Your Next Trip? Irish Spring,Why Not?

Where to next? Ireland! After careful consideration, I’ve set the next destination as a jaunt to Ireland for lots of sightseeing, hanging out in Pubs, and a few hikes where particularly note-worthy.

I suppose the trip has always been on the list. It’s long been a favorite feel for my brother – an avid fan of Guinness, Hobbits, and places cold and wet (Seattle and Portland). So you see why Ireland would line up there…

In my mind, I’m picturing a wet little Shire from The Lord of the Rings (below) with lots of rain, or dew covered stone steps, and a wee fellow constantly coming around to hand me a fresh pint of Guinness.


The trip I’ve planned has all been done with a relative low amount of effort and preparation. Finding flights was probably the most arduous process, but we settled on British Airways and included a stop-over in London to visit some old friends.

Once we booked the trip, I started to see more and more news about Ireland pop up.

St. Patrick’s Day was a few weeks back and I’d seen a joint announcement with Travelzoo, they did live stream of the parade and also mentioned that Ireland was one of their top travel destinations for 2017.

Even more recently, I’ve seen lovely Instagram posts about the Library at Trinity College in Dublin. Now it will be a must see. As a book lover, I think you might feel your heart flutter when you look at these photos. 

Ok so I’m going to Ireland, what’s the plan?

Well I did say this was low preparation but what I do know so far is we’re planning on a road trip style of visit where we may only have a day in each city. We are sticking to the Southern areas of Ireland. And of course, we must fly in and out of Dublin.

Here’s a snapshot of what I’m thinking:

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Have you been to Ireland? I’d love to hear tips or suggestions on what we should add to the trip? What is a must see?

Feel free to post as a comment below.

I’ll update you all when the plan is better built out. When’s the trip? At the end of the month!

Until next time,



Must-See in Barcelona!

There are plenty of great things to see in Barcelona – but there aren’t many that are as spectacular as La Pedrera, officially called Casa Milà. This gorgeous building is one of the two houses famous architect Antoni Gaudí designed on the grand Passeig de Gràcia. Though there are plenty of pretty buildings on the…

via 8 Reasons You Should Definitely Visit La Pedrera — Barcelona Blonde

Escape to Mallorca, Spain

BACK TO SPAIN! POR FIN! I just returned from a week in Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands off the East coast of Spain. It was a week of being disconnected; of days filled with boat rides, snorkeling and late-afternoon gin & tonics; evenings of slow family dinners with chilled Albariño and icy cava; nights […]

via affogatos + Mallorca — Back to Spain

Quick Tips: Medellín, Colombia

Narcos, Pablo, Drugs, Bombs, Murder, Cocaine. Lots of Cocaine. Welcome to Medellín!


Ok hopefully you’re laughing. If that’s the image you have or if it’s anything close, you need to let that go.

Before you arrive, you need to think of all those images of drug dealers, the couple of seasons of Narcos you’ve binged on, and all of the old Scarface posters, and get that out of your head. It’s not like that at all.

In fact, in the past couple of years – peace, prosperity, city improvements, and the Metrocable,  have all transformed this city in the valley. Sure it’s got the Pablo Escobar stories if you look back, but going forward, you’ll be hearing of this city in the same sentence as friendly Costa Rican towns where expats kick back. You’ll also hear that more and more friends you know are working remote, traveling, or maybe just heading to Medellín and then going to see what comes next.

The city is often called “the land of eternal spring”. Perhaps that’s fitting. The city, and the entire country, are blossoming and there’s a chance to start anew. The conditions in the city are just great for relaxing, meeting travelers and locals, or even starting up a business idea.

Now, since the New York Times has already carved out what they suggest you do in 36 Hours. I’ll just call out some tips I think can help.


I was a big fan of Poblado and the nearby areas. The first place you’ll check out for drinking in the square, and then for all the outdoor bars, restaurants, and clubs, will be Parque Lleras. It’s an upscale and trendy neighborhood where both locals and tourists hangout. You’ll read that it’s touristy. TripAdvisor will say it’s good and bad. And perhaps if I was going to live here for 6 months or a year, I’d want to be a bit farther off the beaten path – where the rents and restaurants would come in at cheaper prices. But if you’re in town for a few nights, you’ll enjoy your time knowing that your a stroll away from the nightlife or back to your home after a long nigh out.

I stayed at the Hostal Poblado Park and found it worked just fine – cheap cheap (around $10 a night) and it came with a small outside lounge area, a TV, and a kitchen.


Ambling through Poblado and Lleras, you’ll find all you ever wanted: every type of bar and restaurant, and people drinking outside in the streets and main square. Maybe you avoid the prostitutes that gather around the main square and the liquor store that’s the last open spot of the evening (maybe you don’t). I’ll leave that up to you.

If you’re completely overwhelmed and want a spot to grab a dinner and a few beers, or want to grab a seat and look out over the streets and get your center, I’d suggest Basilica Restaurant. 

Another great spot for a lunch or dinner is La Matriaca (definitely order the chicken soup!)

For starting off a good party night, I’d tell you to walk up from Poblado to the Happy Budda Party Hostel – their big balcony will be packed with Aussies, Brits, Americans, and you can stir up a conversation or join a group of rowdy fun seekers.


If I can only call out a couple, I’d point you to be sure and ascend the Metrocable to the top, explore the park, walk around, ride it back down. Great views and something you have to check off the list. Here’s a bit of info and check the view below!

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For a bit of culture and a good plan to start your day, venture to the city center for the Botero museum. This main square is a large meeting area with the famous, chubby statues, a hallmark of Fernando Botero.


While you are down in the Botero plaza be sure and stop by the El Laboratorio de Cafe. It’s the perfect place if you are craving some San Francisco quality hipster coffee!

And if we are speaking of great coffee, then check out the Honesto Cafe in the Poblado area. (They got some love over on our Instagram page!)

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So there you go, a few quick tips on Medellín but you’ll have to go and explore for yourself. Have you been before? Got any tips or recommendations that you can share?

Post as a comment below.


La Ciudad Perdida, Revealed


Reasons to smile this morning:

Awaking to Day 3, the most important of all, after surving Day 1 and Day 2. 

A different view of last night’s uninvited dinner guest:


Breakfast, as always.

Bernando rounding us up with the “let’s go!” we taught him last night, especially surprising given his quiet demeanor.

La Ciudad Perdida!

DAY THREE. 11.6 km/7.2 mi. If only our packs were this light all the time! Given our eventual return to the base camp for lunch, we take only what we need. The walk along the river turns upward as we approach the stairs leading to La Ciudad Perdida – all 1,200 of them. David and I are leading the group when we recognize the beginning structures of the Lost City. Per his suggestion, we wait for the others and continue as a group, silently following Bernando’s lead around a circle, coca leaves in hand, as we…

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Parque Tayrona, Pegado y Suavecito


While Santa Marta may not always be a final destination, it is certainly a starting point for and resting place after many a wonderful adventure – Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona included. Approximately 30 minutes from Santa Marta’s center and at the base of the

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