Within hours of arriving in Hong Kong it is easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with the city. It’s huge, it’s beautiful, and it’s familiar enough for westerners not to feel too foreign. In short, it is an excellent entry point for a first trip in Asia. Hong Kong is a massive international hub buzzing with business men, students, travelers, and locals. The cityscapes mixed with the surrounding natural beauty truly make it a one of a kind place.
After a week and a half of exploring Portugal and drinking all the port I could possibly handle, I knew it was time for a trip up north to visit the city where it all began. I was about to turn 23 and I couldn’t imagine a better place to spend it than in the legendary town of Porto. I must admit, before visiting Porto I knew little more about the city than it’s famous drink, but lucky for me, Porto was so so much more.
f I had to think of someone to blame for my obsession with the southwest, I think back to my mother and my grandmother. I think back to the numerous trips through the Arizona desert. I think about nights lying on the hood of the car with my mom counting how many stars we could see in the New Mexico night. I think of the moment the sun would break over the mountains and how the world felt so big, and me so small. The southwest has always held a certain resonance for me, a spirituality that doesn't connect to any religion. When there, I felt connected to the earth, connected to the people who had owned the earth before any of us were here, and to the animals that will continue to own it after we leave.
A trip to Lisbon isn't complete without a day trip (or longer!) to Sintra, Portugal. This city lies roughly 30km to the west of Lisbon, making it easy to visit during your stay. You can choose to go and spend the night, as we did, or if you are pressed on time, simply make a day trip out of it.
To write about Lisbon is to write a love song to Lisbon. This city was everything that I didn't know I needed. It was awake, energetic, creative, historical, beautiful, and completely unique. I made the mistake of thinking that Portugal was going to be like Spain and therefore I kept putting it off on my travel list. Let me tell you, Lisbon is unlike any city I have ever seen. The endless hills, the incredible music, the views, this is a city that feels as though it is living and breathing and dancing right under your feet. This is a city that is just on the verge of being discovered. A city that I highly recommend you visit right. this. instant.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy, and the single largest city in the northern territory. Prized for being one of the world's fashion and design capitals, and quickly dismissed for it's lack of tourist options, Milan is a hard city to peg down. While my Prague teacher's salary made it near impossible to indulge in the shopping luxuries of the city, seeing the incredible Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Certainly made up for my lack of shopping bags to bring home.
If you asked me 2 years ago about all the places I would go in my life, let me tell you that a little chain of islands in the middle of the Atlantic was not on my list. Actually, I'm not sure I would have been able to place it on a map. In fact, I'm not sure I even knew they existed.
So, I hope by now it's clear that you can see A LOT in Iceland, in a very short amount of time. Hence, why it was possible to do the golden circle in one day. Now there are two main routes that people take in Iceland. The first being the ring road, which is where we were in my previous Iceland posts (here and here!), and the other is the Golden Circle.
As an American, road tripping is in my blood. Americans love to road trip. Our country was pretty much made to be seen from a car, cruising down the highway, windows down, blasting americana, thinking about freedom and rock and roll. That may seem a little exaggerated, but road tripping is actually my favorite, and I am so lucky to live in a country that has so many incredible road trip routes.
So, if you missed my Iceland part one article, first, you can check it out here. But, I will also give you the quick recap. Iceland is an amazing land of fire and ice with every natural wonder you could ever imagine plus the nicest people you'll ever meet. Get over the hype and go. Okay, you may continue now.