travel: gulangyu (xiamen), the piano island (part two)

Just off the coast of Xiamen is Gulangyu, a pedestrian-only island that is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. At only 2 km2 area and home to about 20,000 people, Gulangyu is a major domestic tourist destination and is one of China’s most visited tourist attractions.

travel: colorado bend, texas

A few Aprils back, my college program made a weekend trip to Colorado Bend, Texas, which is only less than two hour away from the bustling city of Austin. Colorado Bend is a state park in the Hill Country region of the state, so we were able to spend some time hiking and exploring caves during our days there.

When in Rome…stop by Tre Pupazzi for dinner

In Rome, one of the hardest challenges a gastro-tourist can face is finding a place to eat in an area occupied entirely by tourists. Price gouging for mediocre food, crowded restaurants, and poor service are the hallmarks of eating in areas dedicated to tourism.

Rome’s historic center is no exception to these problems, despite Italy’s culinary fame. However, we avoided all of them when we dined at Tre Pupazzi.

Seattle: Fun Things to Do in the Emerald City

Seattle in May is absolutely gorgeous, and the weather was an incredible reprieve from the Texas heat. The highest ranged around mid-60s, and we didn’t get stuck with any gloom or rain either.

Click to read the full blog post.

travel: xiamen, the gateway to china (part one)

After spending almost four days in Guangzhou, we took a high speed train to Xiamen. Xiamen, located in Fujian Province, means “door to the house”, referring to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China.

travel: port aransas, texas

Port Aransas is about four hours away from Austin and is one of the longest barrier islands along the Texas coast. It’s now become a fishing, beach and resort village, and the weather is incredibly nice (though be prepared for extreme humidity and lots of sunscreens, or sunburns, in our case).

travel: ft. lauderdale (florida)

Ft. Lauderdale, a city just north of Miami, is home to only about 15,000, but don’t let that fool you: this popular tourist destination is at the heart of South Florida’s metropolitan area. It’s also where you’ll find (literally) every rich person’s summer house…

travel: guangzhou, the city of the five lambs (part one)

Guangzhou is the third largest (population wise) city in China, and is located on the Pearl River. It has an rich history of over 2200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and today, still serves as a major port and transportation hub.

travel: pasadena’s huntington garden

Huntington Garden is a beautiful spot to visit in Pasadena. They have gorgeous desert plants, as well as Chinese and Japanese gardens that are so beautifully laid out and designed.

travel: 798 Art Zone, beijing (china)

798 Art Zone is located at a defunct military factory in Beijing, and the buildings each have a very unique architectural style reminiscent of both the time in which the military factory was still in use and more modern elements.

travel the silk road: meet the people, the art & the lifestyle

Xinjiang was our final stop on the Silk Route, thus concluding our two-week long (pre-covid) trip that began in Xi’an and passed through three uniquely beautiful provinces. But perhaps more interesting than the scenery were the people themselves, a diverse and hospitable group who truly treasured their heritage, and their lifestyles.

travel the silk road: urumqi (xinjiang province)

And now we’re on the last segment of our (pre-covid) trip…welcome to Urumqi, Xinjiang! Now, Xinjiang is the largest province in China, almost 1/6 of the entire country. Additionally, it’s also the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in China. Out of all our stops along the Silk Road, we spent the most time here, yet could only explore a tiny, tiny portion of the province. Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit again later!

travel the silk road: gansu province (part 2)

As we get ready to leave Gansu, it’s inevitable that we pass through the city of Dunhuang, which is a city right on the edge of the province. Strategically located at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and the main road leading from India, Dunhuang also controls the entrance into the heart of China.

travel the silk road: gansu province (part 1)

Gansu was, to me, the best part of our adventure along the Silk Road. Lying between the Tibetan and the Huangtu plateau, Gansu is incredibly dry (so bring lotion!) yet contains so many treasures that attest to the power, beauty and reputation of China during the days of the Silk Road.

travel the silk road: xi’an, the ancient capital of china

Xi’an is known as the ancient capital of China because it is one of the oldest cities in the country, the capital of both the Han and the Tang Dynasty, the starting point of the Silk Road and the home of the burial mounds of many historically important emperors (and one empress). Today, it’s become a historically rich and vibrant city, home to 8 million people.

travel: qingdao & inner mongolia

Qingdao, known as China’s Sailing City, is both a major port and an industrial centre situated right on the east coast of China in Shandong Province (China has thirty provinces — they’re kind of like the states here in the U.S.). In Chinese, Qingdao means “greenish-blue island,” and that description is entirely true.

travel & eats: swiss & italian treats

My three-week long trip (that happened a long time ago!) to Italy & Switzerland introduced me to a few dishes and snacks that I’d like to share with you. While I’m not certain I can provide you any recipes, I promise they’re very good, and that if you have the chance, should definitely go try some! Hope you enjoy the photos as we reminisce of the past — and look forward to the future!

travel: zürich (switzerland, part III)

After two weeks in Davos, we stopped by Zürich, the capital, for a couple of days. The atmosphere of the two places are polar opposite—one is the bustling capital of the financially-stable nation; the other, a pretty, relaxed small village at the foot of the Alps.

travel: more davos (switzerland, part II)

Again, a few summers ago, I got to visit the lovely town of Davos. Davos may sound familiar, as it’s where the annual World Economic Forum is held. But it’s also a quaint, iconic-ly small European town.

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