Next time you pack for a trip of any length, throw in some zip-loc bags of different sizes. They take up almost no room and have endless uses…
-toiletries that are prone to oozing
-cell phones at the beach or on amusement park water rides
-umbrellas that are too wet for your purse or back pack
-emergency laundry kit
-souvenir collection of post cards, brochures or menus
-nuts or snacks
-keeping your book dry at the beach or pool
-napkins for a picnic
the list goes on and on…
A flight attendant once told me to carry some strong peppermints with me when I fly. That way if the flight gets bumpy or my stomach gets upset, I can use them.
Another flight attendant told me to order Ginger Ale instead of water, juice or soda.
Both have natural ingredients that help with upset stomachs.
What says romantic Valentine’s Day getaway spots more than Italy?
Albergo California hotel in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, houses 15 guest rooms. Six of these are in the original 1777 Palazzo Bruno. Each spacious room provides guests access to the terrace where you can sip wine, plan the next day and watch the sun sink down. www.hotelcaliforniapositano.com
Head to Sicily for the best combination of style and value at Hotel Gutkowski in Siracusa. All 25 rooms in this hotel overlook the Mediterranean, with the best views on the second floor. Breakfast is an experience not to be missed. www.gulhotel.it
Last but not least, Castello di Gargonza in Monte San Savino, Tuscany sits like a fairy tale castle, complete with a crenellated tower. Gargonza, the hilltop village, fought over for centuries by Florentines and Sienese has even been a host to an exiled Dante in the early 1300’s. Their 35 houses serve as apartments with 17th century style furnishings, working fireplaces and a pool surrounded by fragrant rosemary and olive trees. www.gargonza.it
Pick one and enjoy.
Looking for Caribbean destinations? Try Villa Beach Cottages on St. Lucia. Most rentals have a private patio with ocean views (on a clear day you can spot Martinique). Or just relax in a hammock along the water’s edge and drift off to the sounds of crashing waves. www.villabeachcottages.com
If it’s seclusion you are after…the Santa Teresa Hotel Milarepa in Costa Rica offers just that. Only four rooms in this hotel so your privacy is almost guaranteed. Warm breezes soothe your room all night while howler monkeys in the trees provide your wake-up call. Don’t forget to enjoy the shower…it’s open to the sky. www.milarepahotel.com
Head to the Bahamas and explore the third largest barrier reef in the world. Seascape Inn on Andros Island is just minutes from Mangrove Cay where you can spend your day exploring the reef by kayak. Or practice up on your bonefishing skills from the flats in front of your bungalow (catch and release, however). www.seascapeinn.com
It’s never too early to start planning a Valentine’s Day getaway. Budget Travel has suggested some of the most romantic hotels around the world for a perfect secluded experience.
Today I will list a few and follow up with the rest tomorrow.
Wander around Sonoma Valley Beltane Ranch’s 105 acres of fruit trees, vegetable and flower gardens, olive orchard, and of course a vineyard. This gingerbread trimmed lodge and surroundings have been featured in L.L. Bean and Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Book your stay today at www.beltaneranch.com
Also in Northern California, check out Hideaway Cottages in Calistoga. Natural hot springs and mineral rich waters soothe almost any care right out of your body. Need exercise after soaking? Go for a swim, get a mineral mud bath, a lavender mineral whirlpool bath, a 30 minute almond oil massage or take a walk to view the oldest cork oak tree in the Napa Valley. Check out the cottages at www.hideawaycottages.com
Heading to Mexico? Tulum’s Amansala’a Casa Magna was actually two 14,000 square foot concrete houses once owned by a Columbian drug kingpin. Now transformed into 22 enormous guest rooms many people come here to relax by the Caribbean turquoise waters. Others prefer to participate in Bikini Boot Camp, a combination of exercise, yoga, and massage. Either way you won’t want to leave. www.amansala.com to check this one out.
Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Before heading out for a whirlwind tour of eight countries in six days, make sure that is what you and your travel buddies want. It might not be the best experience if all you do is “run, run run”. On the other hand if you want that type of trip…go for it.
Decide in advance and your trip will be much better for all travelers. It seems like such a simple step. But it will make for a much better experience and more delightful memories.
Look like an old dead tree trunk to you? You’re close.
These amazing looking trunks are actually old grapevines. Some of the finest “old vine” zinfandel wines get produced from these vines. A common sight throughout Sonoma and Napa Valley in California, in January they almost look useless. Come back in a couple of months and you’ll see them transformed.
For now, they’re silently working away.
When traveling to wine country undoubtedly you will want to bring home some wine. If you are flying, check your airline’s regulations for bringing wine. You won’t be able to carry it on as it is more than 3 ounces. Some airlines will let you ship as “checked luggage”. Others don’t allow that. Sometimes it’s best to ship it directly to your home via FedEx.
Plan ahead so you aren’t surprised at the check in counter at the airport!
Weekends don’t need to be boring when you live in Northern California. Head north of Sonoma, past Healdsburg, through the rolling hills of Dry Creek wine country and pick a place to stop. Any place…there are so many. You will soon find favorites
This weekend found us at one of our favorites…Peterson Winery. Complex dark Zinfandel, smooth garnet hued Sangiovese, and a new wine blend he named Shinbone graced our wine glasses.
When you need a break from wine tasting, head a few feet away to the Dry Creek Olive Company.
Their locally grown olives date back over 120 years. Combined with their “soil to oil” capabilities you get some of the highest quality extra virgin olive oils available.
You may even purchase plants and start your own production. Or just buy theirs and enjoy without all the harvesting and crushing!
I know this is supposed to be a travel blog. But every now and then Myron just can’t seem to help himself and he inserts helpful wisdom. Here are his ABC’s of living…
Arch your back when you stretch…it makes you look thinner
Bask in every sunbeam
Catch at least 10 naps every day
Dig those claws into whatever is available
Envy no one
Fur is meant to share
Greet each day with a yawn
Hairballs are just part of living
Jump into a lap
Kittens are such pains
Love your staff…a.k.a. Family
Make an entrance
Nine lives are barely enough
Only the best…after all I am a cat
Quiet please, I’m trying to nap here
Real cats rule
Scratch behind my ears, please
Thunder through the house at night chasing imaginary friends
Unleash your inner lion
Vary your hiding places
Wander nightly…even if it’s just down the hall
Xercise…you must be kidding
Yes I do need treats
Zebras might be fun to chase
Want to be prepared for your next trip? Here are just a few helpful hints.
1. Make a copy of your passport. Digital cameras work great for this.
2. Make a copy of your health insurance card. Again, taking a picture is a great way to record. this.
3. Speaking of health insurance, call your carrier to find out what is covered. If you are going abroad, find out what they cover and where you can seek both routine and emergency care.
4. Take a picture of your itinerary. That way you have your departure and arrival times and your confirmation number handy.