Memorial Weekend in Maine

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Maine celebrating my sister before she headed to Dallas for residency. So fun for most of us to be together with some more family from my mom’s side.

Our most laughable memory is breaking the dock while doing some self timer pictures. This one is perfectly timed. I have a magnet on our fridge and laugh hysterically at it on a regular basis. I am sure Uncle Steve did not find it as funny and honestly in the moment we all thought we were falling into the water. My thought was I am on the back row, all these other humans are going to fall on top of me!!

The weekend was filled with delicious food that Aunt Molly made, loon calls, boat rides and fun. We discussed our Love Languages, read, and had good conversations. So nice just to relax and spend time with the ones you love.

We visited the LLBean mothership. I also grabbed a micro-puff on major sale from the Patagonia outlet.

My favorite were the lighthouses. We visited Portland Head Light and Two Lights State Park. The lighthouses however are not in the state park but basically a neighborhood. We had lobster rolls for lunch at Lobster Shack.

We also “helped” with the restoration of the Rita.

If you have never heard Loon calls then google them. They sound very cool. Their hoot means where are you, are you ok, are you close by. We hooted at each other alot.  I am sure Uncle Steve and Aunt Molly soon regretted their choice to teach us. 

They spent their time, energy and money on a classic lobster dinner for us. As well as so much other delicious food. Homemade bread, anyone?

We sunset cruised, snoozed cruised, boozed cruised and Loon cruised. Paddle boarding, water skiing, and sailing. We also played games and participated in a polar plunge. That water was cold. I had a hard time moving my arms and legs, but pier pressure will get you.

Uncle Steve planned a surprise firework show for Claire. We all knew about it and kept a great secret because she was clueless that is was exactly for her!

We had a delightful time and enjoyed spending time with family. Thanks Uncle Steve and Aunt Molly for welcoming all of us loons into your home. I can tell yall have created a beautiful, warm, welcoming space. We all can not wait to come back. We are so glad we got to see Angie too!

Iceland 2019

Iceland will always hold a special place in my heart. We honeymooned there in 2013 and I credit it for starting our love of travel. It is dramatic, majestic and beautiful. 

We recently spent just a few days there with our adventure pals, my cousin and her husband.

I am going to do a run down of what we did and then in the next few weeks I will post all of our pictures in one big gallery post.

We flew in Wednesday morning to the KEF airport. Alyssa and Ian arrived before us. We showered at their hotel which was a blissful surprise after a full day of airplanes and airports.

We headed into town. We of course stopped by the Christmas shops. We picked up a yule lad ornament and a picture of all the yule lads. Ornaments are the thing we always get on trips.

Ryan stopped in the Red Cross store to look for homemade wool things. We had great success here six years ago. Not so much this time. Could have been the time of year or influx of tourist. Six years ago travel to Iceland was unheard of but now it is definitely the trendy place.

We grabbed a few hot dogs for a lunch/snack before our tours. We did the Puffin and a Whale watching tour. The puffin are adorable. They mate for life and return to the same place they were born for breeding season. Afterwards they float out to sea and live a solitary life until next breeding season. An introvert’s dream.

Our whale watching tour proved eventful with quite a few Minke Whales, Harbor Porpoises, and White Beaked dolphins. I love the way the dolphins show off for the boat.

We grabbed some lobster soup from Saegreifinn to warm our sea wind and rain bodies. Pretty tasty.

Our Air BnB had a beautiful view. Ian made us spaghetti for dinner. We filled the hot tub up. The water in Iceland is very hot or very cold. I managed to get too hot for everyone including my hot lava water loving self. After a quick dip, Ryan and I hit the bed. Alyssa and Ian visited our nay-bors.

Thursday after an omelet breakfast, we hit the Golden Circle. Visiting Geysir, Gullfoss, and Thingvellir. We walked around on the North American tectonic plate and to Oxararfoss enjoying the views.

We visited a church. Complete with an underground tunnel leading to and from the church to the near by old village, currently being excavated.

We had lunch at Fredhemir. Which is a greenhouse restaurant which grows tomatoes. The specialty is tomato soup and homemade bread. ALL dishes are have tomatoes, even the desserts and the water pitchers had tomatoes in them. We dined on the soup and and bread. The cucumber salad to top the bread was delicious. They use hot spring water to regulate the temperature of the greenhouse and it call can be controlled remotely via the Internet. A lovely well run, thought out and designed space. This had us thinking what other fruits or veggies could you use this concep with? Our top picks cucumbers and strawberries.

We continued onward to Kerid crater. We hiked around the top. Took some accidentally silly pictures before heading to Secret Lagoon. A delightful hot springs. We relaxed for a bit before heading home to get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

Friday, Ian made us toad in the hole for breakfast. We ventured toward Jokulsarlon. Ryan and I missed this stop on our honeymoon because we ran out of daylight. I am so glad we made the four hour drive trip. Extraordinary does not even cover it. Gatorade Glacier  Freeze, right? We took a boat ride. Tasted 1000 year old ice. They have food trucks there so we had more lobster soup and rolls.

The lagoon empties into the Atlantic. When the tide goes out the icebergs float to sea. They quickly breakdown and are washed up on the black sand beach as polished ice aka Diamond beach. Another truly amazing sight.

We headed back towards our Air B& B with many planned stops along the way.

We grabbed dinner in Vik before venturing onto the black sand beach. I had the most disappointing spicy Asian noodles ever. Ha! Ryan and I recreated some pictures from our anniversary. We drive up behind the beautiful church for some good views of the town and ocean.

Afterwards it was on to waterfall land! Driving along Route 1 in Southern Iceland you can see many waterfalls while you are just driving.

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a beautiful canyon not too far off the main highway. You can walk to the top overlook to get a better view. The bridge crossing the stream also provides a great view. There are hikes to do inside tbe canyon but we did not.

We paused at a few and my favorite one you can walk behind.

Skogafoss is right off the highway. An easy flat walk. Impressive. You can walk up some stairs to the top. Ryan and I did on our 1st trip but honestly the impressive view is down looking up.

Seljalandsfoss is my favorite. It can also be seen from the main highway but the real treat is walking behind it. It does require a little scrambling on rocks and take care as the rocks are wet from waterfall spray. I wore my rain jacket and rain pants but also flip-flops so the scrambling is not terrible. Were the flip flops a poor choice on my part yes. Also, we entered to the right walked behind the falls and exited to the left as you are facing the falls. The right side is much easier should you want to double back and exit that way. There are public bathrooms here and a food truck. You can also continue down a trail to the left of the falls to see some other waterfalls a short distance away.

Svartifoss is surrounded by basalt columns and the inspiration for the church design in Reykjavik. The hike is a gradual incline. There are a few waterfalls along the way. Again bathrooms and places to eat near parking. Ryan and I noticed this growth due to the increased tourism. Most places had no wash closets and certainly no food six years ago.

Stjornarfoss is again right off the highway close to a camp ground. We saw some cute sheep frolicking in the area here.

Systrafoss is located in what looks like an enchanted fairy forest. It rivals for my favorite simply because of the surrounding rock and vegetation.

We finally headed to our AirBnB to pack and ready ourselves for a day of travel on Saturday as we headed into the Arctic Circle to visit the Lofoten Islands.

Throwback 2013

Personal Item Travel Packing Guide

Packing a personal item might be one of my favorite things. It is where I pack essentials for the flight and other things that make our trip more enjoyable.

My personal item is used in flight and also used as our day bag we carry around during sight seeing. I have used the Little Unicorn Ramble Diaper Bag or the Sole Society Susan Purse as my personal bag.

First let’s talk in flight, I stow all my in flight essentials in a smaller, easy grab bag. I pack it for the flight that way I can just keep it in the plane seat pocket.

My grab bag  (from Etsy)  includes Kindle, makeup remover wipes, lip balm, facial moisturizer, a pen, medications, ear phones, small notebook, toothbrush and paste, eye mask, and essential oil wipes. Close by I also have a light jacket/wrap/scarf, water bottle, snacks and travel pillow in my personal item bag stored on the floor.

I have a routine just like going to bed at night. Especially helpful for those overnight international flights. Entertainment like reading or movie, then eat when they serve dinner, remove make up, brush teeth, take meds. Possibly more entertainment time- reading, movie, podcast or music. Then grab some shut eye as best I can. 

Because I pack in a carry on and personal item I don’t keep my make up in my personal item or an extra outfit like you should in case your checked baggage gets lost it delayed. But if you check a bag make sure all your medications, make up and an extra outfit are in your carry on.

Secondly, during our adventures I used my personal item as our day bag. We typically carry a water bottle, jacket/scarf depending on weather, wipes, reusable grocery bags, phone/camera, and medicine like advil etc. Don’t forget those sunglasses.

My most USEFUL travel tip. Wear a money belt. NO EXCEPTIONS. I have one that buckles around my waist. Ryan has one that goes through his belt loop and under his pants. I take my identification, one credit card (this one is different than the one Ryan carries, just a back up) and my debt card separate from the debt card account Ryan carries (again just a back up).  Ryan also carries both our passports in his and I carry both our passport cards in mine. That way is one of us somehow gets compromised or lost we have a completely different backup set.  If we lost one credit card and called to cancel it then I had a copy of the same credit card/account, that would be useless.  We have never had a problem or felt threatened. But I have read too many horror stories from seasoned travelers to not do our best to protect our money and IDs.  Be mindful but not fearful. Assume something will happen. We do not leave our passports in the hotel safe unless there is a rare occasion that we are swimming. We also left my phone in the safe when swimming in case one is stolen on the beach or from the car we have a backup.

We are both wearing ours in the above picture and you can not tell. My bag is safely with our tour guide who snapped this photo. But there is nothing in my bag that matters all to much if it goes missing.

A few of my travel essentials and their uses:

Essential Oil Travel Wipes I keep a few of these around to wipe off airplane surroundings and as needed. They are not too strong or overpowering. 

Compressed Towels Luckily when traveling to Italy I read that there isn’t always toilet paper. I found these great compact paper towels. You just add a drop of water. Great for sticky hands, messes, toilet paper and many other things.

Water Baby Wipes I always have a travel size near by. I guess we are messy.

Sample Jars I use these to pack makeup and skin care to save space when I can. For example things you don’t need much of eye cream, Beautycounter cleansing balm, and exfoliating face wash. 

Reusable Water Bottle I use this in flight and in our day bag. Many places such as Italy have free water stations throughout the city. 

Beautycounter Cleansing Balm great to remove makeup, moisturize or use as cuticle cream. 

Pack-able Reusable Grocery Bags Most  stores over seas charge for grocery bags, plus its just better for the environment hands down. I love these Blu brand. So many cute patterns and they fold up nicely.  They work great for picnic bags, grocery runs, and dirty clothes. We actually do buy groceries, al fresco picnic dining is one of my very favorite things and I feel a grocery store really emerges you into the culture. Plus they have some amazing snacks and interesting finds.

Mole Skin Pre-cut blister prevention.

Glacier Blister Gel Dressing Great for when you fail to prevent blisters.

Zip Lock bags in various sizes. Good for all sorts of things.

Mini Cutting Board I KNOW yall are going to think I am crazy this light packer takes a cutting board. I told you picnics are our jam! All the time. Saves so much money and again soaking up those views and culture. It fits easy in the computer sleeve of my back pack. Sometimes if Ryan checks one bag (we do sometimes especially to bring home wine, oil, etc) then we will pack scissors and a knife or buy a cheap one when we arrive. I actually still have the one we bought in Italy. Cutting board in action in the photos above.

My other favorite travel tip. Do NOT over pack period. Always leave room in your luggage for good wine, olive oil and a real book. Shop local even during your travels. 

What are your favorite travel packing essentials or hacks?

Happy Travels! Adventure is out there explorers.

*Pictures are my own or from website selling the items pictured. 

Travel Packing Guide

In the few years we have been traveling I have really parred down my international travel packing. It has taken a few trips but I have it fine tuned. I now only pack in a carry on for international trips or any trips that we fly. This being said we do laundry in the place we are staying, a laundry mat, drop off service or sink. Admittedly, I am not a light packer for trips around the Southeast. For some reason I always tend to pack more.

This post includes exactly what I packed for our recent international vacation to Greece. But the rough guide is about always the same. Also preference varies. I took a rolling carry on size suitcase around Italy but after dragging my suitcase through the cobblestone streets, uneven side walks etc, I decided to go with a backpack for Greece. I loved it. It was the prefect choice for me.

Let’s talk packing gear first. I used the Tortuga Setout Divide Backpack. It is the smaller size but expandable. To me the more room you have the more you will over fill. I did order the Setout just to compare sizes on my body frame and preferred the smaller Setout Divide. I am 5’9″ so if you are smaller framed you definitely want the smaller size.

I prefer to use a crossbody bag that zips for my personal item, according to airlines, and day bag while sightseeing. Most museums make you check backpacks usually for a fee (and a line). I feel a crossbody bag can pass off as just a purse due to it’s size and if I use the shoulder strap while in the museum most let it pass. I took a diaper bag to Italy but I wish it had a shoulder strap as well as a crossbody strap. To Greece I packed a smaller purse since it had to pass stricter Ryanair rules while traveling within Greece. Check back next week for what I put in my personal item.

Packing cubes. A must!!! I roll my clothes then pack in a packing cube. Any will do. I have the Travelwise set and Amazon Basic set. I prefer to use 2-4 of the small/medium sizes rather than the large sizes.

I pack my toiletries in the Truffle small clarity pouch. I love that it is reusable, TSA approved and this new design holds more than the older one. I place my shampoo and conditioner in the GoToob+. I have different sizes depending on use and length of trip. I obviously use the smallest one possible. These I place in my personal item for easy access during the flight and security.


  • 4 Travel Undies: ExOfficio easy wash and dried.
  • 2 bras (one to wear, one to wash). I love this convertible sports bra. Great for lots of walking, sight seeing but also transitions under different types of clothing so your straps do not show.
  • 4 pairs of socks. I like the toe socks so I don’t get blisters between my toes with all the walking.
  • 1-2 maxi dresses. I love maxi dresses for travel. They are comfy, you can dress them up or down, they are long enough for religious sites. I usually wear these while flying or to a nice dinner out. Athleta is one of my favorite places to grab maxi dresses.
  • 1 pair of pjs. I grabbed a soft bamboo pair from Amazon. Easily washable.
  • 4-5 shirts. All in the same color scheme such as blue, black, grey etc. My favorites are v neck, long, curved hem to cover your assets. Old Navy, Gap , Madewell, and Academy are my usual go tos.
  • 4 bottoms. Usually I always go with capri or pant length so that religious sites and standing out wont be a problem. This time I did decide to take one skort and one short since we would be spending a majority of the time on islands.
  • 1 Swimsuit. You NEVER know when your hotel will have an indoor pool etc.
  • 1 light jacket/rain jacket or heavier jacket depending on weather. I recently bought a Patagonia packable one and really like it.
  • 2 pairs of shoes. My go tos. Birkenstocks, I have this extra strappy pair to dress up and I like my shoes feeling secure when doing so much walking. All Birds, Wool Runners. I have tried the Tree Runners but the Wool just fit me better. I do wear a Men’s because #largefeet. Also sometimes I do better without socks when wearing these.

Check back next Tuesday for what I pack in my personal item/daybag.

Don’t forget there are so many advantages to packing light. Easier to maneuver around. Less stress and literally less stuff weighing you down.

Happy Travels!

The Barefoot Mermaid’s Travels to California

In 2015, we took a trip to California with my cousin twin and her husband, before I blogged much. I’ve always meant to create a journal/recommendations for what we did. Mimi and Shark leave for vacation soon so they inspired me to document so they could know what we did. There are many stops along the way. I recommend researching many blogs etc to find what interest you the most. I’ll post some links at the bottom of this as well as throughout. Also, please excuse my 2015 photograph skills.

We flew into LAX. Alyssa and Ian had been there for a day or so camping at Joshua Tree. We met at the airport picked up our car and we were off on our adventure.

Our general plan was head down to San Diego. Then back up to San Francisco all on the Pacific Coast Highway. Alyssa and Ian flew out from San Fran and Ryan and I continued back to LA via roads other than Highway 1. We spent time in LA before flying out.

Our first stop was Santa Monica Pier. We ate lunch at the Mexican restaurant at the end. Rode the ferris wheel and walked around. It was interesting but nothing too compelling for me. We ventured around Venice Beach before heading towards San Diego. I was disappointed in how dirty Venice Beach seemed to be and how far away the water actually was.

We stopped at Encinitas Beach at twilight where I fully intend to touch the Pacific for the first time but alas there were hazardous water condition signs. This I believe is one place that sometimes you can see the bio-luminescence. Worth looking into for sure.

We continued on to our hotel. It was just a generic hotel in the downtown area. We grabbed pizza with a friend from college. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved San Diego. It was clean, not too crowded and greener than I expected which I love.

While in San Diego we visited the San Diego Zoo. We have all heard how fabulous it is but it’s hard to imagine! There’s bus tours inside the zoo and a sky tram. My most memorable animals where the pandas, koalas and flamingos for obvious reasons.

We also visited the world famous Coronado Island. We took the Coronado Ferry over and back. But we walked from the ferry dock over the island to the resort and beach area. This is actually where I was able to put my toes in the Pacific for the first time. We grabbed tacos for lunch at Clayton’s Mexican Takeout. Popped in a few stores and just leisurely explored the island. Seaside Papery was one if the cute stores we visited.  Charming and fun. Watched the sunset from the beach at the resort.

A few years ago when traveling here doughnuts where all the rage everywhere. We pre-ordered some of the famous Donut Bar. By preordering you can skip the line but there is a minimum order. They were so good and fun. I have followed their journey and they still seem to be doing an amazing business and growing. There is one in Las Vegas if you ever visit there.

We had dinner one night at Stone Brewing at Liberty Station. I am not a huge alcohol fan but the food was good. I highly recommend it based on the atmosphere. We sat outside in the garden/patio area which was lovely.

We headed up Highway 1 with some stops along the way. We drove from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. If I did it again I would stop somewhere in between for the night if there was time. Traffic in LA will slow you down more than you can imagine. But if you had to chose add a day in the Big Sur/Monterey area.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve was one of my favorite stops. We hiked on the cliffs and visited the beaches below. (Mimi and Shark this is a place for y’all.)

Of course we had to stop at La Jolla to see the seals. We didn’t do much else here but I know there is shopping and dining if that’s your thing.

Huntington Beach was another stop. A quintessential California beach. Think surfing and lifeguard towers. We stopped in Malibu at Wildfox.  Before continuing to the Madonna Inn.

I love funky, crazy, beautiful, historic hotels. Here is one area where Ryan and I differ but I see his point. He would rather spend money doing thing around and area and just get a reasonable hotel but to me sometimes the hotel can be part of the destination not just a place to sleep. Over the years we have had a great mix of the two. The Madonna Inn being one of them. I had to stay in the pink glitter room. So we did. I definitely want to go back here one day.

That night we got in later than expected. We had Mexican food as it was one of the only places open. We picked up our famous cake from the bakery at the Madonna Inn and played in the hot tub and pool. It was so cold but also so fun. The cold made the memories of fun had stick a little more. The wind was blowing like crazy and we had the place to ourselves.

We had breakfast at the cafe at the Inn and on true want to be blogger fashion we basically did a photo shoot with our cake and pink glitter walls. We headed back onto the Pacific Coast Highway, for arguably the most famous and most beautiful portion of the drive towards Monterey.

Along the way we stopped at some of my favorite spots.   Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers hiking, views of the Pacific and  McWay Falls. This falls drop from the cliffs 80 feet into the Pacific. You park inside the park to your right and then walk down a short easy trail under the highway to the falls. Breathtaking.

A MUST stop for lunch, dinner or even a snack is Nepenthe. The prices are not cheap but the view is incredible. Try the roasted garlic appetizer.

We continued to chase the sun and race against sunset to stop at our next two stops.

Pfeiffer Beach is located down a dirt road but worth the trip. There is a beautiful rock formation. It’s a great spot for sunset to watch the sun come through the rocks and cast everything in a golden glow. We found a In Pursuit of Magic sign here. Lovely.Bixby Bridge is the picturesque bridge often in car commercials. You can stop off the left side for views or the bridge and land but I preferred the right side with the ocean and bridge. If you have time do both. We lost daylight here this any good hope of a quality picture.

We unfortunately just didn’t have time for everything. Guess we will have to go back! Hearst Castle and Carmel by the Sea are also in this area. This area in between San Luis Obispo and Monterey is the main place I would add another night if I could.

We spent the night in Monterey at a generic hotel. Here we had planned to have a fire on the beach but never got around to it. That is one of my regrets since it’s legal and common on the West coast but not on the East coast.

We had a delicious dinner at Monterey’s Fish House. The next morning we took a whale watching tour. One of the best I have been on. We saw a pod of doulphins that was estimated to be 500 large. We toured with the Monterey Bay Whale Watching company. One side of the boat saw a whale breech. We missed it but had other great sightings as well. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also a large tourist attraction in this area.

From here we continued onward to San Francisco. First we went to the Golden Gate Bridge park. Grabbed some photographs and walked around before driving over the bridge to head to Muir Woods National Monument. Again we lost daylight here but saw the great redwoods and a raccoon at dusk. We had dinner in the Mission District at Pancho Villa Taqueria. We drove down Lombard Street.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to head to Point Reyes National Seashore. We explored the area and went to visit the lighthouse when it opened. Sadly the winds were too strong so they did not open the stairs down to the lighthouse that day. There are many beautiful areas to explore in this National Seashore. We also stopped by  Cowgirl Creamery, as recommended by Shauna Niequist. It did not disappoint.

We headed back to San Francisco to drop Alyssa and Ian off at the airport for their flight out.

Ryan and I checked into a new hotel. We rode a trolley around to see some sights, stopped in China Town for dinner and hit up  Ghiradelli Square. As well as chocolate there were some cute shops and a beautiful jewelry store. We even were able to take a pic in front of the trolley since the one in front of us hit a car and so we were stopped for a bit then ended up getting off and walking.

We grabbed sandwiches from Davey Jones Deli. Which I am pretty sure is one of the best wraps I have had in my life. We took them to Rodeo Beach. It was a bit windy and cold so we didn’t stay too long.

Of course we had  stop by Alamo Square/Full House. We continued back towards LA via more inland roads.

We expected to go to Sequoia National Park but upon getting closer we saw signs stating the roads were already snowy. So we had to turn around. The area was beautiful though. We spent the night in Bakersville. We did stay in a cool hotel here The Padre Hotel.

Next we went back to LA. Ryan hurt his back somewhere along the way so I ended up driving from Bakersville to LA. We checked into the Millennium Biltmore Hotel early rested a bit then headed to Disneyland! Of course I got my Dole Whip Float West Coast style. We also grabbed Roscoes Chicken Waffles with another friend from college.

We had a great adventure and I can not wait to go back.

For more websites or blogs just search Pacific Coast Highway road trips.

Happy Travels!

Fabulous Friday, XXV

We spent the past week in Disney! Oh what fun.

We visited Hollywood Studios on Saturday. Our friends joined us for Epcot on Sunday. Monday we played in the Magic Kingdom. Tuesday we partied with Mickey and friends at the Christmas party. Wednesday we went to Sea World for the first time.

Thursday we flew home exhausted and with full hearts. Look for a post on our trip soon. Back to the real world now.

Here are a few of my favorite Disney shops.

Aloha Ears

Imaginex Ears

Pixie Lee & Co

Pretty Little Monograms

Bibbidi Bobbidi Bling

Bibbidi Bobbidi Brooke

Mouse on Mainstreet

Magical Monograms

Lucky Rabbit Supply Co

The Barefoot Mermaid Travels to Crete



We traveled to Crete on the final stretch of our journey in Greece. We took a sunset ferry over from Santorini.  If you can time your ferry ride for sunset I highly recommend it. We took the slower ferry time wise aka cheaper. We enjoyed the sunset and then being under the stars. We stayed up on the top deck under the stars. We were practically the only ones up there.

The first night we stayed in Heraklion. Our hotel was not wonderful but it did the job. Mainly if you were not gentle the doors slammed shut, thus creating a lot of noise. The next morning, we had our rentals car delivered to us which was nice.

The first morning we found a bakery and the open air market. I bought some olives, olive oil and a yellow pomegranate.


Our tour guide who we found on Viator met us at the hotel. We walked to the Archaeological Museum. Here we saw artifacts spanning from the Neolithic to Roman Period. Amazing how old some of the things are. The prehistoric inhabitants in Greece were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us. Mind blowing.

We wondered around the city center for a bit taking in the Venetian influence. I recommend grabbing a snack from the little cafe, Phyllosophies surrounding the Lion Fountain.

We then traveled to Knossos. The crowds were light and the weather was pleasant. Here is the palace of Minoan Crete. What a treasure to learn about the history. The speculate the city extends far beyond the excavations but basically there is not enough money to unearth it all. Which is really sad to me. What if some important treasure about history is hidden still. We stood on the oldest street in possibly the world that went from the palace grounds to the ocean. Our tour guide really helped to reconstruct the palace and bring the history of a pile of rocks to life.

After our tour we continued on to Chania. What a charming seaside town. I loved Crete the mountains and the oceans so close together with green olive trees abounding. We settled into our hotel. Before we grabbed some pastries for dinner.


Our first full day in Chania we grabbed the Crete specialty pastry for breakfast. We walked to the lighthouse and explored the surroundings along the way. We visited two of the oldest olive trees and had lunch in a small town along the way. It was Sunday. It seemed people got out of church then walked by deciding which party to go to. Baby dedications it seemed. But it was literally like they just picked one rather than knowing before hand which party (held at two different restaurants) they would attend. This was all our observations not knowing any Greek language.


The next day we drove to the mountains with no agenda in mind. We saw goats free ranging along the highway and tons of olive trees. The mountains are about as high as the Appalachian mountains here but appear so much larger. Ryan and I speculate it was because her you have some elevation gained before you see the mountains whereas there you can see them while you are standing at sea level in the ocean. We toured an olive oil factory. The production process is amazing. Local farmers bring their olives to be processed. The entire olive pit and all gets pressed. The olive oil sits for a while before its filtered and then stored in larger tanks. The oil from different farmers is never mixed and from year to year it is not mixed. It was a fascinating tour that I highly recommend.

MVIMG_20181009_162120We grabbed dinner. Holy moly the fries there are heavenly! They have this sauce that is pink, reminds me of ketchup and mayo mixed but a bit sweeter than just that. It was so good!!!

The next day we had souvlaki wraps for breakfast. We stumbled upon an indoor market. Here we grabbed a few goodies. Including the best honey I have ever had. We looked around the Nautical Museum. They have a Minoan boat replica that was actually sailed around Greece. We walked along the harbor again towards the lighthouse.


And then one of the most magical moments in my life happened, we saw Loggerhead sea turtles in the ocean. Two of them. we watched them bob and swim for almost thirty minutes before turning back to the room. On the other side of the harbor we saw a third one. Pure magic. We grabbed dinner and ate it on the balcony. We also maybe had a snack of fries again during the day.

The next day we returned to Heraklion. We grabbed the same snack from the same cafe. Visited the Koules Fortress which is on the water. It was a Venetian fort that a played a role in the Ottaman’s conquering Crete. We flew to Athens that evening and flew home with a brief layover in Frankfurt the next day. What a beautiful and remarkable trip. Travel often my friends.

The Barefoot Mermaid Travels to Athens, Greece


We spent our 5th anniversary in Greece. We visited Athens and some trips around the mainland before island hopping to Santorini and Crete. We covered many historical places that my brain literally can not compute the time frame. I’m going to post about the three main places we went and also do a big gallery of pictures.

We spent three nights in Athens at the beginning of our trip. We rented an Athen’s Air B&B with Acropolis views. We then travel to Nafplio in the Peloponnese. Here we stayed one night at Leto Nuevo Hotel. The Peloponnese was beautiful and I wish we had spent more time here. There were citrus and olive trees everywhere as well as views of the surrounding seas.

Our arrival day in Athens, Ryan was not feeling well so we rested a bit before grabbing dinner. Off of Monastiraki Square. We ate at O Thanasis, we thought. There is a row of about four or five restaurants on both sides of the street that all appear to have the same name and food. Another night we returned to try out what we think is the one we meant to go to on the first night. The food was good both nights but definitely better at the second O Thanasis. Walking away from the square its up the road a bit on your left. It has a grey stone like exterior. Ryan’s food was delicious. Another day we grabbed Kosta’s which was delicious but lacking sauce in my opinion. Most days for breakfast we stopped in a bakery. I always got a cheese pie and Ryan typically got some sausage/cheese combination. In the evening we would pop in whatever bakeries we were close to for sweet treats. Be prepared to sit and wait at dinner in Greece. It is not a hurried affair and they are not looking to turn tables over quickly.

The next day we had a tour guide and did all the things. I can not recommend a tour guide enough. We use Viator to book a guide. We have now had one in Rome, Athens and Heraklion. They really are worth the money. Providing expert knowledge, local tips and really can bring a pile of rubble to life. I learned so much like that statues what we think of as white used to be painted. There is actually technology now that scans the statues and can produce an imagine of designed and colors often missing to the naked eye.

We visited the Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum of Greece, and Acropolis. It was a full but educational day. Holy it was amazing. All the history and learning all the things. We were able to mostly dodge the rain from the Medicane. Yes, Mediterranean hurricane…what the what? We also stopped by The Poet Sandalmaker to grab my anniversary present from Ryan, who researched and came up with that idea all on his own.

The next day we took a day trip to Archaeological Site of Delphi. The rain ran the fine line between adventure and misery. But the mist and fog definitely enhanced the mystery of the majestic oracle. We had quite the adventure on the way home when the water on the road began to come over the wheel into the passenger floor board.

The next day we headed to Nafplio. Along the way we stopped at Mycenae and Tiryns. Both sites date back to the 15th century BC. WOW! I literally have a hard time calculating that time frame out in my head. It is amazing what they can learn about these ancient civilizations and there expanded world of commerce and trading.

That evening we wondered around the charming town of Napflio. We grabbed lunch at Gallika Salon de The & French Bakery. It was not Greek but yummy still. We had dinner at a somewhat disappointing fish house.


We visited the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus. Which was an ancient healing center. You know the nurse in me loved that. It was expansive with many buildings and the best preserved theater from that time. We then went to one of my favorite places the Temple of Poseidon. This mermaid girl loved the cliffs overlooking the sea. On the way to stay close to the airport at Apartment Tina, we pulled over to watch a spectacular sunset. The next morning we had an early morning fly to Santorini. Check back next week for our days there!

31×31 Afternoon Tea

img_1354Have tea somewhere fancy is on my 31×31 list. During our recent Disney World trip we did just that.


We skipped the parks on Saturday to give Ryan’s foot, our wallet and the crowds a rest. So we scheduled afternoon tea t Disney’s Grand Floridian. We had an earlier afternoon reservation so we slept in, ate a pastry from Epcot and skipped lunch.

We arrived a few minutes early and marveled at the lobby while we waited.

We both ordered the Bedfordshire Tea with sandwiches, scone, jam tart and assorted pastries or trifle. We got one of the pastries and one trifle.  Ryan ordered a rose infused tea which I did not love (he didn’t either but tea is not his thing.) I ordered a traditional tea which was good.

I am glad we had this experience but I probably wont do it again. Afternoon tea is one of my favorite things to do. I would rather have an experience else where for the money and quality of food. To me there was nothing Disney magic about this, that you couldn’t find at any nicer hotel with an Afternoon Tea offering. I will say the party next to us had some food allergies and I was very impressed with the accommodations they received.  For reference I have had afternoon tea in Bath, England in high school, The Peabody in Memphis in the past few years and on various Princess cruises which is actually one of my favorites and something I look forward to everyday.


Walt Disney World: Spring 2018

img_1414Ryan and I took an extended weekend escape to Disney World a couple of weeks ago. It was just what we needed to relax and have some magical fun together. We enjoyed two days in the Magic Kingdom and one day at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival with a day of resting in between. we flew Frontier out of ATL for an amazing price. We stayed at the Baymont Inn close to Disney but not on property and took Lyft or Uber for all of our transportation needs.


Magic Kingdom

We spent Thursday and a rainy Sunday in the Magic Kingdom. We rode all of our favorites. I also did Splash Mountain for the first time. It was not as terrible as I thought but I definitely did not love it.

Thursday we ate at various places around the park. We had for the first but CERTAINLY not the last a cat tail from Chershire Cafe. How have we not had these before? It’s a chocolate pastry braid but also has a buttery swirl.  We had our standard go to Sleepy Hallow Waffle sandwiches while we rested on the Hub grass waiting for Happily Ever After.

We decided to skip Saturday in the parks to keep our ticket prices down, crowd control and so Ryan’s foot would have a break. Our in between day we spent having Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian, resting and our favorite dinner at Ohana. I dream about those dumplings.

Call me ordinary but I as many times as we have been to Disney, this castle view in the afternoon light gets me every time.


Sunday night we had Be Our Guest for dinner. We have not had dinner here in three years and I wanted to try it before the pre fixed menu starts this summer. We did dine in the West Wing for the first time. Honestly, I don’t know if the newest has worn off but it just was not what it was a few years ago. We split the cheese plate, bisque and grilled strip steak. Although the cheese was good I feel like the portions were comically small. Maybe I am just not used to ordering cheese plates since I am a master at cheese plates creations at home.






Our recent trip was during the Flower and Garden Festival. We were here during Em’s birthday three years ago but it was our first rodeo. I do not feel like we aptly made use of all the festival had to offer then. I love all the beautiful blossoms and topiaries around Epcot but I also love the special outdoor kitchens.


We usually enter through the almost always empty entrance to World Showcase. This time we noticed the new travel system, Skyliner, station being built I am unsure how that volume will effect the almost always non existent lines at this entrance. We also saw what we think is construction on the new Ratatouille ride in France. We rode this ride at Disneyland Paris and loved it.

We grabbed breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in France. We finished the day grabbing pastries to go to the next mornings breakfast, along with everyone else. Honestly, I have never seen it so busy as before 9 pm trying to grab things to go. But a macaron and pastries for breakfast the next morning well worth it.


We rode all the usuals: Soarin’ I think we rode about four times all with Fast Passes and we finally got to sit on the top row, Test Track we just did once because Ryan felt it jerked his foot too much, Frozen Ryan is an ace at scoring us this FastPass later in the day, Mexico, Nemo, Turtle Talk, The Land which I feel like is one of the more underrated rides at Disney, and Mission Space Green I enjoyed the updated graphics.


We snacked around the world all day for our meals. We took advantage of the Outdoor Kitchens. We did go with a few old favorites such as the Cheddar soup in Canada and we tried the Schnitzel from Germany. Below are the special Flower and Garden offerings we tried. I could have overdosed on Violet Lemonades and I would have been ok with that.

We are hoping to head back with friends in December so I better get my work on. I hope you are having a Magical Day wherever life finds you today.