NYC in 3 Days (holiday style)

New York City is one of the largest cities in the world.  It’s not physically possible to see it all in three days, but you can get a good feel for whether or not it’s somewhere you’d like to come back and explore.

The city is made up of five boroughs; the Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. If you’re going for a short visit, I’d suggest focusing the majority of your travels in Manhattan.  It’s the heart of New York, and for good reason.  Every cliche slogan you’ve heard about New York began in Manhattan.  The city that never sleeps.  The big apple.  Sex in the City.  A New York minute.  The city of big dreams.  All of it comes from Manhattan.

Now, people aren’t kidding when they say it’s crowded.  I’m a small town girl, but my boyfriend lives downtown Toronto.  We’re always out exploring the city, and I love it.  So I’m not shy when it comes to the hustle and the bustle of the city.  However, Manhattan takes hustle and bustle to a whole other level.  Even on a freezing cold -30 degree Celsius day the streets are still packed.  That being said don’t let it deter you from going, just embrace it, and know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.

Also because the city has so much to offer, I’d recommend that you have a rough idea planned out of what you’d like to see before going.  Even though majority of it is all within walking distance, there are a few treks out of the city, and in order to make sure that you see everything that you want planning is essential.  Most of you know that I’m not the best planner, in fact I rarely plan.  But it’s good to have an idea of what you’d like to see, the layout of the city, and the hours that things are operating.  Without those three essentials you might miss out on quite a few things.

There’s always a lot to see and do in NYC, but even more so around Christmas time.  Beginning the last week of November to the first of January the city is packed with holiday festivities.  New York City has been ranked one of the top cities to visit during the holidays, and for good reason.  The expression “big lights will inspire you” is taken to a whole new level over the holidays.  Shopping windows are turned into Christmas displays (Saks on Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, etc), stores decorate their exterior with lights (Sak’s on Fifth Avenue), the streets are decorated with giant Christmas ornaments (Fifth Avenue), and the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree.

It does get quite cold in New York, so if you plan on seeing New York over the holidays than I’d recommend visiting late November/early December.  

Here’s how I’d suggest spending three days in NYC over the holidays:

Day One- Times Square, Broadway, and Hell’s Kitchen

Times Square is a must, and you should definitely see it both during the day and again at night.  There’s just so much to see.  And it’s the iconic heart of the city.  See photo above.

While you’re there stop by TKTS to purchase discounted tickets for Broadway.  It’s a red booth in the middle of the square.  You can purchase last minute tickets up to 60% off.  We went to see Anastasia for 80 USD, regularly 165USD.  Booth opens at 10am, make sure you get there early as tickets sell out fast.  Also, I should say the booth is selling tickets for shows that perform that day so make sure you have full availability for the rest of the day.

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Photo sourced from Paúl Rivera/ArchPhoto

After a show, stroll down 8th and 9th avenue for the full high rise experience, and grab a bite to eat or a drink in Hell’s Kitchen District.  Located adjacent to the Theater District, this district is buzzing with tourists from Times Square, pre and post theater crowds, and workers in suits all on the prowl for a good spot to eat and be seen.  Whether you’re looking for a restaurant, bar, or pub this is the area to start your food search and continue your NYC experience.

Day Two- Shopping, Skating, and Bryant Park

NYC is already expensive enough without breaking your bank over the latest fashion styles.  However, many of the top stores have decorated their windows with festive displays.  I recommend taking a walk down Fifth Avenue.  You can shop till you drop, or take in the Christmas decor.  From window displays, Christmas lights, and a musical light show, Sak’s Fifth Avenue holiday decor is outstanding,

Take a break from your shopping, and make a stop at the Rockefeller Center.  The center has an observation deck at the top of the building (28-75USD), center tours (25USD), and hidden among all the towering buildings there’s the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree set up in front of a skating rink.  Here you can trade in your shoes for a pair of skates.  Unfortunately, you must purchase a ticket.  Price various depending on the date you wish to go.  Skate rental is 12USD.  See Rockefeller Skating for prices.  personally, I’d recommend holding off on the skating until you make your way to Bryant Park.

There’s plenty of holiday fairs, and Christmas markets in NYC; however, according to many New Yorkers Bryant Park is the number one market o see.  In the center of the park is a giant skating rink, and of course a well decorated Christmas tree.  Surrounding the rink are various rows of food, crafts, and festive shopping booths.  Don’t worry about taking your skates off the park has matted the ground so you can leave your skates on and wander around the market.  Also, this is not a market that you can easily walk through in half an hour, you’ll want to stay all evening.  The park closes at 8pm, so get their relatively early to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it.  Entrance and skating are both free.

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Photo sourced from Time Out

Day Three- Central Park

If you have a third day (and it’s not too cold out), Central Park is a must.  Not only is it the most filmed park in the world (over 350 films), but it also has an outdoor museum.  It’s about a 20 minute walk from Times Square, or a 10 minute cab.  With so many things to do in Central Park, it would definitely be a whole day affair.  Even though Central Park is outdoors, if you bundle up it’s quite the sight to see in the winter.  If you’re looking for a romantic way to finish off your NYC trip this would be the box to check off.

Central Park Bow Bridge Snow-XL

Photo sourced from SmugMug

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Photo sourced from Time Out

All in all, NYC is one for the bucket list.  I was only there for a short period of time, and I completely understand why New Yorkers are so proud of their city.  It’s a busy city with a lot to offer, which is probably why the city never sleeps.

xo

NOTE: Statue of Liberty is a summer tourist attraction, there’s no ferry during the winter.

Header photo sourced form Business Insider

 

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5 Ways Traveling Tests Your Relationship

Here are 5 ways that traveling tests a relationship:

  1. To Walk or To Run?

The alignment of daily routines is probably one of the bigger tests for a relationship.  Traveling is a good way to see if you go through a day to day routine at the same pace.  You don’t always realize it at home, because you’re both on your own schedules but when you’re away from home and your schedules are combined by force do they line up accordingly?

  1. The Good, the Bad, and the Hangry?

 It’s not that traveling brings out the worst in people, but you’re seeing them when they’re not always at their best. You’re with them when they’re tired, when they’re hungry, when things might not be going according to plan, and probably when they’re not looking or smelling their best. You’re getting to see all sides of them, the good, the bad, and the hangry; which can be an eye opener for better or for worse.

  1. 24/7: Heaven or Hell?

When you’re traveling there’s no such thing as space.  I mean you could create space if you wanted to go your own separate ways, but you’re there together so why would you travel separately?  Unless it really has reached the point of no return, but even then I’d still say “till trip do us part.”  That being said I find most people underestimate the power of the 24/7.  It’s a long time to be with someone nonstop.  Free time and privacy are limited.  Heck even the bathroom times need to be coordinated.  But the lack of space is a great way to see if you can really stand being around someone all the time, after all that’s what married life would be.

  1. Laughing, Crying, or Both?

Laughter is essential, but tears and laughter at the same time are crucial in a travel companion.  When things aren’t going according to plan, you’re tired, or hangry but somehow you still manage to laugh, even if it’s about nothing, that’s when you know you’re golden.  You can be in the worst of moods, but if it ends in laughter then you know you can solve anything with time.  Not being able to stay mad or making the most out of not so great situation is key when traveling with your partner.  Plus it makes things more fun!

  1. Questions or Answers?

If you’re traveling with someone or even just at home sitting on the couch and you still find yourself questioning things then take it as a sign.  In the moment things should feel easy and natural, not forced.  You shouldn’t be questioning, you should just be enjoying the time you have together.  That being said there’s no such thing as a perfect world or a perfect relationship, but no good relationship starts with doubts and insecurities.  If you don’t have a clear idea of how you’re feeling after traveling and spending time together then you have your answer.

So next time the opportunity presents itself for you to travel with you partner, do it!  Put your relationship to the travel test.

xo

 

 

photo sourced from @kiwisoffcourse

 

7 Ways to Explore Cancun

There’s more to Cancun than beaches and corona.  Here are 7 ways to explore Cancun:

  1. Underwater

There are plenty of water sports offered in Cancun but the best are the ones below the sea level.  For those who like a little adventure and a bit of an adrenaline rush scuba diving is the way to go.  Just off the coast of Isla Mujeres there is a famous underwater museum called Musa.  Scuba diving allows you to get close and personal, and really explore the sculptures in depth.  Also, a little ways out for the museum there’s a famous coral reef where you can explore the sea life.  You’ll see plenty of colourful fish, sting rays, and maybe even sharks! It’s a whole other world down there.  I’d recommend doing your research, before investing in one tour.  You’ll hear a lot of talk about Aquaworld, but you can find a cheaper and more experienced tour guide for a better price.

  1. Like a Local

If you want a real Mexican experience definitely go to Parque las Palpas!  During the day there’s not much to see, but after 6pm the park lights up with activities.  There are food carts, various stands selling different pieces of jewellery and clothing, manicure booths, hair braiding, and more.  Once a month the community hosts a big fiesta at the park, and the park is filled with locals.  This isn’t a tourist attraction, it’s an authentic experience.

  1. Mayan Style

Take a trip just outside of Cancun and visit the Mayan village, Yucatan.  The experience is eye opening.  You can do this by renting a car for the day, or taking the Ado bus.  Personally, I’d recommend going with a tour.  Usually it’s the cheapest and you get your money’s worth with a full day of activities, without the added stress.  Plus the tour usually covers the cost of the entrance fee.  So do your research beforehand and have an idea of what you’d like to see.  There are plenty of tours to choose from, this will help you decide which tour is best suited for you.

  1. At Night

Probably the most popular way to explore Cancun is through the night life scene.  It’s easy to see why Cancun is known to be one of the top destinations for Spring Break.  The hotel zone is lined with resorts, and at night the downtown center is alive with people looking for a good time.  There’s a couple of great bars like the Mandala Beach Club, La Vaquita, Palazzo; but the best bar has to be Coco Bongo.  Whereas most bars are open to the street so people walking by can see the fun, Coco Bongo is closed off.  From the outside it’s a mystery why this is Cancun’s best bar, but it doesn’t take long to understand.  Although the ticket price is steep, most tickets include open bar.  Although, the best nights of the week are Friday, and Saturday the club is always full with people.  What makes Coco Bongo so different from the rest of the clubs is the spectacle that goes all night long.  There’s a stage in the middle of the dance floor, where performers jump off of and swing above the crowd.  If you’re looking for a good time this is the place to be.  The good music never stops, and neither does the drinking.

  1. Get Historical

Only three hours outside the city lies one of the seven wonders of the world; Chichen Itza.  Although the structure is mesmerizing, it’s the history behind the famous water well that really explains why Chichen Itza is one of the world’s greatest wonders.  Personally, I’d recommend touring the attraction with a guide.  Seeing the structure is one thing but understanding the history behind the structure is something else.  With a tour guide you’ll learn in depth about the temples, the Mayan calendar, and the Mayan rituals like their sacrifices to the Gods.  Just a precaution it is hot, and there isn’t a lot of shade so have sunscreen and water packed.  See Chichen Itza Tour- Live Tweet for more info.

  1. The Island Way

Take the ferry and make your way over to Isla Mujeres for the day.  The island is gorgeous and crazy like the many women that reside on the island.  Whether you choose to soak up some sun, drink a little or a lot, enjoy some water activities, rent a golf cart to explore the island, or indulge in some delicious seafood by the seashore the possibilities are endless.  Your trip to the island can be as relaxing or as adventurous as you make it.  I’d recommend taking the Ultamar ferry from Gran Punta Peurto.  Although the ticket price is a bit more expensive than the others, you’ll be on less of a time constrain.  It’s the most frequent, and it runs the latest.  See 6 Things to Know About Isla Mujeres for more details.

  1. Go Deep

When I say deep, I mean 130 ft deep.  One of Mexico’s greatest attractions is Cenote Ik Kil.  Once a place where the Mayans would come to relax or perform rituals, now allows visitors to cliff jump and swim in the pool of darkness.  Only a couple of hours outside of Cancun, Cenote Ik Kil is a must.  I’d recommend combining Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil, they are both three hours outside of Cancun but only a ten minute drive between the two attractions.  Also, don’t worry about time you’ll have more than enough to do both attractions if you leave early in the morning.  See 6 Tips for Cenote Ik Kil.

xo

6 Tips for Cenote Ik Kil

Cenotes are sinkholes that expose water from underground.  They’re formed from the collapse of limestone back in the Mayan times.  Cenote Ik Kil is one of the best cenotes in Mexico.  It’s 85 ft below ground level, and 130 ft deep.  Vines hang from the top, and waterfalls descend from overhead.  The biggest surprise is the black catfish that swim in the cenote.  The view up above is enchanting, but seeing the darkness below is an even crazier thought.  Mayans used to come to the cenote for relaxation and ritual sacrifices.  You can really feel the history when you’re there. Here are 5 tips and tricks for visiting Ik Kil:

  1. Take pictures

There are multiple levels to this cenote.  I’d recommend capturing a photo on each level.  The coolest shot is probably from the top, but the best view is from the bottom.

  1. Get a locker

It’s cheap, and it’s worth it.  You don’t want to be worrying about your stuff.  The place is generally crowded, and the locker is so convenient.  I happened to be there when Mexico was on their version of March Break so the place was packed!

  1. Don’t forget to shower

After changing in the locker rooms, make sure to rinse off.  Before heading down to the water, you have to shower.  Don’t worry if you forget the guard at the top will remind you to rinse off.  It’s a requirement in order to enter the cenote.

  1. Make sure you jump

The jump may look intimidating at first, but you’ll regret it if you don’t jump.  Also, just because I’m a proud sister I have to say my younger sister did a front flip off the cliff.  Get creative when you jump!

  1. Bring food

There is a café there, but there’s still not much to choose from so I’d recommend packing a snack or a lunch depending on how long you’re there.

  1. Appreciate the moment

I know this one is a given, but when you’re swimming in the cenote take everything in.  The view up above, the streaming water falling around you, the empty darkness below you, and more.  It’s no mystery why the Mayans came there to relax.

Cenote Ik Kil was one of the stops for Red Bulls Cliff Diving World Series for three years.  Take a look at their most recent dive.

 

 

xo

6 Things to Know About Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, or in English the Woman Island, is the perfect getaway.  Just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico the island is enjoyed by locals and tourists.  Here are 6 things you should know when planning a trip to the island:

  1. Ferry is the way to go

The only way to get to the island is by ferry.  There are three main options.  You can board a ferry from Gran Puerto.  This is the main ferry and has the most frequent times.  It leaves every half hour, and every hour after 9pm.  It is more expensive for a round trip it is 300 MXN pesos, but it also leaves the latest so you don’t have to worry about rushing your day and it’s the fastest way.  The ferry is only 15mins.  Last ferry leaves at midnight.  There’s also Punta Sam, this is the only ferry that accepts cars.  It’s cheaper than taking the ferry from Gran Puerto, but it also takes 45mins and doesn’t make as many trips.  Last, there’s Peurto Juarez, which is cheap, only 35 pesos and only 20mins, but the last ferry comes back at 7:40pm.  So you might be rushing dinner.

http://www.islamujeres.info/planning/ferries.asp

  1. Sip on an Horchata

This is probably my favourite drink, ever.  It kind of tastes like a thin light milkshake.  It’s a beverage made of ground almonds, melon seeds, rice, and barley topped with cinnamon and served with ice.  The drink is perfect mixture of sweet and refreshing.  It’s a Mexican must!

  1. Rent a golf cart

If you’re interested in touring the entire island then golf cart is the way to go.  They’re easy, breezy, and fun.  For only 45 MXN pesos you can rent one for the whole day, or 20MXN pesos for one hour.  Personally, I’d recommend just staying around centro (which is the main strip).  Outside of centro there isn’t a whole lot of action, unless you’re doing an excursion.

  1. Plenty of Options

That being said there are a lot of excursions being offered on the island.  They have snorkeling, boat tours, a turtle school, and the underwater museum.  Do your research and know what you want to do.  You don’t need to have it all planned out beforehand, but at least of an idea of what you want to do and the price range because the minute you step off the ferry you will be bombard with excursion offers.

  1. A local getaway

The island is a local getaway; their hidden gem.  We were surprised to see a nice mixture of locals and tourists.  I’d even say there were more locals than tourists.  It kind of reminded me of Toronto Island; a nice quick getaway from the rush of the city, with a variety of locals and tourists.

  1. When the sun goes down, so does the party

The island is alive during the day, but the nightlife is nonexistent.  The last ferry goes back at midnight, which explains the lack of bars.  When the sun begins to set, so does the island.  Chairs are quickly cleaned up, and the line for the ferry back home begins.  We were surprised to see that not many people were staying for dinner.  Everyone is just burnt from a long day in the hot sun.  Also, everything started to close pretty early, around 8pm.  I’d recommend taking the ferry over early in the day, soak up some sun, day drink, have a nice relaxing dinner by the sea, and then make your way back to the main land.  There’s a ferry that goes directly into the hotel zone if you’re looking to continue the party.

  1. Seafood with a seaside view

Everyone kept saying that the island had good seafood, well guess what?  They weren’t lying, the island had good seafood.  The seashore is lined with restaurants that allow you to dine and take in the wonderful view.  The prices aren’t bad, but more expensive than the main land.

Overall, the Isla Mujeres is a perfect getaway.  You don’t need to spend a whole week on the island, but a day trip is perfect!  Here’s a little sneak peak…

 

9 Things You Must Do in Lisbon

I recently went to Lisbon for the first time and was pleasantly surprised.  Portugal had never been on the top of my list, but I had always heard great things about the country (probably because my small town is more than three quarters Portuguese).  Although there may seem like a lot of things to see and do, because it’s such a small city 3 days is more than enough.  Just walking around the city you’re bound to stumble across everything and some.  Plus it’s easy enough to get around, and after one day in the city the streets will start to feel familiar.  It was that sense of familiarity that had me falling in love with Lisbon.   Here are the top eleven things you should do during your visit in Lisbon:

  1. Graffiti Tour

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Lisbon is known to have some of the best street art in the world.  Their most talked about tours are their graffiti tours.  Essentially you follow a guide through the city, and they explain the various pieces of street art.  Not only does this allow you to really get a feel for the city, but also an insight into the city’s history.  Generally, tours last two to three hours.  Tours are by foot, so wear your walking shoes.  Some tours are tip only, others have a steeper price so do your research before booking your tour.  Also, tours are offered weekly rather than daily, so plan ahead to make sure the tour fits into your schedule.

  1. Sao Jorge Castle

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The historic castle sits hilltop overlooking the city.  It’s a steep climb through the historic center, but well worth it.  The greatest appeal is the view from the top; however aside from the view there’s not a whole lot of action. The entire historic site is outside, so make sure you pick a day to go when the weather is nice!  Also there aren’t many food options, just one slightly overpriced café on the grounds, so I’d recommend packing a lunch.  If you do decide to make a stop at the café watch your money, the lady at the cash tried to rip me off ten Euros.

  1. Pensao Amor

Once a brothel, now Lisbon’s coolest bar.  If you’re looking for a good night out, this is the place to go.  The bar has different themed rooms packed with locals and tourists.  The dance floor is small, but no shortage of good hip hop music.  Drinks are pricey, so pre drink beforehand.  Also the line looks long, but it moves quick.  If it’s not moving don’t worry the bar is located in the former red light district which has now been transformed into Lisbon’s core night life scene, so there’s always options.

http://www.pensaoamor.pt/PT/

  1. Tram #28

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This is probably the best and cheapest way to see the city.  A one way trip from one end of Lisbon to the other is 2.85 Euros.  I’d recommend catching the tram at the very beginning of the route, which is located in front of Hotel Mundial.  Warning, it does not circle back to Hotel Mundial on the same fare, so you’ll have to get off and get back in line for the return trip.  Or I’d recommend making your way back by foot, and exploring Barrio Alto.

  1. O Prego da Peixara

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Now if you’re in the Barrio Alto area, you must grab a bite to eat at O Prego da Peixara.  Small, casual, and cozy the Portuguese’s version of a pub offers a “create your own” meal menu.  You have an option of burger/sandwich or to have the meat on its own.  Personally, I’d go for their shrimp or salmon burger.  It’s what they are known for.  I had the shrimp burger and it definitely was no McDonald’s.

  1. West Side

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Just to the west of downtown there’s a nice harbor area that is filled with historical sites.  Some of these sites are the Belem tower, the monastery, and the monument of discoveries.  Although it’s located on the outskirts of Lisbon it’s worth the day trip.  Fair warning this trip isn’t one filled with adventure, but more appreciation for the history of Portugal.  The day trip is as long as you make it.  Just depends which sites, monuments, and museums you want to see.  None of the attractions are free.  Also, I’d recommend taking an uber from the city.  Ubers are popular in Lisbon, and cheaper than a taxi.

  1. Park

If you’re looking for a casual place to drink and mix with locals and tourists look no more!  Park is a low key lounge located on the roof of a parking garage.  Getting to the place alone is an adventure.  Good thing is you can dress up or dress down, and the drinks are a reasonable price.  It’s not a place for dancing, but for mingling.  Also it’s right downtown near the action so it’s a good place to pre drink.

http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-bars/park.html

  1. Carmo Convent

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Once a church is now standing ruins.  The church was destroyed by an earthquake, but the frame remained in tack.  It’s now a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the city.  The space isn’t huge, however at the back of the church there’s tiny display of facts, ruins, and even mummies.  It was my first time ever seeing a mummy so that was cool.  With an open roof, and the frame blocking the wind it makes for a perfect place to lie down on the grass and relax.  Listen to music, snack, or maybe even nap.

  1. Hotel Mundial

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This is a popular hotel not too far from Rossio station (the main train station in downtown Lisbon).  It attracts tourists for the accommodations, and locals for the bar.  Or in my case it attracts travelers seeking a nice view.  The hotel has a chic roof top lounge that is perfect for grabbing a drink, cuddling under a blanket, and taking in the view.  After a day of hiking through the streets, the lounge gives you a taste of what it’s like to be on top.  The only problem is the price of drinks is just as high as the view.  The place is upscale, literally, but it’s a nice place to splurge and treat yourself.

I’m not one to push bucket list goals onto others but Portugal should be on everybody’s list.  It was never on the top of mine, but I’m glad I stumbled onto.  It’s been one of my best trips so far.  Given, a trip is only as good as the person you’re traveling with, but that’s an article for another time.  Safe travels everyone!

xo

Top 3 Things to Do in Sintra

If you’re traveling through Lisbon, or even Portugal you better make a day trip to Sintra.  The quaint little town has many eye catching views, and adventures you won’t want to miss.  It’s a trip for the suitcases and for the backpackers.

  1. Explore Pena Palace

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This is the number one attraction in Sintra, and it’s for a good reason.  The palace is like no other.  Pena Palace sits on the top of the hills overlooking the vicinity, and on a clear day Lisbon.  The variety of bold colours creates an enchanting vibe that attracts tourists from all over the world.  Tickets range from 6.50-14 Euros.  See BLANK for more details about exploring the palace.

https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/park-and-national-palace-of-pena/opening-times-and-prices/

  1. Ride a Tuk Tuk

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Tuk Tuks are a popular form of transportation in Sintra.  They’re tiny three wheeled taxis that make for a perfect form of transportation on a nice sunny day.  Although Tuk Tuks are designed more for tourists than the locals I still recommend it.  It was quite the experience.  You can grab a Tuk Tuk from the train station and take it to the palace.  Best part about Tuk Tuks is that they’re cheap and easily accessible.  From the palace to the train station it’s 5 Euros.  Most trips are a flat fee of 5 Euros.

  1. Quinta de la Regalia

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The entire estate is breathtaking, but it’s the Initiation Well that is a MUST.  I’d recommend starting your visit by exploring the grounds taking in the beautiful palace and chapel, and then make your way to the Initiation Well (save the best for last).  It’s best to go all the way to the top of the well and work your way down.  The stairs are wet, and can be quite slippery, plus it’s a steep climb, so working your way down would be less of a workout.  Once at the bottom of the well you can take a tunnel that will lead you to a little pond where you have to walk across a stone path.  In general, Quinta de la Regalia is a perfect combination of relaxation, history, and adventure.  Entrance fee is 6 Euros, or there’s a guided tour for 10 Euros.

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5 Tips For Pena Palace

If you’re in Portugal, a day trip to Sintra is a must.  The quaint little town is home to one of the most vibrant palaces in history; Pena Palace.  Here are five crucial tips on how to get the most out of your visit:

  1. Avoid Peak Season

Pena Palace is a huge tourist attraction.  I’d recommend trying to avoid peak season as much as you can.  Generally peak season is June until September, and anything after September you’ll be greeted with rain season.  Beginning of April and May are ideal.  It won’t be over crowded, and you’ll have nice weather to explore the park.  Trust me, good weather is essential.  This is not an excursion you want to do in the rain.

  1. Purchase Park Ticket Only

At the front entrance there’s a ticket option to pay for just the park or park and palace.  I’d recommend paying just for the park.  Unless you really want to see where the mistress hosted tea parties, there’s no big appeal to exploring the inside of the palace.  One, it’s small.  Two, it’s no Versailles.  And three, it’s the outside of the palace that’s amazing; which the ticket just for the park still allows you to explore the outside of the palace, take in the view, and stroll through the national park.  That’s all you need.

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  1. Pack a Lunch

I highly recommend packing a lunch.  There aren’t many food options.  There’s a café at the entrance, two at the palace, and then one on the outskirts of the park.  Sounds like a decent amount, but the places don’t give you much choice, it’s not cheap, and it is a decent walk between the limited food options.  If you bring a lunch or snack with you it’s one less expense you have to worry about.  Plus there are lots of beautiful places to set up a blanket, play some tunes, and have an easy picnic.

  1. Wear Walking Shoes

 If you’re thinking of dressing up, think twice.  Pena Palace is also a national park, which means there’s a lot of hills and a lot of walking.  So in other words leave the heels at home.  The more comfortable you are, the more you’ll enjoy it, and the longer you’ll last.

  1. Skip The Hop On Hop Off Bus

 When you’re at the front gate purchasing your entrance ticket, they also offer a hop on hop off bus, unless you require transportation throughout the grounds I recommend skipping the bus.  The map looks intimidating because all the attractions appear to be a fair distance from one another, but it’s really is not as spacious as it looks.  You’ll find yourself moving quicker through the palace than you presumed.

The video below gives a quick glimpse of the palace and the park.  Enjoy!

xo.

5 Passengers That Will Be On Your Next Flight

It’s like you can’t fly without them.  Hundreds of people fly every day, but for some reason these five types of passengers are on every flight:

  1. The Barefooter

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This is the passenger that walks around with no shoes on the airplane.  So confident, care free, and liberated.  News flash, it grosses everybody out.  Flight attendants cringe when we see the barefooter walk out of the washrooms.  It’s a small space and there’s often turbulence, what do you think is on the floor?

 

  1. The Complainer

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We get it, it’s cold.  We’re cold too.  Trust me, no one wants to be stuck on the plane less than us.  Our idea of fun isn’t running up and down the aisles answering dinging red lights, and it definitely doesn’t include listening to you complain.  Pop a Xanax, and I promise we’ll be there before you know it.

 

  1. The Joker

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There’s funny, and then there’s a limit to how many jokes you’re allowed to tell on an airplane.  Keep it to a minimum.  We can only laugh for so long, before we start to irritate the other passengers, and give ourselves a headache.  Also keep in mind that it’s loud on an airplane, if we’re nodding and smiling most likely it’s because we didn’t hear the punch line, but we also don’t care to hear it.

 

  1. The Diva

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People seem to have a fear that the trolley will skip them, or that it’s a “drink now, or forever die of dehydration” sort of thing.  But the divas take it to a whole other level.  Let me first say that I respect a person who knows what they want, but there’s a line.  Ordering five different drinks with a particular demand for each drink (example: orange juice with ice, water with ice and a lemon, coffee with two milks and three sugars, coke with half a glass of ice and two limes, and then a Cesar with hot sauce, salt, pepper, stir stick, and three limes)… crosses that line.  Know what you want, but know that you’re also on an airplane.

 

  1. The Kids

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I don’t mean to generalize.  There are some really well behaved kids that fly, but there is nothing scarier than a child coming on the aircraft that’s already screaming and crying.  It’s an instant red flag that the flight duration is going to feel like it’s doubled.

In conclusion, if we could all just…

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That would be great.

xo

 

All photos are sourced from GIPHY.