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Transylvania Tranquility. Days 2 & 3.

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.

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Filed under Transylvania europe travel eastern europe CentralEurope hike carpathians carpathian mountains picnic romania

Tranquility in Transylvania.

Miklosvar, Transylvania

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. 

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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.

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Filed under travel romania miklosvar eastern europe cow wine wine cellar europe CentralEurope Transylvania

Happy 2014!

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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.

Filed under travel st lucia caribbean west indies newyearseve island piton mountains relax sunset sun vacation

Glorious Galapagos.

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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.

 

READ MORE ABOUT THE GALAPAGOS HERE

Filed under galapagos Galapagos Islands wildlife sea lion sally light foot crabs blue footed boobies red footed boobies frigate bird Flightless Cormorants iguana ecuador animals Penguins

Glorious Galapagos. Day 7.

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Had a wonderful alfresco lunch after our walk this morning where we saw Red-Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Frigate Birds with their full red pouches puffed out and 3 Short-Eared Owls.  The owls didn’t even flinch when I was just a few inches from them!  Unbelievable. 

The Red-Footed Boobies are so cool, their feet are bright red & their beaks/bills are blue.  The owls were beautiful.  The Nazca’s were cute, building their little nests on the ground made with twigs & rocks. 

We’re on Genovesa Island today.  We’re inside a crater where part of it broke off allowing water to come in and fill it. 

We then went snorkeling.  I saw 2 sea lions, an Eagle Ray, a Manta Ray and a cute little fish called Guineafowl Puffer.  Everyone else saw Hammerheads, but me, I’m so bummed!  So, alas, we’re leaving Darwin Bay and heading back to Baltra for our departure tomorrow.  I think I’m gonna cry.  I don’t want to leave. 

So, this afternoon after another yummy lunch, we took another, our final, walk and saw SO many more Red-Footed Boobies, many of them with their babies.  We watched some of them feed their babies, so cute.  We also saw Galapagos Doves, sea lions and so many Frigates.  I loved seeing a blanket of green foliage and then the red pouches of the Frigate Birds peppered throughout all that green.  It’s stunning.

And I most especially love the fact that you can come within inches of all the wildlife and they don’t even flinch.  It’s absolutely fantastic.  And speaking of fantastic, what an utterly fantastic trip.  Phenomenal.

So, what would be a perfect end to a perfect trip?  Well, whales & dolphins, of course. 

We saw whales and a huge school of dolphins jumping out of the water as the sun was setting.  

You just can’t make this stuff up. 

 

Read more days in the Glorious Galapagos here

Filed under Galapagos Galapagos Islands wildlife Ecuador Darwin Snorkel doves sea lions dolphins eagle ray manta ray blue footed booby red footed booby frigate birds owls

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