Destination Wedding Photographers – Caroline + Ben Photography » Destination Wedding Photographers with a passion for love, life and adventure.

Category Archives: Personal Travel

Hello! We are Benoline! This is our travel blog! We are based in the great city of Austin, TX but have a desire to experience many cultures and countries. All photos are taken by Caroline or Ben and showcase our obsession with traveling the world to experience new cultures and expand our minds. We love taking photos of our adventures while discovering the hidden gems off the beaten path of the tourist listings. We truly believe that the world would become a better place if people traveled more. We are lucky enough to be able to travel for work as well as for pleasure. We have now been to 17 countries and list continues to grow. We would like to inspire people to travel more with our travel blog and hope that people can get an insight in to the countries that we have enjoyed so far.We have a pretty long list of destinations so come back here for more adventures to come! This quote pretty much sums up our thoughts.

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” -Paul Theroux

This past weekend we spent time with Ben’s family in Boliver, TX. Ben’s Aunt & Uncle are also well traveled and asked little old us for some packing advice. After her amazement in our efficiency I realized that we have learned some lessons and figured out a few tricks and items that have helped make traveling easier. These things are good when we’re traveling for fun but traveling for work is a whole other beast!


Scrubba

Sometimes you need to wash clothes on the go and this is the best little bag I have found.

product-scrubbawashbag-dd

Dry Liquid Sheet Laundry Detergent

You can also get shampoo and other soaps in this form. Great for carry ons and if you plan on doing a bit of laundry on the go and don’t want to bring a ton of liquid detergent.

PAAAIACABJIKBLFF


Bright Luggage Tag
In this case, I did not op for a regular luggage tag, instead I found something a bit more secure and just as bright. My name and address is on the inside of this’tag’.

51cLZh6q5HL._SX342_

Portable Battery Charger
For days that you’re out of the house for a long time and plan on using your phone a lot.

510KGFT6EDL._SL1500_

Liquid Travel Bottles
This may be a given but here is good brand.

Eagle Creek Organizer Bags & Compression Bags
I love these for organizing our clothes, especially for our big travel back-packs. I usually only use the bigger compression bags for when I am having a hard time packing after buying extra clothes or when I have a down jacket that is taking up more room than it needs to.

81+nkHbxZ4L._UX522_

Travel Wallet
I have found this particular travel wallet to be great for traveling. Obviously, this is for the ladies but it holds my passport and all my credit cards as well as cash and phone.

il_570xN.576021807_avuo

Bra-let
For the days you want to go out with out a purse, you can hid your money/credit cards away under your shirt.

1125_rose_l

Vitamin C
I always have some Emergen C on hand to keep my immunity up when I start to feel down.

 

A Good Carry-On Bag

I have searched long and hard for a great carry on bag. Purses, day bags, back-packs… This is the back pack that I love now. It’s the perfect size, style, & comfort. It’s perfect for using as a day bag as well and big enough to hold my laptop.

41x9QCTt40L-Including:

*over the counter medicine – I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to go out of our way to get something we needed because we were feeling sick. From pepto tablets to zyrtec, we’ve got it.
*blanket – 2 reasons I bring a blanket, I don’t trust the cleanliness of the plane blankets and because sometimes I’m really cold.
*prescriptions – In case your luggage gets lost over night, you’ll still have any prescriptions you need.
*sunglasses – I’ve lost a lot of sunglasses unfortunately but I still love my Ray Bans and bring them every where. If you really love your sunglasses and don’t want to lose them I suggest buying a cheapy pair for traveling (I also have a cheap pair).
*book – or Kindle, whatever you’re in to.
*camera – In our case we would have another camera bag for extra lenses but in any case, it is important for you to bring anything expensive with you on to the plane, especially when traveling to another country. Buy a big memory card so you don’t have the chance of losing a small one.
*mini-ipad with keyboard – When we travel for work we always bring a laptop but when we travel for fun we often just bring a mini-ipad with a keyboard. This allows us to type e-mails and treat it as a mini-laptop.
*chargers – In case you are trapped in the airport with a long layover, you’ll at least have your technology.
*ear plugs – I wear them for every flight but also just in case you find yourself next to a crying baby or someone extra chatty or your’re staying above a loud bar.
*headphones – I use a pair from apple that is more comfortable than the basic ones that come with the iphone.
travel

Share PostTake Action

cats of puerto rico

The famous cats of old San Juan.



This is now our 3rd time to visit the island and we have grown to like it more and more every time. I truly believe that if you’re only going to visit one caribbean island in your life, this is the one. It has so much to offer in terms of resorts beaches, history, culture, and food. The last 2 trips we only spent about 5 days here, each, but we were also shooting/attending wedding activities for 3 of those days, so we did not have time to venture much outside of old San Juan. While old San Juan is definitely worth taking the time to walk around, you could do this in one long day of walking around the El Morro & Fort San Cristobal. On this trip we were happy to finally have been able to venture outside of the area to visit the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico.

We spent the first two nights of our trip in the Condado area where many, often Hilton, resorts are located. There are a lot of good restaurants in this area and the hotels are always equipped with pools to accomodate many. The better resorts will also have access to a beach. We stayed 2 nights at the historic el Convento hotel where all of our Puerto Rica weddings have been located. It was nice to stay there and be able to walk upstairs to bed after a long wedding day. It is a cute hotel with a nice restaurant and a tiny pool. The customer service is wonderful here but as I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t see much point to staying too long in old San Juan. After a change of plans to decide to go on the catamaran with our clients we opted to stay at La Concha hotel to make waking up at 8am to meet up with them easier on us. It is one of the best hotels in the area (also in condado area).

The catamaran took us as well as 12 of the wedding guests and the bride and groom out to Icacos island to snorkel and lay out in the sun. The water was crystal clear  blue and some of the most beautiful ocean water I have ever seen. Unfortunetly, Ben & I did too much laying in the sun and came home a shade redder than we had intended. That night we made the 2.5 hour drive to Cabo Rojo and stayed in a place we found on Air BnB. The next day we hit up all the best beaches in the area, Playa Combate, Sucia, & Boqueron. Playa Sucia is the highest rated beach in Puerto Rico according to Trip Advisor so we had to check it out. I definitely understand why. It’s a beach that’s far enough off the beaten path so not many tourists make their way out there. It’s mainly a local beach which is perfect for spending a day at.

Tips for Puerto Rico : Remember that while it is technically America, it’s also very different. Laws are different (18+ drinking for example) and there are some dangerous spots that are very close to tourist spots. We have personally experienced police officers telling us not to go down certain paths due to being dangerous but they are not always there and have heard of people getting robbed (mainly in Old San Juan). With that said, I have still felt very safe walking around at night in the right areas. Most people will speak English but basic Spanish is courteous to use when possible. Fun fact : many Cubans and Puerto Ricans do not pronounce the written “S” when saying “gracias”, so it sounds like “gracia”.

Next time we hope to make our way Vieques island as well as finally visit the bioluminescent bays. There are only 5 bioluminescent bays in the world and 3 of them exist in Puerto Rico.

Here are photos from our last few trips to Puerto Rico.

Old San Juan

View of Old San Juan from Fort San Cristobal.

 

ice cream in old san juan

The helado (ice cream) of Old San Juan, you will see people on the streets selling cones, a must try.

old san juan cats
puerto-rico-travel-photos (3 of 4)

fort san cristobal

Photo by Eric at Fort San Cristobal.

iguana in puerto rico

Feed the pigeons in Old San Juan, a man hangs out there selling seeds to tourists.

Feed the pigeons in Old San Juan, a man hangs out there selling seeds to tourists.

Puerto Rico catamaran Icacos island

mountains of Puerto Rico

Drive from San Juan to Ponce.

Nature preserve & bird sanctuary near Playa Sucia

Nature preserve & bird sanctuary near Playa Sucia.

Playa Sucia

Playa Sucia.

Playa Sucia

Playa Sucia.

view of the stars from airplane

From the flight on the way to Puerto Rico.

food of Puerto Rico
Some of our meals from Puerto Rico. From left to right, top to bottom – Shrimp & fried sweet plantains, mixed mofongo, Pina Coladas from the bar that it was invented  Barrachina (they were good but not mind blowing). – Steak with plantain, salad with churrasco strip steak and fried plantain bits. – Mahi mahi with rice & beans, & more mofongo! Mofongo is a very popular dish famous in the caribbean, it is smashed fried plantains stuffed with any protein you can think of and often covered in a garlic or tomato sauce. They love their plantains in the caribbean and I love it! 

Share PostTake Action

budapest-hungary-travel-photography (2 of 7)In October our photographer friends, Jona & Jerry, asked us to join them for Jona’s 30th birthday in Budapest. To be honest, we did not know them very well at the time but we knew that we absolutely had two things in common, a love for travel and photography. Good enough for us! We looked at tickets that day and they were very modest European flight cost, $650 each. So we jumped on the opportunity to travel with them and a group of their friends. Budapest, while touristy to Europeans, seems to be less noticed by Americans which gave it a special charm. We were still exhausted from a red eye flight the first day of our arrival we still manage to eat amazing goulash from For Sale Pub (highly recommend), drink wine at Szimpla Kert, and sing karaoke with locals at a bar we will never be able to find again. Szimpla Kert is in the bar district of Budapest where many ruins were converted into bars and clubs. The bar is huge and likely one of the most popular.  It has many different areas including an outdoor section filled with old cars, a wine bar, and even a girl that walks around selling carrots at night. I think it is supposed to help with hangovers… We loved it so much that we decided to go back there during the end of our trip, during which, we were randomly  interviewed for commentary about the bar by the Ukranian television network 1+1.

We took the Big Bus to the citadella to see great views of Budapest (where the first photo was taken). We had dinner at the Citadella panorama, probably one of my favorite meals ever that I only have one horrible photo of, warm spinach salad with three 1 hour eggs and toasted banquette. After  a side trip to Prague I got pretty sick and totally lost my voice for a few days so we took this opportunity to relax at the biggest thermal bath, Szechenyi thermal baths. The saunas and pools were great to heal my sore throat but given the opportunity I would have visited one of the other ones like Rudas or Csaszar Baths. We have also been to the best thermal bath of all time in Iceland, so we are a bit biased. We also went to the Hungarian state opera house to see the Flying Dutchman, for a classical music fan such as myself it was on top of my list to experience the opera house in eastern Europe. I only wish I had read a little more about the story before hand because the opera is all in German and was translated to Hungarian.  Europeans also tend to update their operas with a ‘modern flair’ which made the story even more difficult to understand given the language barrier.

I really loved Budapest for the history, the sites, the food, the wine, and the price! Budapest is awesome, especially if you’re looking to experience Europe without spending so much money. Part of me hopes it gets more credit as a tourist destination location but part of me wants to keep it a secret so it won’t be spoiled.  :)

~Caroline

eastern-europe-travel-photos (11 of 11)The photo above : I saw this sign a few times during our stay in Budapest, often very crowded with tourists I was determined to wake up one morning at sunrise to get a photo without the swarms of people.  On our last full day in Budapest I was determined to wake up and photograph it the way I had imagined. We booked a hotel just three blocks from Heroes Square to make the walk easier. I set my alarm for 5:45am and walked out into the foggy morning still wearing pajamas underneath my jackets… only to find the sign being taken down. This photo was the first photo I snapped off before they continued to dismantle it. I figured it was a cruel joke Hungary was playing on me.  If you know anything about the history of Budapest you would know that it was once 2 cities, Buda on one side of the river and Pest on the other. In a way, I think this photo represents that history I’m happy that I got a photo of this installation that no one else got.:)
budapest-hungary-travel-photography (1 of 7)
Erzsébet tér during a concert.

budapest-hungary-travel-photography (3 of 7)
Szechenyi thermal baths.

szimpla-kert-bar-budapest (1 of 1)-2
Budapest parliament building.

szimpla-kert-bar-budapest (1 of 1)
Szempla Kert, where you buy carrots from girls to, apparently, help with hangovers.

budapest-hungary-travel-photography (5 of 7)budapest-hungary-travel-photography (6 of 7)
Bokod, Komarom-esztergom – a fishing town outside of Budapest.

budapest-hungary-travel-photography (7 of 7)eastern-europe-travel-photos (3 of 11)1-hungary-desserts-gelatoThis is the gelato we got from Gelarto Rosa, it is close to the best gelato I have ever had, not to mention they make it pretty and put nutella at the bottom of the cone (per request).

1-hungary-food
The two on the left are from Central Kavehaz, one of the few places you can find a traditional American breakfast with eggs & bacon, as well as a Hungarian breakfast with sausage, sausage, & more sausage. They have some of the best pastries I’ve ever had. Eastern Europe rocks the pastries. On the right is my Hungarian sponge cake revamped from Godunov, a fancy Russian restaurant.

2-hungary-food

On the left is a pastry/dessert/snack that you can find on the streets, kurtoskalaes. It’s like a butter sweet bread wrapped around a wooden stick of some sort baked and smothered in cinnamon, sugar, almonds, or a few other options. We called it a “dretzel” like a donut pretzel. The middle is Ben’s breakfast from Szamos. The right is a drink we saw a lot of at an outdoor bar so we decided to order our own. It’s similar to a white wine spritzer, a cheap sweet rose wine and carbonated water. That’s it! The wine in Hungary is pretty awesome and even better, pretty damn cheap. I drank a lot of champagne and wine here because it was so reasonably priced, you can get a decent bottle of Hungarian champagne at a restaurant for under $20.

3-hungary-food
On the left is Ben’s duck breast, pear, and puff pastry lunch from Bonnie Restro. Upper left, I ordered  a ‘sample of grilled cheese and salad’- being from America, I assumed that meant ‘grilled cheese sandwich’ but I was wrong, it was literally grilled cheese. Still delicious… Bottom right is soom street food as a part of a festival of local crafts and foods. Sooo much meat in eastern Europe.

 

 

 

Share PostTake Action

Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (5 of 7)We did not have much time here but I am glad that we made the effort to visit this beautiful area. I can’t help but wonder if beautiful areas like this are popular for European destination weddings. We drove from Croatia to the less popular side of the mountains in Bovec. We thought it would be nice to see the mountains from the other side. At first, I understood why Bovec was not as popular. We stayed at a cute hotel - Hotel Dobra Vila – and had a nice local dinner at Martinov Hram but other than that, not much going on. The locals meals were great but very cheesy! I think I’ve gained 20lbs on this trip simply because I love to eat local but local food in general, is not healthy. The alpine area is known for their sheep cheese. I’ll go into more detail about the food below with photos. The drive from Bovec to Bohinj going through Tarvisio, Italy was amazing, albeit windy. We had pizza and gelato in Italy, of course!, on our way and tried to resist ‘pulling over’ at ever turn to take a photo. (note: there were very few places to actually pull over on the road) After getting lost, we found our way to the cable cars that took us up all the way to Vogel ski center. It just about gave me a heart attack though, it’s pretty freaky that these cable cars can take you all the way to the top of a mountain. We took a lot of photos in the snow to anyone it would have been impressive and even more so to us as Texans. We were surprised that it wasn’t as cold as we had expected, there is very little wind up there. We hiked up to Savica waterfall and called it a day back to Hotel Grand Toplice. The hotel had a great view of Bled island so we watched the sunset over drinks from there. We ate dinner at the Ostarija Peglez’n, which was delicious. Before heading out of Bled and on to Ljubljana and back to Budapest we had to grab a slice of cream cake from Slaščičarna Šmon, which Bled is apparently very known for. It did not disappoint.  I also love that they are big tea drinkers in Europe and even better, Slovenia is very big on honey. Many people make it home. We ended up purchasing flavored honeys from a store in Ljubljana, the cinnamon vanilla is like crack. After lunch at Bistro Zvezda we made the long, very boring, rainy 4.5 hour drive to Budapest. By ‘we’ I really mean Ben, I do not know how to drive manual. (He tried to teach me in Iceland, fail) Now here we are… back to what feels like our temporary home.

~Caroline

Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (1 of 7)Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (2 of 7)Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (4 of 7)
Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (7 of 7)Julian-alps-slovenia-travel-photography (6 of 7)
eastern-europe-travel-photos (4 of 11)eastern-europe-travel-photos (5 of 11)eastern-europe-travel-photos (6 of 11)eastern-europe-travel-photos (7 of 11)eastern-europe-travel-photos (8 of 11)eastern-europe-travel-photos (1 of 1)1-bled-slovenia-food

Our meal from Ostarija Peglez’n, we only ended up here after the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed on a Saturday night (?). None the less, we are happy we did. I had a sole fish, a kind I’ve never had before but it is fairly local to the area so they knew what they were doing. They called the dessert a ‘cake’ but it was definitely more of a pie + cake combination with raspberries. Probably one of my favorite meals from the trip.

1-bovec-slovenia-food

This was our complete meal from Martinov Hram. This was our first meal in Slovenia so we went all out and all local. Ben ordered a lamb stew with lamb roast, safe. I ordered a traditional Bovec soup and a Bovec ‘frika’. I had no idea what either of the two were when ordering. The soup was a sheep cheese soup, I love cheese, but that was too much for me. The frika is hard to describe but essentially imagine potatoes, more cheese, bacon, and egg to glue it together, mashed then grilled on both sides. The dessert was like a ravioli with pear and sugar inside.

1-italian-food

If you go to Italy there are two things you must eat, pizza & gelato. Despite our to-go pizza not being cut for us, we managed. (Although I still think the gelato we had in Budapest was better).

1-slovenia-food
We drove through Ljubljana to stop and have lunch at Bistro Zvezda. Two soups and what they called “crunchies” on the right, like pizza but on something more like a cracker, delicious ingredients and so nice to have something on the lighter side.

1-slovenian-cream-cake

Apparently Bled is known for their cream cake, so we absolutely had to get some. This is from Slaščičarna Šmon, it lived up to the reputation.

 

Share PostTake Action