I have just graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in Sociology. I have absolutely loved my time in wine country- it really doesn't get more beautiful than vineyards and endless green, but I am ready for the next adventure!

I am from the Bay Area and as much as I want to travel, I want to end up here later in life. I love that someone can go out for a different kind of ethnic food everyday of the week and still have endless options!

In July/August, I will be visiting one of my great friends in England where we will tour multiple castles, London, Paris, Paris Disneyland (we did meet at the Disney College Program anyway), and will be attending the 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS!

Click here for the official website for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort

In September, I will be working as a civilian employee for an American military base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I will be in the hotel indusutry working for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. They say my backyard will be the Alps. I have my hiking boots packed already.

Click here for the official website for the Disney College Program and Professional Internships

About two years ago I participated in the Disney College Program, working and living at Walt Disney World, Florida. It really started my love for traveling and throwing myself outside of my comfort zone. I highly recommend it to anyone who respects the Disney Company and wants to get their foot in the door or just wants a break from life- it was definitely both for me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Romantic But Real

Romantic but real, these are the words used to describe Rothenburg ob der Tauber. No, but really it's all over their brochures, their city's phrase. My lovely friend from England was visiting for the week, so we decided to go to this romantic but real city. It is known for many things, but mostly for being like Christmas all year round. And well it was March, so it sounded nice. Christmas is nice and all, but really what caught our attention was that it was one of the cities used to film the last Harry Potter (right there I was sold!), if anyone remembers the town used in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (my personal childhood favorite but utterly strange when watched as an adult- the whole child kidnapping thing is more dark than I first realized at the age of seven), and the city Walt Disney based the town in the movie "Pinocchio" (and by our former Disney jobs you know this is a big deal to us). Oh ya and they are known for their world famous torture museum, but unfortunately we didn't dive into that one. But really it is a fairy tale town, just like a fantasyland. Harry Potter: the scene where Grindelwald steals the Elderwand, the main village for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Pinocchio in the movie and at Disneyworld.  Picture up top- Walt Disney World Pinocchio village- can't even tell the difference. Picture right below, tower in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I climbed that tower!), 2nd the scene from Harry Potter (the scene were Grindelwald steals the elderwand), and the last is the main village used in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang- the main square in Rothenburg.

I can honestly say that I never would have thought I would write those three words together in my life let alone in a public blog. Those are the main things when visiting Rothenburg. It is an extremely easy place to go for a two day journey, but really you don't need any longer than that I promise. I'll even pink promise which is a big deal as you all know. Anyway lets start with the first one- schneeballs. They are the delicacy of Rothenburg. The only way I can think to describe it is pastry dough stretched out and then wrapped around each other to make a softball sized pastry. I never took creative writing, so I'm sure that didn't do it justice in the slightest, so heres a pic:  They are good, but very filling and really get the small ones because the big ones have enough sugar to feed an army for a week. Something to try of course for the culture of Rothenburg and oh darn its sugar.

Onto the next- the night watchman tour. It is about 5 euros and very worth it. I believe it to be one of the only tours in
Rothenburg and when you add a man in a costume, haunting voice, and a weapon it really is worth the money. We learned about how the town was saved in WWII (a general's mother was the hero in fact), how to dine at Hell, what happens when fire hits dynamite, and more. The interesting (I say interesting because it is both tragic and well, interesting)- there is the main church that has two steeples. One made by an architect and the other by his apprentice. Well the apprentice's steeple received a much more positive reaction from the town's people and the master was so depressed about his own work and being shown up that he threw himself off his own steeple to his death. That must be good lookin steeple.  Again, tragic yet interesting.

Kathe Wolfhart. Not many people know of that name until they come to Europe. Actually I don't totally know if thats true since I didn't know of the company until I came to Germany. Kathy is a Christmas location with stores all around Germany and Europe and has excellent crafted gifts all having to do with Christmas. Smokers, ornaments, etc- everything! Well her head store is based in Rothenburg (again, the all around Christmas city) and lets just say its as if Christmas hurled all over this three story building. And then every tourist store (and thats every other building) has her collection as well. I'm telling you there is nothing more disorienting than it being March and being surrounded by Christmas. Mind you I'm not saying it was bad in anyway, but wowza it was disorienting.  Oh my... to that picture.. oh my.

What the city is also known for is the wall surrounding the Old Town. Mind you this is no picket fence, but a very tall stone wall that did a great job protecting the city for many many years.... and then that mistake with the fire and dynamite happened. Anyways, nowadays you can climb the stone wall and walk around it. This is a very fun, pleasant walk and view of the city, really very relaxing.... unless you are afraid of heights... then climbing on hundreds of years old stone is more terrifying, seeing the tops of buildings is frightening, and nothing to hold onto is downright miserable. But other than that it was lovely.

Rothenburg was a great relaxing, beautiful town to explore. It truly was as if we stepped onto a movie set in a fantasyland. A place that you can't help but feel happy- a great two day trip!

I know there are big cities to cross off the list, but traveling is all about finding adventure even in the small towns. And well, I want to go everywhere. Wanderlust. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ist & bul

See what I did there? Yep I think I'm pretty clever with that title thank you very much. So when you finally getting a grasp on the world, the trick is to then throw yourself once again into a city that looks unlike any other you have ever seen.... life and more specifically traveling-its all about keeping you on your toes.

Keeping me on my toes- to Istanbul, Turkey we go! The hotel was having a slower month, so I was lucky enough to go to both Morocco and and Istanbul in the same month (I am never entering real life I swear)! We booked the tickets about a month in advance and we decided to take the early flight (aka 8am), I checked my calender once, twice, once more, and sighed. Yes we had done it. We did a terrible, stupid thing. We booked our early flight the day after St. Patrick's Day. Rookie mistake. You may think just because Germans are not Irish it may not be a big deal. Lets not be stupid, Germany is known for their beer and drinking so lets rethink that last thought. With a Guiness filled night, 1 hour of sleep, and a great friend offering us a ride to the airport there we were singing to Kesha, Backstreet Boys, and all those quality artists on our way. Its a slight possibility that we were still intoxicated- soberness soon hit and within minutes we were rolling down the windows, passed out, and dreaming of greasy food goodness. A memorable way to start the trip indeed.

A few hours later we are then taking the metro to Old Town where everything including our hostel are located. In my head the picture of Istanbul that will always keep me surprised was the fact that I had been to France, Italy, Germany, etc-these countries that are surrounded by rich, gold splattered, Catholic churches and then here I was thrown into a city with a completely different religion and style of religious prayer- the mosques. I realize this next comment sounds completely ignorant but it is simply because it is so different than anything I have ever experienced growing up.. they look so space age like. With the giant pillars surrounding a dome in the middle, it was unlike anything I had ever seen, there was so many all over both old and new town... and I loved it.

So with some great advice our hostel was right in the backyard of the Blue Mosque and such a pleasant, safe, clean evironment (The Big Apple Hostel)- highly reccomend it! We dropped out bags off and started to explore! Due to prayer times, we could only look at the outside of the Blue Mosque, but rest assured we would be back. There is also the Haggia Sophia on the other side just as breathtaking.. and once you look at it and admire at how different it is than anything else the obnoxious water fountain goes off. Well I guess theres a little bit of Las Vegas everwhere.

First full day in Turkey- history in the morning, architecture in the afternoon, dinner in the evening, and bars at night. Rinse and repeat for the next three days. Lets Go! People are going to tell you go to the bazaar, the Blue Mosque, blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong- do it all, but try to find the things that aren't so publicized... which is of course is hard to find, but thats where I come in. Go to the Basilica Cistern- "The Basilica Cistern (TurkishYerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnıcı - "Sunken Cistern"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey." (wikipedia) My professors would be ashamed, but my blog is no thesis so be it. In normal talk it's a huge open space underground with lots of pillars, you walk around wooden paths thats above the water (and fish!) underneath, and there is the occasional Medusa stone head. I say that cause there is two. Well of course Istanbul of course. But real talk it is creepily lit and worth every penny! Do it...

Definitely go to the Turkish baths and get a massage. As a girl who has never gotten a massage this was quite the experience. Wear a bathing suit! Unless you like walking around naked and well then scratch that last suggestion. I was told to lay down on this hot stone (I was a feelin hot hot hot), this lady just (with great skill and finesse) took off my top with one quick pull of the string, and proceeded to pour bubbles on me. Thats right bubbles. I thought it was an easy beginning, bubbles- who doesn't love bubbles? As Paul Rudd from Knocked Up says "I wish I loved something as much as my kids love bubbles." Thats me- I'm the bubble loving kid. BUT then she proceeded to massage me in a way that I can only describe as a rolling pin kneading out raw dough. Rough. I will not use the term weak, but I do believe I'm a fragile or dainty kind of person after that experience. I do recommend it because it is one of the things YOU DO in Turkey, but wowzaa. 

We also decided to casually go to Asia for a day. By casually I mean we got on a boat for the Bosphorus tour which was about 2 hours and there we were in Asia. Scratch another continent off the list. There really isn't all that much to do/see. We hiked up to the castle ruins which really consisted of.... not much, we had great seafood, proceeded to yummy gelato, and then got back on the boat. I have never been to Asia, so it was exciting but really a sunset cruise that goes by the Asian side and you can say you've been in the seas of Asia totally works just as well. 

I have to say the blue Mosque was absolutely my favorite. Inside was mosaics and just so different than any other religious site I have ever been to. Remember to bring a scarf because the covering of women's head must be done. Just go in and sit. Just sit and look at how different parts of the world are from one another... and then go to another smaller mosque where you can go in to observe prayer time. Now thats different, but mesmerizing nontheless.

And then some things never change no matter where you are in the world- we stumbled upon an elementary school's play production in the main square, there was a short break, and Gangnam style came on, and there was dancing.. lots and lots of dancing. Gangnam style of course. Some things are universal. 

Well Istanbul, Turkey is up for an elected city for the 2020 Summer Olympics, they have my vote. 

So follow the journey that you want to live and not the one your told to walk along.