I know it has been a little while since my last post, but I think I needed this time to mourn in my return to freezing climates. So, in order to prep myself for the written portion of my most recent Playa del Carmen adventure last month ... I will be going to dinner at El Mariachi tonight! I think this is exactly what I needed to get back in to the swing of things. You know, sangria and lots of cheesy, refried goodness. I also had Brooklyn pizza today which was utterly amazing, but this stroll down Mexican memory lane will help spark my travel memories.
And if Mexican isn't your thing, I know something on this blog will tickle your fancy. Check out my friends newly revamped foody blog. CLICK HERE --> Living To Eat
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
So here is the real way to travel opulently on a “young” budget, find a wealthy aunt or uncle who have a time-share and latch on for dear life. In the case of my girlfriend Allie and myself, we did some early investigation on my aunts Marriot Surf Club in Aruba. Just so happens that my aunt and uncle wanted to go, they upgraded their 1-bedroom suite to a 2-bedroom suite … with living room, dining room and kitchen. Yes, this is the way to travel my friends.
Late in February 2010, Allie and myself packed our bags to meet my family in Aruba for a long weekend getaway. Aruba (of the Lesser Antilles) is perfectly tucked-in within the southern region of the Caribbean Sea. A very worthwhile 4.5 hours out of JFK we landed in Oranjestad (the capital city of Aruba). The flight was about $450 (on JetBlue), but since we weren’t paying for hotel accommodations this price was perfect!
The long weekend was spent laying by the pool and reading a great book (The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, I highly recommend it!) Allie and I even got a little gutsy and took public transportation into the town for a little shopping. Aruba seemed to be one of the pricier islands that I have visited, and windier (you can thank the trade winds for that).
The best part of this hotel was the lazy-river. All you have to do is purchase an adult size inner tube and your set; double check that it is not a child’s size tube, unless you are 4 feet and under and approximately 75 pounds.
All in all this weekend vacation was fun, fairly inexpensive and a great getaway from a chilly New York February.
Posted by Gabrielle at 1:35 PM
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Corfu, Greece … if you can get there, it’s a backpackers paradise. I got there… it just took a 17-hour Greek cargo ship, 4 hours waiting at a port for the Greeks to end their strike and a 30-minute boat to get there … TWICE!! (The strike was only once)
Word on the European streets was that a place called The Pink Palace was the ultimate backpackers hostel. So, feeling ballsy, about twenty students from my abroad program booked a trip and a 4-day stay at this Pink Palace place. Arriving in Corfu I was a little hesitant because it didn’t look like the Greece you heard about, white buildings and blue roofs. This place was very … green? It almost looked like upstate New York minus the Mediterranean, of course.
As the bus pulled up to the hostel I laughed. The place was entirely pink, and I mean hot pink. It was like pulling in to a cheesy Las Vegas motel, all that was missing was Elvis. On arrival they hand you a pink (not-so) satin sheet that needs to be returned on departure. This sheet is for the pink toga party that the Pink Palace throws once a week. Duh! Then they rattle off a list of activities we could do while staying at the “palace”.
Gabrielle’s Recommendations While Staying at The Pink Palace:
1. Attend the toga party, but before leaving the United States do some research on making a toga out of a square pocket napkin.
- Side Note: Greeks throw plates, stand back or participate, either way there is a 60% chance you might bleed.
- If you don’t like Ouzo, don’t stand in the Ouzo circle, you will be asked to drink a bottle and dance.
2. The Booze Cruise is well worth your money, but you have to wake up at 5am to reserve spots. Just do it. They serve alcoholic drinks out of milk cartons and if you answer trivia right you get Greek beer.
- Your “captain” will be wearing a banana hammock and a captain’s hat; he has no certification to be a captain.
- He will bring you to a very high cliff and tell people if they want to climb up and jump they can. Once your up there, he will tell you “good luck” because this is his first time jumping.
- If your dumb enough to follow people up the cliff, pencil-dive in … perfectly. My ass broke my fall and I broke my tailbone jumping from 70 feet. The 9 other people who jumped couldn’t move various parts of their bodies for weeks.
3. Don’t feed the wild dogs.
The Pink Palace was one of the best weekends I had while I was abroad. Everyone is so friendly, why not? Everyone is drunk and tan. I did not spend a dime while I was there (minus the booze cruise $25). All meals are included with the weekly price and you don’t have to pay for the broken dishes.
Click here for a video I took of some Dancing Greeks at the toga party!
Posted by Gabrielle at 2:03 PM
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Whoever said that you needed to be on a plane to feel like your going to a faraway destination? All you have to do is hop on an Amtrak going through rural New York and you can feel like you’re A. on the train to Hogwarts or B. traveling through a Dutch painting; this is at least how I felt on my 8 hour train ride to Buffalo, New York. I even got to see an abrupt season change. Where I once was experiencing a mild Fall to Winter climate on Long Island, I witnessed a mild Fall to a deep Antarctica tundra-like Winter. As the train passed Amsterdam, New York, light rain turned in to billowy snowflakes. I was not prepared for this.
On the Buffalo menu for the weekend, Friday, a quick tour of the town of Kenmore where my girlfriend from college was now living while attending dental school (cant wait for my discounted veneers!) For dinner an absolutely amazing tapas restaurant called Torro, located only a short distance from Kenmore near the SUNY Buffalo campus, the dinner was amazing (Olives, breads and spreads & a fig, prosciutto and fig pizza & two glasses of Spanish wine). For the evening, a hotel party at the Hyatt in downtown Buffalo. I hope my honeymoon suite is as nice as this, and then on to Encore (a fun bar with a great outdoor terrace, with many, many heat lamps). I cannot forget Jims Steakout, an after-hour drunk food spot for the best ‘subs’ … I had the Philly cheese steak, YUM!
Saturday consisted of an awesome brunch at the newly updated diner PANO and some heavy napping. The evening was what I had been waiting for since the last time I visited the Bailey family … a home cooked dinner by Mom and Dad #2 in Orchard Park, Buffalo. Italian bread with homemade sauce, assorted size penne mixed with meatballs, sausage and slow-cooked veal. A little bit of red pepper and some grated cheese and I sunk in to a delicious food coma! Needing rest for our final day together, the Bills vs. Steelers game (GO STEELERS), we went to another apartment to get some sleep that was a closer ride to the stadium.
GAMEDAY, waking up in the clothes that I wore to dinner the night before I realized I fell asleep watching Elf, fail. When Anna told me to dress in layers I believed her, I knew Buffalo was freezing, but what I was about to experience was utterly North Pole status. Five layers on top and two on the bottom, all starting with Under Armor, I thought I was ready for action. I made one crucial mistake; I was only wearing one pair of socks.
This was my first NFL game; amazed at the crowd and the amount of Steelers fans I was smiling ear to ear. Anna said we would be going to the best tailgate party at the stadium but I thought this was just exaggeration. It wasn’t, she was being honest. Every dip, spread, chip, chili, and pasta combination you could imagine, equipped with two heating lamps, a trunk-wide flat screen television, plenty of seating and booze. Entering the stadium was beautiful, the game was sold out and I found myself at home in a sea of black and gold; and an elderly gentlemen from Toronto, Canada that asked me out for dinner … I graciously declined. This was such a wonderful weekend getaway.
Posted by Gabrielle at 12:05 AM