3) Get BBQ from Pecan Lodge. Get here when it opens! Beef rib is where it’s at. One of the best BBQs I’ve ever had. Also got brisket but man, that giant beef rib is SO worth it! We got there at opening time and there was already a congregation of hungry people waiting around.
*A little out of the way, but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by9 Rabbits Bakery.
On the way to Austin, there is a stop in between that’s called Czech Stop. Open 24/7, they sell kolaches which are these:
1) Hamilton Pool Preserve– such a cool place with a waterfall and places to sit and chill. $15 per car (cash). Plenty of parking. The day we went there, the water had high levels of bacteria so we were not allowed to go in. Would’ve loved to dive right in!
2) Salt Lick BBQ was one of the highly recommended bbq places but kinda out of the way. We still made it though! They also helped us take pictures in front of the meats that were being smoked.
3) Next, we have LA BARBECUE (Fave of the trip!!!)— I preordered via email and they didn’t have a weight minimum like Franklin’s, so it was pretty easy. We got there at opening time and there was already a huge line wrapped around a few times, but I walked right up to the window to pick up my meats. #winning
Madrid airport. I was in love with the architecture here already.
Plaza Mayor at sunrise.
Many people told me I should spend more time in Barcelona and that I would like it more, but they were wrong. Not that I didn’t like Barcelona, but I feel like Madrid is underrated. I loved Madrid for its old cobblestone streets, the architecture, the random flower shops, the huge park where I went for a sunrise jog, and all the colors and history.
This park reminded me of Central Park in NYC. I loved running solo here, and I felt safe. I used my offline Google Map (that I downloaded ahead of time) to get from the hotel in Plaza Mayor to here (~1.5 miles) and back. Highly recommended if you like to run on vacation.
So at 2AM, we woke up with our backpacks and clothes ready along with the most important things: headlamps & flashlights. Las Torres is what we came to here to see, since the park is named after the three towers.
Since we would be going back to the refugio after this sunrise hike, we left most of our things behind and carried only the essentials.
Tip: Bring hand warmers and a jacket, it is freezing up there at sunrise!
After a lot of scrambling in the dark (yay for headlamps) over large boulders, we got to the top to catch the sunrise.
I love the color change
You can see the moon. Turn 180 degrees and you see the three towers…
Turn back around and you see Boo…
As the sun beams touch the top of the towers, people are staring intensely.
Some camp out on random rocks to sit for hours.
After breakfast, we hiked to Refugios las Torres, which was to be the best refugio we stayed at with the cleanest facilities and best food!
Refugios las Torres
We were hungry so we got a chicken sandwich for pre-dinner snack, it was SO GOOD and juicy and tender.
Amazing pork for dinner. Definitely the best refugio in the whole trek.
Finally, dessert that tastes like dessert.
We leave for Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas the next day. There are only 2 scheduled bus times that leave the park, so make sure you check the schedule beforehand!
Back in January I flew solo to Miami for a half marathon. It was the best half marathon I’ve ever run (I’ve run Brooklyn, Staten Island, and NYC Half) for many reasons. First, the expo was so much fun! Lots of freebies, picture opportunities, presentations, etc.
Since I had to wait for 2 of my friends to arrive from their flight, I went to eat at Morenos Cuba, a great lunch spot that serves Media Noches and Cubanos with crispy potato sticks.
I loved their mason jars and iced latte.
Medianoche ($11): Ham, mojo marinated shredded pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on Cuban sweet bread.
Next, I walked over to the Bass Museum of Art. They had several outdoor installations while I was there.
$8 gets you inside the museum, which isn’t bad. Note: No DSLR photography inside; only phone cameras allowed.
There was a Gold exhibition… yes, this McDonalds cup in gold.
After I met up with my friends, we went to eat some more.
Charlotte Bakery is great for snacking: empanadas, tres (even cuatros) leches, lots of pastries here and some seating.
The next morning, we rolled out of bed and headed for American Airlines Arena for the big race. It was great because we booked an Airbnb apartment right next to the start line.
6AM. 45 degrees. Shorts and t-shirt… I was frozen waiting for an hour in the corral!
What I LOVED was that as soon as we started the race, the sun was rising right in front of us. I was swooned by the palm trees on the left side and calm waters and boats on the right side. I didn’t even take many pictures during the race because I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s one of the most scenic races I’ve ever run.
At mile 11, we got little cups of pineapples! It was so refreshing and also contributed to my love for this race.
After the race, there were so many goodies to munch on! All kinds of fruits and fruit cups, even rice and beans!!!!!! Definitely the best post-race party.
For our post-race brunch, we walked over to NIU Kitchen
Rustic and fresh, they serve Catalan dishes.
I love that almost everything had fried eggs on top. Highly recommend the “Ous” and “Esmorzar”!
Afterwards, we went to the beach where I got a text that informed me my flight the next day was cancelled due to weather in NYC. I was “stuck” here…
And that’s all, folks. I loved every minute of Miami. From beach yoga to running a half marathon, to eating innovative and delicious food to taking in all the art… These are all the things I love about Miami.