Accommodations

Do you all live in straw huts on the beach?

Although we may sleep under them, we don’t live in palm trees or forts made of sticks in the sand. Yes there’s clean water, paved roads and even electricity! (To be said with a slightly sarcastic undertone). We have convenient grocery stores with cheap local items and an abundance of over priced imported goods. In fact, on this beautiful island you can find rum cheaper than water and fresh tropical fruit growing wild along the road side. 

While enjoying our stay in Barbados, I wanted to give you a glimpse of where Matt and I are calling home away from… well, I guess this is home for now! It’s located fairly central with just a quick drive to the popular south and beautiful west coast beaches. Our cozy home is 2 bedroom, 2 bath with an inviting backyard hosting the guest cottage. Although the last kittens were adorable while living in the home seen in a past post,  I’d say this is one of the most comfortable pet sitting jobs we’ve done! Please, take a look around!  Below is the dining (we never eat here) and lounge (we never sit here) portion of the house that realistically is just a common area we pass through to get from our room to the kitchen.

We spend most of our moments outside, however the main two spots that consume our indoor time are the bedroom to sleep and bathe and the kitchen to prepare food and coffee.

If for a moment we want to chill out and get lost in a documentary, we’ll kick back and relax in the additional room.

Now to our prime spot of entertainment. The backyard is where we read, write, grill, eat, talk, nap, stretch and start and end every single day. This photo was obviously shot during my morning tea time.

That cute little cottage house in the back is perfect for our guests. Private full bathroom, coffee maker, mini fridge, a few seating options and an extremely comfortable bed. No need for a “do not disturb” sign as the only knocking you’ll here is from the monkeys on the roof trying to snag a mango off the tree overhead!

Looking past the cottage you’ll see a few neighbors tucked away behind the radiating green that catches the eye from tree to tree.

What else have we used this beautiful back area for? A party of course! Our last visitor had a birthday so we through together a barbeque (literally, Matt turned center blocks and a flower pot into a grill) and invited some friends! A few balloons, another grill and amazing people… success!

What does a group of spontaneous creative individuals do when united? Apparently the mannequin challenge! This was my first time ever hearing of such thing, but hey, it worked!! Check out the video made by Cole Huffer from Enlightened Studios!

No children were drinking before, during or after this video was filmed.

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Ready for the hike! Where’s my blindfold?

Matt and I decided to hit the road and camp for two nights. No, not glamping as seen in the most recent post but good ol’ tent and dirty toes camping! 

Day one brought us to Pine Log State Forest in Northwest Florida. The drive alone was enchanting!

Step one, set up camp. Step two, sage the site. Step three, go for a hike! 

This trek started like none other as Matt suggested we approach it blindfolded! He read about a method in which you trust your instincts while embracing the other sensations around you. The sounds, the ground beneath your feet, the wind against your skin, the tree branch piercing your hip… I’m in!

Once the bandannas were removed we kept walking and I did find myself more appreciative of the glorious sights around us. Not only the ability to actually see where I was going, but the visual stimulation that came from such beautiful scenery.

We were “almost there” Matt confirmed a half dozen times (when clearly we weren’t) as we reached a sign that informed us that we were just barely a little over half way. Honestly it was so refreshing out there, neither one of us minded the extra walk as we laughed it off and kept going. The final stretch was well worth the long way back!

Dinner was veggies and chicken. Those who know me well, have the right to assume that I stuck with the veggies and let Matt battle the bird. With our powers combined (for all you Captain Planet fans) we had a delicious dinner! 

The sun peaking up was warm enough to draw you out of the tent while the chill factor had you reaching for a beanie. Camping weather at its finest!

So turns out we forgot all utensils, but remembered the French press. Go figure. Best backyard barista ever!

Breakfast? Matt thoroughly enjoyed his blueberry muffins as I awkwardly stared deeply into my yogurt. 

Me: “I think there’s raw chicken water in my yogurt.” 

Matt: “What? You still going to eat it!?”

Me: “Yep.”

I had opened it the night before and carelessly put it back in the cooler as if the ice wasn’t going to melt and allow most items to be completely submerged. Don’t worry mom, I scraped off the top layer first (to be said with love in a sarcastic backpacker tone). After consuming the twice blessed breakfast with fingers crossed, we packed up and hit the road to the next adventure! Miles up the highway brought us to Ecofina Creek and the popular Springs.

Just get in!  Sounds easy right? This is until your big toe scrapes the surface of this ice box! For most, this would be a lengthily process of creeping your way inch by brutal freezing inch. For me, it was all or nothing. Head first with no room for hesitation. And for Matt, I’m convinced he’s part marine life.

Deeper into the springs provided more quality shots and the occasional curious substance between your toes. Feel a little nibble? It’s just the fish providing a complimentary pedicure.

Last stop before finding our new sleeping location is called Devils hole. A hidden gem in the shape of a circle with depths only divers can tell you about. Last time Matt was here, he said it was dark and with fairly foggy waters. Today, it’s clear blue! 

The second site was set up quickly as we decided to ditch the tent and go rugged in the open sky. Hammock… check. Sage… Check. Hanging light… check. Good night!

How could I leave this place without a handstand photo?! We returned in the morning to the ice box Springs for a well worth shot, great capture Matt!

Several of the marvelous photos above were from Matt and his quality (aka- fancy or big boy) camera. For more of his work please visit the Stone Sharp Images webite. Care to see his version of our trip? Click here for his blog post!

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Excuse me glamper, did you say S’moreberry?

Some girls go to Vegas, others hit up Mexico (I’m guilty of both) and a few hit the sticks! Mom and I joined our dear friend Gloria for a ladies only camping weekend! Or maybe we should classify it under Glamping, defined as – a style of camping with amenities and in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Of glamour.

Meet the girls!

Now welcome to our weekend view! This beauty is located at St.Andrews park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Sun-up is our alarm for a walk into the hmm, can’t really call it the wilderness and it’s not a town so we’ll just go with, a walk in the outdoors! 

Things you may see on a stroll through the paved wilderness. Birds, berries, butterflies, Bambie, bikers and the random tree huger.

As you trek the great pavement, you get to see how others have set up their site as well as where these campers have ventured from. I originally took photos of all the different license plates to show you, but then I realized that may or may not be crossing personal information boundaries. So, for what it’s worth there were over a dozen different states in just a short 1/4 mile stretch.

A bit up the way we explored an old Mill. I felt like kids on a field trip!

Other things we saw along the way.

This woman was collecting trash throughout the property. Thank you ma’am! 

What’s this? An adorable set up that appears to provide a stage and seating for special events. To me… a handstand podium!

Arriving back to the site brought on dinner followed by a friendly round of games complemented with a proper girls toast. These are those moments that, through laughter and genuine conversation you try to appreciate every beautiful second. 

Confession: the main reason I go camping is for the fire at night

How many girls does it take to open a folding chair? We don’t know.


On this evening, we brought out the ingredients for traditional s’mores (a delicate sandwich-like treat composing of chocolate and toasted marshmallow being held together by graham crackers). As we’re roasting, or in my case igniting, the marshmellows, mom gasps with excitement. “I’ve got it! What would this taste like with a warm strawberry inside?” Of course the next step was to try this campfire creation. Thus, the new dessert she appropriately named S’moreberry.

A special thanks to Gloria for sharing her space, energy and time. Our conversations are still present in my mind and I’m so grateful for the love and support. Cheers to the gypsies at heart!

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…5 years later

What makes her happy trails so happy? Let me just share a few reasons that have recently been amplified in this beautiful journey I call life. 
First off, we have this glorious planet offering a variety of stunning landscapes and wondrous elements. Then there’s the creatures that keep us intrigued from under the sea to the tops of the highest peaks. Let’s not forgot the loving, creative, crazy humans that enhance the entire magnificent experience.

My last post wrapped up a season in Barbados which sends me off on another trip back to the states to see family and friends. Before I get to that, let’s acknowledge another happy part of these trails. Connection! Simply one of my favorite things about traveling. You meet a stranger on a bus, in a hostel, the line at a market, no matter where the universe allows it, your paths are supposed to cross. Maybe just for that moment, or continuing through a week of friendship along the trail, or even for a lifetime. It’s magical when you recognize a purpose behind every smile you connect with. 

Exactly 5 years ago, I was on one my first solo international trips. I say “solo”, but although I planned this alone, it was on a semi-guided tour with a company called Contiki.. The route took me and 2 dozen other travelers from Italy to France, down through Monaco and ended in Spain where I parted from the group. 

Along the way I met a dozen or so wonderful people that I’m still in touch with today. Here’s a few meeting to reunion photos!

The most recent reconnection was during my travels from Barbados to Oklahoma with an unexpected magical pit stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had a 14 hour layover which meant I had a typical over night stay which entails a cold airport floor with the sounds of the custodians popping chewing gum over the humming of their vacuum. I invite you to check out the posts called Work out and rest up in Asian airports and Floor seats in the Lima airport, unforgettable nights for sure! I’m usually bundled up with every heavy piece of clothing item in my backpack in order to endure the below comfortable temperatures while using my backpack as a makeshift cot. The morning consists of me walking the terminals to get the blood flowing again while waiting for the cafes to open so I can get a cup of hot water for the one single tea bag I keep in my wallet. I take a wet wipe shower in the bathroom and although I brush my teeth with real paste and actual water (verses spit and shine in the back of a camper), it still feels like I have backpackers breath as I board my flight with one eye open and the fleeting thought, “I forgot deodorant”. 

Think 14 hours seems a bit much? Check out 51 hours to get 1/2 way around the world!

Well not this time folks! World meet Karyne (pronounced cuh-reen) She’s another one of the amazing friends I first met in Rome back in 2011. After parting ways in the streets of Spain, Karyne and I remained in contact through good ol Facebook. Now, she’s offered not only her home but a lift to and from the airport and an unexpected dinner out. I sat here for too long trying to think of a creative name for the award she should recieve for her hospitality. I felt so welcome and we spoke like it was just yesterday that we were sipping sangria on the famous Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

Here is our then and now pic (sorry for the blurry photo, it was a good night in France).

Her house was right up my alley with instruments, personal artwork and a beverage cart for all to share. 

What was completely foreign to me however, was her spare room aka her closet!

The morning after our catch up session we hustled back to the airport to say our farewells as I departed for my final stop. Such a better ride than the usual airport shuttle!
Bonus highlight! I met this adorable couple on the flight over. Amanda and Tyler share a passion towards biology, art and travel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again, but I can only expect exceptional things in their future. Thanks for the stimulating conversation and supportive energy towards spreading the joy of travel! 

In the next post you’ll see what Oklahoma has to offer me but I’ll close this write up with a collage that shows 3 roads I traveled in 3 consecutive days. Gotta love the beauty in variety! Barbados-Florida-Oklahoma

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The greatest show on earth

Monday and Tuesday make up the grand finale of the previous weeks celebrating Carnival in Trinidad, “The greatest show on earth”. Costumes were distributed to the participants and they’ve been gearing up for the next 48 hours of prancing, dancing, drinking and eating (only if you dare while squeezed into those barely there bikinis). 

A house or hotel room this time of year typically has a few areas designated towards Carnival.  Costumes, clothes, drinks, coolers, and enough random wrist bands from all the parties to create a chain-link fence. Here we have bedazzled tanks and itty-bitty bikini bottoms being stretched over chairs, believe me from experience… It’s necessary. A makeup table that looks like a production off a movie set accompanied by enough hair product to open a salon. An abundance of jewels, beads, chains, art supplies and one hot glue gun for the universal fix-it tool.


Complimentary survival tray provided by the hostess. Jax, you’re amazing!  

Ooh and what did we find here? Sneak-a-nap between parties (with the Barbados flag in hand.. way to represent Clint!)

 

My contribution to this controlled chaos? Hair skills. I found myself behind the scenes for this magical time of year with the honor of making each hair client feel even more spectacular that they already are. Here’s a look at what my hands were doing while all of this was going on.    

 

Where did I find the space for these lovely ladies? Thanks to Vanessa at Bikini Cabana I was able to set up a make-shift salon connected to her store. Here’s a few examples of what they offer (especailly for the “Monday wear” described below). How I walked away without giving in and purchasing something is still beyond me.

Carnival Monday is less intense in regards to the length of time they parade the streets and the extent of the costumes.  The women create their own “Monday wear” by adjusting dresses, customizing swimsuits or simply rockin it raw and casual. Carnival Tuesday is the “full shibang” with head pieces, feathers, beads, diamonds and sparkles. The following is a mesh of both days, random sights, a variety of looks and too much fun. 

     

           
  For some of the most brilliant photos of these costumes, please visit the page of an upcoming photographer who captured the vibrance exuding from the day.  World, meet Keshav D. Ramnath!

Towards the end of the day, I took advantage of a different perspective. Where was I? My new friend Ashleigh is close with the owner of Studio, a hidden gem that happened to have a portion of the bands crossing right in front! Funky decor, happy people, Prosecco and a balcony view… Perfect! 

   They even offered complimentary tasty treats (enter a puckered up sarcastic face here).  These are salt prunes soaked in Tequila. I was keen for the Tequila, not so much the salty prune.  I’ve had worse, but I didn’t go back for seconds. 

As the better part of the day continued, the party didn’t quit. The music still echoed through the streets of Port of Spain as the participants went strong in full costume.  How did they manage to keep that gorgeous fresh look?  I’d personally like to take partial credit. My position on these days placed me at the lunch break in the Bliss tent. I was there for any girls request to touch up their lovely locks. In the following post you’ll get a glimpse of what you don’t see from the road. Courtesy of Bikini Cabana, I was able to be front and center in my favorite spot… Behind the chair! 

  

Above photo by Peter Sheppard
 

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Yes please, but why not both?

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the posts lately but let me explain why and catch you up. I’ve temporarily moved into an extended living situation on my favorite island of Barbados. My sweetheart of a friend chose to broaden her experiences away from the island and give Help-exchange a try! If you’re not familiar with Helpx, it’s a key part of how I’ve been able to travel for so long on a “backpackers” budget. I explain it in more detail in the post How do you afford all that traveling. Anyway, Maria asked for my assistance in planning her journey and thus she’s now volunteering on a farm in Hawaii! Me? I’m house sitting for her and taking care of her two paw babies. Quick tour of my (her) house starts with the outside.  I live in the upstairs with that sweet balcony!

 The top photo is looking left back towards the driveway and main the road. The bottom pic is looking in the direction of the south coast.

 A quick peek around shows you a few of her amazing decoration choices, items that I’d have in my place too! 

   

 Then there’s my temporary kitty kids totaling in with 8 legs, many whiskers and 2 sassy attitudes.  Meet Regina and Anastasia. Please feel free to pet them (if they’re in the mood) and don’t dare ignore them (if they want attention) and definitely don’t expect to type at the table or do a floor workout without them doing everything in their power to distract you. 

 
Time to welcome my first guest. Remember Carina?  The precious German girl I met back at Oktoberfest in 2011 and have traveled with ever since. Our adventures range from Germany to North America with a little pit stop in Amsterdam and many memories made in Costa Rica. Now we add Barbados! 

 

The past two weeks looked like this…

Food! Of course I got her to taste all of the local delights from fish cakes and rotis to doubles and Mac pie. She didn’t shy away from the rum punch nor did she decline the opportunity to try pudding and souce (thank you Ryan!) She saw the fresh farmers market and tried a bite from the drive thru at the popular Cheffette (thank you Alex!). What holiday would be complete without a liquid beverage of choice, I offerred a fruit smoothly or Bloody Mary.  Typical Carina response, “Yes please, but why not both”? 

    
   
A fish cutter from Cuz and pit stop at good ol’ Mr. Delicious before saying hi to Coconut Chris. 

    
 
I snuck her in to what I’d like to claim as my own personal hidden gem (that in actuality is a popular shop for the locals) to enjoy a piece of heaven form the ever changing menu. Another trip to Cafe Moya is a success!

 

We treated ourselves to a day at Accra Beach hotel and brought along some German games. Wouldn’t you?! 

 
Did she make it to the beach? I can honestly say I lost track of how many times this girl found herself with red shoulders, sandy toes and a huge smile. 

    
 

There’s no way I’d let her leave without experiencing Cool Runnings (thank you Annika and Robert!) and of course my favorite Tuesday night plans of gymnastic (thank you Shane!) Live music at Mullins Beach bar (thank you Dwayne!) and the Surfers Cafe (thanks Bodie!). We also watched a BVB futbol game (thanks Marvin!) and had some girls night out (thank you Annika, Irene, Monica and many more)!

   
How did we get around the island (if our amazing friends weren’t able for a lift)? Only another experience that one must encounter while visiting.  The local transportation! She expressed that it was like being on a carnival ride with the lights, music, people and incredible (ha ha) driving skills.

 

You’ve seen this familiar palm tree in many previous post.  This time the landscape makes an appearance with a duo handstand! 

 
Lastly, she was one of the bright smiles in the last post, Ms. Barbados, Queen of the sea in which we experienced the annual race around the island!  (Thank you Stewart, Jason and ALex!)

 
Palm trees, sunsets and sandy smiles pretty much sums up our unforgettable time on this magical island.

    

 
Last stop is the airport in which we were both departing on the same day.  Her heading back to the one degree temperatures of of Bochum Germany and me… Well, you’ll see! 
 
Carina, you hold an undeniable light that is constantly illuminating the world around you. Your sincerity, passion for life, and genuine nature has been (and still is) a magnetic quality that I miss when you’re gone. Thank you so much for the years of tummy twisting laughter, hours of silly games, moments of connection and the depth of friendship that I truly hope others get to experience. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to call you my friend (or sister if you ask anyone else)! Cheers to us till next time… And who knows where or what we’ll be toasting!? XO

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Hurry up and wait!

The 4 of us left Bochum early to make our way to Munchen knowing the others would soon trail behind by driving themselves the following day.

11 hours on a crowded overnight bus (with team chatterbox behind us) made the 12th hour of transit seem refreshing and oddly easy. Once we made it to the main station in Munich, we took a small train called the SBahn to the nearest stop of our new home.  From there, we made the final stretch into a suburban neighborhood. I’m sure due to lack of sleep, the long walk was mostly silent. However, total exhaustion fuled random bursts of spontaneous giggles. You know the feeling!

  
So imagine this, 3 Americans, 3 Germans and me looking for a place to share. Considering the popularity of Oktoberfest, most accomodations are booked solid months ahead of time and if they’re not, the price is beyond unreasonable.  With 7 of us wanting to stay together, our other option was sharing a dorm room in a hostel which comes with a dozen strangers and a complementary shared public bathroom. 

Been there, did that… so we found something else!

Our perfect location was a treasure rental that is owned and operated by an extremely accommodating host.  With his gentle energy Jorj was there to meet, greet and help with whatever he could during our stay. I didn’t get a photo of him, so please check out his page by clicking here.

Just outside of the city, we (voluntarily) packed into a quaint 2 bedroom, one bath apartment. Down stairs provided an open kitchen, the bathroom with washer and a dining table big enough for all of us to gather around. 

   
 A couple of cute decorations added a bit of character to our little home away from home. 

 The bed I chose was down stairs tucked in a cubby that actaully provided some of the best sleep I’ve gotten on this entire trip! (Thank you amazing-o-friends for letting me have “first dibs”)

The rest of the crew had their pick from 6 spots upstairs. By stairs, I mean a completely vertical walking ramp with hand rails and a warning from the owner.  These things are dangerous with too many proasts at the festival!   

   
We’ve all made it!  

 
It’s early to bed since the morning brings a 4:30 alarm clock. If you recall in recent years, the chances of getting in a tent if you’re not there by sunrise becomes slim and hardly likely. For entertainment purposes, please read Inside the tents!  to see what the traditional morning race entails! Here’s a clip from the crowd of eager attendees in years past.
  
The 4 of us who have been before spent days preparing the others for the exciting bright rise and struggle to the gates. With success, we were all able to get up, dressed and ready (rememebr 5 girls, 2 boys and one bathroom) in time to beat the sun in the German sky. Awful photos, but you get the idea.

 On time and in transit!

  
Finally arriving to the festival grounds, we continued to amp up our group in regards to the battle that’s ahead.  The crowds… the elbows.. the sea of dirndls and lederhosen… are you ready!?  

 
WHAT?! Are you ready for an empty lot with a couple cleaning crew members and a few other confused people?  I don’t even think I knew what this wooden floor looked like from years past! We finally came to the conclusion that it was our first attempt during the week verses a Saturday morning. Turns out it’s easier when a portion of the city has to go to work.   

 
Well, we did what we do best… which is to make the best of it!  A few fun pictures, some hair play and 3 hours of meeting new friends as we watched the crowd slowly expand.       

What’s behind that door?  Our entire day of festivites patiently awaiting our arrival!

  

Doors open! To be continued…
   

Would you rather be 3 hours early or 30 minute late?

  

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Cambodia… 2 years later, kilts and castles!

Our next quick stop is to the land known for kilts, haggis and castles. Before we dive into bagpipes and scotch eggs, let me share another reason I wanted to explore Scotland.

Back in Cambodia, I was volunteering at the Flicks movie theatre working the popcorn machine with the other travelers passing through. Just before departing, the girl that would be taking my bed arrived early and I’m so glad she did! Mel had just come from Vietnam which is exactly where I was heading so we exchanged pointers, shared a few meals and even made time for a haircut. For that adventure check out the post Ticket for one please and a Cambodian beer

Two years later I’m landing in her current dwelling place of Edinburgh! Here we are back in Cambodia and now in Scotland! 

She not only welcomed us into her home, but handed over the key and let us crowd her room with our backpacks.  Thanks hun! 

 As Mel went off to work, Hayden and I decided to roam the streets of this enchanting place. Here’s what my eyes spotted out while wandering the capital city of Edinburgh. 

Side note, there are 3 handstands in this post!

     
     
     This little cafe had a different persons name on the board each morning. No, we didn’t walk by every day with high hopes one of our names would be printed out front. Maybe. 

 When I thought this ice-cream truck couldn’t get any more adorable, an elderly couple rolled up and I got to watch the man treat the woman to a cone and a kiss. 
  I loved this slope of greenery that seemed to be the perfect invite for students to study, couples to picnic and kids to play. On this day, it invited me for a handstand!  

  

  

It was a challenge to put the camera down since every building resembles a castle or some sort of ancient gothic statue. Even harder was narrowing down the hundreds of photos to the ones on this post! 
     
  

     
   
    

  
The heart of Midlothian sits beautifully in the strets of the Royal mile. Executions used to take place here in an old prison and the heart marks where the doorway used to be. Back in the 15th century, locals spit on it as a sign of disgust for the former prison. Now, it’s been told that spitting on it brings good luck… go figure.
 
This little man was by far my favorite of the day. A magician in training with the quick wit of an experienced comedian.  He was dropping jokes while flipping cards and managed to keep us (me) entertained!
   

  
I’ve gotten the privilege to see several places of this magnitude but there’s something special that I felt here. Considering the size and tourist appeal, it still maintains a traditional energy that makes it feel quaint and delicate. Next up will be a mini treat of food, drinks and a night shot of this stunning city!

Quirky questions for the day-

Gentlemen: For one year, would you rather have to wear a kilt everyday or have your mom pick your clothes?

Ladies: An old fashioned princess gown or dressed by your previous (ex) companion?

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Every king needs a castle and every castle needs a backpacker.

There are over 30,000 castles and ruins that cover the beautiful country of Ireland. Some small and quaint, others massive and grand. Many are tour sites that take you throughout the rooms and several allow for self guided roaming. Some you can host weddings in and it’s becoming more common to stay overnight (even in the self-claimed haunted ones!). Once Hayden heard that it was possible to sleep in a castle, there was no discussion. This went directly on the “must-do” list. You can imagine how the price ranges quite a bit and I’m sure you can also imagine what this did to my “backpacking mind”. I’m used to sharing meals in order to save on waste and hitch hiking to avoid costly cab rides and now… now my travel partner wants to stay in a castle!? Thankfully it’s true. Without him, I would not experience some of the things we’ve done and for that I’m grateful. 

After much research, we narrowed it down to the gorgeous Kinnitty Castle Hotel located at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Offaly. The price was right considering we got a 4 course dinner, full breakfast, an over night stay and a complementary bottle of sparkling wine all for less than your average New York city accommodation.

How do you get to this wonderful palace? You can take a bus to the edge of the city and then catch a cab into the villge where the castle sits.  Or there’s our choice, rent a car and stop wherever and whenever you want to! 

 
Hayden and I teamed up as driver and navigator. I gave clear instructions as he focused on keeping us on the left side of the road (opposite to America). Success! We stopped a few places a long the way like this  adorable fresh fruit stand. I think it’s a great idea to support local businesses that are driven to provide a quality product! I went for some blackberries. Delicious.

 
After a 3 hour drive leaving Dublin, we finally arrived to our accommodation made of gothic architecture in the middle of this open green pasture.  From the road it looks like the setting from a fairytale, including the horses that greeted me when I jumped out for a photo!

   

   
We made it! Judging from my face, I’m not excited at all.

        
 Like several of my recent posts, photos have been speaking for themselves. Lets just look around!  

   

   
     
 
My personal favorite was this court yard. It’s primarily used for wedding receptions but we used it as a breath of fresh air with some great photo opportunities.  

    
   
Our room made me feel like an old fashion princess… Well, excluding the available running hot water, electric fan, alarm clock and television mounted on the wall.  So, ignore those things and it’s like we were really back in the 1800’s! 

     
 
After we checked in and snooped around, it was time for our 4 course dinner.  (Way beyond my typical dining). On the menu were options like steak, fish, pasta and a few other quality dishes. All of them of course topped with some type of fancy nut-crusted, herb infused sauce to make it more appealing. Each table was served a platter of grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes along side a bread basket. Dessert gave a list from sorbet’s to cheesecake and delicate chocolates. 

 

The morning began with an Irish breakfast that consisted of several options. People love variety so you can imagine how well suited it was to find porridge, fruit, natural yogurt, meat, cheese, a variety of breads, granola, cereal, eggs cooked to your style, sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, juice, milk, coffee and tea.

 
Saying goodbye to our room was yet another bitter-sweet.  Who would want to leave a castle? Maybe two backpackers ready to see a different county! Farewell Kinnity Castle, it’s time for a new adventure. 

We were in no hurry to get back to Dublin, so we decided to check out several of the villages along the way.  Here are some snap shots from the road! 

    
   
The last bed and breakfast we stayed in was a home called Heatherview ran by Maura and Jim.  We were there in order to rest and freshin up over night before our early morning flight and it was perfect! A sweet spot, welcoming hosts and a tasty breakfast sent us on our way. Thanks Jim for your “special ingredient” in my Irish porridge! 

  

Backpack on, rental car returned and tickets in hand… Scotland, here we come!  
   

Would you rather spend a year living 200 years in the past or the future?

Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy as a cherry!

The cherry tree of Barbados produces a fruit that has the bragging rights of being extremly sweet, while containing heaps of nutrients with minimal calories. Malpighia emarginata is also known as Acerola, West Indian cherry and Wild crepe myrtle… yeh, I’ll stick with calling the Barbados Cherry.

Check this out, these little juicy delights pack in more vitamin C than an orange, sour cherry and blueberry combined! When measuring Vitamin C (based on weight), Oranges have 53 mg per 100 g. Barbados cherries sore with 1,678 mg! 

  

 I have the pleasure of staying with one of my longest known Bajan friends, Jason (you’ll meet him later). In his backyard is one of these hard to find Vitamin C power-house trees. Score! 

 Typically, we all just grab a few cherries within an arms stretch as we pass under, leaving the bottom fruitless and the mid to top overflowing. Wouldn’t you be tempted? Check out these gorgeous clusters of goodness! 

   

 Well, since I have an abundunce of energy and plenty of time, I felt driven to gather from greater heights. All I needed was a ladder… perfect! 
 The rest of the photos explain themselves.  Just a chipper girl in her happy place, collecting miniature bundles of sweet, red, juice filled bubbles of health. Ok, that all seems a bit much after writing it, but you get the picture.  I love this!
   

 Hi fella (or misses) I’m diggin your shell, keep on keepin on my friend!  

  Note to self and other cherry pickers: Palms up!  The ripe ones fall into your hands (or plummet to the ground if you’re not ready).   

  

Natures snack is soon to be served! I ended up putting these lovely delights next to some plain greek yogurt topped with self love, raw pumpkin seeds and pure gratitude. Again with the cheesiness, but I’m just feelin it today!

  

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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