My cozy Dublin list reflects nearly 20 years of favourite special places and flavors.
Dublin is a cool city. I am not a cool person. And herein lies the root of my problem with it comes to recommending things to see and do in the Irish capital. I can't tell you a thing about hip bars, trendy music venues, or any of the amazing shops led by a new generation of makers and creators. I'm not much better when it comes to chic restaurants, festivals, or exhibits. Alas, people ask me for recommendations for their Dublin city breaks all the time. This autumn alone, two sets of dear friends are going there and I couldn't do much more but issue an impassioned plea for them to visit my favourite bakery. Not exactly cutting edge stuff.
But all of a sudden, I thought that, maybe, it might just be enough. After all, lots of people are eager to share why they think Dublin is cool. But who's talking about about what makes Dublin cozy? Me, that's who! Who says that little bakeries aren't the best part of a city, anyway?
At last, I'm ready to own my Dublin recommendations. Here are the cozy places, flavors, and spots that I visit again and again in Dublin. Better luck next time, hot clubs.
We found incredible temptation in the gorgeous Orvieto pottery shops. Temptation that we couldn't resist...
You know me. I don't usually do much shopping when I travel, thanks to my very small bag. And, of course, I'm rather stingy with my travel budget! But when I had the chance to do a little Orvieto pottery shopping, I jumped at the chance and broke ALL my usual rules.
Of all the things you can buy in Orvieto, pottery is number one. The Orvieto ceramic scene is legendary and an important part of the town's identity. It's been at the center of Italian ceramic tradition since the 13th century! Today, there are dozens of shops lining both the main streets and also tucked into lanes that sell the town's signature brightly colored plates, bowls, cups, and decorative figurines. I dare anyone to walk down Orvieto's streets and not be tempted! I sure couldn't. The stunning colors and designs give Orvieto such a cheerful, jaunty feel - and definitely beckon you inside to explore more.
Here are some of my favourite shops, plus a few extra suggestions on what to buy and how to get it all home.
In search of the ultimate travel coziness in Italy, we fell in love with Orvieto - oh, and Orvieto wine too!
Is there anything cozier than stumbling into a delightfully snug wine bar with a full roaring fire at the end of a long travel day? Perhaps the only thing better is when said wine bar also doubles as a spectacular restaurant - and is owned by one of the kindest families you've ever met. This very scenario was our introduction to Orvieto wine, food, and family - and it set a new bar for hospitality, not just for all other Italian towns but indeed everywhere we travel.
Here's what made Orvieto such a wonderfully cozy destination for us, including our beloved wine bar and our new favourite hotel, lovingly decorated by local artists.
We found the best things to do in Concord New Hampshire - all while on a tight budget. But could we save enough to make our $200 travel challenge a success?
I often start a lot of blog posts by explaining that a certain destination has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, or that I've read a lot about a place and thus jumped at the chance to visit when an opportunity presented itself. But not Concord. The state capital of New Hampshire wasn't on my radar, not one little bit, when we booked our trip. However, travel in general was on my mind in a big way. I had returned from the always inspiring Women in Travel Summit and was highly motivated to see more of the cities around me. I instructed Ryan to find a place within a 6 hour drive that would cost $50 a night and, just like that, I was researching the best things to do in Concord NH, making lists of local cheap eats, and getting excited to discover something new.
The end result was one of the best spontaneous travel decisions we've ever made. Concord NH is just LOVELY! And it was filled with all sorts of me-ish places to explore. From an amazing bookstore to a delicious doughnut stand - I was hooked! But, of course, I wasn't in Concord just to have a great time. I was thinking of all my dear readers as well! I wanted to put Concord to the test with my $200 Challenge. The premise is simple enough. Can two people travel for two days and spend just $200? The $200 Challenge has to include clean, safe accommodations with a hot shower, three proper meals a day, and enough activities to fill two days. With past Challenges including London, Boston, and Washington, DC, how would Concord hold up?
Your value-focused Pantheon guide: What to know when visiting the Pantheon for the first time.
There are few places in Western Europe as important as Rome's Pantheon. This ancient temple turned Catholic church is unmatched in terms of its significance regarding architectural, political, and religious importance. It's an amazing place to visit and I make a point of stopping by every time I'm in Rome. If your plans will take you into Rome for the first time or the tenth, we have the ultimate Pantheon guide to help you get the most out of your visit and make the most of your money. Here's what you need to know before you go.
Wondering where to stay in Zurich? These are our favourite hotels in Zurich Old Town and there's something for everyone.
Lounging around in bed when you could be out exploring Zurich's streets and lane ways? Say it ain't so! Never fear - I walked A LOT while I was in Zurich. This restful moment was just a brief interlude of downtime. I just couldn't resist trying out my super cozy bed for just a few moments! And I was so lucky that I was staying in the heart of the old town so I could easily pop back home for a rest. As a sleep enthusiast, I know that there are a lot of options on where to stay in Zurich and for my money, the best choice is one of the hotels in Zurich Old Town. Here are my favourite places to stay, some great alternative options with different styles and price points, and a few things that I love about Zurich's old town.
While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
Looking for affordable things to do in Portland, Maine? My list focuses on posh treats that are all under $20!
Some links within this blog post are affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase . I was in Portland for the Women in Travel Summit and some of these experiences were the result of tours which were included in my conference registration fees.
Portland, Maine, is the kind of budget-friendly small city that frugal travelers such as myself are thrilled to explore. With a gorgeous ocean front location, compact streets which are easy to explore, and plenty of low cost attractions, you get great bang for your buck here. And if you want to feel a bit spoiled, you don't have to break the bank. I've got five sumptuous, luxurious, feel-like-a-millionaire things to do in Portland, Maine, that all ring in under $20. In fact, some are even FREE! Get ready to indulge!
Kingston events don't get much more memorable than a meet up with the city's best makers and creators.
Nick Allinson isn’t just a woodworker. I suspect he may just be a bit of a room worker as well. Within a minute of meeting him, he was drilling me not on the other makers and creators I was interviewing later that day in Kingston, Ontario, but rather what I’d be eating and where. I had barely mentioned a popular breakfast place that was on my list when he interrupted. "No! Not that one! You need to go here" before insisting I write down the name of what he says is the city’s finest breakfast joint (Northside Espresso) and telling me the story of the owners (Katie and Jess), who are from Australia.
In the same breath, Nick insisted we also visit Stone City Ales, arguing that they’re the finest brewery in the city and utterly unlike some suspected imposter brewers (say it ain’t so!) After a few minutes, he was waxing poetic about the city’s best florist, LSP Designs, and heaping praise upon his fellow makers and creators, who he credits for launching an amazingly innovative program to bring travelers and makers together at the most unlikely of venues - hotels. Yes, hotels!
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