2018 Travel Adventures!


2018 was an amazing year for traveling. Unlike 2017, where a lot of our travel was very planned out, we decided to be a bit more loosey goosey with our travel plans this year. Allowing the destination, time of year and adventures to just come to us. 

The result was a year of transformative and magical traveling! We went from one of the warmest destinations to one of the coldest. Big cities and vast countrysides. We laid on beaches and hiked up glaciers. We got a wide variety of experiences and that left us very satisfied with our 2018 travels.

Our travel kicked off pretty early with Costa Rica in late February/ early March. We trekked through the rainforest, climbed a volcano and sun bathed, (more like fried but so worth it) on a beautiful beach. 


April brought my long time best friend and I together in Jacksonville for a concert that was like 8 years in the making and left us with some of the most amazing street art we had ever seen. 


June and summer meant it was time for our annual trip to California and as always we did it up big! We hiked a little bit of Topanga Canyon for the first time. We took a little day trip to the breathtaking Joshua Tree National Park and we spent the summer solstice burning some candles and setting intentions on Victoria Beach in Laguna! We incorporated some new Cali experiences with some of our favorite LA classics.


In September we took a small day trip up to Georgia for mom's birthday and this time we dragged my brother along! Our main attraction was a super chill hike through Providence Canyon State Park otherwise known as The Little Grand Canyon. We would definitely recommend this park for hikers of all levels! Be mindful of the temps, though. The summer months can get pretty hot, even in the shade.

I wrapped up the year of travel in late November/ early December with one of the most epic trips to Europe with some co-workers! We explored parts of Iceland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This trip really rivaled all the rest and added a few more countries to my top favorite countries that we have visited. I know I will have to take mom back, but it will probably be better for us to go in the summer, next time. 


Here is to an amazing year of travel, adventure and great people! We are so grateful for every plane we board and every mile we drive. We are eager and excited to see what kind of craziness 2019 will bring to us and you! 

If you would like to see more of our 2018 travels make sure to head over to our YouTube channel and check out some of the amazing sites we were able to experience this year. And if you would like a more in depth recount of my time in Europe stay tuned for the next two articles and videos from your favorite mother daughter travel bloggers!

We hope you are all having an amazing day and may your 2019 bring you lots of opportunities to pack your bags and explore the world. Remember:

It's an adventure! 

Best Things To Do, Eat and Stay in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Recipes atTastiest-Treats.com.jpg

You have heard us talk before about how much we love Costa Rica and about all of the beautiful diverse cities it has to offer. Well if you are looking for that perfect balance of adventure and relaxation, look no further than the small city of La Fortuna.


La Fortuna is a beautiful little town situated in the shadows of two absolutely breath-taking volcanoes. It is definitely a bigger tourist stop with a ton of things to do and places to stay but, during our time there, it never felt too crowded. When a destination feels too crowded it can make it really stressful. La Fortuna is one of those perfect destinations.



Two Volcanos Tour

If you only have a day or two in La Fortuna and still want to see the absolute maximum amount of things, we highly recommend you check out the Two Volcanos Tour. It is about a 10-hour tour, so be aware, this will take up an entire day. Transportation from your accommodations is around 9 in the morning. We booked our tour through our hostel.  They will return you back to wherever you are staying at the end of the tour which is around 7-7:30 pm. The day consists of a rigorous hike up to the 1968 lava flow that has a beautiful view of the Arenal Volcano and an amazing vantage point for the surrounding area. After your hike you are welcome to cool off in the nearby lagoon complete with it's own Tarzan swing. Lunch is included in the tour but it is neither vegan nor vegetarian so if that is outside of your dietary needs I highly suggest packing a lunch or bringing lots of snacks. After lunch, you head over to the Arenal Observatory for more walking trails, a waterfall, two hanging bridges and an absolutely beautiful sunset over Lake Arenal with the volcanos beside you. To wind down the tour you head on over to the natural hot river to soak and enjoy a celebratory drink. Our guide also offered a therapeutic face mask made from some of the mineral-rich mud that comes from the volcano. The tour guides are amazing and knowledgeable and honestly for $55 USD this tour is absolutely worth it. (WARNING: the hike up to the lava flow will be physically intense with steep AND long climbs. Most young, physically-active individuals will find it challenging, but manageble. Make sure you bring plenty of water, the right kind of hiking shoes and sunblock!)



Lava Lounge

We actually ended up eating at the Lava Lounge twice during our stay in La Fortuna. That was definitely not for the lack of other options but more for the convenience of the restaurant. And if we are being completely honest, one of the big reasons we ate there the first night was because the restaurant is open air and allows the resident dogs and cats into the establishment to socialize with patrons. And you know how much we love dogs! The food is very good and they have many options from American dishes to traditional Costa Rican cuisine. We also went for breakfast which was really good. The menu and the staff are both English-friendly and pleasant. You may even see the Ex-Pat owner running around, which I always think is cool!

Veggie Sub

Ok, ok! You know how you just get hit with cravings out of nowhere? Well, this happened to me in La Fortuna. All of a sudden, on our rest day, my body decided I just had to have a veggie burger! And, honestly, what better place than Veggie Sub. This cute little restaurant was some of the best food and best service we had on the entire trip. While the menu was English friendly the staff had a harder time with English and I found that I had an easier time communicating than mom did. Highly recommend!


Arenal Backpackers Resort

As usual we booked our hostel accommodations through Hostelworld.com.  And, when it came to La Fortuna, our only desire was to be able to see the volcano from outside our room, and boy did we hit the jackpot. Arenal Backpackers Resort (ABR) had some pretty amazing amenities including hammocks, a pool, volley ball area and green space for exercise or lounging. It also has a small restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. ABR offers traditional rooms and dorms but they also offer something that I thought was really cool and unique; really nice tents. I know what you are probably thinking, because, it was the same thing mom thought "Brandy, are you serious? A tent?" but I found it to be so nice and mom did eventually came around. The tents are set up on top of platforms and contain: a full size bed, a fan, an electrical strip, two towels and a trash can. It was a really cool, unique experience. The exact kind of thing you want when you are out exploring the world!

First hostel we've stayed at with a pool! 

First hostel we've stayed at with a pool! 

Our own personal homes

Our own personal homes

View of the Volcano from our tent

View of the Volcano from our tent

Staying in La Fortuna and hiking the Arenal Volcano is possibly the coolest thing we have ever done on our travels. If you are looking for adventure and want to feel like you are in a completely different world, we 100% recommend planning a stay in La Fortuna. Great restaurants, incredible excursions and amazing opportunities for a little relaxation. We hope this guide aids you in your travels and you have a trip you will never forget. Pura vida and remember...

It's an adventure!

Best Things To Do, Eat and Stay in Monte Verde, Costa Rica

Best things to do, eat and stay in.jpg

Ahhh yeah! Heading to Costa Rica and trying to decide which towns to hit? Well, let me be honest, for being such a small country (compared to countries like America, Mexico, and Australia) Costa Rica has more to offer than you could ever see in one trip! You have many different kinds of ecosystems from the beautiful beaches to the awe-inspiring volcanos to the luscious rain forests to the thick jungles.

I say, why not all of it? BUT, if the rain forests that caught your eye, I highly recommend checking out Monte Verde!

Monte Verde is in Northern Costa Rica, located inside the Cloud Forest and it is absolutely beautiful.

Things to do:

Tour of the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Ecological Reserve


The Monte Verde Cloud Forest Ecological Reserve is an absolutely lovely park with tons of wildlife and beautiful trails. If you are looking for a tour that is more walking trails than a climbing hike we would highly suggest this one. You can enter the park on your own (with an entrance fee) however booking with a tour guide is totally worth it! When you book with a tour guide they will provide you with transportation from and to your hotel/hostel, show you around the park pointing out wildlife that is often very difficult to see with the naked eye and will normally assist you in taking really lovely photos of some of your finds through their scopes. On our tour, we saw multiple different species of birds, including many species of hummingbirds, a tarantula, a sleeping sloth and some coatis. Of course, I can not promise you will see all of those animals but you could also see much more than we did! It was an amazing tour! Would definitely do again!


100% Aventura Zip-lining

If you are seeking a little adventure then I highly recommend booking something with 100% Aventura. We decided to go with the zip-lining package but they seemed to have many other excursions to choose from like ATVs and rafting. I personally love zip-lining and somehow I convinced mom to join me so we signed up for that! 100% Aventura is home to the longest zip-line in Central America and it is absolutely incredible! We 100% recommend 100% Aventura.

Selvatura Park

Ok, so we have all seen those travel photos of people on those beautiful hanging bridges, right? Well, I certainly have, and I was getting super jelly that I had never gotten to visit one. Well that all changed at Selvatura Park in Monte Verde. Here you can take a lovely walking trail that takes you across 8 beautiful hanging bridges with beautiful views. It is a nice and easy hike with a promise of picturesque moments and of course, since you are still in the forest, you do have the possibility of coming across some of the local wildlife. So, keep your eyes open!


Good Eats:


The first restaurant we ate at in Monte Verde after a long day of traveling, Morphos, was a great intro to the cuisine for us. I got a simple pasta dish that was loaded with yummy veggies and mom got our first vegetarian Casado of the trip. This was the restaurant that began our love affair of Casados! The staff was super sweet and the menu was English friendly.

Tico Y Rico

Tico y Rico was another restaurant that the front desk at our hostel recommended to us and we were not disappointed. They had a good size English friendly menu but I got to say we ended up sharing another Casado! Yeah don't be surprised if I am talking about Costa Rican food and I only talk about Casados, they are just so good! We also got an order of fried yucca, can't go wrong with yucca! Great staff and good prices.


Neko Sushi


Ok, I know I have been seriously talking up these Casados but let's just take a step back and talk about my absolute favorite restaurant of our time in Monte Verde and you know what possibly our whole stay in Costa Rica, Neko Sushi. If you have read some of our articles from our time in Europe,  you will know that we joke about constantly about the over-abundance of sushi places, well this trend continued with us in Costa Rica as well. Directly across the street from Tico y Rico, you will find Neko Sushi, who's menu is very English friendly AND, also, very vegan-friendly. It was amazing! We ended up getting so much food, but it was so good we ate it all: vegan spring rolls, vegan miso soup, and veggie rolls that had plantain on top! I know that sounds kind of odd but it was so good! The staff was super nice and the food was well priced.

Restaurante de Amy`s

Restaurante de Amy's was actually suggested to us by a friend I have in the states who is from Monte Verde. If you are craving some pizza this is the place to go. I got a cheeseless pizza that was piled high with veggies. Mom ended up getting a veggie fajita and was also pleased with all the veggies. It was more on the expensive side which would not be the best if you are on a budget but the food was good. English friendly menu but you will want to know a little bit of Spanish to communicate effectively with the staff.


Open Kitchen


Favorite Accommodations:

We never actually ate at Open Kitchen (we just didn't have the time) but every time we passed it I just thought it was so cute. Yes, I am basing this restaurant suggestion purely off of the fact that it was aesthetically pleasing but I think we have all gone into restaurants, especially when traveling, just because we liked how it looked.



The Camino Verde Bed and Breakfast was not only an amazing place to stay in Monte Verde, but I think it is safe to say that it has made our top ten list of favorite hostels we have ever stayed at. This B&B comes highly recommended for multiple reasons! It is easily bookable being associated with Hostelworld.com and a great price for the quality of rooms. Breakfast is included every morning of your stay and the staff is absolutely incredible! We honestly have only good things to say about our stay at Camino Verde.

Monte Verde was an amazing stop on our tour of Costa Rica. If you have never been, we highly recommend! It is a walkable town with friendly locals and great excursions. We hope that if you find yourself traveling to Monte Verde in the future that this little guide helps you and that you have an amazing time! Pura Vida and remember...

It's an adventure!

How We Plan Our Trips!

How We Plan A Trip!.jpg

With our trip to Costa Rica having just wrapped up I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about how we plan our trips! 

Let's face it deciding that you want to travel somewhere is easy, but planning out the whole trip, transportation, and an itinerary can become overwhelming and stressful. In our opinion, travel should be as stress-free as possible, not the cause of your stress. So, to help you out in your traveling plans here is the order in which we plan out our trips:


1) DestinationWhere do you want to go? Country? State? City? This is the first step, otherwise steps two through six will be very hard to accomplish.

2) Plane Tickets
Once you know where you want to go, it is time to arrange your mode of transportation. For us, this mostly consists of plane tickets but this could also very easily be by boat, train or car transportation. Whatever mode you choose we highly recommend you make sure that it is the most time efficient for the price you are paying. This just means you are willing to pay more to get to your destination faster or less to take a little longer in travel. You have to find that perfect balance.

3) Accommodations/ Attractions
After we know how we are getting somewhere, we then find our accommodations, whether this is hotels, hostels, Airbnbs or with friends and family, it is good to know where you will be resting your head every night. When looking for where we want to stay, we also like to take this time to decide if there are any attractions we want to see that require scheduling or purchasing tickets in advance. There are some tours and attractions that fill up weeks in advance. This maybe when you discover that there is some special event or festival going on while you will be there. Something like a Fringe Fest, music festival or annual market could be great  additions to your itinerary!

4) Transportation
After accommodations and any tickets we have to buy in advance, we start looking to find transportation for when we arrive at our destination. This can seem like a very daunting and expensive task but just take it one step at a time. How are you going to get from the airport? Are you staying in a walkable town? How is the public transportation? We always recommend looking into local and public transportation first. It may take a little bit longer getting around, but it can be an extremely cheaper option than private transportation or renting a car. It can also be a little less stressful not having to navigate the streets of a new place, especially if your destination has different driving patterns than what you are used to.

5) Cuisine
Cuisine is not something that everyone is going to plan out in advance but seeing as we both follow a mostly vegan lifestyle, it is good to look up restaurant possibilities. You may want to educatebyourself on local customs, traditional fare and the likelihood of vegan or vegetarian options. This can help you map out some of your days or prepare you to be going to the local grocery stores for food you can prepare yourself. So far, we have never been to a country that did not have fruits and vegetables.

6) Attractions
Now, we had mentioned attractions before in the same spot as accommodations, but attractions can also be one of the very last things you plan. A lot of the time, especially when we are staying in a hostel, we book the tours and excursions we want to do at reception. There are multiple good reasons to book from the hostel. You can often get a discounted rate from the hostel, transportation is usually included, and it is a great way to make friends with some of the other people staying in your hostel.

And that's it! Of course, there are other little things like packing and researching the customs that we will cover in another article, but after planning out these six things you will find yourself with a well-planned trip!

Happy travels and remember!
It's an adventure!


Pure Life Travelin in 2018!

creating the perfect.jpg

Welcome Travelers! And Happy New Year!


If you are new to Pure Life Travelin (PLT) allow me to introduce myself! I am Brandy and, I, along with my amazing mother Melissa, travel the world and try to experience as much as life has to offer! We then write and make videos about our adventures! I also really like exclamation points!! Now you are a part of the PLT Tribe! Welcome!

As we are now in the 3rd week of 2018, we thought it paramount that we touch base with you on what the year will hold for PLT. 
When we started this blog it was just a cute little passion project for a mother and daughter who love traveling almost as much as each other. But over the last year, we lost a little bit of the passion for the content creating.

I will admit, it can be extremely hard to come home to the daily grind after being in some of these incredible places we have experienced, (post-trip depression is a real thing), but this year we are devoted to rediscovering the passion that started this whole journey for us in the first place!
This year is already off to a great start, with some incredible adventures already planned. From Costa Rica to LA to Iceland! Unfortunately, not all our trips will be taken together, but we are planning more trips every day both in our own backyards as well as to some of the wonders of the world. 


I think one of the really cool things is, that even with all these plans, we have no clue all the places 2018 will take us. And that, well, that might be the most exciting adventure of the year!
Thank you for being a part of the PLT Tribe and joining us on our crazy escapades! We love you all and remember.....

It's an adventure!

72 Hours In Amsterdam, Netherlands

hair styles.jpg

Sometimes, you just don't have the amount time in a city that you'd like to. To be honest, 72 hours is a pretty good time frame to get an overarching sample of a city.

We've got some suggestions of things to do, see, and eat if you only have 72-hours in Amsterdam, the Netherlands!


NEMO Science Center


The first site-seeing stop we made was at the NEMO Science Center. It was one of the spots included in our IAmsterdam, and who can resist fun science!?! The center is, of course, very family-friendly and geared towards children, but that does not mean we did not have a ton of fun here. From optical illusions to weather demonstrations to the sex-ed section on the "young adults" level. It was all in both Dutch and English, which was very lovely. We meandered and explored every level all the way to the top, which includes an observation deck that looks out over the city and waterways. *Fun fact: you do not have to pay for entrance to the NEMO to go up on the observation deck, as long as the museum is open. It would be a great place to meet someone for coffee or have an afternoon snack.

Van Gogh Museum

My favorite painter of all time is Vincent Van Gogh. The Van Gogh Museum, as you may be able to guess, houses a large collection of Van Gogh paintings along with his contemporaries. It contains such an amazingly constructed narrative of Van Gogh's life. You can learn about his studies, family and mental struggles. For me, it was a pretty emotional experience and mom definitely enjoyed getting to see all the artwork. 



Vondelpark is one of the main, and biggest reasons I have come to fall in love with Amsterdam. We were very lucky that, to get to our hostel, you had to go through the park. Vondelpark is a public, urban park in the middle of the city. It might easily remind you of Central Park. In this park, you can find restaurants, gazebos, ponds and statues. It is just so beautiful and peaceful. This is the park that we took our bikes to ride around. (If you go to Amsterdam and don't ride a bike, have you really been to Amsterdam?)

Redlight District


The Redlight District was, honestly, nothing like what I think mom and I expected it to be. It was very busy and very similar to the crowds and vibe of Times Square in New York City. You can find here the museum of sex, but mostly, you can find a plethora of shops and restaurants surrounded by beautiful architecture.

Anne Frank House

We were never actually able to go inside the Anne Frank House. We were pretty upset about this, but there just wasn't enough time. The thing about the Anne Frank House is that it is such a famous historical site that is always busy, and by always busy, I mean ALWAYS BUSY. So here is what we suggest: if this is one of the most important sites on your tour of Amsterdam, you should definitely book a morning tour at least a week out. This will ensure that you get an appointment and you'll be able to add it to your itinerary.


Alchemist Garden

The very first thing we did in Amsterdam, other than checking into our hostel, was going to get food at Alchemist Garden. It is a pretty simple walk from Vondelpark and is this super-cute, open space, cafe with a plethora of raw, vegan, and organic dishes. From raw vegan club sandwiches to delicious smoothies, it is English-friendly and fairly inexpensive. Alchemist Garden is, definitely, a great place to stop in and grab either a quick bite or enjoy a nice full meal!

Mediamatic Eten


This restaurant was suggested by the amazing vegan.in.amsterdam Instagram, which I 100% recommend you check out if you love vegan fare and are heading to Amsterdam. It was fairly close to the NEMO Science Center, which was much further out than most our planned stops, so we had to eat there our first night. We originally thought we were stopping in for some pizza, but learned that their menu changes depending on the day. Some days they only serve pizza and spirits and others they serve a full menu. We went on a day with full menu service and ate so much amazingly delicious food! The staff there are very English-friendly and our waitress was actually an American student, studying abroad. Seeing as the restaurant is in a greenhouse style building right on the waterfront from our table, we had an amazing view of the city, the water, and the NEMO. We also had a great view of the open-concept kitchen where we watched the chef and his staff prepare all the meals. Important: Make sure you make reservations, though, because it gets very busy!


For any vegan visiting Amsterdam, we must insist you go check out Vegabond. Right on the canals of the city, this cozy little lunch spot has it all; fresh food, desserts, coffee, and juices. It was amazing, and even better, if you are going to be spending extended time in the city, it also has a small grocery store with all kinds of vegan essentials! I found myself visually shopping around, knowing, I was only going to be in the city for a few days!

Meatless District


Fancy but worth it! We met up at Meatless District for dinner one of our nights in Amsterdam and were blown away! Within walking distance from our hostel, in Vondelpark, the Meatless District is a high-class vegan eatery, open late, and exactly what we had been looking for that night. It is a beautiful restaurant that is definitely the setting for a birthday or celebration dinner!

MOOK Pancakes


MOOK Pancakes was another restaurant we discovered through the amazing vegan.in.amsterdam Instagram account. It is not a 100% vegan restaurant, but they can make the majority of their pancake options vegan, and that is all I was asking for since I have a serious vegan sweet tooth! MOOK also serves some amazing beverages from wellness shots to fresh pressed juice to smoothies! The restaurant itself is super-bright and inviting and the staff was super-sweet. They even had English menus, which of course, is always very helpful when you don't speak the language. MOOK is definitely a great place to stop in for a weekend brunch date. 

SLA Westerstraat

You want a nice big salad? Look no further than SLA! With three locations throughout Amsterdam, there is sure to be one close by. We really appreciated the set up of this organic salad bar. You can order from their list of specialty salads with feature ingredients like teriyaki marinated tempeh, beets, and black rice. Or if one of the signature salads is not quite your style, have no fear! You can always build your own from the kinds of greens to the toppings and dressing. We definitely recommend if you are looking to satisfy your daily veggie intake!


Lover's Canal Tour 

Yes, my mother and I went on a "Lover's Canal Tour". Yes, we both enjoyed it very much. And no, it was not a bunch of couples. This was one of the tours included with our IAmsterdam cards, and it was great. If you have not guessed by our many aqua adventures, or maybe you are new to our blog, but we love being on the water! And, with the canals in Amsterdam being as famous and picturesque as they are, we could not give up this opportunity. It gives you a great view of the city while learning a little of the city's history. We 100% recommend taking a canal tour while in Amsterdam.

Five Months Later, An Envelope from Copenhagen

-Where liberty dwells,there is my country.-.jpg

When we traveled to Copenhagen, I had told you about getting pick-pocketed. I had my change purse stolen which held my debit card, credit card, and ID as well as US cash and Euros. Although, it was stressful and a bit of a pain in the you know what, I was able to get all my cards replaced within a few days of arriving back in the US. After the bank and credit card companies had finished their investigations into the matter, all debts were covered and the cases were closed.

Well, fast forward five months later.  It was Saturday, and I was headed out to run some errands.  I walked down to the mailbox to check the mail.  When I reached inside, I pulled out an odd envelope.  I was a larger envelope with the clear windows which showed my name and address.  There were no real markings on it. It just seemed odd.  


I felt through the envelope and noticed there was a card that was the size of a credit card.  I thought to myself, "I am not expecting any replacement cards, I wonder what this is"?  So, I tore open the envelope.  There was a ordinary piece of white copy paper that had my name and address typed on in it, but the rest of the sheet was completely blank.  Within the fold of the piece of paper were my driver's license and my credit card.  I stood in the driveway and tried to put this puzzle together. 

Listen! It had been five months, and, I had just come back from visiting Brandy in Orlando. I knew I used my credit card and license while I was there.  Had I left them somewhere and a helpful stranger mailed them back to me?  I looked at these two cards harder and realized that the number on the credit card was not my current number.  I quickly flipped over the envelope and noticed that it had a Copenhagen, Denmark postal marking for the stamp.  

Someone in Copenhagen had found these two pieces of my property and mailed them back to me!  How did they come across these items?  Why did they take the time and money to send them back to me?  These are questions I'll never know the answers to and I'll never be able to thank anyone, because there was no return address.  Would thieves do this?  I don't know, maybe the person who pickpocketed me has had this guilt eating away at him for the past five months, Edgar Allan Poe style!


I'm still baffled by it all!  If, somehow, the person responsible for retrieving my belongings and returning them to me should ever read this.....thank you!  Both cards had long since been replaced, but the gesture was there.  Once again, my faith in the people of Copenhagen has been a little more restored.

Life......It's An Adventure!!

Copenhagen, Denmark

15 Totally Doable Hairstyles for All Occassions.jpg

We took a flight from Brussels to Copenhagen, Denmark for our quick stay in this city.   When we arrived we took the metro from the airport to Frederiksberg Centret, a large shopping mall in the Frederiksberg borough.  The mall is really beautiful, but we weren't there to shop, in researching Vegan restaurants, we had found a couple of options that were located in the mall.  We decided that was probably a good sign of what Copenhagen would have to offer in the way of vegan fare.  I was in the mood for a burger and fries and Brandy didn't really know what she wanted.  We decided to try Raw 42.  I had the Raw 42 Burger with a side of sweet potato fries Brandy decided to try their Acai bowl.  We sat and enjoyed our lunch, we had both made very good choices.

When we left the mall we took a bus to find our Airbnb.  As we walked off the bus we stopped to check Google to get our directions to the Airbnb.  A gentleman stopped and asked us if we needed help finding something and as we were talking to him a lady stopped to offer assistance too.  We thought it was really nice to have two people try to help us, but we were just consulting our map.  The gentleman explained that the stop we got off at was at the Assistens Cemetery, the very cemetery that Hans Christian Anderson is buried in.  We decided to carry on to check into our Airbnb to drop our bags and get our bearings before exploring the landmarks and sites.

We arrived at our Airbnb which was in a grouping of row houses in a residential neighborhood.  By this time, we had realized that most of the residential buildings in Europe are walk ups, but this time we were on the 5th floor.  With our heavy backpacks on our backs, we climbed the narrow stairs to the 5th floor.  This place would prove to add an additional challenge when returning from our long days out and about!  


Once checked in and settled, we decided to head out and check out the cemetery and walk around the neighborhood for a bit.  We headed back to the cemetery first to look for the resting place of Hans Christian Anderson.  The cemetery itself was really beautiful and designed to be almost a thoroughfare for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists.

Speaking of cyclists, while Amsterdam is known as the bicycle capital of the world, I would argue that it might be Copenhagen.  The streets are so bicycle-friendly with car-size lanes just for cyclists and their own street signals.  At any one time, a hundred cyclists would make their way through the intersections and you better not be walking in their lane!  It sometimes became a game of Frogger to move through the city with the number of other pedestrians, cars, buses, scooters, and cyclists also trying to get to their destination.


We found the Anderson memorial and continued to look around the cemetery.  As we made it out the other side, we walked on with no particular destination in mind.  We headed toward what seemed to be downtown and were in awe of the Danish architecture and ancient-looking cathedrals in the distance.  As we passed by apartment buildings, we would decide which ones we'd want to live in.  After we had walked around for a bit, we started our search for food.  We decided to make our way to California Kitchen for a healthy dinner.  That was the beginning of my "bowl" obsession.  The place was so crowded that we took our bowls back to the Airbnb to sit and eat.  The wind was really howling that night as we settled into our 5th-floor room.   We didn't care as long as we were inside.  With our bellies full and our legs aching we called it a night.


The next morning we got up early and headed out to meet our tour bus.  I had purchased a hop on/hop off bus and boat tour so that we could take in as much of the city as possible in the short amount of time that we would be there.  We boarded the bus, second level of course, and sat back to see all the sites of Copenhagen.  First, we went by the Black Diamond Library which was beautiful and so much different than all the other architecture of the city.  We stayed on the bus and headed on past many sites as we made our way to "The Little Mermaid" statue.  It was here that we would "hop off" to walk down to the see the mermaid.  We were told we had 12 minutes to explore the waterfront where the statue sits.  There were so many tourists down by the statue taking photos that we had to wait our turn for Brandy to get her photos including her artsy yoga pose with the mermaid.  As we headed back to the bus we realized it was pulling away from the curb.  


Now, this would not have been a major problem, we could just wait for the next bus to show up, except for the fact that we had left some of our belongings on that bus.  We panicked and broke into a run with Brandy leaving me in the dust.  She was determined to stop that bus, and stop it she did.  It was a good thing she did because we were not the only ones that were getting left behind.  After we got chastised for being late (we weren't late!), we continued on with our tour.  It was cold outside so getting back on the bus was our chance to get warm again.  We decided to take in the rest of the sites without hopping off so that it might warm up a bit as it got a little later.  


On the second time around we decided to hop off and take the boat tour.  We boarded the tour boat and headed out onto the waterway and through the canals, one being the iconic Nyhavn Canal.  When we traveled up this canal we were able to see the brightly colored water-front houses and businesses that are seen as typical Copenhagen.  People own places next to the canal and some own houseboats docked in the canal.  The boat tour took us out into larger waterway and between Amalienborg Castle and the Opera House.  Copenhagen by water was a beautiful tour, however, it was pretty cold!!  Luckily, the tour boats have roofs and retractable windows.  

After we made it back to the tour boat drop off we disembarked and waited for the next bus to arrive.  This time we would hop off by the Gefion Fountain.  It was here we decided to make the most of hopping and picking up the bus in another area after taking in all the sites this area had to offer.  We were able to marvel at the fountain, tour St. Alban's Church, Churchillparken and the Kastellet.  Walking atop the Kastellet star fortress was really cool because we could see some of the cadets moving through to the dormitories and realized that this still an active military compound.  From here we walked back toward The Little Mermaid to hop on another bus that would take us back toward the city centre.  


We decided to hop off and walk a bit to check out more of the city.  We walked toward Norresport Station to renew our metro passes for the morning.  This is where our trip went downhill.  Upon leaving the very crowded metro station and making our way to Torvehallerne for our afternoon snack, it is here that I realized my wallet had been stolen with my license, debit card, and credit card as well as US and Euro cash.  We searched and searched the area to try to find my discarded wallet, but to no avail.  We sat in the Starbucks on Fredericksborgade and canceled credit and debit cards but not before the thieves could put them to use and charge nearly $1000 US dollars to my accounts.  This made my heart sink! I had enjoyed my trip up to this point and really felt comfortable here, I guess too comfortable, as I had let my guard down.  It was at this point we decided to return back to our Airbnb and try to find out about making a police report and to try to put this event behind us.

The next day I woke up and decided to put my pic-pocket violation behind me and enjoy our last few hours in the city.  We would be leaving soon to catch our flight to Amsterdam.  One thing I would say about Copenhagen is that there is a lot of beauty there and the people really do seem to love the tourists and try to help in any way they can.  Unfortunately, I crossed paths with persons that totally went against that idea.  But, I must say, I learned a very valuable lesson in all that.  As my son always tells me "head on a swivel, Melissa, head on a swivel!"  That advice is just a good rule of thumb when traveling or wherever you may be.  

It's an Adventure!! 

36 Hours In Copenhagen

Sometimes you are not going to be allotted a very long time in a city. 36 hours is definitely not a ton of time in a new city but where there's a will there is a way!

Here is a list of things you should definitely see, eat and do in Copenhagen, Denmark in just 36 hours.


Frederiksberg Centret

If shopping is your thing, one stop that you will probably want to make is Frederiksberg Centret. This is a big Mall in the Frederiksberg borough. Filled with clothing stores, home furnishings, and amazing restaurants. We didn't stay here long, only long enough to grab a bite and catch our breath.  

Assistens Cemetery

We were very happy with the location of the Airbnb we chose. In a very hipsterish neighborhood, we were just right across the street from the Assistens Cemetery where Hans Christian Anderson is buried.  Of course, we had to take a stroll through to locate his memorial. 


The most picturesque spot in Copenhagen, Nyhavn is a 17th-century water-front canal and entertainment district.  This is where you can get your postcard like photos, grab a bite to eat or just sit and enjoy the beautifully colored old houses.

The Little Mermaid  

This was something that I was most excited to see, as the Little Mermaid was one of my favorite stories growing up, even though it might not have been the same as the story written by Hans Christiansen Anderson. The bronze Little Mermaid statue by Edvard Eriksen can be found by the waterside at the Langelinie Promenade and is definitely worth a visit. This is a really great area for photos and even a little picnic.

Amalienborg Palace

You can find the home of the Danish Royal family in Amalienborg. It has absolutely gorgeous architecture and is perfectly aligned between the Opera House, on the water, and Fredriks Kiirke. If you are on one of the canal tours, this is a great destination for some beautiful photos.

Gefion Fountain

Pretty much every city reveals some hidden gem that you hadn't heard of prior to the trip. In Copenhagen, this gem was the Gefion Fountain. This gorgeous fountain stands tall as a representation of the Norse goddess Gefion as she rides on her chariot pulled by her animals. The fountain is right on the harbor front very close to some other worth while cultural spots like Kastelle, The Little Mermaid, St. Alban's Church and Churchchillparken.

St. Alban' s Church

The St. Alban's Church is a super-cute little English Church. It is located near the Gefion Fountain and the Kastellet. It is not a huge tourist location but, honestly, it is a really cute place to stop in. The church stewards are really friendly to travelers and enjoy sharing their church's history with the people who wander in. They welcomed us in and had informational pamphlets in like 20 different languages. This 130-year-old church is a beautifully serene place to sit and catch your breath. 


The one of the many public parks in Copenhagen is Churchillparken. You can find it in the green area surrounding the Kastellet. This park commemorates British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the part that Britain played in the liberation of Denmark during World War II. Me, myself, am a huge World War II history nerd so I really enjoyed getting to see the park and the bust they had placed in the park of Churchill himself.


We hadn't originally planned on go to the Kastellet, but it was so conveniently located, we couldn't pass up the opportunity. The Kastellet, located in Copenhagen, is one of the best-preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It was really cool to be able to walk on top of the fort. We were able to walk from the Gefion Fountain over to the Little Mermaid statue through and on top of the fort. It's definitely a good spot for those who love history.

The Black Diamond

 Not exactly what you might think of when you hear The Black Diamond, this library is one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen. It is right on the water so you can get great photos of it from both land and the water if you take one of the canal tours.


Raw 42

Raw 42 was the first restaurant we found in Copenhagen, and let me tell you, it was right then and there that I fell in love with the food of Copenhagen. In the Frederiksberg mall, it is upstairs next to two other vegan restaurants. Their menu ranges from burgers to acai bowls and I recommend both! The food is a tad expensive but the staff was English-friendly as well as just friendly in general.

California Kitchen

California Kitchen as its name suggests honestly looked like a restaurant I would find in Santa Monica. It is a super cute and aesthetically pleasing fast service restaurant. They serve food for any kind of healthy lifestyle from omnivores to vegan. It is kind of similar to a build your own foodie bowl restaurant. The staff were super nice. The menu was in English and the food was incredible. We almost considered going there more than once. 

Slice of San Fran

This amazing little hole in the wall stop is run by an American expat and brings you some of the most delicious burritos we've ever had. I got to admit the fact that we found so many Californian restaurants in Copenhagen made us both laugh but the food was so good. The food is delicious and can be ordered to be vegan with honestly huge portions. The cheesecakes are, unfortunately, not vegan, but from all the online reviews I can tell you they must be to die for. I highly recommend checking out this place!


 With all the sites to see in Copenhagen, I would 100% recommend getting a city card or a hop-on hop-off bus pass. It will give you the best opportunity to see all the city has to offer at a decent bundle price. We booked with Gray Line bus and boat tours! This bus loop runs in a circle around the city giving you the opportunity to stop and spend as much time as you like at any site.

Brussels, Belgium

I must admit, when we were first planning this trip and deciding on the cities in Belgium that we should see, I was not really interested in traveling to Brussels.  All I knew about Brussels was that lots of International Government agencies are located there and that there had been an attack in the Brussels airport in 2016.  These two points did little to fuel my desire to go to the city.  I guess, to be honest, I was a little scared.  But after reading about the city, and seeing all that it had to offer, we felt that we had to add Brussels to our itinerary.   

After arriving in the city by train from Ghent, I immediately felt more at ease seeing the level of security in the train/metro station.  There were groups of armed military walking through the tunnels, which comforted me but scared Brandy a little.  From the train station, we decided to take the metro and head out into the city.  Brandy had picked up a cool Visitor's Map (Use It Maps) for the city of Brussels and had done her research, so she lead the way.  The first stop we made was to a parking garage.  Now when she suggested this I said, "a parking garage?", but I must say it was a cool idea.  Parking 58 is a ten story parking garage that tourists visit to have a great view of the city.  From the tenth story, we were able to see many of the sites we were planning to visit, even a view all the way to the Atomium.

From the bird's eye view from Parking 58, we started on a trek to see the sites that Brandy had mapped out with precision.  Right next to Parking 58 was the Sint-Katelijneplein Place Sainte-Catherine. Of course, the Cathedral is exquisite, but the adjacent little square is just as beautiful with its reflection pond situated in the shade of the cathedral. There were so many people just sitting by the pond and enjoying the day.  For what felt like the heart of the city, this spot was unbelievably relaxing.

From Sint-Katelijneplein Place we headed to the Brussels Stock Exchange. Now, when I go to these cities I am all about the architecture and the Stock Exchange did not disappoint! Of course, this site was a major tourist site and had so many people lounging on the stairs of the exchange.  It was hard to believe that any serious work was being done here.

Our next destination was right in the heart of Brussels Old Town, the city's main plaza known as Grand Place.  The architecture of this square doesn't quite seem to all match but somehow dazzles, nonetheless.  One of the buildings certainly shows off with its ornately carved stonework, and gold decoration along the entire facade.  There were so many people milling about and we even saw a professional photo shoot taking place, although we did not know what it might be for. 

By this time, we had been traveling and walking (that's what we do) all day and were ready for dinner.  Brandy had mapped out a little vegan restaurant called Moon Food, but, of course to get to it, we would have to climb many steep hills!  Oh, how I love those hills.  Now, on our travels in Europe, vegan restaurants are usually set up in a buffet-style offering lots of cold pastas and salads, not always my favorite.  Moon Food was a little different.  While they were set up buffet-style, the array of food was much more sophisticated.  I think we both definitely enjoyed our meal here.

After dinner, we headed back onto the crowded, tourist-filled streets of Brussels to take in a few more sites.  Brandy had mapped out the Mannken Pis, but I'm sure she didn't know what it was.  My husband and I have a shop where we sell concrete statues and fountains and we were very familiar with the little peeing boy fountain.  I never much liked the little guy, as I thought he was rather tacky, until one day when an FSU professor had come by to shop and told me the legend of the boy.  He said that a wealthy family had their young son go missing and formed a search party that scoured the city to find the boy. It is said when they found him he was happily urinating in a small garden.  As a gift of gratitude to all those who had helped in the search, his father had a fountain built depicting his son at the time he was found.  There are a couple of other stories out there, so who really knows for sure.  What I do know is that I will never take this little guy for granted again.  Brussels certainly does love their pee-pee boy!!

One thing we really did enjoy seeing as we walked through the city was the beautiful graffiti on so many of the street corners we turned down.  I'm not sure you can even call it graffiti as it looked more like commissioned art pieces several stories high. As we'd walked down the streets, it seemed we'd turn a corner and come upon one whimsical piece of art after another!  As the sun was setting, I was more than ready to head back to our Airbnb to rest up for the next day's adventures.  As we relaxed, Brandy did a little more research on the places we should visit the next day, but decided to keep them a secret. What would the next day bring?

The next morning we got up and out to really enjoy some of the lifestyle of Brussels.  Brandy decided to surprise me with a trip to a locals daily flea market. The Old Market in Marollen is open every day from 6 am to 2 pm and is so expansive, it covers a city block.  Oh the treasures we saw and would love to take home, but when you travel like we do, there is not much room to take anything extra home, especially that really cool table I saw. Oh well, it really was so great to experience one of those European flea markets that I had always heard about.  From the flea market we headed to De Biomarkt and Melting Pot Kilo! When you think of these think sustainable living! De Biomarkt which is a really cool warehouse set up as a local grocery store. People were lined up with baskets in hand to get their daily/weekly local, fresh fare. You can get anything here from fresh produce to grains to dairy! From there we walked down the street to find Melting Pot Kilo, a second-hand store where everything you buy is priced by the kilo! Brandy was very happy to find this little shop and the cute leggings she bought there.  

After our walk around residential Brussels, we hunted for a place to eat.  Using our trusty google we were able to find a little hole in wall pizza joint called Ai 6 Angoli, that offered vegan and gluten-free options.  Brandy went for a gluten-free, vegan pizza and I chose a beautiful Arugula Salad.  After we filled our bellies we were ready to take to the streets again and once again Brandy set our course.  

Our trek was once again an up-hill climb, the end point was well worth it. After about a 20 minute walk we made it to the Royal Library of Belgium, at the very center of Brussels. While the smell of books drew Brandy in, I was thrilled by the maze-like gardens, simple round fountains and a walkway lined by beautiful shade trees.  We walked up the steps to get a better view of the gardens and pause for a moment to take it all in, and then continued on our way.

Our next stop was a walk toward the Royal Palace of Brussels.  This is a such a stately expanse of building without being too over the top.  Although we paused a moment to take in the beauty of the royal house, we were actually looking for the gem directly across the street from the Palace, Brussels Park.  This park seems very reminiscent of Central Park in New York City. While still being right in the middle of everything, this is was a very welcome oasis for us, a place to sit and relax after a long day of moving through the city! We sat and people-watched, caught up on social media and just recharged our batteries.  I even got into bird watching as I was seeing some birds that we do not have here in Florida like Magpies and an elusive green bird that Brandy didn't believe I saw.  I would be visited by the "green birds" later in our trip and get my proof.


The last stop on the itinerary that we felt was a must before leaving Brussels was a trip to the Atomium.  So, we hopped on the Metro and headed North. I had never heard of the Atomium and really didn't know what to expect.  What a cool site!  The Atomium was built for the World's Fair in 1958 with five spheres that house permanent and temporary exhibitions and all spheres being open to the public.  We were content to hang out on the green space area to take pictures and help others to take their pictures.

With our last day full of walking and site-seeing in Brussels under our belt, we decided to head back to our Airbnb and relax for a bit.  We laid down to nap and regroup.  As night was approaching we tried our best to find a proper vegan restaurant.  We decided on Mr. Falafel after reading all the great reviews people had left.  We headed back to the tourist area in search of the best Falafel in Brussels.  When we arrived, we were surprised by the small little hole in the wall restaurant with a total of four tables on the interior.  When we tried our falafel pita, we understood what all the raving was about.  I think it, by far, is the best falafel and hummus I had ever had!  We were very pleased with our dinner choice.  After dinner, we decided to head back to our room and get our things ready to take off for our next destination.  The next morning we would be headed to the Brussels airport for an early morning flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.  

It's An Adventure!! 

36 Hours In Brussels, Belgium!

Sometimes you are not going to be allotted a very long time in a city. 36 hours is definitely not a ton of time in a new city but where there's a will there is a way! 

Here is a list of things you should definitely see, eat and do in Brussels, Belgium in 36 hours!


Parking 58

You may be wondering, what is Parking 58? Some crazy cool club? Nope! It is an actual parking garage. At ten stories tall, head to the very top to get an amazing view of the entire city! You can even see the Atomium in the far-off distance! Parking 58 is a fun and free way to see a lot of the city! NOTE: It is a little sketchy at the top so I do suggest going during the day, especially if you are traveling alone.

Sint-Katelijneplein Place Sainte-Catherine

Just right across the street from Parking 58, this little square is absolutely beautiful! Sit next to the reflection pond in the shade of the cathedral. This would be a great place to bring lunch to just sit and people watch and the cathedral is a great photo stop.

Brussels Stock Exchange

Not exactly the kind of architecture I would expect for a stock exchange, the Brussels Stock Exchange is a beautiful building and a must-see stop for your first time in Brussels! It is also another great place for photos and people watching, as you will be in a sea of tourists and locals alike.

Manneken Pis

I am sure you have seen it before, BUT, did you know it lived in Brussels? Yes, the small peeing boy fountain can be found in one of the alleyways of the old town. He is out all times of the year but if you do happen to be traveling during or near a holiday you may be lucky enough to see the young lad dressed in holiday-appropriate attire! 

Old Market in Marollen

Love to thrift? Well, then I have just the thing for you! The Old Market in Marollen is a daily flea market open from 6 am - 2 pm! Every single day you can find merchants out in this square selling all kinds of things from clothes to furniture, old cameras to old photographs. I must say it is a really cool place to people watch and find some really unique souvenirs! 

De Biomarkt & Melting Pot Kilo

In the same area as the Old Market, you can find De Biomarkt and Melting Pot Kilo! When you think of these think sustainable living! De Biomarkt is a really cool warehouse set up as a local grocery store. You can get anything here from produce to grains to dairy! Just down the street from there you can find Melting Pot Kilo! This was one of my favorite stops, a second-hand store where everything you buy is priced by the kilo! If you are part of a more minimalist/sustainable lifestyle, I would highly recommend these stops!

The Royal Library of Belgium

One of the most important cultural institutes in Belgium, the Royal Library of Belgium, stands tall at the very center of Brussels. They have a beautiful garden to look out on and over hundreds of thousands of books! It is really quite amazing to see a library as big as it is standing there, a testament to some of the good qualities of the human race.

Brussels Park

Across the street from the Palace, you can find Brussels Park. Very similar to Central Park in New York City, this park is a lovely place to escape the city while still being right in the middle of everything! A fantastic spot to go for a run, sit and read or just people watch. It is a very well maintained park and you will also see a lot of authorities patrolling this area too.


I feel like this is a top five must stop when in Brussels! The Atomium is a giant 102 m tall structure that was built for the World's Fair in 1958. It is absolutely breathtaking! The Atomium is kind of out of the city, but you can still take the metro all the way to the park. There is a whole tour and I believe climb that you can do at the site but if you are on a budget there are many spots around the site to get great photos for free. Definitely a nerdy but cool site!


Moon Food

Vegan? Raw vegan? Looking for some delicious food? Look no further than Moon Food! It is located over by the Royal Library and Royal Square. Here you can get a buffet style of all kinds of vegan, raw, and gluten-free dishes. I 100% recommend ordering one of their incredible desserts!  Moon Food is a little pricey, but most buffet-style restaurants are. They are English friendly and have a great vibe!

Ai 6 angoli

If you are looking for some good vegan pizza, look no further than Ai 6 angoli! With both a vegan and non-vegan menu, this is a great stop for people of all dietary choices. The staff was great and accommodating definitely English, French, and Dutch friendly!

Mr. Falafel

A tiny little whole in the wall doesn't look like much on the outside, but Mr. Falafel shop is some of the best Falafel pitas we have ever had! They are English-friendly and boast some of the best ratings of any restaurant I have ever seen. We definitely suggest stopping in to get yourself some good food.


I fell in love with Brussels. Of course, the big cities is where I feel at home! While there were plenty of tours available and offered in Brussels we decided to only buy metro passes and see the city that way. Like we mention in our Ghent article we suggest using the USE IT MAPS for their Brussels map, it has all the must-see places on there!

Ghent, Belgium

Since Antwerp was not one of our favorites, it was not very hard for us to say goodbye. Sunday morning we got up early, determined to make it to Ghent in time for their many Sunday markets. It was oh so worth it! 

We made our way from the train station via tram in search of the Sin Jacobskerk Flea Market.  For trinkets and thrifting we definitely recommend checking out this Sunday market. That was our first stop of the day.  It was a very cold morning so we had to bundle up! After leaving the market we explored the streets of Ghent taking in the ancient looking architecture and set out to find this flower market that we saw on our tram ride from the train station. With the help of some very lovely locals, we made it to the flower market at the Kouter! 


Tulips were everywhere! It was amazing! Flowers and dogs and music and people. Lots and lots of people. It was really cool to see all the locals, of all ages coming to get flowers for the house. It is one of those things I have never really thought about, but it must be so nice to constantly have fresh flowers in your house.

The Ghent City Centre is extremely walkable with multiple cathedrals and beautiful architecture everywhere you look. We stopped to listen to the bells of the Belfry, took pictures of town hall (Stadius), and marveled at the gorgeous Gothic lines of St. Nicholas Church. We also walked the square of Vrijdagmarkt. After exploring the markets and some of the city, we decided to grab some lunch.  This was a lot harder than we expected. While Ghent offers quite a few Vegan restaurants, and because it was Sunday, the amount of open vegan restaurants was greatly reduced.

We ended up choosing Komkommertijd which literally translates to cucumber time. I mean how cute is that! Komkommertijd is a completely vegan restaurant set up in that buffet style that we have come very accustomed to while in Europe. The food was great, however, it was great for a very pretty penny. Also, tables here fill up pretty quickly so I suggest reserving a table if you think it might be busy. 

After lunch, we headed back onto the streets of Ghent to see the sites.  And we were not disappointed! As we traversed the streets of Ghent, we happened upon an alleyway named Graffiti Street. Wow, there was so much to see on this little street and we happened to luck out as an artist and his assistant were busy leaving their mark on the street.  From Graffiti Street we headed toward Gravensteen Castle.  This castle looked like something right out of King Arthur.  Built between 1100 and 1200, Gravensteen Castle is the epitome of Medival Architecture. 

After looking around the Castle, we decided to check into or hostel and drop our backpacks that we had been carrying all day.  Trek Hostel was an easy sell for us for the sheer kitsch of it. Imagine little themed campsites with small travel campers but inside a large warehouse.  We reserved the Zen Campsite which was quite cozy and pretty zen except for the couple in the loft above our campsite that we could hear walking back and forth and up and down their stairs. It felt really nice to lounge for a bit and rest our backs from the seven miles we had walked with our packs on. 

After relaxing a bit, we headed out in search of some dinner which took us back toward Graffiti Street.  We settled on Mosquito Coast.  This is not a 100% vegan restaurant, but Mosquito Coast is the ultimate restaurant for travelers and backpackers alike, offering a variety of options from all over the world! The restaurant had great vibes and was very popular with diners of all ages. The restaurant and staff were very English-friendly and had English menus and website in English!  No guessing or Google translating necessary! After dinner, the sun was setting so we walked back to the hostel.  On the way, we got to witness some of Ghent's locals having a large block party.  Let's just say everyone seemed to be feeling shiny!

The next morning we checked out of Trek and headed back across the city to check out some of the small parks we had read about. The first on the list was Citadel Park. You can easily get to Citadel Park on foot from the train station. It is a very large park in the middle of the city with it's own gardens, museums and beautiful Japanese-inspired, tranquility pond with cherry blossoms in full bloom! 

Across from the pond, we spotted Leopoldskazerne. What used to be the fortified five-sided Leopold Barracks have now become home to the Higher Institute of Fine Arts. The buildings are very long covering several blocks in both directions and giving off a very stoic vibe.  At first, I thought it might have been a prison of some sort. Until we looked it up, we did not realize that it actually is a perimeter of buildings with a large inner "yard" area. If you are passing by, trust me you will not miss it!

The last park we traveled to was the absolute best way to cap off our trip to Ghent, Muink Park. This sweet, serene park, right in the middle of a residential area is probably a city block in size.  Just the right size for the kids to get out and play at the little playground or to sit under the blooming Cherry Trees and contemplate life, which is exactly what we did.  

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the train station to catch our train to Brussels.  Ghent was much harder for us to say goodbye to.  There was still so much to see.  Brandy vowed that she would one day return to Ghent to see more and enjoy the unhurried life it seemed to offer.  We caught the tram back to the train station and headed to Brussels.

  Would we find the same easy-paced life there?  We didn't know, but what we did know is...

It's An Adventure! 

24 Hours in Ghent

Sometimes you are not going to be allotted a very long time in a city. We would generally say that if you have 24 hours or less in a city than it is more of a day trip. However, that does not mean there's not still a ton of stuff to do and see!

Here is a list of things you should and can do, see, and eat in Ghent, Belgium in just 24 hours!



Possibly one of the absolute coolest castles I have ever visited, Graventeen is located to the north of Ghent's city centre. This castle screams middle ages with it's semi-moat and beautiful architecture. When walking up to it, all I could think about was one of my favorite movies "A Knight's Tale". You can even go inside a look around for an entrance fee. 100% recommend.

Graffiti Street

We actually accidentally stumbled upon this gem of the city on our way to our hostel but it is actually very easy to find! All you have to do is to type into your maps app "Graffiti Street Ghent" and it pops right up! This whole alley is filled with the artwork of some amazing street artists and is a great place for a photo shoot or a background for your next profile pic! You may even get lucky and run into one of the artists while they are adding to the walls, it is really cool to watch them work.

Saint Nicholas' Church, Het Belfort van Gent, Saint Bavo's Cathedral, Sint-Michielsbrug

The reason these four locations are all lumped together is because they are all so extremely close to each other. We did not go inside any of these breath taking buildings but we did spend the late afternoon on the greenway outside Saint Nicholas's Church admiring all that was around us. The bridge/ street next to St. Michielsburg is where you can see all four buildings at once. This is a great place for pictures!


The St. Jacobskerk Cathedral was the first place we went when we got to Ghent. On Sunday mornings this is where you will be able to find a really nice flea market.  This is a great place to stop by, talk to some locals and maybe even pick up some super-unique souvenirs! 


You can easily get to Citadelpark on one of the trams from the train station. It is a very large park in the middle of the city with it's own gardens, museums and beautiful tranquility pond!


What used to be the fortified five sided Leopold Barracks have now become home to the Higher Institute of Fine Arts. The building is right across the street from Citadelpark and is a mammoth of a building with absolutely beautiful architecture. If you are passing by, trust me you will not miss it!


Muinkpark was our last stop during our time in Ghent and it is just this really cute really tiny park in the middle of a residental area. Definitely a cute place to take kids, go for a run or just sitting and think. While we were there, the tranquil little pond was surrounded by Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom.



Komkommertijd which literally translates to cucumber time (I mean how cute is that!) is a completely vegan restaurant set up in that buffet-style. The food was great, however, it is great for a very pretty penny. Also, tables here fill up pretty quickly so I suggest reserving a table if you think it might be busy. This is a great place for vegans and vegetarians, and they also offered gluten-free options! NOTE: Komkommertijd only takes cash!

Mosquito Coast

This is not a 100% vegan restaurant, but Mosquito Coast is the ultimate restaurant for travelers and backpackers alike! Just down the street from Graffiti Street, here you can find drinks and dishes from all over the world! The vibes here are amazing but it is a very popular place so I definitely suggest making a reservation in advance. They are English friendly with both menus and website in English!


Ghent was such an amazing city but we actually never took a real tour while we were there. This is one of those cities that is extremely walk-able and, honestly, when you can walk to all the major monuments I suggest saving your money and creating your own walking tour! I also highly recommend looking up USE IT MAPS for their Ghent map, it has all the must-see places on there!

Antwerp, Belgium

18 hours of travel. 2 planes. 1 train. 1 bus. And not enough sleep. 

But we made it to Antwerp!


After quickly getting our keys to our place and dropping off our packs we set out into the city. We made our way down De Keyserlei, which is just next to Antwerp Central and is basically a long strip of restaurants and shops! If you follow down De Keyserlei you make it down to some amazing architecture and even more shopping. At first we had a set destination to find food but we kind of just got caught up in the city itself. 

Eventually we found ourselves in the shadow of the Cathedral of Our Lady, an absolutely beautiful church! After some pictures we realized that we were actually pretty close to the restaurant we had set out to find in the first place, Greenway! This amazing vegan-friendly restaurant was very delicious and has locations in Ghent and Brussels, as well! We highly recommend checking them out. While sitting at lunch we started to feel the effects of our jet-lag, but pushed on to explore just a little more before heading back to our Airbnb where we basically fell into mini-commas until the next morning (when you're jet-lagged you are jet-lagged). The last few sites we got to see for the day were the Brabo's Monument, the Stadhuis van Antwerpen and the Grote Markt. The great thing about Antwerp is that it is very walker-friendly.  The historic centre holds many of it's must-see places.

The next morning we got up and made our trek back to Antwerp Central Station (we used this as our home base for getting around the city). From the outside, the train station is pretty, definitely a spot you would want to stop and take a picture. But, the outside is nothing compared to what awaits you inside! The main lobby of this train station reminded us of the interior of Hogwarts Castle. 

From here we decided to take a stroll to the park.  Park Spoor Noord is park built on reclaimed railway land, with sports, play areas, skate park & terrace for concerts. While there we caught a Saturday morning soccer game.  From there we headed to find lunch.  We decided on sushi, since it seemed we saw sushi restaurants on every corner.  We decided to try Wasabi Sushi and were happy with our decision.  We had the waiter help to translate the menu and were very pleased with our veggie rolls and seaweed salad.

From there we headed on a walkabout the city to take in what the city had to offer.  From talking to our Airbnb host, Isa, Antwerp is a destination for great Belgium shopping.  High-end shops by famous designers line the streets in Meir, the Fashion District and the Historic District. Since we do not really shop while travelling, we still stopped to admire many of the shop windows we passed.  

As the sun was starting to set, we decided to find a great Vegan restaurant for dinner.  One of the restaurants that came up on our search came highly suggested by great reviews, so we decided to try it.  And, let's just say, we were very happy with our selection.  This was my favorite dinner of our entire trip!  DeBroers van Julienne is considered a vegetarian restaurant, but had many vegan options and many entrees that could be made vegan. Their raw Chocolate cake is to die for!

With our bellies full and looking toward the travel ahead, we made our way back to our Airbnb to get a good night's sleep before heading to Ghent.  While Antwerp did not top of our list of favorite cities, we had a very nice time and saw some beautiful sites.  For those who love to shop, Antwerp is probably the Belgian destination for you!   

48 Hours in Antwerp

Sometimes you are not allotted a very long time in a city. 48 hours may not be the ideal amount of time to spend in a city but, if you plan everything out, you can definitely see a good portion of the city.

So to continue on our limited time travel guide series here is what you can see, eat and do in Antwerp, Belgium in just 48 hours!

Must Sees:

Antwerpen Centraal Station 

I know it sounds weird to put a train station on the list of things you must see in a city but, trust me, you will not be disappointed! This train station is one of the most beautiful train stations I have ever seen and it has even made its way onto a few lists of must-see train stations! This is also the easiest way for you to travel to other parts of Belgium.

Park Spoor Noord

Park Spoor Noord is a great place to go in Antwerp to get that local feel. This huge park was created on reclaimed railway land and has a great modern feel. This is a great place to take a morning run or have a picnic on the lawn.  You may even catch a morning soccer game like we did.

Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal Antwerpen)

Within the historic Antwerp Centre, the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp stands tall and beautiful among it's fellow buildings. This point of interest is definitely worth a look and a picture and you can go inside and look around for a small entrance fee.

Brabo's Monument

Still, within the historic centre, you can find the Brabo's Monument. Another picturesque landmark, the statue stands right in front of the town hall and is a breathtaking sight. With beautiful architecture and tons of little shops and restaurants all around, it was a very populated area with both locals and tourists alike.

Grote Markt

If you are standing at the Brabo's Monument and just pivot around you will easily find Grote Markt. You are basically already standing in it. This is considered the old city quarter and is where you can find some of the most beautiful architecture in all of Antwerp. We highly encourage that you take some time to walk down these streets, you can get some incredible photos here.



If you are looking for some yummy vegan food I have your answer. Greenway is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant with many options from salad to burgers and they have great side dishes like the "to die for" Mediterranean potato with an herb aioli sauce!

Wasabi Sushi 

One of our running jokes while in Antwerp was just how many sushi places there were, this joke actually went on to apply to every city we visited during the trip. Wasabi Sushi is a very tiny and cute sushi restaurant near the water. Fairly walkable from Park Spoor Noord, they offer a great selection of veggie rolls. They do not have English menus but, the waiter was very kind in translating the menu for us.

De Broers van Julienne

This was probably one of the most expensive restaurants we ate at the entire trip but, the food at De Broers van Julienne is so delicious, you won't even care. This super chic and modern restaurant appears to have once been a house renovated into and open floor plan. They specialize in vegetarian dishes, with some completely vegan dishes and some you can customize to be vegan. They have an English menu and the staff was super sweet. This ended up being mom's favorite restaurant for the trip.


During our time in Antwerp, we did not go on any tours. It was a little bit not wanting to spend the money and a little bit disinterest in our options. The tour we were most interested in was De Ruien, which is a tour that takes you underneath the city of Antwerp and through the sewers. There are other things to do like museums and the Antwerp Zoo which is located right next to Centraal Station.


Chichen Itza VS Tulum

Ahh, the million dollar question when traveling to Cancun! Should you make a trip to Chichen Itza or Tulum? To make things really easy and also not be any help at all, go to both! 

Now I know you're like, "Really? If I could go to both I wouldn't be here right now." Ok, ok. I understand. Well in our 72 hours in Cancun blog we talked about our tour of Tulum but we didn't really talk about why we chose Tulum over Chichen Itza, so here it is!

When we originally got to Cancun we were determined to go to both seeing as we had three days and each was only about a 12-14 hour tour. However, money for this trip was a little tight and so we felt it was necessary to choose between the two. The prices were practically the same with Tulum only being a few dollars cheaper.

The next question is which would we have more fun at. Now, that was a really hard question to answer. After scouring the internet and talking to many people, both natives and tourists alike, we came to an agreement on Tulum.  

The biggest selling point on Tulum was that the tour offered more to see and do, including, two archaeological sites and a cenote (for a little bit cheaper than a tour that only took you to Chichen Itza). 

I had honestly never heard of Tulum until we had started to plan the trip, but it came so highly recommended. Being that we are such huge water people, it also was a big plus that it was right on the water. I think it is safe to say that, if and when we make our next trip down to Mexico, we will consider actually staying in Tulum for a few days of culture, history, sunshine and waves! Hope this helps you make your decision! 


72 hours in Cancun!


Since you guys really seemed to enjoy our last 72-hour travel guide to New Orleans, we figured we'd come back with another one! Sometimes, you just don't have the amount time in a city that you'd like to. To be honest, 72 hours is a pretty good time frame to get an overarching sample of a city. 

We've got some suggestions of things to do, see, and eat if you only have 72-hours in Cancun Mexico! 

Must Sees:

The Tulum Ruins:

Let's begin with my absolute favorite place we visited, Tulum! Tulum is not exactly in Cancun. It is about 130 km to the south, but is super-accessible by both tour buses and public ADO buses. Having only seen a fraction of its glory, Tulum is absolutely beautiful. The number one stop has to be the Mayan archaeological site that is right on the water. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the beauty and history of this amazing city.


Do you like hiking and maybe a little bit of a physical challenge with an amazing view of the jungle as the reward? Well, then your place is Coba. While being another location out of Cancun, many of the tour buses also make a stop at the Coba archaeological site. The site is what remains of a Mayan village with residential buildings, sporting arena, and temples. Climb to the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid to get an untouched, incredible view of the Yucatan. WARNING: This is a pretty intense climb and even harder to climb down from. Please assess your physical condition before making the climb to avoid any accidents or injuries!

Playa del Carmen:

On your way out of Cancun, you can pass through Playa del Carmen. This little coastal city is filled with things to do! It is right on the water with shops, restaurants, and bars lining the area. There is even a fantastic outdoor mall with some shops you may be familiar with (Starbucks) mixed in with some local establishments. If you are looking to get out of Cancun, but want that beach city vibe, Playa del Carmen is 100% recommended. 

Playa Delfines:

While there are a ton of beaches to visit in Cancun, we recommend heading down to Playa Delfines! While it is still within the hotel zone, just much further down, you can still access it on the city bus. Keep an eye out for the super colorful Cancun site and that is your stop! White sand, free beach umbrellas (that is if they are not all taken) and breathtaking water.  NOTE: We definitely suggest bringing any drinks you may want with you while you are there, because, while they do have people selling drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) those drinks are marked up about 3x the price and take forever to be brought to you!

Mercado 28:

When visiting Cancun, we suggest you visit Mercado 28. You won't need to spend a ton of time here, but you certainly could if you wanted to. Mercado 28 is a huge open-air flea market, and when we say huge, we mean HUGE! You can definitely get lost in there. It is a great place to find some delicious food and great souvenirs for a good price. This is definitely a place to hone your bargaining skills. Be prepared for people to call out to you from each stall you pass and in some areas it can get a little claustrophobic.

Isla Mujeres:

Right off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a fantastic place for a few days, a day trip or even an afternoon trip. Just the ferry trip over to the Isle is gorgeous. The water doesn't look real. There is so much to do on this one tiny island. From beaches to the lighthouse, the turtle sanctuary, and the underwater Mayan ruins. it's just a super-cute getaway destination!


100% Natural: 

The first place we ate at in Cancun was 100% Natural. This is a great, mostly-vegan restaurant with amazing lentil and mushroom burgers! We highly suggest getting one of the juices, and, you HAVE to get the sweet potato chips! They are so delicious. Not the most English-friendly restaurant, but they do have English menus!


Cheesters is very close to the Hostel Ka'beh, where we stayed. When we got back really late one night, it was really the only place that was still open. To start, their smoothies are incredible! I went back more than once in 72 hours to get one of their smoothies. Now for the food, they serve a variety of pasta and pizza dishes in insane portions. You are definitely going to be sharing one of these meals. They, unfortunately, don't have any vegan options on their actual menu, but were very accommodating by making us a special pasta dish with a bunch of veggies. Not very English-friendly, so we mostly spoke Spanish while there.


This little hole in the wall restaurant is directly next to Cheesters and caters to a vegetarian and vegan clientele. NOTE: This is actually where we learned how to say vegan in Spanish.... vegano. I know, it seems obvious. They served a simple menu of sandwiches, wraps, and smoothies. This is a great place to grab some lunch, which is basically all you can get there because their hours are very short. We kept missing when they were open and only ended up being able to get smoothies from there.

Vegan Planet:

This was the only restaurant we went out of our way to get to, and it was completely worth it! The menu was huge with both cooked and raw options. The two meals we suggest the most are the Raw Tacos or the Raw Pizza. I mean come on, any chance you get to have really good raw, vegan food, you take it! It is so worth it.  


Tulum and Coba

The only tour we actually went on in our time in Mexico was on the Tulum/Coba tour! It is a 12-14 hour tour that includes the bus, entrance into both the Tulum and Coba archaeological sites, swimming in a cenote and food. The base price does not include drinks, but you may buy an unlimited drink band from the bus driver, which we recommend. You will get hot and need lots of water and they also offer some juices and beer as well. This tour is a great way to get a ton done in one day, and by visiting these sites with a tour, you learn more about the sites.

*Now, as I said above, we only went on one tour during our time and that was due to both money and time. But, if you are more focused on tours and/or have more time in Mexico, Chichen Itza and MUSA, Cancun's Underwater Museum, are highly recommended.



72 hours in New Orleans!

Sometimes, you just don't have the amount time in a city that you'd like to. To be honest, 72 hours is a pretty good time frame to get an overarching sample of a city. 

With 72 hours in New Orleans, Louisiana you can get a little taste of everything the town has to offer! 

Must Sees:

Magazine Street:

This is one of the main streets of New Orleans, where you can find quite a selection of small, independent and local shops and restaurants. Magazine Street is recommended for anyone looking for thrift stores!

The French Quarter:

Most of the sites, bars, and restaurants you are going to will be within the French Quarter, New Orleans oldest neighborhood. If you want to pack in as much as possible into a short trip you will definitely be devoting a whole day to this neighborhood.

Bourbon Street:

You cannot go to New Orleans and not go to Bourbon Street! Even if you do not drink, Bourbon Street is iconic.  Go to Bourbon Street in the evening to see the street come to life with music, lights, and people from all over the world. 

The French Market:

The French Market, in the French Quarter neighborhood, is described as three centuries of history in six blocks of shopping. This would be another spot I would recommend to people who like to thrift or looking for some really good food.  The Market is very similar to an outdoor flea market with booth-style shops, restaurants, and dining!

Jackson Square:

There is always something going on in Jackson Square. This is a great place to go if you are looking for street vendors. There is music, art, and street performances.  Check out Jackson Square for good vibes and a lot of culture.

The River Walk: 

It is not actually in the French Quarter, but is still easily accessible. The River Walk is a very nice indoor shopping area right on the Mississippi River. We would definitely recommend walking down the river through Woldenberg Park. This area is really great if you would like to go for a run.


Pizza Delicious:

This is a super cute little pizza joint with a few vegan options! Pizza Delicious offers great food for the price! 

Izzo's Illegal Burrito Bar:

Izzo's is a chain restaurant specializing in Mexican style food and is similar to a Moe's or Chipotle.  You can get huge burritos for a good price and you can make it exactly how you want it.

Cafe Du Monde:

We 100% recommend putting this on your stop even though it is not vegan-friendly.  It was really cool to see the very first Cafe Du Monde. Open since 1862, they are famous for their cafe au laits and beignets. 

The Green Goddess:  

Found on a small side street in the French Quarter, The Green Goddess has such an amazing array of vegan and vegetarian dishes influenced by cultures around the world.  They have a great menu, amazing staff, and delicious food.  This is a great place for a quaint romantic dinner.  What could be better than fairy lights out on a patio with compassionate food?!

Mister B's:  

Also located in the French Quarter, Mister B's is a very fancy restaurant with a wide variety of meal selections.  Nothing on the menu is explicitly vegan, but the staff was very welcoming and accommodating to help find ways to make certain items vegan. They also have amazing vegan sherbert. However, like I said, this is a fairly fancy restaurant so expect to spend a little extra.  

*Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge:

This is not exactly a place for food, but we seriously cannot suggest it enough! Almost directly across the street from Mister B's, the Carousel Bar is just what its name says. It is inside the Hotel Monteleone and has a slow revolving bar that looks reminiscent of a carousel. They tend to have live jazz and the staff is amazing. Of course, the revolving bar is the main attraction so it does get pretty packed.  Luckily, if all you are after is a drink, there is a second bar a little further back.  Please be warned, the drinks are expensive, but strong. They definitely know how to pour a drink!


Carmo is a laid back vegan-friendly restaurant near the National WWII Museum with great tropical influence and good vibes. Probably one of our favorite places, the food is incredible and very well priced.  We 100% recommend trying the vegan Rico! 

Meals From The Heart Cafe:

If you find yourself in the French Market looking for some vegan cuisine, allow us to suggest Meals From The Heart Cafe. Set up as a very cute stand-alone diner, you can go right from shopping to eating some amazing vegan and gluten-free dishes! 


Audubon Zoo:  

With the choice between the zoo and the aquarium, we decided to go with the zoo. We mostly made this decision because it was a little cheaper and they had a student discount, which was nice, but we definitely were not disappointed with our choice. The Audubon Zoo is in the middle of Audubon Park and filled with amazingly beautiful animals, many of which are rescue animals.

The National WWII Museum:  

One of our favorite subjects to learn about, the WWII museum was really cool.  It was set up as an interactive story where you personally follow a historical figure throughout the story of the war. The scenery is incredible and very immersive.  This is definitely a museum we would suggest for young people as well as families. 

*In our 72 hours, we only did two "tours" but we would also like to note that both The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the New Orleans Cemeteries looked extremely intriguing.  If you have more time in New Orleans, or if tours are your thing, we would recommend you check these out!

And always remember,
It's an adventure!

In With The New! Relaunch In June!

Hello wanderers and those who love to get lost! If you are new to our site, welcome!  If you have been with us for a while now, welcome back! 

My name is Brandy and with my mother Melissa, we make up the two halves of Pure Life Travelin (PLT), a travel and lifestyle-oriented blog brought to you with the diverse perspective of a mother/daughter team.

We are very excited to announce that we are in the process of a complete overhaul of our site and will relaunch the new and improved PLT on June 1, 2017. We started this blog and travel journey last August, not really knowing what we were doing or even how to go about it. Now almost 9 months later and with multiple trips under our belt, we have a better grasp on what we would like to produce and share with the world!

Right now, the PLT site will remain as is and you can expect 3 new blogs before June. We weren’t just going to leave you high and dry! Then, come May 25th, our site will go down for maintenance. This will be a 7 day period when we completely revamp PLT with new features, graphics, and layout. During this time feel free to head on over to our other social media outlets so you do not miss any announcements! We will also be doing a countdown to the relaunch!

Some new features to expect:

  • New Content 
  • The Addition of YouTube Videos
  • Monthly Newsletters
  • A Comment Feature on Blogs
  • And Much More!

As we said up above, the PLT website is not the only place you can expect to see some changes. We are excited to announce the addition of videos to our Youtube channel as well as some cosmetic improvements to all our social media. We want our readers to have a great comprehensive relationship with our content across all platforms.

Traveling is an amazing gift that we have been introduced to. It has opened our eyes, minds, and hearts to the beauty and diversity of our planet. Our mission is to share with you, our journeys, to entertain, inspire, and educate for a more connected global community.

It's An Adventure...
Brandy & Melissa Walker


Magazine Street NOLA


When it comes to New Orleans, Louisiana, there are thousands of things to do, especially if you visit during Mardis Gras. 

One of our favorite gems of the city has to be Magazine Street! It is quaint and cute and full of 100's of shops and restaurants!

If you are using public transport you can hop on the 11 bus on Magazine Street right off of Canal Street. If you take the bus down to the Milan or the stop right after you can get out and start walking back towards Canal Street. I know it sounds odd but I promise it gives you the best clumping of stores. (Fun fact! If you take the 11 bus even further you can get to the Audubon Zoo and Park)


The vibe of the area is very friendly and welcoming. It is definitely a spot shared by both tourist and locals. You can basically find whatever you could possibly want on Magazine Street, from coffee shops to thrift stores, antique shops to fine dinning, fast food to book stores! It is just so eclectic. 

We stepped into almost all the thrift stores including the Buffalo Exchange and The Funky Monkey We decided to grab a quick bite to eat at Izzo, which is known for their giant burritos, but let me tell you it was difficult to choose a single place to eat! Magazine Street is very vegan- friendly.

After a few hours strolling the streets and window shopping, we decided to hike back towards the River Walk. The best thing is that there is always an 11 bus running both ways, so whether or not you want to go deeper down Magazine Street towards the Zoo or make your way back up towards Canal Street where you can get to all the bars the public transportation, it is both easy and convenient! Of course, make sure you are checking for bus times and any changes made to the routes (that's just a good tip for traveling in general). 


So next time you find yourself in New Orleans, make sure you make time to stroll down Magazine Street and let us know your favorite store or restaurant! We might just have to go back again if we missed out, but until then...

It's an adventure!