I have never been to a more colorful and vibrant city than Miami. After graduating college, I spent three months in Barcelona, Spain, as an au pair for a wonderful family I had met on aupairworld.com (if you know anyone who is interested in being an au pair I’d recommend this site). Shortly after I returned to the states my Spanish family moved to Miami! I’ve been wanting to visit them for the last three years and finally had the chance. I flew into Miami ahead of a big storm and enjoyed cooler weather, days mixed with sunny and shady skies, and great people watching!
My Spanish family lives on the island of Key Biscayne. They (like most residents of Key Biscayne) live a resort lifestyle in a high rise condominium. Their patio overlooks the ocean that presents beautiful views morning, noon and night.
Since reading Gone With the Wind in college I have romanticized the South. Cobblestone streets, live Oak trees with Spanish moss, and beautiful, historic houses. My dream recently came true as my friend Hilary and I ventured out to Charleston, South Carolina. The historic part of Charleston was smaller than we both expected and a long weekend getaway is the perfect amount of time necessary to see the city.
We arrived on a Thursday, checked into our quaint hotel, and set out exploring. We stayed at the Fulton Lane Inn, a place I’d highly recommend as it’s central to everything.
We left Hoi An and started the three hour journey to Hue (pronounced “way”). Have any of you seen the show Top Gear? They have a Vietnam Special episode that travels the same journey we took but by motor bike. The drive is spectacular!
You wind up a two lane road through the mountains and along the coast. We were pressed against the tour bus glass the entire journey. The beaches along the way are beautiful and pristine. We stopped at one beach while in transit and everything was perfect except the incredibly hot sand. Yikes!
Hue is a cosmopolitan city in central Vietnam. We had limited time in Hue (one night) and the majority of our visit was at the Citadel. The Citadel has all of the architectural beauty that you crave when visiting Southeast Asia.
After enjoying our beach time in Nha Trang my Vietnam adventure continued up the coast north to Hoi An. Hoi An is historically and architecturally praiseworthy because of its history as a busy port town. The port brought residents from all over the world, especially Japan, China, France and Italy. These original buildings and bridges are relatively well persevered creating an adorable town filled with a mix of many different styles and eras. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also a popular tourist destination.
The town is a string of a few small islands only accessible by smaller cars, mopeds and bikes. Besides being architecturally unique Hoi An is also known for its many tailors who make tailored clothing, shoes and leather goods with a turnaround time of less than 48 hours. Hoi An had hands down the best shopping of all my Vietnam destinations.
Let’s talk about turquoise waters and miles of beautiful beach. The city of Nha Trang, Vietnam is the perfect destination for your next tropical getaway. A quick flight into Da Nang from Ho Chi Min City, most famous in the US for its airbase where the majority of American military members arrived, and you’ll find yourself in Nha Trang.
If you read my first post on Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll know I’ve embarked on a two week trip of Vietnam starting in the south. After exploring Ho Chi Minh, our next stop was the Mekong River Delta.
The Mekong River Delta is about an hour and a half drive outside Ho Chi Minh and is a network of rivers, swamps and islands. Many of its inhabitants live on boats and make their living off the river. You’ll find fishing, cargo boats and floating markets.