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Showing posts from 2020

Merry Christmas & Yule log ("Buche") review

Merry Christmas Everyone! Wishing you wonderful Christmas celebrations. Since we were not able to travel this year, due to covid, we couldn't enjoy the typical French Christmas dinner, and we miss the typical dessert, the delicious "buche". So we brought the buche to us. Thankfully we have a few bakeries around town who now offer it as part of their standard holiday offering. Here is our review. We tried: Draegers, La Baguette, Woodside Bakery and Mademoiselle Colette. Enjoy! And please let us know in the comments if you have tried any other yule logs.

Alisal Ranch review and round up of California ranches

We just came back from our latest visit of a California ranch. As I mentioned earlier, we have been visiting several dude ranches in California over the last few months and we have enjoyed them all. With the weather getting colder, many ranches have closed for the winter, but The Alisal in South California remains open all year. This is where we decided to spend Thanksgiving and we were not disappointed. It was the perfect time to visit the Alisal and we had a wonderful time. To be honest, I was a little skeptical first. The ranch is very expensive and I was not impressed by the initial contact I had had with them. I was told we had to book rides in advance because space was limited; and the back and forth was quite painful. I thought it was disappointing for such a high-end resort. But I learned later on that they were short-staffed because of Covid, and that horseback riding was not necessarily the primary activity for the resort so they were juggling a lot of priorities. But once

Dude ranches in California, visiting with kids and advanced riders

With the pandemic happening this year, we have had to cancel our big oversea trips. While we were all quite disappointed it, we ended up coming up with other ideas to getaway. With our daughter being so interested in riding, we found out early in the summer that visiting dude ranches was a good way to get out while staying safe (being on a horse all day guarantees social distancing in the outdoors). As it turns out, we were able to fill in some summer weekends to visiting dude ranches and we have had the chance to visit 3 (and since then,  another ranch called Alisal ) ranches over the course of this year. Below is what we learned about dude ranches. First, they are all amazing in their own way and we met people who had been coming to these ranches for years and have enjoyed every minute of it. If you like horses and the outdoors you can't go wrong with any of these. All of these ranches offer daily rides (usually morning and afternoons) for different levels. Once or twice a week t

Beautiful Indian Wedding Whirlwind

It sounded like a crazy idea. We had been invited to a dear friend's wedding in India, and we had realized that this might be our only/last chance to ever attend a wedding in India. The prospect of visiting India and witnessing an amazing wedding sounded very attractive. However, this was in the middle of the school year and we would need our little explorers to take a trip around the world for a few days of wedding delight, to just turn around and catch up on school right away. It felt a little crazy. But then again the idea of giving them the chance to experience the Indian culture at a young age made up for all the school they would miss. We RSVP-ed to the wedding and so it started.  After reviewing the schedule, our itinerary was as follows: Left the Bay Area on a Tuesday night, via red eye to Delhi. With the time change, arrived around midnight Wednesday night in Delhi. We spent a short night at an airport hotel. After a nice, tasty breakfast the next morning (Thursday) we dro

Central America top picks

I was recently talking to a friend about places to go in Central America, one of our favorite regions to visit. She was primarily interested in Costa Rica, which is a wonderful place, no doubt. But as I was about to write to her, I decided to do a round up of our trips in Central America. You can't go wrong with any of these destinations. They are all wonderful in their own ways, but below are our favorites to date. 1.  Roatan I think the big gem of Latin America is Roatan (island in Honduras). We had the best time there: great beach, warm water, amazing snorkeling, jungle access. Flight there was convenient and affordable (red eye through El Salvador). I can’t think of any Con at this point. We are hoping to go back to Roatan later this year (which is very unusual for us to go to the same place twice, so this says something!) 2. Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica Even during the rainy season, this was a highlight for us. Tortuguero is   Wow! Amazing! Great jungle; turtles (at the right

Back from Costa Rica, Part II

After a 7-year break, we went back to Costa Rica during the holiday season and we had a wonderful time. After visiting the Caribbean side in 2012, we decided to try the Pacific coast this time, more precisely the less travelled Osa Peninsula.   We wanted to visit Corcovado which I believe is the biggest and least visited National Park. There are 2 ways to get into the park itself: from Carate in the South (walking 3 miles into it) or from Drake Bay (via boat). We ended splitting and staying at both ends:  Luna Lodge  in the South and  Pirate Cove   at Drake Bay.  The logistics of the overall trip was tricky. It’s 6-ish hours drive from San Jose to Carate. On the way there (post red eye), we stopped at Ballena Beach for a night. Ballena Beach is on a lot of guide books, although I personally didn't feel it was worth a stop. But we thought we would need a break by then, so it was as good a place to spend the night as any other. Unfortunately, given the short time we had at Ballena b