Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nicaragua for their famous Turkey

Thanksgiving came and we just couldn't let a chance to go on a quick trip be wasted so we flew down to Nicaragua for what could possibly be our last trip before Lauren has the baby!
 We rented a little house from some dude on airbnb, it had two little rooms and a ktichen patio area that overlooked the beach. We came down with Lauren's parents and it was perfect for us. The town we stayed in is called San Juan Del Sur, it has quite a few expats but it still felt pretty authentic. We bought fresh fish from the fish market that had been caught that day and made fish tacos that were amazing. It got us excited for Seattle and the fresh fish up there.
 There was a pretty cool surf beach near by that had some nice breaks. Last time I went surfing was in New York and a wave clobbered me and popped my shoulder out. I came up out of the water with a stomach full of new york ocean water, which isn't good for anyone. I was still scared from that and so I wasn't able to surf at all but it was fun to watch.
 On Thanksgiving I was a little bummed that I only had rice and beans for dinner so I was moping around and we came into this pizza shop and I asked if they could make us a Nutella pizza. Amazingly they pulled out a big jar and slathered it on one for us. For those Nutella fans out there, it was as good as it sounds.
 This is a picture of one of the Volcanoes we went to see, we took a ferry over there.
 When we got there I spotted some dirtbikes for rent. Driving a motorcycle around a country that I have never been to before is one of my favorite things, Lauren was a sport and let me have my way.
 This is what a Pregnant girl looks like when she is not happy that she just rode a motorcycle around a volcano.
 One of our stops on the ride was to agua de ojo. It is this natural spring in the middle of the jungle. You can actually camp there, which I think would be great. It is cool and refreshing and there is even this awesome rope swing, just like Hobbs Pond.
 Ron and Karen (Laurens parents) made the trek with us. Half way through the pavement ended and the road turned a little dicey. There was loads of cows all over the road, we got stuck behind some for a little while before finally weaving through them.

The island with the Volcanoes is called Isla de Imotepe, it was my favorite part of the trip. If you ever go down to Nica, you need to go there and if I went again I would stay there for a night or two. Nicaragua is a really cool country, everything is still really cheap, there are lots of outdoor activities, and it is not very touristy at all.

Rental house $25 night + 2.5 hour cab ride from airport $60 + motorcycle rental $20 + fresh fish $3 = about $180 for the trip

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Babymoon in the Holy Land

We finally did it.  We have been talking about if for the past year but we finally made it to Israel.  It was a short trip.  We left on Saturday, got there Sunday and then left at midnight on Tuesday.  The flights were great, we slept for most of the 11 hour plane ride, of course it helps when you are flying first class (don't be too jealous i had to deal with a lot of angry travelers to get those seats!).
We landed mid afternoon on sunday and then took a shared taxi straight to our hotel.   I found a nice bed and breakfast place that was $60 a night right by the bus station.  After getting settled in we went straight to the old city to do some sight seeing.

The Old City

Inside the walls of Jerusalem - King Davids Tower

The Western Wall of the Temple (very sacred place for jews)

On our second day we went to Masada and the Dead Sea. Masada is this ancient city built up on a hill that is the site of where a bunch of Jews held off the Romans and ended up committing suicide rather than being taken captive. Really cool area, pretty dang hot, well worth the trip, especially if you can borrow some hats from your guesthouse to shield the sun.

Masada overlooking the dead sea

Coolest hat ever

Cave dwelling of Masada residents

Ancient bird houses in Masada

Later that day we caught a bus to the dead sea, it was really cool, the lowest point on earth. Swimming in it was awesome, you seriously can't sink if you wanted too. The water was less refreshing than we had hoped because it was warm and the salt burns but to be able to get one of those pictures while reading, I would take just about anything.

Why doesn't he slick his hair back all the time?

Our last day we went back to the Garden of Gethsemane and that area of Jerusalem. It was a little tricky to get into a few of the areas because of some religious holidays but we were still able to see a lot. It was amazing to see how the city is viewed as such an important area for three major religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. It never felt unsafe even with the clash of cultures and the history of the region.

Olive tree at Garden of Gethsemane

Orson Hyde park at the Mount of Olives

View of the Dome of the Rock

This is a great country to visit and we could have spent much more time if we were to explore other areas like Galilee and that region. The bus system is great, except for some reason the concept of a line hasn't made it's way to Israel yet, everyone is pushy and cuts in front of you. We loved the trip and it was a great way to celebrate out last 5 months without kids tagging along!

Hotel for 2 nights $120  +  Masada entrance fee $12 + Bus from airport $20 each + having a falafel everyday $5 each + buying stuff at the market $who knows = about $400

Monday, August 15, 2011

From New York to Maine

This will just be a quick post but we took a little road trip from Maine back down to Brooklyn... in our new car! We, I mean Lauren, has been driving a 1997 toyota tercel for the last year and after the AC broke down during the New York heat wave we decided that it was time to get a new car. We found a nice little hatchback just north of Boston so we flew up there with some cash in hand and started our trip.

We went immediately to Maine, which is an under-rated state. We walked along the beach and grabbed some lobster. We had a fun time and it wasn't very crowded, I can see why G W has a summer home up there.

Lauren had to flirt her way into holding a lobster

We didn't stop in Boston since we had been there before and headed to Rhode Island and the famous Newport Beach cliff walk and mansions. The cliff walk is amazing and much more grand than I had imagined. The walk is about 3 miles and right along the coast. There are some of the biggest mansions ever, more like castles as you can see. 

And back home to Brooklyn. It has been a great summer living in the city. We are ready for a change of pace and to be back in Ithaca but it was fun while it lasted. Here are a few pictures of our time in NYC.
The Law and Order building, that show is good drama!

People are crazy in New York

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The French and Italian Riviera

Nice, France

I know we told some of you that we were going to Israel, but we ended up in Nice, France instead. Besides having a useless Israel guidebook weighing down my backpack, it was great how it worked out. I would recommend the trip to anyone.

We landed in Nice Sunday Morning and went outside to catch a bus into town. They have several buses to take into town but I think the best one is the 23. Its only 1 Euro and takes about a half hour total. There is also a 98 and 99 bus into Nice but they are 4 Euro. Once into Nice, you can take a tram (light rail) around the town.

We stayed at a little hotel called Hotel De Kent. It was about 50 Euro a night and was worth just about that. I was amazed at how many small dingy hotels they have over there. I mean, it works for me since we don't have any money but I was surprised so many other people travel that way. The food in France, especially the bread was great. We were content just eating a fresh baguette and cheese most of the time.

In Nice there was a really cool market selling flowers and local food called the cours saleya. It was a lot of fun to walk through but pretty expensive if you want to buy anything. On Mondays the market turns into a flea and antique market. We walked through but we felt a little out of place with all the old people walking around.

The beaches in Nice are beautiful but are different from anything i have ever been on. Instead of sand the beach is filled with smooth rocks. While it may have been a little bit more uncomfortable to lay on, it was nice not to have to wash sand from your hair for the next week. 

I tried to edit pictures for topless bathers

One of the great things about Nice is that they have a boardwalk that runs for miles. They have free bikes that you can use but you have to sign up for it.  We never figured out how to do it so instead we rented rollerblades.  We paid about 5 Euro and got to keep them overnight.  


 For some reason we thought it would be a great idea to rollerblade from Nice to Monaco.  It was only 15 km away so we figured we could do it, it just might take us a little while.  Little did we know that it was all up hill.  


Needless to say it was really hard and we never made it past Nice.  

Italy and Cinque Terre

After a few days in France we decided to move on.  We ended up going to Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre  is made up of 5 cities that are set on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that, as far as i know, can only be reached by train. They have a path connecting all five cities that you can hike.  It is a national park so you have to pay an entrance fee of 5 euro per person but it is well worth it.  

The hike is pretty demanding.  It is supposed to take 6 hours and that is for people who are in shape.  The trail goes straight up and straight down in some parts.  While we were there the path between two of the cites was closed so we had to use the foot path that the locals use.  I am glad we did it but it was hard!

In the middle of our hike we saw signs for a beach and decided to follow them.  The path took us straight down the mountain.  After we were almost to the bottom, we noticed that we weren't just headed to any beach, we were headed to a nude beach.  After debating whether or not to turn around, we decided to keep going.  We had been hiking for 4 hours and the only way back was straight up the mountain so there was no way i was turning around without at least jumping in the water first.  We got to the beach and found a secluded spot where we didn't have to see anyone.  The beach was great and luckily not very crowded.

On our way back from the beach we stumbled upon somebody's house.  We started taking to the occupants and found out one of the guys was from Argentina.  Grady started speaking to him in spanish and asked him if he had any mate (an argentinian tea) and the guy loved us after that.  He told us that there was an easier way to get back to civilization without having to hike straight up the mountain.  There was an abandoned tunnel that the trains used to pass through.  If we just walked a mile through the tunnel we could get back to the city.  This was the tunnel.

If you can't really see anything don't worry we couldn't either.  The guy gave us a flashlight that didn't really work and told Grady to either stay to the right or stay away from the right, it was all in spanish so we couldn't really tell.  It took us about twenty minutes to get through the tunnel and i don't think i have ever been more scared.  At one point i was certain that the tunnel wasn't abandoned and that we were going to get hit by a train.

We eventually made it out of the tunnel and back home safely.  We hadn't planned on going to France and Italy but i am glad we got the opportunity.  We had a lot of fun and hopefully we will be able to visit  again soon!

About Us

Dryden, New York, United States
We love to travel, especially Lauren, she really loves it. She loves it so much that she works at Delta so we can fly for free. When we go on a trip we try and figure out how to get around and what to do while we are there and of course how to keep to a budget so we can do another trip soon. This is our first attempt at a Blog to share what we have found and hopefully help other people in their travels.