We explored Bran Castle, aka Dracula’s Castle, today. It was very cool rambling around all the corridors of this eerie yet striking castle perched high on a hill – a very suitable setting for the Count!
We then walked around the city of Brasov after lunch in a local restaurant.
Before dinner (and our cow viewing), we took a sauna in an old bread oven. And yes, it WAS as cool as it sounds.
BTW – Many of the villagers main transport is still horse-drawn carts. I just love watching them zip by. Well, not exactly ‘zip’ but mosey along… there are so many horse-drawn carts in these little villages (and even in the cities), they almost outnumber cars!
Use ATM’s during daylight and business hours, at bank branches, for safety reasons or to get assistance from a bank employee if there is a problem with the machine.
On our 2nd wonderful day in Romania, we took a gorgeous (6 mile) hike in the Carpathian Mountains! We enjoyed a lovely packed lunch (provided for us) which included yummy home-made Caraway Brandy – all with a fabulous view over the mountains & forest. The end of the hike was through an attractive gorge.
Hiking in the Carpathian Mountains was on my ‘bucket list’ for years. It didn’t disappoint.
The next day, we walked through the nearby hills & wildflower meadows - some wildflowers were even still in bloom. It was a great walk with beautiful scenery around every turn. And we even saw 3 large elk with great big antlers.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch under a vine arbor once back at the manor house.
Day 1. We’re sitting under the stars, drinking wine under a vine covered arbor. We’re in front of our charming little blue house (our home for the next few days) enjoying the warm summer night. What more could we ask for?!
We just indulged in a wonderful meal which was served in a gorgeous old stone wine cellar complete with a roaring fireplace & candelabra’s – not to mention excellent local free-flowing wine.
Before dinner, we sat outside and watched the cows come home. Literally. The cow bells alerted us to their arrival. The locals all gathered outside and watched the cows return home from the fields. It was such a cool sight. We watched the cows saunter down the road, each turning into their own homes – the fact that they all knew where to go, was amazing. We later learned they did this each night – ‘they’ meaning the cows as well as the villagers. We know this because we joined them – every night, before dinner. As soon as we heard the bells, we ran outside to grab our front row seat for the ‘cow parade’. Goats and a dog or two usually accompanied them as well. We loved it. What a great local tradition.
Our other fabulous St. Lucia villa!
Our gorgeous St. Lucia Villa!
My very first blog entry was about how I love waking up on the 1st day of a New Year anywhere other than here.
This year I woke up on the stunning Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
It was a glorious week of hiking, soaking in hot springs, snorkeling, swimming, rum punch, champagne cocktails at sunset and staggering views. And did I mention rum punch?!
And even though I may be back to freezing my buns off in New York, I will hold those memories very, very close to me. When I’m trudging through the snowy streets of Manhattan, I will think of this trip and it will make me smile. And that’s priceless.
I’m going to leave you with this. Travel. Travel. Travel.
Traveling may get pushed aside when the busyness of our everyday lives trumps everything else but travel is important. Travel makes us happy and life flies by way too ridiculously fast to not be happy.
Travel really is good for the mind, body and soul.
And yes, that may be a cliché but sayings become clichés for a reason.
Never, ever, take that for granted.
Sleepy Little Sea Lion.
In advance of your trip, call your credit card company and bank (if using an ATM) and put a ‘travel alert’ on your account so your card isn’t cancelled or frozen from suspicious charges.
So, in a quick summary… every day, I woke up, thinking, “I wonder what amazing wildlife I will see today?!” Well, it was always many, always amazing and I was never disappointed.
What is truly astonishing about these islands is that there are new and incredible sights around every turn. Within moments we might see beautiful Red-Footed Boobies feeding their young, Nazca Boobies arguing with their neighbors over land turf & Frigate Birds puffing out their bright red chests to attract a mate. Then we might see Blue-Footed Boobies doing a mating dance, Flightless Cormorants & Penguins waddling on shore, snoozing Sea Lions and Land Iguanas sleeping in our footpath, Marine Iguanas swimming next to our boat and moon-like landscapes that look like you stepped onto another planet or dimension. Moments later, dolphins may be racing with our yacht and whales may be seen while Al Fresco dining.
There are so many fabulous days to reflect on but whichever one I look back at, I can honestly say that it was truly incredible to be part of the animal’s unique world for the week and if I had my way, I would return to the Galapagos Islands again and again and again.
Protect your precious photos! Download images to a cloud each night, personal computer or flash drive (and store in safe place!).