Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015 & Looking Forward 2016

2015 was great - we just get better at planning trips and traveling together each and every time. Work-wise, Jason has moved teams within his same group at Southwest and is loving his new role. I'm always glad to hear these things, because it means many more years of amazing travel await us!

That said, I am so excited about the plans we have for 2016. We're will for sure be going to Bali to celebrate my 30th Birthday in a few weeks. I can't wait to meet the people, eat some Indonesian food and get lots of massages. We also have a fun long weekend booked for Jason's birthday to Tulum, Mexico. Another fun airline perk is winning 'positive space' (or confirmed) tickets on other airlines through various raffles and auctions. We have two seats on Aer Lingus, so we'll be heading to Ireland this summer! Somehow this year turned into the year of confirmed seats, but the good news is that all were obtained through points & other airline perks.

We have many weekend trips planned - San Juan Islands, Russian River Valley, Brooklyn, Boston. I'm also dying to go back to St. Louis (my hometown) in the fall. Wrapping up the year, our family will be gaining a sister (!), so there are plenty of festivities surrounding the wedding to look forward to as well.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and we wish you all a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Old San Juan {Puerto Rico, Part 3}

After our Culebra excursion, we drove back to Old San Juan to our home for the next two nights - Casablanca Hotel. This hotel was great and I will sing the praises of the amazing concierge for ages. It was super central and we loved being located here! We grabbed our Thanksgiving dinner of garlic shrimp mofongo and chicken stew and rice, and washed it down with a mojito at Aji Dulce. Yum!

Our last morning, we walked a few blocks to Cafeteria Mallorca. This was definitely diner-style and we both felt like we'd be transported to Cuba - total 1950's vibe. There was a live trumpet player adding to the ambiance. We had our first mallorca sandwich here and we fell in love. It is a grilled ham & cheese sandwich inside of a fluffy, soft bun (day old mallorca bun) topped with powdered sugar.

Next up, we walked along the Paseo de la Princesa outside of the city walls of Old San Juan, eventually meeting up with Paseo del Morro. At the old City gates, we found a vendor selling piragua (frozen ice), so we had to get one in the passion-fruit variety. We walked all the way to El Morro and explored the fort a bit before the sky opened up. 

We ducked into our favorite place - Caficultura, for a delicious lunch of friend cheese with guava sauce, more mallorca and a churrasco sandwich. Once the rain let up, we gathered up all of our things and drove to the airport.

While we have been to Puerto Rico many times, we always find something new and exciting to do. It was really a perfect 4 days! Glad we were able to celebrate our (belated) anniversary and Thanksgiving with each other in one of our favorite places.

Up next: Well, that's it for 2015. Stay tuned to hear about our plans for 2016!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Luquillo Beach & El Yunque {Puerto Rico, Part 2}

Before heading off to the rainforest - El Yunque, we had breakfast at Caficultura in Old San Juan - our new favorite place. Jason had banana pancakes with rum and I had a delicious BELT with a cortadito! Yum!

 Once we arrived at El Yunque, we kept driving past all the sites we'd already explore before - La Mina Falls, La Coca Falls, etc. and drove to the trailhead for the the Monte Britton Trail. After a moderate hike straight up hill, (Fitbit calculated over 100 floors this day!) we reached the tower. We could see both sides of the island from this point, which was pretty incredible!

For lunch, we went to Kioskos de Luquillo. It was fun to walk the kiosks - we'd tried the ceviche hut before and it was quite delicious, but we were perfectly content with the fried deliciousness of empanadas (chicken and crab) and cans of ice-cold Medalla light for less than $10.

We came back that evening and had a wonderful dinner at El Jibarito in Old San Juan. Somehow we ended up going on the night that the Christmas lights were turned on, so we got treated to a fun musical performance and Christmas presentation of sorts. Walking back to our hotel that night, we ran across another musical performance in front of the local university. Back at our hotel, we headed to the rooftop and had a drink. We could hear a fun discoteque - Nuyorican - playing music in the alley below us.

Up Next: More of Old San Juan!