Buenos Aires is my favorite South American city!

After all of the hiking in Patagonia, we decided to spend a lazy weekend in Buenos Aires just eating and wandering around. This was maybe the best idea I’ve had in awhile. Because while there are pickpockets everywhere (seriously, be careful near Retiro station), most of the people are awesome and the food is super delicious. Here’s what we did during our weekend in Buenos Aires. Map of places mentioned at the end of the post. Continue reading “Buenos Aires is my favorite South American city!”

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El Chalten: Laguna de los Tres in pictures

We had time for one hike in El Chalten and we chose the Laguna de los Tres hike. I strongly advise going to Hosteria El Pilar via the Las Lengas shuttle (you can buy a ticket in the bus station). You get to see more stuff this way and you end the hike in El Chalten where you can pick up a delicious empanada from Che Empanadas (no website, it’s on the main road that you walk back from).

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the dropoff point near Hosteria del Pilar
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the first mirador along the hike. if you wait here a bit, you will hear ice breaking.
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it gets cloudy so you may have to wait a bit. bring cards and/or lunch.
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but Fitz Roy does peak out eventually (haha, get it?)
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only to go back into hiding

The W Trek in Torres del Paine in pictures

We did the W trek from West to East, saving the Torres del Paine for our last day. Here’s our trek in pictures.

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everyone wants a picture on the catamaran through Lago Grey
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the beginning of the trek
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you should stay in Grey just to walk to these suspension bridges
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through the Valley Francés
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still going through the Valley Francés, this is the longest day
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at Britanico!
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the trail abuts this beach on the third day
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there are a lot of suspension bridges..
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we made it to Torres del Paine!

New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam

I ended 2017 in my new home of Rotterdam and it was the perfect balance between relaxed and exciting. The lifting of the national ban on fireworks created a party atmosphere but it’s not extraordinarily crowded anywhere. We were able to decide 30 minutes before the national fireworks show to go watch it and get a good spot near the Erasmus bridge. I tried to capture this atmosphere below.

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Volunteering in Oaxaca for Fundacion En Via

I had the great fortune to volunteer as a photographer for Fundación En Vía while I was in Oaxaca. En Vía provides interest-free microloans to women entrepreneurs in the villages surrounding Oaxaca. It’s extremely important that these loans are interest-free since the going interest rate for a microloan in Mexico is 50-200% (I know, ridiculous!). In addition to the loans, En Vía sponsors business classes as well as English classes in the villages so that eventually the women in the villages can become independent. My job there was to photograph the purchases made by each woman with their new loans. It was a really amazing opportunity to visit the villages surrounding Oaxaca as well as see the many different business that these women started. Every woman was amazingly welcoming and I basically was given delicious snacks every day I was photographing. Below are some of my favorite photos from my time there. If you have some time to spare, I recommend volunteering with En Via. By doing so, you meet the wonderful people who work at En Via as well as get the chance to explore the surrounding villages. If you only have a short time in Oaxaca thought, definitely take one of En Vía’s tours if you’re interested in learning more/supporting their work or to get off the beaten track in Oaxaca.

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A food-filled weekend in New Orleans

We flew into New Orleans with basically the goal of consuming our weight in food over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of all the food we ate during our time there (with some excursions to break up the gluttony).

1. Killer Po’ Boys – I got a glazed pork belly po boy and my friend got a seared gulf shrimp po boy. We both agreed that hers was the better one of the two. My pork belly was a bit dry but the bread was good so not a bad start to our food adventure. They also had this rad California reaper raspberry jelly that was great on toast.

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pork belly po’boy at Killer Po’Boys

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A Colorful Day in Avanos

On our last day in Cappadocia, Omar from the Safran Cave Hotel, brought us to Avanos, a larger town about 10 minutes from Goreme. Avanos is well-known for its beautiful ceramics and we had the chance to visit Omurlu Ceramics. You can learn more about their story here. Upon entering, they offer Turkish tea and demonstrate pottery-making and give you a chance to try throwing pots as well.
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Cappadocia: Part 2 (Photos from the Ground)

We had a wonderful time exploring Cappadocia by foot on the Golden Hiking Tour with New Goreme Tours. Our guide Gulsah was super friendly and knowledgeable about the landscape and history. She also taught us our new favorite Turkish phrase, “Tehlike Benim Adim,” which means “Danger is my name.” This is apparently what Turkish people say upon seeing a sign that says TEHLIKE. On our tour, we explored the Pigeon and Love Valleys as well as the Rose and Red Valleys. It was uber hot but we stopped often at little cafes to hang out with locals, who all seemed to know and like Gulsah. There were lots of places to buy 1TL bottles of water (sweet deals!). Here’s a photo tour of our hike:
Continue reading “Cappadocia: Part 2 (Photos from the Ground)”

Cappadocia: Part 1 (Photos from the Sky)

One of the interesting things I learned during my stay in Cappadocia was that it means Land of the Beautiful Horses. We didn’t go horseback riding but we did manage to take a ride into the sky with Royal Balloons. We had a fantastic ride with Seniz, who is the most senior female balloon pilot in Turkey (this was an interesting change from Jordan, where all of the people we met were men). She was super friendly and taught us lots of things about flying hot air balloons (the fact I liked the most is that the wind changes at different altitudes so the way hot air balloons move laterally is by changing their altitude). Here are some photos from our awesome day:
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Let’s Explore NY: Lakes and Farms Aplenty in Upstate New York

I spent the weekend in Kerhonkson, NY where we had a great time filled with relaxation, nature, and fresh produce. Our first stop on the way up from NYC was A Tavola (food was delicious and fresh, decor was upscale rustic) in New Paltz. New Paltz just might be one of the hippest cities upstate. There are bars, guitar shops, and many restaurants so it seemed like a really cool place to hang out on a Friday night.
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Climbing all 730 steps to the Monastery in Petra

For our second day in Petra, we decided to go up to the Monastery. This trail is not as long as the trail to view the Treasury so yay! but there is very little shade so you do still have to absolutely bring water! There is a nice man that sells water just before the beginning of the trail for 1 dinar. Buy some. Also, in the summer, do not attempt this trail between the hours of 12pm and 3pm. It is WAY too hot and we saw many people give up and turn back. After those disclaimers, here are some lovely things you will see along the way before reaching the Monastery, which is beautiful and huge!
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Photo Tour of the “Secret” Trail in Petra

One of my lifelong goals has been to visit Petra and it did not disappoint. While I was looking for information about it online, I came across some posts about a secret trail that brings you to a view above the Treasury. I still managed to get lost a bit before finding the trail so I decided to make a fool-proof guide to locating the trail and show you what you will see along the way. Note that the full trail back and forth will take about 1.5 hours and it includes quite a few steps. I recommend doing it in the afternoon to hide from the heat and see a great view of the sun set over the valley below. The trail is not exactly a secret; it is marked on the map as the Al-Khubtha Trail and there are signs pointing to the trailhead.
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Photo Essay: July 4th on Coney Island

Cyclone Coney Island
The World Famous Cyclone

Coney Island is always a great place for photos. I wandered around here on July 4th, trying to take it all in.
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