Seeing the Same Places in the Past and Present

Although we really enjoy exploring places that we’ve never seen before, there are times when we do go back to the same location. A few of the places that we’ve visited, there has actually been quite a bit of time that has elapsed between our visits. In some cases, there can be striking differences and in other cases the locations seem identical. The time of year can also change the appearance of the location.

The Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument in 2001
Sidewalks Along the Reflecting Pool and the WWII Memorial in 2019

The National Mall in Washington D. C. – The first time that we traveled to Washington to go to all of the tourist locations, including the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument was in the summer of 2001. We then visited it once again in the summer of 2019 and as much as it was the same, some things had clearly changed. In 2019, there were sidewalks along the reflecting pool and the WWII Memorial had been added between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces in 2000
Completely Different View of the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces in 2015

Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces in Yellowstone National Park – Although we have visited Yellowstone many times in all of the different seasons, but we actually went to the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces during our first trip in 2000 and then returned to see it in 2015. During our second visit, we actually hiked a trail that took us to the other side of the terraces, which gave us a completely different perspective.

Eiffel Tower and Autumn Leaves
The Same View of Eiffel Tower in the Winter of 2017

The Eiffel Tower in Paris – We love the city of Paris and it was actually the first place that we visited outside of the United States back in 2007. We visited Paris in Autumn and the trees had changed colors making the trail leading to the Eiffel Tower that much more dramatic. When we returned 10 years later in the winter of 2017, we purposely tried to retake the same photograph. During our second visit, there were gates limiting access to the Eiffel Tower and on the day of our visit it was actually closed to visitors due to security concerns.

The Arch at Cabo San Lucas in 2008 During the Day
Sunset at the Arch in 2017

The Arch in Cabo San Lucas – Our first trip to Cabo was in 2008 and we ended up buying a timeshare during that particular trip. Because of that, we have returned to Cabo many times with our last trip being in 2017. We tend to go in the fall as the weather is quite comfortable and there aren’t any bugs. We don’t always take a boat out to the arch, but we actually did on our first and last visits. It is certainly beautiful and is the landmark that most people associate to Cabo.

Do you ever go back to the same locations many years apart and compare and contrast the differences in the experiences? Not only does the place change, but you change as well, making how you view a place as different as the changes that have occurred to the location itself.

All Inclusive – Do You Get Your Money’s Worth?

Many resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and other beach destinations tend to require that you purchase all-inclusive packages that cover all of your meals and drinks for the entirety of your stay. While there are plenty of reasons that all-inclusive resorts are nice, we tend to think that it really favors the resort more than the people who stay there. A lot of it depends on your vacation style and whether the resort offers all of the variety that you are looking for.

Resorts Along the Beach

Generally speaking, we prefer not to do all-inclusive plans for several reasons:

  1. We like to eat where the locals eat and not just sit at the resort all day and all night, so we feel like we’re throwing money away if we leave the resort to enjoy a local restaurant.
  2. We’re not big eaters.  Under normal circumstances, we’ll split meals or even just share appetizers rather than sitting down and eating an entire meal to ourselves. That means that giant buffets or full course dinners are overkill for what we’ll end up eating.
  3. It’s just the two of us so even if though we don’t track everything that we’re spending on a trip, we have a budget and pay attention to the prices that we’re paying for meals.
  4. You feel the pressure to get your money’s worth, so you end up eating and drinking more than you should or would normally do.  The last thing you want to do while you’re sitting at the beach is to put on a few pounds.
  5. The only activities included in the ones that we have seen are non-motorized activities, which generally aren’t expensive anyway. We tend to find the more interesting things that we want to do are not part of the all-inclusive package that the resort offers.

Sitting on the Beach

With all that said, we’ve done all-inclusive plans a couple of times.  When we went to the Dominican Republic, we didn’t have a choice, all of the resorts that we looked at were all-inclusive.  On the flip side, there really weren’t any local restaurants near the resort at Punta Cana, so staying at the resort was perfectly fine.  The other thing that is nice about the all-inclusive plans is the alcohol.  When we’re on vacation and don’t have to drive anyplace, we’re going to have a good time and part of that is having a few drinks, so not having to worry about that expense is kind of nice.  Again, though, we don’t want to over-drink, so it is a balancing act of not feeling like you have to have one more because “you’ve already paid for it”.  The other time we did the all-inclusive was actually the last time we went to Cabo a few years ago.  We did three days of all-inclusive and four days on our own.  That allowed us to go to the theme nights, eat and drink at the resort for a few days and then let us hit the restaurants on the beach and in town for the rest of the trip.

Dos Mai Tai’s at the Pool Bar

Regardless of what you think of all-inclusive resorts, chances are you’ll end up staying at one during one of your trips. If you have to stay at an all-inclusive resort, try to take advantage of the amenities without overindulging unnecessarily. The prices of all-inclusive resorts tend to be fairly expensive, but don’t assume that you won’t have other expenses or want to do things outside of the resort, so be sure to plan your budget accordingly.

Parasailing in Mexico

Another Day in Paradise

We spent the last week in Cabo San Lucas, which is our favorite place to go and unwind from our hectic lives. This was definitely a vacation where we pretty much sat by the pool and watched the sun set every day. Unlike normal travel that is filled daily with different adventures and sightseeing activities, our time in Cabo is about relaxation and refueling our batteries. We have been to Cabo many times, so we didn’t plan any activities like parasailing, paddle boarding, or snorkeling. We did go on a jazz cruise out to the arch, however, which was beautiful as always. After a week of silence, we should be back to our normal routine this week. Here are a few photos from our time at the beach last week.

Sunset at the Arch

View from Our Room

Looking Out from the Resort


Heading out on the Jazz Cruise

We Walked the Beach to a Favorite Restaurant

Sunset on the Jazz Cruise

Catamaran Race

Seagulls Overhead

Heading Home

Sunset over the Ocean