Kayaking in La Jolla, CA

La Jolla California is known for crystal clear water, dramatic sea side cliffs, and its abundant wildlife. The best way to enjoy the gorgeous views and array of sea life is to go on a kayaking adventure.

If you do not own your own kayak don’t despair, there are many tourist companies in the area that you can either rent a kayak from or go on a kayaking tour with. Many of these companies offer kayaking tours through the famed sea caves as well as snorkeling adventures with leopard sharks!

Our Kayak

Brandon and I decided our next fun hobby would be kayaking and we thought that La Jolla would be the perfect place for our kayak’s maiden voyage. Our friend Jacob goes to La Jolla often and went with us to help us navigate kayaking for the first time. We have a 13 foot tandem Brooklyn Kayak. Make sure you have a certified PFD (personal Flotation Device) that is designed for Kayaking. Normal life vests go higher up on the sides and limit your arm movement. This makes it harder to paddle and can cause the undersides of your arms to be rubbed raw. Brandon and I both have Hobie kayaking PFDs.

Kayaking in La Jolla

Kayaking in la Jolla is Beautiful. The clean water is surrounded by sandy cliffs that house California Seal Lions. Next to the sea caves there is a beach cove where sunbathers love to hang out. This is also a great spot to set up if you are planning to snorkel along the cliffside. California Sea Lions often come out and swim with the snorkelers. Be aware that these are wild animals that are protected. Do not touch or feed them.

To launch your kayak you will need to go to La Jolla Shores Beach. There is a kayak and canoe launch area there. You will be launching directly into the ocean and you will need to paddle quickly to get past the waves. Brandon and I both got soaked! Several tourist companies launch from this area. Be careful to avoid them when launching. Some people will fall out of their kayaks when launching , be prepared for this! Make sure all electronics are in waterproof containers.

To Kayak to the cliffside you will need to kayak in an open ocean area. There is a swim lane that passes through the area for triathlon athletes. The area is marked by buoys. Make sure to avoid this area and to watch out for swimmers.

La Jolla Sea Life

You will get to see a lot of wildlife while kayaking in La Jolla. If you are a fan of sharks then you will want o go kayaking during leopard shark breeding season. During this time you are guaranteed to see some swimming underneath your kayak. La Jolla is also one of the best places to see the California Sea Lion.

California Sea Lion: Claifornia Sea Lines are huge marine mammals that call the clear water of La Jolla home. The females can reach 5.5 feet in length the males can reach up to 7.5 feet. Most of the California Seal Lions in La Jolla cove tend to congregate by the sea caves. As you kayak by the sea caves you will see they lounging on the rocky outcropping of the caves.

Leopard Sharks: La Jolla is also known as one of the best places to go snorkeling with Leopard Sharks! Now I know that this can sound intimidating but these beautiful creatures are a once in a lifetime sight to see. The Leopard sharks come to La Jolla in the summer and Fall to be in warmer water while they are gestating their young.

Garibaldi: These Bright orange fish are a staple of La Jolla Shores and are an easy fish to spot as your kayaking overhead.

I hope this inspires you all to go out and visit La Jolla. It is a great place to go see the wildlife and gorgeous sea shores that California has to offer. As always, stay safe and make sure to bring food, water, and your PFD. Happy Travels!

Dreaming in Lucerne, Switzerland

Switzerland brought with it a variety of adventures. While in Switzerland I saw snow topped mountains, cute, colorful buildings, and got to go on a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. Everywhere I went the scenery was gorgeous! I couldn’t stop taking pictures (which is why this post has a ton of pictures in it!). If you love nature photography this is the place to go.

So before I tell you about all the fun stuff, here are some fun facts about Switzerland.  German is the main language spoken but citizens also speak French, Italian, and English. Switzerland has its own currency, the swiss frank. Some shops do accept euros but they will give you change in swiss franks. Another thing to know before going to Switzerland is that it is an expensive country to travel to. Food, hotels, and attractions are all pricey so make sure you have plenty of travel money set aside before going here. Finally, the most important thing…..Switzerland has amazing chocolate! There is even a chocolate museum in Lucerne.

The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal):

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The Lion Monument or also known as the Lion of Lucerne was built to commemorate the Swiss guards that were massacred in 1792 in the French Revolution. The sculpture is very intricate and the expression on the lions face is touching in its sad, mournful quality. The monument is located at Denkmalstrasse 4, 6002 Luzern, Switzerland.

Pilatus Mountain Top

To get to the top of the mountain you need to take a cable car. The cable car varies in price depending on what stop you get off at and what time of year it is.  We went to the second stop which has a nice gift shop, small cafe, hotel, and viewing areas of the mountain. It was snowing very hard when we arrived but the snow cleared long enough for us to get out on the viewing platform to take pictures. I was told by the guest information booth that if you visit in the summer you can see the whole mountain and go on the walking path. I would love to come back and do that.

Lunch at the Stadtkeller

For lunch we went to the Stadtkeller, and had a spectacular fondue lunch. We had cheese fondue, a main entree, and then a chocolate fondue dessert. The restaurant was cute with lots of authentic decorations.

Lake Cruise with Charles Bucher

Lake Lucerne has a small boat harbor where several harbor cruise services are available. The boat ride we took lasted one hour and 15 min. The time flew by and I felt like we were turning back when we had barely gotten started. I would have loved to have spent several hours out on the water looking at all of the surrounding scenery.  The tour company was very nice and friendly and even let me wear the captains hat and drive the boat. And luckily I didn’t run the boat into anything (thank goodness).

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Chocolate at Au Cahet

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The chocolate truffles I bought at this shop were delicious. I was impressed by the variety of flavors available and the prices were reasonable. The street that this shop is on is lined with watch shops, swiss army knife shops, and other cafes that were fun to visit.

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke)

The chapel bridge spans diagonally across the Reuss in the middle of Lucerne. It is a great place to get pictures of the cute buildings spanning either side of the Reuss.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned about some of the fun things to see and do in Lucerne, Switzerland. If you have any questions about my travels feel free to comment below. Happy Travels.

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Joshua Tree National Park

 

What do you get when you mix deserts, giant boulders, and thunderstorms? An unexpectedly adventurous trip to Joshua Tree National Park! Needless to say there were some exciting events on my trip to the park that made it a weekend I will never forget.

First, finding an open campsite was very difficult. If you want to camp at Joshua Tree during the Fall, Winter, or Spring on the weekend you need to reserve a campsite, often weeks, if not months in advanced. I was lucky to get a canceled reservation at the Cottonwood Campgrounds at the south end of the Park. I was only able to get a one-night reservation. Getting a two-night reservation at the park on the weekend is extremely difficult to do last minute so if you are planning a spontaneous trip to Joshua Tree then try to go during the week when the park is less crowded.

Okay to give you the lay of the land so to speak…most of the main campsites are at the north end of the park where the Joshua Tree Forest is. The south end of the park does not have Joshua Trees. So, plan ahead on which attractions you want to see before going to the park. I highly recommend checking out the Joshua Tree National Park website to view a list of campsites and sites to see before heading to the park: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm.

Cottonwood Campground

The Cotton Wood Campground was very nicely set up with fire pits and picnic tables at every campsite. There were also flush toilets and well water available. Overall, I was impressed by how clean and organized everything was. Also, at our campsite there was a little Kangaroo Rat I named Fluffy. If you have never seen a Kangaroo Rat, they are the cutest things ever! Google it! The campground was also conveniently placed next to the Cottonwood Visitor Center for the park. Here there is a gift shop. Park rangers are also available to talk to about hiking and nature viewing options. This is also the place you can get the cancellations for your national park passports…if you have not started doing this I highly recommend it!

The passport books allow you to get a cancellation (or stamp as I like to call them). Every park has a cancellation and sticker that you can collect. The parks sell small and large collectible passports that you can put the cancellations and stamps in. It is so much fun, and admittedly I am addicted to trying to get as many cancellations as I can😊.

Mastodon Peak Hike

The Mastodon Peak Hike leaves out of Cottonwood Campground A. This hike was a 2.4 mile loop that took roughly an hour and a half. The trail was nicely maintained and had lots of signs to keep you going in the right direction (this is especially important to me because I tend to get very lost very easily). The trail is mostly through a dry riverbed and consists of very deep sand footing. You will get a great leg work out! The rock formations were spectacular and there were several signs to designate the different plants and flora on the trail.

The trail takes you to the Mastodon abandoned mine that is located beneath Mastodon Peak. The 0.1 mile detour hike to the top of Mastodon Peak is an unmaintained trail and included climbing over large boulders to reach the top. Use caution if climbing to the peak. The view from the top was spectacular and you could even see the Salton Sea in the distance (the title photo was taken from the lookout point).

On the way back you pass the Cottonwood Spring. You cant see the water directly but there are several large palm trees in the area that were very impressive. There is a trail head directly from the springs to the campground. You can use this to walk to the springs from the campground if don’t want to walk the whole trail. The Mastodon Peak trail itself is a full loop.

The Storm

Our one and only night at the park was very eventful. The night started out clear and by 9pm you could see the whole milky way. One of the reasons I came to the park was to see the stars and I was not disappointed. However, at roughly 12am a huge thunderstorm hit. Within an hour a flash flood roared through our campsite and washed away most of our stuff. Luckily, we were staying in a converted camper in the back of my boyfriend’s truck but other campers in our campground were not as lucky. Some people were washed away in their tents! No one was harmed and the people who were washed out of there tents were able to take shelter in the bathrooms of the campground. Firetrucks came to check on us at roughly 2am.  By morning the whole campground and park had been destroyed. We had planned to drive up to the northern end of the park to see the Joshua Trees but all the roads in the park had been washed out and the park was closed. Luckily we had a truck and were able to make it out but we had to avoid giant boulders that had been washed into the roads. It was definitely a trip to remember!

Overall the trip to Joshua Tree National Park was so much fun. The storm was unexpected and very scary but luckily no one was hurt. I would love to go back to the northern end of the park so I could actually see a Joshua Tree. But, I got the next best thing. At the visitor center they were selling Joshua Tree seeds. So of course I bought a pack so I can have my very own Joshua tree! Follow me on Instagram @adventuresinlife.blog to see updates on the tree’s growth!

I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions about the trip feel free to comment below. Also, I know your all wondering, Fluffy the Kangeroo Rat survived the storm. We saw Fluffy the next morning:) Check out my instagram for a video of Fluffy. Happy Travels!

***disclaimer: I am not responsible for content on external sites.

24 Hours in Rome, Italy

 

For spring break this year I decided to go on a trip through three countries in Europe. After my travels I have learned many things and hopefully sharing some of my stories will help you in your future travels. Over the next few weeks I will post about all the exciting cities I visited. To start the trip off, I went to the city that was #1 on my list…Rome, Italy.

I had a combination of the worst and best timing for my trip to Rome. On one hand I had perfect timing because I was in Rome for the first Sunday of the month. Why is this important you might ask… well… every first Sunday of the month a majority of Rome’s major attractions are free. That’s right. Free. I was able to go to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill without spending anything.

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But, on the other hand I was in Rome on Easter Sunday. It was, to say the least, very busy. While I was there Pope Francis blessed the city and it was very exciting to be in the city during this time. Unfortunately, due to the festivities the Vatican was closed while I was there. This was very disappointing as this was one of the main things I had planned to see. However, Rome did not disappoint and after lots of walking and yummy gelato, I still feel like I had the experience of a lifetime.

 

The Colosseum:

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The Colosseum is actually quite large. The line to get in is even larger. I waited for about an hour and a half to get into the Colosseum (which actually wasn’t that bad considering how many tourists were there). And once I was inside I had exactly 2 minutes to take my pictures on the lower platform. And yes… you really have only two minutes. They sent us out on the main platforms in groups and guards timed each group and ushered us off quickly once our time was up. Don’t let this discourage you though, after moving from the lower platform you can go to the other side of the Colosseum and take as many pictures as you want. I do believe there is a time limit of an hour for this part but I’m not certain.

The wait was worth it and next time I want to take the guided tour that takes you through the underground area (as pictured below).

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The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill:

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The Roman Forum was much larger then I had expected. This attraction was also free for me but I did have to have a ticket. This ticket was given to me free of charge when I entered the Colosseum. If you are traveling on a different day then the first Sunday you can buy a joint ticket for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill on the Rome tourist website. These three attractions are located next to each other and it took me the whole day to view everything. For ticket prices and more information about the tourist attractions available in Rome please visit: https://www.coopculture.it/en/ticket.cfm?office=Foro%20Romano&id=4

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Palatine Hill stands approximately 40 meters above the Roman Forum and is a great place to get panoramic photos. You use the same entrance to get into Palatine Hill as you do to see the Roman forum. The hill also has a garden and several beautiful statues.

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Rome was beautiful and the architecture on the buildings was stunning. However, there are a lot of tourist, so if you are planning to see multiple attractions in a day make sure to pre-book tickets when possible. This will save you time in the lines and will allow you to see more amazing things.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions comment below. Thanks and Happy Travels!

 

**Disclaimer: I am not responsible for content on external websites accessed through the link provided.

Top 5 Things to do in Glasgow, Scotland

 

Glasgow is one of the biggest cities in Scotland and since it is not as touristy as the capital, Edinburgh, it makes for a great place to spend a day. I recommend if you go to Scotland to make sure you set aside a day or two for Glasgow. This industrial town may not be as famous as the capital of Scotland, but it’s charm and friendly atmosphere make it a must see. After living in Glasgow for almost a year I have found that there is always something new to see, but due to time restrictions I will tell you the top five places I recommend going to while you are here…

1. University of Glasgow

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yes… I know…why do you want to see a school while you’re on vacation? Well, this school is an architectural wonder and looks like the school from the Harry Potter movies! Although it was not actually in any of the films (I double checked this) it is still one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. Also, the famous cloisters are a great place to take pictures. The school also houses the Hunterian Museum and the Hunterian Art Gallery, both of which are free for the public. The school offers tours of the school or you can spend a day walking around the campus yourself. For more information about tours visit: https://www.gla.ac.uk/explore/visit/attractions/.
2. Kelvingrove Art Museum

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I have spent countless rainy days wandering the halls of this museum. The art is spectacular, and the building itself is awe inspiring. The museum also hosts a variety of artifacts including fossils, taxidermy, and an ancient Egypt room complete with a mummy. This museum is also free! For open hours visit: https://beta.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/kelvingrove-art-gallery-and-museum.
3. Glasgow Botanic Garden

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The gardens are a perfect place to go if it is raining because they house two gigantic glass houses filled with a variety of plants. The large white glass house houses plants from around the world in its large center chamber. The other glass house has a different theme for each room. My favorite is the room that houses a large tropical pound. There is also a Tea Room on the grounds if you want some refreshments after walking through the gardens. For open hours visit: http://www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com/
4. Glasgow City Center (Buchanan Street)

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This large shopping area hosts a variety of tourist shops, eateries and street performances. It is within walking distance of both the Modern Art Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, and City Hall. My favorite place to visit in City Center is Glasgow Cathedral, but be warned it is a farther walk from Buchanan street so I would recommend taking a bus. During December most of the Christmas markets are also within walking distance from Buchanan Street. *Note: the photo above is of Glasgow Cathedral
5. Pollock Country Park

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This park is a little far from City Center, but it is worth the bus ride. The park has miles of walking trails, a golf course, Pollock Estate and Gardens, and Highland Cows! That’s right… they have adorable highland cows. I recommend spending a morning or afternoon touring the estate and gardens then wandering to the pastures that house Clydesdale horses and Highland Cows. On specific days they have meet and greets with the cows that are housed there! For more information visit: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/?articleid=16592

I hope you found this information useful and stay tuned for more fun adventures to come!

***Disclaimer: I am not responsible for external website content.