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Mexico, North America, Travel

Guest Post: 48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

June 12, 2017
48 hours in La Paz, Mexico

Photo courtesy of charlieontravel.com

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  La Paz is a destination which has tons to offer in terms of local delicacies, outdoor activities and of course, beaches!  However, no matter how long you would like to spend in La Paz, you may have a limited time frame in the Mexican town of 48 hours.  How exactly do you maximize your 2 days in La Paz to ensure you savor every last moment.

Well, luckily for you, I have devised a ’48 hours in La Paz itinerary’, so you don’t have to worry about how you will make the most of your time.

Day 1

Go for a Traditional Mexican Breakfast

Is there any other way to start the day? Of course not.  You’re in Mexico after all, am I right?  Why not start your first day in La Paz by tucking into a delicious Mexican breakfast.

My recommendation for breakfast is ‘El Rincon Chilango.’  This quaint and traditional Mexican restaurant is located a short walk out of the center.  It’s well worth the 10 minute walk from the center. The majority of restaurants in the center of La Paz are geared towards tourists.  If you really want to get a taste of a true Mexican breakfast, get yourself to ‘El Rincon Chilango.’  There are many Mexican breakfast favorites on offer, and their Chilaquiles is to die for!!

48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

Head to Mexico’s Best Beach – Playa Balandra

Mexico’s best beach? That’s certainly a bold statement.  However, once you arrive at Playa Balandra, you will understand why I’ve made this statement.  The beach is set in a bay surrounded by barren mountains, occupied by the odd cactus.  The water at Playa Balandra is as clear as the finest bottled mineral water.  The beach is flawless.  The most unique thing about Playa Balandra is that you can walk from one side of the bay to another deserted beach on the other side, the water rarely gets deeper than knee height.

 48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

Enjoy an Evening of Mexican Food and Margaritas

After a long hard day of relaxing on the beach, what could be better than topping yourself up with delicious Mexican food and Margaritas??

For some traditional Mexican tacos, I would recommend heading to one of the food stands on Revolucion De 1910.  The food stands on this road really know how to serve up tacos that will leave you longing for more.  With fillings on offer from Chorizo to fried fish, it will be hard to narrow it down to just one.  However, La Paz is famous for its fish tacos, so go for the Pescado (fish) or Camaron (shrimp) tacos.

Following your fill of tacos, get yourself down to one of the bars along the Malecon and drink Margaritas to your heart’s content.

48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

Day 2

Go for a Morning Coffee

La Paz is a town with its fair share of cafes, perfect for those coffee guzzlers.  It seems that these coffee shops are dotted all around the center of La Paz.  You won’t be wandering around for long before you come across a quiet little cafe serving up everything from your traditional Americano all the way to a new-age Cold Brew Coffee.

If you want to visit somewhere tried and tested then get yourself to ‘Big Sur Cafe Organico.’

48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

Explore the Street Art in La Paz

When you think of La Paz, Mexico, I’m sure the mind will conjure up images of beautiful beaches with bright blue waters and pristine sands (I’m basically describing Balandra Beach there).  What I’m sure you wouldn’t associate with Baja California’s capital is street art.

I can assure you, La Paz has a vibrant street art scene.  Spend your freshly gained energy from your morning coffee wandering around La Paz, checking out all the street art dotted around.  I couldn’t quite believe it, but creative bits of artwork popped up every time I walked around La Paz.  There are some talented artists who have made their mark in this town.

48 Hours in La Paz, Mexico

Spend the Afternoon at Playa Tecolote

That’s right, another day, another beach.  La Paz is famous for its beaches and there’s a reason why.  5 minutes down the road from Playa Balandra, you will find Playa Tecolote.

Playa Tecolote has a livelier vibe and more of a people presence than Playa Balandra, but it works.  Whereas Playa Balandra has literally one stand selling a few drinks and crisps, Tecolote does have the usual beach restaurants and bars lining the sand.  Tecolote is more ‘built up’, but I do use that phrase lightly.  It’s hardly built up Cancun style and the beach still holds much of its charm which beautiful beaches often lose as they begin to build in popularity.

48 hours in La Paz, Mexico

Relax, You’ve Earnt it!

You’ve had an action packed 48 hours.  Well, I suppose you can count laying around on beaches, eating Mexican food, drinking great coffee and sipping margaritas action packed, can’t you?

Spend your last few hours in this wonderful town relaxing and reflecting on your 48 hours of experiencing the best of La Paz.

This is a guest post from Nathan over at The TRVL Blog. Check out his beautiful posts on South America. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks, Nathan!
Travel, United States

Guest Post: 8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

May 29, 2017
8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota
I am very excited by this guest post. When I ask for guest posts, most people suggest non-US locations and that is great, but I was excited to get one from a place in the US and from a place I haven’t been to myself.

Duluth, Minnesota is a picturesque city settled on the banks of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. From foodies to adventurists, Duluth has an array of activities and things to do. Whether it be summer or winter, visitors never run out of ways to spend their time here but if you need a few ideas, here are 8 ways to spend your time around the city of Duluth, Minnesota.

1. Overlook Duluth at Enger Tower

Atop Enger hill overlooking the beautiful city of Duluth stands Enger Tower, an 80-foot, five-story observation tower built in 1939. Enger Tower was built in dedication to Bert Enger, a native of Norway who came here to be a furniture seller. When he died, over half of his estate was donated to the city of Duluth – this included the areas of Enger Park, the Tower, and golf course.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, MinnesotaThis picture is from Wikipedia

2. Wander Canal Park

Canal Park in Duluth is visitors’ one-stop shop for everything gifts, food, lodging, things to do, events, and more. The area sits upon the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, and used to be a warehouse district, which has been converted into a variety of restaurants, hotels, cafés, and shops.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

A few of Canal Park’s attractions include the Aerial Lift Bridge, a lighthouse pier, and a 4.2-mile-long lake walk. Additionally, visitors interested in boats can watch vessels from all over the world enter the bay near Duluth, going under the iconic lift bridge.

3. Check out the Aerial Lift Bridge

The most famous landmark in all of Duluth, the Aerial Lift Bridge was finished being built in 1905, making it over 100 years old and the oldest landmark in the city. The length of the bridge spans 386 feet, has a clearance of 180 feet, and weighs over 900 tons. There’s only one other bridge in the world similar to the Aerial Lift Bridge, which is located in Rouen, France. The bridge is operated 24 hours a day and during the busy season in spring or summer, the bridge lifts an average of 26 times per day.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

4. Waterfall Hunting in Congdon Park

Located in the middle of Duluth, burrowed between residential neighborhoods, Congdon Park can be explored by avid hikers, casual walkers, and families in search of fun. When descending into the park, it feels as though you’re entering a different world; surrounded by billion-year-old red volcanic rock, lush greens, thick mosses, and pulsing waterfalls – hiking in Congdon Park is anything but boring.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

“There is no combination of stream and hillsides, woodland, waterfall and canyon in or near any other American city that is capable of development for beauty and utility comparing with that lying on both sides of Tischer Creek,” wrote landscape engineer A.U. Morrell of New York City.

5. Explore Gooseberry Falls State Park

Known as the gateway to the North Shore and Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park is an area filled with beautiful waterfalls, an array of hiking trails, flourishing wildlife, and stunning foliage. As visitors wander around the park, the thunderous rumble of the water plummeting into the rocky gorges from the three largest of the falls can be heard from all around.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

To make the most out of your visit, make sure to stop in the visitor’s center to read up on the history of the park, find park information, watch park videos, view interpretive displays, and more. Also, summer is the best time to visit – but head to the park early, as it gets extremely busy!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

6. View Split Rock Lighthouse

Considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States, Split Rock Lighthouse was completed in 1910 and is a National Historic Landmark; a beacon in northern Minnesota. The wreckage of multiple ships spurred the building of the lighthouse, which explorers can read all about in the visitor’s center. And after reading about the history of the lighthouse, visitors can hike the trails throughout the state park and wander down to the shoreline of Lake Superior.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

7. Marvel the Views at Palisade Head

This remarkable area shouldn’t be passed up if you have a vehicle and some time while in Duluth, Minnesota. Palisade Head is filled with heart-stopping cliffs, jagged rocks, awe-inspiring sights of Lake Superior, and picture-worthy viewpoints. Just don’t get too excited taking pictures of Lake Superior – which looks like the ocean from up here – or you might lose your footing and go falling off the edge!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8. Tour the Glensheen Mansion

Operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth as a museum, the 39-room Glensheen Mansion and the 7.6-acre estate was built by Chester Congdon on the banks of Lake Superior between 1905 and 1908. The mansion is perhaps most known for the “incident” that happened in 1977; Glensheen was the site of the murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27. For many years, tour guides were forbidden from talking about and answering questions related to the murders, but now they will answer questions at the end of the tour and there’s a book about the murders available for purchase in the gift shop.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

So, there you have it: 8 things to do around Duluth, Minnesota. Let me know – have you ever heard of Duluth? Or have you ever been here?

This is a guest blog post written by Sophie Anderson, founder of The Wanderful Me travel blog. She’s a clumsy traveler tripping her way around the world in search of mouthwatering vegan food and wild adventures. If you want to see what she’s up to, check out her blog or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

Hotel/Accommodation, Middle East, Qatar, Travel

Staycation at the Westin Doha

May 22, 2017

Staycation at the Westin DohaBack in December, I won a free night stay at the Westin Doha. The Westin Doha is a newish hotel in Doha and it is not in the area where most of the hotels have been built. In the past few weeks, I have read a few negative reviews regarding events and a few of the restaurants. Since the voucher was going to expire and I am about to leave, I thought I would give it a try and have a staycation for one night.

The Room

When you enter the room, you are greeted with a panoramic view of the whole room, including some of the bathroom. After I noticed the open layout of the room, the next thing I noticed was the soaker tub that looks out over the room. I couldn’t wait to get it and soak for a while. It seemed like you could see the television from the tub. Watching a movie from the tub sounded like a great idea. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the tv from the tub. This was due to the divide between the room and the bathroom. Seems like a huge design flaw.

Staycation at Westin Doha

Staycation at the Westin Doha

However, the rest of the room was pretty great. My room was a deluxe room with a pool view. The room was quite large and had a king sized bed. The Westin Hotel is known for its beds and it did not disappoint! Thick carpet with a beautiful design extends throughout. Heavy blackout curtains block out the Middle Eastern sun perfectly.

Staycation at the Westin Doha

Staycation at the Westin Doha

The usual amenities are present, such as a desk and a beautiful cabinet with the mini fridge and coffee and tea. For all the Brits out there, yes, there is evaporated milk for your tea! What was great was there were plenty of international plugs for all your devices. One complaint was that my room was right by the elevator and everyone is loud getting off the elevator. Not really the hotel’s fault, but the door could have been sound proofed. The other issue was that they had lights on sensors so when you get out of bed at night, you can see. Great idea, but they took forever to go off and one time it went off when I was moving around in the bed.

The Food

The restaurant I had heard good things about was Sabai Thai. It is a small restaurant set back from the hotel. Unfortunately, you have to go outside to reach Sabai Thai, which during the summer in Qatar it could be an issue. When entering there was a Thai woman playing a traditional Thai instrument that had a lovely sound and was so much better than the loud music some place blast in restaurants.

I did not order a starter as I wanted dessert. For the main course, I ordered, Gai Phad Med Mamuang. This is a stir fried chicken dish with cashew nuts, spring onions and chili paste. It was served with steamed rice. The dish was light and flavorful and they asked how spicy I wanted it. I said light since I wasn’t sure how spicy light would be. I could have gone with the medium. For dessert, I ordered my favorite Thai dessert of Mango Sticky Rice. Theirs was probably the best I have ever had! The mango was really ripe and the coconut sauce was not too sweet.

Staycation at the Westin Doha

Staycation at the Westin Doha

In addition to good food and atmosphere, the service was great and never had to wait for anything.

The Service

When I called to make the reservation, I had to email them the voucher, which seemed odd, but I went with it. After I emailed it, everything went smoothly. They even asked if I want to book any spa treatments and asked for my SPG number for points. This service was the same when I arrived. Someone greeted me when I entered and escorted me to the check-in desk. While checking in, I was brought a hot towel and a juice.

About 15 minutes after I arrived in my room, the front desk called to make sure I was happy with my room. While I didn’t call them for anything during my stay, I am sure it would have been quick and efficient. Upon checking out, I was also given great service. There was only one person checking people in and out. Another staff person saw me waiting and quickly went to a desk to check me out.

Overall, I really enjoyed my stay and if I was in Doha longer, I would be going back for another staycation. The pools are huge and look amazing. I also wish I had more time to explore the menu of Sabai Thai.

Have you stayed at a Westin? What was your experience?

 

 

 

Europe, Hungary, Travel

Guest Post: 48 Hours in Budapest

May 15, 2017

48 Hours in Budapest

This is a guest post from Jack at Find World’s Beauty

Budapest is an immensely beautiful, charming and diverse city that has risen to global prominence among travelers and expats alike over the last decade. Here are some suggestions on how to spend 2 days in the Hungarian capital.

Note as an introductory explanation that the Danube River divides the city into two main parts: Buda & Pest. Both parts offer an extensive array of sights while you should keep in mind that Pest is the most lively part where most of the actual residents live whereas Buda has served as the residence for the Hungarian kings for centuries and therefore contains the castle and fortifications.

Day 1: Dive deeper into the unique Hungarian culture while enjoying Budapest’s stunning architecture

Morning: Chain Bridge, Hungarian Parliament and Buda Castle

A morning stroll across the Chain Bridge will enable you to enjoy this wonderful feat of architecture in a peaceful manner before tourists invade the bridge in the afternoon. The bridge is furthermore an excellent place to take gorgeous pictures of the stunning Hungarian Parliament and the other architectural masterpieces that are situated along the Danube river.

48 Hours in Budapest

On the Buda side of the river, you will be able to take a funicular which takes you right up to Buda castle, the historical residence of the Hungarian kings. The hill moreover has some breathtaking viewpoints which offer fabulous views over the city and the river.48 Hours in Budapest

Afternoon: Hungarian National Museum and Market Hall

The Hungarian National Museum is a great place to learn about the unique place that the Hungarian culture and language (one of the oldest languages in Europe) occupies amid the European cultural landscape and is therefore definitely a good choice to get your annual history lesson in Budapest. Another afternoon activity would be a visit to the Market Hall where you can buy a wide range of local goods and delicacies if you wish to brush up on some Hungarian specialties.

Evening:  Enjoy a drink in the ruin pubs

Budapest has a buzzing ruin pub culture and the Szimpla Kert is the mother of those pubs which are like outside patios in rundown yet incredibly cozy buildings. When in the Hungarian capital, you should definitely not miss this typical nightlife scene and you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of choice you have when it comes to ruin pubs and general nightlife options.

Day 2: Experience the beauty of Budapest from atop the hill and spend some time in the city’s trademark thermal baths

Morning: Hike up to Gellert Hill

One of the great nature related activities in Budapest is the hike up to Gellert Hill on top of which you will be rewarded with stunning views over the city. The path starts on the Buda side of the Danube close to Elizabeth bridge. The viewpoint can get crowded in the afternoon, which is why early birds will have the better experience.

Afternoon: Relax in the Thermal Baths

After having ascended to the top of Gellert Hill you will want to relax and there is no better way to ease your bones and chill your mind than to spend an afternoon in one of Budapest’s legendary thermal bath complexes. The Gellert Baths are situated close to the hike up the hill and offer various saunas, a large swimming pool and lots of comfy outdoor areas Szechenyi Baths are located in a stunning ancient complex which is an architectural gem but therefore also much more touristy. Note that huge parties are organized in Szechenyi Baths on special occasions if you happen to be in Budapest on one of those occasions you should definitely experience a thermal bath party, something Budapest does better than any other city in Europe.

48 Hours in Budapest

Evening: Enjoy an ice cold drink in the Ice Bar

Ice bars have become common in the world’s great cities and Budapest is no exception. Dive into this freezing drinks temple and taste one of Hungary’s strongest delicacies, Palinka (to enjoy with moderation). Budapest’s nightlife scene is varied and the Ice Bar is one of the more international alternatives. Like many attractions in Budapest, the Ice Bar suffers a bit from the huge tourism influx but it is still a unique place to enjoy a drink in the Hungarian capital.

48 Hours in Budapest

I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Jack on 48 Hours in Budapest as I did. Have you been to Budapest?

Please check out Jack’s Blog, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to keep up with his travels.

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