• Travel

    Indoor Attractions in Ottawa

    I just went on my first international business trip! I had a training in Gatineau, which is just across the river from Ottawa. Gatineau is part of the Quebec province, while Ottawa is part of Ontario. Despite one side being francophone and the other side being anglophone, you will find both French and English speakers on either side! November is not the most ideal time to visit this area, because all the summer/fall attractions have closed but the winter attractions like skating in the canal don’t begin until December.  Already in the first week of November, the weather was FRIGID!  It’s nice to walk around and explore Ottawa, however, I…

  • Travel,  United States

    Skyline Drive in the Fall

    One of my favorite fall activities is to visit Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park! Skyline Drive is a scenic route atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching 105 miles long. This is the only public road through the park. Not only does Skyline Drive boast stunning views from Front Royal to Waynesboro, it also offers access to hiking trails, camp sites, picnic areas, and cabins. There are four entrances to Skyline Drive: Front Royal Entrance (off of 66 in Front Royal, VA) Thornton Gap Entrance (off of 211 near Sperryville, VA) Swift Run Gap Entrance (off of 33 near Harrisonburg, VA) Rockfish Gap Entrance (off of 64/250 near Waynesboro,…

  • Life,  United States

    Virginia Horseback Trail Ride

    For my fiance’s birthday, I surprised him with a horseback trail ride in Front Royal, Virginia!  There are a lot of stables in the DC area, but I decided to book with a stable in Front Royal so we could enjoy the mountain views without driving all the way to the Shenandoah area.   I looked at several different places before deciding on Double H Stables.  There are a lot of great options and each have pretty affordable prices for hour or 90 minute rides.  I mainly chose Double H for the convenient location off the highway and I thought the trails would offer great views.   I was nervous that the…

  • Europe,  Travel

    The Bone Church: Sedlec Ossuary

    “The Bone Church” or the Sedlec Ossuary is at the site of a former Abbey in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, a 50-minute train ride from Prague.  Train tickets from Prague are cheap and there is a local bus that travels from the train station to the church and through the rest of the city.  The abbey cemetery was a popular burial place because an Abbot was said to have sprinkled holy dirt from Jerusalem over the site in 1278.  Between the plague and the Crusades, the cemetery became overfilled.  The Baroque Gothic Style church was built in the 15th century and the remains of between 40,000-70,000 people were stacked in pyramids in…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    I Love Paris in the Fall

    I love Paris in the springtime.I love Paris in the fall.I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. My Grandfather used to sing me this song and replace Paris with Shelby. 🙂 Just as the song says, I love Paris all times of the year! It is my absolute favorite city. Until my teaching assignment, I had only visited Paris during the other three seasons of the year. Exploring Paris in the Fall with the beautiful changing leaves is something else entirely! Autumn provides great weather for exploring the city on foot (with a jacket of course), with significantly less tourists…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Day Trip to Medieval Saint-Émilion

    As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Bordeaux is a famous wine-growing region in southwestern France. You can’t visit Bordeaux without sampling some wine!! My friend and I booked a day trip through the Tourist Office to visit a nearby vineyard and the medieval town of Saint-Émilion. The day trip only cost 30€ and included two glasses of wine at the vineyard! Saint-Émilion is a World Heritage Site named after a monk who settled there in the 8th century, though the history of the town goes beyond that. Romans planted vines in this area as far back as the 2nd century!  The city is well worth a visit and I…

  • France,  Travel

    Best of Bordeaux

    Bordeaux is situated in Aquitane, the South-western region of France.  This is a prominent area for the wine industry – the region began producing wine in the 8th Century!  Bordeaux is a beautiful city to visit, with tons of wine-tasting opportunities for my fellow vinos.  This city has the second-highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France, behind Paris!  One really cool aspect of the architecture is that there are little faces scuplted into the facade of buildings throughout the city called mascarons. Below are some highlights of the city of Bordeaux.  Keep your eyes peeled for my post next week about visiting nearby vineyards and St. Émilion. La…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Paul Cézanne’s Aix-en-Provence

    Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful town in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. It’s about 20-30 minutes by train from Marseille, with tickets averaging $15 one-way. Aix-en-Provence (or Aix for short) is the home town of Paul Cézanne and offers many attractions relating to the artist and his paintings. Aix-en-provence is incredibly charming with a wonderful small-town feel, very contrasting to the large city of Marseille. The word Aix originates from Aqua + Sextius. Sextius was the name of an important military figure in the area, and water is very important and prevalent in the city. Aix-en-Provence was at one time part of Catalonia, and they still fly the “blood and…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    5 Must See Attractions in Marseille

    Marseille is the oldest city in France and the second largest city, behind Paris!  The city was founded in 600 BC by the Greeks.  This is one of the most stunning coastal cities I have ever visited!  As a port city, Marseille has a bit of a seedy reputation but overall it is a great destination to visit. Here is a list of the five can’t miss attractions in Marseille for first time visitors: Vieux Port The old port is beautiful from all angles!  The marina is very lively with waterfront restaurants, markets, and ferry boats offering rides to nearby destinations.  The large surrounding street became limited to pedestrians starting…

  • Travel,  United States

    Bienvenidos a Miami

    The reputation of Miami definitely precedes itself.  While I was a Teaching Assistant in France, all of my students wanted to know if I had been to Miami or LA. They were very disappointed to hear that I had not!  Last month, I finally took my first trip to Miami with my fiance. I can now understand why Miami is so popular!  It is an expensive destination, but it is well worth the trip.  Between the cuban influence and the glamour, this city is definitely one-of-a-kind! We spent every day relaxing on South Beach, dancing to latin music, and people watching on Ocean Drive. Before leaving, we spent an afternoon…