Austria - Final Thoughts

Flying from Berlin I ventured onward to Salzburg which is nestled next to the border of Germany. Austria is a unique place where every hillside and the small town looks as if it were meant to be in a storybook,not actual life. the hills really are alive in Austria and the sound of music is everywhere. I am not talking about the famous film, although there are tours for that, I am speaking of the beauty of Austria. The cinematic landscapes are glistening with
 inspiration and wonder. My cousin and I were fortunate to spend six days in this heavenly place at a BnB next to a giant mountain called the Untersburg. Salzburg has a wealthy history due to its valuable salt mines, and the oldest in the world resides an hour away in a town called Hallstatt.

I was fortunate to visit Austria during a yearly festival where everyone dresses up in traditional Bavarian clothing and heads to the town center to celebrate! The festival is held near the Dom cathedral in Salzburg. This church is breathtakingly beautiful in every way. When i stepped inside the cathedral I felt immediate peace. I let a candle and said a prayer for my loved ones. I must have spent an hour or so gazing up at all the works of art thought the cathedral. If you ever go to Salzburg, (religious or not) go inside this stunning cathedral. :)

Stepping outside the Dom I became immersed in Austrian or should I say Bavarian culture. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful outfits, second, was the giant beers people grasped in their hands. We are talking one-liter beers here people! I could also smell fresh bratwursts and pretzels around every corner. The food was not too expensive and one thing I enjoyed was the kebabs on the street. Think of a bread wrap filled with juicy lamb, topped with veggies and a tasty yogurt sauce. They reminded me of gyros but with lamb.  Austria was not the only place with kebabs but it was the first place I tried one. 

My last day in Austria was spent up top the Untersburg Mountain and followed by a scenic drive through Austrian countryside on our way to Hallstatt. Hallstatt is one of the oldest towns in Europe that has stayed the same since way back when. My cousin and I met a fellow traveler from the states the day before and decided to rent a car and drive to Hallstatt. This place is straight out of a picture book and I didn't want to leave! It was well worth the car rental fee and our jaws were down to the floor the whole time. If we had more time we would have explored the oldest salt mine in the world or possibly check out the ice caves under Hallstatt. I guess I'll have to do those things next time. So that was my time in Austria in a nutshell. Below are various photos from our stay in Austria and I hope they inspire you to take a trip to Salzburg! 

 

 

 

Berlin - Final Thoughts

Here I am in Berlin, it is my first stop in Germany and I'll be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I got a horrible cold from Ireland and was not feeling well by the time we arrived in Berlin. This being said, I pushed through and ventured into the city. Berlin is huge, like way bigger than I had thought. I only spent a few days here so I did not get to see everything. What I did see was a city that has much to offer. I didn't feel the magic that I felt in Amsterdam but Berlin brings a rawness to the senses. Wandering around I witnessed many strange faces and fantastic street musicians. Not to mention all types of Turkish shops, kebab stands, street markets and bars.

I also noticed that in Berlin you can walk around the city with alcohol no questions asked. So, naturally, my cousin and I grabbed a cold one and wandered the city streets as the sun set.. Berlin is an ever-changing city and at first, I felt a bit unsettled by all the graffiti only to find out that these parts of town like Neukolln, are not shady anymore. In fact, they are booming with young people and artists! I also discovered the artistic street art that can be found under the metro or hidden streets. There was a Turkish assemblidge artist I found who did some very interesting things iwth computer parts and various metal scraps. I have included photos of his work below. Here are some photos of what I saw in Berlin. Just because I was not in love with Berlin doesn't mean I did not enjoy it! Please have a look and tell me what you think. Thanks :) 

Ireland - Final Thoughts

You don't need much to have a splendid time in Ireland. All it takes is a pint of Guinness, beautiful scenery mixed in with lovely people and you are bound to have a wonderful time. Ireland is a wondrous land full of legends and fabulous people. If you find yourself able to visit Ireland, by all means, Go! There is a mystic charm that lingers in the air in Ireland. This charm has got people being overly extremely friendly and hospitable or, maybe it's all the Guinness... My cousin and I arrived in Dublin on the 13th of September and the first thing we decided to do was grab some fish & chips from a local takeaway shop in Dublin center followed with a fresh pint of Guinness. This combination could not have been better. 

One of the greatest attributes Ireland has to offer is its friendliness. In my experience, the Irish are not afraid to make a new friend whenever given the chance. The people I met are genuinely friendly and kind to strangers and are always up to share a pint with you. That being said, the Irish have much more to offer than a lovely chat over a delicious brew. There is history here and you can see it all around. After Dublin, we took a bus to Galway and visited the Cliffs of Moher wich I have photos of below. 

We experienced our first rainbow in Ireland, followed by an incredible sunset. 

After a short stay in Galway, we made our way to Belfast. Now Belfast is technically part of the UK but many Irish live there because it was once part of Ireland, so today its known as Northern Ireland. That being said, seventeen years ago I visited Ireland with my mom and dad as a child. We were there for a month or maybe longer and ever since then I have wanted to return. Thanks to the powers of Facebook we have kept in touch with the family that put us up for a month in 1999. I wrote them explaining that I would be visiting again and would love to see them so, they offered to let my cousin and I stay in their new home for a few nights. :)

Our stay in Belfast was short and sweet. The night we arrived was culture night in the center of Belfast and it only happens once a year! It was a really fun time and I enjoyed the good brews and great music.  Overall, our visit was a wonderful experience and Ireland will always have a special place in my soul and I honestly was not ready to leave.  Below you will find images from my stay and I hope they make you want to travel to Ireland and enjoy a pint of real Guinness! 

Final Thoughts - Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam is a magical place full of excitement and wonder around every corner. I would recommend visiting this grand city to anyone. Amsterdam is full of energy and there is something for everyone here. Want to stroll through the cobblestone streets at night and watch the city light up? I can guarantee that this is most enjoyable. While you are at it I would recommend taking a night canal cruise through the city as I did. It is quite an unforgettable experience. Though Amsterdam has many and I mean many museums, I found myself staying away from them and getting lost in the city streets instead. Don't get me wrong, the museums are some of the best in the world but I was just not very interested in waiting in ridiculously long lines. 

There is one major tourist attraction I do recommend visiting and that is the Hortus Botanical Gardens near the center of Amsterdam. The botanical garden is one of the oldest in the world and it was originally founded in 1638 as a herb garden for doctors. Nowadays the beautiful garden contains more than six thousand tropical and indigenous plants from around the world. Anywho, Amsterdam is a fun city and I had a blast people watching and photo taking. Hope you enjoy the photos below. :)

First Impressions - Amsterdam

After a ten hour flight from LAX and zero hours of sleep, I arrive in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. This city has a notorious reputation for marijuana, prostitution, and legalized gay marriage, for this is where the Dutch have stood for many years. The Dutch have been at the forefront of controversial change and tolerate certain activities that many other countries consider unacceptable. With that leadership in controversial matters, the Dutch have made their capital a magnet that's pulling people from around the world to this canal-ridden land. 

These controversial activities that one associates with Amsterdam are only a slice of what this city has to offer. There are countless museums throughout the city like the Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, or the famous Anne Frank house. For my first day, I chose to explore and soak up the city through my five senses. I had no plan or agenda, just curiosity, and excitement! So here are some photos of Amsterdam from an American viewpoint.

Amsterdam here I come.

 Waving goodbye to America! 

Waving goodbye to America! 

The day has come. I am finally going to Europe and I'm sooo excited! My bags are packed and my spirit is up. In just 12 hours I will be setting foot in one of the most exciting cities in Europe, Amsterdam. I have five days in the Netherlands all to myself and my camera and with  that being said, I thank you for following me as I take an adventure across the Atlantic Ocean. I will post again when I land in Amsterdam. Stay tuned.  😄 

Europe is one week away!

Next week I will embark on my journey to Europe for a whole month my with good friend/ cousin, Justis. This is a short video to give you and idea of whats to come. I hope you enjoy our adventure and follow along with us on my blog. :)

First blog post!

 

Hello World! 

I have an announcement everyone. I will be going to Europe in two weeks for a whole month with my cousin, so I have decided to become a blogger. I will set foot in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 8th and leave Europe from Oslo, Norway on October 5th. This blog will be a mix of travel stories, equipment review, and an update of my latest photographs. Please follow along and SHARE with anyone who you might think is interested.

Thank you.

P.S. Don't worry my next post, and those that follow will be more exiting I promise. :P