North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Oceania · 98 Days · 425 Moments · May 2017

Patrick's World Travel


23 August 2017

Hello Southern California, my next adventure.

22 August 2017

Last night in Honolulu and of my travels! And pics from the morning flight. You can see Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay.
Continuing along
The clouds blew away for a only a minute (I say they were changing work shifts with the ocean clouds) to reveal the stunning views of our hike. After a few minutes it was back to being in a cloud.
Decided to trek on top of the mountain ridge through the dense cloud. Had to be careful here. The path was max 4 feet wide and you would fall hundreds of feet off the almost vertical edge in some parts.
Kuli'ou'ou ridge trail. At the top we entered the cloud and decided to continue along the advanced/dangeorus path to Pu'u Okona mountain peak

21 August 2017

Leonard's bakery with the most amazing Portugese doughnuts. My mouth is watering now just thinking of them. Cinnamon sugar!
More beautiful island scenery. Loved the trees here
Beaching at Lanakai! Look at that moped wind hair
Went snorkeling at Hanauma bay natural preserve and then took the moped along a coastal drive to admire the lava rocks and ocean.

20 August 2017

Koko Head hike - what a workout! We completed it in 21 minutes which is quite good.. Some fit folks there doing laps or carrying something up with them. There are elevated and seemingly vertical rail portions. At the top is a bunker. Anyway, here you can see another crater on the island and a bit of Hanauma bay.
Diamond Head Crater hike!

19 August 2017

Welcome to Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii! First day was filled with beach volleyball with my awesome couch surfing host, Ron. The islanders here are very passionate and quite good! It took some time but our team finally won at the end of the night. The sunset while playing was absolutely beautiful (what I imagined a Hawaiian sunset would look like!) but I couldn't take a pic because my team needed me! Afterwards we got some delicious udon noodle in Waikiki.

18 August 2017

I decided to bike to the Crystal Cascades which was probably not one of my better ideas. It was 1.5 hours and 7 miles each way, and I was using a free 6-speed rental bike from the hostel. Anyway, the waterfall was nice and very refreshing!
Finally got to try the infamous/famous Vegemite! This is a very salty spread that I believe is made from leftover yeast (no matter how much it looks like Nutella, this is far from it). It's one of those things you either love or hate. I put a thin layer on my toast with some butter on top and would say I liked it, but I can see why some would not!

17 August 2017

Walking through the Cairns Esplanade. There is a public pool by the beachfront called the "lagoon" which is pretty neat! Also note the crocodile warning sign. I learned that while many of north Australia's beaches are beautiful, you should be cautious to enter the water because of the crocodiles.
Walking through the rainforest botanical gardens. Lots of turkeys running around. They also have huge old cylindrical tanks that are converted into art galleries and musical venues.

16 August 2017

Placeholder for photos while scuba diving in the great barrier reef :) I need to go through all my GoPro video footage and grab screenshots. Here are some great barrier reef anenomefish (Nemo) in the meantime!

15 August 2017

First certified dive!

14 August 2017

A collection of vews from the deck! We were frequently visited by a friendly green turtle :)
Needed a separate post for this. The food here is all cooked on boat and is fantastic, AND buffet style so you know I eat at least 3 plates... Here are a few meals. In addition we get cake after each dive, cookies/coffee/tea all day. Yum.
All aboard! Here starts my 3 day live-aboard with ProDive to get my PADI open water scuba certification! My dive buddy from land training was also signed up for the live-aboard so we bunked and did all 10 dives together. UPDATE: I went beyong the open water certification and got my adventure diver certification, which enables me to go down to 30m and night dive.

12 August 2017

Exploring a bit of Cairns with friends from scuba class. We watched Australian football alongside rugby at a local bar, found our way to a snazzy restaurant/bar with a deck over water/fire. There are some really interesting trees here. But look out! If you look closely, the upward view of the tree is FULL of bats, too many to count. Also shown is a boomerang store and famous maxibon ice cream.
PADI SCUBA class with ProDive Cairns! Here we take our pool and knowledge training for the first two days, 8am-6pm each day! We are in the pool half the day and classroom the other half. One really great part of this course is that we got to try all different types of equipment and see which works best for us. Using higher quality materials and fitting equipment was a game changer for me.

11 August 2017

Flight from Bangkok to Sydney with a beautiful starry night and sunrise that made it look like the sky was on fire. Qantas had ginger beer! Fist airline in my experience that has had it and I was pleasantly surprised. I could not sleep so I spent my time watching Pulp Piction for the first time (loved it) and some mini-travel shows which inspired me to freedive in Mexico, go paragliding in southern California, and try MMA.

10 August 2017

Back in Bangkok for the flight to Australia. Visited the Jim Johnson house in my spare time. Jim Johnson was an American entrepreneur famous for reviving the Thai silk industry. Unfortunately no pictures allowed in the house. Note the Hokie colors on the walk by the canal. Liked the look of the graffiti. Also shown, my daily banana-chocolate crepe, as well as (finally) getting a Thai tea.

9 August 2017

I really love this pattern/design, and it took me some time but I finally found it on a shirt with the color and style I was looking for. Very happy with my purchase, and with some bargaining bought a white one with it.

8 August 2017

Ao Nang hilltop near sunset and after a big pour
Small collection of food here in Krabi. The food is more expensive and less diverse here so I didn't take many. HOWEVER I found a fantastic Indian restaurant here (Tandoori Nights) so that's featured here (the toll masala was incredible) and where I ate 3 nights in a row. Oh and the beer. I realize it had been about a month since my last beer and decided to try some. I had Chang, Singha, and BeerLao (dark lager from Laos). All ok but definitely hit the spot after beaching and hiking. Interesting though unfortunate that there really are only 3 main breweries for all of Thailand due to some brewing and distibution laws.

7 August 2017

Did the 7 Islands sunset tour which was quite hectic but turned out nicely. Two very cool things were snorkeling and swimming with the bioluminescent plankton at dark! I had the GoPro for these (though it didn't capture them well, oh well) so I'll talk about it here. For snorkeling, this was one of the first times I've seen a live coral reef - colorful fish, big fish, small fish, spiny sea urchins, many different types of plants, and crabs. At first I was pretty intimidated by the amount of hidden life and uncertainty at what was going to try and bite me. Turned out to only be a few small hungry fish who thought my GoPro was food. Swimming with the bioluminsecent planton was incredible! You are in complete darkness in the ocean and when you move underwater, little blue specs light up around your body. It felt like a dream.

6 August 2017

Views from the top of Tiger Temple
Tiger temple....1300 seemingly vertical steps...but definitely worth it. See the next post for pics at the top!
One of my favorite shrines!
Hot Springs! With all the rain it was a bit murky and colder than usual, but still was lots of fun.
Emerald Pool

5 August 2017

Phra Nang and Railay beaches
Phra Nang cave near the beach
There is a ~~secret lagoon~~ on the path to Phra Nang where you have to climb (and descend) a VERY steep and muddy terrain. It had just poured the other day so it was extra muddy. The GoPro captured the good footage when it got real dirty, but you can see some of it here. At the end I was knee-deep in mud. Thankfully I cleaned off in the ocean later! Notice the monkey's on the way out.
To Railay from Ao Nang via longboat
Arrived in Ao Nang!

3 August 2017

Alright here is my Chiang Mai street food compilation, similar to my Bangkok one. It is here that I really fell in love with banana-cocolate roti. It is heavenly and I get it everywhere I go. HOWEVER the ABSOLUTE BEST thing I've had is this fried banana with coconut syrup from this nice old lady near the three kings monument. I tried to see her the next day but she wasn't there! I spent the next hour going all around the city to find her but with no success. Maybe she was an angel sent to give the greatest food ever prepared in this world. Who knows, but I think about this fried banana and coconut often and look out for similar stores wherever I go.
Bike trip to Doi Inthanon, the tallest point in Thailand! Well, at this altitude and this season it was rainy. I was driving through a cloud the whole time in the mountain with 30 ft visibility and SOAKING wet/cold. Almost ran out of fuel (tank is maybe 2 liters) so I went into neutral the way down. My phone also shut off from being so wet so I had no navigation. Just barely made it I figure, but it was worth it. I'm sure the view is spectacular when you can see things. There is a nice temple at the top. See next post for more pictures at the top. Along the way are Wachirathan waterfall and the Thai national observatory (not pictured).

2 August 2017

When I returned to Chiang Mai, I stumbled upon a Chiang Mai FC match! I parked my bike on the side of the road and joined the crowds of people watching from outside the stadium. Some were standing on their bikes, some climbed in trees for a better view. I was thankfully tall enough to watch over the ledge!
Lunch at Moncham
Biking in rural northern Thailand
Also in this botanical garden was a dedciated ginger arbitorium, banana avenue (featured here), and a waterfall (also featured). There was a young thai school group touring the bananas. I got to learn all about the different kinds of bananas, cultivated and not.
Queen Sirikit botanical garden. As you know, I love gardens and this was certainly anotjer enjoyable one. Everything from carnivorous plants to medicinal, arid, orchid, lilles, etc. The last one is an orchid hybrid which I thought was so cool because it has the one large pink feature but then one flower poking out the side which I intially thought was separate. Idk, it's little things like this that impress me and make these trips so fun.
First up, Mae Sa waterfall which has 10 "levels" you progressively hike up. One has a waterfall you can to go behind :)
I ended up renting a motobike for day trips from Chiang Mai. Lots of crazy driving here in Thailand, and going 90 km/hr on the highway alongside cars and trucks is no sane feat. Always wore a helmet, adapted well, did not have any close calls, and thankfully the worst injury was a sore butt from sitting for so long on the journeys.

1 August 2017

Elephants! If you ever do a visit, do your research and make sure you go to a park that does not do riding, has adequate land/care, and does not force the animals for your entertainment. Unfortunately I realized during my trip that the one I chose (Elephant Nature Park was fully booked so I did another) did the latter, so I initially felt wrong thinking about posting these pictures. However the reason I did is because you CAN find a reputable organization (like Elephant Nature Park) and have an experience like mine, and it certainly is worth it to learn and get close with these very odd animals. Here I am posing with the grandmother of the group, who is 65 years old! Her son (rescued from a riding camp) and grandson (rescued from a circus) were there as well.
Took a scooter trip up to Doi Suthep to see the Chiang Mai city at night. The first attempt at 10pm, there were police blocking the path because it was too dangerous apparently, but they were not there at 1am...

31 July 2017

Tried durian for the first time. Very smelly, not terrible.....the one I got was quite squishy so that did not help. Glad I tried it, and I can see this being an acquired taste. I gave the rest to my hostel's nightkeeper because he loves durians. Hostels and hotels have signs next to "no smoking" that say "no durians"
The finished products!
I did a cooking class here in Chiang Mai! First I decided what I wanted to cook, deciding on: pad thai, sour and hot prawn soup, papaya salad, spring rolls, khao soi (traditional northern Thailand food), and mango sticky rice. Then, we went to the market to get the ingredients! We cooked at our host's home with woks and all the tools necessary. He taught us about the ingredients, technique, and cultural signifance/history. Of course, we got to eat the food we cooked :)
Around Chiang Mai. Notice the motorbike checkpoint! Here I spotted a farang (foreigner) getting a ticket, presumably for not having an IDP. All these checkpoints is what initially stopped me from renting a motorbike, but then you start to notice where they all are...

30 July 2017

Park
Had an adventure finding transportation to Ayutthaya, but finally got one of the famous minivans and once I got there rented a bike to go around the historic city. Here are some pics of the town, notsble temples in the next posts.

29 July 2017

Finished the night at the Marriott Executive Suites rooftop bar! Look at that Bangkok traffic afterward
Continued the day of shopping at Bangkok's malls. They had a watch expo, a Japanese festival, and lots of luxury cars on display. Big contrast with all of the luxury here. Also, no mall trip would be complete without Auntie Anne's cinna stix!
Weekend market in Bangkok! I can't tell you how many times I got lost in here - it'a huge! It was a lot of fun seeing all of the products from food to clothing to decorations, etc. You can see my haul at the end. I got a pair of flip flops (took me about 5 shops to find one that had my big feet size) which I really like the look and material, a thin white shirt for the beach, and a Nike running shirt that I would otherwise pay $30+ for. Total for all this was $13.

28 July 2017

Here is my Bangkok street food compilation. The food here in SE Asia is absolutely amazing. It is flavorful, diverse, easily accessible, and cheap. Food has been a huge part of why I love this experience so much. Anyway, this a fun way to remember what I ate and share with you. It's about 60% of my meals because sometimes I go straight to eating it looks so good :-)
Another temple on my walk back to my hostel
Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha as well as over 400 Buddha images (statues). I made my way into one of the temples to sit with the monks as they sang in prayer. I sat there for about 30 minutes just taking things in, very peaceful.
The Grande Palace in Bangkok! Only two sections of the Palace are open, but certainly many spectacular things to see. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed architecture (perhaps too much European architecture the past 2 months!) as well as the inctricacy of the designs. Really like the spire tops. The emerald Buddha (no pictures allowed) was another beautiful display. Fun tip and fact, my zip-off pants have been most useful in Thailand where I am able to wear shorts on the hot and humid days, but wear pants to respect the traditions of the Buddhist temples. Here, there are guards with microphonsles who will call you out if you do not have appropriate attire. Luckily there is rental clothing.

27 July 2017

I was so incredibly lucky to have been selected for an upgrade from my economy class seat to BUSINESS CLASS on my Emirates A380 flight!!!!! I hope to show you how happy I was. Perhaps I should have taken more photos but I was truly relishing the experience. First, we have a lay-flat adjustable seat with mattress and thick comforter. Among the goodies are a glass of champagne to start, a variety of soft drinks, socks, toiletry bag with everything from cologne to lotion to toothbrush, and of course headphones and sleeping mask. THEN there is an open bar in the back where not only can you order cocktails and wines, but snack on some delicious mini sandwiches, fruit, and AMAZING desserts. Over the course of the flight I tried a glass of all of their wines, had a cocktail, had about 10 mini sandwiches, and about 12 mini desserts. And many nuts/olives. And the served breakfast. I also made sure to get the luxury sleeping experience. I felt more refreshed than I have been from a flight!

26 July 2017

At the airport, there was an celebration for the opening of the first direct flight between Portugal and China. I snuck in and joined in on the fun, with some tasty champagne and raspberry cale :)
Sunset in Lisbon

24 July 2017

Porto de Mos in Lagos. No need to rely on the busses, all of these places are walkable and with a nice footpath (did it barefoot).
Ponta da Piedade in Lagos
Praia do Camilo in Lagos
Praia Dona Ana in Lagos
In Segras, Portugal. Tried to make it to "the end of the world" at Cabo Sainte Vicinte but the bus schedules were not too easy to understand and adapt to. Still got some good views!

23 July 2017

Views from around Seville, including El Torre de Oro, la plaza de torros, puente de Isabel II, Basílica de la Macarena, mercado, and the first Taco Bell I've seen.
Around the Parque de Maria Louisa
La Plaza de España. A scene from Star Wars was filmed here, can you recognize it?
Catedral de Sevilla, the largest gothic church in Europe I believe.
The gardens of the Goyal Alcázar of Seville. With peacocks running freely about!
Royal Alcázar of Seville - the palace. This is a very beautiful mix of Spanish architecture and Islamic patterns that is hard to capture with just photos. Lots of unique and interesting rooms. Look at the size of those rugs!

22 July 2017

Tapas y sangria!
Hiking Sant Jeroni
Monister de Montserrat

21 July 2017

Cooking traditional seafood paella and sangria at the hostel!
Segrada Familia
Parc de la Ciutadella
Scenes and famous buildings around the city
Went to the market off of La Rambla
The monument section of Parc Guell
Views from Parc Guell

20 July 2017

Ride from Andorra to Barcelona
Hiking Prat Primer in the Pyranese mountains!

19 July 2017

Saw Circus du Soleil's STELAR - a performance of altitude. I was very impressed with the stage lighting, music, and atmosphere created for the show.
Andorra la Velle

18 July 2017

Views from around Bordeaux. Wish I had more time to explore but the time I spent was fulfilling. I'm starting to get a feel for these French cities and enjoy them.
The Bordeaux wine museum, shaped like a decanter. I arrived too late to visit the museum, but toured as much as I could in the lobby and gift shop. The gift shop has Rewined candles - my favorite - but overpriced. I have visited Charleston where they were originally made!
Had so much fun at the Dunes du Pilat! One minute you're walking through the forest, then suddenly there is a giant dune towering over you. I walked most of the dunes (most people only stay near the entrance) which was a long but rewarding hike. I then ran/tumbled down the dune to the beach shore for a swim. The sand on the way down was so hot that I could barely withstand going without shoes, but on the way up I needed them. At the beach I found the biggest wild (although dead) jellyfish I've seen! My foot for scale.

17 July 2017

Unable to find an open restaurant for good cassoulet (I am still on the hunt), I found myself at a Moroccan restaurant called Le Safran that specializes in vegetarian dishes. The family that owns the restaurant was incredibly nice, and of course excellent at cooking. I ordered the first dish, couscous, and scarfed it down so they kept giving me more of their food, plate after plate, until after 3 plates where I felt the need to stop for courtesy. Could have eaten more - it was that good! So I had baklava for dessert and tipped them well. The "eggplant caviar" in the second dish stood out the most as it was absolutely incredible.
Jardin Japonais located near the university. Super cool. Look at that zen garden, and the dragon!
University area
Jardin des Plantes. Spacious, clean, and diverse. Had a neat statue and some chickens hanging around.
Scenes from around Toulouse. I really enjoyed the city. Nice architecture and parks, clean, diverse, nice people, youthful, big on aerospace, GREAT biking service, and a sense of personality which you can pick up from other photos I'll post here as well
Inside the Aeroscopia museum! There are a good number of aircraft in the hangar notably the Super Guppy, Concorde, and A300. The Concorde in the hangar shows it partially configured for flight test, and also for passengers. Can't wait until we have supersonic commercial transport soon ;) The A300 had a clear floor as well as example for economy, business, and custom/luxury furnishings. Now that's what I call an ~air~ bnb! You'll see a picture of wood flooring. The museum had exhibits for materials, recovered pieces from crashes, etc, which I enjoyed very very much. This particular booth challenged you to pick out flaws in the seemingly flawless flooring, which is a very important part in the delivery of an aircraft to a customer. I have a good friend who worked on this as a part of the interiors group for Boeing. I also really enjoyed these old aviation posters. Definitely something I will use to decorate my home.
First thing I did in Toulouse is visit Airbus :) I could not take pictures from the tour, but I was able to see the A380 line as well as a few A350 in flight test, as well as a Super Guppy taking off!

16 July 2017

Nice fields en route to Toulouse
The Cité de Carcassonne!
The new town of Carcassonne
Wind turbines en route to Carcassonne! This was the closest I've gotten to them in my travels, so I was pretty excited.
Some interesting items at the Promenade du Peyrou market. A ship steering wheel! As well as an interesting aircraft....hmm....I also liked the vase and discovered a handy cherry de-pitter tool
Visiting the Montpellier botanical garden
Went to Carnon Plage! I do not remember the name of this food, but it was basically a fancy and delicious grilled cheese.

15 July 2017

Lots of performers at the Comédie
Catching the Promenade du Peyrou at sunset!
Montpellier's tram system is pretty neat, with dicreet rails covered in grass (dangerous if you think it's just a nice grassy area!) as well as patterned tram busses.
There were a lot of cool hikes that I wanted to do around Aix. However, some were only accessible by car and some were blocked off due to risk of fire. While on the bus, I saw a nearby fire with fire-fighting aircraft dumping water to contain it.
Terrain des peintres - the famous paintings and actual scenery!
Pavillon de Vendôme
Stumbled upon the Saturday morning farmer's market Aix. It is massive! They have everything from boutique clothes to linens, fresh produce (coloured cheese as you see here), jewelry, antiques, candies, and bread/pastries of course.

14 July 2017

In the center was a free concert that went on for 4 hours! I only lasted 3. The music was about 50/50 French and US, which I found amusing, especially when they would blabble the English lyrics they did not know. One of the most popular songs was Mamma Mia. Lots of people dancing of all ages.
Here we have duck with red berry sauce, lima beans, sweet potato, potatoes au gratin from Jacquou le Croquant. Very tasty! Duck is one of my favorite meats.
Got to swim in Sainte Croix lake and see the Verdon gorge. Would have kayaked through if I could! The lake was created from a hydroelectric dam built in the 70s. A popular spot to relax with pretty turquose water.
They also had a farmer's market where I tried nougat, a honey gelatin-like dessert, sausage, and fantastic cheese. I have seen a lot of French people wearing wooden watches so I snapped a picture of some for sale - pretty cool.
Visited a small pretty village, Moustiers Sainte Marie, which has a church a bit up the mountain. I hiked up and enjoyed the view of the valley.
Also fields of sunflowers! Never seen so many in my life. The harvested wheat fields also looked very scenic.
Was lucky to catch the tail end of the Lavender harvest. There were still some rolling purple fields left
Aix en Provence, known for it's many fountains. Great atmosphere here as it has a large student population, many festivals during this time of the year, and of course I arrived on Bastille Day.

13 July 2017

Some panoramic views of the promenade and coast! A large chunk of a plant fell off of a terrace above and landed on the stairs. Had this been Pokemon, this would have been appropriate and I would have been stuck going the long way down. Luckily I had HM03 Cut in my bag and was able to pass.
Ran into a military march, likely for Bastille Day (tomorrow!).
Air France! Had to take a picture. I love seeing airlines.
Around the city. Thought I took more pictures, but anyway, the city is very Nice.
Look at this Nice beach! Arrived in Nice and made my way to the water, as usual. The water was a wonderful blue, but the best part was seeing all of the aircraft on approach to the Nice airport! There was one going by every few minutes. Parasailing was a popular activity. I got some delicious ice cream from Fenocchio - cactus and rose flavours (perhaps I was inspried by the exotic garden in Monaco).

12 July 2017

The Exotic Garden also has a cave tour within the mountain!
The Exotic Garden of Monaco - various cacti with views of the south city. Well worth the steep hike from the port (I recommend taking the bus next time). Pose picture at the end!
Arrived in Monaco! Lots of wealth here. These are views from around the city. As you can see in the last photo, I found where Clifford the Big Red Dog's girlfriend lives.
Took the train from Levanto along the coast, a very scenic and enjoyable ride. I had a dream I would do a train ride similar to this about 2 years ago, so it was nice to see part of it realized.

11 July 2017

Sunset with some local wine from Monterosso. Now onto Southern France!
On my second day I visited each town again for a more personal tour, rather than just hiking through.

10 July 2017

A collection of some flowers. I really love summer Mediterranean flowers.
Here's my stats for the day of hiking (not including swimming!). I drank 5 liters of water (very glad for the water fountain halfway in Corneglia) and ate mostly the breakfast pastries and nutella snack cups from my bnb breakfast. Should have eaten more, but I made up for that by eating 3 pizzas when I got back to my hostel. Fun story when I was hiking was that a group of guys stopped me and excitedly asked that the water must be near. I had no idea what they were talking about and they realized I was just drenched sweating (granted, I had my swimming shorts on from swimming before) and their surprised faces made me laugh a lot.
Made it to Monterosso for a swim, the last stop off the 5-town hike!
Hike from Vernazza to Monterosso
Vernazza looking better as I continued on the hike to Monterosso!
Coming up from Corneglia to Vernazza! Through a cave to find a beach. Went cliff jumping of course
Corneglia
The hike from Manarola to Corneglia was breathtaking and incredibly peaceful. I absolutely loved hiking through the mountain vineyards
Took a break from hiking by swimming :)
Arriving in Manorola
Views from the hike from Riomaggiore to Manorola
Well, I decided to hike all 5 towns! This is the start of my trek from Riomaggiore
Levanto. The man in blue and little girl on the bike (presumably grandfather and granddaughter) were having a conversation riding through the town and saying hello to everyone. It was pretty heartwarming to watch.

9 July 2017

Arch
Posing pictures
Landscape views
Artsy inside-rock pictures, nearing sunset
So I arrived in Le Spezia and at the train station I got information regarding the Cinque Terre card. The lady helping me suggested I visit Porto Venere for the night to see the sunset, as I could catch the next bus if I ran. So I did, and the experience was unforgettable! See the susnet pictures next.
Stopped at the leaning tower of Pisa on my way from Florence to Cinque Terre. I pretty much just hopped off the train, walked over, took pictures, and hopped on the next train. I had a lot of fun watching people do the typical poses.

8 July 2017

Wine is very cheap and very good here! This bottle here was 5€ and was fantastic.
There is a section of the gardens called the Lemon Palace. Here, there are many kinds of citrus fruit. It was basically heaven for me. Believe it or not, some of the fruit fell into my hand as I walked by so I tried some. This was the first time I ate a kumquat (had to research later what it was). The kumquat is now one of my favorite fruits. The lemons were quite tasty as well.
Gardens
Found the classic street food, lampredotto! This features a kind of cow stomach meat - anyway, it's very juicy, tasty, and messy!
Some pictures from the Uffizi Gallery. I had a good time just wandering through so I didn't take many pictures, just ones of what most people were taking pictures of.

7 July 2017

Sunset at Piazzale Michaelangelo. Wasn't the only one who had this in mind!
Views from the Palazo Vecchio
Went to see the David statue at the Galleria Dell Accademia. Learned how statues were made, plaster molds and all!
Before coming here I read a long article about how to spot good gelato. It was well worth the research! I had a lot... Some flavours I tried were watermelon, fior de latte, Mandarin, kiwi, stracciatella, tiramisu, cherry, and more...
The famous All'Antico Vinalo! Fantastic sandwiches
Found and really enjoyed this small print shop. They make everything from notebooks to posters. I am very interested in stationery - custom and quality cards, ink, wax, etc - so this was a nice find. If I could ship things back I would have gotten a lot from this store!
My room was right next to a local market - very cool. Thankfully did not bother me in the morning, instead I got some fresh produce!
Welcome to Florence!

6 July 2017

Venice sunset
Made my way to the island Burano, which has many beautifully painted and decorated (I liked the flowers) houses. Lots of people taking pictures in front of them.
More Venice canals
The one and only Venice! So much hustle and bustle here. The concept of the city is very interesting, but I never really felt attached it to it - felt too much like a Disney world. But there were certainly many pretty canal sights to see.

5 July 2017

Did laundry and decided to lay out all of my things that I carry in my backpack (except for a t-shirt and my swimming shorts which I was wearing)! I hope to update later with my packing list and how it is working for me this far.

4 July 2017

After taking the car on the train (super cool!), we stopped at a lake for sunset.
Guess who jumped off this bridge? This was probably the highest jump I've done, perhaps 15m to the water. Took video and I wish Journi had video capability!
Next, went swimming in a waterfall cave inside of a gorge!
Next, went white water rafting on the Emerald River! I took GoPro footage so these pictures are from our guide. Did flips into the water by jumping off of rocks and onto the raft as a trampoline!
Went swimming in a mountain cave full of COLD COLD water. According to our guide, this water was probably around 2-5 degrees Celcius. The water is inside if the mountain and travels through a series of caves to this exit, where there is a waterfall just a few meters back.
Second stop on the Emerald River tour
First stop in the Emerald River tour!

3 July 2017

Further hike - Mala Osojnica
First hike - Ojstrica
Views from around the lake
Views from the castle
Another gorgeous gorge at Vintgar. Look at those vortices! The small bubbles in the water visualized some alternating (if you see the video, they alternate) trailing vortices from an underwater rock. I think that's one reason I like water so much - seeing fluid mechanics in action. Side note, maintaining while growing facial hair is difficult while on the road, so I decided it was better to shave. Nobody second guesses that I'm a student now. Feel cleaner but I miss it a bit. Maybe I'll do it sometime in the future when I can grow it better. It's about time for a haircut though, stay tuned to see how that goes.

2 July 2017

Stopped in Zagreb along the way and found a concert
Then I did some hiking and got lost for a while before finally making it to the park entrance again. Now on my way to Bled, Slovenia!
Actually this one might have been my favorite view
Caves
Boardwalks
This was one of my favorite views. So much going on!
Welcome to Plitvice National Park! Look at that water!

1 July 2017

Played picigin (traditional Croatian beach game) at Queen's Beach and watched the sunset in the ~~ therapeudic~~ mud.
Another delicious grilled dinner with friends

30 June 2017

Took a visit to the village Sali on Dugi Otok with some friends. Went swimming and cooked up a nice dinner. Also, marasca (a kind of cherry) juice is one of the best juices I've had. Hoping there's a way to find it outside of Croatia.

29 June 2017

The light display!
Sunset
Zadar has a sea organ where the waves create sound through the holes on the steps you see here. Very cool! But could use some practice. Zadar also has a "welcoming of the sun" series of circles on the ground (I believe they are scaled to the sun and all of our planets INCLUDING PLUTO THANK YOU) where solar panels are charged during the day and then display a randomized light pattern throughout the night. Also very cool. See the pictures after sunset!

28 June 2017

Walking around Old Town of Zadar
More views
Look at that clear water!
Entering Krka national Park!

27 June 2017

More views of Split
So I found a spot to swim :)
Hiked to the top of the park on a very hot day!
Biking around the park
Split promenade. Forgot to take off the food filter in the last one
The market here is like an iSpy book

26 June 2017

The views from the bus ride to Split were incredible. Some of the most green, lush, and varied landscapes I've seen. The pictures do not do it justice.
En route to Split
Hiking Mt Srd

25 June 2017

Views from the hostel
Did some exploring and found myself a beach to swim
Walking the city walls
Walking around
Quite literally a "hole in the wall" restaurant where you can swim below
Welcome to Dubrovnik!

24 June 2017

Hokie colored ferry!

23 June 2017

O Chamos, the best restaurant I ate during my time in Greece!