Category Archives: Travel

Travel Tuesday: Colorado by Instagram

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I went to Denver for a long weekend in October to visit college friends & had a blast!  Just a few pics from my phone, will share more eventually!

View while hiking Mt. Sanitas

Hiking

Denver while stuck in traffic

Downtown Boulder

Pike's Peak

Picking pumpkins at the Happy Apple Tree Farm

Travel Tuesday: Kaffee and Kuchen

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Last week I talked about my love for European cafes.  It was on my trip to Germany that I fell in love with the mid-afternoon coffee and cake break.  Pretty much Kaffee and Kuchen was my and Danae’s lunch every day while we were there.  It was great!  We ate and drank our way through the northern half of the country so here is our daily coffee break.

In Hamburg we didn’t get cake, but we did make a stop for Balzac Coffee.  We needed coffee, but mostly we just wanted to giggle over the name Balzac.

In Gottingen we stopped at Cron & Lanz.  This is where we started ordering kaffee mit baileys, which just improved the experience.  We both agreed these were the best desserts of the trip!  Their chocolates were incredible as well, it was very upsetting when I finished my last one a few weeks after we got home!

The next day in Gottingen we had an hour to kill before our train left.  So of course we found an outdoor cafe in the city center and ordered a round of kaffee mit baileys to enjoy while we people watched.  German fashion and German daddies (we were amazed that they took their kids places) were the main topics of conversation.

In Sababurg we stopped at the biergarten inside Tierpark Sababurg.  There was cake involved, but we got beer instead of coffee.  And it was a good thing we did with the whole getting attacked by a baby donkey thing.

Paulaner-our fave!

Our first day in Kassel we stopped for another round of kaffee mit baileys and kuchen.  Well, atleast Danae did.  I decided to get real food but somehow ended up ordered soggy toast with tomatoes.  Life lesson learned-always order cake!!

On our last day we were at the Bergpark Wilhelmshohe waiting for the Hercules fountain to be run.  We sadly took one last afternoon break for beer and cake.

Just a small sampling of our unofficial food & drink tour of Germany!!

Travel Tuesday: Patisserie Valerie

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I spent an awesome week in London and Paris over Thanksgiving!  One of my favorite parts of Europe is the little cafes they have everywhere.  It is so relaxing to sit and enjoy a coffee and dessert.  It’s even more relaxing with if you add Baileys to the coffee, but that is a story for a different day.  Europeans really do understand leisure better than Americans, and this is the perfect example.  There is no feeling of being rushed.  In fact, it is usually hard to flag someone down when you do want to leave!

I was excited to discover Patisserie Valerie in London!!  Valerie must be a more common name in Europe because I saw another store that included it in the name.  I passed it on the way to Piccadilly to shop with my whole (huge) family so clearly I had to go back.  My sisters and I went for coffee and dessert a few days later and it was delicious!  We tried the chocolate mousse and the eclair, both were amazing!!  If only America would pick up this tradition!

 

Chocolate mousse with cream puff on top

Travel Tuesday: Our Favorite Fortress

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As Valerie gets ready to kick some USMLE/COMLEX ass in the next few days, I wanted to re-live our most relaxing evenings of the trip, spent in Kassel:  the fortress, the River Fulda, and our favorite waiter. These were my favorite nights of the trip because allwe did was sample local beers brought to us by a very handsome waiter while curled up in blankets overlooking the river on top of a tree-covered fortress. It was pure bliss. I try to take myself back there, mentally, when I’m the most stressed out – the kind of place where life was perfect and everything else just kind of faded away into the background…

The view from our table.

I still get excited when I find Bitburger in bars/stores!


Good luck, Va!

Travel Tuesday: Kassel’s Island of Flowers

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One of the things we loved about our trip to Germany so much was the fact that we went to lesser-known towns and cities without any real agenda.  We showed up at the train station and, in the case of Kassel, found a place to stay via the tourism office, and headed out.  There are so many things we loved about Kassel, but the flower island is definitely a favorite in my mind.

Located in Karlsaue Park, Siebenbergen Island is at the southernmost part of the park and accessible by a small bridge.  It was only 2 EU to get in, and totally worth it!

The Island from across the river

The gate and footbridge that takes you onto the island

 

What's this? A blocked-off path? We should investigate...

Where the path led us. Magnificent.

Like I said, this was just one of MANY things we adored about Kassel.  If you’re ever in the area and looking for something lesser-known to do, make sure you check out the flower island in Karlsaue Park!

Travel Tuesday: Antigua, Guatemala

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One of the things I really love about my profession is that it allows me ample opportunity to do the thing I love the most: travel!  I had the opportunity to visit Guatemala in August 2009 as part of a dental relief mission and I have to say, I’m totally sold on the experience.  Helping people?  Check.  Visiting remote parts of the globe? Check.  Enough time off to make a vacation out of it? Check.  It’s an all-around win!

On this trip, we spent 5 days in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, a city known for its outdoor market and difficult-to-reach-by-car location.  After those five days, we spent 3  more days relaxing and enjoying the city of Antigua.  Although I had never heard of Antigua before, it’s only an hour outside of Guatemala city and quite the destination both in Latin America and for European travelers.  The colonial influence is amazing, I was totally captivated by the beauty of this charming little town.

The arch in the middle of town; it used to connect the nunnery and the monastery, and supposedly the arch is full of the babies who came about as a result...

The fountain in Central Park

The Cathedral of San Jose, just off of Central Park

By far, the best part of being in Antigua was stumbling upon a cathedral in ruins.  We were simply wandering the streets of the city trying to take in as much as we could, and spotted some ruins behind a fence.  Once we turned a corner, we found that we could enter the ruins and look around (for a price, of course).  Let me tell you, it was SO worth it!  To this day, it’s one of my favorite travel experiences.

I can’t seem to find the name of it anywhere, but fortunately I took some pictures of signs posted and have dates:

Built 1545, destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 and in ruins ever since

This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever stepped into.  Despite the ruin and open ceiling, it still had the feeling of a church.

Looking towards the altar. Can you spot the mayan influence?

Amazing, right?

It was really difficult to capture the beauty and grandeur of this place, the pictures don’t even do it justice.  It was breathtaking.  We spent an hour or so exploring the ruins and taking photos before we had to leave and meet the group for dinner.  On our way to the restaurant, we were greeted with this beautiful sight:

The peak is obscured by the clouds, but this is one of the many volcanos overlooking the city of Antigua: Volcan de Agua.  Which reminds me…. volcano hiking is another popular activity in Antigua, but that story is just going to have to wait for another Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday-Early Morning Honolulu

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I spent some time vacationing in Hawaii last summer and absolutely loved it!!  Though Maui was my favorite, I still enjoyed Oahu.  My first morning there I was wide awake by 6am due to jet lag.  One friend was heading to work and the other hadn’t gotten in yet, so I explored Honolulu and Waikiki Beach by myself before crowds of tourists took over.  Everything was quiet and calm, definitely one of the more relaxing parts of my trip!

Ala Moana Park

View of the city from the far end of Ala Moana. It rained for a few minutes, then got sunny and beautiful again!

One of my favorite pictures I have ever taken!

The first of many rainbows I saw

Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial-A WWI Memorial

Diamond Head Crater

So if you are looking to avoid the crowds at Waikiki Beach you don’t have to go far-you just have to wake up early!