Havana, Cuba!

I went to Cuba, you guys! Actually, I was there just over one week ago and the impression was so deep that I wanted to post about it right away. I realize that there are several trips that I haven’t posted or edited yet, but this one meant something deeper to me and I didn’t want to wait!

You see, Cuba has been shrouded in mystery for me and for most Americans. I honestly didn’t know much about it, but when my friend mentioned she and her friends were booking a trip, I knew I couldn’t miss it. After attaining the necessary paperwork and visas, we booked our flights and found ourselves there in no time. It was a short 43 minute flight from Miami, so it was the perfect way to spend a February weekend away from chilly Chicago.

To say that this was the most enlightening trip of my adult life would be an understatement and I am still processing it all. The main thing I learned was that Cuba is a welcoming, vibrant and resilient country which has me hoping that seeing these photos will inspire you to visit and go explore. Plus, I have the best guide that will help you along with it all. Just send me a note and I am happy to share! I cannot wait to go back.

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The food, the music, the stories and the spirit will stick with me and I was just too excited not to share.

Hasta luego, Cuba! I cannot wait to go back.

A personal post: Porto, the Douro Valley and Caiscais

You have all seen my post on Lisbon, but now it is time for Porto to really shine. I loved this part of Portugal, you guys. The textures, the water, the food. You really can't go wrong. Go!

Here is my trusty partner in life and travel. 

Here is my trusty partner in life and travel. 

Most nights were spent on this little patio at our Airbnb, drinking vinho verde and watching the sunset. We loved the Portuguese way of life.

After exploring the hilly streets of Porto, we headed to the Douro Valley with Marco from Douro Exclusive. We learned all about port and tasted so many types, I began to loose track. The day trip was exceptional and I highly recommend taking it during your visit to that region! The daystarted with a tour and wine tasting at Quinta de Tourais. It was our favorite stop.

From Porto, we headed south along the coast. We visited beaches, small medieval villages and eventually ended the road trip in Caiscais, Portugal.

A quick stop in Óbidos had us wishing we didn't have to keep driving. Once we got off the main drag, we loved every little bit of this amazing little fortified city.  

Dave even snapped this one of me on this picturesque stoop.

Dave even snapped this one of me on this picturesque stoop.

Then we were off to Caiscais for a little rest and relaxation before heading to Copenhagen.  I know, random.

Stay tuned for more travel goodness coming soon.

Japan!

As some of you know, I was recently lucky enough to travel to Japan. It was definitely a break from life as I know it and it was a complete Lost In Translation sort of trip, but it was so worth it. I traveled with a friend and we met other friends along the way and can’t believe the kindness that I came across while abroad. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend a trip to Japan. It is worth every penny.

We started off by heading to Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine near Tokyo’s Harujuko neighborhood. 

Day 1: Tokyo.

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Harujuku.

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Sensoji Temple.

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Akihabara.

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Day 2: Tokyo, 7 a.m. at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

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Yanaka.

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Shibuya, part two. This time at night.

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Day 3: Kyoto.

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Day 4: Kyoto, Arishiyama.

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A Geisha somewhere in Gion.

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Pontocho, Kyoto.

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Day 5: Kyoto, Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Thousand Gates.

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From there, we were off to Nara where we saw this large man…

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…and took selfies with these friendly fellas.

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Then we were off to Osaka for a night of sushi, sake and karaoke.

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Day 6: Hakone.

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Day 7: Tokyo.

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Tofuya Ukai.

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Shinjuku, Golden Gai.

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Day 8: Tokyo > Chicago.

But first, a visit to Ueno with an old friend.

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Japan was good to me and I can’t wait to go back one day. Now, back to the regularly scheduled wedding photography.