It's so cliche to say this, but I feel it needs to be said regardless..... a picture really is worth a 1000 words.  As I wind down from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and last year's wedding season,  I finally have a chance to start blogging some of our trips and adventures from 2016!    Traveling to me is an itch that's always waiting to be scratched.  Instead of just slapping together a Facebook album, I've decided to take a little time and write a blog about some of my favorite things and share them to inspire and make suggestions on things we wish we would have known.   I feel like every time we go somewhere new, it makes us learn something different about ourselves and other people.  And that, to me, is priceless.  I love new experiences and enjoy sharing them with others who also like to travel.  So if you have a serious case of wanderlust,  or if you just feel like momentarily escaping the winter cold, read on my friends.  :)  Starting with Puerto Rico.  These pictures take me right back to... well, everything.

 View from our hotel.  When we travel, we generally opt out of splurging on an ocean view.  We consider it motivation to get moving and head to the beach or just get outside!  I feel like money is better spent on food or excursions versus waking up to the best view.  And I couldn't possibly have more nice things to say about the La Concha Renaissance Resort in San Juan...  Impeccable service, clean as can be, great food, perfect location, their pools/hot tubs are open 24 hours and they have an adults only infinity pool overlooking the ocean that's to.die.for!

View from our hotel.  When we travel, we generally opt out of splurging on an ocean view.  We consider it motivation to get moving and head to the beach or just get outside!  I feel like money is better spent on food or excursions versus waking up to the best view.  And I couldn't possibly have more nice things to say about the La Concha Renaissance Resort in San Juan...  Impeccable service, clean as can be, great food, perfect location, their pools/hot tubs are open 24 hours and they have an adults only infinity pool overlooking the ocean that's to.die.for!

 Fun fact:  La Concha means seashell in spanish.  There's a swanky little restaurant inside that shell, but we never ended up eating there... we prefer eating al fresco when possible.

Fun fact:  La Concha means seashell in spanish.  There's a swanky little restaurant inside that shell, but we never ended up eating there... we prefer eating al fresco when possible.

 First night in San Juan, we went to Ropa Vieja per the suggestion of a close friend. (thanks, Priya!)  Probably the best appetizer I've ever had.  Bolts de Risotto (Risotto Rice Balls) were the most delicious little magical things in the history of pretty much ever. Hence, the terrible grainy iPhone pic here.  But totally worth it as well as the calories!  Nom nom nom.

First night in San Juan, we went to Ropa Vieja per the suggestion of a close friend. (thanks, Priya!)  Probably the best appetizer I've ever had.  Bolts de Risotto (Risotto Rice Balls) were the most delicious little magical things in the history of pretty much ever. Hence, the terrible grainy iPhone pic here.  But totally worth it as well as the calories!  Nom nom nom.

 We adventured to the local farmers market for some fresh local fruit at a fraction of the cost.  SO delicious! 

We adventured to the local farmers market for some fresh local fruit at a fraction of the cost.  SO delicious! 

 We also tried Limbel for the first time, which was basically a frozen fresh fruit popsicle in a cup.   Benny had the papaya, I had the mango.  Yum! 

We also tried Limbel for the first time, which was basically a frozen fresh fruit popsicle in a cup.   Benny had the papaya, I had the mango.  Yum! 

 Mango anyone?

Mango anyone?

 Never a dull moment with this one.... While walking past a local bball court, this old college hoops player couldn't resist attempting to dunk a mango.  Key word being attempt.  (He was more of a 3point wonder.)

Never a dull moment with this one.... While walking past a local bball court, this old college hoops player couldn't resist attempting to dunk a mango.  Key word being attempt.  (He was more of a 3point wonder.)

 Breakfast is served!  Side note, I can't live without fruit-  it's my absolute favorite! Next to cheese.

Breakfast is served!  Side note, I can't live without fruit-  it's my absolute favorite! Next to cheese.

 Obligatory poolside photo.  I think I read about 30 pages of The Paris Wife in a haze of the afternoon sun and a few mojitos.  Was it good?  No idea.  To be continued?

Obligatory poolside photo.  I think I read about 30 pages of The Paris Wife in a haze of the afternoon sun and a few mojitos.  Was it good?  No idea.  To be continued?

 Why this man loves me and puts up with all of my photo requests is beyond me.

Why this man loves me and puts up with all of my photo requests is beyond me.

 Day 2. Ahhhhh Old San Juan, we loved you so much.  We originally thought we would stay here, but are so glad we opted to book a hotel on the beach and then venture into the town instead.  A lot of great energy and so much to see, but I would recommend a beach side resort over staying in the city any day for relaxation purposes.  We could have spent a month exploring the streets here though!

Day 2. Ahhhhh Old San Juan, we loved you so much.  We originally thought we would stay here, but are so glad we opted to book a hotel on the beach and then venture into the town instead.  A lot of great energy and so much to see, but I would recommend a beach side resort over staying in the city any day for relaxation purposes.  We could have spent a month exploring the streets here though!

   #Instagramhusband

  #Instagramhusband

 Parque de Las Palomas.  (Pigeon's Park) If you're wondering, the answer is YES.  Yes I was absolutely TERRIFIED doing this.  But if you know me at all, I'm one to take my fears head on like a bull by the horns, and guess what?   I survived.  But all I could think about was one of the ratty little beasts pecking my eyeballs out.  Ok, moving on.

Parque de Las Palomas.  (Pigeon's Park) If you're wondering, the answer is YES.  Yes I was absolutely TERRIFIED doing this.  But if you know me at all, I'm one to take my fears head on like a bull by the horns, and guess what?   I survived.  But all I could think about was one of the ratty little beasts pecking my eyeballs out.  Ok, moving on.

 We sat outside on the street here eating Acai Bowls and listening tho this guy sing.  I couldn't peel my eyes away, there was something so beautiful about his voice.

We sat outside on the street here eating Acai Bowls and listening tho this guy sing.  I couldn't peel my eyes away, there was something so beautiful about his voice.

 Exploring Castillo San Cristobal and San Felipe del Morro.  Fun fact:  We are history nerds and love historical sites and discussing what we would be doing if we lived in ancient times.  Any guesses?

Exploring Castillo San Cristobal and San Felipe del Morro.  Fun fact:  We are history nerds and love historical sites and discussing what we would be doing if we lived in ancient times.  Any guesses?

 Another awkward moment, brought to you by the infamous Go Pro stick.

Another awkward moment, brought to you by the infamous Go Pro stick.

 Word to the wise- if you go in these little towers that are scattered across the castles, hold your breathe.  #smellslikecatpee

Word to the wise- if you go in these little towers that are scattered across the castles, hold your breathe.  #smellslikecatpee

 Taking it all in.  Moments before this photo was taken, the wind tried to steal my hat.  I luckily caught it just before it flew through the little opening on the right and into the courtyard!

Taking it all in.  Moments before this photo was taken, the wind tried to steal my hat.  I luckily caught it just before it flew through the little opening on the right and into the courtyard!

 Thank you to the nice couple that took this photo.  I can't remember their names, but they were from Michigan.

Thank you to the nice couple that took this photo.  I can't remember their names, but they were from Michigan.

 Day 3: El Yunque Rainforest.  You can see how thrilled I was about the rain and super sexy poncho.

Day 3: El Yunque Rainforest.  You can see how thrilled I was about the rain and super sexy poncho.

 Ok, so if you ever plan to visit Puerto Rico, El Yunque is a MUST.  Before I show you one of the top 5 most exhilarating moments of my life, I figure I should fill you in on the journey to get there.  We aren't really "organized bus tour" kinda people.  We like to move a little quicker and on our own terms.  We heard that if we rented a car and headed to the rainforest ourselves, we could actually cover more ground and see the peak of the forest. (Thanks Pat and Lea!)  The regular tours only bring you to the heart of the forest and several of the main waterfalls, but that wasn't enough to feed our adventurous appetites.  So we rented a car for the day (cheap and easy.)  When I pictured hiking through the rainforest, for some reason I didn't think it would actually rain.  (why, I'm not sure, the word RAIN is in fact, in rainforest.  der. )  But anyways, instinct told me to stop at a store to pick up some ponchos in case it did.  This actually turned out to be the best $20 we spent because it rained the ENTIRE 8 hours we were there.  If you ever want to test out your relationship, I recommend hiking a mountain through the rainforest for 8 hours in POURING rain.  All we could do was just laugh about it and crack jokes the entire time.  Now I have known Benny was my soulmate for some time, but this day trip solidified it.  He always has an abundance of positive energy in the not-so-nicest of situations. And I love that about him.   So up the mountain we drove, until the crowds and tour busses became thinner.  We parked the car along 4 other vehicles that were at the trailhead and started our journey up.  It was hot, we were sweaty, already in the beginning stages of hangry, and smelled like DEET.  (PS- even though PR was a Zika virus flagged country, there are apparently no mosquitos in the rain forest... too many birds/bats outnumber and eat them!)    We continued on foot, through the rain, and took in the lush smells of green plant life and soil... every once in a while coming across a fragrant flower and raging waterfalls.  Through peaks of the trees, we could see the descending cliffs as the misty fog threatened to swallowed them whole.  It took roughly two (somewhat) intense hours of climbing until we finally reached the top.  I asked Ben to walk out onto the peak with me, but he politely declined.  Looking back, I'm still not sure why,  but I was undeniably compelled to walk out onto this slippery ledge. 1,000 foot drops on either side... wind whipping through my poncho and rain pelting my face.  It was in this moment I stretched out my arms, closed my eyes, opened my heart to the universe, and truly felt ALIVE.

Ok, so if you ever plan to visit Puerto Rico, El Yunque is a MUST.  Before I show you one of the top 5 most exhilarating moments of my life, I figure I should fill you in on the journey to get there.  We aren't really "organized bus tour" kinda people.  We like to move a little quicker and on our own terms.  We heard that if we rented a car and headed to the rainforest ourselves, we could actually cover more ground and see the peak of the forest. (Thanks Pat and Lea!)  The regular tours only bring you to the heart of the forest and several of the main waterfalls, but that wasn't enough to feed our adventurous appetites.  So we rented a car for the day (cheap and easy.)  When I pictured hiking through the rainforest, for some reason I didn't think it would actually rain.  (why, I'm not sure, the word RAIN is in fact, in rainforest.  der. )  But anyways, instinct told me to stop at a store to pick up some ponchos in case it did.  This actually turned out to be the best $20 we spent because it rained the ENTIRE 8 hours we were there.  If you ever want to test out your relationship, I recommend hiking a mountain through the rainforest for 8 hours in POURING rain.  All we could do was just laugh about it and crack jokes the entire time.  Now I have known Benny was my soulmate for some time, but this day trip solidified it.  He always has an abundance of positive energy in the not-so-nicest of situations. And I love that about him.   So up the mountain we drove, until the crowds and tour busses became thinner.  We parked the car along 4 other vehicles that were at the trailhead and started our journey up.  It was hot, we were sweaty, already in the beginning stages of hangry, and smelled like DEET.  (PS- even though PR was a Zika virus flagged country, there are apparently no mosquitos in the rain forest... too many birds/bats outnumber and eat them!)  

We continued on foot, through the rain, and took in the lush smells of green plant life and soil... every once in a while coming across a fragrant flower and raging waterfalls.  Through peaks of the trees, we could see the descending cliffs as the misty fog threatened to swallowed them whole.  It took roughly two (somewhat) intense hours of climbing until we finally reached the top.  I asked Ben to walk out onto the peak with me, but he politely declined.  Looking back, I'm still not sure why,  but I was undeniably compelled to walk out onto this slippery ledge. 1,000 foot drops on either side... wind whipping through my poncho and rain pelting my face.  It was in this moment I stretched out my arms, closed my eyes, opened my heart to the universe, and truly felt ALIVE.

 and here it is, one of the top 5 most exhilarating moments of my life.

and here it is, one of the top 5 most exhilarating moments of my life.

 Top of the Old Tower on El Yunque peak, you can see San Juan down on the shores below.  Crazy.

Top of the Old Tower on El Yunque peak, you can see San Juan down on the shores below.  Crazy.

 Last day in Puerto Rico.  We used the complimentary bikes at our hotel and rode to Old San Juan- one day there just wasn't enough.

Last day in Puerto Rico.  We used the complimentary bikes at our hotel and rode to Old San Juan- one day there just wasn't enough.

 Last meal in San Juan.  Fresh plaintain chips, ceviche and Sangria for lunch.  Quite possibly my most favorite meal.  Until next time, Puerto Rico! You will forever have a place in our hearts.

Last meal in San Juan.  Fresh plaintain chips, ceviche and Sangria for lunch.  Quite possibly my most favorite meal.  Until next time, Puerto Rico! You will forever have a place in our hearts.