Highlights: Ice-skating at Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Central Park, chancing upon Mandarin speakers!, eating the best Avocado Benedict I’ve ever had (at Little Collins), five-hour NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Waldorf-Astoria, and the Empire State Building.
Highlights: Ghent, dragons, Christmas Markets, roasted chestnuts, went via Metro to the Atomium–an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times–during a snowstorm with huge flakes, saw beautiful light and sound show in the Grand-Place de Bruxelles, heard Mongolian street band, ate a lot of gaufres, found the Musical Instrument Museum, signs all in Dutch but many speak French as well, hot chocolate because was freezing, bought Macaroons, went to Royal Palace of Brussels, and Gare Central.
Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Hallgrímskirkja, Jökulsárlón, Þingvellir National Park, Icelandic Symphony Orchestra at Harpa, Reykjavík Food Walk, Polyglot Conference, free walking tour, Northern Lights, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, glacier hiking, geysers, waterfalls, troll and elf legends, volcanoes, lava fields, whale-watching, snowstorms, one-way tunnels, exploring around Reykjavík, fermented shark, Skyr, Pylsa með öllu (hotdog with everything), a six-day tour around the Ring Road, super jeeps, Sturlureykir Horse Farm, surviving a hurricane, and a million hours trying to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, Akureyri, vatn, and most of the words in Icelandic. I absolutely adore this country! *National saying: “þetta reddast” (þ is pronounced as “th”), meaning: “Everything will all work out“.
Highlights: Saw Northern Lights from plane at eye level-wow!, Dublin Castle, absolutely loved the Chester Beatty Library, saw Trinity College, Book of Kells and Long Room, attended a beautiful Irish River Dance show, National Leprechaun Museum, delicious breakfast at Avoca Café, visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, took a day trip to visit Malahide Castle and Howth, went Salsa dancing, Fab Food Tour, saw street where Spice Girls filmed one of their videos, a five-day tour of Ireland, Ed Sheeran’s Pub, haunted Charleville Castle with swinging pendulum, Kylemore Abbey, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Leprechaun Wishing Well, Dún Chaoin, Dingle Peninsula, Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone, Dunguaire Castle, Cliffs of Moher, and met a lot of Spanish-speakers in the country, and had a lot of difficulty pronouncing “Go raibh maith agat” (thank you in Irish, lit. ‘may you have goodness’).
Highlights: Flying over the Andes Mountains, riding under Iguazu Falls in a speedboat, observing the ever-present coatis, Teatro Colon, Café Tortoni, dulce de leche and smelling freshly baked bread in my apartment building every morning (was above a bakery), crossing a 16-lane highway on foot, traveling to Córdoba, getting chills at La Recoleta, ferias every weekend, seeing Reik in concert, watching fútbol (2014 World Cup), La Boca, an amazing Art/Graffiti Tour in Buenos Aires, seeing El Gran Gomero rubber tree with giant roots, and taking the ferry over to Colonia, Uruguay to meander the cobblestone streets, drink Yerba Mate, climb to the top of a lighthouse, breathe the fresh (not city) air, and fall in love with yet another country.