What to do in: Cinque Terre



My number one recommendation of what to do in Cinque Terre is hiking the paths in between towns.  It is the absolutely best way to get all the iconic views of the towns.  Tips for hiking in between towns are here.

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Vernazza Tower

The small tower the hangs above the town of Vernazza is called Castello Doria.  At a low cost of 1.5 euros you can climb to the top for this once was watch tower.  The walk to the top takes you through the streets of Vernazza.  At the top of the tower you get a lovely panoramic view on the ocean, buildings and cliff side.

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As anyone should do while in Italy, try gelato!  You can find a couple places to eat gelato in each town along Cinque Terre.  My favorite has always been Alberto Galateria in the town of Corniglia!  A mom and pop gelato store with both traditional and non-traditional flavors.  My favorite that you can’t get at any other store but at Alberto’s is the basil, and yes I said BASIL!  The basil is super refreshing on a hot summer day, and especially after climbing all those stairs to get to Corniglia.  They even drizzle it with oil olive, which adds a delicious and unique experience.



Go Shopping

Cinque Terre is the perfect place to pick up your Italian souvenir to take home.  Being an artist myself I love to pick up handmade items to take back home.  In these towns you can find anything from watercolor paintings from artists painting in the streets themselves, to ceramic olive oil vessels, wine stoppers, and more.  I fell in love with photo prints in a store in Monterosso as well.  I love having these handmade goods to decorate my home.  It gives my daily reminders of the memories we have made.



Cinque Terre is a great places to not only get in some exercise through all the hiking but its also the perfect place to find some many peaceful areas to relax and enjoy the views.  My favorite memories here is grabbing and bottle of wine and at local wine shop.  Ask them to uncork it for you if you didn’t bring a corkscrew.  This trip we brought our own glasses but most places will give you plastic cups with the purchase of the bottle.

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Visit Local Cafes

A must do while in Cinque Terre or any of Italy is to sit down and enjoy a authentic cappuccino and croissant.   I am usually not one to love heavy bread items and with croissants in Europe you can’t go wrong.  So delicious! This cafe was right outside of our AirBnB, (click here for $40 off your first stay).  A perfect start to each day.



Another repeat stop of mine besides my favorite gelato shop is Bruschettae in Vernazza.  This little stop is a perfect lunch option after a sweaty morning of hiking.  Fresh ingredients and an option to go, which we always opted for along with the cold beer or wine to sit at the ocean side and enjoy.  I always end up with the traditional option, but they also offer 6-8 options of different bruschettas as well.


Make you own Charcuterie

Per recommendation from our host we stopped one evening to create our own Charcuterie board.  We stayed in Corgnilia and stopped a shop that sold cheese and meats, and made the best homemade pesto I have tasted.  We stayed in relaxing while enjoying some fresh bread, meats, cheese and pesto, washed down with some Cinque Terre local brews.

In the end Cinque Terre is the perfect place for some great eats, drinks, hikes and taking in some breath taking views.  Worth every penny.




Where to Eat and Drink in Doolin Ireland


As we sat down to plan out our trip to Ireland we knew we wanted to get a chance to see the sight everyone thinks of in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher.  We usually try our best to stay away, or not spend a lot of time at major tourist sights, so we were not sure how authentic of an experience we would get in Doolin.  Heading into Doolin, the closet town to the Cliffs of Moher we thought we would be staying in a large tourist trap.  But my goodness the food and drinks were sooo good.  I am not sure if this was Ireland’s version of a tourist area but we were definitely loving our meals and drinks around town.  Here are a few places that we recommend.

Fitzpatrick’s Bar

We ate a later dinner here after getting a sunset view of the Cliffs.  The bar offers a decent selection of food to choose from.  Anything from your classic Irish dishes to burgers, and ravioli.   My husband was craving a burger and it was delicious!  It came with slow cooked brisket, onion rings and monterey jack cheese.  I went for the steamed mussels in a white wine, garlic and shallot sauce and was equally pleased with my choice.  They were both a perfect choice after spending a rainy evening walking along the cliffs.  If I came with a seafood loving friend I would get the special that they were offering, a platter to share full from mussels, calamari, fish cakes and more!  One of our favorites part was reading the menu,  all locally sourced! And I mean very locally sourced, as they named people and locations that were literally up of the road from the restaurant!  Such as the beef came from Jack’s farm up the road, Henry brings the seafood in every morning from the docks, Susan’s provides the cheese.  How more authentic can you get?


Doolin beer

Doolin Beer is the local brewery that is actually housed in the pub above, Fitzpatrick’s!  Hotel Doolin knew the town was in need of a craft beer,  their idea was taken into action with the pub where they brew and serve the beers.  We favored the Dolliner Red.  At Fitzpackrick’s you can even try a three sample flight.


McGann’s Pub

This pub was suggested to us from a few locals.  I would suggest heading the McGann’s later at night.  It seems to get a decent crowd from tourist visiting from other towns, but the tour buses will eventually clear out and we be a more pleasant of an experience than earlier in the evening.  They have live music almost daily, and stay open until 12:30am.  Which many places in Doolin close down fairly early.


Gus O’Conner’s Pub

Gus O’conner’s Pub sits more towards the coastal side of Doolin.  This is probably the largest pub in Doolin, lots of lively music and dancing,  lots of space for seating and great Irish beer options.  As most pubs on the coast do they offered a great seafood selection with mussels, fish, chowder and more.  I had my fair share of chowder throughout the trip so opted for the Guinness Stew, this was the first time I saw it on a menu as well.  And I don’t regret it one bit.  The steak and potatoes were perfectly cooked, just the right tenderness and the steak was juicy and not a tad overcooked.  The stew had a creamy and rich flavor.  I have tried to replicate this dish at home many times and haven’t been able to quit get it right.   My husband ordered the steak sandwich, we kept on trading plates back and forth as we loved each dish.  We ordered some brews to stay and enjoy the music.  This was definitely one of my favorite evenings in Doolin.  You can’t get more of an Irish pub experience than this, especially with this delicious of food!


The Doolin Chocolate Shop

Doolin Chocolate Shop is a perfect stop to make before heading onto the Cliffs of Moher walk.  Not far from the shop starts the hike on the top of the cliffs to the visitor center.  The owner was so sweet giving us samples and directions to the walk.  We took fudge on our hike and it was the perfect mid hike snack to keep us going on the rain and wind.



I do not have any recommendations for restaurants serving breakfast or brunch.  We always enjoy our homemade breakfast at our B & B in Doolin.  We stayed at the Harbourview B and B in Doolin (Click here for $40 off your first stay with AirBnb).  It was enough to fill us up through lunch and came with an amazing Irish country side view.



Secrets to Best Eiffel Tower Experience

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Paris is never on the very top of my list of places I would go back to again and again, but when I find myself there I always do love the over looking views of Paris on the Eiffel Tower.  We have been there a couple of times, and each time we find ourselves on the Eiffel Tower at the most perfect time.  Here are my tips to having the perfect Eiffel Tower experience.


Buy tickets ahead of time

Purchasing your tickets ahead of time does cost more,  but we are only talking about 6 euros more than the regular ticket price.  Those 6 euros are more than worth it.  Some days the line can be outrageous to buy your tickets at the tower, possible 1-2 hours of waiting in line.  When you pass by the tourists waiting in the heat or cold you will be thankful.

Mark in you calendar when to buy tickets

If planning your trip far enough a head of time make sure you set a reminder of when to buy your tickets.  They go on sale three months out.  During tourist season these can go fast.  I would recommend setting a calendar reminder for your purchase.  If you are planning with less than three months to go, no big deal there still can be tickets available but it might not be on the time or day that works perfectly into your schedule.

Splurge for the top of the tower

There are two sets of tickets for purchase.  2nd floor lift tickets and tickets to the top.

Definitely go for the tickets to the top, this one gives you access to BOTH the 2nd floor and the top of the tower by lifts.  The 2nd floor it also accessible by stairs, so this is not really giving you the full tower experience.  For comparison the second floor stand at 377 feet which it tall! but the third floor is 905 feet from the ground! A BIG difference!  Even though I believe checking out the second floor is worth it, go to the top as well.  The second floor has restaurants, bars and more.  It seems like its own little town within itself.

2nd floor lift prices-

at the tower: 10 euros

pre sale: 16 euros

Tickets to the top prices-

at the tower: 19 euros

pre sale: 25 euros

Although there is a price difference it is definitely worth it to go to the top!

Pick your time slot

The most important secret for getting the best Eiffel Tower experience is going at the perfect time of day! Check the Paris time and date calendar (here) before picking out your time slot.  And go just before the city of Paris loses light.  About an hour before is perfect.  Seriously this is the best way to overlook Paris in the daylight and after you snap a few pictures and wander around the top you will get to see all the sparkling lights over the city at night.  And really its the best!  I will be honest I am not a fan of Paris, but I am a fan of this!  And you get the best of both worlds, daylight and nightlights.  It truly unbelievable.   Go! -and tell me about it! I would love to hear your experiences as well.

And look at these views!






What to do in Chamonix

What to do in Chamonix


If you have never been to Chamonix, drop what you are doing right now and book the next flight out.  If I could live in this charming alps town in France I would in a heart beat.  Hiking in the summer months, skiing in the winter and coming home to eat things cover in hot cheese, can you possibly ask for anything more in life??  Chamonix was a perfect break from our few days in the hustling and bustling city of Paris.  Although I would be perfectly happy sitting on a porch eating cheese, cured meats, and sipping wine while peacefully gazing at the mountains and glaciers there are some pretty great things to do Chamonix.

1. Take the cable car to Mont Blanc

Don’t leave Chamonix without at least taking the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi.  The cable car ride makes two stops on the the way up.  One at small jut out with a shop and lunch stop and one at the top of the mountain point which is the main attraction  This is incredible, Aiguille du Midi is actually the highest mountain top point you can get to with access from the cable car in the WORLD! You can’t get any higher in the world than right here, unless you are someone who treks up sides of mountains often.  How cool is that??  Try to plan this around the weather and go on a clear day.  They views are breath taking and worth all the money for your ticket.


2. Take a ride on the train

Take the famous little train to the top to get to the Montenvers building.  Make sure you get a window seat to see the sights over town on your way up and down.  From here you have a panoramic view of Mer de Glace Glacier, and many mountain peak views.


3. Hike down to the glacier

From the train stop from above you have the option to hike down to the Mer de Glace Glacier and even go inside the Ice Cave.  The ice cave is re-sculpted every year as the glacier is melting and moving.  The hike is only about 20 minutes and it is all downhill.  If not up for the hike there is a gondola that will take you closer to the entrance of the Ice Cave.  And remember a hike down to the Ice Cave means a hike up! Unless we you to use the gondola, which we did on the way back up!


4. Hike- long or short

Being near the Alps there are always great hiking options, both long and short hikes.  Just make sure the paths are clear of snow and ice unless you have the proper equipment with you.  I would suggest taking one of the ski lifts up and hiking down!


5. Visit the local bakeries

Every bakery we went into in Chamonix was absolutely delicious!  I still dream about waking up to the pastries that we enjoyed in Chamonix.  I usually am not one crazy about breads in the US but those European pastries and croissants…I could never get sick of them.

6. Eat fondue

One of my favorite memories in Chamonix is dipping cured meats into hot cheese, sipping on a glass of wine all while staring at the mountains surrounding us.  I could have stayed in that seat for as long as they would let me.


Some other things we saw people doing, but we did not get a chance to partake in were:

  • Rock Climbing in the local park
  • Small Casino
  • Chamonix Luge Alpine Coaster



Visiting Killarney Brewing Company

Killarney Brewing Company


We always love to find the best eats and drinks in the towns we travel to.  Before arriving I thought for sure that Ireland would mostly serve major Irish labels in their local bars.   After a little research we found out we were very wrong.  Most towns had at least one local brewery.  One of our favorite was in Killarney, Ireland named Killarney Brewing Company.

After a day driving around the Ring of Kerry (our itinerary here) we made it just before closing at Killarney Brewing Company.  The brewery offers tours, has a gift shop and occasionally has food available for purchase.  Due to laws when we went in March 2017 they are not able to directly sell you a pint or tasting.  As described to us upon entering you can still find a way to enjoy their brews.  One way would be purchasing a pint glass at the gift shop and they will fill it up with purchase.  The other way would be buying a tour pass which includes a sampler tasting at the end of the tour (this is what we chose to do).

In our travels we have been to multiple brewery, winery and distillery tours.  I will admit they start to get repetitive as you learn about the processes of making alcohol.  But we thoroughly enjoyed this tour.

We came in running late so the tour group had already gotten started on the included samples.  We had to wait until the end for ours.  The tour started out with a humorous video made by the staff explaining the history of the town and beer making in Ireland.  A short tour around the building we were back to get to taste their products.

As any local brewery does their taps rotate for seasonal flavors.  And as in most of Ireland they were not skimpy on their samples.  We got to try 8 between the two of us.

We sampled:

  • Scarlet Pimpernal IPA
  • Golden Spear Blonde
  • Devils Hells Lager
  • Casey Brothers: Extra Stout
  • Spailpin Saison
  • Rutting Red Ale
  • Christmas in Killarney
  • Brazen Banshee

The staff there was more than friendly, they gave us a map circling their favorite eats and drinks around the town before we headed out for dinner.  I would definitely come back to this brewery if I found myself back in Killarney and recommend that you go as well!





How to Pick the best AirBnb for your Trip


During our travels we tend to stay in a lot of AirBnB rentals.  This is not the only way we have booked stays, hostels, hotels, sleeper trains and more are all options for choosing a place to sleep at night.  But with AirBnb and another home rentals we have found some gems making our trip even more memorable, even staying on a boat in Paris!  The ease of having all of our places booked through the same site makes communication easier and we have always had an enjoyable experience.  While searching where to stay we always have had some things we consider each time.


Depending on what type of traveling we are doing we may be be arriving at a new destination differently each time.  Sometimes we may be in a rental car, our own car, using trains, buses or any other type of city transportation.

Thinking about this will help narrow down a good location to stay.  If arriving in:

A rental car/personal car:  If arriving in car make sure that the location has parking available.  If there is no on site parking try to find out if there are parking garages nearby, street parking or any other safe place to park your car over night.  Also think about how much luggage you have and how far of a walk you are willing to take on with said luggage.

Train/public transit:  Always check the location of the rental in comparison of what type for transportation you plan on using.  Look if you are able to reach the public transit within walking distance, or a short Uber drive (discount code).  Especially if needing to catch an early train or bus to your next destination, or coming in late at night.  The last thing you want to do is be wandering unknown streets in the middle of the night, or in bad weather.


Sleeping Arrangements

No matter the number of people staying at a location make sure you know how many beds and what the sleeping arrangements are.  We always scan the pictures counting the number of beds in the rental.  Often places list their maximum number of occupants, but they do not add up equally with sleeping spots.  One time I found a place that seemed to have labeled a few sleeping spots as the Lazy-Boy recliners.  Not my ideal sleeping arrangement after a long day of traveling.



Think about what type of trip you plan on going on.  If this one you plan on making your own breakfast, lunch or dinners?  Always check and see if there will be a cooking area available.  Especially if you are renting a shared space.  In Ireland we looked for places that had a breakfast available in the mornings, we knew some of the small towns may not have many options open during the off tourist season or early in the morning before day trips.  If planning to eat out a lot check Google maps that there are restaurants within walking distance.



This is something not on our priority list every trip.  But when planning a multiple week trip you often want some time to be able to wash a load of clothes to wear again.  We occasionally pick out a rental that has a washer and dryer when we have trips that either last multiple weeks and or that we plan on hiking and sweating a lot.  No fun putting sweaty clothes in your suitcase next to your clothes you still need to wear.  We don’t look for this in every rental but just certain locations and times.  And having a washer and dryer in your apartment makes it better than wasting a day of your vacation finding and waiting at a laundry mat all day.



Read the reviews before booking! Sometimes you may come across hosts that have cancelled on their guest a lot, stay away from those.  Reviews will also give you more insight on the city, rental and host.  Do keep in mind that some people are nit picky when it comes to writing a review behind a screen, but go with your gut on this one!

Remember rental living areas are not always the best and cheapest options.  We have stayed at many hotels, bed & breakfasts and coming up soon even a campervan! We still had an enjoyable experience in all of them.  Find what fits your trip and vibe the best.




Travel Gift’s for Under $25

As the holiday season approaches I wanted to take some time to round up some of gift ideas for your favorite travel enthusiast is your life.  Some of these items make great stocking stuffers and are on my list as well 😉  And the best part about these gifts are that they are all under $25!

Pack-able Water Bottles

Valpur Pack-able Water Bottles


Hydrapack Stash Collapsible Water Bottle


Packing cubes


Toiletries Containers 


Quick Dry towels (variety of sizes)

Turkish Towels: For the beach, baths, and blankets


Small Towels: For personal use


Cord bag