Monday, April 26, 2010

36 Hours in Kyoto per The New York Times

While I highly recommend spending longer than 36 hours in Kyoto, this travel article from The New York Times highlights some of the best ways to experience the city.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Key West: where to stay

I've mentioned in an earlier post that when I travel, I do my best to take advantage of rewards programs. With that in mind, Phil and I booked the Marriott Beachside Hotel for our Key West babymoon. Initially, I was eyeballing the Dewey House, Key West's only B&B with beachfront access, but by the time grumpers agreed to the trip, rates went up significantly.

I really relied on Trip Advisor's reviews to make our booking decision. Reviewers raved about the suites at our hotel and free shuttle service to Duval Street, but explained caveats (high-demand for shuttle, small beach area) to manage our expectations. 

For the reasonable rate we paid, we loved this hotel. I loved lounging on the beach/by the pool until late afternoon each day and then heading out to Duval Street to grab dinner and walk around. I didn't mind being away from Duval Street at all, particularly since Mingus put the kibosh on boozing.

I posted pics of our room and my favorite cabanas on my Trip Advisor review.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I want my cabana back!

Weekend temps projected for Key West: high 70s

Weekend temps projected for Cleveland: mid-40s

Arrgh! I can't imagine wearing a coat.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strip House 24-layer chocolate cake

This pic does not do the size of this cake justice. It took me three sittings, but I crushed this mofo. Mmmmm!

Sailing and diving in Key West

Last night Phil and I took a sunset sail on a catamaran with Fury for pretty views of the sky, ocean and reef. The wind was very gusty so we ended up doing laps outside the harbor by Sunset Key. But, we did see dolphins jumping in the water, which was really, really cool.

If I wasn't pregs, I would love to do some diving or at least snorkeling since my dad always wanted to come here to dive. Key West supposedly has some of the best diving in the world, particularly because of the reef. Seeing all the pretty shells in the markets reminded me of my dad. I'm so glad I got to come here with Phil and little Mingus because it makes me feel still connected to him in some way.

Why did the chicken in Key West cross the road?

To get away from Phil! 

OK, maybe from me. I started squealing when I saw all of their baby chicks. (P.S. When I was little I would hide eggs in the back of our fridge because I thought it you didn't eat them in time, they would grow into baby chicks...sorry Mom.)

Key West has a stray chicken population, which is really funny. You'll walk down the sidewalk and hear clucking from within the bushes and many random cockadoodle doos. 

We also saw six-toed cats at Hemingway's house, which is now a museum. (The cats are descendants of his cats...not sure how the six toes mutation came into play.) Hemingway wrote many of his most celebrated novels from the pool house out back. I brought The Old Man in the Sea with me and read it on the beach yesterday in tribute.

Who does Mingus look like?

I'm six months pregs today. Who does Mingus look like? (The baby's face is turned upward.)



(Note: despite what Phil says, Mingus is NOT the baby's name. Just an at-first horrific and now endearing nickname.)

P.S. No, I did not comb my hair today. Back's Key West. ;)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Babymooning it up in Key West

Ahh, paradise.

We've had beautiful blue skies with a refreshing breeze and temps in the high 70s since we got here yesterday afternoon. We love our beachfront hotel and somehow got upgraded to a suite that's the size of an apartment...we have a full kitchen, living room, dining table, 2 bathrooms and an outdoor balcony with a Widow's walk. Yessss!

We took a tiny plane from Tampa's airport to get here, which was a little comical (I was so glad for great weather). It reminded me of the flights my mom, brother and I took in our grandpa's four-seater plane to Michigan when I was a kid (note: his nickname was Crazy Lew and my g-ma was our co-pilot!).  

Once we got to our hotel, we hit the beach. We have fun yellow cabanas on our little beach and roofed (with a fan!), open-air cabanas by the pool. I'm in heaven.

Last night, we took our hotel shuttle to Duval Street for dinner and exploring. We loved Mangoes, an open-air restaurant, for dinner and also Blonde Giraffe for some AMAZING Key lime pie. And, I ran into a friend, Patti, I used to work with...what are the odds?

This morning, we walked to the grocery store to buy some fixins to make use of our kitchen and then hit the beach again. Tonight, a sunset sail on a catamaran.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Traveling for two

So...I'm five and a half months pregnant today and due in August. Whoa.

Phil and I are really excited, but I'm still processing everything, which is why I've been pretty private about sharing our news. I told my extended fam and work my news a month ago, and I'm finally ready to admit on the interwebs that I have a new traveling status: Christina + 1. (No, this is not an April Fools joke.) Some of you might have noticed my bump in my last post while in D.C., so I figured it's time to spill the beans.

Baby K, aka Mingus (our official nickname...long story) has been an amazing little traveler to-date. (Actually, I've had a super easy pregnancy so far.) He/she's been to St. Louis (which I never end up writing about because they're quick day trips for work), Vegas, Chicago and D.C. without incident. And, Mingus will get to experience Key West in a couple weeks. Woo hoo!

My fam keeps asking if I'll still travel while pregs (obviously, yes) and after the baby is born. Of course! I thrive on planning trips, and I don't expect that to change. I'll just need to make some adjustments. My friend Sarah has been an amazing role model for me. She traveled by herself with Ella, who was one, a couple years ago for our San Francisco trip, and she took Ella and her newborn to Dallas by herself a couple months ago. She started a blog to write about being a working mom, Postpartum PR, which I love reading.

In any event, I'm excited to have a go-to traveling companion. This kid is going to experience the world, one city at a time!