Patagonia, Part one: Santiago

~By:  Marco

The 1st of December, a date that will never be the same for me again. A date which was the beginning of something new. Exactly one year ago, I had my first flight as an international flight attendant. It shaped me into who I am, and changed my perspective of life. On how we travel. Of what is out there.

Since then I have traveled to over 60 different airports – all around the world. To celebrate this one year anniversary, I wanted to explore a missing continent on my list: South America. Add a Spanish-speaking backpacking friend in the equation, and off I went. First stop: Santiago, Chile.


At the gate I do a quick search of where I am actually going. Since this was a rather spontaneous decision, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I just booked the flight and that was it. I will see where it takes me. I find out that the area is called ‘Patagonia’ and after a quick image search, I start to smile. I always hate it when people smile at their phones, but now I am as guilty as everyone else.

Travel does funny things to me. I get a funny feeling in my stomach. The excitement of new places with new people is hard to match. As I walk towards the plane, I hear the oh-so-familiar final boarding call in the background. At the door I got assigned my seat–business class; hello job perks! I consider myself incredibly lucky, sitting there with a glass of champagne in my hand. The excitement in my stomach. Nothing booked, nothing planned. Just two weeks of adventures ahead. Why do people go to all-inclusive resorts again? I’ve never really understood.

After a smooth flight with actually a decent amount of sleep (probably due to the overflow of champagne), I meet my friend at arrivals. We have been friends since we went to school together in the Netherlands, where we both grew up. After school, he went traveling and I moved to the United Kingdom to work for my current airline. We hadn’t seen each other since, making the reunion even better.

My friend had met a family during his travels and without asking, an invitation was extended to stay in their guestroom. We were treated like family. The whole family lives close to each other. This resulted in breakfast at mum’s, lunch at a cousin’s and dinner at grandma’s. Even with me speaking zero Spanish, and them speaking zero English, you would be surprised how much fun you can have. Especially if you add in a few Pisco Sours (the local spirit). This particular family is possibly the most hospitable people I have ever met. Hearing the stories from my friend, it seems to be part of their culture. I wish we had a bit more of this in Northern Europe.

After being fed and watered, it was time to hit the road. We started with San Cristóbal Hill, one of the three hills of Santiago. I had just arrived from London where it was the start of winter and temperatures are just above zero. Here, with a clear blue sky and very little shade, the 25 degrees is quite a bit of change. A welcomed change. With one small bottle of water between the two of us (and the remnants of the Pisco Sour from last night still lingering) we definitely underestimated the 45 minute climb in the middle of the day. Luckily, we met a gardener on our way who happily brought us to a garden hose to fill up our bottle. Muchas gracias, señor! At the top, we enjoyed the incredible views over Santiago and some well deserved rest.


On our way down we agreed on booking a night bus towards Pucón. As a backpacker, I can highly recommend night buses. It saves you a night in a hostel plus you cover the necessary miles. If you’re lucky, you can even manage to get some sleep. However I must admit, it is not the most comfortable way to spend the night but hey, we all know traveling is not always how it looks on Instagram, right? Plus it makes you appreciate the little things in life again.

After an 8 hour bus ride we arrive in Pucón. The further we go south, the quieter it becomes. The villages get smaller, the food becomes more expensive (as do the beers), and the tops of the mountains are covered in more and more snow. I remind myself of the fact that I only packed one pair of jeans and one sweater/hoody/jumper. Travel light they said. After we gathered some information from our hostel we decided to hike volcano Villarrica (pronounced Billarrica). One of the most active volcanoes in Chile, I find out later. At 6:30 the next morning we get picked up from our hostel to be kitted up, as it is freezing at the top. This being my first ever volcano hike, I must say I was pretty excited. Imagine a kid-in-a-candy-store smile.

On the way to the volcano my friend is speaking crazy-fast Spanish with the local guides. I am enjoying the time ‘on my own’. Carefully listening to what they say, to see if I can pick up any words I might understand. All the while enjoying the incredible views and mentally preparing myself.

The whole group takes the cable car up to the base of the volcano. But not us! If you do it, you have to do it right. As confident as we are, we decide to hike from the start. With an additional 30 minutes of hiking, the guide is taking the lead at a pretty speedy pace. And I find myself regretting our decision already. Luckily, it isn’t all too bad and we join the rest of the group at the base of the mountain. The pace changed. As fast as we initially hiked, we are slowly climbing now. Everyone climbs the mountain in one big chain. And you know, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

As we get higher and higher, the temperature gets colder. Heavy winds start to blow into my face which forces me to continuously look down. Step by step, meter for meter. Focused on the two feet in front of me. We slowly make our way up until suddenly, we stop. Used to the pace, I fail to react quickly and bump hard into the backpack in front of me. How exciting is hiking again?

As we slowly reach the top, I quickly put on my gas mask as the smell is now unbearable. The weird sulfur smell makes people gag. I am glad to finally be released of my heavy backpack. Curious by nature, I detrimentally walk to the edge of the crater. Within seconds I see lava squirting out of the crater below us. This is what I came for; this is what I wanted to see. I look around, taking it all in– snow is everywhere, mountains as far as you can see. Smoke is billowing out of the crater now. It’s crazy knowing boiling lava is right below me. I sit down and appreciate the view. It was all worth it: every meter, every step. Even hitting the backpack in front of me over and over again.

Then the guide brings me back to reality. We have to make ourselves ready for the trek down. Or at least that is what I thought……..

Check parts two and three of Marco’s South American backpacking saga and our other blogs about Chile

Follow Marco’s adventures on Instagram:  Marcookunst

Marco’s Travel Itinerary and Hostel Information

Flights: London Heathrow (LHR) > Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini, Buenos Aires (EZE) > Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago (SCL)

Bus: Santiago > Pucón > San Carlos de Bariloche > El Calafate > El Chaltén > El Calafate

Flights: Comandante Armando Tola International Airport, El Calafate (FTE) > Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini, Buenos Aires (EZE) > London Heathrow (LHR)

Pucon:  I love Pucon Hostel

Bariloche:  Universal Travelers Lodge Hostel

El Calafate:  Hostel de las manos

El Chalten:  La Comarca Hostel

El Chalten:  Racho Grande Hostel

Buenos Aires: Rock Hostel & Brewery

Flight El Calafate – Buenos Aires – Aerolineas Argentinas

Bus company – Andesmar



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.


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?


Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle 

Honestly, the enticement is in the name alone, but that alone would make for a boring blog. Here’s our top favorite things about Vana Nava and few things you should know. Put eleven best friends in a water jungle with pre paid bracelets for food and alcohol and you’ve got a full day of great success. I must confess that somewhere over the last decade I lost my love for roller coasters and thrill rides, however give me a lazy river with a pool bar with my favorite people and I’m in. Vana Nava has a rope course, wave runner, splash park and wave pool; there is absolutely something for everyone. Here is what you need to know:

1. Don’t think for one second that i wasn’t tricked into going down one of the scariest tube rides of my life.

2. Absolutely invest in the locker. It costs extra, but you have free continuous access and you not only want to be hands free for the rides, but you have to be.

3. Which brings me to number 3. They are actually pretty strict about being hands free so hide your sunglasses, go pros and just about anything else loose. I was absolutely jealous of boys with cargo boy shorts. (We need pockets in our bikinis!)

4. Drinks always cost more at any theme park, but I believe the prices weren’t unreasonable considering the location.

5.  If you’re a drinker… know there are hours where you can’t drink. If you’ve been to Thailand then you already know that time falls in the middle of the day. Properly prepare yourself and remember in #2 where I mentioned unlimited in and out locker privileges. Do what you want with that information.

6. There are frequent customer cards and group rates which of course gets you a cheaper rate. But as travelers we just had a one time entry fee of 28 USD plus towel and locker fees. Absolutely worth the day.

Click see our day at the water park!

We had a lovely day of celebrating our friends birthday. The lines where short, the rides were exhilarating, even the food court was tasty. We not only recommend it but we would all go back in a heart beat!

~By: Julie


Iceland: A three part saga

Part  One:  Reykjavik

The perfect blend of the great outdoors and gracious hospitality; Iceland is an adventure travelers dream. While quite pricey for most budgets, there are still ways to have a cost effective trip to Iceland. Budget accommodations are not typical for Iceland, we choose a more middle ground pricing. Opting for apartments and guesthouses, with five travelers, most hotels would blow our budget out of the water. There are several ways to save money when it comes to dining and drinks and direct those extra dollars towards adventures and must see sites!


Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik

After arriving three hours late from New York, we hurried thru immigration and customs as we were rapidly consuming our cushioned time allotted between landing and our Blue Lagoon reservation. We reserved our rental car thru Avis and after the worlds longest line, we were informed our wait would still be an additional 20 more minutes.

Arriving an hour late, the Blue Lagoon luckily accommodated our tardiness. In advance, we booked the Premium Package online, which included a use of towel, robe and slippers, a complimentary beverage and free sparkling wine with lunch at Lava Restaurant. On previous trips I had always selected the Comfort package, which is by far the best value. Upon arrival you receive a wrist band, which is utilized for locker access and for payment of refreshments and services while inside the lagoon. It is essential during the high season, summer months that you book your Blue Lagoon reservation time in advance. You can also utilize several tour companies including Iceland Tours and Grey Line which will arrange packages with transportation.





50 Euro

65 Euro

85 Euro

195 Euro

  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Use of Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Reserved Table at Lava
  • Sparkling wine at Lava
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Use of Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Reserved Table at Lava
  • Sparking Wine at Lava
  • Spa Journey Product Set
  • Entrance to the Exclusive Lounge

*This information was obtained from the official Blue Lagoon website

The Blue Lagoon is an amazing geothermal lagoon, heated by the earths energy and is considered one of the 25 Wonders of the World. Iceland sits on a hot spot between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. There are several natural lagoons and heated pools throughout the island, which are created by this unique position on the planet, the Blue Lagoon being the largest and most popular, right outside of the capital city of Reykjavik.


The changing areas are clean and well accommodated, providing a comfortable space for slipping into your swim attire. Hair dryers and other amenities are supplied for efficient exit. Before entering the lagoon, it’s highly suggested to heavily condition your hair as the lagoon water can make hair very dry and sustainable to breakage. Typically, I attempt to keep my hair completely out of the water, a more difficult challenge after a few beers.


Swimming in the Blue Lagoon can be equated to being inside a giant bathtub, temperatures range from 99F (37C) to 102F (39C).The water is said to have healing properties and a complimentary mud mask is provided, which is created from the Lagoon’s silica. Of course the Blue Lagoon has a bar or I wouldn’t go there. With the comfort package, or above, one drink is included, choose the sparkling wine, its the biggest bang for your buck. Next, switch to Gull beer for drink 2 thru ???


Our Premium Package included a reservation and complimentary glass of sparking wine at Lava Restaurant. If you are looking for a fancy day, go for it. Our group mostly opted for a small appetizers, for a late lunch. My choice was the Langoustine Soup or Lobster Bisque, which I assume is on the buffet in heaven. The meal was accompanied with this delicious complimentary bread and salt butter. After lunch we paraded back into the lagoon for another hour of swimming and of course more Gull, before heading into Reykjavik.

After a 45 minute drive, we arrived in Reykjavik. For five people we booked a centrally located 2 bedroom apartment, “Thomsen Apartments”. Check in process was simple and efficient; the owner provides you with a code to retrieve your keys located in the lock box outside the apartment.

After settling in, we ventured to find a supermarket for much needed supplies. Near by we found a local grocery charging exuberant prices, $5 for a lime, never mind those duty free vodka tonics need no garnish. We gathered the most necessary items, including “Cool American” flavored Doritos and still chipped a bill equivalent to $43. Luckily thru a google search, we learned many grocery shopping lessons, this website is everything . Based on our budget, we determined that Bonus was our go-to supermarket for our journey. Several Bonus stores dot the ring road, selling basic groceries at tolerable costs, I still use tolerable loosely here. Also, package alcohol is only sold thru the State store outlets, called Vinbudin. These stores also found in every town, STOCK UP, most Vinbudin operate limited hours. Best advice stop at duty free and bring in the maximum allowance.

After a pre-dinner cocktail, we set out to wander the picturesque town of Reykjavik, before deciding upon the Laundromat Cafe for dinner. This restaurant located in the central square of Reykjavik has an amazing variety and was relatively cost efficient for dinner. The restaurant is decorated in a quirky style and also doubles as a laundromat. If available choose the high-top tables nestled on either side of the entrance. For the nosy, there is a drawer fixed on the table which contains notes and cards from travelers past, an intriguing activity while waiting for dinner. My menu favorites include the fish and chips, the steak sandwich or the tapas platter. We ended our night here with another fresh cold Gull beer, exhausted from travel.


Day 2: Reykjavik Part Deux

Everything is brighter after a good night sleep, especially on the best couch bed ever. For lunch we settled into the cozy and rustic Islenski Barrin restaurant and ordered beers produced by the Einstok Brewing Company. The Icelandic lamb stew was hearty and sensational, other favorites included salmon and lobster “missing dogs” with delicious, crispy, waffle fries. Our friend ordered for the table, the Hardfiskur or dried fish chips. Hardfiskur makes the list if must try Icelandic delicacies, however I don’t understand the appeal.



After lunch we headed to the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran church, for our attempt at being cultural. The cost is 7 Euro or 8 USD per person, to ride the bell tower elevator. The aerial view of Reykjavik is breathtaking, spanning 360 degrees. This church is also a Pokemon Go gym, in case you cared. After our church visit it was only necessary to browse the Icelandic Phallological Museum, that’s right, the Penis Museum. It’s interesting to say the least, it proved to be an entertaining 30 minutes.

Happy hour is an important thing to consider in Iceland and well, life in general….beer typically costing $8-10, wine is $11-14, cocktails….elevating from there. Many places run a spectacular happy hour, we choose Bar Anasas, which is fabulously decorated as a beach tiki bar. Bar Ananas is also a tapas bar, serving Icelandic inspired tapas in mason jars. We ended the night at Cafe Rosenberg listening to amazing live music.


Check out parts 2 and 3 of my  Iceland Saga:

~By: Amanda

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

The Blue Lagoon: 240 Grindavik, Iceland +354 420 8800

Thomsen Apartments: Reykjavik City Center, Iceland +354 519 2626 booked via

The Laundromat Cafe: Austurstraeti 9, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 587 7555

Islenski Barinn: 1A Ingolfsstraeti, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 517 6767

Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church: Hallgrimstorg 101, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 510 1000

Iceland Phallological Museum: Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavik Iceland +354 561 6663

Bar Ananas: Klapparstigur 38, Reykjavik 101, Iceland +354 551 5444 no website available

Cafe Rosenberg: Klapparstigur 25-27, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 551 2442

Goin’ Up, On a Tuesday: Rooftop Athens, Greece


Watching the sunset over a beautiful city such as Athens is the perfect way to finish a day. A rooftop bar with delicious cocktails is an amazing way to enhance any sunset. The Galaxy Bar and Lounge on the rooftop of the Hilton Athens holds one of the best vantage points in the city and is a wonderful place to start your evening. With direct views of the Acropolis, the very long curved open terrace runs the entire length of the hotel. Before heading down to the Plaka for a Greek dinner feast, make sure to meet your friends at the Hilton Galaxy Rooftop bar for pre-dinner drinks.  

My favorite drink is the Champagne Supernova, which is champagne with vanilla vodka infused with lychee and rose flavor. The drink menu offers a diverse selection of drinks, including an entire page dedicated to the magic known as the Gin and Tonic! While definitely  on the pricy side, the stunning sunset views are worth it, so stay for one cocktail at least and take some very Instagram  worthy pictures. The cocktails are also inclusive of complimentary bar snacks, and I love bar snacks!!! If you are truly sticking to a budget, beer is a reasonable choice. 

YOLO, so you might as well spend a couple extra dollars and see a glorious sunset over the Acropolis.

Way Too Wanderlust Recommends

~By:  Amanda

Khaosan Road: Get Bangkok’d

For those of you who love the movie ‘The Beach’….This is where in Bangkok that Richard obtains that famous map from Daffy, which leads him to “paradise” The way he describes this street is accurate and if you are looking for a place to start your afternoon and finish at 7 am the next morning this is it.

After landing from the USA, we immediately proceed to Khaosan Center bar, known in our circle as “Merry Christmas bar” for our traditional tower of Chang and spring rolls! From there it’s a parade down the street as we stop at various bars for buckets as the Thai DJs remix the European EDM hits!!!! By 4 am it’s time to hit up a tuk tuk to Spicy night club that will keep us going to sun up! Time to sleep for a few hours before basking in the sun at our fav rooftop pool….


~By:  Amanda

Goin’ Up, On a Tuesday: Khao San Road part Deux, Green House Restaurant

As we sit in our unofficial hometown of Bangkok, we have two recommendations for dining in the Khao San Road area. Once you are over pad Thai and curry, this restaurant has the best Mediterranean food you can find in the party district. Julie and I like to split a pizza and the Greek salad, because beer is not part of the vegetable group! That being said, our friends have had zero complaints after sampling the pasta, Thai and seafood dishes. The ambiance is lit with colorful lanterns and Christmas lights and every cocktail is served with a beautiful flower garnish! Located on the walking street Rambutri adjacent to Khao San, this is definitely a go for dining with different and delicious flavors at backpacker prices!

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

Green House Restaurant 88,84-1 Rambutri St. Talat-Yod Bangkok, Thailand +02 281 4293

~By: Amanda