Ah, Edinburgh. It will always remain my number one Scotland love. I’ve only been twice, but each time I was there I had such a good feeling. It’s just one of those places that I dare you to walk around and not find yourself with a smile on your face.
My first stop on this whatever-you-wanna-call-it-trip was in Glasgow and I immediately kind of hated it. It felt big, dirty, and scary to me. When I was finally forced to leave my hotel room to get something to eat from the shop across the street, even then I felt oddly scared just to pick up my sandwich and run back. I am guessing that it was equal parts jetlag and unfamiliarity with the place. But, at the same time, I had heard stories about Glasgow being kind of gruff and dangerous not all that long ago, and so I was concerned about some of the lingering side effects of that.
I’ve been hesitant regarding finally writing about my time in Scotland, wanting to almost skip that chapter in my travelogue completely. It has nothing to do with the actual country, because let’s face it: I absolutely adore Scotland and loved every day of my time there in some regard. But, it was also my first stop on my first big solo trip with no end-date in sight.
It took me longer than I’d like to admit to really start to feel good, and if we’re being honest, I didn’t start to feel really great until probably my last day there, which is a shame.
Situated on the bottom floor of the Genoa City Best Western in Genoa, Italy, Le Rune is kind of hidden from the masses—it can be accessed from a door in the walkway between two buildings, or through an unmarked white door in the lobby of the hotel. But this little restaurant, tucked away from the tourists is Italian perfection.
After a long day (delayed flights, running to make my connection, lost luggage, credit card not working at the airport), I was seriously jonesing for some authentic Italian food—all the pasta my belly could handle.
When I finally made my way to the restaurant at 9pm, I was starving after not having eaten all day, and I was ready to consume anything the wait staff mentioned. And I did just that.
Dr. Seuss may have said, “Oh, the places you will go!”, but he never mentioned the people you’d meet along the way.
Today is my one-month anniversary with full-time travel, and specifically with Europe. It’s been a whirlwind month and I’m still trying to catch my breath (and catch up on posts, because I have some stories to tell!), but in the meantime, I’ve been sharing snippets on my personal Facebook page about the people I’ve encountered on my travels, and people seem so interested in hearing more about these characters.
I say characters because honestly, some of this stuff you just couldn’t make up. I never dreamed that staying in hostels every now and again, and generally just traveling solo, would open up my world to a whole host of people who’ve provided such amazing entertainment, thought-provoking conversations, and a million smiles (and some cringe-worthy moments, too).
I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with all of you.
Umbrellas shielding us from the pellets of rain, our group of eight, including the mayor of the town we visited earlier in the day, his wife, our historical guide, and five bloggers, made our way on slippery cobblestones across the tiny town center and through a short brick tunnel and down some stairs.
“A la derecha,” the mayor directed, ushering us all to the right through an open gate into someone’s yard. The cobblestone walkway was decorated on either side with terra cotta planters overflowing with overgrown plants of every size, shape, and variety. I wondered what we were doing here, not knowing the magic that was in store for me as I closed my umbrella and placed it by the doorway before entering.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding which state is the originator of the whoopie pie, but when you read the following story, I think you’ll totally agree that its origin is in Pennsylvania.
I have a new love, and her name is Pittsburgh. She is bright-eyed, well-kempt, artistic, and friendly. Granted, my sister says that she was just putting on a good show for me for the four days I knew her, but I am still smitten.
For the longest time, Philadelphia has been my number one Pennsylvanian love (to be fair though, this was my first visit to Pittsburgh). I still adore Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh just has that something extra special–that spark that Philadelphia no longer has for me. Add to that the fact that it’s smaller, cleaner, safer, and generally just prettier, and I am sold.
“How we doing, Austin? You like our city, or are you bored and ready to get back to Austin and your garage bands and such?”
That quote pretty much sums up the entirety of my trip to New York City. It was a whirlwind 24 hours, which doesn’t provide enough time to see much of anything in a city the size of New York, yet somehow I managed to see a ton.
So, what exactly is a kolache? Technically, it’s a type of pastry with a fruity filling. But in Texas, we also like to fill them with sausages, cheese, jalapeños, and more.
Originally from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, kolaches are a delicious treat that it seems most people (at least in Texas) have for breakfast.