Exploring San José

Last year, Karen contacted me twice to plan a trip internationally.  The first time, I was still dating the ex and spending most of my vacation days traveling up north to see him, so I didn’t think I could spare an extended trip where I didn’t get to see him.  I forgot about her asking me to travel and went about life.  A few weeks later when Karen asked me again, I was single, heartbroken, and ready to say yes to getting the hell out of town.  When I inquired where she was thinking of traveling to, she said she heard great things about Costa Rica.

Luckily enough, I have travel connections to make it happen.

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And Just Like That, It’s Over

Oh, Wonderlings.

I have returned home from Costa Rica where Karen and I had the most amazing time.  We laughed as we explored the rain forest, made new friends (of both the animal and human variety), and bonded like we never have before.  Over eleven days, we journeyed to five different cities, all celebrating Costa Rica’s success in the World Cup.

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Why I Travel

Greetings from Costa Rica!

I am currently exploring this wonderfully lush Central American country with my darling friend, Karen.  This trip has been in the works for over nine months and we are thrilled that we are finally here and ready for any adventure that comes our way.  We have only been in the country for two days and already we are filled with giddiness for this tropical place.

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Live Free Or Die At A Sugar Shack

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I spent last week on the East Coast in Massachusetts for my annual pilgrimage to visit family.  It was one of the best trips out there for quite a few reasons.  One, my mom didn’t have to work and my aunt and uncle from Sacramento were also there (though my uncle did have to work).  And two, this was the first time we managed to see the entire family in the few short days we were there without a funeral being involved.  Unfortunately, a full schedule didn’t allow me to visit with any fellow bloggers and I’m still disappointed about that, but I’m sure they’ll understand the whole “family comes first” sentiment and I will always be back again next year.

Normally, I stay fairly close to the family, but this time, we stayed in Andover in the Northern part of the state and a mere two miles from New Hampshire.  The moment I found out we would be so close to New Hampshire, I made everyone aware that I wanted to visit.  The response: “Why?”  My answer: “Why not?”

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Wandering Through Wine Country

We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave here in Southern California.  Not exactly feeling like winter when it’s too warm to wear sweaters and boots.  It was noted that my hometown was the hottest place in the country last week (take that Florida!) and I for one am eager for things to cool down.  Christmas didn’t quite feel like Christmas with the warm Santa Ana winds rattling through the house making it necessary to run the air conditioner all day.  Nevertheless, this weather makes for perfect exploring and that’s just what Karen and I did this past weekend.

When we drove up to Santa Cruz to visit Rose in September, part of our journey included passing through Santa Barbara’s wine country.  It was there that we decided we needed to plan a weekend and come back for some tastings, our own PG-version of Sideways, which we had every intention of watching the night before, but we were so busy chatting and scouring for discounts on Groupon that we didn’t get around to it.  Nevertheless, after a breakfast of eggs and bacon made by yours truly, we settled on Los Olivos with Groupons for two tastings and the planless plan to just see where the day took us.

Wine

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Searching For Banana Slugs

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A few weeks ago, my friend Karen and I decided to get out of town and visit Rose up in Santa Cruz.  It was a journey that we had tried to make happen since she moved up there in May, but conflicting schedules made it impossible.  Finally, after a human sacrifice and the proper alignment of the planets, we found ourselves driving up the 101 Freeway bound for Northern California.

I had never been to Santa Cruz so I was incredibly excited about this trip.  Rose had planned several activities that she thought we would be interested in and I quickly realized there was no way we could do it all in the weekend we were there.

Arriving after a long drive, we were greeted by Rose and one of her new friends.

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A Case Of Wanderlust

Wanderlust

As I’m sure most of you know by now, I love to travel.  It doesn’t matter where I go, I just want to see someplace new.  I get giddy packing my suitcase in anticipation of the unknown sights and adventures that await me.  Sometimes I feel that my suitcase spends more time out of the closet, waiting to be packed or unpacked, than it does nestled amongst my clothes and shoes.  Whether by car, by air, or by boat, I couldn’t imagine my life without a trip to a different location at least once a year.  There is a certain feeling you get when exploring an area you’ve never seen before.  Even if it’s an area in immediate vicinity.

A lot of times, I hop in my car and drive down an unknown road just to see what’s at the end of it.  I have uncovered full neighborhoods in hidden canyons, dined at hole-in-the-wall restaurants with the greatest food, and viewed formerly familiar territory with a new set of eyes.  There is much to be discovered and rediscovered in this world and I won’t stop until I explore every inch of it.

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A Side Of Swiss: Part 2

With heavy hearts and thoughts to those in the States, we packed our bags, left the beautiful Schweizerhof, and headed to a boat cruise along Lake Luzern before heading to Zürich.  From the lake, we took in the beauty of the Swiss Alps, the gorgeous homes along the water, and just a little bit of Brazil.  Ok, maybe just a statue similar to Christ the Redeemer.

Lake Cruise

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A Side Of Swiss: Part 1

We left the AmaCello and departed for Switzerland.  We were supposed to arrive in Basel, but due to a broken river lock, the AmaCello was forced to return to our last port of Breisach (where we toured the Black Forest).  It was bittersweet to say farewell to most of our fellow passengers as only about a third of us were continuing the journey to the land of cheese and chocolate.

Even the fountains were cold.

Even the fountains were cold.

Since we were due to begin the land extension in Basel, we traveled by bus to the cosmopolitan city.  The first thing we noticed about our first Swiss town was how cold it was.  By far, this was the chilliest of all the places we visited and it was hard to admire the medieval character of this Swiss banking center.

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Fun And Fancy Free

On our last cruising day, we were treated to a traditional German beer service (sorry, I can’t seem to remember the appropriate name) complete with sausages, potato salad, and pretzels. It was one of our last opportunities to get together with the fun people we met from all over America and enjoy a relaxing voyage on our final day of the river portion of our journey.

German Beer

The food was incredibly yummy and the beer was nice and cold contrary to popular belief about the Germans only drinking beverages at room temperature. I didn’t find this to be true the entire time I was in Deutschland, but I mainly stuck to the glühwein which warmed me from the inside out.

When we docked full of German deliciousness, we had the choice of two excursions to Germany’s historic Black Forest. We could either venture into the town of Freiburg or tour a cuckoo clock factory. We were set on the cuckoo clock factory until several discussions with other passengers convinced us that Freiburg was the more exciting of the two tours. According to our Cruise Director, the other was a bit of a “snooze” and most passengers were a little disappointed by it. I guess if you’ve seen one cuckoo clock, you’ve seen them all.

Needless to say, we hopped the bus to Freiburg.

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