Travel Bucket List: an unlikely destination

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Looking at the picture above one could guess it’s from somewhere in Europe; in fact this stunning district, a conservative part of northwestern Pakistan is popular known as the Switzerland of the East. The birthplace of Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan’s Swat Valley, is absolutely breathtaking. A place known for its gorgeous sunsets and the calming sound of river rapids but that has also experienced a lot of misery over the past years.

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A Tale of Bonn and Books

Last year, when my mom came to visit me, we took a train to Bonn for a day trip. I just love how Germans take trains everywhere! Although we didn’t know much about the city or what to expect, deep down we were just wishing we could experience all the beauty of the incredible cherry blossom avenue. But that was merely wishful thinking since they’re only around for a couple of weeks in April, therefore that was not going to happen. Maybe I’ll get to see them this year?

So we went for the next best thing, which happened to be the Beethoven House. Beethoven’s charming birthplace is a now a museum and a place where music lovers from all over the world come together to share ideas. Such a lovely concept!

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A rainy weekend in Paris

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Picture this: my mom, aunt and I hop on a bus headed to Paris in the middle of the night. It’s a very last minute decision and we’re beyond excited. We’re expected to arrive early in the morning, but in the wee hours, somewhere in Belgium, we find ourselves stuck on the side of a road. Hours go by and it’s very clear we’re not going anywhere. Our German driver looks confused; at this point he’s tried everything to fix the problem but without success. The Frenchman sitting next to us is by no means happy about the situation and jumps out of the bus. We all look at each other and wonder quietly, will we ever get to Paris? 

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Amsterdam

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The capital of the Netherlands is so charming, it might be one of the prettiest cities in Europe. A small fishing village in the 12th century, today it’s one of the top financial centers in Europe and is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. Home to seven of the world’s 500 largest companies and many other technology companies, it’s also the cultural capital of the Netherlands and has been ranked one of the best cities to live.

Its 17th century canals are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the oldest in the world, and its many museums, red light district and cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million visitors every year.

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Long time no see!

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Hey there, folks! Let’s just go right ahead and address the big elephant in the room: if there ever was an award for Least Reliable Blogger, I’m afraid I would be the one walking away with it. Talk about inconsistency, eh!

I must say though, in IRL I am a loyal, reliable person. Just ask any of my two friends (jokes, I have more than two friends). Okay now let us move on to more important topics.

I got to spend a few days in Scotland recently and I was lucky enough to be blessed with perfect weather every single day. Blue skies and a chilly wind would greet me on my long walks across the city, and I got to see some breathtaking landscapes.

I spent an entire day exploring beautiful Edinburgh, but Glasgow was the city I got to experience the most, since I was staying with a friend who lives there. It was interesting to see the contrasts between both cities. Glasgow seems to get a bad rep, but it’s the kind of city that grows on you. I visited some very interesting museums, and they were all for free. The Glasgow Film Festival was going on and I got to watch a documentary at the Centre for Contemporary Arts. I had amazing Indian food at a very lively restaurant, great Mexican food at another and great ramen. There were college parties and train rides to Loch Lomond ( so beautiful ) and I finished it off with a little trip to Island of Arran. I was absolutely in awe of its stunning beauty. What a magical place!

Of course there were castles, lots of castles and the beautiful highlands everywhere you look. It was a lovely time, I really do dearly miss it. There are some moments in life that just feel too precious. I will treasure those moments forever.

Here are some pictures if you’d like to see!

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I’m going to Scotland!

Next month I’ll be flying to Scotland for the very first time. It has been a dream of mine to visit Glasgow ever since I watched this movie and fell in love with its quiet, gloomy landscape. And now that I have a friend living there, it just seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally make that dream come true! I’ll be staying in Glasgow for the most part, but I couldn’t possibly skip Edinburgh, so that’s high on the list. I’d love to have the chance to visit the Highlands, so hopefully I’ll be able to make that happen as well. I couldn’t be more excited and I’m counting down the days.

Have you ever been to Scotland? Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear!

Photo by Ian Woodhead

Flowers, so many flowers!

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Last spring I had the chance to visit the magical place that is known as the Garden of Europe, that is home to more than seven million tulips, with over 79 acres of bright colors and fragrance, one of the world’s largest flower gardens: the beautiful Keukenhof garden, situated in Lisse, Netherlands.

It really is an endless, peaceful, colorful sea of all kinds of flowers, surrounded by canals, a playground, a fun little maze, a windmill and restaurants. We got there early in the morning and spent the day walking around, taking in the atmosphere. It’s a stunning, calming place and it was a perfect day for walking around. We had lunch at one of the restaurants where the food was really good and surprisingly, not too expensive! The garden is open for just two months each spring, so if feels like a little treasure (one that you share with a bunch of other tourists, but isn’t it like that everywhere these days?). I can’t believe it’s almost been a year! Time does fly by…

So here are few pictures out of the thousands I took, if you’d like to see 🙂

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