European Engagement, Part 5: Ghent

I love castles. After leaving Amsterdam, Jeff and I visited Antwerp, Ghent, Brugges and Brussels. I think Belgium is Heaven on Earth. In Antwerp, just outside of the ornate Central Station, lies the Diamond District.   This district features one square mile of diamond shops and is the largest diamond district in the world.  This…

European Engagement, Part 4: Amsterdam (again!)

It dawns on me that Jeff is still going to buy a ring in Belgium, so I’m fairly certain I can expect proposal #4.   Hmm… 5 proposals makes much more sense than 4.  It just has a better “ring” to it, don’t you think? I have an idea.  I will propose to Jeff!!!  We…

European Engagement, Part 3: Amsterdam

The next several days were a mix of excitement, exploration, headaches and haze as a result of the Oktoberfest good cheer and newfound engagement. We wandered through Munich, Berlin, and Amsterdam, and I treasured my new ring, which I struggled to keep on my thumb. We climbed Bell towers, examined The Wall, ate gelato and…

European Engagement, Part 2: Munich

I look away from Marta, the German barmaid at Oktoberfest whom I’m engaged in conversation with, and see Jeff down on one knee…. and with Ken’s wedding ring in his hand… Jeff didn’t have a ring in Paris. I’d pouted after having walked out of two Parisian ring shops, still without an Engagement ring to…

European Engagement, Part 1: Paris

“Marry me” he whispered in my ear, holding me close, protecting me from the chill Autumn air. One year earlier, my boyfriend Jeff and I wrote down our 10 top travel destinations, threw them in a hat and picked out one: France. We saved our airline miles, booked a ticket, and set off for the…

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Canada

The morning following the African Lion Safari, we woke to enjoy a delicious, made-to-order breakfast at the Frederick Street Inn. We were served eggs Benedict, atop crispy bread with gooey hollandaise.  Coffee and eggs were served in owner Harold ‘s own hand thrown pottery.  After another soak in the claw foot tub, we checked out…

African Lion Safari

I’ve always wanted to experience an African Safari, but the cost has been so prohibitive for me. Enter, the African Lion Safari, Canada’s safari experience, located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Living near Detroit, Canada is an easily accessible and affordable travel destination for my family. Having seen a friend post pictures of her experience at…

Tips for Visiting Cuba

In September, I flew into Havana, Cuba by way of Cancun.  I made a LOT of mistakes, and I’d like to help you avoid these same pitfalls by sharing some tips for visiting Cuba. 1. Don’t set a Cuba travel alert with your credit cards. I set a travel alert on my credit cards and…

Toronto in 36 hours

Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and is home to many world class shops, cafes and attractions.    Last weekend, my husband and I drove to Toronto to visit this world class city for a short, 36 hours. We used a free hotel night from hotels.com to book a stay at the Westin Harbour…

At Sea: Cruising the Inside Passage

We just returned from our Alaskan Family Cruise Vacation, including visits to Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Anchorage, and Denali!  By family I mean: my husband Jeff and I, my mom, my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Gary, my Uncle Rick, my sister Adele, her husband Keith, and their kids Natalie and Ryan.    We had a…

How to Pack for any Trip

In August, my family and I are preparing to take a 14 day Alaskan cruise, including visiting Denali National Park.  There will be 10 in our party, ranging from children to seniors, with different levels of travel experience and interests.  We will need to be prepared for a range of temperatures and surroundings (sunny excursions,…

Lisbon, Portugal

After Marrakesh, we jumped a plane and flew to Lisbon.  Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest in Western Europe. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a beautiful coastal town with steep hillsides, magnificent plazas, tree lined streets and historic bright yellow electric street Trams.  The oldest neighborhood in…