Travel the world, seek and explore ……
If your looking for culture, something different and a a plethora of whiskey and scotch then go and travel to Scotland. I traveled to the United Kingdom, specifically Edinburgh Scotland, Glasgow and St. Andrews. At first I was a little apprehensive in going to the UK outside of London, because I thought it seemed more of a “Man’s” trip. With Scotland being the main destination, there is so much to do there and it’s definitely not just for a “Man’s trip” I was simply impressed and enchanted. Before any trip, I do my do diligence and research on the destination, i.e: where to go, what to see, where to eat etc.. I was definitely in for an adventure. Once I landed in Edinburgh, I soon learned that this trip would be one I’d absolutely love, enjoy and been in complete awe the entire time.
I landed in Edinburgh, breezed thru customs and was greeted by a car service to take me to my hotel. When I stepped outside of the airport, I was amazed by Edinburgh’s natural beauty. It was something out of a movie, that’s how beautiful this place was and this was just at the airport. So you could just imagine my surprise as I continued the journey. I was a like a kid in a toy story, wide-eyed and amazed. It was a complete snapchat and Instagram frenzy. I was flashing my camera and iPhone as we drove through the quaint streets of Edinburgh. Cobblestones, old historic buildings, and Harry potter like homes. I was just in complete awe as every turn the car made.
History on Edinburgh:
We arrived at our hotel, and the entire staff was so friendly and welcoming. Even our car service driver, she too was so nice and warm. We stayed at the Nira Caledonia located in Stockbridge a surround village just outside of the city center. Known as one of Edinburghs Best Luxury Hotels, this posh, chic and ever so stylish hotel was the perfect setting for any occasion. For me, this was a work/personal trip and I do hope to visit the country again and explore more of the magical place. I will admit I’m one who loves to indulge and enjoy all the amenities that many luxury hotels offer. Although Nira Caledonia luxe and quaint as it is, it has its own charm that I offers overall. The entire establishment offers so much even as a boutique luxe hotel. The Nira Caledonia is located in the village of Stockbridge, close to the city centre, about a 1.3 mile walk. It’s also a 4 minute walk from the Water of Leith river. Very close to many restaurants, shops and many tourist sights.The Nira Caledonia was once the home of renowned 19th century essayist, bon viveur and hedonist, Christopher North. Even to this day, they still carry on the traditions he set forth. It comes to no surprise that Nira Caledonia makes the Small Luxury Hotels of the World list.
I stayed in there spacious garden suite, that included a private terrace with the most amazing views of Edinburgh in the background. It was the perfect mix of zen and serenity all at the same time. Nira Caledonia offers different suites all with varying interior design and decor, but they offer spacious seating areas and bedrooms within the suite itself. The seating area was great to just sit and relax after a day of sightseeing. The perfect area to take photos, enjoy some afternoon tea, even some of our meals too. I loved the interior design of the Garden terrace suite that I couldn’t help but take photos and take in every moment. If you know me, I’m a sucker for personal greetings and details. When I arrived to the suite, they had champagne on ice with a welcome note and chocolates. A nice touch and greetings after the long flight. They really know how to give their guest the first class and red carpet service you deserve and that’s what I received from the moment I arrived and throughout the duration of my stay. I couldn’t ask for anything more, excellent accommodations and hospitality. No complaints whatsoever. From day 1 I absolutely loved the location as it was a breeze getting around the city and the area. I usually like to stay right in the center of the city, but the Nira was literally a few blocks from the centre. It was nice and refreshing to stay in the beautiful and quaint area of Stockbridge. Stockbridge village and the surrounding villages were the perfect places to take photos. So perfect that we could just walk outside and start snapping. Seriously guys, you’ll get your fair share and opportunity to take the perfect photos. If “your photo” spot is taken, don’t fret, you’ll soon find another spot to capture your next best photo. Every inch of the area and beyond is so instagrammable. Edinburgh and the country of Scotland is not only breathtaking but absolutely stunning.
I loved starting the day in the hotels main restaurant Blackwood Bar & Grill. Every morning they offered a wide variety of fresh, organic selections that made for a delicious breakfast. The fuel was much needed to get me through the days of sightseeing and exploration. And returning each night to enjoy a night cap at the bar to end the day. All in all, I truly enjoyed my stay at Nira Caledonia. A place I hope to visit again in the future. I’d like to thank the staff at Nira Caledonia for making my stay nothing short from fantastic.
Book your next stay at the Nira Caledonia
Where to Eat:
What’s great about Edinburgh, it literally has many cuisines from around the world. So you’ll have a a plethora of restaurants to try. Plenty of restaurants to choose from on just about every corner of the beautiful city. So, whatever you’re craving whether it be: Indian, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Seafood you name it they have it. But if your looking for more traditional Scottish fares here are a few place to try out.
The Doric: Address: 15-16 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE, United Kingdom, the-doric.com
The Dorie is a local Scottish fares and 17th century feels. They offer a wide selection of Real Ales and Whiskies to taste. If your looking to try some Traditional and popular Scottish delights try there Haggis Bon Bons (popular dish all over Scotland), other dishes to try are their Homemade Shepard’s Pie and Lamb Shank, both delicious. On Tap, try their Deuchars, Stewart Hollyrood and Edinburgh Castle. As far as their whiskies they have a superb collection so you can choose whatever your heart desires.
Amber Restaurant: Address: 354 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE, United Kingdom, scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk
The Amber restaurant offers traditional Scottish cuisine, with tasting menus and a whiskey bar. The menu choice is run-of-the-mill Scottish fine dining so if you haven’t sampled this kind of cuisine before then you will love trying the Scottish selection on offer. With it being part of the whisky experience it means there is loads of whisky on offer, a favorite for my husband and I. If you like whisky you’ll love it. Would be nice to see them do some whisky matching with the food. Be sure to try their tasting menus they have to offer, you won’t be disappoint especially while you sit and enjoy some fine whiskey.
Take a stroll down to Dean Village there you’ll find a row of cute cafes, shops and restaurants with a variety of cuisines to offer. Our favorites were:
The Olive Branch: Address: 91 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3RX, United Kingdom, theolivebranchscotland.co.uk
This restaurant offers simple European food in a smart modern spot with large windows, brick walls, wood floors and tables. Great for brunch and lunch.
Blackwoods Bar and Grill: Address: 6 Gloucester Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6EF, United Kingdom, niracaledonia.com
Excellent restaurant and it was right at our luxury boutique hotel. This is definitely a must try restaurant and I’m not just saying this because it was at our hotel, it’s because it was that good. Amazing food, exceptional service and a great, relaxed atmosphere. Blackwood’s has outstanding quality at very reasonable prices, no pretensions, just amazing food, excellent service in a small comfortable space. Only about a dozen tables, intimate and perfect for Dinner. Order their juicy steaks cooked to your desire and their lovely mussels as well as their Wild Boar Ravioli, all three are absolutely delicious. Make sure to leave room for dessert, because you’ll want to try their Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and Banana ice cream, restaurant favorite and simply to die for!
If you looking for more variety head on over to George Street. On George Street you’ll find some cute boutique shops and a plethora of restaurants to choose from. Some of our favorites were:
Cafe Andaluz: Address: 77B George St, Edinburgh EH2 3EE, United Kingdom, http://www.cafeandaluz.com
Elegant Andalucian decor and intimate ambience in a tapas joint with set menus and kids’ options. Amazing ambiance with food to match. Best tapas in all of Edinburgh. Be sure to order the Pollo Marinade, Gambas Pil Pil, Patatas Bravas, Paella Valencia, and the Bomba Picante. Great to share and oh so delicious!
The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen: Address: printingpressedinburgh.co.uk
Elegant, modern bar & bistro serving seasonally changing, locally sourced rustic Scottish cuisine. Fun, vibrant restaurant with great food and drinks. Great for dinner or even just some appetizers and cocktails after a day of sightseeing.
Be sure to bring your walking shoes, because you’ll want to explore anything and everything around Edinburgh. Walk the streets of Edinburgh and you’ll soon notice how the entire capital is comprised of small villages. To me, Edinburgh reminded me of Boston. A city that’s fun, vibrant, cultural and simply breathtaking. A quaint city that encompasses the big city life but not too big and over powering. You can literally explore and see all the villages and cover the entire city during a weekend visit, But we took our time and enjoyed every bit of this lovely city. If your anything like me, you’ll be flashing away. Because every inch of this magical place is photo worth. So get your camera and iPhone’s ready!!
It’s definitely more fun in the Bahamas, with great weather and fun in the sun, how could you go wrong! I mean, am I right?!
Last May, I enjoyed a little getaway to the Bahamas. A little fun in the sun and some good ol’ R&R. I’ve enjoyed visiting the Bahamas ever since my first visit back in High School. It was a nice way to free my mind and getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city . Whenever you get a chance it’s always nice to get away now and then, and I feel it’s important too. Great way to get refreshed, relaxed and feel restored and ready to get back to reality.
I stayed at none other than the Atlantis Resort & Casino on Paradise Island. I stayed at the newest, most modern and fashionably chic part of the resort: The Cove Atlantis.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resorts & Casino: Located at: One Casino Drive Paradise Island, Bahamas. It’s the Caribbean’s top vacation resort to visit. Discover all the fun and all it has to offer. The Resort has water parks the whole family can enjoy, fine dining, casino gaming and so much more. The resort has so much to offer you almost don’t need to go anywhere else. The Atlantis is such a gorgeous hotel and resort with so much to do for the whole family. I would highly recommend staying here when you visit the Bahamas. There are also many other hotels on Paradise Island and in downtown Nassau that are also notable. But this is one hotel that offers so much and has just about everything you’re looking for when your looking for relaxation, fun in the sun, and much more. Plus, it’s one of our favorites.
What Atlantis has to offer–What To See + What To Do:
Guest don’t just have to go to Rodeo drive or 5th Avenue for luxury shopping. Atlantis Resorts offers world-class shopping thats just steps away from your room. Visit the Crystal shops located in the The Royal Tower, more boutique shops in their Cove Tower, Marina Village and the Pro shop. Whatever you fancy Atlantis offers that and much more. If you want to venture off Paradise Island, head down to Bay Street located in downtown Nassau. There you’ll find many shops, outlets, boutiques and the local straw market. The Straw Market is one of my favorite place to visit. The straw market is a traditional open-air market, where local vendors sell handwoven straw crafts, Bahamian souvenirs & tourist trinkets. Definitely a great place to buy gifts for family and friends. Great for bargains as well.
Where To Eat:
The Atlantis has a variety of foods to offer, so you won’t go hungry thats for sure. If your looking for fine dining, dining al fresco or some quick eats Atlantis has it. Island life is the best life and its great for any setting for eating. enjoy eating at one of my favorite restaurants Nobu (Celebrity Chef Restaurant), if your looking for something more Island cuisine then you’ll enjoy 77 West. Here are some other restaurants at Atlantis that may tickle your fancy.
Fine Dining Options (Our Faves):
Casual Dining Al Fresco (Our Favorites):
And if your super hungry and looking for something with more variety check out Poseidon’s Table. This is Atlantis’s newest buffet dining restaurant that has so much to offer. With an eclectic cuisines for dinner and an array of your breakfast favorites.
There is so much to see and do at The Atlantis but the same goes for the entire island of the Bahamas. If you want to experience the island, here are some suggestion on what to see in the Bahamas.
If you’re anything like us, wherever we travel we like to check out where the locals hangout and eat. We love seeing and exploring the hot spots for the locals, especially for eating. So if your looking for something more local and authentic, take a little drive or walk down downtown Nassau to the Fish Fry. The Fish Fry, is where you’ll find real, authentic Bahamian dishes that will satisfy your tastebuds. The Fish Fry is a place I would highly recommend if your looking for local and real Bahamian cuisine.
During our trip, we enjoyed each day by the pool or beach, basically relaxed in paradise. Some days were spent, curled up reading a book or work in the Library lounge located in the Royal Tower. And of course we love taking photos. Honestly, every inch of this hotel and island was so Instagram friendly. It’s impossible to not find a more perfect place to take photos. If your favorite photo spot is occupied? Don’t fret, walk in any direction of the resort or even away from the hotel and you’ll find another perfect spot. This may seem like #bloggerproblems, but no fear the island is so beautiful, every inch is photo worthy. You’re in island paradise, so don’t worry you’ll be able to capture that perfect island photo shot, GUARANTEED! We enjoyed cocktails by the pool even tried our luck at the casino. Danced the night away at the Aura Nightclub and returned to the lobby bar for a nightcap.
The Island of the Bahamas and the Atlantis is so absolutely gorgeous with fun, relaxing and positive vibes. During you’re stay you’ll feel at ease and with so much to do you won’t ever have to worry about being bored. When you visit the Bahamas and stay at the Atlantis, you will surely have an amazing time as we did. Although the majority of our visit was spent at the resort, we also took time to explore the rest of the island. All in all, we enjoyed our stay in the Bahamas and at the Atlantis Resorts and Casino Paradise Island. We want to thank the entire staff at the Atlantis for making our stay such a fantastic experience. We also want to thank the Bahamas tourism board for the incredible tour of the beautiful island.
Have you traveled to Paradise?
All about that Palm Tree Life !!
I hope you enjoyed my Travel guide+diary and photos. I hope this was helpful for you in planning your next vacation or visit to the Bahamas or the Atlantis. I love hearing from you. Comment below or even write to me. If you ever get the chance to visit the Bahamas and stay at the Atlantis, please do share your visit using the hashtags: #SFBTravelDiaries #AlwaysAmazing #TheCoveLife #ItsMoreFunintheBahamas #StayAtlantis
As always, thanks for reading, following along and supporting me in my journey.
Set sail, we’re headed to the Grand Cayman islands.
I was so thrilled to go to Grand Cayman islands. This would be a first time visiting the island and I couldn’t wait to explore it all. So, Grand Cayman was one of the stops on my cruise. So, I had to maximize my time since we only had a few hours there. So, as soon as we docked, it was time to explore! We arrived at 8am and were set to sail at 5pm. So, I wanted to cover as much as I could during that time frame. First, I had breakfast on the boat, then my next stop was Seven Mile beach.
Grand Cayman Islands Facts:
Next stop, Seven Miles Beach. Seven Miles beach is best known for its beauty and was honored in receiving “The Caribbean’s Best Beach” from Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. It’s the most popular, and most developed in the Grand Cayman’s. Seven Miles beach is the home of the islands luxury resorts and hotels. Despite its name, it’s actually stretches a bit over 6.3 miles. Once you walk the stretch you’ll be able to enjoy beach for miles, restaurants along the beach in and outside the resorts are open to the public. Definitely an area where tourist visit, an where we spent most of our time. You can enjoy water sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling which are the most popular activities on the island. Our day was spent enjoying the beach and having fun in the sun. We also, had fun on the jet ski’s! If you haven’t gone jet skiing before, I highly recommend it. It’s so much fun!
After a few drinks and some sun, and my newly bronzed and tan self I made my way back towards the boat. But before getting on the boat, I stopped into the local shops in the downtown area close to port. As I said before, the island isn’t that big, so you can literally walk and drive around the entire island. I made my way back to the downtown/ George town area, enjoyed some authentic rum cake, purchased a few souvenirs for family, friends and myself and made my way back onto the boat.
If your looking for beach, water sports activities, great views, and just time to relax and unwind then Grand Cayman Islands is a place to visit. It’s truly a beautiful island, where the people are friendly, and welcoming. Grand Cayman isn’t a big island, but it has a lot to offer.
Where to Stay:
Top 3 Hotel +Resorts on the island
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach+Resort+Spa; 4 Star Resort
30620 Seven Mile Beach, Seven Mile Beach 0, Cayman Islands
A seafront resort on Seven Mile Beach thats 1.8 km from the Blue Tip Golf Course and 7km from the city of George town. Beautiful interior design, resort and spa accommodations. 4 eateries on the property, 3 on the beach, 2 bars and cafe.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; 5 star Resort
Seven Mile Beach, George Town, Cayman Islands.
Located on Seven Mile Beach, this luxury resort is 7km away from Owen Roberts International Airport and 8km from Cayman Turtle Farm. Sophisticated, plush and luxe accommodations that offers 6 restaurants and bars, spa, recreational activities+areas, pools, hot tub, shops, a cinema and much more. Fine dining by Chef Eric Ripert.
Grand Cayman Beach Suites; 4 Star Resort
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands.
Overlooking Seven Mile Beach, this relaxed resort surrounded by palm trees is 2.1 km from The Blue Tip Golf Course and 3.9 km from the Cayman Islands National Museum.A resort fee includes Wi-Fi and fitness center access. There are 2 restaurants offering terrace seating and regular live music, as well as 3 bars. Other amenities include 2 outdoor pools and a spa. There’s a kids’ club, and parking is complimentary.
Where to Eat:
It’s been said that Grand Cayman is known for the best food in the Caribbean. If your looking for local finds, beachfront fish shacks to even fine dining the island has you covered. Here are some restaurants to try when visiting this gem of an island.
Ortanique is a family owned Caribbean fine dining restaurant. They’ve been in business since July 1999 which started in a hole in the wall on Lincoln Road in none other than the vibrant city of Miami, FL. This restaurant delivers an innovative spin on Caribbean cuisine.
A local favorite Duke’s located on the non-beach side of Seven Mile Beach offers the island’s best Smokey BBQ. Some favorites to try are the Cayman’s Jerk Chicken which is rich and has lots of flavor and the Steampot made with all the seafood your heart desires. The Caribbean steampot is all about marrying lobster and lemongrass, “mmmm delish! Everything is made in-house this includes the cocktail and tartar sauce. Anything local and homemade is right up our alley!
If your looking for Fine dining head over to Blue By Eric Ripert at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. It’s known to be the best on all the island and it definitely lives up to the hype. This is the place to go for the most decadent, innovative and indulgent seafood experiences of your life. Be sure to try and order: Local tuna paired with foie gras, halibut “pot au feu” made with rich black truffle, striped bass toped with rum hibiscus. You won’t be disappointed!!
What to see + Do :
Seven Mile Beach (See information above)
Stingray City Grand Cayman : a series of shallow sandbars found just North Sound of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. A tourist attraction, where southern stingrays are found in abundance and visitors can pet and interact with the animals.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens: A non-profit botanic outdoor garden and wildlife facility located on the North Side District of Grand Cayman Island in the British West Indies.
Cayman Islands National Museum: The museum is located in the Cayman Islands. It’s located in the former Old Courts Building on Harbor Drive in George Town, Grand Cayman.
I hope my travel diary and guide was helpful to you. If your thinking of traveling to the Cayman Islands I would love to hear your thoughts and how your stay was. Comment or write to me. Share your experience using the hashtags: #SFBTravelandExploreDiary #TravelandExploreWithSFB
As always, thanks for reading, following along and support me on my journey. Stay tuned for more of my travel adventures.
I know these next few post are late, but hey better late than never, right…!?!?
Last February into early March, I traveled to the Western Caribbean via Norwegian Cruises lines aboard the Norwegian Getaway. It was a 7 day cruise beginning and ending in Miami. Our first port that we sailed to was the island of Jamaica, specifically Ocho Rios.
Ocho Rios, in spanish means Eight Rivers a port town located on the north coast of Jamaica. Now a resorts port that was once a fisherman’s village that has a harbor for cruise ships to dock and where the resorts are surrounded by the beach waters. The closest town or Parish from the harbor is Saint Ann which is home of the infamous Dunn’s River.
The number one tourism attraction on the island is Dunn’s river. Dunn’s River is a terraced, 180m mountain waterfall equipped with lagoon pools. Simply breathtaking surrounded by so many trees and nature. Seeing all the lagoons and waterfalls in the Jamaican rainforest is absolutely breathtaking. If you haven’t checked out the falls it’s one stop you won’t want to miss!
Do you guys remember the movie Cool Runnings? This was one of my favorite movies/comedies growing up. And our tourist guy said that some parts of the film were filmed in various areas of the island of Ocho Rios. But this experience I hear was super fun, I mean you’re one with nature and bobsledding in 90 degree climates. I mean who wouldn’t want to experience this attraction. You’ll enjoy stunning views of nature and the island during this bobsled ride. This is one excursion my husband and I didn’t get to try but we look forward to trying it on our next visit to Jamaica in the near future.
WHERE TO EAT
Whenever I travel anywhere I’d like to try out local + authentic eats. I enjoy immersing myself in the culture and getting to know the locals +natives of the countries I visit. The people in Jamaica were nice, welcoming and friendly. Everyone I encountered were very approachable and willing to tell us where to eat and stay. Very resourceful and helpful. When visiting, eat like the locals and enjoy the countries favorites like: Curry chicken, jerk chicken, curry goat, plantains and much more.
Great local eateries are Scotchies and Mama Marleys.
Scotchies was also featured on the RHOA when they visited Ocho Rios. The cast enjoyed their famous jerk chicken after they climbed the falls of Dunn’s River. Another local favorite is: Mama Marleys . Very close to the harbor/port. It’s conveniently located in a shopping mall where you can purchase a few souvenirs for yourself, family and friends. I recommend the Jerk Chicken and the curry goat, two island favorites. Prepared to perfection and tastes delicious!
WHERE TO STAY
The top 3 resorts to stay at when you visit Ocho Rios:
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Hotel Sandals Royal Plantation
Sandals Grande Rivera Beach & Villa Golf Resort
These are the top hotels that tourist stay at when they visit the island. They’re all-inclusive beachfront hotels with so much to offer. All three hotels are luxury hotels all within minutes of the neighboring parishes (towns), close to local bars, shops and tourist attractions. Check them out today!!
Jamaica is truly a friendly and welcoming island. I will definitely be back to visit. I look forward to explore and discover more of this beautiful and happy island.
Again, thanks for stopping by, reading and following along. Enjoy the photos and I hope one day you’ll consider visiting this beautiful island and check out one or all of the attractions and places I’ve mentioned today.
Hope everyone’s doing well, for this Travel + Explore post I’m telling you all about Norwegian Cruise Line and my experiences with them.
Ever since I was a kid, traveling as been a big part of my life and even into my adult years. As a kid, my parents would take my siblings and I on vacations around the world. One of the first times my family and I went to the Caribbean was when we traveled by boat. We used Carnival back in the day when they first come out and it was the newest boat out on the market. And after that we tried out Royal Caribbean and now in my adult years I’ve traveled with Norwegian.
Although Carnival and Royal Caribbean are great cruises especially when they first started their vacation packages back in the day.
But my philosophy is when you’re on vacation shouldn’t you choose the vacation you want. Do what you want and when you want?? Not to knock or disrespect the other cruise liners out there, but while I’m on vacation I don’t want to stick to a strict schedule. I rather choose and figure things out as I go as far as cruising goes.
Why do I LOVE cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines?
I love the fact that Norwegian Cruise lines prides on the fact that there kind of cruising is FreeStyle.
Freestyle Cruising : Dress up. Dress down. Sit down with friends or make new ones. Thanks to the flexibility of no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating, you have the freedom to enjoy your vacation the way you want to. Norwegian Cruise Line offers the widest, most flexible selection of accommodation at sea from spectacular, luxurious Suites to Balcony Staterooms and family-friendly, interconnecting Staterooms. Enjoy the freedom to dine somewhere new at any point of the day with a variety of restaurants to choose from. Dine when you choose and dress as you please. Family cruises with Norwegian Cruise Line are all about fun and freedom for everyone. Relax knowing that the kids are safe and sound, the teens are hanging out with friends and you’re doing your own thing. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a different kind of cruising keeping your vacation your vacation free to do what you choose. Every one of their beautiful, contemporary cruise ships were built on the sole purpose for Freestyle Cruising with a world of choices on board. Find out more on: https://www.ncl.com/why-cruise-norwegian.
There are many options out there for cruising. But this is why I choose Norwegian and why I recommend them. I’m not disregarding the other cruise liners, but I’ve had great experiences with Norwegian and will continue to cruise with them in the coming years.
If you haven’t check out Norwegian Cruise Line yet I highly recommend it. Have Fun and enjoy your vacation! Cruise like a Norwegian!