Our flight landing in Osaka, Japan was nerve rattling. I watched the shimmer of the water reflect the intermittent flashes from our plane’s lit wing tips. At any moment I thought the wheels would touch water to a disastrous end. On the edge of my seat, I saw a strip of land appear just below … Continue reading Planko Parlors, Billikens, and Bowls of Ramen: Osaka Japan
Taipei, Taiwan: Night Markets and the Lunar New Year
Taiwan is an island country/state. At best, its existence in the international community can be described as politically ambiguous and in indefinite limbo. During the Chinese Civil War between 1927 and 1949, the 'Republic of China' withdrew from the mainland, retreating to current day Taiwan, while the Communist Party of China took control of mainland … Continue reading Taipei, Taiwan: Night Markets and the Lunar New Year
“Seoul’d” on South Korea!
Flashing lights lit up the night sky at different heights as the city of Seoul came alive. Hannah and I, on the other hand, were not awake enough to enjoy the experience on our first day. We took an overnight flight from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and arrived in Seoul, South Korea 6.5 hours later with no … Continue reading “Seoul’d” on South Korea!
Lost then Found (In shāʾ Allāh!) in the Streets of Fez, Morocco
"In shāʾ Allāh " roughly translates to "God willing", and was a frequent utterance from our Muslim hosts in Fez. With their (and God's) help and some practice, we avoided getting too lost and enjoyed the culturally immersive experience. Our excitement to visit Morocco was followed by a degree of hesitation. It was still technically … Continue reading Lost then Found (In shāʾ Allāh!) in the Streets of Fez, Morocco
Seville, Spain: Bulls, Christopher Columbus, and a Birthday
Seville was a very walkable city. The best way to see it was to get slightly lost in the annals of its streets and sights. In the Santa Maria Luisa park, heavy foliage was draped with birds of varying types, colors, and chirps. The Plaza de Espana wrapped around in a semi-circle with beautiful arches … Continue reading Seville, Spain: Bulls, Christopher Columbus, and a Birthday
Holy Toledo! A Medieval Adventure in Spain
A day trip to Toledo was a wonderful decision and introduction into southern Spanish architecture. A short train ride out of Madrid, it made for an easy day trip. Our introduction to the splendor of Moorish influence began as we stepped foot off the train. The train station itself showcased the influence of North African … Continue reading Holy Toledo! A Medieval Adventure in Spain
Madrid, Spain: Festive and Flavorful
Throughout our trip, I felt a bit jaded by large capital cities. The glass skyscrapers and massive deluge of people often led me feeling somewhat cheated of the culture we had hoped to witness. I was skeptical of Madrid, but wonderfully proven wrong. Plazas dot the neighborhoods of Madrid. Visitors filled their arms with shopping … Continue reading Madrid, Spain: Festive and Flavorful
Basel, Switzerland: Better Bring That Money, Honey!
Our day trip into Switzerland presented a neat surprise. At the end of October, Basel puts on a 2 week Fall market. Its plazas and parks buzzed with small dark, wooden stalls filled with Swiss chocolates, baked goods, handcrafted bowls, and various other festival vendors and foods. We had no idea that this festival was … Continue reading Basel, Switzerland: Better Bring That Money, Honey!
The Decadence of Paris, France: Escargot, Friends, and Catacombs
My first impression of Paris was rough. A massive line at the metro (subway) ticket machine greeted us as we exited the bus station. We opted to ride Lime scooters, fully encumbered by our combined 70+ pounds of bags, to our Airbnb. The route took us through some gritty areas where I was not inclined … Continue reading The Decadence of Paris, France: Escargot, Friends, and Catacombs
Budapest, Hungary: Mentored by a Local
It had been weeks since Hannah and I found ourselves in a truly major city. Budapest was alive and we could feel it in the large number of people and endless attractions and things to do. In fact, we became worried we might not fit everything we wanted in during our short 4 night stay. … Continue reading Budapest, Hungary: Mentored by a Local