animals · arizona · beauty · birds · earth · familia · hike · love love love · planet · restaurant · Road Trip · touristy · travel · usa

5 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix AZ

My parents moved to Phoenix, AZ a few years ago in their perfect retirement community. And every time I’m there I find so many fun and cool things to do, which I’d love to share with you!

Sharing is caring, y’all.

  • Take A Hike! Get your butt outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. Plus some exercise always does a body good. There are many great hiking trails but Camelback Mountain is the closest to my parent’s house so that’s the one I hike. Two main trails lead to the summit of Camelback, a camel-shaped mountain just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. Both are rated extremely difficult. The Echo Canyon hike is the more rugged of the two and requires steep climbs and scrambling over large rocks. The Cholla Trail, while a little bit less strenuous, is also a little bit longer. The beginning of the hike is easy, with switchbacks and even terrain. The last third of the trail requires scrambling up steep grades with drop-offs on each side. Both hikes are a little under 2.5 miles long. Plan on taking two to three hours, depending on your condition, to make either of the round-trip hikes. Please don’t forget to bring lots of water to stay hydrated!
  • Go See A Show! It doesn’t matter if it’s theatre or ballet or opera or a concert. Whichever is your jam go do it. There are just so many opportunities in Phoenix to find something that you would love. I recently saw Wicked at the ASU Gammage theatre. Great show! Great theatre. In August, The Book Of Mormon (SO GOOD) will be performing there.
  • Visit A Museum! I love the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix. It’s one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest. Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.
  • Eat At A New Restaurant! Before seeing Wicked at the ASU Gammage we went to have an early dinner at Durant’s Steakhouse. We got there five minutes before actual opening hours, walked through the back entrance (through the kitchen – do it, be a regular), ordered martinis (extra dirty for me) and a brandy old fashioned for mom before we were seated. And speaking of seating, we slid into our red leather booth surrounded by red velvety wallpaper before having an excellent meal. Don’t get me wrong, Durant’s is not somewhere to get a quick, cheap eat. But if you want a culinary and cool experience go check it out. Quick fun fact – John Wayne, Clark Gable and Joe DiMaggio all frequented Durant’s.
  • Check out something just outside of Phoenix! Last time my mom and I went to see Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s winter home and school. Ever since I was young I loved architecture and touring mansions – the Marland mansion in Ponca City, OK and don’t think I went completely insane in Newport, RI – The Breakers!!! Marble House. WOW, just wow. So definitely check out Taliesin West. But THIS TIME we went on a boat ride on Saguro Lake with my aunt and uncle who were visiting. Saguro Lake is about 45 minutes Northeast of Phoenix. The 1,200-acre lake is 10 miles long and reaches depths of more than 110 feet at its deepest point. Its 22 miles of shoreline include rocky crags, canyon walls, marshland, and desert shrubland. The area also offers a variety of recreational activities (kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing) including a scenic and educational riverboat cruise. We took a ride on the Desert Belle riverboat, a 90-minute narrated cruise on the lake. Let me clarify, the Captain didn’t speak the entire boat ride, there were lots of groovy tunes and time to breath in the nature. Besides hundreds, if not thousands of Saguro cacti we saw a bald eagle and a bighorn sheep!!! I was super stoked about the sheep. I highly suggest to bring your binoculars.

Have a ton of fun on all your adventures. And I’d love to hear what you love to do in and around Phoenix. 🙂

beach · hike · lighthouse · Majorca · Mallorca · S'estanyol

S’Estanyol + Lighthouse

If you are ever in the southern (es Trenc) part of Mallorca and you want a simple hike, you should stop by S’Estanyol. There is a small beach, which usually has a bit of seaweed because the beach is so small the city ignores it. Which is good because it is NEVER crowded! And once you wade past the seaweed the water is crystal clear. If you want to go on a little hike it is the perfect place to just enjoy nature and the fresh air and a lighthouse at the end.

To arrive you would follow the MA-6015 to the end (arriving at S’Estanyol) and turn right. Park at the end of the road, after the S’Estanyol Club Nautico and there you are! You can take several different paths but stay on the path because there are some private owned areas that you can’t venture onto. And follow the FAR signs. FAR is lighthouse in Catalan. Just keep following that and soon you will arrive at the rocky coast where you will find the beautiful lighthouse. You can also wander around for quite some ways. Come and explore! When you are done, there are a few small restaurants to enjoy in S’Estanyol. Make a day of it!

Some pics from my hike there last week. Enjoy!

IMG_2963

IMG_2972

IMG_29734

Save

Save

beauty · cool photos · country · earth · ISS · Mallorca · planet · space

Mallorca from the ISS

How cool is this? Taken from the International Space Station, you can see Mallorca the big island at the bottom, Spain is to the right in the picture. The small (but loverly) island of Cabrera is at the top far left of Mallorca and then you can see Ibiza and further on Formentera “above” Mallorca, with Africa at the top of the picture.

I REALLY love this pic. Maybe it’s a framer?

mallorca, cabrera, ibiza, formentera

2015 · amelie · france · montmarte · paris · raclette · travel

I like Paris in the springtime …

I like Paris in the fall. Or should I say autumn? I like Paris pretty much any season of the year. And I was there this spring, always lovely. Merci Paris! You can check out my other post about Paris HERE.

This time meeting Jeannie there, we had done a lot of the tourist things and we decided to just stroll. Not have an agenda. Let’s just walk around, see what trouble we can find and violĂ ! We did. Of course!

Can we enjoy this view from our hotel room? The Haussmann-Saint Lazare station on the Paris RER.

IMG_2382

Then we walked around. And if this picture isn’t Paris then I don’t know what is. Where else in the world would have this kind of dog at their shop? He is a REAL dog! I. LOVE. PARIS.

real dog

First stop was my favourite chill-out place which just happens to be along La Seine. How fabulous, right? FLOW is a bar situated just upstream of Pont Alexandre III on the Left Bank. You can hang out, people watch (my favourite), watch the boats float by and of course, stare across La Seine at the gorgeous Pont Alexandre III bridge, the Grand Palais which to the left of it is the Jardin de la Nouvelle France. If you are lucky maybe you will see some pestacles! Sorry, I have a bit of strange humor but see picture below. What exactly are pestacles?

FLOW

flow

This picture was taken off their website – it wasn’t this crowded at all! And actually the day was a bit cold and rainy and they closed early. So FYI – it is possible if there isn’t enough business, they close. C’est la vie! But they did have blankets which was very nice and the chairs are loungy, not regular chairs. Just go already.

Our view while drinking our beers at FLOW. Not to shabby, eh? But then again, what is shabby in Paris?

view from flow

Pestacles sign in a Paris garden. I have tried to no avail to find out what Pestacles means!! I think it is some sort of festival with music and dancing but I still don’t know. If anyone knows, PLEASE tell me! I’m dying here to find out.

pestacle

I know I said we wouldn’t get touristy but we both love the movie AmĂ©lie and I read you could go to the bar that was in the film, so that is exactly what we did. The lovely art deco cafe where AmĂ©lie works, which is, surprisingly, real. It’s CafĂ© des Deux Moulins, 15 rue Lepic at rue Cauchois.

800px-Café_des_2_Moulins

Us and Amélie, the best of friends. I think next time we should have the same look on our faces as Amélie has.

us n amelie

Across the street from Cafe des 2 Moulins. This picture seems so … PARIS. Oui?

IMG_0910

Enough Amelie. Time to walk to Montmarte – up the stairs, up the stairs, more stairs!! MORE UP!

IMG_2429

Finally made it to the top with some interesting sightings on the way.

IMG_2435

IMG_2426

And then we had to head back down the stairs. We are goofs! We know – but ADORABLE goofs! And we were hungry…..

IMG_2444

Next up, cheese raclette. Do you know cheese raclette? It so super delicioso. The Raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates; the term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape,” a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate. Our humungous hunk of cheese (just reminded of that PSA Time for Timer! I hanker for a hunka cheese song. ~ When I’m dancin’ the hoedown and my boots kinda slow down, Or anytime I’m week in the knees, I hanker for a hunk of, A slab, a slice, a chunk of, A snack that is a winner, And yet won’t spoil my dinner! I hanker for a hunk of cheese! Ya-hoo!) … ah, sorry, where was I…. Right! A huge hunk of cheese with a table-top grill, was served with small potatoes, slices of sausages and pickles. Just what we had been wanting. The table next to us had meat raclette which looked amazing as well. 

IMG_2451

Stuffed full and so very happy, we meandered back to our hotel for the night. BUT before the hotel we found this super fun bar with really great tunes. When my boyfriend called we serenaded him. 🙂 He didn’t say so, but I know he loved it. I can’t tell you the bar’s name because then I would have to kill you. Just kidding, I have no idea where we were. Somewhere between Montmarte and the Haussmann-Saint Lazare station. Sometimes you have to find your own fun. I know you can!

You can tell we had fun by this last pic. Until next time mi amigos (or shall I say mes amis)!

IMG_2460

Save

beauty · hotels · love love love · marrakesh · morocco · travel

Riad Dar Darma ~ Marrakech

For some reason time has really, REALLY gotten away from me. I went to Marrakech, Morocco last year and I have been wanting to write about my experiences but … time. You know. So, here we are! Let’s talk about Marrakech/Marrakesh. However you are wanting to write it or pronounce it for that matter. My next few posts will be dedicated to my travels there.

I would like my first post to be about the fantastic and gorgeous riad that Perla 🙂 and I stayed at during our trip. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The word riad comes from the Arabian term for garden, “ryad”. The ancient Roman city of Volubilis provides a reference for the beginnings of riad architecture during the rule of the Idrisid Dynasty.

Our riad was Riad Dar Darma and it was so lovely. From the staff, to our room, the hospitality, the exquisiteness of the place – it became our home away from home. This was my first time in Morocco and I chose Marrakech because I had heard so many wonderful things about it. While I enjoyed it, it could often be a bit overwhelming in many situations. These I will speak to in my next blog. But Dar Darma was always a place we could come back to and relax. There were no worries here, everything was beautiful and calm. If we had questions, they would help us with the answer. If we wanted a book a reservation, they did it – and beyond!

We stayed in the Black Patio suite. It was three rooms – a sitting area with two chaise lounge chairs, a large mirror and a TV (which I don’t think we turned on even once), a bedroom was two poster beds that could be separated, a large armoire and two nightstands and a bathroom with a large marble tub and two sinks. This room overlooked a shady patio. For me, it was perfect. Here are a few pics from the room.

IMG_0520

IMG_0516

IMG_0517

I’m not sure my pictures do it justice but the room was just what I was wanting. And the staff was over-the-top helpful. Pretty much, whatever you want or need help with, they will do it. Perls and I weren’t too demanding, pretty much a bottle of wine and that was it. And you know at most hotels you have set breakfast hours, which I understand but how nice was it to hear “When you get up, come upstairs to the terrace for breakfast.” And I said, what if we get up at 11? Then come upstairs then. And at 12, I asked. Then come upstairs then! I could have kissed them. I get to sleep until I want and still get my breakfast! And breakfast was delicious. Fresh fruit, fresh orange juice, a hot pot of coffee and fresh breads, crepes with jam and butter. Heaven!

IMG_0994

We never had dinner at the riad but next time I will make sure I do. Their meals are all made using fresh ingredients and traditional Moroccan and international recipes.The classic dishes include: harira soup, meat or vegetable tajines, couscous, lemon chicken, freshly baked cakes, and fruit desserts.

They also have cooking classes with their cook Maria who can let you into the secrets of Moroccan recipes.

The terraces are so relaxing with lots of pillows and breathtaking views of the Koutoubia Mosque and the Atlas Mountains. They also have a hammam for you to use at your leisure.

The Dar Darma was a place that I truly needed for this first time experience in Marrakech. With a new and different and sometimes frustrating world that was the streets of Marrakech, Dar Darma was a comforting place to come back to. I so appreciated the happy faces and the courtesy and helpfulness I received there. I will definitely be back one day. Thank you Dar Darma! MWUAH.

Save

Save