3 Days in Florence

Hey Guys!

Hope you are doing well! I have a great travel post to take your mind off work and any bad weather!

A couple of years ago, Kathleen and I went on a trip to Italy to pursue our archaeological dreams! We worked in Pompeii, Italy during the week, but weekends were for us to explore! Our second weekend there, we decided on Florence! Best decision ever. Like I said, we would work Monday thru Friday so a lot of our travelling had to wait until after a work day! SO, really we just had an evening, Saturday, and Sunday to do all of our sight seeing! I know it’s a really short time, but try not to overbook your trip with too many museums! You probably want to see a lot, but you can always go back. It’s ok, just remember it’s your trip and take some time to relax!

I know this is hard to do, so try thinking of it as this: there are two kinds of places you visit. Some cities are experience cities, and some are heavy sightseeing places. The experience places are very much like visiting Florence. It’s walking around, looking at a couple sights, but more so just experiencing the city and the people in the city! It’s going for wine and doing some fine dining, walking around the city looking at beautiful artworks, etc. Other cities are like Rome (which I will talk about in another post)! It’s more sightseeing and touring around! These kinds of places you load up with tours and museums. Remember two things when you visit these places: don’t overbook like I said before, and really research museums as well! Only go to museums you want to visit- don’t go because you have to go or everyone else is. I promise you will have a much better time. Definitely do your research!

Anyways, back to Florence! This is how our weekend went!

Evening #1:

We didn’t have time to go and see anything, because it was so late, so we went for a night walk instead and checked into our Air bnb. Our place was so adorable. It was like real city living in a big city, where we had to walk up six flights of stairs and everything in an apartment is tiny? I LOVED it! You could look out the window into a small courtyard or see your neighbors in the apartments across from you. I recommend going for a walk around. We went to a chip place and ate (seriously go to the chip restaurants- aka fries with very good dips). We walked by some pretty great places- such as the duomo, saw some modern artwork, and learned a valuable lesson: in Italy everything closes around 10:00! Yes they eat supper late, but that’s it! No friday night parties, etc! They days they stay out late are Sundays- so weird right?

Florence is full of art- from ancient Roman art to modern! If you walk around, you’ll see lots of beautiful modern graffiti! It’s so amazing to see how art has changed from ancient to modern times!The blocks are very cool too. They’re so narrow and lovely ranging from old to new!

Day #2:

We woke up and went for a morning walk to eat our way through gelato- I had chocolate with chili flakes! I was in heaven! It was cold, hot, like eating cinnamon gum or something! It wasn’t overfly spicy and the chocolate was amazing!

Anyways, we met up with some of our roommates on the Ponte Vecchio bridge! It’s a famous, medieval bridge with tons of shops built on it! Most of them are jewelry stores, and there’s tons of like gelato places and little tourist shops around the area. So hang out! Do some shopping and please drinks all the wine and eat all the pizza!

The only other site we did that day, was walk through the Uffizi Gallery! This is a massive art museum- I’m not joking, it’s huge. Expect to take a least half a day to walk through it. So there’s two things I recommend- buy tickets in advance if you can, and bring proof that you’re a student if you are one. So for the tickets, it’s better to buy them in advance because you will be standing in a long line if not. It doesn’t have to be crazy in advance, you could do it before you leave or you could do it the day before in your hotel. But it reserves your spot for you. Also, if you are an archaeologist or an architect, you get a discount to any museum in Italy, so BRING PROOF. If you’re a student you get a discount- so again bring proof! You can get international student ids from here: https://isiccanada.ca/ . If you don’t live in Canada, no sweat, I think you can just look up international student card and it will come up for your country. My British friends- I’m so sorry about Brexit, but you can do the same and get a discount! So these two things could help you out to reserve a spot and get a discount! Do this for ANY country! There are some sights you HAVE to book in advance, like the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

The Uffizi Gallery is awesome, but a ton of art work. They have a few major pieces that you might recognize such as, The Birth of Venus, Botticelli. This is their most famous piece and it is very cool to see! The other Botticelli artwork I actually love way more than The Birth of Venus, but still very cool to say that I’ve seen that! Another piece, called Madonna with a long neck by Parmigianino- you will be able to say you have seen hundreds of Madonna and child artwork and Saint Peter the Baptist. It is cool to see how the style has changed over time! There’s also artwork like Judith Beheading Holoferines by Artemisia Gentileschi ( I remember thinking this was gruesome when I saw it- I wasn’t expecting that!), and Annunciation with Saint margaret and Saint Ansanus by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi- this was taken out of a chapel. Very cool.

If you’re finding you’re not really into artwork that much, but still want to see something but be there for less time, than go to the Accademia Gallery. This is where the statue of David is! I did not go so I have less information about this museum! My roommates and I split up at this point, some of us went to a different museum and the rest wanted to see artwork! The Bargello is where more of Michelangelo’s artwork is kept. If you are like me and want to spend the last day elsewhere, and still want to see some artwork, don’t fret! The fake statue of David is beside the Uffizi Gallery and in front of Palazzo Vecchio. I can now say I went all the way to Florence to see Fake David.

The rest of this evening was spent walking around, eating amazing food, and drinking tons of wine. Seriously amazing! There are tons of cool little shops you can go through and then some brand name, and expensive stores. I found a guy outside the cathedral who was painting with watercolors and bought a mini painting of the cathedral. It was beautiful and I lost it! This was my biggest heartbreak, I believe.

When you’re walking around, everything is close together, so you should see all the big sites! I think one other thing to note is the Florence Cathedral from the 1200s. It’s a medieval building that is basically in the center of Florence. Connected is a bapistery and further down and inside the Santa Croce is Michelangelo and Galileo’s tombs which I will be going back to, to see! Seriously. RESEARCH. I missed this little bit of info when I was deciding what to do and so regret not seeing the tombs while i was there! Oh well, looks like I’ll be heading back! There’s also some crazy fountains to see- like the Fountain of Neptune (Poseidon for the Greeks) and there is also a really cool library by the duomo! Also they have a Lindor chocolate store around the duomo (sorry, duomo is Italian for church if you’re like what the heck is she talking about) so walk around and find it and eat/ buy ALL the chocolate! No regrets!

Day #3: The Last Day

Like I said earlier, we separated from our friends, because I didn’t want to see more artwork. I would have, but on our walk by the river, we saw the Galileo museum and IT WAS A MUST SEE! This museum is cheap to go see and well setup. It’s not really busy because I feel like people overlook it to go see artwork. I don’t think I would have known about it if we hadn’t walked by it! It has all of Galileo’s works and inventions. There’s some other inventions by other scientists, but it’s heavily Galileo! Once again, it’s so cool to see how science has changed throughout time too! Here I thought I was in a heavy art area, but there was also a little touch of science to explore as well! The museum has different areas of science, because sometimes scientists didn’t stick to one area like they do now! There is a ton of space research, some biology. Galielo researched about speed, velocity and could be considered an engineer for some of his different designs and tests, as well as a physicist, and philosopher! If you go there, you can see his fingers in a glass jar and some teeth.

I think after this, we just went for some Eggs Florentine (one girl had wanted to come to Florence to eat eggs Florentine, which is not a thing and is actually hard to find where they make this- who knew?!), and we took the train back home!

So I hope this helps you decide what to see and how to spend your time when you travel! Travelling is something I’m very passionate about, so share your experiences with me and give me some suggestions on what I should see!

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Mexico Excursion

Hey Guys!

So as you know, I did recently go to Mexico! Such a fun trip! One of the best parts of the trip was booking an excursion. Excursions are activities you can plan that the company you booked with have available for you to do. Basically it’s an added expense to do various activities. They normally last about a day and the company plans to anything ranging from snorkelling in a private location, to ziplining in the jungle. There was also whale watching (only in certain months because of whale migration), scuba diving, cave tours, visiting ancient ruins or sites, and simply going into town. They are super fun and add something to a trip.

My friend and I booked with a company called Sunwing. When we wanted to check out excursions, they were sitting at a table in the main lobby in our hotel where we could go ask them questions. Easy to find, and they will let you know the best excursions and for whatever price range. The most extravagant excursion was dinner and a show (cirque du soleil quality). It was called Rhythm of the Night and took place in the jungle in the dark. From my understanding it’s dinner and a show in a private part of the jungle! That was about $160 if I recall. So for the amount you get from that one (they’re way longer and there’s more to it than that), it’s actually not a terrible price! The one that we decided on was a trip to town- Puerto Vallarta- and only cost $60. It was a VERY good day!

We started off our morning picking people up from other resorts and from other hotels within Puerto Vallarta. We picked up a photographer, and she would take nice pictures throughout the day (It was only $15 for a disc of pictures). So the gist of our trip was that we paid to go into town, and we would go through the jungle next to have lunch and then end with a tour of a tequila factory. IMG_3264

We spent most of the morning touring through Peurto Vallarta itself. We stopped at the boardwalk called Malecon, and walked through there. The views were beautiful, and the best part was that the Day of the Dead decorations were still up! It was very cool! We actually had not meant to go for Day of the Dead, it was just the only time we were both available and the flights were cheap! When we had already bought we realized we accidentally booked it over Halloween, which is the beginning of the Day of the Dead. We also went to a parish there that was very nice. The colours were super bright, and there were flowers and sculptures everywhere- very different from the churches I saw in Rome, where colours are very similar. So other than that, we went through a few little stores! In Mexico, they always take you through a couple jewellery stores before you move on. It didn’t bug me at all, because there also was a bar in each store, so we had our tequila shots and moved on from there!IMG_3251

We stopped at one other store other than the jewellery store, and that was a souvenir place. I bought a really nice Day of the Dead skull in memory of me being there around that time! Basically the salesmen bargained with themselves when I was buying it! I was willing to buy it for $20 and they kept lowering the price thinking I wasn’t going to buy it! It went down so fast I didn’t even have time to reply until they’re final offer! I am a terrible bargainer- Is anyone comfortable with it? After that, we did go to the Marketplace! Neither of us bought anything, because after a while, everything starts to look the same. However, it was cool to see the decorations up and to just walk around in the sun… UNTIL the sun was unbearable! We went from kind of hot to like I can feel myself burning hot! So we, were happy to get on the bus and just drive around a bit. IMG_3304

This part of the trip was a surprise! When we had talked to the sunwing representative, it seemed like we would just drive through the jungle to get to the tequila factory. Instead, we stopped along the way and took some nice pictures of the views, and then had lunch in this very remote town! It was very cool, we were basically sitting outside by a waterfall, eating shrimp wrapped in bacon. There was also a lady making pitas, chips, and salsa on an open grill! The food and the food was amazing!IMG_3400

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Last, we went to the tequila factory. It was a small home business. Just for the record, this was good quality tequila! They did NOT taste like that strong, disgusting, cheap brand of tequila! There was a few different kinds. He had a mandarin orange, and coffee flavored tequila- ok coffee tequila is deadly. You can use it on any deserts and in any warm drink! He had one white tequila- the strongest of the tequila family which was more manageable than a cheap shot of tequila. Last, he had three different dark tequilas. They range based on how long they’re in the barrel for. The longer, the stronger flavouring. It tastes like a woody kind of smokey flavour. Very good! IMG_3453

Other than that, we went back to the hotel and got back in time for supper and a beautiful sunset! It was a very good day! We saw lots and it was only $60! The cheap excursions very good if you’re looking to not spend a lot on some extra activities! Highly recommend!

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Puerto Vallarta Mexico

November 9, 2017

Hey Everyone!

It has been a VERY long time since I have done a travel post! VERY long time! So, I thought it would be fun to finally do one- they are my favourite posts after all!

I think today is a great day to talk about Mexico! It’s cold, and snowy and a great time to talk about something warm and relaxing!

In June, maybe July? Anyways at some point this summer, I was thinking about how I didn’t get a very long vacation. When I went on vacation I was still working and they were never long enough. All I could think about was this super long trip to Europe I have planned in 2018, but it’s still soooo faarrrr awaaayyy! So I texted up my friend saying “We need a mid-point vacation before Europe. I will NOT make it to Europe!” We had debated about a few places- Hawaii? Las Vegas? Mexico?- but when it came down to it, the all inclusive hotel was PERFECT for both of our needs! We didn’t want the hassle of getting around, and making food basically (so much laziness), so Mexico all inclusive?- Perfect!IMG_3098

We decided on Puerto Vallarta region, and the hotel Riu Vallarta. It’s a 5- star all inclusive (Hotel link is at the bottom). We had debated about a few places, but I was very keen on going to this place after seeing the water slides and the look of the hotel. You’re probably thinking water slides?- ya I don’t know why I based my decision on that considering I don’t even care for pools, or go on water slides ever… In the end, it was still a great decision! The resort was clean, and had many good features!

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Everyday we would begin our day with the buffet for breakfast! There were four possible places you could eat at- One fancy place inside the hotel, an Asian food place next door, another dress up/ fancy restaurant next to the ocean, and the buffet which changed it’s theme every night so you always had options! Anyways, after breakfast we would go to the beach for like 8 hours at a time! We would relax and suntan on the beach, go for a quick ocean swim (Every time we were like I’m not getting my hair wet, and every time my hair would get wet because I was pelted by a wave), eat some lunch back at the buffet and would drink an above average amount of Piña coladas, or Bahama mamas. These drinks would be served to us on the beach- which was amazing, but also kind of terrible at times! At one point, I had about 4- 5 drinks in a row ( I got one for my friend, but she was sleeping so I drank hers LOL) and got up to go to the bathroom and was like alright feeling a little day drunk! They sneak up on you fast when you’re not moving! Also, there were a couple of times we moved to the pool to avoid the sun and get a bit of a break! The pool was nice for shade, and also had areas where you could sit and read your book- I was super thrilled about that!IMG_3103

There were always activities throughout the day! I would say that the entertainment group there was amazing for getting people involved! They would play Spanish music VERY loud and would do stretching classes by the beach, Zumba, beach volleyball, soccer, and more! They constantly had people up and going and the funny thing was, that there were a lot of people involved that you wouldn’t think would be! During the day too, they would have either beach games or pool games- dancing, swimming, football games, and at one point they even had a foam party! They had a canon shoot out foam at people in the pool!

By 5pm, we were back in our room getting ready for dinner. Every night we came out to the main square for dinner, there was always a different theme by the entertainment group! There was Halloween, day of the dead, Mexican folk night, Michael Jackson, Rock Day and circus. The main concourse would be decorate with the theme, people would be dressed up, and they would constantly have activities for people to participate in. Usually during/ after supper, there was live music playing- different bands for people to dance to, and halfway through the evening there would be a live show! Dancers would come out dressed in costumes matching the theme of the night! I think it’s also worth it to note that the Haunted House they did was actually terrifying. My friend screamed and ran through the entire thing and I jumped into some poor Mexican dude’s arms, while he was with his kids trying to get through.IMG_3195

Overall, the trip was amazing! I highly recommend! There are a lot of activities for the kids as well if you are worried about that! We also did an excursion to town, which I will talk about in one of my future posts! There’s a lot to tell about the excursion!

 

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Have you been to Mexico? What was your favourite part and where did you go? Let me know in the comments!

Link for the Hotel Riu Vallarta we stayed at (about 30 mins from Puerto Vallarta in Nuveo Vallarta)

https://www.signaturevacations.com/HotelDesc/en/PVRRVT.asp

– Erin xo

5 Temples To See in Greece

Hey Lovely People!

I hope you are having a very good day today! I definitely am! I plan on talking about my top 5 favorite temples to see in Greece! I really love and miss travelling and cannot wait to get back to it! These posts always make me so happy! I can go through old photos and give people suggestions on what to see and it’s so fun!

Anyways, here is my top 5! These are in no particular order! I loved them all and they’re each beautiful in their own way:

1- Temple of Poseidon in Sounion: It was built in the middle of the 5th century BCE. The temple was originally a collapsed poros temple, and so the temple of Poseidon was built on the remaining foundation. It sites on an a cliff and has an amazing view. There is not a lot of decoration on the temple itself, but the view is amazing, and the temple itself is still very beautiful.

 

 

2- Temple of Apollo at Delphi: This is a crazy amazing place to go. Once again the views are worth the trip to Delphi! The temple sits on a hillside and was built around 4th century BC (based on what I read around,  it was originally burnt down and then an earthquake destroyed it, so this is the date of the one that sits there now). There were a number of beautiful and significant statues that stood inside the temple, and treasuries littered the temple. The oracle lived in the temple, telling people what to do and making predictions. People would climb the hillside in order to talk to the oracle who claimed they could talk to Apollo. The site is highly important and the views and size of the temple is the most amazing part.

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3. Acropolis in Athens- The acropolis itself is the citadel of Athens, however, the temple within is a beautiful temple dedicated to Athena Nike. It was built around 420 BC. The Acropolis is definitely something you want to check out when you are in Greece, and the temple is just a piece of it that makes it beautiful.

4. Erechtheum, Acropolis- The temple was built around 420 BC and based on some research I did, the east side of the temple is dedicated to Athena Polias, and the west Poseidon- Erechtheus. It’s dedicated to a contest with Athena, and the side dedicated to him is the side where he struck with his trident. The 6 columns are Caryatids (columns that are formed to look like women), which is what the temple is known for.IMG_0223.JPG

5. Parthenon, Acropolis- It was built around 447- 432 BC, and it’s main purpose was to house this amazing statue of Athena built out of ivory and gold.  It is dedicated to Athena and is amazing to see. It’s just incredible to look at these large structures and try to figure out how they were even created!IMG_0221.JPG

 

This has been an amazing blog post to write, because when I went to Greece I was only 17. A lot of the information about what I saw, I did not learn until way later. It’s funny, because I did capture a lot of good pictures of very important historical artifacts and architecture in ancient civilization, and had no idea what they were! I just took pictures because they interested me at that time. I’m excited to go back through and see relearn what I saw and add to what I had wrote for experience, that is if I ever get finished my Italy book!

-Erin

Trip Bucket List

Hey Fantastic Readers!

Nice to see you guys again! Hope you are doing swell on this beautiful Tuesday! If work is dragging on already, then I hope my post helps you today! I wanted to talk a bit about my Trip Bucket List!

Travelling is my life. I wish I could make it my job to around an experience culture, check out history and the hidden spots on the world no one knows about. My life will always be full of travelling, I never want to stop experiencing it. However, I do know that I want to have a family and kids some day, so while I’m young I’m attempting to cram in some of these really long trips I would never get to with kids. I will still travel with my future kids, however, I feel like money wise it’s impractical to go for as long as I normally go for. Anyways,  this means that I have to sacrifice some parts of my life to be able to do this. I mean that I can’t move out. There’s no funds there for that like everyone else has. My money goes directly to travelling. I work 4 jobs to be able to afford a lifestyle of travelling. I’m not saying you do too, however, by doing this I’ve been able to pay off jobs super fast and not have them sitting on my credit cards. Obviously the other option is to go to school for a higher paying job, but I can’t use my degree here really and I’m not interested in those jobs. And last, you have to find a flexible job that will allow you to do this. All of my jobs are jobs that are temporary or that I can leave for a month and still have one when I come back. Anyways, I sacrifice a lot to be able to travel and to me it’s worth it.

SO, that being said, here is my travel bucket list! I’m going to stick with my top ten!

  1. Europe- I know, seems weird I haven’t done this yet right? Well I did not take a year off of school like most people did. I went straight to school and missed out on some of the travelling there (although school did allow me to work in Italy for a year- not terrible by any means!). I do have a Europe trip coming up next May though! We’re hitting all the target places I wanted to! Amsterdam- Netherlands; Germany (Dusseldorf- archaeological reasons…. were going to see Neanderthals, Berlin, Munich); Salzburg Austria- Sound of Music reasons; Zurich Switzerland; Milan Italy (remember how I missed this place- now I’m going!!); Nice, Lyon, Paris France; and London England to finish! Lots of stuff on the list to cross off on my check list.
  2. When I go back to Europe someday, I would love to go to start in Croatia; up and over to Venice Italy, then through to Austria; go through Czech, and end in Poland
  3. I NEED to go to Spain and I would like to hit Portugal while I am there as well!
  4. Britain, Scotland, and Ireland- I would still love to live in Britain, and while living there I would hit these beautiful target areas
  5. And to finish off my Europe area, I would go through Iceland (super cheap flights!) and go through Norway, finland, and sweden!
  6. My Next huge trip like my first would be to do an Asian tours! I would start in Vietnam, and hit places like Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, go to India, through to China, and end in Japan (most of these places would be best with a travel group, so hopefully at the end I would be able to leave and go to Japan!).
  7. Australia and New Zealand- Hobbits and beautiful beaches!
  8. Egypt for the pyramids
  9. South America- I have never really thought about going there, however, since the Olympics in Rio I think going to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile would be amazing!!
  10. Last trip…. I would go back to Greece and check out some more islands. I would also like to go back to Italy and go through Tuscany and visit Pompeii again, see the leaning tower of pisa, cinque terre, and all that fun stuff. When I come back to it, Italy will forever be my second home and I feel like I can’t stay away for too long

So ya! This is my travel bucket list! I still haven’t talked about places in the US or across Canada, or Caribbean islands. These to me are smaller trips I can do in a week! I would still love to do them though! Again this is just my top ten list!

Let me know what places you want to go to, are going to, or have been!

-Erin

She wants to go to the Seaside

Hello Everyone!

Travel Tuesday and since the next trip I’m going on is to Birch Bay, Washington – I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about that lovely city!

My boyfriend’s family owns a little cabin in Birch Bay (2 hour away from Vancouver) and it is absolutely gorgeous there. It’s one of those towns that come alive in the summer time, full of little restaurant and gorgeous beaches.

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When we went last year, it was a big deal for my boyfriend. I don’t think he had been on his own accord before, always with his family, so for us to have driven down there just the two of us was something really special.

I had just gotten back from Italy and I was so incredibly jet lagged, in retrospect I felt so bad for being completely out of it.

On the way back we stopped in Vancouver and ate our weight in sushi and visited the aquarium (because you all know I LIVE for the aquarium). My birthday had just passed and so the aquarium was y present and so was this adorable beluga whale in a hoodie.

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My boyfriend takes on a lot of stress, and so to have him on vacation just chilling was the best feeling! I can’t wait for this year. We are borrowing my parents Honda CRV (he is still convinced he is doing all the driving), and we actually have a full week which means more days in paradise!

That’s all for now!

Kathleen

Beaches

Hey Lovely Readers!

It appears that we have neglected the blog this week, but I’m here to tell you that I have four new posts going up today! I had some tough work choices to make and now that I’m past it I’m dreaming about one thing in particular. The beach. I really need a beach right now! This time last year, I was living in Italy, and one small train ride would take us to what we so needed- a beach!

So, here is my list of beaches I have been to that I have really enjoyed!

  1. Sorrento, Italy– if you go up to the collapsed ancient roman villa (Villa Pollio Felice)- check out our older post- just remember there is technically no beach to sit and read on. However, I liked this too, because I just floated there in the nice salty water and watched the sky! I seriously miss it. If you want more of the ocean experience, you can go outside and swim through the crack in the wall, however, I found that just swimming on the inside was perfect for me and way more relaxing! I highly recommend!13620881_10154522787770695_2456017493217757636_n (1)
  2. If you do want to be able to read your book, still go to Sorrento’s public beach! It is still very beautiful! The public beach does fill up fast, so it might be nice if you take some extra euros and save them for a private area! There are some really great beach setups! When you are done with the beach, you can climb the long stairs back up to get to the city, and at the top there is an amazing view.13620390_10154522790690695_1467559127934502551_n3. Seiano was another town we went to for a beach. It is a little bit rocky, however just as nice! For us it was good because it was closer and easier to get to then waiting a 30 min train ride from Pompeii. However, if I know you, you will most likely be staying in Sorrento and not in Pompeii (or somewhere close). Seiano is one of those off places that I feel like doesn’t cost as much and is still just a short train ride away from Sorrento! It also has a very nice beach and a gelato place very close to it as well (which is always recommended).IMG_2351.JPG
  3. Over to Hawaii now! Honolulu has a beautiful beach with white sand. The water is pure blue and in places like Hanauma Bay has clear water for snorkeling! Send me your pictures of the pretty fish! Seriously, My finger was in front of the camera I bought for almost all of the pictures. I felt bad for the people that were developing them! Nothing interesting to look at by any means! I recommend a beach day at Hanauma Bay!IMG_0575
  4. Greece is my last place. The ones in Athens are nasty- don’t go there. But I would have loved to go to one right beside Poseidon’s temple! That was the clearest, and bluest water I have ever seen! I also recommend going to some of the islands for a day- for both Greece and Italy! They do have the best beaches and they are not as busy!

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Those are my top 5! I am booked for a Mexico trip in November, and a Europe trip in May (I’m coming for you Nice!), so there will be an updated list I’m sure!

-Erin

I fell in love in Lisbon

Hi everyone!

Back for a Travel Tuesday, and I hope you all enjoyed our mini travel Western Canada series these past three weeks! It was super fun to dive into a place that we call home, but is actually packed full of great travel stops!

Since we did that mini series I haven’t had the opportunity to share my Portugal trip with you all!

So today I’d love to talk about Lisbon and the surrounding area. My family and I spent three days in Lisbon, and that was NOT ENOUGH. I love Lisbon! It is chocked full of so many cute streets, restaurants, and shops!

Oh and also Lisbon has an amazing aquarium that I (of course) had to drag my entire family to, and they have a Sunfish there. Now Sunfish are very hard to keep in aquariums because they need the different temperature layers that deep water (like the ocean) creates. But because Lisbon aquarium is just designed amazing (they have one of the biggest tanks in the world) it is big enough to create these stratified layers the Sunfish needs! I seriously fell in love with this Sunfish and I now have a key chain of him that I tote around with me and show everyone.

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My dad is a musician and he really wanted to go see some Fado (and is was his birthday so of course we had to!) and we ended up in this amazing location.

You all know now that I love Dan Brown with a fiery passion, and we saw this Fado concert in the old water reserve of the city. I’m not kidding it was that exact final scene in Inferno in Israel where they see the Dante concert in the old water reserve.

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As you can tell I saved the world, I made it just in time to stop the plot against the world.

But seriously, would highly recommend.

The second place I’d love to mention is in the surrounding area of Lisbon and a blogger actually recommended it to me! Thanks to Salt of Portugal for recommending that I check out Sintra! It is an old resort town filled with tiny streets and cool shops (sensing a theme?). My parents and I decided to climb up the hill/mountain to the castle at the top, and the views were absolutely stunning. It was for sure the most tourist-centered place we went but it was worth a stop for sure! For those who have been to Sorrento Italy, it had a similar vibe to that!

The castle was also amazing and looked like something out of a Shrek film (thanks to the Lonely Planet guide book for that sound bite)

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Ok everyone, that’s all for Portugal! Enjoy your week and we’ll talk soon!

Kathleen

Part 3: Saskatchewan

Hey Lovely Readers!

It is our last post for Canada’s 150! I hope we gave you some good suggestions for things to do and places to visit! Canada is a really beautiful place, and I’m proud and happy to live here!

The last place I wanted to talk about is Saskatchewan. This province is a place that is very overlooked. Everyone wants to go to BC or the mountains in Alberta- for obvious reasons- but I find that no one really explores Saskatchewan unless you have family there! Saskatchewan is beautiful. It is a province made up with a ton of small towns and communities. There are a ton of farming communities. I love this. They’re all these small towns with towns of personality. When people tell me the name of their small town they’re family is from, it is most likely that my grandma knows their family if they’re in the same local community.

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One of the first places I wanted to talk about was Waskesui! This is a beautiful lake with purple sand. The cabins are amazing and are not a terrible price to rent. My family would go back every summer and spend the week with the wildlife in a beautiful cabin! I  absolutely loved it and it was the most beautiful lake. There are a ton of other lakes in Saskatchewan! What is amazing when you live there is if you wanted, you can get away to a lake every weekend. A nice, clear lake too. Some other lakes I recommend are candle lake, emma lake (close to Waskesui- this one can be touristy and busy in town, but they have beautiful private beaches), green water- these are just some of them. I always see black bears and a ton of wildlife at Waskesui- I love it!

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If you want to got the city, the best places to go are Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Regina. Saskatoon is a typical large city with malls, zoos and Kinsmen park, and all that. It’s a good place to stay if you want to stay in a nice hotel in the city and go out of town to the lakes, or hang out and do some shopping. Also, you can check out a lacrosse game- Rush. They moved from Alberta to Saskatchewan recently, are an amazingly good team and are definitely way more appreciated there. Moose Jaw is well known for the underground tunnels. The tunnels were originally used for utility purposes, but it has been rumored that Al Capone used the tunnels in his bootlegging days. Lots of stories circle around seeing him using these tunnels or in Moose Jaw. Although no physical evidence supports this, there are a ton of well known families that have lived in Moose Jaw for years that have claimed to have seen Al Capone. There’s also a lot of stories about Chinese immigrants digging and living in the tunnels. Regardless, they are a piece of Canada’s history which is awesome!  Last, is Regain. An old beautiful city in Saskatchewan. If you are in this area check out a CFL Roughriders game- you will not be disappointed. The Roughriders are the pride and joy of Saskatchewan. People come from all over Saskatchewan and dress up in crazy outfits to go to the games! It is a great time!

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Well Happy Birthday Canada- 150 years! I hope you learned a little bit more about Canada these past three weeks!

-Erin

Part 2: Mountains, Mountains, Mountains!

Hi Everyone!

Its part 2 of our Travel Western Canada series, and today I’m going to talk about travelling in Alberta!

For the most part if you aren’t camping and travelling through Alberta, you’re visiting the mountains. Luckily Alberta is chocked full of beautiful national parks that contain a plethora of serene mountain views (see below).

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(ooh ahhh)

Park 1. Banff National Park

Probably the most well known national park in Alberta, it boasts lovely mountain views and (I believe) is the oldest national park in Canada. I used to go to Banff all the time as a child, and my dad would often have conferences or business trips that my brother and I could tag along.

On one memorable trip to Banff I was staying the week with my dad while he attended a conference and low and behold it rained the whole week and we got trapped in Banff for a few extra days (not too shabby). The whole town was on doomsday alert, the grocery shelves were bare, and the river was raging!

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Now a days Banff doesn’t call to me as much as it used too, it is often overpriced, full of tourists, and just generally commercialized. If you’ve never been it’s worth the visit, but keep in mind these next two parks (and bring yours patience if you do decide to visit)!

Park 2. Jasper National Park

The less touristy version of Banff; known for its amazing mountains, vibing LGBTQ+ pride scene, and serious snowboard scene. Recently this has been my families go to mountain vacation, as well as my boyfriend and I’s favourite place to spend reading week.

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Jasper is MUCH more laid back, if you don’t go during the summer months, many of the stores and restaurants are actually closed during the off season, so fair warning a head of time. Last time I visited my boyfriend and I stayed in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I have never stayed in a Fairmont before and I was over the moon to have the opportunity. We had an adorable little cabin room, and seriously the price was worth it for the pool (and its views) alone.

Park 3. Waterton Lakes National Park

This park is a new discovery for me, I have only been once (last year), and I was blown away! Located in the southern part of Alberta this park also contains beautiful mountain views and as with all these national parks – a lot of hiking trails. Similar to Jasper, most of the restaurants and stores are only open seasonally so first time visits are perhaps better kept to summer months!

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As a bonus visit Albert sight, on the way to Waterton you can stop at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, an archaeological sight that was used by indigenous peoples in the past to kill a large number of buffalo. It is seriously super cool and so worth it!

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That’s all for now!

Happy Travels

Kathleen