Tag Archives | relationship

20 Places You Are Saying Wrong

1) Nice, France      WRONG: Nice    RIGHT: Niece.

Trust us, Nice is Nice!

 

2) Phuket, Thailand      WRONG: Fu-ket   RIGHT: Poo-get

Read our post on skipping Phuket and visiting Krabi.

Thailand and Cambodia 2012 -2 097

3) Thames River, UK      WRONG: Th-AIMS    RIGHT: TEMs

Don’t know about you, but I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch say “Thames,” All…day…long!

 

4) Nevada, USA       WRONG: Nev-AH-duh    RIGHT: Ne-VAD-Duh

Don’t worry too much…Americans on the east side of the USA don’t know how to say it either.

 

5) Copenhagen, Denmark      WRONG: Co-pen-hay-gen    RIGHT: Co-pen-hog-gen

Hey you! There is not no “hay” in Copenhagen!

 

6) Beijing, China       WRONG: Pee-King    RIGHT: Bay-JING

This one harkens back to very poor translation spelling.

 

7) Reykjavik, Iceland       WRONG: Ray-ka-vick    RIGHT: Ray-kia-vick

Ok…we struggle with this one.  Think of the car brand?

 

8) Taipei, Taiwan       WRONG: Tai-PAY    RIGHT: Tai-BAY

Home of one of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101.

Taipei 101.

A view from Taipei 101.

9) Ibizi, Spain       WRONG: eye-BEE-zuh    RIGHT: eye-BEE-thuh

It sounds a little too much like I beat her.

 

10) Moscow, Russia       WRONG: Moss-COW    RIGHT: Moss-CO

No mossy cows in Moscow.

 

11) New Orleans, USA       WRONG: New Or-Leans     RIGHT: New Or-Luns

The faster you say it, the better it sounds.

 

12) Qatar       WRONG: cut-TAR    RIGHT: Kuh-TER.

There is plenty of tar in Qatar, just not in the name of the country.

 

13) Bangkok, Thailand       WRONG: BANG-kock    RIGHT: Bang-Gowk

This is another common mistake we hear.   Anyway you say it, one of the best cities we have visited.

 

14) Budapest, Hungry       WRONG: Budda-PEST    RIGHT: Budda-Pescht

If you are headed there, drop us a line. We know the best goulash place. Mmmmm.

 

15) Iraq       WRONG: Eye-Rack     RIGHT: EYE-Rock

Watch the evening news, and at least half of the local reporters will get it wrong.

 

16) Versailles, France       WRONG: Ver-sillys     RIGHT: VER-Sigh

This is a great drinking game standing in line for tickets to the palace.

The Grand Palace

17) Dubai       WRONG: Do-Buy    RIGHT: Do-BAY

Please do buy the duvet, not the Dubai.

 

18) Newfoundland, Canada       WRONG: New-Found- Land    RIGHT: Nyoo-fn-Land

Ok…we cant say it right either. Here is a Canuck to help us:

 

19) Gstaad, Switzerland       WRONG: Gee-STAD    RIGHT: Sch-TOT

Theres no G in Gstaad.

 

20) Cannes, France       WRONG: CANS    RIGHT: CAN

Saying it right vs. saying it wrong will cost you a good seat at any good Cannes restaurant.

 

How many did you get wrong?  Leave a comment below.

4

7 Questions with the Hunter and the Horsewoman

In our never-ending quest to introduce you to some of the best couple travel bloggers, meet Lina and Dave of Divergent Travelers.  We have found that every traveler brings a unique background to the travel trail.  These two are no different.  Join us as Divergent Travelers take on our 7 Questions:

Blog:  Divergent Travelers

facebook:  Divergent Travelers

twitter:  @divergenttravelers

How did you meet?

We met at the county fair in Superior, WI in 1998.  I, Lina, was showing my horse at the fair that week and so was David’s sister. During the fair, he showed up to help his sister with her horse and that is how we met.
Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Lina and Dave Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

How long have you been together?  FOREVER. We dated a couple of times after we first met and ultimately got back together in high school.   We’ve been together ever since.  We’ve been married for 4 years though.
Why do you travel?
Because we LOVE IT. We both have an insatiable lust for the World and adventure. We both believe that life is too short to not follow your own path and for us, that means exploring as much of the World as we can.

1) What is the story behind you blog name? Divergent?

This story starts much the same as every other blog, I suppose. We were trying to come up with something catchy and different, yet modern. David gets the credit for coming up with it, we were shooting emails back and forth one day with various names and plays on words and he sent me that one and it just felt right. The definition of Divergent really hit home for us. Something divergent is moving away from what is expected. Divergent people are changing course- moving off the beaten path. It just seemed fitting as we were leaving the American dream behind to pursue a life on our own terms.

Have you voted for the Fighting Couple in the USA Today Couple travel contest?  Please vote for us?

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: Michael Weston, you know, the really cool spy guy from Burn Notice.
She Said: My two best friends, Meghan and Melissa. The three of us are like sisters and we are all Geminis, so we just ‘get’ each other.

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

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

He said: Mexico, specifically the Yucatan. I love the culture and the easy way of living there. Plus, despite what Lina says, I want to live there someday.
She said: This question is SO hard, there are so many. But if I have to pick just one, I am going to say Peru. We did so many amazing things in that country and it was my first time getting a chance to really work on my Spanish, as I was taking classes before I visited that country. Machu Picchu is a given, but we also visited the Amazon which was mind-blowing and we already have plans to return to that same area and do some volunteer work at the Tambopata Research Center.

4)  Lina, we understand you are quite the equestrian talent!  Wow!  Tell us a little about your interest in horses.

My co-workers used to joke that when talking to me, nobody should mention travel or horses unless they had hours to sit and chat. I think that is still a truth!! (you didn’t know what you were getting into with this question!) I’ve been around horses my whole life and it is an absolute PASSION of mine. I love horses and I love the sport of show jumping. When I graduated from high school I spent the whole summer running a horse farm with show horses. For the next 2 years I spent my summers working for some of the top Olympic riders in the USA at Spruce Meadows in Calagary Canada as a professional groom and exercise rider. After I graduated college I spent a lot of time shipping horses coast to coast in America and working on the circuits for prominent riders and I would spend my winters living and riding in West Palm Beach.  After all that, I bought some horses of my own and started competing locally and before we left totravel, I showed all over the Midwest in class A competitions. When we left to travel, I sold all my project horses and kept just one horse. He is currently being leased so he can continue to show while I am on the road. While traveling, I have several plans (some already executed) for getting my horse fix.

5)  Travel can be tough on relationships.  How do you make it work together out on the road?

He said: Let her win.
She said: For the record, he’s a liar… he NEVER just lets me win! We try to make sure we both get to see and do the things we want. Sometimes we just need timeouts from each other too, which seems to help being together 24/7 easier at times. It certainly isn’t easy and you do have to work at it.
Sunrise at Mt Bromo in Java

Sunrise at Mt Bromo in Java

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

He said: Come up with a system that doesn’t revolve around money.
She said: I’d really love to see a trash disposal system in place for the third world countries. It is so disheartening for me to see these beautiful locations so littered with trash.

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

He said: We had some pretty good fights over where to camp with our campervan while road tripping through Australia! It would never fail that the sun would start to set and we hadn’t picked a place to camp. Knowing we had to make dinner and needed to find a safe, cheap (free) place to camp and make dinner was one sure way to light up the campervan!
She said: When David lost his wedding band in a raging river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra! We had been swimming in a swimming hole that had currents on the outside of it, he got this bright idea that he was going to ride the current down the river and get out further down. I tried to tell him it wasn’t a good idea, but he did it anyways. Long story short, the current was strong and he had trouble getting out of the water. When I ran down to help him out of the water, he climbed out and showed me his hand…. No ring! While he had been grabbing onto rocks waiting for me, his ring came off. You can imagine how this went down… Lucky for him, the next day we told the guesthouse staff and after an hour of them searching the river with masks on, they FOUND it.  No joke, he lost and found his wedding ring in a raging river in the jungle.
A HUGE thanks to Lina and David for taking some time to share a little about their travel philosophy.   (If you are wondering David, letting her always win is a great ideas.)  Thanks for being one of the very best blogging couples out there.
3

Take a Kissing Tour!

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.– Ingrid Bergman

Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.— John Keats

This installment of our 7 questions series features none other than the kissing couple Tara & Mike Myers of the Kissing Tour.  Their self proclaimed mission is to live big and kiss often.  This wonderful motto comes alive on the Myers blog.  Lets get to know a little more about Tara and Mike:

Blog:  http://kissing-tour.com/

Twitter: @kissingtour

Facebook: Kissingtour

Instagram: Kissingtour

 

First off…tell us a little about the two of you. How did you meet? What inspired you to travel? How long have you been together? Do you travel full time? Do you have day jobs?

Tara and Mike Myers are a Las Vegas-turned-Chicago couple who donated 80 combined years of “stuff,” exited the mainstream and traded conventional comforts for what they call a “less-is-fabulous” lifestyle filled with love. They say they don’t know anything about tarot cards or tea leaves, but they do know the universe conspired to bring them together. They say they met in the most unusual way. They share a brain. Possibly a childhood. Definitely a heart. The kissers became “The Myers” on September 1, 2012, when they traded their own vows at the PrayerBook Cross in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. There were no guests, just a very special female Buddhist monk they met on Facebook and her student, who served as witness and photographer with Tara and Mike’s weather-beaten point-and-shoot camera.

Mike, 46, retired as fire chief from the City of Las Vegas in early 2013. Six months later, his wife Tara, 36, resigned her position as a national brand director in Chicago so they could spend every minute together. It would give them time to focus on their lifetime project – journaling their life one kiss at a time – at www.kissingtour.com.

Having both been divorced and consumed with distractions – big houses, big jobs, big negotiations, big wardrobes, big stress and big to-do lists – they learned countless important lessons. The most valuable? Live big, kiss often. That mantra has had such a profound, positive impact on them that they’re now inspiring others through the kisses they capture on their blog and Instagram account.

kissing in london

London Kissing!

It started on Capitol Hill. Couples posed rigidly. Tara and Mike kissed passionately. At the White House. The Washington Monument. The Smithsonian. People clapped. Giggled. Snapped away. Even a 7 year old. That night, they conceived www.kissingtour.com on a barstool. They vowed to journal their life one kiss at a time, and they have. From San Francisco to Sweden. From Paul Bunyan’s boot to the Papal apartment. From New Mexico’s fiestas to the Chicago Blackhawk’s victory parade. In 7 countries, 16 states…and counting.

When they’re not kissing, this inseparable, coffee drinking, vegetarian couple who loves to make homemade guacamole, can be found running, hiking, talking, reading, laughing, traveling and chatting it up with locals. They may be mistaken for wanderlusts, but they actually live a deliberate, albeit non-traditional, lifestyle so they can focus on what’s truly important to them. They have a lifelong strategic plan and live by 10 values (tattooed on their ribs, ouch!). They travel as often as possible. Sometimes that means a weekend road trip to Notre Dame in Indiana. Sometimes it means a three-month hiatus to travel 18,000 miles across 5 countries, 26 cities via 12 planes, 16 trains, 31 buses, 3 taxis, 8 host rides and 1 hitchhike.

People ask Tara and Mike how they stay in love. Onlookers cheer and encourage them to keep kissing. Most of all, they want to know if the kissers are writing a book. The kissers have decided to tell their love story, and they’re busily writing from their matching pink velvet chairs in their 450-square-foot Chicago apartment. Pink Chair, No Underwear is due out by summer.

1) We love your travel motto: Live Big, Kiss Often. Tell us why you chose this and what it means to you two.

Oddly enough, we never sat down and said, “We need to adopt a really catchy travel motto. Let’s strategize.” We just started saying it, signing off with it, and it’s stuck. People love it, and so do we. Our philosophy is exactly that, every single day, we live big (take every single possible opportunity to experience people and places, right down to chatting it up with the clerk at the grocery store) and kiss often (no explanation needed!)

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?

He Said: The Dalai Lama

She Said: A super hero with magical bug-zapping powers, because the world is big, and so are its bugs.

kiss castle

Kissing in Ireland

3) We have to ask…what has been the very best kiss? Where?

He said: Our very first kiss, on a perch overlooking Vegas. How did I react? I whispered, “I knew it.” And then last night’s…that was really good.

She said: Our very first kiss. We were sitting atop a picnic table watching the sun rise over Las Vegas’ mountains. It was a special spot because we learned that each of us had previously gone there to meditate and think quietly before we ever met. When we kissed, Mike said, “I knew it.” So did I.

With all this kissing talk, ever wondered if you are doing it right?  Click here for a quick Kissing lesson.

4) On your motivation page, you list the book Anthem as one of your inspirations (one of our faves!) Tell us what inspires you about this powerful book.

He said: The power of the human is in individuality, uniqueness, creativity. We appreciated the book because we’re creative and dynamic individually, but together the synergy, love and innovation is explosive.

She said: Very simply put, there is another way. Don’t be fooled.

5) We must ask…what is your secret? You two are obviously madly in love. How do you keep the fires burning.

He said: That is a long story. There is no secret. It’s about being with the perfect person. I don’t have to keep the fires burning. There is no manual stoking of the fire, it just burns ever brighter, ever longer.

She said: What he said. Exactly.

kissing in Las Vegas

Kissing on the Rocks!

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

He said: Indifference. It boggles my mind that most people go through life in a shoulder-shrugging passive state, hoping life will get better. They wait for the phone to ring…love to come…the weather to change.

She said: Gross over-consumption.

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

He said: It wasn’t between us. It was between us and the “Corpo della Gendarmeria” (The Vatican police). We thought we were in line to see the Sistene Chapel, so we waited for an hour in the rain. When it was our turn to enter things got a little hot under the guard’s collar, as he explained in Italian, which we don’t speak, that only one of us could go. So we bailed. Turns out, we weren’t in line to see the chapel, we were in line to see The Pope! If only one of us could go, neither of us would go. Take that “Corpo della Gendarmeria.”

She said: One of the most amazing, unbelievable things about us is that we are completely on the same page, about everything. Every single thing. We know it sounds ridiculous and stranger than fiction, but I actually spent serious time trying to answer this question. I can’t.

1000Fights:  ok, we think the fight response was a little on the weak side!  Thanks to Mike and Tara for being so much fun.  They are both an inspiration to us couple travelers.

5

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

Two Days in Krakow

Are you looking for a city rich in history, a developing food scene, and salt?  Yes- we said salt.  Stay tuned.  Located in southern Poland, Krakow is the country’s third largest city and for some really good reasons it is the most visited by traveling couples and tourists.  In typical American fashion, we expected the city to be a dull cement laden tribute to Soviet occupation.  We could not have been more wrong!  The city has a number of interesting surprises in store for you.  We are going to show you Krakow Fighting Couple style top to bottom.  Lets start at the bottom…the very bottom:

Krakow salt mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine

Do you ever visit a place not really knowing what to expect?  We rolled up to the Wieliczka Salt Mine a few miles outside of Krakow with no idea what to expect.  First off queue up and purchase your admission ticket.  Once you have a ticket in hand everyone gathers in a large hall.  At the appointed time for your tour a guide leads you down the longest staircase that we have ever used!  You decent 135 meters or 450 feet below ground level.  Don’t worry about coming back up, you will take the elevator.

The Wieliczka salt mines have been in continuous operation for hundreds of years.  The result is huge caverns that have been converted into lakes, museums featuring statues made of salt rock and even a cathedral!  As you wander from room to room, you learn how the salt was mined and the lives of salt miners.  The salt mine ended up being one of our fave highlights from Krakow.  They have developed a really great interactive website:  http://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/

Warning, if you visit the salt mine in the summer, and are summer attired, bring a jacket as the temp underground is massively different than the temp above.

The Wawel Royal Castle

At the heart of the city of Krakow is the striking hilltop complex called the Wawel Royal Castle.  You should start your exploration at the Wawel Cathedral.  It includes tombs of a number of key polish leaders and historical figures.  As a part of the tour you can purchase a bell tower pass.  Pay the money for this option!  The view from the top gives you a commanding vista of the entire town.  Next door to the cathedral is the Armory and a museum dedicated to Pope John Paul II.   Both are well worth the extra time.  They have a number of interesting personal belongings of the Pope.  You can see the entire castle compound in 2-3 hours.

orange dessert

Three Steps Into Madness!

Three Steps into Madness

Ok, we know, Krakow is not the first place that you think of when we say avant garde food.  But…. You must give our fave haunt a try: “Trzy kroki w szaleństwo” or if you don’t speak Polish: “Three steps into Madness”. (http://trzykroki.pl) The whole premise of the restaurant is to offer everything on the menu with a different angle.  The offer a selection of Soups, Salads and really creative entrees.  It is no wonder that TripAdvisor named it the best restaurant in all of Krakow.  Impressive.

The star of the show at Three Steps is of course the deserts.  Listen to these descriptions off their menu:

-Mousse from  Belgian  dark chocolate flavored with orange, ginger, piri-piri and vanilla from Madagascar served with coco Rafaello and Red Bull jelly.

-Classic lemon tart served with basil sorbet.

-Vanilla and chocolate  panna cotta with alcohol marinated cherries.

-And of course the feature, The “Three Steps into Madness” dessert.  Soooooo good!  It is a citrus and sorbet extravaganza.  The great thing about this work of art is that everything is edible.  Cool huh?

Hogwarts School (Jagiellonian University)

One of the most interesting places we visited was the  Jagiellonian University.  One of the oldest universities on the planet.  It was started by Casimir III the Great in 1364.  Some of the greatest minds of the middle ages came to this house of learning to study topic ranging from astronomy, mathematics, Latin and yes even potions!   We couldn’t help but feel like we were taking a tour of Hogwarts!  Even the ceiling is painted like the sky.  One of the most famous pupils that attended here was none other than Nicolaus Copernicus.  Tours are offered during the day and are highly recommended.  The school is still in use today!  What impressed us was the wonderful wood work and artifacts of former headmasters and students.  The entire tour and visit to the gift shop should take you 2-3 hours.

Hogwarts School (Jagiellonian University)

Hogwarts School (Jagiellonian University)

Schindler’s Factory

One of the saddest chapters in Krakow history is the treatment of Jews during WWII.  Oscar Schindler and his now famous factory was a small refuge from the death and destruction.  The former factory has now been converted into a living museum to help interpret the holocaust.  The museum is laid out well and uses multimedia stations to explain and convey what happened in Poland during the Nazi occupation.   As you can imagine, this museum is extremely popular and is often full to capacity with visitors.  It is best to time you visits in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds.  Hard to give you a solid time on how long it will take to see the museum.  You will need at very minimum 1 hour and you can easily spend 3 hours reading and seeing everything in the museum.

Schindler’s Factory

Schindler’s Factory

 

Isn’t Krakow wonderful?  A few surprises?  Ok so how are you going to get to there?   Bon Voyage!  See you in Poland!

10

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!

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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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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.

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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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