Category — 10 Second Vacation
We hit up Quito, the charming capital of Ecuador, last summer before heading to Machu Picchu. It totally exceeded expectations. Everywhere you look, there’s a beautiful view. It’s a lively small city with a lovely colonial center. The people are friendly and there is lots to do. Not only that, it’s a really cheap town – we rented a lovely 2 bedroom apartment for around 70 bucks. A far cry from paying $200 a night for a decent hotel room as you do in many places. Plus, Quito can be a jumping-off point for so many other adventures, like a visit to the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon, or the beach.
June 25, 2015 No Comments
If you travel to North Vietnam, chances are you will make an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Ha Long Bay. Its calm waters are dotted with unique karst formations, tiny beaches, and floating fishing villages. You can take an overnight boat cruise on a small junk, which is a great way to explore the bay’s wonders. The floating villages were a sight to see. Since we were traveling with a 2-year-old we were doubly impressed with how adeptly some of the young children could swim and steer boats all on their own!
January 21, 2014 1 Comment
Monterey is most famous for its fabulous aquarium, but the area boasts lots of other charms. If you can largely avoid the tacky, touristy Cannery Row area you are in for a real treat. A 10 minute drive down the peninsula will put you in the quaint town of Carmel, so it’s really like a two-for-one! Point Lobos State Reserve is one of the absolute gems of the California coastline – and rivals many a national park in beauty and sights. You can spot sea lions, tide pools, and hidden beaches at nearly every turn.
There are lots of fancy spots to try, and I do enjoy a sunset drink with bagpipes with the upper crust at The Inn at Spanish Bay, but I find myself gravitating more to the down-home dives for meals… like an early morning stop on funky Fisherman’s Wharf to hit up Loulou’s for creme brulee-style oatmeal or enormous pancakes, or chicken shawerma lunch with fluffy pita and garlicky sauce at teeny-tiny Paprika Cafe. To warm up, try a big sourdough bread bowl of creamy clam chowder at Schooner’s right over the water. For more Monterey recommendations, check out this article with tons of great suggestions.
November 25, 2013 2 Comments
The Amalfi Coast is known for its beauty, with steep cliffs leading down to endless bays and beaches. Most people focus on the touristy northern town of Positano, but there are some real gems a bit farther south. Heading south from Positano, the Fiordo di Furore is a special place–a pocket-sized inlet with a dramatic arched bridge. Its beach is littered with smoothed-out pottery shards you can collect. Further down the road is the lively town of Amalfi itself. Away from Amalfi’s choked roads, you’ll reach Atrani, a sleepier and more quaint town that is one of my favorites. High on the hills above Atrani and Amalfi is Ravello, which is worth a trip for the views alone. Enjoy!
window view from Ravello
September 30, 2013 5 Comments
Nungwi is a stunning spot at the northern tip of Zanzibar. The waters of the Indian Ocean are impossibly blue and the people are incredibly welcoming. As the sun starts to set each evening, the temperature cools and the locals come down to the beach to play soccer. If you get a chance to visit Zanzibar, don’t miss Nungwi! I recommend the cool, laid-back, affordable Z Hotel.
June 20, 2013 No Comments
Kamakura is a small, peaceful beach town about an hour (by train) outside of Tokyo. It was the political capital of Japan for a couple of hundred years, but that ended in 1333; still, the town is rife with beautiful temples and Shinto shrines, some with hundreds or thousands of clay figures used as funerary offerings.
Kamakura is also home to the Great Buddha, which is known as the Daibutsu. It’s the second largest Buddha in Japan and is thought to have been cast in bronze sometime during the mid-1200s.
May 17, 2013 1 Comment
What could be better than spending the day with dozens of sweet, energetic dogs pulling sleds through the snow? In a word, nothing. Sure, it’s cold and snowy, but the exhiliration of guiding your own eight-dog team takes care of that quite nicely. A major plus of this experience is that I got to spend a little time in the picture-perfect Old West town of Livingston – a treat whether you’re hanging out with huskies or just on your own.
I arranged my dog sledding experience through the funky and fabulous Chico Hot Springs Resort. Rumor has it that Teddy Roosevelt once stayed there, too.
April 4, 2013 No Comments
Lake Atitlan is a beautiful volcanic lake in Guatemala. No matter which of the many towns you visit there, you are sure to find friendly people, breathtaking vistas, and relaxing spots to sit and have a beer. You might even get to see a glass wing butterfly or a soccer match! To see more about Guatemala, you can also check my post about the impressive Day of the Dead kite festival.
March 18, 2013 No Comments
When cold winter is at its worst, I try to recall the sultry, summery days and nights in Taormina, Sicily – one of the most picturesque, fun, and delicious beach towns in the whole world. Oh, and there are some pretty incredible ancient ruins right in town, too.
February 25, 2013 No Comments
Every year on Memorial Day, there is a huge Floating Lantern Festival at Ala Moana Park in Honolulu. People make paper lanterns to commemorate loved ones who have passed away, and at sunset they light a candle with each lantern and set them into the ocean. It is a moving experience that is aesthetically and emotionally very beautiful. For more information, check this website. You can find more of my Oahu and Honolulu recommendations here.
February 17, 2013 1 Comment