Week before last, I visited the Dominican Republic–and the Caribbean–for the first time! I went with my tried and true travel partner, Ilse, for five days of R&R. We both had a lot going on in our lives this summer and, contrary to my personal travel style, opted for a lazy, beach vacation. This trip ended up being a lot more than we bargained for; while we had plenty of relaxation, we also had some trials and tribulations.
We stayed in Cabarete, a small coastal town known for its kite surfing; Ilse’s grandfather built a small home here on the beach which is where we stayed.
We were assaulted by mosquitoes almost constantly through this trip, lathering on layers and layers of repellent to the point that there was really no point in showering. Speaking of showering, we were also given a mid-week shock when the unfortunate drought in the city prompted a citywide water shutdown for about 24 hours without warning or update of when it would be turned back on. Even with these inconveniences, however, the location was definitely prime for everything going on nearby.
Last weekend, we took our first family vacation to one of the Hawaiian islands: Maui! Yes, you read that correctly–it was our first family vacation (and yes, it was in Hawaii, haha). The four of us embarked on a 10-hour journey toward this beautiful island that left me in awe. None of us have been to Hawaii and I genuinely cannot put into words how breath-taking it was. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Day One: Getting a Full Day Back ◊ Checking in Though we left Dallas at 7:00 a.m., we arrived in Maui at 12:00 p.m. local time. We were exhausted, but our spirits quickly picked back up when we saw the beauty in front of us. Our condo rental was a 40-minute drive from the airport, but it was easily the most scenic 40 minutes I have experienced. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and mountains straight from Jurassic Park on the other, I didn’t know what to pay attention to. Something absolutely amazing about the island that we noticed off the bat too was the lack of traffic. Talk about a great start to a vacation.
We actually got to our condo too early, so we grabbed lunch at Down the Hatch. Frankly, the place was a bit overhyped. There are tons of reviews on this place and recommendations from other bloggers, but I found it to be overpriced and underwhelming. It definitely stands out in the main little shopping area on that side of town, so I understand why traffic flows through. Oh, and they have a koi pond. They do have a great happy hour deal though, so if you are going to go, go for the drinks!
Normally, I rarely talk about accommodation, but I could not believe the place we were staying in once we were able to check in. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much and when they handed us a key instead of a key card, we were all worried that it would be outdated in terms of decor, but boy, were we wrong. We rented a beachside condo with Lahaina Shores Beach Resort and it. was. insane. If you take no other recommendations from this blog post, take this one. When they say ocean view or ‘along the beach’, it was essentially on the beach. When my vlog is posted in the future, I will be able to put a visual to what I am saying, but the beach was quite literally in our backyard (see last picture).
What you don’t see in the photos above is that it came with two bathrooms–both with showers. Where those bushes are in that last photo is the only barrier between the property and the beach–to the right is the gate with direct access. I would also like to add that maid service and parking (daily and covered) are free for guests and they provide beach towels in the rooms. A fun addition that I personally enjoyed is almost every room had dimmers with their lights which I find to be a personal luxury, especially when you do not want to be blinded when you first wake up.
For the 4th of July weekend, I headed down to Fredericksburg, TX! I only discovered this place a couple of months ago as it started popping up more often on the Dallas blogging scene as a spot to visit. It is known as Texas Wine Country and it certainly lived up to its name. It is a little over four hours southwest of Dallas and once you arrive in the town, you see so many wineries and vineyards.
Fredericksburg is a small town of German influence where, apparently, German settlers moved and established their customs in direct rebuttal to English customs. Though today it is very much Texan, you can find German restaurants to get that semi-authentic experience. I say it’s a small town because there are not that many people and there isn’t much to do outside of the city center, but the actual town is pretty spread out due to the amount of farm land. We attempted to plan in advance by booking a reservation at a wine cellar for a tasting and eat at a German restaurant called Otto’s, but in typical fashion, things did not totally go according to plan.
If you read my Brighton blog post, you will know that I opted not to write a blog post about the extent of the London side of my London/Paris birthday trip. Well, I am doing that today again because I have already discussed Paris on this blog, and frankly we didn’t do anything significantly different for this trip compared to my last one; however, I do want to tell y’all about my day trip out of Paris to a different French city: Strasbourg.
Strasbourg gets its name from being on the border of Germany, so it has French and German influences–mainly in the architecture. It was about a two-hour, high-speed train ride out of Gare du Nord in Paris and roundtrip was about $82 per person. Initially, we wanted to go to Brussels for a day to hit three countries in two weeks, but the overall cost and amount of things to do seemed more attractive in Strasbourg.
To be honest, there is not a lot to do in Strasbourg. It is pretty small and the main attraction is the architecture because it looks like it is straight out of Beauty and the Beast (though not the exact location the movie is set in). We spent most of our time taking pictures and walking around because thankfully the weather was amazing that day.