Beers & Beans http://beersandbeans.com Wander With Us. Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:16:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Pin-Up Live! Join Us Wed. (8/27) on #Pinterest to Talk Travel with @ExOfficiohttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/26/pin-up-live-pinterest-chat-exofficio/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pin-up-live-pinterest-chat-exofficio http://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/26/pin-up-live-pinterest-chat-exofficio/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:10:34 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=20093

Holy cow, I can’t believe Labor Day is almost here! How is everyone’s summer going? Wait, before you answer, why not join us and AFAR this week in welcoming ExOfficio, the ...

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Holy cow, I can’t believe Labor Day is almost here! How is everyone’s summer going? Wait, before you answer, why not join us and AFAR this week in welcoming ExOfficio, the makers of truly awesome adventure travel clothing and gear, to Pin-Up Live! We’re going to be sharing summer tales and talking about gearing up for adventure. We’d love it if you stopped by and chatted with us.

To spread some extra summer love, ExOfficio will be giving three lucky participants at the chat $100 gift certificates to spend at ExOfficio.com. I don’t know about you, but I could really use some new travel underwear!

So, please join us and AFAR this Wednesday (8/27) at 7 p.m. (EST) on the Pin-Up Live! board to have a real time chat about about preparing for your next adventure! You can expect a lot of Pinspiration, tips and stories flying around on Wednesday night, and we would love to hear your stories too!

ExOfficio FB Prize Pack Pin Up Live! Join Us Wed. (8/27) on #Pinterest to Talk Travel with @ExOfficio

About ExOfficio

ExOfficio is a Seattle-based company that has led the outdoor industry in designing innovative, functional and comfortable adventure travel clothing.

They believe traveling, whether you seek different cultures, epic scenery or the thrill of the unknown opens your ind to the wonders of the world.

How Do I Join In?

ExOfficio Promo 1 Pin Up Live! Join Us Wed. (8/27) on #Pinterest to Talk Travel with @ExOfficio

It’s simple to participate in the chat,  just head on over to our Pinterest board, Pin-Up Live!, which is dedicated to the event. We will be pinning inspirational travel pins to the board, each one containing a question related to preparing for your next adventure. All you have to do is join in on the conversation!

We will pin a question pin every few minutes and if you read or see something you like, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section of the pin. This is a way for all of us to share our travel stories in a visual way. During the chat we’ll be checking out your boards and repinning some of your items to the board as well.

The theme for this week’s chat is going to be Gearing Up For Adventure! Feel free to chat away–we want to hear your travel questions, tips and travel tales! Important: Pinterest does not use hashtags (#) in a real time way so in order to follow the conversation, you’ll have to be on the Pin-Up Live! board at the dedicated time (Wed 8/27/14 at 7 p.m. EST) to participate. You will also need to refresh that page every couple of minutes to see the updates and new pins. Remember to refresh!

How can I win one of the $100 ExOfficio Gift Certificates?

Simply join in the discussion! At the end of Pin-Up Live!, we’ll announce the winners–so just by joining in the fun you’ll automatically have a chance to get one of  the three gift certificates to ExOfficio.com.

Why Pinterest?

Ever since joining Pinterest in 2012, we’ve been hooked. And a lot of it has to do with the inspired ideas and photos we encounter on a daily basis.There’s a lot of incredible people on Pinterest, but no real good way to have a conversation–until now.

As avid travelers, we love sharing our travel tales and we believe the best tips and advice comes from your connections–family, friends and social networks. Pin-Up Live! brings the conversation to Pinterest, making it easy for people to connect and share stories, tips and beautiful images, while developing a comprehensive travel resource board that will continue to grow more robust as new topics are discussed.

Pin-Up Live! is the original real time chat held on Pinterest and we plan to keep bringing you unique travel themes to stoke your inspiration and wanderlust, so please let us know if you have anything in mind you’d love to chat about. Remember, joining in the conversation is easy, just come to our Pin-Up Live! Board on Wednesday (8/27/14) at 7 p.m. (EST). And remember, if you’d like to be entered in this week’s drawing, all you have to do is comment on one of the question pins during the session.

We can’t wait to chat live with you this Wed!

 *Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

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Discovering North County San Diego’s Best Skateparks with a Kia Soulhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/24/san-diego-skateparks-north-county-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=san-diego-skateparks-north-county-edition http://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/24/san-diego-skateparks-north-county-edition/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:05:53 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=20045

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was time–approximately 15 years or so ago–when San Diego didn’t have the concrete skateparks it has today.

The skate culture was there; it always has been. And in 1999, ...

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It’s hard to imagine now, but there was time–approximately 15 years or so ago–when San Diego didn’t have the concrete skateparks it has today.

The skate culture was there; it always has been. And in 1999, an unlikely city stepped up. Vista built the first modern day public concrete park in the county. The off-white slab featured light transitions, street elements–handrails, boxes, stairs, etc.–and fairly smooth concrete. While it is a far cry from what can be found in the city today, the park laid the foundation for what was to come. Plus, I had never seen anything like it before.

I grew up skating in the streets of Pennsylvania. The only transition I had ever skated was homemade launch ramps, which may as well have been nothing. I arrived one morning in Vista and watched the other skaters carve lines all through the park. They made rolling-in over the coping ledge look super easy. and I knew I had to go for it…don’t think…just go, dammit. So, I did, and my wheels got hung up on the coping, pitching me to the cement a few feet below. I tried once again…slam…one more time…slam…damn! My introduction to transition skating that day went about as well as a hipster trying to stage dive at a death metal show.

These days, though, North County San Diego boasts some of the best and newest skateparks in the county. And the crazy thing is, there are more on the way, as Carlsbad should be cutting the yellow ribbon on a new park later this year. To explore the skateparks of North County, I traded in the Mitsubishi Outlander we had used for the first part of the project for a Kia Soul.

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The Soul has been on my radar for years, pretty much ever since it came onto the scene as a sort-of affordable version of a Mini-Cooper. Except for a period in my late teens when I desperately wanted a muscle car, in particular a Chevy Chevelle, I’ve always been more interested in function over power. (I’m one of the few people who thought the Pontiac Aztek was awesome.) And from what I could see, the Kia Soul fit the bill, at least that’s what I gleamed from all those hamster commercials anyways. How would it stack up in living color? Well, I’d find out soon enough.

Slimmed down and as stylish as ever, the Soul, which Kia classifies as an “Urban Hatchback,” had me at hello. Honestly, I’m glad Kia decided to classify the Soul, because I don’t think I could have. Personally, I feel like the Soul belongs in a class all its own, and that’s a very good thing. One of my favorite things about the Soul is that its style isn’t just regulated to its shimmering exterior. Those who say you can’t judge a book by its cover, obviously haven’t had the pleasure of sitting in a Soul yet. The inferno red paint job sparkled in the sun, and the 18 inch alloy wheels as well as the overall design of the Soul, which really is a cross between a hatchback and crossover, felt hip without being pretentious; a perfect introduction to what you’ll find within its comfortable 4-door frame.

Inside, the Soul felt roomier than I expected, much more so than my Hyundai Accent hatchback, for instance. I’d say the interior space was on par with Mitusubishi Outlander, the SUV crossover that we used during the first leg of the campaign. From the outside, however, the Soul appeared to have a smaller profile, making it ideal for city life, especially with the rear camera display. Just as the Cadillac did for our parent’s generation, the Soul seems to be at the forefront of bringing the latest car interior car tech–once known as bells and whistles–to our generation. Highlights for me included: the 8-inch navigation screen and in-dash infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, powered everything, temperature regulated seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Kia Soul Collage Discovering North County San Diegos Best Skateparks with a Kia Soul

The Soul felt great as I bounced from one skatepark to the next, through city streets, up freeways and down dusty back roads. And when it came to packing up our all of our luggage, the Soul handled that like a champ too. I guess my only complaint is with the vehicle’s gas mileage. While it is certainly not awful, 26 mpg city/highway combined, I feel like Kia could do better, especially since the Soul is running on a 4-cylinder engine. After seeing what Kia did with its Optima Hybrid, I feel like they could really shake up the hybrid landscape by bringing this technology into the already-innovative Soul.

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For the project, I visited three skateparks with the Kia Soul, and I have laid them out below as a mini-guide. If you’re going to be traveling to San Diego, though, I’d recommend downloading our free Buggl travel guide: Skate Thru San Diego: 48 Hours in America’s Finest City. In it you’ll have offline access to all the San Diego skateparks I visited, plus recommendations for cheap eats and fun bars.


A Mini-Guide to San Diego’s Best Skateparks


Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA | Encinitas

A new street course was recently added to this already stellar North County San Diego skatepark. The street section now has rails, mini ramps, ledges, boxes a four stair-set. Beyond that, the Encinitas park features an 80 foot vert ramp from the 2003 X-Games and two of the county’s best pools. One is a backyard style kidney pool and the other is a multi-tiered clover bowl. Local pros, like Andy Mac and Mike McGill, often session the park.

Hours: Check website for operating times.

Cost: $10 for non-members

Alga Norte Skatepark | Carlsbad

After years having a sub-par park, Carlsbad finally has the skatepark it deserves. After all, it was Carlsbad that birthed the world’s first skatepark in 1976. Alga Norte, which opened on Dec. 31, 2013, is simply gorgeous. The street plaza looks like it was ripped from a city center and the bowl and pool are top notch. It’s reported that Andy McDonald himself gave a lot of input about the pool and large bowl to ensure they were both designed properly.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Alex Road Skatepark | Oceanside

A few miles east of I-5 in Oceanside sits a small airfield, a defunct four screen drive-in and, now, one of the county’s best concrete skateparks. Designed by Grindline Skateparks and built by California Skateparks, The Alex Road Skatepark, which opened in 2013, features a pool and bowl, a street section consisting of banks, ledges and handrails and two snake runs, one of which leads into a clamshell that goes oververt slightly and features pool coping. There are tons of lines in this place and the transitions and concrete are near perfect. Cops do enforce helmet’s here.

Hours: 8 a.m. to Dusk

Cost: Free

Going to San Diego soon? Now, for a limited time, get our two San Diego drink guides for free!

buggl guides san diego beer and bars Discovering North County San Diegos Best Skateparks with a Kia Soul

The Alcoholics Guide to San Diego

The Beer Lover’s Guide to San Diego


Disclosure: We had complimentary use of a 2014 Kia Soul with a Sun and Sound package for this project. The MSRP on the vehicle we test drove is $25,400.

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Southern Oregon in 16 Snapshots: Medford to Crater Lake and All Points in Betweenhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/05/photos-rogue-valley-and-crater-lake-oregon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photos-rogue-valley-and-crater-lake-oregon http://beersandbeans.com/2014/08/05/photos-rogue-valley-and-crater-lake-oregon/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:34:32 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=20003

Touching down in the former logging town of Medford, we weren’t entirely sure what we’d find in southern Oregon. Despite being just 20 miles from the California border, we had crossed an invisible line of ...

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Touching down in the former logging town of Medford, we weren’t entirely sure what we’d find in southern Oregon. Despite being just 20 miles from the California border, we had crossed an invisible line of demarcation into the fabled Pacific Northwest.

In the early days of our relationship in San Diego, Beth and I had talked about traveling up the coast to Oregon but never got chance to make the trip. At that time, the furthest we made it was the San Francisco Bay. I guess then it is only fitting that our first trip north of the Golden State started just across the border.

I’ve talked before about the passionate people we met in Oregon on our journey to Crater Lake National Park, one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders. Like Molokai in Hawaii, the Rogue Valley is one of those special places where gorgeous landscapes and the people who call its sacred native lands home live harmoniously together, so much so, that’s it’s hard to imagine one without the other, as their fates seem to be intertwined.

If you haven’t been to southern Oregon yet, or as I like to call it the “Golden Gate to the Pacific Northwest,” then I hope these photos will inspire you to go and check it out for yourself. And for those that are already familiar with the Rogue Valley, then I hope these snapshots will bring back some incredible memories. (Make sure to read all the way through, because at the end of the story, we’ll reveal how you can enter to win your own trip to Oregon!)


We’re on the way to Oregon and it’s Chachy’s first time on a train. He likes it!


We all thoroughly enjoyed our flight to Oregon–even Mr Chachy who got to sneak some views.


In addition to posting our photos here on Beers & Beans we’ll also be posting them on the fantastic @traveloregon Instagram feed. Be sure to go check them out, they have amazing photos and we’re quite humbled to be sharing our images of this beautiful state with their followers.


Our first stop this morning was Portal Brewing Company in Medford, Oregon. This tiny little brewery makes excellent beer. This photo shows their taps, beer flights, portable kegs and a hand painted growler. Be sure to get the Ghost beer when you visit. 100 E. 6th Street, Medford, OR

Peaceful days at the Lake Of The Woods Resort with Mt. McLoughlin keeping watch.


Today started up in the air. We both took plane rides over the Klamath region and Chachy got to come too! This was one of the beautiful views I saw out the window of the 1949 two seater Piper I flew in. Jim was an excellent pilot and totally took away my fear of flying in a little, vintage plane. If you’re interested in taking a vintage plane ride in Klamath check out FlyKlamath.com -a very unique experience.


Jacksonville is a cute gold rush town in Oregon. Randy and I fell in love with it immediately and wished we had more time to explore it. While walking down the street i spotted these beautiful flowers–so pretty!! I love that Oregon is so full of greenery and flowers.


A fun hike along the natural bridge with the guys I love – randy an Chachy! Tomorrow? CRATER LAKE!!!! I hope the snow minimal so we can get some more great hiking in!


I hope this rain calls it quit soon – we’re on our way to Crater Lake and I want my big blue skies back!


A great shot of Oregon from above–such a gorgeous landscape!


Meet Jon from Caldera Brewing. One of the highlights of our time in Oregon was all of the fantastic beer and Jon brews some of the best! They also have amazing vegetarian food – seriously they have a killer menu with all sorts of inventive food. Worth the drive for the beer alone but the food makes it a complete destination. If I lived there is be a regular for sure! Have you been to Caldera?


Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been. This year we made it to a new state–Oregon! It was worth the wait.


Group selfie in Crater Lake! Can’t wait to return in the summer for the big views!


Self portrait with Randy from Crater Lake in Oregon. In 10 days ( or so) we leave for Europe and I am so excited to get back into Photography again. I have missed it so.


We had an amazing time at Crater Lake in May. Along the way we met a lot of passionate people doing a lot awesome things and got to test out some cool “crafted-in-Oregon” gear from the likes of Danner, Poler, Shwood, The Clymb and Nau.

Now that you’ve seen our Oregon journey, how would you like to take one of your own? Travel Oregon wants to know which of Oregon’s 7 Wonders is your favorite. Vote for the one that you love most and you’ll be entered to win one of three epic adventures from The Clymb, two tickets for air travel on Alaska Airlines and plenty of cool gear. You can enter at http://budurl.com/vote7W.


Disclosure: We were invited by Travel Oregon to explore Crater Lake and the surrounding region. As always, though, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.

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2 Days of Peace, Beats and Love at the PITCH Festival in Amsterdamhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/31/2-days-peace-beats-love-pitch-festival-amsterdam/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2-days-peace-beats-love-pitch-festival-amsterdam http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/31/2-days-peace-beats-love-pitch-festival-amsterdam/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:25:16 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19957

We were in Amsterdam to cover the PITCH Festival (July 4 – 5) for Must Love Festivals, so with that in mind, and a busy work schedule, we didn’t get to play tourist ...

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We were in Amsterdam to cover the PITCH Festival (July 4 – 5) for Must Love Festivals, so with that in mind, and a busy work schedule, we didn’t get to play tourist a whole lot, beyond doing some lazy laps around the red light district, where we attended a €2 peep show and had the unfortunate luck of seeing another man’s vinegar strokes, and getting lost in the sunny shadows of golden-age canal houses.

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Our journey to Amsterdam marked the first time we traveled outside of the United States for a festival. And, I have to say,  it was super cool! It added a whole different dynamic to visiting a destination. Apparently, Amsterdam, like so many other European cities, loves their festivals and will close the books on 300 of them by the time the ball drops on 2015.

We went into the PITCH Festival not really knowing what to expect. Now in its 3rd year, the festival is based around progressive electronic music. Honestly, I kind of figured it was going to be two days of DJs bumping all-sorts of house, dub and trance, like an outdoor rave, but the lineup went so far beyond that. In addition to the DJs, the festival’s organizers put together an eclectic lineup of artists who unleashed sonic waves of rock, electronica, and even Saharan-desert blues on to festival-goers. I knew things were going to be good as soon we entered the festival grounds and came face to face with the wailing blasts of Seun Kuti’s alto-sax. On the main stage Kuti and his orchestra, Egypt 80, who originally played with his father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, before his passing in 1997, let it all hang out with their grooving Afrobeat sound and spirited vocals.

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“So, that’s what they mean by ‘progressive’ electronic music festival,” I thought, before revealing my insight to Beth as Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 finished their set.

“Yeah, who knew, right? These guys sound great!”

On that note, we set out to discover new sounds and artists. Besides Massive Attack, we had never heard of any of the other artists. To get our bearings on the first day we wondered the grounds, checking out the five different stages and randomly catching bands that happened to be playing at the time.

Other than the main stage, which was outdoors, the four other stages were an eclectic mix that ranged from an outdoor festival tent to the Gashouder, a large pillar-less round chamber with an iron roof that predates World War I. Without a doubt, the Gashouder and the Westerunie, an upstairs space in a stone building with drooping blue windows on one side, were some of the coolest rooms that I have ever seen shows in. Beyond that, the organization of the festival was fantastic and you could come and go as you pleased, which was nice since right outside the park is a large restaurant and bar with an excellent patio.

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For the next day, we decided to go through the festival lineup and plan out the shows that we wanted to see. Not knowing any of the artists, we sifted through samples via the PITCH Festival app and set reminders for the shows we wanted to see. Prior to PITCH, I felt stagnate with my music collection, it no longer inspired me. Furthermore, I realized recently that I’ve been listening to some of my favorite songs, from the likes of Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and 2Pac, for nearly 20 years. Twenty years, can you believe that! Spending the afternoon discovering new artists who we would then see live just a few hours later reinvigorated me, as there were so many good musicians, all with their own unique sound, style and following, who up until this moment I didn’t even know existed.

Still reeling from first day performances by Massive Attack, Tinariwen, The Field and Seun Kuti & Egypt, we plotted our course into the uncharted music (for us anyways,  all of these bands had a lot fans) of CaribouDarkside and Snakeships, and we came out on the other side of this summer sound cloud as fans of each.

Along the way, Beth pieced together this short (16 seconds, short) video showcasing a few snippets from the first night with Tinariwen (these guys and their sarahan blues were my favorite discovery at the PITCH Festival), The Field and Massive Attack, respectively.

And on the second day, just when we thought the festival couldn’t get any better, it did. Much to our surprise as we stepped out with sweaty smiles from Snakeships in the Westerunie, the Netherlands vs Costa Rica game had just started. At first, it seemed liked the club-like stage with a bar was the only place showing the game, while the scheduled DJ mixed beats keeping a close watch on the game and the pulsating crowd in front of him. Then, as we walked around towards the main stage, we realized that the organizers had set up a huge screen just off from that stage to broadcast the game.

By that point, all eyes were on the game. From an our perspective it was insane, as nothing like that would ever happen in the United States. But here we were, right in the middle of a festival with the headliner still up, and the World Cup took precedence. We wondered if the headliner, Richie Hawtin would play, but sure enough he did. This added even more flair to the game, because everyone now had a beat to groove to as they watched the game, and as the beats grew, so did the crowds movements and emotions, building anxiously with every miss and save until Netherland’s game winning overtime goal. At that second, the place erupted in a simultaneous roar (see the victory celebration in all its raw, unedited goodness below), and it was in this moment that I had my aha moment, not just for football but for electronic music too.

Know Before You Go: The PITCH Festival

The 411

  • To buy food and drinks in the festival you have to exchange your cash for chips (13 euro for five). Small beers costs 1 chip and food averaged 2 to 3. Using these little plastic vouchers, which can be bought from vending machines near the entrance, helps to keep the lines to a minimum, but they can wreak havoc on your wallet, as, just like with casino chips, it’s easy to forget how much cash value the little chip holds.
  • Security is really tight when entering the festival. They will search your bag and will pat you down.I even saw them going through people’s loose-leaf tobacco pouches. I stashed about a gram of marijuana and a one hitter in my Speakeasy travel scarf (I’m not sure if they would have cared about pot or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances), and all was good.

Tips

  • You can bring a bottle of water (probably a water bottle too, but we didn’t try) as long as you remove the cap. I don’t really understand the logic behind this, but hey, I’m not complaining since a little cup of water at the beverage counters costs 1 chip. Inside the festival you can fill up your water bottle for free at the hand washing stations near the bathrooms.
  • Once inside the festival, security is really laxed, much more so than U.S. concerts. You can smoke pot openly and you’ll see people lighting up spliffs, which seem to be the preferred method of smoking bud at the show, indoors and outdoors. Technically, the indoor stages were suppose to be non-smoking (tobacco), but I never saw that rule enforced.

For more stories about Amsterdam, check out:

Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdam

It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Spots to Check Out)

Looking for Unique Lodging in Amsterdam? Check Out a Houseboat

Amsterdam After Dark (Photo Essay)

Modern Magdalene #1–Red Light District, Amsterdam–Somewhere in Time Photo

Behind Glass Doors–A Stroll Through the Red Light District

Amsterdam, I Can’t Find You–On the Road Journal Entries

Want to discover more unique festivals? Follow our friends and fellow travelers as they journey through Europe this summer with Must Love Festivals and through the #MustLoveFestivals on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdamhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/28/where-to-go-in-amsterdam/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=where-to-go-in-amsterdam http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/28/where-to-go-in-amsterdam/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:20:18 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19924

One of the great things about life is second chances. A second chance to get a better grade in school, a second chance at love, a second chance with your career, a second chance to ...

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One of the great things about life is second chances. A second chance to get a better grade in school, a second chance at love, a second chance with your career, a second chance to say “I Love You,” and for us, as travelers, a second chance to see a city again.

Beth and I got a second chance with Amsterdam last month. She was a mistress who just didn’t move us the first time around. But when we joined the Must Love Festivals project, we had a chance to revisit the city for the PITCH Festival, a progressive electric musical event, and we went for it with an open mind.

Sleep

We arrived in Amsterdam on a red eye out of Boston. By the time we collected our baggage and got our things together the local time was approximately 6:35 a.m. It was early in Amsterdam and late in Boston–just after midnight–and we we’re caught between one late night and a very early morning.

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After discovering that the city’s multi-day transit passes don’t cover train fares, only buses, trams and the metro, we bought two train tickets (€4 each) for the 15 minute ride to our hotel, where we had a room at the Meininger Hotel West (Orlyplein 1 – 67, 1043 Amsterdam; private room rates from €48 to €175 but they have lower priced dorm rooms as well).

One stop before Amsterdam Central, and just around the corner from the Sloterdijk train station, the hotel was something I had not seen before. It is a hybrid of sorts—one part hostel and one part hotel—playing on the strengths of both by combining the hallmarks of a hostel—a kitchen and lounge space with a bar and games, like foosball and billiards—with the branded style and well-equipped private rooms of a reputable hotel-chain (think: a hipper Holiday Inn with options for dorm rooms). It’s a great concept and one that I didn’t know existed until this trip. It is also a concept that I see becoming more popular, as travelers who grew up in the hostel system yearn for something slightly more mature and private that’s still budget friendly with more amenities than a hotel.

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Inside our room, we had all the comforts of a hotel room—a comfy bed, modern bathroom, flatscreen TV, good WiFi and a couch. The hotel did a wonderful job of maximizing the space in the long rectangular room. Outside the window, trains passed often, which could have been a curse, but the room was pretty much soundproof, so much so that you wouldn’t know a train was passing unless you actually visually saw it going by.

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Located among other modern high rises, Meininger is a five minute train ride (€2 each way) to Amsterdam Central, the central nerve of the city, from which you’ll have free reign to explore the historic center by foot or bike. Alternatively, from Sloterdijk, you can also catch a tram (12 to the 13 or 14 line will get you into the city center and take about 20 minutes ), through the city’s outer neighborhoods, which are reminiscent of the Sunset and Richmond Neighborhoods in San Francisco or, even, parts of Brooklyn in New York City. A bus as well as an underground metro also run from Sloterdijk; though, we never took the bus into the city center as the tram seemed easier, nor did we use the metro, since we didn’t find out about it until our last day.

And for those who prefer to explore Amsterdam like a local, you can rent a cruiser bicycle from the hotel and easily pedal your way to the Keizersgracht. In fact, I biked to the PITCH Festival the second night, and it was a wonderful ride through a wooded bike/walking path to the Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek. Honestly, if you’re in town for any events at the Cultuurpark and you’re staying at Meininger, then I recommend biking. It’s an easy ride that takes about 20 minutes, and it frees you from having to deal with city’s night bus system following the show.

i Chdrdb2 L Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdam

On our way home after the first night at the festival, I managed to piss off a night bus driver for simply trying to clarify something with him. After I asked him twice, he scolded me for not listening to him and then sped off as we shuffled to the middle of the bus, trying to keep our balance. He then proceeded to brake erratically and, while I can’t prove it, I think he was trying to make me fall, as we were only people standing. Eventually,  another passenger came to our aid and told us where to get off to catch our connection, which then blew by us as we were waiting at the stop. Frustrated, we hailed a cab and paid roughly 11 euros to get back to the hotel. So, the moral of the story is to avoid the night buses, unless you know their schedule well, and act like a local Amsterdamian and just bike!

i RgjJMd2 L Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdam

Snack and Smoke (Smoke and Snack)

While we were in town to cover the PITCH Festival (July 4-5), we had a few days prior to the event to revisit the city with fresh eyes. On our first evening in the city, we went to the historic center around 6:30 p.m., after catching up on so much needed sleep from our red eye flight earlier in the day. It was a gorgeous evening, the sun bathed the city with its sweet summer rays light, we set off to find Siberie Coffee Shop (Brouwersgracht 11, Sun-Thur 11 am-11:30 pm and Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight, www.coffeeshopsiberie.nl), which came highly recommend from our buddy Rick mother lovin’ Steves. (He has no idea we even exist, but I’ve really come to enjoy his guide books and advice over the last couple of years.)

i pt9BHwP L Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdam

So why did I choose Siberie out of the handful Mr. Steves recommended? Well, it was simply his closest recommendation to Central Station. Rick nailed it though! Siberie, in my opinion, sets the standard for what a coffeeshop should be. The staff is awesome, they had great music playing and an even better selection of marijuana on hand, and the shop is well lit and comfortable.

After chilling for a bit, we hit the streets in search of Maoz, a vegetarian fast-food joint in Europe that specializes in falafel kebabs. As we wondered the streets with our useless tourist map, we remembered just how confusing Amsterdam can be. Like Venice, Italy, the city is all too easy to get lost in, which is not necessarily a bad thing. During our crusade to Maoz, stumbled across The Original California Burrito Company Oude Leliestraat 5, Mon-Thur & Sun 11:30am-9pm, Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat 11:30am-11pm,californiaburrito.nl), a bold statement that cried out for some firsthand sampling. It turns out they don’t actually have a California Burrito on the menu (for those who don’t know, a California Burrito is a San Diego classic, consisting of carne asada, fries, cheese, cilantro; it’s delicious!) and the restaurant itself was more like Chipotle, but it was good, good enough that I’d eat there again the next time I’m in Amsterdam.

Following the burrito-shop rendezvous, we carried on and finally found the Maoz. There’s a few of them in the city, but this one in particular holds a special place for us since it was our first Maoz flaffel. Sadly, it kinda sucked. Not sure if it was the dude behind the counter who had been M.I.A for about five minutes before showing back up to work, or if the company changed something, but it was sublimely poor and a pretty big disappointment overall. Which was sad because we loved Maoz so much on our last trip we talked about it for days before our trip.

Luckily, we were able to wash the mediocrity of Maoz out of our mouths the next day at Singel 404 (Singel 404, +31 20 428 0154, Open daily 10.30am-6pm). We each ordered a broodje (sandwiches, made with your choice of bread). Mine had goat cheese with honey, pine nuts and thyme on farmers brown bread (€6.75), and Beth’s contained cheese with honey mustard sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, walnuts and garden cress (€6.75).

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On our last night in Amsterdam before the PITCH Festival started, we both had a hankering for Thai and decided to splurge on a meal at the acclaimed Bird Thai (72 – 74 Zeedijk, 1012 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Red Light District). We caught wind of this place from a post on Four Jandals Travel Blog about eating in Amsterdam. When we arrived the line was out the door (it turned out there was just a large party in front of us, but tables can be hard to come by here), and I’m so glad we waited. The restaurant smacks you in the face with the delicious Thai flavors as soon as you enter. The menu is pretty extensive and they have a number of tasty vegetarian options; all the plates are served with a huge bowl of rice. Our bill came to about €35 and that included an appetizer, a vegetarian tofu plate, a curry and a bottle of sparkling water, and we both had leftovers. If you’re on a tight budget, then you could easily get away with just sharing one plate and the accompanying rice bowl plus an appetizer.

How about breakfast, any recommendations? Good question. I wish I had some but I don’t (if you do, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments). We ate breakfast (€7.90) each morning at the hotel, which is an all-you-can eat selection of fruits, yogurt, granola, breads, deli meats, cheeses, juices and teas. It now stands as one of our favorite hotel/hostel breakfasts we’ve encountered on our journeys.

i tMPJKmB L Where to Snack, Sleep and Smoke in Amsterdam

Know Before You Go: Fun Facts and Information

Amsterdam

  • If you see words that end with “-gracht” on your map, like Keizersgracht, then it refers either to a canal or to the lanes that boarder the canal. On the other hand, words ending with “-staat”  mean a street without a canal with the exception of a few, such as Elandsgracht, whose canals have been paved-over. (Thanks Rick Steves.)
  • Amsterdam is built on wooden poles placed deep into the sandy soil. In fact, it’s reported that the Royal Palace in Dam Square sits on nearly 14,000 of these wooden poles.
  • The city is home to one of the most unique animal shelters in the world, The Poezenboot (Cat Boat). Visitors can explore the houseboat (Singel 38G ) and meet its motley crew of cuteness for a voluntary donation.

The 411

  • You can get a sim card with 1gb of data for €20 from any Vodafone store’s in Amsterdam. We used the Vodafone at Rokin 32, which is just above Dam Square.
  • If you’ve got a few days in the city and don’t want to bike, then look into a multi-day transit pass or the iAmsterdam Card. The latter includes unlimited access to the metro, tram and bus (not the train, though) plus free entrance to museums (except the Ann Frank House), discounts and other perks, but it costs a bit more than just the transit passes.
  • Tipping is normal in Amsterdam but not compulsory. You don’t have to tip at bars, restaurants, cafes and for taxi rides, but if you do, then rounding up your bill is fine. However, for more expensive meals, tipping 5% to 10% for good service is common.

For more stories about Amsterdam, check out:

It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Spots to Check Out)

Looking for Unique Lodging in Amsterdam? Check Out a Houseboat

Amsterdam After Dark (Photo Essay)

Modern Magdalene #1–Red Light District, Amsterdam–Somewhere in Time Photo

Behind Glass Doors–A Stroll Through the Red Light District

Amsterdam, I Can’t Find You–On the Road Journal Entries

Want to discover more unique festivals? Follow our friends and fellow travelers as they journey through Europe this summer with Must Love Festivals and through the #MustLoveFestivals on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


Disclosure: Our stay at Meininger Hotels was complimentary as they are a Must Love Festival Partner. As always, though, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.

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Drop Some Travel Knowledge, Earn Up to $500 Cash from Bugglhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/17/drop-travel-knowledge-earn-500-cash-buggl/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=drop-travel-knowledge-earn-500-cash-buggl http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/17/drop-travel-knowledge-earn-500-cash-buggl/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:34:39 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19900

It’s 8 a.m. on Friday. I’m in a little beach town in Santorini listening to a rooster’s crow cut through the swooshing palms overhead, and I’ve got San Diego on my mind, again. Why you ...

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It’s 8 a.m. on Friday. I’m in a little beach town in Santorini listening to a rooster’s crow cut through the swooshing palms overhead, and I’ve got San Diego on my mind, again. Why you ask? Well, partly because of the rooster, whose high pitch “Good Mornings” remind me of a Pepe, our diaper wearing cock who was part of our home in Pacific Beach. (We thought he was a chicken until one day…he spoke.)

 Drop Some Travel Knowledge, Earn Up to $500 Cash from Buggl

The other reason I’m thinking about San Diego this sunny morning is that I’m about to resume work on my newest digital guide, Travel Thru San Diego: The Best Cheap Eats and Drinks, but first I wanted to let you guys know about Buggl’s latest initiative: Create a Travel Guide: Make $50 Instantly.

We’ve been creating travel guides for Buggl since it’s launch in winter, and it’s been exciting to see the platform grow, as more travel enthusiasts share their insider knowledge about destinations all across the world. I remember when I first started talking to founder Derek Bugley about the project when it was still in Beta. Then, he told me he wanted Buggl to be a sort-of Netflix for travel guides, where people from all walks of life, not just travel writers or bloggers, but chefs, surf instructors, bird watchers…anybody really…could easily create informative and good looking guides to highlight interesting, local spots in their cities or around places or things they love.

I’ve enjoyed watching Buggl grow over the last six months. We currently have eight travel guides on the platform, and each month, as more people join (it’s free), Buggl draws closer to Derek’s vision. And with this special July incentive, where authors can make $50 a pop per guide (10 max), I suspect July may be Buggl’s biggest month yet.

buggl 3X3 Drop Some Travel Knowledge, Earn Up to $500 Cash from Buggl

So, what are you waiting for? Go drop some travel knowledge about your favorite destination(s) and collect your Benjamins! If you have any questions about designing your first guide with Buggl, just drop me a note in the comments.

You can find all the details about the $50 July Promotion at www.buggl.com/50aguide.

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Exploring San Diego’s Best Skateparks with a Mitsubishi Outlander Sporthttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/15/san-diegos-best-skateparks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=san-diegos-best-skateparks http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/15/san-diegos-best-skateparks/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:42:43 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19858

Prior to visiting San Diego in May, I came up with the idea that I wanted to create a guide to my favorite San Diego Skateparks. I fell in love with skateboarding as a scrawny ...

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Prior to visiting San Diego in May, I came up with the idea that I wanted to create a guide to my favorite San Diego Skateparks. I fell in love with skateboarding as a scrawny kid in western Pennsylvania during the Regan Administration. In those days we only had the street, church parking lots (one of the few places that we didn’t get kicked out of) and homemade ramps. We consumed Thrasher Magazine and VHS skate videos, both of which filled us with golden dreams of the California skate scene, and idolized guys like Mike McGill who can be seen above still skating his local spot at the Encinitas YMCA (Look closely and you can see me in the group of kids.)

The early 2000s marked the rebirth of concrete skateparks in San Diego, It’s a movement that continues to this day, as new parks are still popping up around the county. I was lucky enough to be living in the city when the new era came in, and I stood in awe of all the fresh concrete lines and bowls, and thought: “Man, if only we had one of these near us growing up. What could have been?”

For this project I was able to secure extended test drives for two 2014 vehicles—a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and a Kia Soul. One of the great perks of our job is having the ability to test new products where it matters most: on the road. To help keep things organized, and to save on gas and time, I broke the project into two parts with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport taking on the first leg, in which I focused solely on skapteparks in the city of San Diego. We test drove the SE edition with All Wheel Control (AWC) and the “premium” factory package, which includes a Rockford Fosgate sound system, auto-dimming rearview mirror and power driver seat.

20140512 191212000 iOS 1 e1405369626145 Exploring San Diegos Best Skateparks with a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

We picked up the Mitsubishi at the airport and I immediately noticed the small footprint the Outlander Sport seemed to carry. From the outside, it reminded me of my 3-door hatchback on steroids, as it feels like a happy medium between a hatchback and SUV. Once inside, the crossover felt much roomier than its silver exterior revealed. We had just flown in from a trip through southern Oregon and had accumulated a good bit of extra baggage, and the Outlander Sport swallowed up everything we threw at it, leaving the back seats free for two to three passengers.

Inside, Mitsubishi’s easy to use 6.1-inch next-gen audio system with touchscreen display took the spotlight, giving us an array of options to choose from including bluetooth, HD Radio and Sirius/XM. Honestly, the gorgeous display helped spruce up what was otherwise a fairly basic interior with cloth seats; though, it’s an interior that would be ideal for those who don’t mind getting a little dirty (or sandy) on their outdoor adventures. The model we test drove also contained power windows and locks, a Sportronic steering wheel paddles, and a nice selection of options for regulating the temperature throughout the vehicle, including adjustments for the passenger side and back seats. Another welcomed addition was the option to cool and heat your seats, which in San Diego, especially in the summer, is a real luxury.

It reminded me of my 3-door hatchback on steroids, as it feels like a happy medium between a hatchback and SUV. Once inside, the crossover felt much roomier than its silver exterior revealed.

From a driving standpoint, the car handled the freeways and city streets well, and was a breeze to park, in part because of its rear-view camera. On the road, the Mitsubishi felt beefer than it looks, making the crossover feel safe even among the large 18-wheelers and hummers that cruise the freeways. Overall, I felt well protected, especially since the Outlander Sport features seven airbags, including one around the driver’s knees.

Under the hood, you’ll find Mitsubishi’s pride and joy, a 2.0-liter aluminum engine which uses MIVEC technology to balance power with fuel efficiency that’s coupled with an All Wheel Control (AWC) drive train and a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty. Despite being just a 4-cylinder, the engine provided some nice extra power to the car and seemed as if it would be capable of pulling a light trailer or small boat. And while I didn’t hit the 31 mpg pinnacle that Mitsubishi claims the Outlander Sport can get, I wasn’t far off, coming in at about 28 mpg.

mitsubishi outlander collage e1405370574854 Exploring San Diegos Best Skateparks with a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Since the car sits a bit higher off the ground than my hatchback, the tailgate gave me a nice place to seat in between skate sessions and for scoping out the surf. Despite this added clearance, I still think it would be the perfect fit for my grandparents, especially my grandmother who recently had hip surgery and now has a hard time getting into higher vehicles.

For the project, I visited four skateparks with the Mitsubishi, and I have laid them out below as sort of mini-guide. If you’re going to be traveling to San Diego, though, I’d recommend downloading our free Buggl travel guide: Skate Thru San Diego: 48 Hours in America’s Finest City. In it you’ll have offline access to all the parks I visited, plus recommendations for cheap eats and good times.


A Mini-Guide to San Diego’s Best Skateparks


Memorial Skatepark

Memorial Park is like the swiss-army knife of San Diego skateparks. It’s got a bit of everything, and does almost everything well. Among its features are a 10 foot keyhole pool, a huge snake run with an 8 foot bowl, and a mini-combo bowl with a volcano in the middle that’s perfect for beginner transition skaters. The street terrain consists of an eight stair-set with a rail in the middle, hubba ledges, rails, and three to seven foot trannys.

Address: 702 S. 30th Street San Diego, CA 92113

Cost: Free

Washington Street Skatepark

Washington Street is to Southern California what Burnside is to the Pacific Northwest. Built under a San Diego underpass, this concrete park is the ongoing work of a dedicated crew of skateboarders. The park consists of four primary sections: the flow bowl section, a snake run, a center bowl, and the pool. Its considered one of the best parks in SoCal. The park is open to the public; though, opening times vary–basically when one of the crew shows up with the key.

Address: It doesn’t really have one, so here are the directions instead. Exit I5 @ Washington St. Head West on Washington about 2 blocks and you’ll see it under the next overpass.

Costs: Free

Ocean Beach Skatepark

It’s here that the rebirth of concrete skateparks in San Diego began back in 2000. At 40,000 sq. feet, the OB Skatepark has something for everyone, from beginners to pros. It features a handful of 4-5 foot banks and bowls with and without metal coping. There are two snake runs that are separated by a spine, where you’ll find more hips and bowls; though, at 14-years-old the concrete isn’t as smooth as other parks in the city.

Address: 2525 Bacon St. San Diego, CA 92107

Cost: Free

Krause Family Skate and Bike Park

The pool is worth the price of admission alone. It’s gorgeous, and considered by many to be one of the best in existence today; some even say its like “a tamer sibling of the Orange Co. Combi-pool. Gnarly but not too gnarly.” In fact, it is so nice, that local pros regularly session its smooth lines. Inside the pool, the square is roughly 7 feet up into vert and the round is about 10 feet with approximately a foot of vert. Additionally, the park features beginner and intermediate street sections, mini ramps and an X-Games Vert Ramp.

Address: 3401 Clairemont Drive San Diego, CA 92117

Cost: $10 for non-members (3-hour session)

Carmel Valley Skatepark

One exit off the I-5, you’ll find one of the county’s best legal pools, ranging from 6′ to 11′ deep. Additionally, there is also a small ditch-style run and a street area next to a street area with a banked ledge stair case, brick banks, a marble top ledge, and an inset quarter pipe inside a bank.

Address: 12220 El Camino Real, Del Mar, CA 92014

Cost: Free

Going to San Diego soon? Now, for a limited time, get our two San Diego drink guides for free!

buggl guides san diego beer and bars Exploring San Diegos Best Skateparks with a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Alcoholics Guide to San Diego

The Beer Lover’s Guide to San Diego


Disclosure: We were provided complimentary access to the vehicle to review it. As always, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.

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It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Spots To Check Out)http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/03/visit-amsterdam-first-48-hours/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=visit-amsterdam-first-48-hours http://beersandbeans.com/2014/07/03/visit-amsterdam-first-48-hours/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:43:29 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19839

It’s been over 48 hours since we arrived in Amsterdam, and I have to say my first impressions of the city were wrong.

We came with lofty expectations during our first trip. They said “it was ...

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It’s been over 48 hours since we arrived in Amsterdam, and I have to say my first impressions of the city were wrong.

We came with lofty expectations during our first trip. They said “it was the Venice of the North,” which to us is a bit like saying Chipotle is the Roberto’s (a famous chain of taco shops in San Diego) of New England. It’s not that I disliked Amsterdam the first go around, it just didn’t (much like a Chipotle burrito) blow me away.  There a few highlights,, though, that still come to mind from that trip. We were walking through one of the city’s idyllic neighborhoods (possibly Jordaan), the sun was throwing shadows on to the muted canal, as people sat picnicking on their stoops and the air was warm and calm. I saw a different side of Amsterdam in that brief moment, enough that I wanted to give the city a second shot.

Beth and I are in Amsterdam for the PITCH Festival, an electronic music festival. We’re covering the two-day concert for Must Love Festivals. I’m excited about this assignment, not because I’m a huge electronic music fan, but because I don’t know much about it. Plus, I’m curious to attend a musical festival outside of the United States. It has been a dream of mine for a while now, and I could have never imagined my first out-of-country concert would be in Amsterdam, where things, let’s just say are a little freer. Aside from Massive Attack, who is headlining the festival I don’t know anyone else on the bill, so if you have any recommendations, definitely let us know. You can see all the artists at pitchfestival.nl/line-up/.

pitch festival promo MLF e1404401079650 It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Spots To Check Out)

At the moment, we’re in our room at the MEININGER hotel. I’m typing this up on the couch and Beth’s behind me catching up on work too. The jet lag from our red eye flight has hit us pretty hard this trip. Ironically, I just wrote a story about ways to curb jet lag for Flight Network, so I thought I’d be golden this time, but I was wrong.

We landed in Schipol International–roughly 15 minutes or so from the city center–around 6 a.m., checked-in about an hour later, and then had a decision to make: stay awake until 10 p.m. or take a nap now. After discovering sunset wouldn’t happen until 10:30 p.m., we decided to catch up on our sleep and hit the city later in the day.

Of course, we slept later than planned, so by the time we were on the train to the city (the hotel is roughly five minutes away) it was after 6:30 p.m. Our plan was to get a pair of multi-day metro passes and a sim card from Vodafone. Unfortunately, we were about 30 minutes too late. With Plan A nixed, we went to Plan B–find the Siberie Coffeshop, which I had read about in Rick Steve’s 2013 Amsterdam guide that I burrowed from the library. After getting our orientation on the map, we started off to the coffee shop, holding hands and smiling. We felt good. Amsterdam felt different this time around. We’re open to the city and everything it has to offer us.

Highlights Thus Far

Siberie Coffeshop

I’ve been to a few coffeeshops now and this is my favorite. (If you couldn’t already tell from giddy smile above.) Awesome vibe, well lit, comfortable place to chill and great staff. Rick was spot on in his recommendation. Rick’s information, however, about being able to BYOW to the coffeeshop if you just buy a coffee seems to be outdated. We tried at couple of places, and each time we were told we couldn’t stay unless we purchased our pot from them. I’m not sure if this is the rule at all coffeeshops, as we didn’t ask at Siberie, but I have a feeling it is (Brouwersgracht 11, Sun-Thur 11 am-11:30 pm and Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight, www.coffeeshopsiberie.nl/).

The Original California Burrito Company

It takes a pretty big set to use California Burrito in your name and not even offer it on the menu, especially when you tack on “The Original.” But you know what, this place was actually pretty good. It’s more Chiptolte than San Diego taco shop, but it hit the spot. Beth and I split a spicy veggie burrito (€6.75), and it was hot. When they ask if you want it spicy, just know they aren’t messing around (Oude Leliestraat 5, Mon-Thur & Sun 11:30am-9pm, Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat 11:30am-11pm, californiaburrito.nl).

Singel 404

We found this cafe after reading about it in the Guardian: 10 of the best cafes and budget restaurants in Amsterdam. It’s now a craveable favorite. To get things started at Singel 404, we ordered two iced coffees (€3.75 each) to help wake us up, but what we got was a deliciously, sweet surprise. We learned later from one of our readers that iced coffee in Amsterdam is a thick, coffee milkshake. Four our meal, we choose two broodje (sandwiches, made with your choice of bread)– a goat cheese with honey, pine nuts and thyme on farmers brown bread (€6.75), and then an old cheese with honey mustard sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, walnuts and garden cress (€6.75). Both were fresh and tasty and nicely-sized. (Singel 404, +31 20 428 0154, Open daily 10.30am-6pm).

singel 404 sandwich amsterdam It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Spots To Check Out)

If this was the first you heard about Must Love Festivals, then be sure to check out our announcement post: It’s Official We’re Festival Hopping Through Europe This Summer. We are working with a lot great partners, such as MEININGER HotelsExpedia and Eurail, who are just as passionate about the project as we are, which is really awesome.

Following The PITCH Festival, we’ll be catching a flight to Puglia on Aug. 6 to rendezvous with Victoria Watts and Steve Kennedy of Bridges and Balloons for Notte Delle Luci in Scorrano. After that, we’ll have a month break, in which we’re going to try to meet up with Beth’s family in Lacedonia, before heading to the Greek Islands for a few weeks to unwind. We’ll be finishing up our Summer Europe Tour in Finland with the Mänttä Art Festival and Mänttä Music Festival and possibly the Flow Festival in Helsinki before returning stateside.

This will be our first time in a lot of these destinations, so we would love to hear any recommendations you may have. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments!

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Win an Autographer Wearable Camera in the #CandidMoments Competitionhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/06/29/win-autographer-wearable-camera-candidmoments-competition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=win-autographer-wearable-camera-candidmoments-competition http://beersandbeans.com/2014/06/29/win-autographer-wearable-camera-candidmoments-competition/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 13:10:04 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19811

June has been a pretty good month for travel contests and giveaways, so we figured why not welcome the summer solstice with one more fun competition. This latest one comes from Autographer.

I haven’t ...

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June has been a pretty good month for travel contests and giveaways, so we figured why not welcome the summer solstice with one more fun competition. This latest one comes from Autographer.

I haven’t had a chance try out an Autographer yet, but from everything I’ve read about the wearable camera, it sounds like a game changer. According to press coverage, the camera gives users the freedom to capture spontaneous, hands-free photos, making it easy to document your life through a series of  ”refreshingly real” wide-angle images.

Autographer wideangle Win an Autographer Wearable Camera in the #CandidMoments Competition The Autographer features a custom 136° eye view lens, an ultra small GPS unit and five built-in sensors. The sensors are reportedly “fused by a sophisticated algorithm to tell the camera exactly the right moments to take photos.” Sounds pretty cool, right? It reminds me a little of the original iPod and its uncanny ability to shuffle to the right song at the right moment.

Want to win on? Haha! Yeah, I do too! Read on for more details.

To celebrate the launch of their new Mount Adapter, Autographer is searching for the perfect #candidmoments photograph, submitted by you. We’ve included a couple of collages below that showcase what Autographer is looking for and to hopefully inspire your own entries, which can be captured with a smart phone, point and shoot, or even a DSLR. And just for a little extra inspiration, here’s one of my favorite candid moments that Beth captured while walking through a market in Paris.

Paris Street Photos smallerforBnB 1024x878 e1403981433955 Win an Autographer Wearable Camera in the #CandidMoments Competition

How to enter:

Autographer is looking for images that reflect the same spontaneous, candid, naturalness that Autographer so easily captures. In other words, the perfect #candidmoments that sum up the phrase candid moments” to you.

You don’t need to head out and specially take a photo–you may already have the perfect one on your laptop or phone ready and waiting to enter. Get inspired by these beautiful Autographer shots below, and the way they capture candid, spontaneous, natural emotion. But don’t worry–the photo you enter can be taken on any device, camera phone, point and shoot or SLR!

autographer image 1 Win an Autographer Wearable Camera in the #CandidMoments Competition

Want to see what other people are capturing? Autographer will be uploading its favorite entries to our Pinterest board ‘Candid Moments’ throughout the competition.

Remember, it must be a photograph you’ve taken and that you have permission to use.

You can enter via Twitter and Instagram, and the process is really simple.

  1. Ensure you’re following Autographer on the platform you’ve chosen to enter via. You can find its profiles here:

Twitter: @Autographer

Instagram: @Autographer

  1. Upload your photo, making sure you tag @autographer and use the hashtag #candidmoments
  2. That’s it!

You can enter as many times as you wish, and across both Instagram and Twitter if you like!

When will the winners be announced?

A panel of judges working at Autographer will decide on the winners and the final four will be announced on social media on Thursday 31st July.

There will be four winners chosen, with each lucky winner receiving an Autographer wearable camera (worth $399), a Mount Adapter (worth $50) and a tripod or mount of your choice, from Autographer’s recommended partners. For example, this might be a bike mount for capturing amazing journeys or a tripod for capturing amazing sunsets and time-lapse sequences. You decide!

For full T&Cs, visit the Autographer blog.  

autographer image 2 Win an Autographer Wearable Camera in the #CandidMoments Competition

Got any upcoming travels the Autographer work for? Tell us about them in the comments!


Autographer is hosting the competition and not us. We thought it sounded cool, so we decided to share it with you guys too. Good luck!

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How to Feel Awesome When You Travelhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/06/27/healthy-vacation-tips/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=healthy-vacation-tips http://beersandbeans.com/2014/06/27/healthy-vacation-tips/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:44:54 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19790

“We never failed to fail, it was just the easiest thing to do.” I love that line from Crosby, Stills and Nash, in part because it really rings true to me, especially when it comes ...

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“We never failed to fail, it was just the easiest thing to do.” I love that line from Crosby, Stills and Nash, in part because it really rings true to me, especially when it comes to exercising.

See, I have always had a hard time establishing a long-term exercise routine. Sure, I’ve had some successful weeks, but those are few and far between. For nearly 20 years, I’ve repeated this cycle, and it drives me nuts. But if I’m being honest with myself I don’t fail at working out because it’s too hard or too tough, I fail, well, because failing is the easiest thing to do.

I turned 36 in February, and while I still feel like I’m 21, a quick look in the mirror reveals I’m not—my gut is rounder and my eyes heavier. I feel like if I don’t take action now, I’m doomed, as it’s only going to get harder the older I become. Plus, I want to feel awesome now! I’m ready to succeed, but there’s one problem, I’m going to be traveling for the next six weeks in support of Must Love Festivals, our latest blogging project. In the past, I’d use the trip as an excuse to indulge, but this time I’m using it as a launching point for a healthier lifestyle.

Greek Island Shutterstocka e1403836737339 How to Feel Awesome When You Travel

The Greek Islands are to me what Russia was to Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Several months ago, we featured a terrific story from Beth’s cousin-in-law, Scott Provost, a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. Scott laid out some great advice for how not to sabotage your workout routine on vacation. One of my favorite tips his suggestion to work out first before relaxing on travel days:

“After your travel day and everything that goes along with it—the flight, renting a car, getting to the hotel, finding a place to eat—your sympathetic nervous system (think adrenaline and stress hormones) should be running wild. Now is not the time to relax, though. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to relieve your stress. Go workout or run or do whatever it is you do.”

After brushing up on Scott’s tips, I turned to the internet and found a recent story on Yahoo Travel with lots of good advice for feeling awesome on the road. In the piece, Editor Jo Piazza shares seven healthy travel tips from super trainer Emily Cook Harris of EMPowered. Since summer vacations are now in full swing, I thought I’d pass on a few of the tips to you guys.

“Plan ahead. Know what is available to you in terms of exercise and nutrition. Is there a gym in your hotel? Do you need to pack running shoes or sign up in advance for a group class that interests you? What are some healthy restaurants to check out? Are there grocery stores nearby, a farmer’s market, do you need to pack dry snacks in your suitcase? Do your homework so you know what to pack! Preparedness is key.”

We’ve already started doing this. We’ll be packing our running shoes and snorkel gear for this trip, as we plan to spend our month in between festivals in the Greek Islands.

“Make exercise a priority and move everyday. Get creative! Go for a walk, run, hike, or rent bikes, and combine movement with sightseeing. You’ll experience the city in a whole new way. You’ll feel better being active — and actually enjoy your trip more. At the least, get in a quick 30-minute circuit in your hotel gym before or after your day. Find some outdoor space and knock out a bodyweight workout while soaking up the sunshine.”

One thing I love about European cities is all of the walking that takes place. Recently, Beth picked up a FitBit, and I’ll likely get one too before we leave, so we will be able to track our goals easier while we’re traveling. Normally, walking is the extent of my exercise in Europe, but this year I’m going to take my activity to the next level. In Amsterdam, I plan to a rent a bike, in Italy I want to run, in Greece I want to swim, and in Finland, well, I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do yet, but trust me there will be movement!

“Bring a water bottle with you everywhere. This will not only keep you hydrated and energized, but it will reduce the total number of calories you consume overall. We often eat when we are just thirsty, not hungry. Being hydrated prevents this!”

I love this tip because it actually does triple duty. In addition to keeping you hydrated, traveling with a water bottle will not only save you money, but it is also one of the easiest ways to make your travels more green.

I’m excited to make this change in my life. It has been a long time coming, but I know in my heart it is the right thing to do. I just have to take things one day at a time, knowing full well that the first days are the hardest days.

Got a dynamite healthy vacation tip? We’d love to chat with you about in the comments!

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