A few days before Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean and Florida, my husband and spent a long weekend in Puerto Rico.
We weren’t affected by the hurricane (made it back home safely before landfall) and Puerto Rico didn’t suffer widespread catastrophic damage like St Thomas or St Martin and other nearby islands. However, the news coverage is still so unsettling about how many people are struggling.
This makes me feel uncomfortable writing about the trip. But I hope I can share what we appreciated this lovely part of the world.
We stayed in an AirBnB in a neighborhood called Ocean Park. It had a relaxed local feel, and our stay was absolutely delightful.
The owner of the Airbnb created several beautiful spaces in her own home, and you can see from the sign outside her house, her warm positive outlook on life.
I loved the eclectic decor which combined modern and classic Spanish influences, collected from vintage stores and flea markets.
Our room was built as a sort of tree house attached to the top of the house, and this was our very narrow spiral staircase leading to it.
The most notable aspect of our room was the outdoor shower. There is something so relaxing about taking a shower outdoors in the early evening, listening to the birds and crickets in the trees around us.
Of course, you have to get comfortable with the idea that you’re- you know- outside without any clothes on. But once you do, it’s cool.
This outdoor shower ended up being one of my favorite things are the trip (my husband not so much!) He kept thinking people could spy on us, even though there were pretty high barriers around the shower.
Each morning, we’d stumble down our spiral staircase to have breakfast with the other guests in the garden. This AirBnb had an outdoor communal kitchen, and each morning, she’d place bread, nut butters, fresh jams, granola, hot coffee, coconut water, and homemade beet juice.
It was such a fun way to interact with the other guests.
Perhaps the absolute best thing about this location was the beach, which was literally across the street!
There’s lots more to share about Puerto Rico coming up, including a wonderful dinner we had one night, all the tasty local dishes we tried on a food tour, our day spent in Old San Juan, and our snorkeling trip.
How do you feel about the outdoor shower? Would you be comfortable with it?
So, this is my VERY LAST POST about New Zealand. I’m kind of sad about it, but you’re probably thinking Finally!
We spent our last day in Rotorua.
Rotorua is a rather interesting place. It’s what I imagine Earth must have been like during Dinosaur times.
Pockets of steams rising all over the place, volcanic craters, molten hot springs, neon green bodies of water, and a noticeable sulphur smell.
In fact, you can visit the Waitopo Geothermal Park park to see a concentration of all these ancient wonders in one place.
Walking around the park, you are greeted by many scenes of this…
It was hard to get a good shot of this lake which would do it justice.
The wind kept blowing steam into the picture. So, I’ll just describe it to you.
A two tone pool. A body of emerald green water surrounded by a bright orange ring, colored by the minerals in the water around the rim.
It wasn’t all just sulphur and steam though. The park also has beautiful walking trails through trees like this.
My favorite place in this park though was this bright neon green lake. Yes, it really is that color. Did you ever guess that hue existed in nature?
After walking around and contemplating prehistoric environment, we headed to our very special resting place for the night, the Hamurana Springs Lodge.
When researching this inn, I didn’t pay too much attention to the description. It just sounded like a decent place to stay.
But it ended up being my favorite stay of the entire trip.
This lodge was a bit out of town in the country side, sitting on its own estate surrounded by fields of horses. Once you turn into the road leading to the inn, you see the lodge perched up on a hill.
Then you drive down this wonderfully long path to the inn
Finally, you reach this cute old inn.
Once you’re inside, you’re greeted with all kinds of lovely views of the countryside
as well as portraits of local Maori tribespeople on the walls
Being there on a Thursday night, we had the random luck of being the only guests.
Not only did we have the run of the place, but we got so much specialized attention from the staff.
In fact, we joked that we felt like we were in an episode of Downtown Abbey. The staff tended to our every need, building a fire for us and stoking it through the evening, offering nice drinks, and so on.
We took advantage of all the lodge’s amenities including this beautiful fire place in a sitting room where we read books and drank wine for a few cozy hours. They piped in old fashioned jazz music and we felt like we had gone back in time to a different era.
Though I’m not skilled at pool at all, we also enjoyed playing a few games
That night, we slept so well, probably the best I slept the entire trip.
And the next morning, we went down to the dining room and were greeted with this nice breakfast. Fresh croissants. Cheeses and meats. Berries with yogurt.
After eating seconds and drinking a few cups of coffee, we spent a little time in our room just enjoying the view and feeling grateful that our trip to New Zealand ended on such a high note.