Monday, December 30, 2013

My trip to Turks & Caicos, 2013

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My trip to Turks & Caicos, 2013
Name: Jonathan
10 years old

It was 5 am, I felt my dad’s hand on my forehead saying “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”. Quickly we got ready and as usual we sat down on the couches and tried to make sure we took everything, especially passports.  It’s our family tradition!   We finally sat in the car and were on our way to the airport.  We were going to New Jersey so it took a while to get to the airport. When we arrived my mom said “uhh I need some coffee”. So while my mom was taking her time getting the coffee it was time for us to board the plane.  My dad panicked a little because my mom was no where in sight, but he wasn’t surprised.  We were the last ones to board the plane, but at least we did not miss our flight.  I sat with my dad and my sister sat with my mother.  We waited a while because there was another plane in front of us.  We waited about 20 minutes and it felt like it took hours.  Finally we took off!!  My mom does not “trust” airplane food, so she made us hard boiled egg sandwiches.  The aroma on the plane was not great because the hardboiled eggs stunk the plane.  My dad, as usual, asked my mom if the bread is whole wheat and if there is butter inside.  It’s a short flight to Turks and Caicos, 2.5 hours I believe.  We finally arrived!  We are officially in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos.  The airport is tiny and we walked down the stairs from the plane.  It’s kind of cool.  We got our luggage and there was a woman from our resort, Seven Stars greeting us.  She directed us to our rental car.  When we arrived at the hotel my dad checked us in and then a waiter came and gave us smoothies that were very tasty.  I was so impatient I went to the bathroom and changed into my bathing suit and dove into the pool. The water was so refreshing. It was sunny and warm, about 80 degrees.  Ahhhh, I was really looking forward to this vacation.  The pool is enormous and is made of salt water.  It wasn’t packed and I felt like the pool was all mine.  After the pool we went to the hotel room. The room was exactly the way it was last year, except they switched everything to the opposite side. There were 2 white couches and a chair.  There was a dining room, a huge balcony, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom with a private bathroom, and two beds in the living room.  We had remote control blinds.  The room was big, bright, and clean.  We had an ocean view and it was amazing. 

We stayed in Seven Stars resort for 10 days.  Over all the resort was amazing!!  There were always people cleaning and making sure guests were happy.  I noticed that when ever a guest was walking, the worker always stopped and let them go.  Every person who worked in the resort always smiled and said hello.  At the pool every hour there was a waiter giving out free fruit kebabs and sorbet.  When my parents went shopping me and my sister went to the kids club for about an hour. They had a Wii an x-box and there were two ladies that gave out ice cream and would basically do whatever you say.  My sister loved the kids club.  I think its more for little kids, my sister was 7 at the time so it was perfect for her.  

Seven Stars includes breakfast.  When we started going to the resort 4 years ago, they only served muffins and fruits.  Now they started serving eggs, bacon, lox, bagels, fruits and much more.  The breakfast there is delicious and it’s in a restaurant near the pool.  There is a really good restaurant in the resort called Seven and Its very fancy.  My mom loved the duck breast and the goat cheese salad.  I recommend lobster ravioli.  Once a week they also have a beach BBQ.   It was buffet style and they offered many types of food from seafood to meat.  My favorite was the ribs with mashed potatoes. There was also lots of dessert.  After the BBQ there was a Bon fire.  They threw huge pieces of wood and lit it up.   At the hotel everyday at 9 pm there was music so while we were getting ready to go to sleep we heard the really nice and tropical music.

The best part of the vacation was celebrating my 10th birthday.   I chose Caicos cafĂ©, my favorite restaurant on the island.  It was awesome!  

I highly recommend Seven Stars and the restaurants on the island are great.

When I was 7 years old, I decided to write restaurants reviews in Turks and Caicos and my dad posted it on Trip advisor.  I’m including the link here.  My mom laughs every time she reads it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Great Wall at the Mutianyu Section

This tour is offered by our partners in China, Catherine Lu Tours, the best tour company in China

Itinerary Details

-Pick up at your hotel (between 8:00am to 9:00am)
-Mutianyu Great Wall (1,5 to 2 hours drive)
This is a one of the most famous and ideal sections of the Great Wall. You will have your choice of taking the cable car or chair lift up the breathtaking wall and spend a leisurely 1 to 2 hours hiking up and down the various sections exploring the Watch Towers and marveling at the construction and beauty of the renown and legendary Wall. You then have the option of an exhilarating toboggan ride back down or simply return the way you came.
- Included is lunch at a local restaurant where you can enjoy a typical dish of barbecue Rainbow Trout with an assortment of other authentic and delicious Chinese dishes (vegetarian and meat)
-On the way back hotel, you can visit the village near the Mutianyu Wall or if its the fruits season you can go and visit the orchards at the village! Fruits picking-up is one of fun activities.

Related information for the Mutianyu Wall:
Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. It takes 1.5 hour to 2 hours ride from the city center to this section. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.
This section has been renovated since 1986 and a famous and ideal section of the Great Wall if you look for a half-day tour to the Great Wall with moderate hiking. Take the cable car or chair lift up the wall and allow yourself spending 1 to 2 hours hiking up and down from one section to another if you wish to see several watch towers and parts of walls. You can take the exhilarating toboggan ride back down the wall on a winding metal track.
Adjacent to the Mutianyu wall is its namesake village, which has been hailed by the Chinese government as a model village because of its rebirth largely thanks to tourism and glassware industries. You can take a look the rural life in this village.

Radisson Aruba

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Situated in high rise section at Palm Beach area in Ariba Radisson hotel offers great options for families with kids.
It has one of longest beaches and you don't need to fight for palapas. Radisson offers great kids programs such as visiting Butterfly farm next door, bicycle tours to California lighthouse, water sport activities, tie dye, and much more.
Aruba Tower has larger rooms and you can request connecting rooms if needed.
Another great feature is that you can book this hotel with breakfast and lunch included. Because it is very expensive to dine out it is very convenient and practical to get meals at the resort.

Radisson is close to De Palm Pier, a hub of beach activities and a lively bar. It has a nice spa (a flagship for the Radisson chain). All rooms and common areas were renovated in 2011

1. Lobby

2. Activities schedule

3. Building

4. Room with one King size bed

5. View from Aruba Tower

6. Room again

7. Bathroom

8. Entryway

 9. Room with two double beds (bed smaller than Queen)

10. Restaurants

11. Outside at the resort

12. Beach

13. Bar

14. Spa

15. Gym

16. Pools

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why we love Bucuti and Tara

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Bella and I just returned from Bucuti and Tara in Aruba. Wow, what a wonderful experience we had at this amazing resort!

Here are 4 things why we love this resort

1. Beautiful, soft, and not crowded beach.
Bucuti and Tara is located on Eagle Beach, which is so opposite to commercialized Palm Beach with its high rises and bodies of people laying everywhere. You don't need to wake up at 5 am to reserve palapas or sun huts. You would not worry that within 1 foot you get 5 unknown individuals breathing to your neck.

2. Boutique with modern touch
Bucuti and Tara has about 100 rooms. It consists of two buildings: Bucuti (with regular size rooms) and Tara (ocean facing suites and 4 penthouses).  Hotel is simplistic with modern touch. We liked attention to small details to make guests' lives easier: notebooks for each room, TV installed inside on the mirror in the bathroom, two beach towels given to guests on the beach - one of which has very convenient piece to be attached to beach chair very easily, and much more.

3. Two excellent restaurants on its premises

Carte Blanche is a restaurant for 'foodies', people who are open minded for an exquisite fine dining experience without limitations in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Chef Dennis van Daatselaar created and originated this unique concept on Aruba in which he prepares a 5 course surprise fine dining menu right in front of all the guests.

The recently opened Elements restaurant offers diners a memorable culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients and healthy choices in the presence of breathtaking views. The dining experience is an extension of restaurant's commitment to a sense of total wellness, providing guests with a beautiful atmosphere and wholesome dinner options via three distinct menus: Organic/Natural, Vegetarian/Vegan as well as World Cuisine. The ingredients showcased at Elements have been carefully sourced with menu options that include certified organic selections, natural products, fresh fish and pasture-fed cattle.

4. Unbelievable outstanding service.
The whole staff is working hard to satisfy every need of each client. Especially I would like to recognize concierge team. They go above and beyond to ensure that every client's request is satisfied. It does not really matter whether you need restaurant reservation, car rental, tour, wheelchair, or anything else your vacation will be truly worry free with help of this wonderful team.