Looking for secret jewels around Venice, Italy

The following is a guest post by Raffaella Lorenzo,

a traveller & writer who lives and works in North Eastern Italy. Enjoy!

Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, Italia, travel, photography

On the Grand Canal. Photo credit: Maria Michele

Imagine yourself in Venice, la serenissima one of the most beautiful, spectacular, breathtaking, historic and beloved cities in the world!

Ahead of you is an entire day to wander around the many canals, piazzas, secret passages with your camera in tow.

Canal, gondolas, Venice, Italy, Italia, travel, photography

Lined up gondolas. Photo credit: TPSDave

No clock, no rush, just the right dose of curiosity that will take you to discover the main attractions of the city.

What if you could admire things that tourists usually do not get to see and perhaps not even the local people know about?

Venice has a lot to offer. The very fact that a site is less known does not necessarily mean that it does not deserve to be looked onto.

Let the sea and the lagoon speak to you!

 

San Francesco del Deserto

San Francesco del Deserto, Venice, Italy, travel, photography, church

Monastery. Photo credit: Godromil

Have you ever heard of San Francesco del Deserto? It is a tiny island located between Sant’Erasmo and Burano, a legendary place rich in cypresses and pine trees.

Some people say that St. Francis of Assisi arrived there after a storm. He brought a stick made from a pine branch with him, something he brought from the Holy Land, and decided to plant it on the ground: it took root and a huge pine grew from it.

Also, he founded a hermitage that is still there. The Friars are always very happy to welcome visitors; however they must keep in mind that the rule of silence governs the island. You can contact the Franciscans to arrange a visit to the area.

 

Sant’Erasmo and Vignole

Sant'Erasmo, Vignole, Venice, Italy, travel, photography, church

Sant’Erasmo and Vignole Islands. Photo credit: bur.regione.veneto.it

It is the second largest island, after Venice. You can reach it using the line 13 from Fondamenta Nuove, right in the heart of Venice.

You will get the chance to take an enchanting stroll through a magical landscape including cultivated fields, canals, gardens and delightful beaches.

The stop just before Sant’Erasmus is Vignole, the so-called island of the seven vineyards. Get off there and visit the remains of the ancient Church of Sant’Eurosia plus the military fortifications dating back to the times of the Serenissima.

Both Sant’Erasmo and Vignole are regarded as the private gardens of Venice, in virtue of their lush vegetation. In Sant’Erasmo you can taste a typical local vegetable: it is called castraure which is a small type of artichokes that ripens in late April.

 

Lido

beach, Lido, Venice, Italy, travel, photography

Entrance to a beach in Lido. Photo credit: Ben Kerckx

You can visit a very suggestive site on the Venice Lido: I am talking of the ancient Jewish cemetery, on the beautiful San Nicolò Riviera.

In my opinion, hotels in Lido di Venezia are the best option for tourists who need a place to stay and rest from all the sightseeing. Prices are definitely more convenient that those in Venice.

Lido Island is much more peaceful and quiet, a detail that I consider necessary for a successful trip.

On the other hand, if peace and silence are not essential for you, then you can opt for an accommodation right in the city. There is a great variety of hotels for all budgets from modest to luxury, B & B’s, holiday apartments and guest houses. It sure won’t be difficult to find a place that suits your needs. But please keep in mind my recommendation!

 

Mazzorbo

I couldn’t leave out the island of Mazzorbo, in the northern part of the Venetian lagoon.

Reaching it is easy, simply take the ferry from the Fondamenta Nuove. It is connected to Burano by a wooden bridge!

Burano, Burano Island, Venice, Italy, Italia, Euriope, travel, photography

Colorful Burano. Photo credit: Jeg2002uk

Once you reach the island, I highly recommend a visit the 13th-century Church of Santa Caterina and the ancient walled vineyard. You will feel as if you are in a mystic place where time stands still.

Many local projects are underway in order to safeguard such a precious area for many future generations to come!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about these secret jewels around Venice!

Let us know if you heard the voices of the sea and of the lagoon call your name :)

Follow Raffaella on these Social Media Channels:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/itertrav

Website: http://itertrav.com/

 

Now over to you,

 

Have you been to Venice? 

Which islands did you visit and

which ones would you like to next time?

 

 

Tell us all about it.

Until next time!

Ciao,

Kay

Posted in adventures, Around the world, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Margaret Albritton Gallery in Placida, Florida

I believe it is no secret by now that I am an avid art lover, in all its forms. Whether it is street art, exhibitions, paintings or collections, I sure love to take a break to admire, analyze or interpret it and of course capture it with my lens.

I always make sure to include a visit to a museum or gallery no matter where in the world I find myself in.

Last time I was in Southwest Florida, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that among the activities on our menu, we were going to be stopping at a local art gallery and studio. I was very much looking forward to our visit but nothing prepared me for the lovely surprise that was waiting for us!

Located in Placida, Florida, a spectacular tropical location which faces Gasparilla sound and surrounded by swaying palm trees, boats, lush green gardens & vibrant flowers, The Margaret Albritton Gallery is one of a kind.

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography

It makes you forget that you are actually in Florida. It feels as if you’re in a different world, on a laid-back island in the Caribbean…

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Or perhaps in another world? :)

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Oh yes, there are a couple of great places where you can go after your visit. Just a nice reminder!

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Life certainly runs at a different pace here. No rush, just take time to live in the moment and truly enjoy life! Kick back and relax if you wish.

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

The following left me speechless, it’s simply amazing!

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

If the exterior is already impressive, what can be possibly found indoors?

As soon as you reach the entrance, you know that you’re about to live an unforgettable visual experience!

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Gary and Margaret Albritton are not only own a restaurant, they are also talented and very creative artists.

The gallery and studio allow you to feel like kid in a candy store! There is so much to see that you don’t even know where to start looking or in which direction. You will find a great variety of tropical art, home décor, beach themed articles, original cards, paintings, frames, t-shirts and so much more. Their work is definitely colorful, fun and unique :)

Allow me to take you on a tour of the gallery!

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

paintings, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76

As you know by now, I tend to be restless and have that adventurous spirit that takes over sometimes :)

After speaking for a few minutes with Margaret and congratulating her on her amazing store, I stepped outside and explored a bit.

I couldn’t help but capture these beauties on my way…

Red hibiscus, flower, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

hibiscus, yellow hibiscus, flower, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

Life sure is good in Florida :)

Directions, sign, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

So many places, so little time :(

Boardwalk, waterfront, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

Palm trees, Margaret Albritton Gallery, Placida, Florida, travel, art, SW Florida, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida, travel, photography, TS76, outdoors

I was only able to go for a short stroll before someone came to find me. It was time to leave :(

Exploring and going where your inner GPS (your heart) leads you is great because you get to see and experience things you’d otherwise miss! I’m so glad I did follow the hunch :)

Feeling the light breeze, the warm sun and looking up to give thanks is something I sure will never forget!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of the gallery and the beautiful scenery.

If you are ever in Southwest Florida, and if you are an art lover of course, stop by, you will have a great time like we did!

 

The Margaret Albritton Gallery is located at:

13020 Fishery Road in Placida, Florida.

You can contact them at 1- 941-698-0603

I would like to thank Margaret Albritton for welcoming us into her gallery, art studio and gift shop, as well as Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau and Above Water PR allowing us to discover this gem in the area and for coordinating this visit.

 

 

Are you an Art Fan?

If so what is your favorite museum or gallery

and where it is located?

 

 

I can’t wait to read from you! You can include links or photos if you wish.

Until next time,

Tashi Delek, wishing you all the best

 

Karla :)

Posted in adventures, Art, Charlotte Harbor & The Gulf Islands, Florida, galleries, Photography, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Terrebonne Wine and History Festival 2014

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

A one of a kind wine & history festival? Sounds great doesn’t it? That’s just what the Festival Vins et Histoire de Terrebonne offers every year in a small yet charming town bearing the same name which is located only 30 minutes away from Montreal.

I had the opportunity of attending the 18th edition this year. It is an annual gathering of wine enthusiasts, importers, distribution agencies and over 1000 products brought in from around the world!  The setting is the spectacular Île-des-Moulins, a historic site that dates back to the 1700’s.

Honestly I had never been there before, so I asked my best friend, who happens to be a connoisseur of the liquid of the Gods, to come with me and she agreed without hesitation!

We arrived in the picturesque Vieux-Terrebonne (Old part of the city).

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Now according to the number of vehicles, we knew they were all going to the same place we were!

We walked towards the entrance to buy our tickets

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

and we received in return a bracelet along with a real glass and a few coupons to exchange for a sample.

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

It was then time to start our wine tour!

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

We decided to go around each exhibitor’s stand to learn about their products and keep a mental note for the second round!

It was pretty colorful at first sight and eye-catching if you ask me :)

Wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

The day was sunny and very hot, so we were thirsty but we moved from one stand to another.

Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

One thing I must mention is the coupon system. Each one of the bottles had a number assigned to them. It simply meant how many coupons you needed in order to taste a sample.

Wine, wine bottles, Wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Big wine producer countries such as: France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand were prominent.

Wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Bottles chilling

Wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Bubbly anyone?

Champagne, Rosé, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

How awesome are these bottles?

Wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

However we were happy to see local producers

Cider, Cider bottles, local products,Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

as well as companies emerging from wine country in California!

Barefoot wine, California, wine, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Striking a pose at the Barefoot Wine Stand

The crowd grew bigger and bigger, hence we did not get the chance to talk a lot with the representatives in order to get more information or a bit of history of the winemaking other than the description on the bottle! I truly wish they had more material available.

The great variety was extensive and quite impressive; it sure made us even thirstier!

I was particularly drawn to this stand! It was finally time for me to drink, so I went for R.H Phillips 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from California!

R.H Phillips, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, wine, wine bottles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

What was my first impression you may ask? Well, after smelling it first, then swirling the glass and taking a sip, It is bold, fruity, easy on the palate and so good! I definitely loved it and need to buy a bottle next time I see it in stores :)

One cannot fully appreciate a drink without food, so we went to get something to eat. Fortunately there were a few options available. Annie went for a healthy lunch while I ordered a German Bratwurst sandwich!

We looked for a spot to sit down and relax and found just the right place :)

Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

I can’t even begin to describe how lovely it is! How on earth did I miss this area in the past?

Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Raising my glass

Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

After having a great conversation, savoring our food & wine, we decided to leave the site and go for a walk.

We crossed over to Île St-Jean from where you can admire Île-des-Moulins. What  spectacular views you are treated to along the way!

Rivière des Mille-Îles, Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Bridge, Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Rivière des Mille-Îles, Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

Rivière des Mille-Îles, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

It is actually possible to get your feet wet in the Rivière des Mille-Îles which rushes through. Believe it or not some people were swimming and refreshing themselves on that hot summer day!

The park is so serene, just the right place to relax, unwind and let go!

Île St-Jean, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

You know I am always looking out for the best photography spots and was so happy to have found it ;)

Rivière des Mille-Îles, Île-des-Moulins, Terrebonne, Quebec, Lanaudiere, Festival Vins et Histoire Terrebonne 2014, Vieux-Terrebonne, TS76, photography, travel

I felt as if I went back in time even if it was momentarily :)

Sadly all good things come to an end, we had to make our way back home but we were pretty happy about the time we spent in this beautiful location and especially for being able to catch up with each other’s lives!

It will be remembered as one of the most beautiful summer days of 2014.

Now I’m turning it over to you.

Tell me,

 

Have you ever traveled to attend a wine festival?

If so where was it?

If not, would you like to go to one & where?

I can’t wait to hear more about it!

Until next time,

All the best,

K

Posted in adventures, Canada, Quebec, Road Trip, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogger Spotlight On: Justin and Lauren

Hi everyone! Welcome to the August Edition of Blogger Spotlight On. I hope you are enjoying your summer so far!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to our guests Justin & Lauren also known as @JustinLaurenXO on Twitter.

Justin and Lauren, bloggers, travel, Montreal, Quebec, photography,

Walking in Old Montreal, Quebec

They are a Canadian couple from Ontario, who love to travel, eat vegan food, nature and dream of going on adventures all over the world!

Let’s learn more about them :)

 

Could you please tell us more about yourselves?

We are a couple in our mid-twenties/early thirties from Ontario, Canada. We love nature and outdoor adventures, and we like challenging ourselves by trying new things, whether it be snorkeling, kayaking

Justin and Lauren, bloggers, Travel, kayaking, Ohio, photography

Paddling away in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

or our upcoming trip…white-water rafting! We adore animals and passionate about helping them – we both consume a vegan diet, meaning that we don’t eat any animal products. We live at home for most of the year and work full-time jobs, and we travel as much as we possibly can. We share our apartment with our cat, Chickpea.

 

When did you two meet?

We met at work! We both work as video editors in the television industry. Justin interned at my workplace, but I didn’t meet him until he was hired. I remember the first day that we worked together; we had some great conversations and had many similar interests. Our “first date” was walking around Toronto going record shopping together, and the rest is history!

 

What are your earliest memories of travel?

My earliest memories of travel would be going “up north” to cottage country in Ontario to Wasaga Beach or Sauble Beach. My family also used to take trips to Florida when I was younger, so we’d pack up the car and drive down there – which would take about 24 hours in total! We would stop halfway and stay overnight somewhere. I have lots of fond memories of trips driving down to Florida with my family. I actually didn’t mind the long road trips, even as a little kid! I started keeping journals, collecting “souvenirs” to paste into them, like napkins or sugar packets from the restaurants we stopped at. I suppose you could say I was a little travel blogger in training! As for Justin, his earliest memories of travel are also to Florida, except his family would fly there rather than driving.

 

Which transportation mode do you prefer? Car, train or plane?

At the moment, even though flying can be a bit of a hassle, I would prefer by plane because that would mean we’re flying somewhere far away! Right now, we do a lot of traveling by car on road trips. I love train travel, too, although haven’t had the opportunity to do too much of that yet. I would also like to add that we both adore riding bicycles around places that we visit, especially on our recent visit to Quebec City!

 

What have been the destinations you have traveled together?

We have been fortunate enough to visit many islands in the Caribbean together, including Aruba, Bonaire

Justin and Lauren, bloggers, travel, Bonaire, photography

Touring Bonaire

Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas, St. John, and the Bahamas. We’ve also traveled to Montreal, Quebec City, parts of New York State, Ohio, and all over our own province of Ontario.

 

What are your dream destinations?

Our dream destination is Italy, and we plan on going there next spring! We are incredibly excited. Other dream destinations of ours include Iceland, Japan, Hawaii, Scotland, New Zealand and actually…all over the world! I keep reading about different amazing destinations, which causes my list of dream destinations to expand!

 

Tell us a bit more about your blog, when did you start & what are the plans for the future?

We started our blog to chronicle our own adventures and trips together, so we could look back on our fun times and remember everything that we did as a couple. We started our blog about a year into our relationship (our blog is about a year and three months old right now). We’re both really interested in photography, videography and I love writing…so the blog was born! As for the future, we plan to keep taking more photos of places that we visit, and we’d like to start incorporating more video into our blog.

Justin and Lauren, bloggers, Segways, Nassau, Bahamas, travel, photography

Riding Segways in Nassau, Bahamas

Tell us a funny story that happened during a trip

One funny story that happened early on in our relationship: Justin and I were driving across the border from Canada to the USA for the first time together. We were going for a day trip to the theme park, Darien Lake. Justin had never driven across the border as the driver before. All went well, and the border guard allowed us to drive across. Except, Justin didn’t know where he was driving, and it was a little bit confusing, so he ended up driving towards another border guard who ended up waving us over. Little did we know, but this was an area where people were instructed to pull over if they needed to have their cars checked for bombs or weapons! We heard the border guard say into his walkie-talkie, “Oh, it’s a self-referral” (meaning us), and we had to drive into a big line-up of cars, get out of the car, and stand-off to the side. A big truck that must have detected if something illegal was in the cars drove past all of the vehicles while we waited. We were laughing about how silly we were – we should have just kept on driving onto the highway! Oh well, lesson learned!

 

Do you have a favorite quote?

I’m not sure who first said this, but it sure is true!

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

I would much rather be “rich” with amazing memories of seeing the world than be surrounded by possessions!  I am happiest now living as minimally as possible in our apartment together as I would be if I had a house, a fancy car, and lots of things. I would rather travel around the world with Justin as much as possible!

 

What advice would you give to a couple traveling?

Definitely discuss what you’d like to do ahead of time and compromise. Unless you want to do exactly the same things and you have exactly the same travel style, you should meet halfway. I discovered on our last trip to Quebec City that I can definitely try to pack too much into one day, and Justin definitely likes to relax more and soak in the surroundings. I also like to do that too, so I find that he helps to balance out my crazy rushing around mentality.

 

How can we follow or contact you?

You can visit our blog, Justin Plus Lauren. And you can also follow us on the following social media channels:

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/justinpluslauren

Twitter - https://twitter.com/JustinLaurenXO

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/justinlaurenxo

Google+https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JustinPlusLauren

Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/justinpluslauren

Instagramhttp://instagram.com/justinpluslauren

 

That was great learning so much about you two!

Thank you for taking time of your busy schedule. My readers and I appreciate the time you took to answer all questions!

We sincerely wish you all the best and most importantly, Happy Travels :)

Until next time,

All the best,

Kay

Posted in adventures, Around the world, Blogger Spotlight On, Blogging, Spotlight On, Travel, Travelers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random Acts of Kindness During Travel

“Carry out an act of kindness, with no expectation of reward,

safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you”

Princess Diana

 

Let me ask you something, has anyone done something out of the ordinary or in a totally unexpected manner? Have you been the beneficiary of a Random Act of Kindness during your travels or have you helped someone in return?

travel, greeting card, bon voyage, bon voyage greeting card, photography, ts76

Just recently I found myself standing at the corner of a street waiting for the light to change and go across. Then suddenly I felt someone approached me. He was trying to speak a little bit of French but could not finish the sentence, so ended speaking English. It was a family of tourists who seemed to have gotten lost and needed some directions. The father pointed at the map and showed me where they wanted to go.

That just made me smile because I remembered that I too found myself in such circumstances during my many adventures (or misadventures) around the world! I sure have been incredibly fortunate to have encountered some amazing people along the way and they were simply angels in a time of need.

I had an instant flashback, which was almost like a mini movie that played in a few seconds and remembered some unforgettable and similar experiences which happened to me a few years ago while I was traveling. Like that time when…

 

A German guy on the train helped me when I arrived in Berlin

After leaving Amsterdam, I was heading to Germany. Once on board, I found my compartment and sat next to a handsome blond, blue-eyed young man named Stefan. We started speaking in German and he was pleasantly surprised that I spoke it fluently and loved everything about the history, culture and language of his country!

It was my first time in the city, so I needed to find out how to reach the youth hostel so that I could drop off my bags & explore the German Capital

Stefan took me to the Taxi stand, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles of course, gave the driver the directions and he even accompanied me to the front desk to sign in.

I checked in and thanked him so much. I wanted to pay him for the fare and invite him to a drink but he said that I didn’t owe him anything. So he just turned around and left.

I spent the next week going all over town and had so much fun (as well as making new friends) even venturing out (told you I am restless!)

Berlin, Germany, Brandenburg Gate, dawn, photography, travel

Brandenburg Gate at dawn.               Photo credit: Werner22brigitte

Silly me, I didn’t even ask his telephone number or his address. I wanted to thank him again and send him a thank you card at least!

Now that I look back, I realize he truly was God sent!  I always remember that experience as one of the best…EVER :)

Germans are such friendly, warm & exceptional people, I will always be grateful to have received such help!

 

A Korean bus driver who drove us back to our neighborhood

Shortly after arriving in Seoul, South Korea, I decided to go on my first adventure. Going into the city requires taking an express bus which I did. Another colleague, who was also starting at the same time, came along for the ride.

We had so much fun shopping, dining, going from one place to the next

Seoul, South Korea, travel, photography, Namdaemun Market, Asia

Namdaemun Market in Seoul.    Photo credit: Tragrpx

and before we knew it, we had to come back home which was a bit late at night.

Once at our stop, we found out it was the very last bus. So we got on and we talked a bit too much hence we missed our stop. It was very dark so it was hard to tell where we were.

Sadly we ended up at the bus terminal and since we didn’t know any Korean, we went out to find a taxi. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes later, there was none in sight. So we knew we were going to have to sleep on a bench and under the stars! How’s that for a first adventure in the land of the not so much calm?

We heard someone honking and we turned around and saw the bus driver. He asked us in perfect English what we were doing there, we explained the situation and I am sure he must have thought “you dumb foreigners”.

He hesitated for a minute but then he told us to get in the car and to tell him where we lived. I was so happy & relieved.

He probably was going to be pretty late and he must have been really tired after a day of work.

So he drove for about 30 minutes before we arrived in our part of town. I was really grateful and handed him some money, for this inconvenience but he refused.

He wished us luck and was on his way.

Trust me, as soon as I got to my apartment I got down on my knees and prayed to the almighty for always looking after me and for sending the right people at the right time :)

 

A Japanese Lady took my hand and led me to the right subway platform

Many years ago I was sent to Osaka, Japan by my school in order to get my Korean work visa. They call it the visa run which means that you can obtain the document at the nearest Korean Embassy or consulate in a foreign country and is normally ready the very same day.

Landing at Kansai Airport was a breeze, getting into the city was quite a different story. I am normally organized and plan in detail. However nothing prepared me for what I was going to experience.

I took the train that links the airport to the center of the city and once I arrived at Shinsaibashi Station I was completely lost.

If you ever been to Japan or any country in Asia, you know how crowded the train or subway stations are and there are so many lines that it is quite overwhelming.

I found myself lost in a city I knew nothing of and definitely lost in translation. Back then there were few English signs.

I had the address of the hotel where I needed to go to. So I just stood in front of a map and it was as if I was hypnotized.

Next thing you know I was pushed and people wanted to take a look at the map as well. So I went to get a real map at the counter.

I looked in all directions and still didn’t know where to go. I had to muster up my courage and asked a lady if she spoke English, she said no with her head. So I used a few Japanese words I knew and pointed to her where I needed to go.

Next thing you know, she took my hand and she started walking and I had to follow of course.

She took me to the right train platform and once the train arrived, she used her fingers to count how many stations I needed to count before arriving where I had to. It was incredible that even if there was a language barrier I could understand her perfectly. God bless that sweet soul!

All I remember is that I put my hands together, as If I was going to pray, bowed down (young people need to do this before people who are older, it is part of the culture) and repeated “aregato, thank you so much” until the doors of the train closed. The very last image I saw was her waiving back at me and went her way.

I truly enjoyed the following days in the land of the rising sun & gained so much respect and admiration for the people!

Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan, travel, photography, Japanese neon signs

Neon signs in Dotonbori, Osaka. Photo credit: Cegoh

Those 3 events were some of the most memorable moments I have ever experienced but there are many more. I could definitely go on and on.

Now going back to the person who asked me for directions, well I decided to turn back and walk with them and show them the way. While we did I asked them where they came from and they said “St-Petersburg, Russia”. Wow, they flew half-way across the world to find themselves in my city and precisely at that corner at the time I happened to be there.

We arrived at the station; I went to the counter and bought them tickets to return downtown where they were staying. They would not take them, it’s almost as if it was an offense but I explained to them that I wanted them to leave with a great memory and in the future if they see someone in a similar situation, to pay it forward! I have never felt so good and so grateful. I saw them go through the turnstiles and they waved back thanking me.

I often wonder, was it just a coincidence? Why did they pick me and not anyone else? I often look like a tourist myself and people ask me for time, directions. I just think that since life has been incredibly generous and really good to me all these years, it clearly is my time to stop and give back! They say that life is a boomerang and now I understand the meaning of it.

I firmly believe that travel is not only an incredible experience for the mind, body and soul; it is also great for the heart. It can help you heal, transform and also allows you to both give, receive and become a much better person in the process, don’t you agree?

Always keep your eyes and spirit open. Also be receptive to any opportunities that may show up when you least expect it :)

Now over to you!

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Random Act of Kindness during Travel to share?

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I hope you enjoyed reading.

Until next time.

Happy travels!

All the best

Karla :)

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