10 Quick Highlights from Spain

Highlights from Spain
Palacio de Generalife | Granada, Spain

I returned from my trip to Spain on Saturday and spent yesterday readjusting being home, doing laundry, and fighting jet lag. Our trip was the perfect mix of sightseeing and relaxation. Here’s 10 quick highlights from Spain:

  1. Indulging in jamón ibérico and croquettas at every meal
  2. Luxuriating in an Arabic bath in Granada
  3. Contemplating the devastation of war while viewing Picasso’s immense Guernica 
  4. Sampling churros in search of Madrid’s best
  5. Soaking up the sunshine along the Costa del Sol
  6. Admiring the Spanish countryside from the comfort of a Rail Europe train
  7. Meandering through winding streets in Marbella
  8. Imbibing the enexpensive, but excellent Spanish wine
  9. Admiring the bright pink and purple bougainvilleas in Seville
  10. Discovering the coolest courtyards of the homes in Cordoba
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South America, Finally

South America
Casa Rosada | Buenos Aires, Argentina

My desire to make South America the fourth continent I’ve visited is strong. I recently picked up Lonely Planet’s South American On a Shoestring to get a better sense of what countries I’d like to visit, when to go, etc. It’s safe to say that I think we’re traveling exclusively through South America for the next few years!

After much hemming and hawing of which country to visit first, I decided to stick with the original plan of visiting Argentina, but without a visit to Chile, too. Our trip is shortened a bit (we’ve come to realize that  our saturation point of vacation is about a week) and we’re going to go in the spring (i.e., Argentina’s fall). Since it can be brutally hot in Argentina, this will allow us to enjoy the trip a bit more and plan more outdoors activities. And the tourist season is also waning around this time, so we can expect lower priced hotel accommodations, too. (Our original plans had us going during the high season.)

I’m really looking forward to planning this trip. Between Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Bariloche, I think we’ll get to see a great deal of Argentina and have a lot of different experiences within a week.

 

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3 Autumn Adventures

Autumn Adventures
Sonoma, California

We’re back this morning, fresh off a red eye, from Maui. I can’t wait to share our experience on the island in the coming weeks. However, I’m already looking forward to our next few adventures, all of which are happening close to home (for once!). September and October are hands-down the best months in the Bay so I want to maximize our weekends as much as possible. Here are the 3 adventures I’m most looking forward to this autumn.

1. Glamping at Safari West: Since we moved to the Bay Area, I was intrigued by Safari West up in Santa Rosa. It’s a private wildlife preserve that’s home to about 400 African animals. When a glamping experience popped up on Travelzoo a few months ago, I quickly booked us an overnight trip and early morning safari in early October.

2. Sonoma: We’ve been up to Napa a handful of times, but have yet to venture over to Sonoma. We’re going to spend a weekend exploring Sonoma and I’m excited to check out the many eateries in Healdsburg in particular. I’m also hoping to pop into the Guerneville Bank Club, a retail and art gallery space that serves up Nimble & Finn’s ice cream.

3. Sharktober: When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. My fascination with sharks has never waned and after missing out on the Shark Stewards’ autumn trips to the Farallon Islands last year, I made sure to book early this summer. We’ll be spending a full day in October out on the water to (hopefully) observe Great White sharks!

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5 Italian Cities I Want To Revisit

5 Italian Cities to Revisit
Bellagio, Lake Como

Italy is a country I could easily visit for an entire month and not be satisfied. I’ve been to Italy three times now and have never visited the same city more than once, which is a shame. There is a stark contrast in the personality of northern Italy vs. southern Italy, but even within a region, each city has its own flavor. These five Italian cities are the ones that I most want to re-visit:

Bellagio. Bellagio is a quaint, picturesque town on Lake Como. It has winding cobblestone stairways and lanes that wind through old buildings and made for an excellent afternoon. Not to be missed: afternoon cocktails at any one of the lakeside restaurants.

5 Italian Cities to Revisit
Florence | via

Florence. For any art and architecure lover, Florence is the mecca. When I visited, I was right out of high school and could hardly appreciate the birthplace of the Renaissance. I’m dying to spend a long day at the Uffizi Gallery among the works of Botticelli, Titian, da Vinci, and Michelangelo.

5 Italian Cities to Revisit
Rome | via

Rome. I visited Rome on the same trip as I did Florence. That trip pre-dates the Roman history and Roman art & architecture classes I took, too. I want to go back for several days to walk around the city, explore the ruins, and eat plenty of pasta.

5 Italian Cities to Revisit
Sorrento | via

Sorrento. Sorrento is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, an area I’d like to explore on a road trip. It’s also a great location to visit Pompeii and re-visit the island oasis of Capri.

5 Italian Cities to Revisit
Venice | via

Venice. Most people visit Venice to admire its canals (which are beautiful!), but I think Venice is a hidden gem when it comes to its place within art history. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is in my top five favorite museums and San Giorgio Maggiore is not to be missed.

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