Travel

Upcoming Cruises

We booked our 2015, 8 day cruise in the Caribbean, going to two new places – Nassau, Bahamas and Antigua; and two familiar places – San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. This is also a new ship for us, the Carnival Breeze, so we are really excited about that. This morning, we placed a hold on a sweeping aft balcony on the brand new Carnival Vista for August 2016 in the Mediterranean. This 8 day cruise is a busy one, ports of call are : Barcelona, Spain; Sicily, Naples, Rome, Livorno/Pisa in Italy; Marseilles (Provence), France; Palma de Mallora, Spain and back to Barcelona. We’ve been waiting to do a European vacation for years and the time has come. These are all new destinations for us, and we are really excited about all of the stops in Italy especially; with a taste of France and Spain too! Stay tuned, I’ll be posting soon on the Carnival Breeze! In the meantime, I’ve finally got around to scouring all of the pictures and videos over the years and I have a lot of reviews to do from the five or six other Carnival cruises we’ve done.

Penoach Winery – Adel, IA

We took my parents to Penoach Winery the other day. Adel is only a few minutes away and we really like this little winery, tucked away in the rural hills of central Iowa. I took a few pictures to add to the collection – hope to get more on our next visit, which will be soon I’m sure! It’s a neat place to get away, try some new wines from a new region, and really soak in the new atmosphere. It’s a quiet get-away, not too far from home…

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Winter has arrived

It’s freezing here in the Mid-West. The high in Des Moines today was 12 degrees, but it felt like -10 with the brisk winter breeze. These are record lows for us San Diego natives. I think we’re in for a long duration of cold weather, and I’m actually wishing for some snow to come along. It just doesn’t seem right to be this bone-chilling cold without some snow to go along with it. I think it acts like a blanket, and keeps the ground and house protected from the piercing cold outside.

My parents are both San Diego natives and are visiting here for their first time. One heck of a first impression! It’s been a good week though, enjoying some time off work and spending time with family. We’ve been busy exploring Des Moines and checking out some new sites as well. So far, the highlight was probably lunch at Americana. It was our first time there, and we’ll definitely be back!

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Americana – Des Moines

We also spent some time at the Poppajohn sculptures downtown as well. Really cool place to explore if you are in town.

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Hermosa Beach – California

I’ve been working in Torrance CA for about a year now, and one of my favorite places to unwind would have to be the Hermosa Beach Pier area. Lots of neat restaurants in the courtyard area, the beautiful Pacific Ocean which you can access by beach or walk over by pier, and a nightlife that will keep you entertained to the early hours of the morning.

Hermosa Beach Pier area

Hermosa Beach Pier Area

I found a great little pizza shop where you can buy slices for a few bucks; it’s called Pisano’s Pizza, so check that out if you’re in the area – http://paisanospizzahb.com/home/

The best Gelato in the world (in my opinion) is at a little shop next to the pizza place, called Paciugo – http://paciugo.com/hermosa-beach/. It looks like they have a lot of locations, so check them out. An amazing combo suggestion is the Mediterranean Sea Salt, Black Cherry, and Creme Brûlée – Only a suggestion, but check them out because you will find a ton of amazing flavors. At around $5 bucks, for three flavors, you can’t go wrong.

Paciugo Gelato - The Best!

Paciugo Gelato – The Best!

Here’s a shot of a neat surfer statue at the pier’s entrance. The beach to the north is lined with volleyball courts, to the south is open to sunbathers and swimmers. Seems to be a popular spot in the summer time; a lot quieter in the off seasons.

Surfer Statue - Hermosa Beach Pier

Surfer Statue – Hermosa Beach Pier

And finally, check out Silvio’s Brazilian BBQhttp://www.silviosbbq.com/ in the courtyard at Hermosa Beach. For $35 you can share a combo “The Carnival Plate” that you will never forget! Amazing meats, salad, and veggies comes out on a giant platter. BBQ Chicken, Tri-Tip Steak, Calabreza Sausage – Amazing! The two of you will leave completely full. And don’t leave without drinking a few Caipirinha’s – Enjoy!

Silvio's Brazilian BBQ

Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ

 

Cabo San Lucas – Carnival Cruise, Mexican Riviera

We’ve been on the Mexican Riviera cruise countless times. Last year, we did it again on the Carnival Miracle (April 2013). Here is a little video of the port of Cabo San Lucas. There are so many things to do there, from relaxing at a beach bar, to parasailing, jet skiing, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, or visiting the town (including Cabo Wabo!).

Cabo San Lucas

Snorkel Adventure in Cabo – Saw some Grey Whales!

The beaches and boating around Cabo San Lucas

I lost my GoPro that day after we got back to the ship. Note to self,”When you have a balcony on a cruise ship, anchor the GoPro suction cup”! It’s sitting at the bottom of Cabo’s bay somewhere. Good excuse to get a new one though…