A Day at the Canyons in New Mexico

New Mexico has a ton of scenic hikes and at first I didn’t know where to start.  I had seen pictures of canyons, but driving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, it wasn’t as obvious as I expected.  Our hotel in Santa Fe gave us a list of several hiking trails for beginners to advanced outdoors enthusiasts.  Unfortunately, the staff wasn’t helpful and seemed really care-LESS to give us options.  Fortunately, I spoke to the shuttle car driver outside of the hotel and he told me his favorite place in the area is Tent Rocks.  He praised the geology and the appearance of the canyon when it rains.  Well…it wasn’t raining, but I was motivated to be captivated by the features he described.

The next day we drove from Santa Fe toward Albuquerque to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  We arrived at about 1:30 pm and the staff (which are all volunteer) has the entrance blocked because the parking lot was full. Bear this in mind as you will need to wait for people to leave before you can enter.  We waited about 15 minutes, but we have already decided that the next time we visit, we will go first thing in the morning.

We chose to do the Slot Canyon Trail as it goes a little higher up and was supposed to be a bit more challenging and less busy.  Whichever path you choose, know that both trails are clearly marked and well maintained. You will not get lost.  We saw families with toddlers taking in this adventure as well.  The trail got quite narrow at times and sometimes slippery, so exercise caution along the entire route.  This place was another example of God’s beauty and I was mesmerized the entire time.  Rocks tell the tale of the earth’s history.  Hiking through this national conservation you will see the volcanic drama that took place once upon a time.

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Admission: FREE

Parking: $5 cash only

Time to complete the Slot Canyon: 1.2 Miles; 45 minutes up and 50 down (including the time we took to stop in shaded areas and take pictures)

Tips: 1. Arrive early in the day.

2. Bring and drink plenty of water.

3. Wear closed toed footwear. I saw at least 4 people wearing sandals.

Leave a comment and let me know what some of your favorite trails are.

 

Budget friendly side of Rotorua

So you made it to New Zealand and you’re on a budget.  With so much to do and so little time you must pick what’s most important to you.  Top of my list was Rotorua and I had to see the geothermal activity.  Get your geothermal thrills at the Kuirau Park as you stroll through this free destination, you will be amazed at the boiling lava coming from the ground and the steam hissing as you walk across a bridge.  This is a volcanic area and eruptions have occurred, so be smart and be safe.

There is a very small hot springs pool here, but don’t expect anything fancy. There were about 30 people cramming their feet in there and everyone was seriously shoulder to shoulder.  No thanks!  If you’re looking for hot springs go somewhere else.

Total time spent here: 45 minutes. Parking is free.

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5 Reasons To Love Madrid

Madrid is magnificent.  I visited during this past Christmas break and absolutely loved the charm the city has to offer and I can see myself visiting again.  Madrid has something for everyone from art and culture to tapas to beautiful parks.  Depending how you choose to spend your time in the historical city, you will find yourself losing sense of the time and before you know it the day is gone.  Have no worries, things take on another fun vibe right through the night.  You can check out live music, flamenco shows, and eat until like 2 a.m. I tend to be one that turns in pretty early, so the latest I was out was about 12:30 a.m., but I heard that you can easily attend a flamenco show as late as 4 am within the local scene.

I want to give you my 5 top reasons to love Madrid and this is why I will find myself visiting again in the future.

  1. Madrid is a metropolitan city!  There is excitement the moment you enter the city and if you don’t speak Spanish, have no worries….most people speak English too.
  2. The architecture is gorgeous and no matter where you are, you find yourself surrounded by history.
  3. It is a walk-able city with and excellent metro system, which includes a route to and from the airport for 5 Euros.
  4. There is an incredible charm in this city, with its perfectly manicured parks.  I took a walk through the most popular, Buen Retiro.  This park, which belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, is also known as El Retiro Park and apparently a trip to Madrid is not complete without a visit here.
  5. Spanish fashion is hot!  I remember when I first visited Spain in 2007 and bought my favorite pair of jeans from Mango.  A few years later Mango started opening stores across North America. If you want to refresh your wardrobe this is the place to do it

This article is not complete without a mention of churros and chocolate. I loved the energy in this cute busy little cafe called Los Nuevos Alpes. It is across from the Mercado Market on Calle Mayor, 54, 28013 Madrid, Spain.

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El Retiro Park
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Christmas in Madrid
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The Royal Palace. If you are a member of EU, you can visit for free between 4-6PM.
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That’s my husband dipping the churros in the hot chocolate.

 

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