EUROPE, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

Barcelona: Part 2

The second half of our trip to my favorite European city, Barcelona, was even better than the first half (read about the first 2 days here). DAY 3: On the third day we headed straight to Tibidabo. It was quite far from our hotel, so it took a while to get there. We had to take the Metro, then a bus, and finally the Tibidabo Funicular. It’s far, but it was so worth visiting.   The Tibidabo Funicular, basically a rickety old train that take you up to Tibidabo   Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church on the summit. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views. They say that on a clear day you can see as far as the island of Ibiza from the Sky Walk (the area around the amusement park with views of the city), unfortunately for us, it was a rather foggy day.   View of Barcelona from the Sky Walk on a foggy day. Our hotel, the Hotel Arts, is one of the 2 really tall building right in the center of the picture. It’s the building on the left.   Tibidabo Amusement Park overlooking Barcelona   Tibidabo Amusement […]

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EUROPE, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

Barcelona : Part 1

Barcelona is my favorite city in all of Europe! If I had to move away from the US, I would probably end up there. The weather is fantastic, the people are nice, there’s a laid-back vibe, they drink wine with every meal and the food is incredible… What more could you ask for? Barcelona feels like home. I’m sure it helps that I speak fluent Spanish, but for me, this city is perfection. Last March we visited for the first time, spending 4-days there for our anniversary. There are direct flights from Miami to Barcelona so planning a quick trip to Spain is very doable.   On the way to Barcelona   Dinner on the flight DAY 1 We landed in Barcelona early in the morning, but since we had slept most of the 9-hour flight, we were ready to start sight seeing. We stopped by our hotel to drop off our bags and freshen up, then started walking around the nearby neighborhood. We visited the Catedral de Barcelona, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, the Arc de Triomf and Parc Ciutadella.   Inside Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar   Inside Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar   Catedral de Barcelona   Roaming […]

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HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING, SOUTH AMERICA

Machu Picchu

When planning our New Years trip for 2015, my hubby and I decided to avoid the snow and head to the Southern Hemisphere. Our South America adventure included Ecuador (Quito and the Galapagos Islands) and Peru (Lima and the Cusco region). The main reason we decided on South America was that we had been dreaming of visiting Machu Picchu! After a couple of days in Lima, we caught a super short flight to Cusco. Our driver, sent by the hotel’s travel concierge, offered to drive us around Cusco a bit so that we could see the city quickly and we happily agreed. If you plan to visit Cusco, don’t be surprised if you don’t feel well for a little while, or even a few days. Acclimating takes some time, as it is situated at more than 11,000 feet above sea level. After seeing the main areas of Cusco, we headed to our hotel in Urubamba. It’s a beautiful hour-long drive through the countryside. For this part of the trip we stayed at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba. Everything about this hotel was perfection. We felt like we were in a secluded spa retreat. This hotel is a great choice if you’re planning to visit Machu Picchu. It’s perfectly situated […]

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ASIA, SIGHTSEEING

Side Trip to Hiroshima & Miyajima

On our final day in Japan, we visited Hiroshima and Miyajima. You can visit these places rather quickly and fit them both into one day (since they’re in the same direction) if you’re well prepared. Efficiency is key for a successful side trip, especially for an extra long day like this one. Have your day mapped out, know what you want to see, and exactly how to get to it. You can’t waste much time. I also suggest speaking to the concierge at your hotel before. They can usually provide maps, train timetables and help you create an itinerary for that day. We got an early start on the day and caught the train for a 2-hour ride to Hiroshima. Everything we wanted to see was in the Peace Memorial Park so we took a taxi right from the train station to the park. First we stopped at the Atomic Bomb Dome (also known as the Genbaku Dome). This is the only building still standing after the detonation of the first ever atomic bomb used in a time of war. The detonation was almost directly overhead, which is why this building didn’t crumble. Vertical structures are the strongest, allowing this building to withstand the blast, even though everyone inside […]

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ASIA, SIGHTSEEING

Nara Deer Park

When planning our trip to Japan, I realized that there were several great cities near Kyoto that I also wanted to see. Packing up and switching hotels becomes really time consuming, so side trips are a great option when possible. My rule of thumb is: Can you get there in no more than 2-3 hours? (Remember that it’ll take that long to get back, so anything further than that is just too far.) Can you see that place in just 1 day? If you answered “yes” to both questions, then it definitely warrants a side trip. I love side trips, because it allows you to see the main sites in an additional place that you wouldn’t have visited otherwise. I’m a big proponent of seeing as much as you possibly can in a short time. I usually focus on the best of the best and leave the rest for another time. If you fall in love with a place, you can always plan a trip back in the future. In our case, there were 3 places that we wanted to see, and they met the criteria for a side trip: Nara, Hiroshima and Miyajima. (Hiroshima and Miyajima will be in […]

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ASIA, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

4 Days in Kyoto

Our Japanese adventure continued in Kyoto, also known as the city of ten thousand shrines. You haven’t truly experienced Japan until you have visited both Tokyo and Kyoto. Tokyo was modern and relatively new (it was completely rebuilt after being destroyed in WWII), yet Kyoto was much older and filled with history. With only 4 days in Kyoto, figuring out what to see and do was quite a task. Kyoto alone has over 1,600 Buddhist temples. There’s also several great places nearby that warrant side trips if you have the time. Here’s a quick video of our experience in Kyoto… [KGVID width=”800″ height=”451″]http://thetravelingred.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Watermarked-Kyoto-Video.mov[/KGVID]   DAY 1 After a great few days in Tokyo (read about it here: Tokyo) , we caught the bullet train towards our next stop. Two and a half hours later we were in the breathtaking city of Kyoto. We stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, which was absolutely beautiful and perfectly located. The only complaint I had was about the concierge. I always turn to the concierge to help fine tune the details, and although the team there couldn’t have been nicer, they were not nearly as knowledgeable about the city as they should have been. Other than that, this hotel was […]

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ASIA, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

When in Tokyo….

This summer I visited what I can best describe as the NYC of Asia. Bright lights, incredible fashion, restaurants on every corner and tons of people out at all hours of the day…. Tokyo is a super busy city with so much to see and do. Tokyo was the first stop of our trip to Japan and it surely didn’t disappoint. Being a huge city, this stop required some serious planning ahead. I only had 3 full days to see and do as much as possible. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and it was perfectly located, with incredible views from every window. Here are some pictures of our view from our room on the 46th floor. It was breathtaking morning, day and night! DAY 1 Due to jetlag we were up at 5 in the morning, and since most places don’t open until 9 or 10, there was no point in heading out so early. Instead we decided to check out the fitness center at our hotel and with a view like that I can workout forever! Then it was time for a quick breakfast at the hotel, followed by some sightseeing. First stop was Yoyogi Park, one of many lush gardens in […]

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ALL OVER THE WORLD

WELCOME TO THE TRAVELING RED

I am a red-headed travel junkie that isn’t home from one adventure and already planning the next. Follow me as I document my trips around the world and provide you with tips and tricks for planning your next vacation. Welcome to The Traveling Red! After years of traveling non-stop, I have thousands of pictures (I’m kind of obsessed with photography) and so much information to share with you. Friends are always asking for more information about the places I have visited, so this is the perfect solution. I will let you know what I recommend (and don’t recommend) from my personal experiences. But how did this all start? Well, my husband and I are lucky enough to own businesses, allowing us to have flexible schedules. Most importantly, we have the same priority- travel as much as possible! We share a passion for experiencing different cultures, meeting new people, and tasting all types of cuisines. We travel as much as possible, and we always try to pick somewhere new to explore. Just this year alone, we have visited 11 amazing countries… Peru, United Kingdom, South Africa, Zambia, Mexico, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Bahamas, Japan and South Korea. Here’s a little preview of what’s to come…   Al Khazneh (also known as […]

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