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Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
A trip around the world has always been on my bucket list. I still can’t believe that Jeff and I finally did it. We’ve just returned home to our sunny island home of Phuket, Thailand and finally have a moment to look back on our amazing journey around the world.
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Before we started this trip, I knew that we wouldn’t have the space in our luggage for souvenirs as we were going to nearly 30 different countries. Even though we have been told we packed light, I can assure you that our bags were anything but light. This inspired me to think a little outside the box for souvenir ideas.
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My favorite part about traveling is looking back on my photos long after the trip. It is a great way to put you right back to where you were and bring back memories you had long forgotten about. I wanted to do something fun and different with my photos. So I thought, “Why not bring a chalkboard?” I decided to have a photo taken of myself  holding a chalkboard with the name of the country I was in. I wanted a way to visually see each country while having a reminder of myself in that place during that time. Even if I may have been up all night, had not showered in days or was only in a country for a few hours, I wanted to remember all of it.
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Now, 28 images later, I have a fun collection of pictures that for me, sums up our 159 day, 32,281 mile trip around the world!
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
CANADA:
Even though Canada isn’t too far from my home county, it was still really exciting to go visit! Two days in Vancouver and I was in love! Canada is a great country and Vancouver is a beautiful city!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ENGLAND:
Since we only had two rainy days in London, and as it was my first time to England I knew I wanted the cliché photo with a red phone booth!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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BELGIUM:
Brussels was a beautiful city and I was surprised at how modern of a city it was. We had one of our favorite meals of the entire trip in Brussels, an absolutely amazing beef stew. This photo was taken at the bus station before we boarded to Amsterdam.
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Chalkboard around the world
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ISRAEL:
With so much history in Israel, I had a hard time deciding where would be best to take a photo here. While we were driving with a guide through the desert we went to this cliff where you could see a beautiful monastery in the hillside. I thought that this would be a great reflection of this historical importance of Israel.

 

Chalkboard around the world
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IRELAND:
Green! I knew I wanted this photo to be green, but I struck it rich when we just happened to get some sunshine since it was gloomy and raining during most of our stay. Ireland may have been our first stop, but it was also one of our favorites. Read our “Complete Guide to Ireland” for our best recommendations!
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Chalkboard around the world

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MOROCCO:
Oh Morocco! We were here for just a few hours while stopping during a cruise we took early in the year. I had always imaged Morocco as a colorful place, however Casablanca was not what I imaged. This is at the Hassan II Mosque which is the 7th largest mosque in the world.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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AUSTRIA:
Innsbruck, Austria is a beautiful little ski town nestled in the mountains. We were lucky enough to stay with some wonderful friends here for 2 weeks!
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Chalkboard around the world

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SPAIN:
We were lucky enough to be in Barcelona on my birthday in January! Once again, this was a quick stop during our cruise so I can’t wait to get back to explore more!
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Chalkboard around the world

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CZECH REPUBLIC:
We met some great friends in Prague and had an amazing time exploring this beautiful old city. While Europe has some of the best beer in the world, I’d bet most of it can be found in Prague, and at a cheap price too!
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Chalkboard around the world

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EGYPT:
Egypt just may have been my favorite place on this trip! Not only did I fulfill a childhood dream of visiting the pyramids, but we also got to spend great time with some new friends!
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Chalkboard around the world

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HUNGARY:
Budapest is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. It is a great city where history meets a modern twist. I would live here in a heartbeat! This was the first time we have used AirBNB and found ourselves in this old apartment complex trying to find which apartment was ours!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Even though we spent most of our time in Dubai, we were still able to get out and see the beautiful desert! Jeff and I were both really impressed with Dubai and can’t wait to get back to explore more.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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ESTONIA:
Tallinn, Estonia is a quant little old city and has so much culture and lots to see. We were only here for one night but enjoyed walking around the old town watching the snow fall.
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Chalkboard around the world

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FINLAND:
Finland is also on the top of my favorite places we’ve been to this year! Helsinki is a great design oriented town that is hip and embraces its rich history, although I had to take this photo while up in Lapland exploring the arctic circle and seeing snow fall for the first time in my life!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ITALY:
We went to many places in Italy, but it was in Venice during Carnival that I wanted to take this photo. Carnival was such a unique and beautiful way to explore all that Venice has to offer.
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Chalkboard around the world
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NORTHERN IRELAND:
While in Dublin, we decided why not take the 3 hour drive with some friends up to Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway and while we got there right after sunset we were able to catch some light for this photo!
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Chalkboard around the world
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GERMANY:
Germany has always been on the top of my list of places to visit in Europe and this year it finally happened! Although we only had 2 days in Berlin, it was great to learn more about Germany’s vast history and how the city has transformed to a modern city with tons of artistic expression.
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Chalkboard around the world
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HOLLAND:
I didn’t know if I should write Holland or The Netherlands but in the end it didn’t matter since we had such a great time in Amsterdam exploring the canals!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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PORTUGAL:
This photo is in Lisbon near the port while it was pouring rain. We had to be quick since the rain just kept washing the chalk off the board, but it made for a fun experience!
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Chalkboard around the world

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TURKEY:
Although Istanbul has so much history and culture, it was this pop of color while walking around that caught my eye. I wanted to show a different side to such an old city.
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Chalkboard around the world

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SWEDEN:
Since we spent an entire night at the airport in Stockholm we though it would be fun to take photos in the nearly abandoned airport at 2 in the morning.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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VATICAN:
The Vatican is such a beautiful place and it was very surreal to see all the paintings and murals in the museum, but it was here that meant the most to me. It really is amazing to stand here and thing about all the people that come here to see the pope.
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Chalkboard around the world

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MALDIVES:
Holy blue ocean! The Maldives are such a beautiful place. There are 1,190 different islands so it is hard to pick just one. We stayed in Maafushi which is a local island, but as you can see we still had a resort like beach to spend our time.
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Chalkboard around the world
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FRANCE:
Paris is a place that every girl longs to go to at least once in her life and I was no exception, I absolutely fell in love with Paris. We had an amazing 5 days here with a good friend who was kind enough to show us around this memorizing city. I can’t wait to get back and eat some more macaroons!

Chalkboard around the world

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SINGAPORE:
While it was not my first time in Singapore, it was great to be back and see how much this city has grown. Singapore is a beautiful city which great people and beautiful architecture.
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Thailand
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THAILAND:
Phuket will always be a second home to me and it is where we began and ended our around the world trip. Living here has really opened my eyes and taking this photo was really important. This photo was taken in a little lagoon in Koh Phi Phi Ley near where the majestic beach from the movie The Beach was filmed. You can see another hidden beach in the background that we could swim to. Taking a long tail boat out to this preserved island and spending the day snorkeling and soaking up the sun is my favorite thing to do in Thailand.
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MEXICO:
Growing up, my family always spent at least once if not twice a year in Mexico. This year I was fortunate enough to get the change to travel to a new place in Baja called Loreto. It is a great little fishing town located right on the Sea of Cortez.
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SRI LANKA:
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located just southeast of India and visiting was a great treat for me. There are many elephants, beautiful landscapes and beaches. If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful country, take it!
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Bio Photo Marina 150x150 My First Time: Taking a Cruise Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

Top Tips for Visiting Rome for the First Time

Top Tips for Visiting Rome for the First Time

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The majestic city of Rome is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The Italian capital boasts magnificent ancient ruins, world-class shopping, great food and a thriving nightlife. If you are planning your trip to the Eternal City, you will be able to find dozen of cheap hotels in Rome online, just start looking early. With this in mind, here are some top tips for visiting Rome for the first time.

 

1. Be prepared to walk
The best way to explore the eternal city is almost certainly by foot. This however means that comfortable shoes are a must-have alongside a bottle of water, which can be re-filled at the city’s many public fountains, and a detailed city map. Rome’s historic centre is surprisingly compact meaning that you will be able to explore endless charming churches, charismatic piazzas and extraordinary architecture on foot in no time at all.

 

 

Top Tips for Visiting Rome for the First Time2. Visit the top attractions
Rome is home to a number of phenomenal attractions including the unforgettable Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Villa Borghese Gardens and of course the Vatican City. If you are travelling on a budget, it is always a good idea to do some research beforehand in order to establish which of Rome’s main attractions offer free entrance.

 

3. Enjoy the local cuisine
Italy is celebrated worldwide for its splendid food and traditional Roman cuisine is no exception. You’ll be able to sample fabulous pasta dishes such as carbonara or amatriciana, followed by a delightful glass of wine and a classic Italian dessert such as tiramisù. When in Rome, you will want to indulge in a little homemade gelato and perhaps even try some of the newest and most exotic flavours only found in Italy.

 

4. Don’t be afraid to get lost
Although having a good map with you at all times is always advisable, don’t be afraid to explore the city’s many quaint streets and off-the-beaten track locations. Getting lost in Rome is often one of the best ways to discover the city’s hidden gems including splendid ancient churches and the many charming boutiques and quaint cafés situated in pretty Roman piazzas.

 

5. Venture outside the city walls
There is a great deal to see and do in Rome, however should you decide to venture outside the city walls you will certainly not regret it! Enchanting destinations such as Tivoli and the Castelli Romani lie just a short drive from the city and offer awe-inspiring scenery, delicious regional cuisine, splendid parks and world-renowned villas.

 

By taking these top tips into consideration, you will be well on the way to planning the perfect Roman holiday. Be sure to plan ahead in order to really make the most of your first visit to one of the world’s greatest and most exciting cities!

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Top Tips for Visiting Rome for the First Time

 

Hotel Review: Best Western Hotel Bologna Venice

Hotel Review: Best Western Hotel Bologna Venice

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We made last minute plans a couple weeks ago to leave Austria and head back to Italy (for the third time in a month!), but this time we were going to visit Venice. We scrambled to book last minute trains and ended up arriving to the Venice Mestre Train Station late in the evening. To our delight, the Best Western Hotel Bologna was directly across the street. When I say directly across the street, I mean you could go from sitting in the train to standing in the hotel lobby in about 45 seconds. It is not often that we have a effortless transition from transportation to hotel, so this was a huge plus.

Hotel Review: Best Western Hotel Bologna VeniceLoving all of the Best Western locations we have stayed with in Europe thus far, we were excited to give this location a try. Now, we had not completely done all of our homework, and while we knew that Mestre was not directly in Venice, we were a bit surprised to find it really is a totally different city and although Venice proper is only a short 15 minute train ride out into the bay, we did feel a bit isolated in Mestre.

The Hotel Bologna has done a fantastic job of offering an extremely modern feel complete with flat screen TV, stenciled quotes on most mirrors (inside and out of the room) as well as connecting the main lobby to a chic bistro next door which serves amazing drinks, appetizers and main courses.

A nice 15 minute walk from downtown Mestre, the hotel is really not meant to be a part of the downtown area of Mestre and better acts as a jumping off point for nearby Venice, a job which it does beautifully.

The rooms are modern, sparse and comfortable. They feel a bit like a mix of an IKEA commercial and a loft, with a bathroom almost the size of the main living space. Blackout curtains helped a lot, as well as the nearly sound proof windows, as the train station is so close. Plugs by the bed is a huge plus, which some hotels don’t have these days! The internet is free and fast, with no restrictions. Checkout is at noon, no late check out.

The breakfast is not what you would expect for a free Best Western hotel breakfast. Maybe it is the Italian influence that adds the extra care, but it is delicious and impressive.

I’ll admit we both wished we were closer to Venice, but that didn’t stop us from thoroughly enjoying our stay. Free internet, an amazing shower and a beautiful old city to walk through made for a great night, not to mention the wine. Don’t write off Mestre just because it is not in Venice proper as it has a wonderfully vibrant and happening downtown and main square. It might be a bit quiet on a Sunday evening, but there are some amazing restaurants and cafes to try, even if you are in town for just the night.

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Rating:

Overall: 3 (Solid, comfortable, clean)

Location: 3 (Not as close to Venice as we’d hoped)

Food: 4 (delicious but a bit pricey)

Breakfast: 4 (free and delicious!)

Internet: 5 (free and fast!)

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Hotel Review: Best Western Hotel Bologna Venice

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS)

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS)

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Marina and I have taken one strange route around Europe so far in 2014, but no matter how crazy the trip was, we both knew we didn’t want to miss celebrating Carnevale in Venice, Italy. For years we have both had Venice in our top destinations wish list and with Carnevale in full swing and us so close by Austria, we couldn’t help ourselves.

While we will also be publishing our “Latitude 34 Guide to Carnevale“, we couldn’t help but share a post full of only pictures, because after all, a picture says a thousand words and these scream color, culture, mystery and CARNEVALE!

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Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).  

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS)

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Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS).

Carnevale in Venice, Italy (PHOTOS)

Hotel Review: Hotel Ala Venice, Italy

Hotel Review: Hotel Ala Venice, Italy

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Venice quickly became the favorite city of both Marina and myself last week when we were lucky enough to visit for Carnevale. I have never been to a city so magical, mysterious, quant and downright beautiful. From the second we excited the train and saw the Grand Canal, we were speechless. Quickly on a boat taxi and headed down the canal, we couldn’t wait to explore and get settle in our hotel, the Hotel Ala, a Best Western location in one of the best sections of the city.

As we exited the boat taxi at Giglio, we proceeded to walk down the narrowest ally we had ever seen and when we emerged into the gorgeous square at the end, the Hotel Ala greeted us right on square, lion statues in front of the door proudly wearing their own carnevale masks and capes.

Hotel Review: Hotel Ala Venice, ItalyHotel Ala feels as old as Venice, and the mediaeval architecture, decorations and feeling of the lobby transport you back hundreds of years. Our check is was smooth and simple (make sure to ask for your free wifi codes, one code per device, more later) when you check in. We were given our awesome, huge and heavy rooms keys and were escorted to our room, a gorgeous old room overlooking a beautifully small canal complete with gondola’s adorned with Italian opera being sung. We felt like we were in a cartoon and couldn’t stop smiling.

Yes, the room is old, the decor outdated but it does not detract from the experience. With carnevale in full swing we did not turn on the tv as we were not in the room much, but everything else was completely up to date, including the towel warmer in the bathroom, a real plus. The bathtub even had jets in it, great after a long day walking around the city.

The only frustrating part of our room was the lack of outlets by the beds, something that anyone with an iPhone will appreciate. How am I supposed to play Candy Crush for 3 hours before I fall asleep without plugging my phone in?!

Normally, we prefer hotels right in the middle of the action, but being a 10 minute walk away from Venice’ main attraction, St. Marks Square, was actually one of the best parts of our stay. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed walking through Venice at all times of the night and day. There is something so amazing about the feel of the city, and walking around, getting lost, stopping for a bite, is all part of the experience and a hotel right in the middle of town might not force you to explore much.

There is a great little bar attached to the Hotel Ala, and while the prices are standard hotel price, it is a nice place to meet friends or grab a quick drink and the bartenders are beyond helpful.

The internet…. ahh yes the internet in Italy. We have experienced rather slow internet connections in Italy, but Venice really took this to another level of frustration. Hotel Ala offers free internet for each guest, which is wonderful, but the speeds are infuriating. I imagine if you were trying to stream a movie you would rip your hair out. In addition, they print out a small receipt with a code for only 24 hours of use, something which is quite frustrating when you are staying for a couple days and need to visit the front desk each day for a new code…right in the middle of sending an email.

We would happily stay in the Hotel Ala again as we simply fell in love with the whole mood of our stay. Waking up to birds chirping, the soft sound of gondolas floating by your window and the fresh smell of bread wafting in your window, simply magical.

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Rating:

Overall Rating: 4

Room: 4 (outdated but comfortable)

Internet: 4 (has personality, but works good)

Location: 5 (wonderful to walk around)

Price: 4 (starting at 89 euros)

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Hotel Review: Hotel Ala Venice, Italy

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Italian Flag

My First Time: Italy

 

First Impressions

I am absolutely captivated with Italy. For my first trip to Europe I wasn’t too excited for Italy but it has taken my breath away. The cities are beautiful, the food is simply amazing and the people are kind and helpful. I am leaving Italy with a new appreciation for this county and can’t wait to come back and see more.

 

Marina In Rome

Culture

Compared to other parts of Europe, Italy has a different attitude. People are very put together and take pride in how they are perceived. Italians dress very well and would never wear sweats outside; even if they’re just running to the store, they dress with style. Everywhere we went shop owners were very attentive and took pride in their business and treated each customer with respect. Even the waiters at restaurants were all very polite and helpful. We never had a problem finding people who spoke English and everyone helped us figure out what we were looking for.

 

Food 

Marina eating gelato

If you’ve never been to Italy, the food, excuse me, the dinning experience is something to write home about. Here, people dine late and for hours. It’s not just a source of nutrition but a social cleanse from daily life. One night, Jeff and I were starving so we went to a restaurant we had found online that looked really good. We got to the restaurant around 6:30pm, which is perfect dinning time by American standards, and the restaurant was empty and the man inside looked astonished that we wanted a table. It seemed like he had just arrived and was still opening up the restaurant. Italians don’t go to dinner till at least after 8pm.  Although the time is different the food is worth the hour and a half we spent walking around the block. Food in Italy has a higher standard of quality compared to many other places I have traveled. The vegetables are fresh, crisp and coming from America, they’re real.

Gelato is my favorite part of Italian cuisine. Who doesn’t fall in love with a country that has gourmet ice cream shops on literally every corner! I also love that it’s perfectly normal to walk down the street with an ice cream cone topped with a mount of ice cream larger than your whole face.

 

Coffee

I’m a coffee fanatic and coffee in Italy may be the best I’ve ever had. In America, coffee is large and very mild compared to most other countries. In Italy most people drink expresso which is small and very strong. As someone who loves a lot of milk in their coffee I never knew what to order, I’m not a fan of foam, so I didn’t want a cappuccino, expresso is great but not what I’m used to and an Americano doesn’t have any cream. Luckily everyone I’ve come across is really helpful and understood what I was looking for.

 

Taxis

Whenever traveling, the taxi experience is always a little different. In Italy the taxi drivers charge you a different rate depending on the time of day and number of bags you have. It seems that from our experience if the driver lifts your backs in and out of the cab, they charge you more for handing your luggage. Most other places I have traveled this is just common courtesy.

 

Rome

Marina and Jeff inside The Colosseum

 

The ColosseumRome is a vast city with centuries of history. Coming here is a bit overwhelming. The city is full of ruins, modern cafés and tons of designer stores. Although I’m not a history buff there is so much I wish I knew before coming here. It’s hard to put thousands of years of history into perspective in a city like Rome. Before visiting Rome, I knew that I wanted to see the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain and visit Vatican City to see the Sistine Chapel.  I didn’t realize how much more I wanted to know about the history of these places. Everywhere you look there are remnants of ruins and marks of the Romans.

 

Genoa

We only stayed one night in Genoa. This was the first city in Italy I stepped foot it and even though we arrived at night I was thoroughly impressed. The city was so quant, cozy and around every corner was an explosion of culture. All the roads were made of cobble stone and all the buildings looked like they were right out of a movie set. We asked the hotel concierge if there was a good Italian restaurant close by we could walk to. He eager called and made us a reservation, drew us a map and sent us on our way. We were welcomed into the restaurant and as soon as we sat down I felt like I had never been to a restaurant before. Everyone was speaking Italian, eating away and drinking wine. Since both Jeff and I don’t know too much about wine we weren’t sure what to order or how to order it. The menu was on the wall making it impossible to pretend we knew how to order and just point to the menu which is something we do often when traveling. The waiter was more than helpful in holding our hand as we experienced what was my first Italian dinning experience and even helped us pick out a bottle of wine.

The next morning we awoke and for the first time saw Genoa with daylight. The city was breathtaking. Luckily our room had a balcony with a 280 degree view overlooking the whole city and port. Check out my panoramic video of the view!

 

Marina Dominguez Latitude 34Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

 

 

 

Hotel Review: MF Hotel Rome

Hotel Review: MF Hotel Rome

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There is always something exciting about arriving in a new city and having no idea where you will sleep that night. While we tend to plan ahead a lot of the time, sometimes we just find ourselves in spur of the moment situations where we need to post up somewhere with some free wifi and look for a last minute place to stay. We found ourselves in Rome last week and we ended up booking a couple nights at the MF Hotel, which we couldn’t have been happier about.

While not as centrally located as their website suggests, the hotel is very close to the center of town and a short 5-10 minute cab ride away (about 7 euro depending on the time of day and traffic.)

The hotel itself is a bit trickier to find than we thought, and while the address is clearly marked on the outside of the building, but the hotel is actually located on the third floor of the building, which is easy to miss. After you are buzzed up, the entrance to the building feels a lot like an old office building, but once you hope in the (terrifying) little elevator and jump up to the third floor, you will easily find the entrance to the MF Hotel on your left.

Hotel Review: MF Hotel RomeStill feeling a bit like an office, the hotel staff at the front desk are extremely helpful, friendly and all speak English, Spanish, Italian and German, which is incredibly helpful. The rooms are bright, airy and modern looking as if redecorated very recently. The bathrooms are spotless, the towels clean, the beds comfy and the wifi is pretty fast and best of all, it is free, which is a huge plus in any hotel.

The only downside, which we can’t really complain about, is the lack of any English speaking TV channel. While there are probably over 100 Italian channels, it would have been nice to find a CNN or otherwise. Ohh well, time for Netflix!

While there is not restaurant, each room includes a free breakfast each morning which includes coffee or tea, juice, fruit, toast, jam, pastries and yoghurt. While not as robust as some hotel breakfasts, it certainly is plenty of food to give you energy for the day and wonderful that you select the time at which you would like it delivered each morning.

The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day, there is plenty of information and maps on Rome for your taking, taxis are just a phone call away and the staff is more than happy to help explain the local bus schedules for you, which are cheap and easy to use.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay at the MF Hotel, and while it is by no means a luxury options, we were pleasantly surprised at what we found and totally comfortable during out stay.

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Cost: Rooms start at $75

Internet: Fast and free throughout the lobby and rooms

Breakfast: Included and delivered to your room each morning

Location: Centrally located but a hike from the main attractions

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Hotel Review: Best Western Genoa City Center

Hotel Review: Best Western Genoa City Center

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Genoa happened to be our first stop in Italy during 2014 and we were warmly welcomed to the city on a cool evening in January. Genoa isn’t one of the top tourist cities in a country filled with the likes of Rome, Venice and Milan but that sure doesn’t mean it has little to offer. Set right on the coast, the city cascades down the sides of the hillside and has a small town feel any traveler can admire.

Seeing as we only had one night to spend in Genoa we wanted to find a centrally located hotel we could easily explore the city from. Best Western hotels don’t have a reputation in the states for being the top of the line but we thought we would give the Best Western Genoa City Center location a shot and boy were we surprised.

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“One of our favorite features of the hotel was the free use of iPads located in both the lobby and the restaurant for all guests to use…”

Located down a beautiful cobblestone street off one of the oldest squares in the city, the Piazza de Ferrarri, the hotel is tucked into what feels like a hidden alley lost somewhere in history but with a gorgeous modern touch.

The lobby, bright and welcoming feels more like a home than a hotel chain and the friendly staff made us feel right at home. One of our favorite features of the hotel was the free use of iPads located in both the lobby and the restaurant for all guests to use the hotels free wifi on.

Hotel Review: Best Western Genoa City Center

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If you want a room with a magnificent view of Genoa, choose 822 located on the eight floor. The room boasts a large balcony which offers almost 360 degree views of the city which can really help to orientate you when arriving in a new city, especially at night. We always opt for the highest room we can get when traveling to a new city as, especially in Europe, where many cities are hard to navigate on the ground through quint streets winding through tall buildings without having an overall view of the city to help with your sense of direction.

The rooms really shattered our false perception of Best Western hotels and had us feeling in the lap of luxury for a budget price. The room was large and spacious, offered every amenity we could imagine and the wifi worked great even on the eighth floor (something very important to us travel bloggers!)

Being that we only had one night in Genoa, we of course wanted to have the most authentic Italian dinner we could. We spoke with the front desk who recommended a wonderful restaurant off the main square, just a short walk away, and even called ahead and made us a reservation. The food was amazing to say the least, and we could have stayed and drank wine all night, the perfect romantic dinner for the both of us on our only night in town.

NERD ALERT! We were delighted to find an HDMI port on the TV, which allowed us to hook up our apple TV and then air play Netflix straight to the television from our laptops and watch “How I Met Your Mother” from bed. It’s the little things that make the difference isn’t it!?

We awoke to a truly stunning view of Genoa and enjoyed basking in the sun a bit before checking out. The free breakfast was truly endless and not your typical combo of sweet bread and fruit. An endless spread of bacon, sausage, every style of eggs, French toast, pancakes, cereals, pastries, fruit, meats, cheeses, you get the idea. The gourmet coffee didn’t hurt either. All in all we left stuffed and surprised at the complete spread of a free hotel breakfast.

 

Hotel Review: Best Western Genoa City Center

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Sadly, we had to be on our way after breakfast and sad to leave Genoa, a city we now have high on our list to return to. A taxi was called for us which promptly arrived 30 seconds later and whisked us off to the airport without a hitch.

To say we were pleasantly surprised by our experience would be an understatement to say the least. The Best Western Genoa catered to our every need, offered a great location, helpful staff, free high speed internet and a view that can’t be beat and all for a very affordable rate.

While we only had a short stop in Genoa, we have a lot more of Europe to see and will be keeping an eye out for any Best Western hotels along the way and hoping they provide the wonderful experience we had in Genoa.

 

Price: 127 Euro

Location: Right off the Piazza de Ferrarri

Wifi: Free throughout the hotel

Breakfast: Free and AMAZING

Best Perk: HDMI input in TV

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Rome vs. Paris!

Rome vs. Paris!

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Rome, the Eternal City and Paris, the City of Love both draw millions of tourists each year. Paris and Rome, two of Europe’s oldest capitals have an impressive array of monuments scattered throughout their streets. From the Colosseum to Notre Dame, both Paris and Rome have a very different style of architecture. Both cities are steeped in history and culture and this shows through the impressive number of monuments and architectural achievements.

We are thrilled to be visiting both Paris and Rome at the start of 2014 and are excited to explore the cities further and interested to see which one we prefer. Clearly no shortage of amazing sites and sounds in either, who knows what we will find and fall in love with! But regardless of what we do, visiting some of the world’s most recognizable monuments is high on our to do list!

Which city has the most impressive buildings and monuments is a matter of taste, so check out this cool info graphic to see how all of these famous sites match up against each other!

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Rome vs. Paris!

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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all.

A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh.

Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!


the lazy travelers they're on to something

The Lazy Travelers, They’re On To Something

We were happy to catch up with Ashley & Carolyn recently, aka the “Lazy Travelers”. We threw some interesting and odd questions at them to see how they would respond and we loved they’re responses! So sit back, take a read, and find out why sometimes being lazy while traveling is just the best darn way to get to know a new country.

1 – Lazy Travelers huh? Where is the laziest day you have ever spent on your travels and what made it so perfect?
We’re both all about exploring a new city in the laziest way possible—strolling at a relaxed pace, stopping anywhere that looks appealing for a drink or a bite, and just generally absorbing our surroundings.

Most recently, we met up in Budapest after not seeing each other for four months. We were both exhausted after long travel days, but we ditched our significant others for a night of best friend catch-up (read: gossiping and drinking too much wine) at The Bar at Four Season Gresham Palace. We enjoyed the views of the Danube, did a full wine tasting, sampled some of the most delicious foie gras and schnitzel… and didn’t realize until the next day that on our first day in Budapest, we never actually left the hotel.

2 – What is one questionable decision you made while traveling and would you do it differently if you had the chance? 
On the same trip, we spent a week in Vienna. We had heard that the Kahlenberg region is a must-visit for winelovers, so on one particularly cold and rainy day, we dragged the boys out to experience the local heurigers (or wine taverns).

We had had more wine than four people should really consume over the course of one day—perhaps even one year. Needless to say, we were feeling it by the time we headed home. We got split up at the train station (because one drunky maybe jumped on a random train and the hubs had to chase after her? Details aren’t important…), and the four of us—without functioning cell phones and a clear idea of where we lived, exactly—had to find our way home in two separate groups. Luckily, and thanks to the help of some very friendly locals, we all made it back in one piece, but if we could go back in time, we probably would have been more responsible drinkers.

And thus is the story of our lives.

the lazy travelers, they're on to something

3 – If you could only travel on one continent for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Europe, Europe, EUROPE!

(Full disclosure: we say this without having visited South America, Africa, or Antarctica… though we would love to know if anyone has ever answered Antarctica for this question).

4 – Whats your best bit of advice for people wanting to get off the beaten path when they travel? 
If the touristy “must-sees” don’t sound appealing to you, then skip them! People LOVE to tell you that you haven’t really seen Paris without visiting Mona Lisa or Rome without exploring the Vatican… it’s all a lie! If you cut out the stuff that’s unimportant to you, it gives you more time to focus on finding the things you know you’ll love.

For us, that happens to mean extra time dedicated to eating food and imbibing the local drink of choice. Our favorite days are the ones spent eating local fare, chatting up the staff and our fellow bar or restaurant patrons… even if it does end with getting lost in Vienna in the middle of the night.

5 – As one of the world’s most popular foods, where is the best pizza you’ve ever eaten outside of Italy? 
Psh, how is this EVEN a question? We’re New Yorkers, so I think you can guess our answer.
Take that, Chicago.
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6 – If you were never able to travel again, what one place would you always regret you never visited?
Oh man, what a sad question. We’re dying to do an African safari and have it in our plans for 2014, so missing that would be a pretty huge bummer.
What great answers! It’s so refreshing to hear from fellow travelers who speak honestly and openly instead of sounding like a Frommer’s guide. Follow them on Twitter @lazytravelers  on their Facebook as well as their Website.
Cheers guys!

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