Nanjing Update – Seeing a Chinese Doctor

Good Morning!

As most of you know, we are back in China after our European getaway! I was gone for about a month visiting friends and family before meeting Taylor in Zurich. When I left China back in August, I had no idea how much traveling I’d be doing, when I’d be back, or that I’d literally fly around the world in a month! I feel so blessed to do what I love! Returning to Nanjing was a whole lot easier this time. I wish I would’ve known back in June that I’d be leaving for month in August. It would’ve made my transition way easier. Sigh. I really should trust that everything will work out. 🙂

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Our flight landed in Nanjing bright and early and we returned to our normal routine right away!

We started apartment hunting again (watch our Apartment Tour here) and we were welcomed back by our friends. We’re so lucky to have friends here who make living in China easier.

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A few days after we returned to China, my right ear started feeling achy and congested. sigh. I have suffered from swimmers ear and overall ear problems my whole life, but haven’t had any infections in quite a while. As you can imagine, I was really irritated! I’m not one to see a doctor right away. I’d much rather let my body try and fight it as much as it can before I start antibiotics or seeing a professional. I was drinking lots of water and letting it drain as much as possible. When it still wasn’t getting better, I went to the pharmacy and picked up some over the counter ear drops. Now, I’ve been taking ear drops for a really long time and these drops hurt so extremely bad that I knew something was wrong. Ear drops are supposed to cause you discomfort, but these were unbearable.

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So we went to see a Chinese doctor. I really really didn’t want to do this. I don’t do well when visiting American hospitals, so I didn’t know what I’d see in China. Taylor did some research with our translator Jake before picking which hospital to visit, and this one was one of the nicer options. We also took Jake along with us so he could translate for us.

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When you live in a city with millions of people, seeing a doctor can be chaotic. We paid 10 RMB to see the doctor upon arrival and were directed to the ears, nose, and throat room. Here, we waited maybe 30 minutes before my name appeared on the board that stated which doctor I needed to see. Once I found the doctor, I had to wait in line at his station to be seen.

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There’s nothing like waiting in a room with 30 other people who have ear, nose, and throat problems…

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HIPPA is not a thing here in China!

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Me looking at Taylor because I didn’t like the long metal object he was about to stick in my already achy ear.

The doctor examined my ear in front of everybody else in the room, which was awkward since I was the only American there and of course they were already staring at me. He told me that my ear was in fact infected, but my ear drum also had a hole in it (insert eye roll here). We’re not sure when it happened, but because my ear got infected, this is when my body decided to let me know that I had bigger issues. Side note: this happened to me years ago, so rupturing again is common.

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Once we were done seeing him, we walked downstairs and picked up my prescription on the spot. The whole experience cost me a total of 10 US dollars (without insurance), which is unbelievable. We were there for about an hour, saw a doctor, and picked up a prescription within an hour. This is unheard of in America!! Now, there was no privacy and it wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but you win some you lose some. I’m glad I went and overcame that fear, but I’m not eager to return. I do have to have the hole repaired through surgery, but I’m going to hold off until I return to the States for the holidays! I’m not quite ready to be put under anesthetics in China yet! 🙂

 

 

Our Airbnb’s in Switzerland & Italy!

Hello!

Today, I wanted to talk all about the Airbnb’s Taylor and I stayed in while we traveling around Switzerland and Italy! We’ve been using Airbnb for 5 years now, and we absolutely LOVE it. It’s super easy to use and it gives us the opportunity to travel to places we’ve only dreamt about. Hotels can be expensive and unpredictable. There’s nothing worse than over-spending on a hotel and having it be less than desirable. I think a lot of people are hesitant to use Airbnb because they’re unfamiliar with it, and they automatically assume they’ll be sleeping on a crazy person’s couch. I’m thinking about creating a Guide to Airbnb’s, because I think it could be really useful for those who want to learn more about it!

If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland or Italy and looking to stay in an airbnb, this post will be really helpful for you!

** There are two types of Airbnb listings that I’m going to be referring to in today’s post, shared and private. Shared refers to a space the host is also living in. Private, is a space that is separate from the owner’s home. 


Zurich: click here to visit the Airbnb listing

Location- You’re right downtown on a quiet street, and above a restaurant. It’s very easy to walk everywhere from here!

Wifi- The Wifi worked fine for us!

Overall Comfort- This one was a little too uncomfortable for me. The bathroom was down the hall (private not shared), and it was basically a mattress in a dorm like room with the little kitchen in the front. However, it was very clean and it served our one-night purpose. We booked this knowing about the lack of amenities and that it wasn’t going to be anything luxurious.

Owner Communication- He made sure we knew where we were going and provided us details about the location. All communication was via the Airbnb app.

Price- $106 for one night


Lugano: click here to visit the Airbnb listing

Location- This apartment was a shared space! The location was close to the train station and also close to downtown Lugano. It was in a great spot!

Wifi- The wifi worked really well here!

Overall Comfort- The apartment was very clean and cozy. Because it was shared, we slept on a pull out couch, which I wasn’t a fan of. We booked it knowing this ahead of time, but I just didn’t enjoy it because of not having my own space. I felt bad leaving my stuff all over her living room. I would rather have my own room and ability to relax. However, it is SUPER expensive in Switzerland, so the price was amazing.

Owner Communication- The owner and her boyfriend were super friendly and made us feel welcomed during our entire stay. They really made an effort to get to know us!

Price- $79 for one night


Lake Como: click here to visit the Airbnb listing

Location- This was another shared space, but more private than the last! It was within walking distance to the train station and downtown Como.

Wifi- It wasn’t the fastest, but it worked!

Overall Comfort- I felt like I was in a hotel room! We had our own room and bath and the owner provided us with waters and snacks upon arrival. This was such a neat place! The decorations made it extremely cozy, and you can tell that the host genuinely likes to make his guest feel comfortable.

Owner Communication- He met us at the front door and helped us with our bags, gave us tourist brochures, and made sure we were absolutely comfortable. He was so sweet! You should definitely check this place out if you’re visiting Como!

Price- $171 for 2 nights


Venice: click here to visit the Airbnb listing

Location- This private Airbnb was right downtown in all the action! Most hotels in Venice are outside the city, so we were super lucky to find this hidden gem. It was easy to explore Venice by foot! It was challenging to get to with all our bags, but the owner met us at a common location and helped us with our bags.

Wifi- The wifi was great here!

Overall Comfort- If you’re looking for a place to stay in downtown Venice (which is rare) this is an amazing Airbnb! The room had been restored, and it was stunning. Such a cool historical, private, and comfortable place to stay! There was also a washing machine here, which I found super convenient since we hit this place about halfway through our trip. If you click on the pictures via the Airbnb link, it doesn’t do this place justice.

Owner Communication- He was fantastic! He rents several Airbnb’s throughout Venice, so he knows what he’s doing. He gave us so many great restaurant recommendations, showed us around the airbnb, and made sure we were comfortable. He was a wonderful host!

Price- $181 for 2 nights


Florence: click here to visit the Airbnb listing

Location- Our Florence Airbnb was also private, and it was beautiful! We could walk anywhere we wanted, and we were around some amazing restaurants and a large market.

Wifi – Amazing Wifi!

Overall Comfort- This was our favorite Airbnb during the whole trip. It was so cozy and Italian. The interior was carefully restored and absolutely stunning. Seriously. Check out the photos in the link, because it’s so cool. You have to stay here if you’re visiting Florence.

Owner Communication- The host met us at the apartment when we arrived and he was so cool. He stayed and chatted with us for about an hour and told us all the ins and outs of Florence. He gave us a city map and circled everything we needed to see, and also gave us some really useful tips! He was a fabulous host!

Price- $184 for two nights


Viareggio:  click here to view the Airbnb listing

Location- This shared Airbnb was right next to the beach! It’s a little bit of a hike from the train station, but you can take public transportation. We had our own room and bath, but they were renting other rooms throughout the house. Being able to see the ocean from our window was fun! 

Wifi- The Wifi was okay here. Not the strongest, but it worked.

Overall Comfort- This was my least favorite Airbnb of the whole trip. The location was amazing, but comfort-wise it wasn’t that great. We had to carry all our luggage up several flights of spiral staircases. This was extremely difficult. The room was super small, and the bathroom was one of those where the sink and toilette are under the shower head. Does that make sense? There also wasn’t enough hot water for both of us to take a shower during the same evening.

Owner Communication- The host helped us find the house and greeted us upon arrival. We didn’t see much of them after we checked in.

Price- $176 for two nights


Rome: click here to view the Airbnb listing

Location- We ended our time in Italy with a great private Airbnb! Again, it was downtown and we could walk to everything. If you can’t tell, this is important to us. 🙂

Wifi- The wifi didn’t work well here, but that was the only setback. Only one of our devices could stay connected.

Overall Comfort- This was a wonderful Airbnb! We had a private room and bath and it was very clean and cozy! If you’re visiting Rome and want to try Airbnb, this is the place to do it! It was just like staying in a hotel!

Owner Communication- One of the best parts about this Airbnb, was that the host met us at the train station and drove us (short distance) to the apartment. Along the way, he pointed out different shops, restaurants, etc. that would make our stay comfortable. There was a café below the apartment that gave us free cappuccinos and one pastry each morning, because the host had a partnership with them. He also had a friend who owned a local restaurant just a few minutes away, so he made reservations for us and it was amazing! The owner of the restaurant took the best care of us too!

Price- $154 for two nights


 

I hope you enjoyed reading about these European Airbnb’s!

If you’re interested in trying Airbnb for your next adventure, please use this link to receive up to $51 off your first trip! www.airbnb.com/c/taylors175

Lake Como, Italy

Another day, another great destination to write about!

If you missed the first two parts in our European Adventure click the links below to catch up!

Part 1: Zurich

Part 2: Lugano

 

Today is part 3, which is all about Lake Como, Italy! Taylor and I were already coming off a high from being in Lugano, Switzerland, and Lake Como did not disappoint! This is another place we’d really like to go back to one day. The lake is so massive, and there’s various towns surrounding it. We visited during a beautiful time because the weather was transitioning to fall, and the tourism was minimum.

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We bought full-day ferry tickets and really enjoyed it. We’d recommend this to anyone interested in visiting Lake Como, because it’s an easy way to see everything surrounding the lake! We hopped on the ferry in Como, and traveled 2 hours north to the town of Bellagio. It took a whopping 2 hours and we were only halfway up the lake! Isn’t that crazy?! We took pictures and shared a bottle of wine along the way.

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We saw so many beautiful hotels and homes! What an amazing place to live!

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Once we got off the ferry, we walked through all the narrow streets together. It was so neat to be in an old town that was built into the mountain.

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We decided to eat lunch in Bellagio, before heading to the next town. One of the biggest tips of advice I can give while traveling, is to try and find a restaurant that isn’t around a huge tourist attraction or where a lot of tourists are coming and going (aka a ferry dock). Not that these places are bad, but they’re usually tourist traps. I’d much rather spend money on a cozy mom and pop shop! It’s places like these where you have the best memories.

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We both ordered pasta and wine, and it was exactly what we were looking for!

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After Bellagio, we hopped on the ferry again and sailed to Varenna next! Since we already ate, we just walked around and shopped.

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After seeing everything we wanted to see, we loaded onto the ferry again and visited Menaggio. At this point we were pretty tired, and this was my least favorite town of the three. The views were pretty by the lake, but there wasn’t much going on elsewhere. It was very residential.

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We had to take the ferry 2 hours back to Como, so we were ready for dinner when we de-boarded the boat! We decided to eat at a local pizza place called Pomodorino and it was perfect. We were seated outside, and there were massive umbrellas and some walls to block the wind. We each ordered pizza because that was what they were known for, and we were very impressed!

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Before catching our train the next day, we got up early and bought tickets for the funicolare. It went straight up to the top of the mountain, where we had amazing views of Como below. It was only a few euros per person, and we had a great time. I’d recommend getting there early!

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Lake Como treated us well. Next stop, Venice!

 

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!