Bangkok, Thailand

October 2023

The conference in Bangkok was the catalyst to our trip to Asia. The highly anticipated yearly conference of Dave’s digital entrepreneur group was back in full swing post-COVID and he was ready to go. He invited me to join and after getting through a round of “I can’ts” and pivoted to “let’s make it happen”, the trip was on the calendar. The scale of this city was something I hadn’t fully grasped prior to arrival. It was a juxtaposition of so many things- old and new, wild and conservative, dirty and opulent. I should have done my homework a bit more prior to arrival, so I didn’t get to fully experience this city properly. I did have a memorable time though and was grateful to be staying an amazing hotel that was worth the trip on its own.

Getting there…

We flew AirAsia from Osaka to Bangkok after our stay in Kyoto. This required an early morning car trip to the high speed train station then about 90minute directly to the airport. It was pretty seamless until our “digital tickets” we thought we had were turned away after waiting >30minutes in the security line. We had to hustle back to the ticketing desk, wait some more, then they made me check (and pay for) my bag causing us to be at serious risk for missing our flight. Dave saved us by sweet talking an agent at the priority line, so we made it just in the nick of time. It all worked out as fortunately it usually does.

Asia Air is a no-frills airline, so I spent 6hrs slowly sipping my one water bottle and zoned out to my book. Bangkok international is a HUGE airport but was modern and easy to navigate. We hired a car to get us to the Conrad Hotel. It was surreal how different Thailand was compared to Japan. I was dehydrated and exhausted and getting to our hotel was a blur for me. We made it though, and the hotel did not disappoint.

Where we stayed…

The Conrad hotel was where the conference was held and Dave set us up with accommodations onsite, so we didn’t have to waste any time on travel and could see each other on off times. This place was a fantastic, 5-star oasis in the middle of a crazy bustling city. It is located in the center of the city’s business district but maintained a tranquil spa-like vibe. I can’t recommend this place enough and I think it was nicest hotel I have ever stayed.

I had really wanted to venture out to see some of the famous temples, particularly Wat Pho, but everything was out of walking distance an I was not comfortable hailing a taxi or tuk-tuk and wandering about with a completely lost voice. I did motivate to get an authentic Thai massage that I will never forget and went walking to the 2 large parks that were nearby. Once I figured out there was a pedestrian sky bridge it made getting around much easier. The chaos of traffic/car situation on the city streets is crazy and I felt like a scooter or car was going to take me out at any moment (even on the sidewalk).

Dave conferenced, networked and ran.

What we ate…

Most of our dining was taken care of at the hotel. The upgrade to the executive lounge was so worth it. The spread was expansive for the breakfast, teatime and cocktail hours that were offered. The service was top notch as well. We did have a lunch at the hotel bar once, ate at finger foods at the after parties and went out for dinner at an Italian restaurant our last night.

Final Thoughts…

Bangkok was a quick visit that did not really do the city justice but was a great experience, nonetheless. Meeting other conference goers and getting a peak into the lifestyles of digital entrepreneurs was new for me and I did enjoy it. I would definitely go back and luxuriate at the Conrad again. Next time I will make sure that I have a game plan beforehand for adventuring out more and will be sure to stay hydrated and not lose my voice.

Florence, Italy

October 2022

Tuscany was my number one place I wanted to visit in Italy. I had visions of rolling countryside with vineyards, historic Florence, and beaches. It pretty much checked all the boxes for me. Dave was excited soak up the history and eat all of the steaks, I was looking forward to seeing the architecture, art and gelato. It didn’t disappoint and I loved our stay there. It was BUSY. Tourism had bounced back big time after the pandemic, so I was glad that we were there during the shoulder season.

Getting there…

We book the high-speed train down to Florence from Ortisei through Bolzano. It was a little over 4 hours to get there as we made short stops through Trento, Verona, and Bologna. We were cutting it close making our way back into town from the village. There were considerably more people shuttling around on the weekend as compared to the Wednesday that we arrived. We did make it through with a few minutes to spare. Dave sprung for first class to seat so we could see what that was like. there was a bit more space, the people surrounding us were more refined and we were served one drink (don’t you dare ask for another, we were shot down promptly). It wasn’t as bit of a difference in quality as when you fly but it was a treat nonetheless. The scenery was a beautiful as the ride up and we made it to Florence without any hang ups.

Castle sighting from the train

Where we stayed…

This was where our pre-booked accommodations ended. The evening before our departure, we hopped on Airbnb, Expedia and Google maps in search of accommodations. Our priorities were to be close to the train station, close to the Duomo and center of the city and since the included breakfast at Hotel Hartmann was included, we thought it would be nice to have that again. We landed on B& B de ‘Biffi, which did meet all these requirements, but was not quite as nice as were anticipating. We found it relatively easily from the train station (thank god, because I was in desperate need to use the restroom), and we made our way up the super sketchy, tiny, ancient elevator to the room. Our room was right off the kitchen, so it was loud in the morning as they prepared either your “European” or “American” style continental breakfast. This was a huge let down after the spread at Hotel Hartmann, but honestly, our internal clocks were so off, and we were staying up so late that we missed most of the breakfasts. The room was clean, and the location was prime, so despite it being not as nice as it looked online, and it worked out well enough. Honestly, we didn’t even take any photos of this place. Take that for what it is 😉

What we did…

We continued to do our marathon walking days in Florence putting on 10-12 miles per day. We spent the first day touring around the Duomo and the surrounding piazzas and walking along the Arno River. Beautifull churches and marble statues were everywhere, the whole city feels like an art museum. It is a huge tourist destination, so people of all kinds were everywhere. There was at least one leather, gelato, and art shop on every block.

So basically, we walked, ate, watched people, walked, ate, drank, walked looked at old buildings, drank, and walked some more. It was great. I did miss the nature and peace of the mountains, but we were there for the full-on city experience.

We tour the Uffizi Gallery to appreciate the collection of Renaissance paintings and statues. The building is impressive, but my favorite was actually the courtyard that was outside the entrance. On our last evening as we were walking home from dinner, we actually came upon a man that was just playing his violin for free for anyone to enjoy. It felt like a movie scene and incredible to experience.

We found many cool bars by just wandering around. One evening we found this tiny beer pub and chatted with a trio of Americans that tipped us off to a tour guide they had loved. They hooked us up with this number, we texted him the next day and went on a private tour with Leonardo, a young, super friendly local that loved his city and was knowledgeable about the history and highlights in Florence. He took us around the Duomo, up a little know tower in a hotel that was open to the public and got us fast tracked into the museum to see Michelangelo’s statue of David. This was amazing and I learned way more than I normally would by listening rather than reading signs. I have such a low attention span for the sign reading that having someone just narrate what we were seeing was a huge plus for me.

Other memorable sights we enjoyed were the bridges across the Arno river, the piazzas with statues, the hidden bars in alleyways and the people watching.

What we ate…

Florence was a great place culinary adventuring. I was not aware that there were some very distinct features to food in Florence such as there is no salt in the bread, they are known for amazing ginormous steaks (Dave was so happy), gelato was everywhere, and you could find tiny little windows that housed wine if you were lucky.

Here’s a highlighted list:

  • Osteria Filetto d’Oro– Florentine steaks to die for
  • La Cantinetta– We enjoyed our last meal in Florence here. The food and service were top notch.
  • Pandemonio di Casa Brogi– More steaks and delicious pasta a bit out of touristy region we were staying.
  • King Grizzly Firenze– Tiny beer bar in alleyway that was a fun surprise.
  • Vini E Vecchi Sapori– We shared a multi-course meal here with wine, artichokes, pasta and steak. I somehow managed to get oil on the new leather coat I had just purchased.
  • Trattoria dall’Oste Chianineria– We popped into this little place looking for a glass of wine and found ourselves surrounded by a local’s private birthday party. We did get some sideways glances, but everyone was very friendly, and it was fun to see how Italians celebrate.
  • Carabe– We found this place upon recommendation from our tour guide. Delicious!

Final thoughts….

Florence was an amazing experience- the architecture, food, wine, & people watching- all things that were quintessentially Italy were found. As I would see younger people hanging out or studying, I would wish that I would have taken a term abroad in such a culturally rich place.

I was super happy that we visited in October because I can only imagine how hot and crowded it would have been in the summer. The variety of tourists was fun to see, and I enjoyed the freedom of wearing whatever the heck you wanted because everyone else was doing just that.

I would for sure venture back to Florence and it is a must do if you are contemplating a visit to Italy.

Rome Italy

October 2022

Rome was our final destination on this Italian adventure and honestly I don’t think prepared for the energy needed to do this famous city up right. It was a wild juxtaposition of a modern city with ancient excavations sites and cultural landmarks sprinkled throughout. I really had no expectations going in besides knowing some of the well-known features such as Vatican City, the Coliseum, the Forum and piazzas galore. We only had 2 days here and packed it full of checking out everything possible by foot.

Getting there…

We hopped on another high speed train from Masa to Rome and it took about 3 1/2 hours to arrive. There were many stops along the way but it was timely and travel was smooth. We did grab an Uber from the station as our apartment was not in walking distance. Driving in Rome is really its own thing. I think there are rules and laws but it was hard to tell. It felt like crazy race or battlefield but no one was running into each other. Driving in Rome is not on my bucket list nor will it ever be.

Where we stayed…

Our amazing tour guide Leonardo in Florence graciously recommended we stay in the hip Trastevere neighborhood. We found one of our best Airbnb here and our host was lovely. It was newly renovated had the most amenities of any of our Italian stays (other than Hotel Hartman of course).

There were tons of restaurants and shops just outside our place and it was a quick walk across the River Tiber to the main city center.

What we did…

Surprise, surprise….more walking, sight seeing, and enjoying local food and drinks!

I think our favorite adventure in Rome was touring Vatican City. We chose to join a small group tour and were glad we did. The variety and amount of art collected here was insane. The guide was very helpful and made it less overwhelming. I personally loved the paintings on the ceilings, Raphael’s rooms, the marble sculptures and the architecture that changes with each new pope. Seeing some mummified popes in Saint Peter’s Basilica was just a cherry on top 🙂

The sights in Rome were spectacular and gave you such a unique peak into the past and how civilizations evolved and built upon each other. I enjoyed the fountains around as well. The photos below say it better than I can.

What we ate…

We did have some fairly good food on this leg of the trip but nothing spectacular to be truthful. I think my favorite memory eating in Rome was just sitting at a tiny table in an alley enjoying the little snack they give you while sipping on some yummy local red wine.

Here’s a highlighted list of some of the places we visited.

Final thoughts….

Rome was not my favorite part of our trip but I am absolutely happy we made the time to visit. It is a vibrant city, I just don’t think it was completely my vibe with how chaotic it is all the time . I was surprised by the amount of graffiti everywhere. They seemed to be trying to frame it as an art but it didn’t do it for me. For anyone planning a visit to Rome, I would do it at the beginning of their trip while energy tanks were on the fuller side.

My memory of our departure does make me smile though. We had a seasoned driver who zigzagged his way out of the city going at speeds of 120km/hr+ in a car that really had no business going that fast. The flight to our connection in Finland was filled with fittingly rowdy Romans but it did make the clean, calm, organized Helsinki airport feel like an oasis. We also were able to enjoy a beautiful meal before boarding a near empty plane and see the longest sunset I’ve ever experienced. It was a perfect way to end a trip of a lifetime.

Cinque Terre, Italy

October 2022

The Cinque Terre villages and trail system was our other hiking destination planned for this Italian vacation outside of the the Dolomites. It’s iconic brightly colored buildings on brilliant clear blue are highly recognizable from tourist marketing, blogs and even puzzles (we’ve had one a my house for years). The allure of no cars and being able to reach the villages only by foot or train was undeniable. My mind had romanticized hiking peacefully with my love in the fresh air along the sea to explore the quint shops and restaurants each spot had to offer. It turned out to be more crowded than I had imaged but was a memorable day nevertheless. The views were spectacular, but I could have done without the aggressive speed hiking we had to do to get around the slower hikers.

Getting there…

Trains again for transport. Nothing fancy on this leg of the trip. It was the usual story of chaotic Italian public transit by train and bus. We had no delays and there was not much to report about getting to Massa.

Where we stayed…

We chose to stay in the seaside town of Massa-Carrara for a chance to check out the ocean and its proximity to the train station. October is off season for this part of coastal Italy, and it proved to be completely dead. I had hoped for a little downtime to sit at the beach under a colorful umbrella after being in Florence. This wasn’t the case due to stormy weather and all of the umbrellaed beach clubs being packed up for the season. It was pleasant enough though and served its purpose to get us easily to our hiking destination. We secured a brand-new condo on Airbnb that was walking distance to the beach and the main town.

It was a last-minute booking, and it was lacking basic amenities such as towels or soaps. The host did respond quickly though and got us what we needed. It was quiet, clean and had a laundry machine, so I don’t have any complaints. We were able to rest and take a few gentle, flat jogs along the canal trail on during our off time here.

The sleepy beach at Massa

The canal by our place that led to the ocean.

What we did…

Hiked! Obviously. We had checked out the maps on the train ride up and learned that the southern 2 villages were not accessible by trail due to maintenance from floods during the previous years. We started at the Northern most town and got straight to it. I had read plenty prior to arriving about the need to purchase the trail pass and was prepared for a solid hike of hiking through the speed terraced vineyards and hills along the coast. The weather was sunny and humid the day we visited, so water was a must! It was a bit of a tease not having swimwear or towels to cool off in the clear waters below but getting back on a train all salty and sweaty was not appealing.

The trails were well maintained and spectacular views the entire route. However, they were heavily trafficked with tourists whom were underprepared for the level of hike it was (apparently no one read the thousands of warnings about it being a challenging hike) and the villages between were very crowded to match making it a bit difficult to stop and enjoy the beauty of the place.

We sprint-hiked in order to not get stuck behind multi-generational families or beach goers clad in flip flops. I truly can’t imagine what it would have been like during the high season of summer. My hip was in terrible shape after this day, but we did take appreciate the uniquely beautiful place and enjoyed a very cold beer and local fish at the village we ended at.

What we ate…

At Cinque Terre, we only had the opportunity for 1 lunch. It was cool, the servers weren’t jerks and the food was tasty. I considered it a win for the day. I was in the spirit of eating what’s local and ordered the fish of the day, which I was able to expertly debone from watching the waiter back in Venice doing it table side.

Now in Massa, we ran up against a language barrier and it being off season, so choices were more limited than they had been in week before. We ended up cooking at home after our hike which was a lovely break from eating out every meal. Here are the few restaurants we did enjoy-Ristorantino da Mariano, La Casina, & Bagno Fassoni Ristorante & Cocktail Bar. I left out the lunch we had upon arrival as they were very unfriendly and the fish appetizer they brought out instead of the caprese salad I ordered gave us both sour stomached.

Final thoughts….

The northwest coast of Italy is spectacular. I am really happy that we took the time to venture up this way to hike the seaside villages even if wasn’t as perfect as I had imagined it to be. Next time, if given the chance to visit here, I would consider staying in one of the villages for a few days in order to enjoy the ocean more and to be able to take it in at a slightly slower pace. Cinque Terre is one of a kind and worth a visit if you enjoy the ocean, and don’t mind dodging some crowds during a moderately challenging hike.

The Dolomites, Italy

October 2022

The Dolomite Mountain range is the Italian region of the Alps. Being the hikers that we are, Dave was quick to put this on our itinerary once we had decided to visit Italy. I had never heard of this area before but as we researched and explored online, I was blown away. The pristine villages and striking peaks were unlike anything I had imagined seeing in Italy. We stayed in the village of Ortesei in the region of Val Gardena and had plenty to explore in the short 3 days we had there. It was everything I had hoped it would be and we left with tired legs and smiles on our faces before heading down to the Florence.

Getting there…

From our Venice apartment, we negotiated the water taxi system to the train station to get hop on a high-speed train headed north. It was fairly easy to get tickets at the station and we were off. The train was comfortable enough and had several stops along the way to our destination to Bolzano where we caught a bus to the village. The scenery was beautiful and became progressively greener as we travelled through Verona then north through Trento up to the mountains. We had views of the miles of vineyards and were able to catch glimpses of old castles. The roads to Ortisei were winding and narrow, but bus driver drove it with no hesitation whatsoever. There were multiple shops with carved wood offerings and religious souvenirs along the way. Our bus stop was a short walk to our hotel and though we were still a bit tired from the travel and lingering jet lag, the fresh mountain air was invigorating.

Castle sighting from the train.
Looking east from the village

Where we stayed…

We chose to stay at the lovely Chalet Hotel Hartmann during our stay in the Dolomites. We almost chose the Hotel Hell because, well, how often do you get to say you stayed in Hell, right?!? (FYI- it did look nice, so I’m not throwing any shade their way) Anyhow, Hotel Hartmann was about a mile walk into the village center, but there were really nice paths throughout the town to connect us. It was friendly, clean, quiet, and the breakfast spread was AMAZING. I’m not kidding. Everything was freshly made (baked goods, sliced meats and cheeses, spreads, some sort of to die for yogurt), your cappuccino was made to order as you sat down and there were views of the valley and mountains throughout the dining area. The concierge woman who greeted us gave us a list of restaurants to try that all turned out to be unique and delicious. I would stay here again without a second thought.

Roadside view of our accommodations.

What we did…

We hiked until the sun went down on both of the full days, we had in this magical place…and then we walked some more. It set the pace for the amount of walking we did on this trip. The weather was pleasant, and the trails were all clean, so it was no both to walk everywhere. There were ample bus stops available, but we opted to stay on our feet.

On day one we took a gondola ride (actually 2) up to Seneca and hiked through picturesque meadows and craggy peaks. It felt unreal. Literally there was a horn playing across the valley when we arrived, we were able to stop at these little huts (we stopped here at the end of the day) for beers and snacks, and there were only whisps of clouds in the sunny blue sky. I had a pang of feeling like we were cheating a bit by taking a lift up there but there were ample heights to be climbed still. I did like how it was accessible for those to enjoy the view but weren’t up for a climb. If you choose to hike in the afternoon, do note the time that the gondolas stop working. We arrived at the gondola to return us to our starting point just as it was closing. So, we had to ride down to the town of Santa Cristina and walk back to Ortisei, not a huge trek in general, but after covering 10+miles in the mountains, your legs are ready for a rest.

Lift up to Seceda
View when you first get off the lift….Can you imagine what the skiing is like?!?
Hidden trail up to Sass Rigais
Dave up with the birds
Bridge to Sass Rigais…site of where I almost had a panic attack 🙂
Hutte for post-hike treats

One day 2 we took the other gondola from the center of town up to the mountain plateau of Alpe di Siusi for another day of hiking. This is considered the sunniest area of the Dolomites, and we lucked out and had another epic day of walking under the blue skies. This was more walking trails that wander through pastures with view of the mountains, rather than climbing them like we had done the day prior. Personally, I was ok with this as my legs were rather like jello from the day before. That being said we still covered over 10 miles again. We saw horse-drawn carriages, more rocky peaks and enjoyed some local beer in the sun. It was as picturesque as it comes.

What we ate…

Much thanks to our host at Hotel Hartmann, we enjoyed a delicious variety of restaurants during our stay in Ortisei. It ranged from “Typical” cuisine (we learned that this means local) to pizza to a higher end modern restaurant. This stop on our trip got us primed up for the mass amounts of sliced meats that we would be consuming over the next weeks. If you were having a cocktail or beer, it was customary to be given chips, prosciutto, cheese, and pickles. You almost didn’t need dinner, but it was good to soak up drinks for sure. We also hit up a local salumeria in the village on day one for hike snacks and wine as well. Note to our future selves- grab a knife from the hotel prior to leaving for the day. Hard blocks of cheese aren’t meant to be eaten by biting off chunks.

Here’s a highlighted list:

  • Turando– Upscale Pizzaria & bistro. The Crudo Gialla pizza was to die for and upon recommendation from our serve we had our first (but definitely not last) Amaro cocktail. Yum!!
  • Snetonstube This was the most “typical” style restaurant we visited. It seemed to be mostly locals celebrating occasion or another. The food and wine were great. We started with meats and cheese starter, and I ordered some sort of schnitzel type dish that felt authentic for the region. It was fun to feel the vibe of this place.
  • Adler Shop- Lively bar and cafe attached to the upscale Adler Hotel. We had the best gin and tonics I have ever drank. Both ingredients were local to the area.
  • Zicoria Brasserie– We enjoyed steak, pasta and wine at this upscale steak house that was near the base of the gondola on day 2. We were pretty tired from hiking and didn’t want to walk all the way back to the hotel before dinner, so we showed up a bit grubbier than what we normally go to a place like this and arrived before they opened. They were still kind and we sat at the bar before being sat. It was a really nice meal to end our stay in the Dolomites.
  • Hotel Hartmann- I have to give them a shout out, because as I said earlier, the breakfast included in the stay was next level.

I was off my game for food pictures so enjoy some mediocre pics of our bar food at Alder Shop and a very questionable hotel sign that cracked me up 🙂

What is really happening here?!?! In no world is my small child massaging me “family time”

Final thoughts….

The Dolomites is officially on my top favorite places in the world I have visited. Being with my love and hiking around majestic mountains in the autumn sunshine cannot be beat. I would go back here in a heartbeat and would enthusiastically recommend anyone give this place a visit if they find themselves in Northern Italy.

House Boating- Shuswap, BC

June 2023

It was a trip to mark the start of summer… houseboating on the lake with a big group of friends and family. It was a bit of a crap shoot with the weather being so early in the season, but we lucked out. Some friends were able to score a sweet HUGE houseboat on a family deal with Twin Anchors Houseboats at Old Town Bay Marina. I was finally able to experience the legendary houseboating on the Shuswap that I have been hearing about for years. Dave has shared many fun and adventurous stories from living on a boat back in 2014 (see old posts), so I was really excited to see it for myself. We had the boat for a whole week. People came and went as their schedules allowed. Good times were had by all, and everyone finished off the trip in one piece 🙂

Getting there…

Dave was at the helm for most of moving the boat from place to place as he had the most experience driving a big boat like this….and because he LOVES it. We had another smaller fishing boat in tow for fishing, day trips and getting to the market to replenish booze and snacks as needed. The days we were on the move the weather was pleasant and smooth. It is slow going getting place to place on a beast like the Luna Sea but it the scenery couldn’t be beat.

Where we stayed…

Obviously, the houseboat. 🙂 We were set up on a Cruise Craft 6– The Luna Sea. It was decked out with 7 or so bedrooms with equal number of en suite bathrooms. It was niiiiiice. There were a significant amount of kids and dogs on this trip, so we were able to claim one of the top story rooms to be able to get away from the chaos. The boat was big enough to be able to find retreats when needed…essential if you are traveling with a large diverse group of people.

We first set up at one of the Provincial parks far up the Seymour Arm of the Shuswap on the west side. Because of the time of year, it was empty and we had the whole cove to ourselves (minus the one stormy night where a lame stag party had to tie up near us so they wouldn’t capsize). We enjoyed this spot for the majority of week, then moved the last night to a site near a cool granite beach that was closer to the marina on the east side of the lake. It was busier and pretty windy, but it served its purpose.

What we ate….

Not much to say here. We did some meals family style and others fend for yourselves between families. You have to bring all of your food because there are limited market options that basically have snacks and drinks. Aperol spritz were enjoyed for cocktail hours and beers/wine/coolers were a plenty. We treated ourselves to steaks, salmon, shrimp and risotto. BBQ was the main method of cooking but the kitchen on the boat was fully equipped. There was a long 12-14 person table in the main dining area we would usually share dinner at, which was a really fun time of the day to all get together. No one left this trip hungry or thirsty, that is for sure.

What we did….

All things summer!! Days were filled with lounging, swimming, paddling, hitting up the hot tub, fishing and finding places to hike. I woke every day with a blissful swim and float. It was so peaceful and a perfect way to start a day. The only longer hike we motivated to go to was to Abla Falls. It’s a beautiful place with well maintain trails and multiple falls.

Parting thoughts…

Houseboating on the Shuswap was amazing, and I look forward to doing it again. It’s hard to beat having all the high points of camping and boating but at the same time having beds, showers, refrigeration and a hot tub! Ideally it could have been a bit warmer, a few less dogs and kids, but overall, it was pretty idyllical week on the lake. The Shuswap is a gem and I’m super grateful to have in my life now.

-P.R.

Las Vegas

May 2023

End of March is birthday time for my Love, and it was going to be hard to top the gifted trip to Italy I received. It’s not that I felt the I needed to compete, but after a long winter, impending remodel and a busy work season, I did want to do something that would bring a smile to his face and give us something to look forward to. Shortly before this my good friend had been sharing her amazing experience with seeing Adele at her residency in Las Vegas. This inspired me to check out what live music was happening in Vegas for a fun concert and getaway. Enter Garth Brooks…. It didn’t take long to discover that this icon of 90’s country was starting a limited series of shows in May and I that’s when I knew what we were going to do. I am not a huge country fan but I am a fan of dynamic performers and seeing my guy happy so it wasn’t hard to find some tickets and get excited for the surprise. It was a big hit and we then moved into planning phase for a getaway weekend in Las Vegas. Neither of us had visited for reasons outside of stag parties, weddings and conferences (guess there aren’t many other reasons though are there?), so it was fun to be able to schedule an agenda all of our own. We set our dates for the Wednesday-Sunday of Memorial Weekend giving us plenty of time to enjoy what Vegas has to offer and allow for a little recovery time upon return.

Getting there…

D took care of this part, as per usual, and used Kiwi travel website. It was Memorial Weekend in the US, so the flights were not super cheap. We decided on Delta to get there and Spirit for return, based on flight times and cost. We experienced no hang ups in travel in Seattle or Vegas airports either way. Getting a ride to and from the airport was easy with use of Uber and Lyft. Traffic around 5pm going downtown to the strip was messy and super busy but stress levels were low with someone else driving and we were able to take in the extreme buildings, crowds and billboards that decorated the path to the hotel…. there is a crazy amount of attorney billboards about, go figure! 😉

Upon coming home, the terminal that housed Spirit was less than desirable- I have been in developing country airports that were cleaner and I can’t say I have ever been somewhere with more hung-over struggling individuals. There was a Shake Shack though that we lunched at that didn’t get us sick, so that was a win, and our flight was on time. We heard the Alaska terminal was much better, but it wasn’t worth a few hundred dollars in exchange for a little extra comfort.

Where we stayed…

We booked our accommodations on Airbnb and were plenty of options to sift through. Priorities were being within walking distance of the concert at Ceasars Palace, have a nice pool. kitchenette, and I preferred not to be in a place with a casino. We landed on Hotel Vdara, which shares property with The Cosmopolitan and Aria hotel casinos. Our room was lovely, quiet and spacious. We had a corner suite that overlooked the pool. It had a pool on the rooftop of the 3rd floor, and nice fitness center and spa. It felt like a getaway retreat from the bustling of the city just below. I don’t have anything negative to say about Vdara and would for sure stay there again if I find myself in Vegas in the future.

What we ate….

Eating in Las Vegas is as over the top as the casinos and shows are. The number of restaurant and food options is mind boggling. We went with the sampler platter approach ranging from snacks in the room (yes, we did do peanut butter pretzels and juice for more than a few breakfasts) to a few high-end eateries with some late-night nachos in between. Many of the popular restaurants needed reservations for weekend nights. Since we don’t plan ahead like that, we were able to easily grab seats at the bar and enjoy the full menu and good service from the bartender. Service overall as a whole was very good. There is literally every type of cuisine you have ever thought of and many you haven’t. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed when faced with so many options, but I think we had a pretty good go during this trip. Here are some of the highlights-

  • Pampas– Ok, I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical of this place when D suggested it on our first night. It’s a Brazilian steakhouse with all you can eat & drink options, salad bar, deep discount coupons and is located in the Miracle Mile Shopping district. I was feeling a little snooty about going this way but had no other options to suggest, it was late and we were hungry. We went with the $29.99 Late Night Rodizio and all turned out well. The servers who cut meat off a huge skewer tableside were friendly and the salad bar was fresh. No one ended up sick, and we left full. Mission accomplished.
  • Amalfi– This location came highly recommended by the friend who saw Adele earlier in the year at the same venue that we were going to see Garth at. It was steps away from the concert and was known for high end Italian seafood and steak. We could not get reservations but walked straight into the bar and had a great experience. We shared plates including a shrimp appetizer, pasta “Rags” and filet mignon. Though dinner did not have enough weight to it to withstand the number of beverages I chose to consume that evening, the food was deliciously flavored and cooked impeccably. Definitely a must try.
  • Vitner’s Grill– We went way off strip for this one to meet some friends at their home in Summerlin. It was a pleasant change of pace from the bright lights and bustle of downtown. Vitner’s Grill is located unassumingly in a business park but once you enter you find an upscale bistro with a retro vibe and pretty outdoor gardens. Think white table clothes, wait staff in tuxedo coats and Sinatra playing in the background. We enjoyed appetizers of shrimp and salad with sea bass and halibut for our main courses. This fresh food coupled with some white wine and conversation with interesting friends were perfect after an afternoon of hiking at Red Rock Canyon.
  • Restaurants in The Cosmopolitan Boulevard Tower- We landed ourselves in this area for lunch a few days while picking up and dropping off our rental car. There were several options on the level above the casino floor along with a higher end food court. We tried out China Poblano (Mexican-Chinese?!?) and Holsteins with only a little wait. Both places had wildly creative menus and I was only disappointed once by my cold sweet potato fries at Holsteins, but it wasn’t enough to mar the experience and the busy waiter kindly took it off our bill. The entrance to the “Day Club” Marquee was nearby to both of these places, so there was plenty of look at while waiting for a table. People strutting around indoors in skimpy pool attire is always a sight to be seen.
  • Julian Serranos Tapas– Our last evening, we were in the mood for a lighter dinner and found this place in the Aria hotel. Now when I say “found it”, I mean on the google map. Finding it in real life was a bit of a quest, but with help of a variety of hostesses and bouncers from other places, we were able to locate it. It was colorful and lively. The bartender who served us was a bit intense, taking ownership of all things on the menu (“my” menu, “my” margarita, “my” tapas, etc). I’m fairly certain it wasn’t his restaurant nor him cooking all the items, but it made for an interesting interaction. The cocktails were tasty and spicy, and the food was good enough. The prices were twice the size of the portions so I can’t say I would need to go back to here.
  • Gonzalez y Gonzales– After Julian Serranos Tapas, we wandered over to NY NY. Since the tapas we had earlier, were more snack like than dinner proportions, I was in need of more food before we ventured home. We came across this place and it did the trick. They were transitioning into night club mode when we arrived, so the service took a bit to get started. Our server did end up being a sweet older woman named Mimi, the nachos came quickly, so all ended well.

What we did….

Vegas is literally an adult’s playground. There is everything to do and more. Our featured outing for this trip was obviously the Garth Brooks/Plus One show. This show did not disappoint, and the venue felt intimate. I had never seen him in concert before and he was as energetic and genuine as I had imagined. Trisha Yearwood as the “plus one” was not a huge surprise but definitely a bonus. It was worth the splurge and feeling the energy of a crowd full of super fans is something to experience.

We did our fair share of walking, as we usually do on our trips. We saw the fountains and gardens at the Bellagio, people watched everywhere we went, and I was surprised on the amount of supersized artwork that was throughout the strip. Being able to walk out in public with a beer or cocktail in hand does serve as an extra layer of entertainment in its own right. The number of people who indulged in those massive plastic tube drinks at all hours of the day was remarkable (FYI we were not one of those folks).

Pool lounging was high on my list of things to do and the pool at Vdara was great for that. They had plenty of umbrellas and the vibe was pretty chill. More kids than twenty-something clubber, but that was fine by me. Gone are the days of waiting in a line to pack into a DJ’d pool club party…. not that it was ever really my thing, but we have aged out of that for sure now.

We didn’t do a huge amount of bar hopping despite doing our fair share of enjoying drinks. We did find 2 fun unique places where we were able to watch live music, make guesses on whether or not people were professional athletes, and interacted with other interesting characters. First night D found The Barbershop, a speakeasy type bar in the Cosmopolitan. We were skeptical as we waited in the line outside to get in, thinking maybe it was just hype, but it turned out to be a lively, fun dark lounge with a country act playing. It was a Wednesday so it wasn’t too busy, which was nice as we could actually get a drink at the bar and not be all crowed up in other people’s business.

The other bar we hit up was on the last evening was Nine Fine Irishman in NY NY. We were looking to go to a piano bar, however the one we were shooting for was crazy busy and collecting an entry fee. We opted out and end up at this Irish pub. when we arrived there was an upbeat Irish band playing with an Irish dancer stomping it up on one of the tall bar tables. It died down shortly after we arrived, and we landed ourselves into a lively conversation with a “local” that insisted on buying our beers. He was a passionate Golden Knights fan and seemed to know everything about everything. He may or may not have been a bit of a pathological lair but he was good natured, and we did get a free beer.

We opted into getting off the strip to see some desert nature and enjoy some hiking. The weather was fantastic this spring and apparently with all the rain that happened this year is was “greener” than normal. Coming from Washington, it was hard to appreciate the greenery in comparison, but there were a noticeable amount of wildflowers mixed in the desert landscape. We ventured out to Red Rock Canyon, did the drive and stopped for a few short hikes along the way and drove out to Lake Mead the following day. Red Rock was beautiful and it’s neat to see the large mountains and brightly colored rocks only a short drive from the artificial, man- made Vegas strip. Lake Mead was less impressive, but it is still interesting to see water in the middle of such a desolate landscape. I had wanted to see the Valley of Fire Park, but we slept in and ran out of time to make it out that way. Both parks did have fees for entry and Red Rock required a reservation for the time slot you were wanting to visit.

Parting thoughts…

Vegas was a blast and I think we did a bang up job up taking in the variety there is to offer there. Spring was a perfect time, weather-wise, to actually enjoy being outside and exploring. There are few places on earth with the concentration of entertainment and eye candy. There is a freedom of being there that is a nice break from the normal daily life of suburban Washington, but 4 days is definitely enough to get your fill. We came back with fond memories of good music and sunshine, relatively relaxed and a bit dehydrated. It was worth it, and I think I would not mind going back again when in need of some warmth and good times.

-P.R.

Venice, Italy

October 2022

We chose Venice as our first destination for a few reasons….. First, it really is so quintessentially Italy and felt that it would be a perfect place to set the tone and get into the spirit of being in the country. Second, it was the best our best option to see the Adriatic Sea and catch a high-speed train up to the mountains of the Italian Alps. People always swoon when the topic of Venice comes up if they have been there and rightly so! It was so unique and fun to explore. The canals and alleyways were nothing like I have ever seen. We only stayed in Venice for 2 nights and we significantly jet lagged when we arrived but I think we made the most of it.

Getting there…

Our flight from Heathrow to Venice landed around noon. It was disorienting to not sleep for an entire day and hit the ground running. We navigated our way out of the airport to find the water taxi station. This was no simple feat! The signs were easy enough to read but I swear we ended up going out through a service exit and had to back track more than a few times. We made it to the window to buy our tickets and got in line the long to zone out and wait for our taxi to get us over to the island of Venice. I wish I would have taken a video to capture the chaos of chopped up water and boats zooming in and out to pick up passengers barely avoiding collision. As busy as it was, all the boats efficiently made it in and out relatively on time like it was nothing. Once out on the open water it was captivating to see the boats and take in the little surrounding islands of Burano and Murano in anticipation of what Venice had in store. The Airbnb that we had booked ahead that was close to a drop off point, so we only had to rumble our suitcases over the bumpy cobblestone for a few minutes to meet our host.

Venice from the Sky.. you can see the water taxi freeway.
Rush hour on the water

Where we stayed…

D found us a quaint little stone wall apartment that was well located and well stocked. The host was friendly and had stocked the fridge with wine, pasta, cheeses and sauce. The bathroom had soap, shampoo AND conditioner. These may seem like a given for travel accommodations, but we quickly learned that in Italy (and likely Europe) you get the bare minimum when it comes to toiletries. On Venice and a few other of our stays, they need to document your name and passport as a visitor to the city. The photos online made the space and view seem a bit more spacious that what the reality was but it was clean and felt authentic. It was perfect for our short stay.

The hidden door to the apartment…fortunately the host and previous guest had given us plenty of clues, so we found it on the first try.

What we did…

Our basic agenda for Venice and basically all of Italy was- explore, people watch, eat, drink, repeat. This city was so fun to wander around and see what was around the next corner. There is plenty of shopping near the Rialto bridge, but we aren’t really into that so much. It was a full moon while were visiting which made nighttime walks magical. I will let the photos tell the story…

Pointe di Rialto
Basilica di San Marco
The backside of San Marco
Expensive subpar snacks with a lovely view at San Marco Square
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo by moonlight
View of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute from fancy water taxi en route to Cip’s Club
Beautiful sunset on our last night

What we ate…

Being our first stop in Italy, I was so very excited to start to experience local cuisine. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account local customs for dining times and how they would intersect with our arrive time and jet lagged brains. We set out for our first meal around 2pm and quickly realized that this was NOT when people dine around town. After being very directly denied by at least 3 small restaurants who had no interest in us ever coming back, we finally found a small bar with outdoor seating who were happy to let us sit a table for 2 (not one for 4, they made that very clear). We took in the gentle tourist traffic and enjoyed our first version of the Aperol Spritz (which was delicious), the little snacks that come with drinks (cicchetti,) and some tiny white bread sandwich triangle called tramezzini. After that, honestly, we struck out when it came to food…not great pizza, ok lasagna and snacks with beer and wine in the apartment. Pretty much all the things they the travel blog foodies tell you not to eat. When you get hungry and are tired, it’s survival rules, so we did our best. We did however, have the most amazing last dinner at a restaurant that came to us upon recommendation from a friend with fantastic taste in pretty much everything- Cip’s Club. The ambiance, quality of food and service of this upscale waterfront restaurant is hard to beat. It is attached to the beautiful, exclusive Hotel Cipriani. We took their private wooden boat water taxi to the hotel, walked the gardens, acted like we were supposed to be there and felt very fancy. We completely lucked out even getting a table at Cip’s because we arrived an hour before they opened (places don’t even think of serving before 7:30) and there was a cancellation for the first seating. Make a reservation well ahead of time if you want to experience this location. It was a treat for our last night.

Final thoughts….

Venice was a whirlwind of a visit but memorable to say the least. It was cleaner than I would have expected, it felt very safe and was super fun to explore. I do wish that we might have done a bit more research on what and where to eat, but overall, it was enjoyable. It is a unique experience to be in a place with no cars, you really don’t get that anywhere in North America. I can’t say that the people in the shops and cafes we ventured in and out of were all that friendly (with the exception of Cip’s) however we were new and there are all tourists so I suppose that could get annoying. I will always have fond memories of winding through the narrow alleyways and viewing the canals at night under the light of the huge full moon and the excitement of starting our adventure in Italy.

Austin, Tx

February 2023

It had been a long winter already and there was a lot of work catch-up to do in January after the holiday.  We were craving some warmth by the end of the month and started racking our brains on where we could catch some sunshine and fun in February.  The weather (and plane tickets) in California were not that great and we didn’t have enough time to travel further to Mexico or maybe Hawaii.  We were browsing flight options on Alaska Airlines and there just so happened to be direct flights to Austin that were the same price as going to CA. I had never been and DZ hadn’t been there in 20+ years.  The flight times worked out perfect for our Thursday- Monday timeframe so it was decided.  I was really excited to experience this city after hearing people rave about it for years.  I was ready for some great food, music, drinks and exploring someplace new… all of my favorite things, with my favorite person. 

Getting there…

I’m not sure how long Alaska had been doing direct flights to Austin but the early morning option that was  available made it really doable to have full days on both ends of our trip. We were able to fly out at 7:45am both days and had no hiccups in either flight. Our Uber driver from Africa was friendly and appropriately chatty. We breezed through security, though we were directed to use the line near the international terminal so we got to use all of the shuttles available to get to the D gates on the complete opposite side of the airport. On the plane I had a window seat and was able to appreciate the landscape below.  Seeing the variety of mountains as you move across the country from above always makes me awestruck.  I was able to polish off another book during the flight and before I knew we were landing.  We used  to get to our hotel 

Where we stayed….

Since D was familiar with the layout of the city and we didn’t have a car, he found a great condo that was in downtown Austin but in a newer region in the east part of the city.  Natiivo Austin was a great stay, being new, super close to the trails by the river, and walkable to Rainey Street and 6th Ave.  It was quiet but lively still.  We were able to watch a beautiful sunset on the rooftop pool area our first night, but the weather didn’t cooperate enough to allow for any other enjoyment of the pool.  Other amenities that were available that we did not use were a gym, a bar/lounge area and apparently dog friendly everything.  Our main focus was to be out of the hotel, that was exactly what we did.  Natiivo was a lovely homebase though, despite its rather strong “signature” scent that greeted you every time you entered the lobby area. 

https://www.vacasa.com/usa/Natiivo-Austin/

What we ate….

Food in Austin was AMAZING!  There were endless options- from food trucks, southern BBQ to upscale dining and fancy tapas bars. Our main goal when it came to food was to find some authentic Tex Mex and Texas BBQ. It just so happened that a good friend was visiting her family in Austin the same weekend we were there and she hooked us up with perfect suggestions for both.

We visited Habanero Cafe (http://www.habanerocafe.com/) and it was legit. It was casual dining and had a friendly vibe for both locals and tourists.  As my friend said, you haven’t had authentic tex mex unless you’ve eaten it in uncomfortable chairs with bars on the windows. Haha!  I had a chili relleno that reminded me of the ones I used to get as a kid in Bakersfield and a huge unsweetened ice tea.  The other delicious platters that were sampled were mole chicken, fish tacos, and chips and salsa.  Portions were huge and the prices were good.  It was a great way to experience some local food and catch up with a friend I rarely get to spend face to face time with.

Terry Black’s BBQ was our destination for the “Real” Texas BBQ experience.  This place was nothing like I have ever been before.  The building was old looking and wooden with tons of patio and indoor seating. There is a separate smoking house next door with smoke pluming out the chimney to really set the scene. We arrived around noon and the line was already out the door. Apparently this is the norm for this well known BBQ institution, so they had their serving systems down. Once in line, there was a window to get cold drinks while you waited. You then wound your way into the building and were served up cafeteria style your sides then over to the meat carving station.  There was a chalk board with the meats available and the smiling employee wielding a huge carving knife served you up the meats of your choice, directly onto your paper covered tray.  This heaping serving was then weighed and you then paid by the pound at the neighboring cash register.  It’s an eye wide open experience when you know that you are about to take down 2+ pounds of meat once you sit down.  We shared ribs, brisket, coleslaw and beer.  It was the BEST meat I have ever tasted.  Seasoned, sauced and smoked to perfection.  We hit up this place on our day of long walking and thank god for that.  It was totally worth the stuffed belly. Home | Terry Black’s BBQ (terryblacksbbq.com)

Other noteworthy restaurants  we hit up were:

Salvation Pizza Kitchen-  this place was around the corner from our condo and we spent a bit of time here upon arriving to pass the time before check in.  I had my first Shiner Bock here along with a good salad and some BBQ sliders.  We ended up here again to watch some football later in the weekend too. It was a chill place with lots of TVs with a large selection of beers on tap, full bar and Italian/ bar food offerings.   https://salvationpizzaatx.com/

Emmer & Rye-  This place was next door to Salvation Pizza, so also a quick walk from the condo. We sat at the bar for late dinner here and enjoyed sharing several selections from their tapas style menu.  It had a cool vibe with an open concept dining-kitchen area, low lighting and nice ambient music.  The food was creative and artistic. It was a fun date night kind of place.  https://emmerandrye.com/

Eddie V’s- This was an upscale steak house with a live band, swanky bar and waiters with white tuxedos on. The whole shabang for a fancy night out.  It was a great energy with good service.   https://www.eddiev.com/home

Geraldine’s- Another upscale restaurant with live music on the top floor of Hotel Van Zandt. Great food and wine again.  The menu was creative and had sharing plates and main dishes of meats and fish.  The hostess was a drag and there was annoyingness about rushing to make you cash out at the bar before you get sat at your table, but overall it was a great experience. https://www.geraldinesaustin.com/

What we did….

Despite the less than ideal weather, we spent a ton of time outdoors exploring the city and the trails along the river (or is it lake??).  We checked out the 3 bridges and went substantial distances on both sides of the river.  It was busy with walkers, joggers and bikers everyday.  We checked out some of the larger parks and botanical gardens as well as Barton Springs. There are many varieties of birds, turtles, and plant life with informational signs around to tell you what was unique to the area.  I will mention that there were quite a few homeless people in Austin, around the parks and downtown and it wasn’t very clean.  However, I never felt unsafe during the day or night and it was by no means worse than Seattle. 

On our big walk day, we went by the Capitol building, appreciated the historic buildings, churches and statues and got to see the tail end of an Anti-abortion rally (bonus!) 

Outside of the food, our other main objective was to experience some live music.  I was amazed by the number of places that had live music or DJs every night we were there. The streets were packed with people and the atmosphere was lively and fun.  Rainey street was packed with different bars and clubs to sample.  6th Street is its own entity in the city and has every flavor of music, food and drink you could want.  It actually closes down to car traffic at night and the city allows people to just take over the street. https://6street.com/

Some of our favorite places we hit up with music 

– San Jac Saloon: Fantastic country bar where we drank beers and listened to the Tyler Brandon Duo… I actually was singing out loud with the crowd much to my partner’s surprise 🙂  https://www.sanjacsaloon.com/

– Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden- Huge patio with live music.  So many beers on tap at 2 different bars.  I had a delicious pretzel to complement the local hazy IPA I decided on  https://www.bangersaustin.com/

– Icenhauer’s-  Great craft cocktails and a cozy lounge feel.  We enjoyed a fantastic blues type band featuring a trumpet and  a saxophone player..   https://www.icenhauers.com/

Parting thoughts…

Austin was such a fun and lively experience that lived up to the hype.  The weather was not as great as we had hoped for, but it didn’t dampen the experience at all.  I really appreciated the walkability of the city and variety of both indoor and outdoor things to do.  I left wanting to come back in the spring or fall to feel some of that Texas sunshine while sitting on a patio listening to music with a drink or to be able to take a boat or kayak out on the river.  We had a blast and made it home a little hungover from food and drink but with smiles on our faces.  I’m looking forward to our next visit to Austin.

-P.R.

Sun Peaks Ski Weekend

February 2023

The end of 2022 was COLD. Really cold.  My California-born blood had never been exposed to such temperatures (-20F, what!?!), even after being up in Washington for the better part of 13 years.  At Christmas, I had brought my snowboard in hopes of possibly getting up to the mountain for some snow fun, but it never left my car as it was too frigid to go outdoors for any length of time.  Since we had no set plans of escaping to anywhere after the new year, we thought it may be fun to embrace winter and enjoy a weekend up in Sun Peaks.  We were able to secure an amazing home that was close to the main village, was big enough to evite friends and had a hot tub to top it off!  The weekend of the Super Bowl was available, and the weather forecast was looking great.  We were able to talk some family and a couple of friends into joining us and it was all set up!

Getting there…

I made my usual drive up to Kamloops on a Thursday morning.  It was an abnormally eventful drive unfortunately- speeding ticket only 20 minutes into the trip (remember to not speed during morning traffic near Everett), struggling to open my locked gas door to fill up (it automatically locks if the door is locked), almost getting run off the highway by a semi-truck, and finally having to take an excessively long rest break in Merritt due to annoying weird heart palpitations and dizziness.  Anyhow, I made it in one piece.  Despite this, we had a super easy drive the next morning making it from the dry land up into the winter wonderland.  It takes less than an hour being only 56km from Kamloops.  You get to drive along the North Thompson River, until you break off up into the mountains.  From there you pass by a few little lakes and pastoral land that all look very pretty and serene covered in the white of winter.  Considering the size of the mountain and resort, it is crazy convenient.

Where we stayed….

There are ample accommodations around the SunPeaks- hotels, condos, and custom homes. We were hooked up with one of the homes, so it was a treat!  There were 3 floors, so each group had separate sleeping areas. The main floor was open with high ceilings, huge windows, and a large kitchen.  The deck off the kitchen was home to the BBQ and hot tub.  This was my first visit to this house, but the others had enjoyed birthday parties and ski weekends here in the past.  It was a perfect spot.

What we ate….

Our family and friends were so generous, and we had enough food to have lasted a week!  We feasted every night- Mediterranean chicken and lemon potatoes, beef tenderloin, fully loaded baked potatoes and veggies and Superbowl Sunday was a Meat Fest of Texas ribs, “Nicci Lovin’” Chicken wings, Nachos, dips, etc., etc.…. There was no shortage of food, nor drink.  Drink highlights included ample Red Truck, Empress gin cocktails, Basil-Mint Rangpur gin cocktails, Micheladas, and Beermosas.  

We did go out for lunch on Ski Day at the infamous Bottoms Pub and enjoyed a typical pub lunch with a beer.  We were smart to go for an early lunch as it gets really busy there after noon.  There are a few other options in the main village, but I haven’t ever had a need to sample them. 

What we did….

We had such a nice balance of winter fun this weekend.  A full day of skiing, walking in the snow, taking a long hike along the snowshoe trails, eating, drinking and hot tubbing.  We played games at night (Cards Against Humanity made another solid appearance), watched hockey and the Superbowl.  It was a chill mix of alone time and time with friends.  I particularly loved the end of the night hot tub to watch the snowcats grooming the hills and seeing the stars.  We laughed a lot, and it was a perfect balance of rest and play. 

Parting thoughts…

Sun Peaks is such a gem to enjoy.  It feels a bit like a little secret that the people who know of it don’t take for granted.  It’s not the same scene as Whistler with throngs of people and tons of restaurants and bars. There is a time a place for that.  Having access to quiet miles of high-quality trails for downhill and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in less than an hour is hard to beat. I especially appreciate this coming from the Seattle area where everything is crowded and feels stressful. This weekend reminded me of how the snow puts you back into the playful mindset you have as a kid, to have fun for the sake of fun. Hopefully, we will be able to make this an annual event as I can see us making many more memories here in years to come.

-P.R.