Destinations

Cambodia: The Killing Fields

Cambodia: The Killing Fields

Warning: The post contains some gruesome pictures/details of the Khmer Rogue regime. On January 4th, I continued my exploration of Phnom Penh. I left my hostel around 9 am and got in one of the tuk-tuks waiting outside. My destination was the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. But […]

Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat Sunrise

One of the most popular times to see Angkor Wat is for the sunrise. Because the temple faces west, it’s in a perfect silhouette for sunrise. But get there at sunrise and you’ll be disappointed with the amount of people. So like many other photography opportunities, […]

Chiang Mai Zoo – with videos!

Chiang Mai Zoo – with videos!

I love zoos. If the animals are treated decently, they’re always a fun way to spend the day. Most countries outside of the United States tend to have looser rules when it comes to interacting with animals so when I travel, I always try to […]

Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom

It’s been an extremely busy and exhausting past couple days in Siem Reap visiting Angkor Wat. Waking up at 3:45 am then touring all day long. In the trade-off between staying in and making a new post vs. going out and traveling, traveling wins. I’ll […]

Muay Thai Boxing

Muay Thai Boxing

On top of it’s wildlife, Thailand is also popular for their native martial art: muay thai. Muay thai is similar to kickboxing with the boxer able to use their fists, elbows, knees, and shins to attack their opponent. It consists of 5, 3 minute rounds. In […]

Criminal Massage

Criminal Massage

I read about this place in my guidebook and being up for anything, I decided to give it a shot. At 8 am Christmas morning, I showed up to the women’s correctional center in Chiang Mai. This center offers great massages by female inmates looking […]

Baan Chang Elephant Park

Baan Chang Elephant Park

As soon as I booked my trip to Thailand, I knew I wanted to ride an elephant. Thinking that I won’t go back to Thailand anytime soon, I reserved a spot on two different day tours. NOTE: Due to time constraints, this post doesn’t contain […]

Off to Chiang Mai

Off to Chiang Mai

I woke up after six short hours of sleep to catch my flight to Chiang Mai. I checked out and grabbed the hotel shuttle to Bangkok airport. I arrived at the airport at 7:30 am for a 10:00 am flight and I’m glad I did […]

Travel Day(s)

Travel Day(s)

I’ve said in the past that the worst part about traveling is actually traveling, and that hasn’t been more true than today. While my flights went smoothly, I went a long time without sleeping in a bed. I woke up early on Sunday and after […]

On crowds and expectations

On crowds and expectations

Traveling comes with a certain level of expectations. You plan for months for your trip – looking at pictures, reading reviews online, and talking to people who have traveled the same path. But even for the experienced traveler, these lofty expectations can come with disappointment. Think […]

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

If there’s one photography mecca in southern Utah, it’s in Canyonlands National Park. Photographers come from all over the world to photograph this national park and it’s famous scenery. And if there’s one site to see in this photographer’s playground, it’s Mesa Arch. Despite it not […]

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is a series of slot canyons in northern Arizona outside the town of Page. Located on Navajo Indian land, the only way to visit is on a guided tour. On my whirlwind tour of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, Antelope Canyon was a must-photograph location. […]

Initial planning for Thailand and Cambodia

Initial planning for Thailand and Cambodia

Between my birthday and Thanksgiving, my trip will be here before I know it. I booked my initial flight to Bangkok on October 3rd and since then I’ve managed to do some good planning.  I know which cities I’m going to and for how long and […]

Just booked my next trip…

Just booked my next trip…

With the amount of planning that only a (legally) single guy can do, I booked a flight to my next destination. On December 21st, I’ll be flying to Southeast Asia and spending 20 days touring Thailand and Cambodia. I’ll drive to Tampa on December 20th and then […]

So it’s back to the drawing board

So it’s back to the drawing board

I returned from Japan on June 30th and I’ve settled in pretty nicely. In the past few weeks I’ve had more American food than I care to admit and things at work are getting back to normal. Looking back on my time in Japan, it […]

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined

This past Saturday before my parents arrived I did some more shopping in Tokyo. I stopped by my favorite burger restaurant for lunch and then picked up some dress shirts. I haven’t purchased a lot in Japan but my suitcase was fairly full when I came over – hopefully everything […]

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

One of the top sites to see in Hiroshima is the Peace Memorial Museum. As an American, it was a very interesting experience. First, the logistics. It’s open most days from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm, which is somewhat surprising since most places in Japan […]

Okunoshima – the bunny island

Okunoshima – the bunny island

While in Hiroshima, I did a couple side trips. My first stop was to Ōkunoshima, an island about an hour west of Hiroshima. From the outside, there isn’t anything remarkable about Ōkunoshima. But after spending a few minutes on the island, you can see why it’s so […]

27 days left

27 days left

Time has passed quickly since my trip over Golden Week. From a personal level, it’s been a fun past month. My parents are visiting me in Japan this upcoming Sunday (June 8th) and will be spending two weeks in Japan. I’ll get to spend the weekend […]

Day trip to Nara

Day trip to Nara

On my last full day in Kyoto, I decided to head south and take a day trip to Nara, a small city famous for it’s temples. But I wasn’t really there for the temples. In fact, I didn’t really see them at all. Instead, I went […]

Gio-ji and Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji temples

Gio-ji and Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji temples

The end of my trip was pretty busy and I didn’t get a chance to make new posts. I’m back in Fussa now and will post updates this week. On another rainy afternoon in Kyoto, I went to visit a couple temples. Rather than walk from the train station […]

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

This Shinto shrine sits at the base of a mountain and is dedicated to Inari – the god/spirit of rice. It’s relatively large and without an admission gate, it’s free and open 24/7. Like the bamboo forest, I decided to come here on two separate days. The […]

Kyoto Aquarium

Kyoto Aquarium

With a rainy day, I decided to visit the Kyoto Aquarium. It didn’t have very good reviews, but I found it to be a good option outside of the temples and shrines. First stop was the frog and small fish exhibit. Neat, but nothing too exciting. This […]

Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

On the western side of Kyoto is the Arashiyama district – famous for its many temples and hilly scenery. One of it’s most famous sites is a bamboo forest. Like many popular attractions, it all depends on when you visit. My first visit was on a sunny […]

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Sunday morning I took short trips to Fushimi Inari Shrine and the bamboo forest in Arashiyama. I mainly went to scout for taking pictures later in the week so I’ll make separate posts for them later. The rest of the day was dedicated to visiting Iwatayama Monkey […]

Kyoto Tower and the Golden Pavilion

Kyoto Tower and the Golden Pavilion

Saturday started my golden week holiday. I left my apartment early at 6:30 am then transferred in Tokyo for the Shinkansen and finally arrived in Kyoto at 11:15 am. The train ticket cost $135. First stop was lunch. I got sushi and went with two rolls which had […]

Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

On Saturday, I start a 10 day trip to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Different from most trips I take, I’ll only be spending the night in two different locations – 6 nights in Kyoto (probably too many) and 3 nights in Hiroshima. But beyond a few […]

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park

In the nineteen countries I’ve been to this was one of my best travel experiences. My main reason for going to Nagano for the weekend was to visit the wild monkey park in Yamanouchi. Japanese macaques, more commonly called snow monkeys, are drawn to this mountain area […]

Touring Chernobyl and Pripyat (inside buildings)

Touring Chernobyl and Pripyat (inside buildings)

On the 24th, I finally made my trip to tour Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone, the highlight of my trip to Ukraine. Background: The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 and was the worst nuclear disaster at its time, responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer related […]

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

After seeing pictures of this online, I knew I had to photograph it if given the chance. And once I booked my trip to southern Utah, this became a must-do. It’s located 8 miles south of Page, Arizona and is in the northern-most part of […]

Basics of the Japanese language

Basics of the Japanese language

Let me preface this by saying I have barely scratched the surface on learning Japanese and while I can’t guarantee that everything below is 100% correct, it is to the best of my knowledge. A year ago I knew nothing about the Japanese language. I couldn’t […]

Canon service center in Ginza

Canon service center in Ginza

I noticed my camera sensor had some dust on it so I went into Tokyo to get my camera cleaned on Saturday. I have a 10 day trip coming up on the 26th, so I figured now would be a good time. I visited Canon’s flagship […]

What’s next after Japan?

What’s next after Japan?

I’m not even back to Greenville yet and I’m already starting to think about my possible next trip. These are the places I have in mind. I currently get two weeks of vacation through work. We have the option of rolling over a week into next […]

Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park

This park has been made famous outside of Japan mainly due to internet articles like the poorly-worded 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist and 21 Breathtaking Places You Won’t Believe Exist (clearly the second author didn’t agree with the first list). […]

North Carolina Waterfalls

North Carolina Waterfalls

One of my favorite ways to spend an overcast day is by photographing waterfalls in North Carolina. Here’s some of my better shots.

Grocery stores in Japan

Grocery stores in Japan

Exploring a Japanese grocery store can be an interesting experience. They take some getting used to but in reality they’re not all that different from ones in the United States. Layout and hours The layout is what I’m used to: produce, milk, and fish/meat on […]

Hanami and Mt. Takao

Hanami and Mt. Takao

In the last week of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, my coworkers invited me to a hanami gathering. A very kind gesture on their part. So after work on Friday, we met at the local Seiyu (Japanese Wal-mart) and picked up some beer, snacks, and bento – the […]

Upcoming travel in April

Upcoming travel in April

I plan on doing a ton of traveling during the month of April. Luckily for me, the weather looks good – at least for this weekend. In addition to my plan for Golden Week starting on April 26th, this is what I have planned: April […]

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are a huge deal in Japan. There’s hundreds of thousands of cherry trees throughout the country and when they bloom, it’s a very special time of the year. Like the ones located in Washington DC, most of the trees are the non-fruit producing […]

Bathrooms, masks, and germ prevention in Japan

Bathrooms, masks, and germ prevention in Japan

One of the things that surprised me about Japan how they prevent germs. Let’s start with public bathrooms. I’d say the 90% of public bathrooms (most common at train stations) don’t have paper towels, hot water, OR soap. I’ll go through these one at a […]

Trash cans in Japan

Trash cans in Japan

I’m living in the largest city in the world and surprisingly trash is not an issue. The streets are very clean and if there’s an empty bottle on a train, someone probably left it by accident. However, the amount of public trash cans is staggeringly low. In […]

Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

So I learned the hard way that Japan does not have western-style deodorant readily available. This is not something I anticipated when I moved here and isn’t something you really think about.  It should be like finding toothpaste or face wash, right? Turns out that’s […]

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

This past Saturday I decided to go to Tsukiji Fish Market. The most popular thing to do is see the tuna auction, but that didn’t happen for me and I doubt I will see it. For one, even though it starts at 5:15 am, you […]

Trip to Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchiko

Trip to Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchiko

After checking the weather forecast, I decided to spend Saturday night near Mt. Fuji and return on Sunday. One night in a hostel costs 2700 yen, whereas a one-way train ticket costs 3000 yen, so I might as well spend a night there and make […]

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

Coming to Japan there were many things that I was prepared for ahead of time: the relatively low-carb diet, riding a bike to work, and even the compactness of my 230 sq. ft. apartment. But something I underestimated was the difficulty in talking to people. […]

Update on Japan

Update on Japan

I wanted to post an update on my trip to Japan. It’s been about two months since I moved to Japan and I have about three more months to go, so almost half way there. As expected, it’s been an interesting experience. One thing I […]

Land of the poorly-timed sun

Land of the poorly-timed sun

I’m convinced there is something wrong with Japan’s timezone. Right now in early March, the sun sets at 5:30 pm. Not too bad, it’s winter right? Tokyo has roughly the same latitude as Raleigh, North Carolina so you would expect them to get the same […]

Golden Week traveling

Golden Week traveling

If you’re not familiar, Golden Week is a week in late April and early May that has many close holidays in Japan. Most companies give their employees the week off. At JTEKT, we get from Apr 26th to May 5th off. Since I booked my […]

Snow skiing in Nagano

Snow skiing in Nagano

We met at work Saturday morning at 6:30 am to carpool for the ski trip. The only problem was that I didn’t have a way to get there so I had to bike. I left my apartment at 6:00 am and got there 20 minutes […]

The Tokyo skyline

The Tokyo skyline

Well it took me about a month, but I finally managed to get a good picture of the Tokyo skyline. My first few attempts weren’t that great. I first tried the observation deck at the Bunkyo Civic Center. It’s free to take the elevator to the […]

Lack of traveling

Lack of traveling

The business trip to Osaka went well. I wasn’t able to see much besides the manufacturing facility and my hotel, but that was expected on such a short trip. Hopefully next time I’ll get to spend longer and see the cities of Osaka or Nara. […]

Snowpocalypse 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

Over the weekend Tokyo got 10 inches of snow, with Fussa City collecting closer to a foot of snow! I’ve experienced snow like this when I lived in Rhode Island, but 12 inches in 24 hours didn’t happen very often. It was an unusually high […]

Sushi Santa

Sushi Santa

Near the Yokota Air Force base there is a sushi restaurant called Sushi Santa. From my apartment, it takes me 3 minutes on my bike. Inside is a sushi bar that can seat at most 15 people. It has a family atmosphere, where the chef […]

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

My first stop on my trip this past weekend was to Matsumoto Castle. Getting there was a bit of a challenge. I left my apartment at 6:30 am, went into Tokyo and then took the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagano. I then grabbed a local […]

Upcoming weekend trip: Nagano and Matsumoto

Upcoming weekend trip: Nagano and Matsumoto

I booked my lodging and this weekend I’ll be taking a trip to Nagano Prefecture. I’ll be leaving from my apartment (near Hachioji on the map) to take the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano where I’ll be spending two nights. On my way back, I’ll […]

Helping teach English in Nakano

Helping teach English in Nakano

Yesterday was an interesting day. I bit the bullet and bought some cooking supplies and made my first meal since I arrived in Japan two weeks ago. My extremely small kitchen was finally put to use. At noon, I went to meet a coworker in […]

How to ride Local trains in Japan

How to ride Local trains in Japan

When you arrive at a train station, you’ll see the ticket center. It will often have a large map overhead that has all the train stops in Japanese Kanji. The red arrow indicates where you are and the numbers indicate how much it will cost to […]

A gym membership then Krispy Kreme

A gym membership then Krispy Kreme

Saturday I decided to find a different gym and do some shopping. I did more research online earlier in the week and found out the Gold’s Gyms in Japan have squat racks. The closest one to me was located in Hachioji, 30 minutes away by train. Looking up […]

More company meals and almost a gym membership

More company meals and almost a gym membership

This past week has been mostly meals with coworkers. I haven’t gotten a lot a time to myself so far, but plan to go into Tokyo this weekend. On Wednesday, the 15th, we ate at Dohton Bori, a cook-it-yourself restaurant. The food is served to […]

Car accident while riding my bike

Car accident while riding my bike

Well it was bound to happen eventually. On my way home from work yesterday, I was biking along the main road in the area. It’s two lanes wide on each side with a raised median, but there’s a generous sidewalk where the bicycles ride. I […]

First few days of work

First few days of work

The first few days of work have been interesting. About 5 people in my office speak English (including me) so it’s been fun trying to learn as much Japanese as possible. Google translate has become my new best friend. I had to draw a picture […]

More exploring and another company meal

More exploring and another company meal

Similar to yesterday morning, I woke up well before the sunrise. I don’t normally sleep in, but now I can’t sleep in past 6:00 am. I had free time this morning so after doing my pull-ups in the park, I set out to explore Fussa […]

Shopping, working out, and raw horse meat

Shopping, working out, and raw horse meat

I didn’t have to work today (Saturday) which was a welcome surprise, so I set out to explore Fussa city on my bike. I rode down near the train station and parked my bike in front of Mister Donuts. Not knowing if I had to […]

Welcome dinner, a bicycle, and 7-Eleven for two meals

Welcome dinner, a bicycle, and 7-Eleven for two meals

Despite just arriving, I didn’t have any problems falling asleep on Friday night. I stayed up until 12:30 pm on my computer and woke up around 6:30 am. For breakfast, I went to 7-Eleven as I don’t have any pots or pans yet. Not entirely […]

Moving in to apartment and first meal in Japan

Moving in to apartment and first meal in Japan

After meeting Saki, we quickly bought train tickets. The airport is on the far east side of Tokyo and we had to pass through Shinjuku (red dot) in order to get to Fussa Station, where my apartment is located. I was going to stay in a hotel for […]

Travel day (updated, but boring)

Travel day (updated, but boring)

Too long, didn’t read: Long travel day, United 747 is not recommended, arrived in Japan My flights got changed again, the sixth time in 36 hours. The flight out of Greenville was cancelled again so the remainder of my flights were cancelled. It was assumed […]

Flights cancelled – leaving tomorrow?

Flights cancelled – leaving tomorrow?

I was originally going to fly out Tuesday at 7:00 am. That didn’t happen.  Due to the weather, United has allowed passengers to change their flights without incurring fees. Good thing because in the past 24 hours, I’ve had 5 different flights to Tokyo that have […]

Last minute preparation

Last minute preparation

I finally moved everything into my 10′ x 10′ storage unit on Saturday with some much needed help. Besides moving sofas down two flights of stairs, it went pretty well. One of the good things about a one bedroom apartment is it’s hard to accumulate […]

Photographing the Tampa Skyline

Photographing the Tampa Skyline

While home for Christmas, I wanted to photograph the skyline of Tampa. Being on the water, I knew it would make for some nice reflections. After doing some research, I decided to shoot from the Platt St. bridge which looks north towards downtown. Looking it […]

Airline tickets, Japanese visa, and moving

Airline tickets, Japanese visa, and moving

Things have been picking up quickly. First off, I’ve started to build a custom Google Map with the location of my apartment, work, and other notable landmarks to get myself oriented. Between that and the bird’s eye view in Bing Maps, I have a pretty […]

My apartment in Japan

My apartment in Japan

In picking where I wanted to live, I decided to stay near Fussa which is on the western side of Tokyo and close to work. It is also home to a United States Air Base, Yokota Air Base, so there’s a good amount of Americans […]

Moving to Japan

Moving to Japan

In early January, I’ll be moving to Tokyo, Japan for six months for work (I consider anything longer than 3 months moving rather than traveling). I work for a Japanese bearing company and my main assignment will be understanding how bearings are designed, manufactured, and […]

Flying back to Greenville

Flying back to Greenville

As planned, I woke up at 3:30am. I took a quick shower and packed my things up. Luckily there were no problems with transportation, as the taxi I reserved was waiting for me outside. We arrived at Ljubljana airport around 4:30am and I didn’t have […]

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj

The paragliding company takes us back to Bled and I decide to give Lake Bohinj another try. It takes about 40 minutes to get there. I grab a large lunch at a grocery store and sit by the water and watch a sailboat regatta. The […]

Paragliding in Slovenia

Paragliding in Slovenia

At 10:30am, it was time for me to head towards Triglav Adventures for paragliding. One good thing about paragliding as opposed to skydiving is that the flight lasts 20-30 minutes. On the downside though, you can’t hire someone else to jump to take pictures or […]

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Again on Saturday morning I woke up with the intention of photographing the sunrise. I parked in such a way that it would be impossible for someone to block me in – lesson learned there. I’m changing hostels today because I’m waking up at 3:30am […]

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

I woke up early this morning to hike to an overlook for sunrise shots. I didn’t wake up quite early enough, but I still leave my room around 7:00am. But I’m quickly disappointed when I see that the hostel’s van has blocked my rental car […]

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Note: This will likely be my last blog post until I get back to Greenville. It takes too long to upload pictures and I’ve got to wake up at 4:15am on Sunday so I’ll need to catch up on sleep. I’ll update this blog with […]

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

In planning my trip months ago, (not an exaggeration – I booked my hostels in mid-May), I reserved a rental car, mainly to do a self-guided tour of the Julian Alps. Seeing as how the next two days are going to be overcast and raining […]

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

I woke at 5:45am – plenty of time to get ready, shower, and pack up my things. I checked out of my hotel and got to the bus stop at 6:20am. The bus came pretty close to on time, and after paying to check my […]

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

In order to beat the crowds I witnessed yesterday afternoon, I got an early breakfast at the hotel and set out for the trails again, this time concentrating on the Upper Lakes. And here are the ‘real’ pictures: A little before noon, the crowds started […]

Financial update

Financial update

Of what I’ve had budgeted for this trip, I have $2743.47 that I haven’t spent yet. I then counted the money I have on me: In wallet: 1310 kuna,  ~$230 $200 €100, ~$130 Hidden inside large backpack: $100 So that means I really have about […]

Travel playlist

Travel playlist

I’ve been keeping a list of all the songs I recognize while traveling in Europe, some were heard from street performers, others in the airport or a hostel. When I get back, I’ll create a playlist later and it will be like a soundtrack from […]

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

I woke up this morning 30 minutes before my alarm at 6:15am. I felt back to normal and hungry. I quickly took a shower, shaved for the first time on my trip, and put in my contacts for the first time in days. Already feeling […]

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Well this was unexpected. I came back from dinner and lied down in my bed. I heard some scratching, but I just assumed it was just loud sheets. 2 minutes later, my sheets are moving. I get up and chase this guy around my room […]

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

This morning I woke up feeling better, but still not back to normal. I got out of bed around 8:00am after lying down yesterday around 4:00pm.  If nothing else, I feel more rested. I was planning on going to a Crossfit gym this morning, but that wasn’t […]

Not my favorite day so far

Not my favorite day so far

If I could have gone home this morning, without having to pay for a ridiculously expensive plane ticket, I probably would have. I stopped counting how many times I threw up last night after 10 and probably spent more time in the bathroom than in […]

Last full day in Mostar

Last full day in Mostar

Today (Thursday) I slept in until 8:00 am or so, then got some hot breakfast made downstairs by Majda. It was similar to french toast and with jelly. Very good. After eating, I took some time to catch up on my blog posts. Because the […]

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

I decided to take a tour of the local area with Batas, the brother of the woman who runs the hostel. I originally was going to rent a car and do many of these things by myself, but decided this would be a better choice. […]

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

I arrived in Mostar around noon. We came into the city, and I was less than impressed at first. It looked rundown and I didn’t see many other foreigners – quite the change from Dubrovnik. Upon arriving at the bus station, I said goodbye to […]

Traveling to Bosnia

Traveling to Bosnia

I woke up at 6am to someone else’s alarm clock. I was worried that I would wake everyone up while gathering my things in the morning, but everyone else was already awake. I left my hostel and dropped the keys on the front desk. This […]

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

I walked back to my hostel and took a quick shower. I lied in bed a bit, but then decided I was wasting the good light at sunset so I walked back to the edge of the Old Town. On my kayak tour I heard […]

Last day in Dubrovnik

Last day in Dubrovnik

Despite trying to talk myself out of it, I woke myself up at 5:15 am to take pictures while the sun was rising, after going to sleep around midnight. It was neat seeing the city wake up and barely another tourist is site. The Stradun […]

Panoramic views and sea kayaking

Panoramic views and sea kayaking

I slept until 9:30am and took the time to fully recover from the flight. I stopped by a small bakery store and got some pastries for breakfast. No idea what they were or what was in them, but they were good. Pastry breakfast – 28 […]

Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but confusing!

Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but confusing!

After arriving in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, I first tried to find my hostel. Not as easy as I hoped. I should have printed out a map or directions, but I just got lazy and didn’t. Dubrovnik reminds me of Venice: a lot of […]

Busy travel day

Busy travel day

The flight to Munich was predictable and went by pretty quickly. It was my first time flying with Lufthansa and I’d probably fly with them again. They handed out warm towels in economy class before meals and even though I turned down dinner, it didn’t […]

Ready to take off

Ready to take off

Despite all my worrying, everything has gone smoothly so far. Instead of using the drawstring workout bag, I put my carry on items in an fabric bag I had lying around. I got some bubble wrap and wrapped my camera, lens, and laptop and then […]

The worst part about traveling is traveling

The worst part about traveling is traveling

Lesson one: Double check the carry-on requirements before you buy and pack luggage I found out the day before I leave that my carry on bag won’t fit with Lufthansa. According to their website, the dimensional limits for bags are 22 x 16 x 9 […]

Finally figured out how to get from city to city

Finally figured out how to get from city to city

Figuring out how to get from city to city isn’t too straightforward in the Balkans. Most of the places I’m going don’t have train stations, so it’s recommended to travel by car. Seeing as that isn’t very cost efficient for one traveler, (especially since you’d […]

Less than a week left

Less than a week left

I fly out in 6 days at 5:10pm out of Charlotte with a direct flight to Munich! I’ve got some last minute planning to do in the next week, but I think I’ve got a pretty good foundation: I’ve actually been sending private messages to […]

A new adventure awaits

A new adventure awaits

My last trip in 2010 ended well, but I forgot to make a final blog entry. I got back to Paris fine, spent the evening seeing the sights, and then caught my flight back in the morning. I had a great time exploring Europe by […]

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

My first stop in a loop around southern Utah. No detailed entries, just pictures.

Back to Paris to fly out

Back to Paris to fly out

So here’s a real quick recap of the past couple days: My train to Cinque Terre from Sorrento took most of the day and I didn’t get to Vernazza until 4:00 pm.  I checked into my room, and then spent the rest of the night […]

Day 69: Sorrento/Pompeii

Day 69: Sorrento/Pompeii

I left my hostel around 8:30am and took the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii.  I got there around 9:00am, about 30 minutes after they opened, and had to wait in a line about 50 people long. I decided not to get a guided tour because they […]

Day 68: Florence/Sorrento

Day 68: Florence/Sorrento

Today I finally left Florence.  I checked out of my hotel around 10:00am and then walked to the train station to catch my 11:10am train.  I got to the station in plenty of time, but the train didn’t leave until 11:30am due to a twenty […]

Day 67: Florence

Day 67: Florence

I woke up early again this morning, around 7:00am, this time to see the Uffizi Gallery.  The Uffizi Gallery holds some of the most influential paintings of the Italian Renaissance.  When I walked in, I bought an official guide book that had detailed pictures and […]

Day 66: Florence

Day 66: Florence

I woke up early this morning, around 7:00am, to go to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David. I was happy I took my guidebook’s advice and made a reservation because when I arrived at the Accademia fifteen minutes before my 8:15am reservation, there was […]

Day 65: Florence

Day 65: Florence

Today ended up being a much better day than yesterday.  I slept in until 11:30am and then went downstairs to sort out the internet and shower curtain issues. I was greeted by a different receptionist, this time a guy who did speak English.  I explained […]

Day 64: Venice/Florence

Day 64: Venice/Florence

I woke up this morning pretty early, around 8:00am, to pack up my things and get ready for my train to Venice. I typed up some blog posts in the morning, went to the train station for lunch, and then boarded my train to Florence […]

Day 63: Venice

Day 63: Venice

Today was much better than the previous day, as far as temperature goes. I left my hotel room around noon and spent the rest of the day walking on the island. Venice isn’t too big, so other than my first day when I took a […]

Day 62: Venice

Day 62: Venice

I slept in this morning until 10:30am and had a great night’s sleep thanks to my air conditioned hotel room. I decided to spend the first half of the day in my hotel room because it was too hot to stay outside all day. I […]

Day 61: Interlaken/Venice

Day 61: Interlaken/Venice

I checked out of my hostel at 6:30am, in order to catch my 7:28am train to Venice. Problem was, the woman at the front desk gave me my key deposit back in Swiss francs instead of Euros, even after I was assured I could get […]

Day 61: Interlaken

Day 61: Interlaken

Today was my last full day in Interlaken.  Even though I woke up early, around 8:00am, I felt well rested.  I got a much better night’s sleep than the previous night.  It was raining in the morning, so I took the time to write my […]

Day 60: Interlaken

Day 60: Interlaken

On Monday, the 12th, I got to sleep late because the Australian boy kept talking to me in the lobby while I was typing up blog posts.  I was planning on doing a bike ride on Tuesday, the 13th, but decided to wait until Wednesday […]

Day 58: Lucerne/Interlaken

Day 58: Lucerne/Interlaken

Sunday was my last full day in Lucerne and I can’t really say I did much of anything. I spent most of the day taking pictures and just walking around. I can just walk around for most of the day and be completely happy – […]

Day 56: Lucerne

Day 56: Lucerne

Yesterday I woke up and decided to go swimming down by the lake. I knew it was going to hot outside so I walked down the street to buy breakfast and sunscreen at the local supermarket. I bought some fruit, a towel, and some sunscreen, […]

Getting to Lucerne

Getting to Lucerne

The wi-fi in my hostel doesn’t work, so this might be only blog post until I can find reliable (and free) wi-fi somewhere else. So this morning started off well. I set my alarm for 6:00am, so I would have plenty of time to shower […]

Mountains of Innsbruck

Mountains of Innsbruck

This morning started like yesterday by waking up early and getting a big breakfast. The weather today was supposed to be the best I’ve had since I arrived, so I decided to take a cable car and spend the day on the mountain. I walked […]

Bored in Innsbruck

Bored in Innsbruck

I woke up around 7:00 am, as planned, and went downstairs to get some breakfast which had the best selection I’ve had on the trip so far. They had fresh fruit including kiwis, pears, and bananas, and about eight different types of juices. There was […]

Munich to Innsbruck

Munich to Innsbruck

I woke up this morning around 8:00 am, showered (the light worked this time) and packed my things. I rented a locker for my luggage in the hostel after I checked out, and then went to the train station at 9:00 am to take back […]

Day 51: Munich

Day 51: Munich

I woke up this morning around 8:00am again, and went to take a shower, but the light in our bathroom wasn’t working. The hostel I’m staying at (Euro Youth Hostel) is definitely not the best I’ve been in; the push buttons on the shower last, […]

Celebrating in Munich

Celebrating in Munich

I woke up yesterday around 8:00am and went to the top of St. Peter’s to catch a panoramic view of the city – climbing the 306 steps was worth it. I then went back to Mike’s Bike Tours to rent a bike. I rode around […]

Vienna and train to Munich

Vienna and train to Munich

Yesterday I slept in and then walked around the city. I went back to Stephensdom and they still didn’t have any guided tours, so I had to get an audio guide instead. It was alright, I guess. When you spend over two months in Europe, […]

Vienna

Vienna

My overnight train to Vienna went pretty well, and I did manage to get some sleep. We arrived in Vienna about an hour late at 7:30 am, and then I caught the metro to my hostel. I dropped my stuff off and then went into […]

Day 44: Krakow

Day 44: Krakow

On Saturday, the 26th, I had to wake up around 5:00am to catch a taxi to the airport and check in before my plane left at 8:00am. The plane landed in Vienna around 9:00am (there is a one hour time zone difference, it was actually […]

Day 39: Kiev

Day 39: Kiev

On the 22nd, I took a tour of the city with Sergei and Tim. I took a crowded, hot bus into town with Sergei in the morning and then took the metro into the city center. Kiev is divided by a river, with the suburbs […]

Day 37: Krakow/Kiev

Day 37: Krakow/Kiev

Because the weather was constantly raining in Krakow, I didn’t bother to take any pictures. Hopefully the weather will be a bit better in Kiev. The past couple days I’ve been wandering around Krakow hanging out with people in the hostel. I took a bike […]

Day 33: Arriving in Krakow

Day 33: Arriving in Krakow

I woke up on the train around 5:45am and slept surprisingly well. If we would have had the full six people in the cabin, it would have been much worse. Our train was about 30 minutes late so we didn’t arrive in Krakow until 7:15am […]

Auschwitz and Birkenau, Poland

Auschwitz and Birkenau, Poland

I got to the train station and bought a round-trip ticket for around 30 Zlotsy and hopped on the first car I saw. The train goes from Krakow to the small town of Oświęcim. (Auschwitz gets its name because it is the German translation for […]

Day 32: Prague/Krakow

Day 32: Prague/Krakow

Early this morning, I woke up around 4:30am to some of my roommates coming back from a pub crawl. After about 10 minutes, I leaned over and was about to ask them to turn off the light when I realized it was actually the sun […]

Day 31: Prague

Day 31: Prague

EDIT: Uploading pictures from 6/16 and 6/17 tonight. Will update the blog tomorrow morning with two new posts and pictures (including Auschwitz). Today I woke up around 8:00am and went to the lobby downstairs to plan for Krakow and Kiev. My hostel in Krakow costs […]

Day 30: Prague

Day 30: Prague

Sorry for the lack of updates to the blog. It gets tough trying to plan where you’re going to go next, what you’re going to do (and actually doing it), and trying to keep a blog all at the same time. If I don’t add […]

Train from Berlin to Prague

Train from Berlin to Prague

After going to bed at 2:00 am, I briefly woke up at 4:45 am to notice that is was completely bright outside. With the latitude of Madrid relatively equal to that of New York, Berlin is a bit further north and gets a lot of […]

Museums and World War II History

Museums and World War II History

Yesterday, I went to the top of the TV tower and the Pergamon museum. The TV tower was built by East Berlin to showcase their superiority to the West, but due to people leaving to West Berlin by the thousands per day, there wasn’t enough […]

Checkpoint Charlie, Nazi buildings, and the Holocaust Memorial

Checkpoint Charlie, Nazi buildings, and the Holocaust Memorial

I woke up around this morning around 11:30am – I have no idea why I was so tired. I went back to Checkpoint Charlie and got some better pictures, then went to the Topography of Terror museum which is located on the former site of […]

Day 24: Berlin

Day 24: Berlin

Well waking up this morning was fun. I found some things I had unknowingly misplaced the night before and went out to do some laundry around 8:00am. Not sure why but if I drink, I never sleep in very late the next day. Around 11:00am […]

Day 23: Cologne and Berlin

Day 23: Cologne and Berlin

I woke up early around 6:00am, got some breakfast at the train station, and then got on a 7:48am train from Cologne to Berlin. The train trip was pretty uneventful and long – about 4.5 hours. Even though it says nonstop, it probably stopped eight […]

Cologne

Cologne

I slept in this morning, waking up around 10:30am and grabbed a chocolate croissant and cheese covered pretzel at the train station. I got to the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Cologne around 11:15am, fifteen minutes after it opened. Most of the museum was […]

Day 21: Cologne

Day 21: Cologne

First thing I did this morning was go to the Dom Cathedral. It was mostly empty when I got there at 8:30am so I walked around for about 45 minutes and took some pictures. I noticed they had a guided tour at 10:30am so I […]

Day 20: Belgium and Cologne

Day 20: Belgium and Cologne

Yesterday, I went to the military base which is where my G. Uncle Tom and Aunt Stella go shopping. I bought two books, “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Best of Europe: 2010” by Rick Steves. I actually have the book by Rick […]

Belgium

Belgium

On Monday we left around 9:15am and took the 100 km drive to Yeper. Yeper is a city in western Belgium that was completely destroyed during World War I and was rebuilt. G. Uncle Tom and I went inside of a WWI museum which had […]

Day 15: Reims/Mons

Day 15: Reims/Mons

I left for the train station around 8:00 this morning for my 9:15 train. I got there a little bit early and saw Josh there – he’s headed south-east near the German border and then going to Switzerland. I didn’t have much trouble finding my […]

Day 14: Reims

Day 14: Reims

I didn’t do a whole lot today. I woke up around 8:30am and got breakfast downstairs with Josh. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a loaf of French bread with strawberry jelly before. There wasn’t a whole lot to it, but it was good. After […]

Some thought on the language barrier and money

Some thought on the language barrier and money

Traveling in France is a bit harder than I imagined. Something as simple as ordering a large coke in a McDonald’s or trying to find directions is a bit harder without knowing the language. The hardest part is understanding signs. In the train station, everything […]

Day 13: Reims

Day 13: Reims

Before I left the hostel this morning, I bought 200 GB of online storage from Google. I’m in the process of uploading all my pictures (at their original resolution) to Picasa web albums for people to download and so I can use it as a […]

Day 12: Paris/Reims

Day 12: Paris/Reims

Turns out the national strike didn’t effect me at all; it was mostly in southern France. There were two TGV (high speed) trains leaving for Reims this morning so I woke up at 6:30am to catch the earlier one. I checked out of my hostel […]

Day 11: Paris (still)

Day 11: Paris (still)

I woke up this morning around 8:00am, ate breakfast at the hostel and then took the metro to the Louvre Museum. I got there around 9:05am, (they open at 9:00am) but the line was still pretty long. For some reason, the opening of the museum […]

Day 10: Paris

Day 10: Paris

Yeah, so waking up at 5:30am to catch the sunset didn’t happen. I rolled out of bed at 6:45am, ate breakfast at the hostel, and then walked around the empty city. I took some nice pictures over the reflection of the Seine River and then […]

Day 9: Paris

Day 9: Paris

I woke up this morning around 7:30am with a little bit of a sore throat (probably thanks to some people in the Clemson group being sick 🙂 ) and walked around to tried and find an internet café. It turns out that no one in […]

Day 8: Paris Update

Day 8: Paris Update

After lunch, I crashed and went to sleep until 7:00pm. Because Paris is so far north, it has very long days and doesn’t get dark until around 9:15pm, so I had a couple more hours of daylight. I took some picture of Notre Dame in […]

Day 8: Paris

Day 8: Paris

I woke up today at 6:55am and said goodbye to everyone from Clemson. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with them and while we didn’t know each other before the trip, I think we all had a really good time and developed good friendships. As soon […]

Day 7: Rouen, Versailles, Paris

Day 7: Rouen, Versailles, Paris

Today we left the hotel around 8:45 am and took a quick tour of the historic district of Rouen. We visited the Rouen Cathedral (which had four bombs dropped on it during World War II) and a church dedicated to Joan of Arc. The Rouen […]

Day 6: Normandy, Caen, and Rouen

Day 6: Normandy, Caen, and Rouen

**I finally got the chance to upload some pictures so go back through my previous posts and look at them!** Today we left the hotel at 8:45am (which had a ping pong table which we played on for three hours) and took the trip to […]

Mont Saint-Michel and St. James Cemetary

Mont Saint-Michel and St. James Cemetary

Today was probably the best day so far. We left our Mister Bed hotel around 8:30 am and made the trip north-west to Mont Saint-Michel. This island is famous for it’s monastery which was built by monks and completed in 1523. It has become one […]

Wine tour and chateaus

Wine tour and chateaus

We left the hotel around 9:30am and toured a vineyard, Plou & Fils in the Loire valley. We went through the cave (which keeps the wine cool) that the family dug out by hand about 500 years ago. We got to taste a lot of […]

Chartres Cathedral and Tours

Chartres Cathedral and Tours

Today we woke up at 7:00am and left Paris for Tours, stopping by the Chartres Cathedral on our way. We aimlessly walked around by ourselves in the Cathedral but then managed to get a public tour with Malcolm Miller, a famous historian on Chartres. He […]

The Louvre and other Paris Sights

The Louvre and other Paris Sights

On our way to the bus tour, my camera slipped out of my hand and fell right on the sidewalk. It’s a good thing I had a lens filter on it because it got a nice crack in it. So here I am just on […]

Notre Dame and a walking tour

Notre Dame and a walking tour

Today was a busy day. We arrived early in the morning and dropped our stuff at our hotel. We made our way into Paris and started  by attending the 10:00am mass at Notre Dame. For mid-May, it was pretty cold so I’m glad I brought […]

Travel day

Travel day

Our flights today were all on time – first from Atlanta to Montreal and then from Montreal to Paris. I sat next to a guy from Canada on the way to Montreal. He told me that it’s a federal law in Quebec to have the […]

Preparing to fly out to Paris

Preparing to fly out to Paris

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be studying abroad for 10 days in Paris/Normandy followed by a 2.5 month backpacking trip by myself. I’m planning on visiting France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Greece, Spain, and Portugal will have to be on another […]