I'm just a girl trying to have a cup of coffee all around the world. This is a blog about travel, expat life and our adventures living an international lifestyle, with two kids and two dogs!

Andrea Fellman of Wanderlust Living Travel Blog

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Posts by Category: Andrea

Andrea June 15, 2018 posted by

A photo diary of my dad’s trip down Route 66

The first thing I did when I got to Oklahoma City was to get my dad’s camera. In fact, “Where is his camera?” might have been the first words out of my mouth when I saw my dad’s wife.  I was absolutely going to be the one to have all of my dad’s photos from his trip down Route 66.

A small recap for anyone that does not know…

He had left Minnesota to ride the mother road on his Harley Davidson, it was a lifelong dream of his and since we lived in Pasadena, California, he thought he could road trip down Route 66 and spend some time with us.

Unfortunately, after leaving our house in California on his drive back home to Minnesota he was in a fatal motorcycle accident just outside of Oklahoma City. He was airlifted to the hospital and while he was not officially DOA, it was pretty close. I flew to Oklahoma City, where I met my brother, his wife and one of his sisters, after two days we took him off life support. Yup. I know. It’s heart-wrenching but in a fucked up way, a beautiful story. My dad literally died living his dream. And I will be pissed if I don’t go the same way.

 

My dad took over 500 photos on his trip (clearly we have that in common). Today would have been his 66th Birthday and I thought this might be a good time to go back through his photos and publish some of them. I thought that sitting down and going through them was going to be painful but, as I’ve been editing and resizing them, I have found myself smiling – he would have been a great travel blogger!

I have been wanting to write some epic story about the photos since I got them. I thought one day that I might craft a brilliant poetic story that would have people sobbing!  Perhaps I would even submit this story to some other website or magazine. But I just don’t think I have that in me. Or maybe I do but what comes more natural to me is to just be me and write something quick and witty, to let the photos speak for themselves. Because really this was his trip, and just seeing it through his eyes is enough, there aren’t any words needed or, God forbid, my words just mess it all up.

He took beautiful photos and he took so many photos that I am pretty sure I could take his exact trip one day. I have photos of all the hotels he stayed in, even some of the rooms, street signs, and so many valuable points of interest, that it would not be hard to piece it all together! So anyways….

Happy 66th Birthday – here’s a look back on your trip down Route 66!


















 




 

 

A photo diary of my dad’s trip down Route 66
Andrea May 10, 2018 posted by

Why Adler Thermae is the Most Dreamy Family Spa in Tuscany

Under the Colorful Tuscan Sun

From the moment we arrived at Adler Thermae, I immediately noticed a gorgeous crystal chandelier hanging over a staircase and guests casually walking through the lobby in their plush white bathrobes and slippers. It only took two seconds to realize we just walked in to a little slice of paradise. Located among the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany and only about an hour away from Florence, Adler Thermae is a five-star luxury spa that offers families a chance to escape the crowds in Rome, Florence and Venice to spend some time soaking under the Tuscan sun, literally.

Adler Thermae Spa Resort

Adler Thermae is located in the town of Bagno Vignoni, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Bagno Vignoni lies on the Via Francigena, one of Europe’s most important medieval pilgrim routes. It was known as a popular place to rest, due to the fact that the town’s public bath had healing waters. Adler Thermae is just a short five-minute walk to the center of Bagno Vignoni where you can see the original bath and buildings from this popular medieval town. Adler Thermae has created a beautiful modern thermal spa with a variety of pools, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation areas for guests to immerse themselves in this tranquil setting, surrounded by iconic views of Tuscany.

“The thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni take their curative powers from the depths of the earth. The rain seeps down to the deeper levels, is warmed in the process and dissolves minerals and sulphur compounds from the limestone rock. At a depth of about one thousand metres, the water comes into contact with hot volcanic strata, where it is warmed further, enriched with valuable substances and forced up to the surface again at a temperature of 50°C.”

Adler Thermae Spa Pools

The main outdoor pool has a cycle of jets that rotate around the perimeter of the pool all day. This pool continues to the indoor pool area which then leads directly to the spa desk and waiting area. There is also a very large lap pool, an enclosed cave-like grotto where you can enjoy floating in a sea salt bath, and a lazy river-type pool with jets that push you along. My kids really enjoyed that.

Inside the spa itself, there are luxurious steam rooms with built-in individual seats made up of beautiful mosaic tiling. Around the back is an entire outdoor zen garden with several different saunas and massage rooms. There is a full gym with all the workout equipment you’d need and a studio for all the yoga and pilates classes they offer. There are plenty of treadmills both inside and outside all facing the breathtaking views of Tuscany.  

They take hydration very seriously at Adler Thermae. There are three different kinds of sparkling water on draft!

 

Adler’s Divine Dining

All meals are served in the main dining room. It was elegant yet relaxed enough for anyone coming straight from the heated pools or spa to sit comfortably in their bathrobe. The breakfast was buffet style with plenty of healthy options and an omelette station. Or you could request a few al a carte items from a small menu. We enjoyed daily menu options at lunch, including a variety of healthy ‘help yourself’ salads and side dishes. The fresh salads and side dishes was really enough to fill anyone up! The dining room was dimly lit at night, and the atmosphere turned a bit more elegant, probably because no one showed up in their robes.

When we arrived for dinner, a host escorted us to our reserved table. A dinner menu with select items was presented as well as the nightly kids options. Once we ordered our main dishes we were able to help ourselves to the all of the fresh salads and vegetables, and the endless amount of bread, meat and cheese that were on display. My husband and I were so happy to see such a variety of greens at every meal, it was a nice break from all the pizza and pasta we had been indulging in. Then, of course, there were the incredible desserts that we couldn’t say no to.

Adler Thermae Activities

Adler Thermae is not only a place for rejuvenation and relaxation but a resort that encourages exercise. It features a variety of daily activities and events. We received the “Today at the Adler” schedule every morning. It was filled with resort activities, special classes, health tips, notes from doctors and physicians, healthy recipes and more! My husband and I jumped at the chance to take advantage of the hour-long guided bike tour. We would have the opportunity to see more of the beautiful countryside. Our guide led us through two medieval villages, over rolling hills of farmland, and olive fields. We even had to navigate over a small riverbed. We had a great morning ride and it was nice to get some much-needed exercise! A few of the other activities the Adler offers are wine tasting, horseback riding, golf, hiking and a visit to a nearby organic farm.




Adler Thermae Rooms

We had a ground floor family suite with a bedroom with two twin beds for the kids and a king size bed in the main room with a nice sitting area. Our patio faced out to the breathtaking countryside. No photo can do justice to the view, but I tried to get a few shots! Just a short distance away from our room was also a children’s playground, ping pong tables, foosball and a basketball court. We were not in our room five minutes and the kids took off to explore and find all of these wonderful activities.



The bar area was a beautiful place that we sat before dinner and played cards as a family. After dinner, Harris and I sat and enjoyed the man playing the piano. The kids went back to the room. There is also a balcony with seating areas to take in the colorful sunsets each night.


The family that spas together…

One of my favorite things was getting out to the pool early in the morning as a family. The steam was just coming off the top of the pool and it looked beautiful.  I didn’t want to be the creepy person taking photos in the pool, but I managed to sneak just a few. Adler Thermae has really created a unique experience for families looking for more than museums and churches. Our family enjoyed the entire, fantastic experience. I’d highly recommend it to other families spending time in Italy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but breaking up our trip with a stay in Tuscany at Adler was a smart idea! It allowed all of us to slow down, relax and really enjoy our surroundings.

For more information and to book go here!


Disclosure: This was a media stay, however all my thoughts are my own. I share this with you because it’s what I like to do – and it’s A-mazing!

Why Adler Thermae is the Most Dreamy Family Spa in Tuscany
Andrea March 9, 2018 posted by

Recipe for the Best Weekend in Barcelona

So last weekend was wonderful. SO wonderful that I wanted to share it. Have you ever had one of those weekends that made you think – wow, life is good. Really good. I’m going to recap it here for any of you that care. If you’re visiting Barcelona, you may want to take some notes to make your own recipe for your best weekend in Barcelona itinerary.

Friday 11:00 AM

A friend was going to be in town for Mobile World Congress (the biggest tech conference in the world). This conference happens every year in Barcelona. Another conference that happens at the same time is 4YFN, which Harris found very interesting so he went again this year. Anyways, my friend Rebecca was staying at my FAVORITE hotel in Barcelona, which just so happens to be practically across the street. She’s a runner and while she lived here we never ran together. But we follow each other on the Strava app so it’s fun to still keep up with her on there. So, I swung by the Cotton House Hotel to pick her up for my usual Friday morning beach run. I don’t usually like running with people but this was a special occasion. I liked sharing my run with my friend, and not just on my app. 🙂

After our run I dropped her off back at the hotel and we snagged this photo. It’s black and white  – because no one looks good in a photo after running 5 miles. One of the workers from the Cotton House came out and gave us water and I laughed and said “I bet he thinks I’m your personal trainer in Barcelona.” HA!

Running with friends is fun.

Friday Night

While Rebecca was here we had dinner plans with our other friend Lisa and my husband Harris (he’s like one of the girls). The four of us went to Els Pescadors, in Poble Nou, a bit further away than we usually go. But I had heard about this restaurant, and whatever Lisa books is always excellent! We met up at the CH for a pre-dinner drink and then off we went. BUT FIRST – the Cotton House Hotel is to die for. It’s my favorite hotel (maybe ever) but in Barcelona for sure. While I haven’t been to all of them (yet), but I’m pretty sure this one will be hard to beat. I’ll do a full feature of it another time, but for now here are a few pictures. I think you’ll see what I mean.


Okay off to dinner at El Pescadors…

Els Pescadors

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we got to Els Pescadors, but we arrived a little after 8:30 and we were the only ones there (they open at 8:00 pm). It was a very traditional looking restaurant, dark wood and white tablecloths. From the name of the restaurant, it was obviously all about the fish here. If you live in Barcelona you quickly get used to the fish being served with the head “la cabeza,” but that is nothing compared to the fish cart that was wheeled out for our menu presentation! Oh, this is going to be GOOD.

The waiter proceeded to tell us about all five of the fresh catches of the day, how the chef would prepare each one, and what vegetables and sides would accompany the fish. I didn’t understand some of what he was saying, but it didn’t matter. I knew whatever we picked was sure to be amazing!  Meanwhile, while we were engrossed in our dinner and conversation the entire restaurant filled up. We started with a glass of Cava, as you do in Barcelona, we had a few appetizers and the chef came out and suggested a bottle of white wine to go with our fish selection, and the fish was delish! 

Saturday in Barcelona

It was a glorious day outside! Glorious. My kids were doing the usual lazy Saturday morning thing. Late that afternoon they were each going to have a friend over for a sleepover. Harris was totally consumed with a new project for work, so it looked like I was going to be solo for the day. Woohooo! I have more energy then my entire family, and usually I give them some grief about being lazy or working. But today I let it go, but I certainly was not staying home.

One of the things that has been on my list to see in Barcelona is the San Pau Hospital, so today was the day.

Since I wasn’t running today, I walked the 2.4 miles to the hospital. I could have taken the bus but it was SO nice outside I wanted to enjoy the day. I made a quick stop at Chica Limona for a cappuccino and croissant and read my book a little. Then I continued on my way passing La Sagrada Familia, buzzing with tourists as usual. I made my way up the Rambla de Gaudí which leads you directly to San Pau Hospital. I usually do not go north of the La Sagrada so I had never even seen this rambla before, but it’s great. You can sit at a cafe and admire La Sagrada from a distance. Then just five blocks up towards the end of this rambla you literally run right into San Pau Hospital.

San Pau Hospital

I CANNOT get over this place. I am kicking myself that it took me so long to come and see this magnificent architectural beauty!

Back in 1930 this was one of the biggest hospitals in Europe. It is essentially six hospitals in one and they call it a city within a city. This is the brilliant work of the famous architect Lluìs Doménech i Montaner (yes, there’s more in this city than just Gaudí). Montaner is also the creative genius behind the Palau de Musica and several private homes in Barcelona, including Casa Lleó Morera that sits on the same block as Guadí’s Casa Battló.

I really do not understand why more people do not talk about this!! It is ridiculously gorgeous, and no one was there. Everyone was swarming La Sagrada, which is totally understandable. But this is SO worth seeing and it’s so close to La Sagrada. Not every building was open, but there are even underground tunnels that you can walk through! I was fascinated by the room in which hospital beds had been set up as they were back in the day. Honestly, this looked like a hospital in heaven. When I die, I’m totally getting one of those beds.

Even the room that had all the in-depth information and history about San Pau was displayed on the coolest structures. And the aqua blue tiles – sigh.  I entered the main building last and l had a hard time taking it all in. The colors, the textures, the tiles, the stonework, the windows, the columns, the statues, and funky stone formations – my neck was so sore from twisting and turning to see everything from every angle. I was seriously OD’ing on visual stimulation.

Eventually, I forced myself to leave so I could get back outside and enjoy the sun and the rest of the day. On my way home I sat down at a little cafe on Gaudi Rambla and had a Clara (beer with lemonade). Many of the restaurants were very busy as it was 3:00 pm, lunchtime. I was almost home when I remembered that a new place had opened up on Gran Via, called Colette. So I stopped in there and had a few tapas.

Saturday Night

I went home to check in on my family. Hudson and his friend were playing video games. McKenna and her friend were out walking around and getting bubble tea at ZenZoo. Harris was still working. I finished some laundry, thought about jumping on the computer, but quickly opted for a little cat nap instead.

My neighbor over at Cotton House messaged me to come over because her plans had changed. She was just staying in, and Lisa was coming over for dinner. I had already eaten the gourmet meal of my kids’ leftover spaghetti and was finally feeling lazy myself. But I got up and went over for a drink because there have been so many times when I have been home wishing someone would just message me to come have a drink! So back to the CH I went, because A) Rebecca was leaving tomorrow B) I cannot resist the CH. I’ll take a Gin & Tonic (or two) please!

Sundays down at Barcelonetta

This is my absolute favorite. Sunday’s down at the beach. I went for a 8 mile run, I planned on 5 but the weather was AMAZING. (Are you getting the theme that Barcelona has amazing weather?)

I love it down at the beach especially on Sundays because there are so many people out enjoying it!! These are my people. Runners are getting their runs in, kids are rollerblading, moms and dads are pushing strollers, older couples are walking hand in hand, young kids are hanging out, the skate park is packed, paddleboarders are in the water (with wetsuits) families are on bikes… and my favorite, the old guys are playing cards and drinking beer by 10:00am!! #LifeGoals



Funny thing about this picture – Opium is a club in Barcelona and I laugh when I run down here on Sunday mornings because there is always some guy hosing down the place from last nights/ early morning shenanigans!! One night I’m going to go see what is happening inside;)


When I got home I made all the kids pancakes and took a shower. Harris and I went to grab a bite to eat at Citizen Cafe, a great little place down the street from us for brunch. Then I went home and binged on some stupid Netflix show trying not to think about Monday. Unfortunately, Mondays are still Mondays in Barcelona too.

Let’s review your weekend itinerary…

  1. Cotton House Hotel – a must! (message me, I’ll come over)
  2. Els Pescadors – fish cart!
  3. Chica Limona (or Granja Petitbo) – breakfast / brunch / coffee
  4. San Pau Hospital – a jewel of architecture
  5. Sagrada Familia (yes go inside!)
  6. Colorette (new & unique tapas joint)
  7. Go down to Barcelonetta and walk around – you don’t have to run 8 miles, you can sit and have a cappuccino or mojito instead
  8. Citizen Cafe – brunch spot
  9. Bubble Tea at ZenZoo (just of Las Ramblas)
  10. This is a bonus – Go to El National for some more design eye candy. I love to sit in on of the middle bars for a glass of Cava and a few tapas

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Recipe for the Best Weekend in Barcelona
Andrea January 15, 2018 posted by

Fun in the Mexican Sun at La Zebra Hotel in Tulum

Looking for fun in the Mexican sun? La Zebra Hotel in the hipster-chic town of Tulum has everything a birthday girl and her party posse could ask for.

Let’s got to Tulum, Mexico!

Tulum, Mexico has always been on my list of places to go. But let’s be honest, what isn’t on my list. 😉 Tulum is a hip and tranquil hot spot just a 90 minute shuttle ride from Cancun, and away from the gigantic concrete all-inclusives that line the Cancun beaches. Tulum has been the go-to spot for New Yorkers escaping the cold bitter winters for years (says a New York friend of mine). Mix that with a bunch of Los Angeles entrepreneurs opening boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and yoga retreats, and you have one chic little town. So naturally, I had to see what all the cool kids were talking about.

When I decided to have my 40th Birthday in Tulum, the only thing I needed to decide on was which hotel was going to host this epic celebration. This was a bit of a stressful task. I had 12 women coming and I wanted to make them all happy. In the end, I was deciding between three hotels but I finally decided on La Zebra Tulum.

La Zebra Tulum is part of the Colbri Hotel Group, which has four hotels in Tulum. La Zebra checked off all of my boxes. It was right on the beach, and had a good restaurant & bar. The rooms were nicely decorated and modern, and it wasn’t extremely expensive. It also seemed to have the overall vibe that I wanted – barefoot in the sand, chill and fun.

Looking for fun in the Mexican sun? La Zebra Hotel in the hipster-chic town of Tulum has everything a birthday girl and her party posse could ask for.

Booking at La Zebra Hotel

When booking my reservation for our large group I worked with the hotel directly. No. I did not ask for a media rate or discount of any kind. I was not “working” – this was my BIRTHDAY! I was not interested in owing them any sort of coverage or social media mentions. Nor did I want to burden my friends with that sort of thing. I was a regular paying guest. However, they did give me a small group rate discount since I was booking so many rooms. I paid for the rooms and had my girlfriends pay me directly. It was easier that way then them booking their rooms. I wanted to actually pay for a portion of their rooms as well, I mean – they were coming all the way to Tulum for me.

I am not sure of the number of emails that went back and forth, but towards the end it was A LOT. They helped me coordinate transportation and even a day of activities to the Tulum Ruins and the Grand Cenote. They were so helpful and responded to all my inquiries quickly. I am sure they were eager to meet me, the crazy 40-year-old lady and her 12 friends!

Arriving at La Zebra was so lovely. We were on the main road that goes through Tulum for about 15 minutes when the van stopped and pulled into the small driveway of the Hotel. There was lush greenery surrounding a small desk and a gorgeous zebra wall behind. I knew instantly I made the right choice, and I hadn’t even got out of the van yet!

The Rooms at La Zebra Hotel

Once I did get out of the van, the lovely ladies at the front desk were anxiously awaiting me because they had a surprise for me. They had upgraded me to the penthouse beachfront suite for my birthday! This amazing suite also came with a gigantic hot tub, which would later be the crazy party tub all weekend long. My birthday is in September which isn’t exactly high season in Tulum. It can be the rainiest month, so I took a real gamble. But in the end it was so worth it, because I am sure that suite is probably usually booked! I was so appreciative of the upgrade. My two roomies were sure to love it as well! One of my girlfriends had brought a few decorations for my room, including a Happy 40th Birthday banner which she hung above my bed.

One of the things I liked about the rooms at La Zebra is that you can have three people to a room, there is a king bed and a pull out sofa bed. This also makes it family friendly if you want to bring a kid or two. This may have also been the reason I choose this hotel too. As someone who usually travels with kids, I am always trying to find accommodations that are well-designed and cool for families too! But this weekend was NOT for families. Trust me. 😉

La Zebra has a variety of rooms to choose from at different price points. The ground level suites have dipping pools and you can either have an ocean view or be a bit further back on the property and have a garden view. To be honest, I liked the garden view suites because they were a little more tucked away and felt a bit more private. Also, when you’ve had enough of the sun and beach it was nice to retreat back to these rooms. I booked us all rooms with a dipping pool and at night we sat around one of these dipping pools drinking wine or tequila. It was perfection!

My penthouse beachfront suite balcony!


The Beach at La Zebra Hotel

The beach area for La Zebra is just outside your door. They have the cutest beach and bar area in the sand. There are plenty of day beds to choose from, and they also have these old boats with comfy pillows for lounging. Need a drink? The servers come to you – just put your sign up that says “Over here!”, “I need a drink”, or “SOS”. There are also a couple of swings, a large net hammock and a small seesaw for little kids. (Not that I’m not working…) 


Restaurant & Bar at La Zebra Hotel

Even if you are not staying at La Zebra – you should definitely come to check out their restaurant and bar. We had breakfast every morning and everything was fresh and delicious. I loved the little meringues that they gave with their cappuccinos! It’s little details like that, that just make me smile. We had dinner here two of the three nights and since we were there on a Sunday night we got to also take in the Salsa dancing. La Zebra hosts Salsa dancing lessons every Sunday night, and the place was packed! Locals and people from other hotels come to enjoy this night and the energy was incredible. So was the dancing!

*There is also a pool and a relaxing sitting area above the restaurant and away from the beach. This was a great place to retreat to as well, it is quiet and partially shaded. We had this whole area to ourseleves one afternoon.  

 

 


Las Mujeres

I brought together women from all different chapters of my life. Some knew each other but some did not. This was another gamble, but this group of ladies could not have hit it off better! Everyone gelled and got along from the moment they met. This is probably what made me the happiest the entire weekend. My friends having fun together and the fact that they took the time out of their busy lives to come down to Tulum to celebrate with me.

The staff referred to us “Las Mujeres” – ‘The Women” – during our stay. They certainly responded quickly whenever we needed or wanted anything, and were never more than five feet away to do anything for us. They were awesome. There are many pictures of this weekend I will refrain from putting in this post and should probably not go public. But to say we had a good time would be an massive understatment.

**BUT if you want to see some wild out takes you should definitely watch the video of my 40th Birthday Celebration in Tulum created by LIFIE, the coolest video editing company ever! (But again, I’m not working!)

La Zebra Hotel

If you cannot already tell – I LOVED La Zebra Hotel. and I don’t think it was just because it was my birthday. When I stay at hotels I really observe everything and make mental notes of all the little extras that some people might never see. I love a hotel that has personality, is creative, fun and stylish. If I am being honest, the name sort of threw me off and I thought it was a bit cheesy at first – but now whenever I see a zebra anything it will remind me of this hotel and my incredible experience with my girlfriends. In fact, I bought a zebra maraca at the airport, it was the one and only thing I bought in Tulum. It’s in my office and I see it daily. It is the perfect reminder of all my friends and the intense laughter we all shared that weekend.

I wanna dance by water ‘neath the Mexican sky
Drink some Margaritas by a string of blue lights
Listen to the Mariachi play at midnight
Are you with me, are you with me?
Are you with me?


Walking on the beach every morning seeing scenes like this, gave me chills.


The girls crowned me La Chica Reina on my Birthday night!

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Fun in the Mexican Sun at La Zebra Hotel in Tulum
Andrea December 11, 2017 posted by

Get your copy of Twist Travel Magazine’s winter issue!


The winter issue of Twist Travel Magazine is here!

Well look what we have here – it’s the winter issue of Twist Travel Magazine!!! I am ecstatic, to say the least. Why? Because this is the inaugural printed issue!

Yup, you can buy a printed copy or sign up for a yearly subscription right now. As in, you should. Right now. Go.

Last spring we put out the first digital issue of Twist Travel Magazine to test how things could go, and see if this wild idea of ours could be done. The feedback was great, so we moved on to the summer issue. People kept asking us how they could buy it!? Where could they get a copy? So we had to make a decision, are we going to throw everything we have into this or not?

My partner Keryn and I are similar, in that we don’t really do things halfway. Challenges get us fired up and really excited!  It was then we started developing the website and making plans for the fall issue and decided that we would go to print and sell the magazine through our website.

Yes, sell the magazine. I know. Some of you may be thinking we are crazy, but we believe that there is an opportunity and a space in the market for something like this. And trust me, the magazine is just the beginning, we have so many other ideas for this new travel brand that it’s hard not to spill the beans and tell you more!

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let me talk about the winter issue. The winter issue is a dream issue of snow and sand with sprinkles of holiday delights! It’s as gorgeous to look at as it is to read.

What’s inside the Winter Issue?

You want to know before you buy, I get it. Here’s the lowdown.

  • Family fun in the USA, including Park City, Ski Alta, Deer Valley, Tahoe and Vermont
  • The Best of British Columbia
  • Morzine, France and nine of the best spots to ski in Europe
  • Family Ski Gear Guide
  • Seasonal Recipes
  • Gifts travelers could really use
  • She Gets Around: Finding our Happy Place in New Zealand
  • Australia: Road Trip on the East Coast
  • German Christmas Markets
  • Global Recipes from across the Globe
  • Spring Break Ideas
  • Twist Favorite Lush and Tropical Hotels
  • Spotlight on Costa Rica

Spotlight on Costa Rica

In the back of the magazine we always have a “Spotlight on” section and in the winter issue we chose to feature Costa Rica! Since I lived in Costa Rica for three years I crafted the majority of this section. It was fun to finally compile all my favorite places and local hot spots into one beautiful feature. If you are thinking of traveling to Costa Rica in the future you should definitely order the magazine so you can use it as a reference later.

How to Get Twist Travel Magazine

Printed Copies of Twist Travel Magazine
You can order single issues of Twist Travel Magazine or sign up for a one year subscription, by visiting the Twist Travel Magazine Shop. A one year subscription includes four seasonal issues. So, if you sign up today you will receive the recently launched winter issue, as well as the Spring ’18, Summer ’18 and Fall ’18 issues. We are currently shipping to the USA and Canada. For our European readers and our friends down under in Australia, we hope to be able to ship to you soon, and eventually worldwide!

Twist Travel Magazine Digital Version
For those of you that cannot receive a printed copy, you can subscribe to our email list and get the digital version for free! Once you subscribe, you will be sent a link to view the issue online. We know this isn’t as fun as actually holding the issue in your hands. But you still get to flip through it and enjoy all the rich travel stories, advice, expert tips, and get inspiration and motivation to take that next adventure.

Happy Holidays, wherever in the world you may be celebrating them!

Get your copy of Twist Travel Magazine’s winter issue!
Andrea November 20, 2017 posted by

Life at Forty: celebrate, get a puppy and start a new business

Life? It’s been a whirlwind! I turned 40, got a puppy, and started a new business.

Oh, and we may have accidentally started a children’s theatre program in Barcelona too. Someone may want to come over here and check my sanity.

This is why I cannot keep up with this blog. As much as I would love to chronicle all of our latest travels and expat shenanigans, I do require sleep, therefore the blogging usually has to take a backseat. So here is a little digest to what has been happening in my ‘Life at Forty’, for anyone still listening.

Hello?

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

I TURNED 40

Yup. To celebrate I went to Tulum, Mexico for a girls getaway and let’s just say – it was a WILD weekend. To be honest, I had dreams of going to Morocco and staying in one of those fabulous riads, wandering the markets and riding a camel. However, getting a few of my girlfriends to come all the way to Morocco was going to be difficult. Most have jobs, kids, and busy lives themselves. So Morocco was out, and while going back to my favorite place in Costa Rica crossed my mind –  I really wanted to go somewhere I had never been before.

Then it hit me. TULUM. This trendy, bohemian chic beach spot in Mexico had caught my eye a few times. Plus, I know so many people that have been there and raved about it, I knew it would fit the bill. Tulum, Mexico it was. A little far from Barcelona, but what the hell, why not!

La Chica Reina

I invited ladies from all different stages of my life. High school, college, California, Costa Rica and even Barcelona. I wanted to spend my 40th Birthday with some of the women that got me to 40. Some of the women knew each other, but many of these women had never met before, ever. I was rolling the dice that they would all magically get along and love each other. It was either that, or this was going to be a frickin’ disaster.

But honestly, I knew even though some of them are wildly different, they would somehow connect because I truly enjoy each of them. I’m happy to report that they ALL got along SO well. It brought so much joy to me to see these women all laughing and talking like they had been friends all their lives. The weekend was beyond successful. I turned 40 being crowned “La Chica Reina” and it was everything I could have asked for and more.

We stayed at La Zebra Hotel and I cannot recommend this hotel enough!! 

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

WE GOT A PUPPY

Meet Rex. The newest member of the Fellman family. We still have Canela, don’t worry. But, what’s with adopting one of the craziest dogs in world, when we travel like we do!?

Well, to catch you up a little bit, we used to have a Jack Russell named Jack. Unfortunately, he was hit by a motorcycle in Costa Rica. It was devastating and awful, our hearts are still a little broken. Therefore, we told the kids that maybe in Barcelona we’ll get another small dog.

How It Happened

Then fate stepped in and Hudson’s friend from school tells him that his two Jack Russells just had four puppies. The friend doesn’t just tell him, he shows him a photo and video of the puppies online, which Hudson then showed me. Really…? What are the chances of Hudson’s friend’s dog having four little Jack Russells? Actually, probably not that uncommon, we see a ton of Jack Russells here in Barcelona. It seems to be a very popular breed. So being the suckers we are and having a huge soft spot for Jack Russells, we went to go see them. We were sold. Obviously. Hudson had already picked out one of the boys, how could we say no. We had to wait about six weeks before we could get him, but he is now ours. He is literally laying on my lap as I type this. He is destroying things and causing all sorts of chaos but he is the CUTEST.

And yes, Harris and I have even called him Jack a few times.

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

Barcelona Children’s Theatre

The whirlwind continues! If getting the puppy wasn’t bad enough, we added producing a children’s theatre production of Peter Pan to the mix. Well, to be clear – this was all Harris’s doing, but I immediately got swept into the craziness of it all. This has a little bit of a back story as well, but long story short: Harris and the Director we worked with in Costa Rica had tossed around the crazy idea of him coming to Barcelona to put on a show (sure, ha a ha). Then one thing lead to another, and the next thing I know the director, Paul and his girlfriend are looking for an apartment to rent for three months!

“All we wanted to do was find a English speaking theatre program to put our kids in!” However, after Harris searched and called other Spanish-speaking theatres there was nothing! There are a few theatre programs for kids in Barcelona, in Spanish and Catalan OR programs with the purpose of learning English. Therefore, as the saying goes – if you want something done, do it yourself.

The Production: Peter Pan

Fast forward ten weeks, a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. Wrangling 35 kids, organizing parent volunteers, finding a theatre, buying supplies, dealing with logistical challenges, and plenty of other small headaches  – we have SOLD OUT all three shows. It is unbelievable. The response and support we have received from the ASB parents, staff and community is insane! The American School of Barcelona has been our partner in this, while this is not an official school program, they too see the need for a program like this so they have been supportive 110%.

It all happens November 30th, December 1, and December 2nd.

My mom is even coming to see the show. Well, she was coming to Barcelona to visit us anyways, so we just made sure her dates lined up so she could be here to see the grandkids in Peter Pan. Mckenna is playing one of Captain Hook’s main pirates, Starkey and Hudson is playing John, Wendy’s brother.

Oh and I made that poster up there, because somehow I am in charge of marketing and graphic design.

Life at forty. It's a whirlwind of puppies, Peter Pan play productions and a brand new travel magazine. My version of a mid-life crisis.

Twist Travel Magazine

Oh and hey – my partner Keryn and just launched the Twist Travel Magazine website!

You may have seen me write about this new ambitious adventure before, when we launched the spring, summer and fall issues. However, we did not start building the website until the middle of the summer. Now you can purchase single printed copies of Twist Travel Magazine or sign up for a yearly subscription! We are still only producing them quarterly, so your subscription includes four quarterly issues.

And if building the website wasn’t enough – while we were doing that, we were also putting together the 88 page winter issue!!  The winter issue is SPECTACULAR and will be released on November 28th. You can pre-order that issue right now. I will be writing more about this and the winter issue in the next week or so. 🙂

Perhaps this is my version of a mid life crisis…? Do IT ALL – you’re getting OLD.

I don’t know whether I need a drink or a nap.

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Life at Forty: celebrate, get a puppy and start a new business
Andrea September 5, 2017 posted by

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue

It’s here!! OMG I am sooooo excited for the Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue, but first let me start by being really honest. Putting together a magazine over the summer was a bit of a b*&%@! Producing a travel magazine in the midst of prime travel time for our team, well let’s just say next year we’ll need to be WAY ahead of the game;)

However, my partner Keryn and I were able to kick it into high gear and fight through the stress, a few mistakes, and the chaos – making it all SO worth it. The Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue is a beauty, and I am extremely proud of it. This issue is the biggest yet, (80 pages) and it only keeps getting richer in content and substance. You may also notice that our logo is brand new too!

The fall issue of Twist will take you to Scotland not once, but twice. We have a special design + destination feature with Tea Collection, taking you behind the scenes of how the designers take the inspiration and culture of a destination and incorporate it into their beautiful children’s clothing line. Then continuing on in Scotland we have a great guide for traveling through the highlands with kids.  Then we have a special interview with a road schooling mom of four that gives you a better understanding of how road schooling actually works. There is a neighborhood guide to Chicago, an African Safari and my personal favorite, the Spotlight on India. We also have a very informative piece on how to snap better travel photos as well as travel safety tips, packing hacks, fall fashion and even a few fun fall recipes.  Oh and did I forget about the pre-season ski guide? Well that’s in there too…

Flip it, Read it and Share it! 

 

 

A HUGE thank you to everyone that contributed to this issue! 

What’s next for Twist!?

Well, for anyone that wants to know…. we will be launching the website soon and with the website will come a few changes on how you can view the magazine. Don’t worry, Twist Travel Magazine will still be available for free digitally but you will also be able to purchase a print copy!  Yup, a real life copy to hold in your hands and flip through with your morning coffee.  Starting with the winter issue you will be able to purchase single copies of the magazine, or sign up for a 1 year subscription and have the four issues automatically mailed to you! This is what we are working on now and hope to have ready just in time for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

 

Twist Travel Magazine Fall Issue
Andrea August 11, 2017 posted by

Princess Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace


Diana Her Fashion Story

Upon entering the first room of Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace, I literally gasped. It was like stepping into a princess’s closet in a fairytale. Except this wasn’t a fairytale, and these were the actual dresses worn by a real princess. 

August 31st marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. If you are like me, you’re probably thinking wow – it’s been 20 years already!? I remember her shocking death like most, but also because that following Spring I came to Europe for the first time on a study abroad program. The mourning of Princess Diana was still pretty prevalent all over Europe, and the world. While our group was in Paris we walked over the tunnel where the car accident actually took place, which still had flowers, candles and signs paying respect to the late princess. 

While in London for a few days I discovered that Kensington Palace was having a special exhibit to honor the Princess of Wales, Diana Her Fashion Story. I was not sure of all the details or how to even get tickets but I was certain I needed to see this. It turns out that the exhibit is included in the regular admission price when you visit Kensington Palace. I did not have a problem getting tickets mid week, but I would check online to reserve as I have heard that the weekends are selling out.

In the first room there were five of some of her most iconic dresses hanging in a clear glass case that allowed you to walk completely around admiring the stunning gowns. I walked around it three times, mesmerized by the design, the fabric and the elegance of it all. Next to each dress were small stands that had photographs of Diana wearing the gowns, the year she wore it and for what occasion. There were also special details about the design, the designer, or what she liked about the piece. The soft lighting of this first room and the unique lighting design almost made it look like lace reflecting on the glass. It was magical. 

“The outfits in this exhibition track her evolution as a princess, trend-setter, humanitarian and woman, who’s ability to connect with people still remains powerful today”

From the first room you walked through a few smaller sections, including one that had a wall of the design sketches, then onto another larger room showcasing even more of her clothing. Then in the final room there was a  large circular case filled with even more dresses, and all around this room were gorgeous portraits of Diana on the walls. This room actually made me a little sad, as I thought about her sons and how emotionally heartbreaking this exhibit must be for them. Simply stunning, and extremely well done.  

Diana Her Fashion Story is on display at Kensington Palace until February 2018, so if your travels are taking you to London I highly recommend you visit this stunning tribute to Princess Diana. 


Travel Tip:
Try to get there right at 10:00am when they open, before the rooms start to fill up with people.

I tried hard to get photos without people in the pictures but this was difficult because of the glass and and ability to walk all the way around the cases.

 

 

 

 

Princess Diana Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace
Andrea August 9, 2017 posted by

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England!

Spending two weeks in England this summer was definitely not the typical beach holiday, but it was refreshing to escape the Barcelona heat. We went to England for two weeks because our kids were going to sleepover camp for the first time. We thought it might be wise to stay in the same country as them, just in case anything should go awry, but we also thought –  why not take advantage of this time and explore the English countryside.

We had a great time and looking back I easily came up with my favorite moments, all 20 of them!

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England

1. Staying in Notting Hill

We rented and AirBnB one block from the famous Portebello Road and it was a great location for our few days in London. We only had two days in London with the kids and we were not doing any major sight seeing, we just wanted to keep it chill. We just wanted to walk to all the cute cafes, cruise the Portobello market, and wander the adorable and very colorful Notting Hill neighborhood. And of course we had to step inside the Notting Hill Bookstore from the movie Notting Hill.

2. London Escape Room

We love doing escape rooms in all the cities we visit! We promised the kids we would do one in London before they headed off to camp. Harris found one of the top rated and best escape rooms in London and it certainly did not disappoint! This might have been our families favorite of all the escape rooms we’ve done! Time Run Escape Room

3. Seeing School Of Rock with the kids

We did not get theatre tickets in advance and seeing a show was not on the agenda at all. Which I regretted once we were in London and I remembered, oh right – we should see a show! While walking around Covent Garden it started to rain heavily, we jumped down in the subway station to head back to Notting Hill and there was a discounted theatre ticket booth. Clearly it was meant to be. I darted across the packed station and said “What cha’ got for tonight!?” School of Rock was a really high energy show and the kids loved it!

4. Drinking from a BBQ grill

Yes, you read that correctly. My (now very good) friend Katja literally just moved to London from Mexico City. As in like five days before we got there. She is originally from England, but has been living abroad with her family for over 10+ years. We had an interesting meal at a the Eclectic Diner in Notting Hill, then we went for a cocktail at Trailer Happiness, a funky little tiki bar. We figured we might as well keep up the hipster theme. We somehow ended up ordering a BBQ grill filled with booze to share. This is why Katja is now a very good friend, you do not share large BBQ grill cocktails with just anyone.

5. Dropping the kids off  for summer camp

Dropping the kids off at the St Pancras train station was a top highlight, not because I was getting rid of my kids for two weeks but because this train station is such a beautiful historical landmark!  I had never been to St Pancras Station and had no idea it was such a gem. But back to sending my kids away to camp for two weeks, for the FIRST TIME. We spotted the XUK Camp sweatshirts on the counselors with swarms of kids around them right away. We checked them in, hung out for a bit but then hugged and said our goodbyes. It was so bizarre walking away from them. My gut felt like it had been slightly punched. 

6. Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace

In honor of the 20 year anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing there is a special exhibit at Kensington Palace, Diana: Her Fashion Story and it is beyond GORGEOUS. Seeing this was an unexpected surprise. I did not know about this exhibit before we got to London and I still can’t even remember how I saw or heard that this was happening, but it was a MUST for me. I did this solo while Harris got some work done. This is on display until February 2018 so if you are in London I suggest you go! 

7.  Re-connecting with a friend from South Africa

We met Lole and her husband (who are from South Africa) in Barcelona while on a food tour with friends. We have remained in contact and randomly she was in London! She messaged me and we got together for dinner with her and her lovely daughter. It was so great catching up and talking about life’s twists and turns, but a highlight for me was hearing her and her daughter tell the story of them biking the famous Camino de Santiago through Spain. So funny.

8.  Harris being told he’s a “Wanker”

While driving from London to Peak District we had been on the highway for about 20 minutes and we were in the far right lane, then Harris moved over into the middle lane and a car zoomed passed us…

Harris: That guy just called me a Wanker!

Me: What, how do you know!?

Harris: Well he passed me and did this – Harris makes a hand jerking-off motion.

Me: Oh, is that the international sign for a Wanker!? LOL

Harris: I think so!

9. The Monsal Trail and biking through railroad tunnels 

The Monsal Trail was awesome! I am not a biker, I prefer running, but when in Peak District there are a variety of trails and Harris likes biking, so we biked. The Monsal Trail is a trail that used to be an old railroad that has been converted into a gorgeous trail that includes six railroad tunnels that you ride through. I absolutely loved biking through the tunnels, it was very cool. I had so much fun on this bike ride that I may have even agreed to bike with Harris back in Spain… maybe.

10. Pub Dogs & Pints

I had some favorite pubs while in Peak District and some not so favorite;) Two of my favorites were The Bulls Head (near Eyam) and The Anchor. The Bulls head was adorable inside and it came with the cutest pub dog named Jack! Not only was the pub cozy and the waitress friendly, but the fish-n-chips was SO good and it was literally the whole fish! The Anchor was my other favorite because they serve food all day and the staff was really nice and welcoming. This place felt like the being inside the belly of a pirate ship with even a rum room included.

The thing with the pubs in the peak District is, they are strict about their food serving hours – you better get there between 12-2 if you want lunch and 6-8 if you want dinner.  There isn’t much wiggle room and it was a little annoying. However, when we were late or behind the food serving schedule we went to The Anchor and they happily served us. Another pub that took us even though it was 2:30 was The Ashford Arms in Ashford on the Water, this was another stand out pub that had a lovely garden.

11. Tissington Trail 

Tissington trail was beautiful but just not as unique as riding through the railroad tunnels on the Monsal trail. However, the real gem of this trail was at the end when you reached the village of Tissington. We parked our bikes and walked around the town wandering into the most adorable vintage candy shop, browsed a beautiful home store and then stopped for some coffee and homemade fudge next to Tissington Hall, which is a gorgeous historical estate. This estate is popular for weddings and since it was a Saturday we saw a large group of dapper groomsmen getting photos taken. 

12. Peak District, pretty much ALL of it.

Never heard of Peak Distric?  Yeah most people haven’t. I actually read about Peak District in an inflight magazine, if you can believe that! Peak District is a national park in northern England and apparently the step sister to the bigger and more popular Lake District. Peak District is closer to London so it’s a bit more convenient and it is also a very easy drive from Manchester and Cambridge. It is well known for their hiking and biking trails but just driving around and exploring the the countryside stopping at all the small villages was fun too! I loved it here.

13.  The Sir Williams Hotel and Barry the local bar man

We were driving around looking for a place to grab a bite to eat and we suddenly came to The Sir William Grindleford and from the outside it looked adorable! When we drive to the back to park, the views were fantastic and they had a little garden area with picnic tables. I went in to make sure they were serving food and as luck would have it they were! We were met by the nicest staff behind the bar, which included a young college kid from North Dakota of all places, and Barry, who seemed to be the the permanent bar fixture. He was hilarious and kept us entertained while we ate. I also asked to see a room upstairs, because I am totally staying here the next time we are in Peak District. There will be a next time.

14. Our cottage in the Cotswolds

Adorable. I felt like frickin’ goldilocks (with one bear) ha ha ha! This cottage was the cutest and even came with one of those iconic country doors that you can open just the top half, a small detail but one I loved! This stylish little cottage was in the town of Cirencester – one of the largest towns in the Cotswolds, but not in a horrible way. It was nestled behind one of the main streets in town so we could walk out our door and walk to everything.  The funny thing was, it was sort of behind a Thai restaurant so when we would leave we would get an intense smell of Thai food. Ahhh, nothing like stepping out your door in the English countryside to smell Thai food!;) 

15. Getting my running back in the Cotswolds

I have not been running. My excuses – the end of the school year was crazy per usual, lots of friends have been visiting, traveling and the heat in Barcelona. Lame, I know. So the one good thing about the weather in England was it made for some great running weather. I also found a cute store that sold the coolest workout clothing so I bought myself a few fun pairs of leggings, which may have also inspired me to get my ass up and go running.

16.  The Hare Trail

I spotted a couple gorgeous sculptures of painted rabbits, so I googled. It turns out that there are 85 of them throughout the 28 villages in the Cotswolds and this is known as The Hare Trail. They are decorated by different artists and are on display from March – September, then in October they auction them off and the proceeds go to a variety of charities. I of course wanted to find all of them, but probably only spotted ten.

17. Meeting up with a high school friend in the Cotswolds

What are the chances that a friend from high school was visiting her brother that lives in the Cotswolds the same week I was there!? Slim to none, but it totally happened! We met up for a pint at a pub (naturally). I was also able to meet her brother, his beautiful dog and her sweet family. They had already been to Iceland, spending a few days in the Cotswolds, then heading into London and then onto Paris. Catching up with her was such a fun treat!

18. Reading an entire book in a day

This was a first for me. I have never read a book in ONE DAY. I am not the type to sit still for that long, my mind and body just does not do that. However, if you put me in a cozy cottage while it’s raining, apparently my body can be persuaded to lay around all day and my mind can get wrapped up in something other than being productive. Yay!

19. Arguing about eating pistachios while driving 

Have you ever eaten pistachios? Well if so, then you know that this is a two hand job. Have you ever driven a manual car with the steering wheel on the right side of the car? Then you know that this is also a two hand job. Therefore, it is not safe to crack open pistachios, navigate the roundabouts while driving on the opposite side of the road and changing gears. Period.

20. Visiting Oxford – Wycliffe hall

The icing on the cake! Oxford is about an hour drive from where we were in the Cotswolds and so on the last day we took a drive to Oxford, so I could relive my youth! 20 years ago I did a study abroad program called EuroSpring and we stayed at Wycliffe Hall on Banbury Street in Oxford. Our walk over to the hall brought back so many memories. We passed by all the pubs we would frequent and the park we would walk pass everyday. Whoa – this took me back, way back. That EuroSpring trip opened my eyes to the world – and I’m pretty sure it was then that I decided I needed to see ALL OF IT.

The place where my wanderlust life began…

20 BEST moments of two weeks in England!
Adventure April 10, 2017 posted by

Winter Canyoning with the Tech 21 waterproof iphone case!

This past winter while we were in the French Pyrenees for ski week I was offered a chance to participate in something called winter canyoning.  Without knowing exactly what winter canyoning meant, I jumped at the chance to experience another wild and crazy adventure!  This would be the perfect opportunity to use my new Tech 21 Evo Aqua waterproof iphone case, because if you don’t have photos –  then it never happened, right!?’

What is winter canyoning?

According to our hosts at Adventure Creators, winter canyoning is much more than the physical activity you’d think it might be. Here’s their description of the adventure that awaited us.

“The biggest challenge in winter canyoning is psychological. It is after all counter-intuitive to immerse yourself in freezing cold pools of mountain water and to ‘go swimming’ when there are icicles hanging off the rocks! The rivers also run fast in winter so security is taken seriously by your fully qualified and experienced guides. This is not an activity to be taken lightly. Your first plunge into the icy water will take your breath away, but you’ll soon find yourself jumping from icy ledges into deep rock pools, abseiling down icicle-edged waterfalls and sliding down natural toboggans into the chilly waters below. This is an exhilarating and intoxicating activity like no other.”

That description either excites you or frightens the hell out of you. I was excited. My husband not so much. So I went on this activity solo.


Suiting up for Winter Canyoning

The week we were visiting the Pyrenees, they were having a bit of a heat wave, so my winter canyoning experience turned out to be more like Spring canyoning! This was nice, because even I was a little nervous about “plunging into freezing water.” While wild activities are definitely my thing, I’m not a fan of being cold.

My guide and I hiked had about a 15 minute hike to the rivers edge with all of our gear, then once we arrived we then started suiting up! I was literally dressed in a wet suit onesie, my entire body was covered including my head, only my face was seen! I was given rubber boots, gloves for my hands a helmet and of course a safety harness. I also had a backpack for ropes, some other gear and a place to put any of my personal items. 

The top pocket of the backpack is where I put my iphone that was safely secure in the Tech 21 waterproof case. I was excited to get some photos and maybe even take some video without worrying about ruining my phone, because when we came to the first waterfall I knew everything was about to get wet! 


My guide went over all the gear and how to handle the ropes and made me feel very safe. This was not my first time waterfall rappelling so I knew a bit about how to make my descent and I think he was happy that I was not new at doing these types of activities. Before I headed down the waterfall, these were the last few words we said to each other….

Me: So am I connected to you the whole time!?

Patrice: No

Me: Am I connected to anything?

Patrice: No

Me: Okay, this should be fine.

We rappelled down three waterfalls and my guide was very patient with me stopping to take photos along the way. We were in a narrow canyon with huge rocks all around us, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the river was rushing at a nice comfortable speed. The biggest challenge was not the waterfall rappelling but actually climbing over some of the big boulders in the water. Many of them were slippery so watching your footing was important. 

When we got to the point where the canyon opened up a bit we took our first plunge into the water and let our bodies just float down stream. I giggled like a kid and tried to just lay back and relax. The backpack was actually great for balancing on, as I tilted my shoulders and head back it was like a pillow.

Meanwhile, my iphone was in that front pocket and fully submerged in water! We stopped a few times along our journey so I could take photos and even shoot some video. The Tech 21 Aqua waterproof case is a great case to have for any adventures where you are in or near water. I would suggest testing the case at home as the directions say. We had a small hiccup installing the case properly so we were glad we worked that out before I went out into the wild to use it. The photos and video using this waterproof case turned out great!

I could feel the water against my wet suit, but I wasn’t cold. The water was refreshing, and it felt so amazing to just be floating on my back, looking up at the blue sky, drifting along so freely.  We had to swim to the side from time to time, and climb over more rocks as we floated along. In one section, we literally body surfed down a mini waterfall that had our bodies bumping into rocks a bit. I giggled again because it felt as if we were like human bumper boats! Then the river opened up again into a calm flow, and so we floated freely again.

Once we reached a pretty shallow part of the river, Patrice turned to me and said “we get out here”. I was a little disappointed because I just didn’t want it to end!

I sat in the river for a few more minutes to really pause and take a mental picture. I looked back at where we had just come from, I looked around at all the natural beauty one last time, took a deep breathe and got to my feet as I exhaled. We made our way up the hillside and back to the truck where we took all our gear off and shockingly I was completely dry! 

Check out my video of Winter Canyoning in the French Pyrenees!

 

Disclosure: This is a post in partnership with Tech 21 and I worked with the Adventure Creators for my winter canyoning in the Pyrenees. My epic experience is all my own and I share this with you to help you get out and have your own epic experiences!

Winter Canyoning with the Tech 21 waterproof iphone case!