Perfect Pitstops

West Cliff Drive in the Winter

Winter time in Santa Cruz, California supplies some of the most beautiful (and crisp!) days with blue skies and low temperatures. West Cliff Drive is a top spot for locals and tourists alike, for obvious reasons. The six-mile round trip sidewalk (spanning from the Dream Inn to Natural Bridges) provides some of the best views of the Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Municipal Wharf. Along the way, you will see the world famous point break surf spot Steamer Lane, the state beach and butterfly grove Natural Bridges, and a dozen more hidden coves and beaches.

Ancient Tokyo: Sensō-Ji Temple

dscn3378

Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest ancient temple, dating back to 645 AD. It’s stunning, dramatic and a major attraction for international and Japanese tourists alike. The pedestrian-only lanes leading up to the temple are as packed as a sold out concert with hundreds of pop-up shops with the best gift/souvenir shopping in all of Tokyo. Inside the temple courtyard, you can get your “Omikuji” for a donation of 100¥ (equivalent of $1 USD), which literally translates to a “fortune-telling paper.” Sensō-ji is iconic and one of our favorite spots in Tokyo — well worth the cover photo of the Lonely Planet Tokyo Pocket book guide!

The Eiffel Tower by Nightfall

img_1064

The iconic Eiffel Tower, an image synonymous with Paris itself. Although it’s a little pricey and definitely time-consuming, it’s a must-do, must-see and 100% worth it. Towering over the city at 984 feet, it’s an unbeatable 360° view.

Red Wine on the Seine River

IMG_0969

One bottle of merlot, one fresh baguette, some delicious chèvre (goat cheese) and jambon serrano (thin sliced ham) makes for a romantic sunset on Pont Neuf. A picnic in Paris along the Seine River… Could it get any better than this?

Stonehenge, 3000 B.C.

IMG_9780

So, we just touched down in Euro-town! Post- 11 hour flight, we landed at London Heathrow and went directly to pick up our rental car to zip down to Cornwall for the Boardmaster’s Surf Contest. Little did we know, the famous pre-historic monument Stonehenge is directly on our route. Literally, directly on our route: you can see Stonehenge just about 150 yards off the freeway. But we thought the Neolithic structure deserved more than just a drive-by glance! Pitstop #1.

Secret Bali: A Secluded Paradise

thomasbeach

Hands down, my favorite beach in Bali. Thomas Beach is private, quiet and beautiful with lengthy white sands and crystal clear turquoise water. Every one of the surrounding area’s beaches (Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin) are filled with hoards of tourists and even more locals (trying to sell sarongs!) resulting in a less than peaceful beach experience… speakers no doubt blasting Bob Marley, an excess of Bintangs and no elbow room. Thomas Beach feels worlds away; we were among five other tourists on a beach half a mile long. The only beach vendor was selling ice cold coconuts – exactly the one thing I would actually like to purchase at the beach.