LP

A Day Trip to Córdoba

“Traveling for these people isn’t accomplishing a goal or sticking to a schedule; it’s about taking your time, relaxing together, embracing adaptability, and discovering whatever you stumble upon”.

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Best Islands for a Winter Escape

Baby, it’s cold outside!  

Go soak in the sun on some of the best islands on earth!

Zanzibar, Tanzania

A strange mix of Indian, Arabic and African culture- Stone Town is a 184 year old city that blends these cultures perfectly.

 

 

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Keeping Up with the Parisian Café

In Paris, the café is sacred ground. This is where you go to get your espresso before work, or sit for hours in the late afternoon at a street side table. This is what Hemingway and the rest of the Lost Generation did, as well as many more after them. It’s peaceful for people watching or catching up with friends.

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“My Roots, My Future”

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that is about celebrating about family and being thankful.  As we all know, American families are quite diverse and very different from each other.  Here is one American family story.

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Packing a 2-Week Carry On: A How To Guide

The most annoying thing about traveling is lugging around a bulky suitcase. Not only is it insanely awkward to have to drag it down the street (especially if you’re in Europe where most sidewalks are cobblestone and quite small), but if you pack too much, chances are you won’t ever wear it. Most airlines will tack on a baggage fee if it weighs over a certain amount. No one wants to be the person at the ticket counter trying to fit everything into another bag so you don’t have to pay that fee. My solution? Fit it all into one carry on.

It’s not hard; you just have to be practical about it all. Here is a sample packing list, along with some of my favorite travel staples. All of this can easily fit into a carry on size suitcase, plus a backpack or handbag.

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Europe on a Budget

Recently, Limitless Planet sent four 20-Something’s on a budget trip through Germany, Austria and Holland.

Here is what they said:

“It was absolutely wonderful and we had an amazing time. I just wanted to send some of our recommendations from the trip. In Munich we stayed in the Smart Stay Hotel Station in a 6 bed room with the 4 of us and 2 others. It was nothing special, but if you are trying to adhere to a budget it was sufficient with a good location. The bathrooms were shared with the entire floor and the showers on every other were not wonderful, but like I said it was sufficient. As for activities in Munich our favorites were the Deutches Museum (the best science and industry museum I have ever seen!), visiting Dachau was very moving and eerie experience, we loved visiting the English garden and having an afternoon beer in the biergarten, plus the surfers!, and finally our favorite adventure was taking the Third Reich Tour through the city about the rise of Nazism and Munich (probably one of the most interesting portions of our trip and it gave us a lot of insight into all of the buildings we had walked by unknowingly! We had wanted to see the BMW factory tour, but were unable to get tickets, they recommended purchasing 6 weeks in advance. For food we really enjoyed the Hofbrauhaus and a restaurant called Hans im Gluck (it had amazing burgers and a really cool atmosphere)!

We absolutely loved visiting Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein and would highly recommend it. Definitely get your tickets in advance, plan time for a meal and if you are on a budget pack a meal if possible.  Be sure to save time to enjoy the beautiful lake and the views (there are some easy places to hike as well)!

In Salzburg we loved our hotel! We stayed at the Meininger Hotel at Salzburg City Center. While the location wasn’t great the hotel itself was wonderful, great service, the room was lovely and clean, free wifi, and there was a great community area downstairs. For activities we really enjoyed the Salzburg Fortress it cost 8 euro to enter and there was a free audio tour, the only hard part is actually making it into the fortress. Probably our favorite activity of the entire trip was heading a little ways outside the city to the Untersberg Cable car. It took us up into the mountains for some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. It was 20 euros but it was well worth the price, it was certainly an unforgettable experience. For food there we really enjoyed the Augustiner Brewery, it was like a cafeteria with many small eateries, but the main attraction was definitely the beer straight from the barrel. And many of the people around us were locals, definitely a neat experience.

Our hostel (Cityhostel Berlin) in Berlin was again sufficient and very good for a budget, but not much beyond that they had free wifi and showers in the bedrooms, but the room was quite small and dingy. For activities we loved visiting the Reichstag, it was awesome.  We also loved the Brandenburg Tor, the Berlin Wall Memorial, taking a Graffiti tour, and the Jewish Museum. We enjoyed the Check Point Charlie Museum, but it was insanely crowded so maybe going at a different time in the day would be better.  Two of our travelers went to the Museum fur Fotografie but they were between exhibits so there was not much to see. For food we absolutely loved going to the Burgermeister.

Finally Amsterdam! I absolutely loved everything about Amsterdam. Our hotel room at the Hotel Plantage was nice enough and was very big, I would recommend to anyone hoping to stay in a quieter part of town. We loved visiting the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, and there was a large park but I can’t remember the name. We really just enjoyed the atmosphere in the city. We walked through the red light district which was quite the experience. We also rented bikes for a day which I would highly recommend. One evening we rented a paddle boat and paddled through the canals, it was so much fun! Amsterdam was definitely unlike anywhere I had ever been. One afternoon we took the train to a town called Zaanse Schans which had many windmills and gave us a feel for the Dutch countryside. I would highly recommend it to anyone as a morning side trip (I think in total our train ride plus visit there was maybe 3 hours). There were many little shops there as well including a little clog workshop. It was definitely a bit touristy but still very enjoyable! For food in Amsterdam we loved Moeders and would highly recommend!

Thanks so much for all of your help with planning. It truly was an amazing trip and I wouldn’t change anything about it! I hope our experiences are helpful with future travelers!”

Today’s blog post was generously written by LP Traveler- Jess Ahlemeyer 


Water Glamping in Key West and Other Notables

A month ago, we decided we should book a long weekend for Memorial Day.  I learned the hard way that Memorial Day Weekend is not the last weekend in May, but rather the last Monday.  So I booked the wrong weekend, but we were set to go to Key West.

What I learned along the way:

Don’t visit Key West if you are uptight or offended easily.  This is not the destination for you.  Anything goes in Key West, and the locals like it that way.

IMG_2098[1]Do go ‘water glamping’ while you are there!  It’s the newest thing in Key West.  Hotels in Key West are overpriced, and you’re right in the middle of the city.  Rather, rent a sailboat for half the price of a hotel room and sleep soundly on the water!  No sailing experience necessary.  But let’s be clear, this is not a 5 star resort.  It is very much like camping, only you have specific comforts (AC, bed, and basic head).  There is not a shower onboard, but the marina has fantastic, clean showers.  If you are looking for budget accommodation, this is the only way to go.  The marina is outside of the city and quite quiet.  There is also plenty of marine life to keep you occupied as you chill on your sailboat.

Do rent a car (yes, a white convertible mustang), and do the drive down to Key West.  It is very scenic, and the 7 mile bridge is great.

Don’t expect 5 star resorts beyond Key Largo and Key West.  It is all about the little spots.

Do visit the John Pennekamp State Park, the only coral reef National Park.  It is absolutely gorgeous for diving or snorkeling.  I am a diver, but the reef is so shallow, the snorkeling trip is just as good.  The reef is well preserved and protected.  The Coast Guard will ticket you $500 if they see you standing on the reef (this makes me a happy mermaid).  The amount of fish on the reef is amazing; be prepared to see schools of Queen Angels, Butterflyfish, Tangs, Groupers, Grunts, and Parrotfish.  There is life everywhere!  There is also a resident Bull that lives on the reef (yikes!), but we didn’t see it.  It is also worth noting that the Captain nor mate get off the boat.  No matter if you are diving or snorkeling, you are on your own.  Divers, don’t forget your diving compass!  Most of the trips do not provide a dive master, but you can hire one for an additional $70.00.  Admission into the park is $9.00 per person.  The park is open every day of the week.

Don’t take the time to go to Key West beaches.  They not very picturesque.  The Keys do not have sandy beaches like other places in Florida (except the man-made beach at Bahia Honda State Park), so don’t expect that anywhere.  What makes the Key West beaches not worth the price of admission is the amount of seaweed on the beaches and in the water.  It is everywhere.  At least the beaches are free of trash though.  If you are looking for a great beach, definitely go to Bahia State Park (about 30 miles from Key West and just past the 7 mile bridge).

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Do spend your days on the water, especially if you are a diver or snorkeler.  The reef stretches from Key Largo to Key West, and it is the 3rd largest reef in the world.  It is about 6 miles out, so you need a boat or tour to get you there.  The most pristine part of the reef is at the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.  There is a great little PADI dive center and motel on Ramrod Key, Looe Key Diver Center.  They take trips to the reef every day.  If you’re lucky you may get to see the 8ft hammerhead on the reef.

Don’t pack dress clothes.  You will not need them.  The Keys are laid back, so leave the high heels and neckties at home.

Do eat at Off the Hook Grill in Key West.  It is a great little spot with an eclectic menu and tasteful wine list.  The man ordered the ‘catch of the day’ which was Hogfish wrapped in duck bacon, and I ordered the spicy shrimp & grits topped with pork belly.   In the madness of Key West, a meal here will make you feel like an adult again.

If dessert is your thing, try the Key West pastry shop called ‘Better than Sex’.  Then, you be the judge.

The Key are easy to get to and a quick drive out of Miami.  Although there has been a substantial amount of change and development in the Keys, some things never change.  It is still Key Weird and wonderful!  I love it.

Happy New Year!

I am a list maker.  I have a ‘to do’ list for everything.  Seriously, I have a daily list, cleaning the house list, grocery list, my lifelong ‘to do’ list; you name it, I have a list for it.  So it is no shocker that I make a list of New Year’s resolutions.  The OCD comes in when I make a personal resolution list and a professional resolution list.  Don’t call in the professionals just yet, I find my list useful and helpful.  It keeps my wild thoughts on track.  All of these plans have already started.  It just so happens the timing hits in 2014!

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You Don’t Need One More Thing

Western’s, meaning those in the western hemisphere are a strange breed.   We horde all sorts of material items thinking it gives us a better life.   When we all know, you can’t take any of it with you.   Look at things a bit differently, and rather than buy one more plastic item from China…  Go to China!

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The International Institute

I want you to take a moment, no matter where you come from to think about what it would be like to have nowhere to go.  Not just shelter, but land and country.  No one will accept you. Mother Teresa said,  “I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, and uncared for; to be shunned by everybody and to be just no one to anyone. Nothing is more painful than not being wanted”.   So this blog post goes to the refugees and orphans of the world.

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