Authentic Experience, Couples, excursions, Travel Tips

When in Iceland eat a hot dog

… and other favorite foods I’ve enjoyed on vacation

Listen here – I took pictures of my food BEFORE Instagram made it popular!

I was a scrapbooker, and because I couldn’t take the taste and smells with me, I took photos 😊

I’ve truly enjoyed getting to experience new things as I get older, including new taste combinations and exquisite culinary adventures!

Though this is a challenge to broaden my travel horizons due to my food allergies – not sensitivities or dislikes (though those do exist too) but try anaphylactic allergies. The main culprits are fish, seafood, shellfish and mushrooms – & in this day in age, chefs love fish or mushrooms or both!  I am pleased to say that cruising has been a super experience where I thought I’d been in deep trouble surrounded by seafood. Though this has not lessened my fear of going to Asia where I don’t’ know the country, and fish /mushrooms are key diet items.

I digress, there has been plenty of food I’ve enjoyed in my journeys – and had the pleasure of learning to cook while in my travels.  First one that comes to mind is New Orleans gumbo, not only did I take a class and buy the spices in bulk to bring back home, but I often make it for friends as it’s a huge crowd pleaser!  That then leads me to think of the most surprisingly delicious pork chop I’ve had in my life at Perry’s in Houston Texas – hands down!!  I’ve tried to perfect this since, and no luck thus far.

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In Iceland, besides the world famous hot dog stand in Reykjavik, (BTW, all the hot dogs in the country are made in a single plant) the bread an butter are to die for!  Since the country does not have many cows, most of the butter is from goats.  Oh and have I mentioned the coffee?!  My husband doesn’t even like coffee and he drank coffee every day there it was so delicious! (recipe!)

In Hawaii, everyone on the tour was excited to have fresh fish every day, so all that was left on the menu most times was Hawaiian pulled pork – so I made a game of it and was sure to have it every single day!  It tasted slightly different at each place – which was unexpected fun, but consistently was moist and juicy!!! (recipe!)

Now don’t get me started on Holland American’s bread pudding with vanilla bean custard sauce – I would simply eat vegetables for lunch so I could thoroughly enjoy a giant bowl of delectable warm dessert in the late afternoon (sorry, had to dry off my keyboard from the drooling) (recipe!)

Close to home, Brazilian Barbeque at Gaucho’s in Canmore Alberta is not only all you can eat meat of so many types I can’t remember, but also a fab churro and always excellent service!

Seattle’s a damn find place to easily find good eats, but most memorable was our dinner in the revolving restaurant when I had a gourmet piece of pot roast that melted in my mouth! Like I can’t even remember dessert the dinner was so good!!

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In Charlottetown, PEI, we did a culinary tour (In the pouring rain and it was still amazing!), of which we learned of poffertjes – which are little Dutch pancakes, so tasty & fluffy!  Then we were exposed to something we were surprised we’d never thought of: chocolate covered potato chips – Old Dutch to be precise: the true taste of sweet & salty – forget chocolate covered pretzels!

 

Drinks!

Now I’m not a beer aficionado like my husband is (seriously, he’s pretty much a certified judge!) but I’ve had a delectable Pumpkin beer in Astoria Washington, and a crisp passion fruit at Kona Brewery in Hawaii.   Though whiskey cocktails are currently my choice, nothing beats a Cajun spiced rum & sweet tea on a hot day in New Orleans! Oh, and I am a rare fan of a chicory coffee.

So, what’s your favorite food and or drink you’ve enjoyed while on vacation?!

Cheers, Erika

#erikaluxtravel              http://www.erika.lange@marlintravel.ca

Couples, cruise, excursions

Its OK to vacation together separately!

(This is an alternative and in addition to my 2 previous blog post)

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My husband and I had somewhat of a unique relationship for the 1st 10 years of our marriage, where I worked away on average, 6-8 months of the year.

Now you would think, that would make us want to spend every waking moment together when we weren’t apart, alas it was something we got used to.  We got used to telling each other about our day, stories we read or gossip we heard. 

Don’t get me wrong, we love each other – even in the 8+ years since my career change and we live under the same roof like “normal” couples – which I tell ya, was the hardest adjustment!  We truly enjoy spending time together, either at home or when we travel, but we also truly appreciate listening to each other – to the point where I’d rather have him tell me about a tv show than watch it myself – I love to watch his expressions and hear the inflections in his voice and his humorous take on any story.

So here’s how we make it work on vacation:  We look at our itinerary and pre-decide what we are going to share as an experience together and what we would enjoy apart – so there are no sacrifices or secessions, rather have a story to tell to each other later that day. 

We are independent beings as well as have many common interests.

He also makes fun now of it saying that its my way of getting to share MORE experiences than most because I get him to do research for me and take photos – even though I wasn’t there 😊

The actual way this started happening for us was due to cruising!  I couldn’t afford time and moola to do it all, so split up! Sometimes we did the old rock-paper-scissors – and then shared the stories & photos over dinner that evening.  Then it just became our thing – and relive it – it’s so exciting to share this aspect with other!

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A great example was on the cruise we took from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale in the Autumn of 2011 – of 13 days, we had 10 shore stops.  It was so beautiful with all the fall foliage, and it was our anniversary, so we wanted to share many experiences and have fabulous photos together!  But it was our 1st time to Halifax, and there was so much to do!!!!  So, he went on a ship sail around the harbor – looked like an old pirate ship where he got to hear about the maritime history of the area.  Where I took a coach but out to Peggy’s Cove (simply breathtaking) and then a tour in the Titanic disaster cemetery – so much history there too!  Later that evening, neither of us could get a word in edgewise over each other we were so excited!!  

 Another example was when we were in St. Thomas – he doesn’t like to get his ears wet, but come on!! We’re in the Caribbean dude!!  So we found him a tour that he could wear a dive helmet while being under water and enjoying the tropical fish.  I on the other hand jumped at the opportunity to go snorkeling with sea turtles!

In Alaska, he wanted to learn more about gold mining – and truthfully, I’ve prospected in my past life – so I did town exploring aka “shopping”!  There was no pressure on me to make sure he wasn’t too bored following me, and he came back from his tour as giddy as a school girl!

Vacationing like this also gave me the freedom (& lack of guilt) when my husband gets sick when we travel (it’s like his body says “ok, you now have time to power down, so we’re gonna knock you out a little to make you appreciate relaxation!”.   In Vegas I left him in bed for the day and I went out to play with our friends, enjoy some sights and some pool time.  At the lake, I got him a cozy new blankie from a little shop, and left to explore, have a coffee visit friends, enjoy wandering without an agenda.

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Maybe it’s because of our unique marriage, our personalities or that we’ve been married so long that we need things to talk about!!  But we truly enjoy this way of vacationing and I think you should give it a try!!

Erika

All-inclusive, Couples, Families

Product Showcase – Palace Resorts

Indulge without Limits!

outside moon palacePalace Resorts set the highest standards for all-inclusive vacations where they offer more than you would expect!  They have 8 properties in the Mexican, the Caribbean and Jamaica, here’ are a few I’d like to highlight:

  • Mexico: Cancun – Sun Palace – a couples only oasis
  • Mexico: Cancun – Le Blanc Spa Resort – breezy elegance & boundless pampering (adult only)
  • Mexico: Cancun – Moon Palace – dynamic resort with something for everyone, including a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.
  • ** Mexico: Cancun – The Grand at Moon Palace – new luxe accommodations, world class dining 
  • ** Jamaica: Ocho Rios – Moon Palace – for families & couples & has the largest spa on the island!
  • ** Mexico: Los Cabos – Le Blanc Spa Resort – the jewel of paradise with breathtaking coral reefs & magnificent whale watching.

moon palace

ALL INCLUSIVE & SO MUCH MORE

  • Luxurious accommodations with 24-hour room service
  • Complimentary Wifi and unlimited local & long distance calls
  • Up to $1500 Resort Credit
  • Top shelf liquors
  • Wide variety of a la carte dining which is unrestricted
  • CHI* branded bath, hair products & flat irons (therefor more room in your luggage ladies!)
  • world-class entertainment
  • taxes and gratuities included

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And if you upgrade, you’ll ALSO get: 

CONCIERGE LEVEL AMENITIES

  • Private check-in & out
  • Early check in & late check out
  • Two 25-minute massages on the beach or spa treatment rooms
  • Private candle light dinner at select locations
  • Lavazza espresso machine
  • In-room liquor dispenser with top shelf brands
  • Pillow AND aromatherapy menues
  • Luxury bath amenities by L’Occitane

Its also a foodies paradise with exquisite dining experiences. They have wines from all over the world, are a certified angus beef partnership, and the most delectable pastries!

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FAMILY DELUXE SUITES

  • Guaranteed connecting rooms
  • 1 king room & 1 room with 2 doubles
  • bathrobes & slippers including mini sizes for children
  • family friend amenities such as a candy basket upon arrival and chocolate milk in the fridge!

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So what do Resort Credits mean?

Instant Vacation cash!!!  Stay longer, get more ca$h!!

The credits are good towards rounds of golf, scuba diving, water sports, some sap experiences.  If you dont’ use all of them they are credited to you at the end of your stay as a card that you can use towards your next trip the next year or you can pass them along to your friends & family (or favorite travel professional!)

Enjoy this video to see what there is to experience!

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Let me help you start planning your winter escape!! Erika.lange@marlintravel.ca 

Cheers, Erika

 

 

 

Authentic Experience

It’s YOUR time!

In the words of Eminem, “Let it go, Gotta let it go, keep living your life cause its your tie, Your time, Your time, Your time.”

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After years of spending your time working hard to have everything you wanted for you and your family, years spending climbing the ladder, becoming bigger and brighter through personal development, spending much of your free time watching your children play, perform, and providing enriching experiences for them, now it’s YOUR TIME!

At this time in your life, you’ve shifted from making others happy to making yourself happy. Either through hobbies, volunteering, learning something new – or simply taking time to smell the roses.  Now’s the time to take stock of the bucket list!  You’re active – time to find some new experiences and some enrichment!

For starting your brainstorming, here are travelocity’s 7 Unforgettable bucket list trips for Empty Nesters

  1. Enjoy Butler Service in Bali
  2. Take an African Safari
  3. Spend a Summer in Provence
  4. Cruise down the Nile River
  5. Explore the Temples of Thailand
  6. Experience the Real Life Fairytale of Monaco
  7. Touring the Canadian Rockies by Train

Making plans is key at this time in life – think of it, you’ve had a structured life so far with school and work schedules, your mind is used to the rhythm of it.

Now’s your chance to change focus to your enrichment!  Rediscover your inner child perhaps, what did you enjoy in your early years that you could manifest now?

Your house is where you want it to be – no more renos, and you may even have already downsized.  For the first time you can leave home without having to think about so many things to prep – you can pack up and go on a whim or plan something grand!  This is your chance to see places you have always wanted to see.

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There are so many unique and authentic experiences to be had, let me help you wander through the myriad of options available! 

Cheers, Erika

erika.lange@marlintravel.ca        @erikaluxtravel

 

R&R

How to relax like a professional

 

I’ve worked really hard in my life, ambitious, motivated, & long hours.  Now don’t get me wrong, though it’s a tough slog much of the time, its been rewarding and I’ve have great experiences with many overturns of growth like a tree – in many directions.  With this I’ve also been fortunate enough to have long periods of downtime at one period of my life:                                                                  work hard – relax hard was my motto.

Self care was something I had to embrace, or my body & organs would tell me so!

With that I sought out new relaxing experiences near and far.  It could be as simple as a massage or pair it with a pedicure.  Then I took that to the next level and get it at a resort rather than a local shop.  Then again, made a weekend of it, where I finally got to meditate or read that book I’ve had at my bedside for months!  My mind would soon become relaxed, all my worries would melt away, I would be gently reminded to drink more water, and eat good food (because those nasty habits would creep back up on you in times of stress).

A wonderful thing that no one ever talks about, is that in a good spa, these people are consummate care givers & they make you feel so special.  For most, we are constantly busy taking care of others and forget to take care of ourselves. I truly enjoy getting to know these people, they enrich my life.

If YOU want a relaxing get-away for a weekend or more, contact me to discuss your options! @erikaluxtravel on Social Media or email erika.lange@marlintravel.ca

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These are my spa notes for you take away for a rewarding experience

  1. When they say “take your time” they really do mean it
  2. Don’t be worried about falling asleep during a treatment, I think over 50% do and it shows your lovely attendant they had you fully relaxed.
  3. If you don’t like something – either the pressure, the scent, the colour YOU picked, SPEAK UP!  They want you to leave happy … of course, do this with kindness
  4. Don’t get in dolled up, be kind to those white linens, mascara is not necessary – and you’ll look betting for it not coming out afterwards like a raccoon
  5. Stay a while after your treatment, they have those lounges for a reason, they want you be fully relaxed and enjoy yourself
  6. If the spa you are visiting has a pool or saunas, take FULL ADVANTAGE, make a day of it!  Pack that bathing suit and become one with your robe!
  7. Spa day with your friend? Be mindful of others around you and don’t laugh too hard (experience right there folks!)

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Handy Tips

  1. Bring a lock, because you never know if one is provided for your locker
  2. Bring a prep bag, mine always has a hair brush, deodorant and a pouch for my jewelry (I even take off my earrings and wedding ring for my massages)
  3. Don’t make plans for going out that evening, plan for a good night sleep!  Trust me on this, I went out dancing & drinks after a massage it made for a terrible next morning!
  4. Get comfortable with being silent, with being still, with being mindful
  5. Seriously: hydrate hydrate hydrate, before as well as after!

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Recommendations of my favorite places to professionally relax

  1. Sparkling Hill Resort – a weekend getaway in the hills, overlooking Lake Okanagan, where your room includes saunas, pools & a delicious breakfast
  2. Banff Springs Hotel – Willow Stream Spa – grab a massage or a facial and spend the day in the secluded pools & hot pools, only for patrons.  Also enjoy tea in their many lounge areas
  3. Le Nordik Spa in Chelsea Quebec, the most glorious setting in the trees & rocks where you enjoy a myriad of pools, saunas & lounge areas outdoors all year round
  4. Vida Spa in Vancouver or Whistler – they have the best lounges, and the most magnificent hot oil massage I’ve ever had
  5. Cruise ships!  Many of them have a spa package you can get – where there are only about 100-200 people on the ship can get access to the private spa lounge areas and hot tubs, but most importantly the thermal beds for relaxing on!!!!
  6. And finally, the Cave Sauna Spa– 8 nordik sauna and steam rooms that are bathed in different aromatherapy, light and pure relaxation!!  I am so fortunate to live so close to this wonderful business.

http://www.lounginginluxury.ca erika.lange@marlintravel.ca

The Cave Sauna Spa
The Cave Sauna Spa in Cochrane Alberta