giraffe travel

Curacao: One Week at the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort

Curacao: A blue liqueur that makes tropical drinks taste delicious. Right?

Until about two months before booking, I’d never heard of a Curacao beyond the cocktail list. When family suggested making Curacao our Christmas getaway, we immediately took to researching the island and Google sent turquoise waters crawling across my screen. We were sold. To escape what turned out to be a remarkably warm winter in the end, we decided to make haste to the beautiful beaches of Curacao.

Curacao: About the Island

Wat bedoel ik ? Curacao is a Dutch Carribean island which, today, speaks the language of  Papiamentu (very confusing when you show up expecting Dutch, and listening for Spanish… it took us a few days to figure things out). At first glance (and even at close up), the colourful houses lining the water in Williemsted are entirely reminiscent of Amsterdam, with decorative facades squished together near the edge of the water. We had a passing glance of Williamsted en route to our hotel from the airport… it was solid timing considering we had just caught glance of the monster of an oil refinery riggght across the highway. Eek! That being said, Curacao ranks 46th in the world in terms of GDP per capita for a reason and part of that reason is that it hosts the Isla Refinery, operated by Venezuela’s state oil company. Cha-ching!
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Poseidon of Paros, Resort and Spa: A Piece of Paradise in Beautiful Paros, Greece

When our good friends invited us to their wedding in Paros, we were convinced they said “Paris”. I mean, it made sense. She’s French, they’d met in Boston (where the civic ceremony was held), and he’s from a beautiful part of Romania called Timisoara (I love you Romania, but Paris… is Paris). So when talk started circulating of warm climates and beach vacations, we were a bit confused. It was only when we received the official invite that we realized they hadn’t been talking about Paris, at all.

Paros: Greek Island. Not French Capital.

Paros? The first thing we did was Google it. Long behold, nestled somewhere close to Naxos, floating in the middle of the Aegean Sea, was Paros. After 2 wonderful days spent lounging in Santorini, we took a 3 hour(ish) ferry ride to Paros. The ferry, by the way, operated by Blue Star Ferries, was BY FAR, the best ferry ride I have ever, ever taken.

First of all, it was enormous. There was no cramming in between fellow passengers, running to get the first seat, or panic that you might be left standing for hours on end. Second of all, it was luxurious! Of course, this is coming from the backpacker who camped on the floor under a table on the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm – so maybe take my opinion with a grain of (sea) salt. Tons of space for everyone to sit on couches, with tables on every level and a restaurant/cafe smack in the middle of things. Not to mention, the bathrooms which had walls facing out to sea and undoubtedly the best view on the boat.

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Blondes on Bikes: A Weekend of Wine and Cider Tasting in Prince Edward County

Ok… wait, where?Prince Edward County, Travel, Bikes

Ask me where Prince Edward County was two weeks ago and I would have looked at you with curiosity, said “East” and pointed you flippantly towards a map of the Maritimes. And then you would have chuckled and patted my head. “No dear. No. The county, not the island.”

Apparently, unlike Prince Edward Island, the province, Prince Edward County, which is coincidentally, also an island, is in Ontario. Yup, pretty much in my backyard – and I had absolutely no idea. So how did I find out?

With my husband out of town, I called up my girlfriend and  together we agreed to meet smack in the middle of Ottawa and Toronto. Our fingers landed on Belleville and visions of kicking around a motel, ordering movies and sipping on boxed wine came rushing as we finalized our reservations. Not that it mattered. We have a certain reputation for making movie worthy memories whenever our paths cross, so I wasn’t too worried.

Fortunately for us, Belleville is a mere 20 minutes from Prince Edward County so as we started to research “things to do” in the area, we were blasted with wineries from all sides. “Well, this just got interesting!” I thought. We hauled our bikes with us just for fun, figuring we’d park at our hotel in Belleville and then leisurely cycle our way from vineyard to vineyard. Once we actually arrived at the hotel, we realized that the first vineyard was a solid 20-30 min drive over a bridge and then south, way south. So, we piled both bikes into one car, and made our way to Hillier Creek Estates and Winery, where we tasted our first wine and the adventure began.

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