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Spain Day Two: Segovia

Day two brought us an hour away to La Granja, about 5km from Segovia. We spent the morning at a crystal factory and even got to watch students learn to make pitchers and vases. It was incredible to watch; I would have never guessed that putting the handle on was a two-person job (one person came with to the first with a rod of hot glass and attached it to the first.) We toured the factory and learned a bit about the history of crystal, different types and saw some impressive pieces. Did you know that glass can be recycled, but crystal cannot? Next, we toured the royal summer palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, an 18th century palace built by King Philip V. The building was modeled after Versailles and is also known for its' massive, manicured gardens. Philip V really did not want to be King and…

First Day in Spain- Avila

Today I arrived in Spain for the YTP (Young Travel Professional) Fam trip with Petrabax. Upon arrival, we boarded a bus and drove about an hour and a half to Avila, a 15th century medieval town.  We checked into our amazing hotel, the Paradores, which feels like it was build into the city wall. The hotel is beautiful and has a antique vibe, which fits perfectly within its' surrounding. My room has a beautiful view of the maze-like gardens, where I can imagine knights in shining armor riding through on their horses.  After checking in, we had an incredible and lengthy lunch at Puerta del Alcazar where we feasted on salad with soft cheese and lardon; patatas revolcolas, fried pork over mashed potatoes (that were mashed in pork!!!); and- as if that weren't enough- we were then each presented a giant juicy veal steak. The veal came with a sign telling…

Annie's Adventures in India

    The Itinerary: Delhi->Agra->Jaipur->Srinigar->Leh->Manali->Chandigarh->Delhi Time period: 30 days exactly Budget: About $35/day + $500 for buying textiles, jewelry, gifts.  My travel history: While I've never been to Asia before, I consider myself an experienced traveler. I've done 4 or 5 trips of 1-3 months in length, in Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Latin America and here in the United States.   Why India?? I'm now in graduate school. Which, while putting me on a tighter budget than I've had to travel with lately, also provided me with a rare chance to run free of work obligations and plan a more ambitious trip than I've been able to in a while. I went with another close friend who also had the summer off.  My first pre-traveling piece of advice for India is: buy your plane ticket 6 months in advance, at least! Though we checked prices regularly starting in January (for a flight…
Recently, I trekked through the newly reopened to tourism country of Myanmar, also known as Burma. My journey through the golden land was incredible, and included beautiful cities, monuments, and rural villages. My journey began in Yangon, and took me northward in my second week. After relaxing and organizing for a few days in Hsipaw, Shan State, Myanmar, my newfound trekking friends and I mobilized and departed for the backcountry. Although there are a few established guided trips from Hsipaw, the route we wanted to take was far off the beaten path. Rather than see the tried and true, well groomed and setup "farming village" attractions that most tourists are taken to, the five of us wanted to get way out of town, and trek deep into the mountains to see what we might find - be it vast jungle, endless mountain peaks, farmland, or whatever else it is. We…

Vegas for Haters

I had been to Las Vegas 4 times and I always hated it. Even being used to New York pricing, I find it Vegas soul-sucking expensive. The Strip is not my scene; I don't like rowdy woo-girls***, obnoxious frat guys, or anyone who can't hold their liquor making a fool of themselves. I see there are good qualities about Vegas, but there are shows and most of the same restaurants in New York. Vegas reminds me of a year-round New York Times Square New Year's Eve- minus the cold. I understand why it's so special for a lot of people. And, unfortunately, it is a great location for trade shows.  So you must imagine how surprised I was to meet my husband in the pool of Planet Hollywood. We felt an obligation to return to the scene of the crime for our wedding anniversary. On my first two trips to…

The Grand Canyon During Government Shutdown

It's been awhile since my trip, but luckily I have my travel journal handy to remember the details. The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but so often it gets categorized in that lame-family-road trip genre. After my visit to Victoria Falls last June- which I promise to write about soon- I became obsessed with visiting Natural Wonders. My husband and I met in the pool of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on my 22nd birthday. We decided it would be fun to travel back to visit for our 2nd wedding anniversary. I'm really not a Vegas person,** (but more on this later- we created an AMAZING non-Vegas Strip itinerary) so 4 whole days in Vegas was not something I could stand for. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is only a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas, which made it a perfect…

Tales of Turkey

  • Published in Travel Stories
  • Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
  • Written by
After a year of traveling and generally doing nothing, I finally decided, "I'm going to settle down for a bit." But, unlike most Americans taking this step, I knew the US wouldn't be the location. As a lover of grammar and linguistics and an avid traveler, I had also always wanted to teach English abroad. I began the hunt for a place to work with the only requirements being "not too different but not too similar" and ended up in Ankara, Turkey at a university there. I went for one year and stayed for three and now that I've been away for a bit over a year, I can easily say I would go back in a heartbeat. Honestly, I knew very little about my new home prior to moving there. In 2007, while I was in Rome, I remember meeting a fellow traveler who had just come from Turkey…

Sausage Fest 2013!

Last night, we held out first fundraiser, Sausage Fest, in honor of National Bratwurst Day. It was a beautiful night in Brooklyn, not too hot and not too cold. We were lucky enough to enjoy the party not only inside, but also on the roof, with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop. We ate three different types of sausages, two different types of Polish Kielbasa, Podwawiska and Swojska, and one Italian sausage. We also enjoyed sides of a traditional German potato salad and green beans. This event was very fun to shop for. Our apartment in Williamsburg is located in the Italian neighborhood. We have been going to see Lou at Model T Meats for many years. Stepping into Lou's store is a blast from this past- complete with the sawdust on the floor. Lou makes his own Italian Sausage every Thursday afternoon and everyone in the neighborhood knows that…

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