Category Archives: Travels

Crashing the Salsa Festival in Rovinj

Rovinj, the Emerald City

As we wind towards Istria from Plitviče, we enter the high speed toll road and race through a series of tunnels to emerge in Istria.  We enter a beautiful countryside of green hills and field lined with flowers.  Everything is so green.  The villages of stone houses topped with red  roofs dot the countryside along the road.  From Plitviče Lakes National Park to the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia is a easy and pleasant three hour drive.

Our destination for the sixth stop on our tour of Croatia is Rovinj, a town located on the Istrian Peninsula.  Istria is the Italian influenced area of Croatia.  We immediately notice that all of the signs in Rovinj are in Croatian and Italian.  Even the Croatian we hear spoken has an Italian lilt to it.  Rovinj is a short three hour ferry ride across the Adriatic from Venice.  Rovnj has an old town and a harbor just like all of the other towns in Croatia that we visited except Rovinj feels substantially greener.  Trees shade the street and flowers are blooming everywhere.

We check into Villa Kristina, a quaint bed and breakfast just a five minute walk from the old town.  After check in, we find the absolute best restaurant in the absolute best location in Rovinj.  The Restoran Stella di Mare is located on the edge of the sea just far enough around the bend of the port to provide a cool breeze and a spectacular view.   Our waiter, a large gregarious man, is very happy when we order in Croatian. When we explain that we are mother and daughter, he grabs a young man who is also waiting tables and introduces him as his son.  He gives us a Croatian lesson.  Meanwhile his son shows us photographs of Rovinj during last winter when it was covered with an unusual snowfall.  By the time we leave, we feel as if we have been embraced as part of the family.

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Romantic Honeymoon in Thailand

Visiting Thailand in June has its pros and cons.  Thailand has three seasons; hot, cool and rainy.  June is the beginning of the rainy season whereas November through February is the sublimely ideal cool season.  Because June is not the high season, you can enjoy cheaper prices and less crowds.  Do expect it to rain at least half the time.  However, when you are on a romantic adventure, spending time inside when it rains may be fun.  Also, when it rains, it is the perfect opportunity to enjoy my favorite indoor activity; the spa treatment.  Thailand is filled with a large diversity of cheap and enjoyable spa treatments.

We spent our Honeymoon in Thailand in June.  Since it was our honeymoon, we took our time to linger at each location rather than embark on a whirl wind tour.  We divided our time between Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui.   We spent three days in Bangkok, eight days in Phuket and eight days in Koh Samui.  We took small planes to each destination.

Here is our trip via Route Perfect. I will provide a quick overview of the highlights.  If you want to make our vacation your vacation, just click on the bright orange “View trip details” button and enter your departure date, number of people in your party to price your trip. If you like what you see, book it. It’s that easy.

  1. Bangkok

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Our Family’s Big, Fat, Greek Vacation

Our family vacation to Greek was a great mix of Greek history, laid-back island life, and family fun.  With a two-year-old, a fourteen-year-old and two adults, we took it nice and slow, savoring each stop.  This slow pace gave us plenty of time to enjoy the locals’ affection for children and for the all important nap-time.

I would highly suggest following our route if you have three weeks to spend traveling through Greece. We flew in and out of Athens.  After seeing the historical sites in Athens for three days, we headed to the islands.  We traveled from island to island just like the locals, via ferry.  From Piraeus, the port of Athens, we took a hydrofoil to Hydra.  After five days in Hydra, we had to return to Piraeus to catch another ferry for the islands on the remainder of our trip (Piraeus to Paros to Santorini to Piraeus).

Here is our trip via Route Perfect.  I will take you through the logistics and provide a quick overview of the highlights.  I have also provided links to the stories about each place on my blog if you would like more detailed information.  If you want to make our vacation your vacation, just click on the bright orange “View trip details” button and enter your departure date, number of people in your party to price your trip.  If you like what you see, book it.  It’s that easy.

1. Athens

We arrive in the Athens airport via Swiss Air and take a taxi to our accommodations, an apartment in the Panormou-Abelokipoi neighborhood.  It is hard to believe that we only spent three nights in Athens considering all of the things we did. The highlights include exploring Plaka, hiking to the top of the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and the Erecthion, visiting the zoo and the Children’s library in the National Garden, watching the changing of the guards outside the Presidential Mansion, drinking ouzo in a neighborhood pub in the Panormou-Abelokipoi neighborhood and riding the metro all around the town.

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Adventure in Fluency’s Calendars for 2017: Croatia, Greece and Thailand

Just in time for 2017, we have added three new calendars that are now available for purchase.  Just visit our Adventures in Fluency store to buy yours today.  These calendars feature beautiful photographs from our trips to Croatia, Greece and Thailand.  Claudia Rodriguez, my daughter, and Frank Sandoval, my husband, are the talented photographers.  Where will your adventure in fluency be in 2017?  Let these calendars inspire you and my blog be your guide.

Life is an adventure, not a destination.

Hvar, The Sexy Party Girl Island

Hvar: The Sexy Party Girl Island

Hvar is like a hormone filled teenager compared to sleepy Korčula. Hvar wants to get you drunk and reckless.  Hvar is a sexy island scented with lavender.  There is a sexual fire that burns deep within the core of Hvar.  I can feel its heat the moment we pull into the harbor.

20161018_095756Lavender stand at Hvar habor

Our catamaran deposits us in front of the bar, Carpe Diem, at 7:30 PM.  Carpe Diem, has a boat that whisks people from the shore to an island dance club.  The club on this forbidden island disco does not even start until midnight.  As we walk towards the square to find a taxi, we pass restaurants that line Hvar’s port.  The lounge music pulsates from the interiors of the restaurants as the tourists flow by dragging their luggage.  Hvar is Croatia’s Riviera.   The dance music, the lights, the people; glamorous Hvar is just starting to wake up, stretch her long, tan legs and party.

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Korčula, The Shy, Soothing Island

Korčula: The Shy, Soothing Island

Korčula is cool by design.  It’s old town was designed by the Venetians.  The ocean breezes weave through the carefully laid out streets designed by the Venetians to optimize the natural cooling properties of the wind.  Korčula is shy and laid back. She is the friend  who takes care of you when you need to be soothed and comforted.  She is not fancy or flashy.  She is intimate and cares deeply about her home and her inhabitants20160626_103508

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We ride to Korčula via the catamaran ferry.  Riding the catamaran to the islands is like riding a Hop On Hop Off ferry.  The line runs from Dubrovnik to Split everyday with stops at Mijet, Korčula, Hvar, Brac and Split.  We buy all our tickets for all our island stops at the Jadrolinija office in the port of Dubrovnik the day we arrive.  The tickets are very affordable and easy to purchase up front.  Buying them in advance makes island hoping easy and stress free.  The ferry is air-conditioned, has food and beverages and plenty of indoor seating.  There are shelves at the entrance on which you can store your luggage.

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Lokrum, the Bewitchingly Beautiful Island

Island hopping in Croatia is like visiting different enchantingly beautiful women. Each island is beautiful in her own unique way.  Each island has a very distinct personality, as if the island’s spirit breaths from the core of her island and intoxicates its inhabitants with her ways.  As we travel from island to island, Claudia and I are the same people.  However, each island evokes a different mood from us and castes her own unique spell on us.

Lokrum: The Bewitchingly Beautiful Island

Lokrum, the cursed island, is only available to receive visitors during the day.  A short boat ride from the old City Harbor near the Ploce Gate in Dubrovnik, we buy our tickets from a stand in front of the boat.  Lorkum rises above the sea with a sheer wall of tan colored rocks topped by a layer of green trees.  The island is surrounded by rocks fitted with ladders that descend to the clear, cool Adriatic sea. From the small pier on the island, paths branch out with signs pointing to a cafe, botanical garden, beaches and the ruins of the monastery.

Claudia in LokrumClaudia sitting on the Lokrum pier

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