Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike  Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon Park Hike

This is a scheduled post. We’re in Peru until late August and may be unable to answer your questions and comments until we return.

While spending time on the West Coast in June, I had the fortune of spending a morning at Runyon Canyon Park. My synopsis: fabulous views, and lots of trails to choose from. My brother decided to take me up the ‘difficult’ trail, which was difficult mainly by virtue of the overbearing heat that started beating down on us at 8 AM. Wear shoes with a good grip and plan on going early- the ‘difficult’ trail has no shade and gets hot fast. Park wherever (it’s limited. We set the GPS to 2001 N Fuller Ave and got lucky with parking) and walk the flat trail (look for lots of runners and kidnappable dogs) to the entrance of the difficult trail (doesn’t really look like an entrance). Enjoy the view at the top!

His & Hers: 5 Travel Essentials By Darwin, Discovered

Happy Friday! Since we’ve had packing on our mind this week (3 more days till Peru!), we thought we’d bring you a few of our travel favorites.

His

(From Darren)

1. New Trent Portable Battery charger
Don’t know where I would be without this one.  Now that I use my phone for everything when travelling (mostly looking at google maps for places to go and yelp for places to eat), I can always count on my battery dying at some point.  With a portable battery charger, especially one that has 5200 mah or 7000 mah, you can charge your phone 2-3 times while you are out.  Or if you don’t like carrying something extra (or your girlfriend dislikes carrying your gadgets in her purse – AHEM), I also use a built-in extended battery case like the Mophie JuicePack Air, which you can find on Groupon for half the price every so often.

2. TripIt
I’ve gone with four electronics devices as my other four travel essentials, so I might as well continue the theme.  TripIt takes a little while to set up to the way you want to use it, but once it is ready, you never need to worry about printing itineraries again.  It syncs everything online, so whether you access your itinerary from a computer, or on your phone, you’ll know exactly what’s next.  You have two options in the free version: you can forward your confirmation emails to TripIt, and it will automatically add it into your itinerary, or you can allow it to search through your emails for confirmations.  I use the former, and it works great, but if you use the latter, I would love to hear your experience!  TripIt is free to use, with a paid “Pro” version ($49/year) that enables instant alerts (like flight delays, cancellations, gate changes), frequent traveler points tracking, and seat alerts.

3. JVC Marshmallow Earphones
I’ve had several iterations of these for the longest time now, mostly because my ear canals are so oddly shaped that normal buds don’t stay in.  These I chose because they have a memory foam tip, ensuring a snug fit regardless of the activity.  They are dirt cheap (<$12, even for the one with the built-in remote) so you won’t kill yourself if you leave them on a plane, or in a cab.  BONUS: the snug fit of the memory foam makes sure creates a semi-noise-cancelling effect, perfect for drowning out the hum of an airplane engine.  Or a screaming baby.

4. Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad
This thing is awesome.  One, it serves as a sleek, magnetic cover for your iPad, complete with matching aluminum-casing, so you almost look like you are carrying a really small MacBook.  In its other form, it serves as a sleek, full-functioned bluetooth keyboard so your iPad really becomes your laptop replacement.  Keys are quiet, the stand is sturdy (and magnetic), and the battery life is off the charts.  Get one, and say good bye to lugging your now (relatively) brick-like MacBook around.

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Budget and Itinerary for Two Weeks in peru

In just under a week, Darren and I will spend two weeks traveling around Peru. About half of our time will be spent hiking and glamping the legendary Inca Trail, culminating in an early morning descent into the one and only Machu Picchu. However, we’ve also planned another week’s worth of adventures that we are equally excited about (okay I lied- perhaps not equally excited, but it looks and sounds promising nonetheless) that includes a visit to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and an excursion through the vast Colca Canyon. Darren and I will be traveling with two other friends for the entire two weeks, and our group for the Inca Trail includes an additional four friends that we are thrilled to be sharing this experience with. A lot of forethought and planning went into making this trip happen, which we began booking five months ago, and we’re hoping that sharing our itinerary and budget with you will help ease the stress that comes all too often with big travel.

Since the Inca Trail is a planning beast of its own, we’ll cover the planning, packing, and other goodies in a separate post. Oh, and we’re planning (as usual) to fit everything that we need into carryons, so we’ll share our packing list in –you guessed it-  a separate post.

Please note that as this trip hasn’t actually happened yet, we cannot attest to the quality of each of the vendors we are using for our lodging and excursions. We’ll review and revise our recommendations as needed upon our return, but until then, rest assured that we did spend many hours combing through forums and reading reviews to ensure the best experience and value possible. I’ll go through the itinerary first, followed by a few extra tidbits of information and the estimated budget.

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The Waffle Window
3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR

Portland - Waffle Window Portland - Waffle Window

Portland is well known for its many breakfast destinations. Whether you’re looking for simple cafes, fancy coffee shops (stump town), crazy donuts (voodoo), or a hearty sit down brunch, Portland has something for everyone. The Waffle Window is another quick and delicious breakfast option, an unassuming (literal) hole in the wall next to the Bread and Ink Cafe, serving up crisp, golden waffles topped with sweet and savory ingredients.

Portland - Waffle Window
(Above: my brother and I deciding from the selection of delectable treats)

Our choices on this particular morning included:

  • The Whole Farm” – thick cut pepper bacon, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes, and chevre cheese atop a crispy, sugared Portland-style Liege waffle;
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Dipped Waffle – waffle with creamy peanut butter with generously drizzled chocolate;
  • The Rose City” – fresh local strawberries, rose cream, whipped cream, and a rhubarb sauce set on a sugar waffle;
  • Cold Chocolate Dipped Waffle – dipped in chocolate and refrigerated, this is exactly what it sounds like – a chocolate covered sugar waffle!

Portland - Waffle Window Portland - Waffle Window Portland - Waffle Window
(left: The Rose City; center: Peanut Butter Chocoloate; right: The Whole Farm)

The sweetness of the sugar waffles provided a delicate contrast to many of the savory ingredients, which is why I think The Whole Farm and its cousins (a bacon-less Farm Fusion, a spicy bacon cheddar jalapeno, and a Bacon/Brie/Basil with peach jam) are must-haves when you come to Waffle Window. Not to mention the fresh fruit in the Rose City, their complex selection of dessert waffles (blueberry cheesecake or waffle ice cream sandwich, anyone?), and you can’t forget to take a cold chocolate dipped one for snacking on the road.

With all prices lower than $6 (mostly in the $4.50-5.50 range), this is a breakfast that won’t blow your budget. And while you are around, check out the neighbouring Hawthorne District, a fun and ecclectic area to explore in SE Portland.

I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for this post. The test garden has been around for close to 100 years, and the folks here know their flowers. Best of all? It’s free! Bring a book, find a bench, and smell the roses.

DSC01265-77  DSC01266-78DSC01268-79DSC01272-80DSC01274-81DSC01292-85  DSC01278-82DSC01279-83DSC01281-84DSC01295-86DSC01297-87DSC01307-88DSC01318-91  DSC01314-90DSC01319-92DSC01320-93DSC01329-96Want more things to do in Portland? Check out these other posts:

10 Things to Do in Portland

Weekend Snapshots, Portland Edition

Travel Notes: Destin, Florida

Tucked away in the Florida Panhandle on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay lies Destin, otherwise known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” If you’re Destin-ation bound (heehee), Destin’s white sands and emerald green waters are sure to please. Here are our notes from our weekend in Destin. Have fun!

Getting There and Around

The closest airport to Destin is Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS), followed by Pensacola (PNS) and Panama City (ECP). VPS is approximately 20 minutes away from Destin, while PNS and ECP are approximately 1 hour away. You’ll need a car to get around; I didn’t see much by the way of public transportation.

Stay

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson for 28,000 Club Carlson points. The hotel was no-frills, but it had free Internet and breakfast, so for 28k points you can’t really complain. It is located across from Henderson Beach State Park and right in the middle of Destin, so location was ideal. The hotel also had free fresh-baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies nightly!

Travel Notes: Destin, Florida

Eat

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