Dreaming of Olives

Before visiting, I intuitively knew that I would like Italy. I didn’t know I would love Italy. But it’s settled: I love Italy. At night, the air smells like smoke and salami. I have tomatoes in every meal. There’s cappuccinos and pizzas and pastas a’plenty. I had a moment of clarity the other day when … More Dreaming of Olives


Daytrip to Milan

We almost went to Milan yesterday, but changed our mind after the train was late. Without anywhere in mind, we walked around Como, consuming pasta and chocolate and pizza and salad. I paired olive oil with fat Sicilian olives and promptly entered the gates of Italian cuisine heaven. After some frantic Googling, though, I was devastated to find that you cannot bring fresh olives through customs. Today we successfully visited Milan, taking the ferry and then the train. … More Daytrip to Milan

Amore, Italia!

Lake Como, Italy, is quite possibly the most beautiful and magical place I’ve ever seen in my life. I have almost no words to describe it. The beauty. The food. The nature. The mountains, the lakes. The way the air smells. It smells familiar – it reminds me of China somehow. At night, the smell of firewood … More Amore, Italia!

Queen of the Mountains

With the two day Swiss Travel Pass, we decided to visit Mount Rigi. Located in the Alps, Mount Rigi “towers majestically between Lakes Lucerne, Zug and Lauerz.” It was a peaceful journey there and back. We took the boat from Lucerne to Vitznau, and then rode the cogwheel railway – Europe’s first mountain train – … More Queen of the Mountains

Christmas in Lucerne

As we sat in the pews of Church of St. Leodegar, a Roman Catholic church in Switzerland, the priests began to sing. Their voices were resonant, accompanied by the pipe organ. My eyes widened. We had just rolled into the pews when they set up the program. We were accidentally attending my first Mass – … More Christmas in Lucerne

Train to Switzerland

On the train from France to Switzerland, we watched the sights pass by us – lakes, marshes, mountains, towns. The French countryside was lovely, living up to its dreamy depictions of old bucolic towns and vast green spaces. We had the entire carriage to ourselves. There were no lines or security or crowds, a stark … More Train to Switzerland

The Eiffel A

  We hopped on the RATP metro towards the Eiffel Tower. This was when a loud Frenchman made sweet love to le beau’s left ear, yelling rapid-fire French, so indignant it sounded holy. After 5 solid minutes of this, we got up and moved. 10 stops later, we were at le Eiffel Tower. My first … More The Eiffel A

Natural History Museum

“Do you think this is what being born feels like?” I peered around the pulsating globelike structure, which the escalator gently pushed us through. Seconds later, we were ushered into the Natural History Museum of South Kensington, London. It was filled with exhibits of rocks, fossils, gems, taxidermies, and dinosaurs. And tons of large schoolchildren. … More Natural History Museum

Along the River Thames

After taking the Tube to Monument station, we walked along the River Thames towards the Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge, with its castle-like arches, is commonly confused with London Bridge. Tower Bridge, however, is across from the new London Bridge – a relatively plain structure. The original London Bridge is somewhere in Arizona. The lyrics were … More Along the River Thames

London Snowfall

      Our first night in London, it snowed. There were still snowy patches lingering at Victoria Embankment Gardens. After dusting off our Krispy Kremes, we stumbled upon Covent Garden. A shopping and entertainment hub in London’s West End, Covent Garden [is] home to fashion stores, craft stalls at the Apple Market, and the … More London Snowfall

Meowster van Loon

Over omelets, fresh orange juice, coffee, salad, and bread, we enjoyed a slow, cozy morning at Pompa. With 1 hour left on the five day City Card, we brainstormed our final visit. We chose the van Loon museum home. Owned by the Van Loon merchant family, the home was a “magnificent double-sized canal house located … More Meowster van Loon

A Mood and Moco

At le beau’s insistence, we popped by a place called Moods for brunch. In retrospect, the name and menu should have tipped us off. See, we wanted hearty. We knew we wanted hearty. Nothing hearty was on the menu, but we ordered anyways, hoping there would magically be bacon, eggs and potatoes tucked underneath somewhere. … More A Mood and Moco

Modern in Zuid

Described as “Amsterdam’s very own Upper East Side, Amsterdam Zuid is chic, classy, and full of history.” The first indication was the type of car that lined the street. We saw Audi’s, Mercedes, Maserati’s. Houses stood tall and prim, indifferent to the zigzag infrastructure common in Central Amsterdam. The streets were quiet: for once, we didn’t smell cigaruana. The neighborhood, quiet and suburban, oozed affluence. … More Modern in Zuid

A Day at Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Next door was the Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo, the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and fifth oldest zoo in the world. Normally, I’m uneasy about zoos, because it makes me sad to see animals in captivity. Imagine how my joy at seeing some of the happiest, most playful, and uncaged creatures I’d ever seen! Monkeys swung on ropes – zebras took sand baths – sea lions scratched their backs and twirled away. … More A Day at Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo