above the clouds

International Travel and Lifestyle Blog

The Beauty of Bordeaux Revealed

The fairly tale looking Château Pichon Longueville

Today was arguably the highlight of our visit to Bordeaux as part of our Viking River Cruise, (Château, Rivers & Wine). We spent the day touring the Left Bank (Gironde River) of Bordeaux including Medoc and Pauillac, Saint-Julien, and Margaux. I don't think I've ever seen as much white river cobble as I have in the vineyards of the Medoc region. It seems the higher the volume of these rocks in the soil, the higher the quality of wines and the … [Read more...]

Redondo Beach, Plenty to Do Despite the Drizzle

The Gorgeous Light After the Rain

The morning that I woke up to go to Redondo Beach, I checked the weather. Rain and lightning storms. I thought about canceling my plans, but luckily I didn't. I knew it wasn't a long drive, so I decided to go for it. Redondo Beach is only 40 minutes south of where I live in LA, and I was dying to get back on a paddleboard. When I arrived at the Redondo Beach Hotel, the sky was blue and it was surprisingly warm. I hoped the storm had blown past. I … [Read more...]

Road trip to Lompoc … Discover what’s Around the Bend

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Lompoc, CA – An emerging destination on Highway 1 along the California Central Coast, Lompoc blooms big in spring and summer with fields of flowers, vineyard vistas, and scenic backroads for visitors to explore. With premium quality wines, larger-than-life outdoor murals, an awe-inspiring mission, and festive seasonal events, Lompoc awaits, and is rolling out the welcome mat for travelers to discover the uniqueness of the Lompoc Valley and what’s … [Read more...]

Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: The Center for Sustainable Landscapes

USA - Pittsburgh - Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardents - Center for Sustainable Landscapes Exterior_CREDIT Paul g. Wiegman - Salloum

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a great steel and glass Victorian greenhouse, once part of a dirty steel mill city has now been transformed into one of the world’s most energy-efficient structures. With the greenest public gardens of the world, it has put Pittsburgh on the map serving as a model of sustainability for the next century. Located in Schenley Park, one of Pittsburgh’s largest wide green areas, the Conservatory complex is … [Read more...]

Winding the Watch of Island Time

Anemone and fish

I was in such a hurry to get to the Micronesian island of Kosrae, such a hurry to see its isolated beauty, such a hurry to begin my first year of teaching—in such a hurry to be out of my old life and in this new. After arriving, I wanted to jump right in, get my new house settled, fill it with food, set up the computer, arrange my classes and office, drive the length and breadth of the landscape and snorkel my fool head off in the island’s … [Read more...]

Crossing the Pond, Start of Bordeaux Viking Cruise

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Usually when I have a bulkhead seat I end up with families seated nearby; I have always referred to these seats as 'bulkhead babies' as a number of flights I've been seated here next to crying babies. Fortunately there were no crying babies seated next to me. The only eventful happening was about half through the flight in the darkened cabin - I jumped up in my seat startled by a loud noise. It turns out a woman had fainted and crashed to the … [Read more...]

Gambling at Casinos Around the WorldGambling at Casinos Around the World


You may be able to walk in any Las Vegas casino sporting flip flops and a tank top, but try that in Monte Carlo and you'll probably be stopped at the door. Casino culture can be extremely different from place to place and if you're one of the many people who enjoys gambling as a regular part of their travels, then you'll need to be aware of how the rules change from standard American casinos to those in other parts of the world. Take a look at … [Read more...]

Dubai’s Continued Growth Brings New Attractions


Located at the crossroads of history, Dubai has long been a strategic area for business and entertainment travel. It is a safe and courteous city where most travelers will be surprised at how many distractions there are for tourists. For most travelers, first impressions of Dubai are formed inside the well-contoured International Terminal at Dubai airport, where there are many duty-free shops. Upon leaving the terminal, first-time visitors are … [Read more...]

Which Hawaiian Island Should I Visit?


The Hawaiian Islands are all unique Chооѕіng whісh Hаwаііаn Island to visit оn уоur vасаtіоn саn bе a lоt lіkе a rеаllу gооd рrоblеm tо have. I mеаn іt doesn't mаttеr which оnе уоu choose, you're still gоіng tо be in раrаdіѕе. And thаt'ѕ juѕt thе thіng... you hаvе your сhоісе of gorgeous, exotic dream lаndѕ tо сhооѕе frоm but depending on what kіnd оf реrѕоn уоu аrе thеn уоu mау hаvе an іdеаl Hаwаііаn Iѕlаnd thаt wоuld fіt your реrѕоnаlіtу … [Read more...]

The three places you should visit in Uruguay – as soon as possible and slightly off season

Uruguay attractions

I arrived in Uruguay at the very end of a four months backpacking trip. I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was rest, lay in the sun, enjoy the sea breeze, eat nice food and write. My expectations were met and exceeded, and by the time I boarded the first of a number of flights that would take me back to Sardinia, I knew I was in love with the country and would have to go back in the future.   Locked between Argentina and … [Read more...]