Avital Food Tours: Eating Our Way through North Beach San Francisco

Avital Food Tours North Beach San Francisco tour review

Taking a food tour in San Francisco is really a no brainer as San Francisco is a city full of culinary delights from artisan coffee to fresh caught seafood to old-fashioned ice cream. We didn’t hesitate when Avital Food Tours asked us to review one of their walking food tours. Currently, this small company offers food tours in several iconic San Francisco neighborhoods including the Mission District, Haight-Ashbury, North Beach, and Union Square. What is unique about the company is that not only do they take you to local culinary destinations and allow you to meet restaurant owners and chefs, but they also focus on providing participants with local history and little known local lore about the neighborhood. We’ll share our experience of eating our way through San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and also provide readers with a chance to win 2 tickets to experience an Avital Food Tour of Read the Rest…

Le Marche Italy: Discovering an Unexplored Region of Italy

Gradara Castle Le Marche Italy

In October, I spent three days in the Le Marche Region of Italy following the Travel Bloggers Destination Italy conference in Rimini. Admittedly, I had never heard of the Le Marche region before and was mispronouncing the name of the region (pronounced lay MAR-kay) until we started the trip. However, I was excited to explore this relatively unknown region of Italy. The Marche Region sits in the center of Italy with the Apennines to its west and the Adriatic Sea to its east, and is best known for its rolling hills, agricultural products, parks and nature reserves, and its seaside towns and beaches. It is also a great region to discover small hilltop villages and picturesque towns that have preserved their medieval and renaissance heritages. During our three-day whirlwind trip we visited the northern part of Le Marche region of Italy known as the “Hills Riviera” and focused on the major Read the Rest…

Safari West: An African Safari Experience in Sonoma California

giraffes at Safari West Santa Rosa CA

I was really surprised to learn that there was an African wildlife preserve called Safari West located only 75 miles north of San Francisco. Safari West is a 400-acre wildlife preserve containing over 100 species and over 700 individual animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, flamingoes, rhinos, cape buffalo, lemurs, and wildebeest. Opened in 1993 by Peter and Nancy Lang, Safari West strives to promote wildlife advocacy and conservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction. The preserve shares similar environmental features to an African savanna and guests can take open-air guided wildlife safari drives to see many of the animals roaming the expansive property. The smaller animals are kept in enclosures that are reachable by a walkway and you can also visit the open-air aviary containing all sorts of exotic birds. Guests can even stay overnight here and see and hear many of the animals in the evening once the daytime crowds leave. After hearing Read the Rest…

Visiting Finland in Winter: Top 15 Winter Activities in Finland

husky dog sledding in Finland during winter traveling

Laurence and I recently had the pleasure of spending a few weeks visiting Finland in winter during the month of January. Most people tend to avoid Northern Europe during the winter and head to sunnier and warmer destinations, but there are so many reasons to travel to Finland in winter. Yes, it is cold and there’s snow and the daylight hours get shorter, but there are also fewer tourists, surreal winter landscapes, and unique winter activities to be discovered throughout the country. You can’t go ice fishing, try dog sledding, take a traditional sauna, learn how to kicksled, drink cloudberry wine, or go hunting for those mesmerizing Northern Lights along the Mediterranean. We’ll share our tips for visiting Finland in winter as well as share our top 15 winter activities in Finland to help you put together your own trip to this magical winter wonderland. Tips for Planning your Trip to Finland in Winter If Read the Rest…

The African Tulip: Best Hotel in Arusha Tanzania?

The African Tulip Arusha Tanzania hotel review

The African Tulip hotel is a centrally located boutique hotel in Arusha Tanzania and is currently ranked on Tripadvisor as the number one hotel in the city. Arusha is a very common stop on most travelers’ itineraries in Tanzania as the city is a great jumping off spot to head to a variety of parks for those going on safari and is near both Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro for climbers. In fact, we ended up staying in Arusha three different times during our trip. The first time was unplanned and we ended up at The African Tulip after having to delay the start of our climb of Mount Kilimanjaro after I started feeling ill and running a fever. The hotel was highly recommended by our safari company Amani Afrika and we found out that over 50 safari companies trust their guests to this hotel. This hotel ended up being a perfect place Read the Rest…

Secret Sweater Shawl & Travel Blanket: A Review

Secret Sweater shawl and travel blanket review

The Secret Sweater shawl and travel blanket is the newest in a line of travel-worthy fashion products by San Francisco native Katherine Noyes Arnemann. This new product doubles as both a full-sized shawl and a travel blanket but is compact enough to fold up and store in a purse or backpack. The great thing is that the travel pouch is attached within the neckline area of the sweater so it folds up into itself! The shawl helps add an extra layer of warmth while also being stylish and versatile, and works well whether you are watching a sporting event, walking around an air-conditioned art museum, watching the sunset from a beach, or having a drink at a trendy bar. I loved the original Secret Sweater cardigan and was very excited to try out this new product. I’ll share my experiences of wearing the shawl over the past couple of months Read the Rest…

Internet while Traveling: A Review of the Netgear Trek Travel Router

Netgear Trek N300 Travel Router and Range Extender

Netgear sent us their Netgear Trek N300 Travel Router and Range Extender for us to try out on our travels. These days most travelers want to be able to get online regularly while traveling to check email, get directions, check hotel and restaurant reviews, upload photos, update social media, and stay in touch with those back home. It is definitely easier to stay connected as wireless Internet is now widely available in most parts of the world but there are still a number of situations when it can be tricky (or expensive) to connect. As travel bloggers, it is often even more important to be able to get online on a regular basis while traveling and it can be very frustrating when you are in a hotel with weak Wi-Fi, you are being restricted from using multiple devices on one Internet connection, or you would like more security when using an unsecured Read the Rest…

Outdoor Adventures in Scenic Los Osos California

Spooner's Cove Montaña de Oro State Park Los Osos California Montana beach

Los Osos is a peaceful bayside community that is home to a number of outdoor activities along Central California’s coast. Los Osos is conveniently located just off scenic Highway 1, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Located just south of beautiful Morro Bay and its famous giant rock landmark, Los Osos lies along Estero Bay and is the gateway to Montaña de Oro State Park, one of the most beautiful oceanside parks in California. If you enjoy hiking, water activities, bird watching, and other outdoor adventures, this lovely area of Central California is the perfect place for a weekend nature break. Ethan and I were very excited to be invited to spent a day and a half in Los Osos exploring the lovely parks, estuaries, nature preserves, and bays surrounding this lovely town. We’ll tell you all you need to know to start planning your own visit to Los Osos, Read the Rest…

Vintage and Antique Shopping in Morro Bay California: Perfect Place for a Recycled Holiday

Morro-Bay-rock-birds

Morro Bay is a charming seaside town with a bustling waterfront, charming old town, and an enormous landmark in the form of Morro Rock which sits in the harbor. You’ll likely first notice this large iconic rock from miles away as your approach the city. Morro Bay sits along the Central California Coastline just off of California’s scenic Highway 1, located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. While perhaps best known for its waterfront activities, outdoor adventure opportunities, and rock landmark, Morro Bay also sports a downtown shopping district in its Old Town, and this was the reason for our first visit to this little charming town. The town sports dozens of antique malls, thrift stores, gift shops, and local speciality stores that beg to be explored. What would you do if you were given $500 to spend to buy gifts for a “recycled holiday”, where instead of buying Read the Rest…

Beyond Oktoberfest and Hofbrauhaus: Festivals and Beer in Bavaria Germany

couple at Hofbrauhaus with beer

Germany is well-known for its beer culture with Munich being home to the long-running Oktoberfest and the world-famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall, both of which attract millions of beer-guzzling tourists each year. However, attending Oktoberfest is not the only way to join in on some sudsy Bavarian fun and there are plenty of other German festivals and ways to experience beer in Bavaria. Hofbräuhaus is the world’s most famous beer hall and one of the oldest beer halls in Germany, regularly packed with rowdy tourists (and brave locals) throughout the year. A pilgrimage to the Hofbräuhaus is worth it, but we suggest that there is more to experience at this famous site than simply drinking beer and eating sausage and we’ll share how you can learn more about the beer culture in Germany here. To get away from the tourists, we suggest that in addition to the popular Hofbräuhaus that you also seek out some Read the Rest…

12 Tips for Attending your First Travel Blogger Conference

travel blogger conference tips advise preparing for first conference

Ethan and I are busy getting ready for our very first official travel blogger conference! We were selected among the top 100 travel bloggers to be hosted to attend Travel Bloggers Destination-Italy (TBDI) that will take place in Rimini, Italy next month in conjunction with Italy’s leading travel exhibition event TTG Incontri. Actually, I will be heading off to Italy alone as TBDI only hosts one blogger from each blog, so sadly I’ll be leaving Ethan at home to watch over the kitties while I spend a week in Italy. I have been thinking about how I can put my best foot forward as I head off to meet other bloggers, sit through presentations by travel industry experts, meet travel industry exhibitors, and explore a little of Italy on a post-conference blog tour. While we have not officially attended a travel blogger conference before, we have attended some travel and tourism shows and I Read the Rest…

Buffalo Luxury Camp: Bush Dinners, Night Game Drives, & Safari Walks

Buffalo Luxury Camp Serengeti northern Serengeti lodging hotel travel reviews

The main reason we chose to stay at Buffalo Luxury Camp is because it offers guests the opportunity to do both night game drives and game walks. Buffalo Luxury Camp is located in the northern Serengeti on its own privately owned hillside just a few miles outside of the boundaries of Serengeti National Park. Because of the lodge’s location outside of the park and its position on private land, the camp is able to offer a range of experiences not possible within the national park, including off-road game drives, night game drives, and nature and safari walks. Buffalo Luxury Camp is a permanent luxury tented camp consisting of 15 suite tents with constant hot and cold water, electricity, hair dryers, robes, and even bath tubs! We appreciated the luxury of our suite tent and the beautiful three-level main lodge building; however, what stood out to us most were the unique experiences of Read the Rest…

Asanja Africa: Finding the Perfect Mix of Wilderness and Luxury in the Serengeti

Asanja Africa Luxury Tented Camp Serengeti lodging hotel

Asanja Africa provided the perfect balance of wilderness and luxury for us while staying in the Serengeti. The Serengeti, one of the world’s most amazing wildlife areas, is the perfect place to enjoy a stay in a small tented camp. Located in the southern central area of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Asanja Africa is a tented camp that offers seven well-appointed luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms and private verandas. Each of the seven tents are individually decorated based on a different Maasai ceremony so that each one has a unique theme and style. Because of the camp’s small size and location you can have an authentic wilderness experience while still enjoying a comfortable bed, warm shower, great food, and personalized service. Ethan and I enjoyed the scenic views of the Serengeti plains and Moru kopjes during the day and listened to the sounds of hyenas and lions in the evening! Read the Rest…

Top 10 Things to do in the Serengeti

top things to do in Serengeti Tanzania best guide to Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is one of the most famous national parks in Africa and offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world; however, there are a number of things to do in the Serengeti other than game drives. The Serengeti has earned the titles of one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa” and one of the “Ten Natural Travel Wonders of the World” for being the site of the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world (about 2 million animals!). However, even without the Great Migration, the park sports the densest lion population in the world and is home to all members of the Big Five and almost 500 bird species. The Serengeti fits well into most people’s dream of an African safari with its abundant wildlife, vast golden plains dotted with thorny umbrella acacia trees, kopjes, and sausage trees, and its crocodile and hippo-filled rivers. When planning Read the Rest…

Sleeping on the Rim of Ngorongoro Crater at Ang’ata Ngorongoro Camp

Angata Ngorongoro Camp Ang'ata Camps tented safari camps Ngorongoro Crater

The first tented camp we ever stayed in was Angata Ngorongoro Camp, a camp situated on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. If you go on safari in Tanzania, your itinerary will almost inevitably include the Ngorongoro Crater. Descending into the crater is a bit like entering the mythical Garden of Eden as it is teeming with wildlife and probably offers the best opportunity to see a black rhino in Tanzania. Angata Ngorongoro Camp sits on the northern rim of the crater near the Lemala Gate. The small camp has 8 eco-friendly luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms, outdoor seating areas, hot showers, and even warm robes. At night, you can view the sunset from the outdoor seating area of your tent and then walk with one of the security guards to the Lounge for drinks or the Mess Tent for dinner. The camp’s great location allows for a quick morning Read the Rest…