Friday, May 30, 2014

Extreme Travelers

On May 30th two double-hulled vessels set sail from Hawaii on a three year journey around the world. The 62 foot double-hulled Hokulea is made up of a couple of sails, a wooden oar to steer and about five miles of rope to hold the canoe together – what you won’t find on board is any type of navigational equipment. That’s no GPS and no compass, not even a watch to tell time.

Hokulea will be tailed by Hikianalia, its sister vessel, for safety. They will travel to 26 countries and over 50,000 miles on their journey to try and prove the idea that the Polynesians and Hawaiians actually did purposely transit the oceans.

The two vessels set sail from Hawaii on the evening of May 30th with the stars to guide them on the first leg of their voyage. First stop, Tahiti!

See the full story here.
{Hikianalia, Source}

{Hokulea, Source}

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekly Travel Picture

I wanted to start a new weekly post featuring a picture (or two) from our travels and share a short story about it. 

Since we're heading back to Hawaii and I am SUPER excited about it I think its fitting that I post a picture from there. These pictures are from the Pololu Lookout on the Island of Hawaii. We didn't know there was an option to hike down into the valley (see the accompanying signs below). We decided to do the hike...without any water and in flip flops. The flip flop part wasn't so bad it was the no water thing that got us...amateurs! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Our Next Adventure

Happy Memorial Day to all my USA readers, I hope you are enjoying your day off. While you are enjoying the holiday, I hope you will take time to reflect on the purpose of Memorial Day – to remember the true cost of freedom and to honor those brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect life, liberty, and the freedoms we enjoy.  Also pause to recognize the families of our fallen heroes for the immeasurable losses and sacrifices that they have borne.

I have some excited news! Over the weekend we booked our third reward flight to our favorite place on earth! Can you guess? Did you guess Hawaii? Well you are correct! I honestly can’t get enough of those beautiful islands! I think Bianca in 10 Things I Hate About You said it best, “I like my Sketchers but I LOVE my Prada backpack.” I like Europe and I like traveling to new places but I LOVE Hawaii! We have a new rule in our house (one we instated while in Europe this last time), every other vacation has to be in Hawaii.

We’ll be visiting Maui this time and then we’re heading back to the island of Hawaii (the Big Island). My main reason for wanting to go to Maui is to see the whales! The past two times we have been we have gone just a little too early to see the amazing creatures. And we are heading back to the Big Island because there were a few things we didn't get to do the last time and…well, we just love it!

{pictures from our trips to Hawaii and Kauai}

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strange Things You See in Airports

Have you ever seen something really weird or funny at the airport? I would have said no until we went on this last trip. While we were waiting at the Houston airport I saw a woman who was occupying a seat with her stuffed armadillo!!! Yes, you read that right - AN ARMADILLO! Her husband arrived and she moved the stuffed creature to the floor but still...why did you by a stuffed armadillo?!?!? 

{sorry for the crap quality, it was on a cell phone and zoomed in}
Buzzfeed recently found some pretty funny things too. See some below and then check out the link for more.

{nice cat suit, Source}

{a guy eating frozen veggies, Source}

{money suit, Source}

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Movies that Inspire Travel

Girl on a Bicycle: This is a SUPER cute movie! We watched this movie on a whim the other night and it had both of laughing! The story is about an engaged Italian tour bus driver taking tourists around Paris when he notices a beautiful woman riding her bicycle next to his bus. After their meet-cute he ends up hitting her with his bus and having to take care of her and her children (which he adores) all while trying to keep this from his fiancée!

I thought the movie was adorable and I loved seeing Paris on screen and finally knowing where they were and being able to say, “I've been there!”


The Monuments Men: I saw this in theaters a while back and loved it! Its about an unlikely group of soldiers who are tasked with saving art and museums from the Nazis in WWII. The men end up all over Europe; from Italy to Belgium.

Chicago Fire & Chicago P.D.: This is an American TV show based in Chicago and since we are going there soon I figured I would add it to the list. They film in Chicago and you can get some nice views of the city during some of the episodes.

I am OBSESSED with ChiFire right now! And now when we go I want to find me a CFD t-shirt or something.

What movies have you seen lately?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Coming Back for Seconds

A few days after we arrived home from our European vacation I headed off to Minnesota for work. This was my 3rd time to visit Minnesota and it got me thinking of states and countries I have been to more than once. Here is the list:

New Mexico (5): Middle school mission trip, road trip to Carlsbad Caverns, my roommate in college was from Albuquerque and I visited her a few times

Florida (3): Disney World, Key West, Destin
{Key West}
California (3): Family vacation, family friends bat mitzvah, cousin’s wedding

Minnesota (3): Mayo Clinic, funeral, work

Hawaii (2): Big Island (Hawaii), Kauai

{Big Island}

New York (2): Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary, Labor Day 2009

{New York City}
Louisiana (2): Middle school mission trip, road trip to Destin

Germany (3): Keil, Munich, Heidelberg/Mannheim

Switzerland (2): Lugano, Lucerne



Where are some places that you have been to multiple times?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Under Bite: The Tail of Two Bulldogs

A few days after we got back from vacation we had a new house guest! His name is Charlie and he is a French Bulldog! Charlies parents were going to be Europe for 2 weeks and as a bulldog parent I understand not wanting to just leave them with anybody so we offered to watch him. Having 3 high maintenance dogs is a hand full! But Lola and Coco had a new pal for 2 weeks; here are some pictures:

{Lola and Charlie}

{new BFFs}

And this is one of my baby angels silly sleeping positions :P
{my silly girl}

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Travel RoundUp

And we're back to our regularly scheduled posts! Here is what has been happening in the travel world lately.

1 - Ever wonder how airlines handle your luggage? Air Canada was caught red handed!

2 - How did this teen survive in a wheel well on a flight from LA to least Maui is a nice destination!

4 - More news for all of you that have frequent flyer miles with American Airlines

5 - What would you do if you saw a plane bust into flames?!?! 

6 - Airline innovations that will change the way you fly.

7 - Later this year United will launch the longest flight, LA to Melbourne, Australia. A total of 7,927 miles! 

8 - Budget airline Allegiant Airlines had plans to offer passengers a "giant" seat.  

And check out my recent TripAdvisor stats!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Business/First Flight Home

Thank you so much for keeping up with our trip to Europe! I took Friday off from blogging because it was a BUSY week and I feel like I have been posting NON STOP about this trip! I have been posting here and on TripAdvisor. I have one more post about it and then I'm done...I promise! 

First I want to talk about the airports themselves and security. The security in Frankfurt was pretty intimidating. They don’t talk to you…they just stare at you making you feel like you've done something wrong…but you haven’t so don’t worry! I noticed that people weren't taking their shoes off through security so I asked if I had to (I was wearing boots that were hard to get off). She said no but the minute I walked through they patted me down and made me sit and remove my boots?!?! What the heck! When I did this in Paris I asked the same question and they said yes, you need to remove your boots and even gave me some little booties to put on over my socks so I didn't get them dirty.

This was my second time flying this Frankfurt to Houston route. The first time is was horrible because I was sick and in coach. I have to say that our flight back on United was more enjoyable than the flight to Amsterdam. I can’t really put my finger on it but I think the seats were more comfortable but one thing is for sure, they were less noisy! The Lufthansa seats would make a lot of noise when we moved them into reclining position or a bed. So I heard everyone moving them up and down, up and down all night!

Here are some pictures from our flight home.

{Lufthansa Paris Lounge}

{Food on the plane}

{Amenities kit}

If you collect rewards points from you preferred airline Mike over at can hook you for WAY less points then what you can book them for.

See all the other posts about our trip in the following links:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Europe 2014 in Review

Over all I have to say that I liked Paris the most and Lucerne is a close second. I felt like we saw all there was to see in Lucerne, perhaps we would have spent more time on the mountain if we had gone during the summer. If I were to do the trip again I think I would have just stayed a full week in Paris and taken a couple day trips to the French coast and Brussels. Next time :)

Here is some video from our trip. Some of the video might be a bit blurry but its something youtube will get clear after a few seconds :)

{Swans in Lucerne}

{Largest Cuckoo Clock...EVER}

{Eiffel Tower at Night}

{Ride to the top of Pilatus}

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chillin' at the Holiday Inn Paris

We finally arrived back at our hotel around 2pm. When I booked this hotel I mainly picked it because it was close to a lot of things that I wanted to see and do that we wouldn't be getting on our Trafalgar Tour. We also decided that we would splurge for the night and book a room with an Eiffel Tower view. We were okay with spending the money since it was just for one night and who knows when we’ll be back in Paris?! When we checked-in initially I placed my AAA membership card and IHG Rewards card on the counter… I’m pretty sure they both helped us land this room. When we got to our room we realized that not only did we have an Eiffel Tower view but we were in the Executive Suite! OH MY WORD was this room nice! The décor was purple, my favorite color, it had a spa tub and it has its own roof top balcony! I kept thinking that this was too good to be true! Did they make a mistake?

{Holiday Inn Notre Dame}
We took in the views and then took advantage of the spa tub (we needed that after walking about 10 miles!). And we didn't leave the room for the rest of the day! We had plans to go out for dinner but I just didn't want to leave our view, especially since we had paid so much for it. So we decided to just order some room service and enjoy the beautiful weather and our balcony. It was the perfect night to end our time in Paris and in Europe.

{room service}

{view from the bed}

Have you ever been surprised by a free upgrade from a hotel or airline?

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Sunny Day in Paris

We decided to add an extra day onto our time in Paris, away from the tour. And we are glad we did! Paris is so big and has so much to see that you could easily spend a week there and not see it all. I’m glad we stayed extra on a Saturday because 1 – It was sunny and we had blue skies and 2 – The street artists came out and we could finally buy some art!
{Luxembourg Gardens}
We slept in until 7am and then took a taxi from our hotel in La Defense to the center of Paris, the Notre Dame area. We were staying at the Holiday Inn Notre Dame and it took about 20 minutes and €30 to get there by taxi. We checked in and no surprise, our room wasn't ready. But they held our luggage for us and off we went! We walked and picked up some breakfast croissants at Eric Kayser and we ate and walked to the Luxembourg Gardens. Everything was so green and lovely! We took some pictures and then we were on our way to Sainte-Chapelle. We didn't have the museum pass so we had to wait in line, first for security and then to get in. All-in-all it took about 30 minutes (but wouldn't you know that when we left there was no line for either!).

Sainte-Chapelle was lovely and totally worth doing! From what I can tell the queue is never too long and if you have the museum pass you’ll get in even quicker.

After Saint-Chapelle we walked past Notre Dame took lots of pictures and then went and put a lock on the Pont de l'Archeveche romantic! :P Silly I know but something I wanted to do.

Then we headed to Ile Saint-Louis to get some ice cream from Berthillon. And yes, it was about 10:30 in the morning. We made our way past Hotel de Ville, city hall, and continued down Rue de Rivoli  where we ended at Angelina. Again, Angelina is a famous/popular place to get macaroons and sweets and is worth a stop. I think they are a little less expensive than Laduree. We walked across the street to the Tuleries to eat our treats.

We started to head back to our hotel and we decided to take the long way and pass by The Invalides. The Invalides is a complex that contains anything pertaining to the military history of France. We continued our way via Saint-Germain. Saint-Germain is another popular shopping street in Paris but not as big and crowded as Champs Elysees and it still has all the popular stores. 

I'll cover our hotel at the Holiday Inn Notre Dame Monday! See my posts about the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, and the Palace of Versailles

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