After some recent Instagram stalking — and I won’t name names as to who exactly I may have been stalking in order to keep me from reaching full-on creeper status — I’ve decided that a trip to Bordeaux, France may need to move up on my never ending bucket list.
Besides the obvious connection between my interests and Bordeaux’s main beverage export (read: WINE), I stumbled across these photos:
Ummm, who’s with me?? Pictures courtesy of Pinterest (pleaset let us know if credit is due).
I may be lazy, but a bike ride through the old country roads of Bordeaux and a picnic among the vineyards sounds like an activity I’m willing to take on. Naturally, like all travel lovers do, I started researching additional summer holidays, as well as imagining exactly what I’d pack for a picnic in the fields of Bordeaux.
Happy Jetsetter day, little travelers!
Meet Charli and Ben of Wanderlusters, a traveling duo living the nomadic life since June 2010. Travel writers, photographers, and professional nomads, the Wanderlusters have become one of our favorite blogs to follow (and lust after). Make sure to check out their site, but first, read their Jetsetters interview here:
Favorite Place: Definitely Southern Costa Rica. Pura Vida Baby!
More importantly, favorite meal: Oh man, we’re big foodies, it’s going to be tough to choose! I think it is a tie between SIDART restaurant in Auckland and the tamales sold at the bus stations in Nicaragua. Totally contrasting experiences, but both very memorable.
The moment you caught the travel bug: Monday 7th August 2011, 9:25am
First experience traveling alone: Ben: I flew to Malaysia with a school friend when I was 15. His parents lived out there and we were visiting during the holidays. I remember everything about the trip so vividly. The food, the culture, everything was so intriguing.
Charli: I never really did the whole ‘mates trip abroad’. My first experience of solo travel was flying out to meet Ben in Las Vegas. I despise getting on an aeroplane so the experience was pretty traumatic!
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: On two occasions we have come face to face with an aggressive species of shark. One while snorkelling in Western Australia and the other while scuba diving in Costa Rica. Fortunately we don’t pull off the shark bait look very well so lived to tell the tale on both occasions!
Worst hotel/hostel experience: We tend to avoid hotels and hostels, instead using house sitting assignments and home stays. We did stay in a rather questionable hotel in Munich. We arrived in the city rather late and had no reservations. Snow was falling and we were starting to lose the will to live so we just chose a hotel at random. Such an error.
Best hotel/hostel experience: The best would have to be Palms Place in Las Vegas. We visited in 2008 when hotels were literally giving away nights for free and landed a penthouse apartment with insane views over the strip.
Favorite family vacation: Disneyland, could we really choose anything other than a trip to the Magic Kingdom??
Must-have packing item: Toothpaste
Most unbelievable travel experience: It’s going to have to be the distances we covered while road tripping around Australia. We bought ourselves a very vintage Winnebago and almost circumnavigated the country.
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Landing in Hawaii, it was one of the first destinations that found its way onto our bucket list.
Place you can’t wait to return to: Ojochal, Costa Rica
Place you can’t be paid to return to: Home
Any exciting trips coming up?: Well we’re permanently nomadic so life is one giant trip at the moment! We’re here in New Zealand for another six months and then who knows. We’d love to explore some of the island chains out here. Fiji, The Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea are top of the list.
Dream vacation: At the moment we’re lusting after a visit to Greenland. Diving in the glacial waters and exploring the remote wilderness sounds pretty awesome to us!
Favorite tourist attraction: The series of ‘Big Things’ that litter the highways of Australia. Throughout our road trip we came across the most bizarre sculptures of objects the local area had become famous for. From giant lobsters and birds, to wellington boots and pineapples. Those Aussies are pretty creative when it comes to trapping tourists!!
Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: We gave into temptation and bought cowboys hats while road tripping across the west coast of the USA. Always a sucker for native clothing and apparel. When in Rome…
Favorite travel photo Oh that’s a tough one. We’re going to go with this one of Ben and the shark.
We were surfacing from a shark feeding dive out in the Coral Sea and I spotted this giant looming behind him. As I tried to communicate the close proximity of the man eater and capture a photo I failed miserably at both.
One of half of the Wanderlusters, Ben, swimming with the sharks.
And for good measure, a photo of the duo:
And hey- if you want to be our next jetsetter, you know how to reach us!
the romantic & the wino
Happy #traveltuesday! This week’s No Travel Required is extra special because in two days we’re reuniting after three and a half months of traveling and living on different continents. You may not see how that is related to No Travel Required, and maybe it isn’t, but we just wanted to remind you.
ANYWAY. On to some of our favorite travel content from around the web this week:
Can you tell all the bosses of all the businesses in Manhattan this, please? Thanks. Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Leaving Work at 5:00
This is the most true thing ever and we get to do it every. stupid. freaking. year. What It’s Like Apartment Hunting in NYC
Well, you don’t have to tell us twice. Why You Should Eat in Tanzania, Get Drunk in Mallorca and Sip Tea in Kerala
the romantic & the wino
When you only have 36 hours in a city, it can be overwhelming. As soon as we arrived in Singapore, we were faced with many important questions. Mainly: where do we go, what do we do, and most importantly, what-oh-WHAT do we eat??
Because we successfully stuffed ourselves silly with dumplings in Chinatown on day one, by day two, we were ready to class things up a bit. Four Seasons Singapore to the rescue.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect of Singapore in general. The hubs’s school has a campus in the city which makes it a possible long-term destination for us in 2014, but even with our 36-hour stopover before heading onto Hanoi… I just hadn’t given it much thought? Even still, as soon as we walked into the Four Seasons Singapore, the lobby pulled every little part of what I had envisioned Singapore to be into place.
Though the many neighborhoods and enclaves of Singapore make this city-state an extremely culturally diverse destination, the heart of the city caters to high-end shoppers, affluent business travelers, and travelers seeking a luxury escape. Four Seasons perfectly encapsulates this, and the hotel’s location just off the famed shopping mecca of Orchard Boulevard means it’s a prime location for anyone looking to beat the heat when not winding through one of the nearby upscale shopping malls.
Because we had just escaped Australia’s plunging autumnal temperatures, we arrived in Singapore feeling very cocky. 40 C/103F? BAHA, we laugh in the face of sweat dripping down our backs! I mean, we did. But then we walked from the Bugis to our lunch at the Four Seasons and we wanted to die. So really, what I’m saying is: One-Ninety and chef Giovanni Speciale saved our lives.
We were invited to try out their Mezze Lunch, which is a daily menu option perfect for those looking to splurge on an experience but not completely break the bank. At only $48 SGD (about $38 USD), the buffet-style set-up–with the option to order an entree as well–means you can continue to fill up your plate with the chef’s most delicious menu options for as long as your stomach can take it. After sampling the risotto funghi, the beef tenderloin, an absurd amount of sushi, and (obviously) a few dips into the cheese board, I was literally about to burst.
Except, not really that much because there was also dessert:
Luckily, a walk around the hotel was in store for us after lunch, or else I probably (definitely) would have fallen asleep in what was left of my cheesecake. Should you find yourself staying in one of the 255 guest rooms & suites at the Four Seasons Singapore, note that there is an option to sequester yourself to the couples-only 11th floor, or swim in the adults-only pool (the family-friendly option is conveniently featured on a separate floor). Though I’m warming up to the idea of unruly children being allowed out in public, I always appreciate a hotel that gives adults the option to avoid them if desired.
Similarly? If you’re looking for Lucy/Ricky-type set-up, I loved these rooms the most:
Because seriously, how cute?
Though we may have missed a dip in the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands, dining at the FS Singapore gave us a little taste of the luxe life in Singapore… and, seriously, still dreaming of that cheesecake.
Though the Four Seasons Singapore invited the hubs and I to dine, all opinions are, as always, my own. I mean, did you see the dessert lay-out? Scroll back up… my opinions.
I am way lazier than I even realized.
When it comes to decision making, I’m known to choose the least responsible option, almost always. I think it’s in my blood, but more than likely (read: definitely), it’s a completely fixable personality flaw that I choose not to address. That being said, if there’s something important on the line, I can normally pull myself together and be a somewhat respectable human being and adult—as long as its only for a day or two.
When I was charged with the responsibility of representing The Lazy Travelers at TBEX, I was uncharacteristically motivated. I set up speed dating appointments, I bought my flight way in advance, and I even LOOKED AT THE SESSIONS THAT WERE BEING GIVEN AT THE CONFERENCE. Major win.
Flash to Friday night, when I first stepped foot in the #RWTBEX house, and I knew I was in trouble. Thirteen roommates, copious amounts of liquor, and at least seven beds in which to nap on at any given time. The chance of me making it across town to any TBEX activities grew slimmer by the minute (and exponentially slimmer with each glass of wine).
So, rather than TBEX-ing, I focused on the important stuff, comme ca:
Hanging with my roomies at the Flipkey house, pounds and pounds of poutine, & most importantly, enjoying beverages with my fellow #rwtbex-ers
In all serious, I’m appreciative of everything TBEX has to offer for young writers and travel lovers. It was an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and explore a city that otherwise may not have been very high on my bucket list. More than anything, I got to spend time with friends that the romantic and I have made over the past two years; friends that share our love of drinking too much and eating food with too many carbs and more than anything, trekking to another country for 48 hours just to do all these together.
Did I eat too much poutine? For sure. Drink too much wine? At least that’s what GQTrippin thinks. Would I do it again? Hell yeah.
TGIF! Did you know that the next time we’ll exclaim “TGIF,” we’ll be exclaiming it together? In Budapest? Cha, we know. Exciting.
This week’s FriFotos theme is “waves,” which the romantic has been seeing a lot of on her current RTW. (Though not at the moment… the Adriatic is extremely calm.)
The best waves? These babies, hanging with the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road:
xo and enjoy your weekends, travelers!
the romantic & the wino
As soon as I set foot on European soil, be it Eastern or Western, my mind immediately shoots to all the places I could go. Everything is so close! So accessible! So many cities for me to conquer! Coastlines to explore! SO MUCH TO SEE!
But the worst part? There are so many places in Europe where I’ve already left my heart, and way, WAY too places I want to re-visit again and again and again. I’m currently making my way up unchartered Eastern European territory en route to the wino. I’m exploring new cobblestoned streets and falling in love with new people everyday… but all I can think is, “oh my guuhhh, it would be so easy to completely abandon ship and book a holiday in Greece right now.”
That is not healthy behavior. That is the sign of an addiction.
And I don’t even care.
Sigh. Someday I’ll be back, Greece.
Pre-RTW, my head exploded about a hundred different times trying to figure out our New Zealand itinerary. With only two weeks on each island, it felt like we were going to be cramming in far more than would be possible in just 30 days. After lots of hemming and excessive hawing, we decided to throw in the towel and rent a car on the North Island.
We did a lot of research, because renting a car can be pretty rough on your budget. Luckily, Go Rentals to the rescue. We were jonesing for a grand roadtrip adventure, and our two weeks on the North Island kicked off one month of epic road conquering without completely shattering our budget. (The budget shattering came later. I shake my poor and hungry fist at you, AUSTRALIA).
In a country that caters to slow travelers, I loved that Go Rentals rewards for good behavior (i.e. long-term rentals.) Seriously, they have a rate on their website right now that is $19/day? How is that real?
Paired with views like this, I’m actually not convinced it wasn’t all a dream:
If you’re wondering how to plan your own North Island road trip, I am pretty happy with how our itinerary finally—FINALLY!—came together. And definitely happy with how helpful and accommodating Go Rentals was from the second we began planning, all the way through our drop-off in Wellington.
This was our first stop post-Fiji, and as much as I loved our week of beachfront lounging, I was ready for a change. People seem on the fence when it comes to Auckland (tons of “it’s just another big city”-type reactions), but I thought it was charming. Two days was the right amount of time to get a feel for the city, but I loved the café culture and the acceptance of food courts as a respectable place to dine.
I do advise that you skip the Coast to Coast Walk and instead just head straight for Mount Eden. The walk had us ambling through suburbia for long stretches of time. The view from Mount Eden, however, is pictured above and totally worth it.
Russell, the Bay of Islands, & Cape Reinga
Paihia is the more popular spot in the Bay of Islands, but Russell has all the charm. It felt a bit like a sleepy New England town, and our apartment rental came with an enthusiastic Kiwi sailor and his Brooklyn-born wife. We were pretty much in love with the entire situation in a heartbeat, but things only got better when Rick & Robin took us on a cruise around the Bay of Islands on the Phantom. It was the perfect way to see the Islands, and definitely our favorite day while in Northland.
We spent our other day in Northland on a long, long drive up to Cape Reinga to see the lighthouse.
For most of the drive, we saw nothing but sheep. I’d dare say we saw more little lambs dotting the New Zealand countryside than in Ireland…
Then, on our way back, we stopped to spy on some dune boarders and try to figure out the hype behind 90 Mile Beach (which is not 90 miles). I think the weather may have had something to do with why we didn’t really get it… but I did approve of the giant sand dunes looming ahead of us:
In hindsight, I would have been happiest going a little bit earlier in the summer and just lounging on a sailboat in the Bay for a few days, but we definitely maximized our sightseeing while in Northland. Oh, and we met CanucKiwi Kate, who was lovely!
Oh, Roturua. You stinky, steamy cesspool. I kind of thought people were exaggerating. I mean, I went to college on Staten Island and have driven through Elizabeth, NJ more times than I can count! I know about stinky towns! Or so I thought.
Due to their hot springs, Rotorua smells like the entire town bought a fridge, filled it with hundreds of eggs, unplugged it about fifteen years ago, and have yet to clean it out. It was a long, long drive from Northland, but a necessary stop en route to Waitomo. Unfortunately, our hostel counts as the worst of our trip thus far, and it was all just one big blergh.
It was a humbling reminder that travel can’t always be daisy chains and hair braids (or beard braids, if you’re the hubs), so just try and take it from me when I say skip Rotorua.
EXCEPT IF YOU DON’T! Because then you can go Zorbing!
And thus the draw of Rotorua continues to confuse.
Stay tuned for more photos (like how pretty I looked post-Zorb), but spoiler alert? Zorbing is hysterical and you should do it.
Now, let’s pause.
This was somewhere between Rotorua and Waitomo:
I mean, perfect cows out in a field, just hanging? This is what the North Island of New Zealand is really about, and the ability to stop the car, pull over, and snap some moo cow pics is enough to convince me that traveling overland via car is really the only way to do things.
We had one mission while in Waitomo, and one mission alone: glowworms… but Waitomo was cute in its own right. We stayed in a little B&B near a golf course, and this was our peaceful view for the night:
Stay tuned for tales of glowworm hunting in Waitomo, but if you’re debating this mini-stop, I’d say do it. More to come on this, pinky promise.
Taupo is what Rotorua so longs to be. Quaint, clean, and odorless! AND with a big, beautiful lake right in the center:
Taupo and Rotorua seem to be competing to be the North Island’s adventure capitol, and after some research, we decided to go white water rafting with Rafting New Zealand in Taupo. Because I love you, here is a teaser photo of us in ridiculous rafting attire:
Napier & Hawke’s Bay
Entirely maxed out on adventure activities for the time being, we beelined it straight for Hawke’s Bay. Wine country time!
Aside from the obvious reasons, I feel in love with Napier for its art deco charm. The entire town was decimated by an earthquake in 1931, and they rebuilt it to fully reflect the style at the time:
If you want to get an idea of some of the vineyards we visited, peep my guest post over on Travel Destination Bucket List.
Napier also wins for, unexpectedly, having one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve seen:
Because we are dumbdumbs, we arrived in Martinborough right in time for Good Friday. We had only allotted one night in the region, but none of the vineyards were open… and neither were most of the restaurants. The town still charmed the pants off me (not literally, JEEZ), so all was not lost. But we will need to return to test out the wines, because no stone unturned and all that jazz.
If you read my hostel-hopping post, you already know that Wellington got a similar treatment to Martinborough. I really, honestly, did not realize that Easter was such a huge holiday in Australia and New Zealand. Lesson learned.
Two highlights? Cafe-hopping down Cuba Street and dinner at Chow. Holy GOD, Chow. The best. The most good. The tops. Our #1 meal until BangPop happened. Unfortunately, I was the worst at taking photos in Wellington because we just kind of moseyed around for a few days.
There’s no question that our jam-packed itinerary on the North Island was made all the more possible by renting a car. Yes, gas is an added expense, but the freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted made it worthwhile.
Be sure to check out Go Rentals, and keep in mind—you’ll save even more money if, unlike us, you pick up and return in the same city. One-way fees are a real biatch, but alas… was a preferred expense in favor of saving time so that we didn’t have to drive back up to Auckland. I definitely would recommend adjusting your itinerary to make this feasible, though.
P.S. Thanks to Go Rentals for hooking us up with a discounted media rate, but all opinions are my own. Their service was simple, straight-forward and even pre-discount, their rental rates were among some of the best we found in New Zealand.
Happy Jestetter day!
Say hello to Val of This Way to Paradise. It’s actually physically impossible to look at her site and not wish you were on a beach. We’re serious. Take a moment, click above, and try. Are you back? Did you succeed?
Didn’t think so.
Favorite Place: Gili Air off of the coast of Lombok! It’s the perfect island. Not too many tourists, but just enough to keep it interesting. Beautiful crystal clear waters, deserted beaches, chill out bar. A true Paradise.
More importantly, favorite meal: At a street food cart in Thailand. This guys made noodles with pork and crab. I landed in Bangkok at 10 pm, dumped my bags at the hostel and ate this around 11:30 at night. Best meal ever!
The moment you caught the travel bug: When I went to Europe when I was 23 years old. It was the first time I had traveled on my own, and I was hooked.
First experience traveling alone: The European trip. My grandmother had urged my sisters and I to go to Switzerland as that was where she was from. After she died, I knew I had to honor her wish. I went there and also to Italy and France.
Worst hotel/hostel experience: Well, the one about where the worker put his hands down my shirt. I have been pretty lucky otherwise.
Favorite family vacation: Hawaii! My dad was in the military, so we flew on a C-130. It was 4 days of flying and we only got to stay for 3 days, but I thought it was so worth it! I was 16. I wound up moving to Hawaii when I was 24 for about 3 years.
Must-have packing item: Camera and lavender essential oil for those stressful moments.
Most unbelievable travel experience: Swimming with manta rays in Raja Ampat, Papua.
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Going up in a hot air balloon in New Zealand.
Place you can’t wait to return to: Spain
Place you can’t be paid to return to: Sri Lanka
Any exciting trips coming up?: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Dream vacation: Malidives
Favorite tourist attraction:
Favorite travel photo:
We’re always looking for our next jetsetter! Drop us a line if you think that could be you.
the romantic & the wino
Don’t worry, guys, it’s good news. A weekly series will help us bring you the best of the best of the best! Before it was just the best of the best, and how helpful is that, really?
So, are you ready? Our first official #TravelTuesday NTR, at your service:
Hmmm… not sure we can get behind this. Though we do support drinking wine out of juice boxes while sitting outside the Met at night. Kind of the same thing? Is it legal to camp in Central Park? Yes, and it’s only a little creepy! (PHOTOS)
Born and bred Americans, and we hear you on these, Tom. Things That Confused Me About The USA
These photos! Only You, Positano. Only You.
Apparently Italy is on our mind, but we can’t even apologize. Italy: A Stay in Sorrento
Somehow, the romantic missed this while in Taupo. Rude. Luxury In Taupo, New Zealand
the romantic & the wino