Tag Archives | honeymoons

Best places to Kiss in Venice

Thy sun-illumined spires, thy crown and crest!
White phantom city, whose untrodden streets
Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting
Shadows of palaces and strips of sky;

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “Venice”

For traveling couples, visiting Venice, Italy is a dream come true.   There are few places that rival the magic that Venice works on lovers.  You have your tickets purchased.  Now what?  How can you make your visit to the City of Bridges match your romantic expectations?  The Fighting Couple is ready and here to help.  The following our some of our best couple travel ideas for your Venice adventure.

Gondola Driver in Venice

Gondola Driver in Venice

Venice Gondola ride

Ok…lets get the easy one out of the way.  As you likely know, the Fighting Couple hates spending money on really touristy type things.  Couple travel is expensive!  Taking a gondola ride in Venice is just that.   With that said…shell out the Euros and take your sweetie on a ride.  (The official cost for a 40-minute gondola ride is €80 and €100 after 7pm).   It’s just money.  Isn’t your lover worth it?  You don’t need a reservation.  Just show up, agree on price and time you want, and bon voyage!

La Fenice Opera House, Venice, Italy

La Fenice Opera House, Venice, Italy

La Fenice during Intermission

Located in the heart of Venice is the wonderful Fenice Opera House.  The Fenice or Phoenix is appropriately named, it has been built and burnt down twice.  Today’s version is a result of a 90 million euro renovation.  It is stunning.  Enjoy the first two acts of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.  Take your lover by the hand, look into each other’s eyes and capture a kiss.  (Don’t wait till the opera ends….it doesn’t end well.  Sorry to ruin it.)  Tickets and info: www.teatrolafenice.it/site/index.php

Slow Dance on St. Mark’s Square at sunset

This one is our fave!  The square is lined by restaurants that waft their culinary delights into the salty air.  The lights dim.  The notes of a lonely accordion linger in the distance.  The perfect recipe for love!

If you need some advice on how to kiss…please read our instructions:  How to Kiss Correctly.

Find a lonely alley in the Dorsoduro district-

Next to the Grand Canal is a wonderful section of Venice, the Dorsoduro district.  There are a number of meandering alleys with wonderful shops and coffee stands.  Spend a warm afternoon going from shop to shop.  Take your camera as there are some wonderful mansions and Palazzos to take in.  This area of Venice is often called the “real” Venice.  It is home to the Galleria Dell’ Academia and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.  Both of these sites are must sees for anyone venturing to Venice.

Stroll across the Rialto Bridge

Find your own Casanova and then follow the original Casanova’s footsteps across the Rialto Bridge.  The Bridge is one of the most recognizable icons of the water city.  Climb to the apex and watch the boats below.   It can be a bit crowded at times, it is best to get your pictures early.

St. Mark's Bell tower

St. Mark’s Bell tower

St Mark’s Campanile Bell Tower

One of the best ways to take in the grand city is atop the bell tower of St. Marks.  Perched  99 metres above the square, you can look over the red roofs of the entire city.  Pull you lover close as the cool ocean breezes tussle your hair.  The views offered from the top are truly breathtaking.  Taking the stairs will help you burn off some of that wonderful Italian gelato.  For more info on St. Marks.

Italian Food

A yummy creation at Harry’s. Venice, Italy

Harry’s Dolci

Are you looking for a romantic restaurant away from the hustle and bustle?  We have the perfect place for you and you sweet heart.  Take the water bus across the bay to the Hilton.  Turn left after walking off the boat and head to Harry’s Dolci.  This is a Fighting Couple’s fave haunt.  The last time we were in Venice we went there twice for dinner!  What to order you ask?  If it’s on the menu, it is going to be good.  Don’t miss their bruschetta.  YUM!  Of course eating is the second best thing you can do with your lips at Harry’s.  It’s Amore!

Ok, now go and book your tickets to Venice.  Pack your Brics Luggage, don’t forget to include a warm sweater.  Then follow our simple recipe for making the perfect romantic visit to Venice!  Send us your pictures!

Did we miss your favorite place in Venice?  Sorry.  Shoot us a quick comment below.  Enjoy Venice!

 

 

 

 

8

7 Couple Travel Profiles: Which One Are You?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news…

But stereotypes do exist, especially in travelers.

After spending nine months in South East Asia and a year in Central and South America, I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I were approached with this scenario:

  • Stranger: So are you guys [Australian/Canadian/British]?
  • Us: No.  We’re from the United States.
  • Stranger: Oh, cause most the Americans I meet are [overweight, rude, or only travel on the tourist trail].

Ouch, right?

But the good news is…

During my time abroad I met and saw countless couples (some cool and some not) who all seemed to fit a profile.

Now, this is just my opinion and I understand not everyone fits into a mold.  So, I’m happy for you to let me know if I hit the mark or totally missed in the comments below.

But first, let’s take a look at these seven traveling couple profiles…

Budget Backpacker Couple

These couples know how to stretch their pennies (not just dollars) as far as their money will take them.  They chose inexpensive travel destinations (such as South East Asia and Central America) and scavenge for the cheapest accommodations: hostels, guest houses, camping, or couches (e.g. couchsurfing.org).  Heck, even the really smart budget backpackers book overnight flights and buses so they don’t have to pay for accommodations at all!  Budget couples aren’t afraid to haggle or eat street food daily.

Adventurous (Get Me Off This Tourist-Trail) Couple

These couples avoid overly tourist destinations and activities (such as big European cities, resort beach towns, or bus tours) at all costs and wouldn’t be caught dead on a cruise.  They’re in search of the new, undiscovered destination that only the “cool” people know about (The Beach, anyone?).  Adventurous couples love the great outdoors and solitude.

couple nepal

Are you an adventurous couple?

Honeymoon Couple

Whether they’re on a honeymoon, still in the honeymoon phase, or just met a few hours ago at the bar, honeymoon couples have no problem showing public displays of affection like holding hands or stealing a kiss.  While it can be cute and acceptable in some areas such as the Americas, in Asia and Africa body contact is offensive.

Honeymoon couple boat

Are you a lovey honeymoon couple?

Long-term (We’ve Seen It All) Couple

There’s no shortage of seasoned couple travelers.  They have a level of maturity, experience and confidence in who they are (individually and as a couple) and where they’re going.  Why?  Because they’ve been around the block and have learned some hard lessons along the way.  These couples always dress appropriately for the country and situation,  are fluent with the necessary words to get by, and never seem to get lost.

Elderly (but Still Kicking) Couple

Perhaps one of my favorite traveling couples is the elderly who love to strike up a conversation with anyone willing to chat and always have smiles on their faces, even when the going gets rough.  Life’s too short after all.  These couples are in no rush and appreciate the smaller things such as a beautiful sunset, manicured garden or warm handshake.  While normally fugal, they splurge on the good stuff and often ties buy a younger traveler a meal or beer.

Are you a baby boomer traveling couple?

Are you a baby boomer traveling couple?

Green (Keep the Peace) Couple

These couples are on a mission to educate the world on recycling water bottles (a big problem with traveling), minimize waste, and volunteer to give back to local communities.  Whether they’re on a church mission, working for a Non-Government Organization (NGO) or volunteering at an elephant zoo in Thailand, they want to make a different and minimize their global footprint while encouraging others to do the same along the way.

Are you a "green" couple traveler?

Are you a “green” couple traveler?

Luxury Couple

We see celebrities on their yachts in Nice, beach lounging in Rio, and smoking cigars in Cuba (Jay-Z and Beyonce, anyone?), but there’s also less famous jet-setting couples that don’t make the magazines but still know how to travel in luxury.  They have money to burn and know how to party, but probably couldn’t survive one day on the streets of India or use a public WC in Europe.  These couples travel in comfort being shuttled around in first-class cabins and limos.

 So, how does this list of couples compare to the real travelers you’ve met on the road?  Let us know in the comments below.  Thanks!

 

About the author: Darcie Connell is the founder of Trekity – a daily newsletter and website inspiring women to travel.  She most closely relates to the Budget Backpacker, Adventurous, and Long-term traveler…  but is well on her way to the elderly.  Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

34

A Grecco Aussie Adventure?

In our never ending quest to introduce you to traveling couples that make the whole: relationship + work+ travel thing work, we want to introduce you to Bell and Alex of Wanderlust marriage.com.  Have you ever just wanted to pick the brain of a traveling couple, find out how they make it work?  Hear some great couple travel fights?  Now is your chance!

Here is how to follow them:

Blog: WanderlustMarriage.com

Twitter:  @WndlustMarriage

Facebook: Wanderlust Marriage

couple by ocean

Alex and Bell of Wanderlust Marriage

1000Fights:  Ok, start off by tell us how you two met?

We met over a decade ago (ouch!) in a dingy hostel in Brugges, we were bunk mates in a mixed dorm. Alex’s favorite line… “we were thrown into the same bed, it was meant to be!”

1000Fights:  Wow! Ok….enough info…..

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

We have been to 43 Countries! This travel thing is addictive isn’t it?

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He Said: The Pope. I would love to ride in the Pope Mobile and get a keen insight into the Vatican’s wonderful fashion sense ;)

She Said: My dad, he passed away 20 years ago, but before that he loved to travel, camp, and take us kids with him into the Australian outback.

 3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

He said: Probably Thailand. Such great food, scenery, shopping and great value. Thailand holds a special place in our hearts because Bell and I met up there again after not seeing each other for 2 and 1/2 years. We got engaged 8 days later on the island of Ko Phangang, a day after the full moon party!

She said: Such a difficult question, probably Vietnam, such a beautiful country and just crazy, crossing the road there is truly a “leap of faith!”

4)  Looks like you guys have spent some time in Greece.  Many couple travelers have Greece on top of their list.  Tell us about your suggestions for couples.

He said: Over the years I’ve spent more time in Greece than Bell because my Dad is originally from there (born in Pyrgos, near Olympia) and through him I also have Greek citizenship, along with American. Greece can be one of the most hospitable countries in the world. It is a great trip for couples!  If you’re courteous when you’re out in restaurants and bars, you’ll surely get a few free coffees and spirits in your travels from staff or fellow patrons :) Particularly for couples: In Athens- find a nice roof top bar with a view of the acropolis lit up at night and enjoy some nice food, wine and traditional Greek music. I’ve seen a lot of Greece and there are loads of romantic spots on the islands and main land. Santorini is really quiet during the off-season but it’s so beautiful that couples can rent a car and feel they practically have the island to themselves, which is really special if you don’t care about swimming and lounging in the unique black sand beaches.

She said: It is really romantic to visit Syros in the off-season and rent a little apartment. We only had a few nights there, but I could have spent a week there relaxing and enjoying great food, wine and hanging with just Alex. Syros is a great island because along with being gorgeous, it’s the capital of the Cyclades, so a lot of Greeks continue living there year round and there is FAR more happening in the off-season than Mykonos.

couple under tree

Alex and Bell the creative couple behind Wandlust Marriage.com

5)  You guys have some great posts about how to live and travel abroad.  What are the keys to surviving as a couple abroad?

He said: We’ve been living in Europe 5 and 1/2 years now and I kinda feel like the 5 year point is where the term “expat” really sunk in for me. I currently find myself in a strange place ideologically…Couples should make sure to keep the adventure alive. Try and have a nice short trip booked semi regularly because when westerners move countries it’s often for adventure. If that dies the whole ship can sink.

She said: It’s a miracle we’ve not killed each other on a couple of occasions! It’s tough, we love our families and friends, so we both get some sort of “homesick” and can feel a little isolated at times and take that out on each other… The key, not sure, but trying to find some good friends in your new home helps a lot, and have a balance of people who are locals and expats. Expats are easy to get in with, but they are more likely to move and perhaps be unhappy about the country you’re in… try not to get caught up with that group, it’s too easy to blame small annoyances on *insert country* when the reality is there are similar problems everywhere.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: At the risk of sounding like a ditzy beauty pageant contestant world hunger. There’s too much discrepancy of wealth in this world. The first world lives off the backs of the 3rd world. Programs like the World Bank and IMF are meant to help bring people out of poverty but first and foremost they cater to Western interests, so often programs to 3rd world countries that provide loans have stipulations for poorer governments to actually cut programs for their people in order to re-pay the loans. It’s a tricky problem but it’s one that wealthy countries can do a better job at if they want.

She said: Education for everyone, if people are educated it helps to empower them, and while it isn’t a quick fix solution to world problems, I believe we have to stop thinking about issues with a short-term, quick fix mentality.

7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: We look sweet, but we can argue! Especially if Alex is tired and I am hungry, this is a recipe for disaster! We actually had to discuss which fight to talk about, but I decided upon a recent one on our last trip to Australia, my home country. We’d flown direct from a few days in Dubai with friends. Between the 2 of us I think we’d clocked about 3 hours sleep. Alex was drunk and I was tired, hungry and my usual emotional self when going back to Aus. It started when I woke Alex for breakfast (he’d asked me to). He was still drunk and now really tired and it started small, but by the time we arrived at immigration we were being horrid to each other, names were involved and this is all while standing in line for immigration. I’d actually filled in Alex’s slip because he wasn’t really able to and had accidentally left “job” blank, so when we arrived at the immigration desk after a scene in the line, the lady processing us was less than kind… we totally deserved it though and at least we did not get pulled aside! Advice -> take sleeping pills on long haul flights!!

1000Fights:  Great Story!

He said: The Aussie one was good! Another one was early in our marriage when Bell first moved to the US 8 years ago. We went to Las Vegas and we realized we could score truly free drinks by sitting at the hotel casino bars and putting a $10 note in the video machines on the bar. We would slowly play 25 cent hands and since we had 10 bucks in, we would get free drinks easily because the bartender is right there! But Bell hates gambling and when she went down only $5 after an hour she was complaining about it. I didn’t get it because that was paying for the drinks so she wasn’t even down. And it was only $5 anyways! We kept drinking and the annoyance built up on both ends. We eventually got into a huge shouting match on Las Vegas Bouvelard at 3am. Luckily there weren’t many people around because it was not very nice!

1000Fights:  Something tells me it wasn’t the first couple fight on the boulevard at 3am in Vegas?

We want to thank Alex and Bell for sharing a little about their traveling style and a couple of great fights!  Give their blog a look!

Are you a traveling couple?  Wanna be featured?  Share your best travel fights?  Send us an note.

5

What’s Inside the Fighting Couple’s Luggage?

The Fighting Couple gets asked a lot, “What products do you guys like to travel with?”  So we put this post together to give you a peek inside our travel bags and see first hand some of our favorite things.  Traveling as a couple, it is critical to travel with the right gear.  Being prepared can take a lot of the stress and worry out of the trip.  More importantly, having a little style as you travel will make the experience all the more rewarding.  So lets open the bags and show you our faves!

women's travel case

Mint and Pink Travel Case from Marble Hill Design Studio

A Girl’s Best Friend

They say that makeup bags come in all sizes and shapes.  We have not found this to be the case.  Either you have a super jumbo full on makeup “trunk,” or a mini compact holder that fits a stick of lipstick and a small brush.  We have finally found the solution, the Marble Hill Studio’s handmade “Mint and Pink Women’s Cosmetic Travel Bag.”  The bag’s ample size  10″ x 4′ x 6″, allows me to take all of my “girl gear” for a weekend or week-long with ease.  I can even fit my handy propane curling iron in it.  (Yes they make them.  And yes I love it.)  The mint color doesn’t come through well on pictures, but it is gorgeous with the pink bow in person. Who doesn’t want a bag engraved with your name and topped with a cute bow. Can you say, “Adorable?”  (As tested: Women’s Cosmetic Travel Bag Price: from $60.00)

 Saved by the Strap

Capturing Couture staps

Lovely camera straps from Capturing Couture

The great inventor Henry Ford once said of his automobiles, “You can have any color you like as long as it is black.”  This adage also seems to apply to today’s DSLR cameras.  So what do you do to personalize and spice it up a bit? Our friends at Capturing Couture offer the perfect solution.  You are going to love this one…..  They offer a great collection of colorful and creative camera straps to fit just about any style or taste.  The Fighting Couple’s choice?  The Harmony of course!

The Capturing Couture camera strap is a good mix between beauty and brawn.    Take the snaps for example…where two rivets to the webbing would be ample, they put three.  Where some straps put lining on the shoulder straps, this one has lining and padding.  This is especially nice on those long days of sightseeing.   The Harmony style is a great option for traveling couples.  The colors are not too out there as to scare Mike away from packing the camera.   Our only concern is how long the beauty will hold up under pressure of Amazon mud or Thai seaweed…stay tuned. (As tested: Harmony 2” camera strap starting at $39).

The Travel Jewelry Dilemma

We are longtime fans of Keli’s Kreations.  I have taken Kelli with us to three continents now, and she hasn’t let me done once.  So what makes Keli so wonderful?  Problem:  every time you pack necklaces and bracelets, they always end up in one knotted mess by the time you arrive in country, or worse, they break.  Can I get an amen ladies? That’s where Keli comes to the rescue.  Her diva collection organizes and protects your bling.  Your Keli will fit nicely into your carry on even in your purse. Your necklaces will be protected and you won’t lose one earring.  Pick the style and color you like best and never worry about the jewelry dilemma again. Luci swears by this and she travels a lot and wants to look her best. What’s worse than forgetting your jewelry to go with the power suit: Having it break because you packed it in flimsy plastic sandwich bags.  Get a Keli! (As tested: Diva Lite Price: from $33.00)

Leather shaving kit

Leather Travel Pouch from Nomad Travel gear.com

Shave in Style

We love international travel items that hold up well under pressure, that said, we are definitely not the scruffy backpacking types.  One of my (Mike) fave items to travel with is my Nomad Travel Gear shaving bag.  This is one item that I use on every trip, overnight business trip?  Yes.  Extended Europe vacation?  It’s a must have.  Don’t let the subtle exterior fool you, this is one tough character.  I do like the touch of class with the light tan leather, red accents and heavy-duty brass zipper.  Very refined.  I do worry about the lack of lining over time.  I will keep you posted on how it holds up.  (As tested: Leather Pouch Price: from $85.00)

The Luggage Workhorse

brown suitcase

The Delsey Helium 4.0

Besides our carry-on luggage, we have two primary bags in our travel luggage fleet.  One is this heavy industrial grade plastic hard side aka “Ole Ironsides.”  Empty, it weighs roughly the same as a WWII era battleship.  Due to weight conscious airlines, all we can pack inside is a pair of socks….just kidding…but pretty close.  Bag number two is much lighter, but is a little like a Hollywood starlet….cute, but going to pieces at a very young age.  But now we have found the ultimate and our quest for the perfect bag ended with the Delsey Helium Breeze 4.0.  Sounds high-tech?  Well it is.  The case is crafted from bullet proof ballistic grade nylon.  It generous size  18” x 28” x 11” and ample pockets make it the new admiral of the fleet.

What we love about the Helium is the little extras that go a long way.  The bag includes a built in over weight indicator.  Isn’t that cool?  It’s a little handle that comes out and tells you if you are over 50 lbs.  Don’t get us wrong, we always look for a reason to fight…but over-packing and paying a hefty fee shouldn’t be the reason.  (Fight over which Michelangelo is better or who has the better Pad Thai, Bangkok or Phuket.)  The other nice surprise with the Helium is the “Easy access” compartment.  It is located at the bottom of the bag and allows for easy entry for those damp cloths or shoes. It keeps them separated from the rest of your clothes!  Genius! (As tested: Delsey Helium Breeze 4.0 Price: from $179.00)

Just so you know, some companies featured in this post were kind enough to provide samples for us to review.  Does this affect our love of these products?  Nope.  Not one bit.  Our opinions are our own.  Lets go travel!

0

Budapest in Three Days

Perched on the banks of the Danube river are the two cities that combine to make Budapest.  It has quickly become one of our fave travel destinations.   Budapest is a perfect couple travel destination.  A wonderful combination of history, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking vistas make it top of our list.  We put together a list of ideas for you to consider on your next trip.  We didn’t put them in any particular order.  Timing will depend a lot on where you stay.  Lets begin!

Government building in Hungary

The Hungarian Parliament Building

Tour of Parliament–

The Capitol of Hungary has the third largest Parliament building in the world.  Tours of the huge building are a must for any visit to Budapest.  At the heart of the building are the Hungary’s crown jewels which are guarded by two handsome and a bit unfriendly guards.  The building is equality grand for the inside as it is from the outside.  The ticketing process is a bit time consuming.  Allow some extra time as this is an extremely popular tourist stop.

Thermal Baths–

The largest medicinal bath in Europe, Széchenyi Bath, is also located in Budapest.  There are over 80 geothermal springs throughout the city.  Szechenyi Baths Budapest is in our opinion the best for couples.  (Some baths do not allow coed bathing… apparently Budapest women like to bathe without men?)  Make sure you get the details on with whom, and when you can, bathe.  Széchenyi has several indoor and outdoor pools.  After a hard day of sightseeing, letting the warm/hot water sooth your weary legs is heavenly!

Spa Budapest

Szechenyi Baths in Budapest. A relaxing place to spend an evening.

Make a Love Lock

Are you looking for something really romantic to do as a couple in Hungary?  No…not that.  The second best thing to do as a couple in Budapest is to make a “Love Lock”.  Simply find a store that sells locks and head to the love lock park (Erzsébet square) not far from the Chain Bridge along the Danube.  Couples declare their love here with inscribed love locks.  Write your names on the lock and walk hand in hand across the Danube and toss the key into the river.

Lover's lock

Couples leave locks as a sign of their love.

Eat some Goulash

One of the must do’s in Budapest is to eat the national dish: Goulash.  Our favorite purveyor of this yummy goodness is located just down from the Synagogue: Kadar Restaurant.  A warning, this place is uber popular with the locals, be prepared for a crowd.  Trust us, the wait will be soooo worth it.  Goulash is a sort of stew with meat and vegetables.  Then a truck load of spices are added, with emphasis on paprika.  Delish!  Please let us know what you think.  Are you scared of trying a new food?  Check out our post: “I am a Menu Coward.”

Goulash Budapest

Hungarian Goulash. Soooooo yummy!

The Dohány Street Synagogue

Our next stop in our little tour of Budapest is the second largest synagogue in the world the Dohány Street Synagogue. It can accommodate 3,000 worshipers and was a built between 1854 and 1859.  You can take thought provoking tour with an English speaking guide for a small fee.  You are required to dress modestly and men must dawn the cap, one is provided for you.

Communist statues

Memento Park, Budapest

Memento Park–

If you have a car, an interesting stop is located a few minutes from downtown Budapest: Memento Park.  When the communists left Budapest, the locals wanted to change things up a bit, so they took down most of the Soviet themed décor.  They ended up putting it all in a park just outside of city.  There are statues large and small.  Memento park can easily be seen in an hour.  The designer of the park, Ákos Eleőd, said this about his creation: “This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship.”  Seeing these statues helps give insight into the communist chapter of Hungarian history.

Hospital in the Rock

One of the off the beaten path sites is located on the backside of Castle Hill, the Hospital in the Rock (Sziklakórház Múzeum).  The hospital doubled as a nuclear bunker and was created for use in WWII.  I then say extensive renovation and use during the Cold War. There are over 6 miles of tunnels and rooms.  On display are the original surgical tools in the makeshift emergency rooms.  The hospital was completely self-sufficient. There are water storage tanks, ventilation systems and nuclear decontamination rooms.  There is a quality guided tour every hour on the hour.  It was fascinating.  Well worth the hike up castle hill.  One bummer is that they don’t let you take pics inside.  Not sure why?

If you can came all of this into three days without a couple fights….we salute you!  Have you been to Budapest?  Did we miss something?  Please leave us a kind comment below.  See you in Budapest!

6

Couple Travel: Red Eye Survival

Our best traveling fights have had one key ingredient: Lack of sleep.  The culprit?  The dreaded RED EYE.   We live in the western US, so our intercontinental flights almost always involve bivouacking in the “flying tube.”    While we are far from being “Red Eye Ninjas”…we have come up some sure fire solutions that make traveling on little sleep a little more sufferable as a couple.

Give me Some Space

lost manIt’s no secret that the fighting couple often takes different flights to the same destination.  Often this is out of necessity, as we may have sky points on different carriers.   With that said, we often elect to travel separate because we can’t stand sitting next to each other. Luci likes to talk to Mike. Mike likes to ignore Luci.  We end up fighting before we even leave the runway. So, we fly separate or elect not to sit by each other if we are on the same flight.

We treat complete strangers nicer than our spouse.   It is the truth!  Flying solo or at least separated might be best for all involved. The thought of being seatmates on our recent 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Ga is a new definition of hell for us.  So Mike took a detour, made a stop in Paris and our marriage was saved.  Crisis adverted.  Typically, Mike flies with the heavy luggage, arrives two or three hours before Luci and meets her at the gate with a luggage trolley and a plan to exit the terminal.  Sweet huh?

But aren’t you two missing out on great conversation (fight) time in route?  Good question.  No, we don’t think so.  Airplanes have to be one of the worst places to discuss heady relationship concerns.  You really can’t face each other, and hearing each other is always a challenge over the roar of the Pratt and Whitneys.

What if one of the traveler’s flights is delayed or cancelled?  This actually happened to us on our recent trip to Thailand.  Luci’s connecting flight to her international flight out of Portland was nixed.  Stress!  But thanks to email, Mike found out, was able to adjust the plans and he spent a night solo in Bangkok…  Yes, delays and changes can occur.  They always do.  But candidly with flight service, delays and changes seldom extend longer than 24 hrs.  We typically add in some flex time at the front and back end of our journeys to accommodate iffy air service.  If being delayed a couple hours is the worst thing that happened on your trip, you are in good shape.

Plan to Make a Plan

We are planners.  We live by the adage:  Fail to plan-Plan to fail.  We do take it a little overboard.   Mike likes(see LOVES)  his excel spreadsheets! Set your clocks ahead to the destination time, and then lay off the caffeine if the sun isn’t shining in your last stop.  Plan ahead, you know that you have an 8 hour flight.  Make a plan of attack to survive.  Make your list:  one movie, 30 mins of reading and then shut eye.  Depending on which direction you are flying, you may want to sleep on the front or back end of the trip.

fighting coupleDivision of Labor

One of the best ways to avoid the Red Eye Fight is to agree in advance, when both parties are sane and sober, what each is going to be responsible for.   Have a conversation about what bags are going to who’s responsibility.    As we mentioned above, Mike is the muscle for the heavy baggage.  Luci on the other hand is the keeper of the camera and anything delicate ie art work, prints, ect.  Agree in advance who is carrying the passports and cash.  Working together always results in fewer travel fights.

Food and Water

One of the most underrated component of successful red eyeing is body fuel.  Grumpy will move into your relationship if either one has not eaten for long periods of time.  Pack some grub for the flight.  One of the challenges we have run into is landing at breakfast time, when our tummies are telling us it’s time for dinner.

Just a Little Patience

In the immortal words of the one of the greatest rock bands of all time Guns N’ Roses, “It takes a little patience.”  Again, follow the steps above, and build in some sleepy time at your destination before you hit the streets of Rome.    No fights make for happy travels!

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Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia: The Beauty Lies Within

Have you ever worked on a project that you had such a grand vision for but it becomes an obsession?  Yes. I am raising my hand.  There are certain posts that we have written that we keep coming back to.   We keep adding and adding and in the end it becomes this huge garbled mess.  What was once a slim and sleek read has hit the buffet line and swelled to a 2000 word monstrosity.  We feel that one of the most noted Catalan modernist architect Antoni Gaudi may have had the same problem with  his  masterful creation the Sagrada Familia Basilica.  The good news?  While Gaudi may have overdone the exterior, the inside of the Basilica is close to perfection as we have found in our travels.

Barcelona church

The Sagrada Familia from a distance.

A Little History

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is better known by its familiar name: the Sagrada Familia.  Construction the on basilica began in 1883.  The principle visionary behind the project was none other that local Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (25 June 1852–10 June 1926).   Gaudi literally poured his soul into this project.  He labored 40+ years on the structure, which was only a quarter of the way to completion at his untimely demise.  The construction was plagued by work stoppage, lack of funding and a civil war.  The Basilica continues to be a work in progress as the cranes in the photo above reflect.

Gaudi is interred in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.  His grave stone reads:

Antonius Gaudí Cornet. Reusensis. Annos natus LXXIV, vitae exemplaris vir, eximiusque artifex, mirabilis operis hujus, templi auctor, pie obiit Barcinone die X Junii MCMXXVI, hinc cineres tanti hominis, resurrectionem mortuorum expectant.

The life of an exemplary man, exquisite  designer of this wonderful work, the author, died piously in Barcelona on 10 June 1926, from the ashes of such a man, the resurrection of the dead are waiting.

 Barcalona cathederal

The Beauty

The capstone of our visit to the wonderful Spanish city of Barcelona was the Sagrada Familia.   Walking into the main nave of the Basilica is a spiritual experience regardless of which direction your faith points you.  The inside of the church is best experienced on one of those days when the Spanish sunshine bathes Barcelona.  It’s light filled nave fills the huge room with warmth and glow.  Towering columns draw the eye skyward.  Beautiful stained glass shower the entire nave with warm light in a myriad of colors.

 Barcelona stained glass and organ

Basilica of Gaudi

Towering columns of the interior of the Basilica.

The Beast

With the good there is always the bad.  The exterior of the basilica is nicknamed the bird’s nest.  It is plastered with every biblical illustration imaginable.  Way over done in our uneducated and untrained eyes.  It feels like a project that lacked a good friend to say, “ok…that’s good.  Time to move on.”  Every inch of the exterior is covered, in some areas, there are three and four levels of figurines.  Candidly the longer you look at it, the more you feel it went over the top leaning more kitsch than moderiste.

George Orwell thought it to be one of the dreadful buildings he had ever seen and was said to have “wondered why the Anarchists hadn’t wrecked it in the Civil War”.

Picasso also had some choice words for the design that are not fit for print.

What are your thoughts?  Too much?

ugly Sagrada Familia

Too much?

Opening Hours and Getting There

The basilica is open to the public from 9am till 9pm.  Please visit the basilica’s website to get the latest details on opening hours.

 

Getting there:

By metro:

L5 and L2 Sagrada Familia

 

By bus:

19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 and B24

 

 

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Feeding the Addiction with the Travel Addicts

Traveling is an addiction!  So says our latest featured traveling couple Laura and Lance of http://www.traveladdicts.net.  We totally agree!  This week’s installment of 7 questions with a traveling couple, are two wanderers that have found a way to make couple travel work for them.  What impresses us most about Lance and Laura’s story is that like us, they started wandering a couple locally.  You don’t need to start with some huge international adventure.  Get in a car and go explore together.  Ok…without further ado… lets get to know these two:

Blog:  Travel Addicts

https://twitter.com/TravelerAddicts

https://www.facebook.com/TravelerAddicts

http://pinterest.com/traveleraddicts/

First off, tell us a little about the two of you.  How did you meet?  How long have you been blogging?

couple travel

Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts.net

In 1999, Laura moved from Texas to New York for college, and Lance moved there from Colorado just after graduating from college.     We met on an October night at a concert in the city and went for ice cream after the show, and that was that.  We were broke, so for several years, all our travel was in the United States—Washington, D.C., Boston, Dallas, Denver, Maine, and San Francisco.  For our wedding, all our guests would have to travel, so we decided to have a destination wedding in the Bahamas.  Since then (2006) we’ve been in full travel mode while working to support our travel habit. We’ve been writing Travel Addicts since 2008.

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?We’ve been to 43 between the two of us, and 33 of those were together on 5 continents (just Australia and Antarctica to go). We also still travel around the U.S. as much as possible, especially for work.  Highlights for us have been Italy (our first overseas trip together), Egypt (it was a trip of a lifetime right after the revolution and we could see the country going through tremendous change) and Peru (Machu Picchu left us speechless).

 

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

She Said: My sister. We have a ridiculous amount of fun together. Plus, she’s six years younger and hasn’t had as many opportunities to travel (yet), so it’s really cool to see her experience certain things for the first time. There’s nothing like travel to blow your world right open, and watching that happen for someone else is amazing. Our Egypt trip was a family trip, and for months leading up to it she was trying to prepare herself for the experience. She just kept saying, “You don’t understand—I’m going to Africa.”

He Said:   Laura’s sister.  (But, Anthony Bourdain would be a close second – he’s done amazing things and I appreciate his snarky wit and attitude.)

 

3) What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

He said:  In our experience, there are things we absolutely love about every place we’ve ever been. But, if I had to pick only one place, I’d say Italy.  It is a place I could keep going back to over and over and over again.  It has a rich history, an amazing culinary tradition and some of the best wine on the planet.

She said: Italy is hands down my favorite, but Egypt probably had the biggest impact on me.

4)  Lance, sounds like you parents took you to all 50 states before you graduated high school!  Holy cow!  Is that your inspiration to travel now?  Why is it important that parents travel with their children?

He said:   My parents strongly believed in guiding my education with real-world experiences. For example, when I studied the Civil War, they took me nearly 3,000 miles (by car) to see the battlefields and learn about the war in person.  While I was not home schooled, my most important educational learnings were on those trips. My mother made sure I made it to every state by the time I graduated high school (it happened by 8th grade). Since then, I’ve visited every one of the lower 48 at least twice. Travel is a way for parents to connect with their kids on a whole different level and teach them things that no school could ever provide. Using travel as educational enrichment is something I’m really passionate about.

traveling woman mosque5)  We understand that you guys visited Turkey.  It is one of our fave destinations.  Tell us, what was your honest impressions?

He said:  I hadn’t really known what to expect with Turkey. It was not our first Islamic country (we’d been UAE, Oman, Morocco and Egypt previously), but it was our most memorable for the beautiful mosques. The natural beauty of Cappadocia was the highlight of the trip. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the region is one of the greatest bucket list achievements. But, on the downside, I nicknamed Turkey as The Land of Bland – the food was good and flavorful, but I like a lot of spice and I found it lacking.

She said: I didn’t really know what to expect either. It’s not like when you say, “I’m going to Paris,” and immediately have visions of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees and WINE. But I loved it—the remarkable history of the land and the buildings (particularly in Istanbul), the beautiful tile work, the drama of the antique pool at Pamukkale, the stunning landscape of Cappadocia. There’s so much we didn’t get to see, so I really hope we have the chance to go back.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said:  Cow farts.  Seriously, they’re awful.  In addition to nearly incapacitating anyone within a 50 foot radius, they are also comprised of methane, which significantly contributes to our global warming problem.  If I could do anything, I’d tackle the cow fart problem.

She said: I really don’t think I can follow that…

1000Fights:  Um…..yuck.

couple travel peru7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
She said: When we were driving around Iceland, it seemed like we stopped every 10 minutes to look at a waterfall. Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful and impressive, but after number 20, I had had enough, at least for a little while. Lance decided he wanted to stop at “one more” (Hengifoss) which happened to involve a hike of several kilometers. It was no more than 40 degrees (in August), it was pouring rain, and the wind was whipping.  I realized I was spending my vacation time being miserable, hiking up to something I didn’t want to see anyway when I could be in our warm car. Lance wasn’t too pleased when I decided to turn around.


He said:  Laura is a saint.  Our biggest travel disagreements always seem to occur when I’m driving in a foreign country.  There can be times when it is very stressful – you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t speak the language, can’t read the street signs.  The biggest disagreement was in France – we were driving from Dinan to Paris, and stopping in Chartres.  I was pulling out of the parking garage and stalled it on a really steep incline, cars were honking at me, and we didn’t know where we were going.  Our patience was short and we started to get on each other’s nerves.  But we got through it – and every trip since with a smile on our face.

A huge thanks to our friends Laura and Lance!  Give their blog a look-see: http://www.traveladdicts.net/

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Get Laid Over in Amsterdam

Two hours here, four hours there. Frequent travelers abhor layovers. With the continuing downsizing of the number air carriers, layovers are becoming a way of travel life. The truth is after 30 minutes to go the bathroom, grab a snack, there is just nothing to do but look at overpriced chatskis and sit on those uncomfortable green faux leather chairs.

woman in Amsterdam

I Amsterdam. I am also tired because I just stepped off a 10 hour flight.

Layovers are real time wasters or they can be an opportunity to see a city on a time limit. You choose.

The Fighting Couple likes to purposefully plan layovers to maximize seeing and doing.  Our favorite layover spot is Amsterdam.    Most destinations offer cheap flights to Amsterdam.  Flying in and out of Schiphol International Airport makes it easy to see the sites of one of the world’s most dynamic cities. 1000 Fights has laid Amsterdam two ways: quick and overnight stay.

Quickie: Minimum time 5 hours (1 hour to get too and from destination combined, 3 hour touring, 1 hour to wait at the airport)

Once you fly into Amsterdam, Schiphol has lockers you can store your luggage. So if you are a “carry-on” everything you own traveler, it’s lame to carry everything around town. Store your stuff in a locker and take just the necessities for the day. There are storage lockers throughout Schiphol. It will cost you a minimum of 6 euros for a small locker and up to 11.50 euros for a large locker for 24 hours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The front of the Anne Frank Musuem and House and the line to get into it.

Next purchase tickets at the train station, Schiphol Plaza, which is in the airport. It’s a 15 minute ride into Amsterdam. Once you get to the city, Amsterdam has a fluid bus system. Pay attention to how long it took you to get there and the train table to get back. While an Amsterdam quickie is exciting, it wouldn’t be fun to miss your flight.

On our first Amsterdam quickie, we had just five hours. We arrived in Amsterdam at 8 a.m. and moved through the airport and train to get to the Anne Frank Museum and House. The Museum is a 20 minute walk from Central Station, but we chose to take a bus to get us closer. We found the Museum just as it opened at 9 a.m. and waited in line to get in. Plan on a line. It’s one of Amsterdam’s most popular museums. We advise getting online tickets in advance. Having read Anne’s diary multiple times, seeing the bookcase covering the stairway and Anne’s room plastered with magazine pictures like it was 70 years ago was gut-wrenching. After walking through the House, the museum concludes with her diary. If you aren’t weeping by the time you leave, you have no heart. For more information on the Museum, see the excellent website: http://www.annefrank.org/en/.

After the Museum, head back to the train station and catch your flight to your next destination. You’ll feel like you’ve seen and done something meaningful other than just biding your time in the airport.

Overnight Stay:

Amsterdam fireplace

Beautiful inlaid fireplace from the Willet-Holtuysen House.

If you have less than 24 hours to stay in Amsterdam, use your time wisely. Go through the same drill as before, store your luggage, take the train, and get started on seeing the city! 1000Fights likes to find a site that is uniquely interesting to us. In Paris, it’s LaFayette’s grave. In Amsterdam, it’s the Willet-Holthuysen Canal House Museum. Our last name is uncommon so when we see a name similar to it, we jump at the chance to learn more. The Willet-Holthuysen House provides visitors the opportunity to step back in time when elegance and wealth joined to create homes that were more like museums than living quarters.

Abraham Willet and his wife, Louisa WilletHolthuysen, were collectors of everything fine and fabulous and the home is littered with art, silver, china, and sculpture and smothered in fine silks, marble, and furnishings. The ground behind the house is a mini-Versailles and the home reflects the French aristocratic style. The museum’s website gives visitors a sneak peak of all the beautiful furnishings, but a visit inside is much better than pictures. We liked the museum because it wasn’t crowded and we felt a special connection to the place.

Amsterdam Gardens

Mike in front of the Willets gardens. Our home garden in Idaho look just like this. Not.

A five minute walk from the Willets-Holthusysen house is the Museum of Bags and Purses. Yes, there is an entire museum dedicated to my first love: handbags. It’s the largest museum in the world of purses. Housed in a 1666 canal house, the museum boasts more than 4,000 items dating back to the Middle Ages. You’ll see the delicate designs made with silk, silver and ivory.

Handbag collection

Luci couldn’t be happier to visit the world’s largest collection of handbags!

There are handbags from the 17th century and as recent as 2007 made by Alexander McQueen, Prada, and my favorite the “Cupcake Bag” featured in Sex and the City Movie designed by Judith Leiber. The museum combines art and fashion. You’ll leave wanting several of the handbags. Save up ladies! Just buy some postcards instead to show your friends.

Finish your layover with a good meal. We highly recommend the Greetje.  You’ll be back eating airport food the next day.  Hey, you may even want to forget the layover and take a Amsterdam city break.

3

Two Days in Vienna

It must be said: two days is not long enough to see Vienna.   There are so many things to do in Vienna!  Vienna food, history and charm offer traveling couples adventure at every turn.  One could spend an entire lifetime as a student of Vienna.  For those of you looking for a two day itinerary for Vienna, here are our recommendations.

Vienna churchVienna:  An Overview

Our first recommendation upon arrival is to get a quick feel for the city.  We typically recommend the hop on and hop off buses when we see a city for the first time.  We ran into a problem with this in Vienna.  All of Vienna looks the same.   There is no Eiffel tower, No arc de Triumph to help with memory points.   We found a great solution on our last trip to Vienna:

Instead of the bus, we recommend an Iphone app called Gretl Goes.  Using Gretl’s handy app you can hone in on a quick walking tour that gives you a much deeper intro into what you will be seeing.  Vienna is one of the easiest cities to traverse on foot.  The metro and bus system is really second to none.  Armed with the maps and insights of this handy app, you will become a Vienna pro in no time.

Are you into WWII?  Take her WWII walking tour and hit the high points in roughly 3 hours.   (We are begging Gretl to make a WWI tour!)

If you are a foodie, skip to the gourmet walking tour.  It includes visits to the Kipfelhaus the birthplace of the Croissant, a pop in at the Sacher café and what food tour would be complete without a visit to the Naschmarket.  The foodie tour ends in our fave gelato joint in all of Austria, Zanoni & Zanoni.  Grab some lunch in a café and your gelato and get moving!  We only have two days!

Schonbrunn Palace

Once you have your bearings, lets dive into the must see of Vienna.  Your afternoon will be spent at the imperial summer residence: Schönbrunn Palace.   When you purchase your tickets, make sure and pick up a helpful Schonbrunn Palace map.  Schonbrunn ranks right up there with Versailles, Fountianbleau and Dolamache.  It is simply stunning and thus a must see for any visit to Vienna.   The humble abode boasts 1,440 rooms!  You could easily spend two days seeing the mansion and strolling the gardens.  A complete afternoon will offer you the highlights and are a great primer on the Hapsburg Dynasty and a little Austrian history.  We recommend that you take the helpful audio guided tour of inside the palace followed by some wandering in the parks.

 

Oldest restaurant in EuropeDinner: Griechenbeisl (The Greek Inn)

Dinner for your first night in Vienna will be at an establishment that opened in 1447!  America hadn’t been discovered by the western world yet!  The Griechenbeisl caters to tourist for the most part now, but the food is actually really good.  On the evening we dined there a piano player churned out some great tunes and the wait staff were very attentive.  We highly recommend the filet of beef with green beans.   The prices are affordable and the portions sizable.

The Spanish Riding School

Since you are only in Vienna for short time, we recommend seeing things that are uniquely Viennese.  The Lipizzaner Stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School fits that bill.  Seeing an evening Lipizzaner performance is quite expensive for those of us that are “Euro-challenged”.  A much more affordable option is viewing the practice session held in the morning.  It is open to the general public for a reasonable fee, check their website for specifics.  We do recommend that you get there early.  The early birds get the best seats. http://www.srs.at/en/  Hit the gift store on the way out and get your brood some Spanish Riding School swag.

King's crown

The Imperial Treasury

Just down the road from the stables is the Imperial Treasury.  This impressive collection of state offers the highlights of both the Hapsburg and the Holy Roman Empires.    Highlights of the museum include:  the crown of the Holy Roman Empire,  the Holy Grail (yes, it could be that one), as well as Napoleon II’s crib.  There are also vestments of royalty, gaudy jewel encrusted gloves, and historical arms and armaments.  We would skip visiting the royal apartment tour.  The Schönbrunn Palace tour you took yesterday is better organized and frankly more impressive.  Keep moving!

family statueZentralfriedhof (The Central Cemetery)

For your last afternoon in Vienna, we recommend that you visit some of Vienna’s best and well know composers and musicians.  No, we are not sending you to a concert.  We are sending you to their final resting place.  This last stop is a bit morbid, but for us it was one of the most interesting stops in Vienna:  the Vienna Central Cemetery.  We did an entire post about our visit there:  Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance.  Visiting the central cemetery is a lesson is history as well as a Viennese tradition.

Trattoria da Angelo

This recommendation is going to sound a little strange…but hear us out.  We are going to send you to a Italian Trattoria in Vienna.  The Trattoria Da Angelo is a wonderful little (there are only a handful of tables) place just behind St. Stephens Cathedral.  The fare is southern Italian with really good seafood dishes.  The scampi dish is to die for!    The best part is that it is owned by a great couple!

Enjoy your visit to Vienna!

 

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