Traveling to Zurich

Good Morning!

We made it to Zurich!!

Taylor flew out of Shanghai, had a layover in Russia, then caught a connecting flight to Zurich. I flew from South Carolina to Newark, to Boston, to Lisbon, then to Zurich! I AM TIRED. Not only was this a lot of traveling, but I’m not familiar with traveling abroad on my own. I usually follow Taylor’s lead and feel safe and comfortable doing that. This really challenged me and put my travel skills to the test. Although I made it to my final destination, it was a bit of a struggle.

I’m so thankful that we decided to squeeze in Switzerland before diving into Italy. We didn’t have time to see much, but thought Zurich would be a great choice. It was absolutely beautiful. We’ve really enjoyed strolling the streets together and taking in the amazing views.

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Switzerland is known for their cheese fondu, so we had to stop and try some! We ate at a small table along the streets, and the cheese was exceptional. They even refilled our bread bowl so we could scrape up every last bit of cheese.

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There wasn’t a bad view in Zurich. We really took our time soaking it all in and taking photos. I felt like I couldn’t put my camera down! Everywhere I looked there was another incredible view.

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If you do come to Zurich, you can’t miss Lake Zurich! Taylor and I were surprised at how teal the water was. I know it’s slightly difficult to see in the photos, but the water was crystal clear and beautiful. I bet the mountains look stunning in the winter covered with snow.

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Although I think the pictures turned out beautiful, you really have to see it in person. Lake Zurich did not disappoint!

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Once we were done walking around the streets, we stopped at a small cafe for drinks while we watched the sunset. We were still fighting jet lag, so we had to stay up as late as possible.

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Throughout the city, they have these public drinking fountains. They are very old and look like wells. Switzerland prides themselves in being able to drink the tap water. Taylor couldn’t wait to fill up his water bottle from one of these fountains! As a water snob, I’ll admit that it wasn’t bad!

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When we woke up the next morning, we had a little bit of time to explore before our train to Lugano. We started with breakfast at Babu’s. It was highly rated and packed when we got there. We squeezed our bodies and bags into the corner and ordered an açaí bowl, croissant, iced latte and iced matcha. It was delicious!

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Once we were done eating, we strolled the city streets some more! This time, with luggage in tow!

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I truly think we chose the best time to visit Zurich. With it being the end of August, the weather was slightly cooler and most of the tourists were gone.

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We had to be at the train station at 1:30 for our train to Lugano! We stopped for pizzas along the way, and ate them on the train/while we were waiting.

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Next stop, Lugano!

Going Home to Lancaster

Good Morning!

I feel like every time I start a new blog post, I’m in a different location! I never thought I’d spend a whole month traveling around and going wherever my heart desired. I think I could get used to this! 🙂

Once I left Hawaii, I flew home to surprise my parents. With the help of my sister and brother in law, we were able to completely throw them off guard. They had absolutely no idea I had plans of visiting, especially before Christmas! I left Hawaii around 4pm Hawaiian time and flew 7.5 hours to Chicago, where I had a 2 hour layover. I boarded my next flight at 6:30am Central time and landed in Baltimore at 9:30 Eastern time. I was EXHAUSTED to say the least. My time zones are completely out of whack. Hawaii was 18 hours behind China, and then I flew home which was 6 hours ahead of Hawaii and 12 hours behind China. Confusing right? 🙂

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Either way, I’ve loved being home and am extremely thankful for the life and career I have, which allows me to come and go as I please. Taylor is still doing well in Tianjin, and you can read about his update HERE. I’m sad he couldn’t come with me, but it was better this way. He’s been having a blast completely immersing himself into the Chinese culture, and I’ve enjoyed being able to see friends and family and refresh myself before going back.

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Coming back to America after living in China for two whole months was one of the best decision I made. I really needed to step away and readjust. I feel so relaxed, and can return to China knowing I’ll only be there for a few months before we return together for the holidays! I wish I would’ve know that I was coming home two months ago, because I think it would’ve made my transition a lot easier. In my mind, I was in China until Christmas!! Coming home has also shown me that I’m not trapped and I can come home whenever I need. The flight is long, but home is always here. This brings me so much peace.

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I’m off to South Carolina next to visit Maybelle and my in-laws! I’ll be there for a few days, and then we’re off on our next adventure! I can’t wait until you see where we’re headed next! Where do you think we’re going? 😉

 

Weekend In Utah

Bright and early Friday morning, we all bundled up and packed our bags for a day on the slopes! The hotel offered complimentary breakfast, but Lacie and I were dying to try the coffee shop across the street. Bjorn’s Brew was exactly what we needed to start the day! We were impressed with the service and how large the coffee was. I ordered a medium and it was massive! I couldn’t even finish it before we arrived to Park City. They even gave out adorable human dog treats with each order!

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Lacie and I had both skied previously, but weren’t pros. We decided to spend most of our day on the green slopes and occasionally the bunny slope with all the kiddos learning to ski/snowboard.

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Thankfully, Park City Mountain wasn’t super crowded and we never had to wait long in the chair lift lines.

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The views from the top were breathtaking! These photos don’t even do it justice!

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Our second day in Park City began just as early as our first. Instead of spending the day skiing again, we opted to do a snowmobile tour through Lofty Peaks Adventures! This was recommended to us by a friend and it was SO WORTH EVERY PENNY.

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Lofty Peak Adventures has amazing experiences for everyone, all year round! They have ATV, Snowmobiles, and Watersport adventures. I really enjoyed the snowmobile tour, so I’d love to do one of their other adventures during another visit.

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In order to get to the snow mobiles, we had to take a gondola to the tippy top of Snowbird Mountain. I’m still not sure if this was one of the coolest or scariest things we did. They crammed over 100 people into that gondola! Although the view was great, we were SUPER high up.

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Once we got to the top, we had to take a chair lift to the bottom of another mountain.

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Our tour guide was phenomenal! He took us through the back country of Utah, and it gave us the chance to see views that we would never get to see on our own. We could see all the untouched snow plus witness even more breathtaking views.

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Snowmobiling with two people is much harder than it looks. Lacie and I did well during the beginning half of the excision, but towards the end we kept tipping over. Thankfully, we never had any serious accidents, but it was frustrating in the moment. Now, we just laugh about all the silly things that happened on that three hour ride.

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On our third and final day in Utah, we spent the day sight seeing on our own.

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During our time in Park City, we caught the end of the Sun Dance Film Festival!

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Once we were done exploring Park City for the last time, we drove to The Great Salt Lake! This was something we were all itching to see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Although the lake had an odd smell, it was beautiful!

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I guess we chose a good time to visit, because there was only one other family visiting the Salt Lake. We had the whole place to ourselves!

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Lacie had to be back at the airport around 2, so we drove into Salt Lake City. Once we dropped her off, we wondered around the city and explored. We had several hours to kill, since our flight didn’t leave until 11pm.

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We couldn’t leave Utah without seeing Olympic Park. The museum was really fun and interesting, plus the perfect way to end our trip!

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This group trip was one I’ll never forget. Lacie and I don’t get to see each other often, but when we do it’s always a great time. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I did during these three days! My abs were burning by the time we left from all the laughter, so that’s how you know it was a great trip. 🙂 I’m so thankful for the opportunity to travel to Utah with some amazing friends!

 

 

Girls Weekend in Nashville Pt. 2

Our next day in Nashville was a fabulous one! We started our day at the Frothy Monkey in 21 South. This was a different location from the previous day, but it was so good the first time that we had to eat it again!

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We loved this location way more than the one downtown. It was extra cozy and homey, whereas the downtown location was more industrial and streamline.

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The two of us split the gravy biscuits, with a side of fruit and bacon. We also had coffee, but that’s no surprise. It was all phenomenal! We didn’t expect the portion sizes to be so large, so we could barley eat it all. One of the employees told us that we could order a half size the next time, so I guess we’ll just have to go back. 😉

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Thankfully, the weather was less windy and much warmer. It was the perfect weather for walking around the city! We needed to walk off some of the food we just ate, so we decided to walk across the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. 

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If you want to see some amazing views of the city and the river, then this bridge is for you! I’d love to walk it during the summer when everything is blooming! Or better yet, during the fall when everything is transitioning!

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There are also several mini parks below the bridge that looked great for dog walking.

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The Bridge gives you a great view of the Tennessee Titans Stadium. If you decide to stay outside of the city, you can park your car at the stadium for free during the off season. You can then walk over the bridge into the city. Thankfully, we lucked out when it came to parking during our trip, but if you plan on visiting during the busy season, I’d highly recommend parking at the stadium. Most parking garages start at $25 per day.

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Once we walked the bridge, we headed back to music row to see everything in the daylight.

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During our first night downtown, we passed a giant candy shop and everything smelled plus looked amazing. We decided to revisit that shop for good measure. 🙂

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…and we splurged on some giant chocolate, caramel apples! If you love candy apples and you’re ever in Nashville, these will not disappoint!

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Once we were finished eating our apples, we drove around to some nearby antique shops! The best one we visited was the Downtown Antique Mall.  If you’re into antiquing or refurbishing furniture, I’d highly recommend this place!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while inside. However, this was only because I was in heaven walking in and out of each and every room! They had so many items and all in great condition. If you’re in the market for a specific item, I’m sure they have it here!

…Just casually carrying a table down the streets of Nashville. Lacie purchased this piece for $30 and already finished refurbishing it! She is the Fixer Upper QUEEN. I put her up there with Joanna Gaines in my world. After walking around the Downtown Antique Mall, we were hungry for an early dinner. We stopped at 12 South Taproom and Grill, and were not disappointed.

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Once we were done eating, we headed to the famous #whatliftsyou mural. We stopped by the mural earlier in the day, but the sun was casting a huge shadow on the wings. Take my advice and go later in the evening when the sun isn’t so high, especially if you want a good picture. This mural didn’t have near as many people standing around it as the other.

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They even have a tiny set of wings, which I’m pretty sure is for toddlers or dogs.

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Sadly, the next day was our last. We started our morning by eating breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. It’s right next to Vanderbilt’s campus, so we were expecting it to be busy. Surprisingly, it wasn’t!

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I’m not lying when I tell you that these were THE BEST PANCAKES I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. I have no idea what is in their recipe, but they’re doing something right!

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Beside specialty pancakes, they also have your typical breakfast food. Each of their entrees comes with a side of delicious pancakes. I ordered a cheese and bacon omelet and it was delicious!

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When we left, there was a line around the building. Obviously, we came at a good time! You HAVE TO eat here if you’re in Nashville. Once we were done enjoying our pancakes, we decided to spend some time walking in and out of the shops.

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We still had some time to kill before heading to the airport, so we decided to go see the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Taylor had been telling us to go see it all weekend, but how exciting could a hotel be?

WRONG! Entering this hotel was like entering a completely different world!

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It was so beautiful! We walked around the water and looked at some of the shops they had.

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We wished that we would’ve gone earlier in the day to see everything. Neither of us was expecting it to be so beautiful!

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Afterwards, Lacie dropped me off at the airport.

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The two of us had so much fun exploring the city of Nashville. We had been dreaming of traveling to Nashville together for so long, so I’m glad we finally did it. We’re already  thinking about the next city we want to visit. Any suggestions?

First Day in Iceland

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Our journey to Iceland began on December 17 when we started driving from South Carolina to Baltimore. We found reasonably priced airline tickets that were leaving out of the Baltimore International Airpot, so the 6 hour drive was worth it (and way cheaper). After a few pit stops, we made it to the airport around 4pm because our plane was scheduled to depart at 6.

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The Baltimore airport was very calm, so we checked our bags and passed through security with ease. We purchased our tickets with WOW Air. This was our first time flying with this airline and our overall thoughts were average. Our plane tickets were reasonably priced (for a flight to Europe), but we didn’t recieve any amenities. There were no TVS on the plane and they didn’t serve any food or drinks without a charge. We also left about 30 minutes late for no apparent reason. However, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. We sat next to another screaming toddler who never stop crying for the entire 6 hour flight. This was a HUGE bummer because we never slept.

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We arrived in Iceland at 6am local time and it was pouring rain. We de-boarded the plane on the runway and caught a shuttle to the luggage terminal. Before arriving, we assumed that we’d need to stand in a huge customs and border control line in order to enter the country. However, they simply checked our passports and let us walk right in!

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As soon as we collected all of our bags, we picked up our rental car through ProCar. It was a dark, cold, and rainy morning with little to no sleep (thank’s to that screaming child). Once we packed everything into our tiny rental car, we drove 40 minutes to the town of Reykjavik. Not much was open, so we went to a local juice shop to refuel before starting our first day.

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The town of Reykjavik was so cute and quaint! There were so many Christmas lights and decorations for the holidays.

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We didn’t wear all of our layers during our day of travel, so as you can imagine, we were freezing while walking around outside. At 9am we went to a small cafe for breakfast. This place was known for their famous waffles, so of course that’s what we ordered! They did not disappoint!

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I’m fighting to stay awake! At this point, it was 10 in the morning and it was still pitch dark outside. We asked a local what time the sun would rise, and they told us that it typically rises around 11am during the winter.

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Our first stop in the city was the Hallgrimskirkja church. This church was built starting in 1945 and was finished in 1986. They still hold church services here today. In fact, we only had about 15 minutes to take our photos because they had a service scheduled.

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Most buildings within Reykjavic are low to the ground, so you can notice this church almost anywhere.

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This is a massive pipe organ that weighs 25 tons! This specific piece was finalized in 1992.

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Out front, there is a statue of Leif Erickson. They believe that Erickson was the very first European to discover America. There are records that suggest he found America in 1,000 A.D., which is way before Christopher Columbus.

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We stumbled upon an Islandic history museum and walked around.

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Once we were finished, we found the best hotdog stand to eat at for lunch! As you can see by the line, everyone else seems to enjoy their hotdogs as well!

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It’s located downtown across from the harbor and has been open for 80 years!

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We LOVED our hotdogs! They were so yummy, and it was a simple and easy meal to eat while exploring on our very first day.

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Throughout Iceland, you will notice churches scattered throughout. They all have white bodies with red roofs and are practically identical. The only thing that varies is the size of the building.

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We couldn’t check into our airbnb until 5pm. We killed time by driving around the city and walking in and out of shops.

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We ended our extremely long day by eating pizza in the city. Of course we had to fit pizza into our trip at least once! 🙂 None of us had slept for at least 30 hours, so we wanted something simple and comforting.

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The pizza was great and exactly what we needed!

AIRBNB REVIEW: 

We rented an apartment that was located downtown and above some of the shops. While we were searching for a place to stay, airbnb offered the best deals and had exactly what we were looking for. We didn’t want to spend too much money on a hotel that we’d essentially only be sleeping in.

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This apartment was recently renovated and very clean. It had everything that we needed! There were heated floors in the kitchen, amazing views, a heated towel rack in the bathroom, and super cozy beds.

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We wouldn’t have gotten anything as nice as this if we’d opted to stay in a hotel. If you ever find yourself in Iceland, we’d highly recommend staying here. The only downfall, was that we couldn’t check in until 5pm and the owner was very strict about this. Also, there was no parking spot included, but we never had any problems finding a spot along the street right outside.

You can find the link to this apartment by clicking HERE.

A Night In Vegas

Once we were done hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park, we started our journey back to Las Vegas, Nevada. We had a super early flight the next morning, and had to return our rental car back to Hertz before 5pm.

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The drive took about 2.5 hours and was just as beautiful as the first day. Since we were out west, we had to stop for lunch at In N’ Out Burger. When we passed it on our first day, we knew that we wanted to stop on our way back. Taylor had been looking forward to it all week!

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For our last night in Vegas, we stayed at another Airbnb, just because it was easy and simple. We know it isn’t expensive to stay in the hotels on the strip, but since we were only there for one night, we didn’t feel the need for a hotel room. Before we checked in, we explored the old strip for a few hours!

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We had no luck at gambling, so we stopped at Starbucks before heading to the airbnb. It was only a short 15 minute drive from the strip.

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When we arrived at the house (click HERE to see it), it was very clean and the host was very welcoming. They showed us our room, gave us water, and stayed out of our way. Since we had to return our rental car, we quickly showered and changed, then set out for Hertz.

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Once we dropped off the car, we ubered to the strip!

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We walked for miles, weaving in and out of the different hotels. Everything really is bigger and better in Vegas! Since we had a very early flight the following morning, we didn’t want to stay out extremely late.

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We ended the night by watching the famous Fountains of Bellagio in front of the Bellagio hotel.

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Headed back to the east coast!!

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Not only did we have an incredible time in Utah and Vegas together, but it has been so much fun writing about the adventures and experiences we had. This will be a trip we’ll never forget! Thank you for following along! 🙂