Tag: destination review

Trip Recommendations for Savannah, Georgia (in the winter)

Trip Recommendations for Savannah, Georgia (in the winter)

R and I spent six weeks living, working and playing in Savannah, Georgia, in January and February. It really was a dream. Here are our trip recommendations for Savannah if you will be traveling there during the winter season: Trees, squares, architecture and food Savannah, 

President’s Day weekend in Charleston, South Carolina

President’s Day weekend in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, one of the best cities in the south brimming with American history, charming boutiques, and tasty restaurants. President’s Day Weekend in Charleston is a terrific time of the year to visit. Background I have been fortunate enough to spend President’s Day Weekend in 

Recommendations for a Microtrip to St. Augustine, Florida

Recommendations for a Microtrip to St. Augustine, Florida

Weekend getaways and microtrips are a great way to do more exploring. We recently enjoyed a quick weekend getaway to the compact and historic city of St. Augustine, Florida. Below are our recommendations from that trip.

Spending six weeks living and working remotely in Savannah, Georgia, as a digital nomad is nice for a lot of reasons. One reason is the possibility of fun weekend getaways and microtrips. So one Friday after work, we packed up and hit the road heading south. Our destination: St. Augustine, Florida.

Recommendations for a microtrip to St. Augustine includes the beautiful Flaglar College.

The plan was to spend two days exploring this historic U.S. city. In reality, we only needed one day. This town is compact and easy to see. We stayed at a cheap hotel that I would not recommend. Luckily, there are plenty of accommodation options, so pick something that suits your style.

Something to note: We did not visit the beaches, which is a main attraction for some folks. We visited in January and although we had fantastic weather, it was not swim-in-the-ocean weather. We were, however, within the window for holiday lights, which we very much enjoyed. Honestly, no matter what time of year you visit, you will have a good time.

The holiday lights from a boat tour, a great recommendation for a microtrip to St. Augustine, Florida.

Our Recommendations for a Microtrip to St. Augustine, Florida

  • Head to Drake’s Bistro for breakfast. This place is located a bit north of the main tourist area, but it is a tasty and worthy breakfast spot.
  • Visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. You will learn a lot about the history of St. Augustine and things like tabby and coquina–that is what the fort is made of. Catch the cannon firing if you can, which only happens on the weekends. Pro tip from a friendly volunteer: sit on a bench directly across from the cannon. You can relax while watching stuff explode and you do not have to fight the other tourists for a good view. 
  • Wander the cobblestone streets on foot or take the hop on/off trolley. Or do both.
  • Visit St. George Street. It will be full of people. But there is a lot of history and shopping and eating so it is worth a stroll. I can recommend shopping at the Red Pineapple.
  • Speaking of shopping, if you like maps and leather, stop by Dan Holiday Leather.
  • Cool off by eating a Hyppo’s fresh fruit popsicle. There are SO many flavors and it is a perfect treat on a hot day.
  • Enjoy a Peace Pie (a.k.a. ice cream sandwich). They are a little different than what you might be expecting. But they too are a nice treat on a hot day.
  • Burrito Works Taco Shop has good tacos if you are feeling Mexican food. You can also get a good Cuban sandwich in St. Augustine because, well, Florida.
  • Stroll around Flagler College. If you want to tour the college, get your tickets early. They will most likely sell out. If you do not get tickets in time, there is still plenty to see in the courtyard and main entrance. In fact, the WC is even worth a look.
  • If you are there around the holidays, book a holiday lights boat tour. We got a Groupon for Red Boat Tours and it was the perfect way to end our time in St. Augustine.
Cannon fire demonstration at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.


St. Augustine, Florida, is a compact, historic city with a Spanish vibe. This city makes a perfect weekend getaway or microtrip. If you visit, check out some of our recommendations and let us know what you think.

5 Montenegro Must-Sees

5 Montenegro Must-Sees

On a recent visit to the Balkan Peninsula, B and I found ourselves spending one full day in beautiful Montenegro. This country is blessed with sweeping mountains, azure seasides and historic medieval towns. It is simply wonderful. Here are the five Montenegro must-sees that we 

5 places in DC to visit away from the Mall

5 places in DC to visit away from the Mall

Washington DC has a lot of great attractions and makes a great girls’ weekend getaway or microtrip. I have visited several times over the last few years and have never run out things to see and do. However, during my last trip to DC, I 

Thirteen Day Itinerary in Bali, Indonesia

Thirteen Day Itinerary in Bali, Indonesia

A trip to Bali was just the birthday present S needed to celebrate her big day. Luckily, she invited B and me along to Indonesia and together we explored Bali and threw in a little Java for good measure. This post will discuss our 13-day Bali Itinerary.

Bali Itinerary Day 1: Arrival in Denpasar Airport

When we exited the plane after a series of looong flights, we were warmly welcomed to the island of Bali in Indonesia. I say warmly, but I should really say swelteringly, because Bali is H-O-T. We would spend the next 13 days red faced and covered in sweat.

We were most excited to visit the town of Ubud, and so had arranged with our hotel to have a driver pick us up at the Denpasar airport and drive us straight to Ubud. These towns are not far away, less than 25 miles, but it took us over an hour to make the drive. I had envisioned Ubud to be an isolated mountain town, but it turns out you just kind of drive through a long stretch of cities until you arrive. Kind of like driving South on I-15 of the Wasatch Front in Utah. Anyway, we arrived at the Kori Bali Inn and were pretty beat.  After a cursory walk through of the town and a few markets, we crashed for the evening.

Bali Itinerary Day 2: Monkey Forest and Legong Dance

The next morning, we awoke bright and early and were treated to what we would lovingly name ‘Bali Pancakes.’ Read this post to learn how to make your own! It’s always a good idea to get moving when you are feeling jet lagged, so we spent our first real day in Ubud wandering through the jungle of the Mandala Suci Wenara Wana…aka Monkey Forest. The forest is actually a lovely nature reserve and Hindu temple complex. It is technically in another town, but we walked there from our hotel in Ubud.

Our stroll through the Monkey Forest was quite nice; it was lush and green and the shade from the trees felt heavenly. The monkeys, Balinese Macaques, weren’t so lovely. Many tourists visit Monkey Forest and many of them feed the monkeys so they (understandably) assume we all have food for them. We were not into letting crawl all over us so we tried to keep a respectable distance from the non-human primates. We spent several hours visiting Monkey Forest but eventually made our way back to Ubud.

Monkey Forest, Bali
B bonding with the monkeys.

Baby monkeys playing in Monkey Forest. Awwwww…..

That evening we attended a Legong Dance performance. This dancing style is quite famous; the dancers wear elaborate costumes, head dresses, masks, etc. and tell stories with their facial expressions and movements. The legong dance was set to music played by a gamelan, which is a group of musicians who mainly play different drums. Maybe this music was soothing…but the three of us were lulled into almost falling asleep. However, this type of music and dance is such an important part of Balinese culture that no Bali itinerary would be complete without attending one.

Bali Itinerary Day 3: Spa and yoga day

Speaking of requisite Bali Itinerary experiences…a spa and yoga day is a must. We awoke early and joined a 7:30 a.m. Vinyasa class, taught by an exceedingly handsome Argentinian gaucho. I’m not sure whether the class or the teach did it, but we were well awake when we finished and headed over to our full day spa treatment.

Sure, lady, why wouldn’t you smear that stuff on me?

This spa treatment was so epic we discussed it in an entire post. Suffice it to say, Balinese are known for massages so when you are in Bali you should definitely get a massage. Heck, since the prices are so reasonable, get a few. Our spa treatment took most of our day. We spent the remainder of the day strolling through Ubud.

Bali Itinerary Day 4: Agung Batur hike, coffee plantation, rice terraces, fish eating feet

We had arranged for a sunrise hike of one of the main volcanoes on Bali, Agung Batur for day 4. The sunrise part of the hike didn’t turn out quite the way we planned (read about it here), but the rest of the tour was quite nice.

After the hike, we toured a coffee plantation where the coffee is famous for a bizarre reason. A mongoose eats the coffee beans, poops them out and then some unlucky person gets to collect the beans and grind them into coffee. Not sure who came up with this idea, but it is weird. The next stop was much more pleasant. We saw some of the beautiful tiered rice patty terraces. This island has so many vibrant colors, it is a feast for the eyes.

Bali Itinerary Day 5: Pura Taman Ayun temple, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan lake, Git Git waterfall

We arranged for the owner of our hotel to drive us to our next home base on our Bali itinerary: Lovina. We negotiated a rate with him, and he recommended several points of interest along the way where he would take us. (All for around $50.) The first stop was the Pura Taman Ayun temple. This temple was quite peaceful and not very crowded. We were able to stroll along and climb some of the wood towers and to get an aerial view of the gardens and buildings.

Stop number two was Pura Ulun Danau Bratan Lake. If you google images of Bali, you are sure to see a picture of this temple on the edge of a lake. I was pumped to see it IRL because I had been staring at it for months as my wallpaper on my work computer. Honestly, this place was a little strange. From a distance it was just what I expected, but up close there were weird carnival type rides and lots of Balinese tourists around. I’m guessing this is a hot spot for locals.

Lake Bratan, Bali
Lake Bratan being all beautiful

Stop number 3 was the Git Git waterfall. We picked up a local guide at the beginning of this hike and he guided us down the mile or so path. We were getting skeptical about what we were going to see, but then it opened up and two waterfalls met in one pool. It was beautiful!

Bali Itinerary Day 6: Chillaxing in Lovina

B had found a little info on a town not many tourists go to on the north of the island. We decided to stay there for a few days and boy are we glad we did! A mid-vacation respite is always nice on a long vacation, and Lovina was it for us. Our first day there we spent several hours reading and swimming in the small hotel pool while a staff member climbed trees with a machete and cut us down some coconuts to drink. For real, that happened.

Sipping a drink by the beach in Bali
Chilling by the beach after chilling by the pool. A must on the Bali Itinerary.

After gathering strength, we made our way to the beach and proceeded to stay there for the rest of the day, ordering food and having it brought to our beach chairs. What a glorious day to include on your Bali Itinerary!

Bali Itinerary Day 7: Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery, Banjar Hot Springs

The next day on our we arranged for a ride to take us to the Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery, the reason B had found this lovely area. This is a legit Monastery and we saw several Buddhist monks on our tour. Many of the buildings have signs asking for ‘Nobel Silence,’ so visiting this temple was quite tranquil.

Our next stop was the Banjar Hot Springs. We had seen pictures of this place and wanted to test out the waters for ourselves. Banjar is a natural hot spring with several pools. But the coolest part is the fountain where water shots out of dragon’s heads. The water has a high sulfur content, so be careful if you have a lighter colored swimsuit.

Bali Itinerary Day 8: Tulamben

S wanted to go scuba diving on her birthday so she decided we would travel down to Tulamben to see the wreckage of the U.S.S. Liberty. We arranged for a driver to take us to the tiny town of Tulamben, which is really just a few houses, a hotel, and a store or two. Tulamben is several hours away from Lovina, so the drive was the main event for day 8 of our Bali itinerary. We arrived around 4:00 p.m. in Tulamben which was nice, because there wasn’t much to see or do. We opted for some more massages and called it a day.

Bali Itinerary Day 9: Diving and Sanur

The Liberty wreck is the main event in these parts. So bright and early, S and B suited up and headed into the water. Since I prefer to snorkel, I stayed near the shore but could still see the wreckage when I dove down from the surface. This is one of the most popular dive spots in Bali and many divers make the trek to this sleepy town. S and B were glad that they chose this spot to dive because the wreckage was so unique. It definitely wasn’t the clearest water I’ve snorkeled in. If that floats your boat, you might want to pick a different location. Since we were only in Tulamben to dive, we quickly got out of dodge once we were done. We hired a driver from the hotel to take us down to Sanur.

Scuba diving gear in Bali, Indonesia
Getting geared up for some scuba

Sanur is a relaxed town that happens to border some stunning beaches. There are a few towns in this area of Bali that are known for beaches (Sanur, Seminyak, Kuta), but we opted for Sanur. When we arrived, we took a lovely stroll along the beach and found a restaurant on the water to close out S’s b-day extravaganza.

Bali Itinerary Day 10: Java (two-day optional tour to Java on the Bali Itinerary)

When we landed on day 1 at the Denpasar airport, we walked on over to the tickets area and purchased round trip tickets to visit the neighboring island of Java. I really wanted to do this as there are some incredible temple complexes in the middle of the island. Hence on day 10 of our Bali itinerary, we made our way to the airport for a domestic flight to Yogyakarta, aka ‘Joge-ja.’ This flight is only a few hours long and was quite a contrast to most flights I’ve been on. For example, in the seat pocket was a laminated card with prayers asking for a safe flight from several different religions. The on-board announcements included a very serious warning about trafficking drugs in Indonesia, which is punishable by death. Yikes!

We had arranged for a driver to pick us up and drive us to Megalung, a smallish town that is the closest hub to Borobudur. We arrived in time to see all that we wanted to of this town and then walked to our small resort.

You are definitely in a rural area in these parts; we relied on our hotel to feed us that night and enjoyed the open air (read cloth roof, no walls) in the common area. As we walked through Megalung, we were definitely uncommon, being the only white people strolling down the street. Everyone was incredibly smiley and friendly and little kids blew us kisses. It’s amazing how a few miles can get you so far off the beaten tourist path.

Bali Itinerary Day 11: Borobudur, Yogya, Prambanan


The next morning, we had arranged for a ride to the the Borobudur complex. There is lodging right next to the temple and if you don’t mind paying a little more, this is a nice option. We arrived very early, around 4:30 a.m. The sunrise crowd wasn’t very big, probably because of the early hour. We had flashlights with us and were able to explore the large temple on our own. At sunrise, we all gathered on the east-facing side of the temple and watched as it got lighter. Unfortunately, mist rolled in and we didn’t see the sharp sunrise between two volcanoes, but it was still beautiful lighting.

Sunrise at Borobudur.
Sunrise at Borobudur.

This temple is pretty incredible, and I’ve been to a fair few temples. It was built around 800 AD and is the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world. There are over 500 Buddha statues carved out of stone and 1,500 carved relief walls depicting different religious stories.

We finished up at Borobudur pretty early in the day and headed back to Yogya. We befriended a girl at the resort and she joined us as our driver brought us back to town.


We checked into our hotel in Yogya and set out to look around. At this point, we got caught in a common scam; a local takes you to a school where students do batik. We were loaded onto two tuk-tuks and driven through town. At one point, S and B’s tuk tuk rammed the van in front of it…probably one of the funniest things I saw on the trip. Anyway, we did go to the store and bought some batiks and even though it was a scam, we were still happy paying what we did for the batik and experience.

Riding in tuk tuk in Java
Riding a tuk tuk. Before the wreck.


The second reason I dragged S and B to Java was to go to the Hindu temple built around the same time as Borobudur. Unlike Borobudur, which is one large temple, Prambanan has several very tall buildings that aren’t as wide around the base. I would estimate that of the 200 visitors at Prambanan, we were some of the 15 white people. As such, we were quite popular with the kids who all wanted to get their pictures taken with us.

teens in Java
S being famous for…not sure.

If you go to any of the religious sites in this area (or anywhere, really) you should most definitely be sensitive about dressing appropriately. Thus, in the 250 degree weather we were walking around with sarongs covering our legs. It’s important to be respectful when you can. After exploring the complex, we caught a bus (about $.30) back to where we were staying. We opted to go totally local for dinner and ended up paying less than $6 for the three of us. I don’t always recommend this, but we didn’t get sick so it turned out alright.

Bali Itinerary Day 12: Sultan’s Palace and back to Bali

Our morning began abruptly around 5:00 a.m. Unlike Bali, Java is mostly Muslim and if you spend time there you will hear the Call to Prayer at a mosque. It was the first time I’d experienced this and it was LOUD! In all fairness, we were right next to a mosque and on the second floor so the speaker was about 15 feet away from our room. Our adventure for the day was to explore the Sultan of Yogyakarta’s Palace. This was not super impressive (compared to the places we had seen the day before), but it was interesting. Most of the buildings just had ornate roofs and ceilings and were open walled. I seriously don’t know how people survive here without air conditioning, but that just goes to show how big of a wimp I am.

Speaking of air conditioning, we decided to hit up an indoor mall to enjoy some AC before we got a plane back to Bali. We also partook of McDonald’s and KFC. Lame, but when you have eaten rice and noodles for weeks, sometimes you just want a burger. Plus, it is always fun to go to Micky D’s and see what’s different on the menu. At the Yogya McDonald’s, you could choose fries or rice balls as your side.

We then caught a flight back to Bali and to bed.

Bali Itinerary Day 13: Kuta and fly home

Kuta has a pretty bad reputation for a dirty party town for tourists. If that’s your thing, then no offense, but we didn’t want to spend that much time there. It is very close to the airport though, and our flight was at noon. So we spent the morning experiencing the softer side of Kuta. We walked along the beach and watched as people learned to surf. The water is clear blue and the sand was light tan, so it was very striking. Maybe the trick to enjoying Kuta is to only be there early in the morning and leave before dark.

Logistical notes

We pre-booked all of our accommodations on this itinerary before we left the States. In cases where we knew we were going to need rides (to Ubud and Megalung) we contacted the hotel and requested a driver. In other cases, we simply asked for drivers at the hotels we were staying at. We didn’t ever take up one of the ubiquitous taxi rides, and used public transportation once in Yogya.  Because there were three of us and we weren’t on a super tight budget, we felt hiring personal drivers was worth the time we would save if we were to use other forms of transport. We also pre-booked our spa treatment and scuba diving, but purchased all the other tickets once we arrived at the destination or night before.


A thirteen-day Bali Itinerary included more than enough time to fit in everything we wanted to do and see, even with the two-day jaunt to Java. Because it is so far away, you’ll want to spend at least a week in these here parts. Ubud gets the most press and is famous because of that one book, but I actually preferred all of the other locations on this trip to it.

European Christmas [A Travelogue]

European Christmas [A Travelogue]

For 2017, we opted to try out a European Christmas instead of our usual celebrations. B and I joined together with four more people to take on The Continent during the holiday season. We’ve discussed the importance of keeping a travel journal, so we wanted 

Ten Reasons to visit Europe at Christmas

Ten Reasons to visit Europe at Christmas

As we might have mentioned once or twice, we spent Christmas this year in the Benelux region of Europe. Apparently, these countries are pretty small and close to each other geographically and culturally, so they get their own cute acronym. (BElgium, NEtherlands, LUXembourg.) We had 

Five Things To Do in Salt Lake City

Five Things To Do in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is not the most exotic location on the planet. However, there are plenty of fun things to do and see there. It is an especially good location to begin a trip out west. Due to its proximity to Idaho, it makes an excellent weekend getaway and we find ourselves there a couple times of year for various events (mostly concerts). Below are my five favorite things about Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City Recommendations

1. The State Room

I go to a lot of concerts. I hesitate to put a number on it because then I will realize how much money I am spending on concerts and I would rather not go there. So I will just leave it at “a lot.” When one goes to a lot of concerts, one spends a lot of time in concert venues. I have enjoyed large events at places like the Gorge and Red Rocks as well as events at hole-in-the-wall bars that hold 15 people. Each venue comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Of all of the concert venues I have been to, the State Room is my favorite. The only con, in my opinion, is that it is not located in my hometown. I would attend events there a lot more often if it was closer. The State Room is small and intimate and even during sold-out performances, there is room to move. You can choose to sit down or stand. Either way, you will have a great view. Sometimes R and I go to concerts in Salt Lake City instead of Boise simply because of the State Room is hosting. If you get a chance to see one of your favorite bands there, do not hesitate.

State Room concert in Salt Lake City, Band of Heathens
The latest concert at the State Room: Hayes Carll and the Band of Heathens.

2. Wasatch Range

The Wasatch Range, a mountain range that stretches north and south from the Idaho border to central Utah, is awfully pretty. It is also really close to Salt Lake City. Not only are you afforded gorgeous views just by looking up, but it could not be easier to go exploring in the mountains. A short drive from the city (sometimes less than 10 minutes) can find you winding through a canyon with gorgeous views of breathtaking scenery. Salt Lake City’s proximity to the mountains means easy access to skiing, hiking and camping. The people there really are spoiled with this range right in their backyard and it is wonderful perk for those of us visiting the city.

Fall colors, Wasatch Mountains
Fall drive through the Wasatch Mountains.

3. Bruges Waffles and Frites

I only recently discovered Bruges Waffles and Frites on a trip for work. A coworker had tried it out and raved about it so I figured I would give it a whirl. Excellent decision on my part. From their website, it appears they have several locations. However, I went to the teeny-tiny original location in downtown. There were three places to sit and barely enough room for two people to stand. Since I was the only customer “dining in,” the cramped space did not bother me. If you have a larger party, I suggest one of the other locations.

How was the food? It was better than fine. The menu is interesting and I had a hard time deciding what to order. I finally settled on some sort of hot dog, fries and a waffle for dessert. It was all tasty, but the dipping sauce for the fries and the waffle exceeded my expectations. I was an instant fan and I cannot wait to travel to Belgium to see how it compares. I also recommend you try it out for yourself ASAP.

4. Smith and Edwards

Okay, so this one is not exactly in Salt Lake City. It is about an hour drive north in a town called Ogden. If you are driving to or from Idaho, it is right on the way and well worth a stop. (Note: it is closed on Sundays so do not try then.) They sell just about everything at Smith and Edwards. I am serious. From clothes and tools to penny candy and kitchen gadgets, they have everything you need and several things you did not even realize you did needed. I have bought over-sized bags of Swedish Fish, kid-sized boots that fit me like a glove, garlic power and a clay pigeon launcher. Seriously. Everything.

About the only thing you cannot buy, as far as I can tell, is groceries. But there is a fast-food restaurant inside so it is not like you will go hungry. The people watching is also pretty good. I do have a couple of warnings however; be prepared to feel overwhelmed. There is a lot to see and a lot of people shopping, especially on Saturday. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed. Also, I recommend you set a spending and/or time limit. I always to seem to walk out an hour later and $100 dollars poorer. I guess that works for me, but you may want to set some stricter guidelines. I do not know of any other store like Smith and Edwards and I always enjoy the time spent meandering its vast and varied offerings.

Smith and Edwards sweatshirt
A random purchase from Smith and Edwards: navy blue hoodie.

5. Temple Square

After having visiting Salt Lake City numerous times, I rarely visit Temple Square anymore. The exception, however, is Christmas time. The hundreds of thousands of lights transform Temple Square into a winter wonderland, making it a delight to stroll around at night. It will be cold this time of year so you will want to bundle up first. And maybe grab some hot cocoa. Once fortified against the cold, you will be ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of Temple Square. It is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Salt Lake City Temple sunset fall
Waiting on night to fall so the lights will come on.


Salt Lake City is an excellent place to visit. It just so happens to be a good example of a place in our “backyard” that we can easily visit in a weekend. So we do so often. If you have never visited before or are looking for something new to try, give one of my top five recommendations a go. Then let me know what you think.

What to do in Boston Depending on Your Length of Stay

What to do in Boston Depending on Your Length of Stay

Recently, R and I spent a day in Boston, Massachusetts. Now one day may not sound like much, but even a short amount of time in Bean Town is better than no time at all and I am going to share with you some tips