Lexington, Kentucky

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Another weekend, another road trip! And Lexington, Kentucky was the perfect distance.

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We started in Columbus, Ohio and drove south on I-71 South for exactly 3 hours. Our airbnb wouldn’t let us check in until 5pm, so we drove directly to the city, parked on Jefferson Avenue and started walking across town.

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Coming from Columbus, Ohio (population 860,090), Lexington definitely felt small (population 318,449). It was a nice size for a downtown area, and we walked from one side of the downtown district to the other in about 15 minutes.

While walking down the main street (actually, I believe it was called Main Street), we stumbled upon a hotel with an art exhibit inside. I didn’t take any pictures, but I left with an ache in my heart feeling very aware of social issues facing other around the world (ahh….art….) One that struck me the most was a digital media piece of a young soldier from Columbia who had lost both of his arms.

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One of my favorite parts about taking weekend trips is the lack of planning. We enjoyed looking at the cute houses, buildings, visiting the coffee shops, restaurants, and taking in the art work.

Our first stop was: Corta y Lima (101 W. Short Street, Lexington KY)

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ADORABLE decor, love the interior

 

I heard that downtown Lexington has a reputation for being “not that cool.” Personally, I loved the charm of the town. The town was rich in history (lots of historical  markers everywhere) and beautiful artwork. It had a nice variety of restaurants (albeit lots of chains).

So far, I have been pleasantly pleased with Kentucky, and it’s not too far away from Ohio (making for great weekend getaways). During my weekend, I also stopped by Midway, Kentucky and Frankfort, Kentucky. More on that soon !

-A

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Still swooning over Tennessee food

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I never thought I’d find myself in any of the Southern states, but there I was! After a 6ish drive from Central Ohio I found myself in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a four night stay.

We stayed in an airbnb just 10 minutes away from the downtown area. The very first thing we did was walk across the pedestrian bridge (Walnut Street Bridge). Don’t let my picture fool you — it was crowded with people. At the entrance, a 10-year-old girl was singing covers of pop songs, people were walking their dogs, riding their bikes, running, while I was on the hunt for some food.

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I got an Earl Grey Belgian Waffle — SO DELICIOUS, and a salted caramel latte (anyone else obsessed with salted caramel??)IMG_9259

Aside from having great food, Chattanooga also is pretty active. We visited Coolidge Park and walked alongside the water.IMG_9282

There is the same pedestrian bridge, but a different angle.

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And did I mention I loved the food there? For my birthday dinner we dressed up, I got a caprese chicken dish. My FAVORITE part about dinner, though, was these bad boys:

IMG_9320.JPGWe did make a day trip up to Nashville, Tennessee… I’m interested to see what everyone else thinks about Nashville… I’ll update you on mine soon!

-A

Vancouver is for foodies

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I am not ashamed to admit that the majority of the week I spent in Vancouver involved consuming delicious foods and drinks (and the rest of the time involved me being active to find new food and drinks). I don’t regret a second of it.

People in Columbus, Ohio brag about how diverse the food choices here are, and honestly, Columbus pales in comparison to Vancouver. Middle Eastern, Ukrainian, Chilean, Thai, Korean, Italian… and that’s only to name a few.

My favorite quote from my time in Vancouver was:

“I just don’t want to look back and think ‘I could have eaten that.'”

 

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December 22nd, 2016: Ratchaburi, Thailand

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Although Bangfig3kok was our home base, we began a week long adventure south, with the first stop in Ratchaburi. To be completely honest, I am not sure how I stumbled upon this town; however, I do remember why it stuck out to me so much. Ratchaburi has a rich history with pottery. I read someone’s blog about watching artists hand make beautiful works of art, and that was that! We arrived in the town early evening. It was quiet, and we had a hard time finding a restaurant. We checked into our adorable hotel, and then head out (sweat and all from a long train ride) down the street to the nearest restaurant we could find.

I ordered chicken, and french fries. And I dIMG_0641 (2)on’t know what the significance was, but the french fries came inside of an apple! I did not eat the apple, but I DID feel healthier eating my fries! The chicken was honestly kind of Western seeming, but the sauce they put on it was AMAZING. There were peppercorns, it was kind of spicy (typical Thai). One more thing I remember was how out of place we looked. We hadn’t eaten for hours, it was dark out, and we entered this suburban feeling town, with all of these well dressed Thai people and, well… This is how I looked: IMG_8085Messy bun, you can almost see the sweat on my shirt, and just be thankful you can’t see my face. People kept staring at us, which also may have been because we were speaking English, and looked foreign. In the two days that we were here, we honestly didn’t see any other tourists. Later on at a cafe, someone told us that they see most tourists up north in December, and in the Spring they start to see more tourists in Ratchaburi.

The Hotel: Space 59

We honestly loved this hotel. It was so modern. The pictured I took truly don’t do it any justice. The only bad thing was that it was almost TOO modern. The stairs were so sleek and slippery. I was walking down at a fairly quick pace (I was excited!) and I fell to my butt and hit about 15 steps down along the way. The staff came running out, speaking to me quickly in Thai and I kept saying “I’m okay!” EXCEPT that I just wanted to cry on the inside!! I was sore on my leg, butt and arm the next few days, but I lived.

We ended up spending a LOT of time at Rattanakosin, the pottery company. It took us about 14 minutes on a Tuk Tuk to get there… which is actually pretty far! The Tuk Tuk drivers in Ratchaburi don’t rip you off as much as the ones in Bangkok do. It was HUGE inside. We watched aIMG_8164rtists at work with their dogs sitting next to them. We posed next to the beautiful scraps like hipsters. We bought pottery that would fit inside my backpack (and I carried for the remainder of our stay in Thailand D: so heavy).
<– I bought a vase that looked like one of these, except it was red.

When it was time to leave, we started to walk before realizing it would probably take hours before getting back to town. We asked the staff the best way to get back, and she called a ride for us and helped us get the Thai discount! She had someone finagle the price and ensure that we would pay 50 Baht total for the both of us (the cheaFullSizeRender (3)pest we had ever paid!)

It was so uncomfortable sitting on the motorcycle like this, but this is how
all the girls in Thailand do it!!

DISCLAIMER: I really did like Ratchaburi. It was cute, the people were so nice. There was one thing I really DID NOT like about it though… the wild dogs!!!! We were chased several times by packs of dogs. Every time we turned a corner, a group of dogs were barking at us, with their blood shot eyes. They got close, they growled at us…. my heart pounded in my chest until I could feel it in my throat. I closed my eyes and listened as my travel buddy said “don’t run. They’ll chase us.” I tried my best to keep my calm, but this really upset me for several hours. When we were alone, the dogs chased us up and down the streets. When a native was around, they left us alone. They must have known we were foreign.

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We spent 2 nights in Ratchaburi before hopping back on the train for a new city! Stay tuned!

❤ A

December 18-20th, 2017– Cha Am, Thailand

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I find that the more time I spend back home, the more I miss Thailand. On ocountry_map_thailandur fourth day in Thailand, we traveled down from Bangkok to Cha-Am. All in all, the train ride took us about 4 hours. 4 sweaty hours. We originally only wanted to stay for 1 night, but liked it so much we stayed an extra night! Maybe not my favorite city in Thailand, but definitely gave me some special memories.

The intent on the entire vacation was to avidly avoid all touristy locations as much as possible. All google searches led me to Hua Hin, Pattaya, Pranburi, etc. In a lengthy google search aka desperate attempt at a unique vacation, I stumbled upon Cha-Am: a sleepy beach town overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, only 30 minutes away from Hua Hin (evidently a local favorite!)

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After getting off the train, we immediately found this adorable cafe called Cup Sea Cafe. I ordered caramel toast, some kind of chicken (sorry guys, I don’t remember what it was called) and a delicious Mango smoothie. My travel partner/ real life partner ordered Green Curry (as he did multiple other occasions). All this cost about 200 baht!

We walked for about 30 minutes in peak of the day 90 degree heat, passing sad looking dogs and a caged bird and almost nobody else. There were not many cars, and it didn’t take long to find our beach front hotel… and check out the view!

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Mountains + palm trees are now officially my favorite combination. Everything about this town was quiet, peaceful, cute and sleepy. On our first day, we visited a lovely coffee shop (which we visited the next morning, and the following morning after that — see pictures below), and took an evening stroll on the beach. The beach was rocky, and the board walk honestly hurt to walk on and I didn’t bring shoes!

The beach was admittedly not the best for swimming. One interesting thing I noticed about the beaches in Thailand was that the natives don’t necessarily wear swim suits like we do in Western societies. Many people even wear long pants on days that were 90 degrees…. Americans on the other hand walk around near naked at that temperature (exaggeration, but you know what I mean). I saw some people go in with jeans on, etc.  Actually, many people just stayed in the shade under the umbrellas and watched the water.

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As we said our goodbyes to Cha-Am, we said goodbye to the cute bright colored shops near our hotel and the rocky beach. We decided to travel south for 30 minutes, and get off and check out Hua Hin, the popular touristy beach. Needless to say …. it WAS touristy!

We only stayed for a whopping 2 hours.

 

 

Truly, I didn’t snap too many pictures because there were people ALL over the place, sunbathing in skimpy two pieces or speedos. Seeing this was kind of shocking… just 30 minutes north I didn’t see one person in a swim suit in the 2 days I was there! This made me wonder… do those people venture outside of Hua Hin? Or did their entire vacation consist of this beach? I’ll admit it… it was perhaps prettier than the Cha-Am beach, but the vibes were all wrong. We got right back on the train, and headed back to Bangkok for a day of relaxation and shopping!

Stay tuned for more…..

 

Bangkok, December 16, 2016

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Instead of walking at my graduation, I thought it would be more meaningful for me to begin my traveling journey (with my best friend by my side).

We arrived early on December 15th after almost 30 hours on the plane. My initial reaction was terrified: my parents were not supportive of this trip, and they didn’t say goodbye to me before I left. I thought, “maybe this is an omen. Maybe something bad will happen.” And can you blame me?! This was the view from our hotel room:

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iSanook Residence, Bangkok

I imaged Bangkok to be chic, and modern. And, I soon learned that it was…in certain spots, but I am also really glad our hotel was here. It felt very local. The surrounding neighborhood included people who had small businesses in front of their homes selling food, smoothies, fruit, and store goods. We were about a 20 minute walk from the train station– Hua Lamphong, maybe a 40 minute walk from the biggest shopping center I’ve ever seen (it was a dream!).

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Toast Bar, Bangkok

After walking around China Town and getting lost, exploring some temples and meeting some friendly people who seemed excited to practice their English, we found a tiny cute snack restaurant selling toast. Toast is huge in Thailand (and SE Asia in general) and I love them for that. I got waffles this first time we went here (oh yeah we came more than once!). There were two staff people, and one them spoke pretty good English. She had a shaved head, and explained that she just got ordained to be a monk. I’ve never met anyone who’s Buddhist before, and it was just so cool to be immersed in a culture unlike my own and to learn from people like her. She also assumed we never had Thai Iced Coffee before and made us some to try (she was right and it was delicious!)

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Wat Traimit Withhayaram Wora Wiharn, Bangkok

After this TukTuk driver asked to show me a map, circled some touristy places in Bangkok, and tried to convince us that we needed him to drive us (nice try, mister. the pamphlet the hotel gave us warned us about people like you!) we stumbled across this temple where the Golden Buddha is inside. It was perhaps the only touristy thing we did in Bangkok. It was so crowded. I couldn’t get a good shot of the Buddha, and people kept posing for selfies with him and I just couldn’t handle it! I much preferred the less populous places after going here.

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As many people know, I am an animal lover. More specifically, a bird lover. This lady had all these wild birds cooped up in these cages. I bent down to look at them and to feel sorry for them, and next thing I know, she demanding 100 baht, shoving the cage into Nick’s hand and lifted up on the door so the birds could fly free…and I couldn’t even get a good shot because I didn’t have time to adjust the settings on my camera (total rookie move).

Nick says if we were going to pick a name for our trip, it should be: “Wait, let me adjust the settings on my camera.”

I am still learning, and Thailand was the perfect place for me to practice photography.

This was just day 2 of my trip…. stay tuned, it gets WAY better ❤

-A