Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quick trip summary

To get things rolling, I'll lay out some of our travels below.

Paris, France
One of the most beautiful cities in the world. We stayed at the Sofitel near the Arch, b/c our smaller hotel that we booked was "under construction." This hotel and all the Sofitels are very good albeit a bit expensive. Next time, we'll be staying on the left bank.

We hit the usual spots, but Galway was one of our favorites. Also, the medieval town of KilKenny was interesting. The Kilkenny Ormonde was a great hotel. In Dublin, we stayed at the chain hotel Jury's Inn, which was ample, clean and otherwise not memorable. The price was right.
Also in Ireland, the Mustard Seed outside the city of Adare was fantastic and offered an authentic, off the beaten path stay...Top notch.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Great city, very metropolitan yet still "old Europe" feeling. The Jazzfest in July was amazing and we saw some great concerts, both small and large. The Hotel Absalon was OK, but it was a bit noisy due to the street and it wasn't very dark thanks to thin drapes.

Stockholm, Sweden
We loved Stockholm, period. The train from Copenhagen took about 5 hours and it was easy, although it was a bit rainy. The hotel we chose was the SAS Royal Viking which was perfect in almost every way. Our favorite part of that trip was, without question, our frequent visits to the old city, called Gamla Stan. Fantastic. One of our most favorite meals, anywhere, was in the Gamla Stan at a restaurant called Kryp In...the reindeer carpaccio was great, although my wife was having trouble watching me eat it as visions of Rudolph kept popping into her head. And, I did sing a few bars of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I thought it was funny...

Italy, Spain, Switzerland, England, Holland, Belgium
These cities were visited by me during my study abroad program, in '94. Having stayed in low cost hostels and hotels, it's not worth trying to remember them all. I mention these countries though, to simply say that all are worth exploring. A few spots that are standouts are: Amalfi and Positano in Italy, Interlakken in Switzerland and Bruges in Belgium.

French Polynesia: Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora
This was our honeymoon and what can I say? It lived up to the hype 100%! In brief, all the hotels were among the finest we've ever stayed and I'm confident other guests would agree. In Moorea, the Intercontinental was fantastic and we were in a garden bungalow. In Bora Bora, the Bora Bora Pearl Resort was like a dream world. In Tahiti, another Intercontinental which was equally great. Worth noting, this is perhaps the most expensive location on earth, rivaling even Tokyo and live once, right?!

On the Pacific coast, the fishing village of Zihuatanejo (near Ixtapa) is a great place to be. And, the hotel Brisas del Mar is an authentic, affordable hotel that we highly recommend. In addition, a quick day trip to the Las Gatas beach is a must. For a great meal and a killer view, Villa De la Selva (in Ixtapa) was top notch.

US Destinations:
Here is a quick list of some places we enjoyed.

1811 House - Manchester, Vermont (BnB)
-- Great New England feel, super cookies
The Villa At Saugerties - Saugerties, NY (BnB near Woodstock)
-- Upstate NY, close to Woodstock, amazing breakfasts!
Mohonk Mountain House - New Paltz, NY
-- Upstate NY, an old school hotel that is just an amazing experience
Channel Road Inn - Santa Monica, CA (BnB)
-- Close to the beach, good breakfast and nice, comfy rooms
Forgot the name:) - Lenox, MA (BnB)
Hyatt - Newport, RI
-- Newport is great for a long weekend, and the hotel was a good place to explore from. Next time, we'd likely choose a BnB though.

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