Next Stop: Turkey and Greece!

Turkey and Greece Trip Map

In a few days I will be on my way to visit the intersection of eastern and western civilization. While the trip is a short one, it is the perfect amount of time for my dad, brother and I to see what Istanbul and Athens have to offer. Something tells me we won’t have a shortage of things to do or sights to see!

What to do in Turkey and Greece?

I am intrigued by Istanbul’s history and all of the distinct cultures that call the city home. Many religions, cultures, empires and civilizations have converged into this one city for thousands of years, making the city itself a walking history museum.

Athens should be excellent as well. Our hotel room in that city appears to be super modern (not really my style, but it was highly rated) and right next to the national gardens. From there it’s only a short walk to the Acropolis and the other great sites of the town.

If you are interested in following my travels, stay tuned to my Jeffsetter travel blog where I will be offering many details of the trip, including getting there, reviews of our hotel accommodations, and pictures of some of the sites we witness along the way.

The 35 Layer Super Bowl Dip

35 Layer Dip is Complete!

I didn’t invent the idea of taking a traditional 7 layer dip, injecting steroids, adding a multiplier to the number and creating a terrine of taco, but the following step by step guide to creating an 35 layer dip is a true original.

While I was originally inspired by the 47 layer dip, I settled on 35 layers for two reasons: 1) Many of the items in the 47 layer dip were gross and 2) I wanted to make a dip that would taste good and include items I would consider to be normally welcomed in a Mexican dish. Sure, some things are a stretch (like the addition of pulled pork and Feta Cheese), but they are also deliciously welcomed by those with an open mind and empty stomach.

Math Wizards will appreciate that 35 is easily divisible by 7, resulting in the number 5. One could say that this dip will have 5x the impact of your standard 7 layer dip. Pragmatists understand that the maximum that something can be better than something else is 5x, so why waste our cycles considering a number of more grandeur? [Read more…]

Photo Gallery: Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest Munich 2012 Pictures

While you will soon be able to read the story about the travel portion of Oktoberfest in Munich on Jeffsetter, I wanted to share the full photo set here for friends and family.

Oktoberfest was everything I hoped it would be and then some. Great beer, food and fun with all kinds of American expatriates in Munich. Amanda and I met some great new friends and have memories we won’t soon forget.

We got treated to excellent seats at the Hippodrome through Amanda’s work, with a table overlooking the main floor of the hippodrome. The table came with some great food as well.

All was great, and after our time in the tent we ended up going on a few rides and then watched the single most entertaining game I have ever seen (video below).

By the way, have you been following the honeymoon trip on Jeffsetter?  Get Caught up here.

Lederhosen Shopping

Lederhosen Shopping

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Experimenting with my new D-SLR Camera, the Canon t4i

For our 6 month anniversary as Amanda called it (which happens to be December 25th/Christmas), Amanda gave me a present that I have been wanting for years, but had not purchased for myself: a Digital SLR Camera. Before buying, she consulted withmy sister in law/professional photographer Michelle Sauer who helped her decide on getting the Canon t4i EOS rebel with the 18-200mm zoom lens.

While I am still a newbie when it comes to using these cameras, I do understand that this configuration will help me be able to shoot landscapes very well – which is perfect, because that is the type of photos I most enjoy taking. I am most excited about this camera, because I plan to use it on my upcoming trips to Turkey and French Polynesia in April and June. I should be able to find some great subjects to photograph with my new toy!

In the meantime, I took the camera with me everywhere I went and experimented with taking photos to get the hang of things. I also had Michelle demonstrate some of the finer points of the camera to me in order to better understand what I am doing.

The result? Many photos of food from our Christmas dinner, our family foosball tournament and New Years eve. Of the 200+ photos taken, I was able to find around 20 photos that didn’t totally suck. Here you go!

Christmas Charcuterie Appetizer

Christmas Charcuterie Appetizer

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Letter to Nest Thermostat Support

Nest Photo

Nest Thermostat WIFI Connection Issues Ruining My Life

Dear NEST team,

I have a first generation Nest Thermostat and I have been unhappy with the performance for quite some time. I am asking for a replacement Nest Thermostat, preferably a second generation where you work out the kinks from Generation 1. Here are my issues:

1) WIFI disconnects and fails to reconnect. When reconnecting, I am forced to re-enter my network and password information

I have read your support articles, so please don’t just send me those links. The main reason why I use your thermostat is to control remotely when I travel. Each time I travel, I turn down heat to save energy and plan to use the app in order to turn up heat for a warm homecoming. After the first month with the thermostat, this stopped working. At some point, Nest cannot connect to my WIFI network and then simply gives up. When I get home, it forces me to re-find my network (even though it has not changed) and re-enter my wifi password (even though it has not changed). [Read more…]

Virginia Tech Football Tailgating – A New Family Tradition

Virginia Tech

College football is not very important in the north, especially in Minnesota. For me, it’s because there has never been a quality Division I football team in the area. For others, it may be that they prefer to watch professional football. Whatever the reason, I never really had a team to cheer for growing up, and as a result I never really cared about college football.

Then I met Amanda and she unlocked a new world for me: College Football in the South. You see, she grew up one town over from Blacksburg, VA – home of Virginia Polytechnical Institute. Better known as Virginia Tech. She had me at Hokie.

The first time I went to a game was in 2009, when the Hokies beat Nebraska at the last minute, and I rushed the field with my buddy Jeff Taylor.  [Read more…]

Who would play Sloth in a Goonies Remake?

On a long enough timeline, all conversations turn to the Goonies.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the topic of conversation naturally turned to the classic 80’s movie the Goonies and whether or not we should be expecting it to be remade in the future. I would consider it an inevitability at this point, since just about every movie from my childhood has already been remade for the worse.

But that’s not important. What is really important is who will play the character of Sloth when the movie is remade. [Read more…]

Hotel Audible: St. Regis Mauritius to Four Seasons Mauritius

St. Regis Mauritius -> Four Seasons Mauritius

I recently posted a review of the Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita on Jeffsetter, but wanted to tell the story about how we came to stay at that resort here.

I have never stayed at a Four Seasons hotel or resort before, because frankly they have always been out of my budget and seemed extravagant. Even for our trip to Mauritius, we had booked a completely different hotel for our 5 nights on the island, the brand new St. Regis on the west side of the island, and we fully intended to stay there until we learned a few weeks before the honeymoon that the resort opening was delayed until November.

St. Regis Mauritius

We were looking forward to this part of Mauritius

This was a bummer, because the St. Regis looked amazing, but they could not have been kinder in helping us find alternate accommodations. They proactively offered to move us to a similar room at one of 4 other resorts on the island, without changing our hotel rate. We let them know that our second choice would have been the Four Seasons resort, and they were able to find us accommodations at the Four Seasons in an Ocean Villa. This proved to be an excellent deal for us, because the room prices at the Four Seasons would have been well outside of our price range normally. In addition, the hotel also agreed to give us half-board accommodations, which covered the cost of our breakfast and dinners.

Essentially, this allowed us to stay at the Four Seasons in Mauritius for about half of what it would cost if we paid rack rates. An amazing deal when we weren’t even looking for a deal this time. I need to avoid mentioning prices in these posts to protect the will of our friends at the St. Regis and the Four Seasons.

The people at the St. Regis in Mauritius were very gracious and accommodating to our needs. They even sent over two branded t-shirts and some local rum as a token of apology, along with a hand written note when we would be coming back to visit them.

Welcome Gift from the St. Regis

Welcome Gift from the St. Regis

After our fantastic time on the island, we may have to go back sooner than later!

Jeffsetter Travel Blog

I have been writing about my travel experiences on since I went to Kenya in college and Tokyo after college. During that time I have provided sporadic updates and had little dedication to posting everything. While I want to post more often, it just hasn’t been a priority.

Now I am making it a big priority and dedicating an entire site to writing about travel. As a self proclaimed “travel hacker” I have dedicated the past several years to learning more about how to get free travel to aspirational destinations, and Jeffsetter is where I share my knowledge, passion and experiences.

If you want to learn everything about travel hacking, please do visit Jeffsetter!

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Paris Layover Photo Gallery

This was my second time in Paris, and I shared my deep thoughts on Paris back in 2007. This time I was visiting after a passport fiasco in the US and some flight re-routing, Amanda and I found ourselves in Paris with 10 hours to kill.

After showering at the Air France lounge and making sure our travel arrangements were in order, we took a train into the city to explore a few monuments before heading to Mauritius

The day was cloudy, but that didn’t deter us from having some fun for a few hours.

Read a full recap of our Layover in Paris at Jeffsetter.