W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal

On my way to Panama for a Spanish Immersion class, I stopped off in Costa Rica for a few days.  Somehow, despite having been to all seven continents, all 50 states, and around 60 countries, I had never made it to Costa Rica, despite its close proximity to the USA and my desire to visit.

RELAX AT THE W

Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Where to Stay on Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Saletoga Sands is a lovely resort on the Southeastern coast of Upolu between Utulaelae and Matatufu. If I had my time to do over in Samoa, I might have stayed all four days here. The resort offers an airport transfer for a fee and has a variety of tours. For anyone who wants more freedom, they also rent both cars and scooters. Having seen the potholed roads, I’d stick to a car.

I spent two days in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and rented a car from Talofa Inn in order to get to the southeastern coast. The rainy weather wasn’t too conducive to beach going so I made a handful of stops along the Cross Island Road which cuts across the middle of the island.

LET’S GO

Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana, Slovenia

Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital with a population of 270,000, seems smaller than its actual size.  Its central walking zone is compact and nearby the Ljubljanica River that bisects the city.  Many bridges cross the river while cafes line its banks.

We were only in Ljubljana for a half-day, and it definitely deserves a whole one or more.  But we were able to see several of the sights on our short walking tour before we relaxed at a riverside café. Continue reading “Things to Do In and Around Ljubljana, Slovenia”

Top Things to Do In and Around Rovinj, Croatia

Rovinj

Rovinj is a lovely coastal town in Istria, Croatia with a strong Venetian influence as it was part of the Republic of Venice from the 13th-18th century.  In fact, all the town signs are written in Croatian and Italian.

While the Venetians had somewhat neglected Istria, upon being seized by Napoleon and becoming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the town flourished.  The Austrians brought the railroad, gas lights, and a huge tobacco factory to the area.  Along with cigarette making, Rovinj’s industries include fishing and tourism.

Once an island, the town was protected by a double wall, but now is a peninsula, the walls were converted into houses! Continue reading “Top Things to Do In and Around Rovinj, Croatia”

Top Things to Do in Bale, Croatia

Bale and the Surrounding Area

Our nine-day tour with Mt. Travel Sobek began this morning at 9am.  We met our wonderful guides, Stasa who speaks five languages and loves to travel and Domen who holds an MA in Ethnology and Cultural anthropology and is also an adventurer.

Our group included two sets of friends (including me and Page), four couples and representative from Mt. Travel Sobek’s California office.  Four of the group were meeting us later due to flight delays and other plans.  As such, nine of us loaded into our two vans with our guides who drove us three hours in the rain past agricultural fields and through mountains to Bale in Istria, Croatia.  Istria, located in the northwest corner of Croatia is known for its olive oil, wine and truffles.  We are looking forward to our hiking and culinary tour! Continue reading “Top Things to Do in Bale, Croatia”

New Year’s Eve at the Dead Sea!

Visiting The Dead Sea

Well, we waved good-bye to Wadi Rum and headed Northwest toward the Dead Sea.  We passed by a few more check points, but didn’t get pulled over.  At one point, we thought we did, and the policeman looked puzzled.  He asked if we spoke Arabic…haha, NO!  We went on.

The road weaved through mountainous terrain with steep grades.  Eventually we reached the Dead Sea.  The water was beautiful and across the way we could see Israel.  The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth, 1,412 feet below sea level!  It wreaked havoc on our cell phones and Fitbits.  My Fitbit Blaze battery usually lasts five days.  It was draining in a day with the blue tooth off. Continue reading “New Year’s Eve at the Dead Sea!”