Tag Archives: Foreign Travel

Visit London’s Borough Market

The Borough Market in London is a foodie lover’s dream come true.  With fresh fruit and produce stalls, meals to go available in every type of cuisine that you can imagine, nibbles galore, and refreshing beverages of all kinds there is still more to explore.Visit London's Borough Market

Located a few feet from London Bridge tube station for easy access and nestled against the spectacular Southwark Cathedral, the Borough Market is one of the oldest markets dating around 1,000 years in some form, and certainly a permanent fixture in London. The market is a mix of mobile kiosks, tents, and built in structures. Continue reading Visit London’s Borough Market

Beginner’s Guide for Americans Visiting the UK

Traveling to England was my first real foreign travel, and my first real solo trip.  During college, I went to Mexico and the Bahamas with friends, but since I did not get a stamp in my passport it never seemed foreign (enough).  Traveling to the UK is a rite of passage for many Americans, usually following high school or college graduation.  Like me, it is often the first stamp in our passport and we finally get to travel abroad by crossing the pond, aka Atlantic Ocean.  The UK is notoriously expensive, but it is a great destination to take off those travel training wheels and start to explore this big, beautiful world.  Warning – I have made this crossing many times over the last 20 years and it is absolutely to blame for my wanderlust now.

As I find myself back in England after an eight year break, I am reminded of everything that I wish I knew before my first trip to Merry ole England.  Here is my Beginner’s Guide to London/UK, specifically for Americans. Continue reading Beginner’s Guide for Americans Visiting the UK

Exploring the Champagne Region of France

Champagne is my go-to beverage for celebrations, Sunday brunch, a quiet night in, and every other occasion that I can think of. 

In February 2002 I spent a week in Reims, France to explore part of the Champagne region.  The main purpose of my visit was to enjoy as many varies of Champagne as I could!  I called to reserve my cellar tours (before online reservations), booked my hotel (through a travel agent), and rode the TGV train from Paris Gare de l’East to Reims.  My hotel was a short walk from the train station, and I stopped at a local café for dinner and pastry.

Between Champagne tastings and cellar tours, I managed to visit the Palais du Tau and nearby cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims.  I walked to most places with the occasional taxi ride.  Exploring the city as a solo female traveler was easy and safe.

The down side of travelling solo all those years ago (before smart phone with built in cameras) is that I have a fuzzy memory and very few, poor quality photos.  Admittedly, the photos were made even worse by the massive amounts of Champagne consumed during operation.

My friend Lisa recently went to the Champagne region, and was kind enough to share her experience and photos. 

During a recent trip to Europe to visit family, my husband and I snuck away to France for just a couple of days.  We thought about visiting Paris, but then I ruled against it… I wanted to go to the Champagne region instead.

Continue reading Exploring the Champagne Region of France

VIVO Beach Club, Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico

Newly opened in April 2016, VIVO Beach Club is a beach front property in area of Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico.  This beach club is just getting started, with plans to open a brewery, fitness classes offered on the beach, concerts, parties, and more events and activities planned for the upcoming year.  Located mere minutes from the San Juan airport in Isla Verde, guests can enjoy perfect Caribbean water immediately upon arrival to the island.  VIVO Is fast becoming a popular destination for locals and visitors.

Continue reading VIVO Beach Club, Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico

Benefits of Slow Travel

As I mature (which is a nice way to say, get older), my approach to travelling is changing.  In my early 20’s, I had a checklist of places to visit.  Before the term bucket list was coined and the creation of Pinterest, I literally had a world map on my wall that I would stick a push-pin into after visiting each city.

Weekend in Stirling, Scotland Spring 2001
Weekend in Stirling, Scotland Spring 2001

I had a magnificent job that sent me to work in the United Kingdom for almost a year, twice!  Travel was forever changed for me.  Sure, I used London as my home base to travel Europe on the weekends, but the push-pin strategy never satisfied my wanderlust.  I collected many pins, but it was not enough.

Even a few days in a city is only long enough for me to decide what I need to do and see on my next visit, and discover the hidden gems from locals. My first visit to Paris was a mere 3 days, barely enough time to see the top 5 tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louve, Notre Dame, and Champs Elysees) and very little else (and there is so much more to see).  I felt rushed.  I felt like a tacky American tourist – maybe, because I was.

Mardi Gras week long celebrations with my Sister 1999
Mardi Gras week with my Sister 1999

After a few more hurried trips, I realized that break-neck speed of travel is exhausting.  I do not want to spend more time in transit than exploring.  In the last decade, I started to slow down, put down the guide book, and talk to the locals.   Simple curiosity and a good attitude have resulted in invitations to private country estates, weekends in sleepy little villages, multiple wedding receptions around the world, cheering with the fans for local amateur sports teams, and so much more off the beaten path activities.  I am simply not satisfied by sheer number of cities visited, I want to connect and savor the destination.

Horse ride in Banff, Canada
Horse ride in Banff, Canada

Granted, slow travel is a luxury.  Not everyone can spend weeks at a vacation destination.  10 days in Cancun enabled me to complete my Scuba certification start to finish, with a couple extra dives at the end.  Weekend trips are focused on a few activities at a destination, and almost always followed up with a longer visit to see more. Continue reading Benefits of Slow Travel