Belgium is SUCH an underrated country! I wish I’d had more time to explore – lots of beautiful scenery and lovely architecture. If you do make it over to Belgium, promise me you’ll try to put more in your itinerary than just Brussels!! (I wasn’t the bigggggest fan of Brussels – but then again, I’m not a huge city person, so…). Admittedly, I don’t think I really went to the “off-the-beaten track” destinations in Belgium, but maybe I did compared to the average tourist? I’d love to go back and explore more of the countryside – my train rides to Dinant and Durbuy were absolutely beautiful.
[The Grand Place in Brussels – I’d argue that it’s the main tourist attraction in Brussels, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also just fancy AF]
As far as communication goes, many people speak English, but there are 3 official languages: Dutch, French, and German. However, most people speak either Dutch, French, or both, depending on the region.
And the food is GOOD. Between the chocolate, waffles, fries, pastries, and sandwiches (they have so many specific types of sandwiches there! They’re usually in long baguettes, and have a very specific yummy flavor – one of the chains is Panos, and their sandwiches are actually pretty good quality), I was happy happy happy.
Ok, so the Madonna Inn is pretty damn expensive. We all know that. But – you can still check it out even if you don’t have the funds to stay in a room (still a dream of mine – one day!!). We went to their cafe and grabbed a slice of cake (yep, that’s it – we broke) and then walked around this gem of a hotel.
[It’s already so cool! A PINK SIGN!]
You can check out the restaurant, bathrooms (of course lol but you really should look at them, even if you don’t have to go! They are fancy AF – the dude’s bathroom has a freaking WATERFALL in it), shop(s), pool area (although I don’t think you can swim unless you’re actually staying at the hotel), tennis courts (they’re also PINK!), garden, and the outside of all the pretty hotels. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and someone will be leaving theirs when you walk by and you can get a glimpse inside! (I’m actually the creepiest)…
[Lower Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon – another reason to hike to the bottom, instead of just checking out the rim!]
In my humble (aka always right) opinion, Arizona is such an underrated state and vastly misunderstood. (At least it was by me?)
[Look at all those lush desert plants! And that beautiful red desert rock! And that kinda sorta desert sunset! Side notes: Desert sunsets really are some of the most beautiful! This was near Saguaro National Park]
Like, did you know that not all of Arizona is desert (which is what I originally assumed #dontassume) and that it actually SNOWS in some parts? Like what.
[On a plane somewhere in Sweden]
Doesn’t everyone have these sorts of stories? Or is it just me? Awkward? Am I the only failure of a traveler? I feel like the #1 travel tip ever is BE EARLY TO THE FREAKING AIRPORT and yet I’ve missed a decent number of flights and had quite a few close calls…
So, without further ado, here are some stories of me being a total dumbass, enjoy!
[Stockholm was dope. And really not that cold. And so pretty!]
Ahhhh Stockholm. To be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar of “dying-to-see” destinations like Abisko and Copenhagen were. And I kind of only went because we found cheap tickets (about $440 round trip from Oakland, CA to Stockholm!! Would’ve been more like $300 if we’d bought in advance and hadn’t insisted on picking our seats, for you wanderlusters who are considering checking it out next winter).
But I came away loving Stockholm! I’ll be honest, I liked Copenhagen a bit better, but I also feel like we didn’t get to see as much of Stockholm as we did Copenhagen. Stockholm was at the beginning and end of our trip, so at first we were too jetlagged to do much (we were there for a day and a half before heading to Abisko), and then at the end we were pretty tired from a week and a half of non-stop (cold) travel. But, I did enjoy it, and would love to see it in the summer (especially to explore the Archipelago!!!).
[The overlook from the hike up to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh]
I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this topic because I’m just going to go ahead and say I am. Which is pretty much the reason I’m qualified to do anything! No certifications or degrees needed here. Lol but really, I’ve traveled with 3 good friends in college, random people that I’ve met while traveling solo, a man friend, an old friend from high school, my mom, etc.
But okay, so – here are the things that I feel like makes traveling with another person and not strangling each other so much easier!
[Typical perfectly perfect street in Copenhagen]
So the answer is a resounding YES. I could actually live in Copenhagen. Like I actually, really could and might someday in the future. Who knows! My friend actually wants to move there now so I might just hop on board (literally) with her and make it easier. Especially because I thought I would die in the winter, but I didn’t, and it actually really wasn’t that bad, sooooo I have no excuse now! Only negative was the mirrors. Everyone is tall AF in Copenhagen (and all Scandanavian places, really) and my short ass was always too small to reach the mirrors lol – I often had to stand on my tip toes. And since one of my favorite past times is looking at myself, that could be a problem…
Okay, so – WHY exactly would I want to go to Sweden in the dead of winter (with minimal daylight) and call it a “vacation”?
Well, the main reason: stupid stupid cheap tickets. Like $440 round trip cheap from San Francisco to Stockholm. Not too bad, eh?
So, we went in January, and I was real worried that the lack of light would leave us bored to tears (when I looked online, it said it would only be light out from like 10AM-1PM), but I thought it was fine! It actually ended up being light from more like 9-2ish, and I had blog stuff to work on, so it wasn’t a huge deal. It’s also not that bad walking around in the dark though, as long as you have a head lamp. However, if you still want to see the northern lights but want longer days, go during February!
[Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls]
Yosemite Valley is just one of the those places you HAVE. TO. SEE.
IMO it is just awe inspiring, and so so so beautiful.
[This is Lynn Canyon Park! Go Go Go!!!]
So I shared with y’all how much I’m obsessed with Victoria, and now it’s time to talk about Vancouver! It’s definitely much bigger than Victoria, but I loved it all the same. And the natures – especially in west Vancouver, where we stayed – is so so damn lovely.