UK vs US: Road Trip Comparison

As I have been spending more time in England, I notice more cultural differences between the two countries.  Of course, we do share the same language (sort of) but other things that have surprised me.  Let’s take road trips as an example.  You might think doing a road trip in the UK might be the same as one in the US.  Of course there are similarities, but I thought I would share some of the differences I noticed on my recent UK road trip to the Isle of Skye.

One of the many curvy narrow two-way roads on Isle of Skye. "UK vs US: Road Trip Comparison" - Two Traveling Texans
One of the many curvy narrow two-way roads on Isle of Skye.

The most obvious difference is the side of the road that you drive on.  In the US, we drive on the right side so obviously that means in the UK you have to drive on the wrong side.  Luckily, I have Russell who is used to this and drove the whole time! For those of you that have never driven on the left, Katherine did not have issues driving on the left in Anguilla. (more…)

An Introduction to England’s Lake District

I had heard from several people about how lovely the Lake District is.  Well, let me tell you after spending only a day there, it did not disappoint.  I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back and explore more.  In addition to the beautiful lakes, there are so many cute towns and plenty of places to go hiking.  It’s a quiet area, but you will not be bored.

The shores of Lake Windermere by the pier in Bowness. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans
The shores of Lake Windermere by the pier in Bowness.

Lake Windermere is the only real lake in the Lake District and also the largest body of water in England, so we decided to spend most of our time around it.  Lake Windermere Cruises offers several different cruises on the lake.   We decided to try the Red Line, which would take us from Bowness to Ambleside and then back.  Boats run about every 30 minutes, but you should check the schedule for your visit. (more…)

Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie

Of course the first thing you think of when you hear Loch Ness is the legendary monster, Nessie.  I heard about many sightings but even as a kid I doubted the monster really existed.  Still, when I realized we would be going close to Loch Ness on our way to Isle of Skye I thought it would be fun to explore and see if I could have my own Nessie sighting.

The shores of Loch Ness - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
The shores of Loch Ness

Loch Ness is known for more than just Nessie.  It is the biggest lake by volume in the UK because it is very deep in places.  To give you an idea of the scope, it holds more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined.  The water is very calm and we only saw a few boats.  However, the water visibility is extremely low because of the high peat content in the soil.    The area around Loch Ness is very beautiful and very green.  In addition, very few buildings are right on the lake, so it feels very rural. (more…)

Biking by the Beach in the South Bay

For the Fourth of July weekend, I decided to go to LA to visit my friend Kat.  In addition to being one of my best friends the last 12 years, Kat is also a very loyal blog reader.   So when Kat read about my adventures biking in Central Park, she suggested we go biking by the beach again.  Last time I visited her, we had biked from Redondo Beach, where she lives, to Hermosa Beach and back, so our goal this time was to go farther along the South Bay.  Luckily, Kat has several bikes, so I could just use one of hers.  

Love the peacefulness of Redondo Beach in the mornings....
Love the peacefulness of Redondo Beach in the mornings….

The South Bay is a very bike friendly area.  The entire route is about 22 miles mostly on the beach, but there are some sections where you ride in the bike lane on the street.  There are also a few sections by the piers that are crowded, so signs direct you to walk your bike.  Please obey these signs, as I have read about people getting tickets for riding in walk your bike sections.  Unfortunately, there are some sections where pedestrians and and bikers do have to share the same path.  Also, it is nice to know that there are several public restrooms along the route.  The path is pretty much flat, with only a couple of places with slight inclines. (more…)

The Best Way to Get to JFK

I often get asked what is the best way to get to JFK Airport? It sounds like a simple question but the answer is it depends.  Are you pressed for time? Are you trying to save money? Do you have a lot of bags?  What terminal are you going to? Will you be traveling to JFK during rush hour (7-9 am or 4-7pm)? You could choose from the subway, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), taxi/uber/car service, or express bus.  I thought it might be helpful if I shared the pros and cons of each option.

Planes parked at the gates at JFK
Planes parked at the gates at JFK

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Palos Verdes, CA: Hiking and Other Highlights

Those of you that regularly read our blog know that I enjoy hiking, so during my last trip to LA I wanted do more.  Given that I was staying with my friend Kat in Redondo Beach, we figured we should try something in that area.  We settled on hiking the Oceanside Abalone Cove Trail in Palos Verdes, which is about 17 miles south of LAX.  We figured before the hike we could check out the Glass Church (also known as the Wayfarer’s Chapel) and then afterwards we could relax and listen to some live music at the Terranea resort.  My cousin, Jonathan, joined us for our day in Palos Verdes.

Anisa with her cousin Jonathan
Anisa with her cousin Jonathan

The Glass Church is basically a church with walls and ceiling that are mostly glass.  It is set on the top of a beautifully landscaped hill with stunning views of the Palos Verdes coast.  The church has appeared on several tv shows like the OC, 90210, and Revenge. Season nine Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock and new husband Chris Siegfried got married here.  Lloyd Wright, who is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s sons, was the architect of the church, and his son Eric Lloyd Wright designed the Visitor’s center.  You should check out the Visitor Center before heading up to see the church.   (more…)

The Best Pintxos Cooking Class Ever!

Food is definitely one of the reasons I wanted to visit San Sebastian in Basque Country.  There are more Michelin starred restaurants per capita than anywhere else.  In Basque Country, they love pintxos which are small plates similar to tapas.  Pintxos get their name from the word “pincho” which means spike because they usually have a toothpick to hold them together and make them easier to grab.  Russell and I planned to try as many pintxos as we could during our visit and thought it would be fun to also take a pintxos cooking class to learn more about the tradition.

Anisa with her favorite pintxo, Tosta de Bacalao.
Anisa with her favorite pintxo, Tosta de Bacalao.

You may remember, I took a cooking class when I went to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I really enjoyed it.  The class I took with San Sebastian Food really makes that one seem amateur.  We were going to be cooking in a state of the art kitchen with two professionally trained chefs to teach us.  Plus, we would get plenty of personal attention, since there were only five of us in the class.  Oh and last but not least, there would be plenty of adult beverages. (more…)

Pros and Cons of Long Beach, Long Island

Some street art along the Long Beach boardwalk
Some street art along the Long Beach boardwalk

I am a beach person, but I haven’t spent much time exploring the beaches around New York City because I prefer warm water.  However, since I haven’t had time to make it to the Caribbean recently I thought I should check out more of the local beaches.  Last summer I went to Sandy Hook, NJ so I wanted to visit one of the beaches in Long Island.  I had heard good things about Long Beach, Long Island and it would be an easy day trip, so we decided to give it a shot.  After, my visit I thought it would be helpful if I shared the pros and cons I experienced.  Overall though, I do think it is a great place to go for a summer day trip.  Please note that there is a Long Beach Island in New Jersey, which I have not been to yet. (more…)

Rodin Around the World

I had heard about Auguste Rodin before.  I learned about him in my art history class in college but I really fell in love with his work during my last trip to Paris.  We visited the Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin) and I was just amazed by his work.  He has such a deep understanding of the human body and I love the way he is able to convey emotions.  So after my trip to Paris, I started noticing there really is a lot of Rodin’s work exhibited in the US too.  So for all of my fellow Rodin fans, I thought I would share some of the places to see his work.

The Gates of Hell by Rodin is quite impressive, especially if you look at all the detail that went into it. - "Rodin Around the World" - Two Traveling Texans
The Gates of Hell is quite impressive, especially if you look at all the detail that went into it.

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Movie Night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

I have to admit I am not a big movie person, I might see one film a year in a movie theater.  I do love picnicking and outdoor movies though.  Each summer, I try to go to at least one Bryant Park movie in NYC, and I want to experience outdoor movies in other cities too.  So when I was in LA, I was thrilled that Beverly, a friend of my friend Kat, had arranged for us to see a screening of Purple Rain in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

One of the more elaborate areas in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
One of the more elaborate areas in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The movie night was one of a series of screenings that Cinespia puts on in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery each summer.  You will need to get tickets in advance, as some movies sell out very quickly.  If you plan on driving you will need to also buy a parking pass.  If parking passes are sold out, you can take an uber or try to find street parking. (more…)

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