A Blind Bat on a Surfboard

We’re in Costa Rica! Pura Vida, mae!

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We spend our first week here in Jacó, a beach town on the Pacific Ocean. Our home: The School of The World, a beautiful place filled with young people from all over the world.  Our time here has been filled with surfing, Spanish lessons (me), GoPro-ing (Abe), yoga (I did one class, but it sounds cool so I’ll mention it), wine, and awesome fruit.

So – let’s get to it then. Surfing.

First, you can’t really surf with contacts if you’re a beginner and not willing to lose a pair. So I was basically a blind bat on a surfboard. Which doesn’t sound very safe to me, but I’ll fast forward and let you know that I didn’t hurt anyone (except for myself) so you can breathe easy.

Surfing is tough! What a workout. Every day I was like:

h128h

Still, I did pretty well! Abe was better.  We both stood up on our boards (while in the water… obviously) during the first class, and improved (Abe) or stayed about the same (me) throughout the week. Any time I got up, it was “una fiesta en mi cabeza” (that’s what he said?).

Surfing

The toughest part was paddling back out after surfing a wave. The waves just kept crashing on us. At least I gargled enough salt water to get over my cough from Switzerland.

Beyond surfing, we visited a bunch of beautiful places and beaches in the area, were stung by countless mosquitos and beach flies (no, really, my legs are like a disgusting ‘No Tresspassing’ land mine zone) and spoke a ton of Spanish. I’m getting much better!

I mentioned that Abe took a Go Pro class. Here is the amazing montage he made of our week here (I could be biased because I love him, but it’s the best video you’ll ever see). Even better than all my writing, this will really give you a feel of what our first week was like. The high res version is available here (it’s way better and will open a new window, so click the link to watch!), but I’ve added a low res version here just in case:

 

Hope you enjoyed reading about our first week in Costa Rica! We leave tomorrow and next up is Tamarindo. If you’ve been and have tips, please let us know in the comments below. Or just say hi, that’s cool too.

 

Bear with me

Hi friends,

I know the blog isn’t THAT thrilling so far, as was kindly pointed out by one of my friends (you know who you are, thanks, jerk <3). Apparently it needs to be more “me” –  funnier and more sarcastic, so I’m going back to try and improve entries.

Even my mum wasn’t that impressed, so that’s how I know I’m really doing something wrong. Nearly everything I do impresses her. The threshold is pretty low.

Please bear with me though. I’m working on it. Give me 5 more entries or so to figure out my blogging voice and I’ll get there. If you still don’t like it…  No worries. I’ll get over it.

bear with me

Wedding Weekend in Florence

We arrived in Florence on January 16th. The city is incredible. It’s charming, beautiful, and ridiculously rich in history, culture and art. Also the pasta and wine are amazing. And the men are handsome, but I didn’t notice as I only have eyes for my husband.

Maybe we’ll decide to come back during the Europe part of our trip – we definitely didn’t have the time to explore properly.

I should backtrack and tell you that we came to Florence in the first place to celebrate my cousin Steven’s wedding. They were pretty unlucky as there was an airport strike the Friday afternoon, so half the guests showed up late and missed the family pictures. Which means we stood out more in the pictures, which isn’t half bad. Check us out:

Kim & Abe Florence

{Abe and I during family pictures}

We took a guided tour of Florence. We learned about the Medici family, who essentially ruled Florence for 13 generations. They didn’t declare themselves kings but acted as such. They strategically built houses that were more modest outside but lavish inside so as not to inspire envy amongst the people.

Duomo 2 Florence {The Piazza del Duomo}

We visited the Piazza del Duomo and went into the Santa Maria dei Fiori. The duomo is spectacular, with its sheer size and the green, red and white marble outside. We didn’t have the time to climb the 400+ stairs to the top of the cupola, but I hear it’s beautiful and worth it. I can’t say I regret not climbing all those stairs though. A coffee sounded way more pleasant and relaxing.

We walked to the charming Ponte Vecchio, where the Medici family built a secret passageway to be able to cross from one side to the other inconspicuously. The bridge now houses countless little gold and jewelry stores.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA{View of the Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi Gallery}

If you visit Florence, you really should visit Uffizi Gallery. It’s filled with works of the great Italian masters, including Botticelli, Da Vinci, Titian and Michelangelo. One of its most famous works is The Birth of Venus, it’s tough not to be in awe when you stand in front of it. Also, I do like that chubby was beautiful back then. I vote we bring that back so I can eat more pasta and tiramisu.

We passed by the Palazzo Vecchio and saw the replica of the statue of David, but didn’t have the time to go see the original at the Galleria dell’Accademia. That makes me feel like a crappy tourist, and I almost didn’t want to admit it to you. Next time we visit, that will be at the top of our list.

The wedding on Sunday was beautiful. The ceremony took place in the Great Synagogue, and the reception was at the Stazione Leopolda. A huge congrats to the beautiful bride and groom, Isabelle & Steven!

Steve_Isa 2{The beautiful bride and groom, Isabelle & Steven!}

St. Moritz – Top of the World!

We started our travels in St. Moritz, Switzerland because my family comes here every year. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. I may be biased as I did grow up in Switzerland, but I think you’d agree with me if you visited.

Here are 5 activities that we did, and that I’d recommend you do if you visit:

1) Ski (or snowboard, but I prefer you ski as snowboarders suck and cut skiers off). That’s the best part of being here. The slopes are beautiful and there are plenty of beautiful places to stop for a tasty Glühwein (hot spiced wine) or Schiwasser (hot water with strawberry/raspberry syrup, lemon, and kirsch).  I think the optimal ratio is 75% skiing, 25% chilling and drinking on the slopes, but whatever floats your boat.

Kev St. Moritz

{On the slopes – thanks to my cousin for the picture}

2) Go sledging. There are a few places you can go, and it’s easy to get there too. Take the train from St. Moritz to Preda and rent a sled. You can sled all the way to the next village, Berguns. Or you can go to Muottas Muragl, where the run is faster and more intense. I won’t be held liable if you die at Muottas Muragl though… There have been deaths in the past (no joke) but you’ll probably be fine.  Just call ahead to make sure they’re open.

Sled St. Moritz

{Us at the end of the sled run in Berguns}

3) If you’re not up to skiing or sledging (it happens to the best of us), go for a walk. There are many beautiful places in St. Moritz and the neighboring villages. I’d recommend you walk around the lake or to the Roseg. If you choose the latter, make a reservation at the Roseg restaurant at the end of the hike, and take a horse carriage back. I don’t understand people who want to exercise on a full stomach.

4) Ice skate. There are a couple ice rinks, including one in St. Moritz Bad (the lower part of the St. Moritz village) and one at the Kulm Restaurant. I vote in favor of the Kulm because I once broke my shoulder skating in the Bad, and will forever fear that ice rink.  Bring your own skates or rent them there. It’s a fun way to spend an hour or two, even if you’ve never skated before. Again, I won’t take responsibility for any broken bones (or death).

5) Take a curling lesson! Yes, it’s an olympic sport. No, I still don’t know why.  You can call the Curling Club to organize a class. It’s fun! It’s like bocce on ice. Check out a video of us curling! My sister and I are outstanding brushers, but my cousins Steven and Kevin deserve the credit for excellent shot and guidance. Seeing the losers get pissed is half the fun. I’ll omit telling you how badly we got beaten in the remainder of the game.


{Our curling lesson}