Thursday, July 31, 2014

INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND



While in Europe, we were constantly trying to dodge bad weather, so our travel plans were up in the air everywhere we went. We went to Interlaken, Switzerland because of reports of okay weather, but it was wishy-washy even there.

We ended up only getting to really experience only about one day in Interlaken because of such bad weather. Luckily, we did get some sunshine, and even though it wasn't much, we took full advantage of it.

Interlaken is named so because of its location in between two gorgeous lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The amazing blue, turquoise, and emerald colors of the lakes have something to do with glacial deposits, as well as the lakes' depth. It was amazing walk near the lakes and see these beautiful colors, and even more amazing to see them from up so high while hiking Harder Kulm.

Hiking up Harder Kulm was a great challenge. We started later in the day because of the rain, but were able to make it to the top (only about 1,300 meters). At the top of the mountain, there is a viewing platform that juts out over the valley, which is great for amazing panoramic views as well as a small adrenaline rush!

We stayed in a very cheap and amazingly located hostel called River Lodge. Located right on the water, we could literally take a photo from outside our door and it would look like the best location ever. (In fact, the next two photos are right outside our room.) The beds weren't the best and the walls were thin, but they had a fully-equipped kitchen, good bathrooms, and you just CAN'T beat that view!!!

I would go back to Interlaken in a heartbeat! Even though we were barely able to experience anything because of the rain, it was still my favorite place we went to. Can't wait to go back some day! :)


[All photos were taken in April 2014.]

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

FRENCH QUARTER | NEW ORLEANS, LA



Even though New Orleans isn't totally my kind of city, no one can deny the beauty of the architecture and the uniqueness of the culture here, especially in the French Quarter.

Since the French Quarter Festival was that weekend, and started at 11:00 am, we decided to go explore the area early in the morning (and when I say early, I mean 8:30). There were barely any people out at that time. It was nice walking the streets with a camera in my hands and Mark by my side.

We loved Jackson Square, which is right across the street from the river front, and has a backdrop of the gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral, which totally seems like it came right out of Disney World. I was enamored by all of the colors in the French Quarter, as well as the balconies and the doors. I also loved finding the little pretties of the area, like the baskets of plants lining the balconies, the occasional decorative fleur-de-lis on a fencepost or a flag, and the leftover glitter and beads from Mardi Gras we found in random places.

Even though it was morning, we still avoided Bourbon Street, as advised, but we did pass by as they were spraying the street down and the aroma from the night before wafted into the air. I could only imagine what they were washing down into the gutters. Needless to say, even in the morning it's a place to pass by quickly.

The area started buzzing again quickly, just in time for French Quarter Fest to start (which, by the way, is a FREE music festival). At 11:00, bands were on every street corner, choirs were in every park, and big stages were lined up along the Mississippi River. New Orleans was alive and kicking, and we had so much fun listening to amazing jazz and zydeco groups, along with many other genres.

In all honesty, we were glad that we visited New Orleans on business (Mark was DJing a wedding there) instead of paying for everything ourselves. We loved our time there, but we probably wouldn't go back on our own dime.


And don't forget to visit Cafe du Monde while in the French Quarter, located across from Jackson Square.

[All photos were taken in April 2014.]

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