adventure

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Our magical time in Puerto Rico seems like it happened years ago. . . I am craving warmth and sunshine in a big way, and Boston is not delivering! The trip was full of relaxation, beach time, and lots of local food, which we tried in all sorts of places, including at Los Kioskos, the kiosks in Luquillo, a must-visit for anyone traveling to the area.

The kiosks are a long stretch of roadside food stands, some small storefronts and others more upscale restaurants, all facing a beautiful beach. The kiosks give you access to about 60 different eating and drinking options with some shops and even a piercing and tattoo studio mixed in!

Luquillo Luquillo Kiosks

If you’re visiting Luquillo, you’ll want to visit the kiosks more than once to sample the variety of food there. We loved fresh, tangy ceviche at the Ceviche Hut, along with their peek out at the ocean. This was always a packed spot; you can tell it’s popular and that the seafood flies out of there!

ceviche

los kioskos luquillo

After our hike at El Yunque National Forest, the burgers at the El Jefe kiosk were calling our names, as were their delicious rum cocktails! I loved my Caribbean BBQ Burger with avocado, red onion, and pickles and hand cut fries as much as I loved my rum punch. This would definitely be a spot I would visit again; the menu offered burgers stuffed with chorizo and short ribs, which both sounded decadent and delicious, perfect for a slightly cooler day.

burgers for lunch We also loved that many of the places had happy hours. Tattoo Tavern was great for this as well as for live music later in the evening. I almost got my nose pierced again, but the tattoo/piercing part of the business was closed when we went back. Next time!

drinks in Puerto Rico

One of our favorite kiosks for a more sit down dinner was Terruno, where we found incredible local music, dancing, and dinner, along with really friendly and welcoming service. We didn’t stop smiling the entire time, as we chowed down on fried cheese with guava and shrimp mofongo with a garlic sauce.

fried cheese Seriously, this shrimp was pure heaven. Sharing an appetizer and a main course was enough to fill us up and to get us ready for a night of moving to the music. Such warmth and local flavor to be found by visiting the kiosks!

mofongo empanadas On another night, we did a couple of appetizers at Mata de Platano where again we went with seafood; crab empanadas and salmon skewers, again delicious and served with true Puerto Rican hospitality.

fish skewers

Our final stop at the kiosks was Edelweiss, known for their extensive beer selection and, you guessed it, friendly staff. Edelweiss is the perfect post-beach spot to start your wandering of the kioskos; most places allow you to take your beer to go as a refresher while you browse the other kiosks.

edelweiss kiosk

We really only visited a small handful of the kiosks but spent a lot of time wandering up and down the stretch, seeing families enjoying meals, friends out dancing, people on dates, and lots of people just relaxing after work. It’s a great spot to see how the locals enjoy life, one another, and good food.

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Tags: adventure, Dining out, Food, Puerto Rico, Restaurants, Travel

Our last trip to Ireland brought together a large group of family from Boston, Italy, and Ireland, a lucky coincidence that meant that aside from my one brother-in-law, my husband had all of his siblings at home at once. That get together meant nine kids ranging from four to 14, so finding family activities that would be fun for everyone was key.

Ireland is a great place for family travel. From its wide open fields and beaches, to hotels and leisure centers with pools and amusements, to some of the new attractions popping up, like Tayto Park, there’s a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.

We spent the day at ZipIt Forest Adventures in Lough Key, Roscommon, and I have to say it is the perfect place to burn off some energy.

Lough Key Adventure Park

You access the forest by driving under a beautiful old stone archway, and inside, it is truly an enchanting place, full of old trees, green grass, and multiple zip line courses.

 ziplining Once we got suited up with our safety harness and clips, we all went through a demonstration on how to clip and unclip and how to make our way through the various courses. Then we were off!

photo 3 (17)

I was kind of terrified at first, okay, for the entire time, especially when having to walk across rope bridges that swung back and forth with slats that were almost too far apart for me to reach. The course also had cargo netting, logs to walk on, and more.

Zip It Ireland

It turned out that the actual zipping part was the easiest, once I mustered up the courage to propel myself off of the platform. It was definitely fun to fly across the tree tops!

zipline adventure     Lough Key adventure park I decided to stick to the intermediate course and then found myself on solid ground to watch the others take on some of the more advanced challenges. The zip lines got higher, and the in between challenges got more scary, including a vertical climb up a swinging telephone pole.

ziplining in Ireland

While I waited for the daredevils to finish, I wandered around the forest, which felt truly magical. It was SO quiet and smelled green and earthy. It felt really serene and was a nice spot to spend some alone time.

Lough Key Zip It Even if you are not into ziplining, Lough Key Forest Park is a beautiful space for playing and picnicking. It offers a large playground, lake with paddle boats, cafe, gift shop, and more.

Lough Key Adventure Park

Lough Key

It’s just another example of Ireland’s beauty and has something that the whole family can enjoy if you are planning family travel in Ireland.

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Tags: adventure, Ireland, Roscommon, Travel, ziplining

The Serengeti: It’s one of the 10 natural wonders in the world and one of seven natural wonders in Africa. Derived from the Maasai word Serenget, Serengeti means “endless plains” which is an entirely accurate description. On our trip to Tanzania, I found the vastness of the Serengeti both awe-inspiring and panic-inducing, often at the same time. The Serengeti is known for many things, including being home to 70 large mammal and 500 bird species. It’s home to an extraordinary amount of lions, and boy did we delight in seeing them

Before heading to Tanzania, I didn’t know much about the Serengeti, had no idea what to expect, and I most definitely did not picture myself camping in the Serengeti. I’ll probably be saying it for the rest of my life, but our time in Tanzania almost feels like it didn’t happen, it was so special and different and amazing. Let’s start at the gate, shall we?

 

Serengeti National Park Gate

There are two memorable spots upon entering the Serengeti, the official Serengeti gate and the check in point. The gate, pictured above, defines the entrance to the park but is perhaps a more symbolic spot, ideal for getting photos. About 20 minutes in, there’s an official checkpoint for paperwork. Everyone entering and leaving the Serengeti needs to file paperwork and permits and things. Hopefully it keeps poachers out!

The Serengeti is known for its annual migration of wildebeests and zebras, and due to the rainy season being so incredibly dry, the migration happened while we were there, three months before it is supposed to. There were about 500,000 wildebeests, which are loud and hilarious looking and move in the funniest way. I love them. Zebras and wildebeests travel together peacefully. Wildebeests can smell really well and zebras can see, so together they find water and do their best to stay away from predators. They also keep an eye on each other when they are eating and drinking. It’s kind of cute how they stick together. The line of these animals was neverending. I wish I could do a better job of describing it. It was amazing.

Serengeti migration 2015

wildebeest

Serengeti migration wildebeests

Serengeti migration

zebras

Each day in the Serengeti, we went on a sunrise game drive, had lunch and some free time, and then did a late afternoon game drive. Each drive brought us different animals doing different things. I loved the graceful yet goofy giraffes, especially the babies.

giraffe in the Serengeti

giraffe in the Serengeti We saw lions just about every day. One early morning a bunch of lionesses were teaching a young lion to hunt. The way they crouched down and pounced was so similar to our cats’ behavior, on a much, much larger scale. We didn’t see a kill, which disappointed most of our group.

Serengeti lion Overseas Adventure Travel safari Serengeti lion lion  Baby zebras, which start out sort of brown and fuzzy, were pretty common and so incredibly sweet. Watching baby animals with their mothers was one of my favorite parts of game drives.

baby zebra

Serengeti zebras

 

dikdik

The adorable animal in the above photo is called a dik-dik. It’s a tiny antelope with a pretty funny name, and our group quickly became obsessed with them.

kopje

The Serengeti isn’t just home to animals, but also to beautiful landscape, different climate zones, and kopjes, large rock outcroppings. On one of the evening game drives, we climbed a kopje that was home of the gong rock, a rock that makes a musical sound when struck hard enough. Above is a photo of one of our guides “propping up” a kopje. And below is an endless plain with endless blue skies. Standing in this spot was quite unlike anything I have ever experienced. This was on the third day of our Serengeti trip, so I was more comfortable with our surroundings and able to fully soak this up.

The Serengeti

I wasn’t even scared when we encountered a hungry lioness headed in the direction of a lost baby wildebeest. We like to think the wildebeest got away and found its mama. . .

lion in the Serengeti

On yet another game drive, lions decided to take a rest in the shade of another safari vehicle. These lions were about three feet away from us. We could hear their breathing and they ours. As long as no one bothered them, they were just fine.

lions in the Serengeti

hyenasWe saw many hyenas on our journey and heard even more at night. Hyenas are kind of jerks, very mean, and slightly creepy, but I thought they were kind of cute. . . except for the time we saw a hyena with his mouth covered in blood, fresh from snacking on a kill.

Serengeti hippos

In addition to lions, giraffes, hyenas, elephants, wildebeests, and zebras, there were so many other animals, like lazing about hippos and the extremely endangered black rhino, which we saw from a distance. Rhinos will be gone within a few years, which is heartbreaking. I can’t even begin to think about what poachers are doing, all in the name of false claims of power of a rhino’s horn, which is basically the same material as our fingernails. Our time in the Serengeti made me wish that as a world we could respect the environment and our precious plants and animals more than we respect cold hard cash.
Serengeti sunset

The Serengeti is a magical, unbelievable, spiritual place, where everything that is happening in nature happens for a reason. It is a wonder of the world for a reason, and its beauty has stolen a spot in my heart forever.

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Tags: adventure, Africa, safari, Serengeti, Tanzania, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

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