Thursday, July 31, 2014

The ruins of Pompeii

A dark cloud filled the air. No one knew exactly what was happening, but it was terrifying. They could see the smoke coming from the mountain, but there was no way to escape now. The last ships full of people left at the first smell of danger, and the water was now too rough to sail on. There was nothing left to do but take cover, and hope to wake up in the morning when it was all over. Ashes began to rain from the sky, covering everything. Sadly, some people would never wake the next day, as the black smoke sent a wave of poisonous gases through the town.

Mt Vesuvius - Italy
Mt Vesuvius in the distance

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NJ QuickChek Balloon Festival

I am proud to announce that NJ is home to one of the largest balloon festivals in the USA, the QuickChek Festival of ballooning. Over 100 balloons ascend twice daily (weather permitting) the last weekend in July every year. In addition to the balloons, the festival is packed with other activities to keep you entertained, with arts and crafts vendors, rides for the kids, a rock wall to get your workout in, and plenty of food to go around.

NJ QuickChek balloon festival
Very picture worthy sight!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rome - ruins among the pickpockets

colosseum rome
What comes to mind when people think of "Rome"
We had seen ancient Venice and the beautiful Florence, and now it was time to see the last stop of the Italian Trinity - Rome.  We arrived off the Eurostar and entered the metro. We started to look for the ticket machine, and a sly woman must have read the look of confusion on our faces as she came right up to us and said she would show us. We were well aware that this was basically begging in disguise, but it seemed like more effort to shoo her off than to just keep walking towards the machine that we now spotted. "I help you buy the tickets, she says" as if we needed help paying the 1 euro each for a metro ticket. Too tired to object, we allowed her to do it for us, then gave her 1 Euro to go away.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Top 10 Adventures Hawaii

Some people go on vacation to relax, sitting on the beach with drink in hand, barely moving for the entire week. Not us! While we enjoy the beach (and tropical drinks!), our version of relaxing is to see what a new place is all about by experiencing all the local adventures in the area.

Hawaii is a haven for the fit, active, and adventurous, boasting more adrenaline pumping experiences then we were able to do in just a weeks time. Here are my opinion on the top 10: 

10. Kite Surfing - Waikiki

kite surfing waikiki

This resort area is quite windy and therefore the perfect place to try out kite surfing! The day we were there, I tried signing up for a regular surfing lesson but the weather wasn’t cooperating. I now regret that I didn’t give kite surfing a try instead, as it looked like a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Florence - 3 night stay

The second stop on our very first time abroad in Europe, Florence remains one of my favorite cities to this day! We arrived off a local train in the late afternoon, and the first thing we noticed was how alive the city seemed. Everyone was out and about in the square, probably after a hard days work, not like back home where most people would have taken their seat on the couch for the night and flipped on the TV. All the restaurants had outdoor seating, and everyone seemed to be happy sipping their wine on this beautiful day.

main square Florence
The Main square in Florence

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Getting lost in Venice

We stepped out of the airport, and into the unknown. It was our first real international trip , except for Niagara falls and a few cruises. We stumble upon the ticket booth for the Vaporetto, which is the Venice water taxi. I try and epically fail at ordering the tickets in Italian, so I just point and hold up 2 fingers and that works much better. The taxi pulls up, and Chaos ensues. Mass amounts of people start boarding simultaneously, all lugging huge bags and storing them at the far end of the boat. We squeeze in and begin to take in our first views of beautiful Venice, the ancient buildings, the clear blue water, the cathedrals, and the passing Gondolas. We arrive at our stop, and feel like we have stepped back in time to the year 1500. The language is unfamiliar to us, there are narrow alleyways around every corner, and pigeons - everywhere! Upon closer inspection, the ancient buildings appear noticeably rundown, but yet still have a charm to them.

Venice canal
First views of Venice!