Venice, Italy

Friday, May 30, 2014

J and I visited Venice in late April as a day trip from Milan. We grabbed the train from Milan Central Station (using Trenitalia) and took the easy ride through the gorgeous countryside to Venice. We disembarked the train at Venice Mestre, which was a mistake. From this train station we had no idea how to get to the Venice of canals, tangled streets, and masks. Luckily, we found another couple who also made the same mistake we had and together we found we needed to take a short commuter bus ride to Venice. Tickets in hand, we jammed ourselves onto a packed bus and headed to Venice. If you take the train to Venice learn from my mistake and get off at the Venizia S. Lucia stop. From the Venizia S. Lucia stop you will only be required to walk over a bridge to enter the land of canals.

So, what did we do when we got to Venice? We walked and wandered all over. We got lost. We ate yummy little snacks and drank small cups of chocolatey coffee. We purchased a map which remained unopened until we were trying to find our way back to the train station. 

Venice is truly as beautiful and special as photos and other travel blogs would lead you to believe. The incredibly touristy yet a stunning must-visit, Piazza San Marco was absolutely gorgeous. The architecture of the buildings around the Piazza San Marco were awe-inspiring and I really enjoyed watching the faces of people wandering the Piazza. One such sight that still has me laughing was a man standing with his family eating a sandwich. A seagull swooped down and grabbed the whole sandwich from his hand. His face was completely priceless and man did his family laugh at that!

sandwich shop in Venice, Italy

Sandwiches and wine in Venice, Italy
Wine and a quick snack at Bacareto da Lele

Gondola detail In Venice, Italy

Canals in Venice
 Laundry drying in Venice
Elizabeth a travel blogger for

chocolate coffee in Venice, Italy

Cafe in Venice

Cupcake and gondola in Venice

Gondola in Venice

colorful animal masks in Venice, Italy

Piazza San Marco in Venice
Perfect Place to People Watch - Cafes in Piazza San Marco

Basilica di San Marco under construction
Basilica di San Marco



S. Maria della Salute
A view of S. Maria della Salute in the distance

Window pizza shop in Venice
The best pizza we tried in Italy

Pizza in Italy!

Folded pizza eater

Have you been to Venice? What do you suggest doing there?

Cultural China: Counting with your hands

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In China you can use one hand to indicate numbers all numbers between one and ten. This is very useful if you are in a loud market trying to understand how much a half kilo of apples are.

counting with your hands in chinese 1
One 一

counting with your hands in chinese 2
Two 二

counting with your hands in chinese 3
Three 三

counting with your hands in chinese 4
Four 四

counting with your hands in chinese 5
Five 五

counting with your hands in chinese 6
Six 六

counting with your hands in chinese 7
Seven 七

counting with your hands in chinese 8
Eight 八

counting with your hands in chinese 9
Nine 九

counting with your hands in chinese 10
Ten - which can also be showed as a fist 十

Cultural China is a series of posts I've been writing about the cultural intricacies of Chinese culture. See my other posts here:

Cultural China Series: Gifting Culture 101 Part 1

Cultural China Series: Gifting Culture 101 Part 2

Do you have any other questions about Chinese culture that I can talk about here?

Road Trips

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A few years ago J and I took a road trip from Connecticut to Wisconsin with a stop at Niagara Falls along the way.  I was in school in Madison, Wisconsin at the time and J was doing his masters in Connecticut so we either flew or drove back and forth for visits. This was my first road trip since I was a kid when I took trips to Virginia with my family, so I was unsure what to expect when J and I first set out. We prepared by packing loads of snacks, like hummus and veggies, chips, fruit, and chocolate covered expresso beans for energy. We also had our pockets loaded with quarters, as the roads between CT and Niagara Falls have loads of tolls. Additionally, we spent a few days prior to traveling checking maps, my tires and car fluids so that we would have a safe journey. The best part of the trip though was what we didn't plan for...the excellent signage that kept us laughing.

"Jesus is Real" - says a sign in Illinois

"If you die tonight will you go to heaven or hell" - says this road sign

Have you been on a road trip before?

This post is a part of the Road Trip Essentials Campaign from Turo, however I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just thought it would be fun to participate!

Liebster Award and Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day! Today I'm relaxing in my tiny home town in Connecticut and enjoying the Memorial Day parade that passes by my parent's house. For today's post I'm going to answer a series of questions that Jackie from boy and girl globe trot asked of me.

I was so surprised when Jackie from boy and girl globe trot nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Thank you Jackie! Bloggers nominate other bloggers for Liebster Awards to pass around good juju and share some sweet blogs. Here are the questions that Jackie wanted me to answer.

1. What gave you the travel bug? 

I used to travel with my family each year for a trip. Some of my favorite family trips were to Block Island, RI and Chincoteague, VA. In high school I had the opportunity to take a marine biology trip to Bermuda where I think my initial interest in travel really began. When I began graduate school I was awarded a fellowship to pursue biodiversity conservation research in Yunnan Province, China and with my initial trip there I was hooked. 

2. How has travel changed you? 

Travel has made me more fearless and more reliant on myself and/or J. With travel and living abroad you must rely on yourself to figure most things out. 

3. What was your biggest travel blooper? 

I can't really think of a travel blooper. I've certainly had embarrassing things happen while traveling but I can't think of anything huge.

4. Where are you going next?

This summer J and I are going to Beijing, Xi'an, and Yunnan. I cannot wait! This will be J's first time in Asia so hopefully he falls in love with it as much as I have. We will be visiting some friends in both Beijing and Yunnan so it really should be a blast! (can you tell that it is basically all I can think about because I'm so excited?)

5. Why do you blog? 

I started blogging  too keep in touch with my family while I was living in China but recently it has turned into so much more. Blogging for me has been a great way to meet people and connect with others who are living abroad across the world. 

6. What are your carry on travel necessities? 

I actually posted about this recently. See here!

7. How do your families respond to your vagabond lifestyle? 

I'm pretty sure the majority of my family isn't too thrilled by my ever wandering travel and constant living abroad. Maybe they will get used to it?

8. What's your favorite city for eating? 

Oh I love eating out! My favorite city for eating out has to be New York City. From authentic Italian food in Little Italy, to Greek food in Astoria, to Chinese food in China town, expect to find world cuisine everywhere. I also recently traveled to Asheville, North Carolina and was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant choices (I'll be posting about Asheville in a few weeks).

9. What's your worst transportation horror story? 

Basically whenever I fly overseas I get stuck with a seat that doesn't have a functioning television. Eek! Here is a re-cap of one of my most particularly trying flights.

10. Where do I absolutely have to go and what do I need to do when I get there?

Since you are in Taiwan, Jackie, I think you should head over to Yunnan Province, China (not that I'm biased or anything- since I used to live there). Yunnan is particularly amazing for hiking, cultural tourism, food (Oh my the food!), and sight-seeing. Fly to Kunming and from there visit Shangri-La, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, and Yuanyang.

I'd like to pass on the Liebster Award to Wina from Foreign Geek and Jamie from Ink and Adventure and Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons. In addition to the questions above I'd like you to 1) tell us your top place that you want to travel to and what you would do there, and 2) what is your favorite food. I can't wait to hear your answers! 

Cinque Terre, Italy

Friday, May 23, 2014

On my recent trip to Italy, J and I spent a day hiking and enjoying the sunshine in Cinque Terre. We unthinkingly planned our trip to Cinque Terre for Easter Sunday, so I was worried that everything would be closed. Luckily, everything was open and tourism was going strong. My first impression of Cinque Terre was so pleasant that I pleaded to move there. The mountains and the sea! Amazing!

We began our day with an early train trip from Milan to Monterosso, one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. Upon arrival to Monterosso I took about five million photographs while professing my love of the village. J eventually pried the camera out of my hand and we began our hike through the villages. Part of the way through the hike we came upon a booth where we needed to  purchase a ticket (6 euros each) to complete our hike. The village we arrived at after Monterosso was Vernazza, one of the most photographed villages of the five. We wanted to continue hiking to the other three villages after lunch, however the path was closed for maintenance.

If you wanted to visit all five villages without hiking you could take either a water taxi or a commuter train to each village. Vernazza is a beautiful village but it was very crowded and touristy. If we had known, we'd have started our hike in Vernazza and ended in Monterosso. Monterosso was a relaxed town with a beautiful beach and several restaurants.

Vernazza Village in Cinque Terre, Italy

Monterosso Village in Cinque Terre, Italy

man statue in monterosso
Amazing statue in Monterosso

beautiful beaches in Cinque Terre, Italy

flowers at Cinque Terre, Italy

Trail between Monterosso and Vernazza in Italy

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

View to Punta Mesco in Cinque Terre
View to Punta Mesco

Monterosso, Italy

Cinque Terre rocks

Have you been in Cinque Terre? Have you visited each of the five villages? Which was your favorite?

Today I'm linking up with Bonnie Rose and her co-hosts for Travel Tuesday!