Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WaterFire Lighting in Providence, RI

WaterFire has become one of the top attractions in Providence, Rhode Island in the summer. WaterFire is a sculpture/art installation by Barnaby Evans on the three rivers in downtown Providence, creating a line of bonfires on the water.
Waterfire
Over the years, the installation has been expanded to 100 braziers, and there are multiple lighting events throughout the summer, taking place at sunset (mainly on the weekends).
Waterfire
Most of the lighting activities take place in the basin at Waterplace Park, surrounded by the Providence Place mall and the visitor center. During the lighting, boats with firewood receives fire from a mime, and the braziers are lit one by one as fire acrobats perform on the boats and music is piped all long the river.
Waterfire

Friday, April 21, 2017

Travel Tips: Apps to Kill Time on a Long-Haul Flight

Wow AirLong-haul flights are when I catch up on my movies, TV, and books. Good airlines now have a nice entertainment options, but sometimes you might get stuck with a budget airline that doesn't have any entertainment system or onboard wifi. If you have one of those flights coming up, there's no need to fret, as there are so many apps nowadays that you can use to keep you entertained.


1. FiOs Mobile App
This app is perhaps not one that might come to mind with other options like Netflix or Hulu, but did you know that the FiOs app lets you watch live TV from up to 140 channels, and also stream TV shows and movies on demand? If you are a FiOs subscriber, this is certainly a handy app to get before your flight! They even have offline viewing options for some content, so you can download some shows before you go off the grid aboard the flight.
Plus, if you're both a FiOs TV and Verizon Wireless customer, you can stream shows from the FiOs app data-free. Makes your live streaming those sports games or TV shows more guilt-free, right?

2. Netflix
The day Netflix introduced downloads and offline streaming was the day Netflix became a great app to have for traveling! Not all TV shows or movies can be downloaded at the moment, but there enough options and they make it easy to browse the ones that are. On your app menu, there is an "Available for Download" category with popular shows like Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, and more.
You can also use Netflix while you're in another country, although they have different content. I was able to catch up on Orphan Black when I was in the UK because they had newer seasons available there.

3. Amazon Prime Video and Audible
Amazon has really upped their prime membership perks with the addition of Audible Channels. I am putting these two together because they both come with Prime membership, although they are separate apps. Amazon Prime Video app has allowed downloads and offline viewing way before Netflix did, and their exclusive content also include some binge-worthy shows. Now the membership also includes access to Audible Channels and Prime Exclusive Audiobooks.

4. Podcasts
Technically not an app, but I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while traveling. You get to rest your eyes while still being engaged by the story. Plus, some podcasts are so addictive that they're better to listen to in one sitting (like Serial and S-Town!), so they're perfect for a long-haul flight.
Got any podcast that you love? Let me know, I'd love to get ideas for my next flight!

5. Games
The key, of course, is to download games that can be played offline. Some offline games that can be addictive are Two Dots and 1010. Some games can still be played offline with limited features, like SimCity BuildIt.


Do you have any other apps you use while traveling long distance? If you do, please share below!


This post was created in partnership with Verizon FiOs, which is now rolling out in Boston, starting from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Roslindale.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Street Art and Brews in Miami's Wynwood Art District

Just a few years ago, Miami's Wynwood was a warehouse district that no one ventures out to. Now, it is one of the hottest destinations in Miami filled with street art and some of the city's best breweries and restaurants.
Wynwood
Conceived by community revitalizer, the late Tony Goldman, in 2009, the idea is to bring great street art onto the walls of Wynwood's windowless warehouse buildings, and then develop the surrounding area. Today, Wynwood Walls is a colorful place that pedestrians, both locals and tourists, all enjoy.
Wynwood
I heard about Wynwood from the bartender at The Abbey (the only brewpub in Miami Beach), who told me Wynwood has a good concentration of Miami's craft breweries. If you are a beer lover, skip the beach and head to Wynwood.
I hopped on an Uber there, but stopping off first to get a different kind of brew at Panther Coffee, one of the best-known coffee shops in the city (and probably the best, as well).
Wynwood
Panther roasts their own coffee on site in small batches. Panther has two blends for the espresso, East Coast and West Coast espresso. I opted for the East Coast espresso since the tasting notes were "very creamy, round chocolate .. notes of sweet black cherry". Those all sounded good to me and resulted in a delicious cappuccino.
Wynwood
From there, I walked to J. Wakefield Brewing. I fell in love with it as soon as I got to the parking lot. Darth Vader wall!
Wynwood

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chilling at Quebec's Ice Hotel, Hotel de Glace

When Sweden's Icehotel opened in 1990, I dreamed of going there. While I haven't had the chance to go to Sweden at all, luckily I can experience an ice hotel in Canada! Hotel de Glace is open every winter in Quebec, giving vacationers the chance to tour, sleep in, drink in, or even get married in this wintry surroundings.
Hotel de Glace
I decided not to stay at Hotel de Glace, but instead to take a tour of the hotel. In the afternoon, all the rooms of the hotel are open for public tours. In the evening, the hotel is closed to the public and overnight guests can sleep in private.
Hotel de Glace
For the day tour-goers, especially families with children, there's an ice slide they can go on (hey, adults are welcome, too).
Hotel de Glace
Each room has a different theme and decor (think ice sculptures) and the price is different as well. This was one of the most expensive suites (which comes with a private hot tub and bathroom)
Hotel de Glace

Friday, November 4, 2016

Being a Tourist in Boston with Go City Card: From Duck Tours to Museums

Traveling can get expensive, that's a fact. Never mind the flight and the hotels, once you get to your destination, it can cost a lot of money to visit the all the attractions you want to see. Thankfully, you can save money with multi-attraction packages like Go City Card from Smart Destinations.

They recently gave A Traveling Life5 Things to Eat, and me a 3-attraction Explorer Pass to try out. It was our chance to do all the touristy Boston stuff that we haven't done!
Our first attraction was the Boston Duck Tour. We got on the tour at the Science Museum.
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The bus goes to Boston Common area and continues on to Back Bay to Copley Square.
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It then heads back to Cambridge and near the Science Museum and enters the Charles River from there. The best part is getting in the water!
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Thanksgiving and America's Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown in Virginia

I didn't grow up in America, so I only learned about American history after coming to the country in high school, but last Thanksgiving I visited the Greater Williamsburg and the Historic Triangle in Virginia, which consisted of three towns: Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Jamestown is the first permanent English settlement in America, so it has quite a significant place in history.

When we arrived, we went to visit the Jamestown Settlement. The Jamestown Settlement is a "living history museum" located near but not on the site of the real settlement. Walking through, you start out  at the earliest point of history: with the exhibit on the Powhatan Indians.
Jamestown
You can walk through the houses (the longhouses), and staff members were there preparing traditional foods.
Williamsburg

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Best Tiramisu in Venice, Italy: I Tre Mercanti

I love tiramisu. I've loved tiramisu ever since I can remember having eaten tiramisu. Tiramisu is supposedly invented in 1969 in Treviso, near Venice, so I figured being in Venice got me close enough to hunt for a great one. An online search turned up I Tre Mercanti as a potential contender.

i Tre Mercanti

This cute little shop sells tiramisu, macarons, wines, olive oils and other sundries.
i Tre Mercanti

But of course, I'm here for the tiramisu. Multiple tiramisus, in fact. I Tre Mercanti has many flavors of tiramisu, from the classic (coffee), mango, amaretto, pistachio. They claim that they make them fresh every hour, and when they do you can actually see the action through the window.
i Tre Mercanti


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Inn At Richmond and Equestrian Center: A Place of Celebration

I've visited The Berkshires in the fall, but I finally made my first foray out here in the winter time. The Berkshires is quiet in the winter, but that also makes for a relazing, tranquil getaway. I love this winter sunset view.

Inn at Richmond
This time, I stayed at Inn at Richmond, set in a colonial style home dating back to the 18th century. This inn is close to Hancock Shaker Village and the Bousquet Ski Area.
Inn At Richmond
My room was a charming suite in the main building. The second room has a pull-out sofa bed.
Inn at Richmond
The inn has multiple rooms and suites, and even private cottages complete with a kitchen that are perfect for families.
Inn at Richmond

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 10 Stops on The Road to Hana (Maui, Hawaii)

The Road to Hana, as everyone knows, is the number one thing to do on the island of Maui. The drive is one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever do with plenty of great sights to stop at along the way. You can't make all the stops possible on the Road to Hana in one day, so you need to prioritize! Everyone has their own lists and favorites, but there are my top ten stops on The Road to Hana:

1. Twin Falls (mile marker 2)
When the water flow is too high, the upper part of the falls and trail may be closed, so be warned. Otherwise, a short and easy hike will lead you to a waterfall - the first among many on this road. There are also Porta Potties to the left of the hiking trail, and a fruit stand is ready to sell you juices and freshly cut pineapples near the entrance.

2. Huelo Lookout (between mile marker 4 and 5)
There's a nice ocean view from this lookout, but mainly because you can sit and enjoy the view while you're having your breakfast. There's another stand here serving acai bowls, smoothies, and sugar cane juice.
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3. Rainbow Eucalyptus Grove (near mile marker 7)
To call it a "grove" is an overstatement, since the grove only has a few trees, but these rainbow eucalyptus trees are worth seeing (and snapping photos of!)
Rainbow Eucalyptus

4. Keanae Peninsula (mile 16.8)
To get to the Keanae peninsula, you have to turn onto the Keanae Peninsula Road around mile 16.8 - you wont' see if from the Hana Highway itself. I almost missed it but I backtracked to find the banana bread shop and so glad I did!

We even caught a beautiful rainbow from the peninsula.
Maui

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gateways Inn and Restaurant in Lenox, MA. Relaxing in The Berkshires.

As part of my reviews of Select Registry, an association of bed and breakfasts, inns, and small hotels in the US, I stayed at Gateways Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts. Back in the Berkshires!

Gateways Inn
Gateways Inn is housed in a building that used to be the summer cottage of Harley Procter of Procter & Gamble and is now an 11-room inn.
Gateways Inn
I stayed in the Rosalind room, adorably decorated in light blue.
Gateways Inn

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hotel Review: Brook Farm Inn (Lenox, MA)

Fall is a great time to visit Massachusetts, especially towards the mountains. I used the opportunity to visit The Berkshires for some leaf peeping, staying at a Select Registry property, Brook Farm Inn in Lenox. Time for some fall foliage!

Brook Farm Inn

Brook Farm Inn is a small, cute inn/bed and breakfast set in a cottage built in 1882.
Brook Farm Inn

I was staying on the 3rd floor, in The Poet's Room. It's a cozy and romantic room.
Brook Farm Inn


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

WOW Air Flight Review: Boston - Reykjavik - Paris

So I recently took WOW Air, the budget airline from Iceland. They currently fly to New York, Boston, and Baltimore (and soon adding Toronto) to Europe via Iceland. They have sales with prices that will make you go "Wow!" including $99 one way to Paris, which is the one I bought.

It's not exactly $99 each way, though. I did get $99 from Boston to Paris, but the return flight is slightly more expensive. Still, on select dates they're still pretty cheap and I ended up paying $309 for a round trip flight from Boston to Paris. Not bad at all!

As with other budget airlines, there are a lot of caveats. First, you only get 1 carry on bag free, up to 5 kg (11 lbs). I was only going to Paris for 3 nights, so I actually managed to carry everything with me.
They don't provide drinks or food on board, you have to buy whatever you need, including water. They cost about the same as water at the airport, so whatever. It's still a $300 ticket to Paris, I'm not complaining.
Wow Air
I think because they're a newer and a budget airline, they usually taxi to a spot not directly connected to the airport buildings. Passengers had to take a shuttle bus from airport to the plane at all three airports I flew into. Just keep that in mind when you pack, because you have to be outside for a brief moment, but Iceland can be cold and raining or snowing. Pretty much all three happened to me.

I like the cheeky touches of WOW Air. The plane itself looks like a character out of Pixar's movie, with a grin on its face, wearing an aviator.

So how's the flight itself? Well, on the first leg from Boston to Reykjavik, I got really lucky! Window exit row seat, baby.

Wow Air
Best seat in the house

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Tour of The Rookery Building (Chicago, IL)

There are a few architectural gems in the city of Chicago, and one of the most important ones is The Rookery Building. The building is in Chicago's downtown financial district, easily visited when you are in Chicago.

The Rookery

The Rookery actually has quite a history and is influenced by multiple architects and designers throughout the decades. The building was originally designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root. Before The Rookery was built, this location housed a water tank, and then the City Hall and Chicago's first public library. There are a number of theories about where the name The Rookery came from. Some say the name is because of the corrupt politicians at the city hall that occupied the space, some say it's because of the birds that used to hang around when it was a water tank.
The Rookery

The building was redesigned in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Rookery's main focus and also Frank Lloyd Wright's major contribution is The Light Court on the first floor. The original design filled the building with iron and terracotta. Wright encased the iron columns in gilded marble.
Rookery


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ)

If you love architecture and find yourself in the Phoenix area in the future, you need to take a tour of Taliesin West. Even for myself, who is not that knowledgeable in architecture, I found the tour extremely fun! Taliesin West in Scottsdale was the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, but the property also doubles as his architecture school. You can't explore the property on your own, as Taliesin West is still functioning as an architecture school, but the $32 tour ticket is well worth it to not only see Taliesin West but also hear the stories behind the building and the various aspects of it.

Taliesin West

During the 90-minute tour, you'll hear about this petroglyph and how the carvings inspired Wright's iconic Whirling Arrow, which actually symbolizes "fellowship".
Taliesin West
Or how he came to use these Chinese ceramic sculpture and how each one signifies that you are entering a different area of Taliesin West.
Taliesin West

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour (Waterbury, Vermont)

On my road trip from Boston to Montreal, we passed by the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont (close to Burlington) so we made a quick pit stop for a factory tour!

Ben and Jerry's

The factory is a fun place with colorful and playful decorations and touches all over the place.
Ben and Jerry's

The tour typically costs $4 but here's a tip: if you check in on Foursquare, you'll get a free tour! The factories aren't always in production, however, but you can still see where the ice cream is made. We caught them during the cleaning period so we didn't see the machines in action. Oh, well. They do a deep cleaning every time they change the flavor they're making.
Ben and Jerry's
First part of the tour was a video of the history of the company, which they've made to be quite entertaining.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blue Lagoon and Lunch at LAVA Restaurant in Iceland

While in Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon is a must visit. This vast and popular hot springs is easily accessible with the various bus trips that originate from either Keflavik airport or Reykjavik city.

Blue Lagoon
I booked with Reykjavik Excursions which seems to have one of the more reasonable prices. I went with the tour that includes prepaid admission so we don't have to wait in line to buy a ticket. We still had to wait a bit, but not as long as the others. Also, when you get there, don't get confused with the line in the first small building - that's for people who want to store their luggage! Instead, keep going on the path heading towards the main building.
LAVA Restaurant

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What to Eat in Fiji

1. Fish in Lolo
This Fijian dish is made with fish (at the resorts it's usually mahi mahi) in a coconut milk broth with taro leaves and some sort of root vegetables (either taro or cassava). A lot of restaurants and resorts will have this.
Lolo
The one I had at Blue Lagoon Resort was my favorite throughout the trip, as the firm mahi mahi was cooked properly so that it's still moist and flaky. The broth was so good I wanted to just pick up my spoon and drink it all.

2. Kokoda
Kokoda is the Fijian ceviche, but the raw fish is not only marinated in lime juice but also coconut cream, and served with diced tomatoes and onions. I had this dish at all three resorts and my favorite was the one at Uprising Beach Resort.
Fiji food

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lunch Prix Fixe at Mario Batali's Del Posto (New York, NY)

One of the things I love about New York is the lunch prix fixes, allowing you to try some of the city's best restaurants for a lot less money. When I went with my mom and my aunt last time, we tried Del Posto's lunch: $49 for three courses (with an option to add pasta for $10). With three of us, we got to try a lot of things!

The lunch started with some complimentary finger sandwiches and Cauliflower soup

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Bread service
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The menu at Del Posto is seasonal, of course, though you might still find some mainstays like this
Vitello Tonnato (olive crostone, caper shoots, lime cells, lemon basil)
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Vitello tonnato is a Piedmontese dish of veal slices served in a creamy tuna sauce.

Cotechino (stewed pistachios, chopped Preboggion - that's just mixed green leafy vegetables)
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Cotechino is a pork sausage, but the distinction is that this pork sausage is typically made by boiling over low heat for a few hours. It gives a softer flavor than many other charcuterie.

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