Tag Archives: travel tips

Antigua, Guatemala: Your Heart Will Want to Stay

Antigua in the shadow of the Volcano
Antigua in the shadow of the Volcano

It’s rare, but once in that very unique moment, the one you least expected anything, a story, place, and a face reach up and unexpectedly take hold of your heart. It’s an act completely selfless. You feel it. You recognize it. You let it happen because something else is in control, but yet it feels so good to feel something towards another human being. There’s no anger, no sympathy, no other negative feelings to get in the way of this so good feeling. I can only attribute it to what a genuine love might feel like. I felt in complete acceptance of who I was. I felt no judgements. Most importantly, it was me that was feeling it from them. Who are them? The Guatemalan people.

Antigua Market
Antigua Market

The children will take your heart away. I’m not certain how it’s done, but it’s done. I can only guess that Mom and Dad had something to do with it. From our experiences in this beautiful town of Antigua, Guatemala, I can honestly say what I write here is from my heart as inspired and awakened by our visit to this town.

Join us on this episode of Stories Faces Places, Antigua, Guatemala as we introduce you to the wonderful people of this region of the world.

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Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

dsc02140When you think Costa Rica, one thinks volcanos, rain forests, beaches, and jungles. We get into those areas in this Costa Rica Podcast.

If you’re seeking a place in the jungle and don’t like to get your hair wet, if you know what I’m saying, we grabbed a five-star, worthy of praises. It’s a great family resort set in the jungle.

dsc02155Listen in for those stories and more on this episode of Stories Faces Places. We’ve split Costa Rica into two episodes. This one is Arenal. The previous one is  the city of San Jose, Costa Rica. Click here to go to that one.

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San Jose, Costa Rica: Don’t Miss Sharing a Different Culture

“Al, I found a flight to Vietnam for only Five Hundred Forty Nine, round trip,” Laura said. “It will be a great add-on.”

We were in San Diego, California. Some how I couldn’t see Vietnam being a quick little add-on to our visit to Southern California. Knowing her passion to travel, and armed with the knowledge of her convenient excuse to find a way to get from one place not so exotic to another place very exotic, I treaded with caution. After all, the flight seemed cheap, but it was the time involved that had me on the defense.

“How many hours is the flight?” I asked with the full knowledge of my next answer.

“Fifteen hours to Hong Kong and then another 4 give or take,” she responded with the certainty that this was a done deal.

“I can’t do it,” I said and kept quiet for the next response.

After a minute had passed and still no response from Laura, I wondered. Had I used that stay silent tactic one too many times and she’s wise to it, giving me the same treatment in return?

As the silence wore on, I started to wonder who would break first. I couldn’t believe it.  I broke silence first, the pain was agonizing. I still felt confident that I had her.

“Hey, why don’t we stay closer,” I said. “What about San Jose?”

I’m thinking, great, we’ll go up the California coast, visit San Fran., and maybe jump up to Napa. With all those alternatives, I thought that this is a lock.

“Sounds great,” she said, “I’ll look into it.”

Some how, San Jose, California is spelled Costa Rica.

San Jose, Costa Rica, the once bustling Central American city where U.S. President’s, albeit from the nineteen sixties,  visited, was where we ended up. My California dreaming was over.

Arrival into San Jose leaves one, well, a little under whelmed, to say it mildly. It’s a place that has seen better days, and claims now to be on a resurgence. After an interview with one local, I became a believer. Great things are happening to San Jose.

Good or bad, I’m not sure, but just fifteen or so years ago Costa Rica was the place to which many Americans flocked. Inexpensive retirement homes was the draw. As usual with us Americans, the flock became a roar. Why can’t we ever do things slowly?  Prices quickly boomed. Then the economic crash came and housing prices have still yet to recover fully in much of Central America.  But I’m certain as we American’s do, like the proverbial bull in the shop of fine china, our insatiable appetite, I’m not talking food here, will rule. The uncontrollable desire, the fear that we may miss out on something will be in control, sending housing prices over the top again, and finally setting up the cycle to repeat itself. When are we going to learn?

Prices in restaurants at some of the tourist destinations are inflated and the quality of food is deflated. We found two restaurants worthy of praises for food quality and price.

When you think Costa Rica, one thinks volcanos, rain forests, beaches, and jungles. We get into those areas in part two of our Costa Rica Podcasts.

If you’re seeking a place in the jungle and don’t like to get your hair wet, if you know what I’m saying, we grabbed a five-star, worthy of praises.  It’s a great family resort set in the jungle.

Listen in for those stories and more on this episode and the next of Stories Faces Places. We’ve split Costa Rica into two episodes. This one is San Jose. The next one will be the Arenal Volcano area.

IMPORTANT: Join us here to see more pictures and videos we place in the members only pages.

Palermo, Sicily and Madrid, Spain, Fun Re-told

Ferry Boat Disembarkation
Ferry Boat Disembarkation

Well, here we go again. We both love these two stories of experiences we enjoyed while traveling. One is our completely unexpected inspiration from people while aboard an overnight ferry from Palermo, Sicily.  An experience we will never forget.

Next in this episode we re-live our impromptu tapas crawl in Madrid, Spain. This comes the day after we witnessed thousands of people in Puerta Del Sol celebrating the abdication of the King of Spain.

New Friend
New Friend

For more information on Madrid, listen to our

Madrid Tapas
Madrid Tapas

podcast solely on Madrid here: Madrid, Spain, Tapas and an Abdication Party

Listen to the Palermo Podcast here

Cinque Terre, Italy: Hiking, Medusae, and More Laundry


“Keep climbing,” Laura said, looking back at my nearly dead and 100_0764dehydrated walking corpse. “Look at this great view.”

When I finally reached the peak, the look down onto Vernazza was one of the most amazing views I had ever seen, making the hike worth every breath, every droplet of sweat, and every near heart attack.

Reaching the small Italian fishing village, we donned our bathing suits in much the same way most of the residents do, right there on the rocks along with others. We jumped into the chilly Mediterranean Sea.

“Yikes,” screamed Laura, “somethings got me!”   We hastily scrambled up the sharp rocks out of the water. The locals told us to pee on it. It was quite a learning experience.

100_0805Listen to our fun adventures in the Cinque Terre, and the usual travel tips sprinkled throughout the show.

Find out about the recent changes being made that will affect your travel to that area.

We’ll explain what I needed to pee on, too.

All that and more are on this episode of Stories Faces Places.


Bologna, Italy: Wine, Food and Laundry

DSCN4395“Hey Al,” said Laura, “are those your boxers hanging in the courtyard?”
To my surprise, the answer to her question was in the affirmative. But before I go there,  allow me to digress and start from the beginning of our memorable experiences from our Bologna, Italy trip.

Bologna dates back at least 1,000 years. I said I would start at the beginning.  The University of Bologna is the oldest in the world, dating back to 1088. How interesting is that fun fact? To put it in perspective, our whole country, the U.S. is only 250 years old. We’re talking historical here in Bologna. There are more fun facts sprinkled throughout this podcast.DSCN4374

Our hotel was a unique and cozy family owned place called Hotel Porta San Mamolo.

“Would you guys join me for some wine in the kitchen later tonight?” asked Roberto the general manager and owner of this establishment, Mamolo.  “Of course,” we responded in stereo.

That wine meeting led us to his family’s vineyard and to a local restaurant that in my opinion is the only place needed to satisfy the palate while in Bologna.DSCN4439

So take a listen to this episode as we reminisce about our trip to Bologna, Italy and the Vineyard that became a resort.

DSCN4415We look forward to hearing from you by email, reviews, subscribe, and like us on Face Book.


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