Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oregon Coast .. goodbye West Coast :(

IMG_20160821_210119And it's already our last day here IMG_20160822_195707 on the West Coast. Where did the last 8 days go? Time always flies by so fast when you are having fun. 

We left Portland on Sunday morning and headed to the coast. When we made it to the ocean it was still a bit cloudy but the weather improved quickly and the clouds gave way to sun. Such pretty scenery. 

We did some wine tasting and after headed to Yaquina Head Lighthouse where we checked out a couple of trails and took loads of pictures. Such a pretty area. 

Later we had lunch at the brewpub at Rogue Brewery before checking in at our hotel (just a Days Inn..  had gotten used to the Air B&Bs we had in Seattle and Portland which were much nicer of course) Walked down to the main street to check out the various shops and restaurants. What a funky town. 

Monday we left Newport and continued up to Cannon Beach. On the way we checked out the Three Cape Scenic Route which was very pretty. Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout and Cape Meares. Saw the Lighthouse at Cape Meares and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (yummy samples!!)

Once we got to Cannon Beach we had lunch at the Pelican Brewery. And walked up and down the main street to look at all the shops. Very cute and quaint town. Did some more wine tasting and eventually had a nice relaxed dinner. 

This morning we walked along the beach for a bit, out to Haystack Rock. Cool and breezy but really pretty. Now at lunch at the Wayfarer Inn. Had the most delicious double cheese (asiago on the outside, cheddar on the inside] melt with avocado, tomato and bacon & garlic fries. So yum. Now just sitting, sipping on my glass of Pinot Gris, looking out at the ocean.

I so do not want to leave. Of course we will have to make our way back to Seattle airport regardless after lunch. Well Oh well ..  until next time West Coast :)

 Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to Jessica/DE and Carmen/Malta.  

Posted by Hanna at 04:55 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors, Travel, Wine | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 05, 2016

More Croatia :)

IMG_20160605_095853And it's already Sunday again.  Why does time always fly when you are enjoying yourself? I am currently sitting on the balcony with my feet up, a glass of wine, reading "The Shell Seekers" and listening to the waves. 

Friday we drove to the island of Vir. Also stopped in Nin for a bit and bought a bunch of neat things at the salt museum gift shop (rosemary salt, basil salt, fleur de sel sea salt, olive oil and various scented bath salts) Had a great lunch close to the water. Super yum. 

Yesterday, Saturday, we took the road along the coast and drove all the way to Senj. Very pretty drive. In a way reminded me of a Croatian version of CA Highway 1. Really pretty scenery and a great drive along the coast. Had lunch in Senj and then cut through the mountains over to the highway inland to drive back to the hotel.

Today, Sunday, we drove to Primosten (about hour and a half away) and had lunch in another lovely restaurant right on the water. Had yummy fish soup and a delicious grilled fish platter with veggies, olives, etc. Cappuccino, wine,  ... life's good :)

Will see what the weather holds in store tomorrow and decide what to do then. 2 more nights here after tonight. Making the most of my time near the sea and my balcony :)

Mail Update: Received letters from/owe replies to: Nina/WA and Lotte/Denmark. 

Posted by Hanna at 11:10 AM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dominican Update

IMG_20160224_161935Hello again one more time. :) Already time to leave again tomorrow - how did that happen? Not going to focus on that just yet though. 

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to a national park (3 Eyes) which was really cool. It's a network of caves and underground lakes. We ended up hiring a local guide when we got there which only cost $30 for the both of us and was well worth it since there were very few signs and all of them only in Spanish. The guide explained the history and navigated us through the place in an efficient manner. Plus he took a bunch of pictures of us. So yay for all of that. :) 

Then after the park we took a cab to the Blue Mall to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. And at night we went for dinner at a neat place right near the ocean not far from our hotel (Adrian's Tropical) Really nice views at sunset and we had some yummy food as well. Tried mofongo for the first time (a Puerto dish that is also very popular here in the Dominican and has tons of variations) After dinner we had a couple more glasses of wine at the hotel bar. Nice and relaxing evening. 

Today we decided to go for another relaxing and easy going day and just walked along the ocean to another restaurant closer to the old town area to have lunch. Had lunch at D'Luis Parillada and hung out there for a while. Very nice in the shade with the ocean breeze and great views. Yummy food. Had delicious shrimp in a garlic sauce with rice. 

Afterwards we walked back and I spent some time playing around in the pool before drying off at the pool bar with a fun cocktail. Yum. Hung out for a while people watching, enjoying the tropical scenery. In a little while we are going to be heading to dinner. Really don't want to be leaving tomorrow AT ALL. 

Well, hope you're all doing ok and I will catch up with everyone on the flip side back in the snow and cold weather. :) 

Mail Update: Received letters/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 04:13 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anniversary - busy February

PicFebruary is always a very busy month for us and this year is no different really. 

Today, Feb. 10th, is our 15th wedding anniversary. I really don't know where the last 15 years went. It's crazy to think that our wedding in Vienna was really THAT long ago. I guess it falls in the category "time flies when you're having fun". :) 

I think it feels especially weird as we don't have kids. A lot of people my age/friends I grew up with now have kids and watching them grow up you can really see time pass. But it's different not having that. 

Don't get me wrong, neither Mike or I really ever wanted kids. It's just something I have observed watching everyone around me. Anyway, bottom line. 15 years = pretty amazing. 

February 14th is Valentine's Day which falls on a Sunday this year. As long as the weather cooperates we are going to be heading up to Hartford to visit a museum and afterwards we have brunch reservations at Rizzuto's in West Hartford. So that should be fun. 

Then next week Thursday, Feb. 18th, is Mike's birthday. Not sure what we will do for that yet. Nothing too big, most likely just going to get together with some friends. And just a few days later, on Sunday, Feb. 21st, we are off to the Dominican Republic. Yay for the Caribbean. Looking forward to some days off.  

Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Laura/Spain, Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Charles/TN. 

Posted by Hanna at 02:13 PM in Beach, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Germany, it's almost time to say good-bye

IMG_20150805_215627Hello for one last time from Germany. Going to be leaving tomorrow. To be fair we will stop half way between here and Austria so we have technically we have one more night in Germany but I won't post from there more than likely. 

Had a nice day yesterday where we went to Groemitz and spent some time by the beach. They have a pier you can walk out on and a nice beach promenade with shops and restaurants. Had a lovely lunch and a nice time in general. I also walked down to the water and walked along the beach for a bit and was happily surprised that the water wasn't as cold as I had thought originally. 

Today we ended up in Travemuende and walked along a path by the water past a bunch of neat booths selling various things. Then had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the water and boats. Yummy food and drinks.

Once we got back my dad and I loaded some things into the car so we have less to load tomorrow morning. And after that we had dinner at the yummy Greek restaurant around the corner from the hotel.

Tomorrow we are leaving the North of Germany but it will definitely always keep a fond place in my heart. 

Mail Update: Mailed a letter to Lotte/Denmark yesterday. Received letters from/owe a reply to: Caroline/Scotland and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 04:09 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 03, 2015

New Germany Recap

IMG_20150803_213906Hello again from Germany. :) Already been here for 3 full days plus the day I got here. Time's flying as usual of course. Having a good time and the weather is mainly cooperating too. When I first got here on Thursday last week it was pretty chilly and rainy but it has improved considerably since. The last two days were especially nice.

Saturday we toured the cruise ship AIDAMar which was docked in the port of Warnemuende that day. Never been on a cruise so it was kind of neat to see the inside of a big ship like that. We went all over, looking at some cabins and all the different areas of the ship (pool decks, entertainment, exercise, casino, restaurants, bars, etc) After the tour we headed back to Luebeck and my mom and I walked around the old town for a bit, looking at the sights and shopping for souvenirs. 

Sunday we drove to Stralsund and toured two maritime/oceanic museums. I have to admit I didn't really know anything about the city of Stralsund but was very happily surprised with how nice it was. Had a great lunch at a restaurant in the main town square as well. Both museums were nice and the harbor area was really pretty too.

Today, Monday, we headed to Sylt which is about a 3 hour trip from where we are. So it was a bit of a long day (breakfast 6am, return to hotel 8.30pm) but definitely worth it. Took the car train over to the island of Sylt and explored once we got over there. Walked over the dunes to the beach and also had lunch at the famous Sansibar restaurant. Have to say the hype was deserved because my dish was super delicious. :) After lunch we headed to the southern tip of the island to the lighthouse. Walked around for a bit, had some iced coffee/wine before eventually heading back.

I think the plan for tomorrow is to take it a bit easier and have a more of a relaxed day. Probably gonna head to one of the more local beaches. We will see how it goes. :) 

Mail Update: Wrote a letter to Lotte/Denmark (just need to find stamps to mail it) Received letters from/owe a reply to: Caroline/Scotland and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 04:43 PM in Beach, Family, Food and Drink, Outdoors, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 23, 2015

More California ... before we return to the snow tomorrow

IMG_20150223_104848And it's already our last day here in sunny California. Been pretty lucky with the weather too. The only day it rained and was dreary all day was yesterday, Oscar Sunday. But it was fine because we went to the movies in the morning. Went to see "The Last Five Years" which wasn't playing anywhere locally in CT. So that worked out. The theater we went to was in Beverly Hills and really neat. They had beer/wine and real food plus comfortable stadium seating. 

Let's see, what else we have been up to? Friday we had breakfast with my friend Linda and her husband at Andersen's Bakery in Santa Barbara. Always nice to see old friends and to catch up a bit in person. Then afterwards we went to the zoo in Santa Barbara. My favorite was the super adorable desert fox you can see in the picture. Too cute. 

After the zoo we continued on to Santa Monica. Checked in there and hung out at our place for a bit. Definitely happy with AirBnB so far. The apartment here in Santa Monica is perfect. Could move in here and be totally happy. :)

Saturday we went for a walk along the beach from the pier in Santa Monica over to Venice Beach and back. A long walk but great scenery plus the weather was nice and sunny too. Walked past the Independent Spirit Awards which always draws a lot of attention and spectators.

Saturday night we drove to Universal Studios to meet up with Nicki, Damien and Jack one more time. Had dinner at a place on the Universal City Walk. 

Then yesterday, Sunday, we went to the movies. Afterwards we prepared a little feast for ourselves since we have the full kitchen and livingroom here. Definitely convenient. Had some wine, ate and watched the Oscars. A fun, relaxing night.

Today it's sunny again and we are going to head to Burbank to Warner Bros Studios to see a taping of "Conan". Should be fun. Going to check in and then have some lunch before returning for the taping. 

And tomorrow it's already time to fly back to the cold and snow. So not ready to go back AT ALL. 

Mail Update. Letters went out on Saturday to: Kimber/Canada, Emilia/Finland and Alex/Peru. Received letters from: Caroline/Scotland. 

Posted by Hanna at 03:11 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors, Travel, Weather | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, February 20, 2015

California Update

IMG_20150220_090359Hello from California. :) Been meaning to update since we got here on Tuesday but now it's already Friday and the days are just flying by. I guess isn't that always the way when you are having fun? :)

Our trip out here was pretty uneventful luckily. We definitely got lucky with making it out here without any issues as it was snowing that day (again!) and several flights, including the one before ours, were cancelled. But everything worked out ok and we managed to get to L.A. on time. Picked up our rental car and then started to fight the never ending rush hour traffic. I really don't know how people do it. Traffic here is just completely insane. 

We eventually managed to make it to our place in Hollywood, which is another crazy place to be during Oscar week. The location all in all was very good, just a block away from the Dolby Theater (where the Oscars are held), Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Hollywood Blvd, etc. But after getting there and parking the car we decided to take the metro for the rest of the night. Much easier and less stressful. Met up with our Australian friends Nicki, Damien and their son Jackson for dinner at the Hard Rock at Universal Studios. Was great to see them again.  

Wednesday we had originally talked about taking the ferry to Catalina Island but instead decided for a more low key day. Took the metro over to L.A. Live for lunch at the Yardhouse. Nicki, Damien and Jack joined us there and afterwards we all went to the Grammy Museum which is also located in that same complex. Mike & I had been there two years ago but they have a lot of different and changing exhibits (they currently have a whole floor dedicated to Taylor Swift - pretty neat) so it was a lot of fun to go again. 

Wednesday night we went to the Golden Roads Brewery for Mike's birthday dinner. The place came recommended by a friend and didn't disappoint. Had a fun dinner before heading back to Hollywood.

Then Thursday Mike & I drove up to Santa Barbara. Always fun to be back here. Walked up and down State Street for a bit and then had lunch at the Santa Barbara Brewing Company. After lunch the sun had come out too so we were able to walk down to the pier, see the pelicans and enjoy the pretty views. After that we checked out the Funkzone where they have a bunch of wine tasting rooms and the urban Santa Barbara Wine Trail. Pretty cool. Had fun checking out some neat wineries. After that we went to Pascucci's for a delicious dinner. Yum. 

Today it's Friday and we are leaving Santa Barbara already again today. Going for breakfast with my friend Linda at Andersen's first though. Will see what we do afterwards before heading down to Santa Monica where we will be for the next 4 nights before returning to cold and snowy Connecticut. Not ready to think about that yet. Ugh. 

Mail Update. Letters going out soon to: Kimber/Canada and Alex/Peru. Received letters from: Caroline/Scotland and Emilia/Finland. 

Posted by Hanna at 12:26 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hello from the Jersey Shore

BedBreakfastWhat a gorgeous day. I think I can honestly say it's the first day that feels like late spring/early summer this year. It's been sunny and between 70 and 80F (21-26C) depending how close to the coast you are. Not humid really either, just really nice. I can tell I am not used to the sun anymore though because I can definitely feel it. We weren't even outside for that long, just walked along the boardwalk in Atlantic City for a bit. Well tomorrow I will be sure to put on some sunscreen just to be on the safe side.

We left Danbury around 8:30 this morning. Stopped at Starbucks and then we were on our way. Headed to Atlantic City where we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Atlantic City really is pretty crappy. I mean they have built some new hotels that I am sure are nice but all in all the whole vibe definitely isn't my thing. I had never been there before so I was curious to see what it was like. All in all it is about what I pictured I suppose. It's basically Coney Island with a bunch of trashy Jersey Shore type people and some casinos. I did enjoy walking along the boardwalk and had fun people watching from inside the Hard Rock. Our table overlooked the boardwalk so we had a great view for people watching. 

After we were done in Atlantic City we drove to our bed & breakfast to check-in. Really happy with the room. We are the only people staying here since it's still off-season and mid-week so we pretty much have the whole place to ourselves. Very cool. Hanging out in the room for a bit now before heading out to dinner in a little while. 

And last but not least of course Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all of my friends who are mothers. :) I am happy that my mom is now back home and doing better than she has been. My parents are leaving for a 2 week trip to the Croatian coast on Tuesday so that will be nice. Will be good for them to be able to relax for a bit, eat good food, walk on the beach and just enjoy a change of scenery. 

Mail Update: On the way here wrote letters to: Caroline/Scotland and Laura/Spain. Received a letter/owe a reply to: Tiffany/OK and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 05:51 PM in Beach, Family, Food and Drink, Travel, Weather | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, April 25, 2014

Back to the daily grind

Daily-grindBack to the US and every day life. The first week back is always hard, partially because of jetlag and also just to get used to being at work and back in a regular routine again. I was obviously happy to see Mike and the cats but other than that it always sucks coming back from a trip. Oh well, what can you do? 

I flew back on Monday. Had a crazy early flight but all worked out ok, connected in Frankfurt ok and made it back to JFK with all my luggage without any incidents. Now it's Friday and this week just seems to be dragging like crazy. Doesn't help that I woke up with a sore throat yesterday and been kind of fighting with that since. I hope it doesn't turn into a full blown cold. Fingers crossed. 

Other than that, not too much new. The rest of my stay in Austria was nice. Met up with some friends in Vienna and also locally around my parent's house. My mom was able to come home for a night around Easter (Saturday/Sunday) so that was nice. I think she enjoyed being home, even if it was just for a little while. We went for a short walk with our neighbor friend as the weather was pretty nice that day. Also sat outside in the garden for a bit drinking coffee afterwards. 

In other happy news we booked a short 2-night stay/getaway on the Jersey Shore in Spring Lake, NJ. Going Sunday, May 11 to Tuesday, May 13. The bed & breakfast/inn we are staying at has a great midweek special where all their rooms are half price so that's pretty cool. If you click here you can see the room we booked. We also used some of the money my aunt was so nice to give me when I was in Austria so that will help. :)

Mail Update: Letters went out on Tuesday to: Charles/TN, Jessica/DE, Celia/MA, Lotte/Denmark. A letter also went out on Wednesday to: Katie/Germany. Received a letter/owe a reply to: Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 09:43 AM in Austria , Beach, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack