Category Archives: Tours

The Mediterranean by Ship

dinner on the cruiseMom & Dad checking out the shipour ship, the Celebrity Solsticeatriummartini barmartini bar on the ship
the Sky Observation Lounge on the shipthe ship dining roomsculpture outside the restaurants on the shipthe Lawn Cluboutdoor poolour stateroom
our stateroom bathroomblogging while cruisingview of the Mediterranean from our balconySorrentoview of Sorrentolemon trees, Sorrento
lemons in Sorrentoolive trees, Sorrentoinfused olive oil in Sorrentofresh mozzarella, Sorrentofresh cheeses and meats at a Sorrento farmSorrento, Italy

Mediterranean Cruise, a set on Flickr.

For a glimpse of the Mediterranean, check out our photos on flickr!

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Filed under Corsica, Croatia, cruise, France, Italy, Photos, Spain, Tours

Laid Back Cruisin’ in Europe

As you read in our previous posts, India was everything and nothing that we expected. It is just as beautiful and chaotic as people and literature say it is, but the full extent of all this came to light when we landed in Barcelona, Spain to meet up with Rachel’s parents to go on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise. Nothing was more shocking than having all the luxuries of the boat and first world living at our disposal.

The single greatest part of our cruise was being with Rachel’s parents. Even though we had each other during our journey, there still was a feeling of loneliness from being apart from family and friends. We had our blog and email to share our experiences with everyone, but nothing can take the place of conversation in person, face to face, especially over dinner and wine. I was so excited to be around familiar faces that it feels like I personally didn’t stop talking for the entire trip. Continue reading

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Filed under Corsica, Croatia, Crossing Borders, cruise, culture shock, France, Friends, home, Italy, Spain, Tours, Transportation

Maharajas, Palaces, and Tombs, Oh My!

We finally found it. The India that everyone talks about: crazy, chaotic, overwhelming India. For 2 weeks we kept saying to ourselves, I don’t get it…this is not nearly as bad as people said it would be. We kept wondering what they were complaining about. Well, they were probably complaining about the provinces of North-Central India. Southern India is laid back and peaceful and so is the far North, but once we made it back to Delhi after Dharamsala, and then to Jaipur and Agra, we finally experienced the side of India that scares many tourists away and causes many never to return.

Our first experience in Delhi was pretty good. We were there for less than a day, in transit between Goa and Dharamsala. On our way back from Dharamsala, we had to spend another night and full day in Delhi. We had had a pretty awful overnight bus ride from Dharamsala and arrived at 5:30am exhausted and ready to get to the hotel. We hopped into a cab at the bus stop, agreed to a price of 600 rupees (approx $12 & probably about 4 times too much), while very tired and not in the mood to haggle. Well when we arrived at our hotel, the driver demanded 600 rupees per person! That’s about eight times the normal fare. Unfortunately the combination of tiredness and not having exact change meant Nick agreed to pay the driver 800 rupees, a fantastic ripoff. But wait! There’s more…

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Filed under Cambodia, Crossing Borders, culture shock, home, India, Laos, Recommendations, Thailand, Tours, Transportation, Vietnam, Wonders of the World

An American in Vietnam

In the last post, Nick said he knew Vietnam would be a very different experience than any we’ve had before, and this certainly proved true. From the beautiful mountain scenery and ethnic hill tribes of Sapa, to the serenity of Halong Bay, and the bustling capital of Hanoi, North Vietnam was a healthy dose of true Vietnamese culture.

Our 10 days in Northern Vietnam was unintentional, as we had originally planned to spend about half that time there, and then move south along the coast with Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon as our final destination. Because we had to wait a week for our Indian visa to be processed at the Embassy in Hanoi, we made the best of our extended stay and toured the North as much as we could. However, this meant much less time for us in the south so we decided to fly to Danang, about half way between Hanoi and HCMC, and then on to HCMC.  Continue reading

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Filed under Friends, strange but true, Tours, Vietnam

From Zambia with Love

Africa has always held a powerful allure for me. I was born in Tampa, Florida and grew up going to Busch Gardens, an African themed zoo in Tampa. Animals fascinated me from a young age, and because of Busch Gardens, my fascination has largely been of the African variety; Nairobi, Timbuktu, Cairo, Uganda, Congo, and the mighty Sergengeti are all represented in the park. Not only did we spend countless weekends as a family at the park, but I spent quite a few summers at Zoo Camp, Busch Garden’s camp for kids. It may sound corny, but I owe much of my love and fascination for Africa to Busch Gardens. Africa is the Holy Grail of wildlife and nature travel for me, and our Zambian safari did not disappoint. Continue reading

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Filed under Lodging, Photos, Safari, Tours, Zambia

Life is good in Nkhata Bay

Peaceful. Beautiful. Heart Warming. These three words describe our 4 days Nkhata Bay, Malawi. In Nkhata Bay, I felt we finally found our way to the warm heart of Africa- not that the rest of Malawi wasn’t welcoming, but if you have read our previous posts, you know that we had been having a rough time. Lots of rain, illness, hellish minibus rides, aggressive craft sellers, and an underwhelming lake experience didn’t make for the most satisfying of days, until we reached lovely Nkhata on Tuesday night.  Continue reading

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Filed under Crossing Borders, Lodging, Malawi, Tours

Introducing Malawi

I am writing today from Korea- that is the Korea Garden Lodge in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. We originally had no plans to visit Lilongwe, but our 10 days here in Malawi have been a wee bit rough and we had to make a detour here to take care of some things. Namely, to try and rest up in a little more comfort since Nick and I are both fighting off head colds. We decided it would be best to spend a few days in the city in case I need further medical attention (more on that later) and to sort out some visa issues (more on that later too). So let’s start at the beginning, when we arrived in the “warm heart of Africa” to lovely torrential rains.  Continue reading

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Filed under Lodging, Malawi, Tours, Transportation

Goodbye Americas, Hello Africa!

This morning (or afternoon local time) we landed in Cape Town, South Africa and I couldn’t be happier! I first came to South Africa 4 years ago to volunteer at the Vervet Monkey Foundation in the northeast province of the country. I fell in love and have been dreaming of coming back ever since, especially to visit Cape Town about which I had heard so many wonderful things. So it’s quite amazing that 4 years later I am here celebrating my 27th birthday with Nick. We chose this city to once again use our Hilton rewards points, so we’re staying at the Hilton Cape Town City Centre hotel for two nights in an incredible two bedroom suite with a view of the Atlantic ocean and Table Mountain.  Continue reading

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Filed under Argentina, Drinks, Food, South Africa, Tours, Transportation, Volunteering

A taste of the good life in Mendoza

Our arrival in beautiful Mendoza started out like any other after an overnight bus: 1) arrive at bus station early in the morning tired and bleary eyed 2) take taxi to hostel 3) sleep on hostel couch until room is ready. This is the typical pattern for us when we take the overnight buses. Luckily for us, the distances in Argentina might be massive but the buses are very nice. Our first bus ride in Argentina we were forced to watch some really bizarre movies about a serial killer in France and a kung fu movie, while others showed movies like Eight Below and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. From kung fu and serial killers to  phony digital penguins…it’s always an adventure in the movie department. We even played bingo on our bus ride from Mendoza to Buenos Aires and Nick won a bottle of chardonnay. Bingo!

winner winner chicken dinner

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Filed under Argentina, Drinks, Friends, Lodging, Tours, Transportation

To the border and beyond: Bolivia to Argentina

After 3 weeks in Bolivia, we were ready to move on. It is now time for us to travel in Argentina which is the last country in the South American portion of our Great Adventure. Since Bolivia is very poor, has less infrastructure, and rather bland and unoriginal cuisine, Argentina is an extremely welcome change! We were both excited to eat the world-famous fresh beef of Argentina, and drink the country’s amazing wine, both of which are very inexpensive.

Our journey started departing Santa Cruz via train around 3:30 pm. After being onboard for 15 minutes, we quickly realized how much we wanted off! Continue reading

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Filed under Argentina, Crossing Borders, Details, Drinks, Food, Tours