Photo of the Week: Duomo

IMG_0099Florence, Italy

This week I am reminiscing back to 10 years ago when we visit Florence on our VERY  first trip abroad.  I remembered falling head over heels in love with this city standing on top of the Campanile di Giotto.  From the bell tower, you can see the tiny people atop of the famous Duomo and the rest of the city spread out below. 

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Photo of the Week: Rowing

IMG_9263Madrid, Spain

The beautiful El Parque de Retiro, located in the heart of Madrid, is a popular spot for the city’s residents who go there to row boats and sunbathe.  It was opened in the early seventeenth century with access only granted to members of the monarchy.  The royal family used to host pageants, mock naval battles, and bullfights on these grounds. 

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

Photo of the Week: Roman Theatre

Aspendos (19)Aspendos, Turkey

One of the best preserved ancient Roman theaters is, oddly enough, not even located in Italy.  It can be found near the Southern coast of Turkey, by the city of Antalya.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is frequented by hundreds of thousands of people every year.  We were there earlier in the morning, and had the place to ourselves.  In the summer, the beautiful building also hosts the annual Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival where visitors get a chance to experience the acoustics of this ancient theater.

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

Photo of the Week: Sunshine

IMG_4734Porto, Portugal

This weekend I turned another year older, inching my way to the big 4-0.  Recently I noticed that time seems to be flying by too quickly, so moments like this have to be appreciated.  This photo was taken last year in Porto, one of my favorite cities in Europe.  We walked to the top of Miradouro da Vitória and stopped to enjoy the warm sunshine.  

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

Photo of the Week: Eiffel Tower

IMG_4299Paris, France

This photo, taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe while looking down the tree-lined Avenue d’Léna with the Eiffel Tower in the distance perfectly epitomizes the city of Paris for me. The location of the monument at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, makes it the perfect lookout to admire this beautiful city.  From here you can see all the way down the Champs-Élysées as well as many other notable landmarks around the city.  The Arc de Triomphe was erected to honor all the soldiers who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Photo of the Week: Freedom

IMG_4979Dachau, Germany

Standing at the entrance of the Dachau concentration camp, it’s impossible to remain unemotional. This place in particular, brings to life the inhumanity of Hitler’s regime. This was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in 1933 by Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler, and was used as a prototype for the many others that sprang up around Europe.   Over 200,000 Jews and other political prisoners were imprisoned here until the camp was finally liberated on April 29, 1945. The the iron gate with the ironic motto “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) belied the horrors that happened inside.  Once you entered, the only freedom was death.

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Trip Report: Portugal

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Portugal  is a small country nestled between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean at the westernmost point of continental Europe.  It was once a powerful seafaring kingdom that controlled many of the routes to Africa, South America, and Asia.  The home of world famous football player,  Cristiano Ronaldo, is filled with lush landscapes and striking scenery. Though not as well known as some of its neighbors, it is a country rich with culture, interesting architecture, and fairytale castles. The laid-back vibe combined with great food and cheap wine makes this a must-visit destination.   Here is the cost breakdown of our trip to Portugal to help you plan yours:

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  • Time Cost
    • Total Days In Portugal: 8 days + 1 layover day in London
    • Total Days Off From Work: 5 days
  • Monetary Cost
    • Hotel: $1100 + 8,000 Hilton Points + 7,000 SPG points
    • Flights: $815 pp +13,000 Avios
    • Transportation: $90 pp ($110 for car, $35 pp for train)
    • Admission fees: $80 pp
    • Food: $45 pp per day
    • Total Per Person: $1,800+ 4,000 Hilton Points + 3,500 SPG points + 6,500 Avios

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If you’ve been following along with our blog you’ll know that we usually try to maximize our travel days and minimize our costs.  This usually happens when we find a good flight deal with availability around the holidays.  This system has allowed us to travel more frequently to many amazing places around the world. Admittedly, this did not happen on this trip.  A series of mistakes cost us time, energy, and money in the form of unused hotel rooms and additional flights – read about our mishaps here. Even with all the disasters, our trip was very memorable for all the right reasons.

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There are a variety of things to do and see in Portugal, whatever your interests and tastes may be.  Visit the northern city of Porto and sample the famous port wine.  Zip over to Belem and indulge in the egg tarts.  Wander through picturesque castles hidden in the rolling hills of Sintra and feel like you’ve stepped into a Disney movie.  See the busy city from the rickety tram, and fall in love with the architecture of Lisbon.  Eat and drink until you are completely sated without breaking the bank.  To read more about our trip to Portugal, click on the links below:

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  • Read about all our rookie mistakes that we made on this trip
  • Alternative accommodation option with AirBnB

Porto

Lisbon

Sintra

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Check back next to read about our trip to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Photo of the Week: Walkway

IMG_5971Dresden, Germany

Last year, on our whirlwind trip around Eastern Europe, we visited Dresden, a small town in Germany with an interesting history.  It used to be the capital of Saxony before getting completely destroyed by bombers during WWII.  Most of the historic center has been reconstructed over the years to bring it back to its former glory.  

One of my favorite places is the Zwinger palace, the most beautiful structure you’ll see in Dresden or perhaps even Germany. The buildings are connected by a series of walkways that are lined with an interesting mix of Rococo sculptures and statues.  This particular path passes right over the Crown Gate, the well-known entrance into the interior courtyard.  

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

AirBnB Review

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AirBnB is not new, in fact it’s been around since 2008.  We know people who have used the service and had glowing reviews; and others who did not fare as well (there are some horror stories).  In the past, we’ve always opted to stay at a Starwood hotel because our status gave us upgrades and other perks.  This year, however, that status has expired which was the perfect opportunity for us to venture out of our bubble and try something new. Continue reading

Sintra: At the Edge of the World

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In the modern age, technology and innovation has made it easy for the casual traveler to easily explore the four corners of the world.  It also means that there are very few places left undiscovered.  Even though it’s the status quo now, it was not always the case a few hundred years ago.  It’s hard for people to imagine a world other than the one they were born into.  Before the Age of Discovery, people would look out from the cliffs into the boundless ocean and believe that it was the end of the world.  The famous Portuguese  explorers changed that preconception, venturing out to Asia and Africa, leading the way for discoveries of a whole different world. 

Continue reading