Just a backpack, is it even possible?
Jenni is a whiz at traveling like this. Here are her tips for enjoying a long weekend in the tropics without checking luggage or paying for overhead bin space.
Foodies like me (and you) will love San Sebastian, Spain
Gastronomy is taken very seriously here! Stroll the narrow streets of Old Town and peek in any tapa bar for a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Artfully displayed plates laden with tapas (tastes) cover the bar counters. Enjoy with a local wine or sangria while people watching on long summer evenings!
Croissants aren’t just for Parisians!
I don’t typically eat a big breakfast but I did especially enjoy a sweet, flakey croissant with chocolate inside while sipping a strong espresso coffee in the early morning air outside my San Sebastian hotel.
Discovering Pasai Donibane (San Juan), Spain
The old town Pasai Donibane (San Juan), is a 10-minute ferry ride from the colorful fishing village of Hondarribia. Baroque and Renaissance styles homes built in the 16th & 18th centuries, line the single street that runs the length of the quaint little town. Casa Victor Hugo, directly on the bay, is where Victor Hugo stayed during his time in Pasaia in 1843
Sunny beaches of Biarritz, France
On the northwestern edge of France is the sweet little beach town of Biarritz where a full day can be spent on the sun-soaked beaches. Be amazed by sand artists who work their magic using rakes and branches to create beautiful artwork in the sand for onlookers who throw coins to the artists. Later, head town where you can stroll the narrow streets for fabulous shopping and amazing restaurants where. I loved eating at La Trattoria Pizzeria restaurant along the beachfront.
The Flysch of Zumaia, Spain
Do not miss this fantastic half-day trip in northern Basque Country. Visit the Geopark of the Basque Coast. Amazing marvels of nature, the Flysch are geological phenomena caused by the erosion of the sea into the limestone and marl rocks of the region over millions of years. The Algorri cliffs area in Zumaia is the start of the hermitage of San Telmo.
Some things to love about Bilboa
If you only have a day in Bilboa you will want to wander through the streets along the river to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilboa. You will fall in love with Jeff Koons’ adorable little Puppy sculpture sitting outside the museum. Puppy combines two of my favorite things, puppies and flowers!
Bilboa’s Guggenheim Museum is one of five Guggenheim Museums, (New York, Venice, Abu Dhabi and Berlin are the others) named after Solomon Guggenheim. The three levels of the building are organized around the Atrium and are connected by means of curved walkways, titanium and glass elevators, and staircases. The museum is a treat even if you only choose to view all the museum’s outside art sculptures! Yep, that’s what I did!
A Hike with a View
The 30-minute hike up Monte Urgull will lead you to the inspiring 12-meter statue of Jesus Christ which overlooks the beautiful city of San Sebastian, Spain. The rocky terrain led Monte Urgull to be converted into a military fortress in the 12th century with its walls which were subject to attacks and sieges throughout the years. The Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart) statue has been the custodian of the city since 1950 and can be seen from four miles out to sea.
By Jenni Schmitt
Zermatt’s upscale yet warm charm reminds me of a storybook setting.
The town is pedestrian friendly with no vehicles aside from hotel transfers. Beautiful strolls take you to the center square which is full of cute and interesting historic chalets and shops.
Stop at Cafe du Pont for an early lunch and order the Rosti for a memorable traditional meal. The shredded potato and cheese dish is crispy outside and buttery tender in the center. A roasted sausage completes the hearty Alpine meal. You will be all set for the gentle hike to see the famous Matterhorn with iconic peak from the best viewpoint.
Head upwards into the mountains on a funicular and scenic cable car to the Rothorn area for the best views closer to the Matterhorn. Excellent scenery and fairly level terrain from Blauherd to Sunnegga make for a great hike. The alpine lakes surrounded by flowers and the occasional bells from the sheep and goats are nature’s entertainment along the path.
After taking in the views of the Matterhorn, choose to take the path from Sunnega down into Zermatt by foot or the easy reverse back down by way of cable cars and funicular as you arrived.
Arriving back at your chalet, soak in one of the hot whirlpools before slipping back out for your evening’s dinner. Zermatt has excellent accommodation options but be sure to plan ahead as Zermatt is loved year-round by many for all its seasons. The interior of the room we choose was wall to ceiling carved wood and very luxe, Zermatt’s hospitality and beauty flows everywhere you look!
Zermatt is a destination you will want help planning as it's not as simple as hailing a taxing from the airport or making the drive in. Lucky for you, we have been there and can’t wait to help you see Zermatt’s charm firsthand too!
By Lori Derauf
A few years ago, I had a conference in Athens and decided to extend my stay and tour the Peloponnese Peninsula as I didn’t know much about it. I had sailed around the Greek Islands before and couldn’t imagine a better way to experience Greece. After 5 days on the mainland I had changed my mindset to realize that experiencing this area was just as fantastic as visiting the islands. Plus, it was a lot less crowded as most cruise ship traffic only visits Athens.
To get a feel for how big this area is, it covers over 8300 square miles. Its connected to the mainland by crossing the Corinth Canal. It’s very mountainous with lots of amazing coastal towns.
It’s pretty easy to get to from Athens but to truly see it you have to either rent a car or book into a guided group trip. Our group was 12 people with a driver and a guide who were from the area and very knowledgeable. In addition to visiting family owned vineyards and olive groves we visited Olympia and stayed on the sleepy coastal town of Nafplio.
I highly recommend dedicating a few days to this area when considering a trip to Greece. Here are a few pictures of my experiences there.
A fun and easy day trip from Cancun
10:00A – Boarded ferry to Isla Mujeres – $19 roundtrip
10:30A – Rented Golf Cart – $40 for the day
1:00P – Time for Lunch – 3 Fish Tacos and 2 beers – $5
1:30P – Shopped and enjoyed the downtown area
5:30P – Last ferry back to Cancun
By Lori Derauf
Where to stay:
A well-located hotel is a must. I prefer the Temple Bar/Fleet Street area which is close to the river Liffey and within walking distance of all the major sights.
Things to do:
There is no shortage of places to experience a pint or glass of whiskey. To avoid lines, make reservations in advance for the Guinness Storehouse and the Old Jameson Distillery. If you would like to learn more about whiskey, stop in at the Irish Whiskey Museum for a tour and a taste. The tour moved along through different rooms of the museum and ended with a taste of 5 whiskeys.