Currently…

I have seen these posts floating around recently (does anyone have any idea where these actually started?) and since my drafts lately have been more a word vomit without a theme–just random thoughts–I decided to condense them into this post!

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Loving…Fall Break, which officially started yesterday! These past few months have been a whirlwind and I’m so glad to not work or teach for a few days. However, traveling isn’t always relaxing since I am a fiend about seeing as much as I can in a new place…but this time I’m reminding myself to take it easy and enjoy the walking, the new food, the leisurely picture-taking, and some quality time with my best guy, rather than pushing us to see it all. You can never see it all anyway, am I right?

Instagramming…Where we currently are! Follow @amygreatworld yourself to see if you can guess, and to follow along for the next few days (and beyond!) as we travel a new-to-us country.

IMG_6780^^I’m trying very hard to enjoy this Fall Break…it’s a hardship. Also, this photo is a hint of where we are! Don’t you love this game??

Craving…boxed macaroni and cheese. This is one of my favorite cold-weather comfort foods and I didn’t realize they wouldn’t have it here! I suspected they might not have Annie’s (the true best) but I assumed that they would have Kraft, as it seems like one of those companies that’s taken over the world. But, no go! E is especially distressed about this as mac’n’cheese is one of his main food groups.

Reading…this infographic about words that cannot be directly translated to English. I love it, you should check it out! And keep an eye out for the Czech one ;). I find it fascinating that there are things that just can’t be translated. However, as an English teacher, I don’t love it sometimes when I’m asked to explain a difficult phrase in simple words. Especially those damn proverbs, phrasal verbs and idioms. I spent much too long trying to explain “hit or miss” to a student and giving them examples on when to use it. And that’s an easy one!

Hoping…That November will be just as beautiful a month as October was in Prague. I’m not ready for fall to be over yet (or October!).

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Admiring…the pictures from our walk in Stag Moat last weekend. I took Tina’s advice and went on this little jaunt near Prague castle. We haven’t actually been to the castle yet—it’s difficult to convince ourselves since it’s been the height of tourist season—but I loved seeing it from this perspective. It closes soon and since we are out-of-town this weekend, last Saturday was our last chance! The fall colors were perfect and although it wasn’t as quiet as I was expecting (just more people), it was the perfect autumn walk. I can’t wait to go back in April to see it in the spring!

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Watching…Gilmore Girls. Yes, I couldn’t resist after all the buzz when it (finally!) came to Netflix. I have always loved this show (sometimes maybe a little too much), and I’m realizing that it’s a perfect show to watch in the fall. It does make me nostalgic, however, for the days when my sister and I would schedule our life around new episodes!

Missing…autumn in the Rocky Mountains. It’s really the only autumn I’ve ever known (I’ve spent autumns abroad, but always in the Southern Hemisphere–Peru or Thailand–so it wasn’t fall there). While I am loving the fall here in Prague, especially as the trees finally start to change, I miss the specific feeling of fall in the Rockies, with my parents’ fireplace and my favorite coffee shops and my boots. However, the time between October and December is hands down my favorite, favorite time of the year–so I don’t allow myself to be melancholy right now. Not in October! There’ll be time for that in January.

IMG_3801 IMG_3720^^country roads and those distinctive aspen trees

Looking forward to…planning our Christmas trips! We need to get started on that or else we will miss out. The list of places I want to see at Christmas keeps growing, but I know I want to see Germany and the Alps, so that’s something! We would love to squeeze in some skiing but I’m thinking that might have to wait until January (well, E would love to squeeze in some skiing/snowboarding–I will go and attempt to maneuver the slopes and mostly get snow down my pants and in my nose. But then there is a fire in the lodge so…and those few moments where I am flying down the mountain are worth most of the snow in my pants).

Thinking about…this whole blogging thing, especially as Amy and the Great World’s one year anniversary is coming up at the end of October.

Recovering…from my day yesterday. It was one of those days where everything went wrong. I woke up late, shattered a nail polish all over the bathroom, got on the wrong tram and didn’t notice until I was in a place I didn’t recognize, had an unexpected observation in my class which threw me off so much I forgot half of my lesson plan, lost 100kc (only about $5, but still) because I accidentally gave too much to the cashier and our language barrier prevented me of convincing her of this, and since I was running late for a bus leaving the country I couldn’t spend time miming and trying to convince her to give it back, and then I left the water I was buying in the first place on the counter, and we got stuck on a long bus ride without anything to drink…ooof. It’s seriously time for a break.

Confessing…that I was not very excited to visit Berlin (and not just because it was primarily for a visa interview). I’ve heard great things about the city, but nothing about how adorable and quaint it is, which is really what I look for in the center of Europe. However, I was fascinated by Berlin! We planned to take it easy but I was so interested in all of the sites and the history that we ended up running around for most of the 27 hours we were there. We have to go back to pick up our visa, so I’m glad we’ll get another day or two to explore the city more.

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Wondering…why I am always sprinting to catch public transportation. Please let me I’m not the only one who simply cannot plan her life around the tram/bus/metro schedule, no matter how hard I try? However, sometimes I pause to take a breath and snap a quick picture of my view.

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^^another game of can you spot the castle?

Marveling…that I can hop on a bus and travel all over Europe. Someone pinch me!

What’s new with you recently?

Linking up with…

Treasure Tromp


We Took the Road Less Traveled


Czech Republic Bucket List

Happy Travel Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday

 

It’s time for bucket list time! One of my favorite things.

Even though we are trying to see as much of Europe as we can (in fact, we just came back from Berlin…although primarily there for our visa interview, we squeezed in some exploring! Check out some photos on my instagram), I also want to see as much as possible of this lovely little country we are currently calling home, the Czech Republic.

I’m still learning about more places every day, but here’s a start! If you know of any more, I’m always looking for new suggestions!

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One of my students has mentioned this castle to me a few times, calling it the most beautiful in the Czech Republic; then, last week, after seeing Tina’s post, I can’t help but think I really need to visit! I love the black roof–it looks so dramatic and castley. 

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I’ve already visited the lovely little Český Krumlov, and I really fell hard for this little medieval town. I hope to see it in every season, if possible. I hear it’s amazing in the winter, but I have a feeling this place is amazing year-round.

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This spa town is strangely not popular with Czechs (because it’s full of “Russians” I’m told…) but it is certainly a popular international destination. It looks beautiful, and I always am willing to try gross water that’s supposed to have incredible healing powers!

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I have to visit the infamous bone church before I leave the Czech Republic. I’ve also heard that the church has foundational issues, so it may be dismantled this year. Since no one seems to be sure how it was made, it might not get put back up…so I guess you should see it this year, too!

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Last weekend we visited South Moravia, or Czech wine country, and I originally wanted to stay in Pavlov. We ended up staying in Mikulov, because Pavlov was completely booked (it’s a small town!). Mikulov was a nice town, but I still want to go back and stay in Pavlov. I like smaller towns, and this is still wine country, with the addition of ancient ruins. These are a few of my favorite things… (sing in the way of Julie Andrews, if you’d like).

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I have a confession to make: I don’t actually like Pilsner Urquell, the ultimate Czech beer (and definitely the most famous). I prefer dark beers and it just doesn’t taste that spectacular to me. However, I still would like to see how its made and visit its hometown!

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This little town is supposed to be one of the cutest in the Czech Republic, and maybe even in Europe. I am instantly sold on anything that’s supposed to be that cute!

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This past weekend in Berlin solidified my desire to visit Terezin, a concentration camp from World War II near Prague. It won’t be the most fun visit ever (as it shouldn’t be), but I think it is important to see this part of history.

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While this town isn’t known much outside of the Czech Republic, the students we worked with at English Camp were from here and invited us to visit. We’ll be going in January for their graduation prom! (Whatever that is…I haven’t quite figured it out yet).

Question of the Day:

Do you have a bucket list for places in your area?

Each week BonnieJessiCamila and I choose one post from the previous link-up to feature. Be sure to check out their blogs to see who they chose!

This week I am spotlighting Clem & Marcella from What a Wonderful World and their post about the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. The colors are so incredible, and it’s just a very different world than I’m in right now, so I loved the taste of a new environment. Make sure to check it out–it will make you want to hop on the next plane to Argentina!

THEMED TRAVEL TUESDAY PROMPT

Next week it is time for this month’s travel-themed prompt! The prompt for this month is…

City vs. Country–what’s your preference? Do you prefer a city break when you travel, or to get out amongst nature? Or combine the two? Share your favorite stories and reasons for your preference!

Ready to link up?

1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!

2. GRAB the lovely button above. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Amy, Jessi and Camila in a link!

3. LINK-UP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. Make sure to comment here, on the co-hosts blogs, and visit around!

TIPS:

1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future link-ups!

2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

How NOT To Travel, Part 3

All of these unfortunate situations have happened to me a dear friend so I have it on good authority this is how NOT to travel. See parts one and two, also!

1. Do NOT think that arriving two seconds before the train leaves will guarantee you a seat because you have tickets. It doesn’t, and you will have to sit in the stairwell.

IMG_1938^^it was a novelty for about 20 minutes. the next three hours, not so much.

2. If there are one hundred wines to taste at a wine tasting and you already paid, do NOT taste all one hundred. You will feel the pain, no matter how much fun it is at the time.

IMG_6600^^and then all of your pictures will be even blurrier than this.

3. Do NOT assume every bathroom will have toilet paper. They don’t always, and you’ll discover this lack of toilet paper just when you need it the most.

4. Do NOT avoid looking in your shoes if you are afraid of cockroaches. Stepping on one is much, much worse that finding it first.

5. Do NOT think your bus pass is good for everywhere just because some rando told you it was. It could get you kicked off the bus in the middle of nowhere and that bus driver will not have sympathy for you unless you can pay up.

6. Do NOT expect that flavors will be the same, even if they are the same color.

IMG_6640^^although it clearly says paprika on this one, so I don’t deserve much sympathy.

7. Do NOT think that just because the street happens to be quiet, it is an okay spot for a mini-tantrum. That old guy definitely saw you throw your water bottle in a rage from his window.

8. Do NOT assume it’s beef. It might not be beef!!!

9. Do NOT assume that cobblestones will be softer on your feet.

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10. Just because it is cute, does not mean it is clean.

IMG_0470^^but when a puppy is THIS cute, who cares how dirty?

11. Do NOT think it is always best to be over prepared, especially when you are the one responsible for carrying that preparedness all over the world and back.

IMG_0119^^I’m trying really hard not to wince.

12. Do NOT assume the wetness on the floor of your shared hostel bathroom is water. It probably isn’t.

13. Do NOT think that it will not matter if your backpack is so stuffed it is crooked. It will especially matter on the back of a motorcycle taxi.

14. Do NOT think it’s a good idea to wear a white tank top when visiting a place known for its “red dust.”

DSC_0095_3^^yes that tank top used to be white.

15. Do NOT agree to a “little jaunt” on any trail, anywhere, especially if you are wearing rain boots, unless you know exactly what it will entail. It will not be a little jaunt to you and it will hurt for days afterwards.

IMG_6343 IMG_6348 IMG_6369^^the time I climbed a mountain and was told it would be an easy little jaunt.

16. Do NOT underestimate the value of making friends with beer.

IMG_6029^^obviously my new BFFs.

17. Do NOT think it “doesn’t matter” where you sleep because you “can sleep anywhere.” You are not as young as you used to be, son.

18. Do NOT assume that just because you are drunk you are actually any better at karaoke, especially in a different language. In fact, you are probably worse. But get up there and have fun anyway, because its way easier to karaoke at that moment in time.

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19. If the beach you are visiting has a bunch of cute raccoon pictures, run. This means that they are using live raccoons as zoo animals and that does not make for relaxing time on the beach.

IMG_4505^^we drank lots of drinks really fast in the shade to avoid the raccoons.

20. Do NOT think the gorgeous, remote places you see on the internet are completely real. Sure, they exist, but there are likely ten thousand other people clamoring for the same shot as you. Push on through and you’ll get that shot, and it will be great, but you will step on a few toes.

IMG_6541^^how cute is Germany? Even with the crowds? I took about twenty shots trying to get one without twenty people but no such luck.

Question of the Day:

What are some things you’ve learned about travel?

Welcome to Travel Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday
Each week BonnieJessiCamila and I choose one post from the previous link-up to feature. Be sure to check out their blogs to see who they chose!
traveltuesdayspotlight_edinburgh
This week I am spotlighting Sammy from To The Days Like This and her post about finding herself in Edinburgh. I love her honesty about traveling…she’ll make you think (and laugh, if you’ve ever wondered what exactly “finding yourself” means)! Even though she needs a re-do of Edinburgh, I always love to see more pictures of one of my favorite cities. Make sure to check out her post yourself!

Ready to link up?

1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!

2. GRAB the lovely button above. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Amy, Jessi and Camila in a link!

3. LINK-UP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. Make sure to comment here, on the co-hosts blogs, and visit around!

TIPS:

1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future link-ups!

2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!



Daily Life in Prague, v. 2

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+We finally have (mostly) figured out our washer! I’m not sure what most of the buttons mean, still, but the clothes are coming out clean, sans soap, and not dripping wet. Which clearly means we know what we’re doing and it’s definitely not a happy accident.

+ On Friday we headed to South Moravia, better known as Czech wine country, for a quick little getaway (as in, less that 24 hours getaway). We arrived in Mikulov, late, tired, sore from standing on a train for the better part of three hours as it was so packed, and promptly got lost. I’m not proud of the tiny tantrum I may have thrown as we searched for our hotel, but we found it, and immediately found out that the pension (which also had a pet wallaby…what?) also had a wine cellar. Evening saved! The rest of our time, in Mikulov and Valtice, was great. Both are cute little towns and I love me some wine tasting! We went to the Wine Cellar of the Czech Republic and immediately got tipsy because there were so many wines to try and we wanted to make it worth every penny we spent. Yes, we were those people at a wine tasting and it was a lot of fun. After, we made the not-so-wise decision to taste bercak, or young wine. That stuff goes down smooth and needless to say, I’m still recovering.

IMG_6604^^in the cellar! nothing cooler than drinking wine in a cellar, am I right? IMG_6608 IMG_6634^^that pink stuff, bercak, is known as the most dangerous drink in the Czech Republic because it’s so easy and delicious.

+ Next week we (somewhat unexpectedly) need to go to Berlin for our visa interview. We were originally scheduled for the end of October, but when a spot opened up earlier, we snagged it, as we need to get those long-term visas ASAP. I’m still unclear as to why we have to leave the Czech Republic to get a long-term visa here, but it is what it is, I guess. We also have to go back to Berlin in about a month to pick up the visa, assuming all goes well (and our visa handler is convinced that it will). Since the appointment is on Monday, we are going on Sunday to explore Berlin. Anyone out there been to Berlin have any recommendations? I need some!!

+ Speaking of travel, we are also starting to plan the Great Christmas Escape of 2014. I have a lot of ideas on where to go, because I always have ideas, but since we don’t know how long we’ll be in Europe, we are planning to spend almost every minute of our time off exploring more countries. Currently, I am thinking Germany-Liechtenstein-Switzerland-Belgium-Luxembourg, but I feel that may be a bit lofty. We need to narrow it down! I’d love to hear from you–where are you favorite places to spend Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve in Europe? I also would love to stay in Prague for Christmas, but I’ve heard it doesn’t always snow here, and I would love to be somewhere with snow. Okay, I need to be somewhere with snow. I’m spoiled by snow at Christmas and a non-white Christmas is a tough pill for me to swallow.

+ Almost every day, E and I look at each other and say “we live here! In Europe!” It doesn’t always seem real, even after two months. I am feeling more settled here. Looking back, I think that the first month was kind of magical–we were in our training program, which was hard, but we had a group of built-in friends, a place to live, and lots of extra time to explore. The second month, to be absolutely dramatic, was kind of awful, and I’m glad it’s over. It really hit me during the second month that we are here for the long haul (it hit me right around the time we signed our lease…) and I panicked. Few friends, and no desire to make new ones; new jobs to support us here that I did not feel qualified for at all; so much red tape to cut through in a language that refuses to stick in my brain; homesickness and the realization that I won’t get to go home until who-knows-when; and on and on. Now that things are more settled, I’m feeling giddy about being here again. I expect that will probably change…ooooh the roller coaster.

+ Does anyone know where we can go to celebrate Halloween here in Prague? I know it’s not a big holiday here (or a holiday at all?) but I’d like to celebrate somehow. If we do find somewhere to go, I guess we need to figure out costumes…what can I make with the clothes in my closet? And with E’s clothes? And black eyeliner and/or silver eyeshadow?

+ I went back to IKEA and it was WAY less stressful than last time. And I sprung for a fall candle! I love candles and fire and mostly they are the closest I can get to a fireplace. Someday, maybe!

+ Thank you to anyone who gave me ideas for one-pot meals! My aunt shared this website with me and everything looks amazing. I am trying to make this recipe but I have not been able to find basil, still! Maybe I can substitute spinach?? That’s pretty much the only other leafy-green thing I’ve seen besides romaine lettuce and iceberg.

+ I’m working with little kids right now and after only two weeks, I’m already feeling an illness coming on. Maybe because three kids at last count have sneezed on me? Despite this possible cold/flu/something, I really enjoy working with kids. I’m putting together a post about the hilarities of ESL teaching–expect that soon! Spoiler alert: one of my classes involved a live grasshopper. Kids!

IMG_6584^^this is part of my “commute.” Yep, that’s the castle and a sunrise through those trees! But it’s not perfect…this is at the top of a giant hill I have to hike up.

+ Today we grabbed a coffee (my favorite Sunday activity) and rode a tram near the castle and the Charles Bridge. It’s a great way to see the more touristy sights touched by fall but without getting stuck in the crowds. This place really is beautiful, guys! We rode the specific tram I take to work, because it has a beautiful view of the city, and if you get a good seat, you can get a sudden view of the castle as the tram rounds a corner. It’s especially spectacular as the leaves start to change color. (I guess I’m one of those bloggers that talks about fall all the time now.)

IMG_6585^^I spy some fall decor!IMG_6637^^so sunny today!

+ This week, an old high school friend is passing through Prague as she travels through Europe. She asked for recommendations and sadly I still don’t know enough about Prague to really make recommendations…but I’m excited to see a familiar face!

What’s new with you? Do you have any fun plans for this coming week?


We Took the Road Less Traveled


The Reykjanes Peninsula {Iceland}

Welcome to Travel Tuesday!

This month’s travel-themed prompt is all about your weirdest, most unexpected layovers. Have you ever made a flight despite the universe being against you? We want to hear all your best stories!

Looking back on my travel years, I’ve had some really unfortunate layovers (although I still love airports). However, most of them don’t make good stories–either I just got stuck for hours (side eye Denver where you will always get stuck in blizzard in December), got sick, or had to kill many hours. I’ve managed to get out of the airport a few times–including in Seoul, South Korea. However, my favorite layover ever was last summer!

Travel Tuesday
On our way back from Europe last summer, we (E and I) had the best layover of our lives in Iceland.

I was intrigued by Iceland before we visited, and figured we could find a little something fun to do during our 17-hour layover. Mostly, we were just stopping there because it was the cheapest flight home from Europe.

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Instead, we were instantly enchanted by the odd, moonscape of Iceland, the stormy sea, the charming houses, the history, the Icelandic horses (the closest living relatives to these horses, which can be traced back to the original Viking settler horses, are wild horses in Mongolia!) and the beautiful people. Fun fact: 99% of Iceland’s population can be traced back to the original Viking settlers, as well. Basically, Iceland was an unexpected boon on our European trip, that ended up being one of the highlights of our travels.

While we originally had planned on sleeping in the airport, a quick Google scan showed us this may not be welcome (or comfortable). Instead, we found a basic hotel not too far from the Keflavik airport. While I wouldn’t recommend the hotel we stayed because it doesn’t have a shuttle at this point, and our taxi rides to-and-from were not cheap, there are several others nearby! (This one looks nice…and if you can shell out the moola, stay at this one near the Blue Lagoon).

After six hours of sleep and a continental breakfast, we headed back to the airport to join our tour. While we had planned just to visit the Blue Lagoon, we found a tour that fit into our schedule just right, and we couldn’t resist. So, instead of just wallowing in the wonderful waters of the Blue Lagoon (which would not be a bad thing!), we ended up cramming in an amazing tour that visited the Reykjanes Peninsula with an ending stop at the Blue Lagoon.

We used Gray Line Iceland tours, which I highly recommend. While tours can be hit-or-miss, we loved this tour because they picked us up/dropped us off at the airport, could carry our luggage if necessary, and it was easy to switch buses if you needed to go elsewhere, like into Reykjavik. Our guide, “Hilda,” with a full Icelandic name I could never pronounce, was a knowledgable native full of tips and facts. All of the stops on our day-tour really made us love Iceland more. (Gray Line also has multi-day tours that look fantastic).

The tour took us to a small fishing village, an Icelandic church and cemetery, an unplanned stop to visit some horses, a lighthouse, the Gunnuhver geothermal area, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, driving through the lava fields, and the Blue Lagoon. My favorite stops were the Blue Lagoon and the coast, and just the drive through the foreign landscape was a great orientation to Iceland. (I’ll write more about our specific stops later–they deserve their own posts!). While it was August and still pretty freezing and drizzling the entire time (which gives you a hint about their usual weather patterns) we at least had our raincoats. I hear the weather is usually like this, or worse, so that’s something to keep in mind. I prefer colder weather, so I didn’t mind, but even still, the Blue Lagoon was a welcome treat after our chilly tour!

DSCN3248 DSCN3256^^just a dork at a cute little fishing village. DSCN3285^^ponies! Adorable Icelandic ones.  DSCN3306^^of course I needed a picture of the baby. DSCN3336^^the picturesque Icelandic church. NOT built by Vikings. DSCN3469 DSCN3493^^The coast makes us giddy. DSCN3504 DSCN3507

IMG_3151 IMG_3097 IMG_3105 IMG_3102^^The Mid-Atlantic Ridge.IMG_3183 IMG_3182^^The Blue Lagoon really is that color!

I was intrigued by Iceland, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. After traveling like whirlwinds through Europe for a few weeks, I was actually ready to just sit still for awhile. However, I’m so glad we decided to layover in Iceland.

We adored Iceland, and can’t wait to go back! IcelandAir makes it really easy, as you can add a few extra days onto your layover in Iceland for free. Take advantage! I know that every time I fly to or from Europe, I’ll do my best to stop in Iceland.

Disclaimer: This is a rave review about Iceland, but nobody asked me to write it or offered to pay me for visiting! I can only dream that someday someone will pay me to travel…

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Have you ever had a layover in a place that turned out to be a new favorite?

Each week BonnieJessiCamila and I choose one post from the previous link-up to feature. Be sure to check out their blogs to see who they chose!

traveltuesdayspotlight_fotor

This week, I am spotlighting Yalanda from Laugh Anyway and her post about Busan, South Korea. I sometimes want to go teach in Korea after Prague, and I think Busan would be my first choice. Her gorgeous pictures of the stunning scenery show me that this just may be something I have to do someday! Make sure to check it out for yourself.

Ready to link up?

1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!

2. GRAB the lovely button above. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Amy, Jessi and Camila in a link!

3. LINK-UP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. Make sure to comment here, on the co-hosts blogs, and visit around!

TIPS:

1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future link-ups!

2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!