Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Favorite Places to Gain 10 Pounds

One of the most fun aspects of travel is the opportunity to try new, exciting, and strange foods. There's good eatin' to be found everywhere, EVERYWHERE! Here are a few places I've unashamedly crammed copious amounts of junk down my foodhole:

Rarely have I been so flustered by menus as I was in Indonesia. It seemed that everything contained my four favorite ingredients: chilies, lime, garlic, and tempeh. But the real reason I love Indonesian food is masakan padang. Padang food looks kind of gross and violates too many health code rules to ever exist in the US, but it is a truly wonderful creation. Various fried things, cooked vegetables, and sauces are displayed in a shop window behind a screen to keep flies out. You go in, point to what you want, and the shopkeeper puts on a plate for you. The first place I had padang was in Ubud, Bali, and it cost 70 cents for a plate of rice, tempeh, vegetables, and sauce. Don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Brief Break in San Francisco

The most recent trip I made was to San Francisco for four days in May 2013. My boyfriend was spending a week in Mountain View (about an hour south of SF) for his new job so I thought I would take advantage of his free hotel room.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It Began in Budapest

I recently purchased a book on my trip to San Francisco called The Finno-Ugrian Vampire by Noemi Szecsi, translated into English from Hungarian. The cover makes it look like some kind of vampire Sex in the City, but I promise it's not. Anyway, it's set in Budapest, with the main character living near City Park, and it got me reminiscing about my time in one of my favorite cities ever.

Castle Hill in Buda
In March of 2011, I traveled alone for the first time, and it all started in Budapest. After a week of driving around England with my uncle, I flew in from London-Luton Airport and, upon arrival, shut myself in a bathroom stall and hyperventilated into the pages of my Lonely Planet book. Eventually, I made it onto a bus into the city and found my hostel without issue. I had rapidly come down with a cold that all the gummy vitamins in Boots couldn't alleviate, so after a walk to Margaret Island and a stroll around a grocery store, I went to sleep at the unthinkable hour of eight. Yes, PM.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top 7 Old Towns in Eastern Europe

Europe's beautiful architecture and the history it reflects is one of the main reasons people visit. Most tourists head to Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and the other usual suspects without leaving any room in their itinerary for the more easterly destinations, although this is changing. Since I love eastern Europe with the fiery passion of a creeper writing Doctor Who fan fiction, I decided to compile a list of a few of my favorite old towns.

7. Sighisoara, Romania

Centered on the imposing Clock Tower and 12th century Citadel, Sighisoara's compact, brightly-colored old town is a delight to explore. What makes it most intriguing, though, is that it's the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for Dracula.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why Travel?

A road through Albania

Like many young people going to university, I had an idea of how my life would go: I'd graduate, get an entry-level job, gradually increase my income with each passing year, get married at some point, have some kids, and live a stable, if uneventful life with two weeks of vacation a year. Looking back, it's scary to think that could have happened if the economy hadn't crashed right before I graduated. Fresh out of school, the only job I could get was working as a barista. I couldn't afford to move out of my parents' house, but as a result, I didn't have many expenses. 

Starting Anew with a Fresh Travel Blog

The other night, as we were lying in bed trying to go to sleep, my boyfriend said to me, "Where was it that we were staying in a pretty nice hotel, and there wasn't much there, and we tried to go to a restaurant on the waterfront but they only served pork--"

"Nong Khai," I interjected, but he continued as if I hadn't said anything, and I wasn't sure if it was because he was simply trying to reminisce uninterrupted or because he has a terrible memory and the name "Nong Khai" didn't ring any bells.