Archives for category: Travel

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Postcard from: Viñales, Cuba

The Western town of Viñales is elemental, even more so after having spent several consecutive days roaming the lively streets of Havana; all crumbling concrete and precarious structures.

Moody clouds made good on their threat and rain would eventually drench the valley during our day trip. My Keens squelched through mud and side stepped puddles.

The air was grassy, earthy, pure.

In contrast with the mangy dogs and cats in Havana, we watched chickens strut around on unusually long legs and horses swish their tails as they rode past us in a caravan, led by their human counterparts.

Three piglets scampered across our path as we pulled in and out of the organic farm where we’d have lunch and tour their eco-friendly cultivation practices.

Lunch on the farm was a backyard bounty of vegetable soup, fresh chopped salads, roasted chicken and pork, mounds of sweet potato and taro, and the ever-present beans and rice.

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As if being surrounded by expansive fields and farm animals weren’t enough, the red and white checkered table cloth of our communal table seemed to say,

“You’re definitely in the country now.”

It was a welcome type of social networking that can be hard to come by in urban, technologically connected environments. From a privileged, American perspective, it felt luxurious.

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Image uploaded from iOS-10Over the last few months, I’ve been mining memories of past trips to Caribbean locales like Cartagena and Panama City and translating them into curated city guides for Luxury Living International magazine.

In my most recent piece, we sink into the evolving Panama City neighborhood of Casco Viejo to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife scene by roof top. Aim to head to one of these three roof tops during golden hour and plan for a sip of Ron Abuelo or two:

  • Reach for the Sky at These Rooftop Bars in Panama City
    • Excerpt: “Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, this geographically petite neighborhood vibrates with activity at sunset and often continues into the next morning. With sweeping views of the Downtown skyline and surrounding landmarks, twenty minutes from the city center are these three Casco Viejo roof tops:”

Dreaming of Cartagena? Read my city guide as a thought-starter piece to create your own tropical getaway:

  • Where to eat, drink and stay in Cartagena
    • Excerpt: “The city that played muse to one of Nobel-prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s most memorable and fantastical novels is having a moment in the fiery Caribbean sun. Top ranks on must-visit lists, nonstop service from the U.S. to Rafael Núñez International airport and an impressive dining scene have fanned the flames of the Colombian jewel’s rise from local holiday spot to global destination darling.”

In other news, today is my long-awaited interview for Global Entry status. I am hoping all goes well so that I may breeze through international airports during my upcoming trip to Europe next month. As I type this, I realize that the word breeze may be a bit optimistic, but hey anything to make long-haul travel more comfortable is worth trying in my book.

Last weekend, friend and travel content collaborator Alina (of ARose Travels) and I took a mini-jaunt to Anza Borrego State Park to see the #SuperBloom. Here’s a few photos from the trip; I even got to prance around in front of her camera in the name of creativity:

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Super Bloom in full effect at Anza Borrego State Park (Photo: Alina Mendoza)

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(Photo: Alina Mendoza)

Find more photos from the weekend on Instagram:

 

After returning from a recent trip to Colombia full of cheesy arepas and other fried foodie finds I indulged in on the streets of Cartagena (and not to mention one too many Club Colombia’s), it’s time for a reset. I live in kale country after all, and it’d be a shame to not take advantage of the colorful and nourishing produce easily available here in Southern California.

Plus, with family from Hawaii and the East Coast arriving in a matter of days I’m going to need all of the energy I can muster to keep up with the gregarious bunch.

To help me out, I’m turning to another one of Haaps & Barley’s fresh, seasonal recipes, like this salad using winter greens, pomegranates, beets and more.

Enjoy!

winter-greens-salad

By Haaps & Barley

WINTER GREENS WITH BEETS, POMEGRANATE AND APPLE

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