“My Trip To” // Kotor, Montenegro

Sooooo I have about a day before we leave, and I still have not packed; I should be packing at the moment instead of blogging, but well..here I am haha.  To be honest, I think I’m stalling; I have this constant fear that my suitcase is going to get lost somehow.

Tip: When traveling with family/multiple suitcases, split the luggage.  Put half of your stuff in your suitcase and the other half in your family members/the other suitcase (and vice versa).  Pack in each suitcase enough to last for a couple of days on their own..if that makes any sense haha. This way, by the possible awful terrible chance that one suitcase gets lost, at least you’ll have some items to hold you down in the other one.  Better losing a little then everything! This happened to me and my sister on my family trip to Maui several years ago; we shared a suitcase, and that was the one that was lost. My parents had everything, but me and her had to buy clothing from the hotel store to last the day.  They found it fortunately! But close call.


MONTENEGRO

If you’ve gone to Disneyland here in CA, there is a storybook ride where you sail through a whale’s mouth and into the storybook land (i think thats the term?).  You go through miniature recreations of each ‘kingdom’ and story book tale: Cinderella’s castle, the sultan’s palace from Aladdin, the three pigs’ houses, and even the Ariel’s underwater kingdom.  Kotor looked just like one of these little fairytale places; I felt like I had just jumped into a storybook.  I’d never even heard of this country before I came–it is definitely a one-of-a-kind place!

Views from ship sailing into port:

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So cute right?

wandering into the city:

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tight, maze-like corners

tight, maze-like corners

 

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not a very appealing picture, but you can see the buildings. My sister and I and some friends we met on the ship from Chicago

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Church of St. Lukas

Then we came across the farmer’s market

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So this is when our keens actually came in handy for once haha. This city was first “mentioned” in 168 BC, settled in during Ancient Roman times.  The kings who ruled, specifically Emperoro Justinian built massive fortresses to protect the city, and although they have had to endured multiple trials from war, to earthquakes, etc. They still stand today (with some fixing along the way).  We climbed up St. John’s fortress–1350 steps !

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can you see us!?

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starting out..

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getting higher

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took a stop halfway

DSCF3172DSCF3184 DSCF3185 it was a tiring hike, but all the while worth it

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the flag of Montenegro

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We made it!

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love love love this wanderlust bug

Much love,

Maddi

 

“My Trip To” // Paris, France

My family’s trip to Paris was also on the same trip of my Mediterranean cruise; we were never meant to actually go there, but it was a wonderfully unexpected excursion.  Paris was the lay over destination between California to Istanbul.  Because of a delay, my family would have been stuck in the airport for about 9 hours, so my dad spontaneously decided to get on the subway and go to the Eiffel Tower! I mean, if you’re stuck in Paris you might as well right? I remember my mother being so anxious in fear we would miss our flight–it was pretty exciting.

The tower surprises you.  My dad literally just asked random locals which direction it was in from the subway and we walked until it hit us.  I had to take a double take when I first spotted it!

first sighting !

first sighting !

We had just been on a 12-14 hour flight so we look pretty rough, but absolutely elated.

lol at our clothing

lol at our clothing

 

me trying to be artsy

me trying to be artsy

 

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2011

cloudy day, but beautiful nonetheless! I can’t believe how clean and pretty the street and city buildings are.  No matter the weather, pretty magnificent

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strolling the streets

Two days to gooooo! 🙂

Much love,

Maddi

 

 

“My Trip To” // Istanbul, Turkey

Counting down to my trip with another post about Europe!

Istanbul is a beautiful city: lively, colorful, and rests peacefully by the sea.  I wish I could have spent more time there, and it is definitely a place I hope to return to.

My family and I were lucky enough to enjoy Turkish tea and chocolate on the Sea of Marmara; it is a widely popular tourist activity to do.  We enjoyed the delicious combination of tea flavors with different chocolate chips, relaxed on lavish couches, and incredibly decorated interior of the hotel where the event took place.  There was a gorgeous buffet of all kinds of sweets and traditional Turkish desserts.  I’m still so bitter at loosing those photos, because it was such an eye-appealing place, but I guess you’ll have to see for yourself!

Afterwards we explored a little and came upon the Spice Bazaar, one of the largest in the city. The place was brimming with locals and tourists alike.  At every turn there was something new to see: spices, desserts, produce, rugs, jewelry.  Please excuse my faces in these pictures..lol..I was fourteen here!

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lol I was so awkward

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I still remember the interior: high ceilings, pointed-dome shaped doors, and colored glass lanterns to light the way.

ugh I want to go back!

Then we took their type of subway system and went to Dolmabahce Palace; it sits right along the sea.  If you have ever been to China and seen some of the intricacies of their temple buildings and palaces, you would awe just the same.  Everything from the doorknobs to flooring to ceiling was so detailed. It awed me that people literally handmade every detail of the building.

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the courtyard

And here is the Tumblr and Pinterest famous Dolmabache Palace water gate.  Before, this gate was a personal port for the ships.

gate in the background

gate in the background

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Can we take a moment and admire my family’s matching shoes? Ugh still to this day I resent my mother for making us all wear the same style of Keens.  I made SURE that this coming trip that was not going to happen.  Yes, good walking shoes are necessary for a trip to Europe, BUT it doesn’t mean you cannot be cute as well! You may have to pay a little more for the cuter styles, but if you can wear them both before and after the trip, it is much more worth it.  This coming trip I bought a cute pair of Clarks from Nordstrom.  I haven’t touched, nor even see these keens after the trip was over; so they served a good purpose, but were somewhat wasted after the trip.  Funny note: my dad still wears his today, but with socks *good god*

hahaha sorry for the rant. Other than the shoes, I adore this picture and adore Istanbul!

Much love,

Maddi

“My Trip To” // Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece 2011

Santorini, Greece 2011

I’ll give a little view on a place I’ve traveled to; I have that ‘wanderlust’ feeling, and it seemed fit since I will be heading over to Europe in t-minus 5 days! So my first post on my travels is about one of my favorite of all time: Santorini, Greece.

Almost exactly four years ago (WOW cannot believe how long ago it was) my family went on a cruise around the Mediterranean; we went to Paris, France, Croatia, Montenegro, multiple places in Greece, Italy, and Turkey.  Greece was a dream…it looked like a scene from a movie…”The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movie!

While most cruises have tours at every stop, my family likes to kind of go on our own and explore the places. My dad is allll about local. Local, local, local–at every stop he makes sure we know that he has to get his “local bite to eat” somewhere.  We travel with the idea to  ‘do as the Romans do’, and staying away from all the touristy activities.  Don’t get my wrong, tours are great! We take a lot of those as well, but those are usually when we need to see multiple places in a short amount of time, or want to do things that only a tour will allow us to.

Soo we did a little of both here.  We took a tour to see some of the volcanic history of Santorini, and even swam to hot mud springs..hence this picture. I wish I had more! But when my computer crashed-twice this year-many of the pictures were lost unfortunately.

2011

2011

After that, my family and I took a stroll through the beautiful city! Santorini itself is located elevated high from sea level, it more of less so sits on a cliff, reasoning why it is such a hilly place.  We walked in and through the beautiful white walls, and stopped in a couple shops.

view from local restaurant-2011

view from local restaurant-2011

I still remember the meal we had there: greek salad. Lame idea to get a salad in greece? HECK no. The mozzarella was so smooth and rich; it actually tasted like something other than some of the kind available here in the states. The tomatoes were the BEST I have ever had; Greece is known for their tomatoes and cucumbers.

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white walls

Probably the most ‘bloggable’ and exciting part of our excursion was the donkey ride down the hill.  All the cruise guests received free passes to the ski lift: the fastest way to slide back and forth from the city, to the port.  OR there is a donkey ride down the long, windy, and steep hill…and which one does my dad choose?

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My mom, sister, and I were very much skeptical of the whole process.  Only two other tourists that we saw had made the trip down; a British couple (dad’s new friends he made on the trip) who had spent the day with us refused to come along.  It was pretty scary going down these donkeys on a very wobbly stoned, steep hilled road, but was an incredible experience to day the least.

windy hill down the cliff

windy hill down the cliff

owner of the donkeys who led us down

owner of the donkeys who led us down

each cutely decorated

each cutely decorated

wow...

wow…

the view of our ship in the background

the view of our ship in the background

Just a heads up…these pictures were taken four years ago..soooo I don’t look much like this anymore haha neither does my sister.

If you ever go to Santorini, I think you should take the risk and go with the donkey over the ski lift.  It’s a great story to tell! And I promise you’d wildly enjoy the experience.

Much love,

Maddi

p.s. more to come from this trip!