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Destinations

Destinations

Affordable and fun activities this summer in Lake Tahoe

Still juggling ideas on where to go with your family and friends for one last trip before the summer ends? Lake Tahoe is the place! My family and I went a couple of weeks ago and had an amazing time. We drove from San Francisco to North Lake Tahoe and spent three unforgettable days. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, (stay tuned for post very soon) but spent most of our time enjoying all the fun outdoor activities that Lake Tahoe has to offer in the summer.

?Full-Moon Kayak Tour

If you are seeking an adventurous outdoor activity, sign up for a full moon kayak tour! I had the opportunity to experience it first-hand and I can honestly say it’s one of those moments you want to live over, and over again. No previous kayaking experience is required, but be aware that you are in for a workout! If your dates do not coincide with a full-moon, there’s sunset and astronomy tours available and highly recommended.

Off shore, minutes before starting our kayaking adventure with Tahoe Adventure Company.

Although it gets really hot during the day, the temperature drops drastically once the sun sets.. Tahoe Adventure Company provides a full kayaking service that includes waterproof pants and jackets.

The Full Moon tour usually starts around 6:30pm and you can choose a single of double kayak.

Before you realize it, you are in the middle of Lake Tahoe witnessing a breathtaking sunset.

I was scared to drop my phone but couldn’t resist capturing this moment.

As the sun in setting, the full moon starts to rise. #AMAZING

The 2.5 hour tour costs between $65 per person and it includes the all the gear (kayak, paddle and lifejacket), snacks, photos and a hot apple cider or chocolate when you come back to shore.

? Emerald Bay State Park 

Although we stayed in North Lake Tahoe, it was in our list of things-to-do to drive on Highway 89 around the lake and make it to Emerald Bay.  Without a doubt one of the best places to enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and its mountains.

The drive from North Lake Tahoe to Emerald Bay was around 40mins along highway 89.

If you are up for an adventure, hike up to Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay Park.

Hanging out in my siblings at Emerald Bay.

Vikingsholm – Tahoe’s Hidden Castle
Your trip to Lake Tahoe must include the famous Vikingsholm summer home, inside Emerald Bay State Park. Your day starts with a nice nature hike through the mountain and mesmerizing lake views. You can tour the “hidden castle”-considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States-  for a small fee of $10. Keep in mind that their visiting hours vary every month.  Click here for more information.

Emerald Bay and Fannette Island

 

Exterior view of Vikingholm. Amazing photo by travel blogger www.Californiathroughmylens.com Make sure to check out!

P.S.- I have to confess that I wasn’t able to go to Vikingsholom in this trip, but its my perfect excuse to come back…SOON!

?Catamaran Ride over the Lake

Cruise over the placid waters of Lake Tahoe aboard a Catamaran that takes you for almost two hours around the lake. Fresh fruits, beer and wine are complementary all throughout the ride. Perfect environment to capture breathtaking photographs, dream about one day owning one of the million dollar homes along the shore, and listening to the history of one of North America’s most amazing lakes. Costs for a Catamaran tour vary, but they start at $55 per person.

If you like a little more speed, you can rent a jet-ski.

Very friendly, fun and knowledgable crew was on board our Catamaran.

If you are not afraid of heights, definitely plan to parasail during your visit to Lake Tahoe.

One of the many million-dollar-homes at Lake Tahoe.

We used Action Water Sports for our Catamaran tour. Had we had more time, we would have done more of their activities. Click here for more information.

? Truckee River Rafting (and whitewater)
If your idea of summer is sunbathing and getting wet at the same time, no problem! Truckee River rafting is great to experience a scenic slow ride over easy floats, or you can choose more exciting whitewater action right where the Truckee and Little Truckee Rivers meet below Boca Reservoir, which is mostly Class II and III with one Class IV rapid. The water is liveliest when the California snow melts in May and June, but rafting is usually possible until early October.

 

?️ Travelers FYI:
✈️ Closest airport: Reno International
?  If you can, drive to Lake Tahoe and enjoy the scenic views along I80.

? If planning on going on a holiday…plan ahead of time as Lake Tahoe is becoming more and more popular to spend the long weekends and holidays.

? Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and bathing suit!

 

Have you been to Lake Tahoe? What was your experience? Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions and tag @MaityontheGo on your next adventure! 

Destinations

Mesmerized by the Cathedral of Toledo

This past April, I got the chance to live in Spain for three weeks. First two weeks I was working on a special assignment in Seville, and afterwards decided to stay an additional week to explore even more the Andalusia region.  In a week I visited Cordoba, Malaga, Granada and Madrid, but before arriving to Madrid made an unexpected stop by one of the most impressive medieval towns of the world, TOLEDO!

I only had a few hours in town so decided to spent them in the Cathedral of Toledo, the second richest  catholic construction in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 10am-6pm, and Sundays from 2pm-6pm. Tickets range from 10€ – 12€ and it includes a guided audio tour.

 

Visit the Campana Gorda (Big Bell) and do not miss the splendid panoramic views of Toledo. Make sure to check ahead of time availability since there is a limited number of people allowed up to the tower.

The retable of the Cathedral of Toledo is an extremely florid Gothic altarpiece.

Interior of the Cathedral.

 

Impressive pipe organ in interior of Cathedral.

The most important object kept in the Chapel of the Treasure is the great Monstrance of Arfe, also known as La Gran Ostensoria de Toledo. Made of the finest silver and gold and bejeweled with gems, it measures over ten feet tall.

The monstrance is famous for being used in the annual feast of Corpus Christi of Toledo.

Catedral Primada: Choir stalls and organ pipes of Toledo Cathedral.

Painting in the ceiling of the sacristy by Luca Giordano

Painting by El Greco, Toledo’s most famous artist, in the Sacristy of the Cathedral

#TravelersontheGO tips:
? If your plan is to visit Madrid, your best option is to wake up early and take the high-speed train from Madrid’s main train station, Atocha. First train departs at 8:50am and from there, trains leave every half hour or an hour. It only takes 30 minutes to get there!
Make sure to check return times (and but ticket) if you are planning on doing a half-day trip to Toledo. Price: €14 each way

? There are cheaper ways to get to Toledo. You also have the option of taking a bus but it will take you about 1 hour and a half to get
there. It costs €5 each way, and besides taking longer, you also you need to get to the bus station in Plaza Elíptica in the south of
Madrid.

#SaltodeMaity from Toledo, Spain.

Have you visited Catedral of Toledo? What was your experience? Tips and recommendations for other #TravelersontheGo are welcome. ✈️

Click here to check out my post on Seville, Spain.

Destinations

Manaus, the city in the heart of the Amazon.

Ever wondered what it would be like to get lost in the Amazon? Three years ago I got the chance to visit Manaus, Brasil and absolutely loved it. Very different than Rio,  Sao Paulo, Curitiba or any other cities in Brasil,  Manaus has a tropical climate all year around and is located in the heart of the Amazon River.

 

There is so much to see in Manaus and its surroundings. It is one of those port cities that I would definitely go back to.

Make sure to go the port and see all the different boats loading and unloading passengers and goods. I was impressed by all the trading and commerce.

A MUST SEE! “Encontro Das Aguas” (Meeting of Waters). Located just a few kilometers outside of Manaus is the site where two very different rivers meet and converge (but never mix together). Here, the dark waters of Rio Negro and Rio Solimões swim together and make an astounding unique natural wonder, one could describe this phenomenon as oil and water trying to combine.

Make sure to check out the floating houses found in the Amazon.


#MaityontheGo tips:
✈️ Arrive: Eduardo Gomes International Airport
? Currency:  Brazilian Real . $1US dollar = 3BRL (approx.)
? Most ATM’s are used exclusively by bank customers and can only be accessed with a specific bank card. So be prepared to
exchange your money in a currency exchange store.
? Accommodations range from cheap shared rooms starting at $20 and if you prefer a more comfortable stay, Manaus has 5-star
hotels starting at $300

Destinations

My “Brave” experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

Back in 2012, I got the chance to visit Scotland for the first time. The purpose of my quick trip to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, was the release of the Disney movie “Brave”. After 10+hours of flight from Miami- London- Edinburgh, I finally made it to the city that also served as inspiration for J.K. Rowling to write her first Harry Potter book.

Welcome to Edinburgh!

I have to confess that I knew very little about this amazing and mysterious city.  As I walked its streets filled with pubs, antique stores, and made it up to the Edinburgh Castle, I found several interesting facts that I want to share with you, #TravelersontheGo.

Ready to explore Edinburgh. Don’t be fooled by the bright sun…it was still very chilly (at least for me) in mid June.

?-Edinburgh hosts the world’s largest New Year’s Eve street party. I got there a little early, (June) but there was still lots of people out and about until late at night.

? -Famous Edinburgh Castle was built over an extinct volcano.

North view of the Edinburgh Castle.

Every princess needs a castle. I found mine in Edinburg.??

 

This castle is Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction. Adults pay £17.00, children £10.20, but if you plan to visit several Scotland attractions consider purchasing the Explorer Pass for £24.00.

? -If you like forests and consider yourself a tree-lover (and hugger), you need to know that Edinburgh has 112 parks and more trees per head of population than any other city in the United Kingdom.

View of the city of Edinburgh from the Castle.

?- The world-renowned Encyclopedia Britannica was first produced in Edinburgh. How many of you had this encyclopedia? I remember it was a Christmas Gift for my brothers and I. Google was no were in sight… ?

Where did I stay? The Carlton Hotel. Highly recommended.

View from the Carlton Hotel rooftop.

?-Famous writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, was born in this city.

 

What you encounter in the streets of Edinburgh…love it!

 

#TravelerOnTheGo tip:
? Don’t even think of renting o driving a car in Edinburgh. The city was made for walking and most places you need to arrive by foot. Caves, tunnels, and all mysterious corners of the city are all accessed by walking.

 

Other things to do and visit in Edinburgh:

  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Holyrood Park
  • Blackness Castle
  • Real Mary King’s Close
  • Royal Mile
  • Greyfriars Church
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburg
  • Sherlock Holmes Statue
Destinations, Tips & Recommendations

5 Reasons to fall in Love with Tulum…again and again.

If  you live in the United States and are still doubting about going “south of the border” for your next adventure, it’s because you haven’t visited Tulum yet! If tequila and tacos are not enough for your, here’s reasons why you need to add Tulum to your bucket list:

#5-exotic, yet, easy to get there

If you want to walk on white sandy beaches, bathe in dreamy blue waters and get lost in the middle heaven on Earth, you don’t have to travel half-way around the world to find a place like this. Tulum is about an hour and a half away airplane ride from Florida, and a 90-minute drive from Cancun International Airport. This is about the closest exotic destination you could ever find, ever! And it’s worth every kilometer you travel to get there.

You can choose to stay at the adult only Be Tulum Boutique hotel or stop by for lunch or dinner.

#4-laid back atmosphere

If you hate packing (and un-packing…and re-packing) and pulling heavy luggage everywhere, is time to drop the weight! Tulum’s casual and “hippie” atmosphere let’s you walk around all day in your sandals and favorite bathing suit, and basically, you don’t need anything else to spend your days in this bohemian part of town. So, prepare your carry-on, avoid baggage claim, and drive straight to the walled city of Tulum.

#3-food and cheers

Why go the “extra mile” to Tulum? If you want to stay away from the noisy, overrated restaurants of downtown Cancun, avoid the “blah” meals of the all-inclusive resorts in Playa Del Carmen, and enjoy and unforgettable meal in the Riviera Maya, Tulum is the place to go. Tasty dishes and unique a-la-carte boutique restaurants by the ocean, makes Tulum a true gastronomic destination.

Indulge in the exquisite Mexican cuisine.

Craving some home-made italian, Posada Margherita is the place to go.

Fresh seafood, cold drinks, good friends, and the breeze of the Caribbean is what is all about when you are here. If you are already planning your trip there, don’t forget to visit Casa Malca and as the server for a Margarita! And say “salud

Great time with my girls, Karla and Julissa at Casa Malca.

Best Margarita ? in Tulum: Casa Malca.

#2-nature and history beyond limits

Nomade Tulum, and many other places in the area, offer morning yoga classes on the beach.

Are you feeling a little adventurous? Tulum offers many amazing, exhilarating, heart-pounding field trips including:

diving into cenotes (a.k.a. water caves, search: Cenote Dos Ojos)

Cenotes Dos Ojos.

nature water parks (search: X-caret & Xel-ha)

Photo: Xcaret Park

-Tulum Ruins (search: Mayan City of Tulum)

Photo: Tulum Ruins

#1-THE COST

With the exchange rate going our way (if you live the US), trust me, you will get more than you paid for when you travel to Tulum. Travel sites offer amazing bundles (air, transportation and accommodations). Most boutique hotels don’t offer all-inclusive plans, but food and booze is cheap if you walk around town. And if you are feeling a bit more adventurous you can always find great deals renting an apartment or a house by the beach for less than $100 a day. You can always rent bigger house with a group of friends or family, hire a cook for a few dollars a day (they even do the groceries for you) and enjoy homemade Mexican food everyday.

SALUD! ? Share this post with at least two friends with whom you would like to go explore Tulum.

 

 

Destinations

Going back in history at Athens, Greece

It had always been a dream to go to Greece, and luckily, it came true two years ago when I traveled to Athens to see up close and personal the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, modern literature and The Olympics. I was ready to walk the same steps taken by Plato, Socrates, and now…Maity! ?

Priority on our to do list and visit during our 36 hrs in Athens, was the Acropolis.

Your journey to Athens is not complete until you go to The Temple of Parthenon above the majestic Acropolis hill. This unique and historic temple is visible from almost any angle in Athens and is surprisingly easy to walk to the top! Believe me?.

Cost to get there is 20€ but I recommend buying the multi-pass for 30€ which gives you access to all major architectural sights in Athens.

#3MinEurope- adventuring through Athens with Maria and Meli.

Once you are up there, you begin to understand the importance of this architectural wonder and the culture in which it is surrounded.

Parthenon, Athens, Greece • Constructed from 447 -438 BC

Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece

Not far away from the Acropolis, you can continue walking up the hill and obtain breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

As if all the historic and philosophic value found in the Greek ruins wasn’t enough, this magical city is the only city that has hosted the Olympics on two very separate occasions. The first one in 1894 (the first Olympics ever) and the second one in 2004 (Summer Olympics).

Only missing my ?

If you’re on a budget, your stay in Athens ranges from 100€ – 130€ a day including food and accommodations. It’s a bargain if you put into perspective the importance of this city and what it brought to the world.

Have to confess that the fresh Greek food is one of my favorite.

I was really enjoying the local market.

The Presidential Mansion.

This is a real guard in front of the Presidential Mansion.

So don’t “ruin” your trip to Athens just by thinking it’s far, old and boring. Hope this post encourages you to pin ? Athens on the map and add it to your #bucketlist of fun travels.

Destinations, Tips & Recommendations

10 reasons why the Eiffel Tower should be in your “bucket list”

– The Eiffel Tower is the world’s most visited monument. Almost 7 million people go up the tower annually. Can you believe this? ?

Reporting live from Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

– Originally, the tower was planned to be build in Barcelona, Spain, but apparently there wasn’t much interest and the project was rejected.?

November 30, 2014- Night out in Paris with my dear friend Sofia.

– There are more than 30 replicas around the world, one of them located in Las Vegas..but nothing beats the original in the city of love. ?

– In 1934 the Eiffel tower became the world’s largest advertisement when French car manufacturer Citroën decided to use it as a giant billboard.

– 20 thousand lightbulbs are used to illuminate and adorn the tower.

– The Eiffel tower is worth 400 billion Euros, six times more than the Colosseum in Rome which is worth 91 billion euros.

– It played a great part in early radiophonic experiments and also the start of French Television.

View of the Eiffel Tower from Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre

– It is said that when it rains, the torre “shrinks” 6 inches. ?

– Before building elevators, one had to walk 1,665 stairs to reach the top.

-If you want  an unforgettable culinary experience in the Eiffel Tower, be sure to check out Jules Verne Restaurant, Don’t forget to reserve ahead of time and prepare yourself to pay 190 euros for a 5 course meal, or 230 euros for 6 courses.  Santé!

Credit: LeJules Verne Paris

 

Credit: LeJules Vernes Paris

What has been your experience and first impression at the Eiffel Tower? Feel free to leave your comments and additional suggestions.

Destinations

Visiting the “Temple of Soccer” in Rio de Janeiro

Whether you are soccer fan or not, Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro is a “must” on the list of places to visit. I have been very fortunate to spend some unforgettable times in Rio and visited “The Temple of soccer” on various occasions. Although not an expert in soccer, I do enjoy the “jogo bonito” and have learned some interesting facts.

#SaltodeMaity from outside of Maracana stadium.

  • Maracana has been the host of 2 World Cup Finals. The first one in 1950, when favorite Brazil played against underdog Uruguay, and the unexpected outcome was called “El Maracanazo”. To say the least, Brazil lost having home field advantage, and became one of the biggest upsets in sports history.  

Photo of Maracana in 1950. Courtesy: www.sandiegored.com

Second Final -the last World Cup final  in 2014 when Germany won against Argentina. I was lucky enough to be there, on that day, in this amazing stadium.

Germans celebrating their victory over Argentina at Maracana.

Panaromic view of Maracana during the World Cup Final 2014.

-Its original “birth” name is Estadio Mario Filho, but since it was built in a neighborhood called Maracanã, people just started calling it that way.

Outside Maracana during the FIFA World Cup 2014

– It was at the Maracana that world famous Pele scored his 1000 goal in 1969.

Source: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/56223342/Hulton-Archive

– Madonna, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner have performed at Maracana. Pope John Paul II also held massive masses in 1980 and 1997.

What you need to know if you get to Rio and want to visit Maracana:

Footprints of Pele. Photo: www.all-about-brazil.com/Maracana-Pelefootprints/

-Opens every day from 9am – 5pm and if interested there is a Museum inside were you can find photographs, championship cups, and Pelé’s famous No. 10 jersey. Tours prices vary from R$25 – R$85

-Regardless of where you are staying, you can find reliable transportation, either bus or subway. Heavy traffic might get to you, so try using the “metro”- its cheaper, faster, better. And if you are lucky…you might meet interesting people. I did.

Public bus in Rio de Janeiro.

-If your visit to Rio coincides with a soccer match PLEASE get there early, and make it a day! Be sure to take many photos and enjoy the experience.

World Cup 2014 Final

Obrigada!

Destinations

48 hours in Amsterdam, Netherlands

About a year ago, I visited Amsterdam with three good friends Melissa, Alejandra and Rochie. Amsterdam was the last city of a two-week-five-cities-tour through Eastern Europe. Needless to say we were tired but really looking forward to discovering the capital of Netherlands.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take the photo at the famous “I am Amsterdam” sign at the back of Rijksmuseum on Museumplein.

We had 48 hours to enjoy the city and a long list of things to do and places to visit. Here are 10 recommendations (and experiences) for a short but productive Amsterdam adventure.

  1. Visit Amsterdam Centraal whether you are arriving on train or not. This national heritage site was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1889.

Amsterdam Centraal, the largest railway station of Amsterdam, Netherlands used by approximately 162,000 passengers a day.

2. Check out the Basilica of Saint Nicholas

The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district. It is the city’s major Catholic church.

4. Rent a Bike. It is said that there are more the 800,000 bikes in Amsterdam. Undoubtedly that is the transportation of choice and a great way to explore (and exercise) through the city.

5. Get lost in the narrow streets of Jordaan, one of the Amsterdam’s most charming neighborhoods. We had breakfast at a small local coffee shop where we had probably the best avocado toast of the whole trip. The key and secret ingredient: homemade goat cheese.

6. Plan to go to the Anne Frank House. Purchase your ticket online. Click here for tickets.

“To build your future you have to know your past” A. Frank

The best and safest way to guarantee you will get to visit Anne Frank House is buy purchasing the tickets online as they sell out quickly. But if you don’t have a ticket, your best option (at least for us) is to go to the Museum two hours before closing. Some of the people who reserve tickets, don’t show up,  so you are able to “walk in” after buying your ticket. We got lucky and had a little over an hour to walk around the house, but it was worth it.

7. Take a boat tour through the canals.

8. Amsterdam is home for over 50 museums all worth visiting. In 48 hours we could only visit the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum

Van Gogh Museum opens daily from 9am to 6pm, but on Fridays it opens until 10pm.

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. It is huge so if you are short of time, locate a map upon your arrival and prioritize what exhibitions you want to see.

Travel Tip:  Amsterdam offers a City Card that you can purchase online and gives you free entry to some attractions (museums included) and free public transportation. Click here for more information. PS- We didn’t use the City Card but I have heard it is worth it.

9. Check out the Bloemenmarkt.

Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market is one of Amsterdam’s most colorful attractions.

10. “Over the Edge” swing.  Amsterdam has Europe’s highest swing  that puts you 100 meters above the ground. A’Dam Tower and Lookout has a beautiful restaurant, deck, bar and swing. If weather permits, you can enjoy amazing 360° views of Amsterdam. Click here for more information.

As you can see,  Amsterdam has so much to offer and is definitely a city worth spending more than 48 hours. 😉

Feel free to leave your comments and share any other helpful tips or recommendation.

 

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