The Crane Beach, Barbados

If you consult a map of the Caribbean you can trace an arc of islands stretching from Hispaniola and Puerto Rico down to Trinidad just off the coast of South America. Along that arc are several dozen islands but one, Barbados, sits all alone one hundred miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Its East and Southeast coast catch the waves crossing the Atlantic making for a rugged coast and great surfing. The West coast of the island faces the calmer Caribbean Sea with long stretches of flat beach and calmer water.

Along that rugged Southeast coast of Barbados in Saint Philips Parish is a bay with a great beach. It’s called Crane Bay and the beach sits under a cliff where the rolling countryside drops off forty feet to sea level. History says Crane Beach gets its name from a crane that was installed at the top of the cliff to lift cargo up from the beach where it had been off-loaded from boats. While the neighborhood is rural and mostly residential there are a number of large estates and a resort that sit along a mile of this rugged coast.

This resort is rated one of the best in Barbados and maybe the entire Caribbean. It’s the oldest operating hotel in the Caribbean, open since 1887, The Crane Resort overlooks the Crane Beach – one of the top 10 beaches in the world and named the “Best Beach in the Caribbean” by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers Choice. Located on Barbados’ beautiful South East coast, The Crane marries its historic old-world charm, with the 21st century amenities and services expected by today’s upscale travelers. After Crane Beach itself, the resorts biggest asset is its courteous, and dedicated staff who are always ready to help in any way.

If you’re looking to get away from it all and do it in style The Crane Resort fits the bill. Wether the location is an advantage or not depends on what your looking for as it is a bit out of the way, being far from town and away from other hotels and resort beaches. In addition to world class scenery, great service and peace and quiet it is also only 10 minutes from Barbados International Airport.

 

The Crane’s official video

 

 

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Two Walt Disney World Resorts and a Cablecar

Walt Disney World has a huge range of resorts with rates from about $100 up to near $1,000. But they all have the advantage of being inside the “World” and all have been touched by that famous Disney magic. At the economical end of the spectrum are two that are about to gain some additional popularity. Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resort.

Pop Century Resort

Art of Animation is one of the newer additions to the Disney World moderate cost level resorts. Built in 2012 it includes family suites that represent an excellent value if you’re traveling with a whole family. The resort celebrates the artistry of favorite Disney and Disney•Pixar films from the rooms to the grounds and public buildings. It features three pools and a walking and riding trail around the lake along with a huge food court, bars and a game room.

Art of Animation
Art of Animation

Art of Animation also has standard hotel rooms along with family suites. The family suites at Art of Animation are a good choice for larger families and include 1 Queen Bed and 1 Double-Size Table Bed and 1 Double-Size Sleeper Sofa. Prices range from $160 for a standard room to $350+ for a family suite.

Art of Animation

Next door to Art of Animation is Pop Century Resort based on the fads of the 1950s through the 1980s. Yo-yos and Play-Doh, Rubik’s Cube and rollerblades, this resort is dedicated to the fashions, phrases, toys and dances that defined America in those times. It is one of Disney’s more economical properties with room rates running from $110 through $140.

Cablecar test run
Art of Animation Cablecar Station

The Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts are a good distance from all four Disney World theme and water parks and Disney Springs, they just don’t have a park within walking distance. Buses have been the only free method of transportation available to get to the parks from these resorts. But that is going to be changing. Walt Disney World will soon begin operating a new sky-car system that will connect three moderately priced resorts to Epcot and Disney Studios.

The cablecars themselves will each be able to carry ten passengers and will be running only a couple of minutes apart. The three resorts on the system include Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach. Not only will it relieve congestion on the roads and reduce the number of buses (and fuel) it will also provide a fun experience for guests that should increase the appeal of these moderately priced resorts.

The Bristol Hotel In Buenos Aries

The Bristol at Avenue 9 de Julio
The Bristol Hotel A Great Choice For Location and Economy in Buenos Aries

On a recent trip to Antarctica we passed through Buenos Aries twice. The first was an extended visit and the second was a place to stay in transit. In both occasions we stayed at the Bristol Hotel in were very happy with the experience.

The Bristol Hotel is located in a good location near the Obelisco at Avenue 9 de Julio, Cerrito 286, C1010AAF CABA, Buenos Aries, Argentina.

The hotel lobby

When looking for a hotel and evaluating your stay afterwards there are a number of things we use to rate the hotel:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Cleanliness
  • Comfortable beds
  • Hot water
  • Helpfulness of the staff
  • Room size

After those, most considerations are esoteric and relate to luxury and exclusivity. Generally when we travel our budget is one of the major considerations. For this trip we selected the Bristol Hotel first because of its location. Also at US$50 a night and with four star on Google reviews we couldn’t resist.

A queen room

On check-in we were pleased with our choice. The location was right in the center of things, the staff was friendly and helpful and the room was well appointed and clean. The beds proved to be comfortable and there was plenty of hot water.

Two twin beds

Located near the hotel are lots of cafes and good restaurants. Only ten blocks to the northeast are a number of pedestrian walking streets with lots of interesting shops. All-in-all we were very pleased with our selection.

A Great Steak In Buenos Aries

Don’t miss great steaks at incredible prices in Buenos Aries.

A 600 gram, bone-in Ribeye…

Argentina is most famous for the tango and gaúchos and nowhere is that tradition celebrated more than in Buenos Aries. The gaúchos are South American horsemen honored for their skill, but they are above all else, cattlemen and Argentina is a country that knows something about beef.

When you visit Buenos Aries every barrio (neighborhood) has a tango dance club along with at least one truly great steak restaurant. Many restaurants use parrilla al carbón in their name, a description which simply indicates that they grill over a traditional coal fire and I can’t think of a better way to prepare a good piece of steak.

The interior was warm and comfortable

On our recent trip we stayed at a hotel only a block from the Obelisco and only a half block west was the Revire Brasas Bravas, a steak restaurant that we had located online. The address was Av. Corrientes 1124, C1043AAY CABA, Argentina. Our first visit was so fantastic we went back again a few days later.

The biggest issue with our first visit was language. Nobody spoke English and we had a lot of difficulty ordering a steak (our Google translator let us down). How do you ask for a rib eye medium rare in Spanish? It took a while but we eventually got our order placed. A one and a third pound, bone in, rib eye grilled to perfection was the result. We had also thought we were ordering two glasses of Malbec and were presented with a bottle instead. The result was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had and a great bottle of wine and the final check was under $38. At home I would have paid more for just a steak.

Desserts included!

Ordering on our second visit went much easier as the waiter spoke passable English and we enjoyed another great steak. Our recommendation, if you find yourself in Buenos Aries near the Obelisco, pay a visit to Revire Brasas Bravas! You won’t regret it.

Hotels Near Iguazú Falls

Hotel Saint George in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina

If your plans in the future include a visit to Iguazú Falls (if you are a traveler – it should) we would recommend staying for a night or two in the area. The falls are truly one of the natural wonders of the world. See our article on the Falls HERE.

If you are inclined toward deluxe accommodations you can’t do any better than the Gran Melia Iguazu, a five star resort located right inside the park with spectacular views of the falls and only a short drive from the airport. All the remaining accommodations are about fifteen miles away in the town of Puerto Iguazú which boasts almost a dozen four star rated hotels.

We booked our stay at the Hotel Saint George and were pleased with its location. Overall the staff was very friendly and helpful, the rooms were large, clean and well appointed. The pool patio area was attractive with a nice snack bar. Unfortunately the hot tub wasn’t operational while we were there.

The Saint George is located right in the middle of town and right across the street was the Restaurant Parrilla where we enjoyed pizza and beers in the evening with a tango dance show that was a surprise bonus.

After our day at the falls we went back to the Saint George to clean up and pick up our bags before our flight . Again the staff was most accommodating, providing us with a place to clean up with plenty of towels.

Standard king room

When you start planning and begin reading reviews keep in mind that you are going to be visiting an isolated area and even four star ratings will most likely not rise to the level you come to expect in the U.S. or Europe. After all it is an outpost of civilization a couple of hundred miles up into the South American rain forest. For that reason you should discount many of the negatives you read. We did and were generally pleased with this part of our trip.

Downtown Puerto Iguazu

Red Rock Inn at Zion National Park

Red Rock Inn  Located in Springdale, Utah at the southern entrance to Zion National Park

I’m guilty of just neglecting to get back and write about this and there is no excuse since this is the most delightful B&B Inn we have stayed in over the last five years.

Because the town of Springdale sits in a narrow canyon as you leave Zion National Park there really is only Zion Park Blvd. for a couple of miles thru town. This is partly a blessing as every where you look are the stunning red rock walls towering above you. Unfortunately this also creates major traffic tie-ups as cars enter and exit the park down this two-lane street (TRAFFIC INFORMATION HERE). In season afternoon traffic trying to enter the park virtually comes to a standstill.

On our visit we had driven into Zion thru the northeast entrance and after a day in the park we exited at the south end and stayed at the Red Rock Inn. From there we just walked around the town which is very convenient from the inn. The town is nice to stroll through with great shops, cafes and restaurants. After that the Zion NPS shuttle is the easiest way to get back to the park and explore the southern trails with no wasted time trying to find a parking space. The Inn is located only about a mile from the park entrance if you are inclined to hike.

The Red Rock Inn sits in a beautiful setting with tastefully decorated, spotless rooms. The Inn is operated by Trevor and Sharon and you couldn’t ask for more attentive hosts who can offer great tips on what to see in the park or where to eat nearby. Your stay also includes a great full breakfast at Oscars Cafe only a short walk up the boulevard.

998 Zion Park Blvd.

Springdale, Ut 84767

(435) 772-3139

If you are looking for a getaway weekend or are planning a grand tour of the Utah parks you really can’t do any better than a stay at The Red Rock Inn.

 

Having Coffee in Rüdesheim Germany

Recently we spent a little time in the very picturesque town of Rüdesheim Germany with a local coffee being one of the afternoons highlights.

Rüdesheim am Rhein in the heart of Rhine wine country is a town that has become maybe too cute for words. A favorite day trip destination for area Germans, its streets are packed with cafes, restaurants and gift shops. The town is also famous for its local brandy and Rudesheimer Coffee. The center of the cafe district is Drosselgasse, a walking passage that takes you past wine gardens, shops, restaurants and cafes.

The fortunes of the town are indebted to a local distiller. In 1892 Hugo Asbach opened the company Asbach & Co. in Rüdesheim. He created a brandy giving it his name and it remains as popular in Germany today as it was in the late nineteenth century. In 1937 the company coined a marketing slogan that added to the fortunes of the brand, “The spirit of wine is in Asbach”.

in 1957 Rudesheimer Coffee was created, a popular coffee drink with Asbach and cream that has become the signature drink in the town and is served in every good Café. Similar to Irish Coffee it is the perfect hot drink for the winter months and special occasions. There is even a signature shaped cup that’s supposed to be used with this concoction.

Recipe for Rudesheimer Coffee

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Asbach Uralt Brandy

3 cubes of sugar

Hot coffee (regular or decaf)

Whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar

Grated milk chocolate

 

Instructions

– Warm the brandy by using a double boiler or very low flame in a pan. Do not bring to a boil!.

– Place 2-3 cubes of sugar in an original Rudesheimer Coffee cup, and pour over the heated Asbach and light it by using a long match.

– Stir with a long-handled spoon to dissolve the sugar completely.

– Let it burn for about 1 minute, then pour in hot coffee to about 1 inch below the rim.

– Top off with freshly whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate or dust with cocoa.

Don’t have any Asbach Brandy (it’s not available in the U.S.) or the proper cup? We wouldn’t let that get in the way because this recipe is a good challenger to Irish Coffee. Substitute any good brandy and a tall mug, but follow the recipe.

 

 

Vineyards grow everywhere around Rüdesheim