Europe, Wanderlusting & Musings

Secret Hideaways in the World You Must Visit Before You Turn 40

Photo Credit: lastmammoth via Compfight cc

When people turn 40 years old, many things come across their mind, one of which is mid-life crisis. They often feel they need to try something new or regain their youthful side by doing extraordinary activities, including travelling and exploring new locations.

A study featured by Independent mentioned that adults at their 40s, in fact, have a higher happiness level than their ‘angst-ridden teens and 20s,’ as the latter still has plenty of uncertainty in their lives while the former “have worked that out and are quite satisfied.” The news portal added that one of the best ways to beat the stressful mid-life crisis is by travelling and not allowing the small things get you down.

The best way to beat any stress is by exploring at least one of the world’s best kept secrets. Just like in the movie “The Beach, there are many places around the world where you can easily be the only tourist around. These magical spots allow travellers to unwind, relax, and be themselves without having to keep up with the busy and noisy life in the city.

If you are ready to backpack and explore some of the best secret hideaways in the world that you must visit before you turn 40, then this post is exactly for you. Read on to find out more.

Appi, Japan
For those in search of the best skiing destinations in Asia, they’ll always come across Niseko, Hakuba, and Nagano in Japan that many Aussies have visited by now. But, little did they know that in the far north of the country lies a secret skiing spot that many locals love to visit – Appi in the main island of Honshu. It has only 21 trails and a few mod-cons you see in a fancy ski resort, but it provides you an authentic Japanese experience as barely anyone speaks English (so, brush up your Japanese before leaving). Nevertheless, the snow in Appi is ridiculously good with less foreign crowd to think about.

Hinatuan River, Philippines
A deep spring river on the island of Mindanao (Surigao del Sur) has many local but few foreign visitors, despite its gorgeous natural beauty. Dubbed as the ‘Enchanted River,’ the Hinatuan River is surrounded by well-preserved flora and fauna while attracting local tourists of its clear blue saltwater that seems to appear out of nowhere. The river has a  deep chasm which is believed to be at least 80 feet deep. It’s the most ideal destination for beginning to even professional snorkelers and divers as huge fishes of different species freely swim here. In a featured travel post by Rappler, a local mentioned that the bluish waters of Hinatuan river have not changed since he was a kid, despite typhoons.

Lost City, Colombia
In Latin America, Machu Picchu has been one of the sought-after destinations by many tourists for its natural beauty and historical value. But, given its popularity, it’s not an ideal place to visit for those who want peace and alone time with themselves. Well, the Lost City in Colombia offers the same value less the number of tourists. Built by the Tayrona people in the 11th century, its beauty up the hills gives you a bird’s eye view of Ciudad Perdida and its luscious green trees. It was only discovered in the 1970s deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, which is why it was largely undiscovered by the tourist hordes. The only way to get there is by hiking, but rest assured it’s a journey you will never forget.

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

Far from the busy life of Beijing, China has its own natural beauty kept in a remote region of northern Sichuan. The Jiuzhaigou Valley presents tourists with more than 180,000 acres of nature, clear blue water, and green tall trees covering the mountains. It houses Tibetan villages and the best multi-level waterfalls with clear lakes that lets you see things from the bottom. This is exactly where you can find some 140 bird species, as well as a number of endangered plant and animals, such as the giant panda and the Sichuan takin, said UNESCO in its page about the valley.

There are plenty of secret travel destinations that will no doubt fit your travelling personality. Take note that 40 is just the start of your life to explore more of the beauties of the world, and we hoped this list has given you some ideas as to where to go next.

Do you have other secret travelling hideaways to include in this list? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Europe, Godivaworld Travels

Cote d’Azur Structures, Sculptures, Sights and Signs 2016

Although this wasn’t my first European Adventure (lol) this was definitely my most entertaining for various and sundry of reasons which I will no doubt blog about at some point but for now…..I will stay on topic.

As I mentioned on a previous instagram post, there’s something to be said for Structures, Sculptures, Sights and Signs when traveling just about anywhere.   I especially love those things you stumble upon when wandering around, be it in your own city or while abroad.

While on my most recent journey to the beautiful Côte d’Azur  a.k.a the French Riviera in January (2016, for my bday *big grin*) there were so many random visual delights, I figured I would just give them their just due in a post all by themselves.  There was everything from Structures to Sculptures to (random) Sights, and Sounds from Nice to Antibes to Cannes to Monaco and the Schiphol Airport where I had a brief layover.

Journey with me out and about in the French Riviera.

Signs are an important part of travel but I personally like capturing them as a form of art.  From Nice to Cannes to Saint-Paul to Monaco, there were more structures, sculptures, and such than I could capture…but here are some my highlights.

Check out some of the signs I crossed paths with during my journey.

Nice (/ˈns/, French pronunciation: ​[nis]; Niçard Occitan: Niça [classical norm] or Nissa [nonstandard], Italian: Nizza or Nizza Marittima,Greek: Νίκαια, Latin: Nicaea) is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, and it is the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département. The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million[1][2] on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi).[1] Located in the Côte d’Azur area on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. Nice is about 8 miles (13 km) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well.

There were some interesting images in and around my hotel in Nice (not to mention the hotel itself) including the sculpture in the lobby that I became enamored with each time I passed her (at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée).

Monte Carlo /ˈmɒnti ˈkɑːrl/ (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmonte ˈkarlo]; French: Monte-Carlo or colloquially Monte-Carl,Monégasque: Monte-Carlu) officially refers to an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco, specifically the ward of Monte Carlo/Spélugues, where the Monte Carlo Casino is located.

There was one day I allowed myself to play tourist and and went on a magical adventure to Saint Paul de Vence in the Alpes Maritimes, southeastern France.  Saint Paul is one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries.

As this is just about Sculptures, Structures, Signs, and such, I’ll stay true to the topic but no doubt will blog about Saint Paul de Vence in a future post.  For now check out these cool sights.

I purposefully left out a pic from Saint-Paul because the hilarity surrounding it was too much to lump in with the others without some context around it.  You kinda had to be there but hopefully you can dig deep into your funny box to see the humor.

Soooo while walking through Saint-Paul with the absolute bestest (yes I said “bestest”) guide EVER, the most randomness events occurred.

FIRST, these pigeons randomly appeared and seemed to be following us along our pathway with the occasional pigeon noise as if to say, “hey there, I’m here too”……

Next, while talking about her cat whom she rescued at one point before making it her own, a black cat appeared out of nowhere just cattin’ along.  Followed by more pigeons perched up high.

FINALLY, I couldn’t help myself and proclaimed, now if I see a horse I am going to just hoist myself up and over this ledge…..Zara our guide says, “oh funny you should say that because Saint-Paul de Vence has a horse…….” and so appeared Horseshoe Horse.

This adventure was everything I could have imagined and more.  Much like life and all its randomness and goodness, I can say my Cote d’Azur adventure was not only a great to start the new year but a representation of all things good/right with my world.

Until the next journey…..always look for the signs!

 

Travel Inspirations, Wanderlusting & Musings

Where to in 2016?

Often my biggest dilemma is “what in the world will I eat today” (either prepared by me or the likes of some fine dining establishment) but the other question is usually “where to next”….

where to next words

Honestly, I never really know above and beyond – EVERYWHERE!  Of course my friends and family love to joke and say I’ve been everywhere but in travelworld I haven’t even scratched the surface.  5 of 7 continents isn’t too shabby but considering there’s just under 200 countries, depending on the source, I still have plenty of countries to explore.

worldpoliticallarge

Given that we’ve just welcomed in the month of February and I’ve already checked off 2 countries on my ever-changing list is perhaps a good indicator as to how the rest of my travel year will go (see my European Birthday).  Kicking off the year in the likes of the French Riviera leaves my mind to wandering and planning and plotting and daydreaming about which economy I want to donate a few coins to.

Since my peeps are always asking, I figured I’d take a moment to ponder for myself my 2016 travel list based on what’s been a constant thought.  So far what’s been popping up are the following:

  • Cuba –  Havana, Cojimar, Las Terrazas, Varadero, Cardenas (for obvious reasons)
  • Phuket
  • Australia – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth
  • Marrakech
  • Costa Rica – San José, Tortuguero, Arenal & Monteverde
  • Ecuador – Quito, Cotopaxi, Amazon
  • Cairo and Jordan
  • Boracay, Phillipines
  • Nairobi
  • Turkey – Istanbul and Cappadocia
  • Beijing and Shanghai
  • Mykonos
  • Bali (again….I went in 2014)
  • Mauritius
  • Amalfi Coast

I could go on but we ARE just talking about before the year is out *sigh*!!  So as you can see, EVERYWHERE is pretty much on my list and one by one I throw everything I have to make my list a reality!

Where will you go in 2016 and/or where would you like your journey to take you?

~Godivaworld Travels

 

Adventures, Godivaworld Travels, La vida Loca, The Caribbean

Summer 2016 | Urban Hangover Presents…5 Yr Anniversary in Punta Cana, DR

As much as I love and enjoy creating my own travel adventures and experiences, I must admit there is something so exciting about traveling with a bunch of random strangers especially when there are white sandy beaches involved.

So sitting here, daydreaming in between meetings about where to go next (<–always thinking about this…nearly as much as I think about what to eat *sigh*) and as luck would have it I came across Urban Hangover’s instagram post about their 5 Year Anniversary in Punta Cana.

IMMEDIATELY I said to self:  “Self, lookuh here…..

Now you knooooooooow (if you’ve been following my journey and musings) that I’m all about a beach….see the majority of my pics.  So although I’ve been to Punta Cana before, I believe summer 2014, and even had the pleasure of partaking in the Hard Rock Hotel for an evening which is where this event is taking place, I immediately perked up.

I had to investigate further and so I was led to this…..check it out!

Not that I needed convincing but immediately I checked to see if they had a “single” option as I initially was of the mindset of a solo journey which I love.  BUT…….the level of good time shenanigans sure to ensue made me reconsider so I started my outreach to see who would be interested (knowing that I was already sold).  I mean after all, sharing is caring and I am too often asked about opportunities to wander with me so why not wander with others as part of Urban Hangover.

Soooooo, if you too are interested, just log onto urbanhangover.com for more info and tell ’em GODIVAWORLDTRAVELS sent you.

In case you need more convincing, Raheem DeVaughn will be the guest performer.

See you in the DR!!
Urban Hangover 2016

~Godivaworldtravels

Adventures, Travel Inspirations, Wanderlusting & Musings

Solo Travel….I’m here for that!

The world has seemingly become smaller and smaller as the internet has become the tool and source to research, plan, and even take virtual tours of distant and not-so distant exotic locales around the world.  In recent times, only those of a certain economic class were afforded the opportunity or luxury to traipse off to the likes of the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and other exotic lands.  As the world has opened up to mainstream America, so too has the curiosity and desire for greater, worldlier experiences.  Amidst this new era of exploration, a new breed of traveler has emerged – welcome “The Solo Traveler”!

What separates a solo traveler from your average run of the mill traveler is a mindset; a daring, open, adventurous, brave, and most importantly uninhibited desire to explore the world.  In the mind of a “solo traveler” it is the destination and experience versus the companionship that matters most.  There is no destination too distant or off-limits as each experience begins with a purpose.  Be it a search for solitude; a quest to meet new people often in a land where YOU are the one with the accent; or just the desire to be free to indulge and move to and fro without consulting with an accompanying travel companion.

It is often freeing and most certainly liberating at best but requiring an independent spirit or desire to embark on something new and different.  Solo travel however, is most certainly not for those challenged by solitude or scared of dining alone (a phobia known as solomangarephobia or the fear of eating alone in public).  Who knew?

No fret, as there are tons of resources for solo travelers including apps, dedicated sites, travel agents, travel groups and clubs all geared to the ever-growing population of solo travelers.  So even if you’re not quite ready to take the leap on a solo journey, you can start by going alone but in a group of other solo travelers so you’re not totally out on your own.  Just google solo travel to get a taste of what that ‘world’ looks like from the perspective of those who live by it and do it on a regular basis.

I, myself have gone on adventures with others whom I did not know prior to the trip (I’ve been to Cancun, Puerto Rico and Brazil for example and had a ball) and although we traveled together we were able to move and explore on our own, by our own individual rules.  This, I can tell you is a great way to slowly move into the solo travel space while still providing you a ‘parachute’ or safety net of others to fall back on.  Here are some sites to consider when researching your own solo journeys:

  • Friendly Planet Travel – they have a wide range of destinations and types of travel (independent, groups, etc).  I peruse them quite often and am thinking of trying them out this year for my next adventure.
  • Solo Travel with Abercrombie & Kent – Best known as a luxury travel company, Abercrombie and Kent accepts solo travelers on all of its trips — to all seven continents. They also offer Solo Savings escorted group tours, where single travelers enjoy their own private accommodations during every stop of the trip, but don’t have to pay the usual single supplements. A&K either completely waives the supplement, or reduces it by up to 75%.
  • Lonely Planet – I peruse this site just because…there’s a little bit of everything on it
  • Wanderlust and Lipstick – a new site I stumbled upon but definitely a good place to start for those new to or considering solo travel
  • Contiki is geared towards younger travelers, specifically those aged 18-35. The company uses forums and social media to connect vacationers with each other before they embark on their journey. Since most of their pricing is for doubles, Contiki’s goal is to match travelers up with someone of the same sex and then book a double room for them. So if you’re looking to make friends on your trip, this is the company for you.
  • Ideal for budget travelers, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) takes single travelers to exotic destinations such as Botswana and Patagonia. They have both land adventures, which are tours on land with groups of 10-16 other travelers, or small ship adventures, which are boat tours with anywhere from 16 to 25 other travelers.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line – On three of its ships — the Epic, Breakaway, and Pride of America — has cabins made exclusively for solo travelers that cost about 30% less than a double stateroom. They offers cruises all over including Alaska, Florida and the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and New England, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, and Panama just to name a few.

There are plenty others as well as numerous blogs, articles, and books on solo travels so it’s really personal preference as to your source for researching, planning, and ultimately making your solo travel dreams a reality.

Imagine a destination you’ve always dreamt of however you socialize it with your spouse, partner, friend, family, etc. only to discover those who would accompany you have limitations (for various and sundries of reasons); or want to provide input on the destination, travel time, even the accommodations.  Can you say downer!  Oftentimes the trip sunsets before it even gets finalized becoming more of a headache in the planning stages than the exciting dream destination you originally envisioned.  As a Solo Traveler, you think it, you plan it, it happens.  No consulting necessary as the only one to please is YOU!  It may begin with researching sites, groups, tours, etc. designated for solo travelers or destinations best suited for the solo traveler but it ends with an experience based on your expectations.

Research is key as is understanding how daring you are as in, are you courageous enough to travel alone or prefer a group of other solo travelers.  Much like Julia Roberts’ character in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” who went on a voyage to find herself after a painful divorce – solo travelers often discover much more about themselves as they are left to their own defenses, thoughts, and preferences totally unfiltered or encumbered by another.  Traveling in this fashion enables one to fully embrace ones’ surroundings to the point of self-indulgence, unfiltered, undisturbed if so desired.

Safety and precautions of course are a greater risk as a solo traveler as you are more vulnerable to scam artists and criminals targeting unsuspecting tourists in a party of one.  However, as with traveling in any capacity precautions must be made to ensure one’s safety.  With the right amount of preparation, planning, and research you will at best be armed with information on what to avoid and known safety concerns to name a few.  Travel sites often socialize key safety concerns, known dangers, and safety precautions for travelers so always do thorough research on any destination as part of your planning. However, when in doubt always trust your instincts!

Imagine doing what you want when you want in your destination of choice.  If you choose to lounge in your hotel room or by the pool all day no one will object when you travel alone. It may appear to be a lonely experience and to some, perhaps, but traveling solo opens the door to new interactions simply because you are a party of one.  Many are more inclined to approach you as a solo traveler from the wait-staff to the concierge as well as the locals.  You have the power to engage in conversations or be eyeball high in your Kindle, the choice is yours.  I have traveled abroad without knowing a soul however, by the end of the trip I made so many new connections it truly felt like I traveled with a companion or two.  The beauty of the solo travel experience is that the journey is just as you envision it to be with as little or as much interactions, excitement, and/or quiet time as you desire.

To the solo traveler in you!!!

Godivaworld Travels, North America, U.S. of A

Jersey/Philly All Work – Little Play

It has been quite some time since my last post and sad to say it’s not because I was off gallivanting ’round some distant land….that’s next month (stay tuned).  I was actually off “making the donuts” on a project in Jersey for the past 6 weeks.  Initially it was a nice change but by the final week I believe we were all kinda over it.

Each week consisted of flying out of Atlanta on Sundays (for me, the others flew out of Charlotte where they were based) into Philly and back home on Fridays.  If that wasn’t taxing enough throw in driving to/from the Philly airport to Jersey where we worked and stayed.  Luckily the drive was a straight shot and no more than a half hour – hour depending on traffic.

Welcome to Philly per the Mayor
Escalator to Baggage Claim – Philly International Airport.

The campus or compound (lol to myself) was probably one of the nicest work sites I’ve seen – not counting the high-rise offices in the various cities across the company’s footprint.  One of the best views was during the walk from our building to the building housing the cafeteria.

We were fortunate in that over the course of the six or so weeks we really had decent weather (for Jersey).  Considering it was November/December, we only had to deal with chilly temps and rain, followed by unseasonably warm temps – for Jersey – during our final weeks. The campus pictures above paints the best picture of our various weather situations.

Taking a load off at the work site
Really just posing not-posing for a pic

This day I didn’t even require my jacket between buildings and I’m sure anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m ALWAYS cold.  I’m the odd bird who rides with her seat warmers on during the warm months.

In any case, it wasn’t all work and no play as we actually laughed as much as we could, stumbled upon a Casino, did our best to enjoy a good meal on most evenings and above all just made the most of our time in Jersey.

This one spot we lucked upon had a nice ambiance and a nice variety of ‘bar’ food.  It is where I found my new love:  “St. Bubbles” which is St. Germain, Champagne, Soda and lime juice…..I now order it everywhere I go smh.  On this night we had the table near the fireplace which would’ve been real cozy with a special someone i.e not your work peeps lol!

Brickhouse Tavern near Princeton

All in all it was an interesting six weeks and I’m happy to say I met some really cool folks whom I would gladly welcome the opportunity to partner with again.  Additionally the hotel staff and my ‘friends’ at the Philly airport restaurants, bars, stores, etc. always took really good care of me each and every week so for that the weekly jaunt wasn’t half bad.

On our final work day IN Jersey (for most) as the Charlotte contingency headed to the airport one of our teammates – the youngest in charge (inside joke) – whom we called Day 26 and the CFO – Chief Food Officer – said he and the crew were going to stop over in Philly at Pat’s King of Steaks.  I, myself wasn’t leaving until a few hours later due to a much later flight, however another teammate suggested a ‘field trip’ into Philly for lunch to Pat’s with the Charlotte Crew.  Off we went in the pouring rain with the Charlotte Connection leading the way determined to introduce our palates to the infamous Pat’s Cheesesteak.

Followed by an order at Geno’s Cheesesteak opposite Pat’s. Caveat…the guys ventured to Geno’s for cheesesteak #2 while I politely stuffed my half-eaten Pat’s cheesesteak in my purse.

I was waaaay out of my league in the food intake department with this crew…..and I’m perfectly okay with that.  At this point I think I was just in disbelief that these guys were going to have a second cheesesteak before the first one had a chance to make it through their digestive track.

Looking out onto the Philly Streets
Pat’s or Geno’s?

We came.  We ate.  They conquered (two cheesesteaks).

Meanwhile I was mostly looking for cool things to photograph and not getting soaked doing so.

Philly Street Art
On the streets of Genos and Pat’s Steaks

So there you have it…..all work, some play in Jersey/Philly and my justification for being MIA on godivaworldtravels.com for the past six weeks.  Sometimes you just gotta answer the call of duty but trust me, my next adventure is truly right around this corner called “2015 Holiday Season” so stay tuned for a little parlez-vous oui oui <hint hint>!

Flight Delays
Just waiting around the Philly Airport after delay #2

Until the next journey, have a joyous 2015 Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!  The wait won’t be too long….I promise.

~Godivaworld Travels

Travel Inspirations, Worldly Treats & Eats

10 Tips for Dining Overseas and Eating Like a Local

 

TripAdvisor Headshot By Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor travel advocate

One of the big reasons many of us travel is for the food. We want to try those specialties that don’t taste the same at home, not to mention those foods we can’t even get at home — think mangosteens in Southeast Asia, or a pint of Guinness in Ireland — and, of course, we want to dine in local hangouts rather than tourist traps. With that in mind, here are ten easy steps to eating where and what the locals eat:

1. Avoid restaurants with English-language menus.

More often than not, these are tourist magnets. If somebody is stopping passers-by near the entrance of a restaurant and telling them that it’s home to the city’s best risotto or rijsttafel, that too is a red flag.

2. Follow locals to the best eats.

Check out the local newspaper’s list of best-value restaurants. You can also pick up great intel on a foodie walking and tasting tour. Hotel concierges can be helpful, but only if you ask them where they themselves would go on their night off. Once you’ve found a local hangout you love, ask your server — or whoever else you befriend at that restaurant — where else in town you should eat. And, of course, look at the restaurant ratings and reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

3. Make a beeline for food markets and farmers’ markets.
From La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain, to the Adelaide Central Market in Adelaide, Australia, these are the colorful can’t-miss places where the locals shop for fresh delicious food, where you can pick up picnic provisions, and where you can usually sit down to a meal too.

4. In Asia, think night markets and even shopping malls.

Asia is filled with exotic night markets and hawker centers (collections of inexpensive stalls selling hot food). If you’re not that adventurous, you can still find all manner of intriguing dishes and exotic flavors in the food courts in shopping malls. It’s easy to figure out what you want to eat: Just make the rounds of the food court, smelling all the steaming specialties on offer, and place your order by pointing to whatever looks most appetizing.

5. Seek out university neighborhoods.
You’ll find inexpensive cafés and interesting ethnic restaurants, not to mention students who are eager to practice their English on you and offer up offbeat sightseeing tips.

6. Order with your hands.
When a menu isn’t in English, just walk around the restaurant and spot which dishes look most appealing, then point to those dishes. Ask what the specialty of the house is, and order that too. If you really need to read the menu, there’s the Google Translate app.

7. Dine at a smart hour.
Don’t presume you’ll want to eat at the same time you do at home. Remember that in some countries — Spain and Arab countries, for instance — locals don’t eat dinner till 10 or 11 pm. If you’re splurging on a restaurant with a spectacular view, be open to dining early (say, 5:30 or 6:00 pm) so you can enjoy the view in the daylight as well as at sunset, at twilight, and at night when the scene is all lit up.

8. Know the etiquette.
Before you make a faux pas such as sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice in Japan, read up on local customs. TripAdvisor has “Tipping & Etiquette” pages for dozens of countries (just punch “TripAdvisor [country name] tipping etiquette” into your search engine. Here are more ways to learn local customs.

9. If you can’t get a reservation, just show up.
Walk in (nicely dressed) at the hour when the restaurant opens for dinner, or late in the evening. You’d be surprised how often there are no-shows. Here are more tricks for getting a table at a hot restaurant.

10. Visit the takeout aisle of a local supermarket.
Supermarkets are an interesting window into the local culture. Once you see what residents take home to eat, you just might be tempted too — and you can’t beat the price.

Godivaworld Travels, U.S. of A

Milestone in MIAMI

I swear there are sooooo many reasons to celebrate and just as many reasons to travel, although I’m the odd bird who knows neither requires any reason nor excuse merely just the desire to do so.

In any case, this past weekend I celebrated my girlfriend’s BIG birthday milestone in Miami!

Miami  image

Three of the 5 gals (6 gals if you count my car whom everyone knows as “Eva’) made a road trip of it which was a change of pace for sure.

FRIDAY

When we arrived on Friday it was a rainy, overcast Miami day but we made the most of it.  The first order of business after checking in while awaiting the arrival of the other ladies was some vittles as someone was a little hungry (not I says the #alwayseating chick)!  So being that we were on Ocean Drive, there’s no shortage of sidewalk eateries with an acceptable mexican spot right next door to our hotel.  Talk about ideal, this enabled us to see the other chick as she arrived and whisk her to our abode.

With the rain and all our Friday evening consisted of preparing for our night out, laughing, and rolling around the city until we reached our destination – that which shall remain unnamed.

It’s amazing the things you see in different cities when you’re half paying attention.  I came across a dancing billboard on the Intercontinental in Downtown Miami which was quite entertaining.  Luckily no one was behind me at the light because I believe I sat there through a full light change.

Friday night was a blast with the birthday girl having a great time for her special day!

SATURDAY

Typically, I coordinate for everyone and take care of accommodations and such which I love but admit it can be taxing at times.  Given that I told myself I would be on total guest mode and did just that lol with just one request which was to peruse Calle Ocho in Little Havana for some Cuban food and a Cigar Shop to fall into.

The day began with breakfast/brunch on Ocean Drive and a little beach time before we made our way to Little Havana.

Needless to say by the time we were ready for Little Havana I was feeling a little tipsy but ready for whatever lol!  So began our journey to Little Havana with my dear Eva leading the way (I even rode in the backseat which I’ve only done maybe once or twice)!

Again, my main goal was puro, street art, and eats/cocktails; the other ladies came along and was hoping for some good eats and whatever they stumbled upon.  I’d say we were successful in getting our desires met for this outing.  We even saw the restaurant and store front where an episode of “Power” was filmed (the El Pub).

After all our walking (my drinking) and whatnot it was time to head back to our suite to prepare for what we hoped would be another night of shenanigans.  Before we got our lives together I had to get atleast one cigar moment in while people watching on our balcony!

Saturday night found us making the most of our final night by taking in the South Beach nightlife, specifically some of the classics.  So we set out to stomp the streets in our stilettos ready for whatever….with whatever just so happen to lead us to the Clevelander.  As is typical, the streets were packed and so was the Clevelander’s bar, pool area party etc.  We were informed of a rooftop party that would offer a great view with a popping atmosphere so we figured we’d head there.

With the exception of the exxtremely overpriced basic cocktail (thought I heard the bartender wrong lol) the DJ, atmosphere, people watching, etc did not disappointment.

….and so our night came to an end – albeit at 4 AM after sitting out on our balcony getting in just a little more people watching.

SUNDAY

Ode to departure day which meant looking for things, organizing, packing, and making use of the last little bit of time before we headed out.  It’s so hard to say goodbye sometimes especially when you know you’re leaving 70-80 degree weather for 40-55 degree.

Alas we prepared for the farewell and headed out once again for brunch and cocktails along Ocean Drive.  We stumbled upon the Columbus Restaurant and when I say we were gifted not just complimentary Mimosas but shots as well….unfortunately I had to remind myself that I was road tripping it .

Until next time Miami ❤