A Travellerspoint blog

Oahu

My dad just recently decided he wasn't to happy living in Los Angeles and figured the best thing to do would be to pick up and re-locate to the one place he loved most - Hawaii. I have to say there's really only one reaction to that kind of news, "YEESSSSS!!!!" So there he went and then there we came.

We were originally supposed to go back to England to visit the fam for the triplets' birthdays, but flights to England got so expensive again I thought I'd just check to see what it cost to fly to Hawaii. Thanks to my forever cheapest flight site Expedia, I found two round-trip tickets to Oahu for $233 each....uh, booked!

After months of work work work and no play, Hawaii was the place we needed. Everyone refers to it as a magic island...a place where the energy is just different. And it is.

1. Local pub to grab a drink at
We actually didn't do much pub drinking on this trip believe it or not. We bought a lot of 18 packs and just drank on the beach, but there was one night that we needed to find a bar and the one we found was pretty good. It was called "The Shack" and it's a chain, but the one we went to was in downtown Waikiki. It was a combo of college football games and UFC 102 which we couldn't miss. Bar food was pretty good and they had some serious drink specials so all in all it was a good night. Beer and fights...yum.

2. Best breakfast spot
There are too many to list, but my recommendation is to try a few different ones. There's something to going to one spot over and over so you know the waitress' names by the time you leave, but I'd spread the love just a little with this one.

3. Local dinner/lunch recommendation
Buzz's Original Steak House...right across the street from Kailua Beach Park. Had a Ono Cesar Salad for lunch which was AMAZING and then had dinner there the last night (everyone got a steak). Yummy is all I can say. The other fun place to try is Zippys. Super cheap, fun Filipino food...chili and rice was my fav.

4. Best beach
Kailua beach....don't even need a second to think about it. When I was younger is used to be Haliewa, but Kailua is just too beautiful it blew every other beach out of the water! ha. We went there every single day. Even if we had just spent the day swimming in Waimea Bay (which is pretty amazing) we'd come back and go to Kaiula. On the last day of our trip we woke up before sunrise, drove out to our spot and just watched the sun come up. It was one of the most magical moments of the whole trip. Sat down, wrote a list of our dreams and goals for the next couple years and just let Hawaii do it's thing.

5. Hangover cure
Malasadas.....ooohhh mmmmyyyyy godddd. Kill me right now these things are SICK!! Go get some right now. My favorites are the normal sugar ones, but ugh they're good. They are like soft, hot, big doughnut holes. Mushy and delicious.

6. Tourist nerd must do
A luau and a Mozukus Haliewa shaved ice. The line for the shaved ice is out the door and usually takes about 15 min to get one, but oooh man they're so yummy. They're not like the shaved ice you get at the local county fair. I'm not sure why they taste so much better, but if Tom Hanks can make it and get his pic on the wall you should too.

7. Local treasure to bring home
A lai...there is usually some sort of market going on every week in Oahu. If you get a local paper there is a section in the back that will list the events coming up. Get to one of the markets, fairs or festivals and buy yourself a lai, fridge magnet, journal or anything else that's local, hand made or just fun. There is a swap meet every Sat that is pretty amazing. It's broken up in two sections, new swap meet stuff (journals, magnets, jewelry) and garage sale stuff (the best!! locals special treasures). A pretty fun way to spend the day.

8. Only sleeps
I am only recommending one place to stay and that's in Kailua. We have a friend that bought a house years ago and converted the garage into two apartments. They are about 20 ft to the beach and the beach is private, amazing and all yours!!! It's not a cheap as a hostel, but not as expensive as a hotel and trust me it's better than any hotel I've ever been to! Not only that the family is amazing and lots of fun to have a glass of wine with. Love Love Love them.

9. Sites to see
When you arrive at the airport the first thing to do is relax. You are now on Hawaii time and it's not anything like NY time, LA time or any city time. You'll get there, just eventually. It's pretty pointless to rush yourself actually because it will never happen when you think it will. Take a breath and just decide to enjoy every view. If you are staying in Kailua (which I hope you are) make sure to take a baby detour over the Pali and go to Pali lookout. It really gives you a look at the island, where you are and where you will be staying. Sets the map in your brain for the rest of the trip. Aside from that it's pretty spectacular. Another place to see is the Buddhist temple. There is a bell you can ring if you make a donation and a wish. It's located in one of the best spots on the island and just adds a sense of beingness to the trip.

10. Favorite thing
Everything. The whole trip. Waking up early and spending the day enjoying life, playing in the water and just feeling happy 24/7. No wonder my dad never wanted to come back.10721_2754..78393_n.jpg10721_2725..68262_n.jpg10721_2725..24016_n.jpg10721_2700..07212_n.jpg10721_2686..94243_n.jpg10721_2686..78089_n.jpg10721_2686..75834_n.jpg

Posted by jadaandjon 10:09 Comments (2)

Seattle

I think this is one of the most overlooked holiday spots we've been to yet. I guess it's because it's kinda out of the way and seems quiet? Not sunny? I'm not really sure, but for whatever reason my husband and I finally decided to take a trip up there and see what they had to offer. It was totally worth it. So pretty and so many unexpected surprises.

What we decided to do was a combo trip to Seattle and Portland. We would fly to Seattle, stay there for a couple nights, rent a car and drive down to Portland, stay there for a few nights and then drive back home, have lunch and fly back home.

So here's our guide to the Seattle portion of our holiday:

1. Local pub to drink at
The pubs to drink at (whether they're local or not - get there) are in Ballard. Ballard is about 20 minutes outside of downtown Seattle and it's awesome. Ballard Ave is the place to go. We just took a taxi and had him drop us off at one end we just bar hopped down the row. There are so many different bars there and some of the friendliest bartenders I've ever met. By the end of the night we were pretty hammered and one of the sweetest old ladies (bartending at a pub where the average age was maybe 60) went into the back and brought out a bowl of chicken soup for my hubby to drink. It was perfect.

2. Local dinner recommendation
Black Bottle, Black Bottle, Black Bottle.....Eat here every night you are in Seattle. Dinner and Lunch this place is soooooo good. We were staying in a hotel that was about 2 walking blocks away and accidentally found it. The meals are $8 a piece and the best thing to do is just order something different every time. Everything was delicious. We would order like 3 things each time and a bottle of wine and it was perfect.

3. Spend the afternoon
In Ballard. It's where all the "Deadliest Catch" guys dock their ships and go for beers. It's a super cute street filled with great restaurants and bars. Just go shop, eat and drink.

5. Hangover cure

Bowl of soup from the salty diva at Hatties Hat in Ballard. No, they seriously make some of the best soup we've ever tasted. Clam chowder, fresh fish....oh man.

6. Tourist must do
Walking around the Pike Place Market. It's kinda touristy, but it's pretty fun. There's the guys throwing the fish, fresh fruit to buy, knick knacks and flowers ...lots of flowers.

7. Cheap sleeps
Ace Hotel is the place. It's not ritzy or glamourous...a bit grimey and loud, but at $75 a night and located in the perfect location you can't really go wrong.

8. Favorite things
Ballard
Ace Hotel, Belltown
Black Bottle - Sicilian eggplant mozzarella flatbreadl.jpgblack-bottle.jpgpike_place_market.jpg

Posted by jadaandjon 09:56 Comments (1)

Manchester

If you find yourself in Manchester, England you are probably there for some other reason and not for a relaxing beautiful holiday. You might be there to play some gigs with your band or to catch a football game from either one of the huge clubs that reside there, but probably not just for that two weeks you have off a year - trust me.

Now having said that, I met and married a boy I met in Manchester when I travelled up there to tour the grounds of Manchester United. So if you're looking to meet a super hot, accented boy who loves music and American girls then this is the place to be.

1. Local pub to drink at
The Circus Tavern...It is probably the smallest pub you will ever go into in your life, but one of the best. The owner shuts the front door once it gets a little packed, but if you knock he will open and usually let you in. Every single time we have been in there we end up meeting some of the nicest people in Manchester. Oh and by the way, you will probably be the only tourist in the joint, but don't worry, they won't bite.

2. Good breakfast spot
Koffee Pot....Time was, the Koffee Pot was a scary place to be in. A haunt for the local construction population, you'd need to be attired in a luminous jacket and a hardhat to get through the door. Now Northern Quartered-up, it's just a really good, English breakfast spot that is cheap and fulfilling. Great cup of tea.

3. Local dinner recommendation
Market Restaurant....Wowwa weeewo -- this place is good. This "quirky" little corner spot has been in the Northern quarter for years and years. Recently this area has become quite trendy so it doesn't have all the old charm it used to, but it's still good for a nice meal and some good wine.

4. Spend the afternoon
Piccadilly gardens...Just spend the afternoon walking through the city. There are a lot of great old pubs, the Manchester library which is just beautiful, Town Hall which is pretty cool, The Lowry museum...a lot to spread the time.

5. Hangover cure
Cafe 3....This is on the 3rd floor of Affleks palace and you can go and get the yummiest baked potato with melted shredded cheese and sour cream. Ugh, it's so good and so bad for you all at the same time.

6. Tourist must do
Fifth Ave and The Fab Cafe...These are both night spots that are a great time out. Fifth Ave has a night where drinks are only 1 pound and they only play Stone Roses, The Smiths, and all the old English bands from the north. The other is Fab Cafe. This is a weird place, but it's actually where I met my husband. It's completely deccorated in Star Wars and space memorabilia. There's black lights everywhere and Dr. Who's teleport booth in the corner. They have Smiths nights, but mostely it's just fun 80s and 90s music. Be ready to get sweaty and dance at both spots, but you will have one of the best times doing it.

7. Must shop
At Affleks Palace....Now my husband and I might disagree with this one, but I love this place. It's a 3 story warehouse building full of some of the most hilarious and fun little stores. Slash that, more like like cubbies that you can rent and sell whatever you want there. Lots and lots of vintage. The area around Affleks is worth a walk-about as well and don't forget to pop into a few pubs for a pint.

8. Cheap sleeps
Our mum and dads....jk. Not really ever rented a hotel in Manchester before, but can give you couple that looked good. The Old Nags Head is pretty cheap. A little B&B above a pub in the center of town and it's cheap and a great location.

9. Splurge sleeps
Velvet...a cool little place of luxury. All the 19 rooms are individually decorated and you can see a couple on their website, but it's a nice little suprise on Canal street. Might just have to get a room one night on our next trip home.

10. Favorite things
GO TO A SOCCER MATCH!!! It doesn't matter if it's for Manchester United or Manchester City, but go and see a football (soccer) game. It is honestly one of the funnest things I've ever done in my entire life. You are surrounded by the loudest and most passionate crowd of people. Not to mention it's the reason my husband and I met. DO IT, even if you don't like sports. n804175122..58_1958.jpgn804175122..46_9957.jpgn804175122..09_1377.jpgn804175122..63_3483.jpgn804175122..59_1854.jpg

Posted by jadaandjon 09:44 Comments (0)

Edinburgh

First thing's first....learn how to pronounce the name correctly. It's so embarrassing when one your American buddies says "I'm going to visit Edinburg" with a hard 'g' as in "Pittsburgh". The locals pronounce it "Edinburrah" and all the other "burghs" (Fraserburgh, Musselburgh etc) have the same ending. The only time you might hear a hard 'g' is when a Glaswegian calls someone from the capital an "Edinburger"...

Now that we have that out of the way, Edinburgh is truly the most beautiful city in the world. (At least the parts I've seen so far.) I mean it's sick!! There is a castle built at the tip of a rock peninsula that jets out into the middle of the city surrounded by the biggest garden ever! I mean it's the crap fairy tales are made from it's really that beautiful. And to top it all off, it homes some of the nicest people you'll ever come across. I just wanted to hug everyone when I was there. So amazing.

1. Local pub to drink at
I have to say there isn't one that we loved more than the others. Our favorite thing to do was to just pop into which ever one was closest to us, try a few beers and then move on. We didn't get around to doing the pub crawl we love, but a few drinks at different pubs throughout the trip seemed to satisfy our lips.

2. Good breakfast spot
Gennaro Ristorante....Okay it might not be for breakfast, but this is my lunch pick. This is a little Italian restaurant that has some of the best pizza. It has great lunch prices and isn't too heavy for a middle of the day meal. They also make some of the best salads.

3. Local dinner recommendation
Petit Paris....Sooooo cute this little spot. All the places I love ended up being on Grassmarket Street, but it's fitting as it's the cutest street in Edinburgh. You can go here for a cute lunch on the street but their dinner is so sweet and romantic that it's my pick for

4. Spend the afternoon
Walking around the whole city. Seriously, just walk. Walk through the gardens, walk up to the castle (you can take a tour or it as well), walk through Princes street...just walk.

5. Hangover cure
The local sandwich shop....On just about every corner there is a sandwich shop that serves some kind of sausage (or egg for you veggies) sandwich's that are just yum yum yummy. The best thing is to look for construction workers and you know you've found a good spot.

6. Tourist must do
Two things pop to mind with this one. One, get on a big red double decker and fly around the city. It will take you to places you probably wouldn't find the time to go to and see things that you wouldn't normally see. And the other is go on a haunted tour. If you go to the main Market Street there are about 10 different ones to choose from. Some go underground (which is sick) and some go through graveyards. Either way they're pretty scary and dfinitely different.

8. Only one place to sleep
We rented an apartment (which can sometimes go so wrong) and this one was perfect. The picture above of the glowing building was taken from our apt window. It was cheaper than a hotel room, centerally located to everything and made us feel like we lived there.
sleeps

9. Favorite thing
Spitting on the Heart of the Midlothian. According to Scottish custom it brings good luck to spit on the heart as you walk by and an old by-law states that it is illegal to spit anywhere apart from on the Heart of Midlothian. The best is you see little old men walking by and hauking a luggie, but it's definitely my favorite thing. edinb3.jpgedinb4.jpgedinb2.jpgedinb1.jpgedinb5.jpg

Posted by jadaandjon 09:34 Comments (0)

Liverpool

Liverpool ......i love you. Okay, so aside from the god-awful butchering of an English accent, Liverpool is one of my favorite places to go for a long weekend. It's so rich in history you can't walk down the street and not remember all the people that walked before you. For those of you born in a cave it's the birthplace of The Beatles, has two of the best football clubs in the land and is known for it's great pubs. So don't go there if you don't like a good pint.

1. Local pub to drink at
Belvedere.....After our nights pub crawl we decided this pub was our favorite out of the bunch. It is split up in two parts when you walk in the door. One side has tables and is a bit more like a normal English pub, but the right side is much smaller and packed full of the locals workers coming in for a pint after a hard day. That is the side we love. All it takes is for one of the men to hear an American accent and the night is on its way. A bit of the mickey on a town out on the town is just what the tourist ordered. There's a real wood burning fire going in both halves as well, but mind you, in the smaller half your buns do get a bit burnt.

2. Good breakfast spot
Find a pub that serves a good English breakfast....If you are visiting England one of the things you need to have is a proper English breakie. It usually consists of a couple fat boy pork sausages, eggs, tomatoes, Canadian looking bacon, Potabello mushrooms, black pudding, a couple pieces of toast and a side of brown sauce. Sh*t, this is making me hungry.

3. Local dinner reccomandation
The Quarter....This is just a super yummy place that's cheap and packed. They serve wheat and gluten free cakes and their pizza is yum yum yummy. You want to eat something before you go on a drinking binge. :)

4. Spend the afternoon...and evening
Liverpool Real Ale Pub Crawl....Remember to eat some food beforehand. This is key to how long your pub crawl will last unless you want to be a drunken wreck by closing time. There are plenty of good restaurants and cafes in Liverpool from the Everyman Bistro on Hope Street that opens until 2 a.m., to Kimos on Mount Pleasant, famous for their kebabs. Wait, kebabs, that's for the end of the night. Decide where you want to start and then work around the city from there. We started the night with a taxi to the furthest point we were going and then walked towards the center of town from there.
Here's our fav pubs from our crawl: The Philharmonic - this place is worth the trip just to see the interior. Grab a drink and then hit up the mens urinals (all made out of marble and are older then most of America). The Ship and Mitre - 10 hand pulled real ales. Great pub, but lots of CAMRA men. Doctor Duncans - didn't make it to this one, but heard more then enough about how good it is so I've added it to the list. The Dispensary - okay so I think this is the one with the radios hanging from the ceiling and if it is then it's a fun pub with lots of friendly locals, but they really need a change of music. We nearly fell asleep by the end of one pint. Belvedere - our fav. Go there to chill with the local boys and talk a bit of football. Ye Cracke - this probably could have been a nice pub, but we happened to go in on a night with no atmosphere and put a bit of a wet rag on it. Globe - super small and fun. And don't forget to talk to the locals!!!

5. Hangover cure
Sausage Sarny....Around the corner from the Hard Days Night Hotel is a little stand/truck that grills sausages and bacon and serves a perfect hangover cure for 1.50. I could have had three of these babies they were sooo good. It's all so fresh and yummy and cooked right there for you. Would have normally walked past, but soo happy we didn't.

6. Tourist must do
Double decker bus ride....Okay so I'm putting this on the list because I wish we had done this. The bus takes you all over the city and gives you a peek at things you wouldn't normally see just walking around your nearby area. We bought tickets and had planned to go, but alas, drank too much the night before and just couldn't imagine doing it. Our family and friends beat us when we got back as they said it was one of their favorite parts of their trips.

7. Must Shop
Liverpool Football Club....go get yourself a scarf. Try and embrace the culture and when you get back you'll have a little something special to keep you warm and remind you of some good times.

8. Only one place to sleep
Hard Days Night Hotel...I'm going to actually skip the splurge sleeps because this is the one hotel to stay in. It's not cheap, but not expensive and as you don't need more then a couple days in the city you can afford to just stay in the center of everything.

9. Favorite thing
Getting drunk, meeting locals and wrapping up with a greasy kabob or chicken sandwich. n804175122..78_4329.jpgn804175122..73_2491.jpgn804175122..69_1374.jpgn804175122..77_3851.jpg

Posted by jadaandjon 09:32 Comments (0)

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