Photo Journal: Secret Walks in Zagrebarium

zagrebarium-croatiaMy family stopped in Zagreb, Croatia while traveling with our Eurail passes, but little did we know that this modern-city has its roots established during Victorian times. Zagreb, Croatia is probably best known as a large city which managed to stay romantic with unlimited possibilities for visiting music and theatre events, art exhibitions, museums and enjoying pleasant walks, interesting architecture and lots of parks in the center of the city.

But, thanks to the Secret Zagreb’s Zagrebarium, we think Zagreb is also the steampunk capital of the Balkans. Once my family started exploring the city with Iva, owner and tour guide of Secret Zagreb Walks, we learned that Zagreb has a well-preserved historic Austro-Hungarian Victorian district, so from there it’s only one minor conceptual shift in thinking to make Zagreb all things steampunk. To Iva’s credit, she has fully embraced the steampunk vibe, going so far as dressing in costume and creating a steampunk-themed map—that my kids have declared as one of the best maps and still look at since we got home.

The tour begins at the beautiful Zagreb Main Station. From there you will see traces of the city’s great expansion in the 19th and early 20th centuries and hear stories of amazing minds and incredible events that happened in Zagreb! I don’t want to give an spoilers, but if you are a red-head, you are in for a great story…and beware. 😉 Also, did you know that the fountain pen was invented in Zagreb? This and other interesting facts will be told. Some stories will grab your kids attention that they will be talking about them for days. You will also follow the footsteps of Nikola Tesla in Zagreb, reveals the connection between great 20th century rock stars and Croatian scientists, searches for links between superstition and science and gives insight into earth-shaking events.

The tour will end, as you enjoy a short yet memorable cable car ride up the world’s shortest funicular, where you can see the whole city on a hill. But watch your time, as you may want to cover your ears when the cannon goes off from the tower. It was a highlight for the kids on the tour.real-posh-zagrebariumIMG_9953IMG_9957IMG_9958IMG_9961IMG_9966IMG_9967IMG_9975IMG_9982IMG_9994IMG_0007First thing is first, if you have never been to Zagreb, you MUST come! Next, you need to book the Zagrebarium tour, where Iva searches for the fantastic side of Zagreb. You will hear interesting tales of amazing minds and incredible events as you explore the city’s best-known sights and some hidden gems. Then, the following days you can explore independently and see for yourself how magically ingenious Zagreb is. Oh, and make sure to see the changing of the guards at St. Mark’s Cathedral! Your whole family will pull out their phones to record this ceremony performed since the 17th century.

7 Amazing Swimming Pools Around the World

Summer is here, and you know what that means – POOL TIME! One of our favorite things to do whenever we are visiting a new place is to see where there is a pool! Even when my family road tripped across Greece last month, it didn’t matter what time we arrived at St. George Lycabettus Boutique Hotel, as long as there was still some time to use the pool. We quickly checked in, and the kids changed into their swimsuits at record speed for some pool time. Our obsession with pools reached even new heights where despite living across the beach on the Adriatic Sea, we actually drove an hour away just for the infinity pool at Porto Montenegro! (It may cost to drive and utilize, but it was soooo worth it!) Oh, and we still talk about our time poolside during the Spark.Me conference at Hotel Splendid, which lived up to its name. Who said the coast is not also a great place to enjoy a pool?! 😉

Anyway, as our thoughts remember all the great pools we have visited, it is time to pull you into our obsession with splashing, cooling off and laying by the pool this summer, here are 7 amazing swimming pools around the world that will leave you reaching for swimsuit and a plane ticket to one of these amazing destinations across the world.

1. Lido Pool, Porto Montenegro, Tivat, Montenegro. It sits in Montenegro’s dramatic Bay of Kotor.LidoPool
2. St. George’s Rooftop Pool, Athens, Greece.stgeorgepool
3. Arena Badeschiff Pool, Berlin, Germany.ArenaBadeschiff
4. Berkeley Rooftop Pool, London, England.
Beyond the green leaves and scented blooms of The Berkeley’s secret garden is a pool tiled in iridescent white and gold mosaic that sits beneath a sliding roof, retractable when outside temperatures permit.TheBerkeleyPool
5. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona.HyattRegencyPools
6. Giola Lagoon, Thassos, Greece.
This is a natural pool in the Greek Islands.GiolaLagoon
7. River Bluff Water Experience, JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa River, San Antonio, Texas.
It has a Cyprus tree-lined 1,200-foot lazy river, zero-entry pool with its animal-shaped fountains and five water slides.jwmarriottpool
We cannot think of a better way to spend the summer than being poolside with a good book. What do you enjoy to do in the summer? What pool amazed you around the world?

Family Travel: Athens, Greece

One of the great things about Greece is that “family” is still a special strong bond that holds the Greeks together. “Paidiá, kalosírthate!” (Children, welcome!) is what you and your kids will hear when you come to Athens. One of the challenges of family travel is finding the balance of your desire to see the glories of Athens and your kids’ eagerness to play.

First things first, make sure to stay at a hotel that has everything for everybody, such a swimming pool and free WiFi. Stay in the neighborhoods of the Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma or Kolonaki – all are walking distance to top historical sights. We suggest staying at Pallas Athena with its family suites, A for Athens because of its price and St. George Lycabettus Hill for its amazing view. We especially love the rooftop pool at St. George. Kids could cool off there all day while the parents enjoy the view of Lycabettus Hill AND Acropolis of Athens.

To see the heart of Athens, walk around the Plaka and Monasteraki neighborhoods. Yes, they are very touristy, but they also have a lively and friendly vibe. Plaka is a pedestrian-friendly warren of ancient streets nestled at the base of the Acropolis. Climb the hill to see Areopagus, also known as Mars Hill. Be careful of the “slippery rocks,” due to centuries of high volume foot traffic in the area. The kids actually liked sliding down them. Read Apostle Paul’s famous speech spoken on that very spot from Acts 17:22-31, as your kids can see the Bible come to life. Afterwards stroll up to the Acropolis, where fans of Percy Jackson will love to see where Percy, Annabeth and the rest of the demi-god gang spent their time in Athens. After your family has explored the Acropolis of Athens, head back to shop in Monasteraki with more antique, arts, crafts and clothing shops than Plaka. It’s also home to a large Flea Market every Sunday morning.

Now that you have worked up an appetite, walk back to Kolonaki neighborhood to Omorfo. This family-owned restaurant is filled with mostly locals savoring traditional Greek favorites like veal with zucchini in egg and lemon sauce, pastitsio and stuffed tomatoes. Your family may also want to try Philos Athens and Zoe’s Premium Latteria in the same neighborhood. What better way to end the days of shopping and exploration that enjoying some ice cream?! Conveniently at the the Monasteraki Square, The Ice Cream Shop easily serves the tastiest ice cream in town. They also serve milkshakes, which are hard to find in Athens, and the parents’ favorite frothy, freddo espresso-cappuccino.

Dreaming About San Giorgio Mykonos

san-giorgio-2My jaw hit the floor when I stumbled upon the San Giorgio first at TBEX in Greece, and I haven’t been able to wake up from this dream! I’m starting a savings account just for this place because if I don’t stay there at some point, I’ll have serious life regrets. What a stunning combination of modern and bohemian, filled with textures and simplicity. San Giorgio is a place where I feel like my mind could escape, and I could exhale – a paradise found in Mykonos. There some heavenly place on this earth, and this is one of them. Definitely take a minute to scroll through the rest of the photos. It’s absolutely divine! I hope to visit San Giorgio, my dream hotel soon. 🙂

Photos from San Giorgio Mykonos Facebook page.san-giorgio-1san-giorgio-3san-giorgio-4san-giorgio-5san-giorgio-6

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Travel

 

Truly understanding and appreciating a new culture can take months or even years. When traveling, most of us don’t have that luxury. Those for whom a few days to a week is about the best that can be hoped for have to figure out how to get the most out of limited time. A checklist of museums and attractions is a common instinct, but it won’t give you the deep connection that makes travel rewarding. After years of planning events around the world I have learned that taking a few simple steps allows travelers to better connect to new places, make amazing memories, truly feel at home in a strange land, and always have the best travel stories to tell.


Beijing1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE
. I know that this is obvious, and the obvious response is that it’s difficult and time-consuming. But you don’t have to be fluent to get the benefits of putting in a little effort, and it will make you much more comfortable. Learn the most important phrases: “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and the most important in any language: “Thank you.”  I also like to learn to ask for the check and how to say the equivalent of “Cheers!” every place I go. Ask a native speaker to check your pronunciation; with those basics you may even convince passerby you are a local. And on that note…

2. DRESS THE PART. The more different you look the more different and isolated you will feel. People in obvious Paying respects to Shakespeare in Budapesttourist garb always look so awkward, and are easy targets for scams. Do some quick research – Pinterest is a fabulous resource – on what the locals wear and pack your suitcase accordingly. Are they more casual or more dressy than you are used to? Are they having fun with colors and prints or are they in muted earth tones? Do they all have scarves or head coverings? Most importantly check out the shoes, because they will tell you what the most fashionable and practical choices are. Are most of the women wearing cute ballet flats? Low heeled boots? Wedges? They probably know that it’s the best way to be comfortable in the lifestyle and climate and look fashionable at the same time. Nobody in New York City is wearing white or super high heels; follow their lead because they know something you don’t. Dress like a local and you may even find other tourists asking you for directions.

Love In the Time of Cholera at the home of the author in Cartagena, Colombia3. READ LOCAL LITERATURE. You may not be able to pick up the language in a week, but pick up a translated novel that takes place in the city or region you will be exploring and start it before you leave, giving your mind a head start on adapting. In Paris read Émile Zola, J. M. Coetzee in South Africa,  Haruki Murakami in Tokyo, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar in Istanbul, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Colombia. Walking the streets of Cartagena reading Love in the Time of Cholera imagining Florentino Ariza spying on his beloved Fermina Daza from his park bench gave me a stronger connection to the city, as if we shared a secret. And during the afternoons when it was too hot to do anything but lay by the hotel pool, my mind was still exploring as I turned the pages.

4. CATCH A LIVE PERFORMANCE or festival, outside of the tourist zone. While I’m sure the hotel’s dinner buffet hula dance extravaganza is lovely (and you should learn the history of the hula in Hawaii), find out where the locals go for a good show. One of my favorite traditions is finding a great jazz club no matter where we are, from Shanghai to Krakow. Sitting in a small club, surrounded by locals and visitors from around the world with a shared love for jazz, introducing ourselves to the band members (from Poland, playing New Orleans jazz, in Istanbul) after the set and drinking with them and their friends until 4am is still one of my favorite memories. In New York or London, skip the long-running big spectacle shows that everyone has seen, and pick instead an avante garde performance. Go downtown to see an Off-Off-Broadway play. You are much more likely to be surrounded by locals and to feel as if you are one.

Krakow, Poland5. HANG OUT IN A CENTRAL SQUARE. There are the classics like Washington Square Park in New York and Trafalgar Square in London, but try hanging out in Krakow’s Rynek Glowny and Prague’s Old Town Square too. Learn the history. See the commerce. Listen to the conversations and the protesters. Take pictures, but also eat the street food, tip the musicians, feed the birds and read your book on a park bench. Don’t rush on to the next attraction; just sit, rest your feet, take it all in and fall in love with your surroundings.

6. And while you’re at it? TALK TO PEOPLE. As always in a big city anywhere in the world be cautious and streetwise, but often the locals are as genuinely curious about you as you are about them. Ask them questions. If they’re interested, buy them a pint and get their life story. Some of my favorite travel stories are just repeating someone else’s. In a tiny restaurant in a hillside German town we ended up spending hours with a chef from Ibiza, his Russian winemaker friend, an American GI (who was initially just looking for an ATM), and a dog named Snob, all of whom remain seared into my memory years later. It all started because we asked questions.

7. JOIN A TOUR LED BY AN EXPERT DOCENT. There are plenty of big group options that teach you less than a common guidebook, but with a little research you can find engaging, unique, and highly intellectual tours. A 6am bicycle tour through Montmarte, while the shops are just opening up and the empty wine bottles still litter the streets of Paris, will give you a unique perspective of the city. An artist-led graffiti tour of Bogota will teach you more about the culture, politics, and history of Colombia than any other. A historian who has hiked the entire length of the Great Wall of China can point out things nobody else would notice.

Early morning bike tour through Paris
We were guided around London a few weeks ago by a docent from Context Travel, a network of scholars and specialist in disciplines including archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, environmental science, and classics who lead in-depth walking seminars for small groups (6 or less). With her we not only got a personalized tour helping us to understand the city’s history and major landmarks, we discussed the upcoming election, the conflicted feelings on currency and immigration, and the true purpose of Her Majesty the Queen, and were surprised with a visit to what once was The Texas Legation in London. The company’s website makes it easy to pick a city (they currently operate in 25), pick an interest, and reserve a guide. It is well worth it.

8. FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS. Watch or read their news (BBC World is a great resource when traveling). Even if you can’t IMG_7971take a tour, do a little online digging to understand the struggles of the people. What are they concerned about? What have they been through? No matter how pretty and peaceful a place can seem, there is always a group of people who are unhappy. Understand them and you come closer to understanding the whole culture. If you are in a place where your country’s policies are not appreciated, find out why and try to see yourself and your politicians from their perspective. People around the world want to be heard; offer them an ear.

9. MEET UP WITH A FRIEND. If you know someone who lives there, even if only casually or from years ago, reach out and ask them to meet up. If you don’t know somebody, chances are there’s a friend of a friend somewhere. Maybe a coworker once studied abroad and maintained some connections. In this global village, you can find people with similar interests via Twitter or Instagram in advance of your trip and meet up when you get there. You will let down your guard and forget you are in a strange land for an hour or two. Locals anywhere rarely get to experience their own tourist attractions, and usually love to show off their neighborhoods when someone visits. Give them that chance.

Off-Broadway Play in NYC10. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF. What do you like to do at home? If you’re into sports, arrange to see a game while traveling or find out where there’s a pub showing a match. Soccer isn’t my favorite sport, but watching a big match with a rowdy crowd in a European pub is an experience everyone should have at least once. Do you enjoy live music? Hiking? Theater? Exploring new restaurants? People do those things around the world. Find your passions and experience them in a new place, because it will make you feel at ease, it will ignite your spirit, and it will show you how alike we all really are on this planet. And that is the very purpose of travel, isn’t it? That and the stories.

Tea in Beijing

 

 

For more information about CONTEXT TRAVEL: https://www.contexttravel.com

 

Follow my travel adventures on Instagram at @SeeJayneGo

12 Places That Make Montenegro Dreamy

From the beach, bumming luxury-lover to the hiking history-buff, Montenegro is a country that’s vibrant, dynamic and filled with wild beauty that makes the country dreamy. Depending on your accommodations, choices of food and length of stay, a trip to Montenegro could be a history-filled outdoors adventure, quick and cheap holiday or a luxurious getaway – and that’s the best part about it: you can make it anything you want it to be.

Here are 12 places around Montenegro that I feel fortunate that I am surrounded by and they need to be placed on your next travel itinerary.

1. Tara Canyontara-canyon
2. Stari BarStariBar
3. Sveti Stefansvetistefan
4. Kotorkotor
5. Jaz and Bečići Beaches, Budvabudvabeach
6. Lake Skadarlakeskadar
7. Biogradska Gorabiogradskagora
8. Velika Plaža, Ulcinjvelikaplaza
9. Porto Montenegro, TivatPortoMontenegro
10. Our Lady of the Rocksladyoftherocks
11. Ostrog Monasteryostrogmonastery
12. LovćenLovcen

You’re almost completely guaranteed good weather in Montenegro in the Spring. Later on in the summer, you can expect about 12 hours of sunshine a day and temperatures in the 30s (80s – 90s Fahrenheit). You’ll also hardly see a drop of rain in July and August. Since moving to Montenegro, I am a big fan of this country in this month (April), May, September and October, when the weather is a cooler and the crowds are much smaller. You’ll still see plenty of sun, but the temperature will be more comfortable, around the mid 20s (70s Fahrenheit).

Do you have any suggestions on where to go or what to see in Montenegro? Leave them in the comments below!

City Wonders Ancient Rome

CityWondersDark Rome Tours, a City Wonders brand, offers small group tours in Italy with expert, English-speaking guides and Skip the Line Access to help you get the best from your vacation. After being suggested to try Dark Rome Tours from our friends at Blogger Bridge, I reached out to them telling them that a girlfriend and I would be visiting Rome for the day, and they graciously booked us for the “Skip the Line: Colosseum Tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.” We were pleased beyond our expectation!

Our Italian guide’s name was Davide, and he was entertaining from the start. His English vocabulary was better than some Americans that I know. 😉 We walked around historic Rome (Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill) for three hours and Davide shared stories – some that I knew and others that I hadn’t. We use headsets, which was helpful because we could wander away from our guide but still hear him.AncientRomeThe Colosseum is one of the iconic tourist attractions in the world with thousands of visitors each year. The crowds are huge and the waiting time can be long. Fortunately, we walked by quickly after getting our bags checked through security. The hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 meters above the Forum Romanum, looking down upon it on one side and upon the Circus Maximus on the other.

The Colosseum was built between 70 – 80 AD by Emperors Vespasian and Titus and could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people. It was used primarily for gladiator contests and special events, such as mock sea battles and wild animal hunts. A gladiator school was built adjacent to the structures and wild animals were housed in the underground portion of the Colosseum. The structure is considered an architectural achievement of the Roman Empire.ColosseumFloorWe learned that the Roman Forum was the town center of Rome. It was the political, religious and shopping center. It contained the Senate, speakers platform, temples and shops. Unfortunately, marble and metals from the structures in Rome were removed from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to build churches and other structures during medieval times. Davide asked us every step of the way, “Why do you think that this ancient structure is still here?” The answer was because it had been redeemed as a church or the words on the arches honored God. If they did not, but they exhausted the Roman gods, Constantine and rulers that followed destroyed the temples.SenateThe 15th century Church of St Lawrence was built with Roman Forum marble. The Temple of Saturn, built in 490 BC, is believed to be the oldest temple in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum area was originally swampy and formerly used burial ground. The Roman engineers found a way to build proper drainage, which made the construction of the Colosseum possible. They build the first basilica here, which original was a meeting place for the Romans not a church as modern people now them to be.SaturnFollowing our tour of the Roman Forum, we made our way uphill to the famous Palatine Hill, the home of the Roman Emperors, which overlooks the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It is a popular tourist destination and provides a great view of the surrounding area.PalatineHillDavide was extremely knowledgeable and interesting. I was very pleased with the quality of the tour and guide. It was nice to have a guide to point out interesting things at all three sites. I can’t imagine visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill without a guide like Davide, who really enriched the experience. Our tour ended in Palatine Hill which afforded us the opportunity to linger longer after the tour was done.

This was an amazing tour experience for us – priceless memories that will last a lifetime. We fell in love with ancient Rome. I would not hesitate to use them again. I find that a good guide always enhances my experience, no matter how much I know about a site. A guide also helps me focus on what specifically interests me. I like the idea of someone else taking care of the details. 😉 Because Davide packed this tour with some much history and interesting facts, I could not imagine writing and sharing all the stories. That being said, it is worth booking this Dark Rome tour the next time you are in Rome.

When in Rome, explore as the Romans did! 😉

10 Things to Do in Naples, Italy

NaplesBuon Giorno, Naples, Italy! The legend tells that the origin of Naples is due to the mermaid Parthenope who killed herself in the Gulf of Naples because Ulysses refused her love. Maybe that’s why Naples is characterized by the cohabitation of opposites: good and evil, joy and sadness, beauty and decay. Personally I can’t get enough of this city – you can’t explain the love a girl has for the Mediterranean coast! We all know that we must eat pizza here, but did you also think about these 10 things?

1. Eat Pizza Perfection
Naples is the home of pizza. They take it so seriously that in 2004, the ministry for agriculture issued regulations outlining how a real Neapolitan pizza, Pizza Verace Napoletana, should be made. Look for the sign outside pizzerie to sample one of the three authentic types: pizza napoletana marinara (San Marzano tomatoes from Vesuvius’ slopes, garlic, oregano and olive oil), pizza napoletana margherita (mozzarella) and pizza napoletana margherita DOC (buffalo mozzarella). Try Sorbillo for truly excellent dough and the finest topping ingredients. We discovered Pizza Fritta con il Segreto (fried calzone).FriedPizza2. Visit Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius
For history lovers, no trip to Naples would be complete without a trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. The archaeological sites have remained firmly embedded in most people’s memories since history class at school.

3. Drink up the Coffee Culture
Any coffee aficionado with even a passing knowledge of Italy’s food culture will know that Naples is famous for coffee, too. Neapolitan coffee is short and very, very strong. I mean, it would be sinful not to sip cappuccino while hanging out with girlfriends or people watching. 😉Cappuccino4. Walk on the Lungomore
The long seafront stroll from Santa Lucia to Mergellina is a classic weekend promenade.

5. Grab a Gelato
Neapolitans are passionate about ice cream, so you can expect the best. When it comes to flavors, most gelaterie offer a bewildering array, broken down into crema (creamy) and frutta (fruit) varieties. Our favorite gelaterie in town is Casa Infante Artigiani Del Gelato. Gelato here achieves the perfect balance between creamy and light, with the best Amalfi lemon in town. Ask for “fontana di cioccolato” for a delicious treat at the end of your gelato. 😉 Thanks, April, for the tip!Gelato6. Stroll through Naples Royalty
Three stops are critical for any visitor interested in the history of the Napeolitan royalty: Castel Nuovo was built in 1279 by Charles of Angiono, and today houses Naples’ museo civico, with Neopolitan artworks spanning the 15th-20th century – don’t miss the views from the fortress towers. The numerous apartments at Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) today house a collection of paintings, frescoes, tapestries, chandeliers and furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, Villa Comunale was inaugurated in 1781 as the garedini reali (royal park). There is a magnificent bandstand, built in 1887, and the small-is-beautiful Stazione Zoologica.

7. Wander Aimlessly Along Spaccanapoli
The best way to enjoy the historic center of Naples is to wander without a plan. The storico antico is at once ancient and modern – the street plan is older than the hills and the buildings have contained shops and apartments for centuries. But unlike some kind of preserved museum piece, the old center is very much alive. It’s a densely populated area and the locals don’t slow down for tourists.

8. Shop Until You Drop
Naples is one of the cheaper cities of Italy. Stroll the streets of Naples, as in all the port cities, you’ll see improvised markets and choreographic negotiations. Pay attention! They want to cheat you. Welcome in the full neapolitan tradition, you just received a pacco (pack or to trick someone). Therefore, I recommend visiting little shops that specialize in Italian leather goods and culinary delights. The aroma as you enter the shops is mesmerizing. I may have come home with some of these souvenirs. 😉ItalianShops9. Grab a Granita
While you are walking around town, grab a granita di limone, a rough-cut sorbet found at stalls around Naples. An even rougher sorbet is la grattata, with ice scraped on demand off a large chunk and doused with flavored syrup or lemon juice.

10. Sail to Capri or Around the Coast of NaplesSailing

Hotel ZaZa’s Annual Spring Soiree

Hotel ZaZaAs the spring party circuit continues to forge ahead, what’s another happy social that lauds the philanthropy and business scene that keeps Dallas on the international map? The stylish, storied Hotel ZaZa in Dallas has played host to many affairs — including conferences, luncheons, fundraising galas and private events — so Hotel Zaza wanted to show their appreciation at their annual Spring Soiree held on Thursday, April 23rd.

The spirit of “Living the Sweet Life” descended upon the poolside of hotel for this retro-themed springtime fete, despite the threat of rain. The beautiful and interesting people of Dallas were out in full force wearing their most sophisticated Spring attire.  Waiters served delicious appetizer bites by Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly restaurant and the beat was provided by DJ Sober and DSQ Electric.

Much of the attention went to the models floating in the pool on inflatable swans (yes, I said swans).  At the height of the evening girls wearing polka dot dresses paraded into the pool area holding sparklers! Many guests were striking a pose in front of their signature Z for photo opps, like my husband and me did for a fun date night.
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Hotel ZaZa5Hotel ZaZa 3

Hotel ZaZa6
Hotel ZaZa is located in the heart of Uptown Dallas where it’s all happening.  The Hotel and Dragonfly Restaurant has a very stylish, upscale and funky vibe.  If you haven’t been, you have to go and experience it for yourself.

Hotel Zaza
2332 Leonard St, Dallas, TX 75201
214.468.8399

Colorado Bound!

When you think of Colorado you usually imagine the majestic Rocky Mountains, lots of beautiful white snow, and some of America’s most incredible skiing.  Our family goes at least once a year for a family ski vacation.  We’ve been to several different ski resorts in Colorado and they all have something to offer but one of our favorite destinations in Colorado is Breckenridge and the surrounding area. Breckenridge is just a short drive (approximately 1 ½ hours) from Denver.  It’s located in the Summit County Area which is surrounded by three mountain ranges and is home to several world class ski areas that include Keystone, Copper Mountain, Frisco and Silverthorne.  It’s sometimes called Colorado’s “Playground” because there is so much to do and see!

Breckenridge Christmas Card

Breckenridge or “Breck” as the locals refer to it, is known worldwide as a top winter destination.  It has 155 ski runs and includes a new 543 acre expansion on Peak 6.  The slopes offer all kinds of ski and snowboard terrain.  Don’t ski?  Try snow tubing, sleigh and dog sledding, snowmobiling, and ice skating.  There’s no excuse to stay inside!

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Breckenridge Summer 2006

 

Tired of the same old summer beach vacation?  Then head for Colorado this summer!  One of our favorite family summer vacation trips was in Breckenridge.  There is an endless list of things for families to do!   Summit County has a 10 mile interconnecting system of wide paved paths for walking, bike riding, rollerblading, and running.  You can race down the Gold Runner Coaster, which is an elevated Alpine slide located on Peak 8 Fun Pack.  Pan for gold or take the family white water rafting on the Blue River.  The area is a paradise for camping, hiking, fly fishing, and backpacking.  Enjoy the beautiful nearby Dillon Reservoir.  You can go fishing, boating, or simply sit on the shores and enjoy the view of the water and mountains.

Breckenridge Summer 2006.jpg2

Personally my favorite thing about Breckenridge is the historic and quaint downtown area.  It’s a shopper’s paradise including several unique boutiques that include everything from designer jeans and cupcakes to locally made goods and imported olive oils and vinegars.  There’s also over 70 restaurants to choose from with not a franchise in sight.  You can easily explore the town on foot or take a horse drawn carriage just for fun!  Breck is becoming one of the state’s emerging art towns and hosts monthly art walks.  The town has also become well known for its Brewery.  You can tour and sample their award winning premium bourbon whiskey.   The summer fun kicks off with the opening of Breckenridge Fun Park June 12 – 21, gold panning, a bike festival and Kingdom Days.  For more information go to: http://www.gobreck.com/events/event-calendar

Breckenridge Downtown 3

Take at least one day to drive over to the Historic town of Georgetown and take a train trip on the Georgetown Loop Railroad!  It’s an old time steam locomotive that chugs its way up the canyon to Silver Plume.  The trip has breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and you can hop off halfway and tour the historic Lebanon Silver Mines.  Our kids loved this outing!  The train runs several times a day from April 30th through December 30th.  For more information go to:  http://www.georgetownlooprr.com/

Breckenridge Summer 2006.jpg4

Be sure to visit Historic Downtown Georgetown for a taste of Colorado’s mining history. Self-guided walking tours of the town are available. One of my favorite places in Georgetown is the legendary Hotel De Paris Museum built in 1875 by Louis Dupuy during the silver mining boom. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The hotel included a first class French restaurant, a showroom for traveling salesmen, and was considered a luxurious hotel during the Gilded Age.  To further delight your kids, the hotel has been rumored to be haunted!  May 23rd is the opening date for the 2015 Season.   For more information about this historic building and tours go to:   http://www.hoteldeparismuseum.org/

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Would you like information about other Colorado destinations?  Go to:  http://www.colorado.com/