Adding Aruba to Our List

We miss The Caribbean. After falling in love with the islands when we vacationed on Tobago twenty years ago, and visiting nearly a dozen other islands through the years, we ended up living on one, St. Croix, up until 2008.

Five years later, we are feeling the need for a refresher dose of island time… CONTINUE READING >>

This post brought to you by Aruba Tourism Authority. All opinions are 100% ours.

Beautiful night time cabana in Aruba

We miss The Caribbean. After falling in love with the islands when we vacationed on Tobago twenty years ago, and visiting nearly a dozen other islands through the years, we ended up living on one, St. Croix, up until 2008.

Five years later, we are feeling the need for a refresher dose of island time.

Palm lined sand in Aruba

Brightly colored buildings in Aruba

We find ourselves longing for the tropical breezes, swaying palms, and brightly colored buildings.

And we really miss the food. It’s been way too long since we had any goat stew, or freshly caught mahi-mahi, wahoo, or spiny lobster. Where could we find all of that, but something different too? We always like a new place to explore.

Festival in Aruba

When the Aruba Tourism Authority asked us to write about why we would like to visit their island, we found our answer. Unlike most of its Caribbean neighbors, Aruba has an arid climate and cultural influences more from nearby South America than The West Indies. Definitely a unique place.

With a quick visit to Aruba.com we could see that the island is also all about pristine beaches and crystal clear water. We love the water, whether we’re boating, fishing, parasailing, or – our favorite – snorkeling. The website features ways to enjoy all of these – another check on the plus side.

Pelicans in Aruba

Then, when we looked a little deeper and discovered that there is a World War Two-era German cargo ship sunken right off Malmok Beach we got really excited. It is very rare indeed to be able to explore a shipwreck without SCUBA gear, much less an historic relic such as The Antillla.

Natural pool in Aruba

Back in 1940, when it eas thought to be supplying German U-Boats, the 400 foot ship was ordered to surrender, but the captain chose to scuttle it in the shallow water instead. Folks on Aruba say that he didn’t want to surrender, but he also wanted to give future tourists a great dive site.

An Aruba happy place.

Granted most would think of Aruba as a winter getaway, but there are factors in favor of a visit in the summer or fall. Like great off-season deals that we found on Aruba travel, and no need to worry about the weather spoiling the trip like it could on other islands. Aruba sits well below the hurricane belt, so there’s little chance of a storm interrupting the trip.

Like most travelers, we keep an ongoing lineup of all of the places we want to see in our heads.

Aruba definitely just jumped up on that list.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Is Aruba on your bucket list too? Have you been to Aruba? Let us know why YOU think we should go! 

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Dotonbori Street in Osaka, Japan


Dōtonbori in Osaka is so much fun! Food, wild signs, food… Find out more about Osaka or enlarge video >>

Kuidaore, a Japanese word meaning “to ruin yourself with extravagant food,” has become synonymous with the city of Osaka. How could we possibly not love this place?

Osaka is the undisputed culinary center of Japan, in fact several writers have proclaimed it the food capital of the world, but we were determined to find the heart of the center. That could only be the small downtown district known as Dōtonbori.

Named for the seventeenth century canal that runs beside the street, Dōtonbori has become the epicenter of kuidaore. For hundreds of years the area was famous as the place for Kabuki theatres, but they are all gone now. Restaurants began replacing them after the war, and with their arrival came some creative signage.

In fact, the competition for most eye-catching advertising extravaganza is nearly as much of a draw as the food. Several signs are tourist attractions in their own right, especially the giant neon Glico Man, famous for being the first on the block.

Almost as popular is the mechanical drumming clown, Kuidaore Taro, who stood guard in front of the Cui-daore Restaurant for years. Since the restaurant closed he has been enshrined at the Nakaza Cuidaore Building, where he draws crowds into the shopping center.

When the crab restaurant Kani Doraku erected their giant mechanized crab sign back in 1960 they kicked off quite a craze of giant animated seafood signs.

Several spectacular giant octopus renditions marking spots for Osaka’s signature dish, takoyaki, vied for our attention.

And a huge blowfish lantern adorned Zubora-ya, a fugu (deadly poison blowfish) restaurant that, believe it or not, we didn’t try.

See more about our night in Dotonbori – we ruined ourselves with food!

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7 Links Challenge – A Journey in Posts

Last week, Claudia Looi from Travel Writing Pro nominated us to take on the 7 Links Challenge. Thanks Claudia!

Purpose: “To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”

Our role now is to select our 7  favorite posts in 7 intriguing categories and then pass on the baton to five awesome bloggers.

Here are the seven links we’ve chosen and the fabulous folks we’ve nominated to carry the torch:… CONTINUE READING >>

Last week, Claudia Looi from Travel Writing Pro nominated us to take on the 7 Links Challenge. Thanks Claudia!

Purpose: “To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”

Our role now is to select our 7  favorite posts in 7 intriguing categories and then pass on the baton to five awesome bloggers. You can find further details of the rules at The 7 Links Challenge created by TripBase Blog.

Here are the seven links we’ve chosen:

The French Riveria

Your Most Beautiful Post

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ on the Riviera

Driving our little rented Citroën across The Riviera, both French and Italian, afforded us some sensational vistas.


Your Most Popular Post

Life After Kids
This was our first post and lays out our philosophy on travel, exploration, discovery and especially life.


Your Most Controversial Post

Parasite “Kids”
Our thoughts on adult offspring that refuse to take responsibility for their own lives. Were we too harsh? Some folks certainly thought so.

Your Most Helpful Post

Our Year in an RV – What We Spent & How We Did It
Ever want to chuck it all and hit the open road? Here’s how we did it.


A Post Whose Success Surprised You

Pleasing the Palate in Puerto Peñasco
A beautiful, little known spot on The Sea of Cortez in Mexico, but when our video in this post went viral, suddenly a lot of people knew about it.


A Post You Feel Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved

The Macabre Human Bone Church of Sedlec, Czech Republic
This is perhaps the strangest place we’ve ever seen and would like everyone to know about it.


The Post That You Are Most Proud of

Genoa’s Ancient City in Pictures
Veronica spent a wonderful day just wandering in Genoa’s ancient city with her camera and simply fell in love.

Now it is our turn to nominate 5 amazing bloggers:

Simply Sailing Nine years ago, Connie and Dave set sail with their three sons and haven’t looked back since! This amazing couple should be on everyone’s must read list!

The Roaming Boomers Dave and Carol write about luxury destinations, travel news, travel gadgets, travel reviews and more.

Wanderplex Reena offers daily tips, tricks and inspiration for world travel.

Fab After Fifty Ceri is passionate about making sure women over 50 make the best of their lives-she is the founder of this inspirational online magazine & community for midlife women!

Eileen Barish’s Monastery Lodging Blog “Heavenly Accommodations at Sinfully Low Rates” – just gotta love it! An award-winning author & travel expert, Eileen writes books on monasteries in Europe.

Now it’s their turn to share with you their 7 links. Enjoy their posts and remember to connect with them.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

St. Croix Appy Crawl #2

For this evening’s Appy Crawl, we have decided to hit three of Christiansted’s most established eateries. To make the crawl more lively, we are hitting the town in the teeth of tourist season—the people watching/meeting was SPECTACULAR! We meet a couple on their honeymoon, escaping the cold of Philly with an interesting toasting style (Cheers, Big Ears). Then, a woman who worked for Frank Zappa in the 70s—a true Gypsy Nester—she has just finished raising… CONTINUE READING

For this evening’s
Appy Crawl, we have decided to hit three of Christiansted’s most
established eateries. To make the crawl more lively, we are hitting
the town in the teeth of tourist season—the people watching/meeting
was SPECTACULAR! We meet a couple on their honeymoon, escaping
the cold of Philly with an interesting toasting style (Cheers,
Big Ears). Then, a woman who worked for Frank Zappa in the 70s—a
true Gypsy Nester—she has just finished raising her son and
now is an artist/botanist/traveler. Kudos! Overheard a foursome
using a beautiful meal as a vehicle to whine about the horrors
of bad domestic help. Accosted by a passionate Italian hell-bent
on trading our condo for his sailboat—apparently, he’s fallen
in love with St. Croix.

Kendricks
David
and Jane Kendrick have a beautiful garden of palm trees,
innovative foods, and fabulous service. Candlelit, dreamy
and a well appreciated menu with a large print! We sat at
the bar tonight and tried out a few appys:

Tuna
Char Sui with Asian Slaw, Soy Wasabi Vinaigrette

A barely there char on a deliciously fresh tuna, nice wallop
from the wasabi

Alaskan King
Crab Cakes with Lemon Habanero Tartar Sauce

Does St. Croix have crabs, you ask? Yep, and people eat them, too.
But they’re land dwelling little fellas and these cakes definitely
benefited from

their Alaskan cousins. The consistency was crabtensive
and juicy. The tartar sauce was yummy.

Wines
A quick note on Italian whites—watch out for the lighter alcohol
content, you get that funny metalic “turned” taste. As
a wise Italian once told us, “Italian white wines should never
cross over the Alps.” If you can’t drink it in Asti, then try
to stick to 12% by volume at least, it handles the plane ride better
than the by-the-glasses we had at Kendricks. We took a peek at the
Kendricks wine list—some really nice whites live there, they
may want to rethink the reds. But who drinks red in the Caribbean
anyway?

Bacchus

Hidden away upstairs past the sign that says “These steps
are ancient and irregular.”These
folks know their food! The staff is aware of culinary nuisances
and are very willing to share their thoughts. The menu has
a fun flair, naming gourmet dishes “Get the Duck Outta

Here” and “Try This Rasta’s Pasta” keeps
it casual. We didn’t miss snooty pretense one little bit.

“Still
Dancing To Our Old Beet”

Pay attention here: A salad of roasted beets, greens, candied pecans,
gorgonzola with white truffle oil. Oh. My. God. Veronica
has been seen devouring a piece of cardboard

drizzled with truffle
oil and a smile on her face, so this salad seriously rocked her
world.

Ravioli of the Day
Tonight’s had lobster, garlic, leeks and other deliciousness. The
pasta was so meaty, it was like eating a steak. The crème sauce
was lovely.

Also, a wonderful spiny lobster bisque and a well rounded wine list.

Rumrunners
On the Boardwalk

A short
stroll to the Christiansted Boardwalk and the romantic,
on-the-water Rumrunners. We loved this place, complete with
huge tarpons swimming right up to shore sniffing around
for scraps. We came in a bit late, but our waitress was
very happy to have us come in for dessert. We snagged a
water-side table.

Flourless
Chocolate Torte

Not messing around, this dessert. Dark, dark, dark and decadent.

Also see: The
Appy Crawl Philosophy

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Czech Food!


enlarge video
Dumplings, goulash, sauerkraut and MEAT! Oh, and delish street food…mmmmmm! The Czech Republic is a… CONTINUE READING >>

Dumplings, goulash, sauerkraut and MEAT! Oh, and delish street food…mmmmmm! The Czech Republic is a dumpling based society, and good thing we love dumplings! Bread, potato and BACON all of this deliciousness: http://www.gypsynester.com/czechplease.htm

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