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So I just got back from almost two weeks in Tanzania. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this because I can’t stop posting photos of our travels. It’s an understatement to say this trip to Africa changed me, but I can’t quite pinpoint just how yet. Tanzania was my second visit to Africa; in college I spent a Spring break in Tunisia with friends. It’s safe to say I love the African content and am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced two vastly different countries.

Trying to figure out where to start with blogging about Tanzania was almost impossible, so I picked our first game drive. There were events before, which will come later. There are about eight posts coming at you, and I hope you don’t get sick of these experiences. I am excited to share them.

Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? Last November, my husband’s cousin and his wife, who work for Overseas Adventure Travel, mentioned they were going on a trip with the company to Africa. We were so excited for them, so a week later when they asked if we wanted to join, we just couldn’t say no. We had tentative plans to visit Peru this Spring, but those went out the window as we started planning our safari adventures. Fast forward to the end of February, and we found ourselves entering Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park for our first game drive.

 

Tanzania safari

On the trip was a group of 10 of us plus two guides split between two safari vehicles. None of us knew quite what to expect when our guides popped open those jeep tops and we entered the gates of Tarangire.

impalas in Tarangire National Park

The very first animals we saw were impala, and between them, antelopes, and gazelles, we would see thousands of deer-like game animals over the course of our stay. Fast, lithe, and graceful, these animals dance across the plains of Africa, and they are everywhere.

Tarangire National Park

We were more excited to see our first Zebras, which were also everywhere in the Tarangire area. No two zebras have the same pattern of stripes. They are beautiful, funny, skittish, and unfortunately often the prey of cats out in the wild.

zebras Tarangire is known for its elephant population, and when we saw these gigantic creatures lumbering from afar, I was excited and completely satisfied with the sighting. I didn’t realize at the time that we were driving TO the elephants, and they would soon be within arms’ reach of the vehicles.

elephants in Tarangire National Park

 

elephants on safari

The elephants just got closer and closer, as we learned how elephants, when threatened, can stomp a predator to death, and will then wait three hours to be sure it is dead. Noted. Our guides were experts in animal behavior, and as a result we always felt very safe, even when close enough to see the wrinkles on this guy’s trunk.

African elephant

Tarangire elephant

safari - Tarangire National Park Tanzania

Baby animals got lots of squeals throughout the entire trip. It was hard not to jump out and hug the little ones. . . until we remembered the whole being stomped to death thing.

elephants in Africa

Tarangire was also where we had our first lion sighting. With the grass being as blond as they were, lions were tough to spot, but we had some good eyes in our group. How beautiful is this lioness? We saw several lions over the course of the trip, and each time their beauty and quiet strength took my breath away. It was also fun to compare their behavours to those of our house cats.

lioness in Tanzania

Tarangire National Park

bird - Tarangire National Park giraffe

Tarangire showed us a variety of beautiful birds like vultures and ostriches, along with giraffes, baboons, mongooses, dik diks (the cutest miniature antelope you will ever see) along with many types of vegetation and an endless supply of intricate termite mounds, cities of termites topped with hills just perfect for game-lounging.

vultures

We also saw extremely rare African wild dogs. One of our guides hadn’t seen these dogs for 16 years, and the other had never seen them. It was definitely a treat to see these endangered dogs cooling themselves in the mud of a dried-up river bed.

African wild dogs

Tarangire National Park

giraffe in Tanzania

We went to Tanzania during their rainy season, but there was no rain. Despite this, there were a few areas of water and an endlessly changing landscape that showed us lush green along with baked earth, hills, valleys, and perfect blue sky. Tarangire was the perfect introduction to the animals of Tanzania and just the beginning of this life-changing journey.

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Tags: Africa, animals, safari, Tanzania, Tarangire National Park, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

The time has come; this is my last post from our November trip to Ireland. Way to drag it out, right? I can’t help but share some of the many photos I took there, and for my wrap up I thought I would share a few photos from our wanders around Galway, including the food.

photo 1

{Prawns Marie Rose at Kettle of Fish in Galway} This was our first time to Kettle of Fish, and we loved that it was fast, fresh, and delicious. It’s a great alternative to fast food chip shops for a quick lunch or snack in between pints.

 

Ard Bia at Nimmo's

{Ard Bia at Nimmo’s} I love Ard Bia for a romantic date or lunch, but it’s equally as nice for an Irish coffee or glass of wine. I love that Galway has SO many cozy, casual little nooks for drinks and good conversation.

 

Barna Woods

{Barna Woods} You might not find Barna Woods in your guidebook, but not far from Galway City Center, you will find this magical space, with big beautiful trees, meandering streams, and mossy stones. It’s a great place for a long walk or run. Plenty of adorable dogs are an added bonus!

photo 4 {St. Nicholas Collegiate Church} Once my front yard, this stunning building is a must-visit in Galway for lovers of architecture and history. Its 400 year old baptismal font and 13th century graves are just part of the history of this place, where Christopher Columbus prayed in 1477.

Galway Bay sunset

{Watch the sun go down on Galway Bay} It’s so spectacular that there is a song about it. A Galway Bay sunset is one of this world’s greatest sites, and I try to plan our day around the sunsets so we can see as many as possible.

Spanish Arch Door

{Beautiful doors and stone work at the Spanish Arch} Part of Ard Bia, this door and all about the Spanish Arch is full of charm and beauty and mystery.

Neactain

{Tigh Neactain} This is one of our favorite Galway pubs. There are teeny tiny snugs for sitting in, a warm fire, and often great music. They pour an excellent pint of Guinness as well. Garavans

{Garavan’s} What might be considered an old man bar now has a great selection of whiskey and offers whiskey flights you won’t want to miss.

Long Walk Galway

{The Long Walk} Also made famous by a song, the old long walk is a beautiful, colorful seaside spot in Galway. You’ve likely seen photos of it before; it’s iconic and worth a visit, especially at sunset.

 

Vindaloo at Kashmir Galway

{Vindaloo at Kashmir} Yummmmm Kashmir. This Galway favorite serves up the best Indian food I have ever had. Don’t miss it if you plan a trip to Galway.

Our next trip to Ireland is in August for a friend’s wedding and some mountain climbing. . . counting the days until we touch down on that beautiful green island once again!

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Tags: Food, Galway, Ireland, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday

There are so many more than 10 things I want to do in our beautiful Commonwealth, but I thought a list of 40 might be too much! This list is mostly Eastern Massachusetts based; I have a ton of love for the Western part of the state too, perhaps that’s a list all on its own? A few weeks ago we were trying to decide what to do for the weekend when I started thinking about all there is to do here. Since we’re soon going on a very big adventure, we’re sticking close to home and on budget the rest of the time. Below is a list of 10 things I want to experience sometime in the next couple of years. Have you done any of the below? Or do you have a list of things you want to do in the place you call home? I would love to hear them in the comments!

Mt Greylock

1) Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – I have lived in Boston since 2002. Wow. Typing that makes me feel old! I have sent journalists on FAM tours to the museum, but somehow I have never gotten there. This is one I hope to accomplish this winter.

2) Climb Mount Greylock again, but this time spend the night at the top at Bascom Lodge with friends and great food and wine.

3) Run a race on Spectacle Island – We’ve taken the boat to Spectacle so many times and have even spent the night. I would love to run the island sometime.

4) Tea at Bond at the Langham and the Four Seasons and the TajI love afternoon Champagne tea, and I would love to explore some of the elegant and luxurious teas in Boston.

5) Spend a lazy week on Martha’s Vineyard – We spent the day on the Vineyard a couple of summers ago, and we have been talking about going back ever since. I would love to swim, cook seafood, and explore on bikes and on foot. How relaxing does that sound?

6) Take dance lessons at the Boston Ballet – I was obsessed with ballet growing up, and though I am old and inflexible and out of shape, I would LOVE to take classes again.

7) Visit the Boston Public Library courtyard on a regular basis – I used to do this when I worked in the area. That space is so beautiful, and I would love to spend more time there.

8) Take classes at Harvard Extension – I took a PR writing class there years ago and it was great. It really helped to launch my career

9) Visit the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States SenateI love the JFK Library, and I will actually cross this item off my list when I attend a GBCVB event at the soon-to-be-opened addition next month.

10) Go out to an oyster farm and get fresh oysters, learn about the process, etc. – I learned about East Dennis Oyster Farm when I worked for an agency that had the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism as a client, and I have wanted to go out with them since.

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Tags: Boston, Food, hiking, lifestyle, Massachusetts, outdoors, oysters, tea, things to do, Travel, vacation

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