~By: Amanda

As much as I love traveling in a large group, you get to see things from a much different perspective when traveling with only one or two other people. I was fortunate to experience Angkor Wat this way, one of the world’s most beautiful sites, which is how I suppose the universe intended. Touching down in Cambodia at the end of a very long backpacking trip through Asia, my party light was extinguished, and it was time to be spiritual and calm to see one of Buddhism’s largest monuments. Don’t get me wrong though, I still had a complimentary beer on the flight from Bangkok.


Cambodia has one of the most efficient visa processes in the world. Utilizing a visa upon arrival program, with an assembly line that made me shiver; I thrive on efficiency. The visa forms are dispensed on the in-bound flight. Because we had done our research, we had our $35 and passport pictures ready. We were in and out in less than 15 minutes— on-ward to fun! Strategizing properly for once in our lives, we hit the ATM asap since we were in need of local currency, as they don’t take Thai baht in Cambodia. What they do take is USD. Seriously, it’s actually preferred. The ATMs offer the option to choose between Cambodian Riel or USD. Choose $$$, as everywhere accepts the Riel, but we definitely got some disapproving looks.


For accommodation we choose the Damnak Kunthea Villa, which had an amazing pool and balcony area, so we could secure our tans before flying back to NYC. The hotel provided a complimentary shuttle from the airport, which is where we met Mr. Makara, who was soon to become our new best friend. After settling in at Viva Restaurant, we sat down to plan our next few days. They had a margarita happy hour, so we ordered drinks and nachos and got our google on.

Guided fancy tours for Angkor Wat were far out of our price range. The best way to visit the site is to hire a tuk tuk driver for the day. Our hotel offered the services of Mr. Makara and we determined this was the best option within our budget, plus his tuk tuk was pretty. Two options were offered: the extended tour and the short tour. But the short tour still covered a great deal of ground and most of the important ruins. My memory is fuzzy from a year of beer, but I believe the cost for the short tour was $20-25 with an additional $5 for the sunrise tour. Trust me, pay the extra $5 and get out of bed for the sunrise over Angkor Wat! I know you are tired, but stop drinking buckets early for one night and see some culture. If I can, so can you!!

With an incredibly early morning planned, we opted for a namaste evening of shopping, massages and exploring the city. Stumbling upon Charley’s, we decided to have a quick night cap before heading to bed. While it doesn’t seem like much from the outside, once inside you definitely feel the western influence on this bar. Don’t judge; after a month of Southeast Asia we were ready for something that felt more like home. Much to our delight sparkling wine was on the menu for $2.50. I love bubbles! A recent Buzzfeed quiz told me that if I was a drink, I would be champagne. I accept this.

The next morning before the sun even considered peaking over the horizon we were out of bed and meeting up with Mr. Makara. The hotel staff had packed us a to-go breakfast and we set off in the dark towards Angkor Wat. Since Angkor Wat is considered a sacred Buddhist temple it is important to keep in mind the attire you choose for that day. It is highly offensive to wear reveling clothing or show an excessive amount of skin. Ladies this means no tank tops, a short sleeve shirt works nicely or bring a pashmina to cover the shoulders. Short dresses and shorts are prohibited as well.


We soon realized half of the other tourists in Siem Reap had the same plan to see the sunrise that morning and we joined a convoy of tuk tuks headed down the road. At the entrance of the Angkor Wat complex, you are required to pay the $20/pp entrance fee into the ruins. Discounted 3 and 7 day passes are available. Be forewarned, the entrance fee to Angkor Wat will rise to $37 for the day pass as of February 2017. This process was a complete mess and several lines of anxious tourists spiraled backwards, creating a huge crowd. Angkor Wat entrance fees must be paid in cash and once again, they want those green USD.


A throng of activity welcomes you as the tuk tuk pulls up to the parking area near the big temple. Mr Makara dropped us off and pointed to the general location where we could find him later. Thank God that tuk tuk was an easy to spot bright green. With the crowd, we crept through the dark towards the Grand Temple. In hindsight a flashlight would be a useful tool to stash in the day bag. Luckily the iPhone has a fantastic flashlight function and in unison our cell phones lit the path.


We all settled down next to a lake forward of the main ruins and waited for the sun to creep over the horizon. The sky began to lighten and highlight the ruins in pinks and oranges with hints of purple, creating a beautiful outline of the temple against the sky, which soon faded into a blue as then the sun poked over the horizon. With the sun now shining over the landscape we set out to explore the ruins, starting with the main temple. The architecture of this ancient structure is fascinating, considering the intricate detail they used with such little technology. I mean, they didn’t even have an iPhone flashlight.

After getting all the Instagram worthy photos we needed from this temple, we retraced our steps to the parking lot and found Mr. Makara napping in a hammock rigged up on the tuk tuk; not a bad way to kill time. We set off for the next part of the tour and while interesting and wonderful, all the temples began to run together. The day had grown hot, plus this ancient culure seemed to have a thing for stairs. Towards the end, we were more delighted by the stray dogs napping in the street.

Exhausted and sweaty after a long morning, it was time for lunch and a beer. By this time we had been exploring for about 6 hours. Honestly, unless you’re a history enthusiast or that person who must see everything, the half day tour will suffice. It gets hot midday and the exhaustion of getting up at 4 am and climbing a million steps will inevitably get to you. I was highly impressed by the precision of the architecture, the details of the faces depicting ancient gods and the sheer size of these temples, but I really like lunch too. Even after a month in southeast Asia, spring rolls never get old and we washed them down with the local beer. It was time for our afternoon nap and we headed back to town to succumb to exhaustion.

Read about the Angkor Wat after party in part 2, exploring Siem Reap

~By: Amanda

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

Damnak Kunthea Villas: 112 Wat Damnak, Krong Siem Reap Cambodia +855 78 792 976 booked via

Viva: #697, Group 10, Mondol 1 Svay, Siem Reap Cambodia +855 63 963 151

Charley’s: 98 Hospital Street, Siem Reap Cambodia +855 12 181 4001

Cambodian Visa Info:….for Americans

Throwback Thursday: The Bols Experience, Amsterdam

Do something new every time you go there, even if you have been a million times. I lost count how many times I have been to Amsterdam, maybe 100, but I will never be sick of that city. With the basics ticked off, the Heineken Experience and the vast majority of museums; Anna found the House of Bols website with a discounted combo package, the Bols Experience and a canal tour. The description was perfect, for us at least, a museum about Dutch liquor; yes I would like to learn about that. Also, canal tours never get old. I think I have done five, but nothing beats a boat in the summer, especially when you have a couple of beers tucked inside your purse.

The Bols experience is a tour of the journey from the beginning roots starting in 1575 of this Dutch Genever liqueur, which is considered the oldest distilled spirit brand. For the self guided tour you are provided with an audio component, which dispenses information in several languages, by scanning bar-codes along the way. Dutch Genever or Holland gin was originally created from distilling mulled wine and was traditionally juniper flavored. Today genever liqueur is found in a variety of flavors, including ginger, blueberry and mango to name a few. The Bols experience takes you through the history of the Bols brand, how the liqueur is distilled and is designed to heighten all your senses. The tour includes a drink voucher for a free cocktail at the end of the tour in the museums “Mirror Bar”. There are several cocktails to choose from, the Dark and Stormy was a group favorite; however everything we sampled was delicious. We were a group of 5 best friends, so you know we all tried each other’s drinks. For 5 euro, you can purchase additional cocktails, so don’t feel pressured to choose only one option. I may have had three, I really can’t remember. The bartenders are hysterical and gave us a complimentary shot of one of their special concoctions. The Bols experience also offers cocktail workshops and Genever tastings, if tours bore you. This tour was a fun way to get me into a museum.

God forbid we do two touristy things in one day, so we choose the following day to cash in the Canal tour part of our package. After stocking up on some provisions, aka beer and champagne we headed for the dock. The canal tour included in our package was Blue Boat, which utilizes covered boats, nice for Amsterdam because you never know when a rain cloud might sneak up. Audio sets in a variety of languages are available and gave just the right amount of information; but seriously I already knew what those hooks on top of the houses were used for. With the sun shining, it was the perfect afternoon floating through the canals.

For once we pre-planned and seriously saved some money. With this tour bundle, we essentially paid five euro for the canal tour, which typically cost 15-20 euro per person. Just when you think you have done it all, there is always something new to experience, especially such an amazing city as Amsterdam.

~By:  Amanda

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

House of Bols: Paulus Potterstraat 12, 1071 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands +31205708575

The Travel Shack in Vienna, Austria


The reason I love a good hostel is because you can make new friends who all have the 411 on what to do in that city. Checking into Wombat Hostel in Vienna, I quickly made friends with a crazy Aussie. He told us about the best bar in Vienna right around the corner from the hostel, with a shot list that will change your life. Typically I am not a shot person, I’m a pretty small person and shots make alcohol rush into my veins and often throws me over that drunk edge. However, with shot names such as the “Chuck Norris” and “fire shot” I was instantly intrigued. The guy had been in Vienna for 6 days and gone to Travel Shack for five of them; so all I could think was, “I must go!”

After a quick stop at the Christmas market for some cheap dinner and of course gluhwein, we arrived at Travel Shack a little early for the party….ok, we were the first ones there. Travel Shack has three rooms and a stage with a stripper pole, because that is absolutely necessary in a party bar. We settled in with some delicious German helles beers, because it’s not time for shots yet (what kind of girl do you think I am?) We decided to play a few games of pool before the masses showed up. I lost a lot, but you can’t be good at everything.

After failing Team America at pool, things started to pick up at the bar, or in other words, more people showed up. The DJ showed up and the music became more lively. It was time for the shots! Earlier in the evening I had carefully consulted the menu, as there were so many choices. It was obvious, to me that only acceptable shot for me was the “Chuck Norris.” Basically its a shot of your choice and the bartender then smacks you across the face, twice, once on each side. If I’m taking a shot, its going to be tequila. Otherwise the outcome can become quite grim; lets not even talk about Fireball and what that does to me. I steadied up to the bar— I’m a little girl right?— this guy bartender is gonna go easy on me, right? …. NO! Down the hatch and BAM, wow Austrian bartenders don’t play around. However, I couldn’t quit laughing, it was hysterical. Next, my travel buddy decided on the Fire Shot, where they essentially light your mouth on fire. It was like a dragon.

Our night continued with countless helles. Being a full moon, the bar hired several artists to paint everyone with neon body paint, in honor of the Full Moon Party celebrations in Koh Phangan, Thailand. At some point the Aussie bought a paddle of different shots. I can’t remember what each one was, but at this point I was far past caring. The karaoke room opened up and everyone crowded in to sing group karaoke. We found ourselves a place to sit on top of the table at the far end of the room to sing along. My only complaint about this entire bar, was they would not allow “Wonderwall” by Oasis in the Karaoke room. That is my jam; how do you not like this song?  The rest of the night was spent dancing and laughing, until it was time to slink back to the hostel at 2 am. Stopping for doner kebab, which is the most accepted drunk food in all Europe, we strolled home with happy tummies.

This was by far one of the most fun bars I have ever been to anywhere in the world, so much so that I already have plans to return with the usual posse this summer; pretty much specifically to go here again. My friend who is essentially the queen of shots is already looking at a calendar.

~By:  Amanda

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

Travel Shack:  Mariahilferguertel 21, 1150 Vienna Austria +43 1 961 0131

Wombat Hostel, The Lounge:  Mariahilfer Strasse 137, 1150 Vienna Austria +43 1 897 2336 booked via


St. Croix

~By:  Anna



When Winter Blues set in, the perfect cure is sandy beaches, the warm sun and turquoise water.  If you want a little Caribbean in your life and someone in your party doesn’t have a passport, check out the US Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix! (Also, immediately either set that friend up to speed or get rid of them :).

    My boyfriend Ben and I chose St. Croix as our first vacation spot together and we flew on American from Miami. Delta also has seasonal service from Atlanta and NY, and you can connect on JetBlue via San Juan or St Thomas. We decided to stay in Christiansted on the eastern side of the island, in the older section of town near the fort. The Hotel St Croix was originally built in the mid 1700s and it’s a beautiful colonial style three story building with many nooks and crannies and quaint spaces. There is a bar on the first floor called Club Comanche and a second floor walkway to the bar across the street. Inside the upstairs bar is a pool table, tabletop shuffleboard and a relaxing hammock.  Hanging overhead is the original long wooden boat named the Comanche that carried over some of the first settlers into Christiansted. The hotel’s atmosphere is open and inviting; we had a cozy little room on the third floor under a sloping roof where we could occasionally hear the patter of the island rains. The only problem during our stay was that the water pressure in our shower was temperamental due to road construction. Otherwise the staff was quite friendly and the continental breakfast satisfactory. The greatest part about our hotel was the location–  stumbling distance home from all the fun bars along the boardwalk! But I really enjoyed the architecture, and the beautiful wooden antique island furniture displayed on every level. I loved the daybed I could relax in with a book on the second floor and the old speckled mirror going up the stairs that made me look super skinny. However, if you object to roosters interrupting your morning, perhaps stay in a resort like the Buccaneer. The most prolific native inhabitant of St. Croix are the multicolored free range chickens and roosters strutting about town. 


Day 1

  Once  we landed, we took care of our rental car. We had originally booked with Budget, and even though we called in advance to ensure our Jeep reservation, upon arrival we were informed only small cars were available. So we cancelled that and went with Centerline Rentals instead. We discovered they have a much wider range of Jeep selection. Then we drove into Christiansted, checked into the Hotel St. Croix, and went to Angry Nate’s on the boardwalk for dinner. The dinner menu is very over priced for the quality of the food; lunch prices are more reasonable. I loved the nachos appetizer, they have their own house made nachos that are covered in the most delectable spices! I had the mussels for dinner, which I can only say, I’ve had better elsewhere in the world. The best part about Angry Nate’s was the excellent service and the people watching. The highlight of our night was the view from the boardwalk as we watched the new Supermoon rise over the marina. Being closer to the Equator, the Supermoon appeared much larger in the sky than it did back home up north.

   Afterwards, following music, we came across the Scooter bar, a garage where you can rent scooters during the day and becomes a small bar at night. We met a lot of locals, and laughed and danced and sang along to the piano. We soon discovered that there are no open container laws in St. Croix! You can carry your drinks around with you everywhere, and it’s even legal to drink and drive, so long as you use a straw so as not to impede your vision! (According to the local cops.) Most people simply carry around tall white styrofoam cups with a straw and just refill it at every bar they walk into. St Croix is an alcoholics paradise! 


Day 2

   The next day we wanted to explore the Old Town so first we checked out the Scales House, where Alexander Hamilton used to work as a customs clerk measuring and weighing goods, and then we got a private tour of the still-in-use Customs House from Janelle of the Parks Service who saw us exploring about outside and kindly invited us in. The Christiansvaern Fort  is right next door, in a pretty park along the waterfront, and it’s only $3/person to do a self-guided tour. Lots of great info and historical facts are on placards in every room, including that Alexander Hamilton’s mother was once imprisoned there for leaving her first husband. Some of the best views of Gallows Bay are from the ramparts of the fort. 

   Back in our Jeep with the top down, we set off to explore the western side of the island. We learned very quickly that neither a GPS nor a paper map are very helpful. The GPS gets lost and the paper maps are outdated. None of the roads make much sense, they are always making weird jogs to the right or left, have odd intersections, and sometimes just disappear altogether. The worst part is that the roads aren’t labeled and you never know what road you are turning on. It’s a lot of guesswork, plus trying to remember to stay on the opposite side of the road! 

   We finally made it over to the west coast of the island near Fredericksted and found a perfect place for snorkeling; ready to test out our new ninja snorkeling masks. These are a new version that cover your whole face, and give you a far bigger view of the ocean. You don’t have to keep breathing through a tube in your mouth, you can just breathe naturally. It was such an wonderful new snorkeling experience! The Caribbean was crystal clear and I found lots of pretty fish to follow. Some friendly tourists walking by told us about some carousel horses buried into the sand further out in the water that made for an awesome underwater excursion. 


  After our vigorous swim, we headed back towards the north part of the island to meet our tour guide for horseback riding at a bar called Off The Wall. This is one of the most popular beach bars with live music during peak season. Grabbing some rum and cokes while we waited, the bartender was quick to warn us that we were about to meet one of the island’s most colorful and popular characters. Cowboy Steve. He showed up, held out his hand, and the minute he started talking, we were all fast friends. He was a former priest from Limerick, Ireland who decided after ten years that clergy life wasn’t for him forever, and took off to explore the world, met the Dali Lama in Tibet, and settled on a ranch in Texas for another ten years wrangling cattle where he met Angela Nixon, the writer for All My Children. She asked him to move to St Croix and personally take care of her estate and horses. 25 years later, he is a permanent fixture to the island and exudes positivity, Irish charm, good vibes and spiritualism. He asked us about prior riding experience before choosing our horses for the day’s ride. We met his friend Kiowa who is part native Cruzan and part Native American Indian. He has bright green eyes, a broad smile, a happy nature, and a great singing voice. We all held hands in a circle, introduced ourselves, took some deep breaths and meditated together. It felt great to be so calm and connected before embarking on a little journey of trust in each other and our horses. 

   We trotted down the road and up a small hill to an old stone sugar mill. It was used to grind up sugarcane using a windmill, an engineering method dating back to the long years of Dutch colonial control. The views of the sunset from atop this hill were so beautiful, I sat patting my horse, letting him graze on the tall grasses blowing in the wind, and felt such deep happiness and contentment. 

  The next thing I knew, Cowboy Steve was leading my horse slowly up the stone steps of the sugar mill and I got to go inside. Ben rode in next to join me and with patient coaching, Cowboy Steve had our horses side by side, and in total confusion of what he was asking, I found myself standing up in the saddle! It was completely crazy and fun! 

  Then we rode the horses through the woods and fields and down to the ocean. Kiowa and I just rode along the beach of Cane Bay while Ben (who has a lot more horseback riding experience than I do) and Cowboy Steve took their horses swimming far enough out into the ocean that they were able to spot sea turtles. Kiowa told me the story of when Christopher Columbus’s men first landed at St Croix in 1493, they encountered the natives and took captive a warrior woman. They raped her, and in revenge, she took a little green apple from a tree and broke it in half and with its juice on the point of her spear, managed to kill two of them. That “apple” tree is the manchineel, and Kiowa pointed it out along the beach and said to not touch any of it, as it’s so poisonous, rainwater hitting its leaves will burn your skin. 

   While they were out on their horses swimming in the ocean, Steve invited Ben and I to go kayaking that night with him and some friends for free out into a bioluminescent bay. We were overjoyed to accept the invitation! 

  So after we unsaddled and fed the horses, we followed Steve’s truck to his marine biologist friend’s house right on Salt River Bay. Using flashlights in the pitch black, Ben and I settled into a two-person tandem kayak, and pushed off from the pier. We paddled across the bay and up in close to the mangroves on the other side where Kristin, the marine biologist, showed us where the bioluminescence was strongest, because of the higher concentration of decaying material for the bacteria to feed on. It was one of the most magical things I’ve ever been so lucky to experience. I could trail my hand in the water or dip my paddle to create a shimmering eddy of sparks. It was like having fairy dust or a million fireflies trailing from my fingertips. In the meantime, the full Supermoon was quietly rising, a giant ball of luminescent light over the black shadowy mangroves. We were awe-stricken. No one moved a paddle. We could only stare at the moon, caught in a moment and in the wide moonbeam reflecting across the still waters. Suddenly Ben broke the silence with a long howl at the moon and Kiowa joined in and then we all started laughing and singing.

  After our gooodbyes, we got back to our hotel for a hot shower, more than a little exhausted from our long day of adventures and definitely saddlesore. Word of advice: don’t wear shorts when going horseback riding. Jeans are a must! 

   We went for dinner and a nightcap at the steakhouse 40 Strand Eatery across from our hotel. They have a mac and cheese speciality where you choose from a list of toppings to create your own mac and cheese skillet. Along with a bottle of Merlot, and some bread pudding dessert, we crawled into bed thoroughly satiated. 

Click here for the second part of Anna’s vacation diary, St. Croix Part 2


Way Too Wanderlust Recommends

Equus Rides. Horseback riding tour. TripAdvisor. Ask for Cowboy Steve. Cane Bay Beach, Frederiksted 00821 +1 340-642-4567

Fort Christiansvaern:  Hospital Street, Christiansted, +1 340-773-1460

Club Comanche (Hotel St. Croix):  1 Strand Lane, Christiansted, USVI +1 340-773-0210

Throwback Thursday: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland


Where Europe ends and the vast expansion of the Atlantic Ocean begins, the Cliffs of Moher plummet down the coastline of West Ireland. Standing over the edge almost feels like you are standing at the end of the world, as the wind blows though your hair and the salt sprays up from the ocean. A quick stop between work trips, our group decided to rent a van and be tourists for the day. With 8 people, it was enough to spread the cost to hire a private coach. We arranged through a tourist transportation company and for $40 it included hotel pick up and drop off, the $6 entrance fee into the cliffs, and a stop over at an traditional Irish pub for a late Lunch and a pint. 

With beer and snacks stashed in our day totes, we set out on the windy Irish day. Our first stop was in the town of Lehinch, here we watched the waves crash into the beach from the promenade. The intense waves looked like a surfer’s dream and there were several zipping up their wetsuits against the icy water of the North Atlantic. Back on the bus, we climbed the road to the cliffs. Our friendly driver let us off at the parking lot across the street and we made the easy stair-clad climb to the edge.

It is easy to understand once you have seen these magestic cliffs why so many myths and legends surround the area. Green fields let into the rocky cliffs before they plunge into the deep blue water. Our 1.5 hour visit didn’t leave us enough time to explore the entire 5 mile (8km) stretch. Luckily the sun was shining and we had the opportunity to relax on the edge and watch the sea churn below.  Entrance also included access to the visitor’s center, however our timeline didn’t leave more than a moment to poke our heads in and use the restroom. The Visitor’s Center  has several informative exhibits about the natural geography, history and geology of the area. If you have time, we regret not doing an educational guided Ranger tour of the Cliffs. 

Back on the road headed towards Limerick, we stopped at Gus O’Connor’s pub. As always I ordered Guinness stew to go with my Heineken……I’m super basic when it comes to beer. Our drive home was filled with a couple more beers and giggles sharing pictures of our happy day. Western Ireland is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ventured, I definitely recommend taking the time to explore this amazing countryside.


From Miami to Ibiza

~By:  Amanda

Part of my soul is in Ibiza, it’s waiting at Usuhaia for me to return for it, hopefully next summer. Based on our love for electronic music we decided Ibiza was the the best choice to round out our Spain vacation. Electronic music lives in Ibiza. Every night one of the world’s top DJs is here spinning at the numerous clubs dotting the island.

Ibiza is located just off the coast of Spain in the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, about a 30 minute flight from Barcelona. After some research and tips from helpful British friends we learned that Playa d’en Bossa, located just east of Ibiza Town, was the best place to stay on the island. Furthermore we were informed that Jet Apartments is in the center of it all, recommended because of their daily pool parties. This is the ONLY reason to stay at Jet Apartments, for the price we paid we could have booked a hotel with a rooftop pool in Miami. However, location is location and high season is high season. The apartments are outdated and could use some maintenance and upgrading. For two days in July heat, our air con was kaput and the front desk provided little assistance in the matter. The maids are towel Nazis, however they cleaned properly and the room includes a mini kitchen. My final straw with this hotel was when we were told that even as hotel guests we were required to pay 15 euro to reserve a lawn chair by the pool. Never mind– the beach is just fine with me. A wrist band would remedy this situation, differentiating hotel guest from outsiders.

Bad accommodation aside, I still love Ibiza, the party girl inside me was ready to erupt full force. After unpacking and hitting up the convenience store, for beer and champagne and chips (essentials), we headed down to the pool area, where a DJ spins way into dusk. After a few cocktails we attempted to purchase tickets for Avicii, who was spinning at Usuhaia that evening. Unbeknownst to us, these shows typically begin around 9 pm. Living in NYC, I have never seen a DJ start before 11pm, usually not before 12-1 am. At this point, it was 8:30 pm, so that wasn’t going to happen.

With that plan scratched, we chilled on our balcony planning our next few days. Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike were performing a late night show at Amnesia and a few of our group opted to go see them. Being tired after a crazy previous night in Barcelona, I regretfully declined, as the show began at 3 am. The rest of us chilled on the beach, lounging in the sand, laughing at each other. We created our own party, complete with our personal EDM Spotify playlists, hooked up to speakers. Watching the flights from all over Europe approach Ibiza airport, we played with my new favorite app called Flight Radar 24. These are the moments you know you’re on vacation with true friends, because you can go anywhere and do anything and have the best night of your life.


Late? I am never late! Ibiza flip flops who you are and brings out the best in you. With a boat party booked for 1:00 pm, mom (Anna) set a pick up time of 12:00 noon. Surprisingly, two of the most adult people in our group forgot to set an alarm. Waking up at 11:40, we snapped into action and got ready in 20 minutes, “Home Alone” style. We hopped into cabs and set off for Playa d’en Bossa pier.

Oceanbeat Ibiza Boat Party is an absolutely necessary addition to your Ibiza vacation! The three hour cruise is an insane boat party sailing around the Mediterranean with an amazing DJ. The flier totes unlimited beer, sangria and sparkling wine, but do not be fooled, you receive one glass of sparkling wine upon boarding. The sangria, beer and soft-drinks (soft drinks, why?) are bottomless. Half way through the fiesta the boat anchors giving everyone an opportunity to splash in the ocean. The front of the boat was equipped with a long driving board and the back has a small waterside. According to my friends I was the only girl who did a flip off the front of the boat, I guess those gymnastics lessons were good for something. For the next half an hour we floated and played in the water. It was the perfect time to haul out the go-pro dome and get those fancy action shots. Heading back to the pier, the DJs continued to keep the party going strong.

Because one party is never enough for a day, we headed back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for David Guetta. Usuhaia is by far the best concert venue I have ever been. Every night in the summer, they feature a different headlining DJ. The line-up for the week included not only David Guetta and Hardwell, (both shows which we attended), but also Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Martin Garrix and Avicii. For cost efficiency you can pre-purchase tickets online for about 40 euros, but this must be done weeks in advance, as pre-sale goes quickly. Once you are on the island, if you purchase tickets the day before the event, you can get roughly a 5 euro discount from the day of purchase price of 55 euro. We learned from the party planners that Usuhaia has a time restriction on noise, hence why shows begin at 9 pm, as it is also a ridiculously expensive hotel.


Usuhaia has to be one of the best music venues in the world–it’s definitely MY favorite. The stage opens up to a large area flanked by hotel rooms on each side. If you are bougie and can afford it, several of the rooms actually overlook the stage. There are several wading pools scattered throughout the venue. I can not fathom a better way to watch a concert than dancing to the beat of the music with the cool water moving around your legs, twirling barefoot around each other. A word to the wise: I spent 55 euros on three beers and two bottles of water. Drinks here are exorbitant, everything on Ibiza is. A mojito, while really delicious, is 15 euros, so have a few drinks before you arrive.

Desperate to work on our tan, the next day was dedicated to beach time. Going with our traditional vacay breakfast of Bloody Maria’s in hand, we had ourselves a proper morning. Julie and I hauled real Bloody Mary mix and Tequila minis all the way from ‘Merica. We hadfr our Bloody Maria’s with all the fixings, including olives and pickles.


Our plan for the night was to start off with our first proper sit-down meal as a complete group, since we arrived, because eventually everyone gets sick of sandwiches and chicken nuggets. El Limonero Ibiza is the number one restaurant on TripAdvisor in Playa d’en Bossa and somehow we managed to get a table here for 9 without a reservation, thanks Universe! Since Julie and I essentially have the exact same taste buds we paired off and ordered tapas to share. They were so delicious, I wish I was eating them now! The waitstaff treated us like family and finished off our dinner with a complementary round of limoncello.

After an amazing supper, it was Hardwell time! Heading back to Usuhaia, we parked ourselves back in the wading pool and waited for one of our favorite DJs to start spinning. Hardwell is so ingenious, he even incorporated a Dr Dre remix into his set. I still feel like it was one of the best remix tracks I have ever heard. Words can not explain what this music does to me. The beat travels though my veins and takes me over. I can’t help but move, as the notes climb to a peak my heart follows them into the sky.

With our adrenaline jumping from the performance, we decided our next stop was a paint party at Privilege. Anna had acquired a discount wristbands from some random person on the street, which is actually totally normal. In the mass confusion of Usuhaia letting out, we finally made it onto the city bus for 2 euro (the cheapest thing I did in Ibiza) and rode out to Privilege Nightclub, located inland in San Rafael. Arriving at the city bus drop-off point, we still had to walk down a curvy hill to the club. Without a sidewalk, we ventured down the road in a large group all headed in the same direction. Safety in numbers……probably not in Spain.

Inside the club was a giant dome with a stage set in the middle for the DJ and dancers. Waiting an hour for the party to start, we posted up to the bar and ordered more beers. I don’t know why Budweiser was the only beer option. I also didn’t realize anyone drank this disgusting liquid loaf of bread outside the USA. The concept of a paint party is pretty self explanatory: they spray-gun neon paint all over the crowd and the club is lit with black lights. The paint cannons are timed to spray with the swells of the music…..The set was well blended with EDM and old school Hip Hop, which created an amazingly diverse sound. The paint comes from all angles so attempting to not get paint in your eyes usually ended in an epic fail. Despite my outfit being ruined, all my euros gone and paint stinging my eyes, I didn’t ever want to leave. Finally in the wee hours of the morning we took a cab back to our hotel to shower, because our hair was now a solid. Word of advice: don’t wear any clothing you care about and ensure all your valuables are protected in a purse or plastic bag.

Out of bed early, way too early, we needed time to pack up before the noon checkout. Throwing our bags into luggage storage, we had 2 hours to kill before heading to the airport. A group breakfast with gallons of coffee revived us just enough to grab cabs to the airport. At the airport far earlier than we have ever been for a flight, we checked in and headed to the bar. That is perfectly acceptable at 2 pm. Somehow “Ratchet Air,” I mean Ryan Air, let us on the airplane with draft beers; I love people who don’t care! Flying away with my head on the tray table, I got a 45 minute nap before landing in Malaga.

Spending what I would have normally spent in 7-10 days in Southeast Asia, I still want to go back to Ibiza! Like right NOW! But, its cold and no one is there, so alas I will wait until next summer to go back and fetch the other half of my soul. Who knows, maybe I will leave it there again, just to ensure that I make another trip!

*Authors note: I listened to an entire Axwell^ Ingrosso set while writing this, because that is who I am ♥

Read about our other Spain adventures:

Way too Wanderlust Recommends:

Amnesia: Carretera Ibiza a San Antonio Km5, San Rafael, Ibiza +34 971 19 80 41

Oceanbeat Ibiza Boat Party: Av. Pere Matutes Noguera 22, 07800 Ibiza +34 633 81 14 41

Usuhaia: Platja d’en Bossa 10, 07817 Sant Jordi de Ses Salines, Ibiza Spain

El Limonero Ibiza: Calle Argelagues 15, 07817 Playa d’en Bossa Ibiza +34 618 72 21 111

Privilege Ibiza: Apartado de Correos 94, San Rafael Ibiza +34 971 19 81 60

Ryan Air: (because they let me bring beer)


Swedish House Mafia. “Miami to Ibiza.” Axwell, Steve Angello, Sebastion Ingrosso, and Patrick Okogwu. “Until One.” U.K. , Virgin, EMI and Astralwerks, 4 Oct 2010, digital download.

Throwback Thursday: Fasching, Mainz Germany

Come to a festival? Ok then, I will get on an airplane! When considering pre-lenten celebrations, most people think of either Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio; no one considers Germany. However, two cities in Germany hold rather large and entertaining pre-lenten festivals called Karneval (Cologne) and Fastnacht (Mainz). Throw in an inviation from two crazy German friends to attend the Mainz celebration, and Anna and I are on a flight bound for Frankfurt.

Faschnacht (or Fasching) is the gigantic party leading up to what is Ash Wednesday, which occurs 46 days before Easter. This festival has roots dating back to the 14th and 15th century and started in Mainz in 1838. Now I know that Germany in February is freezing cold, but after a couple beers you won’t care. The most important thing you should be considering is your costume. Just like Halloween, every night of this 5 day/night festival people dress up in costumes. Animal costumes typically are the favorite as dressing up like a giant furry bear keeps one pretty warm. Plus it’s hilarious when your friends have tails, they are fun to pull!!

Come prepared, because Germans can DRINK. Like a lot, all day! The five day schedule is pretty intense, starting on Thursday, called Altweiber, typically known as Ladies Night. Most people in Mainz gather at Eisgrub (the brewery) for this event, where they transform this restaurant into a club. Friday night is the most calm night of the week, but if you have your heart set on partying all five nights, a pub crawl works. For Saturday the party moves out to Gonsenheim, an outer suburb of Mainz. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay in the city center the Prinzengardenball is a secondary option. For both these events it’s best to have advance tickets, as they are quite popular, so make friends with a local.

I promised parades, because who doesn’t love candy being thrown at them from a moving vehicle? On Sunday everyone takes the short tram ride out to Finthen where the parade and a large outdoor celebration is held in the afternoon. Save your warm costumes for Sunday night, as the party moves outside again into the Schillerplatz. A giant stage is erected for the bands and everyone parties in one of the town squares. Ladies, pay the three euro entrance fee to the Extrablatt Cafe adjacent to the Platz, this way you can make unlimited trips to their clean and warm bathroom facilities.

The Sunday after-party destination splits between the Extrablatt Cafe, right off the Schillerplatz, or Ballplatz. For the parades and other outdoor events, it’s best to come prepared and bring alcohol. However for the poor planners out there, convenience stores called kiosks do sell select beer and spirits, just don’t plan on being picky at this point. Someone nearly always brings a bag of beer babies though!


Rosen Montag or Rose Monday, is the final day of the festival. A giant parade with roughly a million spectators moves through the city and you will catch enough Haribo gummies to last you a month. The parade lasts three hours– I kept thinking, how do these people have that many floats?! One of the guys in our group had a bottle of Jäger and we did a round of jäger shots roughly every twenty minutes during the parade and by the time it was over, the bottle was empty. This is the only time I have ever witnessed Germans littering– empty champagne bottles, candy wrappers and beer cans strewn about. Miraculously, the entire street is clean and clear about three hours after the parade due to the military precision of the street sweepers. At this point everyone breaks off to various parties, bars and celebrations, or they just go home, because they have been drinking with Germans for five days straight!

Never have I been more welcomed with open arms into a culture as I was by the people of Mainz at this festival. They were always courteous to translate what everyone was shouting, or include us in the games and events of the festival. The first weekend we attended Fasching sparked so many friendships with people we have cherished over the last five years! Always man up and take that shot of Jäger, because in Germany that’s how you make a new friend!

~By: Amanda

Throwback Thursday: Paris

Sitting on a train bound for Bratislava, I reflect on how I got to this moment. My travel companion, who is a new traveler, has conjured up thoughts on how I made it to here, about to cross the border into my 57th country. I remember my very first trip with Anna and Julie to Paris five years ago. Before this trip I was the typical American girl choosing vacation destinations closer to home such as Mexico and cruises to the Caribbean. My job has taken me to Europe, Asia, and South America; however, work trips allow less time to truly explore a culture. This Throwback Thursday is special, because this was the trip that started it all, bonding us as travel companions for life: our first trip to Paris!


Paris was an easy choice as it was a new destination for all of us. The movie Midnight in Paris had just released and this provided all the inspiration we needed. Using AirBnB for the first time, Anna and I found a beautiful apartment with a garden in Montmartre. Exhausted from travel, but never too exhausted for breakfast beers, after checking in we parked ourselves at a café to plan out our next 5 days. After a quick nap we headed toward Sacre Coeur to explore the area of artists and Bohemia. We never managed to leave Montmartre that first night. Finding ourselves at a little café above the Moulin Rouge, we drank beer mixed with Fanta, (which tastes better than it sounds) and made a dinner of pomme frites and creme brulée before heading down the hill. The last thing I remember before heading back to the apartment  is shots being set on fire at the bar and techno music bumping. Back at the apartment, listening to the Backstreet Boys, Anna and I laughingly fought over a stuffed tiger we found in the apartment we named Le Tigre before drifting off to sleep.

The next few days are a blur now, of exploring the city, shopping on the Champs de Elysees, and bar hopping in St Germain and the Latin Quarter. Our boat tour along the Seine was an amazing trip, as we were cleverly armed with water bottles filled with wine. It’s the best way to cover all the must-see sites of Paris in an efficient amount of time. Our nightly dinners were amazing, including fondue, steak frites and more creme brulée. I couldn’t even tell you the name of that fondue place, but the fond memory of bonding over wine and cheese is there forever. Later finding three cute French boys on the street walking past us in Odéon, we ended our night drinking wine with them under the Eiffel Tower. Being one of the greatest museums in the world, Anna wanted to spend at least one day exploring the Louvre; but she dragged along the two least museum people in the world, so after 5 full hours of beautiful art, it was definitely time for happy hour cocktails!

The details of this trip have faded away; I couldn’t tell you a single name of a restaurant or which boat company we used. (It’s Anna who always remembers those things.) What IS important is that this particular trip started something– it was not long before we were planning another adventure together and then another. I recently went back to Paris on a business trip, visited that same area of Montmartre, and found that little bar on the hill and sent pictures back to the girls. They both knew without missing a beat exactly what bar it was. This trip bonded us together as best friends, and as travel buddies for life– this is what started our way too wanderlust. Sitting on a train bound for Bratislava, I reflect on how I got to this moment. My travel companion, who is a new traveler, has conjured up thoughts on how I made it to here, about to cross the border into my 57th country. I remember my very first trip with Anna and Julie to Paris five years ago. Before this trip I was the typical American girl choosing vacation destinations closer to home such as Mexico and cruises to the Caribbean. My job has taken me to Europe, Asia, and South America; however, work trips allow less time to truly explore a culture. This Throwback Thursday is special, because this was the trip that started it all, bonding us as travel companions for life: our first trip to Paris!

~By: Amanda


Goin’ Up, On a Tuesday: Flight at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore


There are some things when visiting a city that you just do; even if it means spending an insane amount of money on just one cocktail. Everyone knows I have an affinity for rooftop bars, you can just read my other blog posts. So, when in Rome… or Singapore as the case may be, you go to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, you ride that elevator all the way to the top, you go to Flight Bar and Lounge and you order that Singapore Sling. Money will always come back, time and experiences will not!

Donning the one ‘fancy’ dress we had thrown in the backpack for our month long tour of Asia, we choose the food court in the mall attached to the Marina Bay Sands for dinner in order to balance out the budget for what we were about to blow on cocktails. For about 8 USD I had a delicious Indian vegetarian feast, which I couldn’t possibly finish. Anna opted for Chinese duck, which was weird, but she loved it. Anna always likes to order duck anytime it’s on the menu, and when in Asia, I like to stick to vegetarian. After our food court adventure, we moved on to what we came for. The Marina Bay Sands is a beautiful maze. Even sober we managed to get on the wrong elevator twice. We discovered that there are three tower elevators. You want to take the first Tower One elevator from the main lobby entrance, straight up to the 57th floor. The rooftop in itself is a wonder with three restaurants, a bar, a club lounge and the infamous infinity pool whose entrance is more guarded than Fort Knox. You can only enter the pool by use of a room key to prove you are staying at the hotel. Flight Bar and Lounge is about as bougie as it gets. With incredible views of the skyline and comfy seating, it would have been the perfect place to watch the sunset, if we were ever on-time for anything. However, just as beautiful is the backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers lit up against the night sky.

Now let’s get to the most important thing: the cocktails; specifically, the Singapore Sling. Flight’s Singapore Sling menu offers three options, the traditional one and two other variations.  The bartender provided an explanation for the Sky Sling and the Straights Sing, which were created by Flight’s own mixologist. Daring to be different, I elected to take one for the team and order the Sky Sling. Anna kept tradition alive and choose the original cocktail, for proper comparison. While both options were quite delicious, I was happy with my choice of the modern version of the classic. If Gin is not your thing, the bar menu includes a variety of other creative cocktails, an extensive wine list and every high-end liquor available. Food and snacks are also available at Flight, but we couldn’t justify spending an hour’s worth of work on a couple of appetizers. That’s only appropriate for alcohol!

Of course, pictures are absolutely necessary atop the Marina Bay Sands. The bar manager Michael is a master at capturing the best angles and lighting for your photos and he is a really nice guy as well. He spends several minutes with each group of guests to ensure their complete satisfaction and to help them take the best “no filter needed” photos! Before we knew it, those little black checkbooks came all too quickly and in the end we each spent about 30 USD inclusive of tax and tip. 7% GST and 10% service charge are automatically included on all checks. Vowing that it was our vacation splurge, little did we know we would return two evenings later. The rest of our group arrived in Singapore wanting to enjoy the same experience, but that, my friend, is what American Express cards are for.

Way too Wanderlust Recommends:

Flight Bar and Lounge at the Marina Bay Sands: Sands Sky Park, Tower 1, Level 57, Singapore +65 6688 9977 Say hi to Michael O’Shea, Bar Manager, IG: @flightofoshea

~By:  Amanda

Why do we do, what we do: Dallas, Texas

~By: Marco

Last Thursday I was in Dallas, Texas. By the time we arrived at the hotel we had less than 24 hours before we would fly back to London. A short layover compared to some other destinations we fly to, sometimes we get two or three full days and nights.

After diner and drinks with the rest of the crew the previous night, I wake up at 6AM – wide awake. In London it’s now 12AM so my body is obviously on that time zone. Not very happy about waking up so early, I desperately give sleep another try. I close my eyes and tell my body to go back to the much desired sleep. Without success.

I decide to go for a morning walk, on my own. I hate having breakfast in the hotel, too much of the same and boring. Unless it’s free – I’m still Dutch so I can’t say no to free stuff. As much as I love to be surrounded by people, I sometimes love being alone. I tend to experience things differently on my own. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. More in the moment. More aware of what is going on.

After walking some blocks in an undefined direction, I stumble across a typical American breakfast place. Scrambled eggs, sausages, pancakes and maple syrup, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve never been here before, but I love trying new things. I love exploring, wandering around. See what it brings me, see where it takes me.  Often it’s good, since I have no expectations and no expectations often means no disappointments. At least that’s what I tend to believe.

After ordering a black coffee, I have the chance to observe the restaurant a little better. It’s an old place in the style of the 60’s, and seems to be not renovated since. I notice all the customers entering the place with a loud ‘Hey y’all’ and leaving with the same ‘Thanks y’all’. Typical something of the South I found out later. There are a few business men whose jackets are way too big. Not sure if they’ve ever heard of ‘slim fit’, like we have here in Europe; maybe they’re just old fashioned.

When you have no internet on your phone, it instantly becomes useless – which is often great. Being disconnected gives me freedom. An escape from the constant impulses we get of work, Facebook, emails, friends, Snapchat stories I ‘need’ to watch (before they expire) and so on. It makes me live in the moment, in the here and now. I grab a newspaper from another table and start reading the ‘Dallas morning news’ while I wait for my scrambled eggs and pancakes with maple syrup.

Around 9AM I arrive back in my hotel room with a satisfied stomach and a peaceful mind. I still have plenty of time before the flight back ‘home’. I ask myself; what is ‘home’? It’s a funny question if you think about it. Pico Iyer gives a great TED Talk about it, if you are interested; ( Maybe that is one of the downsides of traveling. You leave a little bit behind everywhere you go.

Anyway, back to Dallas. After catching up with some friends from ‘home’ I find out that the place where President John F Kennedy has been shot is just 18 minutes away. Eighteen minutes away, from a major milestone in both American and world history. Since I always try to experience my trips like it’s my last, I quickly order an Uber. I have never been really into (American) history, but this is something big. Although, that might still be an understatement. It changed America. It changed the world. I knew, I would regret it, if I did not go. I hate missing things. While the rest of the crew has legitimate excuses; tired, not even awake, not interested, JFK? Who?, I end up going alone. Maybe this is better.

On this incredible sunny Thursday in March, I’m suddenly near the place where President John F. Kennedy has been shot, roughly 50 years ago. I imagine what a chaos it must have been. A black day in history. With only a cross on the road, which marks the exact place of the fatal shot, daily traffic is driving by – like every other day. I sit down on a bench, completely present in the moment, observing the people who are passing by. Despite of the incredible weather there are very few tourists. Which makes it seems like an ordinary place.

I visit the nearby museum and walk past the particular window on the sixth floor where the fatal shot was fired. I stand still for a good five minutes, imagining what happened that day in November. The complete silence within the museum is breathtaking.

Soon, I realize that I have to make my way back to the hotel to start my ‘ritual’ which I do before every flight; iron, pack my bag and lay down for at least an hour before taking a shower and making myself presentable again. It took me a good 30 minutes before I found a place with WiFi to order an Uber to take me back to the hotel. #firstworldproblems.

When I started this job, I never thought I would walk here. I knew I would see ‘the world’, but never thought of something specific. While driving back home, I realize why I have chosen to do this job again. This job, this flight attendant life, makes me live in the moment. More than ever. It let the time standstill for a minute.

It’s not necessarily this place in Dallas. It’s the fact that this job brings me to places I never though I would ever be. To places I never knew they existed. Like standing on top of Devil’s Peak (Capetown), celebrating New Year in Singapore, walking through a food market in Ghana or seeing the Tokyo Tower with my own eyes.

This job gives me the opportunity to discover and appreciate the world where we live in and appreciate (the big and little things in) life. Those days, those moments, give me fulfilment of the life I am living at the moment. I believe this is why I do, what I do. And at the same time it makes me wonder; why do you do, what you do?