Travel Inspirations, Travels Gone by, Worldly Treats & Eats

Where I’ve Stayed, Played, and Layed

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*

Read this post at your own risk as insane envy may arise although it is NOT the intended purpose :-).

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The joy (for me) is in the journey but I admit a small part of me marvels at the places I’ve stayed over the course of my travels (both business and pleasure).  So in the spirit of “lists” and in no particular order might I add, here are some of my favorite accommodations of which I’ve had the pleasure experiencing…..

  • The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
  • Hotel Sofitel Munich Bayerpost (during my trip to Oktoberfest – see My European Adventure)
  • Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam
  • Four Seasons in San Francisco (it was for business but still….it was AMAZING)
  • Maya Villa/Condos in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (2 story 3 bdrm, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen and balcony.  I still have to write the post so more to come)
  • Mahagiri Villas & Spa Dreamland, Bali (3 bedroom, 3 bath, living/dining room/kitchen, private pool/cabana all approx 3000 sq ft – stayed during my birthday celebration in 2014)
  • Barcelo Bavaro Adults Only Resorts Punta Cana DR
  • Ritz Carlton, Charlotte NC
  • The Adolphus, Dallas TX
  • The Fairmont, Seattle WA
  • Sutton Place, Chicago IL
  • The Millenium Hilton – World Trade Center, NYC (before the Twin Towers were constructed, actually during the rebuilding)
  • Protea Hotel Victoria Junction Waterfront, Capetown South Africa
  • The Venetian, Las Vegas NV
  • Dreams Cancun (my balcony overlooked the dolphin school.  This is now a different property now I believe)
  • Hyatt Regency Curacao Old Quarry Golf Course (I think it has changed its name since my stay in 2011)

My memory is giving me a run for my money at the moment so I will stop there while you salivate lol!

Where have you stayed that either gave you excellent service or accommodations that blew you away?

~ Travel Well ~

Asia, Godivaworld Travels

The Tokyo Experience!

using the universeIsn’t it amazing the twists and turns of life?!

Tokyo was always on my “Travel Experience” list but never did I think the opportunity would fall into my lap in the fashion that it did.  It literally came outta nowhere or let’s say on my mobile by way of a friend who was planning a trip there from Singapore and wanted me to accompany them….flight, accommodations covered!  Now could I really say “no” to that?

So the journey began!

I made the 13 hour nonstop flight to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International airport.  Let me say this, upon arrival and getting through immigration this was probably the first time in my travels where I did NOT speak nor comprehend the language in any way lol!

In any case I had absolutely no plans for my voyage to Tokyo, just wander, explore and stumble upon things as much as possible.  Not only did I wander and stumble, I got off the beaten path and found myself lost-but-not-lost wandering aimlessly which took me on a totally unexpected adventure (don’t you love those moments?).

What happened is while shopping and walking around, I got separated from my friend but luckily I had my train pass so I attempted (successfully) to make my way back to the station closest to the Mandarin Oriental (an amazing hotel and my accommodations for the stay….ooh I was smaller in size then – 2011 I might add).

The train system in Tokyo is pretty user friendly so after stopping for a bite and stumbling upon a Lush store which I had to pry myself out of, I made my way back to the train station.  Tokyo’s most prominent train line is the JR Yamanote Line, a loop line which connects Tokyo’s multiple city centers. The city’s 13 subway lines are operated by two companies and run largely inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and Shitamachi.

When I tell you it was one adventure after the other.  I purchased a little trinket for myself from a jewelry store (no not Mikimotos which I have a pictures of) and while wandering around again, I somehow misplaced the gift bag with said ring in it.  We had to trace our steps on a ring-in-bag-seeking mission not knowing where we stopped, turned or possibly plopped the bag down.  Lucky for me, after tracking a few invisible bread crumbs marking our steps we stopped off in this side store and voila’ the store worker had the bag at the register.  How in the world did I leave an entire piece of jewelry in a bag in the store??? (I can be absentminded at times.)

Besides that little hiccup and me getting separated and having to find my way back the trip itself was one for the books.  I ran into a Krispy Kreme – if anyone knows me they know my total addiction with the sweets.  I learned (i.e figured out how) to eat soup without any silverware.  I was able to spend an evening at one of the “Best 100 Bars in the world” – The Star Bar Ginza which proved itself to be a pretty cool spot.  We saw a few tricks (need to locate the footage) and got pretty ‘warmed up’ if I do say so myself.

All in all, I accomplished what I wanted as part of my invitation and purpose and the experience was and is forever ingrained in my memory bank of travels and adventures.   I’d always wanted to make my way to Tokyo and now that I have I can say that I would gladly do a return journey as well.

Minus me almost missing my flight while enroute to the airport – yeah so I’m on the train headed to the airport in plenty time for the 2 hr check-in and I get a call from Delta’s automated system stating the flight has changed.  Come again? So I’m on the train to Narita trying to reach Delta’s skymiles hotline meanwhile my phone is blowing up with messages about my flight BOARDING as I’m on the train near the airport.  When I finally got someone on the horn I was told that there was an error and my flight will be departing as scheduled.  As luck would have it, when I got to the gate, we were delayed.

As if that wasn’t enough once I finally arrived back in Atlanta, CNN was reporting the Earthquake Tsunami that hit Japan which led to all my friends and family calling me to see if I’d made it home.  It was truly one of those moments where I had to question my purpose because that was about as close a call as any I’ve ever had.

Enjoy the slide show of my special moments from my Tokyo experience!

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Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!

 

Travel Inspirations, Wanderlusting & Musings

If not now, WHEN?

if not now

Trust me, we can all come up with a reason why “now” is not a good time to take a trip or anything else for that matter.  I just spoke these words to a dear dear friend yesterday to the comment I hear often – “I can’t take a trip now because ________________________” (fill in the blank) or “one day I will take a trip” to which my question is always simply “If not now, WHEN” my dear?  To you (reading this) I say the same.

~ Travel Well ~

 

*NOTE* the reference “now” is not indicative of this very second but moreso a moment in time in the near future.  To be able to even plan for a journey or see one in your future without uttering the words, “I can’t, because…..” where anything after the “because” carries no value.

Adventures, Godivaworld Travels, The Caribbean

Antics in ANTIGUA

I can’t begin to tell you about the excitement I felt at the thought of all the shenanigans my friend and I would encounter as we embarked upon the beautiful island of Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) this past March.  map of antigua and barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, roughly 17 degrees north of the equator. To the south are the islands of Montserrat and Guadaloupe, and to the north and west are Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and St. Martin.  The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.

So the day began with our arrival into Antigua as part of our 5 day island hopping adventures.  The big event of the day was our Catamaran Lobster Lunch adventure which was sorta kinda a birthday treat for my friend that almost didn’t happen because it was apparently a very popular activity.  Nevertheless we almost didn’t make the cut due to scheduling and space availability but in the end Godivaworld wins!!!

Oh to wandering aimlessly along the beaches of Antigua……

Anyhoo, our destination was Jolly Beach which appeared to be pretty isolated and definitely NOT saturated with tourists.  I can’t say enough about non-tourist areas even when I’m being a tourist lol.  I prefer to wander the path less taken and get lost in the streets the locals travel more often than not as that’s where you really find the jewels of any city.

Upon reaching the beautiful Jolly Beach (after sailing the seas around Antigua feasting on grilled lobster, beans n rice, a vegetable medley and rumvodkajack) the comedy and shenanigans really took center stage.  We disembarked from the Catamaran to a cozy little spot on the beach so the luxuriating could begin and shortly thereafter laughter ensued.  Just taking in the scene my partner in crime for this adventure, Norman, spotted what he called his (make-believe) cliff-side property being renovated just in time for him to approve the current progress.

As if this wasn’t enough comedy, we just so happen to catch a glimpse of a lady with very colorful scarves/wraps approaching our “friends” from the Catamaran for a sale (who were attempting to lounge and luxuriate on the beach).  Luckily we were already basking in the warm water of the sea to miss this “pop-up” beach sale.  However, since my “look away” reflex is a little sluggish I made eye contact with “JjAHkeey” <–said just like that.  Please check out the video below to see how Norman adds color and comedy to this scene.  Ms. Jackie just wanted to know if I were interested in her wears to which I kindly responded – “I don’t have any cash on me” (my go-to response).  Well honey, Ms. Jackie told me  to let her know if I change my mind (she throwing shade?)!

See why this is titled “Antics in Antigua”……are you still hollering because I was there and STILL can’t watch this without cracking up.  Gotta love your friends I tell you!

Needless to say, after our Jolly Beach shenanigans and Norman’s comedy show, the rest of the afternoon was filled with basking in the glow of the aftermath.

Although I didn’t see much of St. John’s (capital of Antigua), I know without question that I WILL be making a return visit with atleast 5 days of leisure, wandering, and luxuriating to satisfy my wanderlust soul.  Honestly what more does one need to be convinced to see this beautiful island?

~ Travel Well ~

Travels Gone by, Wanderlusting & Musings

A Wanderlust Past

Did you know that by convention there are seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. Some geographers list only six continents, combining Europe and Asia into Eurasia. In parts of the world, students learn that there are just five continents: Eurasia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and the Americas.

So where exactly have I been you ask?

FK20 Fort Taylor Signs Plenty o’ places!

Born in Jacksonville, FL but moved out of state after kindergarten as my dad was in the Army and whisked us away. So you pretty much know how my life went from there (as a military brat that is).  Before I graduated high school I called the following locales home (for a year or 2, and a couples times for 3 years i.e. Hawaii and Mannheim):

Columbus, GA (2x); Honolulu, HI; Charlotte, NC; Colorado Springs, CO; Mannheim, Germany 

After graduating High School I went straight into the Air Force…..but before you say “ahhhh that’s how she traveled to all these places” let me say I was only unlucky enough to see Texas the 3.5 years I served before separating and moving to Atlanta lol!

So I guess you can say my adult “exploration” dates back to the early 2000s and since then my travel stats have continuously evolved to include:

  • Continents – 5 of the 7 Continents
  • World Heritage Sites – 8
  • Cities – 152
  • Countries – 14 (some twice or more)
  • A mere 9% of the world traveled
  • 181,284 total miles traveled (not my flier miles as that is actually much more)

So again you ask, where has Godivaworld Travels been?  Well according to my passport, flight history, and car miles my wanderlust past looks like this:

  • Asia – Tokyo (Japan), Taiwan, Bali (Indonesia)
  • Africa – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Capetown (South Africa)
  • Europe – Mannheim (lived 3 yrs, returned in 2010), Berlin, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Munich (Germany); Paris (2x France); Amsterdam (2x Holland)
  • The Americas (North & South America, the Caribbean Islands and Mexico (I’ve covered 37 of the 50 states)

I am always but a Google, TripAdvisor, Booking.com search away from my next adventure.

Now that you’ve seen my wanderlust past…..check out my Wanderlust Future and perhaps it will give you some ideas about where YOUR next adventure should be.

~ Travel Well ~

 

 

Godivaworld Travels, The Caribbean

Curious in Curacao

Curaçao is the main island of the Netherlands Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, northwest  of the Venezuelan coast (173 sq. mi./ 448 sq. km)., that forms part of the Dutch Caribbean.  It makes up the ABC Islands which includes Aruba and Bonaire.
Capital: Willemstad.

If I had a passport stamp for each time I was asked “where IS Cur-ah-co” *blank stare* I would have 2 50-page passport books full of stamps lol!

Curaçao Pronounced Koo r-uh-sou, soh; kyoo r-

Anyhoooo, if I told you I’d been waiting most of my adult life to visit Curacao it would be an understatement.  Although I can’t recall the first time I decided that it was a must-see destination, I do know that from whensonever that moment was I knew the very FIRST opportunity to present itself to explore Curacao I would give up a limb to do it.

True story:  Soooooo while going through my inbox for the day (anal about the # of unread emails in my inbox), I opened the CheapCaribbean.com email and voila there was Curacao for a superfantastical deal so of COURSE I had to snag it!  Found out it was such a good deal because the hotel at the time was having their grand opening and because of it there doing a number of promotions.  In any case, I did a lil outreach to see who would be down for a quick getaway (I think we had about 7 days til departure) just taking care of their initial flight to MIA and the trip was BOOKED!!! (See my upcoming commentary on my travel process, resources, and such).

 

The hotel was a brand spanking new Hyatt property which meant – not very many guests – but we didn’t care lol!  Our accommodations were wonderful, the staff was super attentive and service was great.  We had a nice selection of restaurants at our exposure and given the newness of the staff, no request was out of the question.  Because the hotel was somewhat isolated (with a private beach) I even rented a car to get around and reaaaaaallly explore which we did as much as possible.   We even stumbled upon a dance party on Mambo beach where we stomped and popped well into the night. It was EVERYTHING for me!

Curacao has a little bit of everything for a little bit of everybody.  There’s the casino, scuba diving and snorkeling, dolphin academy, flyboard, ATV, caves, etc. As you can see there’s no short of things to get into or nothing at all if you prefer to just wander around the island.

All in all it was a great adventure and satisfied my curiosity and lust for Curacao.  Need more convincing….see below.

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Now you know HOW to pronounce Curacao (if you didn’t already), perhaps you will also add it to you list of must-see destinations.

~ Travel Well ~

La vida Loca, Worldly Treats & Eats

Catamaran Lobster Lunch Experience – Antigua

As if Antigua wasn’t beautiful enough.

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How bout lobster…..on a Catamaran……sailing the beautiful seas in Antigua!  Such was my sensory pleasing experience on March 25th, 2015.  The lobster was accompanied by rice ‘n’ beans and a vegetable medley seasoned just right.  Nothing better than that fresh off the grill taste with a touch of ocean breeze sprinkled about.

  With the exception of me watching my favorite tennis hat from Bali fly clean off my head and into the blues seas near Jolly Beach, the Catamaran Lobster Lunch was such a wonderful experience!  Even I was gifted that hat during my birthday adventure to Bali in 2014 from the staff at the villa I stayed in, I know that it will be at peace amongst the beautiful blue waters of Antigua (oh to be that hat).

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For my white hat (below) from the staff at the Mahagiri Villas Dreamland in Bali (circa 2014).

Back to the Catamaran and Lobster……..

Did I mention the free flowing cocktails oh my!  LOL!

If you are ever in Antigua, please check out the Catamaran Lobster Lunch outing…..perhaps the one time I didn’t mind acting like a tourist.

Travel Well!!

Godivaworld Travels

 

Godivaworld Travels, The Caribbean

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

It’s no secret this gal here loves herself a beach and will always find a way to squeeze in a destination that is on, near, or within distance to one.  Sometimes though I luck up and get invited to an invite that happens to be near some body of water which suits me just fine.  This was one such time.

Punta Cana was solely to celebrate another year of life for a friend and it was a grand ole’ time.  If you have pinned the Dominican Republic and specifically Punta Cana as one of your destinations you will not be disappointed.

Macao Beach, Dominican Republic

Be it lounging at your resort or venturing out solo dolo (like I prefer doing), you will find your groove….

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My days were spent luxuriating by the sea, watching the waves if not being totally consumed by them while lying in the sand as the tide rolled in.  On a dune buggy adventure, we rolled up on Macao Beach which is by far one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen up close and personal.

Getting there is easy from most major U.S. cities.  Once there, transportation is readily available as well if you’re like me – one who wanders off to explore.

So what are you waiting for, the Dominican Republic is calling!  I will be answering the call again!

Happy Travels!