Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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After spending the first half of our trip in Split, we were off to Dubrovnik, the center of Croatia’s unique history. Stone walk ways, worn smooth by centuries of inhabitants, surrounded by majestic walls, Dubrovnik is a sight unlike any other.

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Dear Friends,

Happy 2015! Things have been pretty quiet on the blog as Darren and I come into the final few months of wedding planning. We have some pretty exciting travels lined up for 2015 (Croatia, Montenegro, Malta, and Iceland), and this article I came across on CNN today really affirmed for us that 2015 is our year to explore Europe!

For those located in the DMV, we hopped onto  WOW Air’s $99 Baltimore- Rekjavik promotion. Iceland is only 5 hours away, so it’s a great long weekend getaway if you’ve only got a few days of vacation to spare. We’re not heading out there until late September, but we have plenty of adventures lined up that you can read about in the meantime!

We’re currently browsing around for one or two more European locations to visit over the summer, and we can’t wait to share where we decide to go once we decide. What are your 2015 travel plans?

london parisSource: Wikimedia Commons

 

Konichiwa, friends! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I’m currently in the Land of the Rising Sun. My better half is at home with Nugget, but my little brother and I have still been able to get into some mischief making while in Tokyo. We’re here for another day and then off to Seoul for the rest of the week. Here are a few shots from our adventures:
Tokyo, Japan- Tsukijii Fish Market Tokyo, Japan- Instant Coffee Imperial Gardens- Tokyo, Japan Ginza, Tokyo, Japan Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Skytree, Japan Tokyo, Japan Zara Asian Fit, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo, Japan Tokyo, Japan Louise Bourgeois Maman, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan Andy Warhol at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan Tsukemen Ramen, Tetsu, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Observatory, Japan Tokyo Observatory, Japan

  1. Breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Phenomenally delicious and fresh.
  2. Our AirBnB host provided us with a bag of ‘instant’ coffee, which includes a built in individual filter that pops over your mug. Pour hot water over and…wonder why America’s instant coffee tastes so horrendous.
  3. Imperial Palace East Gardens
  4. Ginza, known for its luxury shopping, looks like someone laid out the designer Rolodex building by building. But seriously, what can you fill 12 floors of Cartier with?
  5. Meiji Jingu Shrine- went here in the afternoon and was fortunate enough to spot a Japanese wedding!
  6. Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world.
  7. My brother isn’t particularly tall at 5’9″, but appears to dwarf some of the furniture here. He also wears a size ‘Large’ in clothing…
  8. Which also leading to a few chuckles when I spotted this tag in a Zara.
  9. Maryland is keeping it real in Tokyo. Spotted this number in Harajuku, a mecca for young fashionistas.
  10. My favorite part of Tokyo is the numerous drugstores that flank the streets. Japanese women take their skincare very seriously, so these stores are oftentimes floors upon floors of various skin and makeup goodies.
  11. Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Maman’ sculpture in Roppongi Hills. No room for arachnophobia here.
  12. The Mori Art Museum is currently hosting the largest ever Warhol exhibition to be presented in Japan.
  13. There is a staggering amount of ramen EVERYWHERE (I know, I know…duh.) Gobbled this tsukemen at Tetsu in Roppongi Hills.
  14. Tokyo City View observation deck at Mori Tower.
  15. The view from Tokyo City View.

 

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

After our exhausting Inca Trail hike, it was off to the legendary Lake Titicaca. The 3,200 sq. mile lake borders Peru and Bolivia, accessible on the Peruvian side via Puno, and is the largest lake in South America. ‘Titicaca’ roughly translates to “stone puma,” which the lake’s shape is supposed to resemble. I suppose this is true if you have a highly creative imagination and squint 🙂 At any rate, the day long tour of the Uros and Taquile Islands was a much needed break to recover from the fast pace of the Inca Trail. The tour began at 6:30 AM (it takes about 1.5 hours to get to the Uros Islands and another hour from there to Taquile) and ended around 5 PM.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
We arrived in Puno on a Sunday, only to find the Plaza de Armas almost completely deserted. 

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Finally got to eat at a chifa (Peruvian term for the numerous Chinese restaurants that can be found across the country). Cheap and delicious!

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 En route to the Uros islands. The lake’s water was a glistening deep blue.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 Reed houses and boats on the Uros Islands

DarwinDiscovered_Puno-8

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

DarwinDiscovered_Puno-12Ta
Taquile Island

Additional notes and tips after the break

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Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru    Cuy (Guinea Pig) at Kusikuy in Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru

As with many travelers that swarm the notorious Gringo Trail annually, Cusco was the launching point for our two-week Peruvian adventure. Located at a not-so-comfortable 3,400 m (11,800 ft) above sea level, the historical Inca capital boasts numerous attractions that left us, quite literally, breathless.

Getting There and Around

From DC, it was quite the trek to Cusco. There are no direct flights to neither Lima nor Cusco from the three WAS airports, and all flights to Lima from DC take place late afternoon/evening…making an overnight at the airport to make your AM Cusco connection all too likely. Our journey went like this: IAD >> PTY >> LIM >> CUZ. A heart-stopping 42 minute connection in Panama City was followed by a 5 hour overnight layover in Lima, bringing our total travel time to just over 14 hours. Buenas suerte friends, buenas suerte.

From the airport to the Plaza de Armas (city center), a taxi will cost you 10 soles. You MUST negotiate fare before getting into the cab. If you don’t like the price the drivers give you, walk away and find another car. Meters are non-existent in the cabbies, so buyer beware. No need to tip unless the driver handles your baggage, in which case 1-2 extra soles would be appropriate. Once you’re in the city center, everything is reasonably walkable. If you get tired, a cab to various parts of town shouldn’t cost more than 5 soles max.Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru

Stay

We stayed at Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta on Jiron Pumacahua for $10 a night per person (4 bed, ensuite bathroom). The hostel is zero frills but has the necessities: free blowdryer, linens, towels, breakfast, and luggage storage (what, did you think I wheeled my Samsonite along the Inca Trail?). There’s hot water and heat, but both were of dubious quantity, a pattern that repeated itself at our various hostels across the country. The staff was friendly and spoke English if you need it. My only complaint would be that the hostel was located about 15 minutes walking from the Plaza de Armas, which wouldn’t be a problem except that we had to walk through the narrowest of alleyways, with traffic, to get there.

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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!