Enjoying Aruba to the fullest

Hi guys! How is everything? Did you enjoy the guest posts? Not too many comments on those, but I’m hoping that’s because you are shy. ;) The girls did a great job – thank you Cristina, Alex and Meghan for holding down the fort for me. :)

So I’m back from Aruba. This was such a different trip for us. Adam and I are usually the explore and “do stuff” kind of travelers. I think our trips last year to Hong Kong and Singapore and even Austin and San Antonio would classify as such. Because of that, I was actually surprised that Adam would be into the “do nothing but veg” kind of vacation. But let me tell you – it was amazing. We both loved it!

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, which meant that food and drinks were plentiful. Breakfast and lunch were always served buffet-style. We also had sit-down dinners for 2 nights, and buffet dinners the other 2 nights. With so much food so easily available, I thought I’d be uncomfortably full for most of the trips. Surprisingly, I effortlessly was able to eat intuitively. That meant balancing healthy veggies with a few treats and yes, that also meant dessert with most meals (but in reasonable portions – my definition of “reasonable.”) We usually ate 3 meals a day with maybe a tiny snack in between (like a few bites of a clif bar I brought me with me or a pear or an apple I snagged from the buffet earlier in the day).

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Healthy…

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… and sane (that is nutella over ww toast. I was on vacation after all!!)

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banana bread

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Healthy…

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… and sane (choc chip pancake + raisin french toast)

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Breakfasts were great – lots of delicious options. Lunches were mostly greasy or onion-filled (a lot of the healthier “fun” options were covered in a diced onion/pepper mixture). So I changed strategies. Instead of looking for something reasonable healthy to eat and adding a side salad, I made a giant salad and found a few other “sides” for it.

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I got pretty creative with my salads too. Lots of veggies from the salad bar, seeds and nuts from the ice cream parfait toppings section (the last day I even found a cheese board and added some goat cheese to my salad). Olives, capers and jalapenos also “spruced up” the boring salad bar veggies. I was an expert navigating the whole place by day 3. :D

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A little grilled chicken + a few bites of pasta

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… and a grilled mahi-mahi piece. Very satisfying!

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I usually sampled a few desserts with every meal but never ate the whole plate. The last day I even skipped dessert at lunch and only had 2 bites at dinner (it was a served dinner; I probably wouldn’t even go for dessert at a buffet).

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A few pretty pictures of the sit-down dinner.. “tapas”

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and molten chocolate cake (I ate 1/2 of this)

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Of course there were a lot of dessert drinks. I tried to limit my sugary drink intake at first, but gave in on day 2. It just felt so right. ;)

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Adam was usually the instigator :lol:

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So there was a lot of eating and quite a bit of drinking, but this trip was really not about that at all. Aruba is not really a foodie vacation, so we concentrated on other things instead.

We found a few friends

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This guy was gigantic!

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His brother was smaller but very comfortable around a camera. I got really close here.

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We even saw some goats!

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We took a crazy awesome jeep tour from ABC tours

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There was some seriously bumpy off-roading…

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With peaceful views in between…

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We snorkeled in a natural pool

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And our guide had some fun with us…

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A natural bridge

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We visited a donkey sanctuary

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[Pregnant donkey]

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[49-year old donkey - equivalent to 98 years old in human years]

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The donkey sanctuary is a non-profit organization that saves wild donkeys wondering around Aruba. It’s 100% run by volunteers. Donations fund the donkeys’ food and shelter. I was humbled and reminded of the infinite kindness some people have to offer.

Last stop on the jeep tour – the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins

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I didn’t worry about my hair looking like a mop for the majority of the trip (it’s windy in Aruba!) :lol:

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We soaked up the sunshine

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[Yes, that IS chocolate syrup in my mud slide]

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We smiled – A LOT

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How can you NOT when this is outside your “door”?!

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We enjoyed refreshing slices of watermelon after some snorkeling (from the Black Pearl – awesome!!)…

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… followed by ooey gooey warm grilled cheese sandwiches when it got a little cooler. They tasted like heaven!

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We window-shopped downtown

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I had slight freak-outs about my camera lens getting foggy randomly, and then clearing up the second I gave up and brought it back to the hotel room (this happened THREE times!).

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Yeah, not the effect I was going for. :???:

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Much better! :grin:

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We took long walks down the beach before dinner and couldn’t ignore all the beauty surrounding us.

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I feel like a new person. Even the number on the scale this morning which tried to wipe the grin off my face did not faze me (even though it was TEN pounds higher than just 4 months ago). It’s just a number. I feel great!

How do you eat while traveling? Is your definition of “reasonable” different, or does “reasonable” completely go out of the window?

PS. I’m glad to be back. What did I miss?! :D

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