Palenque , Mexico

Surviving the Road to the Ruins of Palenque

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque Ruins
Hola!
I’m super excited to tell you about my adventure in Palenque, some of the most amazing Maya ruins in Mexico, dating back to 200 AD. Those of you that know me are aware that I grew up wanting to be a flight attendant! I did want to get a degree first though (just in case my career airline ever went belly up) and I thought it’d be wise to have a back up plan. I wanted to study something I could use when I was traveling so I majored in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Maya Civilization Archaeology. I’m going to do my best to give you a flight attendant’s guide instead of an archaeologist’s guide to Palenque. What I mean by that is, I’m going to give you the basics of why to add Palenque to your travel bucket list. If I get enough feedback though, I’d love to write a second, more in-depth post, diving into some of the amazing artefacts, temples and inscriptions that you can find at Palenque.

 

What/Where is Palenque?

(For all you non-Spanish speakers, this is pronounced pah-leyn-kay)

Palenque is an ancient Maya site located in the Chiapas (southern) region of Mexico.

 

Why is it special?

King Pakal, once ruler of Palenqeue, was the longest reigning ruler in Mayan history, 80 years! You can witness the majesty of what he reigned over, the temples still awe-inducing in their majesty. Even more incredible is that Palenque has so many inscriptions and stelae that archaeologists haven’t even been able to decipher them all yet. That is absolutely mind-blowing! Inscriptions not your thing? Palenque’s white, limestone temples peek through lush jungle and glitter in the sun, demanding their greatness shall not be forgotten, making the Palenque temples amongst the most iconic and magnificent in the realm of the Maya.

 

I have been to many Mesoamerican ruins, Toltec, Zapotec, Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Palenque still holds a special place in my heart.

 

Why is it my favorite?

 

Palenque is much unreconstructed compared to other ruinsA Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque like Chichen Itza, which is cool, but disappointing as ruins because you feel like you’re walking onto the set of a postcard. Other ruins like Teotihuacan are mostly reconstructed as well, but still grand enough to demand a visit, check out my post on climbing the pyramids there.

You arrive at the entrance of Palenque, walking past locals trying to sell thing to tourists, and you catch your first glimpse of the Temple of Inscriptions. You’re transported. I don’t care if there’s one hundred other tourists there, or you have the place to yourself, it’s impossible to step on to the park grounds and witness that first sight of Palenque’s white temples peeking through the jungle, haze hugging the city like a mystical barrier, and not feel as if you’ve been transported in time.

 

 

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

Get past your awe and explore the park on foot. I recommend not visiting with a group because there is so much to navigate, including jungle where you’ll find more temples and buildings that haven’t even begun to tell their stories, held captive by hundreds of years of jungle, winding their tentacles around the limestone. Hike to the top of the temples and sit. Sit for a moment and listen to the monkeys clamoring in the surrounding jungles and wonder if this is where someone got the idea of King Louie, guarding an ancient city. Or imagine ancient life if you can.

Or take a selfie (preferably after said introspective wondering).

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

We’ve established that this place is incredible, but how do you get there?

 

Not easily. Unless you fly, but that’s no fun…said the flight attendant. ; ) Part of what makes Palenque so cool is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on all sides by jungle. Rather than fly, (this was a backpacking tip after all) I opted for a fifteen hour bus ride from Oaxaca. That’s right… fifteen hours! Experience the real Mexico, I thought. Experience, I did!

 

Let me begin by giving you a bit of my travel background so that you don’t think

Getting to Maya Ruins Palenque
Getting to Maya Ruins of Palenque

I recommend this to everyone. If you are an experienced or at least semi-experiences traveler, I do recommend traveling by road or bus because it allows you to see more of the country. If you’re anywhere that has warnings or advisories (and sometimes Mexico does), and you are a novice traveler, air travel might be safer and less stressful for you.

 

I have been traveling forever since I grew up with airline travel benefits and had already done much solo backpacking across the world as a woman. On top of that, I’m semi-fluent in Spanish, so I was comfortable getting information when things went wrong and how to find my way. Also, some of my family live in Mexico and my aunt (who does humanitarian work there) keeps me pretty appraised of struggles in different regions. For these reasons, I felt comfortable back packing through Mexico for a month.

 

 

When things do go wrong, it makes for the best stories!

And so with my tale of getting to Palenque…

 

If you’ve read my post on a Flight Attendant’s Tips to Air Travel, you’ll know that I always have alka seltzer in my purse in case of a rough flight, or let’s face it- a hangover. I bet you can already sense the ominous tone and where I’m going with this. But Jaye, did you use your own air travel tips for the bus ride? *Face palm* That would be a no. There were so many flight attendant fails during this bus ride that I can not begin to tell you. But I will.

 

From Oaxaca, Palenque by way of San Cristobal de las Casa (also a cool place) is about fifteen hours. At least six hours of that is through mountains for those of you that get car sick (like me). See where this is going? Those of you that have traveled around Mexico much will know that quite frequently, you’ll see traffic stops and trucks full of men armed with gigantic guns. I’m not a gun aficionado, but they’re basic automatic rifles that you see in movies like SWAT. There’s no need to freak out if you see these on the road, and sometimes they’ll even come aboard. You do however, when traveling anywhere, need to be aware of your belongings because tourists are always victims of petty theft.

On this trip, I was traveling my grandma, a gypsy at heart, who had inspired all of her children to be travel addicts. Since we were traveling during the rainy season, she had her favorite yellow rain coat. Our family is from Seattle, so we take rain coats pretty seriously. We both wore our coats on the bus, and placed our backpacks at our feet so that we had all of our belongings on us. Halfway through the mercilessly bumpy ride, we were both exhausted (there’s no sleeping on this overnight ride) and feeling quite green around the gills. Finally, sensing disaster impending, I made my way up the bouncy aisle to tell the driver that my grandma (and probably I) was about to be sick. He then told me (in unimpressed Spanish) when the next stop was. Grand…

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Always travel with a sick sack 🙂

 

My grandma very discreetly removed her rain coat and got sick into the coat pocket in the most lady-like fashion that I’ve ever seen someone be ill. We then twisted up the coat so nothing could spill, and put it in the overhead bin. My grandma contested a bit, preferring to hold onto it rather than place it where someone could steal it. My reply was that it was only a rain coat and nothing was valuable in it so no one would take it. Feeling nauseous myself, I wasn’t super excited to have said coat on our person. Grandma looked at me with a calm expression that said something like, “I’ll probably never see this coat again.”  I on the other hand, assured myself that would not be the case, because the coat was right above us in the bin, and who would steal a bright yellow, vomit-soiled rain coat. By the next stop, my grandma’s favorite rain coat was gone. The next six hours of mountain-hugging roads were the most miserable of any road trip I’ve ever it couldn’t take away our excitement to arrive in Palenque.

 

But travel is magical…and wouldn’t you know it…the rain that trickled arrived at our destination, subsides not long after we stepped foot at Palenque. : )

 

As a matter of fact, you’ll see by my pictures that I was wearing shorts and a tank top and my cheeks look quite flushed. Being in the middle of the jungle at the ruins of Palenque is the sweatiest I have ever felt. The temperature probably wasn’t too high, but the humidity was nuts.

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

A Flight Attendants Guide to Palenque

 

 

Palenque Stelae
That’s my grandma 🙂

 

 

Flight Attendants Guide to PALENQUE


A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque, Mexicov

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque, Mexico

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to PalenqueBut it never once lessened the awe I felt at being there. Palenque is special because you can climb the stairs of the temples and walk through ancient tunnels and into dark, limestone corridors where locals, maybe even Kind Pakal walked. Temple is amazing. I’ll never forget doing that climb with my grandma and just resting on the limestone at the top, gazing over the ancient city.

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Beware of Monkeys and Bats 🙂

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

 

 

 

Wander the grounds, get lost in the corridors, and jungle paths. You’ll find colorful stelae, hidden temples and even waterfalls back in the jungle outskirts of the main landing at Palenque.

 

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

Final Verdict:

 

The Maya ruins at Palenque need to be on your travel bucket list because:

  • History at it’s finest! More stelae and inscriptions than archaeologists even have time to decipher
  • Many real ruins on site, left as they were found and minimally maintained
  • Not too crowded (compared to sites like Tulum or Chichen Itza)
  • You can actually walk through most of the corridors and hike the temple stairs for a view
  • Experience the jungle, howlers moneys and all!
  • Palenque has many amazing waterfalls and sacred cenotes

Getting to Palenque is not for the faint of heart, but experiencing this ancient city will be one of the most vivid travel experiences you’ll ever have. Add the ancient Maya ruins of Palenque to your travel bucket list. You won’t be sorry.

 

So, have you ever had one of those travel experiences where everything goes wrong, but it makes a funny story to tell after?

 

Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

Thinking of having a Palenque adventure of your own? Pin this for later 🙂

A Flight Attendant's Guide to the Ancient Mayan ruins at Palenque

A Flight Attendant’s Air Travel Tips

Flight Attendant Travel Tips to the Perfect Flight

Welcome aboard, it’s your favorite flight attendant! Your insider into the airline industry and it’s quirks.

Flight Attendants see a lot during their work day. It’s air travel…it’s crazy! Being in a pressurized aluminum tube for a certain quantity of time just brings out the most interesting aspects of personalities. Whether flight attendants work one twelve hour flight, or five short hops up and down the coast, you’d be amazed at what we witness passengers doing. But this post isn’t about passenger shaming, it’s about what I’ve discovered is the key to an enjoyable flight for passengers.

Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but honestly, I’ve had way too many passengers on  my flights not seem to understand these points so I’m going to put some of them out there even if they seem obvious to savvy travelers.

So here they are, the basics of air travel that every passenger forgets (but wants)! Remember these for a great flight!

This post contains affiliate links which mean the page administrator (moi) makes a small commission at no cost to you.

 

Tip 1. Never travel without headphones.

 

I think this is the most important key to a great flight. You NEVER know if you’re going to have a screaming baby next to you or behind you. Sometimes it happens and it’s no ones fault. Regular headphones will cancel out most of the noise, but if you have noise-cancelling, even better. Get lucky and there’s no crying baby? Headphones playing your favorite music can still set the tone for your flight, dictating whether you want to get pumped up to go once you land, or lull yourself into a restful sleep, blocking out the snoring passenger next to you. Want a sexy pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones? Yes, so do I. Maybe when I get my next royalty check 😉

Tip 2. You didn’t buy a neck pillow because it looks ridiculous.

Flight Attendant travel tips
Don’t judge me!!!! I can’t help it if I think this animal hoodie/neck pillow is cute 😀

 

No, you look ridiculous when you fall sleep and end up drooling on your neighbors shoulder. That’s right, you fell asleep upright, but now you’re slumped over against the person next to you, mouth completely ajar. I’m not joking or trying to poke fun, this happens all the time! A neck pillow won’t completely prevent slumping over onto your neighbor , but it does help! I recommend this one with memory foam. Buy it BEFORE you get to the airport because at the airport, I kid you not, it will be double the price. In most airports you can’t get a  neck pillow for less than $30. That’s crazy! If you’re a backpacker, opt for a slightly less comfortable, inflatable one like this one instead to save room.

 

Tip 3. Have gum handy, it’s the two in one life saver on your flight.

 

Gum is great for two things, stinky breath of course, but also, it can help when you’re ears are popping. On long flights I make sure to have a tooth brush handy, and if you’re in first class, usually you’ll have an amenity kit with one inside, but sometimes, it’s hard to get to the bathroom for a good brush. Gum will tie you over because whether you had too many garlic rolls (speaking from personal experience obviously, thanks Delta One) or you haven’t eaten at all and have that icky stale mouth feeling, no one wants to feel gross. And don’t get your hopes up asking your flight attendant, we’re not allowed to chew gum so most of us just have mints.

Want to know what I have in my pocket at all times? It’s not gum (since we’re forbidden to chew) it’s…Listerine Strips. I honestly think that Listerine should recruit me as their spokesperson because not only does it keep me incredibly fresh (I’ll probably fail a Breathalyzer test some day because of it) but I’m always touting it’s benefits to everyone around me. My other half is a pilot and back when we first got together, I gave him an in-flight care package that included a supply of Listerine strips. After all, the cockpit is basically a tiny bubble and if someone farts or has bad breath…you’re in big trouble. This brings me to my next point…

 

Tip 4. When nature calls and you need to brave the airplane lavatory Flight Attendant Travel Tips

 

What does every flight attendant carry in their bag? I’ll give you a hint, it’s because passengers are filthy…

It’s called Poopuri. No, that’s not a typo, I didn’t mean potpourri, the grandma’s solution to a fragrant room. I’m talking about Poopuri. It’s a squirt bottle (travel size of course) that you spray prior to going number two and no one will be none the wiser of your ill-timed deed aboard the aircraft. Picture it, you’ve got a line of people waiting for the lavatory, you’re doing something in the bathroom that you really didn’t want to do, the last thing you want to do now is make the walk of shame. Let me say this, no one plans on going number two on the airplane. And yet it happens all the time. Whether it’s the pressurization, too much coffee, eating something bad, or being hung over, people BLOW UP the lavatory. Don’t let it be you. Poopuri smells subtle, but amazing and I can tell you it works on the worst. Sometimes flight attendants will even squirt it into the bowl after an offending passenger walks out. The normal coffee filter pinned to the door trick only works for minor offenders.

 

Tip 5. Tip for my glamorous travelers, keep that hair lookin’ foxy

 

For my ladies (especially my fellow backpackers), Dry Shampoo is everything.

I keep this in my bag at all times as a flight attendant. The air in the plane will make your hair greasy. I’m  not going to lie, I love to look foxy when I’m on the plane doing my thing, untitledbut if I get in late at night and I’m flying out in the morning at O’Dark Hundred, I’m probably not going to wash my hair and restyle for my passengers. Dry Shampoo to the rescue! Not only does it remove the grease from my hair, but it revives the soft curves I styled the day before. Winning! I’m also a female solo traveler when I’m not working and love to go backpacking. When I’m traveling light like this and staying in hostels, I’m going to be real honest, I shower as minimally as possible. Dry shampoo gets me through the in betweens. Sometimes you think you’re going to shower, and then you see that fateful gross shower at your Amsterdam hostel and you think…no way in hell. It’s dry shampoo time.

My favorites are  Morrocon Oil Dry Shampoo (usually purchased right after I get paid), it smells amazing & the cheaper Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo (for when I’ve spent all my money on travel). Don’t forget, unless you’re checking your bag, travel size to get through TSA is 3.4 ounces.

 

Tip 6. Bring a pen

 

This is such a no-brainer, but I get at least one person a flight ask me for one. International flights, make that twenty-plus. The previous airline I flew for did not stock pens, even on international flights, so the flight attendants did not have any to give out. Most airlines will at least have a few for international flights, but not enough for an aircraft full of hundreds of passengers. The plane that I usually work carries 175 people and we may have ten pens in our international packets. You DO NOT  want to be that person filling out their customs/immigration info at the last minute while everyone gets in front of you in the already long lines. Also for my ladies, pens make a great emergency hair pin. If you’re a major traveler, having a pen and travel journal is a must! Keep track of cool people you meet, where you stay, or amazing walks you found that your guidebook didn’t know about!

 

Tip 7. Bring an external charger for your electronic devices

 

Most planes have charging ports for each seat, but not every airline and not every aircraft. Say you’re flying Delta Airlines, and you remember from your last flight that you had a charger at your seat in coach. But now you get to your seat, expecting a similar plane, but you find there’s no charging port! Halfway through your flight your devices are dead. No one wants to land and not have a cell phone, ect. I recommend traveling with an external charger, whether it’s for a flight or if your traveling as a backpacker. I know that I use my cell phone a lot for pictures, ect so I don’t want my battery going dead while I’m halfway across the faerie pools in the middle of nowhere, Scotland in the most amazingly beautiful place I’ve ever been. Disclaimer: DO NOT purchase a cheap or aftermarket external charger because these have been known to catch fire during flight. It’s getting so bad these days with batteries catching fire that even the Samsung 7 phone is required by the FAA for flight attendants to make a PA that the phone can not be powered on during air travel. Lithium Ion batteries are very dangerous to have on planes and never leave them in a checked bag.

 

Tip 8. If you get motion sick, here’s what you need to do

 

Travel with Alkaseltzer or Dramamine. I personally prefer Alkaseltzer and bonus, it’s also good for hangover. Not that flight crew get together and drink way too much on layovers, that doesn’t happen. 😉  If you don’t have either of those things with you, but find that you’re still feeling air sick, don’t hesitate to ring your call button and let you flight attendant know. Ask for a glass of ice chips because chewing on the cold ice will make you feel much better without putting too much in your stomach. Make sure to tell your flight attendant that you’re not feeling well and she might have extra suggestions or things on board to make you feel more comfortable. Also, if you know you’re a traveler that gets air sick, try to plan your seat in advance to seat over the wings. The back of the aircraft is the worst place to sit because it gets the most movement. Instead, sit over the wings where the wings are designed to flex and take the movement upon themselves to ensure a more stable ride.

Flight Attendant's Air Travel Tips to the Best Flight

 

But the tip that most people forget is… wait for it…

 

 

The most important tip is…

 

Tip 9. For a guaranteed great flight, remember that the flight attendant is your best friend!

 

Your flight attendant can console you if you’re sad, reassure you if you’re scared or nervous, feed you if you’re hungry, bring you a drink when your thirsty and give you a memorable flight. When passengers have shared a part of their life with me, I have done my part to become part of their story they tell when they land.

Are you flying to start your honeymoon? Tell the flight attendants when you first board so that we can order you champagne because we may or may not have it onboard.

Traveling to someplace for the first time and finally crossing a destination off your travel bucket list? I’ve made an announcement before in that situation and asked any locals or return visitors to jot down their must-dos for that travelers visit. I passed out cards and pens and told them to hand them to the flight attendant before the flight was done. By the time we landed, that passenger had a stack of unique ideas from his fellow fliers. He was so grateful and it’s an experience he said he won’t forget.

Not everyone travelers for happy things. If you’re on your way to a funeral and not in a good frame of mind, it might be helpful to let your flight attendant know. Whether you need a stiff drink to cope, or just a little extra patience during the flight, your flight attendant is there to help you through that flight.

 

Final Verdict

TheLuvAviatrix

Don’t forget that flying can be fun! Flying can be glamorous! And if you’re scared of flying, don’t forget, you’re flight attendant’s are there for you. If something does go wrong, your flight crew, the flight attendants and the pilots, are extremely well trained. Please always remember that flight attendants are not just on the airplane to serve peanuts. We are the last line of defense, but also we’re your friend, your nurse, whatever you need us to be to make your flight the  best it can be.

 

Have any questions about flying? Don’t be shy and leave them in the comments. I promise to get back to ya.

 

Happy Flying

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

Like these tips? Pin this image for the next time you fly.

A Flight Attendant gives her air travel tips for your best flight. What to bring to make your flight easier

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

The Road To Hana, Maui’s Epic Drive.

The Road to Hana, Maui needs to be on your travel bucket list

Aloha!  If you read my blog, than you’re probably a travel addict with a travel bucket list a mile long. The Road to Hana needs to be at the top of that list if you haven’t already checked it off. What is the Road to Hana? It’s basically Hawaii’s answer to the scenic Highway 1 along the California Coast. Are you ready for this…quite possibly sacrilege coming from a California girl…but I think the Road to Hana surpasses Highway 1, making this Maui drive one of the most scenic drives in the world.

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Flight Attendant Tip: You’re going to need to get a rental car to get around the island and I highly recommend an SUV. Don’t forget, if you’re flight crew, check for discounts. I got an insane deal for five days and the guy at the counter was stunned. I call that a win. Anyways, make sure you get an SUV because on the Road to Hana, not all roads are paved. 🙂 You’ll see in one of my pictures below. It got quite rough and I’ve very glad we weren’t in a tiny convertible.

 

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Anywhere you want to stop along the Road to Hana, you can explore and hike back to a waterfall, you might have it to yourself if you want to swim around. Just be sure to bring bug spray. I recommend this one. The beauty of Hana is to stop along the way. That’s why I say at least a full day but up to three days depending on how many hikes you want to do.

 

Waterfalls along the Road to Hana

 

My absolute must-do hike on the road to Hana is the Bamboo hike. That’s what I call it, but there so many waterfalls on this hike I guess it should be called the Waterfall hike. 😉 The hike begins at the Seven Sacred Pools, several waterfalls that flow into each other and during certain seasons you can swim in. Keep on trekking up the path though and eventually you’ll get to a bamboo forest. It’s absolutely magical, like being in another world. Check out my pics if you need a little inspiration 😉 I wish I could fill this entire post with the bazillions of pictures I took.

 

The Road To Hana needs to be on your travel bucket list

 

The great thing about the Bamboo hike on the way up from The Seven Sacred Pools is that it’s a very easy hike. As you can see in the pictures, much of it is flat trekking. The incline (when there is one) is quite gradual. If you want to get close to the falls or swim in the pools (which is seasonal), make sure you wear a swimsuit or bring waterproof clothes. When I was there, no one was allowed to swim in the pools, so no cute bikini waterfall pics this time. Just a cheesy one of me with my jacket wrapped around my hips. 😉 I’m such a cool kid…I’ve even been known to travel with a fanny pack from time to time.

 

Hike back to this amazing waterfall on the Road to Hana.

 

The bamboo hike is just one of hundreds of possible stops along the road to Hana where you can hike, gaze, or simply fill your Instagram waterfall quota. If you’re an aviation nerd like me (or if you’re a flight crew on a layover) consider putting a visit to Charles Lindbergh’s grave on your Road To Hana pit stop list. The aviation legend (first solo flight across the Atlantic) loved Maui and wanted to be buried on the island. It took us forever to find the church (because it’s so small and there’s no signs), and once we did, we were astounded at how low key it was. I guess I thought there’d be a gigantic airplane sculpture or something. Instead, it was an incredibly non-descript grave. Lindbergh’s still got an amazing view though, and the tiny church and cemetery overlook the ocean.

 

 

Aviation addicts can visit Charles Lindrave in Maui, Hawaii

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Start from Paia and drive toward Hana. Paia has an assortment of restaurants and a grocery store if you want to purchase picnic items or road trip food. I recommend that you not arrive too hungry to Hana as it is quite a sleepy town and I was not successful in finding good food there. No one wants a hangry road tripper. Since I had wanted to get an early start to the Road to Hana, we stayed a couple nights in an airbnb. *If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get $35 towards your next stay* Not familiar with Airbnb? No worries, check out my latest Airbnb post here about my wonderful stay in Paris, The Coolest Airbnb in Paris.

Tip #2. Start early and don’t even think about doing this drive after the sun goes down. Sight-seeing all the glorious flora on both sides of the road is what makes the trip so magical. Not only that, but some of the roads so get quite bumpy and treacherous. Not dangerous, but you definitely want 100% of your faculties. Diminished eyesight on unpaved roads isn’t something anyone wants to deal with on a vacation road trip.

Another tip: I mentioned this in my other Maui post, but when I’m on the island, I would be lost without this book. Especially if you’re doing the Road to Hana, bring a great book with you that will detail many of the waterfalls and beaches you are seeing on the drive and it will tell you exactly what mile markers to look for if you want to hike or pull over for a selfie. 🙂

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook (Kindle Edition)


List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

Final Verdict The Luv Aviatrix on the Bamboo HIke along the Road to Hana

The winding road, lush jungle scenery, cascading waterfalls and turquoise ocean water make this drive incredibly unique. Throw in a rainbow every few miles and you’re experience the ultimate Hawaii vacation. The Road to Hana is the best of Maui. Stop wherever you like, hidden beaches, waterfall hikes, bamboo forests…the possibilities are endless on Maui. So get on a plane to OGG, rent a car and set out on the most amazing drive you’ll ever take, Maui’s Road to Hana.

So, have you done the Road to Hana? What were the highlights for you?

 

 

Haven’t been to Maui and done the Road to Hana yet? Put it on your travel bucket list and pin this image for later 🙂

 

The Rooad to Hana in Maui Hawaii is one of the most scenic drives in the world

 

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, My Fav Italian Getaway

Cinque Terre

Why Cinque Terre, Italy needs to be on your travel bucket list…

 

Imagine the primordial Ligurian cliffs towering three thousand feet over the Italian Riviera, the pale rock, shining in the sun. Now picture the turquoise waters of the famous Riviera stretching out in the distance, marred only by the tiny glittering reflections of Italian sunshine. Sounds idyllic, right? Add to that amazing landscape, hundred-year old, brightly colored homes built along the cliffs and you have a picture that more resembles more of skittles spilled onto rocks that a present day city. When you are walking the cobblestone streets of Cinque Terre, passing locals selling homemade Limoncello or fresh caught sardines, you have no choice but to be transported.

 

Manarola, Cinque Terre

 

 

Getting to Cinque Terre by Air:

 

     Milan (MXP) is my go-to because it’s close in proximity to Cinque Terre

By Train From Milan: Only about two and a half to three hours by train and you’re at La Spezia, the landing point for Cinque Terre. Train tickets will cost between 9-25 Euros depending on train type. Once you’re in full-on prep mode, check out time tables at TrenItalia.

     Rome (FCO) is a solid choice if you have more time cinque polaroid textand want to see more of Italy.

By Train from Rome: Expect a three and a half or four and a half hour ride, there are some trains that do the trip pretty fast, but it’ll cost more.

No matter where you decide to take the train from, all visits to Cinque Terre begin at La Spezia. Think of La Spezia as the landing of Cinque Terre. You can choose to stay here, but I much prefer to immerse myself amongth the “Five Lands” of Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterroso.

 

   Don’t leave Cinque Terre without…

 

Hiking between the five villages of Cinque Terre

My first visit to Cinque Terre was in 2006 and I never took the train once I’d arrived in the first stop from La Spezia. I hiked between every village, working off the fresh pesto I’d consumed with glee. Hiking between the villages through olive groves and along cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Riviera was hardly a chore. Hands down, I think this Cinque Terre hiking itinerary needs to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Unfortunately, in 2011 there was massive flooding in the area and much of the hiking routes were damaged and is still recovering. Don’t let this stop you from visiting, but definitely check for updates on the popular hiking routes in Cinque Terre before you visit.

Soak up some sun with some amazing gelatocinque terre ice cream

 

OMG. I don’t even know what to say to describe the bliss that comes from homemade gelato on a hot day as one gazes out at the Italian Riviera. Truly, it’s a memory I’ll never forget. As a matter of fact, I probably had more than one a day my entire trip. Even flavors I don’t normally like, I LOVED! I call this Cinque Terre treat, Vitamin G 😉

 

 

 

Fish with the locals, or at least watch ;)Vernazza, Cinque Terre

You can’t be a local, but you can just sit back, relax and partake in the relaxed way that Cinque Terre locals get things done. Every day at sun rise, head to the harbor at Vernazza, grab a slice of pizza or a gelato, and cop a squat and watch the fisherman reel in their trophies. Don’t miss out on the cat’s that also flock to the harbor for their dinner as well.

 

Eat your fill of fresh Ligurian pesto!

The moment I stepped off the train in Riomaggiore, Italian men were offering to make me dinner. No kidding. Any woman that has been to Italy will believe me. Farther south, Italian men will offer to make Bolognese. In Cinque Terre, the men of Liguria will make you pesto-from scratch. I took my new friend up on his offer of a home cooked dinner and I was not disappointed. I watched Georgio use a mortar and pestle to hand grind together all the fresh ingredients. I promise you that dinner was amazing, but also, that every where I ate in Cinque Terre, food was prepared by locals with the same care. Maybe it’s the fresh ingredients, but everything in I consumed in Cinque Terre was amazing. I highly recommend the pesto pizza!

 

Still not convinced?

Here’s another glimpse into my past adventures in Cinque Terre

 

cinque terre italy cinque terre cathedralcinque terre olive grove

 

Cinque Terre Kittycinque windows

 

 

Now that you’re convinced you need a vacation to Italy, Cinque Terre perhaps, you’ll need some in-flight reading to leave you inspired…Recognize the cover? Yep, That’s Cinque Terre!

 

Beautiful Ruins

The story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel (Kindle Edition)


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Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

*This is an affiliate link which means I get commission for referring it, but I promise it’s an amazing read and guaranteed to transport you to the Italian Riviera if my post didn’t do the trick 😉

Or how about a Roman Time Travel romance? Read my review here.

Love, Eternally (Book One of the Roman Time Travel Series 1) (Kindle Edition)


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Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

So have you been to Cinque Terre, tell me how much you loved it! The Luv AviatrixIf not, what areas of Italy lave you craving a getaway?

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

P.S. Unfortunately, more recently Cinque Terre has seen an alarming increase in tourism due to cruise ships docking near by. This is bad timing since they were already trying to recover from devastating landslides and Cinque Terre is getting a reputation for disliking tourists. I say, travel there on your own, not with a cruise, and make an opinion for yourself. During the times that I have been there, and friends even recently, have said that locals are still welcoming if you are humble and respectful of the land and damage that has been done by large crowds in these tiny towns.  This is an important message that all travelers should keep with them anyways, no matter where they are.