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Ever reminisce about the summer road trips you took as a kid? The ones with the terrible car singing, bagged lunches, moderate ac and fighting for space for hours on end? For some reason at the end of those trips, the final sights always faded into the background and what was left were the memories of those not-so-terrible car rides. That nostalgia led us to Niagara Falls. We’ve been there – multiple times as kids and new adults, but this time we wanted to create some of those same memories for our little girl Sofia (minus the bagged lunches) and to actually see the Falls.

This time around we went together with another ground of family friends. Probably one of the best decisions was to travel as a group. The hours driving melted away between the entertainment and chatter. Plus, being together brought more options for activities and experiences that we normally wouldn’t have considered alone. That being said, just make sure your friends share the same interest, and match your personalities or you will end up making some not so great memories 😉

Just at an eye level, the Falls are awe-inspiring enough. But, taking them in a thousand feet from above is something else. A lot of nice hotels offer the ‘falls view’ and we say take the plunge and get those rooms. We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton and it offered breathtaking views of the Falls. At the end of the night, nothing compared to coming back to the room and just standing by the floor to ceiling windows gazing out. Or at sunrise watching the horizon come to life. Jaw-droppingly beautiful!

If the hotel view is not a priority, another way to experience the looking down option is to go for dinner at Skylon Tower. Arrive for sunset and stay to watch the fireworks. Situated along the lines of a fine dining experience there are many cool elements to the place such as the rotating dining room, the endless windows looking down at the beautiful imagery and the fact you have to take an elevator to get to the restaurant tower itself. Still, be aware the dinner itself can be mediocre so know in advance you are paying mostly for the view and experience.

One other thing that we did for the first time thanks to our friends suggestion was the boat ride into the falls. By far, the most fun part of the trip! If you feel that looking down at the falls is something extraordinary, wait until you are almost at the mouth of them and look up. Towering over you, the falls are enormous and can incite a good amount of exhilaration / fear. This experience really was something out of this world!

And of course if you have an extra day or two, head over to Toronto. About two hours away, explore the culture in this quaint city. A ton of dining, shopping, and exploring options set within a tight city radius. We had amazing lunch at this cute restaurant called Cibo a friendly local recommended. But with so many bars and restaurants, it looked like you could hardly go wrong picking a place.

So who’s ready to head north? Happy exploring friends!

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A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

A fairytale family summer vacation in Cartagena Colombia

Every time we plan to take a trip anywhere in the world, the first question we ask ourselves is when is the best time to go there? What will the weather be like? Is it going to be the most picturesque at the time of our visit?

Our Cartagena trip was planned during the summer. We found that this time of they year opens up a variety of travel destinations complete with beautiful weather and ease of having our daughter off from school. Choosing Cartagena as a destination for summer was quite easy because average temperatures in Cartagena staying consistent throughout the year. It’s ideal for a beach and shorts getaway.

If you guys remember, last year we planned a trip with our daughter to Banff, Canada around the same time. However, this year we wanted to do something different for her and focus less of nature and more on culture. Cartagena was the perfect fit with old town charm, history, local air and extremely safe. Everything (almost!) could be walked to within the walled city. Or you could always grab an Uber or taxi.

We decided to split our stay with one closer to the beach for a couple of days, and the second half within the walled city of old town. I think it was one of the best decisions we had made. Our first stay was at Conrad Hilton Cartagena with walking distance to the beach, and only half an hour of drive to old town should you choose to go. The second part of our stay was the Bastion Hotel right at the heart of the old town with a gorgeous view of the town right from the pool. It was just magical.

There is so much to explore in the old town. The colors and sights are just amazing. Most photos we took in the morning hours and the rest of the day we would spend just soaking it all in as much as we could. We walked a hundred miles around the city over the course of the trip and ate at so many wonderful places, you really can’t go wrong no matter where you go or what you do! If you love ice cream, wine, fresh fruit, and seafood – this place is for you!

The old town of Cartagena inside the city walls is simply gorgeous. We recommend exploring the close by islands or head out of town on a nature tour. Throughout the entire trip, we never felt unsafe or didn’t meet a person who wasn’t ready to help us. We strongly approve a trip to Cartagena, Colombia with or without kids!

Send us a message with any specific questions! Happy Travels!

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Jamaica travel ideasJamaica Vacation Jamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideasJamaica travel ideas

Carefree afternoons filled with sun and sand fill my treasure trove of childhood memories. Growing up in Poland, we didn’t exactly have gracious beaches and luxury pools dotted with exotic palms. What we did have was a massive pile of sand deep in the woods where I’d spend hours shaping figments of my imagination into some form of reality. Cousins were nearby along with friends and that was all that mattered. That and the sand. So many hours, so many days where sand was in my hair, eyes, nails – some of the best times growing up!

If you’ve been following along for a bit, you’ll know that annual family vacations are a big thing. My goal is to bring my daughter to a place where she can be just as carefree as I was in my childhood. In a way I want her to have the best afternoons – carefree and full of sand! My goal is for us to  connect as a family in a fun, loving way. It’s a blessing to be able to do this, and I feel grateful that I’m able to add some building blocks of love in our family’s collective sphere of memories every year.

This year we packed up and headed off to Jamaica! Jamaica did not disappoint in any way (so if you are ever treated to some aversive recommendations, take them with a grain of salt!). Some of the friendliest locals we found in Jamaica out of all the Caribbean islands along with most mellow weather. Also, on a side note, a week might be a little long to sit by the pool and beach. We added to our trip some adventure excursions to see and climb waterfalls, take riverboat ride on the Black River to meet and greet (?!?) crocodiles and eventually relaxing on a catamaran ride alongside some scuba diving and serious rum punch.

Today I might not be a child anymore, but who can say no to sand and sun? Throw in some jacuzzi time, jerk chicken and that infamous rum punch, I’m the happiest as when I was diving headfirst into that pile of sand back in Poland. As they say in Jamaica, “Life is irie!”

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Jamaica with Iphone
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  • MarekApril 26, 2019 - 3:05 pm

    Thanks so much for this epic post of Jamaica!! I wasn’t sure I want to visit it but now Jamaica is on top travel list.ReplyCancel

    • fancyrulesMay 22, 2019 - 3:20 am

      Thank you so much, Marek! We had a wonderful time. Jamaica is a beautiful country you really shouldn’t miss it!ReplyCancel

Canada is underrated, under-explored, and generally on the lower end of the bar for travel enthusiasts. While Instagram influencers are hiking through Alps and eating their way through fine Spanish jamon, the Canadian Rockies are left unmentioned in the background. Turns out, it’s a good thing! Unmentioned also translates to untainted: the world’s second largest country opens to landscapes that are free from crowds, grime, and headaches that tourist season inflicts on most well known sites. Instead, here you’ll find fresh beauty of nature that can encapsulate your attention for hours. Colors of landscape that make you forget to blink while simultaneously opening your senses so that you can feel you.

Canada is huge! During our trip, we were only able to explore the highlights of British Columbia and Alberta region. To explore it all, you’d probably need about twenty five years. Travel was quite easy due to the highways and major roads, but the distances between sites were long. Still, our 9-day route was an incredible journey which gave us the opportunity to see both the highlights of each region as well as dive in to some hidden gems along the way!

Travel British Columbia Blog in 9 days

Day 1 – Vancouver Airport Drive towards Jasper National Park
From the airport, this is long drive. A good tip is to split the drive into two parts and aim to the finish line before afternoon of the second day. This will ensure you ample sunlight so you can take in the gorgeous sights along the way.

Day 2 and 3 – Jasper National Park
The car cramping will leave you more than ready to get out of the car and explore Jasper on foot. Stretch those muscles! Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies so you will have plenty to see between high mountains, valleys, glaciers, waterfalls, forests, alpine meadows, and of course rivers. There are a number of hiking trails, but if we were to choose the ones that would lead to the ‘must see’ bits of the park, we’d say go and see:

  1. Athabasca Falls
  2. Tangle Creek
  3. Sunwapta Falls

Jasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must SeeJasper National Park Travel Photos and Ideas - Must See

Day 4, 5 and 6 – Banff National Park
This was the most anticipated part of our trip. Like all things novel, we were excited and had a rough idea in our mind of what this would shape out to be. Let me tell you – it all went out the gondola window the minute we stepped foot in that car. It was exhiliratingly scary! One second your legs are turning to jelly, the next second your breath catches in your mouth just by looking at the sheer beauty of what’s outside. The mountains are beautiful. It sounds flat, but truly you can’t describe the feeling of what you see once you get to the top. All sorts of holy and spiritual thoughts fly in and out of you, and you’re closer to damning humanity for destroying what was once beauty everywhere on this planet. You feel clean and again, you.

But before you really head off the deep end, you can take the ride back down (a lot less scary coming down) and have more time to explore the town of Banff itself. The town is quaint, with old time charm. It’s little wonder – the city works hard to retain that wonder by limiting development and allowing only residents of Banff to own businesses and shops in Banff. Curtailing corporations and outside companies has allowed to vest into themselves and what they’ve always been. Win-win!

Banff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas

For three days we explored the magical blue glacier-fed lakes with pictures to prove it below! and of course the town of Banff and village of the famous Lake Louise. During our stay, we did a couple of short hikes, including our favorite Lake Agnes Tea House. But skipped the tea! The lines were long and we decided to spend our time gazing at the gray mountains, greenish hued waters and occasion fishes in the water instead of waiting for a cup of tea.

Banff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See IdeasBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas

Also, not to be missed the most picturesque Moraine Lake! See Below. Lake Moraine and Lake Louise are two hot spots…Lake Louise often the preferred. If you are pressed for time and have to choose between the two, go to Lake Moraine instead. You will not be disappointed! Both during the day and dusk, the lake is stunning.

Banff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine LakeBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas in Moraine Lake

While driving from one place to the next we always felt like stopping on the side of the road and just run through the open space or dip our feet in the turquoise river, or just smell the flowers. And yes we did – many times!

Banff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas for FamilyBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas for FamilyBanff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas for Family

Last but not least, we must mention the Natural Hot Springs that are the absolute must before or after a long day. There are many to choose from, we decided to try Lussier Hot Springs that are located about 2.5 hours from Banff.

Banff National Park Travel Blog and Must See Ideas for Family

Day 7 – Emerald Lake + Travel
On the way back to Vancouver, you’ll come across Emerald Lake. It’s a short drive from Banff National Park so a short stopover is perfect excuse to get out and stretch. Rest your eyes and your toes one more time before the long drive. At Emerald Lake there is a cool little restaurant called Cilantro that had the most heavenly smells wafting out of it. Get early and enjoy a meal between the lake and the mountains.

We decided to drive through Route 1 and Route 97 with a stop at Kelowna town that takes you through wine part of the country with scenic drives before you reach Vancouver.

Emerald Lake Beautiful Lake Photo

Day 8 and 9 – Explore Vancouver + Travel Back
On the last two days, we dived in to see what Vancouver was all about. It’s reminiscent of a major city (like Boston) set between the most picturesque backdrop. Beach and mountains, yes please! We visited Stanley Park, chilled at the beach, grabbed a quick bite around the corner. And had Tim Hortons for the first time.

On the second day, we had the whole day to spend so we decided to engage in something that would keep us in one place and give enough things of interest to keep our five year old going. The  Capilano Suspension Bridge Park filled those requirements perfectly. We got the nature bit from it while it fulfilled that adventure quest for our daughter. A park filled with treetop adventure sights that is connected by bridges over a deep canyon. Definitely worth the visit!

Must See Vancouver Travel Blog CanadaMust See Vancouver Travel Blog CanadaMust See Vancouver Travel Blog CanadaMust See Vancouver Travel Blog CanadaMust See Vancouver Travel Blog CanadaMust See Vancouver Travel Blog Canada

Hands down, this was one of the most amazing and picturesque vacations! We chose to go during the summer weeks, and have no regrets. Cool nights and warm days were on the forecast for that time. Plus, you can still see snow covered mountains, and travel on the road is very safe. The summer is prime tourist season and there are a ton of restaurants, hotels and shops that are open for business. That being said, Banff is very busy and most hotels will book up months in advance. So if you’re particular about where you stay, book early! Once you start, you’ll never regret for a second your decision to go here!

Go explore and have fun!

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Los Haitises National Park Travel BlogDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandLos Haitises National Park Travel BlogLos Haitises National Park Travel Blog and Mens FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandLos Haitises National Park Travel BlogLos Haitises National Park Travel BlogSaona Island Travel BlogDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandLos Haitises National Park Travel BlogDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona Island

Dominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona Island

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Dominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion | Saona IslandDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionLos Haitises National Park Travel BlogDominican Republic Travel Blog and FashionLos Haitises National Park Travel Blog

If you are thinking about a trip to the Dominican Republic, I thought I would share with you this:

1. It’s safe! Despite what other people might tell you. You don’t have to be afraid that you will only get stuck in a hotel or resort. Just make sure you are using a reliable tour company to explore areas nearby. And don’t be obnoxiously flashy and try to attract too much attention as in any other popular travel destination if you want to keep trouble at bay.

2. Go Explore! The Dominican Republic it’s so much more than just big resorts at Punta Cana.

3. Combine relaxation with adventure! At least two places I would recommend to visit: 1. Saona Island 2. Los Haitises National Park. Both places are breathtaking and leave you feeling like you’ve seen something entirely new and exhilarating.

4. Check out all activities that your hotel or resort has to offer as you might find activities you have never experienced before. A first for us was a Foam Pool Party, and it was one of the most hilarious parts of the trip I can remember. Adventure and exploring is all fun, but sometimes it’s the oddball activities that bring a smile to your face even after.

5. Try to relax and realize that you are on vacation! Yes, there will be little hiccups or things that you didn’t expect to happen, but just remember… its better than being at work or dealing with winter weather. Enjoy yourself and realize that you are luckier than any of the locals who are working at your resort or many of your friends that you left behind.

We chose the Dominican Republic after seeing the endless, gorgeous picturesque palm trees lined along the beaches that lean towards the shallow waters of the ocean. We found both these and the wild ones that pop up in the midst of the country side far away from the waters. You can literally feel like you walking in the jungle with nothing but the tall palm trees and knowing that you can hit the sand and ocean pretty much within minutes! Just watch for those coconuts – Alka was almost hit with one!

Happy Travels!

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Dominican Republic Travel Blog and Fashion

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