San Antonio via SW Comp Pass + Hyatt free nights!

Long time, no see! Sorry I’ve been gone so long, I had a super busy summer after NYC, and Fall is always busy for us (gone or had plans every weekend in September and most of October).

But I’m back and here to tell you about an awesome Labor Day weekend to San Antonio! 

My hubby couldn’t go, so I called a friend, and it was a simple matter to change my SW companion pass (you can only change three times in a year). The Hyatt free anniversary nights from our credit cards were already booked. This property is a great deal for a category 4 hotel, they even included breakfast and waived the resort fee for us! The Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa was part of the Rogers Wiseman Ranch and is more than 300 acres. It includes trails, pools, waterpark, lazy river, and is VERY family friendly! We had a wonderful stay…we went to the adults only pool, ate smores with the kids one night at the firepit, and just relaxed! Here are some photos, all taken on my iPhone…

Of course, if you are in San Antonio, you need to go to the Alamo, which was our first order of business. And the Riverwalk is a must, which we did multiple times and ate outside on the river twice!

A friend had suggested the Pearl, and we did that one afternoon and it was such fun…a really neat place and you can ride a water taxi all the way downtown!

 

Our last morning, we went to a hidden gem – the Japanese Tea Garden. It’s absolutely beautiful, so restful, and free! I will let the pictures do the talking.

 

I’d delayed getting a rental car because I wasn’t sure about going because of the hurricane and there were NO rental cars available. Then my son told me about Turo, like Airbnb for cars. It worked perfect and since there was no gas available (three hour waits, stations closed), our Turo renter just had us pay a bit extra when we turned it in. Good info to know…

Next up, my summer trip…here’s a hint, we share 98% of the same genes!

NYC for $200!

My girlfriend and I LOVE NYC, so this was a fun trip for both of us! My flight on American was booked with half price Amex points (you pay with points and get 50% back). But I had to make a change, so it cost me $200 for the fare difference. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Times Square, which cost $415 per night but we paid with IHG points. Going for four nights to NYC for about $200 sounds good to me!  (:

Here’s our hotel with a view of the Hudson!

I’d never been inside the iconic New York Library, which is the 2nd largest in the US, with 53 million items! The year before it was finished (1910) 75 miles of bookshelves were built and it took one year to move all the books!

Regardless of your politics, a visit to the Trump Tower is interesting…it reminded me of the Middle East, with glitz and gold.

We both have visited before, so we wanted to do some different things this time. I’ve always loved the structure of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is 134 years old, so we walked across it one day. Here are some fun facts about it: each tower weighs 90,000 tons, it rises three inches when it’s cold, and there are 14,000 miles of wire used in the bridge!

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, and we did this one day. 

 Of course, when in NYC, you must go to a Broadway production, so we went to see “Beautiful,” the musical about Carole King’s life and it was excellent! And a visit to Times Square was easy because our hotel was right there. Did you know Times Square is not a square shape, but a bowtie with two triangles meeting?!

And the food in the city is extraordinary, so we ate and ate and ate! We also walked and walked and walked, so it all balanced out! Some places we ate: Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn, Sarabeth’s for brunch, and Eataly for fantastic Italian food!

Central Park is a must visit also…

 Next up, my summer trip…

Marrakech…the BEST!

(This is the last of my Morocco trip report).

We stopped at Todra gorge on the way to our hotel that night, before heading out to Marrakech the next day.

We enjoyed a drive through the high Atlas Mountains…

Our riad in Marrakech was wonderful and very centrally located, steps from the souk!

Marrakech was my favorite city in Morocco! Some of the places we visited were the Bahia Palace, Jardin Marjorelle, and Jemaa el Fnaa (the huge square on the edge of the medina). And, of course, lots of last minute shopping in the souk!

Our final dinner together was at La Mamounia, a “palace hotel.” It has been welcoming guests since 1923. We walked around the gardens, which were gifted to Prince Al Mamoun as a wedding present in the 18th century.

We were sad to leave Morocco, but hope to come back some day!

Next up, girls’ getaway in NYC! 

“Glamping” in the Sahara!

Our desert safari was absolutely amazing! On our drive there, we went through the “Switzerland of Morocco” in the Atlas Mountains.

When we arrived, Iddir met us with the camels for a trek during sunset to our camp. I will let the pictures do the talking…

Our tent was basic, but it had all we needed, hot water for a shower and electricity for charging devices! We had a delicious evening meal, Berber music around the campfire, and the BEST breakfast of the trip! The Berber people are pre-Arab and have a rich cultural heritage.

And a return the next morning by camel, of course!

We then visited an oasis in the small village – it was HUGE and they are all over Morocco. Families have a plot of land to grow produce and water comes from a well through a viaduct.

We bought Berber carpets, handmade by Berber women.