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Odds + (Week) Ends: A Weekly Travel Round-Up | Vol. 11

Odds + (Week) Ends: A Weekly Travel Round-Up, Vol. 11 | CosmosMariners.com

Confession: I've really, really enjoyed being home these last few weekends. I don't know if its because I was so on the go so much in 2015, or if it's because I'm so excited about what we've got going on around the house lately, but not traveling has felt decadent since we got back from Ireland.

In fact, other than a few small weekend-type getaways with family this spring, my travel calendar is surprisingly open for the rest of 2016. I've been trying to figure out where I want to go, but I've having lots of trouble with actually narrowing down those choices. I've love to see more of the U.S., but that seems overwhelming, and I don't know where to start: California, Texas, the Grand Canyon? I'd also love to somewhere in Canada, since I've only been there once (to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia), but again, don't even know where to start. Leave me some inspiration in the comments!

How to Spend a Long Weekend on Florida's Space Coast

How to Spend a Long Weekend on Florida's Space Coast | CosmosMariners.com

Even though I live in a pretty mild climate--coastal South Carolina isn't exactly known for its polar vortex winters--I still get antsy for sunny skies and white sand beaches in those colder months. Every year about this time, I threaten to my husband that I'm moving somewhere warm (preferably next to an ocean) so I don't ever have to go to bed with freezing cold toes again.

Every time, he talks me down, and I'm back to dreaming about 80 degree weather 12 months out of the year. This year, I decided to preempt my usual mid-winter blues and head down to Florida's Space Coast where, in the middle of January, it was a balmy 82 during my stay.

Bacharach, the Romantic Rhine, and the Marksburg Castle Visit that Never Happened

Bacharach, the Romantic Rhine, and the Marksburg Castle Visit that Never Happened | CosmosMariners.com

For the most part, our trip to Germany ran smoothly: we stuck to our schedule, all of the hotels we'd booked were waiting on us, and we stayed on budget.

But, there were a few times scattered across that two week road trip that we floundered despite our best efforts.

And that, my friends, brings me to the story of our time in Bacharach, the cutest little town on the Romantic Rhine, and why Marksburg Castle just didn't happen for us.

Odds + (Week) Ends: A Travel Round-up | Vol. 10

Odds + (Week) Ends: A Travel Round-up, Vol. 10 | CosmosMariners.com

The Odds + (Week) Ends round-up is back!

I realized a few days ago that I haven't done one of these beauties since the beginning of December which is just not okay. Between the holidays and trying to catch up writing about all of my past travels, I completely forgot to add the round-up back into my monthly editorial calendar. Oops.

If you're just tuning in, the Odds + (Week) Ends round-up is a fun way that I start the week around here on Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown. I'll give you a bit of a peek into what my day-to-day life looked like on that previous weekend and share a few of my favorite travel-related posts and articles that I'd come across recently and loved.

101 Things to Do in Charleston, South Carolina


101 Things to Do in Charleston, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

I'm a born and raised Charlestonian. Over the last three decades, I've seen the best and worst that this city can offer. I've explored its tiny alleyways and watched national brands make their home here.

Castles and Cottages: 5 Incredible AirBnB and VRBO Properties in Ireland

Castles and Cottages: 5 Incredible AirBnB and VRBO Properties in Ireland | CosmosMariners.com
Our home away from home for a few days while in Ireland! Just call me Queen Natalie.
My husband, Landon, and I love to find new ways to explore the world. Whether we're trying somewhere for the first time or we're going back to a favorite haunt, we'll look at ways to personalize our visit. Neither of us had been to the Emerald Isle before this time, and in an effort to do something different than what we'd done on our other British Isles visits, we decided to plunge in the waters of AirBnB and VRBO while in Ireland.

FlightHub’s Top Reasons why Montreal is Magical

FlightHub’s Top Reasons why Montreal is Magical | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Today, I'm handing the blog over to the editors at FlightHub for their take on Montreal, Canada. Located in the providence of Quebec, Montreal is Canada's second largest city and is the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. With its unique mixture of French and English cultures, its stunning natural surroundings, and its thriving cultural scene, there's something for everyone in this beautiful place.

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
{title card modified from flickr | creative commons}
Italy is best known for its incredible food, rich history, and distinctive architecture. However, this sun-soaked European country has also been beloved by writers--both from Italy and elsewhere--for centuries. If you're looking to add some literary history into your upcoming Italian vacation, you'll want to make sure that you visit these incredible spots!

Coastal Creativity: Revitalization and Preservation in the Eau Gallie Arts District, Melbourne, Florida

Coastal Creativity: Revitalization and Preservation in the Eau Gallie Arts District, Melbourne, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

In the sprawling tangle of roads, palm trees, and sandy beaches that is Melbourne, Florida, the intersection of Eau Gallie Boulevard and Highland Avenue might seem like one more stoplight along your destination.

8 Things to Ask Yourself before Adding Sponsored Travel to Your Blog

8 Things to Ask Yourself before Adding Sponsored Travel to Your Blog | CosmosMariners.com

In the world of blogging, growing a brand can open up the doors to some amazing opportunities: from becoming a brand's ambassador to reviewing products, the possibilities for blog partnerships continue to grow as companies realize the immense power of the influence of bloggers.

As a travel blogger, adding sponsored travel to my site has been one of my biggest accomplishments--and challenges. Despite common preconceptions, sponsored travel isn't free travel (not by a long shot!). Sponsored travel requires many hours of preparation before those crucial travel days. If sponsored travel is approached with some thought and plenty of planning, these partnerships with convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), hotels, attractions, and travel brands can help you build your own blog.

A Walk in the Secret Bratislava {Guest Post by Girl Astray}

A Walk in the Secret Bratislava {Guest Post by Girl Astray} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via Girl Astray}

The last (but certainly not least!) guest poster to take over the blog while I'm in Ireland is the multi-talented Karin, the travel blogger behind Girl Astray. Hailing from Slovakia, Karin traveled all over Europe, through India, parts of North America, and Southeast Asia before moving to Bogota, Colombia, to teach French at a preschool. A lover of languages, Karin began writing her blog in her native Slovak before switching to English; she also speaks Spanish and French.

Today, Karin is taking us to her home country of Slovakia to show us a lesser known sight in the 18th century city of Bratislava.

3 Hidden Gems of China {Guest Post by Karolina and Patryk}

3 Hidden Gems of China {Guest Post by Karolina and Patryk} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via KarolinaPatryk.com}

If you love travel, you've probably considered picking up and leaving your old life behind at some point (even if it's just after a particularly bad day at work). After vacationing one weekend, that's exactly what today's guest posters did! Karolina and Patryk, who run their travel blog over at KarolinaPatryk.com, have since explored on 5 continents and live a digital nomad lifestyle, which gives them plenty of flexibility to see the world.

They're sharing their favorite three hidden gems of China today, where you can really delve into the culture and beauty of the country. Let's go!

3 Things that Ireland Spoiled for Me {Guest Post by Kung Fu Princess on the Road}

3 Things that Ireland Spoiled for Me {Guest Post by Kung Fu Princess on the Road} | CosmosMariners.com

Hey, lovely Mariners!

As my husband and I are finishing up our trip in Ireland, I've got a very appropriately-themed guest post for you today. Sabine, the blogger and martial arts lover behind Kung Fu Princess on the Road, has had some incredible experiences on the Emerald Isle; I'm happy to hand over the blog to her today so she can share how beautiful, welcoming, and safe Ireland is with you.

Hidden Philadelphia: Graffiti Pier {Guest Post by Expedition Jojo}

Hidden Philadelphia: Graffiti Pier {Guest Post by Expedition Jojo} | CosmosMariners.com

We all know how much I love an off-the-beaten-path location (like these spooky ruins in the Charleston Lowcountry), so I'm always excited to find a fellow travel blogger who likes them, too. I'm happy to welcome a new guest poster to the blog: Jojo from Expedition Jojo, another traveler who is all too happy to seek out places that most people don't know about.

Based in Philadelphia, Jojo believes in exploring locally when she's not adventuring elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad. Her guest post today showcases a gritty but beautiful part of her hometown: Philadelphia's Graffiti Pier. Read on for her take on this hidden spot in the City of Brotherly Love!