Tag Archives | adventure

Ushuaia: The End of the World

There are few places on the planet like Ushuaia.   It is one of those places you don’t accidentally end up visiting.  It is a village of beginnings and endings.  

Perched on the southern tip of Argentina, Ushuaia claims the title of the southern most city on the earth.  It is often called the “fin del Mundo” (end of the earth).  Tourism provides the lifeblood of the village.  Ushuaia and her sister city Punta Arenas, Chile, are key departure points for tourist, scientific and activist departures to Antarctica.  

Port of Ushuaia

Ushuaia is far from just a transit port.  It is a beautiful and interesting area all on its own.  The backdrop for the city are dramatic peaks, dense forests, and alpine lakes.  The Beagle Channel marks the southern border of the city.  The dramatic scenery attracted the eye of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarriu who shot his famed film, The Revenant, here in 2015.  Even an ill fated edition of Top Gear was filmed here (until they were run out of the city for making references to the Falkland War.)

According to tradition, the word Ushuaia comes from the Yaghan language: ush and waia (“bay” or “cove”) and means “deep bay”.  This name is very fitting.  Its port hosts expedition ships with flags from around the globe.  

A Storied History

The city was founded by British explorers and settled by missionaries.  It was later converted into a penal colony that housed the worst of the worst offenders due to the fact that escape was impossibly dangerous.  The prison was done away with by President Peron in the late 1940s.  The rough edges of the city’s former residents remain.  Plucky year round residents face harsh winters of isolation.

Instead of a place to avoid, the city now attracts flocks of Northface and Helly Hansen clad wanderers.  Wide-eyed and well-healed journey men and women crowd the many eateries along the port docks.  High tourist season runs October to March during the southern summer.  Hotels of every level of hospitality dot the front of the mountain range that plays host to the city.

The Fin del Mundo!

Getting There

The city sports a sizable international airport.  With connections to major hubs like Buenos Aires, Rio, and many other key South American cities, getting there has become much more easier.   Do be aware, the city sits smack dab between a cold and warm ocean.  This causes turbulence on the water and in the air.  The video below was taken on our flight.  It was bumpy!  There are a fleet of taxis that ferry folks from the airport to downtown or to lodging.  We also used Uber, which was very affordable. 

Getting There the Hard Way

As you begin to spend some time in Ushuaia you start to notice the abundance of long distance road bikes and converted VW and sprinter vans.  Ushuaia is the southern terminus of the Great Pan-American Highway.  Brave motorists begin north in Alaska and take the epic journey that crosses the equator and delivers them to the end of the road literally in Ushuaia. 

The Stories

Ushuaia is not a center of learning and art; nor is it a place of culture and refinement.  It is a place of stories.  Whether you are sitting in a pub or eating empanadas overlooking the bay, conversation is king.  Skilled waitstaff speak the basics of dozens of languages.  Spanish, English, and German seem to be the most common in our limited experience.  There is a kaleidoscope of different backgrounds and nationalities.  

During our visit, a Greenpeace frigate was docked at harbor, two oil tankers and a half a dozen expedition boats headed across the Drake Passage en route to Antarctica.  This made for a wide array of viewpoints at dinner.  This clash of ideas is what makes Ushuia magical.  Pull up a chair and join the scrum!

Chile Border Crossing

There are numerous day trips you can take to see southern Patagonia.  Ushuaia is the perfect launching point for these excursions.   We will highlight one.  A very special one.  We took the Hito XXIV trail into Chile.  It took us the morning to hike in and out.  It was one of the best hikes I have ever done.  The beauty of the alpine lake, and the waterfalls along the trail were stunning.   If you are country collectors like us, this is an easy one to add to your collection with minimal effort.  There is a lodge at the trailhead that has excellent cheesecake.

Hito XXIV Hike to Chile

An Ode to Ushuaia

Few cities in this world have left an impression like Ushuaia.  It is a unique place.  It is a beautiful place.  But most importantly, it has a soul that is made up of all those that congregate on her steps as they conclude or begin their journey of self discovery.  

The city’s motto is:  Ushuaia, end of the world, beginning of everything.  I have found this to be true.

Antartica Trip: The Drugs

Ok.  This Antarctic adventure is getting real!  Let the departure prep work begin. Where to start?  Let’s talk about drugs.

One of the many mistakes I have made in prepping for this trip is continuing to search in YouTube for “Drake Passage”.  I have watched hours of ships bobbing up and down white capped waves. The dreaded “Drake Shake” is 3 days each way in some of the most tempestuous seas on the planet.  I have never been on a cruise. How bad can it be?

Needless to say, I am not a doctor, please seek proper medical advice.  I am only sharing my own experience. Every trip to exotic locales begins with a trip to our local travel clinic.  I love the look of shock and awe when a new doctor looks at my vaccination chart. It reads like a fine wine menu of exotic disease prevention.  “Looks like you have a nice turn of the century Yellow Fever series.”  

The S-Word

This visit was a little different.  I am current on all of my injections.  I was there to talk about the S. Word: SEA-SICKNESS.  From what I have read, it may be worse than the worse case of a Man Cold.  Deadly. I had prepped a number of questions. “What about the whole magic bracelet thing? I hear that it will clear my chi and free radicals that cause the dreaded seasickness.” Dr’s exact words, “Doesn’t work.”  After I ran through all of the other homeopathic concoctions I had read about on the inter-webs, we got down to business on things that actually work.

There are two primary drugs that are a must have for any crossing of the Drake Passage:  The Patch and the Pre-puke pill.   And for today only, we have a bonus drug!

The Patch

The Patch aka Scopolamine (skoe POL a meen) 1mg.  Reading the directions: apply at least 4 hours before embarkation.  Place on dry skin behind the ear. Remove patch 72 hours after first application.  Replace as needed. So what is Scoopledaramingere? https://www.drugs.com/mtm/scopolamine.html   The patch delivers its magic over time through the skin.  It is proven to be effective in preventing common motion sickness.  The side effects section of the novel the pharmacy gave me claims that they are mild.  Do be aware that mixing drugs and alcohol can be dangerous, ask any 80’s hair band member. 


What if the patch doesn’t work?  What if I still feel nauseous? Plan B:  The Pre Puke Pill aka Ondansetron (on DAN se tron).  Take 1 tablet each 6 hours at as needed for nausea. The nice thing about these beauties?  They are dissolved under the tongue. Side effect read similar to the Patch. Dry mouth?  Is that really a thing? Do be aware, this drug will not prevent or even treat the sea sickness symptoms (dizziness, headache, etc.). It just settles your stomach.

And the other thing

Our route to getting to our boat takes us through the beautiful countries of Argentina and Chile.  As an added precaution, my doc recommended Azithromycin (az ith roe MYE sin). This is some heavy duty bug killer.  It is used to treat diarrhea. Take two tablets at the onset. This one has more moderate side affects. Please pay  attention to the do’s and don’t of this drug.

All three of the drugs listed above are available in the states via prescription.  Every body is different, visit with your doctor on how best to treat and at what dosage.  We do highly recommend taking every precaution to protect your health and happiness as you travel.

How to Be an Expert in Road Trip Prep

The Fighting Couple is going on a road trip. A really, really, long one: 1,457 km or 900 miles to be exact.   We are headed to the Nordic country of Norway. (Here is a link to our route: (Our Norway Trip Map)

You can imagine there are going to be some serious fights on this trip. Luci and I in close quarters for an extended period of time is a recipe for disaster.

The right travel partner makes all the difference! As our friends Karolina and Patryk say:

“The golden rule of a perfect road trip is to find a good person to travel with! With a good companion you can solve all the problems and make unforgettable memories!”

Public Transit vs. A Car

Once you have found the perfect travel partner.  The next step is the car. We are huge fans of public transit. We wouldn’t see big cities any other way. Cities like Paris, London, Boston, Bangkok, and Singapore offer great ways to get around. But….when you want to get out and see the country, there is no better way, than by car. Taking on a large country like Norway? Having a car is a must.

The Perfect Road Trip!

The Perfect Road Trip!

Pick the Right One

The first thing you need to do is pick the right rental car. Thinking of driving your own car? Sometimes it is more economical to put the miles on someone else’s vehicle. We book our trips six to eight months in advance. Last year, when we began the planning process, we knew that we needed the right car. Here’s our best advice: Spend the extra money and get a bigger car. There’s nothing worse than being cramped in a tiny car getting blown all over the road. Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a petrol head than the word “compact”. Spend the money.

If you are renting a car in winter, check out our post on winter driving and rental cars.

couple driving

Breaking Up

One of the key things we have on this trip is setting aside two real “drive” days. The rest of the time we drive an hour or two in the morning and the same in the evening. We try to do most of the driving before and after everything opens or closes.   With the help of Google maps, you can get a preview of what the roads look like.

Find a Way

As we have shared in the past, GPS single handedly saved our relationship. Putting miles on your car because you are lost is not an option. Even with great tools, trust us, Wi-Fi and cellular can at times be sketchy. Nothing beats an old-fashioned Garmin GPS with current maps. Rent one from the rental company or candidly, buy one really cheap on eBay. Be familiar with your route and have a rough idea of the direction and cities that you are headed to. Also pay attention as you drive; this will help give you markers in case you do get lost! Think of it as memory breadcrumbs.


When we take long road trips, we like to hit a large grocery store and load up on snacks and beverages. You never know when a short drive turns into a massive mess.  Nothing is worse than when Luci gets “hangry” and all of the sudden the fighting begins. We don’t want that for you. Candidly, we don’t want the competition. There can only be one Fighting Couple.

couple in car kissing


Not all the side effects of driving are bad. We have found that it is actually a great time to discuss issues in our relationship. You definitely have a captive audience. A word of warning: Avoid the really heavy stuff. If one of you gets mad, there is nowhere to go. Another conversation starter is the “Book of Questions.” There are a number of different ones out there. We enjoy asking each other these random questions and hearing the sometimes-bizarre answers.


Buy yourself a good guide to the area that you are exploring. Make some stops along the way. Get out and walk around. Stretch the legs and clear the mind. Getting the blood flowing during a long road trip is critical. We have found many interesting spots that were not on our agenda, when Mike has the courage to deviate from the excel spreadsheet.

We hope that you find a few of these ideas helpful. We can’t wait to share with you our epic road trip. We do need to let you know that our friends at Auto Europe are helping us plan our trip. We have been using them for years. They offer a wide variety of autos at fair prices. Best of all, our experience with their customer service is stellar.

Travel-the best V day gift!

Tis the season of Love!  Valentines day is just around the corner.  We are all facing the age old question, what to give our loved one?   Why give chocolates or flowers?  Give them the world!  We asked a few of our friends to submit “Selfies of Love.”  Hopefully this will inspire you to invest in your relationship and see the world together.  Even better, we are giving away $50 for the best couple travel selfie!  Below are the best of the best we have received to date.  Think you have a better one?  There is still time to enter!  Read below for all the details on entering.  Happy travels!

Don’t forget to vote for your FAVE “Selfie of Love” below!


Volcano in El Salvador

Beth and Ben on a hike up the Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador. Check out their blog:  www.mytraveltools.com


Happy Baha couple!

Happy Baha couple!


A room with a view! Paris Opera House

A room with a view! Paris Opera House


Kennedy space center

Robbie and Carrie at Kennedy Space Center.


Hamlet Depot, Hamlet, North Carolina.

Hamlet Depot, Hamlet, North Carolina.


Love at the Louvre with Olly & Jo of @ollyandjo

Love at the Louvre with Olly & Jo of @ollyandjo


The couple behind @onlymypassport in Valencia, Spain.

The couple behind @onlymypassport in Valencia, Spain.


Charlotte and Cameron at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

Charlotte and Cameron at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

[poll id=”2″]

Its not too late to enter!!!!   Just zing us a picture and tell us in less than 10 words where it was taken.  Send them to [email protected]


The fine print (sorry, we don’t look good in stripes):

1) Pictures must be travel themed and feature at least two people.  (No cat pictures allowed.)

2) Void where prohibited.  (Void is such a weird word…..Void.)

3)  All pics must be “tastefully” done.  (Ummm… no weird stuff, ok?)

4) Contest rules are subject to change.  (Unless Luci changes her mind….which NEVER happens.)

5)  Contest ends on February 10, 2016 at midnight MST.  (All good things must come to an end.)

5.5)  18 years old and above only to win.  (This is the most fun adults get to have…no kids allowed!)

6)  The expert judges at 1000 Fights will pick the winner!.  (There are no rules against crossing your fingers.)

7)  Submitting pictures to www.1000Fights.com means we can use them.  (We will use them in our post if you win.  Thats all.  We promise.)

7 Questions with ‘As We Saw It’

In our continued quest in introduce you to some of the most interesting traveling couples, this week’s installment is one of the best.  Meet Dan and Linda of www.aswesawit.com.  This empty nester duo found freedom and a bucketload of adventure on the road.  Together they have visited over 40+ countries on five continents!  Best of all?  They met online!  They have been together  for over 14 year.  Congrats!

1)  Our fave post of yours is “The Day Ecuador Kicked Us Out”.  Give us the quick version.  How did you keep your cool?

She said: I kept reminding myself that they were only doing their job and that I’d never win, plus nothing could be accomplished by breaking into tears. Then we started brainstorming to figure out our options.

He said: Easy… I have a saying:  “It is what it is” and thus you just deal with the problem at hand.  I am an entrepreneur and a problem solver.  So once we figured out the situation, we made plans, proposed solutions to the authorities, won them over by our cooperation and ability to provide choices from a humble position and moved on.


Dan and Linda visiting the Sea of Galilee.

Dan and Linda visiting the Sea of Galilee.

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 mom. It’s a lifetime dream I’ll never accomplish. When I was younger I watched her enjoy a series of trips with her mother including a Scandinavian cruise and an opportunity to watch the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany. Unfortunately, at 89 and in a wheelchair, she’s unable to travel as she’d like so she prefers to stay at home.

He Said:  That would be Yeshua the Messiah (known in the Christian world as Jesus) since He would be able to teleport us anywhere and save the long-haul flight time and bring an interesting perspective to people and cultures since he can see through the lies.


3)  Being empty nesters, how do you keep in contact with family and friends?  Is it tough to live the nomadic lifestyle? 

She said: All five of our children and Dan’s parents visited us when we were living in Panama. Email, Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype help us stay in touch. The toughest part is knowing that my mom is so far away and can’t visit. I miss her and it’s hard to keep in touch with her because she doesn’t have a computer or cell phone.

He said:  We use Skype and Facebook to keep in contact.  Our family follows us there and for the most part we are fairly independent.


4)  We know you two are huge foodies…. If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

He said:  My last meal would be a Middle-Eastern style meal in Jerusalem… Those meals can go on forever and the food never stops.

She said: Oh, that’s a hard question because I’m crazy about Greek salads and their massive hunks of feta cheese. On the other hand, I also adore hummus and could happily consume bowls of it with a spoon. So I sort of agree with Dan … except for one thing: It wouldn’t be in Jerusalem. There was a lovely Arab restaurant atop a rooftop in Yafo (Jaffa) that brought out 20 – no kidding, 20 – mezze dishes and a mega basket of laffa bread, before our entrées even arrived! And their lemonade was amazing.


As We Saw It visiting Jordan.

As We Saw It visiting Jordan.

5)  What is the great challenge as a couple and individual living and traveling abroad?

He said:  Traveling for any extended period can be a great task on a relationship as well as a great building experience depending on how you handle it.  No matter how close you are as a couple, you still are different people and must learn and adapt to those differences, either by helping your partner change their habits or changing yourself to accept the differences.

This goes back to one of our first long term trips through Europe and dealing with a travel difference that hit me in the face in Venice, dragging our suitcases over all those bridges. For me it was like I had to do everything and it just boiled over.  After the trip, I reflected on the experience.  At first I was mad at Linda for her travel style.  Everything she did seemed to rub me the wrong way.  As the time went on through that year, I kept on looking back at that trip and dreading the upcoming long-term trip.  Time has a way of revealing yourself in situations!

I realized that much of this was on me and thus I decided to make a conscientious decision NOT to get upset on the next trip and to be more patient and understanding with her travel style.  This decision was seriously put to the test after about a week into a 3 week trip when another business situation crept into sight.

We found out that we needed to go to Asia so we ended up on a 10-week trip while packed for a 3-week one.  The change in my mindset ended up with us having the best time ever and brought us, if possible, even closer as we thoroughly enjoyed our private pool time in our own villa in Bali, Indonesia.

So from that point forward, travel has still brought us closer together with each trip and the challenges they bring.

She said: Dan and I are wired differently. He can easily multitask whereas I get completely lost whenever I focus on more than one thing at a time. It’s been hard for him to understand and just as hard on me, trying to do something I’m unable to.


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

He said:  Religion.  I would eliminate it since religion is used to separate and kill one another.

She said: I’d teach people not to take offense and to let go of anger, envy, bitterness and resentment. None of those produce anything beneficial.

The traveling duo in Lisbon.

The traveling duo in Lisbon.

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

He said:  Actually this is a very good question because I actually can’t find a “great fight,” travel or non-travel.  I’d have to say it would have to be in Richmond, Virginia, where for some reason which I can’t remember, I got mad and went off to photograph a building, then got separated from Linda and couldn’t find her.  So I just went on shooting around downtown Richmond.  Finally I thought this was totally stupid and we started texting to find each other.  To make it worse, Linda’s phone was dying and that added to the stupidity of the fight.

She said: I’d say it occurred during that first long trip we took together. Lugging a suitcase up and down stairs takes a lot more effort and time when you’re as short as I am. Dan kept coming back to help me with my baggage so we could keep moving. By the time we got to Venice’s many bridges Dan was so exasperated with my slowness that he finally blew up, “I am never going to travel with you again! From now on we are taking separate vacations!” Fortunately he changed his mind before we had another opportunity to travel.

1000Fights: Linda, we had the exact same fight!!!!  Who knew there were so many stairs in Venice?

A hearty thank you to Dan and Linda from As We Saw It.  What a great example of couples that make traveling work for them.  Thank you for taking the time to visit with us and our readers.  Happy travels!

Walkabout in the Northern Territory

We hiked down the powdery-red dusty path lined with thick brush and sporadic trees to find one of the most peaceful and serene sights we have ever seen:  A collection of rolling waterfalls on red rock.  The inviting cold water bubbled and flowed from one red boulder to the next.  What was to be done?  Dive in!

If this sounds like something that you would enjoy, you must take the Litchfield National Park tour with our good friends at Offroad Dreaming.    Litchfield is located a couple hours south of Darwin, Australia.  The Northern Territory of Australia is a perfect mix of tropical temperatures mixed with scenic topography of the Australian Outback.

The thing that made this couple travel adventure all the more special for us was our great guide: Neville.  He is hands down one of the best guides we have ever encountered.  His command of the local history, folklore and gossip were flat-out impressive.  For every bend in the road, he had some local story that brought the area alive. Plus, the opportunity to interact with a local gave us the chance to ask any question that we thought of!

Lets start the tour:

Leaping Lizzards

Right out of the gate we were ready to see some crocodiles!   The tour collected us directly from our B&B in Darwin and after a short drive we arrived at the Adelaide River.  The Northern Territory is home to over 80,000 salt water crocs.  We had a chance to come up close and personal with a handful of them.  And when we say up close, we mean very up close.  Our small group, joined a few other groups on an organized boat trip up the river.  The deck hands had a long pole with a line attached.  At the end of the line was some tasty “croc candy” aka meat.  We had left the dock only a couple hundred meters when we saw the signs of crocs in pursuit of the boat.  Each in its turn would approach the boat eyeing the hunk of meat presented.

leaping lizzards

Jumping Crocs!

The salt water croc is an extremely advanced killer.  It can recognize a heartbeat in the water hundreds of meters away, can swim under water for up to four hours, and only needs to eat once a year. Then as we were able to witness first hand, it can jump out of the water 10 feet!  Simply incredible.  Very deadly.  The boat would circle around one of the animals and it would jump up to bite into the bait.   You are close enough to get splashed  — which tells you about the views of the crocs you will get.

Fighting Couple Hint:  keep all limbs inside the boat.

Upper falls

Our adventure then took up deep into Litchfield park.  During the dry season, the entire park is parched and stunningly beautiful.  The red rock formations and flora and fauna are picturesque.  Neville was quick to give us the heads up of the next picture worth vista approaching.  It was a good thing that we brought an extra memory card.

Enter the waterfalls.


Beautiful Red Rock Water Falls

Our first stop was at a series of swimming holes and small water cascades called the Buley Rockholes.  There are a number of small pools that you can cool down in.  If you are in need of a back massage, the white water does a fine job.  The water is crystal clear and extremely refreshing.

As you can imagine, we were a little leery about entering any kind of water after what we had seen jump out of the water in the morning!  We were assured that traps kept the leaping lizards away from the tasty tourists. Also, Neville was quick to tell us that in Australia, if there is a sign that says you can swim, then you are safe. Never swim in an unmarked swimming pond or it may be your last swim.

red rock swimming holes

Wonderful swimming holes in the red rock!

After swimming in the clear water, we walked up a groomed path through the brush and trees lining the river. Our group of 7 was treated to a lovely lunch. We had roasted chicken, fresh salad, vegetables, and stuffing patties. Some guests also made themselves chicken wraps. The area was so relaxing that we put our feet it the river while we ate our lunch. For dessert, we had Neville’s famous biscuits (cookies). Once our belly’s were full, we hiked up to the path five minutes and were treated to a vista of Florence Falls, set in the red rock. As beautiful as Florence Falls are, Neville cautioned us that Wangi Falls would be even more impressive. I was skeptical. How can any waterfall be better than Florence. Neville was right!

Wangi Falls

The grand finale of the waterfalls were the twin waterfalls of Wangi.  At the base of the falls is a pond  the size of five Olympic pools. Wangi Falls are 276 feet high vs Florence falls that are 210 feet high. Prior to approaching the waterfall, we were greeted by a local Aborigine woman, who walked us through the area and showed us how native people used the flora and fauna for food and to live.   She explained that every waterfall has a mythical story. Wangi Falls are known as fertility falls and for their ability to purify. The giant bowl on top of the Falls fills during the rainy season but runs all year even in the dry season. The pool is comfortable and there is warm water running down one of the Fall openings that creates a natural hot tub in the rocks about 10 feet from the waterline.  The story goes that if a woman swam in the hot tub she would either get pregnant or her problems would disappear. Luci swam very fast to the natural hot tub!

Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls

Magnetic Termites

It was a little late in the day and our limited attention spans were tapped.  Then we were shown of the most interesting natural phenomenon, the magnetic termite.  At first, we thought that our jovial guide was playing a joke on us Yanks.  Come to find out, Litchfield Park is home to a variety of termite that intrinsically knows what direction is magnetic north.  They build their towering “mounds” with maximum and minimum exposure to direct sunlight.  Incredible huh?  Each and every one of the termite mounds faced exactly the same way.  In order to better control the temperature within the hive.  Our little group stopped in a termite city with dozens of these beautiful creations. The mounds are six to seven feet high and only a foot wide.

Magnetic Termite Mounds

Magnetic Termite Mounds

A word about the guide and company

First off, you must know that the Fighting Couple HATE tours.  We despise the thought of a prepackaged, homogenous, and cookie cutter presentation.  The beauty of Offroad Dreaming is that you will find a rare exception to the traditional tour.  Every tour is different.  The wildlife you will see and the terrain you will experience is always changing in the outback.

Fighting Couple Helpful Hints

First off, you need to understand that this trip is a full day.  You will come back having seen a lot!  Don’t plan a lot for that evening, you will be flat out exhausted.  Pack your swimmies with you.  There are plenty of places to change clothes.  Food-The tour is very good about offering treats and water during every phase of the adventure.  Lunch was over the top good.  Served in a picnic manner.  You really don’t need to bring your own grub as there was also complementary snacks available during the day including granola bars, apples, and cookies.  Lastly, you need to pack sun screen.  The trip is heavy on the sunshine and light on shade.   Enjoy your tour!

We want to thank our friends at Offroaddreaming for making a great day for us.  You should know that we partnered with them on this tour.  Does this affect our opinion and recommendation of this firm?  Not one bit.

101 “Other” Things to to in Holland

One of our fave European cities is the “AMS” (Amsterdam, Netherlands).  Amsterdam is a collage of different feels-old and young.  After our first visit, Luci commented:  “this is the youngest oldest city I have ever been.”  She could not be more right.  Despite the fact that the architecture is so historic, the population of the city is decidedly dominated by the 25-35 set.  AMS loads of fun at all hours.  We recently did a post on great layover plans for the city.

Many travelers today taint their view of the country based on two vices: Pot and Prostitution.   Unlike other “escape” locales like Las Vegas, with AMS take away the “SIN” and you are left with an amazing “CITY”.  Holland has depth.   Holland has a multicultural, vibrant and rich history and tradition.

In part to counter the unsavory image being projected to the world, legislation was introduced recently to prevent foreigners from patronizing the “coffee” shops.  To counter the notion that all  the Netherlands is good for is a “weed-cation”, the Netherlands Board of Tourism enlisted  New York comedian/filmmaker, Mark Malkoff to show Americans that there’s way more to do in Holland than smoking pot in coffee shops!

Here a four short clips from youtube  that are hilarious!!!  Watch every one, they are sooo funny!




The 7 Sports Meccas

Another post in our Man-cation- Ideas Series

Visiting the Mecca’s of Sport

The definitive seven sacred shrines to sport: Olympia, Monte Carlo, the Old Yankee Stadium, the All England Club, the Roman Coliseum and St. Andrews. The nano-second that you step foot on the grass, pebbles, or tarmac of these hallowed sanctuaries of sport you FEEL the history ooze through your soul.

Does size mater?

Lets take a step back…what makes a sports mecca? Is it size alone? No. Of the 10 largest stadiums in the world, six are home to US college football teams (University of Texas, University of Michigan, Penn State, Tennesse, Ohio State and Alabama.) The largest stadium in the world is the May Day Stadium in North Korea, seating 150,000 people! In selection of our meccas, our first consideration was global recognition and significance.

Ok..lets take a look at each one of the meccas and why they were chosen:


Olympia, Greece is arguably the birthplace of competitive sport. Olympia boast the inspiration for the modern Olympic games. The location saw it’s sports hay day peak from 776 BC to 400AD the longest period of athletic excellence of any location on the planet. Only a decree from the Emperor Theodosius 1st ended the games after he thought they had become a paganfest.

Visiting Olympia

Reaching Olympia is a little involved. It is roughly a 5 hour drive from Athens. The train service from Athens to the are has stopped. So your options are limited. As you can image, there are a number of tour companies that offer bus and overnight accommodation packages out of Athens.

Olympia offers so much more than just sport history. Due to the long history of human inhabitants in the area every stage of Greek Arctuture is on display. We understand that archaeological museum at Olympia is excellent.

The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held. When the modern Olympics came to Athens in 2004, the men’s and women’s shot put competition was held at the restored Olympia stadium. Wikipedia

Roman Coliseum

Perhaps the most recognizable location on our famed mecca list is of course the Roman Coliseum. The structure was the largest amphitheater built during the Roman age. Construction started around 72 AD. It was the brain child of Emperor Vespasian. Construction was completed in the year 80 AD under the direction of Titus. At its pinnacle of operation, the stadium could hold over 50,000 people. According to legend, each citizen of Rome was granted season tickets and an assigned seat.

The Coliseum’s primary sporting event was produced by the gladiators. Men would take turn killing various wild beasts and each other to the cheers of the wine bibbing throngs. According to historians on occasion the rink was flooded with water and famous sea battles were reenacted. The venue was truly a multi purpose facility; it hosted events including public executions, plays and concerns, as well as religious services! Even today, every Good Friday the Pope leads a throng of “fans” down to the old pitch.

Visiting the Coliseum

As they say…When in Rome! There is so much to see in Rome, with that said, any visitor must make their way to this ancient relic of sport. As you approach the structure, be prepared to be encircled by gladiator garbed goons attempting to solicit a pricy photo session with you. Take the audio tour that gives you a pretty in depth description of the form and function.

Image supplied by Your Golf Travel

Image supplied by Your Golf Travel

St. Andrews

St. Andrews the town is located on the east coast of Scotland. There is much to see in this small borough. St. Andrews is home to the third oldest university in the world, the University of St Andrews. (It must drive them crazy to say GO USA!) The location is of course best known as the international home of golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded in 1754. The rules of the game for the entire world are determined at a local pub. The Club hosts the annual Open Championship, by far the oldest major in golf.

Visiting St. Andrews

Of all the locations, visiting St. Andrews is perhaps is perhaps the most difficult. The best way to get to St. Andrews is to fly into the Edinburgh airport and then either rent a car or take the Airlink bus to the train station. Most of the St. Andrew facilities are within walking distance of the town center. How do I play the course? First of all, there are loads of courses in the area.  Find one that fits your skill set, then swing hard!

A word or warning for you duffers: “If there is one part of the game not right, no matter how you try your hardest to protect it, the Old Course will find it.”

—Peter Thompson, on St. Andrews

Monte Carlo-

I know, I know, you think that the Indiana’s speedway belongs in this hallowed spot. You would be wrong. The Monaco Grand Prix is truly both the most prestigious and important automobile race on the planet. The race was first run in 1929, and was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti

The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race. It is the only Grand Prix that does not adhere to the FIA’s mandated 305km minimum race distance. Wikipedia

The danger of the course, the international intrigue of the location, and the global field in the race makes the Grand Prix a mecca.

Visiting Monaco

Perched on the French Riviera Monaco is truly one of those special places. Nestled near Cannes, Nice and the border of Italy, Monaco is the heart of glamor, beach and luxury. Of course no visit to Monaco would be complete without a visit to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. The entire place is just dripping with luxury. Yes, you still need to wear a jacket to enter the “special” rooms of the casino. Ferraris, Bugattis, and Lamborghinis line the front entry. Amazing yachts line the harbor.


Old Yankee Stadium

“The House that Ruth Built.”

The old Yankee Stadium is located in the storied Bronx section of New York City, New York. It was the home of the New York Yankee Baseball team after its completion in 1923 to 2008 when it was replaced with a new monstrosity. The diamond hosted over 6000 baseball games over its 85 years of service. It has played host to a number of world series games and allstar games. It has also hosted a number of boxing matches and three Papal Masses! On June 21, 1990, a rally was held at Yankee Stadium for Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in the venue’s history came on July 4, 1939, designated as “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day”. Gehrig, forced out of action permanently by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and facing his impending death, gave a legendary farewell speech thanking his fans and colleagues for making him “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

A number of college football game were held in the stadium. This included the Notre Dame-Army games. One match up in particular found legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne offering his “win one for the Gipper” speech. The 1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game at Yankee stadium is regarded as one of the 20th century college football Games of the Century.

The New York Giants of the NFL played their home games at Yankee Stadium from 1956 to 1973. On December 28, 1958, Yankee Stadium hosted the NFL championship game, frequently called “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. The Baltimore Colts tied the Giants, 17–17, on a field goal with seven seconds left. Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts won in overtime, 23–17. The game’s dramatic ending is often cited as elevating professional football to one of the United States’ major sports.


Visiting Old Yankee Stadium

You cant. The Stadium has been demolished.


All England Club

Our next to final Mecca is a mouth full: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It is located in Wimbledon, London, England. The storied club hosts the Wimbledon Championship. the Championship is the only tennis major to be held on grass. The club has just shy of 400 members. The patron of the club is H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, and the President is H.R.H. The Duke of Kent. The club was founded in 1868.

The facilities include 20 tournament level courts and 16 other gross courts. The gras can be used May till mid September, at which time a small number of clay and hard courts on premise can be used. For your information, the grass is cut to an exact measurement of 8mm, and is 100% perennial rye grass. Center court the largest, seats roughly 15,000 patrons.


Visiting Wimbledon

The Club will likely be on full display at the upcoming London Olympics. This is be a great chance to see the venue and the top players in the world on display. Wimbledon has its very own tube stop, so visiting the venue is extremely easy. The Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame and museum are also on premises and are not to be missed.


By now you probably noticed that we only mentioned 6 meccas. You are sooo good! We are leaving the 7th up to you our loyal “1000 Fighters”. So where/what do you nominate? Just leave a comment below and let the fights begin.



The Mystique of Savannah vs. the Luxury of Hilton Head

Savannah and Hilton Head are the perfect duo for a week in the South. While Hilton Head offers the view of the rich and retired, Savannah with its lush trees and dripping Spanish moss, offers a peek into the old South. Only an hour apart by car, you can easily see both places on a weekend or weeklong getaway.

Savannah- The mystery

“I recall my fleeting instants in Savannah as the taste of a cup charged to the brim.” — Henry James

Few locales have enchanted us like our visit to Savannah. Although our stay was  brief, the impression it has left on us is long-lasting. Savannah packs a powerful punch for types like us, who love places steeped in history, impressive art, and architecture offerings. But the best part about Savannah is the food! Savannah is truly the crown jewel of the Low Country. It’s best to start with what most folks know about the town. The city was the setting for “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” a book penned by John Berendt.  The book was transformed into the big screen in an adaptation directed by none other than Clint Eastwood.  The book (movie) highlight the best and seedy underbelly of the place. Many of the places featured in the book are now tourist traps luring those, like us, toting the book from square to square. Fortunately for you, the novel has long since fallen off the best seller lists, so the good news is Savannah is slowly sinking into the lesser known finds. A word of warning to you “Book Toters.”  The “Bird Girl” statue that adorns the cover is no longer situated at the cemetery outside of town. It now is one of the exhibits at the Telfair Museum of Art. The Museum is a must see. So what is on the must see list?

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (The birthplace of Girl Scouts)

Mercer House Carriage Shop & Museum

The Telfair Museum of Art The Davenport House

The Cockspur Light House

Owens Thomas House (For La Fayette lovers like us, this house hosted the Marquis de La Fayette on his visit to America.) It also has the coolest staircase that crosses over the house. For real.


The Olde Pink House

We asked our concierge if he had one night in Savannah, where he would eat. He suggested the Olde Pink House. Situated in a historic home, the Olde Pink House is like stepping back in time and the food is just as authentic. Yes, the house is really pink! If you like crab and seafood, this is your kind of restaurant. Dessert is always on our list when we eat and the Olde Pink House’s handcrafted praline cup filled with ice cream with a hint of raspberry sauce on the side still haunts Luci’s dreams.

The Olde Pink House on Urbanspoon

Mrs. Wilkes

Simply put, Mrs. Wilkes is an institution and is a must eat in Savannah. The restaurant is only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We got there at 10 a.m. to wait in line and it was worth it. Guests sit family style so if you don’t like people, you’ll struggle with the seating. We sat next to a family who drove to Savannah from New Jersey. The menu is all southern cook’n all the time. We ate fried chicken, corn bread, mac and cheese and any other carbo-licious, fattening item that was served to us. Go here. Your tummy will thank you. Your waist will not.

Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Hilton Head-Playground of the rich and retired

The best place to start our review of the Island is on the links (man lingo for golf courses.) The Hilton Head Island area is one of the nation’s foremost golf meccas. Is it any wonder that Golf Digest readers named Hilton Head Island No. 10 on its list of the world’s best golf resorts? Some of the very best holes in golf lie just a stones throw from each other. There are a number of affordable golf packages you can purchase on-line. The packages bundle a number of different course over a few days. It is perfect. One word of warning…if the ball goes in the “drink,” follow the words of John Lennon, “let it be” (see croc warnings). Another strong appeal to Hilton Head is its sandy beaches and warm water. Yes, the water is warm! For us west coast dwellers, warm water is the best! Hilton Head sports 11 miles of soft sand and gentle lapping waves. While Mike golfed, Luci walked the beaches. If you are up for adventure, one of the best pastimes it taking out an ocean kayak. We signed up for a bay tour that highlighted the flora and fauna and a bit of the history of the Island. We also saw dolphins jumping in the waves.  In addition, to wildlife, we  saw some of the massive secluded mansions. Really cool! Just make sure that your camera is waterproof.  Why not live like the locals? There are so many affordable options, there is a place to fit any budget.  The nice thing about this option, is candidly, we never really found a restaurant that we loved.  The self cater option lets you cook on your own. (See saving money! Yay!) Take on the mystery of Savannah then relax in the sun and sand of Hilton Head.  The perfect combination.

Why I Didn’t Want to Go to TBEX and Why I am Glad I Did.

Why I didn’t want to go to TBEX and why I am glad I did.

1000 fights, the female half has a confession; I didn’t want to go to TBEX. We had just gotten home from two week trip to Slovenia and Croatia, the house was a disaster, our children were complaining about being orphans, I was overloaded at work, and most importantly I was exhausted. Mike kept telling me how awesome it was going to be and I just rolled my eyes. I didn’t want to go. (Fight #1)

Why would I want to go to a giant conference of self important bloggers? I had a mental picture of debate tournaments from high school where nerds haul in their boxes of “evidence” just to show how smart they are but instead of evidence it was lexile numbers, tweets, twitter friends, and Facebook followers. Ick-it was going to be my worst nightmare. I pictured cocktail parties where people look past you to see who is better to talk too (like the ones I attend for my job). No thanks.

I just wanted to stay home, watch chick flicks, eat cookie dough, and complain about how I exercise and never lose weight. Mike wouldn’t have it. (Fight #2)

“You have to go,” Mike begged. “We are the fighters. I can’t fight by myself. Plus, you are the fun one.”
The fun one, eh. Okay, you got me. I’ll go. So after work on Friday, I caught a flight (Mike was on a different one of course) and caught up with Mike in Seattle.

On Saturday morning, we walked into the giant Vancouver Convention Center and I felt like the new kid at school. I didn’t know anyone. It was going to be a long weekend. And then I met Journeywoman. I’d followed Journeywoman and as a suffragette, I thought. She was literally the first person we met. She walked up to us and said, “Hi I’m Journeywoman.” Wow. Then she was the key note speaker. It set the tone for the conference. This wasn’t a competition. This was about finding your voice, your mandate, your passion and living it.

The weekend only got better. What I found was every conception I had was wrong. These bloggers were friendly, helpful, and most of all insightful! They introduced themselves, looked you in the eye when they spoke to you and didn’t look past you to find a better option. I had found my peeps. During the short weekend, Mike and I connected with people from all over the globe. I made new friends. I was inspired. I left Vancouver full of ideas, contacts and most of all purpose. I don’t think the cookie dough at home would have done the same thing.

Cant wait until next year!