A Convent Turned Luxury Hotel: Explore Australia’s Great Ocean Road (Part 3)

St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

Looking up at the words  “Convent of St. Patrick” in the stained glass over the entry door, I had to wonder what I was doing here. In truth, my confusion began as we turned onto the drive and I looked up at the classic architecture while hubby announced, “this is where we are staying tonight.” […]

Dining at the Chef’s Table: A Royal Caribbean Treat

First course of the Chef's Table dinner

Speciality dining options have become a common feature on modern cruise ships, and the Chef’s Table on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas is the best we have tried to date. The days of true “all inclusive travel” are long gone. While the cost of sailing includes meals, Royal Caribbean, like the other lines we have […]

Initial Impressions: Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas

Swimming pool on the Radiance of the Seas

We love cruising. Currently, we are about half way through our adventure around the top of Australia from Sydney to Perth on the Radiance of the Seas. (We have stopped in Brisbane and Cairns, future ports include Darwin, Bali Indonesia, Port Hedlands, and Geraldton). It is the first time we are cruising with Royal Caribbean. […]

Secret Prohibition Room in Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco

A secret prohibition room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco California

If you dig deep enough, I imagine every hotel has a story to tell; however, few are as intriguing as San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake. Centrally located on the cable car line in Union Square, it was the ideal place to stay today, but even more so during prohibition. From our Arrival . . . Passing through […]

Hotel Vintage to the Rescue: A Day Relaxing in Portland

Our top floor room in Hotel Vintage Portland Oregon

Having heard great things about Portland, I was excited when our train pulled in to town. The short drive to Hotel Vintage gave us a brief glimpse of this eco-friendly city. Arriving tired after several busy days in Seattle, we were glad to be staying in another Kimpton property. Our recent stay at Seattle’s Hotel Monaco raised the bar quite […]

No Sleepless Seattle Nights at Hotel Monaco

Premium Queen Queen room at Hotel Monaco in Seattle

“We’re home, Randy.” We couldn’t resist speaking to the goldfish in our room each time we entered. Maybe it was because we felt at home at Hotel Monaco in Seattle. Like the old television show Cheers, “sometimes you need to go where everybody knows your name.” Of course that’s an exaggeration for a three night stay, but […]

Museum of Flight Connects Aircraft with History ~ Seattle

A Blackbird at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

The Museum of Flight is an unexpected treasure that caught me off guard. Being married to a rocket scientist, we naturally added it to our Seattle itinerary. Upon arrival, I had intended to stay about 90 minutes. Four hours later we were still captivated, learning, and enjoying every moment.  Huge planes hang overhead side by side smaller ones, flight simulators […]

Chihuly Garden and Glass, A Vibrant Must See in Seattle

Mille Fiori at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Washington

Few places leave me silent and staring. Yet, the vivid colors and fluid shapes of the glass creations at Chihuly Garden and Glass somehow caught me off-guard. The artist, Dale Chihuly, offers, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” For me, his quote is a better description to […]

Views from the Top of the Seattle Space Needle: A City Icon

View of Mount Rainier from the top of the Seattle Space Needle

It’s certainly not the tallest tower in the world, yet the Seattle Space Needle is the number one tourist attraction in the Northwest United States attracting over one-million visitors annually. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it was considered a space age wonder. It takes only 41 seconds from the ground to the observation deck located […]

Capilano Suspension Bridge Challenges my Fear of Heights

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver Canada

Spanning 140 metres (450 feet), the Capilano Suspension Bridge sways 70 metres (230 feet) above the Capilano river canyon, daring us to walk across. The other side pleads with tree top adventures, a nature walk, and just the thrill of having crossed a bridge that has existed in some from since 1889. It wasn’t all that long […]

Reflections of an 18-Night Princess Cruise – Is It for You?

The Island Princess cruise ship docked at the port of Puntarenas in Costa Rica

Have you ever wondered what it is really like on a cruise ship? Is it relaxing, invigorating and fun OR boring, crowded and just one giant food fest? We recently disembarked from an 18-night cruise on the Island Princess, a mid-sized ship in the Princess cruise fleet. This is our longest cruise to date and one that […]

Eating Onboard: How to Cruise Without Gaining Weight

A dinner time favorite, I loved this scallop dinner when I sailed with Princess cruises.

I am pleased to say that I gained very little weight after 19 days eating onboard the Island Princess. We sailed from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal and up to Vancouver. If you have never been on a Princess Cruise ship before, I am here to tell you the food is expertly prepared, appetizing, […]

Chicago Architecture: Best Seen from the River

Chicago skyline as seen from a river tour

While Chicago hasn’t been my home for over 30 years, Chicago architecture still fascinates me. Considered the birthplace of the American skyscraper, Chicago’s eclectic architecture can best be enjoyed from the river. We chose a Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. Even before we pulled away from the dock, our […]

Photo Tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

Bathers by a River by Henri Matisse

Walking through the Art Institute of Chicago, I find myself repeating the same expressions. It’s either “wow, that is really incredible,” or, “I know that piece,” or “I didn’t know that was here.” With over 300,000 works of art ranging from ancient and Byzantine to modern it covers the full gambit, with incredible masterpieces around every […]

Skydeck Chicago: I Walked Out on the Ledge – Would You?

Skydeck Chicago Ledge, professional shot

That first step out onto the Skydeck Chicago Ledge is a bit unnerving. The glass juts out over four feet from the 103 floor of the highest observation deck in the United States. At 1,353 feet up it’s surreal to look straight down. Our adventure actually started out on the ground level of the Willis Tower. I was […]

Initial Impressions of the Island Princess Cruise Ship

One of the pools on the Island Princess cruise ship

Right now, I am sitting on a lounge chair on the shaded Promenade deck of the Island Princess, a midsized cruise ship in the Princess fleet. We are sailing from Florida in the USA, through the Panama Canal and then north to Vancouver, Canada. As I listen to the gentle waves splash against the sides […]

Sonoran Lights at Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix, Arizona

Water-Towers in the Bruce Munro Sonoran Light at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona

Our latest adventure started in the USA in Phoenix Arizona with a visit to the Bruce Munro Sonoran Lights at the Desert Botanical Garden. Arriving after sunset, we experienced a surreal environment. The Desert Botanical Garden is the world’s only botanical garden with a mission focused solely on desert plants, and intermixed we found creative, colorful and artistic light displays. […]

Stardome Observatory: An Evening Under the Auckland Stars

Zeiss telescope at Stardome Observatory in Auckland New Zealand

It started out as a beautiful clear night, a perfect evening to visit the Stardome Observatory in Auckland. Normally I wouldn’t care about the weather when heading to a planetarium but Stardome Observatory is different. The planetarium show we selected was live and interactive, both the presenter and the audience asked questions of each other. Narrating, he took us […]

Afternoon Tea Fit for Royalty at Palm Court in Auckland

Wedgewood china service is standard at Afternoon Tea at Palm Court in the Langham Hotel, Auckland New Zealand

Delicate flavours, elegant ambience, and five-star service define the Afternoon Tea at Palm Court in Auckland’s Langham Hotel. From the moment hubby and I entered, we were treated like royalty. It was a posh Afternoon Tea, and one which we hope to repeat soon. We opted to begin our afternoon tea with a flute of champagne, despite that fact that I am […]

Giapo: Taking Ice Cream and Gelato to an Art Form

Colourful ice cream creations from Giapo in Auckland New Zealand

Giapo. Just thinking about their ice cream and my mouth is watering. Who would have thought the best ice cream in the world is found in Auckland New Zealand? Giapo has turned ice cream into an art form, a perfect handmade combination of flavours. The secrets are passion, attention to every detail, and fresh New Zealand ingredients. The shop […]

Our Favourite Wellington Restaurants

Salad at Karaka cafe in Wellington New Zealand

Wellington restaurants have it all. Our favourites are generally comfortable, somewhat casual, and always serving great food. The city offers traditional, international, and eclectic options. Wellington may be a city known for its coffee but take a look at some of the food we tried at several Wellington restaurants and see if you agree it is also a city for […]

Enjoy These Far North Restaurants in New Zealand

Mangonui Fish Shop is a landmark amongst the Far North restaurants in New Zealand.

Traveling to the top of New Zealand’s North Island means going rural, but if you know where to look, there are plenty of great Far North restaurants. From fast food to fine dining, we covered the full gambit of options on our recent road trip.  Here are our top three favourite Far North restaurants in order from east […]

Gumdiggers Park: A New Zealand Wonder Worth Visiting

Ancient kauri log estimated to be 100k-150K old at Gumdiggers Park in Northland New Zealand

Gumdiggers Park is an authentic piece of New Zealand history. It takes about an hour to explore and is a worthwhile stop if heading to the top of the North Island. It is home to the oldest non-fossilized wood found on earth. I’ll be honest, when we first saw Gumdiggers Park on the map, we worried it would […]

Interesting Animals of the Auckland Zoo

Baby elephant at the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand (Auckland Zoo Photos)

I have mixed feelings about zoos, yet the Auckland Zoo always makes me smile. It is more than a venue to view the animals. It is a centre for conservation activities both domestically and around the world with extensive breeding and rescue programs. We have visited many times in our 12 years living in New Zealand. On a recent visit my Auckland Zoo photos focused […]

Mexico Restaurant in Auckland: Colourful, yet Haunting

Artwork on a wall in Mexico restaruant in Auckland New Zealand

I am not sure what initially brought us to the door of Mexico Restaurant, but it was the haunting decor that brought us into this Auckland eatery in the up-market, trendy Ponsonby neighbourhood. Practical Information on Mexico Restaurant: The ingredients are fresh and the flavours authentic. The menu changes every three months, based on seasonal ingredients. There […]