India doesn’t come up very frequently on our list of travel-musts, but these pictures are making us seriously reevaluate our priorities! How to Spend 5 Days in Kerala, India
Our hearts are breaking over the rumors that Pan Am may be cancelled. What will Sunday nights be without the Captain Dean and Collette romance??? Pan Am Was My Higher Education
We thought Biodome was just a (seriously hysterical and underrated) Paulie Shore movie from the 90′s…but apparently it’s very real. Sphere Conquering
Because the Wino is in full Christmas swing… Crazy Christmas Lights in Colombia
A must for our next London trip, for sure. Want to try 300 Drinks from 5 Different Continents?
And more still…
the romantic & the wino
Today’s Jetsetter has an alter ego: though her real name is Lauren, her sassier side goes by Lola. A contributor to HuffPo Travel and TravelDudes.org (two of our favorite sources for No Travel Required), we also recommend checking out Lauren’s personal travel blog for more travel tips and quips: where in the world is lola? And with her list of upcoming trips, we’ll try to put our jealousy aside and keep up. Let us know next time you’re in NYC, Lola!
Favorite Place: St. Bart’s, French West Indies – it is tres chic just like Lola.
More importantly, favorite meal: A multiple course meal at the Chateau de la Chevre d’Or in Eze Village, French Riviera – it’s a Relais & Chateaux. Could you imagine anything more posh than a French meal in a medieval village overlooking the Mediterranean, c’mon?
The moment you caught the travel bug: Probably when I moved from Texas to New York City with a one-way ticket, no place to live and no firm job. It was one big adventure that made me confident I could go anywhere, do anything and enjoy it and succeed.
First experience traveling alone: In 8th grade I went on a class trip to Washington, DC. I wouldn’t say it was stellar by any stretch but I knew I could go off without family or close friends and would make new friends and learn a lot from the experience.
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: Some train travel overnight a couple of times seemed a bit suspect. Some random man picked a fight with my friend and me. We had to get the train conductor involved. That’s it. I can spot a gypsy anywhere. Maybe we have some aligned personality traits. Wanderer & opportunistic! People are far more kind than bad in my experience!
Worst hotel/hostel experience: I went traveling around Europe for a couple of months when I was 26. I definitely stayed in a few dodgy places. In particular, Venice and Cologne come to mind. Not a dangerous situation but just not to Lola’s standards. Can’t take the priss out of the pot!
Best hotel/hostel experience: To this day, my best hotel experience is Villa Gallici in Aix en Provence – another Relais & Chateaux. I am a huge fan of this brand – exquisite properties & exceptional staff. Villa Gallici is the reason I continue to stay with R&C. They made me feel like part of the family.
Favorite family vacation: Driving from Texas to Sante Fe/Taos, New Mexico, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Arizona & Four Corners. It was so much fun and so beautiful. The American West is incredible!
Must-have packing item: iphone – I need not explain, I am sure! Next to that would be lip balm or gloss. Hello…it IS me we are talking about!
Most unbelievable travel experience: It would have to be St. Bart’s. It is one OMG after another. Let’s just say it is beyond luxe and the beaches are stunning. Luxe+Beach=LOVE for Lola!
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Going to see the band ‘Live’ in Paris because I met one of the band member’s girlfriends on the English-speaking tour of the Louvre. They invited us backstage and to an after party – drinking champagne all the while. Things like this tend to happen to Lola.
Place you can’t wait to return to: Too many to pick one: Curacao, St. Bart’s, Capri, Greek Islands (notice a theme??? ISLANDS!!)
Place you can’t be paid to return to: I love to travel and if you paid me, I would be willing to go anywhere. What does that say about me? Maybe I’m a cheap date after all!
Any exciting trips coming up?: Vegas, Austin, Monaco & France, Hawaii, Miami twice at least, Caribbean (undetermined destinations at the moment), Los Angeles, New York City several times and I hope to attend some blogging conferences in 2012. I am up for other unplanned trips to meet up with twitter/blogger friends. (let me know if you’re cooking up some plans!). I’d put money on more Europe at some point too.
Dream vacation: This is a tough one to answer (so many great options!) but two things come to mind and they are both similar. Cruising around the Caribbean or the Greek Islands on a fancy boat and hopping off and enjoying the beaches and nightlife then scooting on to see the next one. This would be an extended vacation, of course. I’d like to be an expert in both regions – what can I say, I’m an island girl.
Favorite tourist attraction: Roman Forum has always been a favorite. I love Roman history and it is incredible to tread the same path the famous emperors of the past walked. The history feels very alive. There is always more to learn each time I visit.
Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: Loafing on a beach like a local in any beach destination I go. I love me some beach time. It’s Lola’s true love.
Favorite travel photo: Lola in Santorini, Greece this September.
the romantic & the wino
How do you not spend the rest of the day feeling super heebie-jeebie? I’m a mix of impressed and horrified by this traveler. In other news, we can add the “Siam Insect Zoo” to our list of places to avoid forever. My date with a baby scorpion at the Siam Insect Zoo
However, on our list of places to go asap, you will now find this: What’s for Dinner at…Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Oh, and in case you haven’t heard: American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy
But it’s ok! There are better ways to travel! Can this be our new year’s resolution?
the romantic & the wino
Now that I’m temporarily back in Bucks County, I’ve got Christmas on the brain. It’s been all wreaths and cookies and decorating here. Today, I made my way to Peddler’s Village, one of my Bucks County favs, to do some Christmas shopping and to check out the annual Gingerbread house display. This year, my favorites included Hagrid’s Hut and Old McGregor’s farm from Peter Rabbit!
D.C. or bust,
Just today someone in my office announced that Canada is on the up-and-up. They cited Ryan Gosling and Justin Bieber (which normally would have been enough for us), but now we’re even more inclined to agree: New Brunswick: In a Word: Enthralling
Well, we’re sold. Especially on the Maldives. Guest Post: 5 Great Stops on a RTW Trip
The picture alone had us drooling. 8 awesome Seattle food trucks
We’re especially fond of The Cloisters during autumn (aka the only time we’ve been there). Most Beautiful Museum Gardens Around The World (PHOTOS)
Can we assume we’ll see headlines like this all the way up through December 22nd of next year? Oh no! Another Mayan prediction of an apocalypse in 2012 is found
The caption on our photo of the day reads “Evening sunlight after rain in Berwick upon Tweed from my office window.” MUST BE NICE. (But also, check out all of the other photos on the link below, because it was a hard choice):
the romantic & the wino
So where were we? Everything in London was perfect and lovely and everything I ever wanted? Bingo. (Ok but like also, if anyone would like to hire me for pretty much anything, I will do it if it involves moving to London. Just putting that out there).
In other news, this post morphed into more of a photo essay of the second half of our trip, and I’m ok with that. I think they’ll explain my favorites from the last few days more than I can verbalize.
So! Without further ado:
Premium Tours: Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath
We originally hoped that driving here would be a possibility, but our concierge was pretty adamant that that was a horrible idea. With our hopes and dreams dashed, we reluctantly signed up for the dreaded bus tour. All in all, it ended up not being too bad–we had enough time to explore each stop on our own, our tour guide was quirky and knowledgeable, and each stop was definitely worth the day trip. There were also the usual downsides: the few stragglers that were never on time despite the tour guides very clear instructions, the girl that knew everything, the guy that thought he was just soo hilarious but was actually SUPER dumb. We had it all. Oh, and lunch was pretty gross (and the bathroom was carpeted which I am never ok with).
But it’s ok, because here’s our day in pictures:
I was in love with Muriel’s Kitchen from the second we walked in. I felt like I was in someone’s kitchen and that someone was either a quirky relative or hipster best friend. The decor was adorable, the breakfast was simple and delicious, and the staff was super cute and friendly.
I’m only leery to give this a HIT because it’s totally a chain. Like, it’s the British Olive Garden with better food (but not better bread, because let’s be honest). We went to the one in Covent Garden, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods, and I’m sure there are better restaurant options there… but I’m unapologetic. We were hungry and a little tired from our daytrip, it was yum, and if you have a night where you’re not aching for anything specific, it’s a good option.
I know this is a common theme for this trip, but so much of my favorite moments in London happened while we wandered aimlessly from neighborhood to neighborhood. Lazy, no? We’re used to walking everywhere as it is, and with such cooperative weather, it was the perfect way to experience London exactly the way we had hoped we would.
This brings me to the end of our amazing (and surprisingly relaxing) 10-day tour through Belgium, Amsterdam, and London, but never fear: I have one more post to share. Hint: it’s focused on one of the main ties between Amsterdam, Belgium, and London… and it’s hubs’s favorite thing to drink.
We couldn’t pick just one of these photos for our travel photo of the day, so we’re giving you all of them. 60 Breathtaking Fall Images
It’s no surprise to us that a few great New York City bars made the cut, but Seattle had an astounding number of venues on the list! The wino highly recommends #49, Footsie, in Paris. 100 Great Bars of the World
Not sure how we feel about this, but we have to trust the experts, right? Could a Paper Wine Bottle Design Really Work?
True story: both of us have rode camels through the desert at one point in our lives (though on separate continents.) Obsessed with this photo blog currently:
the romantic & the wino
Because our full 10-day itinerary stemmed from wanting to spend time in London, we were overly excited to have almost four full days. London was the perfect finale to our trip, and we’re already aching to get back and see even more of the city. Much like New York and Paris, there’s a reason people count it as one of the greatest cities in the world, and that means there’s more to see than you can ever fit in one (or two or three) trips. This also means that there’s way more than I can fit into one post, so you’re going to have to deal with two hits & misses posts. Oh also? I loved London so much that I don’t even have any misses. So instead, we’re switching it up: you’ll get two “hits & hmms” posts. I owe you some positivity after my cranky Brussels posts, right?
We’ve had our fair share of crappy train experiences in Europe, but Eurostar was lovely. The seats were comfy, the ride was quick, and the views through Belgium and France were gorgeous.
Regents Park and the Frieze Art Fair
Regents was seriously gorgeous, and I couldn’t believe it was a public park. The rose gardens made me feel like we weren’t even in a city, and parts of the park felt like the grounds of Versailles. Being there during the Frieze Art Fair was just an extra bit of luck, and made the park that much more of an experience to walk through.
Hush was a win before we even walked into the restaurant. Located on a tiny side street in Mayfair, we had trouble finding it at first–if you don’t know to look for it, you won’t realize there’s a cobblestone alley off of Brook Street. Along with Hush, Lancashire Court had tons of other cute little bars, shops, and restaurants, and if we’d had more time, we definitely would have gone back to explore. Appearance aside, Hush measured up food-wise as well… though I’m looking at the menu and I cannot remember what we ate. I do know they were out of the first two items I tried to order, which always makes my life awkward. But alas, that just means we’ll have to return.
Tea & Salmon Eggs Benedict for me, the full English Breakfast for hubs, and a seat by the window = heaven. The atmosphere was extremely lively for a Friday morning, and though I suspect most of the crowd involved business meetings (lots of suits floating around), it didn’t feel stuffy at all.
We found out after that the market is only open Thursday-Sunday, and I would actually recommend keeping this in mind if you’re planning a trip to London. This market was so cute, and it was the perfect pit stop during our walk along the Thames. Once we decided we had to have a pie from the Pieminister, we walked outside the market and found tons of locals & schoolchildren sitting around the lawn of Southwark Cathedral eating lunch. Perfection.
Tower of London
Hands down the most touristy thing we did, but this was my favorite part of my first trip to London and I wanted the hubs to experience it too. If you’re even mildly interested in this time in history it’s worth seeing. We decided not to join any of the tour groups and just slowly made our way around the tower (though the guides were all lively and in costume, so I’m not saying don’t find one and follow him everywhere).
High Tea at the Park Lane
Apparently our hotel is one of the top places in London to have high tea, so our lack of reservation was an issue. Instead, the room service option offered the same fare and we were free to not finish (or spit out in the hubs’s case) any of the little sandwiches that made us want to die. I swear we’re good at being classy in public, but it was nice to have the option to be completely goofy while doing something so fancy.
SO GOOD. Located directly next to Borough Market, the menu is all prepared with local ingredients–sometimes directly from the market. The restaurant was huge, and the atmosphere was just as enjoyable as Hush but without trying as hard. Hubs also made his first attempt at grouse, and was proud that he knew how to carve it because of our now-annual NYC Thanksgivings (you know, just on a much smaller scale than our most recent 20-pound turkey).
Park Lane Hotel
Neither a hit nor a miss, and here’s why: great location, great staff, in-room high tea complete with mini sandwiches and the ability to speak in a British accent without offending anyone around you. All of these things would normally make this an automatic hit in my book, and as a whole, we really loved our stay here. HOWEVER. Because of our Starwood Preferred Guest status, we were automatically upgraded to their best available room. Long story short, we had to move to a different room for the first night and be re-upgraded for the last two nights. Upgraded room: huge, bright, clean, gorgeous. Standard room: so tiny they could barely fit the bed, dimly lit, kinda gross bathroom. So lesson here? I’m not really sure, but it’s either that reward cards are seriously worth it OR skip the Park Lane unless you want to pay for a suite.
Up Next: hits & hmms part deux!
We’re busy stuffing our faces with our second Thanksgiving meal of the season, but we haven’t forgotten about you! Here’s some reading pleasure for your post-turkey tryptophan haze.
Is it weird that sometimes the wino wants to quit her job and work as a history re-enactment character? Kind of? Back to the Home of the First Feast
We were determined to make an African Safari our next big trip, but South America is becoming a serious contender. It’s a Jungle Out There: Wildlife in the Pantanal
Aaaand Cuba too. 7 Reasons Why La Havana is Magic
We never get tired of Paul’s photography! This also makes us seriously consider quitting our jobs and moving abroad. Common theme? Pembrokeshire- Hiking a Wonder of Wales
Aaand our Travel Photo of the Day:
To all our American readers, we hope you’re having a great holiday! To all our non-American readers, please do not judge us for the amount of carbohydrates we consume on this day.
the romantic & the wino
This past Saturday, we achieved the unimaginable. The Romantic and the Hubs hosted a Thanksgiving feast for 12 in their Upper East Side apartment. A full-on sit down meal complete with a 20lb turkey, stuffing, casseroles, mac and cheese, about four variations of potatoes, and a spread of desserts. Applaud here.
the romantic & the wino
photo credits: k of b&k