• Bad Ischl
    Austria,  Budějovice,  Christmas,  TravelTips,  Winter

    An Austrian Alpine Holiday

    As it’s the last weekend of the holiday season, so a perfect opportunity to share a little bit about 2019’s holiday season and our Christmas spent in the Salzkammergut. Before we left, we had a nice relaxing weekend wrapping up the work year and taking in some tunes and last punches in our beautiful square. On our way home from doing some Saturday morning errands, I noticed a tree in the park near our house full of fruits and things tied on with a sign. (Below, with the message “Christmas tree for homeless people – Have a beautiful Christmas”) I love when whimsy and kindness intersect and to see this…

  • Life Abroad,  Travel,  Yearly Recap

    Year of Life & Travels: 2019

    Hello all! Hope you had beautiful holidays if you were celebrating! The Czech celebrating period seems to go for about two weeks so I am still enjoying the beautiful downtime, lit candles, all of our decorations and tree – this time is honestly one of my absolute favorites of the whole year, even though Christmas is over. We’ve just had a nice holidays in the Salzkammergut lake region of Austria, not very far at all from Salzburg (but in the smaller villages). I will post about it soon but I wanted to get to the annual and much anticipated (by me, if nobody else) ‘Year in Life and Travels’, 2019…

  • Austria,  Christmas,  czech culture,  Life Abroad,  Thoughts,  Winter

    This Festive Season

    Sometimes people ask me if I’m going back to the States for Christmas and the answer always seems to be… no. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply enjoy being back in my hometown for the holidays, away from the big city bustle. Every year when we would get on that on-ramp away from Seattle, there was something incredibly peaceful about driving north on I-5 and watching the sprawl slip away. Driving around the island on Christmas Day, Sufjan Stevens‘ album always playing on the car stereo. The white skies, tall evergreens, the sea. Again, I have to use the word peaceful, but a certain, specific peace only this kind of…

  • Austria,  Autumn,  Language Learning,  Thoughts,  Travel

    Language Progress + Thoughts on Solo Travel

    “That was a really good lesson. I felt like we sort of… are getting it now, you know?” A moment Alex and I shared after our Czech lesson today. We started taking Czech language seriously in autumn 2015 – that means it’s been now over four years of really studying the language. Before that, I had taken a couple classes sporadically the year I first arrived although they didn’t amount to much as I was a total beginner in a class with people who clearly had some sort of grasp on the language and a teacher who couldn’t explain Czech grammar in my native tongue. Four years of serious study!…

  • Iceland,  Spring,  Thoughts

    Iceland Uncovered: How My First Ever Trip to Iceland Went

    right around new year’s day, 2011 (about a year and a half before this adventure began), i won a sweepstakes contest to win a trip to iceland. i was naturally ecstatic about this development, as i’d been dreaming about the country for years. about two and a half years ago, i went on said trip. however, after my return the photos i took never really surfaced anywhere and weren’t really shown to anyone… because at the time, the trip was not my idea of an ideal vacation. it left a bad taste in my mouth and a chill in my bones. to be fair, there were circumstances unrelated to iceland…

  • Berlin,  Thoughts

    It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Remnants of my Berlin Dream

    i love berlin. everyone who knows me knows this. everyone who knows me and doesn’t know this, should. i first visited in 2006 on a whirlwind month backpacking central europe where it was by far my favorite stop on the trip, made even more fun by the fact that i knew some locals living there at the time (uw german department professors and affiliates) and they really pulled out all the stops to show me a good time. dinner parties, city tours, an evening at a crusty prenzlauer berg bar trying different flavors of berliner weisse– i loved it all. my friends there convinced me to take german language classes…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Kayaking in Sweden

    i’ve kayaked once, in seattle’s lake union with my friend julie. the water there was blue, the paddling was hard– after a few minutes we both sort of just stopped because it was getting in the way of talking! but in a lake you feel very protected. after hearing kayaking stories from alex’s boss, marketa, i was determined to kayak in the stockholm archipelago! which is good…. because on a tiny island, there really isn’t a lot more to do! there’s as much walking and sunset watching as you can handle, but i really wanted to do something a bit adventurous and memorable. i asked at the cute little surf…

  • Life Abroad,  Milestones,  Summer,  Vagabond Days

    Europe-versary

    one year ago today, we arrived in glasgow, scotland at about 5:40am local time. we came in from hot and sunny toronto and were practically freezing in the 13 C temperatures. even though it was the last day of august, it really felt like autumn has arrived. it marked the next chapter of our lives! so we’re calling today, “victory in europe day”. our V-E day. and thinking a lot about our time in scotland. as much as i like to live in one place here in CB, i am really looking forward to the day we get back on the road– no lease, no taxes or social security payments.…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Travel on the Mind + More Sweden (Stockholm & Uppsala)

    funny how trips work. day of return from trip: BOY I’M SO GLAD TO BE HOME! NOW I CAN DO ALL MY “HOME” THINGS AND BE COMFY AND COOK MEALS! I’VE MISSED YOU, BED! day after return: oh, it’s kinda nice to sit and read and have a cup of tea, isn’t it. but hm, i wonder what is the best way to get to south-eastern germany from here. two days after return: OH LIFE IS SO DULL, the weather’s such crap, when is the next trip?! okay, the last one might have been slightly exaggerated (only slightly though) but there’s no doubt that already the gears up there are…

  • Berlin,  Summer,  Travel

    A Surprise Berlin

    when i returned from sweden, i had no intention of planning any more international trips this summer. but SURPRISE! i ended up planning an impromptu berlin weekend: summer’s last gasp. and it was a fabulous weekend to be in my lieblingsstadt: gorgeous weather and plenty going on.  i’d only been in berlin for the summer once (2008) for a few days and fell in love with the buzz and energy i never quite fully felt when living there in the fall and winter months. winter in berlin can honestly feel like the darkest coldest place you can imagine that can make you want to hole-up in your flat drinking A&P…