post update

So I know what you are thinking… Where are all my travel posts? …Well my intentions were to blog about my travels while I was abroad. I even brought my computer with me and managed to get my London post up while there. But, I underestimated the amount of time that I would actually be spending exploring different cities each day.

Now that I am state side I will be starting to post about my travels within the next few days. I’ll also be posting some other travel tips and tricks plus I have some hopefully exciting news to share with you all.

So stay tuned because the travel posts I promised are coming!

Here’s a little sneak peak…




the beauty in budapest

To get to Budapest this time around we decided to a take a legit night train. It was a total of ten hours and we slept in a couchette. Basically it was like 3 couch bed, stacked on each side like bunk beds. Lucky for me I got to take on of the very top beds, which was fine when I was laying down but you couldn’t sit up straight because of the ceiling so it was an intense hunch that was very uncomfortable.

Even still, I’m glad we got to experience it, it was kind of fun actually, to know you were sleeping on a moving train and woke up not only in a different city but in a different country. And it definitely didn’t feel like it took ten hours so I’d say it was a success.

We got into Budapest well rested and drop our bags at the Airbnb, which again worked out lovely. After freshening up we headed out to see the city. We grab lunch at some place nearby…it said traditional Hungarian food, but who knows. Then we stopped at the market, which was incredible. The first floor was like a grocery store and the second floor was everything from souvenirs to clothes and accessories. The whole thing was open too.

Afterwards we spent the rest of the day walking the city. When we turned the corner to walk along the river I was in shock because I did not expect to see this beautiful mountain and all these ornate buildings visible in the distance. I was taken aback by the beauty I found around every corner in Budapest.

It truly was a most beautiful city and because we only had the day we didn’t get a chance to see everything and didn’t get a chance to check out the famous baths either, so I will definitely be returning at some point in life.

Even though Hungary is a second world country, when you’re in Budapest you don’t get that vibe, in fact instead it seems like a very royal place with all the incredible architecture that can be found.

I should also mention that we had been planning all along to get fish pedicures in Budapest. We just decided that that was the place we wanted to get them done. Now, I am deathly afraid of fish, my phobia goes back a long ways but I do not like them and the thought of them touching me…..but I told myself that it was time I face my fears so I said I would do it.

When we got there, they couldn’t take us all at the same time, and so I obviously opted not to go first because I wanted to see what it would be like first. Omg the way those fish attacked their feet I was like hell no. So I didn’t do it because there was and is no way I’m about to watch fish eat me. Sorry not sorry but I’m not about that.

Call me a loser, a wimp or whatever you’d like really….maybe one day I’ll finally face my fear but the day in Budapest was just not that day.

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P.S. Only one travel post left to go :/

pics here

a loss for words

I have to apologize because once I got back into the states things got really crazy, and I just didn’t have time to get these last few travel posts in right away. But, I’m finally starting to get into somewhat of a regular routine so I promise this week, I WILL finish up my travel posts. Also, this post was supposed to go up yesterday but since the storms were so bad our internet was out. :/

So then, my last ‘big’ trip of the semester was to Poland and Budapest. Poland was first up and we conveniently left for our flight the morning after my flat mate’s 21st birthday celebrations…lol I didn’t keep my eyes open for more than 5 minutes during the entire flight. All of us were beat, but we made it.

In Krakow we decided to go with an Airbnb instead of a hostel and boy was it nice. We had this studio apartment all to ourselves, it was great…I kind of really wished we had did the whole Airbnb sooner but…oh well.

I won’t lie but after we had some pierogis for lunch we spent much of the afternoon and early evening napping as we hadn’t fully recovered from the lack of sleep the night before. So basically we got there, ate, napped, ate again and when back to bed.

It’s really fine because the next day we saw it all. The first half of the day was spent at Auschwitz, which was the number 1 on my bucket list for study abroad (I didn’t think I was going to get the chance to go on this trip so I was glad to be able to make it work).

It’s really interesting because people ask me how it was and, for me to say it was incredible seems weird because I don’t associate the word incredible with something that is so somber. It’s extremely difficult to put into words what the experience was like. The piles of hair, of luggage, of shoes both of children and adults it’s just…writing this even now I can’t seem to find the right words.

In the simplest terms,…It made me sick, it made me scared and it made me sad. But it was worth it. I don’t really want to go into it that much more because everyone has their own individual experience and it’s something I want to keep to myself.

But, anyways we got back into Krakow and decided to do a free afternoon walking tour because we hadn’t really seen anything the day before. And let me just say here that Krakow is stunning. It is so beautiful and so so so clean, like we talked about how clean it was multiple times. And I was really surprised by this; I didn’t expect Poland to be as beautiful as it was.

The city center is surrounded by pedestrian streets making it easy to leisurely walk around. And as per usual the tour offered us good insight into the city’s history. Although, our tour guide talked a little too much I can’t complain because it was free and I learned a thing or two.

I’d have to say Poland is up there on my list of favorites. If you ever get the chance, go, not only to visit Auschwitz but to appreciate the beauty and rich history of its cities.

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Pics here

touring with the fam

A couple of weeks ago my family was able to come a visit me. After a having a proper cry upon seeing them for the first time in months I was excited to show them around my stomping grounds. We had a pretty jam packed schedule so like Italy, I’ll just summarize each place.


We started with a weekend in Paris and boy what a weekend it was. We enjoyed crepes next to the Eiffel Tower and even got to go to the top, took a boat cruise along the river Seine, went inside the Notre Dame and just enjoyed the life in city. Were we shocked at how full of life the city was after dark, people grabbing dinner around 10pm and just casually out strolling the streets. If only we could take a weekend getaway to Paris whenever we wanted…



Our first day in London happen to be VE Day (Victory Europe) so after I showed the fam around Oxford and Piccadilly Circus, China Town, Covent Garden, Trafalgar and Leicester Square we headed towards parliament and ran right into the parade. And we stay to watch because we were stuck and were told the Queen would be coming round and duh, we wanted to see her. She didn’t end up coming :(, but we got to see lots of cute Veterans, which I enjoyed. Other than that we pretty much hit all the major stuff, Big Ben, the Eye, Tower of London, Westminster, Harrods, Hyde Park….the list goes on and on. But instead of going to see a show at Piccadilly we decided to do a Jack the Ripper Tour instead…and it was well worth it. Our guide Barney, a Beefeater, was engaging and knowledgeable and it was nice intimate group. I think my family would agree with me when I say that was one of our favorite things we did in London. If you ever go to London I’ll gladly give you the info for the tour.

                           STRATFORD UPON AVON

Stratford was a typical quaint English village and happens to also be the home of Shakespeare. We got to tour his house and gardens and it’s crazy how well preserved his house is today. They also gave us free scones and sparkling wine, so that obviously made the experience better. I think we all enjoyed the visit and it was really the first time my family got to see a true English town.


Bath blew me away with it’s beauty. I almost wish I had considered studying abroad in Bath becasue it really was that beautiful. All the buildings are made with stone from bath and it’s set on a hill so the views are incredible. While there we got to tour the Roman Baths and enjoy some true Cornish Pasties. I think we all wished we got to spend a bit more time there and agreed we would when we come back.



Stonehenge was interesting. To be honest it was kind of creepy. They are just the big and tall stones set up in a specific way but no one really knows why…and then in all the land surrounding the stones there are these human burial grounds that form little hills, so you basically know you are surrounded by dead people. I’m really glad I got to experience it and looking back I still don’t really know how I feel about it.


I might dare to say that I liked Scotland better than Ireland…Edinburgh was so beautiful, the views were incredible from every angle. We got to check out Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Crown Jewels, walk the royal mile and taste about every free sample of whiskey there was. We also took a hike up a cliff, but didn’t got too far as we weren’t properly equipped and we are old and out of shape. It’d seemed there were bagpipes being played everywhere and I couldn’t have asked for a more lovely day in Scotland with my family.



Scarborough is on the East coast of the country and it’s a place that definitely comes to life in the summer. With it’s long stretch of beach, and arcades full of carnival games it is pretty much a child’s paradise. Nonetheless it was still lovely to walk along the beach and enjoy the seaside smell. It was quite refreshing actually. It was the perfect way to spend our second to last mornign together.


York is your typical medieval English town. The city walls are almost still fully in tact and the shambles are so picturesque. We got to enjoy a proper high tea at Betty’s, the best in Yorkshire, and then enjoyed walking down all the pedestrian streets looking through the windows into the cute little shops. It was also race day in York so while relaxing for a bit before out tour we encountered many people in really good ‘moods’ and all had a laugh at that.

                 Writing this post makes me miss my time with my family but it’s a good thing I return home in about 2 days.



P.S. I’ve got about 3 more travel posts to go

italy plus vatican city


Milan was super urban I loved it. Not only did we get to attend mass at the Duomo we also got to hang out in the park behind the castle with all the locals. There were these dogs chasing ducks around in the pond there and it was so adorable. Also huge shoutout to my friend Allison for giving us an awesome suggestion for where to eat. Oscar’s was delicious and everything we’d expected an Italian restaurant in Italy to be.


Venice was breath taking. Around ever corner was either a stunning view or a dead end, lol. Our gondola ride was everything you’d expect it to be, although I wish our driver (not sure what you call them…) sang to us. I thought them singing was supposed to be a thing. Guess not. Also, the city is full of mas vendors and the masks are exquisite. It was a city full of life even after dark and I loved every minute of it.


Florence was my least favorite city in Italy. It was the one place I did not fell safe or comfortable. Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful place with some great vantage points for views of the city but that doesn’t make up for the fact that you couldn’t walk down a street without bumping into someone at least 10 times. I almost broke down and had a panic attack becasue it made me so nervous. But, we did enjoy one of our favorite meals of Italy there and the leather goods were top notch. So it wasn’t all that bad. Just not the city for me.


Pisa and the leaning tower of Pisa is pretty much everything you’d expect it to be. Seeing the tower in person it looks exactly as it does in photographs. Unlike the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben which pictures can’t accurate capture, the with the leaning tower of Pisa, what you see in pictures is what you get. Still a cool thing to have been able to see in person though.


The two towns we visited in the Cinque Terre region blew me away. Monterosso and Vernazza were everything you’d expect an Italian coastal city to be. Breathtaking views, beaches and brightly colored buildings. We got to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza and at the beginning it was like climbing the stairs to heaven. At least that’s what it felt like becasue there were so many. But once we got up to the trail the views were unreal. The stairs were definitely worth it for the views. One day I’d like to go back and hike all five villages becasue it was that beautiful. The hike was probably one of the top activities we did on the trip. And it was nice to dangle our feet in the water once we reached Vernazza.


Rome was kind of a big let down. And not just becasue the Trevi Fountain was under construction (I don’t even want to talk about it much less think about it). I guess in comparison to the other places we’d seen in Italy leading up to it Rome just didn’t do it. I mean the Colosseum was cool as was the Parthenon but other than that it was just ok. I really like hanging out on the Spanish steps and the Piazza Navona was probably my favorite place as it was full of artists and performers and just life in general…but I guess at that point we were all pretty much ready to get back to Leeds.




Seeing the Basilica and the Sistine Chapel was cool. The city is a pretty massive place and I would have liked to explore it more…and also it would have been nice to see the Pope. But I’ll live. There’s this great shop there run by the nuns that sells a million different religious things that I quite enjoyed. Overall it’s a nice place.



P.S. If you click the city names it will take you to all the photos.

the hills are alive

Sooooo, I’m officially down to my last week in Leeds…which is extremely bitter sweet but that also means that this week I will be finishing up all my travel posts. 😦 But, there’s a lot to look forward to this summer, like DIY posts with all the things I’ve collected from travels and more fashion and beauty posts. Yaya. Just wanted to mention it before I get started.

We arrived in Salzburg happy not only to see the sun shining but also to feel it’s warmth on our skin. And with that we began our Official Sound Music Tour. It took us to six different filming locations and our guide David told us so much about the movie that I didn’t know beforehand. There was quite a lot of trickery and planning that went into the making of movie….

Touring around Salzburg was incredible. I almost wished that we had skipped Vienna and spent more time in Salzburg. Just another reason to come back someday…..the Lake District was truly breath taking. And, we finally got to try some authentic Apple Strudel with vanilla ice cream, which we enjoyed right outside the cathedral where Maria married the Captain. Definitely the best way to enjoy strudel.

Once back in town after the tour we got to explore a bit before dinner. After dinner we headed back to the station to await our one and only night train of the Easter break trip. It was a 2:30am train that would take us to Zurich….more on that in the next post…but what I will say is that becasue we got the train in the middle of the night we couldn’t get our seats becasue people where sleeping and thus taking up extra seats for their legs. One guy had hung up a hammock and was sleeping in that. It was fing ridiculous. So we ended up sharing a coach with some freaky lady….no worries we survived and made it to Zurich.

And, it might have sucked, but it was totally worth becasue we got to go to Salzburg and do the tour.



Pics here

lazy and confused: vienna

The train ride to Vienna was as per usual. And we got to the hostel only to find we had 3 flights of stairs to climb to get to our room. But it was kind of cool becasue since there were other apartments in the buildings it felt like we were living with the locals.

Since we got in late afternoonish we took some time just to veg and relax as it was much needed. When traveling nonstop for a month, sometimes you just need a break. When we got hungry we found a place around the corner to grab a nice traditional Austria dish, Wiener Schnitzel…along with a nice Austrian beer it was just what we needed to refuel.

After a good night sleep we were finally ready to see what Vienna had to offer. And we headed towards what we thought was St. Charles Church, apparently it’s a must see. And, we got lost. Vienna is a really confusing city to navigate even with a map. The streets are all named the same thing and nothing really makes sense….we ended up at the Votive church instead, which was pretty nontheless, lol.

We managed to get our bearings and started to make our way to St. Charles (sidenote: when I wrote St. Charles the 1st thing I thought of was the road that runs through Elmhurst, got some home vibes going) and managed to see most of the city along the way. We finally made it to the right church, even though the girls tried to challenge me that it wasn’t the right place…hey I was just following the map.

The church was actually kind of a let down, they made it seem like there was this great panoramic view from the top but once you got up there you couldn’t even see out becasue there were grates on the windows. Not to mention the scaffolding all over the church just to support the stairs the lead up there. V odd, if you ask me.

From there we headed to the Nasch Market which was only a few blocks over. This might have been my favorite part of the city. It was everything a city market should be. Vendor after vendor selling veggies, fruits, dried fruits, sweets, falafel….anything and everything really. We found something to eat there before we headed to the palace.

It was a easy train ride over on their metro system. And once we got to the palace we got to walk the grounds for free and it was absolutely gorgeous. I wish that it was later in the season so that we could have seen the flowers in bloom, but still it was nice to enjoy the views. I was actually really jealous becasue there were a ton of people running through the grounds and I wish that Leeds had a place like that. But, it’s so hilly here running really is no fun. In that respect, I’m ready to get back to the flat land in Illinois.

                                                         Only about 2 weeks till then.



P.S. Shoutouts to my viewers from the Netherlands and Philippines you guys are the best! ….now giving shoutouts so you know you want to get involved and maybe you’ll get one in the next post.

Vienna pics