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Travel Dad Blog #2 (literally she did #2 on me)

So today is Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 5:42 pm… Baby Knight Knight is now 2 months old, and sound asleep in the bassinet (now swing thingy by the time I finished typing).  Not sure for how long, so let’s jump right in before she wakes up…

So why is she so sound asleep you ask!?  SHE JUST SHAT ON ME!  This was quite possibly the most diabolical, wicked and unholy thing that has ever happened to me in life, and I’m almost 40!  She literally unloaded what felt like a gallon of poop in my lap.

 

I was just sitting there minding my business, burping her like they taught me in the nursery (upright, lean her forward, hand on chin, firm pats on the back, etc… at this point, I’m like the Burp Whisperer)  Anyway, everything was all good; I’m watching TV, she’s looking in the “direction” of the TV… and then bam…

I get this warm sensation on my left hand (my chin holding hand).  Bingo, spit-up… no biggie.  I smiled, looked at her, and was like, “you’ve got the warmest little body fluids ever…”  I thought to myself, I’ll probably write about that someday, but not really.  Then, she backdoored it (no pun intended…yet) with a little baby flatulence.  That’s nothing new though, she’s pretty regular if you know what I mean.  But then, like, ummm, how do I explain this… Ok…

I’ve never been in an earthquake, but I’d imagine it goes something like this: It’s real calm, you’re minding your business, birds are chirping, text messages are being ignored… and then; there’s a little tremor with the simultaneous sounds of stuff rattling and shaking, and then BOOM, shit hits the fan (no pun intended…yet), and you’re holding on for dear life trying to save yourself, then you help look for survivors once you’re in the clear!

Well sticking with the earthquake theme, the “tremor” was Baby blowing the sides out of her diaper like a natural gas leak detonating a house; the stuff “rattling” ferociously was my right thigh and her butt cheeks; the “poop hitting the fan,” was LITERALLY her poop oozing on to my favorite Urban Camp Weekend shorts causing the warmest sensation I’ve had on my thigh since putting Icy Hot on during track practice a couple of decades ago… imagine an explosion followed up by lava slowly percolating down your leg…

yup… this is when it got dicey.  This is when real decisions are made!  This is the fork in the road… the rubber meeting the road… the… you get the point…

Because naturally, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior designed the human body to naturally react in a self-preserving way.  Our bodies are built to react to danger… Flinch, blink, duck, etc… it’s automatic.  Kinda like when I have her in this pouch, and I bend over, and she grabs me because she thinks she’s about to fall…

So because the Lord designed my body like the rest of the world, it’s only natural that I react how mother Mary would have wanted me to… save myself, a.k.a. THROW BABY!  (let’s pause)

Fortunately for Baby, I was frozen in time, like, maybe I’m dreaming… Maybe, my 20/20 vision and sense of feeling in the lower quadrants of my body are failing me in my old age.  I’ve been wrong many times in my life, but never have I hoped and prayed so fast in my life to be wrong within milliseconds of an incident.  Nope… I was right… she SHAT on me… and the couch, and when I stand up, the floor! (WARNING, DON’T CLICK ON THE PIC… IT ONLY GETS WORSE)

Anyway… So who’s fault was it?  Probably the breast milk provider, a.k.a., Thunder Boobs.  Whatever Thunder Boobs ate and processed through her breasts, clearly and scientifically doesn’t mix well with Baby’s stomach.  Thunder Boobs has clearly discovered the formula for steroids and hgh; Baby’s butt muscles are on Schwarzernegger-ian strength at the moment.  The force of which her poop came out can only be described as similar to an industrial strength leaf blower.

Anyway… let’s talk clean up…

Option 1. Throw everything and everyone away (apparently that’s frowned upon by Child Protective Services, Thunder Boobs, Grandparents, and friends and family)

Option 2. Gather your thoughts, waddle with my little poop dispenser (a.k.a. Baby) to the restroom, try not to track her personal Reese’s Pieces throughout the place, take off my britches, throw them in the tub, run back to the couch naked and clean the couch before the Reese’s start to settle in, run back to the bathroom to make sure Baby is still being Baby, then run back and throw a towel on the floor, then run to the kitchen to grab a shopping bag to dispose of errything, etc!  You know what also sucks… these onesies with the three little buttons on the crotch forcing you to dumpster dive in the middle of crapville to release them; only to try and get Baby out of this contraption without getting chocolate pudding on her dome! (scissors next time)

Anyway, all is well now.  My little poop dispenser is cleaner than a whistle!  I bathed all the baby mud off of her, and she’s back to being huggable.

With that being said, you’re not getting anything for Christmas… I’m going to re-wrap your baby shower gifts, and the tree will be Lit Lit Literally!  You’ll never know until you’re old enough to read this anyway.  And your birthday gifts for next year will probably be bootlegged in a similar fashion… Whatever your Godfather Al buys you, I’m going to say it’s from me! (that’s him holding you below; he was scared to walk too fast with you until I showed him your muscle neck; you’ve been holding your head up from Day 1! Baby strong!)

Below is me taking you to the mall; don’t get used to it, it’s a waste of money and we have college or your own business to save for…

Below: This is us later that day eating some charbroiled oysters, fish and all kind of other stuff… You can get used to this though…

That’s it…

Daddy still Loves you Baby… you’re a #PieceOfCake (I’m just not a fan of your crumbs)

 

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Travel Dad Blog #1

Well… I’m back… I haven’t had the time or made the time since Myspace to blog, but I figured now’s a good time to crank it back up!  Let’s skip the 13 year gap and jump right in though!So why am I making my comeback?  Well, I’m getting old, and I have a one week old baby now fresh out the NICU (that’s obviously her above…)  I want her to be able to see/read what I was actually like before I’m blind, cripple and crazy(er) in my old age.  Anyway, she’s adorable as heck; If she doesn’t stimulate your ovaries into wanting one, nothing will (at least I think so, but I’ve been known to be biased.) I mean, technically, she could be as weird looking as some of the other babies I see on the internet, and I just not know it.  She’s a combination of her mom and me, and her mom is straight, I’m decent, so naturally I think a combination of the two should be decent as well (or appealing to my eyes?)

I do feel a certain kind of way though… I low key/high key, actually, feel as if my friends were praying for her to have her moms fine hair, and not my coarse hair.  I mean, I have wonderful coarse hair, I just choose not to fool with it these days; I stopped the hair thing in 2015, but that’s another blog… (the sponge look kinda saved me; it came back just in time to blame my untamed mane on the newest fashion hair trend thingy)

 (photo compliments of my no good friends)

But I digress.. or did I digress? Not sure where I’m going here, but I never do.  I did go out on a recent “we both have kids or kids on the way double date” the other day.  That was cool… (that’s all I have for now)  I did notice that kids under 12 eat for free on the menu… That’s not too shabby.  Technically, I’ve never paid that close attention to stuff like that, but now I’m now creating a cheat sheet of places where my little crumb snatcher can eat for free!  I will say this though; the Economics major in me thinks this is a marketing gimmick.  Of course kids under 12 should eat for free; they’re stomachs aren’t that big anyway.  It’s either eat for free, or she eat off my plate… I’m not buying a little stomach person any food in the first place; she’s going to learn sharing very early… Daddy’s left-overs are your delicacies Baby!

  But anyway, where was I… I’ve been hanging out with my same friends that already had kids during the regular years in life, and didn’t wait as long as me; Needless to say, there’s definitely been a shift in topics we discuss.  Side note, I recommend everyone wait to have kids… It gives your friends time to progress in their careers, become rich, and buy some amazing baby shower gifts!  Shoutout to my friends (like for real).  I must admit, I did use one of the gift cards to purchase some organic deodorant paste stuff I saw on TV one night (they scared me into thinking I’d get armpit cancer from using my regular antiperspirant – I don’t want armpit cancer.)  It actually works believe it or not, but, that’s coming from a guy who hasn’t really left the house in a few days.  Speaking of hygiene, late hours, and a new little human… I’ll save that for another day…

Back to my new little human that I simply call, “Baby” most of the time- Not like Cash Money’s Baby, but my special Baby… stay focused me… Ok, well, I absolutely love her.  She’s not really a crybaby from what I can tell (even though there’s a thin line between her “smile face” and “I’m about to cry face.” 

She sleeps well, but what do I know?  I only know what I’ve read, and that’s it.  I’m an only child, and I only liked a few kids my whole life (I can actually name them), and I’ve never even changed a diaper until recently.  Speaking of diapers- not a fan.  I love you Baby, but good Lordt, this diaper thing is something else.  Thank goodness for Momma and Grandma’s… I will say, however, that I do appreciate the rumble and vibration of you pooping on my forearm.  I’ll take it that I make you feel just that comfortable?

Which reminds me, Baby… Let’s talk Kanye (medicated ‘ye, because there’s a difference…) there are two songs that remind me of you right now… “Violent Crimes (80% of the song)” and “Lift Yourself (2nd verse),” when you’re old enough to listen, I’ll explain (even though the lyrics are self-explanatory.)

Baby is waking up… gotta go! (feel free to comment your baby raising tips below… I’m sure there’s room for them)

Kevin “Travel Dad” Knight




 

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Cheap flights with UEG and SkyScanner!


We are announcing a new partnership with Skyscanner and the largest African American travel group in the US, Urban Events Global!  Click on one of the below links to download the Skyscanner App to your phone, and start booking cheap flights today!  Simply download, and test it out to activate your discounts!

  1. iPhones / iPads
  2. Androids and Others

(also, for a discount on our events, don’t forget to text the word CheapFlights to 83361)




 

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Uber vs. Lyft!?

Uber vs. Lyft…

First of all, both companies are offering discounts and/or free rides to voting booths, so please don’t let transportation stop you from hitting the polls!  Second of all, after you vote, the Urban Events Global take on it is simple; pick the cheapest one for your trip (just get to the airport and let’s go!)  We’ve added a code that will help you save up to $10 by downloading here!

Download by clicking:

We hope this helps save a little!

UEG



Continue reading “Uber vs. Lyft!?”

Travel Insurance is key!


AllianzTravelInsurance.com

Covered Reasons for Travel Insurance!

OneTrip – Protect your next journey with single-trip travel insurance. For an international trip, consider plans that include emergency medical and emergency medical transportation benefits. To protect your financial investment in travel, choose a plan with trip cancellation/interruption benefits.

– Trip Cancellation
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.

– Attending immediate family members birth
You need to attend an immediate family members birth. The pregnancy must have occurred after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records.

– Complete cessation of services
Your airline, cruise line, or tour operator or travel supplier stops offering all services for at least 24 consecutive hours where you’re departing, arriving or making a connection because of a natural disaster, severe weather, or a strike.

– Complete cessation of services 24 hours
Complete cessation of services by your common carrier for 24 or more hours due to a strike, natural disaster, bad weather or FAA mandated shutdown.

– Covered Travel Delay – loss of 50%
You miss more than half of the total length of your trip because your travel is delayed.

– Death of Family Member
A family member passes away.

– Death of Insured
An insured traveler passes away.

– Death of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion passes away.

– Destination uninhabitable
Your destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Employer Termination – 1 yr.
You or a traveling companion, after having been with the same employer for at least 12 continuous months, are terminated/laid off through no fault of your own, after your effective date of coverage.

– Employer Termination – 3 yrs.
You or a traveling companion is terminated or laid off from a company after your plan’s effective date. You must have worked for this employer for at least 3 consecutive years.

– Felonious Assault
You or a Traveling Companion are the victim of a felonious assault within 10 days prior to Your departure date or during Your Trip.

– Financial Default
Your tour operator, airline or cruise line, ceases operation due to a financial default.

– Foreign and Domestic Terrorism
A terrorist event happens at your destination within 30 days of the day you’re scheduled to arrive.

– Hijacking
You or a traveling companion is hijacked, or in the case of Travel Delay, Your travel is delayed by a hijacking

– Home uninhabitable
Your primary residence is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Illness of Family Member
A family member has a covered illness.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Illness of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered illness.

– Injury of Family Member
A family member has a covered injury.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Injury of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered injury.

– Involved in a traffic accident
You or a traveling companion is in a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure and you or the traveling companion need medical attention or the car needs to be repaired because it’s not safe to drive.

– Jury/Subpoena
You are summoned by a court order or subpoena to serve on a jury or appear in court.

– Legal separation or divorce
Your or a traveling companion legally separate or divorce after your insurance effective date but before your scheduled departure date.

– Loss of accommodations abroad
Family or friends outside the United States can’t accommodate you as planned because someone in the household has died or been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury.

– Military Obligations
You or a traveling companion serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are reassigned, or have your personal leave revoked, except because of war, the War Powers Act, bas or unit mobilization, unit reassignment or disciplinary action.

– Normal Pregnancy
You become pregnant as long as the pregnancy occurs after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records (only applies to Trip Cancellation).

– Quarantine
You or a traveling companion is quarantined.


 

– Trip Interruption
Reimburses you for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home due to a covered reason.

– Complete cessation of services
Your airline, cruise line, or tour operator or travel supplier stops offering all services for at least 24 consecutive hours where you’re departing, arriving or making a connection because of a natural disaster, severe weather, or a strike.

– Complete cessation of services 24 hours
Complete cessation of services by your common carrier for 24 or more hours due to a strike, natural disaster, bad weather or FAA mandated shutdown.

– Covered Travel Delay – loss of 50%
You miss more than half of the total length of your trip because your travel is delayed.

– Death of Family Member
A family member passes away.

– Death of Insured
An insured traveler passes away.

– Death of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion passes away.

– Destination uninhabitable
Your destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Employer Termination – 1 yr.
You or a traveling companion, after having been with the same employer for at least 12 continuous months, are terminated/laid off through no fault of your own, after your effective date of coverage.

– Employer Termination – 3 yrs.
You or a traveling companion is terminated or laid off from a company after your plan’s effective date. You must have worked for this employer for at least 3 consecutive years.

– Felonious Assault
You or a Traveling Companion are the victim of a felonious assault within 10 days prior to Your departure date or during Your Trip.

– Financial Default
Your tour operator, airline or cruise line, ceases operation due to a financial default.

– Foreign and Domestic Terrorism
A terrorist event happens at your destination within 30 days of the day you’re scheduled to arrive.

– Hijacking
You or a traveling companion is hijacked, or in the case of Travel Delay, Your travel is delayed by a hijacking

– Home uninhabitable
Your primary residence is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Illness of Family Member
A family member has a covered illness.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Illness of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered illness.

– Injury of Family Member
A family member has a covered injury.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Injury of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered injury.

– Involved in a traffic accident
You or a traveling companion is in a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure and you or the traveling companion need medical attention or the car needs to be repaired because it’s not safe to drive.

– Jury/Subpoena
You are summoned by a court order or subpoena to serve on a jury or appear in court.

– Loss of accommodations abroad
Family or friends outside the United States can’t accommodate you as planned because someone in the household has died or been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury.

– Military Obligations
You or a traveling companion serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are reassigned, or have your personal leave revoked, except because of war, the War Powers Act, base or unit mobilization, unit reassignment or disciplinary action.

– Quarantine
You or a traveling companion is quarantined.


 

– Emergency Medical/Dental Coverage
Provides benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. Depending on your plan, there is a $500 or $750 maximum for all covered dental expenses.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Emergency Medical Transportation
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest hospital or appropriate facility following a covered illness or injury.

– Death of Insured
An insured traveler passes away.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Baggage Loss/Damage
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

– Damaged
Reimburses the lesser of actual cash value or the cost to repair or replace (less any salvage) if damaged.

– Damaged by common carrier
Your business equipment is damaged by a common carrier.

– Lost
Your baggage is lost while you’re traveling

– Lost by common carrier
Your business equipment is lost by a common carrier.

– Stolen/Recovered Damaged
Reimburses the lesser of actual cash value or the cost to repair or replace (less any salvage) if stolen.

– Stolen/Unrecovered
Reimburses the lesser of actual cash value or the cost to repair or replace (less any salvage) if stolen.

– Baggage Delay
Reimburses the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

– Delayed Luggage
A common carrier, hotel, or tour operator delays your baggage for 24 hours or more.

– Travel Delay
Reimburses you for additional expenses due to a covered delay of six hours or more. Some plans may also cover lost prepaid trip expenses due to covered travel delay, depending on the product and state. Please see your insuring agreement to verify whether your insurance plan includes this coverage.

– Civil Disorder or Unrest
Your travel is delayed by civil disorder or unrest.

– Common Carrier Delay
Your departure is delayed by a common carrier.

– Hijacking
You or a traveling companion is hijacked, or in the case of Travel Delay, Your travel is delayed by a hijacking

– Lost/Stolen Documents
Your passports, money or other travel documents are lost or stolen.

– Natural Disaster
Your travel is delayed by a natural disaster.

– Quarantine
You or a traveling companion is quarantined.

– Severe Storm/Route Closed
Severe weather delays your departing flight or causes road closures.

– Unannounced Strikes
Your departure is delayed by an unannounced strike

– Missed Connection
Reimburses expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

– Airline Cancel/Delay Bad Weather
Severe weather cancels one of your flights en route to the connection or cruise, or delays it for at least 3 hours

– Bad Weather while en route
You’re delayed by severe weather while en route to the departure.

– Delayed by a traffic accident
You’re involved in or delayed by a traffic accident.

– Change Fee Coverage
Provides reimbursement for fees to change the dates on your airline ticket.

– Attending immediate family members birth
You need to attend an immediate family members birth. The pregnancy must have occurred after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records.

– Covered Travel Delay – loss of 50%
You miss more than half of the total length of your trip because your travel is delayed.

– Death of Family Member
A family member passes away.

– Death of Insured
An insured traveler passes away.

– Death of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion passes away.

– Destination uninhabitable
Your destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Employer Termination – 1 yr.
You or a traveling companion, after having been with the same employer for at least 12 continuous months, are terminated/laid off through no fault of your own, after your effective date of coverage.

– Felonious Assault
You or a Traveling Companion are the victim of a felonious assault within 10 days prior to Your departure date or during Your Trip.

– Foreign and Domestic Terrorism
A terrorist event happens at your destination within 30 days of the day you’re scheduled to arrive.

– Hijacking
You or a traveling companion is hijacked, or in the case of Travel Delay, Your travel is delayed by a hijacking

– Home uninhabitable
Your primary residence is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Illness of Family Member
A family member has a covered illness.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Illness of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered illness.

– Injury of Family Member
A family member has a covered injury.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Injury of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered injury.

– Involved in a traffic accident
You or a traveling companion is in a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure and you or the traveling companion need medical attention or the car needs to be repaired because it’s not safe to drive.

– Jury/Subpoena
You are summoned by a court order or subpoena to serve on a jury or appear in court.

– Legal separation or divorce
Your or a traveling companion legally separate or divorce after your insurance effective date but before your scheduled departure date.

– Loss of accommodations abroad
Family or friends outside the United States can’t accommodate you as planned because someone in the household has died or been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury.

– Military Obligations
You or a traveling companion serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are reassigned, or have your personal leave revoked, except because of war, the War Powers Act, bas or unit mobilization, unit reassignment or disciplinary action.

– Normal Pregnancy
You become pregnant as long as the pregnancy occurs after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records (only applies to Trip Cancellation).

– Quarantine
You or a traveling companion is quarantined.

– Severe Storm/Route Closed
Severe weather delays your departing flight or causes road closures.

 

– Frequent Traveler Loyalty Plan
Coverage for frequent flyer mile redeposit fees in the event of a covered trip cancellation.

– Attending immediate family members birth
You need to attend an immediate family members birth. The pregnancy must have occurred after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records.

– Complete cessation of services 24 hours
Complete cessation of services by your common carrier for 24 or more hours due to a strike, natural disaster, bad weather or FAA mandated shutdown.

– Covered Travel Delay – loss of 50%
You miss more than half of the total length of your trip because your travel is delayed.

– Death of Family Member
A family member passes away.

– Death of Insured
An insured traveler passes away.

– Death of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion passes away.

– Destination uninhabitable
Your destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Employer Termination – 1 yr.
You or a traveling companion, after having been with the same employer for at least 12 continuous months, are terminated/laid off through no fault of your own, after your effective date of coverage.

– Felonious Assault
You or a Traveling Companion are the victim of a felonious assault within 10 days prior to Your departure date or during Your Trip.

– Financial Default
Your tour operator, airline or cruise line, ceases operation due to a financial default.

– Foreign and Domestic Terrorism
A terrorist event happens at your destination within 30 days of the day you’re scheduled to arrive.

– Hijacking
You or a traveling companion is hijacked, or in the case of Travel Delay, Your travel is delayed by a hijacking

– Home uninhabitable
Your primary residence is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.

– Illness of Family Member
A family member has a covered illness.

– Illness of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered illness.

– Illness of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered illness.

– Injury of Family Member
A family member has a covered injury.

– Injury of Insured
An insured traveler has a covered injury.

– Injury of Traveling Companion
A traveling companion has a covered injury.

– Involved in a traffic accident
You or a traveling companion is in a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure and you or the traveling companion need medical attention or the car needs to be repaired because it’s not safe to drive.

– Jury/Subpoena
You are summoned by a court order or subpoena to serve on a jury or appear in court.

– Legal separation or divorce
Your or a traveling companion legally separate or divorce after your insurance effective date but before your scheduled departure date.

– Loss of accommodations abroad
Family or friends outside the United States can’t accommodate you as planned because someone in the household has died or been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury.

– Military Obligations
You or a traveling companion serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are reassigned, or have your personal leave revoked, except because of war, the War Powers Act, base or unit mobilization, unit reassignment or disciplinary action.

– Normal Pregnancy
You become pregnant as long as the pregnancy occurs after the effective date of coverage and can be verified by medical records (only applies to Trip Cancellation).

– Quarantine
You or a traveling companion is quarantined.

 




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Florence Italy

ITALIA

So from Monaco, we traveled by taxi back to Nice, where we flew from Cote D’Azur Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. We had a 3 hour lay-over then off to Firenze-Peretola Airport in Florence. Italy was a totally different scene than Monaco especially with the sheer number of tourists around. Though it wasn’t peak tourist season, Florence was extremely busy with people everywhere. The overall city isn’t as clean as Monaco, however there is still a great vibe to the area with tons of things to do. From museums to churches, fine dining to Apertivos; there is literally something for everyone. We stayed at Hotel Ambasciatori Firenze and though it wasn’t The Fairmont, it was a nice quaint boutique hotel. I will say though, if you are in need of an iron you will have to call ahead and they’ll bring it to your room as they only have a few in the whole hotel.

We took advantage of the Apertivos that they had at numerous bars throughout the city. Simply buy a drink and you’ll get access to either small snacks or a buffet of food and you can eat as much as you desire. Prices vary from 10-15 euros but can get up to 25+ euros for fancier locales.

After a few days in Florence, we were off to Venice. We traveled by train from Florence Santa Maria Novella to Venice S Lucia station. It was only a day trip to Venice but I will say I enjoyed Florence more. To move around you have to take the Venice Water Taxis so make sure you buy a day pass at the train station. From there we took a Gondola Ride with Alba Travel which was quite enjoyable as our gondolier sang as we toured through the canals in Venice. After that we walked around the city, grabbed a bite to eat (pizza & pasta) and headed back.

After traveling back to Florence we made sure to visit the Giotto’s Bell Tower, Basilica of Santa Croce, San Lorenzo Market, Piazza della Republica, Pitti Palace, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’ Accademia where the famous Michelangelo’s statue of David is housed. Later we had dinner at SESTO on Arno Florence which is on the 6th floor of The Westin Excelsior Florence. The food, atmosphere, service and VIEWS (at sunset) of the city and Arno river were all AMAZING. This was by far the best meal of our trip to Europe, but bring your wallet though, because it isn’t cheap by any means.

The next day we took a trip to Cinque Terra and had a day tour of the area. The tour including transportation via a coach bus, tour escorts, train tickets, boat rides and lunch (which wasn’t that great in my opinion). I’d advise you to decline the option of having lunch included in your tour so that you can eat at any restaurant you choose and not have to deal with fixed/limited menu. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking involved. You visit small towns and a few beaches. By the end of the tour we were exhausted and most people slept on the 2+ hour coach bus back to Florence.

If you love shopping, Florence has that for you and more. From market places to luxury designer shops, you have access to just about any designer imaginable. If you want to try and save some money, The Mall Firenze is an outlet mall with luxury designer boutiques (we didn’t get a chance to visit) or you can opt to visit the high concentration of designer shops along Via de’ Tornabuoni or Via degli Strozzi. These are upscale shopping districts where you can find fashion house like Gucci and Ferragamo. Speaking of Gucci, make sure to visit Gucci Garden (see more detailed info below) and ask for Rezarta Collaku (you can find her on Facebook). Krystal became very fond of her and they still keep in touch to this day via Facebook and WhatsApp.

Hope you enjoy the pics below and it makes you want to travel to Italy. My wife and I enjoyed our 10 days abroad and are looking forward to the next trip…whenever that will be. If you need help planning your next trip, reach out to Tammy Davis of Fortitude Travel. She was extremely helpful and the Trip Plans app came in handy while abroad. Enjoy…

CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT

Layover life…before making our way to Florence.



BASILICA OF SANTA CROCE



FLORENCE SANTA MARIA TRAIN STATION

Taking the train from Florence to Venice.




VENICE








PIZZA, PASTA & WINE

wine is cheaper than water at most places…






FLORENCE MUSEUMS

Galleria dell’ Accademia


















GELATOS EVERYWHERE…

tasty and helps you beat the heat



CINQUE TERRA















VIEWS

From SESTO on Arno Florence


GUCCI GARDEN

Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921 and now operates over 250 stores worldwide. In the historic heart of Italy, you will find Gucci Garden which is a museum-retail concept store with pieces you cannot find anywhere else in the world. It is located inside the 14th century Palazzo della Mercanzia and overlooks Piazza della Signoria. There is an exhibition area which includes rooms dedicated to vintage and modern pieces but entry into the museum will cost you 8 euro per person.
















GUCCI OSTERIA

Open to the public in January of 2018, Gucci Osteria is the fashion house’s attempt to enter into the culinary scene. This 50 seat restaurant is inside Gucci Garden and the Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michelle tapped Massimo Bottura of the famous Osteria Francescana to oversee the restaurant. They serve Italian classics and it isn’t insanely priced as main dishes range from 20-30 euros (and I must admit were quite tasty but portion sizes rather small).










How to travel without breaking the bank (Part 2 via air)

If you prefer to fly, I also have some other tools that might help you save money.

A. Google flights

When I want to travel right away, but don’t really know where to go, I like to use google flight’s “Explore Map”. All you have to do is select dates, and it quickly maps out prices of flights to destinations around the globe.

B. Skyscanner

SkyScanner is a free website in which you can enter destination, dates, and preference filters (time of the day, airline, 1, 2 or nonstop…) and it will literally scan all available flights for you.

Moreover, you can sign up for alerts and the website will send you emails every day with price increases or drops on your flights. It helps you have a better idea on when to book your flight(s) for the best price.


C. Keep your parking and entertainment cost down

These last few tips are valid for traveling both by air and by plane.

1. Groupon for parking. I usually purchase airport parking a few days/ minutes before flying because it is most likely cheaper than airport rates.

2. Groupon for food. Try to avoid paying full price for food by using online coupons or ask your waiter for specials.

3. Taxes when shopping. If you are a shopaholic, try to ask around for the tax rate before shopping. Tax rates vary from state to state and sometimes it is better to wait until you get back home to purchase a certain item, but if tax is cheaper you should probably go ahead get it then.

I hope these tips help you save a few bucks and enable you to travel even more. If you have some money tips of yours you would like to share, please use the comment box.

How to travel without breaking the bank (Part 1 via road)

I travel a lot and everyone always asks me how I do it. I will be sharing the tools I use when planning my trips in two blog posts. Part 1 will cover the tools I use when traveling via road, and then Part 2 will list the tools I use when traveling via air.

A. Keep your transportation costs down

  1. RentalCars.com: This broker enables you to get rentals cars for cheaper than if you booked directly from Enterprise, Hertz, or else. For example, I rented a car at LAX airport in Los Angeles for 4 full days and I only paid $85.55! Just make sure you return the car at the same location you picked it up from to avoid the crazy one – way charge.
  2. TravelMath.com: Ahead of the trip, I like to visit this website to have an idea of my total travel times (including time differences), and also an estimated cost of gas. I really like their map feature. It allows me to see what other cities are on the way that I would want to explore. This is pretty much how we decided we would stop in Detroit, Michigan on our way to Toronto from Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.
  3. Gas Buddy: Once on the road, you should try to get the best deals on gas and that is when gas buddy comes into play. You can either use the app or the website, and it will let you know where to find nearby gas stations with the cheapest gas. We spent less than $150 in gas driving from Bowling Green, KY, to Columbus, OH, to Detroit, MI, to Toronto in Canada, to Niagara Falls, to Cleveland, OH, and back to Glasgow, KY.

B. Keep your accommodation costs down

  1. AirBnB: I know it seems like a challenge once you think you will be sleeping at some stranger’s house, but just think of it as spending the night at your extended family’s house. The host provides you with a place to lay your head after a long day of travel in exchange for some money. If you are lucky, you may even get an entire apartment to yourself for an incredibly low price. Jamaine and I spent a night in Toronto for $30 and we had high-speed internet, cable TV, a bathroom, and even a kitchen we did not get to use.
  2. Priceline Express Deals: This comes in handy when you need a hotel at the last minute. Hotels would rather rent you a room for cheap than not renting it at all. So, if you need a last minute room, get on it, select the area and star rating of the hotel you would like to stay in, and let the magic numbers appear. You will not know the name of the hotel until you finish booking. I usually pick 3 stars or above because you know it will be a decent hotel. My line sister and I used express deal when we drove down to New Orleans after Thanksgiving dinner in 2014. The hotel was really nice! Too bad it was sold out for the following night and we had to go somewhere else.

Come back in a few days for part 2 of my tips on how to travel without breaking the bank!

Island-hopping: Barbados & Trinidad

Last Thanksgiving, Hubster and I went to the Caribbean for a whole week! We island hopped between Barbados & Trinidad, and it was so beautiful that I took tons of pictures. Enjoy!

Barbados

Trinidad

I would like to take a second to thank each and everyone for supporting the relaunch of my online store France MKB Afroprint ! I do not get paid to travel, so everytime you purchase something from my online store please know that you are a special part of my next travel journey. I am so thankful for you all!

Live Life Fully,

France MKB

10 Ways to Explore Lisbon in 48 Hours

When one hears Portugal, one immediately thinks of Lisbon (known as Lisboa by the Portuguese). This makes sense considering that it is the capital of Portugal. Lisbon was the last place I visited in Portugal on my 10 day tour. However, as a result of having explored more of Portugal’s unknown cities (which have more of a rustic charm), I was not necessarily wowed away by Lisbon as I expected to be. However, it is definitely a nice city to visit as there is a clear juxtaposition of modern and rustic that is worth exploring.

Here are 10 ways that you can explore Lisbon in 48 Hours.

1) Take Tram 28

Tram 28 is a great way to explore Portugal because you will pass by many of the historical sites in the old Alfama district. For example, you will see the gorgeous Estrela Basilica as well as hilltop views of the water.

TIP: Try to catch the tram closer to end time of its route.



Europe
Portugal
10 Ways to Explore Lisbon in 48 Hours
May 4, 2018

When one hears Portugal, one immediately thinks of Lisbon (known as Lisboa by the Portuguese). This makes sense considering that it is the capital of Portugal. Lisbon was the last place I visited in Portugal on my 10 day tour. However, as a result of having explored more of Portugal’s unknown cities (which have more of a rustic charm), I was not necessarily wowed away by Lisbon as I expected to be. However, it is definitely a nice city to visit as there is a clear juxtaposition of modern and rustic that is worth exploring.

Here are 10 ways that you can explore Lisbon in 48 Hours.

1) Take Tram 28

Tram 28 is a great way to explore Portugal because you will pass by many of the historical sites in the old Alfama district. For example, you will see the gorgeous Estrela Basilica as well as hilltop views of the water.

TIP: Try to catch the tram closer to end time of its route.

My boyfriend and I caught the tram at Square Martim Moniz, where it starts. There were many tourists like myself waiting for the trolley around 6 PM on a Saturday. However, the line was so long that we had to leave. The next day, came back at around 8:00 PM -8:30 PM (mind you, the tram apparently stops running at 9 PM). Although there was still a line, it was not as long and moved more quickly. We waited approximately 15-20 minutes this time.

TIP: Try to get a seat on the tram, especially where you can get a good look of the window!



During our second attempt, we actually let people go in front of us so we could ensure a seat. Best thing ever! For one thing, the tram gets really crowded. Secondly, because of all the hills, you will want to be seated as otherwise, it will be a bumpy ride. Trust me, we learned the hard way coming back! However, we did get a scenic view during the rides!

Other Major Key Alerts:

a) The tram route goes up some really high hills, which means it must also come down some big hills! Since the Alfama city is a Moorish city, the streets are truly a maze. There are moments where the street is so narrow that people have to go against a wall to let the tram pass.

b) You need to pay for the tram separately for each direction. When we arrived at the last stop, we literally had to get off the tram, get online and then hop back on after the tram inched a few feet forward to then pay a new fare.

2) Walk Around the Meandering Streets

Lisbon has lots of winding streets and alleys; making it easy to get lost. That is part of the fun, right!?! You will find lots of hidden treasures: restaurants, bars, cafes, cute tiles and unique architecture. Literally, you never know what you will find when you turn an alley!

3) Watch a Fado show

As I stated in my other blog post, 14 Reasons Why Portugal Deserves Its Own Trip, a Fado show is a unique experience. You will find tons of places in Lisbon that specifically feature live bands playing the traditional Portuguese music. I was able to catch one that served a full three course meal. It was interesting to see many white Brazilian tourists at the restaurant of the Fado show.

4) Visit Belem Tower Torre de Belem

I did not even know this existed until my tour dropped us at the site. It was simply breathtaking to see this castle-like tower in the middle of the water. Actually, it was built on a small island in the Tagus River near the Lisbon shore, which is now connected by a wooden platform. You can see a fusion of influences – from Moorish to Goth to Romanesque. Apparently, this was constructed in the 16th century and explorers such as Vasco da Gama would have seen this as their last sight of Portugal when they

drifted into the Atlantic Ocean.

In the vicinity, I had the opportunity to witness the changing of the guards, shown here.

5) Hop on a Cable Car: Telecabine Lisboa

Most people know that Lisbon has a few trams but did you know it also has cable car/gondolas as well. You can catch it either near the Oceanarium or near the old Vasco da Gama tower, now the My Riad hotel. We caught a taxi to take us near the Oceanarium, however it could not get too close to it so we had to take a 10 minute walk to find it. However, along the way we were able to see lots of restaurants and bars in an area that looked very modern. From up top, you can get major views of the ocean.

6) Chill in the Bairro Alto

This is probably the most well-known and touristic district of Lisbon, and with good reason. The area is packed with endless restaurants, cafes, and nightlife. You do not see it get lively until the early evening, at the earliest. Interestingly, during the beginning of the twentieth century, many artists and journalists would gather here in the evenings and now almost everyone is gathered at night! You will find many waiters standing in front of restaurants trying to lure you to check out their menu. It is worth at least walking through to experience the nightly liveliness!

7) Visit Praça do Comércio

From many angles, you can see the main square, known as Praça do Comércio. Formerly known as the Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square), it was the site of the sixteenth-century Ribeira Palace, which stood there until the 1755 earthquake destroyed it. The palace was one of the most impressive buildings in the country.

Once the square was reconstructed, it became known as the Praça do Comércio, for its new function: merchants sold goods from the colonies and there were people funding expeditions to unknown lands.

Currently, you will find lots of restaurants in the vicinity as well as a view of the river. The square is massive, distinguishable by the yellow symmetrical buildings.

8) Check out the Age of Explorers Statue/Padrão dos Descobrimentos

I have mixed feelings about these statues from a colonization standpoint (read my related posted, Black Tourist in Portugal: Uncovering Colonization History), but nonetheless, it is worth checking out because of its massive size. These 50m high statues were constructed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death, who was considered one of Portugal’s greatest sailors. Translated as “Monument to the Discoveries,” the statues were erected along the Tagus River where ships departed to explore, trade, and let’s not forget colonize India and the Orient!

The biggest monument represents a sailing ship with statues on both sides. The main statue is of Prince Henry the Navigator leading 33 figures on both sides of the monument, depicting the history of the Discoveries. In the front of the monument, there is a huge sword. It is worth waking around it several times to capture the details! From a distance you will see a bridge that looks very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA.

9) Visit the Sé de Lisboa Cathedral

Similar to the Belem Tower, you can notice the fusion influence of Gothic and Moorish. The gothic cathedral was constructed on the site of a significant mosque, in order to reflect the dominance of the Christian Crusades over the North African Moors. The inside has areas decked out with gold, making it simply an awestruck experience!

10) Explore more notable smaller cities nearby

Lisbon is very close to other cities such as Sintra, Cascais and Nazaré. Sintra is well known for its medieval castles with Moorish influence. Looking for the beach life and amazing seafood? Check out Cascais and Nazare! I will have information on things to do in those cities in a future blog post.