Honeymoon and Weekend Trip Destinations in San Francisco

San Francisco leaves your senses in awe. The experience starts with the clanging sounds of cable cars going down the streets of Powell and Hyde, the sea lions barking and grouping near Pier 39 and the foghorns that sound off when the summer mist engulfs the Alcatraz. Treat your taste buds with some sourdough baguettes at the Fisherman’s Wharf cafĂ© or sink your teeth in mint chocolate bars you’ll find at Ghirardelli Square.

Enjoy the warm sea breezes when you take a ferry ride and watch the sunrise amidst the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s not all. Feast your eyes witnessing fortune cookies being made at Chinatown’s Ross Alley.

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Savor a cup of cappuccino in one of the Italian trattorias at North Beach or enjoy a panoramic view on top of Coit Tower in Telegraph hill. And this is only the beginning of San Francisco’s seduction!

A good follow up would be a half or full-day tour of the Bay Area to acquaint yourself the ethnic and eclectic neighborhoods. Cities within the city also await you like Haight-Ashbury, the posh Pacific Heights, or the Union Square. Making the choices is the only challenge San Francisco offers.

Day and night, pleasurable experiences await. Be it a morning stroll along Embarcadero where ferries and tour boats are moored at the piers, or simply enjoy a bird’s eye view of the bay on top of the observatory in the Transamerica Pyramid. The wooded trails and secluded lakes of the Golden Gate Park are great places to go biking or in-line skating.

Night times are enchanting as well at SoMa. South of Market Street is a trendy area that is peppered with experimental theaters, sophisticated night clubs and gourmet restaurants. Later in the evening, Union Square offers a classic San Francisco experience which is dancing at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room located on the top floor of Sir Francis Drake Hotel.

Once you call it a day, you can relax at any of the Victorian bed-and-breakfast inns and European-style hotels that quite possibly sparks romance anew!

Stanyan Park Hotel Exterior view
Stanyan Park Hotel
San Francisco, California Bed & Breakfasts
The Stanyan Park Hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an elegant, thoroughly restored Victorian Hotel, that will take you back to a bygone era of style, grace, and comfort.

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The ferry trips to Alcatraz and Angel Island is popular year round due to the spring-like weather in the Bay Area (45 – 75). The former penitentiary attracts tourists by the thousand.

While you are at Angel Island, hop on to an open-air tram and enjoy this eucalyptus studded area and be fascinated by its history. It was a former immigration station nicknamed “Ellis Island of the West.”

Push your adventure further and rent a sea kayak at Ayala Cove and enjoy a sunset picnic at a secluded beach. When you do leave this city, it would surely tug at your heart.

First time in San Francisco? You should read this: San Francisco: Quick Guide for the First Time Tourist

Anchorage, Alaska Tours and Whale Watching Charters

To a first, time tourist, Anchorage comes as a pleasant surprise with its sprawling, urban center, and commercial establishments. Visitors coming from the mainland US would find similarities in the Lower 48 states upon seeing its huge airport, multiple-laned superhighways, and skyscrapers. Our short visit to this lovely city back in 2007 came as a surprise treat from a friend who was able to avail tickets for cheap flights to Anchorage. It was a treat, indeed. Our non-stop flight from Taipei was quite tiring but it was one memorable bonding activity for us.

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From what I can remember, this city, being the state's largest, traces back its roots to 1915 to its tent camp days when the railroad was being built as a connection to the port of Seward on the Kenai Peninsula with the Interior. Over the years, a series of economic bonanzas have contributed to the city's growth. At present, over half the state's population occupies the area. In 1964, the city was badly damaged by earthquake. What was left of it is the carefully preserved Earthquake Park, a stark reminder of the devastation.

Three Eagle Charters Capt. Tommy
Three Eagle Charters
Juneau, Alaska Whale Watching
Offering Luxury class sport-fishing and whale-watching day trips May thru Sept. aboard our 40 ft. vessel. Private charters, only your private group aboard, 6-person maximum. Enjoy outdoor Alaska in comfort and luxury.

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Fastfood Vending Machines in Tokyo

Travel and the unique gastronomic experience that the place offers go together well. In Japan, vending machines are used in ways I did not expect. Ramen, soba, kastu, sushi, sashimi, and all the common Japanese food you can imagine can be bought through vending machines.


We've seen several of these vending machine restaurants while walking along the streets of Akihabara. In fact, we dined in one of those ramen houses after a tiring day of shopping and touring. These types of restaurants use the machines as their ordering system. The whole restaurant menu is displayed in the big vending machines outside the establishment using either pictures or plastic food replicas together with their corresponding prices in Japanese Yen.


 We only have the food representation of as a guide on what to expect because all the names were written in Japanese. Customers would then pay with coins on the slots provided and a piece of paper comes out. Only then will you enter the restaurant to hand that piece of paper to the waitress who will have your order prepared and served to your preferred table.

It is commonly cramped inside these restaurants but the food serving is really large. The size alone and the rich authentic flavors compensate for the hefty price. Food is quite expensive in these restaurants. Some single dishes were priced as high as 1,800 - 2,000 Yen. Because we're on a budget, we ordered the cheapest medium-sized bowl of ramen with roasted pork, priced at 680 Yen. Still, the serving was too large for us.

One piece of advice - if you are to eat in an authentic ramen house and you don't have a huge appetite, share the serving of ramen with someone. The servings in the malls are smaller and way cheaper. It's the experience that we paid for; and we did not regret it at all. If given the chance to go back to Japan, we'd do it again, but we'll be more prepared.

© content and photos by Athena Goodlight 

Best Island Destinations in Hawaii Cruises

Cruising is a fantastic way to sample the various islands of Hawaii. Oahu offers surfing off Waikiki beach, while at the Polynesian Cultural Center, tourists can explore the recreated villages of the South Seas. Stroll around the century-old whaling town of Lahaina on Maui and of course, don't forget to take a day tour to sail and view the whales. It's a perfect opportunity to photograph these magnificent and beautiful sea mammals.

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In Hawaii, volcanoes are plenty. Take a hike tour into the steamy volcano crater of the island. If you love waterfalls, don't miss the 400-foot falls of verdant Kauai.

Hawaii has so much to offer. You can never be bored in this island. One trip is never enough. You can always go back for more.

Beach Hopping in Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico

Thinking of visiting Mexico for a beach vacation? The beaches in Cancun and Cozumel offer the powdery sand and turquoise waters that lap your stresses away.

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Both these beaches offer scuba diving and snorkeling activities to take your beach adventure excitement a notch higher. For a total rest and relaxation, romantic and secluded areas in Cozumel are located on the northeast of the island. Cancun also has its share of secluded beaches such as Playa del Carmen.

The nightlife in Cancun is very famous for its non-stop fun and entertainment. Tourists can enjoy performances in varied music genres: jazz, folkloric, pop, rock smooth jazz, and other indie music.

If you wish to add some historic tours to your travel, arrange to join day trips to the Maya sites in Tulum, which is perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea or you may visit the Coba, which is situated deep in the jungle.