Seville
  • Seville Cathedral
  • Plaza de España

Drive Seville > Córdoba(1 hour 30 minute drive)

Visit: Mosque of Córdoba

Córdoba > Madrid (4 hours )

Day 7 

  What to see in Madrid 

  • El Retiro Park
  • Palacio De Cristal
  • Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Plaza Mayor
  • When in Madrid you must try the torrija which is a bakery treat that somewhat resembles french toast. It is a slice of bread soaked with milk and spices, dipped in an egg and fried. The famous La Mallorquina located right outside Plaza Mayor.

Fly Madrid > Marrakesh, Morocco
(We ended up getting a 9:30pm flight from Madrid into Marrakesh and had the hotel driver waiting for us.)

Day 8

  What to do in Marrakesh: 

  • Visited any open air market you can find (you will find many just by walking a few blocks)
  • Ben Youssef Madrasa
  • Bahia Palace
  • Saadian Tombs
  • Try a traditional Hammas spa treatment
  • Hot air balloon ride at sunrise

Day 9

Fly Marrakesh, Morocco > Madrid, Spain

(We took a 5:00pm flight out of Morocco so we were able to explore Morocco in the morning and still get back into Madrid to have dinner and walk the streets)

Day 10

Fly Home!!!

 

Thats a wrap on a fulfilled and busy trip. This itinerary is a bit overwhelming so if you have a few more days then you will definitely have more relaxing of a time. However, it is possible to do in 10 days. If you have any questions or want advice on hotels let me know and I would be happy to share.

To view more detailed account of my trip to each location and view more photos, click the links below!

Spain

Lisbon & Carvoeiro, Portugal

Porto, Portugal & Costa Nova Beach 

Marrakesh, Morocco 

xoxo

A

Travel

Dolomites, Italy

August 22, 2018

The third honeymoon destination… the Dolomites. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone.  I sampled numerous individuals to discover only a quarter had a clue where it is located.  The Dolomites are in the Swiss Alps where Italy, Austria and Switzerland intersect. We rented a car in Venice and drove 3 hours up into the mountains. Temps dropped from 100 degrees in Venice to 55 degrees in the Dolomites, a welcomed change. This magical place has beautiful hikes and relaxing massages.  Each evening concluded with a 6 course meal.   The perfect getaway!

We stayed at the Rosalpina Dolomites. With excellent staff and personal service, this hotel seemed more like a large cottage run by a family.  Even a large brown lab roamed the grounds, mingled with guests and enjoyed any unattended food.

I’m still undecided my favorite part of the honeymoon….here or Santorini. I hope someday to return and experience a full two weeks in the Dolomites and South Tyrol, both dreamy destinations.

xoxo

A

Travel

Venice, Italy

August 5, 2018

Our next honeymoon destination….  Venice. Although our first visit here. we had mixed feelings. While the buildings created a beautiful photo backdrop, the city was hot and humid with an unusual odor. Trash filled the streets, probably from tourists and locals.  I imagine winter would be a more enjoyable season with less crowds and cooler weather.  However, we still managed to enjoy these days exploring and eating yummy gelato.

I recommend wandering the picturesque streets and viewing the many canals.  A few of my favorite sites are:

  1. Saint Mark’s Basilica
  2. Grand Canal & Rialto Bridge
  3. St. Mark’s Square
  4. Bridge of Sighs
  5. Doge’s Palace

xoxo

A

Travel

Paris in a day

August 5, 2018

Is Paris in one day even possible? Well no… not really, except if you’ve previously spent a week here.  Then it’s fun to revisit your favorite sites on a one day stop over. On our previous visit, we enjoyed all the tourist sites. So this trip, our focus was to relax, enjoy the food and take photos without large crowds. To accomplish the latter, we started our day at 5:30am before sunrise.  Thus, we had Notre Dame and The Louvre all to ourselves. Next destination…. VENICE!!!

If it’s your first visit to Paris, I recommend the following:

  1. Eiffel Tower
  2. The Louvre
  3. Notre Dame Cathedral
  4. Arc de Triomphe
  5. Musee d’Orsay
  6. Chateau De Versailles
  7. Lots of walking, exploring, and SHOPPING!!!

   Hat  //  Dress  //  Shoes  //

xoxo

A

Travel

Zion + Horseshoe Bend

April 20, 2018

It’s April and the wedding festivities begin in a week. Before life gets too hectic, a siblings road trip is necessary!  We traveled from California to Zion National Park, Utah, and then spent the night in Page, Arizona. The following morning we enjoyed a sunrise in Horseshoe Bend and headed up to Bryce Canyon, Utah before returning home. Little sleep, lots of hiking and plenty of fun!!!

xoxo

A

Travel

New York Itinerary

December 2, 2017

Trying to plan a perfect girls getaway? Look no further than NEW YORK CITY!!!! Since this was our second visit here, I thought I would share some highlights (a perfect itinerary for a girls weekend).

1. Walk around Central Park and boat ride on the lake (The Loeb Boathouse)


2. Top of Rockefeller Center. The view is stunning!!!!

3. The Flatiron building. Bonus: It’s located by the restaurant Eataly!!

4. Brooklyn  (The first photo is the view of the Manhattan Bridge from a street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Next, walking on the Brooklyn Bridge.)

5. The National History Museum. This museum is HUGE and you could spend a day or two exploring. If you watched Night at the Museum, you will love identifying the different characters and artifacts from the movie.

6.Enjoy a play!!! For my first show in New York, we were able to secure opening night tickets for the fabulous Rockettes…..phenomenal.  The choreography and costumes put us in the Christmas spirit.

7. Pick a fun hotel! Decide the area you prefer to be closest to. For us, it was Central Park and 5th Ave. We stayed at Le Parker Meridian with a wonderful view of Central Park and a great little bar, perfect for late night chats and a glass of wine.

 Our favorite time to visit is November. The weather is chilly so you can wear all your cute layers BUT hopefully no snow yet.  This definitely makes it easier to walk/drive around. Also, the department stores are decorated for Christmas and The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is delivered.

Restaurant recommendations, two of my favorite are Sarabeths and Eataly. Leave any of your recommendations in the comments for my future trips!!!!

xoxo

A

Travel

Iceland Day 3

July 10, 2017

My favorite photos from this trip are of this beautiful flower field and church in Vík í Myrdal. Next stop, Reynisfjara Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Iceland with its black sand and rock formations. The beautiful waterfall is Rangárþing eystra. Loved walking close enough to feel the powerful mist. A campsite is located just a few feet away. I concluded with my list of favorite places in Iceland.  You might want to add to your travel bucket list!  Enjoy!

Favorite destinations in Iceland:

  • Bruarfoss Waterfall
  • Gullfoss Falls
  • Secret Lagoon *Admission $27 per person for swimming. Food, lockers, & bathrooms available. (Less crowds and cost than Blue Lagoon.)
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall Waterfall. * Ability to hike behind the falls. Bring a waterproof jacket and shoes.
  • Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, Þórsmerkurvegur
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Solheimasandur Plane Wreck *1 1/2 hour roundtrip from parking lot to wreckage. Sadly site is being destroyed by tourists.
  • Dyrhólaey Arch
  • Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Reynishverfisvegur, Iceland
  • Reynisdrangar View, Iceland
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur    *Canyon in south east Iceland up to 100 m deep and about 2 kilometres long, with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it.
  • Skaftafell, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Jökulsárlón Skaftafell National Park

xoxo

A