Epic Road Trip Along Ring Road, Iceland’s Main Route

p1160956

The most convenient way to explore Iceland is to rent a car and use Iceland’s Ring Road. This national highway connects many of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, including Reykjavík, the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Even more attractions are accessible using Ring Road, making it easy to be a tourist in Iceland.

Even if you drive in a complete circle on Ring Road and never stop to visit these destinations, you’d still see some pretty stunning scenery. In this post, let’s take Ring Road  (and maybe make some detours) to see just how Iceland’s scenic highway differs drastically from the sights we usually see on highways! Stay along for the whole journey to see some amazingly different scenery changes.

Read More »

Dramatic Beauty of Iceland is Showcased at Þingvellir National Park

P1170182.jpg

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find that I’ve been posting a few pics from my trip to Iceland. What’s most astounding to me about Iceland is that it offers so many varied landscapes on its small island. Today let’s visit the dramatic vistas of Þingvellir National Park! Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why. It has some beautifully unique landscapes that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world, much less within driving distance from each other. Shall we take a look around?Read More »

Prague is a Fairy Tale: The Most Beautiful Old Town in the World

p1210377-copy

Located in the Czech Republic, I was hesitant at first to visit Prague because I didn’t know much about it, and I didn’t know anyone who had traveled there. Due to this, it seemed quite exotic, much more so than Asia to be honest! Even though I  traveled here not knowing much about the country, other than the research I did about touristy places to see, I left feeling that Prague was really welcoming. Plus, it truly had one of the most beautiful Old Towns in the world. If you haven’t visited Prague yet, let’s see if it’s true!

Read More »

Winter/Spring in One Image: Dual Climates in Lucerne, Switzerland

p1070256
Unique view at the top of Mt. Rigi

Happy New Year Everyone!

I intended to take just a brief hiatus while I started a new job, but moving and settling in took much longer than expected. But now it’s back to blogging about traveling!

Today it’s going to snow much of the day, and this reminded me of my trip to Lucerne and the beautiful, unique view I had at the top of Mt. Riji. Come join me as we travel by train up a Swiss mountain!Read More »

First-Timers’ Guide to Attending the Olympics

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years since the London Olympics! It was really fortuitous that my PhD plans coincided with London hosting the Olympics in 2012, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the Olympics in person. Funny enough, I recently found an essay I wrote almost 20 years ago about what I want to accomplish in 20 years, and I wrote that I hoped to attend the Olympics on day!

Since the 2016 Olympics are starting this Friday in Rio, I thought it would be fun to provide some tips for those looking to attend their first Olympics – and maybe see an event for free!

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.41.34 PM
Colorful Olympic banners in Covent Garden

Read More »

Differences Between US and UK Graduation Ceremonies, and Highlights of Canterbury

Hi everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts recently, but last week I was in the UK to officially graduate and get my PhD degree! After going through two ceremonies in the US for my Bachelors and Masters degrees, I found it so interesting to participate in a UK ceremony. If you’re studying abroad in the UK or just fascinated by all things British (I’m guilty of both!), here are some observations I made throughout the day of my graduation.

IMG_4278(1)-copy.jpg
Not Canterbury! This is London, where my family & I were staying. We took the bus to Canterbury in the morning and returned in the evening.

Read More »

Unexpected Wonderland of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace

Sometimes planning a trip too much can lead to disappointment because of unmet expectations. In contrast, sometimes a minimal amount of planning, along with some assumptions about a city, can actually increase anticipation because you don’t really know what to expect. I used to watch Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel religiously because it was one of my goals to travel to around Europe. The host, Samantha Brown, made traveling fun and accessible. Every episode, viewers got to see highlights of one European city and the fancy hotels Samantha stayed at. I loved the show so much I even bought the first season on dvd and downloaded the second season on iTunes. This blog’s title was even inspired by the show!

But I digress. Anyway…. back to Vienna. That little spiel was mainly to say that what I knew about Vienna before my trip, I learned from the Vienna episode of Passport to Europe. That episode showed the very posh and extravagant side of Vienna. In that episode, Samantha visited the Spanish Riding School and attended the Officer’s Ball at the Emperor’s Imperial residence. Because of this, in my mind Vienna didn’t seem very relaxed or welcoming. It seemed like one had to have a lot of money in order to enjoy visiting Vienna. I was curious to see if this was actually how Vienna was like, but because of this assumption and my lack of thorough research about what to do and see, I was the least excited about visiting Vienna on my 3 country trip. Surprisingly, Vienna turned out to be my favorite city out of them all!!

Read More »

Vienna Beyond the City Centre: Advice, Advantages, & Reviews

I have to be honest, when planning a trip to Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and Budapest, I was least excited about visiting Vienna. It was time to plan a summer trip to celebrate my submission of my PhD thesis (Finally!!!) and Mari’s PhD graduation/last big trip before leaving Iceland so we tried to think of cities neither of us had been to but wanted to visit before we had to move back to the states.

We decided that Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and Budapest were all close enough that we could travel to all of them in a little over a week. In our research, it looked like Vienna was the best option for traveling to and from the other cities. For me, Vienna was essentially the hub that would take us to more exciting destinations – boy, was this mentality totally wrong!

Read More »

The Most Beautiful Café in Budapest

Like so many tourist destinations, there are many restaurants to choose from in Budapest. We ended up not consulting TripAdvisor or similar online crowd-sourced  opinions for places to eat. Instead, we opted to ask the experts – the locals – and who best to recommend than the staff at the check-in desk at the hotel. Well, this turned out to be a terrible decision! Read More »

Budapest, Hungary in the Summertime: Arrival & Hotel

Budapest in the summer is extremely hot. In early June, the temperature rose to almost 90F every day, making traveling to and from Budapest quite an adventure!

Traveling by train is probably the best option because the seats are comfortable and the temperature is not too warm or cold, making the long journey from Prague (almost a 7 hour train ride!!) a pleasant one. Plus, the cost was only 20€, can you believe it?? The train from Boston to New York, about a four hour train ride, costs almost 4x that amount.

Seven hours later, we’ve finally arrived at the Budapest Keleti railway station.Read More »