Why My Husband (Still) Owes Me a Trip To Vietnam

Typical. Just when you think you’ve bitten the bullet and set off on a solo-adventure to “find” yourself, you end up meeting some handsome German guy who sweeps you off your feet. I spent years looking for that guy in a bar only to have him encroach on designated, uninterrupted “me” time. On the whole, having a dashing foreigner pick me up over a bucket of booze at the full-moon party wasn’t all that bad, but to this day, I can’t watch “Good Morning Vietnam” (pause for a moment of reverence in memory of the late and great Robin Williams) without clenching my teeth and raising a shaky fist in the air with feigned annoyance. Here’s why.

The Happy (solo) Traveler

It all started in Bangkok. I had been traveling for a few weeks by that time, working my way up from Singapore and passing through Malaysia via Malacca, Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lampur and avoiding tourists like the plague. I had set out alone, created a map of where exactly I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, and was determined to stick to my guns. I rose with the sun and returned around dusk when it became less than ideal for me to wander around solo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I met some fabulous people along the way who were great for dining after dusk (hats off to Julia and Patricia, two of my favourite Germans of all-time); sharing a gondola ride up Penang hill (because 3 white people being stared at is way less awkward);or embarking on a chaotic adventure involving waterfalls, a crazy Russian, a couple of newlyweds and an island with no taxis. But honestly, on the whole, I absolutely loved the parts of my trip where I just wandered around alone for what seemed like hours, stopping to grab sugar cane juice in a bag from this hole in the wall or some pineapple tarts from that little bakery just around the corner. I was on a mission to take charge of my own life, making my own plans and doing so well, until… he came along. Continue reading

Categories: giraffe travel, thetravelinggiraffe | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Willow Trace Bed and Breakfast, Collingwood: A Comfortable Setting, A Culinary Delight

A few months ago, a few of my girlfriends and myself headed north to Collingwood for my 30th birthday. We had one day and one night to enjoy the Scandinave Spas and just… hang. Finding time to hang out with your partner post-baby is one thing, but finding time to bond with your gal pals is next to impossible. I was ecstatic. When we rolled into Collingwood to drop off our luggage and check-in, we were greeted with a beautiful drive up to a Victorian home that looked both warm and welcoming: this was Willow Trace.

Willow Trace, Collingwood, Travel Continue reading

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Café Cubano: My Favourite Miami Wake Up

While running along the promenade in South Beach was perhaps my favourite way to start the day, the ultimate Miami wake up was found off the beach, and on the strip and in one teeny, tiny cup of delicious Cuban Coffee.

Pour me a (mini) cup of Cuban Coffee

Maybe it’s the way it’s brewed – humbly, in the back of mom and pop shops, with genuine friendliness, as if those who serve it are offering you the first moment of respite after a long, weary travel. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s meant to bring people together, served in one cup and accompanied by enough smaller cups to share with however many companions you happen to have by your side. Most likely, it’s the flavour; the smoky beginning, and the silky smooth way it leaves a sugary trail running down your throat. Whatever the reason, I can honestly say I am addicted to Cuban Coffee – in the best kind of way.

Cuban Coffee, Miami, travelCuban Coffee, Miami, Travel

What is Cuban Coffee?

Having discovered Cuban Coffee during a recent bachelorette trip to Miami, I find myself craving it around
sunrise and sunset most every day. It is just the perfect way to start the day, and the nicest way to end it.

Admittedly, before writing this, I had absolutely no idea what cuban coffee was. After digging around a little,  I can know tell you that Cuban Coffee, or Café Cubano, is an espresso shot that is sweetened with demerara sugar (a type of brown sugar) while being brewed. Apparently the recipe is pretty flexible, so it may or may not be consistent from cup to cup, or cafe to cafe.

However they make it, if you’re ever in Miami (or anywhere else that serves Cuban Coffee), don’t hesitant to try a cup! The locals will love you, and your tastebuds will thank you. Grab a friend (or five) and enjoy the rich taste of  Café Cubano.

Categories: giraffe travel, street eats: foods from around the world, thetravelinggiraffe | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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