Dec 31, 2012

O Canada (Ontario)

                                                      OTTAWA AT DUSK

Canada's National Anthem

O Canada ! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free, from far and wide.

O Canada we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada we stand on guard for thee, O Canada we stand on guard for thee!

C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!   C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!    C A N A D A!

The second largest country in the world has a bit of everything on its broad landscape; cosmopolitan cities, open prairies, snow capped mountains, provincial parks, islands, coastal beaches and farms just to name a few. The Canadians like their hockey teams, stampedes, museums, ski resorts, and are proud of one of their great wonders of the world known as "Niagara Falls." O yes Canada is a mighty special place.

Canada is huge. It consists of ten provinces and two territories. If you view a map of Canada you would see the following on it; Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

I'll start with Ontario. The province of Ontario has lots to boast about. It contains the largest city in Canada known as Toronto. It's also where the capital of Canada is located and that city is known as Ottawa. The province of Ontario is blessed with the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, Manitoulin Island, Niagara Falls, and lots of vineyards.

A good itinerary for exploring Ontario would be to start in Windsor and Essex Country. Hit one of the casinos in Windsor and than head to lovely Essex County. Wineries abound in Essex County and there's no shortage of tasting some delicious wines produced from the vineyards of this region. If you like the beach one of my favorite gems is Colchester. It sits upon a bluff overlooking Lake Eire. It's a nice place to swim and even surf a bit. There's a mini playground and picnic tables too. Not too far is the town of Kinsgville which is great for shopping and eating. I highly recommend Annabelle's Tea Room for a British like afternoon tea experience.  The food here is absolutely delicious and there are lots of teas from around the world to enjoy with scones and jam. Annabelle's is located on 75 Main Street East in Kingsville.

Another nice place to spend time in Essex County is at Leamington's Point Pelee National Park. There's lots of things to enjoy in this park if you're an outdoor enthusiast. Eventually you can work your way to Highway 401 and head to the magnificent international city of Toronto. There's a multitude of things to do in Canada's largest city. There's the Harbourfront Centre, CBC Museum, CN Tower, Toronto Music Garden, St Lawrence Market, Chinatown, Little Italy, Financial District, Theater District to explore as well as Eaton Centre and Bloor Street for shopping. There's also the Hockey Hall of Fame and  the wonderful Toronto Islands to explore. With an abundance of activities, cultural events, and fantastic restaurants Toronto can keep you busy for days if not weeks.

Ottawa although smaller than Toronto is a beautiful city with some of the best bicycle trails in North America. This capital city has Parliament Hill where political activity takes place. The main building around here known as Centre Block contains the highest structure in the city known as Peace Tower. During the summer months there is a daily changing of the guard in Parliament Hill. Other sights in this district include the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Grand Hall, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Children's Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Touring Ottawa can be exhausting and one of my favorite spots for a relaxing tasty meal is ZenKitchen.
Serving completely pure vegetarian food this restaurant rarely disappoints vegetarians or meat eaters
Located at 634 Somerset Street ZenKitchen was recently nominated the best new restaurant of Ottawa in 2009. Another good spot to relax and enjoy some coffee & food is The Daily Grind art cafe at 601 Somerset Street West.

My brother who was a student at the University of Ottawa and lived in the Glebe neighborhood knew Ottawa the way I know Manhattan. He introduced me to his favorite bagel shop called "Kettleman's Bagel Company" on 912 Bank Street. These are the best bagels I ever ate. They're so yummy you can even go without the cream cheese. Anytime of day you walk into this shop you can see the bagels being made right in front of you. I highly recommend the sesame bagels which are their best sellers. Another culinary establishment I like is "Life of Pie" located at 1095 Bank Street. WOW! the pies are so good here. I even had my brother send me a pie once from "Life of Pie."

After saying goodbye to the capital city of Ottawa say hello to Ontario's great wonder; Niagara Falls.
Over a million bathtubs of water plummet over the edge of these spectacular falls where tourists come as far as Japan to view their awesomeness. With 14 million tourists visiting annually Niagara Falls is one of Canada's top attractions.

Canada shares its falls with the United States (New York) but the Canadian side has the more grandeur and powerful falls. Check out Horseshoe Falls, Maid of the Mist Pool, and Table Rock. Not to be missed is a Niagara Falls boat tour for an intimate view of the falls. Other attractions in Niagara Falls are Goat Island, Discovery Center, Queen Victoria Park and Skylon Tower. Kids adore Clifton Hill known as "the street of fun." This area is loaded with gift shops, restaurants, and attractions like House of Frankenstein and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Although it's a Canadian chain I like stopping at Tim Horton's for their terrific iced cappuccino drink. The Tim Horton's on Clifton Hill is always packed with couples and families taking a little break from all the Niagara Falls excitement.

Speaking of excitement I have more exciting things to share about Canada in my next blog as we explore the provinces of  Quebec and Prince Edward Island.


Adrianna (Travel World)

Dec 21, 2012

Cambodia at a quick glance


W H E R E 'S   C A M B O D I A?

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia bordered by Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Getting to know about the country of Cambodia:

Cambodia is 181,035 square kilometers. It's population is 14,305.183.

The official language is Khmer and most Cambodians are Buddhist.

Riel is the currency used in Cambodia.

Cambodia's cuisine is one of the oldest living cuisines in the world and Cambodians eat more rice than any other people in the world.

The choice of rice dishes range from rice noodle soup to deep fried rice cakes.

Cambodia's geographical region consists of Cardamom/Elephant Mountains, Eastern Cambodia, MeKong Lowlands, Central Plains, and North-western Cambodia.

The Tonie Sap is the largest freshwater lake in all of Southeast Asia.

One of Cambodia's top attractions are the majestic temples of Angkor.

A unique place to spend a few hours is the floating village of Kampong Phloek.

If someday you long to visit Cambodia you will enjoy it's people and uniqueness. Cambodia is quickly becoming a popular place to visit in Asia.

Volunteering is one way to experience Cambodia to the fullest. For a little bit of humanitarian work consider looking at volunteer sites  such as "New Hope Volunteers" and "Projects Abroad."

C A M B O D I A           C A M B O D I A        C A M B O D I A       C A M B O D I A

Adrianna of (Travel World) soon hopes to volunteer at an orphanage in Cambodia, India, or Sri Lanka

Dec 16, 2012

The Belgium Experience

                                        B   E   L   G   I   U   M

B E L G I U M               B E L G I U M        B E L G I U M           B E L G I U M

When I think of Belgium I think most of all of my Belgium friend Philip who invited me to visit him a few months after we met in Alaska. After landing in Amsterdam on a trans Atlantic flight I took a train into Antwerp and met Philip at a cafe where we drank trappist beers and talked about Belgium.

Philip gave me a grand tour of his country during my nine day visit. From the moment we met in Antwerp to our farewell in Brussels I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide than wonderful Philip.

If you ever find yourself in Belgium you won't be disappointed. I'm here to share all the great things to do in Belgium a small country known for producing the best tasting chocolate in the world.

                                                             Belgian Chocolates 

Mmmmmmh chocolate chocolate everywhere and all of it tastes so delicious. It's no wonder that Belgians make chocolate a daily indulgence. No matter where you go in Belgium you're bound to find chocolate in all flavors, shapes, and sizes. But let's put chocolate on hold for now and let me tell you about one of Europe's greatest cities; Brussels.

Brussels is the kind of city that has varying contrasts. There are the fashionable Audrey Hepburn types who sip coffee with grace in the Grand Place and the 20 somethings who text while walking the cobblestone lanes. This is a city of world class architecture, art nouveau, not to miss museums, and splendid shopping. The center of Brussels consists of the Lower Town which has the famous Grand Place and the Upper Town is where wide boulevards mix with monumental buildings as well as government headquarters and the Belgian parliament. No where else in Belgium is business, culture and fashion so much alive than in Brussels. 

The comic strip culture in Brussels is a well known thing. The city has a multitude of comic book shops to choose from and several walls in the city center feature well known comic strip characters. It's no secret that Belgian is known as home of the comic strip.

Waffles to Belgians are what crepes are to the French. There are waffles shops everywhere but one of the oldest and best places for delicious waffles is Le Funambule Waffles located at Rue de l'etuve 42. Don't leave Brussels without trying waffles. You won't be disappointed.

Whether you're visiting Brussels in the height of summer season or the shorter days of fall a side trip to the North Sea is where you'll find city dwellers de-stressing and breathing the fine salt air. Known as Western Flanders this area of Belgium has 66 kilometers of coastline. Ostende which was once the seaside resort of the aristocrats is a fishing center. It has the Albert I Promenade where a cluster of restaurants and shops overlook the wide beach and the sea full of surfers. The small resort town of Koksidge has the highest dunes on the North Sea and Sim-Idesbald is a haven for art lovers.

Along the Belgian coast are campgrounds, high rise apartments, hotels, and villas. A tram connects several towns along the coast making it easier to navigate from town to town. The neighboring country of France has a ferry departing daily from Calais, France to England. So in one day you can experience being in three different countries.

The romantic town of Bruges attracts thousands of people each year to see its medieval splendor. Bruges is blessed with art museums, narrow canals, lovely squares, and heavenly Flander food. A meal of mussels and pomme frites is a must when in Bruges. I remember how much Philip and I enjoyed our delicious lunch sitting in an open square. The waiter brought us a bucket of steamed mussels in a white wine broth accompanied with pommes frites (french fries). In Belgium it's a tradition to dip pommes frites (french fries) in a big dollop of mayonnaise. 

The Belgians love their bicycles  and almost every Belgian owns one. Travel by bicycle is easy and it also burns calories from eating chocolate and waffles. Many towns in Belgian provide special lanes for for bike travel.

Gent is a popular town to visit and is known for the fortress of the Counts of Flanders and St Bavo's Cathedral. Many visitors head to St. Michales Bridge for views of the city's three towers and to the district of Graslei to see the guild houses. For nighlife there are dance clubs, jazz cafes, lively brasseries and opera productions.

The Ardennes region of Belgium was my last stop in Belgium before heading back to Brussels. Mostly a French speaking part of Belgium the Ardennes are a hilly terrain where biking and hiking can fully be enjoyed. The Meuse River is good for boating and is a nice way to enjoy views of the cliffs and valleys. A stay at a quaint little inn adds to the charm of a few days in the Ardennes. The historic city of Namur known for the Citadel (fortress) is one of the regions top attractions. 

Between the bicycling and swimming, beer drinking and eating, sightseeing and learning Flemish my nine days in Belgium went by quickly. I fell in love with Belgium and made up my mind that someday I'd return and find a job in Belgium once I mastered Flemish or French. The Belgians have every right to display pride because some of the best things in life come from Belgium. 

I thank you Philip for sharing your Belgium with me.


Take a monastery brew tour and drink some of the best tasting beer in the universe.

Buy a box of chocolates and indulge. (Pralines) are one of the top sellers. 
Leoninda's, Neuhaus, and Pierre Marcolini are popular chocolate shops.

Have some waffles for breakfast. The Belgians love their waffles.

Pommes Frites stands can be found all over Belgium. They're fun to dip in different sauces like Green Goddess , Aioli, or Miso-Musturd. Mayonnaise is often the preferred choice. Belgium fries are unique because they're fried twice.

Enjoy a drive through the countryside and chat with the locals at a pub.

French vs Flemish

It's a good idea to know a few words in French and Flemish when traveling through Belgium

French:                                                   Flemish:

Hello: Bonjour                                         Hello: Hallo!
Goodbye: Au Revoir                               Goodbye: Varwell
Please: S'il vous plait                               Thank You: Dank uwel
Thank You: Merci                                   Please: Alstublief

Adrianna (Travel World)

Dec 10, 2012

Believe in BELIZE

                                                       Adrianna in Beautiful "Belize"


The weather in the midwest is cloudy and cold. The days are damp, dark, and short. Where are the blue skies and sunshine? Well I believe, they're in BELIZE.


Gentle ocean breezes, lush landscapes, pristine rainforests, tropical jungles and perfect sunsets combined with a year round warm climate are just some of the great things that make Central America's BELIZE a popular vacation destination for everyone from celebrities to school teachers. This lovely country in the heart of Central America has the following regions; Northern, Central, Western, Southern, and the Islands. Each region has it own distinct character.

Belize City is the largest city in Belize with a population of about 80,000. Located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, Belize City is the hub for transportation. Most flights from around the world land in Belize City as do the vast amount of cruise ships that anchor outside the port. Belize City has its share of interesting attractions with the Belize Zoo  and the Community Baboon Sanctuary topping the list.

Although there's quite a bit to see in the country of Belize one area that is worth spending a few days in if not a few weeks is Ambergris Caye. This is where you'll find the seconds longest Barrier Reef in the world. Divers and snorkelers marvel at the wonders of the Barrier Reef and because of this the island is quickly becoming the top place to vacation in Belize. The largest of Belize's 200 islands Ambergris Caye is 25 miles long and clustered with lodging choices that range from very expensive to pretty cheap.

The Maya people settled on Ambergris Caye way back in 250 AD. These red skinned Indians built great temples and made magnificent artifacts, pottery and tools. They also created an efficient calendar, derived their own writing system and developed mathematical concepts. The influence of the Mayan culture can still be witnessed on this lush island where 4,000 inhabitants mostly of Mexican descent converse in English and Spanish. 

San Pedro Town delights visitors with its small colorful painted houses, swaying coconut palms, bars, restaurants, and shops. The San Pedro Supermarket is a good place for food shopping but don't miss out on the array of wonderful restaurants. 

1) Elvi's Kitchen  
    Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
    An award winning establishment with a diverse menu and extraordinary seafood dishes
    The "Mayan Feast" a buffet of delicious Mayan dishes takes place every Friday

2) Ruby's Cafe
    Front Street, San Pedro Town
    This is where the locals meet to indulge in cinnamon rolls, Johnny cakes, hot tortillas &  
    banana cake

3) Palapa Bar & Grill
     North of Bridge
     Known for barbecue specialities

4)  Carambai Restaurant
     Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
     Tasty local Caribbean and Mexican food

5)  Hidden Treasure 
     South of San Pedro Town
     Fine dining in a relaxing environment

6)  The Reef Restaurant
     Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town
     Local Cuisine and Seafood (Catch of the Day)

Whether you wish to bike or swim, dive or snorkel, go boating or dancing, or swing in a hammock under the sun I believe you'll love BELIZE. 

So leave behind the cold, snow, and crackling fireplace and relax with a cool drink under the swaying palm trees of BELIZE.

Where to Stay in Ambergris Caye:

1) Banana Beach Hotel with 72 suites is located on the nicest natural beach on the island

2) Victoria House is an award winning luxury resort with lovely grounds

3)  Cayo Espanto is an exclusive 4 acre island resort with impeccable service

4)  Exotic Caye Beach Resort has a peaceful environment with lots of amenities

5) Villas at Banyan Bay is the perfect beachfront resort for families

6)  Buena Suerte Bed & Breakfast is a cozy place to stay

7) Casa Tortuga is a nice two story villa

Adrianna's Fondest Belize Memories

The boat ride from the port of Belize City to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro Town) 
A bunch of happy folks ready for a vacation were cheerfully talking and enjoying the
gentle Caribbean winds on the hour long journey with a local brewed bottle of beer in hand

Making friends with an adorable Belize dog and taking walks with him on the beach

Discovering a food market (where locals shop) and stocking up on Belize specialties that I used to make a few meals

Bicycling the entire island and being captured by its beauty

Snorkeling around the Barrier Reef

Taking a stroll through the jungle

Sipping tropical drinks on a straw made swing
Adrianna (Travel World)

Nov 30, 2012

Australia (The Land Down Under)

Over 60,000 years ago the Aboriginal people discovered an island that brought them much fulfillment. This land down under was their home for centuries until 1788 when the British began colonizing it as a land for prisoners. In January of 1788 British citizens consisting of convicts, government officials, and Royal Marines landed at Port Jackson and found a new nation; AUSTRALIA.

Now in the 21st century Australia consists of a diverse population of 22 million including the Aboriginal people. Together they live in a country that's also a continent with much natural resources.

Australia is divided into seven regions; New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

My time in Australia was spent as a conservation volunteer in New South Wales. A group of us volunteers were based in and around the Bathurst area. Living in a charming residence that was once a train station a small group of us spent several days working on an old homestead and planting trees at various private and public schools. As a volunteer I mingled with the locals and really got to do a lot of things off the beaten path that most tourists would only dream of.

Most people who come to Australia land in Sydney and this beautiful city is really worth spending a few days in. Sydney is Australia's largest and oldest city and there's lot to do and see here. I recommend the following places: 

*Sydney Opera House is a stunner from every angle. Some of the world's best vocalists sing here

*The Rocks and Harbor Bridge 


*Darling Harbor

*Bondi Beach (one of the best beaches in the world)  Be sure to walk the 25 minute cliff top track

After a few days of culture and eating great food head to the Blue Mountains for some of the best hiking in all of Australia. The high mountains, sandstone cliffs, and forested gorges are an outdoor enthusiasts dream. If time permits take the Skyway cable car or Scenic Railway through the Blue Mountains. 

Australia is known for it's wine and there are no shortage of wineries, One of the best places is Hunter Valley (the oldest commercial grape growing area in Australia). Many wine connoisseurs make their way to Hunter Valley to sample and purchase wines at wineries such as Tyrrell's Vineyards and Petersons Wines. 

No visit to Australia is complete without seeing some wildlife. One of  the highlights of my visit to Australia was seeing kangaroos with their babies roaming through the open fields. There are many areas to look for kangaroos and sometimes you might spot one or two of them while touring through Australia.

Just because Australia is an island doesn't mean it's small. It takes a long time to see the wonders of the land down under from the Outback to Kangaroo Island; the choices are endless. Some of the most popular places to visit are Adelaide, Ayers Rock, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Byron Bay, Daintree Rainforest, Perth,  and Darwin & Kakadu National Park. 

Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world so don't miss out on exploring one of the hundreds of beaches along the coast and be sure to explore the Outback for a truly unique Australian experience. With so many things to offer it's no wonder millions of people visit Australia every year.

I'm certainly happy that I was able to spend some time in the land down under and experience life as an Aussie. I hope you will too.

Australian Foods 

Arnott's Tim Tams, Meat Pies, Pavlova, Lamingtons, and Vegemite

Recipe for Deviled Carrots:

2 cups carrots (washed and cut into matchstick sizes)
1 Tablespoon  melted butter
2 Teaspoons honey
1 Teaspoon mustard
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon water

Saute carrots in melted butter for two minutes then add remaining ingredients and simmer for five minutes.  

Adrianna (Travel World)

Nov 12, 2012

Alluring "ARUBA"

                                                        A  R  U  B  A

                                         One of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean

                                               Adrianna in ARUBA

Although our world is now at a population of about 7 billion human beings there's still plenty of places on earth that feel and look like a bit of paradise.
When the daily stresses of work, family, and responsibilities get overwhelming a few days or even weeks on a relaxing Caribbean island can restore the senses 
and make worries seem a million miles away. 

The Caribbean is known for it's abundance of palm trees, pure sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and beautiful islands. Each island has it's own uniqueness and you really can't go wrong with any of the islands that make up the Caribbean.

I never had much opportunity to explore the Caribbean until I started working for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. One of the perks of being an employee with this outstanding company was getting free complimentary nights at almost any Hyatt in the world. I remember how much I wanted to spend my upcoming birthday on a Caribbean island but couldn't decide on which one. My answer came when a billboard of ARUBA was placed over the entrance of Lincoln Tunnel just outside my apartment building in Manhattan. 

Everyday when I looked out my bedroom window at that alluring ARUBA billboard with pirate like boats docked on the calm turquoise waters I fantasized
about soaking in the Caribbean Sea. As luck would have it I was able to get a complimentary room at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort & Casino on popular Palm Beach. Within a week I was on a plane headed to Oranjestad, Aruba with a smile on my face.

The moment I left customs and walked out the doors into the warm sunshine I knew I was in the land of natural wonders. Aruba's topography consists of blue-green waters, stunning palm lined beaches, rock formations, and a desertlike interior. Aruba also has it own entity within the Kingdom of Netherlands which consists of Aruba, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Antilles. The locals speak Dutch and Papiamento. In order to be a citizen of Aruba one must speak fluent Dutch or Papiamento.

So what's there to do in Aruba besides basking in it's perfect Caribbean Sea?
Well there's biking, diving, horseback riding, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, windsurfing as well as golfing, and gambling. Aruba is loaded with casinos mostly found in hotels on Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and Oranjestad. The minimum age to gamble is 18 and many casino establishments offer complimentary meals at local restaurants.

Aruba located only 17 miles from the coast of Venezuela in South America is one of the few Caribbean islands that can be enjoyed 12 months of the year because of small amounts of rainfall and rare occurrences of hurricanes. Known as "one happy island" a vacation to the "one happy island" of ARUBA will have you smiling for days and yearning to return again and again.

Thumbs up to Aruba!

Adrianna's Recommendations:

Palm Beach is loaded with the most hotel properties. Its calm waters make it the top choice beach for swimming. I'm partial to the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort and Casino where I stayed. Situated on 12 acres this gorgeous resort offers swimming pools, water slides, a casino, great restaurants, and
a spectacular Regency Club with views of the Caribbean Sea. I highly recommend the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort and Casino.

Alto Vista Chapel (built in 1750) sits pretty on the northwest coast of Aruba.

Horseback riding along the beach, snorkeling the turquoise waters, hiking the 617 foot Mt. Yamanota at Arikok National Park, and visiting a casino are fun activities.

Oranjestad Aruba's capital is the place to go for dining, shopping and nightlife.

Check out the Cunucu Houses (pastel houses) made of old and contemporary

Eagle Beach is ideal for those seeking a wide beach with little crowds.

Indulge in locally made rum cake that will keep you humming for days.

Words in Papiamento (Aruba's language)

Bon Dia     Good Morning
Bon Bini     Welcome
Ajo           Bye
Danki       Thank you

Adrianna (Travel World)


Nov 7, 2012

Alaska (America's Crown Jewel)

                                    Wild & Wonderful ALASKA

For many years I longed to see Alaska and immerse myself in the great outdoors of America's last frontier. As a New Yorker I was accustomed to life in a concrete jungle where nearly everyone is in a hurry and the hustle and bustle of an exciting city never ends but my heart was longing for big open
spaces where I could roam for miles and not see a single soul except for an occasional deer or moose.

My opportunity to fly from New York City to Anchorage Alaska occurred on a mid June day.
Laid off for over a month from a busy Manhattan hotel where I worked as a concierge (due to
renovations) I was off to Alaska at long last. (Hooray)

I couldn't have chosen a better time to arrive in Anchorage because in June Alaskans celebrate
solstice festivals and 20 hours of daylight. Imagine being able to hike at midnight? (Very Cool)

My first two days were spent smack in Anchorage where I felt right at home. I stayed in a home hostel
with other folks from around the globe who quickly became my friends. We all had big thing in common; a love for the outdoors.

Anchorage really is wonderful place to start your Alaskan experience. It's a big city nestled in the wilderness and about 40% of the states population lives in Anchorage. Below are some things to do
while in Anchorage.

Sights:                                                                                  Activities:
Anchorage Museum                                                             Bicycling:  Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Alaska Heritage Museum                                                     and Chester Creek Bike Trail 
Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center                                    
Alaska Native Heritage Center                                           Hiking Flattop Mountain Trail (one of the 
Goose Lake                                                                         most popular in Anchorage)
Alaska Botanical Gardens                                                   
University of Alaska;Anchorage                                         A train ride on the Alaska Railroad
                                                                                            Visiting animals at the Anchorage Zoo

Dining (Wbere the locals eat)

Snow City Cafe
1034 West 4th Avenue
Known for the best breakfast in all of Anchorage

Bear Tooth Grill
1230 West 27th
A broad menu ranging from tasty burgers to Asian fusion dishes 

After a visit to Anchorage the real adventure begins and if time permits why not see every region you can.

Alaska's Diverse Region 

The Bush is quite remote. It's known as Arctic Alaska and it gets really cold here. It's home to polar bears. This is where you'll find Barrow, Nome, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Gates of the Arctic
National Park and Preserve.

Denali National Park is a hiker's paradise. With 6 million acres to explore Denali is proud to have North America's tallest mountain known as Mount McKinley. Denali National Park is located in the
Interior section of Alaska. After exploring this awesome national park a trip to nearby Talkeetna will
reward you what a typical Alaskan community town is all about.

Kenai Peninsula takes everyones breath away with awe-inspiring scenery. This is the place to kayak the majestic waters and experience hundreds of glaciers. (I had the honor of kayaking here and the
memory of this experience will be instilled in my mind for many more years to come).

Prince William Sound is a stunner with its abundance of fjords and glaciers. Highlights here include
Valdez and Whittler. 

Southwest Alaska is where the bears love the salmon. Kodiak Island has the largest bears in the world
who feast on delicious wild Alaskan salmon as often as they can. Southwest Alaska can only be reached by place which helps it retain its remote feel of pure wilderness.

Juneau and the Southeast; is where Alaska states capital is located. This region has the mildest climate in all of Alaska and sits on a panhandle surrounded by lush rainforest.

Everyone has their own idea of how they want to explore Alaska. For some a luxurious cruise brings
much comfort along the lovely waterways, others find happiness in traveling by car, plane, or train.
The Alaskan Railroad is a wonderful way to get around parts of Alaska while enjoying spectacular views from the passenger windows.

I chose to camp the whole time I was in Alaska (with the exception of staying at a home hostel in Anchorage). I travelled with a group of 20 other anxious campers. We were accompanied by a well
informed tour guide who really knew Alaska first hand. We camped in many remote places where there weren't even showers or flushing toilets. Sometimes I went 3 days without a shower but this was all part of roughing it in the great outdoors. At times I came in contact with native Alaskans who never stepped foot inside a city in Alaska or even left the state. One man told me he dreaded shopping once a month because it meant seeing cars and buildings. As a New Yorker who is use to tall buildings and
lots of cars I could totally relate to a man who just couldn't deal with any type of city life. Once one
has experienced life in the wilderness it's culture shock to enter a concrete jungle of highways and traffic jams.

Spending a whole month in Alaska was a dream come true and I made my wish come true of roaming miles of open space without seeing a living soul except for a few bears. Alaska is wild and wonderful and exploring it as a camper made it even more authentic. Alaska is so diverse and scenic that it rightly deserves being known as "The Last Frontier." 

Don't miss out on a visit to ALASKA (America's Crown Jewel).

Alaska Highlights:

Native CultureClimbing Mount MckInley
Riding a ferry or taking a train ride on the Alaskan Railroad
Viewing bears, eating wild Alaskan salmon and  having a salmon bake
Watching the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights
Kayaking in the Kenai Peninsula

Nov 5, 2012

Wild and Wonderful Alaska

Alaska is a massive state so massive that if it were its own country it would be the seventh largest country in the world. Alaska's beauty is unsurpassed and it's diversity comes in first place. Alaska
is the land of glaciers, forests, tundra, mountains and sea as well as a haven for wildlife. Alaska
is America's gem.

With a wander lust for exploring America I was thrilled when the opportunity came to make a trip to
Alaska. For a whole month I left the busy streets of Manhattan, New York where I lived and worked and immersed myself in a true Alaskan wilderness experience by camping in a tent. My trip started
in Alaska's biggest city Anchorage where about 40% of Alaskans live. 

Anchorage is one of the only cities in America where cosmopolitan vs outdoors comes so close
together. Within a short distance of corporate buildings and busy streets one can easily get onto the
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and spot some bears. The museums, shops, and restaurants of Anchorage are within close proximity of beautiful Chugach National Forest with it's abundant supply of trails for
outdoor enthusiasts. Anchorage is indeed a good starting point for those seeking the beginning of an
Alaskan travel experience.

There are many ways to explore Alaska; some choose a cruise, others count on planes and trains to get
around and then there are those that are happy exploring as much of Alaska as they can in their own vehicle. I chose to explore Alaska with a camping group and I'm glad I did because I really got to get
up close and personal with Alaska's brilliant wilderness. My camping peers loved adventure. We didn't mind roughing it from time to time like going a few days without a shower, getting drenched by heavy rain showers in our small tents in the middle of nowhere and having a limited supply of
food to eat. This actually was all part of the fun.

There are some residents of Alaska that rarely venture to a city or town. One native Alaskan I met during my Alaskan travels loved remote living so much that he dreaded going to a town 100 miles away from him to shop for food supplies once a month. He told met the largest place he ever visited in his lifetime was Fairbanks and that to him was too big. (That's Alaska for you)

So where in Alaska would you like to visit?

Barrow located in the Arctic is the most northern mainland town in all of North America lying on the Arctic Ocean. It's home to polar bear and whales who enjoy the extremely cold temperatures. 

Denali National Park is a treasure for spotting wildlife. Many visitors choose to take the shuttle bus that goes through the park. Seats on the left side are the best for viewing animals and binoculars are highly recommended for seeing caribou, grizzly bears, moose, sheep and other Denali National Park wildlife.Within the 6 million acres of Denali National Park sits the majestic high and mighty Mount McKinley. Rising to 20,320 feet Mount McKinley is North America's highest mountain and a challenging mountain to hike.

Kenai Peninsula is the place to fish, see glaciers and marvel at the gorgeous fjords.
The little town of Homer with its artsy community is a great base to sea kayak among islands,
visit museums, and eat fresh fish. Over in Seward there's the Alaska Sea Life Center home to marine animals. Here you can fish for halibut and salmon on a charter boat and take pictures of cute sea otters.
Kenai Fjords National Park sits on 670,000 acres where blades of glaciers fall into the sea. It's where mountains meet the ocean and wildlife enjoys sea life. The extraordinary beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park is the kind of place that leaves a footprint in the minds of those that are fortunate enough to bask in its wonders.

Kodiak Island is a huge island with an influx of Alaska Native and Russian American culture.
During salmon spawning season a multitude of bears appear to catch and eat their favorite food of
Alaskan salmon. If fishing and kayaking are your passions Kodiak Island is the place to be.

With 424,491,520 acres to boast Alaska is the kind of state that can takes months to see. Known as
"The Last Frontier" Alaska's beauty and diversity will forever make it wild and wonderful. So book
a trip to Alaska for a travel experience you'll never forget.

                                                           When in Alaska:

Take a train ride on the Alaskan Railroad

Eat some wild Alaskan salmon (absolutely delicious)

Book a dog sled tour and get to know Alaska's magnificent dogs

Plan some outdoor activities

Adrianna (Travel World)

Oct 31, 2012

Amazing Austria (My favorite things)

                                             A U S T R I A

                              I loved working in Austria. What a magnificent experience!


Don't miss Schwarzsee lake in Kitzbuhel for a refreshing swim. Set against a wooded forest with walking trails Schwarszsee meaning (black lake) in German attracts locals and tourists for a picture perfect place to spend a few hours swimming and relaxing on the grassy shores. I often rode my bicycle here during my work breaks and swam in this splendid lake alongside ducks. This popular lake offers diving boards, slides, a children's playground, boat rentals, restaurants for dining and sweeping views of the Alps. The national Austrian railroad passes through Schwarzee daily with passengers coming from Innsbruck and Salzburg.

Swimming in any of Austria's stunning lakes. Some popular lakes include Hintersteiner, Mondsee, and Faakersee.

The Sound of Music Tour (on your own) is a better way to enjoy the film location shots without rushing.

The "Salzkammergut Region" is a vacation paradise. One of the most photographed villages in all of Austria (Hallstatt) is in this region.

Salzburg's Nonnberg Abbey, Mirabell Palace & Gardens, and  Schloss Leopoldskron are magnificent to visit and (The Sound of Music) fans will have vivid memories of visiting those sights.

Staying a few nights in a family run pension (guest house) is a wonderful way to feel like a local.

Untersberg Mountain (near Salzburg) is a breath-taking mountain.

Wilder Kaiser is Tyrol's gem of a mountain and worth hiking.

A day in Innsbruck (Known for the Olympics)

When shopping at a supermarket such as Spar or Bille stock up on  Reber Mozart Kugel Chocolates and Manner Original Neopolitan Wafers. (Austrian specialties)

There's no shortage of bakeries in Austria. Breads, rolls and pastries are especially delicious in this part of the world where everything is still made from scratch with wholesome flour and grains. My favorite pastime was picking up a variety of rolls at nearby bakeries and having a picnic in the meadow with a cup of cappuccino made with local farm milk.

A day or two in Hohe Tauern National Park (famous for Krimml waterfalls) is spectacular.

Mingling with the dairy cows on any of Austria's hiking trails and gathering some edelweiss flowers.

                                           Austria has lots of cows!

My ultimate favorite thing to do in Austria was to run barefoot through the meadows in my dress and apron and sing to my hearts content.

Edelweiss, Edelweiss, every morning you greet me.....


Austrian Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel) should be sampled at least once by everyone and speaking of Apfelstrudel here's a recipe I'd like to share:


                                              Austrian Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

For the dough mix together 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup warm water. Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter for 3-5 minutes. Divide dough into two equal halves. Knead each half for an additional minute and form into ball. Brush dough balls with butter and let sit 45 minutes.

For the filling, core and peel 2 pounds of apples, and mix the apple slices with 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Cover and set aside.

Brush one dough ball with melted butter, roll out on a lightly floured pastry board or counter. 
Stretch dough gently with your hands until it's 16 to 18 inches long. Brush the dough with melted butter and set  aside for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of ground walnuts over the stretched dough and squeeze out any liquid left in the 
apple filling. Spread half the apple filling over the dough and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of golden raisins.

Carefully roll out the strudel and place it one half of greased baking sheet.

Repeat everything for second strudel.

Brush both strudels with egg whites and bake them 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees

Strudel is best served warm and with some clotted cream.


Things not to miss while in Austria:

Skiing and Snowboarding on the slopes

Sampling a bottle of Almdudler (Austria's national drink) made of grape and orange juice

and mixed with herbs

Taking a train ride to the popular lakeside towns of Zell am See and Hallstatt

Having a gelato in one of Austria's many towns or villages. (Some of the best ice cream in the world)

Drinking some locally produced buttermilk from a farmer

Dining in a restaurant and listening to traditional Austrian music

Keeping your ears tuned to the beautiful sounds of cuckoo birds scattered throughout Austria and buying a cuckoo clock as a souvenir

Enjoying a beer at the summit of a hiking trail

The hospitality of Austrian people who will make you feel very welcome to their country


yes   ja                               draft beer   Vom Fass

no   nein                             ice cream   Eis
bitte  please                      
danke  thank you
guten tag   good day
bread   brot
milk   milch

I loved my time in Austria and look forward to returning to this small country that brought me big adventures and unforgettable memories.

AUSTRIA really is amazing!!!


Amazing Austria

A   U   S   T  R  I  A

                        Beautiful "Hallstatt" is the most photographed village in all of  Austria!

Austria with its stunning alpine scenery and hospitable people never seems to disappoint its visitors.This is the land of apple strudel, hand crafted cuckoo clocks, vast mountain peaks, countless sparkling, lakes, charming villages nestled in valley bottoms, lush meadows with wildflowers, and immaculate cleanliness. Whether its visiting the magnificent cultural city of Vienna and attending an opera, learning the waltz, basking on the shores of Bondensee (Lake Constance), enjoying the music festivals in Salzburg, hiking or skiing the famous Alps of Tyrol, or riding a train through the spectacular scenery, Austria is the kind of place that's hard to leave.

Austria is the most mountainous country in Europe and extremely popular with hikers and skiers. People from around the world come to hike it's glorious trails and ski the incredible slopes in ski towns such as Soll, Seefeld and Kitzbuhel but Austria has more to offer than just its mountains. In this relatively small country one can also sail the Danube River, watch stallions pace at the Spanish Riding School, indulge in cappuccino and linzer torte at a famous cafe, watch cows parading through a storybook village, visit enchanting castles, learn German at a language immersion school, and explore local wineries. 

I'm a little partial to Austria having recently returned from working several months at a retreat house near Kitzbuhel. I have nothing but praises for this German speaking country that I wish I could someday call home. I love Austria for many reasons; the mountains, the cows, the chocolate,the cleanliness, the scenery, the sweet mountain goats, the marvelous lakes for swimming, the authentic idyllic villages, the delicious food, the friendly people,  are just a few of my favorite things about Austria.The Austrians take such pride in keeping everything so spic and span. They're also very dedicated to their heritage and celebrate their holidays with much enthusiasm. Most cities and villages host concerts and parades during certain holidays and almost everything is closed on Sundays and holidays.

I shall never forget all the sweet memories of my six months living in the tiny village of Reith (three kilometers from famous Kitzbuhel). Every morning I would make up  at 5:00 am to the church chimes and walk down the steep hill where I could hear cuckoo birds singing in the forest. I would participate in meditation and singing with guests and staff in the yoga hall and afterwards attend the staff meeting to receive my job duties for the day. A typical day for me was cooking organic vegetarian meals for guests and staff, managing the guest houses, leading hikes through the Alps, and teaching yoga classes.Working with an international clientele was quite stimulating and I was able to make wonderful friends.

During my free time in Austria I rode the endless bicycle trails, took the train to nearby towns like  Zell am See for recreation, played the guitar, hiked steep mountains trails, swam in glorious alpine lakes, learned German and yodeled with the mountain goats. Often I would gather grass for my beloved goats who thanked me with their baa baa sounds. If there's one place I could live for the rest of my life, it would be AUSTRIA.

AUSTRIA is wunderbar!

Auf Wiedersehen

Oct 22, 2012


Traveling awakens the senses and opens the mind to an amazing world of adventure, diversity, and cultural immersion.

There's seven continents and almost two hundred countries to explore. Where on earth do you want to go?

I hope you can visit all the countries you wish to the most and that your travels will keep you happy and fulfilled.

Happy Travels!

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