October 10, 2016 Melinda 5Comment

The Jane Hotel Lobby. Beautiful Tile! I’d like to say I put hours of thought and research into my New york City hotel choice, but the truth is The Jane Hotel was included in the package deal I booked through Expedia. For just $988 I had 5 nights stay and airfare, so this stay definitely fell into the bargain category. I’m pretty picky when It comes to hotels. I love a comfy bed and cleanliness is pretty vital. Ideally located in the West Village on the Hudson River, this historic hotel elicits strong reactions both negative…

September 30, 2016 Melinda 1Comment

I’d heard New York City is one of the most expensive places in the world to visit for years, and to be honest that kept me from seriously considering a trip there until I started blogging about travel. As a point of reference it felt important to check it off. I felt pulled to see the 9/11 museum, which I’ll share about in the future and I needed that “New York” experience to put other cities into perspective. When an Expedia deal showed up in my inbox, I decided to just grab on and go for it. I traveled to…

September 26, 2016 Melinda

One of the things I looked forward to most on my trip to New York City was spending long, unhurried hours in Central Park. I’ll always remember sitting in Hyde Park in the early ‘80’s people watching and enjoying the large, verdant open space in the center of bustling London. I imagined myself sitting in Central Park re-creating that lovely experience. On the other hand, I also wanted to improve my travel blogging skills. At the top of the list is photography. It’s an area where I definitely struggle. Often I lack the patience to wait for the right shot…

September 8, 2016 Melinda 21Comment

I admit that the idea of seeing a sumo wrestling match in Tokyo was not on the top of my to do list. It took me quite some time to come around but boy am I glad I did. The pomp, the ceremony, the heft! Like so many other things in life, the more you know about it the more likely you are to you enjoy it. We lucked into this fun experience and I’m happy to share some of our tips and hints to get the most out of this Adventure. Tickets and Timing There are six sumo tournaments…

August 29, 2016 Melinda

We read from nearly every source we checked that purchasing a Japan Rail Pass is the way to travel through Japan. This advice turned out to be some of the best we received. The savings were considerable compared to the cost for individual train tickets and it was a relief knowing that even if we screwed up and took the wrong train or missed a connection we would not be charged extra. Japan guide.com and JR pass.com provide great information about nearly every question you could have. These are our experiences with the pass. Purchasing the Pass JR passes must…

August 22, 2016 Melinda 4Comment

Snow Monkey and Baby One of the highlights of our trip to Japan was a visit to the snow monkey park in Yudanaka. We absolutely loved getting up close and personal with these darling little monkeys. That’s not to say that we didn’t make mistakes in planning this portion of the trip. If we were to do it again we would definitely make some changes. The monkeys, however, are not to be missed and we lucked out on a few details that I’ll share. Getting There We made a large loop around central Japan. From Takayama…

August 15, 2016 Melinda

Who wouldn’t want to cruise around Berlin driving a 1960’s East German Trabant? Traveling with two young adults in their 20’s often pushes me outside of my comfort zone and honestly, the Trabant is a car with no claim to comfort. We tend to waffle between seeing the great sites of a destination like the Brandenburg gate or The Berlin Wall and lounging around cafés near our hotel just people watching. We decided it was time to spice up our trip to Berlin with a truly unique tour. Trabi Safari offers escorted tours through former East Berlin and a chance to…

August 1, 2016 Melinda

] One of the highlights of our trip to Chiang Mai was a visit to Baan Celadon. I knew very little about this unique pottery, but another woman in our group praised the beauty of Celadon so highly we knew we had to hit it up. Celadon is a form of pottery that originated in China. It was favored by royals long before the traditional blue and white work we associate with Chinese vases today. Celadon refers to both the pale jade color and type of glaze used on both earthenware and ceramics. The first known works of Celadon in…

July 28, 2016 Melinda

Before we traveled to Japan I read plenty of blog posts about happy visits to snow monkey pools, rabbit islands and bowing deer parks. They all involved up close encounters with wild animals in a gorgeous setting. Naturally, I was excited to have my own brush with these critters. We had our first chance at the Nara Deer Park when we took a day trip from Kyoto. The over 1200 deer are considered national treasures and are semi-domesticated. You can also see the Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji Shrine, both UNESCO World Heritage monuments. The visit turned out to be one…

July 25, 2016 Melinda 2Comment

In so many ways Japan proved to be one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited. There is an amazing mix of ancient shrines and temples, stunning natural beauty and over the top cuteness. In Japan “kawaii”, the quality of cuteness, is pervasive. Stores carry a huge variety of cute stuffed animals, stickers, key chains and clothing printed with darling images. Young women dress in all manner of cute styles from lacy little anklets to giant, floppy hair bows. In the early 2000’s the passion for cuteness and the inability to own pets due to small apartments and long…