After a somewhat long absence on this blog, I return with my recap of Australia and New Zealand! I was there for 21 days on vacation. In short, I had a phenomenal time and I would recommend both countries to anyone even remotely interested in visiting. Check out my itinerary below for ideas and recommendations. If you have other suggestions in the two countries, please comment below.
I’m also compiling a series of videos I took on our trip into a travel diary of the places I visited in Australia and New Zealand. You can see them all on my YouTube channel.
During the first week in October, I embarked on an unforgettable 9-day (including travel) trip to Switzerland with a good friend of mine from college. We bought tickets months in advance through Icelandair. The airfare cost around $405/person while our Airbnb stays were $410/person. We each got our own 8-day Swiss travel pass that was CHF 398 ($399.60). This totaled $1214.60 before even stepping foot on Swiss soil.
It is pretty expensive to travel to Switzerland, but the scenic views are so worth it. Switzerland is a gorgeous country and if you are a person who enjoys the outdoors and picturesque mountain scenery, Switzerland is a must.
Long overdue but I made a trip up to NYC for my birthday weekend, and I had a blast! As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s impossible to get bored of this gutsy and spunky city. The great Frank Sinatra boldly asserted, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” And if that Frank Sinatra sang it, it must be true.
Here is a list of all the places I visited this time around:
New York City is never boring. The city is always changing, so fluid and dynamic. I’ve been to NYC over 20 times, and I have yet to explore everything. I doubt you can even explore the same street year after year without some alteration here and there.
What can you do in Chicago in 72 hours? Quite a lot, actually.
I’ve been to Chicago a handful of times, both for work and pleasure. It’s one of my favorite cities in the U.S. for its food, attractions, people, and culture. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend booking a trip.
After a few days in Paris, I took the Chunnel to London. The Chunnel (Channel Tunnel) is a rail that connects northern France to southeast England. There are over 23 miles/37 km of the tunnel that is underwater. It’s a very popular way to get from Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, and Lille in France to London. The trip took about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
London was loads of fun as well. I stayed by Hyde Park, a very convenient location to many of the attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, and Kensington Palace. The London Tube was easy to use and traversed all across the city, which made getting to and from the British Museum, British Library, and Wembley Stadium effortless.
When I came back from vacation, most of my friends and colleagues would ask, “Which one do you better?” London or Paris? Honestly, the two cities are very similar in a lot of ways. An epicure’s dream, culturally enriching with museums that house impressive works of art or sculptures, beautiful urban green spaces and parks, and landmarks that are historically significant.
To me, Paris is a breathtakingly gorgeous city that is well designed, compact, architecturally impressive, and more walkable. Meanwhile, London is more ethnically diverse, and its world-class museums are free. At the end of the day, it comes down to one’s preference. Scones or croissants? Louvre or the British Museum? Versailles or Buckingham Palace? Harrods or Champs-Élysées? Quite frankly, there’s no need to choose. I would love to go back to both.
For myself, a person who studied French since 7th grade (and even minored in the language in college), it has been a dream of mine to visit the City of Lights. Well, just last week I made that dream into a reality.
I planned a 10-day vacation (including travel days) to Paris and London, with Paris being the first leg. My flight flew into Charles de Gaulle Airport and after a lengthy Uber ride, I left my luggage with the hotel and walked two blocks down to the Louvre. From there, the next few days were packed with long walks along the Seine, visits to some of the best museums in the world, and nonstop bites of croissants, crêpes, soufflés, baguettes, cheese, macarons, and wine.
Everyone says Paris is beautiful. This is not an exaggeration by any means. Everywhere I walked was like being transported into a postcard. Even in the 6-9°C weather, the views were spectacular. I was seeing with my own eyes culturally and historically significant buildings, artwork and sculptures throughout the centuries, winding streets upon where great men and women have walked, and oases of greenery amidst one of the most populous cities in the world. Paris is beautiful by day or night – it’s no wonder people have love affairs with the city.
Hurricane Nate’s got nothing on love! I was in New Orleans over Columbus Day weekend to celebrate two friends tying the knot. Due to the city-wide curfew in response to the storm, they had to push their ceremony and reception up a couple of hours, but they were able to be married and celebrate with all their friends and family. The wedding was so lovely; it was held at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church – a beautiful venue! The reception was right across the street at Beauregard-Keyes House, a museum and historic residence. The food at the reception was incredible, and they even had the Kinfolk Brass Band come into their reception to play! Congratulations, Liz and Mike!
I’ve been a diehard Potterhead since 1999. As most 90s kids did, I lived and breathed the Harry Potter series, dreaming of the day I would receive my Hogwarts letter (and still waiting for that darn owl to make its way across the pond!). Every year that a new book was released, I spent the whole night reading the newest novel in the series.
I’ve been wanting to come to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida ever since they announced the first phase of the park back in 2007. When I learned that I would be in Orlando last month, I was beyond ecstatic to come to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split into two parks — Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade/Hogwarts at the Islands of Adventure. You can purchase tickets for either park or both. You can take a Hogwarts Express train between the two parks. I definitely recommend purchasing tickets for both parks!
I hope everyone had a long and restful Memorial Day Weekend. It’s now Tuesday and although it’ll be a relatively short week work-wise, I’m already feeling the call for another break from everyday normalcy.
This past weekend, I went to Lake Placid for a quick getaway from the city life. The drive took about 8 hours and led me to a small but historic and sport-enthused village in upstate New York. Most people probably recognize the town of Lake Placid as being the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and especially the 1980 USA-USSR Men’s Hockey game – aka the “Miracle on Ice.”
There’s a reason why John Hughes shot so many films in Chicago. This metropolitan city is as cosmopolitan and internationally cultured as New York but comparatively underrated. It’s a city that has inspired more writers, innovators, and creators than anywhere else in the world, but it is often forgotten the impact Chicago has on some of the most renowned and famous people – people such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Twain, and Orson Welles.