All posts tagged: Travel

Joy

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi. Is there anything more magical in life than exploring new places? Photo of the Seine River, Paris. Taken during an cold, early morning on November 2016, when I decided to walk from the 6th arrondissement to the Louvre, then to Grand Palais, and then down to L’Arc de Triomphe, by myself. What a joy to be alive! Hoping for more opportunities to travel and praying for the courage to venture and risk more in life, by myself, with less commodities and luxuries.  That’s where my soul is at.

Bay City

I had been dreaming of visiting San Francisco for years; everything from its rich history to its parks, landmarks and especially the nearby wine country had made me enthusiastic about a possible trip. Panama played an important role in the California Gold Rush, the Panama Railroad being one of the preferred routes for those traveling into California, as opposed to the hazardous journey across the continental United States. (Now we have the Panama Canal). In 2015 I watched The Age of Adaline, a beautiful movie starring Blake Lively, and the images of Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the spectacular scenery of Marin County portrayed in the film induced an even more overwhelming desire in me to visit this city in Northern California. It’s hard to explain but deep inside I knew I would love it there, and coincidentally, my mom called me in late 2015 wanting to plan a family trip over New Years. When she suggested San Francisco, I said that’s the one. There are a few direct flights from Panama City to SFO; …

Pamplona: City of Bulls and Fortifications

Pamplona is the capital of Navarre, a province in northern Spain just 82 km from San Sebastian, and the city where Sanfermines is held each year. The eight day festival celebrates some of Spain’s most popular traditions, most notably el encierro, or the running of the bulls. More than a million people visit Pamplona during Sanfermines making it the biggest festival in Spain.

La Ville De Lumiere – Paris, Part 2

MUSÉE DU LOUVRE The Louvre Palace was built around 1190 as a fortress by King Philippe Auguste’s engineers to protect Paris from invaders. The Louvre remained a fortress until the reign of François I, when the King wanted to regain control of the capital and decided to make the Louvre his main residence. The Louvre underwent extensive renovations during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XI; however, the later moved to Versailles and the Louvre was abandoned for nearly a century. By the late 1800s, the Louvre had become a site dedicated to arts and sciences, and during the French Revolution, officially opened as a museum to the public. World-famously known for its glass pyramid, this was the latest addition designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in 1989. My day began early – I would be visiting the Louvre by myself (as many people recommended). I bought tickets online the night before, which made my waiting time a quarter of everyone else’s. Map and camera in hand, I was ready for my adventure through …

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is a 13th century inspired Italian castle located in Calistoga, California. It was an awfully cold morning when my family and I pulled up at the magnificent 30 acre vineyard, after a twenty minute drive from our hotel in downtown Napa. Once inside, we signed up for the guided tour and premium wine tasting which was lead by a nice, young man – Tomaso, who spoke enthusiastically for more than two hours with his thick Italian accent. Tomaso began by giving us some historical facts of Castello di Amorosa, most specifically, of its owner Dario Sattui. Sattui grew up in San Francisco, and is the grandson of wine pioneer Vittorio Sattui. Dario was fascinated by the wine making process and purchased over a hundred acres of land in Calistoga over 25 years ago. He had a vision of creating a beautiful Italian-inspired winery. Today, Castello di Amorosa is an architect’s dream and can even be booked for weddings and other events. It’s hard for me to imagine a more dreamlike wedding location! …

Island of Flowers

Only 20 km from Panama City, and nicknamed the island of flowers, Taboga Island is truly a charmer, and a must for anyone visiting the country.  There are several different ferry companies taking you from the port in Amador to Taboga and back; for my last visit there I took the Calypso ferry departing at 9:30 a.m which is only $20 round trip. It’s a thirty minute ride passing next to enormous cargo ships that are on their way to the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama Canal. Quicker than you realize, you arrive at Taboga Island: colorful, friendly, and truly relaxing. When I was kid, I frequented Taboga with my family a lot; its proximity to the city really makes it the perfect weekend getaway. However, if you’ve only got a day to spend, Taboga is also perfect  since its area is under 5 square miles. (Happy Tiki tip: try to avoid Sundays and weekends/holidays in general if you can, some of the beaches can get really crowded!) The houses in Taboga are colorful with bougainvilleas growing against …

Tropical Geometry

Tógo is a lovely boutique bed and breakfast located in Panama’s Pacific coast, with the most lush and tropical interior decoration. I have been there twice, it is one of my father’s favorite places to stay when looking for some peace and tranquility close to the sea. Panama City gets hectic, but we are lucky to have paradisiacal, turquoise beaches just an hour’s away. The B&B is colorfully decorated, with yellow and green couches, pillows made out of “Molas” (hand stitched embroidery designed by the Kuna Yala indigenous community), dozens of little Panamanian ornaments hanged on the walls, and the most vibrant paintings. Tógo is also home to five pets: two dogs and three cats, which get along “just fine”. Breakfast is a bowl of fresh fruit (pineapple, watermelon, papaya, and banana), followed by warm bread and home-made marmalade (raspberry or grape – your pick), eggs to your taste, and pancakes if you wish. If you are not sold yet, scroll through the photos I took of this tropical haven – opened in 2009 – and its …

Souvenirs from the South Pacific: Bondi to Coogee Walk

My friend Jess had told me that a must-do while in Sydney was the cliff top coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee. It was early October and it was finally starting to get warm and sunny outside. I had been to Bondi a few times in the winter but was eager to witness the beautiful Sydney coastline in less layers! I had a Monday off from work and woke up early to begin my commute to Coogee. I packed snacks, a large water bottle, headphones, and my camera – the photos from this walk are probably my favorite souvenir of my time in Oz.  The sun was shining and the ocean was a beautiful turquoise color, the waves alluring dozens of surfers from Coogee to Clovelly and Bronte, all the way up to Bondi. I encountered runners, hikers, dog-walkers, photographers, and children all throughout the 6km walk. It was hotter than expected, but needless to say I found plenty of shade under trees. The walk takes about two hours, but I kept finding beautiful photo ops and perfect areas to meditate. It was …