Winter in Europe: Advice and Takeaways

Trip dates: December 26 – January 9, 2016/2017

Overview

I feel a little toughened up after spending two, blistering cold weeks of traveling around Europe with 20-30 degrees weather. I guess give it another week, and I’ll be back to involuntarily commenting on how “cold” the weather is, at barely under 60 degrees (*rolls eyes at myself*).

In the process of planning this winter trip to Europe, I did mentally prepare myself to embrace it…thinking of beautiful European architecture or landscape blanketed with snow, colorful lights dancing across narrow, cobblestone streets, and Love Actually moments playing in my head. I was quite looking forward to a winter wonderland! However, truth be told, the weather could still be such a determinant factor in how comfortable you are during the trip. So, I learned to scrap any expectations of a magical, winter Europe trip (although some parts still were!) and to undertake a more spontaneous mindset. 🙂

Our general itinerary consisted of (and in more details below): Iceland —> Scotland —> France —> Germany —> Sweden.

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Where to Eat Your Heart Out in Portland

Portland’s Food Scene

It’s blasphemy to admit that, in general, eating good food is not my sole mission in life. I’m only mildly interested in trying out a cool, new restaurant. When it comes to food, I’m the type to eat what sounds/looks good to me at the moment. I also think my tongue is desensitized from eating too much spicy food, so I’m not a fair judge. Don’t get me wrong – I have a pretty adventurous palate, and I love to eat good food. I just don’t go out of my way too often.

Portland struck a different chord. It was the quirky, nerdy, cute boy that made you (or maybe just me) excited to go to school. Portland made me excited to eat. Everything about Portland was Check out this restaurant! Go try the coffee! Drink all the beer! Don’t mind if I do! Even then, I don’t think we explored as much of the food as we wanted since there were only 10(?!) meals you could squeeze into 2 days. We made a valiant effort though. 🙂

One day had amazing weather, while it rained all throughout the next. Fortunately, the rain wasn’t strong enough to kill our buzz. We pushed on to do our exploring just enough so that our bellies could digest. It was the perfect, short getaway weekend.

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How to Spend 3 Days in Tokyo

Trip Date: May 2015

It’s been a good nine months since Nicholai and I were in Japan, but I’m excited to write about it and share all the goodies about our favorite country so far! Japan was actually the second leg of our 2-week trip to the Philippines/Japan, and we only stayed for about 3 full days but instantly fell in love. Read on for a list of things to do if you have 3 days in Japan!

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Chicago: Things To Do and Eat

Trip date: January 2016

The Windy City

Chicago was absolutely freezing. Thankfully, the one day we spent exploring was a tolerable 40 degrees..as opposed to the day after at near 0! We Ubered everywhere on that day because I don’t think I would be alive right now if we were walking for more than five minutes. Despite the cold, I loved the city. I mean, come on, being in downtown with all the cool buildings and eating at the foodie joints did not disappoint.

We stayed at Hotel Chicago, Downtown Autograph Collection, which conveniently placed us close to the attractions/sites that we wanted to see. This is the first hotel, in a while, that I was thoroughly impressed with – modern and sleek style, spacious layout, and a cool vibe. I felt extremely comfortable my whole stay there and would definitely book them again. It was also affordable at around $100/night. Granted, it was probably cheaper during this low-travel season to Chicago so I’m not sure what prices are during peak season.

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