Bangkok

Bangkok was interesting. To be honest, Geoff and I didn’t enjoy this city at all but I would like to describe it to you so you know what it is all about! Bangkok is one of the busiest and most crowded cities in the world. There are people everywhere, leaving very little room for personal space. Pollution is a huge problem here so there is a massive level of smog in the air and trash all over the streets. This is the dirtiest city I have even been to so I’m glad we weren’t there for more than 48 hours.
On the bright side, we stayed in an amazing hotel! Since Thailand is such an inexpensive city, we were able to stay in a five star hotel eight on the river for practically nothing. We were upgraded to a suite, had an amazing view of the city, and had access to a rooftop pool. The hotel really made all the difference in Bangkok. We did venture out in Bangkok but were only able to stand the city for an hour and a half. We hopped on a boat to get around (they use these way more than buses) and visited the flower market, a major temple, and saw a little of the royal palace. The best part of Bangkok was by the this little craft brewery we found with beers and betters from home. You can see how thrilled we are in the picture below.



Overall, we loved our trip to Thailand, Chiang Mai and the islands were such amazing places to see. In some ways, Asia was exactly what we expected and in others it was totally different. Here are some random takeaways:

1. They drive on the left side of the road so try to remember that when crossing the road (the scooters don’t stop).

2. All Thai food is spicy. The Thai food I love in America doesn’t exist here.

3. Asian people tend to be very aggressive and speak sternly. They are not friendly at all.

4. Asian airlines are strict. They say you can’t use your cellphone for anything, can’t move to an open seat, and are not willing to help.

5. Shoes must be taken off before entering temples and there are some temples where girls aren’t even allowed in! 

6. Bangkok Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, yet it is wildly inefficient.

7. We are convinced that Thailand had the most beautiful beaches in the world 

So we did the math and it turns out that we traveled for 37 hours. That’s right, 37 HOURS on plane and in airports. Totally crazy. Needless to say, we are so happy to be home. Thailand was an amazing place to visit and I know that we are both so happy that we went. And that wraps up our adventure. As always, thanks for reading!

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Last Day in Railay

Our last day at Railay Beach did not disappoint. Because we are super sunburned (it seems that it doesn’t matter how much sunscreen you put on when you are this close to the equator) we opted to do some activities that didn’t involve roasting in the sun. We started the morning with a hike to the “viewpoint”. The hike ended up being more like a climb up where we had to hold on to rocks and ropes to get up. Geoff was thrilled and I came to like it in the end. 


Later in the day we went to a cooking class! I was so excited! We had a fabulous Thai teacher appropriately named “Mr. Chef” who taught us the secrets behind many traditional dishes. We needed up making prawn cakes (basically a crab cake with shrimp), chicken salad, chicken and coconut soup, pad Thai, green curry, and mango and sticky rice. The food was delicious! Chef Geoff and I had a blast making all the food and we even got a cookbook so we can make it at home. Once all the cooking was done we got to sit around a table with some people from our class and swap travel stories and learn about their home countries. It was the perfect way to spend our last night on the island.


As for what’s next, we are off to Bangkok! Bangkok is one of the busiest cities in the world so we will see how it goes. Thanks for reading! 

Railay Beach

It has been an amazing past few days here in Railay Beach (Krabi). Our stay here has been nothing short of amazing and the views are breathtaking. The journey to get here was actually very interesting! We flew to Krabi, took a car to an office, hopped in a little golf cart/scooter, then finally took a long tail to the island. The views are unreal. The sky is so blue and the water is so clear. Neither of us are really beach people but we have been loving it here. The views never get old. Our first full day was spent laying out, drinking out of coconuts, and kayaking around the island. What paradise! 
Today we went on an amazing adventure to various island around Phi Phi (another major tourist island). We were taken by speed boat to so many remote places where we were able to snorkel and simply enjoy the beach. We had an amazing time, but boy are we sunburned now! We think the views totally make up for the burn :).


We have one more day on this island and then we will be off to Bangkok. Tomorrow we are hoping to go on a hike and then we will be taking a Thai cooking class at night. We are really hoping we can bring some of the cooking skills we have learned back home with us. Thanks for reading!

Elephant Nature Park

Yesterday was probably one of the coolest days of my life. Geoff and I went to Elephant Nature Park, a beautiful reserve just outside of Chiang Mai were they rescue elephants. Many elephants in Thailand are treated poorly by forcing them to pull logs though the forest or trekking tourists around (riding an elephant is very bad so don’t do it!). This massive reserve between the mountains was one of the most tranquil places I have ever been. There was so many rescued elephants, water buffalo, cats, and dogs running around. They all seemed so happy! 
While there we learned the stories of many elephants as well as fun fun facts! See below:
1. Elephants eat 10% of their weight daily

2. One elephant tooth can weigh 5 kilo and be bigger than a human hand

3. Elephants sense things through the vibrations in their feet as well as smell through their very impressive trunks

4. Elephants are always throwing mud on themselves because it acts as a sunscreen

5. Elephants are pregnant for two years and their babies can weigh 80 kilo!

While at the park we got to feed the elephants, watch them bathe/play, as well as pet them and love on them. It was an absolutely magical day. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!


We have had an absolute blast in Chiang Mai and we are sad to leave but excited for our next city. While here we got a Thai massage, rode in a Tuk tuk (sorry I’ll try to get a picture), played with elephants, went in many temples, and ate out weight in Thai food. Chiang Mai has been wonderful to us but now we are off to Krabi! We will be in Railay Beach, which is one of the majestic looking beaches here in Thailand. We can’t wait to see what this beautiful island has in store. Thanks for reading! 

Chiang Mai

We made it to Asia in one piece! Boy oh boy has it been an adventure so far. But before I get into Thailand, I have to mention our weekend in New York!
This whole trip came up because Geoff was so sweet and surprised me with Hamilton tickets last summer! Hamilton is the biggest show on broadway and tickets are either won through a lottery or hundreds of dollars. Needless say, I am a very lucky girl! The show was everything I wanted it to be and more. Plus, I think Geoff actually enjoyed the show! This was Geoff’s first time to the city and it was so fun to show him around and introduce him to my friends. 

It was quite the journey getting to Thailand. We took a fourteen hour flight from New York to Beijing and then another five hour flight to get to Chiang Mai. The fourteen hour flight was actually way better than expected. The Chinese food was a nice change from regular airline food and as a plus, there was an open bar! What we found to be the strangest part was that people kept walking all around the plane and serving themselves drinks. It was crazy! In America you have to stay seated and wait to be helped. Here it was one big free for all. Our flight out of New York got delayed an hour so we almost missed our flight out of Beijing! We were those horrible American tourist sprinting through the airport all while trying to understand the meaning of Chinese signs. Thankfully we made it with five minutes to spare! Finally after 24 hours of travel, we made it safe and sound to our hostel in Chiang Mai. 


Chiang Mai is a lot of what I expected it to be. It is a mid sized city with coffee shops, restaurants, small shops, and massage studios on every corner. This town actually reminds me a lot of Lima, Peru but much more safe and clean. We have spent our first day in town doing exactly what all the tourists do, visiting all the temples. The temples are gorgeous and on just about every corner. It’s amazing how the city is built around all of this history. 


The best part about Thailand is how cheap it is. Want pad thai? That will be 50 baht or about $2. Amazing. Massages are huge here and Geoff and I treated ourselves to a wonderful hour massage, which was a whopping $10. Now we are just taking it easy before going to a night market. Tomorrow we will be playing with elephants so stay tuned on pictures from that. Thanks for reading!

Cusco

As I mentioned in my last post, our  place in Cusco was an absolute dream. We found a beautiful house on Airbnb owned by a man named Denis. Denis was so kind and such a wonderful host! His home had a huge terrace with an amazing view of the city. Geoff and I completely lucked out with our room. We had a massive room with its own balcony that overlooked the city. The main wall of the room was entirely a window so we could always look out and enjoy the view. It was absolutely perfect. In the mornings Denis even brought us a massive breakfast to the room complete with fruit salad, yogurt, rolls, omlets, and more. Staying at his place for two days was absolute paradise.

We didn’t take too many pictures in Cusc because really it is just a city for eating and shopping. That being said, we are at some amazing places! Specifically the last night we treated ourselves to a place call Morena. The food was perfect. As usual I’ll post all my photos below because it’s easier to show you the trip that way!

   
            

We have now reached the end of our adventure and the two tacky tourists seen above couldn’t be more sad. The past week has been absolutely amazing. I have loved trying new foods, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures. Peru is a special place that I will always remember. Now it’s time to go home and plan our next adventure. Thanks for reading and adios for now!
 

Machu Picchu

We made it. The moment we arrived to Machu Picchu I was in complete shock. There are no words to describe the beauty of the Incan ruins in the Peruvian mountains. But before I get into all that, let me back up. 

Geoff and I arrived in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, the night before our big adventure. The town is super tacky, touristy, and not our style whatsoever. On the second day Geoff and I woke up at 4am to catch a bus to the ruins at 5:30. It’s crazy how early you’ll wake up for a view!  When we arrived the entire place was covered in fog so you’re kinda blindly walking through ruins. At 7am Geoff and I went off to hike Machu Picchu mountain. Let me just sum it all up by saying it is basically an hour hike of stairs, it rained the entire hike up the mountain, I hardly made it and Geoff was fine, amd the view was worth it. Geoff has many embarrassing pictures of me on the hike but I’ll save those for another time. After that whole saga it was finally time to go back and see the ruins.

    

 Pictures of me at the top of the mountain and Geoff super happy during the hike.

Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time is hard to describe. The view just takes your breathe away. Geoff and I were also super fond of the llamas. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t chase a few of them to get a picture. I’ll let my picture do the talking.

   
    
    
 
The next day Geoff and I took the train back to Ollantaytambo and then got a private car to Cusco. It is crazy finding a driver. Basically from the second you get off the train a ton of Peruvian men are yelling at you to go on their car. Luckily riff and u found a good driver that only cost us 60 soles (about $20) for a two hour car ride. This country is very affordable! 

Now we are in Cusco and loving every minut. This city is gorgeous and has so much culture. On top of that the bed and breakfast we are staying in is amazing and has a complete view of the city with a private balcony. I’ll have pictures in my next post. For now we are just going to enjoy our final days in Peru. Adios for now!

 

Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes

Day three has been extremely good to us. Geoff and I decided to wake up early and hike El Camino a Pinkuylluna. We hiked around for about two hours and boy was it worth it! Being from Colorado, Geoff was easily able to hike up the mountain as if it was nothin at all. I on the other hand was a bit slower because the elevation makes it so much harder to breathe! Luckily Geoff was nice and waited for me every once in a while! 

   

   

Clearly I wasn’t as ready for the hike as Geoff was..

After our wonderful stay in Ollantaytambo, we caught a train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. This town is nothing like I thought it would be.. It is very tacky, touristy, and run down. Not really our style at all but fun none the less. We even made a new friend from England! Our hotel is this really cool treehouse up in the mountains. It isn’t a great example but you can see the picture of Geoff below. The most exciting thing to happen so far in this town so far is trying guinea pig. Yes, you read that correctly. Geoff was the brave sole who ordered it. See the picture below!

   

  

 
Tomorrow is the big day where we hike Machu Picchu! We are so so excited. We’ll be catching the bus at 5:30am but it will absolutely be worth it. Adios for now!

Land of the Llamas

Hola from Peru! We made it to Lima. It sure is nice to be back traveling again. It has been so wonderful to be traveling with a friend this time around (shout out to Geoff)! The first day of this trip was a little crazy. Let me explain. 

So far South America is a completely different beast than Europe. I know that sounds obvious but allow me to explain. Lima is crazy hot and humid all the time. There are also many people here who do not speak English at all or very little of it. Thankfully all my years of Spanish in school paid off and I have been able to communicate with our taxi driver who got lost but eventually got us to our final destination. Poor Geoff on the other hand doesn’t speak a word of Spanish and had to sit there and just listen until everything was figured out. While our place to stay for the night wasn’t exactly a five star hotel, we were both relieved to have finally gotten out of the taxi.

Day Two

Today we flew from Lima to Cusco and then took a private car ride (two hours of the most beautiful scenery) to a town called Ollataytambo. We have absolutely loved our stay here. The food is amazing, the people are kind, and the views are breathtaking. We are within the Peruvian mountains and life honestly couldn’t be better. Towns like this within Cusco are much more our speed. Due to the high altitude (around 11,000 ft) the humid drops, there are no mosquitos, and the views are gorgeous. Things move a little slower in this city and we are having the best time taking it all in. 

   

    

   
  
We are loving Peru so far and we can’t wait to see what the next week has in store. Adios for now!

Greece

I made it to Greece! I am so excited to not have to eat pasta and pizza for every meal! The food of Greece is amazing so I can’t wait to try everything (Greek salad, falafel, gyros, baklava)! To get to Greece we took a 17 hour ferry from Naples to a town called Patra. The ferry was actually so much better than I expected. Our room was tiny but we made do with what we had! It was so fun to just hang out with everyone in my group enjoy each other’s company rather than running from place to place. I also got one of the best night sleeps because I loved the rocking of the boat. The 17 hours went so much quicker than I thought and we safely arrived in Greece! 
  
Our first stop in Greece was to an adorable restaurant off the beaten path call Clovino. The restaurant was right on the water and had great food! The staff was extremely Greek and so kind to all of us! We even had some time to layout and jump in the see when we were done eating. It was the perfect start to our Greece trip. 
  
Next stop was Delphi, an extremely small but adorable town up in the mountainside of Greece. We only stayed in Delphi for one night but we had a great time checking out the ruins and eating all the gyros we could ever want! 
  

 The next morning we were off to our last city of the trip, Athens. Athens was not at all what I expected. For a city with so much history expected it to be beautiful and a more enjoyable city to be in. However, I quickly learned that athens wasn’t really for me. Roughly half of the Greek population lives in Athens so the city is extremely crowded and overpopulated. The city also remind me of some sort of scary metropolitan area back in the states. There is graffiti everywhere and tons of people sitting in the streets.  

    Our last day in Greece was wonderful. Our guide, Tyson, took us to a beach on the coast of Greece. We hung out there for hours swimming, eating Greece food, and just enjoying each other’s company. We were all sad to leave! That night we all went to our farewell dinner at a rooftop bar in the city. The food was classic Greek and could not have been a better last meal. Afterwards we all went up to our hotel bar to exchange goodbyes and tell our favorite stories from the trip. It was a wonderful goodbye to the 34 friends I made over these past eighteen days.      All this being said, I still had a wonderful time eating a the Greek food (it was about time for some veggies after all that pasta in Italy) and exploring the beautiful Parthenon. Our hotel was definitely one of the better ones we have stayed at this whole trip. The wifi was at least decent and it had a rooftop bar that overlooked Acropolis! In the end, I really enjoyed my few days in Greece. While I don’t plan on returning to these same cities, I hope to make it to the Greek islands at some point! 

Now that I’m sitting in an airport waiting for my flighty to leave, I can finally reflect on these past eighteen days. I have absolutely loved being able to travel again. Traveling is so exciting and adventurous and I can’t imagine my life without it. I can only hope I have the means and the time to do it in the future. This time around I had a wonderful guide and a great group of friends that I will miss dearly once I return to the states. But now it’s time for my next adventure! While I am sad to leave, I am thrilled to return to the land of Target, fast food, and a good wifi connection. For my family members who read this blog, thank you for following me on another one of my adventures! Until next time!
Cheers!