Posted in Generic Ones, Requires Travel

#251 Throw a coin in the Fontana di Trevi in Rome

I went to Italy with my roommate for thanksgiving vacation time during my college semester abroad. We stayed at a little hotel near the Roman Colosseum and went to many of the different sites to see in Rome. So, loved it there. I would go back in a heartbeat. My favorite food has always been Italian and was in heaven. I will say it was hard to get used to eating dinner so late, as their restaurants didn’t open til around 8pm. First time I tried and fell in love with Gelato and specialty coffees while there.

I can recall being surprised a few times of the sites in Rome. The Trevi Fountain, for instance was in small square. Of course it might have felt small as the fountain took up a lot of space and there were crowds sitting around the rest of it. Enjoying the view and sipping their coffees. The other sites amazed me by their size or just the fact that I was there seeing and touching things that have existed BC.

My roommate will have to verify this, but I think this was the first experience I had with a cappuccino. We had walked down a small alley and came upon the square. Was in awe of the huge fountain and got a cappuccino at one of the shops surrounding the square. And of course threw a coin over our shoulder into the fountain. Hoping the legend will come true and I will be back to Rome someday.

I think I will post more photos of this trip another time.

For more information and photos of the fountain, head over here to it’s wikipedia page

Photo below borrowed from wikipedia (who took it from a flicker album) to show you a bit more of the square.Have you been to the Fountain? Throw a coin in?

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Posted in Requires Travel

#875 See Stonehenge and Join the Druids

I didn’t join any druids at Stonehenge, but it definitely was a highlight to see in person.

I saw Stonehenge in 1998 when I was there for a college semester. Just so you know it is located in the middle of nowhere in England. It was really neat to see in person, just sad that we can no longer walk among the stones. I can’t recall who this is in the photo with me other than it was another girl that was also in the semester abroad program. Going to Stonehenge was one of the extra group trips that one could take during our time in England.

In May 2010, my mom, sister, and I did happen to walk in the druid garden area in Blarney National Park (located in Ireland). We walked along the garden path and stopped at different places that had plaques explaining a little about different druid monuments where they once did different druid stuff. One of the places was the Blarney Witch Stone. People would leave offerings on the stone for good luck and also so the witch wouldn’t get you if you stayed there after dark. My sister tried putting a coin in the stone, but it kept falling off. We weren’t sure what that was supposed to mean, did the witch want more money?

On the way to Killarney, we found one of Ireland’s stone circles. As you will see, at this one you can still walk around the stones. It is called the Dromberg Stone Circle and has been around for a very long time. It may not look as mysterious as Stonehenge’s large stacked stones, but it still is impressive with the way people formed them and used it for seasons and such (as far as we know).

Have you seen Stonehenge?

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events, Requires Travel, Sporty Chance/Heart Stopping Adventures

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany around 2002. I thought I’d write up a condensed list of some of stories/memories/experiences I had. I would LOVE to go to Oktoberfest again sometime, especially since I only was there one evening.

What I learned from my First Oktoberfest adventure in Germany:

  • Don’t wait until the day before to decide to go. You’ll only be able to get a room at a B & B outside of Munich in the middle of no-where.
  • Learned that Dachau is a little town outside of Munich, not just a concentration camp. Did you know that?
  • Don’t forget how you got to the B & B, you’ll need that information later
  • Learned they had carnival type rides there. Whoa, is that really a good idea?
  • Don’t be with people that decide to bring a little baby. They won’t let you in the tents/halls where there is beer, food, and fun music and dancing because of all the smoking that fills the air.
  • Beer and some food are available outside, and tables, but it looked more fun inside
  • If you are with people with a baby, you can sneak some free beersteins out, maybe. otherwise you have to buy them
  • Be careful handing your phone off to friends as a precaution to getting split up. Your dad might call to say hi and that friend will have a conversation with him, who has no idea who the person is. Luckily, I was nearby to grab the phone.
  • Do not lean against walls, ever! If you wonder why they are wet, just wait, you will see why lines to the guys bathrooms are so short.
  • You make all kinds of friends sitting at the long tables, sometimes you can understand each other and other times you just smile, laugh, and go along with what each of you are saying even though you have no clue.
  • Shepherding drunk friends back to the train station requires more than one sober person to help, depending on the group
  • You might think Dachau was small in the daylight and easy to navigate the roads, but at night the roads all become circles.
  • It’s spooky driving right past the remains of the concentration camp, especially when you realize that’s what it is and had never seen it. Don’t let your drunk friends convince you to stop to check it out. Don’t worry I didn’t let them.
  • Once you finally get on the road to the B & B in the middle of no-where, try not to get stuck with a train going through. The drunk friends in their wife beaters will try to speak to the occupants in another car for directions. Whether they understood the slurred English or attempts at German are unknown.
  • Make sure you can get into the B & B in the late evening. It took a while for someone to unlock the door
  • Make sure the couple with the baby have diapers. There are no places to buy some in Germany as everything is closed on Sundays.
  • Don’t forget a camera to take photos of all these antics, especially if you need proof when telling some one what they did
only photo I have, this is Dachu’s concentration camp ruins

Have you been to the Oktoberfest in Germany?  Or other big Oktoberfests? Crazy adventures to share? Been to Dachau?

Posted in Bon Appetite, Requires Travel

#1778 Enjoy the Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity

Apparently the original one is located in New York, and that’s the main one people said I had to go to. When I was looking around for “things to do” in Las Vegas, I came across a Serendipity there near Caesar’s. I had hoped to be able to go and enjoy a frozen hot chocolate. On the last day, a friend and I went walking around and got there for brunch. We walked up and gave our names to reservations. She took down my friend’s phone number and that became our pager when a table was ready for us. That was pretty neat. It allowed us to be able to walk through the stores at Caesars.

When we were seated, my friend decided to get one of their sandwiches. I went with a Banana Cream waffle. Both were quite large in size but very yummy.

Then we got the main treat. a Frozen Hot Chocolate. I assumed there was only one type, but they had a few different ones. Both of us decided on the Mint one. It tasted like liquid Andes chocolates. VERY YUMMY!!

Interesting enough they spell it as Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. And you can order to make and have some at home. Might just have to do that.

Have you been and had the frozen hot chocolate? Which Serendipity? 

 

 

Posted in Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

How cool, an Ice Bar in Vegas

I read about an ice bar experience in a Vegas hotel a few years back. I knew whenever I went, I was going to track it down and go check it out. Last year was my first time in Las Vegas and I can say I had a blast. A number of people in a group I was with was interested in going too. The Mandalay Bay was just down the street from our hotel, so on one of the days there, a few of us went to the Minus 5 bar.

There were a few different packages to getting into the bar. Most of us chose the basic one (this includes a parka, gloves, and 2 drinks). If you want more drinks, you can open a tab. We had to put our purses, shoes, and all electronics (they said it was because of the cold) in a locker. When we were all ready, we walked in. First thing I thought of was that it was small. That actually makes sense because everything was ice, the walls, benches, tables, light fixtures, bar, and drinking glasses.

We all got a drink and hung out around a table for a little bit. A photographer came in and we took a couple of photos. Then an alcove in the back corner was open, so we sat down and chatted. One of the guys was from Indiana and took off his parka for a bit, he said the temp was about average at home. Not so for the rest of us, being all from Northern California (oh, and one from Oregon).One of the guys started stacking our cups and another guy decided to knock his into the tower. This made them crash and break. The photographer was back making the rounds and saw this occur. She gave the guy the “look” he shook his head and pointed to others, which made us all point to each other and she caught that moment on camera. It completely summed up the experience. I couldn’t have had a more fun group in there for this memory.I don’t remember what we all talked about, but we laughed so much and I guessed looked like we were having so much fun, that other people came over and joined us for a little bit. We finally decided to leave to get ready for dinner. Chipped in for the photo package and marked this off the list.

Have you been to an ice bar? thoughts? Would you go more then once?

 

Posted in Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

Cocktails, New Orleans Special Edition

from the 111 cocktails (you must try) challenge

Read about this challenge and see the list here

Part of the fun of going to New Orleans is to sample their unique foods and drinks. I was able to check 4 drinks off my list and 2 bonus ones. These are all specialty cocktails known for the area and I couldn’t skip trying them

#30 Daiquiri
Ingredients: (from the list)light rum, lime juice, sugar (blended) / (how they made it) blended, different flavored mixes
Drank on: October 2015
Location: the first one was at Melba’s in New Orleans
Notes: you can get “to go” cups and walk around on the street with them. And someplaces have drive-thrus for them.

#38 Gin Fizz “Governor Huey P Long’s Favorite”
Ingredients: (from the list) gin, lemon juice, powdered sugar, water / (how they made it) gin, citrus, cream, egg whites, sugar, orange flower water, shaken until frothy and topped with club soda
Drank on: October 2015
Location: The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans
Notes: (guide book mentioned this was the place to go for a gin fizz and it was very yummy, I had a sip or two from my friend’s drink, the sazerac is on the left, the bubbly in the middle, and the gin fizz on the right)

#49 Hurricane
Ingredients: light rum, dark rum, passionfruit, oj, lime, simple syrup, grenadine
Drank on: October 2015
Location: Pat O’Briens, New Orleans
Notes: (they are known for their hurricanes, and you can purchase their special mix) we drank these while in the piano bar room.

#111 Zombie
Ingredients: lemon juice, dark rum, orange juice, cherry brandy, light rum, grenadine
Drank on: October 2015
Location: one of the bars on Burbon Street, New Orleans
Notes: friend and I dressed as Zombies and I knew I had to have this drink as a zombie. The bartender had to look at the ingredient listed here but he was game to make it. I wasn’t sure how it would taste with all the stuff, but it’s dangerously yummy. This is a drink that will sneak up and smack you or make you into a drunken, dumb zombie.

Bonus:
Pimm’s Cup
Ingredients: British Gin based liquor & lemonade, splash of lemon-lime soda & garnished with a cucumber
Drank on: October 2015
Location: Napoleon House, New Orleans
Notes: (guide book said this was the place to go for it) Nice and refreshing drink

 

The Sazerac “The Official Cocktail of New Orleans”
Ingredients: rye whisky, bitters, sugar, and garnished with a lemon peel
Drank on: October 2015
Location: The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans
Notes: had to try while there

 

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Generic Ones, Requires Travel, Super Duper Easy

#529 – Eat a Hot Tamale

This could be for eating the candy ~ Hot tamales

 

or for eating the dish. By definition a tamale is “A Mexican dish of seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks”

tamaleI’ve enjoyed hot tamales wrapped in corn husks several times from the grocery store. In 2012, I was coming home from a trip and had a layover at an airport in El Salvador. While there I had my first experience of eating a tamale that had been wrapped in grape leaves. It didn’t taste all that different.

 

What are some different ways you have received and eaten a hot tamale?

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

#256 – Go Wine Tasting in Sonoma County, California

The first time went wine tasting in Sonoma County I think was in 2009. My family rented a house in the Russian River area for the weekend. This was a lot of fun because a number of them had been living in other parts of the country and so it was a big family gathering. While visiting, I went with one of my cousins and his girlfriend (at the time) to a few wineries.P1010199The only one I know is Hop Kiln because I got the name in a photo. There were two other places that were beautiful and had tasting rooms outside, but I’ve forgotten their names. Guess I’m just going to have to go back to match the photo to the place and re-taste the wine.P1010203What is neat about Hop Kiln is that the tasting room is in a California registered landmark.

This structure served the important hop industry of California’s north coast region, once the major hop-growing area in the west. Built in 1905 by a crew of Italian stonemasons, it represents the finest existing example of its type. The building consists of three stone kilns for drying hops and an attached wooden cooling barn with a two-story press for baling hops.

I definitely want to go back and explore more and taste more of the wineries. I would say that Sonoma, especially the Russian River area, is more pretty then Napa. But I would bet the prices for tastings are about the same.

Have you been to wineries in Sonoma, Russian River, or Napa? How was your experience?

Posted in Requires Travel

#998 – Become Familiar With The Façade of Notre Dame de Paris

Before my college semester abroad studies began, we had the opportunity to go to a few other countries. (year 1998) One of the stops was Paris, France. I got to see several “things to see” while there. One of them being Notre Dame.Notre Dame Paris 1Unfortunately while I was there, they were working on the front of the cathedral.Notre Dame Paris 2I was able to walk in and take in the magnificence and feel of it all. There are plenty of times, I’ve walked into these old churches and just let it soak in. There really if a different feel to them then newer churches. I tend not to take many photos because it is more about the moment at that time then pretty settings. At the same time, how can you not take a photo? The craftsmanship and grandeur is something one won’t see again, unless you live there and go to the church for service.Notre Dame Paris 3Super glad that I got to see Notre Dame in person, and hopefully I can make it back to see the restored front. Also, need to finish reading that Victor Hugo novel someday.

Do you feel that difference in old churches?

Posted in Requires Travel, Sporty Chance/Heart Stopping Adventures, State of Mind

#268 – Kiss the Blarney Stone

Can’t believe it’s been 6 years since my mom, sis, and I went on an adventure to Ireland. (year 2010) It had always been a dream of my mom to visit the land of her ancestors. All three of us were able to find time to get away together and go for about 2 weeks traveling all around the lower half of Ireland. Seeing as much of the different sites as we could cram in. One of our stops was visiting the city of Cork and the Blarney Stone.

I hadn’t realized that the Blarney Stone was located in a tower in a park. We were very fortunate to have a gps device that helped us find it on the outskirts of Cork. It was very beautiful. We walked up to the tower and found out that there lots of steps in a narrow staircase to get to the top. My mom wasn’t sure if she wanted to go up, but we convinced her to give it a try.Ireland Blarney Stone 4Then it was a walk along the wall to the other side to get to the stone. That’s when I learned another thing about the stone. In order to kiss it, one had to get on their back, lean over an empty space that had no safety net, and lean backward to kiss the stone. There were hand rails to hold onto and a guy that helped hold onto you and that was all for stopping one from falling through the hole.Ireland Blarney Stone 5But, we were there and it was a “bucket list thing to do” so I gathered up my courage and got a good hold on those rails. I scooted further and further until only my legs were on the walkway and had to lean further backward than I thought to kiss it. I touched my lips to the stone very lightly and quickly so I can get back upright and away from the empty space as soon as possible.

Ireland Blarney Stone 6
me
my sis
my sis

It was scary, but fun. I don’t know if i received the gift of gab that the legend says you’d get for kissing the stone. But I have become more outspoken and do try to talk to people I don’t really know, so maybe it worked.

Ireland Blarney Stone 3If you’ve kissed the Blarney Stone, what was your experience? And have you become more chatty?

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

#820 – Drink the Milk From a Coconut With a Straw

My sister is currently living in Hawaii so it is a tad more than just visiting her when I go. It’s very much a vacation in paradise. There are tons of “bucket” list adventures to cross off when on a tropical island. This was one from the book.

I had visited my sister in 2011 as a birthday vacation. We did quite a few items, like my first time stand-up paddling. While we were out on the beach, one of her co-workers went and chopped down a few coconuts from trees nearby. Then they cut into the coconuts so I could drink from it. (I had mentioned this being a checklist item to my sister, so she asked him to get them as a birthday treat).coconut 2 There were no straws, but you can’t beat having it fresh right? After we drank the juice (which was more like water then milk), they cut more of the coconut (which took a lot more chopping than I would have thought) and we dug out the meat. I’m not a fan of coconut, but it was fun to eat it still in the shell and so fresh.coconut 1Maybe, I’ll go buy one at the store (or better yet, have another opportunity in Hawaii like this) and use a straw. In the meantime, I’m counting this as mission accomplished.

Have you had any coconut related experiences?

Posted in Generic Ones, Requires Travel, Super Duper Easy

#502 – Chase Rainbows

Who hasn’t tried chasing rainbows and see if they can catch that leprechaun at the end?

This item reminded me of when my sister and I went chasing after a rainbow while we were in Ireland. We saw a double rainbow looking out our window. What was neat was that it was very bright and could see a reflection touching the ground. By the time we grabbed our cameras, it was starting to fade away. Got a couple of photos from the window and then rushed down to try to get better ones outside. Unfortunately by the time we got to a decent spot, it had fade too much. But it was fun chasing. Made me feel like a kid again.29988_394940891151_6006578_n I also wanted to post a photo of a double rainbow here in my hometown. While I was driving. (yes, I know I was taking a stupid chance). But whenever I do see a rainbow while driving, I am tempted to go toward it and find that end of the rainbow.RainbowWhen is the last time you’ve chased a rainbow?

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

DDD: Twisted Root Burger Co.

Do you know the show on Food Network, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (DDD)?

600x600bb-85With roadside diners, vintage drive-ins and out-of-the-way “dives” enjoying a resurgence of hipness among foodies, host Guy Fieri travels across America in search of some of the best “greasy spoon” eateries. The restaurants that Guy visits are usually well-known among locals and other people in the region. While at each location, Fieri talks to the staff as well as the customers to get their thoughts on the food. Many episodes feature eateries that are connected by a common thread, such as burgers or comfort foods.

I’ve started taking a look at places in my hometown and when I travel to that has been featured on this show. It would be fun to go to these locations and check them out.

My first official check at one of these places came about accidentally.  While visiting my friend in Dallas, Texas we tried looking up places on DDD and found a few bbq/steakhouses and mexican places. These just weren’t grabbing our attention to try.

The last day I was there, we did an online scavenger hunt in Deep Elm. It is an area of town getting revitalized with artwork and new restaurants.  We were having fun hunting and learning about some of the spots and artwork but then my friend’s phone died. (that app uses up a lot of battery life). We headed back to the car, and across the way was this place, Twisted Root Burger Co. On one of the windows, it advertised twisted root beer floats. We figured that meant an adult (alcohol) root beer. so we go in to get a treat before I headed to the airport.

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It’s one of those fun, funky places. I got an adult milkshake of Creme De Menthe & Chocolate chips. My friend got the root beer float. It didn’t have alcohol, but it did have caffeine.  We split an order of fried pickles.  Their burgers and other foods sounded good. Instead of order numbers, they gave out celebrity or fictional names to call out. It was funny hearing them for people to pick up the food.

I saw next to the counter was a poster of Guy and asked if this was a place that he visited on DDD. They said, yup. So, to start marking off locations, I took a photo with the poster.

img_2256

Checked off, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: 1 out of over 800

Have you been to a DDD location based off seeing it on that show? Have you met Guy Fieri?

This location was featured on Season 6 – Episode 4 TRIPLE D

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Requires Travel

Check List for Diners, Drive-In, and Dives

600x600bb-85With roadside diners, vintage drive-ins and out-of-the-way “dives” enjoying a resurgence of hipness among foodies, host Guy Fieri travels across America in search of some of the best “greasy spoon” eateries. The restaurants that Guy visits are usually well-known among locals and other people in the region. While at each location, Fieri talks to the staff as well as the customers to get their thoughts on the food. Many episodes feature eateries that are connected by a common thread, such as burgers or comfort foods.

I’ve started taking a look at places in my hometown and when I travel to that has been featured on this show. It would be fun to go to these locations and check them out. And to mark them off, I have to make sure to get a photo of the poster or something showing the place was featured on the show.

Checked off, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: 1 out of over 800

Have you been to a DDD location based off seeing it on that show? Have you met Guy Fieri?

Posted in On This Day, Requires Travel, State of Mind

On This Day: JFK Died

53 years ago (November 22, 1963) President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Standing next to that spot just 3 days ago, pondering the civil rights and other changes he was able to get done was an amazing experience. Wish he had the chance to do more. I had thought we came a long way from those days and I would often tell my mom I couldn’t imagine how it was, sadly I think I that although laws have changed, people still have bitter attitudes.

I did not know the Sixth Floor Museum was the building where the shooter took aim at Kennedy. It was interesting to relearn and discover new info on his presidency and that fateful Dallas trip.

He had so many great speeches and quotes, I like this one a lot right now: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – JFK