Each month we sit down as a family for a family meeting to talk what’s going well, what our needs are and, as a travel blogging family, where we see ourselves traveling next. At this months meeting our toddler stated he wanted to “stand in a real castle” on our next endeavor. We’ve been tossing the idea back and forth to begin international travel with him now that he’s almost three and so our wish list of places has begun to grow.
I was extended an amazing travel deal that I wanted to further gift to you, my international travel readers, at Sir Richard Branson’s breathtaking hotel The Lodge. One of Virgin’s Limited Edition Retreats, it is located in Verbier, Switzerland, an area that offers exceptional scenic hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, exceptional Swiss dining year round and views like nowhere else in the world.
"An outdoor Jacuzzi, stunning mountain views and flowing bubbles await when booking one of the chalet’s nine beautiful bedrooms”
The all-inclusive luxury retreat features daily dining and drinks offering both Swiss and International cuisine prepared by Michelin-trained chefs – a highlight sure to be any travel foodies dream come true. We personally always opt for all-inclusive, especially when traveling internationally so we can be sure to eat well and have access to a variety of dishes that are healthy for us. As we personally opt for a master suite when we travel for more space, the chalet offers two master suites and seven bedrooms for a total of nine luxurious options.
The rooms, which feature rich wood paneling and authentic modern European furnishings, are both luxurious and inviting. The jewel tones against the natural elements make the Lodge's rooms a beautiful retreat from an exhilarating day exploring Verbier. One of my favorite touches is the cozy fireplace, where we can cuddle and take in the expansive views from the floor to ceiling windows.
During the day, guests can breathe in the fresh Verbier air with gentle hiking, a morning yoga session or relaxing among alpine trees in an on-site hammock. The resident beauty therapist can also help you unwind before a leisurely drive into town, which is just a five minute walk. The charming town offers an array of charming boutiques.
While we love expansive resorts where we can relax, it’s always fun to explore the city where you’re staying and its always a plus when there are amenities within walking distance.
Not short on activities, you can also soak in the indoor or outdoor jacuzzis, take a swim in the pool, take a steam or entertain friends or your travel party in one of the two bars or party room.
And lastly, while we opt for more family friendly options, thrill seekers can also mountain bike, go paragliding or hit the canyons.
The Lodge is offering a free night stay when you book four nights. Valued at $930.00 USD, travelers can take advantage of this offer June 14th-September 22nd 2019.
Rates include accommodations at The Lodge, breakfast, light lunch and dinner. All drinks including premium branded, spirits, wine and beer and house champagne. A dedicated team and all taxes.
Blackout dates may apply as well as all our normal terms and conditions. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer and stays must be for a minimum of four nights and there is a maximum of one free night per booking. This offer cannot be used for cancelled then reinstated bookings.
Call 1-877-577-8777 to book, or you may email email@example.com
With the winter chill in the air, dreams are made of sunnier beach days. And with many of our friends getting married this season, it made for the perfect recipe for a swoon-worthy blog post.
Beach vacays are relaxing and sexy—qualities that make for an awesome post-wedding trip. Check out these sunny, sandy spots I absolutely love in Mexico, the Caribbean and Florida.
A Guest Post by Sheldon Muecke of T with J
Europe is an extremely sought after destination for travelers and I had the amazing opportunity to travel there this past year.
There are things I learned that helped me make better decisions and that made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. The destination highlighted in today's post is London, England. Last week I spoke on Zurich, Switzerland. If you missed that post, you can see it here.
England is very different from Switzerland; English is primarily spoken here, for one thing.
You would be surprised how using your own language to speak to someone from another part of the world, brings you together. I did not have the privilege of being able to travel through London much, so this post is mainly focused on traveling through London Heathrow airport and tips to navigating this massive international hub.
London Heathrow is a very large airport and you are required to take a bus from terminal to terminal. Keep in mind, this also runs on the left. This airport is very busy, making it the perfect opportunity to let your positivity be easily noticed by many passing by. Workers definitely seem upset at first glance; as most airport employees do, but once you get to talking to them you will see some smiles in return and it will be a much more pleasant experience. So remember to keep your cool and relax while traveling. Wearing an attitude of respect and a certain understanding of the dry humor of the English, makes time going through here enjoyable.
The staff is very knowledgeable, so ask questions. The biggest mistake we can make is thinking that we know everything about the airport simply because we can read English. This is another location to make sure you’re on time. Having high traffic levels, it doesn’t leave catering to one person very easy.
People generally like to do what they are there to do, so making authentic small talk is definitely favorable, Keep in mind that deep, connecting conversation may not happen unless you are there to meet someone.
The food options here are fantastic and almost endless. I ate at a diner called The Bridge, which is definitely worth taking a look into. If you are ordering an alcoholic beverage, keep in mind that it may come out warmer than you like, from my personal experience, so be sure to ask your waitress if that is something that you care about. I don't think they take their drinks as chilly as Americans.
Also, a note to all travelers - make sure you check the exchange rates before you travel and be sure to change money out at the airport, as it will usually be a better conversion rate.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks to traveling to Switzerland and England. I thank you for taking the time to read this. You now have some ways to save money while traveling, as well as tips to having the right attitude to make your experiences much more enjoyable. God bless you all in your travels, and may He give you traveling mercies.
What has been your favorite experience traveling through Europe? And what advice can you lend to those embarking on an adventure?
Sheldon Muecke is a missionary, outdoorsman and blogger at www.TwithJ.com. His blog touches on all aspects of how we can better serve the Lord. He's been able to tour the world and see amazing sights while living out his adventures.
A Guest Post & Original Photos by Sheldon Muecke of T with J
Europe is an extremely sought after destination for travelers and I had the amazing opportunity to travel there in the past year.
There are things I learned that helped me make better decisions and that made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. The destinations that I will specifically be talking about in my post today is Zurich, Switzerland. The beginning of my European travel experience. For my tips, post and photos on London, England, the beautiful city where I wrapped my trip click here.
Switzerland has one of the most unique entry experiences into a country that I’ve ever seen. 1. You may or may not experience the cabin clapping for the pilot as you land safely. This is a sign of respect for their pilots. On the short train ride to the main station of the airport, you will be welcomed with a video through the tunnels that gives a tidbit of Swiss culture. Once there, there are definitely some to-do’s and don’ts. Some people get really nervous when going through the passport lines. Not to take away from the seriousness, but they enjoy visitors coming in; the biggest advice I can give anyone is to be authentic. Smile, that is one thing that will get you very far if you need to ask questions or just want to make friends with everyone. And don’t be afraid to accept the fact that you’re a tourist.
This leads me into my next point; Switzerland is a country that does not primarily speak English. Most people speak German, French, Swiss-German, and a very small portion of the people speak the Roman language (not Italian, actual Roman). Typically, it’s best to speak German to communicate with most locals; so grab an English to German dictionary or app and attempt to learn some. There is definitely a respect that is gained even if you’re horrible at speaking it, it shows that you’re trying and people love that. Don’t be afraid to sound silly; because to our ears, it is. Have confidence in trying.
Some more serious concerns are definitely worthy of noting. Keeping in mind that the Swiss make some of the best watches in the world; being on time is vital. Buses leave at THEIR EXACT SCHEDULED TIME not later, no sooner (check bus and train schedules constantly and take pictures of them for reference). Also, familiarize yourself with a 24-hour clock schedule, i.e. 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, etc.
Life can get very expensive, very quickly in Switzerland. Knowing where to shop is half the battle. There is a store called Migros that is the equivalent of a grocery store here, they have a specific green and white striped brand that is located on the bottom shelves (the place where everything is cheaper). My suggestion to making traveling less expensive, shop at places such as Migros and another market by the name of Coop, instead of going out to eat. Coffee shops are also another place that you definitely should visit while there. Ask locals where the best coffee in town is, they’ll know. This isn’t exactly a money saver, but it is definitely savory and worth the time. A side note is to keep in mind that their humor is very different, what may be entertaining to Americans could be offensive to the Swiss. Knowing when to joke, and when not to, is good to keep in mind. But if you can get into Swiss humor, take advantage of that and bond with the locals.
So I'd be totally lying if I told you the number one reason I was excited to go to Barbados wasn't for the fact that the FRIENDS cast went there in season 9. Even though they didn't REALLY go there. And it was a set in Burbank.
But it totally was the reason I was so excited. I know most people dream of Barbados for the culture. The beaches. The rum. The food. But me, unique & quirky little me that I am, when I saw it on my tour itinerary my first thought was "Ross totally had his Paleontology event there." Anyone else crazy avid FRIENDS fans? Just me? O.K. moving on.
It wasn't long before I stepped off the boat and fell in love with the many reasons people DO visit this beautiful island and my FRIENDS frenzy floated away. The colorful buildings were charming, a PURPLE art gallery, I mean come on. It was rows of canary yellow shops, teal cafes and pink homes and I swooned.
My group and I decided to take the city by foot and explore. Gorgeous brick structures and old architecture reminded me of Europe while the colorful facades were reminiscent of my time in Puerto Rico and east Mexico. And one of the best parts of Barbados? The GLUTEN-FREE options. We grabbed fish tacos nearby in my pre-paleo days before spending the day ocean side, but there are MANY options for those traveling gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian and I've listed my favorites below.
Azul at Sea Breeze Resort
Highlights: Gorgeous ocean views, cozy upscale living room setting, high end menu with GF/DF customizations.
Brown Sugar Barbados
Highlights: A dedicated Friday Gluten Free brunch, the Roasted Butternut Squash, Bajan Herbed Baked Chicken & Flourless Chocolate Cake
Lemongrass Noodle Bar & Grill
Highlights: Can sub any noodle dish for rice noodles, uses Kikkoman GF soy sauce, casual, relaxed environment
Highlights: A gorgeous upscale eatery that's very photo worthy, ocean views, a full vegetarian menu with GF options
Orange Street Grocer
Highlights: A great place to grab food to go or have a sit down meal, a full salad menu, The OSG salad, the wild salmon
Only able to spend a few hours in Barbados before heading to our next island locale, we spent a majority of our day at The Boatyard. The Boatyard is an awesome cafe/bar/nightclub that features piers to jump off, floating trampolines and a floating rock climbing wall. It's like Caribbean ocean play for the child within.
We sat seaside, toes in the sand at our table and enjoyed drinks before taking a dip in the calm, warm waters of the Atlantic and wearing ourselves out before it was time to go.
Do you have a favorite place to dine or visit in Barbados? Or do you have a favorite island I have to check out? Leave it in the comments below!
Crystal blue waters, delicious eateries with breathtaking views and stores where shop owners know you by name, this is what St. Thomas was to me. For nearly five months, as I sailed the Caribbean seas singing for Holland America Cruise Line, St. Thomas became a regular stop on my itinerary and I want to share my very favorite places. Tip #1: For healthy foodies, there is an organic market, the Natural Food Grocer and Deli, in port where the ships dock. I always stocked up on dehydrated fruits, nuts and delicious teas while here to have with me aboard the ship and on my travels.
First, let us start with the eats, because. YUM. Caribbean food was by far some of my favorite food of my travels thus far. Fresh seafood, delectable salads and yummy drinks can be found everywhere throughout the islands. I treated myself to some very nice dinners while in St.. Thomas, accompanied by my friend and fellow healthy foodie Samantha Wyatt of Fresh Life Journeys, whom I met overseas.
My favorite restaurant hands down was Havana Blue. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, dining in the open air with blue ocean as far as the eye can see. The sun was just setting and the blue hue that swept through the place was gorgeous. Samantha, some other friends and I enjoyed a delicious feast with wine (back when I still drank alcohol) & I ordered the Marinated Chicken Breast bursting with cilantro & garlic with asparagus and Cuban dirty rice. Delish!
Another must see is the Mountain Top. A sightseeing destination and lunch spot, the tramway is an affordable way to get a birds eye view of the island. There is an internet cafe located at the bottom and at the top you will find scenic walkways, a cafe and a duty free shop that carries island trinkets and souvenirs.
The restaurant was a normal lunch place for us, the affordable eatery offers a wide selection of fare with healthy sandwich, salad and fresh appetizer platter choices. Even though we were high up in the trees, our ship still looked huge - even from way up on the mountain top.
Tip #3: Most cell phones work in St. Thomas because it's American territory. I used this opportunity to call home each time I was in town to save on phone cards and internet cafe costs.
One of my very favorite parts of this island were the colorful, brick covered alleyways. Tip #4: When traveling in a foreign land, NEVER go anywhere alone, especially alley ways. Though they were high traffic, tourist areas, you never know and it's better to be safe than sorry. If there were days my friends Samantha or Cynthia couldn't grab coffee I stayed on the ship. But, if you do have someone to go with, they are fun to check out. There are usually less touristy, more authentic shops and galleries and its fun getting to talk to the locals.
We found an amazing coffee shop that offered vegan coffees and we made it a regular stop. I wish I remembered the name, I do know it was down one of these alleys in the "downtown" area of the island if you want to do some exploring on your visit.
The people here, at White House Black Market St. Thomas, knew me by name. As did the islands Caribbean Surf Co. I know that isn't something to proud of, and I'm not, but they were my weekly or bi-weekly stops and they always saved new shipment items for me when I came in, haha. Always looking for a new formal dress or cute resort wear top, you can say that my wardrobe was very neutral that year with many pieces of Roxy thrown in. The stores also reminded me of home, and there was comfort in shopping there.
Tip #5: When traveling abroad its good to find shops you know. While shopping in unique shops and boutiques is exciting, you can be taken advantage of. Like I was. I way over paid for a camera while in St. Thomas at a Caribbean electronics store and had major buyers remorse later on. Make sure you do your homework before making big purchases in other countries.
Last but certainly not least we need to talk about the excursions. They are SO many things to do here. From shipwrecks to castle tours, ziplining to hiking, St. Thomas offers many options for even the most adventurous traveler.
I however, opted for snorkeling and boating. If I wasn't dining on delicious grub or buying cute beachwear you could find me in the water off the coast of Buck Island. Our friend Cynthia was the shore excursions director and always offered to take us out on that boat up there. A big group of us would board the boat and ride 40 miles off the shore of St. Thomas, enjoying rum and snacks, and snorkel in gorgeous, reef filled waters.
St. Thomas was my first experience with snorkeling and I will be completely honest and tell you the first time they dropped us in the water that far away from civilization, TOTALLY had a panic attack. They threw me a pool noodle, I did some deep breathing and then took a look under water.
The crystal waters, the colorful sealife & God's beauty calmed me almost instantly and I've been in love with snorkeling ever since. It's one of the first things I do whenever we go to Hawaii, and I hope to snorkel with Mr. Charming if we venture to the Caribbean together.
Do you have a favorite Caribbean destination or island story? Share it with me in the comments below!
A Guest Post by Dr. Torsten Stein B.S.D.C
As a chiropractor, many of my patients are either healthy eaters, vegetarians or vegans. So when I went back to Germany just recently, I kept my eyes open to see the options overseas to report back. I wanted to examine how the generally health-conscious Germans eat, shop and live.
Germans love walking. You can see them walking everywhere. If they don't walk, they take their bikes. It can rain or shine, and Germans will be outside moving around. One of the reasons that they don't like taking their cars are the insanely high gas prices as well as the severely limited parking spaces. Many streets are several hundred years old and existed long before the first automobile appeared. So streets generally aren't very wide. When you have to maneuver backwards into an empty space with cars coming and going from both directions, you too will wish you were walking. A Tip: Practice, practice, practice your parallel parking before visiting & driving here.
The best places to walk are the inner city places where no cars can go. They are called "Fussgaengerzonen" and besides a few small regular stores, you will see lots of bakeries (even the dreaded gluten and sugar filled chain - Dunkin' Donuts). Traditional German bakeries often bake their own bread and it is fresh and spectacular! There are gluten-free options and bakeries if you plan ahead to find these hidden gems before you travel. The pastries are yummy too and less sweet than in the U.S. These places often have a coffee shop attached and there will always be a few tables and chairs outside because Germans love eating pastries and drinking coffee.
Now the biggest mark of health conscious behavior you'll see is when people buy BIO products. BIO Products are similar to what we classify as "organic" food here at home. Even though there are specific BIO stores around, most of the stores carry BIO products. The same goes for bakeries or better restaurants.
One of the things I did during my recent trip was visit my old dentist from when I used to live there. I also signed up for a teeth cleaning, and at the end, the dental hygienist asked me if I were a vegan. After telling her that I am not, she told me that one of her polishing creams is dairy based and she didn't want to mess with my beliefs. How great is that? To sum it up, if you desire to visit Germany, please do so. It's a beautiful and friendly country - covered in green. There are trees and greenery everywhere and it's a general rule to have fresh flowers in the home.
Fitness is also popular as people walk a lot and are generally in pretty good shape and very health conscious. Another tip: The one thing that will surprise you is how many people smoke in contrast with the healthy lifestyle they portray otherwise. Especially in the summer time, you will want to sit outside while eating your food at the cafes to avoid the smoke exposure.
You can also visit Gluten Free Travel for printable gluten-free restaurant cards in German to take with you when you travel.
We would love to hear your experiences if you've visited Germany and your favorite healthy finds.
An accomplished chiropractic doctor, Dr. Torsten Stein is known for being the world's tallest chiropractor. Standing at 7'2" the tall doc practices the Gonstead method and practices out of Glendale, AZ - treating patients from around the world. More on Dr. Stein and his methods can be found at. www.72doc.com.
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.