Over the years, we’ve been able to go to some amazing places. There are so many stories and cities that we could write about but these are the ones that are unforgettable. The experiences that fuel our wanderlust and keep us jumping on that plane time and time again. – VAL
Egypt Dec.2008 – Jan.2009
Going inside the pyramids of Giza and riding a camel in Cairo, Egypt.
Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by pyramids. In 2008 we had the chance to go to Egypt and one of our top activities was a visit to the Gyza pyramids. We went inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which is the largest, and also had the opportunity to ride a camel while enjoying the view of the entire Gyza pyramid complex. It was simply mystical, like transporting ourselves to ancient Egyptian times!
Australia Dec.2010 – Jan.2011
Celebrating New Year’s in Sydney at the Royal Botanical Gardens with “Lawn with a View.”
Spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney was already a dream come true because it is known that their fireworks show is one of the most spectacular in the world! The icing on the cake was attending the event called “Lawn with a View” at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This lawn provided an excellent viewpoint of the illuminated Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every family brought their mat, there was live instrumental music playing and we got dinner boxes and wine. In a relaxed and perfect environment we were able to enjoy not one but two shows. At 9.00 pm they do a shorter version of the fireworks show and the illuminated boat parade and exactly at midnight we were treated to the most amazing spectacle of fireworks accompanied by synchronized music. Another magical night!
Bora Bora May 2013
Staying at an Overwater Bungalow and swimming with sharks and stingrays in Bora Bora.
Bora Bora, like other islands of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef which creates the perfect conditions to build overwater bungalows. The water color is an indescribable turquoise blue and the view of Mount Otemanu make the perfect setting for a screen saver like imagery. I was lucky enough to celebrate my 50th birthday in Bora Bora and to stay at the St. Regis Bora Bora Hotel.
The over water bungalows are huge, beautifully decorated and have direct access to the water and glass cutouts on the floor so that you can see the water beneath you. It was the most romantic vacation ever!
One of the “must do” excursions that you should take when you visit Bora Bora is the Lagoon Safari, which includes snorkeling & swimming with stingrays and sharks. It is a great experience! The stingrays are very friendly and you are able to touch them and swim with them in crystal clear waters. The swim with the sharks is a bit more scary! I am proud enough to say that I was the first one to jump in the water when the boat got to the area defined by our guide. When I placed my mask in the water and looked down, I saw those huge beautiful animals! I was amazed by their majesty but scared at the same time! What if they get anxious and decide to eat me! So I decided to go back to the boat. The only words that came out of my mouth when I went back to the surface were: “They are huge!” (They were much bigger than the ones picture in the photo above, but unfortunately I don’t have pictures.)
Dressing up as geishas in Gion District in Kyoto, visiting Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, and seeing Mt. Fuji.
Dressing up as geishas was a great honor and the fact that we did it together made it even more special. Val has always had a deep connection with everything Japanese; their history, their culture, the food, the language, anime, etc. She studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka as an exchange student in the fall of 2014 and that December I went to visit her. She was an incredible tour guide and we visited the most important cities and sights of Japan. In Gyon, Kyoto we went to Maica, a Geisha & Maiko (apprentice geisha) Experience Shop. You have the opportunity to dress up as a geisha and experience at least part of the detailed process they go through to become traditional Japanese female entertainers. They take the pictures included in the package you selected and then leave you in a private room for over an hour, so that you can take as many other pictures and videos as you like. Men can dress up as samurai. www.kyotomaica.com
One of the highlights of our visit to Hiroshima was going to the island of Itsukushima (also known as Miyajima) to see the amazing Itsukushima Shrine, commonly known as the floating torii gate. This is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is definitively worth a visit while in Japan.
Mount Fuji! What an amazing sight!
Our visit to Mount Fuji was really special because we stayed at the Highland Resort & Spa which is located at the foot of the mountain. The fact that we were so close allowed us to wake up with the spectacular view and see it in front of us when we were having breakfast. We also had a massage and then relaxed looking at Mt.Fuji and even went on a rollercoaster ride while looking at the magnificent view because the hotel is also home to the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park. www.highlandresort.co.jp
Turkey August 2015
Watching the sunrise on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia,Turkey.
Cappadocia is for me the best place to ride a hot air ballon. The landscape below is so different that it really makes it special. Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey full of cone-shaped rock formations. What you see from the hot air ballon is a beautiful landscape sculpted by erosion forming a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys”. It is really unique!
Greece August 2016
Visiting the Meteora Monasteries in Greece.
The Meteora Monasteries are located in Greece, about 4 hours from Athens, next to the town of Kalambaka. There are six remaining out of the 26 original ones. The amazing thing about these monasteries is that they were built on top of almost inaccessible rock pillars by hermit monks who were seeking retreat from the Turkish occupation in the 14th century. They are accessible now by car but you still have to climb hundreds of stairs to reach each one of them. The view of the monasteries is spectacular but the peacefulness that you feel when you visit them is even better.
Iceland March 2016
Snowmobiling over Langjökull Glacier and going to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa.
Iceland is a country of many landscapes and all of them are beautiful! In a week you can see waterfalls, geisers, glaciers, caves and also dip in geothermal waters. We loved every minute of our trip but the two activities that stood out were snowmobiling on top of a glacier and the day we spent at The Blue Lagoon.
During the snowmobiling trip we felt the rush of the speed mixed with the quite vastness of the glacier. It was exhilarating, liberating and very humbling.
The Blue Lagoon is the landmark visit in Iceland and recently some have claimed that it is becoming too commercial, rather than natural. Our opinion is that everyone who goes to Iceland should visit the Blue Lagoon! The Lagoon is filled with geothermal water that originates 2,000 thousand meters below the surface where seawater and freshwater combine at extreme temperatures. It was created in 1976 when operations started in a nearby power plant and drilled holes down the surface. The geothermal water has a unique composition featuring silica, algae and minerals and its blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. The temperature is generally between 98 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
During your visit you can get a facial mask, a massage inside the water (which is amazing), get a drink or just spend hours relaxing in that beautiful warm blue water. We went in March when it was still cold, so the combination of the cold air and hot water was divine!