I’ve never been to Prague, Czechoslovakia, but it was love at first sight. It was back in the 80s, at the height of my obsession with INXS, and particularly, singer Michael Hutchence. If you’re at all familiar with their music and their videos, you probably know I’m referring to the video for the song “Never Tear Us Part.” Michael sang this romantic love song around...
The Garchen Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona is one of my favorite places to get away from everything, including TV, internet and even conversation at times, as some of the people there have taken vows of silence. High above the Prescott Valley, all you hear is the sound of the Buddhist prayer flags in the strong winds that blow on the mountain where the retreat is...
There are many benefits to traveling off-season besides the obvious: missing the huge crowds and the elevated prices. When you visit a town in its off-season travel, you get a rare chance to really get to know the locals, and hang out like they do. Normally, when you’re looking for restaurant, a crowded parking lot is a good sign that there is good food, if you’re willing to wait. But on this...
I love the nostalgia of a good leather journal, and nothing makes a classier way to preserve memories of your travels. Don’t you love the way that leather ages with use, taking on that beautiful distressed look? Well, I can’t wait to see how this beautiful leather journal from Rustico Leather looks in a few years, because it’s beautiful even now. The Traveler Leather Journal comes...
This post brought to you by Puerto Rico, The All-Star Island. All opinions are 100% mine. Photo by Breezy Baldwin, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Winter is upon us, and baby, it’s cold outside. Do you find yourself dreaming of soaking in the sun on tropical beaches, dining on spicy exotic food and cocktails, exploring rain forests, or galloping on horseback with the wind flowing through your...
Light My Fire Titanium Spork Whether you’re traveling through a tropical rainforest or to the corporate lunchroom, the spork is an all one utensil that helps you pack light but always be prepared, like a good girl or boy scout. Whether you want fancy or simple, these sporks prove function can take on a pretty form. Here are the features of this titanium spork, the Cadillac of sporking....
Next week, Chuck Ragan hits the road opening for Social Distortion, playing venues like the House of Blues and ending with three sold out shows at the 1300-seat Ogden Theatre in Denver. But tonight is another story. Tonight, Ragan isn’t just playing a small dive bar in San Antonio, but the basement of a dive bar in San Antonio. I walk right in the unattended side door and go downstairs with nary a...
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I'm a single woman traveling -- and living -- solo. It occurred to me there are a million "mommy blogs," but very few blogs for single women who aren't sitting at home waiting for Prince Charming or watching their biological clock. Consider this the "non-mommy" blog.
I’ve never been to Prague, Czechoslovakia, but it was love at first sight. It was back in the 80s, at the height of my obsession with INXS, and particularly, singer Michael Hutchence. If you’re at all familiar with their music and their videos, you probably know I’m referring to the video for the song “Never Tear Us Part.”
Michael sang this romantic love song around various locations of Prague, including Charles Bridge. It was a perfect fit for the song and the man, and implanted a deep desire in me to see the city before I die, a desire that has not lessened one bit in almost 25 years.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and if you love that old school architecture and high Gothic embellishments, boy is this the city to visit! It was spared much of the damage that other nations received during World War II, and as such, now has one of the most varied and extensive collections of architecture you will find anywhere in the world: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.
I’ve often looked into taking a course to teach English as a second language, and when considering the classes in an international setting, product is my first choice destination. I obsess over it. Apparently I’m not alone, as Prague is now ranks sixth among the most popular cities in Europe for visitors behind London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin.
Lest you think this city is nothing more than a pretty picture, remember that before was the Czech Republic, it was Bohemia, and the birthplace of the term “Bohemian.” Aside From the obvious tourist attractions, some more unconventional sites to check out include Bunkr Parukarka , a 1950s cold war bunker turned techno night club. Housed underground in what was a 1950s nuclear bunker, this quirky nightclub welcomes revelers through a graffiti-covered door that juts out from a hillside.
And if you really want a rough things up after hours, go to the suburb of Zizkov, with more than 300 bars in the neighborhoods to square miles. No need to dress up for these dive bars, where you can expect your beer in plastic cups. That should give you little feel for the neighborhood.
For a more open space outdoors, ride the railway to the top of Petrin Hill, Which has an eclectic assortment of attractions in itself: a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, a mirror maze, and the Church of St. Michael–a 17th century wooden building relocated from a village in the Ukraine.
And of course, there’s food. You knew that was coming, right?
In get your food, beer and accommodations all in one at the 550-year-old Hotel Midvikdu. As this is the home of the infamous X-Beer 33 with it’s alcohol content of 11.8% (the strongest in the Czech Republic), the accommodations will come in handy. They ferment this dark lager for six months in an oak barrel. Fortunately, they also have a menu that guarantees you won’t want to drink on an empty stomach: half of duck with potato, white bread, bacon dumplings, red and white cabbage; larded roast beef with rosehips sauce and croquettes; boar steak with baked apple cranberries and potato chips; and their signature Brewers pork steak with homemade beer sauce, bacon and fried onion, with a side order of french fries.
That almost sounds American.
Photos courtesy of La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise
Or if you want to go high-end La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, but allow plenty of time for this six course tasting menu, which can take up to three hours to complete. It seems they no longer have the “gelatinous tomato meringue that melts to release honey and balsamic vinegar,” but I’m sure they have found plenty of suitable replacements surprise and delight your palate.
I found some fantastic images on Flickr by Moyan Brenn under CC ATTRIBUTION AND NO DERIVATIONS licensing, so I included a gallery below–check out the wonderful photos on his site. And, of course, the video that inspired me so much to add Prague to my bucket list.
If this sounds–and looks– good, you may want to consider a couple of great tour options to drink in Prague. Monograms offers independent tours of Vienna and Prague, over six nights. Your in country transportation, hotels, breakfasts and must see site admissions are included, as well as having your own city guide available to consult. And without the big herds of a traditional tour. If 2 1/2 days in Prague isn’t enough for you, you can add on a four-day Prague city package. Or just do the four-day package on its own. Vienna to Prague starts at $1497 pp, and the four-day Prague tour starts at just $663 pp.
The Garchen Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona is one of my favorite places to get away from everything, including TV, internet and even conversation at times, as some of the people there have taken vows of silence. High above the Prescott Valley, all you hear is the sound of the Buddhist prayer flags in the strong winds that blow on the mountain where the retreat is located.
There are many benefits to traveling off-season besides the obvious: missing the huge crowds and the elevated prices. When you visit a town in its off-season travel, you get a rare chance to really get to know the locals, and hang out like they do. Normally, when you’re looking for restaurant, a crowded parking lot is a good sign that there is good food, if you’re willing to wait. But on this particular day in Ouray, Colorado, I just didn’t feel like waiting, so I went to the restaurant with the empty tables.
I was greeted at the door of The Silver Nugget by a huge black dog wagging his tail at me, and a cowboy reading the newspaper in the corner. He told me I didn’t need to be scared of the dog, which I wasn’t anyway and we were the only folks in the whole place. Turns out the cowboy was the proprietor and the cook and the waiter on this particular weekday in Ouray, before the full ski season hit and many while businesses were on vacation.
I decided to get the front here breakfast just because of the something different: your basic eggs and hash browns but with an Idaho rainbow trout on the side instead of bacon and sausage. As my cowboy friend went into the kitchen to cook my breakfast, I walked around the restaurant snapping photos and chatting with him about the town. I make no secret that this is one of my favorite towns in Colorado, and a must do travel destination if you like small towns and like to mix with real people who are friendly and welcome visitors. This place is no exception.
When he served up my breakfast, he chastised the dog to stay away. As if. When the cowboy cook went back to the kitchen to busy himself, my canine friend trotted back up and sat there patiently begging the whole time, hoping I would drop a little fish or some eggs either accidentally or on purpose.
On purpose, in this case. How could I resist a face like that?
The Silver Nugget is right on the main drag in downtown Ouray, Colorado, and if you do decide to make a visit, make sure you bring cash because they don’t take debit cards. prices are reasonable and you can get a wide variety of old-fashioned hearty breakfasts or a Gravalanche of yogurt, fruit and granola. Later in the day, try a burger or veggie sandwich, or even pizza.
The food is tasty, and the company is friendly without a long wait, not that you should be in a hurry anyway. At least if you hit it at the right time, during off season.
I love the nostalgia of a good leather journal, and nothing makes a classier way to preserve memories of your travels. Don’t you love the way that leather ages with use, taking on that beautiful distressed look? Well, I can’t wait to see how this beautiful leather journal from Rustico Leather looks in a few years, because it’s beautiful even now.
The Traveler Leather Journal comes in a deep, rich, brown leather with a tie closure. The cover is sturdy enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to feel good to the touch as well. And when you open it up, filled with unlined pages made from a heavy cream-colored stock, with rough edges. So if you’re one of those people who loves to sketch things, this is a great journal where you can mix sketches and words together in one package. There are beautiful patterned end papers in a teal and brown color.
Oh, that leather smell — it’s been sitting on my desk for a few days and my whole office smells of leather. Excuse me for a few moments while I take another deep inhale of premium leather.
Anyway, the journal is the star in the writers’ set I received, and is so nice I’m reluctant to write in it. It’s something I definitely want to save for a special trip.
But I also received a passport cover in a slightly warmer shade of leather, with subtle “PASSPORT” embossing on the cover. The passport cover is machine-stitched and sturdy leather to do the job of protecting your precious documents.
The third item in my set was a sturdy leather luggage tag. The luggage tag is, well, a luggage tag, so it’s not exactly designed to set the world on fire, but this one gets the job done. It’s sturdy, although instead of leather on the backside, it’s a wool type material.
They also make some beautiful leather satchels I would love to try out some day. the designs are very simple and not girly, but I know I actually prefer that style as I’m sure many others do as well.
I am a participating Influencer at The Entertainment New Media Network. I have received free product for review to facilitate this post. I was not compensated for this review and all expressed opinions are strictly my own.
Photo by Breezy Baldwin, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Winter is upon us, and baby, it’s cold outside. Do you find yourself dreaming of soaking in the sun on tropical beaches, dining on spicy exotic food and cocktails, exploring rain forests, or galloping on horseback with the wind flowing through your hair? You can have all this and more in one fabulous island paradise. And better yet, forget about any hassles with currency exchange and you can leave your passport at home.
I’m not talking Hawaii, but Puerto Rico.
This “All Star Island” has it all: indulge in luxury resorts, Caribbean cuisine and 270 miles of coastline beaches, including Flamenco Beach in Culebra, which has been hailed as one of the best beaches in the world and ranked within the top 10 by Travel Channel. If you’re more about adventure and taking in the great outdoors, this is your paradise. Hike through the beautiful rain forest with waterfalls and crystal clear pools of water. Or try some mountain biking or horseback riding. Maybe one of the best adventures of all is the longest zip line in the world, soaring over a breathtaking view of the rain forest of El Yunque, the only rainforest in the US National Parks service system.
Still not convinced? Maybe you’re one of those experienced travelers who seek out something really different from your other experiences. Well, check this out: Puerto Rico boasts the Bioluminescent Bays. Microorganisms in the water create a blue-green glow, so you can take a midnight swim in mother nature’s marine lighting. Or paddle in the moonlight.
If you’re a foodie, you must check out the local cuisine and have an icy cold mojito… or any rum drink, as 70% of rum in the US comes from here. Puerto Rican cuisine blends Spanish, African, and Taíno cuisines, with a dash of American influences for a tasty melting pot of cultural food. Try some carne guisada puertorriqueña, which is a Puerto Rican beef stew, or lechón asado, which is barbecued pig basted in a sour orange juice sauce and served with roasted green plaintains. Or if you’ve watched one too many episodes of Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern, try some sesos empanados: breaded calf brains.
I think I’ll stick with the pig roast, myself.
Are you packing your bags yet? What would you do if you took a vacation to Puerto Rico? Comment below if you dream of hopping on a plane to Puerto Rico, or if you’ve been there, share your experiences with us!
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