An amazing destination for ancient history and one of my favorite of the Greek islands (to date). Clearly, there is so much more I need to see of this beautiful island in the Adriatic.

I'm contemplating thinking about thinking

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Sa inceapa aventura! Simteam cu o saptamana in urma ca timpul parca sta in loc si nu imi mai vine si mie randul sa plec in vacanta. Anul acesta am ales Rodos, in Grecia, unde prezentul se imbina perfect cu trecutul. A fost o alegere indelung gandita, pentru ca desi ne dorim sa petrecem ceva timp la plaja, vrem sa exploram si locuri noi. Let the adventure begin! Lately, I was feeling like time stands still and my vacation will never come. This year I chose Rhodes, in Greece, where the present meets the past in a perfect harmony. It was an inspired choice because even if we like to spend a few hours at the beach, we also love to explore new places.

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Pan con Tomate: A Must-Have for Your Breakfast Table

The simple things are always the best! This was the very first food we had that first morning in Madrid at Costa Coffee inside el Teatro Real… divine! The Spanish are teaching me how slow down, eat well, relish the company of good friends and enjoy life!

Jill's Urban Food Crawls

pan con tomato recipe bread tomato black salt Pan con Tomate

Good ingredients simply prepared is a hallmark of Spanish food. A good example of this is Pan con Tomate (bread with tomato), one of the most iconic dishes found throughout Spain. It can be the basis of a typical Spanish breakfast or served as a tapa along with jamón or anchovies. The recipe is so simple, it can hardly be considered a recipe at all. But a collection of Spanish recipes would not be complete without it.

The story of its origin is that the tomato was used to soften old, stale bread. The presentation varies, just the slightest bit, depending on where you are. In it’s birthplace of Catalonia, ripe tomatoes are rubbed across toasted bread. In southern Spain, we most frequently see a version in which grated tomato pulp is spooned on top of toasted bread. Honestly, this is the only way that we’ve ever…

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SLOVENIA- The Only Country With the Word LOVE In It! (birthday trip continued)

Another restaurant going on “The List”… Bled Castle Restaurant! Question is, will it measure up to Hisa Franko? Taking bets.


SLOVENIA- The Only Country With the Word LOVE In It! To be honest, I don’t know if that’s a true statement, I haven’t checked, but when I heard someone say that I thought, perfect!

Originally Slovenia was not one of the countries on my urgent must-see travel list. It was one of the European countries that slipped my radar until a Netherlands-Italy road trip a few years ago brought me right through the heart of the tiny and fruitful country. What a gem!!! Completely surpassing any expectations (or lack there of), Slovenia impressed me with its natural beauty and instantly became one of my favourite European countries. Of the eight countries we would visit on my 27th Birthday Road Trip”, I was most excited about returning to and getting a better taste of Slovenia. Hosted by the Slovenian tourism board, our time spent in this severely underrated country was…

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Day Trip to Sagunto

I thought the scenic photos were beautiful but when I got to the food porn it was like the heavens opened and the angels sang! 😜 You outdid yourself once again, Jill!

Jill's Urban Food Crawls

The Castle of Sagunto—It draws our eyes up the hillside above the small city of Sagunto every time we take the train between Valencia and Barcelona. We go by in a few seconds, but that’s long enough to inspire wonder in us passengers.

Castle overlooking Sagunto Spain Valencia Sagunto Castle

Sagunto is an easy day trip from Valencia. It is only about 35 minutes by train and local trains leave from the Estació del Nord train station every half hour or so (Renfe Cercanías Valencia C5, C6 lines). With American friends by our side, we headed to the station, bought tickets at one of the ticket machines, and caught an early morning train to Sagunto.

Sagunto was an important city in ancient history. The Iberians settled the area in 6th century BC. Hannibal’s siege of the city in 219 BC started the Second Punic War, a battle between Carthage and Rome for control…

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Ephesus, Turkey

An amazing place for its history alone, but Turkey has so much more to offer! Did you know that Turkey is arguably the location of the oldest temple in the world? It has been dated to the dawn of human settlements 7,000 BEFORE Stonehenge! I want to get back and continue exploring sooner rather than later!

Odyssey Turkey

The Ancient Greek city of Ephesus was established In 10 BC. Androclos, the son of the Athens-Kodros king, was searching for a location to establish a site. Whom at the time was running from the Dor invasion in Greece. It was predicted by an Apollon oracle that a fish and a boar would show the location of the new settlement. Days later while frying, a fish fell down from the pan, irritating a hiding boar behind the bushes. The feared boar escaped immediately. Androclos followed the boar and established the city of Ephesus.

In 190 BC, the Romans gained control of Ephesus, where the city flourished. In 1-4 AD Ephesus reached its golden years and was know for its wealth and luxury. The population increased to 225,000. The Cayester river became a great trade port, linking Ephesus to the rest of the world.

The prestige of Ephesus grew with the…

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Yum! That couscous recipe looks similar to one of my favs…with roasted potatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms over quinoa.



For those traveling on a budget, or even those who aren’t but are longing for a hearty homemade meal, these six recipes are inexpensive, easy to make and a reward for your taste buds!

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#89: Imagine You Only Have 10 Years to Live … — Afford Anything Podcast

One of my favorite podcast series of all-time! Paula's big-picture/lifestyle approach and positive energy is truly inspiring. Check out all her awesome resources at Afford Anything. Imagine you’re financially secure. You have enough money to support your family and pursue your dreams. You enjoy fulfilling work with a reasonable schedule. What would you do with both …

Or…what I wish I brought to Spain the first time

Stocking up on feminine supplies and dual-converter flat irons because Emily said so!

This is the milk

The first time I was moving to Spain as a language assistant, my mom oversaw most of my packing. The second and third time are none of your business. JKJK, obvi she was there to put her two cents in as well, mostly to ask if I had enough of all the things I didn’t know I needed the first time I left, or maybe to look for my passport. That’s a story for another day.

In any case, although I really though I was packing pretty much my entire life up with me when I left, there were quite a few things I could have really used more, or any of, when I went abroad.

Note: this post includes affiliate links, but if you use them, you’ll be a happy camper in Spain or wherever else abroad, and I’ll make like 3 cents off your purchase. Win-win.

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I spent…

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Bioparc Valencia: A little piece of Africa in Spain

Sounds wonderful, Jill. It really is a very different experience than what you get in most zoos. I don’t want to brag, but it sounds a lot like our world famous San Diego Zoo and ZoofariPark which we used to enjoy more frequently when the kids were little. In the later years, when the food offerings at the in-park cafes finally expanded to include real, chemical-free food (what a concept, right?)… we would even enjoy al fresco dining on the terrace amongst the elephant herd.

Jill's Urban Food Crawls

The city of Valencia holds some unexpected surprises. We recently discovered the Bioparc Valencia, a unique 25-acre zoo located at the western end of the Turia Garden in the Parque de Cabecera. With friends visiting from the U.S., we thought the zoo would be a nice way to spend the morning. To our delight, this was not like any zoo that we had ever visited before.

Giraffe Bioparc Valencia Zoo Immersion Welcome to Zoo Immersion at the Bioparc!

The Bioparc concept of zoo-immersion puts us humans right in with the animals. Visitors are separated from the animals by natural barricades of stone, water features, and some nearly invisible wires and plexiglass.

Flamingos Bioparc Valencia Zoo Spain Flock of Flamingos in Madagascar Habitat

You feel as if you are walking amongst the animals in their natural environment. In some cases, you really are. Lemurs lounge in the trees above you, so lets hope they are as docile as they seem!

Lemurs in Madagascar trees Bioparc Valencia Lemurs…

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Cambodian orphanages….

A warning against supporting Cambodian orphanages…


Over the past few weeks it seems like the subject of Cambodian orphanages has blown up…well it has if you follow certain organisations on Facebook or watched 60 Minutes. So I’ve been having lots of great conversations about this, which I think is awesome because there are some horrific truths about Cambodian organisations. A lot of people have asked my opinion, especially seeing as I lived and worked in a residential care centre last year and will continue to supporting the kids there.

Tar Winkler, who you may have seen on 60 minutes has done so many amazing things in the Cambodian province of Battambang (I just love saying that name!!) and I have followed her work for a long time now. Last year my parents and I visited her training restaurant, mum and I went to listen to her talk a couple of weeks ago and I have her…

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