The Ultimate Guide to a Yucatan Road Trip

Introduction Ah.. the Yucatan..one of the most beautiful places on earth. On the Yucatan, you can find some of the best dive sites in Belize, the most awe-inspiring ruins in Tikal or Tulum, and the wildest nightlife in Cancun. What more could you want? … Continue reading

Food Frenzy!

Eating is one of my favorite past times. Bro says it runs in our blood and I’d say that’s a blessing and a curse. Either way, I’m typically not one to shy away from new and exotic foods. I remember, … Continue reading

Top 5: Places I’ve Been

My over-zaelous-ness with flags and stickers invites a lot of people to ask ‘why?’. When I explain that all the countries I bear are ones that I’ve been to, their reactions typically are ones of ‘awe’, quickly followed by the question “Well, which is your favorite?”

 

…. DAMN YOU ALL!

 

Do you know how difficult that is to answer? Anyone who has/does travel, whether over seas or within their own nation, will know that this question is impossible. Each one offers so many different experiences that they can’t be compared!

But, in spite of all the banter, I’ve decided to create this list that will serve as my go-to when answering this question.

V) Iceland

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The ever exotic Iceland. The country that everyone wants to go to, but few actually do! My time there was limited, only because – thanks to Icelandair – I was able to do an extended layover while flying to London.  But wow, am I glad to go at all. There’s something soothing about knowing that you’re on an island country that’s in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean alone. The weather was brisk, the air was clean, and the people were as friendly as could be. It was a nice pre-trip adventure before embarking across Europe.

IV) Germany

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How could you not choose Germany?? The always alive – always vibrant – always friendly nation. I’m fortunate enough to have been twice, and both times were off-the-charts awesome. Beer gardens, bratwurst, and football games** are always a recipe for success.

**disclaimer: I am a bandwagon fan. I was not an FC Bayern Munich fan until I went there the second time.

III) Mexico

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Now we’re getting into the sentimental part of the list. I will always hold Mexico near and dear to my heart. Bro (my grandpa) lives in Cuernavaca, and so every once in awhile I get the opportunity to go visit him. I’ve been to and from Mexico a guestimated half-dozen times and each time is a new experience. When I went this past summer, my entire family and I visited Bro and had a blast. We visited ancient Aztecan ruins, played golf and tennis, and ate FANTASTICALLY.

II) Switzerland

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The first time I was in Switzerland was mid-January, with my dad when we attended the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference. We spent a few nights in Geneva, and then travelled farther along Lake Geneva to Montreux and Leysin. My friend Michael (the one on the left in my Germany picture) actually went to boarding school at the Leysin American School so we visited him. I happened to mention to Mike how awesome it would be to go skiing. By coincidence, he had an extra pair of ski pants that fit me, so there we were! Impromptu ski trip in the Swiss Alps. Dad let me rent some equipment and off we went. I’ll never forget that one.

I) Finland

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My first trip :’) ! Where the wanderlust began. Summer after 8th grade, my mom took me to Finland, where out ancestry hails from. My grandmother was born here so our family there is relatively closely related! I feel like I got the true Finnish experience. Our family picked us up from the airport in Helsinki and immediately drove us to their town of Hankasalmi, where we met up with the rest of the family. Almost within the same minute, we were in the sauna, and then next thing I know, I’m butt naked in a freezing lake! For the rest of my life, this trip will be embedded in my brain and heart as the one that started it all. I’m glad my brother will be able to experience the same thing this upcoming summer.

There it is, my list. STOP ASKING ME NOW! It was hard to narrow it down, but I did. There were a few that JUST fell short, including Italy, Austria, Georgia, and the Netherlands. No hard feelings, bud.

The Mandatory Photos (3.9.14)

While flipping through my pictures from my previous trips, I found a few recurring styles of pictures.

First of which were the “Passport/Ticket in hand” photos:

(San Francisco, California)

(Munich, Germany)

(Reyjavik, Iceland)

(London, United Kingdom)

(Mexico City, Mexico)

(Cancun, Mexico)

Then there’s the classic “Out the window/ over the wing” photos:

(San Francisco, California)

(SFO, San Francisco, California)

(San Francisco, California)

(Tbilisi, Georgia)

(Munich, Germany)

(Reykjavik, Iceland)

(London, United Kingdom)

(Cancun, Mexico)

And possibly the most important, the in-flight/first meal:

(San Francisco, California)

(Mexico City, Mexico)

(Munich, Germany)

(Munich, Germany)

(Washington D.C.)

(Mexico City, Mexico)

Jet Skies and Ancient Ruins (7.7.14)

Being our last full day in Mexico, we decided to make the most of it. Similar to every morning, we began with three full sets of tennis at Hotel Racquet. Bro – per usual – won, and luckily I was on one of the winning squads.

We returned to the house to get cleaned up and eventually we left to Xochicalco, ancient ruins built centuries ago. Although I’ve been to many ruins before, it never seizes to amaze me the engineering that these cultures had.

After exploring the ruins for a little, we headed towards Tequesquitengo, a massive lake surrounded by expensive houses and nice restaurants. Here we were able to rent jet skies, something Maxwell had expressed interest in for quite a while.

Tomorrow we leave Cuernavaca at 6:00 AM in order to reach the airport on time. Unfortunately another trip has concluded but many more experiences and memories have been gained. I can’t wait until whatever comes next!

For Now, Salud!

Alex

A Bit of a Catch Up (6.7.14)

Sorry for not posting in a few days, it’s been a little busy. I’ll catch you all up on whats been going on since the first day.

Like I eluded to before, we continued – and completed – our strenuous three days of golf while adding three sets of morning tennis for the final two days. It was exhausting..

Unfortunately, this was the second year in a row I was out of the country for the 4th of July. If there was any day I’d want to be home it’d be that day but things don’t always work out. Us gringos made the most of it though.

Yesterday mostly consisted of bonding with locals over the futbol games at a sports bar. “Oohs” and “Ahhs” and “GOLAZOOOOs” don’t need any translations. We then ventured over to Emi’s sons house for after bar drinks where we were able to find common ground and with my poor spanish and their decent english, communications proceeded slowly but were underway. Of course Max bonded with Emilio, Emi’s grandson, over FIFA 2014. An easy to find common ground there as well.

Later that night, Bro, Emi, Max, Mom, and I ventured to Zona Central to take part in the weekend festivities and explore the street vendors stands. What if I told you corn with mayo, cheese, and chili pepper may be the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted? Don’t knock it ’till you try it because it blew my mind away.

Today called for a 6:00 AM wake up call in order to drive my dad to the airport. Thank goodness we left early because a wrong turn here, a wrong turn there, turned into an hour long search for the entrance to Terminal 1 at Benito Juarez International. Seriously Mexico… lets get some better signs. Either way, our (mis)adventure brought us to a local meat market, which was an experience in short terms.

A whole kilometer of meat was just what I needed at 8:00 AM in the morning. Pigs heads, full-sized cows, thighs, hoofs, the whole nine yards. Needless to say it smelled delicious (sarcasm intended).

The rest of the day consisted of walking around town, visiting the Mexico City Zoo, eating, and shopping.

Possibly the highlight of my day was this beauty:

(scorpion, tarantula, cockroach)

Yea… I wasn’t too excited about this experience but I had already called Max out on being a Wuss so I couldn’t back out. Like I said a second ago, it was an experience none-the-less.

We’ve only got two more days left and I think the plan for tomorrow is to visit a ancient Aztec pyramid. It’s obviously been a long day for me so I think it’s about time to hit the hay.

For Now, Salud!

Alex

Primer Dia en Cuernavaca, Mexico (3.7.14)

After only 6 hours of sleep (quite a few less then I need), we proceeded to have an eventful day full of activities. While everyone got ready, Emi – Bro’s partner – and I ran over to the local super market and picked up some breakfast food, including pan dulce, ham, and fruit. When everyone was ready, we left for a local restaurant in order to have a more filling breakfast. I had been here before when I had visited Cuernavaca last summer and it was just as I had remembered.

We then trekked out 15 km to Tech de Monterrey, where I plan to be participating in a spanish immersion course. The campus was magnificent and the faculty were above par. Inside the odd, modern shaped building was a large green area for recreation and leisure.

Today we also began our upcoming streak of days when golf is played. The family and I played 18 holes at Pariso Country Club, just outside of Cuernavaca. The course was nice, but the main perk were the caddies.

We just ended our evening dining out and a restaurant I had also been to last time. They will forever be embedded in my mind as the first place I had REAL tacos (although I do enjoy taco bell)

Tomorrow we begin our day with tennis and then another round of golf. After that, who knows.

For Now, Salud!

 

Alex

Vamos a Mexico! (1.7.14)

Tomorrow the family and I embark on adventure number two of the summer. This time, we fly four hours south of the border to Mexico City, and then hop on a bus for another hour to reach our final destination of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. The town of Siempre Primavera (always spring) will host us for a little under a week while we wine and dine, as well as bask in the sun while we golf and play tennis.

Although I didn’t keep a blog last summer – which I deeply regret – those who are close to me remember that I had travelled here with Bro (my grandfather) before we began our journey down the caribbean coast of Mexico.

Since I was informed we were visiting Bro, fantastic mexican food has been the only thing on my mind. I already made sure we’d be stopping by my favorite taco hut as soon as we get there. It’s a must, trust me.

For those of you who are interested, we will be flying United, flight UA511 incase you want to track us. Airbus A320 for you av geeks.

I do enjoy traveling on my own and gaining these new experiences, but it is nice to spend some time with the family every once in awhile. They’re not TOO bad!

For Now, Salud!

Alex