• Sumo fun
    Japan,  Uncategorized

    How to See Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo

    I admit that the idea of seeing a sumo wrestling match in Tokyo was not on the top of my to do list. It took me quite some time to come around but boy am I glad I did. The pomp, the ceremony, the heft! Like so many other things in life, the more you know about it the more likely you are to you enjoy it. We lucked into this fun experience and I’m happy to share some of our tips and hints to get the most out of this Adventure. Tickets and Timing There are six sumo tournaments in Japan throughout the year. Tokyo hosts them in January,…

  • Asia,  Japan,  Uncategorized

    How to Jump on the Shinkansen with the Japan Rail Pass

    We read from nearly every source we checked that purchasing a Japan Rail Pass is the way to travel through Japan. This advice turned out to be some of the best we received. The savings were considerable compared to the cost for individual train tickets and it was a relief knowing that even if we screwed up and took the wrong train or missed a connection we would not be charged extra. Japan guide.com and JR pass.com provide great information about nearly every question you could have. These are our experiences with the pass. Purchasing the Pass JR passes must be purchased in advance from your country of origin. They…

  • Snow Monkey and Baby
    Japan,  Uncategorized

    Visiting Snow Monkeys at Yudanaka, Japan

    One of the highlights of our trip to Japan was a visit to the snow monkey park in Yudanaka. We absolutely loved getting up close and personal with these darling little monkeys. That’s not to say that we didn’t make mistakes in planning this portion of the trip. If we were to do it again we would definitely make some changes. The monkeys, however, are not to be missed and we lucked out on a few details that I’ll share. Getting There We made a large loop around central Japan. From Takayama we headed north, past Nagano, to Yudanaka where the snow monkey park is located. Our first mistake was…

  • Our Wild Trabi Safari
    Germany,  Uncategorized

    Our Wild Trabi Safari

    Who wouldn’t want to cruise around Berlin driving a 1960’s East German Trabant? Traveling with two young adults in their 20’s often pushes me outside of my comfort zone and honestly, the Trabant is a car with no claim to comfort. We tend to waffle between seeing the great sites of a destination like the Brandenburg gate or The Berlin Wall and lounging around cafés near our hotel just people watching. We decided it was time to spice up our trip to Berlin with a truly unique tour. Trabi Safari offers escorted tours through former East Berlin and a chance to drive a vintage Trabi. Count us in! The Trabant, nicknamed…

  • How to Just Get To The Damn Hotel
    Transportation,  Travel Tips,  Uncategorized

    How to Just Get to The Damn Hotel!

    After tackling my fear of flying by embracing Xanax I was ready to eliminate the other anxiety producing situations that have the potential to ruin my trips. When I arrive in a new location I am usually tired and frazzled. I’ve dealt with airport security, finding the right train platform or producing the proper travel documents and am ready to just crash. I’ve found one of the most stressful parts of a trip is traveling to my hotel or Airbnb the first time. I feel like it should be simple, but there are a number of factors that make it pretty difficult just to get to the damn hotel! These…

  • Celadon Shopping in Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Thailand,  Uncategorized

    Celadon Shopping in Chiang Mai, Thailand

    ] One of the highlights of our trip to Chiang Mai was a visit to Baan Celadon. I knew very little about this unique pottery, but another woman in our group praised the beauty of Celadon so highly we knew we had to hit it up. Celadon is a form of pottery that originated in China. It was favored by royals long before the traditional blue and white work we associate with Chinese vases today. Celadon refers to both the pale jade color and type of glaze used on both earthenware and ceramics. The first known works of Celadon in Thailand date from the 13th century and were created by…

  • 3 Easy Mistakes To Avoid at the Nara Deer Park
    Japan,  Uncategorized

    3 Easy Mistakes to Avoid at the Nara Deer Park

    Before we traveled to Japan I read plenty of blog posts about happy visits to snow monkey pools, rabbit islands and bowing deer parks. They all involved up close encounters with wild animals in a gorgeous setting. Naturally, I was excited to have my own brush with these critters. We had our first chance at the Nara Deer Park when we took a day trip from Kyoto. The over 1200 deer are considered national treasures and are semi-domesticated. You can also see the Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji Shrine, both UNESCO World Heritage monuments. The visit turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip, but for goodness sake,…

  • Harry, The Hedgehog Cafe, Tokyo, Japan
    Japan,  Uncategorized

    Harry, The Hedgehog Cafe, Tokyo, Japan

    In so many ways Japan proved to be one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited. There is an amazing mix of ancient shrines and temples, stunning natural beauty and over the top cuteness. In Japan “kawaii”, the quality of cuteness, is pervasive. Stores carry a huge variety of cute stuffed animals, stickers, key chains and clothing printed with darling images. Young women dress in all manner of cute styles from lacy little anklets to giant, floppy hair bows. In the early 2000’s the passion for cuteness and the inability to own pets due to small apartments and long work hours gave birth to the cat cafe craze. These…

  • Our 2015 Denmark, Sweden and Germany Trip Budget
    Budget,  Europe,  Travel Tips,  Uncategorized

    Our 2015 Denmark, Sweden and Germany Trip Budget

    t In the interest of comparison, I’ve decided to take a look at our budget and expenses for our 2015 Europe trip. You can read about our 2016 Japan budget here. We knew we wanted to go back to Europe after spending two weeks in Ireland, London and Paris the year before. We weren’t sure where we would go, so we watched for airfare deals in countries we might want to visit. When a good deal on a flight to Copenhagen popped up we jumped on it. Scandinavia is well known for being pricey, but was definitely on our bucket list. We had heard wonderful things about Berlin, so we added a…

  • The Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo
    North America,  Uncategorized

    The Madonna Inn

    [ As a child growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s a highlight of any road trip on California’s central coast was a stop at The Madonna Inn. It was built in 1958 by Alex and Phyllis Madonna in San Luis Obispo as a roadside inn for travelers headed up and down the coast.The iconic inn continues to delight children and adults today. The inn is mentioned in countless travel articles and shows. The rise in vogue of all things mid-century it is making it even more celebrated. Let’s take a quick tour! The Kitsch From the second you walk through the door you realize this is no sleek, Mad…