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2012: A Photo Essay

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2013 is almost here! I started the year in Paris, and I’m ending it in Seoul. I wanted to share with you some never before seen photos from my travels this year. Featured will be Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Madeira, the US, China and Korea. I hope you enjoy! Here’s to 2013, and many more years of travel!

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My Three Favorite Travel Moments – The Travel Blogger Relay

If you didn’t now already, there’s a cool travel blogger relay race going on, hosted by LowCostHolidays. The general idea is that each blogger that is tagged in the relay blogs about their 3 Favorite Travel Moments. The lovely Audrey from That Backpacker passed me the baton, and I’m officially part of Team Green, headed by my favorite people at Over Yonderlust.

The wonderful thing about this post is that it gave me the chance to revisit my European travels from this past year. After I came back from Europe, everything was full speed ahead for my move to Korea, so I feel like I never really got to sit and process everything that happened. I’m thankful to be able to relive the memories and share with you today!

Conquering my fear of heights in Madeira, Portugal

I am deathly afraid of heights. I hate them. I frequently have ruined others travel plans by refusing to go on top/inside/near tall buildings (Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, etc). When Johnny and I went to Madeira, Portugal, we decided to take a trip to the beach near our apartment. Looking over the gorgeous cliffs and down to the crystal clear blue water, I felt a pang of dread.

We were high up. REALLY high up. TOO high up. Huge gusts of wind threatened to knock me off balance and send me tumbling down the mountain to my untimely death (overdramatic much?) When Johnny suggested that we take a CABLE CAR down the mountain, I looked at him like he was insane. There was no way in hell I was going to be in a little capsule, riding down a mountain with the wind blowing all crazy. Nope. No way. But as I watched the cable car slowly ascend up the mountain, something in me changed. I glanced down at the gorgeous, rocky, beach below me and took a deep breath. I was going to conquer my fear of heights once and for all.

So I did it. And I survived (even if I did freak out). And I was rewarded with the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever set foot on.

Ringing in the New Year in Paris


New Years Eve. Johnny and ran to our local Carrefour to grab some champagne, plastic champagne flutes, cheese, and sausage for our trek to the Eiffel Tower to ring in New Years Eve. The buzzing excitement was almost tangible. We made our way to the iconic landmark, gasping in awe at all of the Parisians (and tourists) who flocked to the champagne stands to buy their last minute bottles, or even opting to buy them from street vendors selling their bottles on thin, flannel, blankets. I marveled at the scene: Lovers making out, groups of stylish girls wearing giant 2012 glasses and taking pictures of themselves, children setting off sparklers. It was magical. Even though the weather was cold and rainy, it didn’t seem to stop anyone from the celebrations.

As the countdown began, I closed my eyes and remembered where I had come from. At that time the last year I was depressed, angry, fat, and miserable at my job. And now I was in Paris, celebrating the start of the New Year, new beginnings. At precisely midnight, the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle and twinkle. The crowds roared and I gave Johnny a huge kiss. As Johnny picked me up and twirled me, life was the best it had ever been.

Drinking Local Wine on the Canals of Venice


Venice is trés expensive. I’d been warned numerous times, but couldn’t imagine the prices once I got here. 1.50 Euro just to use the public bathroom! Yikes. But, as I used that expensive ass bathroom, a cute little wine shop caught my eye. Or more specifically, the sign that said”4 Euro 1L Local Wine!”, caught my eye. When a bottle of wine in a restaurant is running about 50EUR or more at the cheapest, you take advantage. To seal the deal, Johnny and I bought 2 pizzas from a local pizzaria and settled down to eat alongside on the canals. It was breathtaking. Although the weather was frigid (the coldest weather we’d experienced our entire time in Europe), being in the sun warmed us up instantly. It was surreal. Seeing the gondolas pass us by, watching the tourists try and get the perfect shot, drinking from a liter water bottle filled with wine…it was the perfect day. I just kept exclaiming to Johnny, “I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE DOING THIS!” It was the simplest moment, but sometimes the simplest moments are the best memories.

I now pass on the baton to the lovely Amanda from Farsickness. Can’t wait to read about your three favorite travel moments! Hell Yeah for Team Green!

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A Sweet Tooth in Europe

Before I left on my trip, I wasn’t really a sweets person. I freakin’ drink kale smoothies! But when I went on this trip, that all was blown out of the window. I’m 99.9% sure I ate my body weight in sugar while I was gone. But that’s sort of the point right? Gelato, cannolis and everything pistachio flavored in Rome, pastries and macarons like crazy in Paris, Venice and their candy stores, Lisbon and the amazing Pastéis de Belém, nutella on pretty much everything. But oh. It was SO worth it.


When we were in Rome, we saw a stand for these MASSIVE sugar donuts, with the option to add Nutella. Naturally, we went for it. Amazing.


Johnny and I had a vote, and this ricotta cheesecake we had in Rome was HANDS DOWN the best thing we ate in Europe. I’ll never look at cheesecake the same again.


If you are ever in Paris, you must go to Synie’s Cupcakes. Trust me.


Tarte au citron? Yes, please!


And of course, the famous Pastéis de Belém. They are a sweet custard pastry and absolutely heavenly. Johnny and I had way more than our fair share of these when we were in Portugal.

I feel like I need a sugar detox just revisiting all of these photos! What is your favorite type of international dessert?

 

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Madeira: The European Paradise



If there is anything you get from this blog (other than drinking lots of champagne and wearing high heels), it’s this:

GO TO MADEIRA, PORTUGAL.

Crystal clear water, lush greenery, beautiful flowers, warm weather (even in January). CHEAPEST BEER EVER. I’m talking about .80 cent beers.

It’s paradise.

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