• 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!…

  • Czech Republic,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Czech Republic’s Must-See UNESCO Sites

    sometimes it feels like you may have all but exhausted the travel opportunities in your immediate surroundings. when this feeling strikes, turning to a list of UNESCO heritage sites in your vicinity makes for some great trip (or even day trip) inspirado. i am unofficially trying to see all (or as many possible) of the UNESCO sites in czech republic. here are some that i’ve already checked off my list, and some more that i’m hoping to see in the future… PRAGUE’S HISTORIC CITY CENTER why is it UNESCO? it’s one of the most important and best preserved medieval city centers in europe! in few other places in the world…

  • Summer,  Travel

    I Dyed in Szczecin

    it was my last full day in poland and i was on a (very very full) train from the hel peninsula bound for szczecin, near the german border. i chose to visit szczecin because i’d heard a lot of great things in the travel bloggy world about this gritty polish harbor city and i wanted to see it with my own eyes. naively, when booking the trip i planned a handful of “one-nighters”, and this was one of them, my last hurrah in poland. but little did i know that one nighters aren’t such a great idea when you’re on a long backpacking trip. those days were such whirlwinds and admittedly,…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Glimpse of Malbork Castle, Poland

    one does not travel to northern poland and miss malbork castle, an absolutely beautiful red brick (very characteristic of the area) castle built by the teutonic knights in the middle ages. i am happy to report that i am currently feeling quite cured of being castled out like i was last spring, so a visit to the giant fortress on the vistula river seemed like a fantastic day trip out of gdansk at just over an hour by train. (photo via) besides all of these beautiful ornate interiors and ballrooms, i really found this unfinished chapel quite fascinating. damaged in WWII, the chapel still does not have a roof and the…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Sopot, So Good: Poland’s North Coast Jewel

    a real highlight of the entire three week backpacking trip to poland was getting to the coast, and one of the places i was most excited about was the small beachy resort town of sopot, only about a half-hour train ride from gdansk. but sopot isn’t exactly the sleepy little coastal town you’d think of: this place is happening. sopot’s famous for its history (both marlene dietrich and adolf hitler stayed at the famous resort hotel) and a reputation for a good party. apparently young poles (and others) flock here by the thousands in the summer time to take advantage of the clubbing atmosphere. but that’s not why i was…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, Poland

    august is an extremely historic month to be visiting poland. the warsaw uprising, ghetto uprising, and solidarity movement all occurred in this month, and everywhere i went, i felt like i was visiting a sight on the exact anniversary of an important event. besides taking in the beauty of the city center, the solidarity sights were by far the most interesting and powerful of my stay in poland’s most northern metropolis. there is so much to see and lots of information to soak-up about this historic movement that got it’s start here in gdańsk. while walking away from the city center towards the harbor, you eventually come across the solidarity…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Gdánsk Magic Gdánsk

    i deeply enjoyed my time in the most northern polish metropolis on the baltic sea, gdánsk. the photo above really says more than i could: we were just getting ready to head out to catch a boat when i deeply felt that i needed a raspberry-laden gofry (waffle), like right now. so my last couple of minutes in the city was spent gazing out at the harbor and scarfing down deliciousness. gdánsk certainly has some fascinating history, which i could go on about for pages. but i won’t, and i will leave you instead with just a select few facts: it was a major hanseatic league city, was designated a “free city” after…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Whimsical Toruń

    toruń, poland (a UNESCO heritage designated city) was just a hop and a skip away from warsaw on polski bus (which was actually early. what?!) and we arrived to this cute little town with the whole afternoon ahead of us! toruń is sort of a smaller kraków. the česky krumlov of poland, if you will. it’s incredibly tourist friendly and is the kind of place that invites lingering with an ice cream cone on a bench and people watching. there is ample signage all over and a couple of museums dedicated to the two things toruń is famous for: its gingerbread (piernika) and its famous scientist, copernicus, who was born here. but if you’re…