• 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…

  • Summer,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Stockholm

    definitely enjoyed my time in stockholm. when people ask me how was it, it’s really hard to describe it in a concise and telling way besides saying it was “great”. it was big, easy to get around, very maritime, very clean, very nordic… it was like going home, except things were generally in swedish and really expensive. really, it felt like i was going “home” when i was there. sometimes i would forget that i had to go back to czech republic, as if i was going to just stay forever. my favorite things i did in stockholm…. wandering around gamla stan on the first evening– a warm and balmy…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Travel

    Grinda Island

    hello! i have returned from sweden yesterday. deciding not to post or really spend that much time online was a conscious decision so i could spend all of my time in the moment. and i am so happy i did! sweden felt very familiar to me– it was friendly, welcoming… and even their word for “hello” is “hej” so it sounds like everyone is greeting you like a friend: “hey!” instead of the formal “dobry den” (good day) that i’m used to here. first i wanted to share about one of my absolute favorite parts of the last eleven days… i stayed in a cozy cabin on a little island called…

  • Austria,  Summer,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Camping in Hallstatt

    spent an amazing three nights camping in the salzkammergut lake district of austria on the hallstätter see (lake hallstatt). hallstatt is a tiny village crammed on the edge of a mountain right on the huge beautiful blue and green lake, with crystal clear glacier water. i wanted a decompress-relax holiday and i got it! walking back to the campground there was a lot of this! pretty as a postcard what says holiday like ice cream cones? in mein neues hut! the bone chapel– over 1200 skulls, half of them lovingly painted with pictures to represent characteristics of how the person was in life. started due to the small size of…

  • Czech Republic,  Karlovy Vary,  Summer,  Travel

    Vary Good Times

    hello friends. i’ve just been to karlovy vary for one of my most anticipated trips of this summer– the karlovy vary international film festival! i am a film festival addict. from the very first summer i lived in seattle (2005) i have been involved with SIFF; first as a patron, then volunteered, and finally interned for three years in guest relations.  i count down the days until the film festival catalog comes out every year, and then spend hours poring over the films and making a detailed color-coded google calendar. this year was the most special because: i’m not working!!! no job to go to, just as many films as i…