Archive for the “Europe” Category

I’m Off to Iceland

Next Tuesday, I am making good on a birthday promise. Last year, I created a list of “19 Things to Do Before I Turn 35” as a way to direct my travels. But, when I turned 33 this year, I realized I hadn’t accomplished a single thing on that list, which was kind of depressing. So in order to live up to my own goals, I pulled the trigger and booked multiple plane tickets to destinations on that list (Iceland, the Caribbean, […]

My Long-Distance Travel Romance

From the first moment I looked upon Paris, I was in love. Paris was everything I thought it would be — beautiful, sophisticated, ancient, orderly, and relaxed. All the clichés were true. As I stared at the Arc de Triomphe and then down the boulevard of the Champs-Élysées, fashionably dressed people in their fitted pants, beautiful dresses, and black jackets moved around me, a tourist too dumbstruck to move. I was in love. Subsequent visits only deepened my love for […]

This is the Best Thai Food Outside of Thailand

I’ve left pieces of my heart in many places around the world: New York, Paris, Stockholm, and Hong Kong to name a few. But no place has a bigger piece than Thailand. It was my home for a long time (and in many ways still is). No amount of time there is long enough, and any amount of time away is too long. Whenever I miss it, I head to a Thai restaurant, shock the staff by speaking Thai, enjoy […]

Walking Among the Dead at Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Death is not the end for the residents of Père Lachaise in Paris. Their tombs and graves are gawked at every day by hundreds of camera-touting tourists seeking the cemetery’s famous and not-so-famous inhabitants. The cemetery was built in 1804 as the city ran out of room for new graves within its limits. It was named after Louis XIV’s confessor, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in a house near the cemetery land. At the time, the locals […]

22 Ways to Save Money in Paris

Uncorking a bottle of French wine on a sunny day, spreading Brie on a baguette, gazing out on the Paris skyline in front of the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre—to me, that’s the perfect day. Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world thanks to its cobblestone streets lit up at night under the glow of street lights, historic architecture, incredible music, savory delicious food, and smartly-dressed locals. Paris is a city I just melt into. But Paris is also […]

Prague: Back to Where it Began

My life as a backpacker began in Prague. I arrived there two months into my trip. But those two months were spent staying with friends and driving across the US. It wasn’t spent in hostels or meeting travelers. Up until that time, my trip had always felt like an extended vacation. But all that changed in Prague. Prague was the first place I stayed in a hostel and had to make friends with strangers in dorms, navigate on my own […]

My Current Favorite Hostels in Europe

The last time I wrote about great hostels in Europe was in 2011, and since then, I’ve stayed in many, many new hostels. Some were wonderful, others I couldn’t leave quick enough. Hosteling is very popular and established in Europe, and there’s a growing “luxury” hostel trend that incorporates more amenities (and higher prices) for travelers. Since hostels come and go and quality can change rapidly, I thought my 2011 post needed an update. Here are what I currently consider […]

10 Ways to Visit Stockholm on a Budget

One of my favorite places in the world is Stockholm (I even attempted to live there last year). I love the city’s historical beauty, the natural beauty of the archipelago, and the beautiful people. Throw in lots of parks, delicious cafes, and bars, and you have the recipe for one of the greatest destinations in the world. Over the years, I’ve developed a good network of friends in Stockholm, and I’ve been there so much I feel like I know […]

My Love Note to The Irish

A couple years ago, I had a twenty-four hour layover in Dublin. I crammed in as much sightseeing as I could, and though I got to see the sights, I never got to know the city. I vowed to come back. The Emerald Isle has always held a certain allure: Guinness, friendly locals (never met an Irish person I didn’t like), rolling verdant green hills, leprechauns, pots of gold, lucky charms, hearty food, and ancient castles. Last month, I went […]

How to Spend Four Days in Madrid

When I visited Madrid in 2009, I only saw my hostel’s bed due to a bad cold I got in Barcelona. I left what was supposed to be one of the best cities in the world sad, sick, and upset I only ever saw the city on my way to the pharmacy. Returning in May while on my Eurail trip, I vowed not to leave the city without experiencing its supposed sensory-overloading sights, sounds, and eats. Taking the time to […]