Monday, March 11, 2019

Albufeira, Portugal: This Nice Sea View Apartment In Central Albufeira Is A TravelValue

Andre's "Fisherman's Beach Apartment"
Albufeira, Faro, 8200 Portugal

A nice one bedroom apartment in central Albufeira, this place has everything you will need for a couple days or a couple months and it even has a nice sea view! Andre met us upon arrival and was as nice and informative as he could be. It is on the 4th floor of a building with no elevator which was not a problem except when we arrived and were leaving, hauling heavy suitcases up and down the stairs. It does have its own secure parking space (not covered) through an electric gate and inside the courtyard of the building. There was even a bottle of Portuguese wine waiting for us when we arrived.

The living/dining room is large with a large pull-out sofa and coffee table, LCD TV with satellite channels, relatively fast internet, a dining set with four chairs, and a small balcony overlooking the street and a view of the Mediterranean Sea.


The kitchen has an automatic coffee maker (there was even some coffee to get us started), electric kettle, toaster, electric range and oven, microwave/convection oven, a large refrigerator, and a clothes washer. There were plenty of plates, pots and pans, and other utensils and spices needed to cook and eat in the apartment if getting tired of eating out as we did. There is also a Spar market immediately downstairs and next to the building in case you need something right away. Two large supermarkets (Pingo Doce and Continente) are a just ten minute walk away if you need to do some major shopping. There are several restaurants in the immediate area, but the ones closest by were not the best and had higher than average prices. You have to walk down to Fisherman's Beach and Old Town Albufeira for more variety and competitive prices.

The bedroom is relatively large with a king size bed, nightstands, dresser, and fitted wardrobe with plenty of space for our clothes and bags. Andre even provided plenty of beach paraphernalia, including chairs, mats, and an umbrella for those days where the sun is shining (300+ days a year) and the temps warm enough to bare all. The weather was wonderful during our entire two week stay, but not quite warm enough to do any sunbathing, averaging between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius) during the day.



I always provide the pros and cons in my reviews and I rarely find a "perfect" restaurant or hotel and the drawbacks here were all very very minor. First, the AC/heating units, of which there were only two (bedroom and living room), were not quite enough to heat the entire apartment on our first night. The apartment could possibly use one more wall mounted AC/heating unit in the hallway, but after the first night the walls must have defrosted a bit because it was a bit easier to warm the place up at night. Second, the massive dog that lives just behind the building, who was very sweet by the way, likes to bark in the morning.  I am a light sleeper and he woke me up a couple of times, but it was not a daily occurrence and, after all, dogs bark. Finally, the unit is advertised as "Fisherman's Beach Apartment", a little bit of a stretch given the fact that Fisherman's Beach is actually a ten minute walk away down a large hill to a double escalator and across a large plaza.

Unless you plan on hanging out and simply going to the beach and eating in Albufeira, you might get by without a car. However, if you plan on sightseeing, playing golf, or visiting the other beautiful areas in the Algarve, of which there are many, a parking place is A MUST in Albufeira. We were there in late January, the low season, and parking spaces were few and far between. Having said that, there is pretty much everything you need within walking distance of the apartment, so you could easily get everything you need for a short or long stay nearby. At $36.32 (€32) per night for a private, one bedroom apartment in a central location and a great view, Andre's apartment is a definite TravelValue!

CombatCritic Gives Andre's Fisherman's Beach Apartment 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!


Title: Albufeira, Portugal: This Nice Sea View Apartment In Central Albufeira Is A TravelValue

Key Words: Albufeira, Portugal, beach, Faro, fisherman, Airbnb, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, accommodation, destination, business, review, Yelp, Airbnb.com, Google


Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 9, 2019

HOT-HOT-HOT: For The First Time In Over 35 Years, You Will Need A Visa To Travel To Europe On Or After January 21st, 2021

Take note fellow American travelers, for the first time in almost 34 years you are going to need a visa to travel to Europe effective January 1st, 2021. The European Commission will be implementing a new system called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) which will be very similar to the USA's own ESTA (U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

Citizens of sixty countries, including the USA, will need to pay €7 ($7.85) to apply online for the visa that will be good for three years. Presently, Americans can travel into the Schengen Zone (Europe) for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days and not more than 90 days in a 180 day period simply by presenting their US passport to immigration authorities upon arrival at any of the 26 Schengen countries. No visa is currently required to visit those countries as has been the case since June 14th, 1985. Those 26 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The process looks fairly straightforward and the application should take only 10 minutes to complete online. If approved, you will get your visa in as little as few minutes to as long as 4-14 days. If you are not approved, you will be able to appeal the decision. You can read all about the details of the new ETIAS system here:


We have a little less than 22 months before implementation, so be prepared because Last Minute Travel to Europe will not be an option starting in 2021.
With increased terrorist threats and large numbers of immigrants flooding into Europe, it makes perfect sense that those countries want to know who is crossing their borders. It will be a bit of a pain, but security, like safety, should always be a top priority, both here and abroad.

CombatCritic
Visit http://www.combatcritic.com and "Follow  Me To TravelValue!"

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!


Title: HOT-HOT-HOT: For The First Time In Over 35 Years, You Will Need A Visa To Travel To Europe On Or After January 21st, 2021

Key Words: visa, travel, Europe, Schengen, zone, agreement, 2021, ETIAS, ESTA, commission, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, destination, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Keauu (Hilo), Hawaii: Navigate Your Way To Ho'okele Cabin

Airbnb - Jonas' Hookele Cabin
35th Avenue
Keaau, HI 96749
Airbnb Listing
Prices: $$$$

Ho'okele is the Hawaiian word which translates to the process of navigating by sea to a destination. Our host, Jonas, was very helpful in navigating the area before and during our week-long stay, giving us directions to his house, supermarket recommendations, and best places to visit. He met us upon arrival and gave us a thorough orientation along with the key. We were also met by his extremely sweet dog Timber and cat Mia, both of whom kept us company from time to time throughout our stay.

Hookele Cabin sits across from his home on 2.5 acres surrounded by jungle, so there were plenty of places to park, but Jonas had installed a tented carport adjacent to the cabin for our use. The cabin is cute with one large room, two thirds of which is the living room with sleeper sofa, a comfy chair and ottoman, coffee table and dresser with four empty drawers and an LCD TV on top. The TV had Roku, so we had access to streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.) via the Wi-Fi which was relatively fast. There was also a small wardrobe in one corner for us to hang our things.

The living room is open to the high vaulted A-frame ceiling, but the kitchen has a normal ceiling, above which is the sleeping area that we accessed by a sturdy ladder. There was a large fridge, microwave, two-burner hot plate coffee maker (bring ground coffee), and a toaster oven in the kitchen. There were also plenty of spices, plates, cups, bowls, silverware, and knives, so eating in was a breeze.

The bathroom is adjacent to the kitchen and has a vanity with sink, mirror, toilet, cabinet and large shower with plenty of soap, shampoo and conditioner. There were also plenty of towels under the sink for our use. There seemed to be plenty of hot water whenever we needed it.

Speaking of towels, Jonas thoughtfully provides not only beach towels, but masks, snorkels and fins for snorkeling, boogie boards, and two folding chairs for beach use. More Airbnb hosts in seaside areas should consider doing the same as those things are too bulky to pack and too expensive to purchase or rent for a few days.

The queen size bed in the loft was very comfy, but there was not a lot of head room on each side due to the severely sloping roof, making it a little bit of a challenge to get in and out of bed.  It was very pleasantly cool in the evenings, but the loft heated up as the sun beat down on the roof during the day and the heat naturally rose. There was no railing on the edge of the loft, so we were very careful when moving around and going up and down the ladder to use the toilet in the middle of the night. Now I see why Jonas recommends that families with small children not rent his place for safety reasons. The arrangement was no a problem at all for us even though I am no spring chicken and a disabled veteran.


You get what you see in the listing as the photos and descriptions are very accurate. The cabin feels secluded, but is just 10 minutes by car from Keaau's shops, market, and restaurants and 20 minutes from the island's largest city, Hilo. Hawaii Volcanos National Park is less than 3o minutes away by car and the beautiful Akaka Falls another 20 minutes north of Hilo. There are a few good snorkeling spots in the Hilo area.

At $68 per night, including the weekly discount and fees, we felt that the cabin was an excellent value for the Hawaiian Islands, having paid $12 per night more for a private room and shared bath in an overcrowded house in a less desirable part of Oahu. Access to a washer and dryer ($5/load) was also a big plus even though we did not utilize them during our stay. I highly recommend Jonas' as a host and the Hookele Cabin as your home base during your stay on the Big Island ... HOOAH!

CombatCritic Gives Jonas' Hookele Cabin 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Keauu (Hilo), Hawaii: Navigate Your Way To Ho'okele Cabin

Key Words: Keauu, Hilo, Hawaii, Ho'okele, hookele, cabin, Airbnb, Airbnb.com, volcano, national, park, cottage, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, accommodation, review, Google


Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Kailua (Oahu), Hawaii: Pho-Get-About-It Bruddah, Dis Place Is Da BOMB!

Saigon Noodle House
1020 Keolu Drive, Suite C1
Kailua, HI 96734
Phone number (808) 261-2466
Prices: $$$$

Pho-get-about-it bruddah, dis place is da BOMB! Simple, yet complex, I wish we had a Saigon Noodle House near our home in Portland, Oregon.


They have great deep fried Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls ($8.50), four big ones cut in half and served with lettuce wraps, vermicelli noodles, carrot and cucumber, fresh cilantro and mint, and a nice, sweet vinegar based dipping sauce. I love these things ... HOOAH!

The place ain't much to look at, but the service, food and prices are incredible, especially in Oahu. In a strip mall full of restaurants without their own toilets, we had two great meals in a period of three days just 100 feet apart, one Greek and one Vietnamese. You can order at the register and take food home or sit at one of the unassuming tables of which there are six to eight and have your order taken. We went for the latter.
If you have not had Vietnamese spring rolls wrapped in lettuce and dipped in the simple sauce, you have not lived. Fortunately for us, that was just the start. My wife had the Lemongrass Chicken Bánh Mì ($6.99), a French baguette with lemongrass chicken, cucumber, carrots, and cilantro, then sprinkled with their signature soy sauce. She was very happy. I, on the other hand, love Beef Curry ($10.95) and their's was one of the top two Vietnamese curries I have had, the other being a red beef curry 38 years ago in San Pedro, California. Lots of thin beef strips, sliced yellow onion, and fresh basil in a delicious yellow curry sauce that was not too mild and not too hot for my delicate esophagus. It sat atop a pile o' jasmine rice, too much for me to eat, so I ended up leaving half of the rice. Too bigga eat!


For less than $30 plus tip, we had a wonderful Vietnamese meal, one of the best I have had in my lifetime. I wish there were a Saigon Noodle House near us because we would probably be eating there on a weekly basis. I guess we will have to wait until we are back in Kailua visiting our dear friends, hopefully in the near future.

CombatCritic Gives Saigon Noodle House 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year

Saigon Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

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Title: Kailua (Oahu), Hawaii: Pho-Get-About-It Bruddah, Dis Place Is Da BOMB!

Key Words: Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii, pho, Saigon Noodle House, Saigon, noodle, house, Vietnam, Vietnamese, curry, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

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