Sunday, August 11, 2013

Having fun in the sun - Florida Update

HannaLast day already again. Time always moves way faster when you are on vacation it seems. But we still have all of today plus our flight tomorrow does not leave till around 3pm. So let's focus on two more days away from work. :)

Having a good time here despite the crazy heat and humidity. It's honestly been brutal with that but we are powering through. :) With the help of some fruity tropical cocktails, yummy food and air-condition when it's just not bearable outside anymore. 

Thursday we ate at Barnacle Bill's Seafood (recommended by our friend Kelly), then had some drinks at Patrick's. Friday we drove up to Tampa to go to the zoo there. Was a really nice zoo, big, good layout and nice animal-friendly exhibits. After the zoo we drove over to the Hard Rock Casino. That's where the crappiness of Tampa really stood out to me. Tampa is just such a hellhole of a city. Of course there are a few nice parts but most of it is just horrible. We drove along a street with nothing but pawn shops to get to the casino. Of course they normally expect you to get right off the highway to go there and not go the back way but it really brought out the true nature of the place.  Had a nice late lunch at the Hard Rock anyway. On our way back to Sarasota we drove through the worst never-ending thunderstorm ever. Just wow. After that finally ended we went into downtown Sarasota to have some light food (cheese, crackers, meats) at the Sarasota Vineyard bistro/winebar. 

Yesterday, Friday, we checked out some nature trails at the Myakka State Park. Then afterwards had lunch at the Old Salty Dog in Siesta Key. Made it there just in time before another massive thunderstorm rolled through. Luckily their patio was covered so we could have our lunch undisturbed by the rain. Had thought about going to the beach after lunch but after sitting outside for a few hours the humidty & heat was really getting to us. Stopped at the beach to take a few pictures but even at 4pm it was still so hot we really didn't want to deal with it. Instead headed back to the hotel  to freshen up. Then dinner at the Dry Dock on Longboat Key. Such a gem of a place. They have delicious seafood but also the best patio where you are so close to the water. Some pelicans, egrets and even a manatee joined us for dinner. Very fun. :)

Today, Saturday, we are off to Orlando to check out the Universal Studio City Walk & Hard Rock Cafe there. We figured being inside in the AC for a good part of the day might be nice after having spent most of yesterday outside in the heat & humidity. :)

Mail Update: Still need to mail my letters  to: Jessica/DE and Celia/MA. Received letters/still owe a response to: Caroline/Scotland. 

Posted by Hanna at 10:04 AM in Beach, Food and Drink, Outdoors | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, July 01, 2013

Yay for a beach vacation

SiestakeySarasota-Siesta Key here we come. :) Mike and have been discussing for a while now that we want to take a long weekend somewhere together before the end of the summer but yesterday we decided to just book it and be done with it. :)

Originally we had talked about maybe going back to the West Coast, maybe California again (L.A. or San Diego or even Santa Barbara or San Francisco - so many options) or the Northwest (Oregon or the Seattle/Vancouver area) but in the end we decided to stay on the East Coast and just fly to Florida. It's a lot cheaper and there a ton of flights from the NYC area to anywhere in Florida so it's easy and convenient too. 

At first we were going back and forth between the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood/Miami Beach area and Sarasota/Siesta Key but ended up deciding on Sarasota/Siesta Key area as we really liked it when we were there in December of 2008 with my parents for New Year's. Plus the flights to Tampa over Miami were a tad cheaper so that helped too. :) 

I am really looking forward to our trip. It will be a fun "chill and relax" trip. We are not planning anything massive, just to hang out, walk along the beach, eat & drink (looking forward to heading back to the Old Salty Dog) and maybe squeeze in a couple of other things like nature walks or museums depending on the weather. I am sure it will be super hot & humid as it is Florida in August but at least we will be near the ocean so that will help. 

Mail Update: Received letters/still owe a response to: Jessica/DE, Charles/TN and Lotte/Denmarkt 

Posted by Hanna at 01:05 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Weather | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Coney Island

Hanna-ConeyAlready 3pm on Sunday again. I really wish weekends wouldn't fly by that fast. It's been a nice weekend though. Had both Saturday and today off. Yesterday we took the train down to New York and then the subway out to Coney Island. On our way there we stopped at Cafe Steinhof (an Austrian restaurant) in Brooklyn for lunch. Yumm. 

Spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Coney Island. Walked along the beach for a while. Always a bit surreal walking on the beach and knowing you are in New York City. Coney Island is a very one-of-a-kind place as it is but it's always fun to go out there. Last time we spent a day there was just after I moved in 2002 so it's been a while. In the evening we watched the Brooklyn Cyclones (minor league) baseball game which was fun. Lucked out with the weather too. There were thunderstorms in the area the whole day and we saw some heavy downpours while watching out the window on the train but never encountered any rain ourselves while outside. 

Didn't get home till close to 2am so we slept in late today. Then went to lunch at Elmer's Diner and grocery shopping afterwards. Probably going to just relax for the rest of the day. Will read for a bit, maybe we will watch a movie later. The Olympics Closing Ceremonies are on too. Can't believe the Olympics are already over again. Austria didn't manage to get any medals this time. We had 17 placements in the top 10 but no medals. We usually do much much better in the winter olympics but can usually snag at least a couple medals in the summer ones too. Oh well I guess. 

Mail Update: A letter will go out to Lotte/Denmark tomorrow. Received letters/still owe a response to: Charles/TN and Emilia/Finland. 

Posted by Hanna at 03:35 PM in Beach, Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Hello from Charleston, SC

Magnolia-bridge Having a great time here in Charleston so far. Got in on Friday around 6:30pm and had dinner at the Southend Brewery & Smokehouse, then walked around in the historic district for a bit before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday we went to the Magnolia Plantation, walked all around the grounds and gardens - super pretty. And then also did the swamp tour (another self guided walk through a neat swamp area with walkways, boardwalk, etc) which was also pretty cool. It's very hot and humid but other than that very nice. After Magnolia we headed out to Wadmalaw Island, about thirty miles south of Charleston, to see the Firefly Vodka distillery. It was cool to see the place where it all started, got to try 6 of their flavored vodkas. The lemonade one that they only sell in their store there was absolutely delicious. I could see where that could get dangerous very quickly. :) There is only a vineyard on the same property so we did the tour there and some tastings as well. When we were done we headed back towards Charleston but made a stop at Folly Beach. We didn't go swimming although the water was surprisingly super warm. Walked along the beach for a while though before heading back into Charleston. Cleaned up in the hotel and then headed out to a really cool wine bar. Had some tapas style appetizer dishes and three different wine flights. Very cool.

´╗┐Today we are heading to Savannah, GA. Planning on doing a self guided walking tour there, lunch at a brewpub, should all be fun. It's supposed to be another super hot day, around 96F, but that's just the way the weather works around here at this time of the year I guess. Well better get ready so we can leave.

Mail Update: On our flight down I wrote letters to (just need to mail them now): Jessica/DE and Charles/TN. Received letters from: Celia/MA, Lotte/Denmark, Carmen/Malta, Eunice/Malta and Sarah/Canada.

Posted by Hanna at 08:40 AM in Beach, Food and Drink, Travel, Wine | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, February 04, 2011

Time flies ....

Koala-crossing

... when you are having fun. Can't believe today is already our last day here in Australia. Tomorrow it's back on the plane and another crazy long flight back to the US. I don't think I am ready for that just yet. :(

We definitely had a great time on this trip though. Nicki and Damien's wedding was absolutely beautiful. The day after they started their 3 week Europe honeymoon (even though I am on vacation myself slightly jealous *g*) Monday Mike & I went on a long walk along the cliffs, all the way from Coogee Beach where we were staying into Sydney. Saw some gorgeous views. Then Tuesday we went to the zoo which was also great. Sooo hot on both days though. But I can't complain too much. Seems like we missed three major snowstorms so far since we have been gone.

Wednesday we left for the Gold Coast, about 11 hours of driving. Was a nice drive though, interesting to see some more rural areas. I was excited to see koala and kangaroo crossing signs and we also spotted some kangaroos by the side of the road under a tree. Very cool. :) Surfer's Paradise was a cool area, very laid back with a great vacation feel to it. Our hotel room was on the 20th floor with a balcony so we could sit outside at night with some wine, watch the hustle and bustle below, the beach just  a few blocks away. Very cool.

Now we are back in Sydney. Went to a cool wine bar for dinner last night. Today we are going to walk around some more, another HOT day. Going to the art museum and also plan on walking through the Botanical Gardens. Should all be fun.

Mail update: Letters went out on Thursday to:  Emilia/Finland, Celia/MA, Becki/KY. Also wrote a letter to Jetta/Finland which I will mail as soon as we get back to the US. Received letters from/still owe replies to: ALL caught up (well until we get home and I get more mail)  

Posted by Hanna at 06:15 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Block Island

Ferrylanding Finally getting around to a quick post about Block Island. We had a really lovely weekend there. What a beautiful island. We were really lucky with the weather as well which was great. Stayed for 2 nights and had nice weather all three days. The first day it was pretty windy, the ferry ride was kind of interesting too. :) But it all worked out. The day before they had to cancel all the ferries because of high winds and adverse sea conditions.

  Saturday when we got there we walked around town, browsed at some shops. Everything is pretty much closing down or already closed for the season (the offical end of the season is Columbus Day but a lot of things close even earlier than that) but the stores that were open had a lot of clearance so we were able to get some bargains at 40-50% off which was nice. There were also only a few restaurants open but it wasn't a big deal because all the places we ate at were really nice.

It's great that the island is pretty small so you can walk everywhere in town. The rest of the island we explored by bike on Sunday and some more on Monday. On Sunday we probably did around 21 miles all around the island. I haven't been on a bike in close to 15 years so I was definitely feeling it. The scenery was super pretty though and very worth it. Plus it being off season there weren't a lot of cars or people around anywhere which was nice.

Really enjoyed our weekend and hope we can go back some time during the warmer months to be able to sit outside on one of the many porches they have. It's really expensive in season but we will have to see. Maybe a midweek special will pop up, you never know. :)

Short mail update for today. Sorry I am still so behind on my mail again. Letters went out on Monday to: Lotte/Denmark and Celia/MA. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Jessica/DE, Jetta/Finland, Alex/Germany and Nina/WA.

Posted by Hanna at 08:09 AM in Beach, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

More PR

Oldsanjuan2So here is  another update from our island adventure. Having a really good time. So far we have really lucked out with the weather. No rain at all.

San Juan was lots of fun yesterday. The Old Town is very pretty, so many great views. It's surrounded by water on three sides so a great ocean view is never far away. We went to the fort which was neat, walking around there. Afterwards we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked around some more. When we got back to the hotel we swam in the pool and had a light dinner.

Today we got an early start and went to the rainforest. Definitely a really cool experience. Very tropical and nothing like anything I have ever seen. We hiked three trails, all very different. One led to a waterfall which was really cool. Another one climbed about 600 feed in elevation in about a mile so it was very steep but really cool views from the top.

After the rainforest we had lunch at one of the kiosks at the beach and then went to Luquillo Beach. Gorgeous turquoise water. Sooo nice. We decided to go swim in the ocean for a bit which was lots of fun until I stopped paying attention for a minute and a wave pretty much knocked me over and made me tumble upside down for a little bit. Wow, I didn't know you could get sand in that many places. Guess I will be paying more attention next time. LOL. :)

Short mail update for today. Letters went out yesterday to: Alex/Germany and Celia/MA. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Caroline/Scotland, Nina/WA and Kimber/Canada.

Posted by Hanna at 04:52 PM in Beach, Food and Drink, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hello from sunny Puerto Rico

Hanna-balcony It's very weird being in this warm weather all of a sudden, wearing short sleeve shirts, bikinis, swimming in the ocean, etc. when only the day before we were freezing like crazy. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely not complaining, it's just very different.

We ended up getting to the resort around 3:30pm yesterday. Took us a little while to get the car etc. The resort is absolutely gorgeous by the way. Two big pools, huge grounds, loads of restaurants/bars, etc. And it's right by the beach. So  after cecking in we pretty much headed straight to the beach and played in the ocean (fun waves) until sunset.

Afterwards we took the shuttle over to the Country Club by the golf course where they have a restaurant and bar. Was different watching the Super Bowl in a bar overlooking the rainforest. :) Had some yummy Mai Tais.

Today we are heading into San Juan to explore the Old Town. Looking forward to that. It was already 72F (22C) this mornng so by now I am sure it's even warmer. I am sure it will be a fun day.

Tomorrow we will probably check out the rainforest that's right next to our resort. There is also another cool beach with loads of food kiosks very close to here. So we will check all that out over the next few days.

Short mail update for today. Wrote letters on the way down to: Alex/Germany and Celia/MA. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Caroline/Scotland, Nina/WA and Kimber/Canada.

Posted by Hanna at 10:04 AM in Beach, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack