Captain and Clark The Modern Cartographers, Charting Your World. Fri, 09 Oct 2015 00:58:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Don’t Mess with K-Pop Fri, 09 Oct 2015 00:58:46 +0000 At Captain and Clark we love to travel the world to explore new cultures and then share those with you. So buckle up, today we’re taking a look at one of our favorite topics: K-Pop.

It should be no secret to anyone that I (Captain) enjoy K-Pop. Some of you may even remember my Pop 10. I’ve risen to the defense of K-Pop again and again. To the outsider it can seem straight up bizarre but beneath the electric color choices and pencil skirts, there leis the beating heart of Korea.

One thing in particular that I really enjoy about K-Pop is how quickly revenge escalates. Sure, we’ve all seen Carrie Underwood smash up her cheating ex’s truck, but that’s just one woman with a Louisville Slugger. When a Korean pop star goes for revenge, she’ll dress up like Halloween-on-acid, grab nine of her friends, and smash your whole world with a chainsaw. It takes all the cutesie sparkle of 3 year old’s princess birthday party and blends it with American Horror Story. For a country that has banned guns, their pop music can go from sassy to scary in 2 seconds. For me, it’s the juxtaposition of precious and precarious that makes me feel so alive.

Don’t believe me? Behold exhibit A.

Ailee – “(너나 잘해) Mind Your Own Business”

Ailee is not only one of my all time favorites but she’s a great example of what I’m talking about. Her ex treats her poorly so she corners him in a parking garage like the KGB then has her posse jump out with chainsaws and smashes up his PT Cruiser (I mean it’s a PT Cruiser, no loss.) She even goes to K-Pop jail for it. Not a care in the world.

Brown Eyed Girls – “Abracadabra”


This goes from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds. The Brown Eyed Girls, one of Korea’s long standing K-pop bands have always had a darker reputation. In this video they decided that the best way to get back at a guy who’s been cheating on all of them (dangerous) is to mess up his world. This guy, a bad cheating man, gets handcuffed to his bed and strapped to a bomb. This is in no way an acceptable stand-in for couples therapy.


2NE1 – “내가 제일 잘 나가(I AM THE BEST)”


This actually has nothing to do with revenge, it’s simply because 2NE1 is the best. And they want you to know it. They want you to know it so badly that they get all leather-clad and smash up all their Platinum Records and then shoot up the studio. Please take special note of the pastel ice cream helmet immediately before the sub-automatic machine guns come out.

Miss A – “Good-bye Baby”


This one takes a bit of time to get going, so if you want just jump ahead to 1:32. I’ll fill you in on what you missed. This guy, some producer/B-boy, is a misogynistic dick. He’s always show boating around, demeaning the hard working ladies of Miss A, getting their names wrong, and being skeezy. So, they bypass Human Resources and go straight to the obvious conflict resolution of drowning him. However, they get bored of that so they just blow him up. Problem solved. #girlpower


Lee Hyori – Bad Girls



Lee Hyori is a notorious bad girl in the world of K-Pop. She’s out spoken, strong, and sassy. In short, she’s amazing. She’s also got a record for being censored by the Korean pop media censor. That’s part of what makes this video so wonderful. I won’t ruin it for you, the story telling is masterful and about as subtle as Elton John wearing an air-raid siren. Have at it!


If you feel that I missed a classic example of K-Pop over reactions please let me know in the comments below. I promise I will look into it.

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Seeking adventure in Barcelona Wed, 30 Sep 2015 05:38:48 +0000 WE LOVE CATALONIA!

Or Catalunya, depending on if you speak English or Catalan. Regardless of its spelling, the region of Catalonia is quickly growing to the top of our “best places in the world” list. Home to the best restaurant in the world (literally– El Celler de Can Roca claimed the 2015 title), the latest filming for Game of Thrones, and some of the best cava (the Catalan equivalent of champagne), there’s really no reason not to love the area.

This was our third trip to Barcelona but our first time actually being able to explore the city. Our first visit was spent traveling around the gorgeous and diverse Costa Brava region, while our second time was just as a brief layover before we headed to Estonia. To showcase the variety of exciting activities that are offered online, Expedia sent us to Barcelona to sniff out a few of the more adventurous and culturally minded excursions. Here are some of our favorite ways to experience Barcelona:

By Taste 

What better way to get in touch with local flavor than a gourmet tapas tour and Flamenco show. Our small group met just before dinner and followed our knowledgeable guide to two different tapas restaurants, one unique cava bar, and finished with a Flamenco show. I over indulged on pa amb tomàquet (toasted bread topped with tomatoes, olive oil and salt) and delicious cheeses and ham. Also, the olives in this region are simply magical. Our canned black cocktail olives have nothing on Spain.

Best tapas tour in Barcelona

The highlight of our night was the stop we made for cava. We were greeted by two beautiful men in drag, their figures being hugged by tight kimonos. The lead us to our table in one of the most unique restaurants we’ve been to. Chairs were hanging from the ceiling, chandeliers (with real burning candles) hung precariously over our heads, and the walls were adorned with colorful pop art.

Tapas and Flamenco show in Barcelona


Our night ended with a stop at a local Flamenco bar where we watched two dancers stomp and stare in elaborate outfits. The band was great and the audience seemed to really feel it. Flamenco actually comes from the Andalusia region but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it when you’re in Barcelona. It was the perfect ending to our night.

By Land

There are so many ways to explore Barcelona, but perhaps the most stylish is to tour the city by way of motorcycle and sidecar. You heard that right. Our second tour of the city involved Chris and I being picked up by a petite Spanish woman who propped me in the adorable sidecar while Chris road behind her on the motorcycle.

Barcelona sidecar tour of the city

Even though we had been to Barcelona two times prior, we saw gems and iconic ares that we had never noticed before. The best part about being on the motorcycle was that we were treated to a 360 degree view of the city. There’s nothing like the wind blowing through your hair as you cruise through the streets of Barcelona. Plus, we looked oh-so stylish while doing it.

Barcelona sidecar tour

We would highly recommend this tour for anyone that’s headed to Barcelona. Not only do you have your own personal tour guide and chauffeur, but riding in the sidecar is an experience all its own.

By Air

We’re no strangers to heights and one of our favorite ways to see a destination is by air. Luckily for us, we were treated to an incredible aerial view of Costa Brava (located just outside of Barcelona) by way of hot air balloon.

Hot air balloon in Barcelona Spain

We’ve soared in hot air balloons before but this particular trip was unlike any other. For starters, we went higher than we have ever gone. We were above the clouds for most of our journey and it.was.awesome. Our pilot was very friendly and incredibly skilled. He literally stuck the landing and the pick-up crew had already found us by that point. Previous balloon rides had us bouncing through dry fields and rocky (to put it lightly) landings and long waits while the pick-up vans attempted to locate us.

Hot air balloon ride in Spain


Once our feet were firmly on the ground, we celebrated our successful flight with champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches (toasted over the basket’s torches). This was one hot air balloon ride that we’d be happy to do over and over again.

With Locals

The last tour on our whirlwind trip to Barcelona was with LivingIt Tours. It was an entire day dedicated to cava, wine, and culture. In other words, it was heaven.

Our guide for the day, Barbara picked us up at our hotel and escorted us to the Penedès region. Wine and cava flow throughout the area and is home to our favorite cava producer of all time, Freixenet. While it isn’t an official stop on the tour, Barbara let us do a quick drive-by to snap a few photos as proof. If you haven’t tried this cava yet, add it to your list. We toast Freixenet to celebrate almost every occasion.

Freixenet cava tour in Spain

We continued on to the Parés Baltà winery where we experienced a tour of the vineyards and cellars before being treated to an insane amount of wine. Our tasting featured three different types of cava and four varieties of wine. This family-owned winery produces high quality organic wines and cava that rival even the fanciest of champagnes.

Pares Balta winery tour in Spain

Once we were good and tipsy, Barbara loaded us back in the car and headed back for Barcelona. Waiting for us was an epic cultural event that wasn’t to be missed.

We drove through the winding streets and alleyways of Barcelona until we reached an unassuming building. I noticed the few people hanging around outside were sporting what appeared to be sumo-like belts around their torsos. We descended the stairs to find a large, open room with at least fifty people gathered inside. Everyone was wearing the same belt and their wrists were wrapped in red bands. Before I knew what was happening, everyone gathered and began to build a human tower. Literally.

Human Towers or Castells in Catalonia

Castells are a source of pride in Catalonia. This tradition dates back to the 18th century and is a sport that requires a little core strength, some guts, and a lot of trust. I was amazed to see tiny children scurry their way to the top of the tower, sometimes well over six stories (humans?) high. This particular group of Castellers was incredibly welcoming and happy to explain this prized tradition.

I stood in awe as I witnessed the puzzle-like formation of each person and the important roll that they play in the building of the Castell. Those that stand at the base support the person in front of them, always keeping their heads down for safety. Traditionally, rhythmic music is played at different tempos to alert the Castellers of the progress being made.

We were attending a practice session, but when performing, the group would normally wear matching outfits. This particular group wears white pants, blue shirts, and the black fabric that is wrapped tightly around their waists for support. The best part of the evening? When they asked us to join, of course.

Watching Castellers in Barcelona

There’s so much to say about Castells that we’re going to write a post dedicated to this unique tradition. It was definitely an experience that will stay with us. Hopefully we’ll be able to lend a hand (or body) on our next trip to Barcelona.

We find something new and exciting with each trip to Catalonia. We don’t know when we’ll return, but can’t wait to see what we discover next time.


Have you been to Barcelona? What activities would you recommend? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section below. 

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We turned two! Thu, 17 Sep 2015 07:37:10 +0000 Chris,

My love, my Captain, my darling. You hold so many titles in our relationship. Some of which I have no idea of their origins (like “Beebs”–where the hell did I come up with that one?) and some that make the most perfect sense–ahem– “sweet cheeks.” And while you carry each term of endearment with the greatest esteem, there’s one name that I find to be the most cherished, for I am the only one on the planet that has the privilege of calling you husband.

We turned two a few days ago. Our second anniversary was spent almost exactly like our first. We didn’t get dressed up. There was no fancy candlelit dinner at an expensive restaurant. Gifts weren’t even exchanged on that day (mostly because you’re horrible at waiting to gift me something and yours hasn’t even arrived yet). Instead, we drove over seven hours across the state, in torn jeans and work shirts, with a car full of archery equipment.

And you know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I revel in the quiet moments that we spend together in the car. Laughing hysterically at the backseat of our car, which was reminiscent of a modern trading wagon with sheaths of arrows, two bows, and piles of sheepskins. I relished in the times we pulled over on the side of the road to take in the scenery of eastern Washington or when we donned our cowboy hats and surveyed the basalt columns along Highway 2, or even when we grabbed a quick coffee in Bavarian-themed Leavenworth.

Our lives are incredible. We’ve woven our passions into a profession and I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I intend on relishing in every moment. But even if we weren’t traveling the world or holding outrageously themed archery tournaments, I know that we would still believe our lives to be grand because we get to spend it together.

Tips for hiking Koko Head on Oahu

You are so magical and you don’t even know it. You have the gift of making the ordinary extraordinary and your childlike wonder for the world feeds my soul. You are my rock, the wind in my sails, my best friend. Thank you for your never ending love, passion, and support. Thank you for eight years of adventure and two years of marriage. Here’s to many, many more.

Happy anniversary.

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Feeling the love in France Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:57:02 +0000 Spoiler alert. Francophiles beware. In this post we’ll be expressing our love/hate relationship with France. Don’t judge too harshly. It gets better towards the end. 

I can’t believe that it took me 27 years to finally step foot in France. I had climbed Kilimanjaro, traversed Rajasthan, and licked salt from the floors of the Uyuni flats in Bolivia before I visited the country from where the language of love was born. The very same language that I spent nine years studying and have a bachelor’s degree in.

I envisioned disembarking the plane in Paris and being greeted by the smell of freshly baked baguettes, the sight of the glittering Eiffel Tower, and matching the friendly “bonjours” from the locals. In essence, I anticipated my arrival to be from the opening scenes of Beauty and the Beast.

In reality, Chris and I were welcomed by a surprise snowfall that had us literally sliding into our gate after a two hour delay, landing us in Paris at just after midnight. After navigating the metro kiosks (that don’t take CASH or cards sans microchips), we saddled up our backpacks and began our urine-scented ride into town. After the pristine rides we experienced on the London Tube just days before, the almost derelict metro cars of Paris left us wanting.

I wish I could say that it got better from there. It didn’t. To be fair, we have to take a large portion of the blame. We arrived in mid-March and didn’t pack appropriately for the cold. The blizzard that greeted us not only dampened our spirits but also the flimsy boots and leggings that I packed for our month-long journey through Europe. Being from the Seattle area, we are accustomed to March being the month where the weather starts looking up. This is when we slowly start to trade our dark flannel and black North Face jackets for brighter colored flannel and light windbreakers.

Love hate relationship with Paris

We were also poor. We were in between contracts and had two more weeks until we could expect a BIG paycheck. We had to live frugally and that meant setting aside money for provisions (like, you know, food) instead of visits to the museums and sights that the city is known for. All in all, it wasn’t an ideal situation for visiting the city. For that, I take some blame.

BUT, (and this is where I feel like Paris has some explaining to do) what no one prepared me for was just how dirty the streets in Paris were. There was dog poop everywhere. After every outing my calves pulsated from having to continually hop over spontaneous heaps of dog doo. To make matters worse, the snowy slush had turned the city sidewalks into treacherous slip and slides with inevitable pockets of highly questionable brown snow. Le gross.

Neither of us was particularly heartbroken when it came time for us to leave (aside from having to say au revoir to my beloved pain au chocolats). We were cold, broke, and disheartened. Did we set Paris on too high a pedestal? Would we give France a second chance?

Pain au chocolats FOR LIFE.

Pain au chocolats FOR LIFE.

We weren’t sure if France would ever pop up on a radar again. It wasn’t until when we learned that two of our dear friends were getting married in the French countryside, that we knew it was time to return. That and we kind of had to be there; I was a bridesmaid and Chris was officiating the wedding.

This time around, we only had a day to get from Paris to Chef-Boutonne, a teeny tiny village in the French countryside where the wedding was to take place. As soon as we landed at CDG, we picked up our rental car and headed south. Within minutes of leaving Paris we felt like we had entered a completely new country. The muddled streets and gray sidewalks gave way to miles and miles of gorgeous countryside.

Picturesque villages and sleepy fields began to greet us around every corner. I found myself humming the theme song to Beauty and the Beast as we approached the gorgeous French villa where we would be staying. Everything about Chef-Boutonne seemed magical.

The day before the wedding we spent the afternoon exploring the nearby town of Verteuil-sur-Charente. It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a major tourist destination as it boasts a whimsical castle with a bubbling stream that runs below it. There was even an old cemetery up on a hill that had graves that dated back to the early 1400’s. That’s almost 400 years older than our nation of the United States.

The best places to visit in the French countryside

I was immediately enamored with the area. The locals were so incredibly friendly and overly patient when it came to conversing in French. I thoroughly enjoyed taking in my afternoon coffee while people watching. There wasn’t much happening in town but it seemed like everyone was out taking their dogs for a walk (mostly–get this–French bulldogs) as they ran their errands for the day. If this was what the rest of France was like, I was dangerously close to falling in love with the country.

The best places in the French countryside

My courtship with France didn’t end there. The day of the wedding was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. The neighboring horses even came to watch the event. It was such an honor to witness two of our closest friends tie the knot and be surrounded by loved ones. We met Corey and Paul (hailing from Wales and England, respectively) while we were all living in South Korea. We’ve since met up with them in various countries around the world. Their union brought together so many lovely people from all corners of the globe and it solidified why we are so enamored with traveling. The world is small and there are some pretty kick ass people in it.

Things to do in the French countryside

Horsing around with Kate (hailing from South Africa), another friend we made in Korea.

Once the festivities concluded, Chris and I decided to spend a few extra days in the city of Poitiers. After a week spent in the countryside, we wanted to see what a bigger city had to offer. Again, the city was filled with friendly locals, amazing food, decent prices, and some of the prettiest architecture we’ve ever seen. There were multiples times when we caught ourselves saying that we could live there.

The beautiful city of Poitiers, France


We might have judged France a little too harshly on our first trip. While I can see why some people would find Paris to be exceptionally magical, I think I prefer the beauty and freedom of the countryside. That being said, after this last trip to France, I’m willing to give Paris a second try.

What do you think? What did we do wrong the first time around? What parts of France do we need to explore next? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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Honey Harvest at Castle Staudinger [VIDEO] Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:23:26 +0000 This past April my mother made the decision to get bees. As some of you may know there is a serious problem in the world of bees rapidly disappearing. This is a huge problem because bees are the engine that drive the planet. They are the tiny machines that pollinate major crops and the world’s plants. Without them we couldn’t exist. Not only that though but they create honey, which let’s face it, is liquid gold.

When you choose to become a beekeeper it is highly recommended that you take a course. My mom did and it really paid off. This past April we went out to her place in Spokane, WA to help set up the first hive and to help her get ready for the bees.

Eventually the bees arrived in a box. It’s incredible, bees smell delicious, like warm bread and flowers. They are also quite toasty, a box of bees has the same heat as a sleepy puppy. When they arrive you take the tiny container with the queen in it and place her in the new hive with a marshmallow as a cork in her box. Then you pour the other bees into the hive. They will detect the queen and chew the marshmallow to get her out.

the arrival of the bees

The queen inside her box

The queen inside her box

Over the next few months they will explore outwards from the hive within a five mile radius. As they do they will collect flower pollen and return to the hive with it where they will mix it with water and create honey.

Our bees have been doing this since April and it was finally time to harvest the honey.

Honey harvest is traditionally done in August (late summer) when the bees are at the peak of honey production. Honey is the food bees make to survive the winter, so it is important not to take too much. You need to let the bees fill the main hive before you add smaller boxes to the top of the hive. These smaller boxes are known as honey supers and they contain the honey that you can harvest at the end of summer. By early September the bees will wrap up their quest to gather pollen and start to settle in for the long winter.

A strong hive of 50,000 bees can produce around 10 to 15 lbs of honey in a year, sometimes more. The honey is an excellent way to maintain your health and to also relive allergies. It’s best to eat honey from the region you live in to get the best allergy relief.

Tawny and I rode over to Spokane to get the prep work done and make way for all the honey!

The new hives Guard bees making sure the hive is safe Inside the hive Getting to work Bees working on the honeycomb

Once we opened the hive we removed the frames and placed them inside a large plastic bin. This is important because otherwise the bees will chase you and try to take their honey back. Check out the video to get a firsthand look at what a honey harvest looks like.


It took us just over five hours to harvest one hive and we ended up with 12.5 lbs of honey (or just shy of 3 gallons.) The flavor profile is unlike any honey I’ve ever experienced before. Technically I believe it is called “fire-weed” honey which seems to be the general term for wildflower honey.

We’re already making plans to increase the hive count by three for next year. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.

We would love to hear from you! Do you have any experience with bees? Maybe you just love honey, let us know in the comments below!

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Our Experience with the Sensory Deprivation Tank Tue, 04 Aug 2015 02:32:16 +0000 I was naked. My ears were stuffed with a high-tech wax. In front of me there was a long coffin-shaped box with a space shuttle hatch on the front. Inside it looked like one of the tubes that they put people in cyrostasis for space travel. I took a deep breath, climbed into the hatch, and sealed it behind me. All around me was super dense salt water about a foot deep, and no light at all.

floating in the sensory deprevation tank in Portland OR

This was how the greatest dread and highest high of my life began.

You might think that I was gearing up for space travel, and in a sense you’d be right. This was our foray into sensory deprivation, or “floating” as the kids are calling it these day.

Have you ever wanted to experience weightlessness? Do you want to jump through the looking-glass of your own mind and experience a trip without drugs? Well, we have something for you. This was by far the most fascinating trip we’ve ever taken without leaving our home coast.


Float On, in Portland, OR is the largest float tank center in the USA. Tawny and I had heard about float tanks but never experienced anything like it or heard from anyone who could really describe it. I haven’t ever experienced anything to prepare me for the kind of sensation that you feel in a float tank.

Things to know:

You are weightless: There is over 850 lbs of Epsom salt in the water. When you lie back you float like an apple in a bucket. It feels like you’re drifting through space.

You lose track of your own body: The water is heated to 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is water that is “skin-receptor neutral” meaning that after a few minutes you lose the ability to tell where you end and the water begins.

There is NO light: The chamber is perfectly dark.

You’re naked: This was a surprise for me, but you float solo, in a dark chamber, in a private room. So, chill, it’s worth it.



The first four minutes were full of absolute dread. You would think that it would be claustrophobia but it was in fact the exact opposite. I couldn’t see, hear, or feel anything. When I opened my eyes it was pitch black. I took a deep breath and laid back, wiling myself to relax. For those first few minutes I had to hold my hands behind my head because my shoulders ached so badly. I hadn’t realized how much tension I had been carrying in them. It took, what I assume was, ten minutes for them to unwind and I could float without any tension at all.

I could feel myself unwind, and start to relax inch by inch.


My mind started to wander. Completely uninhibited, it spun off. I was warm, and there was nothing at all to distract me. You really do start to lose track of where your hands and feet are because the water feels so similar to your own finger tips after a while. Sort of like you’re melting into it. Even the water doesn’t feel anything like normal water. Not really. It feels more like you are being pushed upwards. The salt solution is so buoyant that it actually repels you from sinking at all. You drift.

I would love to tell you that I thought long and hard about many deep subjects. Tawny did. After her float she was aglow with new ideas and pitches and she could hardly wait to write them all down. Me? I went to some secret animal part of my brain. It felt like I was a wild mountain cat running through my own head. Strangely serene, despite how it sounds. Like a cougar on a misty morning.

It only felt like a few minutes but we floated for an hour and a half. The minimum time for a float. Soft music gets pumped into your chamber when your time is up and you sort of gently drift back to reality. You jump out, shower, get changed and emerge reborn into the world.

I felt younger. It was like the high after a great massage or a long sleep. All the tension in my shoulders was gone and it felt like my senses were electric. The water bar in the lobby was the most delicious thing I had tasted in days. Lemon water tasted like fine booze all of a sudden.

If you get the chance, you have to try one.

Have you floated before? Let us know about it in the comments below? Tell us if it compares to the Dead Sea.

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A look at Luxembourg Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:59:08 +0000 We really had no clue what to expect when we stepped off our bus in Luxembourg city. This was our first time in the country and we knew relatively little about it. I tend to relish in researching a new destination before we arrive, but with Luxembourg, we were so caught up in our duties at our friends’ wedding that happened just days before, that we didn’t have the time to adequately prepare for our two days in the country. It almost worked out for the best since we were surprised at how diverse Luxembourg really is.

With such a short amount of time in the country, we knew we’d have to make the most of it. We dropped off our bags at the boutique hotel, Hotel Simoncini and set off to explore the capital city.

Our first stop was in what could be described as the hipster part of town. We ducked into Konrad Cage & Bar for a creamy bowl of delicious vegan curry and a piping hot latte. With map in tow, we planned the remainder of our 48 hours in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg hipster scene


If I had to describe Luxembourg city in one word I would choose: walkable. It’s easy to navigate and is small enough that one could explore most of it by walking or biking. We chose the former as we took in the Grand Ducal Palace, the labyrinth of underground casemates, and the sights of the Old City.

The Grand Ducal Palace

The Grand Ducal Palace of Luxembourg

I particularly enjoyed the mix of old world and contemporary styles that are found throughout the city. It was also a bit disorientating to hear a melange of languages spoken as we explored. From the three official languages of French, German, and Luxembourgish to everything in between, it was hard to decipher if we were speaking to eaves dropping on a local or one of the city’s many transplants.

Exploring a new city from below is a unique treat and both Chris and I really enjoyed wandering around the Bock casemates. These subterranean defense passageways date back to 1644 and helped protect Count Seigfried’s fortified castle. These casemates also helped seal Luxembourg’s title of “Gibraltar of the North”. With over 23 kilometers of winding caves, be sure to stick close to your guide in order not to get too lost.

Luxembourg casemates

And it wouldn’t be a trip to Luxembourg without taking in the beautiful Old City. Located in its own secluded little pocket of town, the Old City seems as if it’s been frozen in time. It’s much quieter than it’s industrial counterpart of boasts museums, bars, coffee shops, art galleries, and even a local brewery. If we lived in the city, this place would be our jam.

Overall, we really enjoyed our short time discovering the capital city and all it has to offer. There was still so much that we just didn’t have the time to see, but we walked away with a great first impression. If anything, our brief introduction gave us a thirst for more.

Luxembourg's Old City


Want to see more of our Luxembourg adventures? Take a look at the fun video below. We’ll also have another post all about our adventures outside of Luxembourg City. Stay tuned for castles, adventure, and more…


Disclosure: We were invited by the Luxembourg Tourism Board to explore this lovely country. As always, our thoughts and opinions remain our own. 
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Go Pro HERO4 Session: Review Wed, 15 Jul 2015 19:55:48 +0000 Go Pro sent us a HERO4 to review. Our opinions are 100% our own.

The results are in, we love the new Go Pro HERO4 Session. Check out the video above to see what we thought initially. We have more videos to come as we put this camera through its paces and see all the greatness we can squeeze out of the 1″ camera.

Highlights include:

– 1 square inch design

– Fully waterproof

– Compatible with Go Pro HERO3 mounts


– Wide variety of options in the App


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Top things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:51:55 +0000 The last stop on our Baltics trip with JayWay Travel was Lithuania. This was the country that we knew the least about and if there’s one word to describe it, we would have to choose “unexpected”. Our very first stop in Lithuania was the Hill of Crosses, a monument that is exactly what it sounds like. It’s said that the hill has over 400,000 crosses with more being added daily.

Lithuania's Hill of Crosses

It’s claimed that the first crosses were erected by the families of deceased rebels from the 1831 rebellion. In 1993, the Hill of Crosses was visited by Pope John Paul II and was said to have left a great impression on him. Now, the Hill is frequented as a place of reflection, vows, and prayer. I could have easily spend the entire afternoon wandering though the twisted trails and reading the inscriptions on each cross. It’s definitely a place that I would love to return to in the future.

After our stop at the Hill of Crosses, we made way for Vilnius. With only three days in the city, we knew we had to make the most of it. And we did. Here are a few of our recommendations for the best things to do in Vilnius.


Honestly, the best way to get a feel for the city is to walk it. We would recommend jumping on board one of the many walking tours available. JayWay Travels offers a great local guide that will take you on a very informative tour of the city. We walked through the old city center (a UNESCO World Heritage site), up Gediminas Hill, and through Užupis, the old Jewish ghetto. My favorite stop was when we dipped into the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity. It’s still undergoing renovations, but so much of the original character remained.


Things to do in Vilnius Lithuania


To say that we ate well in Vilnius would be an understatement. Traditional Lithuanian food is incredibly hearty but extremely delicious. Our first meal was at Šnekutis. There are a few different locations around town, but our favorite was the original. It’s an unassuming shack that’s outfitted with a bizarre melange of trinkets.

The best places to eat in Vilnius

We feasted on traditional Lithuanian fare that included Cepelinai (potato dumplings), pig ears, creamy cheeses, and my personal favorite, deep fried bread. If you ever make it to Vilnius, be sure to stop at Šnekutis. The owner (who graces every page of the menu) might be around and will be more than happy to help with your meal selections. The guy is a character, let me tell you.

Šnekutis in Vilnius Lithuania

For something a little more modern, stop by Kitchen, located right by Town Square, for a delicious lunch or dinner. After the hearty meal at Šnekutis the night before, I more than welcomed the sight of a fresh garden salad with grilled chicken. I also had Kitchen’s tomato basil soup for an appetizer and was not disappointed. The restaurant is in a prime location, with clean and modern decor, a friendly staff, and exceptional food. I could have probably eaten there every day of our trip.

The Kitchen in Vilnius Lithuania

If you’re truly looking to treat yourself, you must stop into Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square’s Telegrafas restaurant for a little haute cuisine. Our 4-course meal was exquisite with dishes that were almost too pretty to eat. Emphasis on Almost. The dishes were light and flavorful.

Our starter course was a traditional cold beet soup with quail egg and marinated herring. You can see what it looked like below before the beet soup was actually added. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

photo cred: Charles Neville

photo cred: Charles Neville

Our beet soup was followed by a pan-fried curonian lagoon zander with potato and spinach stoemp, black truffle mushrooms, and a basil gremolata. We then moved on to my personal favorite, a roe deer filet (from the Zemaitia forest), svilpikai (think potato dumplings), finished with a tasty blueberry gel and au jus.

To top it all off, we were served a platter of assorted local cheese and fresh jam. And right when we thought this beautiful meal had come to an end, the servers surprised us with a dessert platter of gourmet lollipops and petit fours. I was in heaven.


There’s no shortage of epic things to do in Vilnius. My favorite activity happened early in the morning just outside of the capital city when we hopped onboard a hot air balloon and drifted over the sleepy countryside. The scenery was breathtaking. I particularly enjoyed the views we were treated to of Trakai castle.

Our hot air balloon ride ended with us getting baptized with fire, earth, and wine… but that’s an entirely different post.

Hot air balloon Vilnius


To combine two of my favorite passions, we also visited one of Vilnius’ cat cafes, Murrr. The kitties were cute, the coffees were hot, and my allergies didn’t hit until 3o minutes of feline play time. The cat cafe was a great way to relax after a day spent on our feet wandering around the city. Just watch out for the sneaky siamese that tries to escape every time the door opens.

Vilnius cat cafe

Our last night in Vilnius was spent concocting culinary masterpieces at a modern Lithuanian cooking class. The Vilnius Tourism Board hooked us up with our instructor, Chef Marc (a Frenchman who presides in Vilnius), who was incredibly patient, as we chopped, diced, and prepared each course of our dinner. I was in charge of the potatoes au gratin while Chris whipped up a delicious meringue for dessert. With the combined efforts of the group, we feasted on a colorful chilled beet soup, melt-in-your-mouth venison, and a tasty meringue with fresh berries. All in all, it was a roaring success!

Best Lithuanian cooking class


Our three nights in Vilnius were spent at the wonderful Moon Garden Art Hotel. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to remain within walking distance of nearly everything in the city. We were welcomed at the reception and shown to our beautiful and spacious room.

Chris and I are huge fans of natural light and comfortable beds and our room at Moon Garden did not disappoint. As travel bloggers, it’s also extremely important that we have fast and reliable Wi-Fi and we were thrilled with the speed and quality that we found at this hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel was fantastic. There was a buffet of cereals, yogurt, and baked goods as well as an a la carte menu. One morning I ordered an omelette that was so good I contemplated asking for another serving.

The staff at Moon Garden was incredibly friendly and helpful, with great recommendations on things to do and places to eat in the city. If you ever find yourself in Vilnius, consider staying at this gorgeous boutique hotel.

Overall, our time in Vilnius was incredible. I would love to return to explore even more of the city. Until then, I’ll reminisce by looking at our photos from our time in the country. Did we miss anything? What are your recommendations for the best things to do in Vilnius? We’d love to hear them in the comment section below!


Our time in Vilnius was arranged in conjunction with the JayWay Travel and the Vilnius Tourist Board. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post remain our own. Be on the lookout for more posts from our trip and be sure to check out our instagram account (@captainandclark) to keep track of our travels. 
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Night Kayaking in Riga, Latvia Sat, 11 Jul 2015 22:36:00 +0000 It was cold. It was dark. I glanced at the screen on my phone and it was already past 10PM. As our guide handed me my life jacket I began to wonder what exactly I was gearing myself up for. Would we even be able to see anything?

It was our second night in Latvia’s capital city of Riga and our group had already covered most of the city by foot. Tonight, however, we were going to do one of Riga’s top activities a little differently. We were going to kayak. At night.

We were picked up from the front of the iconic St. Peter’s church in the heart of Riga. A fifteen minute drive found us outside of a wooden shack along the Daugava river. Our group of JayWay Travel bloggers was paired off and after a brief introduction to the art of kayaking (paddling, in particular), we were suited with our vessels for the night.

Things to do in Riga

Truth be told, I was a little nervous. It wasn’t because of the cold or dark, but mostly due to the fact that Chris and I would be sharing a kayak. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, two-person couple sports can often end in disaster. Don’t even get me started on the bicycle-built-for-two catastrophe of 2009. Communication and patience were definitely going to be key.

We boarded our kayak and after five minutes of practice in the small bay, calibrating our strokes through the water, we felt ready to hit the river. As if to mark our small success, fireworks went off in the background. Our fellow adventurers watched with awe until everyone was in the water and felt comfortable enough proceed.

The Daugava river (also referred to as the “river of fate”) is 635 miles long and was an important trading route for furs in medieval times. Our roughly three hour tour started with us paddling north on the river. And while I was terrified by kayaking in the dark on what seemed like a rather large body of water, I enjoyed the serenity of watching the world go by as we quietly sailed on the water.

Top activities in Riga Latvia

A few kilometers on the water found as at the entrance to the city’s canals. You probably remember that it was only a few days prior that we feasted on a certain rodent in Estonia. Imagine my surprise when we rounded a corner on the canal and spotted a large beaver on our starboard side. It was much bigger than I expected it to be and didn’t seem to mind us too much. He would pop up around our kayak before disappearing into the water. We ended up spotting at least four more as we paddled along the quiet banks of the canal.

Exploring the canals at night offer unique views that you won’t get in the daylight. It’s much more quiet with less distraction. It allows you to take in more of the city and really appreciate its beauty.

Top things to do in Riga Latvia

The bridges we came across were lit in a multitude of colors (although I somehow only captured them while blue), making our trip picturesque and not as creepy as I initially thought it would be. My favorite parts of the canal were being able to see the iconic sights of Riga from a new perspective. The old zeppelin hangars that make up the city’s Central Market were eerily quiet; such a stark contrast from our walk through just hours before.

Best things to do in Riga

The night ended with a challenge. To see who could reach a finish line beacon first. Of course, being in the same kayak as one of the most competitive people on the planet, we immediately set off through the water.

Unbeknownest to me, my skills (or lack thereof) resulted in Chris sporting sopping pants for the remainder of the night. But the good news? We definitely won.

Best things to do in Riga Latvia


Know before you go:

Dress accordingly. Even though it was May when we were in Riga, the weather was still temperamental and dipped at night. We would recommend bringing gloves and a hat to help keep you warm. If you’re planning on going in the colder months, be sure to wear multiple layers.

You don’t have to worry about finding the launching dock. Pick up and drop off is provided by your outfitter and JayWay Travel will be happy to book these activities for you.

No previous experience is required. Our guide was great about setting the pace for our entire group of novices.

Bring a waterproof camera to capture your memories. If you don’t have a waterproof camera, consider buying a dry sack that you can take along with you. That way you’ll be able to keep your valuables safe from the water. I happened to have a ziplock back on me that I used to store my phone.

Would you try night kayaking? What are other activities that you’ve done at night? We’d love to hear your stories in the comment section below. 

Night kayaking in Riga

This unique activity was sponsored by JayWay Travel as part of our tour through the Baltics. As always, thoughts and opinions remain our own. 

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