During my stay in London, I experienced the tube, train, plane, black cab, double decker bus, and of course getting lost all along the way in this enormous city! From Dalston to Waterloo, I pretty much wandered about getting into random adventures. Thankfully, I started at the Sky Garden where I could get a good view of the city that would swallow me whole. Then ventured over to the London Eye and said Hey! to Big Ben near Westminster Abbey. I felt as though I was in Downton Abbey, but not really.
Did I mention I got lost? Oh my! Without any phone service too! Maps are great when you understand the crisscross streets that loop and loop and loop. I would not recommend exploring London without an international plan. I myself prefer to travel with least distractions, but I learned my lesson here.
Despite getting lost several times, I enjoyed the diversity of this huge city. I experienced Street Feast filled with amazing foods and beverage, playing quizzes at the rooftop bar, meeting the only 2 English men in London who insisted on talking about Trump at a bar named after a Dance Studio (confusing the next day when you check your bank statement. Did I sign up for a dance class last night??). However, once again the most amazing part was catching up with great friends from all over who just so happened to end up in London around the same time. Oh and Mammamia! Most definitely a great musical to catch if you’re ever in London! I will not spoil it!!!
Of course I had to venture back to one of my favorite cities to visit mum and dad and eat bread until my eyes popped out whilst stuffing down mum’s Irish fry. I needed all the energy possible to keep up with all the craic! From a morning stroll through the market to late night tea and scones, the Irish sure know a thing or two about hospitality.
Home Warming Party Belfast, NI
Besides the food, the views along the coast are to die for! This time I wandered around New Castle, NI and wandered through Titanic Studios in Belfast rather than hunt down sheep. New Castle, where Narnia was inspired. Titanic Studios where Game of Thrones is filmed and of course the Titanic was built somewhere nearby…
The coast is so peaceful, though pretty cold for this non-native! Make sure to bring a jacket for the Irish weather is so unpredictable!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Germany this year catching up with amazing friends and vicariously enjoying the child-hood memories of Spaghetti Ice. YES! That is ice cream featured above made to look like spaghetti with its strawberry paste sauce, white chocolate sprinkled parmesan and whip creamed stuffed cheese. A lactose and tolerant person’s worse nightmare and dream come true. I enjoyed having spaghetti ice in Mannheim where it was invented!
Dinner with my German Family
Spaghetti ice comes pretty close to this huge wine barrel made into a local restaurant and apparently the largest wine barrel in the world! You could drink yourself drunk inside drowning in the sweet aromas of authentic German food made to order with vegetables and produce from your local farms. The white asparagus was in season and I just couldn’t resist!
Last, but not least, you must wash it all down with a hearty German beer from your local Biergarten. I must say during my travels thus far, the Germans have the best beer and wine! Don’t quote me on that since I have plenty more places to explore on my list. However, I would recommend adding the historical town of Speyer filled to the brim with lovely people, food, hidden castles, and a random Salsa dance night under the stars!
Many people may choose risk taking as a means to push themselves to reach new limits and break comfort zones. I, myself, can admit to testing my limits through different activities. I cannot swim well, so I’ve always possessed anxiety when participating in water activities [despite my love of the sight and sound of water]. I have also possessed a fear of heights, so this past weekend I challenged myself to go sky diving!
I almost panicked when the wind attacked my face and I forgot to breath! It was not until the parachute opened that I regained my sense of what was happening, and I calmly enjoyed the view of the land. Just look at all the green 🙂
I must say that the first jump is a sensory overload! I will jump again soon to better experience life amongst the clouds. I think a bird may be my spirit animal because I was surprised how comfortable I became soaring in the sky.
One of my favorite places to visit locally may surprise many people. To some a casual visit to a cemetery may be viewed as offensive, while others may find peace and solace amongst those no longer with us. I personally view Hollywood Cemetery as my own little Ivory Tower or oasis. I am able to get lost in my thoughts while obtaining a good workout walking around the beautiful garden.
Hollywood Cemetery also has much history to be explored and uncovered. For example, you will find U.S. presidents such as James Monroe buried amongst over 18, 000 confederate soldiers.
However, my favorite part of Hollywood Cemetery is listening to the sound of the James River running nearby Waterview Avenue. I literally walk right through the front entrance and follow the sound of the rappids until I find my favorite hill overlooking Richmond City. Many locals will not find such views of our little, historical city without a visit to Hollywood Cemetery.
“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
Loves the lamb, you know, loves the lamb, you know
“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
I loved seeing so many sheep during the drive from Belfast, Ireland to Derry, Ireland. I wanted to sheep so baaadly on the way up, but the site seeing was too breath taking. Eventually, I could not keep myself from saying “awwww the little lambs are so cute. I really want a lamb burger” [yes, those thoughts were sequential]. Needless to say, I did not take my lamb to school. Instead, that little lamb became my meal. Yes, I bared my teeth and gulped it down like a wolf. What a tasteful meal indeed! You wool not believe how many sheep are in Ireland. It’s a ram-page!
I Love Lamb
In case you are wondering, I did make it to Derry safe and sound without harming any sheep along the way. The view was amazingly soothing. I found myself just sitting outside absorbing it all in, until eventually we began to explore. It is these little moments abroad that make traveling worthwhile. Travelling does not have to revolve around tourist areas and busy schedules packed with site seeing. Sometimes you just get in the car and take a ride, wandering around aimlessly until something sparks your interest. My time spent in Derry was just that, no schedule, no plans, just good plain fun with lively people. I still think of the time spent there today and smile. My heart fills with joy and uncontrollable bliss. It was a Wanderful experience. I highly recommend Derry, Ireland as a place of escape from restricting schedules and exploration of nature. It is far from dreary.
Alright, who amongst us has never seen the 1963 movie The Birds? Okay, it was not that great of a movie, but considering the time period it was pretty fly! Imagine birds swooping down to bite you or just peck at your brains. Okay, not that gruesome, but imagine the freight! One image I captured in my travels to the beach reminds me of The Birds! I share it with you below. Thankfully, the birds did not attack me during the taking of this photo. Can you guess the beach? Well, it is South Beach in Miami, Florida, USA. It is a busy beach filled with tourists and night life.
One of my favorite local places to go to enjoy nature and spend time embracing life (as well as pondering life) is Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia, USA. It is full of places to explore and get lost. Mostly, it reminds me of my all time favorite children’s book The Secret Garden because of the many themed gardens around the park. Also, you can get lost amongst the bamboo trees.
Here I share one of my favorite images captured randomly. If you have ever gone to Maymont, can you picture where this is? If you have not, I highly recommend it!