A Cape Town Getaway! Three-Day Itinerary

This November, me, the getaway guy, and six of our closest friends had the great luxury of taking a two week getaway together to South Africa. As hoped and dreamed, it was the trip of a lifetime. We ate, drank, laughed (a lot), strengthened our bond, talked spirituality, were amazed by the vastness of our universe, and saw some of the coolest and most exciting wildlife (a rare baby white lion, lion sex, leopard and cheetah hunts, black and white rhino—more on this in upcoming posts)! The first stop of our great adventure—Cape Town!

Day 1. Take it easy after the extensive travel getting to South Africa. We were blessed with this magnificent sunset from our villa in Cape Town’s beach-side Bakoven neighborhood (near Camps Bay) on our first night. After sunset, pop out for a causal dinner. We loved the vegetarian options at The Black Sheep.

Day 2. Start your day at the V&A Waterfront. Get some kombucha at the V&A Food Market, and sample all the food stalls until you decide what to have for lunch. Next up, shop for art, jewelry, and ceramics made by local artisans next door at the Watershed. After all that shopping, you’ll surely be thirsty, so head over to the bar at renowned The Silo hotel for craft cocktails and mountain views.

After a day of eating, drinking, and shopping, it’s time for more eating and drinking! Head home, clean up, squeeze in a quick photoshoot with your homies, and head back out for the meal of your life at The Pot Luck Club. The fish sliders (can also be made as cauliflower sliders for vegetarians) are some of the best bites I’ve ever had.

Day 3. Grab banana bread and an oat-milk latte at local haunt, Bootlegger. Hit the trails for a hike up Table Mountain. Table Mountain is steep! So be prepared to work that booty. The cable-car ride down is quick and scenic. You’ll be so hungry after that you’ll devour all the delicious foods at Hemelhuijs. For some really authentic local shopping, head to Greenmarket Square. It is super fun to chat and negotiate with the local vendors on your hunt for that special souvenir.

That was a big day! After your much-needed shower, fill coffee cups with wine, grab a blanket, and walk to the beach for sunset. Relax, unwind, and take it all in!

Cape Town itself is awesome, but made 100x more incredible with friends!

xo,

Getaway Gal

Hermanus: A Quick Getaway on South Africa's Coast

A quickie in Hermanus? I’m in! We really enjoyed our relaxing 24-hour getaway here. And I hope you enjoy this quickie blog post too!

Where to stay. Abalone Guest Lodge. You’ll love the cliff-side sea views from your balcony, comfy king-sized bed, or the deep and spacious bathtub! The pool-side swings are pretty cute too, but with the views from the room, I’m guessing you won’t leave.

What to do. Meet the penguins! You may have heard of Boulders Beach, a bit-more touristy penguin destination closer to Cape Town. But, if you’re down for a scenic drive, I’d recommend Betty’s Bay. The penguin crowd is far bigger than the human one, which I call a win.

Find peace and quiet on a cliff-side stroll. Inhale. Exhale. Optional: put one foot in front of the other. That’s it!

Where to eat. We only had one night, and spent it at Pear Tree. I must admit, the service was a bit (okay a LOT) slow, but the food was on point. You can’t go wrong with any of their many veggie dishes.

Overall, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the views.

xo,

Getaway Gal

A Weekend Getaway in Paradise: Menorca, Spain

We were so excited to receive an invitation to a destination wedding in Menorca, Spain this September. The beautiful couple really outdid themselves! The entire weekend was flawless!

Day 1. Arrive, unwind, and get pretty for cocktail hour at Cova d’en Xoroi. This cliffside bar is the ultimate place to view sunset on the island. I enjoyed aperol spritzes in my matching pants.

Day 2. The hosts chartered a 70 person catamaran and took all their friends and family cruising around the island. Music was playing, rose and champagne flowing, and the water was warm! The ultimate touch was providing each guest with her own picnic basket full of goodies and a towel.

Day 3. Free time. We chose to spend it exploring some of Menorca’s beaches. We went to Cala de Binidali and Cala de Biniparratx. In these quiet coves we found locals relaxing, picnicking, and swimming in the crystal clear blue water with their pets and kids in tow.

The big event. After our day at the beach, we put on our fancy clothes and dancing shoes! We enjoyed champagne in the courtyard before the intimate, outdoor ceremony. Next up, the most fabulous cocktail hour by the pool, with creative and delicious passed appetizers, a sumptuous charcuterie spread, and tasty local wines. The dinner was delectable, and speeches just right. After that setup, it’s no wonder we danced under the stars til sunrise!

The hotel. Torralbenc is exquisite. I wish I had three more days here to relax by this pool and get treatments at the adjacent spa. Plus, our tranquil room had vineyard and ocean views. I feel calmed just thinking about it. Take me back, please!

The entire property was delectable. Perfectly curated gardens, smelling of rosemary and lavender, and crisp white buildings, accented with bright flowering vines, created a sense of calm and serenity.

Enjoy!

xo,

Getaway Gal

Desert Luxury at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

A wise woman once said, “they hide the good stuff.” Nothing could be more true for the Sossusvlei Desert in Namibia. Especially if, like me, you’re coming from the the west coast of the United States. LAX to Dubai to Johannesburg to Windhoek to Sossusvlei and …. 48 hours later … we made it to our oasis in the desert, at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Worth it. Here’s how we spent our time there.

Pamper yourself on the property. We arrived by three-seater plane at the property’s private airstrip. The ten-minute drive to the lodge was delayed by a traffic jam … of zebras. At the lodge, we felt completely pampered, with our own guide and butler, but still isolated in the best way and completely connected with the desert. The pool, al fresco dining area, and ten suites all have perfect views of the surrounding mountains and grazing wildlife. My favorite part was the night sky. The property is part of a “dark sky reserve,” meaning light pollution is restricted. We could see three galaxies with the naked eye, and Saturn’s ring (with the help of the professional staff astronomer) through a telescope. I was literally brought to tears by the vastness of our universe.

Unwind (and cool down) in your suite. The African desert is hot. No joke. Between sunrise and sunset excursions, being outdoors is unpleasant, unless you packed a lot of sunscreen, and can spend the day neck deep in the pool. Thankfully the a.c. in our suite was on point. Each day we treated ourselves to the ultimate luxury. A nap. With the pre-dawn dawn adventures as our wake-up call and the purest night sky keeping us up late, a nap was always a good idea. We also enjoyed in-room massages and watching zebra, oryx, and ostriches graze outside our window. Come nightfall, we soaked in more stars, from our outdoor shower and above-bed skylight.

Dine al fresco, under the stars. These photos paint the picture better than I ever could with words, but I’ll try. Each night we had a table for two where we watched the sky turn from bright blue, to orange and red, to soft pink and purple, and finally the blackest black, lit up by millions of stars. Encircling us in the distance were red-sand mountains afire by the setting sun. From there, we sipped champagne while savoring our three course meal. The type of dinner that leaves you full, mind, body, and spirit.

Soar at sunrise, in a hot air balloon. Seeing the red sand dunes from the sky was incredible. We glided gracefully above their peaks, without a care in the world. For a while that is, until we were abruptly shaken by our semi-crash landing (the basked tipped sideways, and we had to scramble and crawl out onto the rocky sand). Not to worry, the brief jolt was righted with a champagne picnic breakfast.

Hike the biggest sand dunes in the world. We were so ambitious. From the bottom, we thought surely we could make it to the peak. But two hours later, shoes filled with pounds of red sand, it seemed the peak kept getting further away. We made it close(ish) anyway, sculpted our bums, took in magnificent views, and had a blast sliding and scooting our way back down.

Go all terrain. These ATV things are fun. And scary. Apparently I ride at a snail’s pace, so the getaway guy decided to race our guide instead. That’s okay, time for me to do some posing :)

Sip (more) champagne at sunset. One consistent, and best, part of Africa travel is the “sundowner.” Meaning your guide takes you to some stunning, remote location, and then your butler shows up with *surprise* champagne and h’ordeuvres. In Namibia, with the setting sun lighting up the surrounding red sand and mountains, we experienced a quite literal “golden” hour. Pure magic!

Santa Ynez Valley, California: A Perfect Weekend Getaway

Every Californian should find their summer and winter getaways. California has so much variety within a few hours of wherever you are. For me, summer is for the Santa Ynez Valley. Here's your recipe for a perfect weekend getaway.

Day 1. Cruise up Pacific Coast Highway at sunset. For non-Californians, this is the highway that hugs the coastline. You'll avoid traffic and watch the ocean sparkle as the suns dips below the horizon, while the sky glows in magnificent hues of orange and pink. 

Upon arrival, head to Los Alamos for dinner at Pico. Most importantly, it has the best food in the valley. Second most importantly, it is pretty much the only eatery open past nine. Win, win! You MUST order THE[sic] mushroom salad. And anything else on the menu that strikes your fancy. It is all delicious. If you're lucky, the charming chef will stop by for a visit. We've been so honored a couple of times. 

Day 2. Pool time, baby. It get's hot in the summer, so you'll want it! Plus, can you imagine anything better than sipping rose while floating in a unicorn pool raft? I cannot. We always stay at Sogno del Fiore. There are two adorable casitas, separated by a private pool and jacuzzi, in the middle of a vineyard. Plus, there's a bocce court and wine tasting on the property. 

Wine time! We usually squeeze in a tasting or two each day (it's tough, with the pool calling). Los Alamos has a favorite, Casa Dumetz. Owned and operated by tiny, vivacious blonde named Sonja. You can enjoy some delicious and creative wines there. Los Olivos is positively teeming with tasting rooms. One of our favorites is Tensley. White, rose, red, its all fantastic. We also checked out Pence, in Buellton, last time we were in town, and loved all their reds. Plus they have super cute pups roaming around. 

Hungry after all that wine and sunshine? Me too! Grab dinner at SY Kitchen, in Santa Ynez. Never been wowed by minestrone soup? That's about to change. Order it. Plus all the salads and pizza. If you're feeling a little wined-out, their cocktails are ah-mazing. We also love the casual ambiance and creative food down the road in Buellton at Industrial Eats. Something to look forward to for night three! Top off the night with star-gazing, and call it a perfect day.

Day 3. Rinse and repeat! 

Weekend Getaway on the Oregon Coast: Beaches, Hikes, and Margaritas!

A couple of our besties just moved to Washington state, so we decided to explore some of the pacific northwest together. We landed on the Oregon coast, in a small beach town called Manzanita.

Day 1. As you know, I love a good luxury resort. But a charming Airbnb that makes you feel like a local is another fave. I love exploring the nooks and crannies of a new home, stocking the fridge with local goodies, and having the option to sip wine (or frozen margaritas, our favorite with these besties) while creating a home-cooked meal. I loved how colorful and clean our Manzanita Airbnb was, and I especially loved the upstairs game room, with views into the trees and sky lights glowing with that golden hour light. Needless to say, day one included all of these activities.

We also hiked up nearby Neahkahnie Mountain, a beautiful winding trail through lush forest, and a payoff off of stunning views down the coast, including all of Manzanita beach! 

Day 2. After a 5.5 mile run through Nehalem State Park, we cooked up a brunch for champions, including scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, and pancakes. Then it was beach time! Coolers packed with cans of beer, rose, and champagne, we moseyed the couple blocks from our home to Manzanita beach. We set up our umbrella and beach chairs (another benefit of the Airbnb!) on the uncrowded pristine white sand. Ahh, time to relax!

After the beach, we explored the nearby Elk Flats trail to Treasure Cove. I promptly hopped the protective fence to take in the epic views! We were also lucky enough to see a whale! 

Day 3. We drove 30ish minutes to nearby Cannon Beach. More famous than its little sister, Manzanita, it was correspondingly more crowded. Parking at Indian Beach was already full, which actually turned into a blessing! We were forced to park at Ecola Point and hike the one-mile trail from there to Indian Beach. This unexpected hike was possibly the most beautiful of our trip. Through greenery as lush as the rainforest and along cliffs with stunning vistas, we wound our way to the sand. The trail let us off at the opposite end from the parking lot and we entered down a rocky muddy path, which made it feel like we had discovered a secret cove. Magic in the making.

A little beach side yoga, and I'll call it a perfect day!

Where to stay. Manzanita for sure! Cannon Beach was way to crowded. Plus, Manzanita is so charming, with a winery, a few small restaurants, and shops selling beachy trinkets and boho goods (Thai harem pants and incense anyone?). Try an Airbnb! Did you know they have a partnership with Delta, so you can get miles for your rental? 

Where to eat. Cook and eat at home! Manzanita has three local grocery stores, with everything you could possible need. We also liked the coffee at Manzanita Winery

What to do. Check out all the beaches and trails. We loved Neahkahnie trail, Elk Flats trail, and Indian Beach trail. Manzanita beach is beautiful, as was Indian Beach. If you take the Indian Beach trail there are other beaches you can stop at on the way, like Crescent Beach. You can't go wrong!

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: A Perfect Weekend Getaway

San Miguel de Allene, Mexico is one of my favorite weekend getaways to date. We had already planned to go, but when Travel and Leisure named it the best city in the world for the second year in a row, we knew we were in for a treat. Below find a recipe for a perfect San Miguel de Allende getaway! 

Find the perfect place to stay. One with ornate tile, exposed brick, and rod-iron rails. One with an expansive terrace, equipped with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and an outdoor dining area. And don't forget to enjoy the homemade chips and guacamole made by the loving chef and housekeeper! We stayed at the gorgeous rental featured below. The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende also looks amazing.

Enjoy rooftop cocktails at sunset. We loved the vibe at quince. Yummy rose and cocktails. Tasty snacks. And the best golden hour views of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and the entire city.

Wander the city streets. Get off the beaten path! There you'll find delicious, authentic Mexican food and markets filled with local handicrafts. I came home with a suitcase full of intricately painted pottery. There is beauty in every corner in San Miguel de Allende, so any turn you take is the right one! 

Four Fabulous Luxury Resorts

Have you ever experienced a luxury resort that really "wowed" you?  If not, put it on your bucket list right now. Here is some inspiration to get your imagination flowing.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji is an absolute dream. Picture waking up in your overwater bungalow with endless sea views expanding in front of you. Sip coffee or mimosas on your private patio. Then climb down your private stairs into the lagoon for a pre-breakfast snorkel. Stroll or get picked up for a golf-cart ride to the dining area, where you enjoy more sea views and the best food you've ever had (I mean it! This all inclusive resort has 5-star food as good as any 5-star city restaurant). Post grubbing, take a dip in the nearby lagoon-view swimming pool, or head back to your overwater bungalow to soak up the sun on your outdoor lounge chairs, practice yoga on your balcony, or read a book in the shaded outdoor nook. Enjoy a late lunch, then some stand up paddle boarding before your afternoon snack is delivered. Take a sunset bath in the spacious tub, equipped with more expansive sea views, before your pre-dinner Fijian coffee flavored rum (so good we brought some home). Dinner by candlelight under the stars is sure to impress, and set you up for a peaceful night sleep, before doing it all again! 

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania is pure magic. Gorgeous, richly decorated cottages overlook the crater itself. Awaken each morning to freshly brewed coffee delivered to your doorstep. Hop in your private safari vehicle and cruise into the crater to view rare rhinos, lions, zebras, and more! Picnic overlooking a pond full of hippos, and enjoy a "sundowner" (cocktail at sunset in the bush) to close out your day of safari. Back at the lodge, soak in your immense, rose-petal filled tub. Then head to the luxurious dining hall for African song and dance and a delicious four-course meal. Best part of your day will be stargazing from your cottage's balcony. The African night sky is unparalleled! 

Tierra Patagonia, Chile is paradise at the edge of the earth. It will take you a full 24 hours to get there, but the journey is worth the reward! Upon arrival, unwind with a glass of wine while gazing out your window at the picture-perfect lake and snow-capped mountain view in front of you. Play on the indoor swings with champagne in hand and lounge in the bar area while chatting with your travel companions or fellow guests watching sunset through the expansive floor to ceiling windows. Enjoy a four-course, five-star dinner in the dining area, with an excellent selection of local wines and the best soups I've had! The next morning, take the 15-mile trek to the famous Base of the Towers in Torres del Paine national park. The hotel staff will greet you at the en with local beers and snacks. Back at the lodge, swim in the warm indoor pool, brave the strong winds to hop into the outdoor jacuzzi, and get a much needed deep tissue massage. The perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and luxury!

Loisaba Tented Camp, Kenya is glamping to the extreme. With only twelve extremely spacious ensuite tents, all on a cliff making for breath-taking views, and two large swimming pools, you'll often feel like you have the entire camp to yourself. We enjoyed the tent furthest from the dining area, and closest to the second pool, and never saw another guest there during our entire stay. The tent decor feels like a mix of African luxury and mid-century modern, which I loved. Practice yoga and get massages on your verandah. Take safari drives where you can see a type of giraffe and zebra unique to the area and only a few other parts of Africa. After your safari drives, enjoy cocktails or a nice selection of wine at the camp's bar, followed by a filling dinner of authentic cuisine. Surely take some time for star gazing before you retire to your tent, where you will find a heated water pack under the sheets to warm your toes! Don't say you're not a camper until you've tried it this way!

48 hours in Santorini: Sunsets, Hikes, Catamarans!

Santorini, the island of bloggers and honeymooners! Not too shabby for a girl's getaway either. We made the most of our 48 hours in Santorini! Upon arrival, we were starving, as usual, so set off on a stroll to soak in the views while we scavenged for some sustenance. We had a spot in mind, Pitogyros, and, oh, was it good. (So good we went twice!)

Next up, time for the famous Imerovigli to Oia hike. Getting to Imerovigli was easy enough. We took a cheap, 20-minute, air-conditioned bus ride. Finding the start of the hike was the tough part! After a few starts and stops, we found the path. It's more like a walk on a rocky dirt road than a strenuous hike, but the views for the entire 90 minutes were breathtaking. 

Post hike, we watched the sunset, champagne in hand, from the jacuzzi at our airbnb. Showered up, and back out for some live music, dinner, and (a few minutes) of dancing! 

The next day was one of my favorites of the trip. We took a catamaran cruise to swim, snorkel, and see Santorini's red and black sand beaches. The white wine was flowing, and the dips, eggplant, and shrimp cooked on board were some of the best food of our trip! Salivating thinking of it now (don't blog hungry, people). This is a must-do activity in Santorini.

The cruise's grand finale was watching sunset at the tip of Oia. So special! For our last dinner, we hit up our new fave spot, Pitogyros! Perfect way to close out our time in Santorini.

Where to stay. I'd go for the caldera side in Oia or Imerovigli were I to do it again. That is where you get the spectacular views of the cave houses overlooking the sea.

Where to eat. Pitogyros! The two veggie pitas were amazing. We also loved the fries, but who doesn't? Yummy beer and wine available too.

What to do. The hike/walk from Imerovigli to Oia has gorgeous views the whole way. Definitely take a sunset catamaran cruise with Sunset Oia.

48 hours in Mykonos: beach, eat, party!

The third island hop on our girls' getaway to Greece, our 48 hours in Mykonos was short, but sweet. Upon arrival from our falsely advertised ferry ride (two hours equals not four hours), we settled in at our hotel, the Palladium Mykonos. I was more than pleasantly surprised when greeted with a hot towel and glass of champagne. Our double room was pretty, in the all-white Grecian style we'd become accustomed to, and the beds were super comfy. Plus, we had a lovely pool-side balcony.

fullsizeoutput_5a00.jpeg

By the time we settled in, it was around 4 p.m., which in Grecian vacay time means lunch hour. So we meandered to the nearby Platis Gialos beach and dined sea-side on pizza and aperol spritzes. Full and relaxed, siesta and strolling down the sand ensued. Ahh, the island life.

fullsizeoutput_5a2e.jpeg

A few hours later, and somehow hungry again, we prettied for the night, prepped on the taxi scarcity (only 31 on the whole island?!), and popped over to Old Mykonos Town for exploring and dinner. 

We first took the quintessential Mykonos windmill photos, and then hobbled down the cobble stone streets in our espadrilles to find some rooftop cocktails for sunset. As shown below, we scored. Our dinner later at M-Eating was fabulous. The decor warm and inviting, and the food off-the-charts delicious. Especially the mushroom sauce that came with one of our dishes, which we ended up eating like a soup! Post-din, we met some DJs and drank champagne at their table, while reminiscing of the good old 20-something days of our youth. 

Rested and ready the next morning, it was time for the coup de grâce of our trip, Scorpios Mykonos! This beach club is heaven on earth. Grecian goddesses donned in flowing white floor-length gowns escort you to your beach-side cabana. From there, you spend the day swimming in the crystal clear waters, sipping rosé, and ogling the tanned, muscular men of the service staff as they deliver snacks and bevvies and carry heavy objects from here to there. 

Around sunset, we strolled up the hill for some sustenance. The flatbread and all the dips and spreads were to die for (makes sense, as we were in heaven). Then, just as the sun sets below the horizon, the DJ blasts and Scorpios turns into an all-night dance party under the light of the moon. No better way to end our stay in Greece!

Where to stay. Hotel Palladium Mykonos. The rooms felt Grecian, decorated in all white, and the beds were comfy. We loved that our room had a balcony with direct pool access (the pool was gorgeous). The breakfast spread is incredible. You must try the tahini granola with the Greek yogurt!

Where to eat. M-Eating. Warm and inviting. Great wine menu. So many delicious vegetable and seafood dishes (I won't name any favorites, as they change the menu too often).

What to do. Scorpios Mykonos! A highlight of our trip for sure. Go early and get a cabana so you can swim and spend the day watching the scantily clad Grecian gods serve drinks and snacks seaside. Stay to eat at the yummy restaurant and dance the night away! 

12 hours in Athens: what to do on your Athens layover

Many people wonder, should I spend time in Athens on my trip to Greece? I say, yes! We had about 12 hours in Athens, but it was the perfect amount of time to stroll some pretty neighborhoods, drink and eat on rooftops with stunning views, and wander the ancient ruins of the Acropolis.

We landed from our Air France flight around 4:30 p.m., and headed straight to our hotel, dropped our bags, and took the 15-minute walk to the Acropolis. We got there around 6 p.m., and with it closing at 7:30, we had it almost to ourselves. Highly recommend that timing, as I doubt it is otherwise so serene.

With sunset in summer not until 9ish, we still had time to wander some nearby neighborhoods before grabbing sunset bubbles at our hotel's rooftop bar. From there, quick shower, and off to dinner at another rooftop (can never get enough outdoor dining!). Catch a few zzzs and a yummy hotel breakfast before off to our first island hop, Milos

Where to stay. AthensWas hotel. Really close to the Acropolis (10-15 minute walk), pretty, clean, and modern, and yummy breakfast! Plus their rooftop bar has amazing Acropolis views. 

Where to eat. Kuzina had more amazing Acropolis views, and a pretty vibe. Order the zucchini balls, scallops, and fresh green salad. 

What to do. The Acropolis, of course! Check the website beforehand to make sure you plan for a time it is open.

Milos, Greece's Best Kept Secret

Inspired by a Conde Nast Traveller article I stumbled upon, me and my three girlfriends set Milos as our first island hop on our 10-day Grecian adventure. Less known (and less touristed) than its Cycladian neighbors, Santorini and Mykonos, you'll experience fair prices, delicious authentic food, top-notch hospitality, and a little peace and quiet. Not to mention the stunning, untouched natural beauty. Here's what we did during our 72 hours in Milos.

Day 1. Our 30 minute puddle jumper plane ride dropped us off on Milos's adorable landing strip, basically a corn field. We were then escorted by who seemed to be the only driver on the island to our beautiful hotel, Tania Milos, where we were affectionately greeted with the tastiest fresh cakes. Donned in our swimsuits and SPF, we relaxed by the sea until lunchtime (4 p.m. Grecian time) and then strolled the coast to our dock-side meal of octopus, Greek salad, eggplant dip, chickpeas, and smoked fish. A nap, sunset viewing, and a relaxing dinner, finished off Day 1 a success! 

Day 2. After breakfast al fresco (homemade by a Grecian grandmother), we toured the island by boat. We cruised past the colorful fishermen's villages of Klima and Skinopi, went swimming in the open-roof cave of Sykia, and snorkeled and lunched from the boat in Kleftiko. The food (fresh shrimp, octopus, bruschetta, Greek salad, and more) and drinks (new ouzo fan over here) were delicious and plentiful, and the captain fantastic! The waters were crystal clear and the most stunning shades of blue. 

Post adventure, we enjoyed some vino and the sunset from our hotel. This was a true treat every night, as each room has its own large, sea-view balcony, and the contrast of pink and blue hues against the stark white buildings was truly magical. Next up, a leisurely stroll to dinner in the adorable port-side village of Pollonia. 

Day 3. When things got weird. We had planned to rent 4-wheelers and cruise around the island, but Greece had secretly enacted a law requiring we have an international driver's license. So, instead, we were relegated to the taxi line. First stop, Sarakiniko. In laymen's terms, the moon. We strolled around, took a swim, and struck a pose (or 10).

We thought about walking to our next stop, Mandrakia, for lunch, as the gentleman who would not rent us the 4-wheelers assured us we could do it. But thought better of it when we realized we were wearing flip flops, not moon boots. Lucky for us, our cab driver appeared. Or maybe she knew we'd be stranded? Mandrakia was not so hot, unless you like stray, one-eyed cats that steel your cheese pastries. We called for another cab to take us to the hilltop town of Plaka, and who would arrive but our favorite (and the only) driver! Plaka at first seemed like a ghost town (our fault for visiting during siesta), but turned cute when we found spritz corner. Spritzes cure even the weirdest days. Although day three threw us some curve balls, I don't think we've ever laughed so hard! So, I'll call it a win :) The next morning we stuffed ourselves with one last breakfast at Tania's, and then off to Santorini! 

Where to stay. We loved Tania Milos! It is in the coastal town of Pollonia, which I found the most charming of the three main options (the other two are Adamas, near the larger port, and Plaka, on the hilltop). Tania's mother cooks a fresh breakfast spread every morning, and she makes the best pies and cakes. The beds are comfy, and best of all each room has a large balcony with stunning sea views. 

Where to eat. Enalion was so good we ate there twice. We loved the chickpea salad, eggplant salad, and tzatziki. Armenaki had some yummy seafood. Both restaurants are in Pollonia, right on the water. 

What do do. Take a boat cruise! We enjoyed ours with Oneiro. You leave feeling like part of the family, and very full. The hilltop town of Plaka is cute, but don't go during siesta. And Sarakiniko beach is a must do! Now that you've been warned of the international driver's license fiasco, just get one so you can cruise the whole island on your 4-wheeler.

Masai Mara, Kenya

My two trips to Africa have been my favorite trips so far. It is such a magical place, with more stars in the sky than I've seen anywhere else, the most luxurious camps (think glamping, to the extreme!), the best hospitality, and, of course, the coolest animals. Last year, Kevin and I made an impromptu trip to Kenya and Uganda after I happened upon a great deal on business class flights to Nairobi (thanks for what was probably a mistake fare, Delta). We decided to splurge, as we were celebrating our recent marriage.

Our first stop was andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Camp in Masai Mara, Kenya. Let me tell you, this lodge was something to write home about!

fullsizeoutput_545b.jpeg

Upon landing at Kichwa Tembo's airstrip (in a tiny, 12-seater plane), we were met by our private guide and offered refreshing, cool towels, tea, and snacks. We were then escorted in a private jeep about 15-minutes to the camp. 

fullsizeoutput_5463.jpeg

On our way to our tent, Kevin met the resident warthog. Apparently he is a camp staple!

fullsizeoutput_4b3d.jpeg

In between morning and afternoon game drives, I was here, cooling off at the pool. It was so serene, and had great views of the surrounding mara. I could see all kinds of antelopes, zebras, giraffes, and big cats right from here!

fullsizeoutput_5460.jpeg

Enjoying a Tusker, the local beer. 

IMG_8903.JPG

Every morning, we were awoken before sunrise, with coffee and cookies at our door, for our morning game drive. We'd then walk past this view on the way to meet our guide. 

fullsizeoutput_47a2.jpeg

We explored with him for hours, searching for our favorite animals. Like elephants, big and small, which weren't hard to find.

fullsizeoutput_4b91.jpeg

And the more elusive cheetah.

fullsizeoutput_47a4.jpeg

But our all time favorite was the lions!

fullsizeoutput_47bb.jpeg

We got so lucky to see three moms and seven babies. They walked right past our jeep (check out the video below)!

fullsizeoutput_4b31.jpeg

When we got hungry, we'd stop in the middle of the mara (maybe under a tree for some shade?) for breakfast. Eggs, fruit, coffee, tea, you name it! 

fullsizeoutput_4b16.jpeg

Happy and full.

fullsizeoutput_4797.jpeg

We also took sunset game drives, and met the well camoflauged leopard.

fullsizeoutput_4ccd.jpeg

After our game drives, relaxing by the pool, and the occasional nap, we would enjoy dinner here. On our last night, andBeyond set up a special dinner for us under the lights of this tree. 

fullsizeoutput_4b40.jpeg

It was really tough to say goodbye to this beautiful place and the wonderful people who work here! 

fullsizeoutput_5465.jpeg

For those who want more, here is a video tour of our luxury tent at the camp.

And finally, all the lions walking right past our jeep!