France in Boston, Paris in Boston, Sightseeing, Travel

Finding Boston’s Parc Monceau: Ramler Park

Paris is known for its beautiful, lush, sweeping parks, and they’re one of the many reasons I really miss Paris. While they all have the requisite benches, ponds, lakes, fountains, and lots of flowers and greenery, each park has something unique about it.

Once I moved back to Boston, I made sure to spend any free time just wandering around, much like I would do in Paris. As a result, I’ve found so many beautiful and serene spots that I never noticed before – and I lived here for 6 years!

On on particular trip, I discovered Ramler Park. This park is really well-hidden and probably only known by its residents.

What caught my attention were flashes of the most vibrant cobalt blue. Once I stepped inside and saw this charming park, I knew I found my Boston-version of Parc Monceau.

Wandering definitely pays off!

Boston Ramler Park fountain

Continue reading “Finding Boston’s Parc Monceau: Ramler Park”

France in Boston, Paris in Boston, Sightseeing, Travel

Finding Boston’s Jardin du Luxembourg

While there’s currently no park in Boston that can give Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg a run for its money, there is one park in particular that I think provides the same feeling of contentment and escape from the city.

I stumbled upon it while walking around Boston one day a few years ago, and it was like an oasis in a concrete desert. After seeing building after building, tons of traffic and horns blaring, I did a double-take upon approaching what looked like a place with concentrated trees, flowers, benches, a fountain, and a cute greenhouse looking building.

I googled this place later and learned that this park is the Norman B. Leventhal Park, located in Boston’s financial district.

Boston Norman B. Leventhal Park

Continue reading “Finding Boston’s Jardin du Luxembourg”

Sightseeing, Transportation, Travel

Epic road trip along Ring Road, Iceland’s main route: Part 2

Continuing my Iceland road trip from Part 1, we’re heading to Hvannadalshnúkur to see a completely unique landscape.

Here, you can see the beginnings of the ice in the distance.Paris in Boston Iceland

But we’re not stopping on this road trip! Next, we’re driving by the Skeidararsandur region.

Paris in Boston Iceland

 

Continue reading “Epic road trip along Ring Road, Iceland’s main route: Part 2”

Sightseeing, Transportation, Travel

Epic road trip along Ring Road, Iceland’s main route: Part 1

The most convenient way to explore Iceland is to rent a car and use Iceland’s Ring Road. This national highway connects many of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, including Reykjavík, the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Even more attractions are accessible using Ring Road, making it easy to be a tourist in Iceland.

Iceland Ring Road Trip

Even if you drive in a complete circle on Ring Road and never stop to visit these destinations, you’d still see some pretty stunning scenery. In this post, let’s take Ring Road  (and maybe make some detours) to see just how Iceland’s scenic highway differs drastically from the sights we usually see on highways! Stay along for the whole journey to see some amazingly different scenery changes.

Continue reading “Epic road trip along Ring Road, Iceland’s main route: Part 1”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

First-timers' guide to attending the Olympics

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years since the London Olympics! It was really fortuitous that my PhD plans coincided with London hosting the Olympics in 2012, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the Olympics in person. Funny enough, I recently found an essay I wrote almost 20 years ago about what I want to accomplish in 20 years, and I wrote that I hoped to attend the Olympics on day!

Since the 2016 Olympics are starting this Friday in Rio, I thought it would be fun to provide some tips for those looking to attend their first Olympics – and maybe see an event for free!

London Covent Garden Olympics Signs
Colorful Olympic banners in Covent Garden

Continue reading “First-timers' guide to attending the Olympics”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Unexpected wonderland of Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace

Sometimes planning a trip too much can lead to disappointment because of unmet expectations. In contrast, sometimes a minimal amount of planning, along with some assumptions about a city, can actually increase anticipation because you don’t really know what to expect. I used to watch Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel religiously because it was one of my goals to travel to around Europe. The host, Samantha Brown, made traveling fun and accessible. Every episode, viewers got to see highlights of one European city and the fancy hotels Samantha stayed at. I loved the show so much I even bought the first season on dvd and downloaded the second season on iTunes. This blog’s title was even inspired by the show!

But I digress. Anyway…. back to Vienna. That little spiel was mainly to say that what I knew about Vienna before my trip, I learned from the Vienna episode of Passport to Europe. That episode showed the very posh and extravagant side of Vienna. In that episode, Samantha visited the Spanish Riding School and attended the Officer’s Ball at the Emperor’s Imperial residence. Because of this, in my mind Vienna didn’t seem very relaxed or welcoming. It seemed like one had to have a lot of money in order to enjoy visiting Vienna. I was curious to see if this was actually how Vienna was like, but because of this assumption and my lack of thorough research about what to do and see, I was the least excited about visiting Vienna on my 3 country trip. Surprisingly, Vienna turned out to be my favorite city out of them all!!

Vienna Schonbrunn Palace summer greenhouse
The absolutely stunning Schonbrunn Palace greenhouse

Continue reading “Unexpected wonderland of Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

The most whimsical shop in Paris

Paris has so many hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. While the touristy-spots are absolutely well worth your time, after you’ve seen it all, why not venture off the beaten path and see other beautiful and historical places?

One such place is Galerie Vivienne. Paris has many covered passages/arcades that might not be so obvious to tourists, but Galerie Vivienne is the most well-known and the most luxurious.

It is here that we’ll find the most whimsical shop in Paris (or so I deemed it as I’ve never seen any shop like it). Let’s take a look!

Paris Galerie Vivienne whimsical unique shop
A work of art too beautiful to sit on…

Continue reading “The most whimsical shop in Paris”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Parks of Paris: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Spring has finally arrived! What better way to celebrate than to visit another charming and magical park in Paris. The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is located in the 19th arrondissement, which is in northeastern Paris. I’d say this park is somewhere between the Jardin du Luxembourg and Parc Monceau in terms of charm, jaw-dropping beauty, and sense of magic. It’s definitely one of my favorite parks in the world. Let’s wander around!

Paris Parc des Buttes-Chaumont temple
Temple de la Sibylle on the cliff

Continue reading “Parks of Paris: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Parks of Paris: Parc Monceau

It’s time to visit another beautiful park in Paris!  This time, we’ll travel to Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement.  While not as extravagant as the Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc Monceau is still a large and lovely park, with unique elements that make it worthwhile to visit.

The park is quite easy to get to, just take the Metro to the Monceau stop and the entrance to the park is just though the elaborate gates on your left.

Paris Parc Monceau metro station
Monceau Metro stop beside the ornate gates of Park Monceau

If you’re curious about its history, make sure to read the signs at the gate entrances.

Paris Parc Monceau sign
Parc Monceau sign explaining a bit of its history

Entering the park, it doesn’t look that special or unique, but as you take your time to meander around, you’ll find charming little areas in the park.

First, you arrive at this charming bridge.

Paris Parc Monceau bridge

Continue reading “Parks of Paris: Parc Monceau”

Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Parks of Paris: Jardin du Luxembourg

This spring-like weather is making me wistful for spring in Paris, where the flowers are in full bloom, the fountains are crowded with families sailing their toy boats, and the colors are vibrant and diverse, from the glorious blue of the sky, the reds, pinks, yellows, and purples of the flowers, and the greens of the lush gardens and grass.

Paris is the perfect place to visit if you love gardens and parks, since it offers so many beautifully maintained parks.

Today, let’s visit the grandest, most impressive park in Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg, my own personal favorite out of all the parks in Paris.

Paris in Boston Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

Paris in Boston Jardin du Luxembourg

First, how can this garden not be beautiful, I mean, it has the word “luxe” in its name! Continue reading “Parks of Paris: Jardin du Luxembourg”