Posted on March 6th, 2014 at 10:40 PM by admin
Day 4 was a special day. Our group rented out the resort’s private island: Palomino Island. I’ve never been on an island with so many fun activities available. Not only could you rent kayaks and jet skis but you could also play ping pong, basketball, volleyball, paddle ball, chess, bean toss, and mini golf. I might even be missing some activities since there were so many! We also had free drinks all day and lunch. Ahhhh…..that was the life I tell ya! I got my butt whooped as usual playing Dad in ping pong. Then Naomi and I decided to try out the jet skis. Before this occasion I had only ever been on the back of one so I was excited to try out driving one. It was a blast at 30 mph. Unfortunately Naomi got a much slower jet ski but didn’t seem to mind too much as I drove circles around her.

Love the human sized chess boards!


Jet Skiing!!!

Another cool thing about the island was all the iguanas. I got up real close to take many pictures and they didn’t seem the least bit scared or interested in my presence. Despite having so many activities we did spend some time just laying out. Our beach chairs were only 7-8 feet from the waves rolling in and there was a nice strong wind that made us blissfully unaware of how much our skin was burning. The fairy ride out had some roller coaster like moment but the ride back was smooth sailing and what a beautiful view of the island it was from the fairy.

View of Palomino Island from the fairy

Two happy ladies!

That night we had cocktails and dinner outside on a beautiful terrace. Another wonderful vacation day had by all. Although we have another day left in Puerto Rico I will spare you all the details as it is the one day I have to spend in meetings. All small price to pay for such a wonderful vacation!
Posted on March 5th, 2014 at 8:49 PM by admin
That night we had cocktails and dinner outside on a beautiful terrace. Another wonderful vacation day had by all.

For our first full day with the parents we decided to rent a car and venture to the capital city of Old San Juan. The drive was only about an hour and it sure was worth it. Old San Juan is pretty small and we walked through just about the entire city in one afternoon.The highlights? The fortress that still stands around much of the ocean front was very scenic. The cute little houses and cobblestone streets also brought a level of charm that is surely hard to find. At a local restaurant we had our first taste of Mofongo, a Puerto Rican dish that stuffs various meats and/or seafood into mashed plantain. After a leisurely stroll through the city we had some exceptional cocktail at El Toro Salao, a Spanish-Puerto Rican fusion of a bar restaurant. I had a Summer Thyme – nothing beats fresh herbs in a cocktail. Nothing!


So much beauty in this city!

Loved the view uphill this cute little street!

Spanish-Puerto Rican Fusion at El Toro Salao

Mom and Dad enjoying drinks at El Toro Salao


Posted on March 4th, 2014 at 9:36 PM by admin
On day 2 we were ready to explore. We got up early had breakfast with cafe con leche, of course, and then headed to the lobby to meet up for our tour to the El Yunque Rainforest. As soon as we got on the bus and heard our very lively tour guide speaking English with a strong yet totally understandable Puerto Rican accent, I know it was going to be a good time. This was the kind of tour guide that is clearly entertaining enough to himself that entertaining us is a mere bonus. He told us his name but quickly told us to just call him Tooouer Guyyyyde. Typing doesn’t really do the accent justice but I think you can catch my drift. I really enjoyed his Spanglish in many sentences. It was like he didn’t even realize that he was switching between the two languages. It occurred to me that I’ve never been to a country with such impressive bilingualism. Whenever we got out of the bus he said “Vengan guys!” with which he meant “Come on guys!”

On the bus ride we were quizzed about the most common and most popular fruits and given lots of information about local sites. He also had us guess whether or not it was going to rain in the rainforest while we were there. I have to admit that this made me a little nervous as I hadn’t brought a rain jacket or a my water pouch for my $1500 camera. Luckily we determined by the humidity, the clouds and the lack of cows that it was not going to rain. Phew!! The hike we went on was about an hour. We walked down the La Mina trail to a small waterfall and then back up and out through a different trail. Many of our fellow tourers went swimming in the waterfall but I was not feeling that adventurous. Throughout the hike we saw many lizards and lots of awesome views. Being on an island the Puerto Rican Rainforest didn’t really have any mammals, which was interesting and also much less scary than say the Amazon (see my Iquitos post). At the end of the hike we went up the Yokahu Tower and had another beautiful view. On the bus ride back the tour guide suggested we stop for some local street food. Naomi and I got very excited and quickly opted in for the fried meets, rice, beans and tostones (fried plantains). Yum!

Hello little lizard!

Toooouer Guyyyyyyde does tarzan!

love the rocks, water and colors


As we arrived back at the hotel a frantic young man handed me a piece of paper and said “Here, take this. Its for two free drinks.”  Who could say no to that? We promptly went to the poolside bar and ordered our drinks. Afterwords we put on our suits and hung out poolside. It was a nice bit of relaxation time before my parents arrived. They were visiting some friends in Florida and were finally arriving in Puerto Rico to join us for the rest of the trip. The ended up getting in a bit late but still made our reservation at the resort’s seafood restaurant called “Stingray.”  I took the chance to try a fish I had never had before and it was delicious! Just another day in wonderful sunny Puerto Rico.
Posted on March 3rd, 2014 at 9:24 PM by admin
We took our time getting out of bed the first morning and were stunned at the beautiful view out our terrace (see banner picture above). After facebooking our view to make all of our friends jealous, we leisurely headed down to a buffet breakfast. Still tired from the previous work week and our travel day which turned out to be a little longer than expected, we decided our first day in Puerto Rico should be one of pure relaxation. So after taking a few pictures of the surroundings of the El Conquistador Resort we booked a couples massage!! Wow, we both agreed that the two masseuses that worked on us did the absolute best job of releasing our chronic back pain. They were amazing and I wanted to take them home with us so that I don’t have to deal with so much back pain. We definitely took advantage of the foot soaking after the massage which was accompanied by white wine and candied fruit. There we met a nice couple from Atlanta with whom we exchanged exciting travel stories and even some professional tips as the guy was a chef by trade and has been in the restaurant business for 20 some years (opposed to us in our first year!) After that we headed back to the concierge to book a tour to the El Yunque Rainforest the following day.

View of the golf course located at El Conquistador Resort


For dinner we chose the Asian steakhouse which was one of several restaurants the hotel had to offer. It was Benihana style where they cook your food at the table in front of you but instead of the shrimp trick we got spinning eggs. The guy spun an egg and then lifted it up on his metal spatula and flipped it in the air several times while it was still spinning and then he turned it to the side and let is land on the side of the spatula so it split it open – hello chicken fried rice! We were so hungry that we ordered sushi as an appetizer and then got a chicken and shrimp dish on top of it. We ended bringing most of it back to the hotel room – oops!

View from the Atlantic Terrace of the hotel


After dinner we could not help but head over to the ginormous game room that the resort was taunting us with. With only a few people there the cupid shuffle and Karaoke left a lot to be desired but we did enjoy the FREE air hockey and fussball (even if the table was not quite level). We also bought some tokens to shoot some hoops and take some photobooth pictures. Our first day was wonderfully relaxing and fun.
Posted on March 2nd, 2014 at 8:39 AM by admin
After a crazy work week and an extra day of work on Saturday, I was not at all looking forward to packing late at night and then getting up at 5:30am to head to the airport BUT when you are headed to Puerto Rico during the most insanely cold and snowy winter of the past decade, it seems like a small sacrifice to make. Getting up at 5:30am is somewhat hard for a non morning person (ein Morgenmuffel as they’d say in German) like myself but then again it is almost better than 7 or 8 am because at 5:30am I don’t really feel like I’ve been fully asleep yet – ha!

Anyhow, I promptly got up and headed to my disaster of a snowblower. Only having lived in my current house since September, I was a bit worried that I might make permanent enemies with the neighbors for busing out the snowblower at quarter 6 on a Sunday morning but the 4 inches on my driveway were definitely enough to cause issues getting out of the driveway so what are ya gonna do? Let’s see where was I? Ahh yes, so before I could get on with starting the most tempermental piece of machinery I’ve ever known- that is my snowblower, I had to get through the worst ever invention of a gas can that I wish I had never bought. Do you know the ones where you have to twist and pull in order for the gas to even come through the nozzle and then as if that weren’t hard enough to manage the damn thing leeks all over the place no matter how tight I twist the cap on. Seriously? And I presume this invention was supposed prevent spillage? My magical powers of careful pouring have never failed me like this piece of #@*$ invention. Now, getting back to the snowblower that requires a gentle priming and then 10 minute relaxation period before choking and starting or else it will literally blow out parts of the engine (I know because it happened twice before I learned this delicate procedure).

Ok, this has been a major digression in my travel blog as I haven’t even left my house yet, but I just had to share. Needless to say we left the house for the airport about a half an hour later than we should have. We did our best to carefully drive fast on the not so perfectly plowed and salted roads but when we arrived at the airport the line just to drop off baggage (of course we had already checked in online the night before) was like a mile long. My fiance, who is admittedly a bit bolder than myself, immediately asked the next person in line if we could cut. I mean, I probably would’ve picked out person 9-10 but this is why I picked her as a partner, no? She went for the best solution without hesitation. We got lucky and this couple let us cut. After that we were posed with the dilemma that my fiance was TSA pre approved and I was not. With another stroke of luck I got to go through the pre-approved line since we were traveling together. We managed to bypass the huge security line in record time.

After riding the shoulders of my fiance’s great work it was now my turn. I was given the go ahead (yes this has happened before) to then run to the gate so we didn’t lose our seats. Nothing like a marathon run first thing in the morning when you aren’t wearing a bra (so not comfortable on a plane!) I made it with some time to spare so that turned out to be a touch unnecessary but at least we were on the flight.

Once we were on the plane I started to get comfortable and into my “travel routine” if you will. It consists of going to sleep as fast as I possibly can and staying asleep for as long as possible. Sometimes I can manage to not even have to be conscious for take off and landing – what I deem a truly successful travel experience. So I fall asleep for what doesn’t feel like long and realize we haven’t moved yet. The captain comes on the speaker “We are de-icing the plane. Thank you for your patience.” Ok..back to sleep. A few minutes later “We have a mechanical issue and will have to return to the gate.” It is now an hour after our original take off time. Clearly we are not going to make our connection from Atlanta to Puerto Rico. We get off the plane and convince, yes convince the air line agent to put us on standby for a flight that goes out a few hours later even though it was already overbooked. We get lucky again and get on the flight. Pfew… now we have a few hours to spare before we go through the stressful process of getting all ready and then waiting at the gate to see if you will be allowed on the plane. We did, in fact, get lucky again. I will never know if it was my Skymiles that had us as such high priority on the standby list or my fiance who managed to obliviously sneak to the front of every line when we had to rebook flights, but I do know that we make a great team regardless. And this team will be arriving Puerto Rico tonight after all!

No selfies in the airport but stay tuned for pics once we arrive!