Perspectives of a Lady, Gentleman & Dane

travel Archive

Hannah Sheflyand

I promise this will be the last post specifically about our holidays until the end of the year when it comes around again, however there was so much that happened and I would love to share the stories and photos (we forgot our camera so unfortunately these are all iPhone photos)…

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We had an amazing weekend in Alexandria, VA over Christmas visiting Brian’s family. His sister lives in a beautiful old colonial house and in a great neighborhood near many little shops. When we were in California, Brian enjoyed playing around with acrobatics¬†so for Christmas he got a unicycle and some juggling balls to get him started. Luckily the weather was amazing and we had many opportunities to hang out and play. Everyone was super generous with gifts which was unnecessary but a great way to spend Christmas morning followed by a lot of delicious food.

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Brian’s sister was due to have a baby Christmas day but the days passed and no baby, so we spent a lot of time just walking around, reading and, at the end, making gingerbread cookies. Instead of going with the traditional cookies we played around with zombie cookies ūüôā

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And then the little beautiful Lillian Marie was born on December 27th… and we headed home for a day to repack and then off again for New Years celebrations!

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I surprised Brian by flying us into Charleston, SC and spending a few days fattening ourselves up on good food and southern hospitality. We spent two days in downtown Charleston where we had a beautiful New Years dinner at McCradys, some time relaxing and some time shopping, followed by more and more food.

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One afternoon we decided to take a short drive to the Charleston Tea Plantation. Big fun fact, this is the only major tea farm in all of North America, the next closest one is Guatemala. The whole place is not very big, there is only 4 workers in the whole plantation and a few in the store but the place pumps out lots of tea on a daily basis. Another fun fact, tea plants, Camillia sinensis, naturally produce chemicals that keep bugs and weeds away which means this whole plantation is maintained without herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.¬†We had a fun time taking a tour around the shop and then through the whole plantation. Brian was especially interested in the custom made machine that was designed so one person can drive and collect the tea leaves all in one go. I was very happy to bring home lots of yummy tea and spend a wonderful warm afternoon with Brian ūüôā

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We then headed off to the Middleton Plantation. We have visited the plantation before and I really loved the gardens and found out they have an inn just a short trail walk from the plantation gardens.

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I am so happy that we decided to stay here! There are not enough words to explain just how beautiful and relaxing our weekend away ended up being. Our room was rustic with a big fireplace, which was Brian’s favorite part because he got to play with fire each evening, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Ashley River. Each morning we would wake up and had the opportunity to walk through the whole plantation before it was even open to the public. We also had time to play¬†with all the farm animals ranging from horses¬†and¬†pigs to chickens and goats. ¬†We both agreed that the best part was walking around the property and under the old oak trees covered in spanish moss (the blue speck on the last photo is me under a 300 year old oak tree).

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The biggest news by far &¬†for our trip… Brian and I are thrilled to announce that we are¬†ENGAGED! Brian surprised me by asking me to marry him on¬†New Years eve. We were able to celebrate the New Year and a new Engagement. It was a magical and giddy¬†evening and weekend. We are already going crazy with wedding planning, my love for lists has finally paid off… but mainly we have been enthralled with calling each other Fiance and talking about all our future plans together.

(I don’t want this blog to become filled with wedding posts so I think instead I will just do a monthly update for those interested… but I am very open to ideas. What do you think?)

How were your holidays? Any stories to share?

Hannah Sheflyand

During my trip with my mom to Italy (recap here, here & here), we did a lot of site seeing, but we also did a lot of shopping; probably more then necessary. There is something so romantic about bringing home gifts to family members and close friends, especially when they are hard to find back home.

In Rome I was pretty selfish and bought a lot of little gifts for myself, but once we made it to the Amalfi coast, almost every store was calling me to all the perfect gifts I can bring home to others.

Lemons are everywhere around the Amalfi coast, not only growing abundantly from terraces, but hanging from fruit stands, painted on ceramics, and most importantly bottled up in Limoncello.

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SONY DSCLimoncello is a delicious candy like, yet pretty strong, dessert liqueur that most shop owners along the coast make themselves. This drink was a little too strong for me, one sip made me tipsy, but my mom loved it.

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As our first giveaway on this site, I would like to ship one reader a small bottle of Limoncello that I brought home. All you need to do to qualify is to comment on this post with one thing you love about travel, whether its to another country, another state or just taking a long drive, and include an email address to contact you (I can only ship in the US), and like us on facebook or instagram (if you have neither you can just subscribe to our blog) . A winner will be announced and contacted next Friday!

Hannah Sheflyand

The final part of our trip (part 1 & part 2 here) was spent in the beautiful Amalfi coast. After running around trying to fit in so many things for the first 7 days, we wanted a chance to just relax and enjoy the beauty of Italy, Sorrento was the perfect place to do just that.

Sorrento is a great hub to get around Amalfi coast. There is a train station right in the center of town, a dock with boats that travel to Capri and neighboring cities, and a bus that winds through the windy small roads towards Positano and Amalfi.

Sorrento itself is very touristy but clean. Almost everyone speaks English, fish is fresh, food is amazing and the people are all nice and calm. It was easy to spend hours wandering the streets, shopping and enjoying the serenity of this calm city.

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Sorrento, and all the neighboring cities, are all very busy in the summer, but we came late in the season and it was already getting chilly, so the crowds were mostly in our favor.

The second day we went to the island of Capri and Anacapri. I usually dont have any issues with sea sickness but it was so windy and the waves were so choppy that it took hours before I was back to my normal self. Because the waves were choppy we could not make it to the famous Blue Grotto but the day ended up great and filled with activities even without it. We first headed to Anacapri and took the chair lift up to Monte Solaro which has a beautiful 360degree view of the island and the amazingly blue water. We opted out of the chair lift back down and instead took a relaxing hour walk down the mountain to experience some more pretty views.

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Hannah Sheflyand

After spending our first few days in Rome, we headed down south. Many suggested that we do Naples and Pompeii all in one day but we wanted to take our time in both places.

We started by taking a bullet train to Naples and then a local commuter train (which I highly recommend to not take if you have luggage, the train is super packed and its about an hour commute) to Pompeii.

Pompeii was gorgeous, and a great place to visit, but if you don’t have a lot of time on your trip, I would skip Pompeii and head straight to Naples. The ruins of Pompeii are just that, ruins, and most of the notable artwork has been moved to the Archaeological Museum in Naples.

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SONY DSCIf you have the time to visit Pompeii then make sure you make the time to go up to Mt. Vesuvius. We went through the company Busvia del Vesuvio and loved it! The ride up was in a cross between a bus and a monster truck, super bumpy, yet scenic and well worthwhile. The best part was making it up to the top, viewing the city below, and enjoying being in the clouds.

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Hannah Sheflyand

Before my family and I moved to New York from Russia, we lived in Italy for about a year, in a small beach town outside of Rome called Passo Oscuro. Once we moved to New York I never had the opportunity to return up until a month ago, for my 25th birthday, where my mom gave me the awesome gift of taking me back to Rome.

We spent half our time in Rome, then day trips in Pompeii and Naples, and the rest of our time in the Sorrento area. It was an amazing experience and by the end of our trip we were well fed, with heavier bags and with a camera filled with thousands of pictures.

Since there is so much to tell about our vacation I figured I would split it into a couple of posts in the next few days.

Rome is a crazy busy city filled with a lot of tourists and since it was my first visit I tried to pack in as much of the popular tourist sites as possible so our days were super packed and we were exhausted by the end of each day.

We took an overnight flight from NY to Rome so we started our day pretty tired but wanted to get a jump start, so we grabbed our bags and headed to our hotel, and after getting lost wandering around for an hour and lugging our bags up 5 flights of stairs (note: always make sure you find a hotel with an elevator), we finally made it out of the hotel, bagless and ready to start being tourists!

SONY DSCOur hotel was in the perfect location, just a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum and also a 10 minute walk from Termini Station. We decided to start our first day with the Colosseum, since it was so close, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill.

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The Colosseum was gorgeous but super crowded and our tired bodies were pretty happy that we bought the Roma Pass and were able to skip most of the long lines.

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As you can tell by the silly photo above, by the time we made it to the Roman Forum, we reached a point of exhaustion but thought it best we keep it going to combat  jet lag.

SONY DSCWe finally headed back to the hotel and zonked out. We woke up, well rested, and off to another busy day out in Rome.

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Hannah Sheflyand

Any one who has traveled to any other time zone knows the feeling of the body dealing with jet lag. For me, once I am in a new place or back home, the hardest part is falling asleep and then staying asleep. I know part of it is just the time change but mostly if I am traveling I think my body is in a state of excitement and shock.

I have come to learn that a few things really help me out and I wanted to share and see if you have any other suggestions for our next trips.

1. Water, water and more water!- When my body is¬†in a state of fluctuation I don’t know if I¬†am sleepy, hungry or thirsty. I make sure that even if all the other needs are not met every half hour to hour I have a big cup of water so by the end of the day I have consumed¬†2 liters of water. I found following a schedule like this at least keeps my body in the right state of health. A great way to keep on track with this is to have a marked water bottle like the picture below.

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2. Taking naps- I find that compensating my tiredness with boosts of caffeine does not work as well as taking a nap. Especially if I take a red eye flight, I make sure to give myself time for a nap in the middle of the next day. There are 2 types of naps that will help you feel invigorated after. If I do not have much time I set my alarm for 30 min and try to fall asleep, this means I give myself somewhere between a 20-25 min nap. Any longer than that and your body falls into deep sleep and if woken up suddenly from that, you can often feel even worse then before the nap. With a 25 minute nap I often feel invigorated enough to get me through another half day but not to the point where I cant fall asleep at night. If I am super super exhausted because I did not get any sleep the night before I will try to take a nap around 11am and set my alarm to go off in about 1 hour 45min which give me about a 90 minute nap. This amount of time lets your body go through one REM sleep cycle, I always feel amazing after that. Most importantly I have found that taking a nap any time after 2pm is just a big no no because there is no chance of falling asleep later that night at a normal time. Read more…

Hannah Sheflyand

I am on my way to a 2 week vacation to Italy with my mom! We are heading to Rome first and then traveling down to the Amalfi coast. This trip has been long in the process of planning which makes me super excited to finally go.

I was born in Rome and left when I was too little to remember. My family lived in a little beach town right outside of Rome so we will definitely be making a sideline and spending a day visiting the town since its been almost 25 years since we have been there.

I am sorry for not being able to post anything new the last few days but I hope you can understand the craziness that ensues before this kind of long trip. I will do my best to post some updates and photos during the trip but if not I hope you can enjoy some of my past posts until I return!

Hannah Sheflyand

The weather for the weekend looks great so I hope everyone will get to enjoy some outdoor time.¬†After last week’s busy long weekend, I am ok with just spending this one on the couch. Do you ever need a recovery period after a trip away from home? If you would like to reminisce my trip to Montreal with me and Brian, I would love to share some of our photos.

We were able to rent bikes and ride all over town. Brian enjoyed being silly while photos were being taken.

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This is my younger sister Nicole. She tagged along with us and was a great sport.

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Nicole had a camera lens that formats all photos to fish eye. We played around with it while waiting for some delicious breakfast.

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Brian had a craving for southern food and got lucky that one of the brunch places offered Chicken & Waffles.

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The downtown area of Montreal was beautiful and filled with cute little boutiques and a ton of cafes.

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Nicole took this picture as we were strolling through Old Montreal.

I think I am starting to enjoy these 3 day trips away, maybe the next one will be to Boston or Philadelphia. How about you, any trips planned?