Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has always been a place I have been dying to visit.  I choose this destination because I’ve always heard it was spectacular.  My boyfriend and I explored a lot during our two weeks there.  Our hotel was on Copacabana beach so it was nice to walk out onto the beach and take a stroll.  We set aside a couple of days to go on some tours to see what the city has to offer!  The first stop, the Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) tour!  You hop in a cable car that takes you to the very top of the mountain.  Once you get to the top, you get a 360-degree view of surrounding beaches, mountains and forests.  The views are breathtaking and anywhere you take a picture the backdrop doesn’t disappoint!

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The following day, we took a walk to another neighborhood called Ipanema.  Ipanema, is located in the South area of the city of Rio.  One thing I noticed while walking from Copacabana to Ipanema was the black and white pattern on the sidewalk and how the design changes.  I really enjoyed the night life in Ipanema.  The bars, the food, shopping and more importantly the BEACH!  There were so many independent  vendors selling everything you could think of but decided on buying a bathing suit wrap.

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One of the seven wonders of the world, Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) was something I really wanted to check out.  The statue is a whopping 98 feet tall and it’s arms stretch 92 feet wide.  It’s located at the peak of Corcovado mountain overlooking Rio.  It took a while to get there, but when we finally made it I was completely blown away.  I  couldn’t take my eyes off of the statue or the ariel views!   We stayed up there for a while to eat and walked around the area.  It was definitely something to see for sure.

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A couple of days later my boyfriend wanted to watch a football (soccer) game, so we decided to experinece one at the Maracanã Stadium.  We had such a great time there.  The fans are so passionate about their teams and sang multiple songs throughout the game.  It was incredible to witness.

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We wanted to see more of Brazil, but didn’t know what tour to do.  We eventually decided on the favela (low income area) tour.  Our tour guide was amazing!  She took us through one of the favela’s and we meet a lot of the locals.  We were also lucky to catch a bunch of  kids doing capoeira (a brazilian martial art).  Overall, It was a very, very neat experience and would highly recommend adding it to your list of things to check out.

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Everything about Rio de Janeiro was so much fun!  I’m glad I had the chance to check out such an incredible city.  So much to see and do, you’ll never get bored.   Another great country that’s check off my list!

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Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a great city to visit!  Whenever I visit I always enjoy staying right in the heart of the city center.  I love the shopping, pubs, it’s historic buildings, the city park and the very friendly people!  Be prepared if you visit Ireland, it gets really cold!  I’ve learned throughout the years going that you really need to bundle up.

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Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s main shopping streets in the city center is great!  I remember the first time coming here I was shop happy and loved every minute of it that my boyfriend and his parents couldn’t keep up with me!  LOL!  We usually have to take a couple of breaks in between because all I want to do is check out every store that exists.

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If you’re looking for a pub to stop at, I suggest the iconic Temple Bar.  It’s a great place to hangout, meet some new people and grab a couple of drinks and listen to live music.

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Trinity college is another great place to checkout.  It’s Ireland oldest university and situated on College Green not too far from the city center.

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Also located in the city center is St. Stephen’s Green, a beautifully lush and well kept park that expands 22 acres and is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares.  Perfect to walk around or pop a squat on the grass and have lunch.

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And just a short walk is the O’Connell Bridge (the three semicircular arch structure), which runs through the center of the city and widely known Ha’penny Bridge (not pictured, is Dublin’s oldest pedestrian bridge that once required a penny to cross over) both situated over the river Liffey that’s worth seeing.

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If you have a car I highly suggest that you make it over to Malahide Castle & Gardens.  Located in North county Dublin and only 8 miles from the city center.  This stunning castle is one of the oldest in Ireland and sits on a whopping 260 acres.  The gardens are definitely worth seeing as well.  The grounds also have a couple of shops and a restaurant that is yummy.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe make sure to visit Dublin.  There’s a lot of history there and so much to explore.  A lovely country to visit for sure.  Enjoy!

A Rome Getaway…

Rome has always been on my bucket list.  My boyfriend and I decided since we were in Europe that we should do a little getaway.  We were lucky because my boyfriend’s uncle is from Rome, so we got the low down on where to eat and where to go in the city.  We stayed in the city center in a hotel called Boscolo.  This hotel was luxurious and set in a prime location filled with restaurants, shops and bars nearby.

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We went on a couple of tours that included the infamous Coliseum, Roman forum, Spanish steps, the Vatican, and Sistine Chapel.  The tours we went on are definitely worth the money.  You’ll walk around the historic sites with a tour guide who gives you an understanding of the rich culture and history of the city.

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Thanks to my boyfriend’s uncle who recommended that we hit up an area called Trastevere which is the older part of Rome that’s filled with restaurants.  You really can’t go wrong with where you eat in this area, every place is delicious and a lot cheaper than the tourist area.  We went to a restaurant (can’t remember the name) and I swear it was the best pasta I’ve ever eaten because my plate was empty!  The pasta was freshly made and the sauce was to die for.

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We also visited a pastry shop called I Dolci Di Nonna Vincenza in Campo D’Fiori.  We stood in line and my eyes were immediately drawn to the cannoli’s.  There were so many different flavors to choose from, so we got a couple.   I can understand now why there was a line because they were amazing!

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Rome has a lot history and the architecture is so beautiful!  I especially enjoyed walking into a couple of churches because the detail is so stunning!

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What a magical city Rome was!  If you’re dying to visit, please do because you won’t regret it!

Spanish Vacation: Sevilla & Marbella

The first time I went to Spain was back in 2012 visiting Barcelona and Malaga.  This year I visited Sevilla and Marbella.  Sevilla is such beautiful city that has amazing architecture and the food is to die for!

If you are only in the city for the day and want to see all the landmarks, I suggest you take a carriage.  This would be the quickest way to get around the city.  My coachman started the tour by going through a narrow street that had beautiful bright colors on the buildings.img_4058

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The cool thing about taking a carriage is that they will stop briefly so you can take pictures. The tour was 45 minutes and only 50 euros.   Sevilla is a very impressive city and would come here again!  The following day we went to another city called Marbella, which is a resort in Costa del Sol, a region in the southern part of Spain.  This city reminded me a lot of where I  reside, very beachy and laid back.

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As I was walking through the city center, I stubbled upon a parade.  The parade had men, women and children dressed in traditional Spanish attire walking through the city center.  It was very cool to have witnessed this!

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I had such a great time touring both Sevilla and Marbella!  I highly recommend visiting both cities if you are ever in Spain!

 

 

South Beach

For many years my boyfriend has said that South beach, Miami was a lot of fun.  This time around I was able to experience what he’s been talking about.  We checked into the Royal Palm for a number of days, an art deco style hotel on Collins avenue and beachfront access just steps away.  The first night the weather was hot, sticky and the sky was blue with pink clouds which reminded me of cotton candy, it was so beautiful!  We wandered around aimlessly and stumbled upon a small and charming area called Española way and ate at a Spanish tapas bar that had live music and dancing. 

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After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.  The next day the sun was out and we took full advantage of it and went to the beach.  We rented chairs and soaked in the sun.  I couldn’t believe how warm the water was and how white the sand was, it was like a scene from a movie!  

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South Beach has a great nightlife, it’s party central!  We walked down Ocean Drive and it was a must to stop at the iconic hotel the Clevelander to grab a couple of drinks.  We continued strolling down the famous street to check out a couple other places.

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Our last night we went to a restaurant called Quality Meats which serves up steaks and seafood.  I had a salmon dish and my boyfriend had the filet mignon.  Did I mention that they make a steak sauce from scratch right in front of you!!?  Yes, it’s wonderful!  I loved it so much that I ate it all.  Paired with my dish, I had one of their signature cocktails that was yummy.  Overall we had a a great food experience.

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I wish we had more time to explore Miami, but glad I had the opportunity to check it out.  We’ll be back soon!  🙂

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