Our Interail train trip was planned and it was going to be epic. We would go from Liverpool to Brussels, Belgium to Luxembourg to Strasbourg, France to Zurich, Switzerland and back into The Netherlands. We were ready to reserve our seats. The only problem was that Liverpool FC had just clinched a victory that would take them to the UEFA Champions League final in Paris, France. People traveling from anywhere in the UK would travel through London into Brussels, or direct to Paris. The day of the match happened to be our first day of travel and every single train was booked. You couldn’t even book a seat on a rubber raft that day. So, plans changed. With the Netherlands closing out our original trip, we decided to just tack on a few days to the front of that since we can fly to Amsterdam for basically nothing, and take a train to our destinations. What destination, you ask? Well, we could have just thrown a dart at a map, but instead we chose a small traditional Dutch village sandwiched between Den Haag and Rotterdam called Delft. You may have seen the blue and white pottery that Delft is famous for, you may even own some. We didn’t know anything about the village, however we quickly learned that it’s a place of stunning beauty, loaded with charm, and home to culture that embraces quality of life. Tree-lined brick streets trace the outline of ancient canals as bicycle travelers cross back and forth on ornate bridges. Historic churches touch the sky while extraordinary buildings saturate the city centre. I’ve never seen so many bicycles in one place! You do see cars, but bikes definitely dominate the streets. Quaint cafes and coffee shops abound, restaurants showcasing a wide variety of cuisine are everywhere, and the icing on the cake is the open air market twice a week in Markt Square. You can shop for anything from handbags to clothes to fresh fish, salami, nuts, fruits and veggies, and so much more. Delft is truly one of my favorite places in the world.
To Tarifa, Spain
I visited Tarifa, Spain when I was in San Roque. It was only about an hour journey in the Jeep, and well worth it. On the drive in, you’re positioned high above the Mediterranean Sea with nothing but steep, grassy terrain and rocky cliffs between you. The views are flawless! As you approach Tarifa, the town begins to show off. White, textured exterior walls are brightly contrasted against the muted orange of the terracotta tile roofing and the black iron railing along the multitude of Juliette balconies. The streets are made of cobblestone and lined with orange trees and street lights that resemble old lanterns. You can smell the clean saltwater air as you wind through narrow streets dripping with historical charm. You finally stop when you’ve reached the southernmost point in Europe. On this particular day, it was the windiest place I have ever been. Just fierce and constant gales blowing with enough force to physically knock you over if you’re not paying attention. There’s a strip of pavement about wide enough to fit two cars side by side that splits the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. As you cross this divide, waves are crashing against the massive boulders on the Mediterranean side creating bursts of ocean spray and a constant mist. However, on the Atlantic side the water is calm. In fact it’s so calm it resembles a lake. The Mediterranean side is dotted with wind surfers, while the Atlantic side hosts the kite-boarders. At the end you find a wonderful little cove with it’s own private beach that looks like it belongs in a movie. On clear day, you catch views of Morocco in the distance. What a truly special place Tarifa, Spain is!
To Kitengela, Kenya
Before traveling to Kitengela, I had never visited the continent of Africa. We went at the request of some friends to facilitate some art and business training, but we ended up falling in love. The people we met are the most hospitable, caring, kind-hearted people you’ll ever meet. The weather was great, especially considering we were coming from England in February. My daughter did not want to leave. She now wants to live there.
Kitengela is located just outside of Nairobi, about an hour drive from the Nairobi airport. Goats and cows wander the streets. Boda-bodas are everywhere, carrying abnormally large loads for such a small, two-wheeled vehicle, and the mangoes and bananas taste better than anything you’ve ever tasted.
We took a safari in Lake Nakuru National Park, which is about a 3.5 hour drive from Kitengela (traffic is always a questions mark). While Nairobi National Park sits just on the edge of Nairobi, Lake Nakuru National Park came highly recommended. So it’s no surprise to anyone that it ended up being an incredible adventure. The landscape, the water, the animals, even driving into Nakuru the scenery above the Great Rift Valley is spectacular. Throughout the safari we saw loads of zebras, rhinos, water buffalo, impala, and desert warthogs. We pulled up next to a Rothschild’s Giraffe eating some leaves so close to our truck that we could almost touch him. Later, we saw his whole family of about 14 giraffes grazing in a field. To cap off the adventure, we found a pair of female lions resting near a tree in the distance. It is a trip that will never be forgotten. We cannot wait to go back!
From Kentucky, USA
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Home to bourbon and horse racing, Louisville, Kentucky, USA is where my journey began. The city itself is quite special to me with an abundance of top-tier restaurants, a brilliant music scene, parks, lakes, and spectacular views over the Ohio River from the center of the city. On the outskirts of Louisville is where the sites and sounds come to life. From rolling green fields with miles of split-rail fencing, to the horse farms of Shelby County and Oldham County, Kentucky is an exceptional stretch of earth. Even further from the city life is a scattering of stills and rickhouses that produce and hold 95% of the world’s bourbon.
Where to Stay in Louisville
If you find yourself traveling to Louisville, KY, you’ll want to stay in one of the many vibrant neighborhoods to get the most out of your time there. That way, you’re close to restaurants and attractions, but you can still take a day trip out to the country if you want.
If you’re looking for an AirBnB, try to find one in NuLu, The Highlands, Crescent Hill / Clifton, or St Matthews. These neighborhoods are bursting with personality and chock full of restaurants, bars, and cafes.
If a hotel is more your style:
- 21C is a funky, artsy hotel with an art gallery / museum, and an incredible restaurant.
- Hotel Distil is different type of Marriott with a great steakhouse and an in room bourbon cart.
- For a classic experience steeped in historic charm, try The Galt House.
Things to do in Louisville
Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made right on Main St and distributed to Major League Baseball teams and consumers across the world. Start with a tour at the Louisville Slugger Museum and then make your way down Main St to one of the bourbon tours. The best bourbon tours downtown are Old Forester, Angel’s Envy, and The Evan Williams Experience.
If you’re in town during a racing season, you must visit world’s most legendary horse racing track, Churchill Downs, home to vast horse racing history and, of course, the Kentucky Derby.
You can’t overlook the amazing music scene in Louisville so keep an eye out for music festivals like Bourbon & Beyond, Louder Than Life, and Forecastle Festival. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the upcoming show calendars at The Louisville Palace, Mercury Ballroom, Iroquois Amphitheater, and the KFC YUM Center. There’s more venues than I can list here, but one of the best summer events in Louisville is Waterfront Wednesday, the local radio station’s free concert series on the Ohio River. There’s no shortage of music to enjoy in Louisville, KY.
Dining in Louisville
You can’t miss Louisville’s amazing culinary scene. With cuisine fro around the world there’s something here for everyone.
Join celebrity chef, Anthony Lamas for dinner at his flagship restaurant, Seviche where you will be blown away by flavor and atmosphere.
Grab lunch and some of Louisville’s best craft brews at Atrium Brewing.
For breakfast you can look no further than Eggs Over Frankfort for a quaint vibe, fantastic coffee, and the best breakfast you’ll find in Louisville.
Have a look at the gallery below to see a selection of photos I’ve taken in and around Louisville at, including many of favorites I’ve spoken of in the article. If you want to order a print of any of these and they’re not in the online shop, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll figure it out!
To Liverpool, England
In 2018, we made the decision to move to Liverpool, England. It was during a trip to meet people who were introduced to us through mutual friends. We were in Liverpool for 10 days to learn about their work with refugees, their desire to reach the community through art workshops and entrepreneurial training, and their focus on English lessons. So we spent the next 2 years figuring out how to get back.
When our visas were approved, we packed our stuff into a shipping container and sent it out to sea. Heading across the pond in the middle of a global pandemic and a United Kingdom lockdown was not something people were doing. But we did it. At first we couldn’t do much. We couldn’t welcome refugees into our building, or do any of the training we wanted. However, we found a great purpose in delivering food and toiletries to refugees in the area. They can’t come to us, we’ll go to them!
When we were finally able to get out and explore, we discovered that Liverpool is a fantastic city! It’s not simply the home of The Beatles, but also home to stone streets and beautiful architecture, and strangely enough, some delicious restaurants. Don’t believe everything you hear about food in the UK. Between the museums, pubs, historic sites, a really cool skyline, the iconic red double-decker buses, and amazing water views, you can’t beat the scenery in Liverpool. The photo possibilities are endless.
Things to know when traveling to Liverpool
The people in Liverpool are incredibly kind. The scouse accent is not. True Liverpudlians can be extremely difficult to understand in conversation. But, they’re usually happy to repeat anything you don’t understand.
Football is life for most people here, and just like in my home town, Liverpool is divided between red and blue: red being Liverpool Football Club, and blue being Everton Football Club. It’s an intense rivalry, and hilarious to witness.
Liverpool also happens to be a melting pot of culture and art. In my neighborhood alone there are at least 50 different languages spoken. People from all walks and seasons of life live here and it’s quite refreshing. Plus, they do have horse racing here… so I’m not too far from home.
The city is quite condensed. Liverpool has a big city vibe, but it’s small enough to walk pretty much everywhere you go. Ubers and taxis are easy to get should you require a vehicle, and e-scooters are everywhere.
Where to stay in Liverpool
When you travel to Liverpool to take in the sites you want to stay in the city center. As I mentioned, it’s not a huge city, but there are different pockets around town.
One of my favorite areas of the city center is Castle Street. A beautiful view looking toward the city hall building showcases historic brick architecture with shops, restaurants, and pubs lining the walkways. Castle Street is also right around the corner from the Cavern Quarter, which is where the Cavern Club is located along with a ton of other Beatles related bars and shops. There’s plenty to do and you have easy access to Liverpool One where you’ll find even more shops and restaurants.
I recommend The Castle Collection if you want to stay around Castle Street. This is a collection of about 5 different apartment buildings in the area that rent their apartments out on a nightly basis. More spacious than a hotel and not much more money.
In the same area you’ll find the Hard Days Night Hotel, which as you may have guessed, is a Beatles themed hotel in a historic building with restaurants and bars. The rooms are clean and you can get a city view with a balcony as an upgrade. For the true Beatles fanatic, choose between the Lennon Suite and the McCartney Suite for the ultimate experience.
The Albert Dock
Situated along the River Mersey is Liverpool’s historic docks. As the UK’s major shipping port, the docks were the most advanced port system in the world during their hay day. In fact, Liverpool was the home port for the Titanic, the Mauretania, and the Lusitania just to name a few.
In more recent years, the Liverpool docks have become home to museums, restaurants, pubs, and shops. The Albert Dock is one of the most popular spots in the city. With the Beatles Museum, the Maritime Museum including loads of artifacts from the Titanic, and the Tate modern art museum, the Albert Dock is a must see on your visit to Liverpool.
If you’re wanting to stay at the docks, your hotel choices include Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Leonardo Hotel (formerly Jury’s Inn), or The Hilton across the street.
Where to eat in Liverpool
You’ll be surprised by how man delicious restaurants there are in Liverpool. I certainly was. There’s a little bit of something for everyone around town. If you’ve never been to England you’ll find Indian curries to be incredibly popular here. Indian food to the UK is like Mexican food to the US.
The best burger
You want a burger? I’m talking about a super juicy double patty smash burger with all the fixings and chunky chips that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. That’s the burger you’ll find at The Blackburne Arms. Not only is it one of the best pubs in the city, but they have great service too. Customer service is hit and miss (mostly miss) in the UK, but there are those who get it right, and the Blackburne Arms gets it.
To be fair, their whole menu is pretty great. They have a nice selection of ales, craft beers, and ciders, plus the atmosphere is tough to beat. All around, this is one of the best restaurants in Liverpool!
The best pizza
For me, I like thin, fold your slice in half kind of pizza. But instead of New York style, think Naples, Italy. That’s right a truly authentic fast fired Neapolitan pizza is available right in the heart of Liverpool at a place called Rudy’s. These pizzas only cook for about 60-90 seconds in an oven that’s unimaginably hot. With a long ferment on their homemade dough, and the heat of the oven, they achieve a perfect balance of crispiness outside and soft chewiness inside.
With 3 locations in Liverpool, you can enjoy Rudy’s delicious pizza just about anywhere!
The best fancy pants meal
We don’t go all out very often, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more fine dining, have a fancy dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. The atmosphere is great, the service is top notch, and of course the food is amazing.
Bread Street has a great wine selection, a warm and cozy dining room, and an open kitchen. My steak was perfect. My wife had chicken with chimichurri, also amazing. Our daughter ate a burger with chips (also, kids eat free when mom and dad order an entree each). Look, I’m sure the menu changes a lot here, but you can’t wrong with Gordon’s famous Beef Wellington. Plus, anything they put on the menu is pretty much guaranteed to taste good. Treat yourself.
Best vegan / vegetarian / dietary friendly meal
Coming from the US, I’m not used to restaurants being so allergy / intolerance conscious. Virtually every restaurant in the UK has very specific policies on how they handle guests with allergies and dietary intolerances. They take it very seriously.
Even further to that, some restaurants really step it up. Maray happens to be one of those. With a menu that can please vegan, vegetarian, and carnivores, you don’t want to miss this restaurant on your trip to Liverpool. We love the Dockside location for its convenience and water views. On a sunny day, grab a seat outside.
One thing I can almost guarantee will be on the menu is the Disco Cauliflower. Look, I’m not a cauliflower guy. But this thing will amaze you! The flavor explosions are on point here. Lamb Shawarma is another favorite. You’ll be delighted that you stopped in at Maray!
There’s a lot to do when you visit Liverpool, but you can cram a lot into a little bit of time. As I said, it’s walkable, compact, and you’ll love what you discover!
To San Roque, Spain
Traveling in Europe is much easier and less expensive than traveling in the US. My first journey out of England was to San Roque, Spain. San Roque is a little village about 10 minutes drive from Gibraltar, almost as far south as you can go in Spain.
EasyJet flies into Gibraltar International Airport from loads of European airports, but depending on the time of year, it might be 3 times the price of flying into Málaga. If you fly into Málaga, you have to take a bus to San Roque, so it involves about 4 more hours of travel.
Speaking of the flight, the Gibraltar runway is one of the shortest in the world, and the wind is fierce and unpredictable. If you make a slight mistake you will either hit the rock of Gibraltar, or land in the sea. I have incredible respect for the pilots who fly into Gibraltar International Airport. Not to worry, though. If the conditions are too dangerous, the pilot will land in Málaga and you’ll have to catch the bus.
GIB is a simple airport. Hustle through passport control and make a quick border cross into La Línea, Spain. Drive 10 minutes northwest and you land in San Roque. This town of around 30,000 people sits high up on a steep hill, giving you stunning views of the sea, the rock of Gibraltar, and on a clear day you can even see Morocco. Orange trees line the narrow, cobblestone streets with buildings dressed in white stucco, terracotta roof tiles, and bold wooden shutters. There’s no question. You’re definitely in Spain.
San Roque is the cleanest city I have ever been to. On a daily basis I witnessed someone sweeping our parking lot where I stayed. It’s also quite a compact city, so it’s easy to walk everywhere you go.
Things to do in San Roque
In the center of the city is a lovely park and walkway with a fountain in the middle called Alameda de Alfonso XI. This is a wonderful place to go on a warm day for fresh air and sunshine. Around the perimeter of this park you can find a few restaurants. We ate at Cervecería Cruz Blanca and it was delicious. We shared a massive seafood sampler and some tapas with huge flavors. You should have a seat outside and enjoy some fresh seafood!
Mercadillo de San Roque
This gigantic street market takes place every Sunday in the city. With over 150 stalls, there is literally something for everyone at Mercadillo de San Roque. You can buy food, clothing, crafts, artwork, and everything in between. Get there in the morning when it opens and explore the whole market.
Nearby travel destinations
One of the best things about San Roque is its proximity to other amazing sites. Castellar de la Frontera is a small town with a beautiful castle. Enjoy breathtaking views as you explore the grounds.
Inside you’ll find a hotel and host of small cottages where you can stay. It is quite a fascinating place and It’s just a 30 minute journey in a car.
Tarifa, Spain, which is the southernmost point in Europe, is just 30 minutes beyond the castle. Here, you can stand where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. Have a walk and wander through the historic city taking in the sights.
Watch wind surfers and kite boarders harness the wind and waves, then catch an afternoon beer and a bite to eat at one of the many pubs.
Gibraltar makes for a fantastic day trip. You could stay there, but it’s much more expensive than San Roque and you’d miss out on all that Spanish charm.
It’s a must that you take an official tour of the rock. There was a booth as we crossed the border into Gibraltar where we booked our taxi tour. We joined others in a van and made our way of the rock. See the monkeys, explore the caves, and take in the views from the top. Then, head into town for some tapas and beers!
If you’re traveling to Southern Spain, this is definitely a great destination. The convenience of San Roque and proximity to a variety of exciting activities makes for an action packed vacation. Have a look at the gallery to see some of the photos from my visit to San Roque, Spain. Prints are available for all of these, so if you don’t see the one you want in the store, reach out via the contact form and I will take care of it.