Category Archives: Europe

Part 1: Bucket List

I’m getting the travel bug again.  It’s a lovely thing when it bites, but not so lovely when the funds aren’t exactly there to indulge it.  I have a few countries for which I feel this overwhelming urge to pay a visit to. Apparently, I need to make a Part 2 for this post, since I can keep on adding to this list.

Well, after looking for all the “right” pictures to include in this post, I kind of feel like I’ve visited these countries already.  Not.  Looking at pictures isn’t a good substitute.

England

Ireland

New Zealand

Greece

Israel

Kenya

*Note: if you click on the photos it will take you back to the original link (National Geographic, TrekEarth, ect.)

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The Whitepod

I suppose as a northerner I am somewhat drawn to snow.  Add in the unusually warm and whiteless winter we’ve been experiencing this year, and that kinda makes snow a little more enchanting.  Christmas was green and rainy.  We’ve only had one really good snow fall so far this year.  Of course, last year when I had to drive an hour to school twice a week, we had numerous snowfalls with an unbelievable amount of accumulation.  Go figure.

So after stumbling upon this place in the Swiss Alps…yeah, I am craving it, Whitepod.  Camping in the winter.  It’s located in Switzerland and sits above the city of Monthey. As an eco-friendly environment (they minimize daily water and electricity consumption, reduce waste production, and favor the use of renewable resources) it gives you the chance to experience the great outdoors in a totally unique way, in a pod.  At first, when I was taking a look at the pods, I was a little alarmed about not seeing any bathrooms.  I thought, “Oh well, it would just add to the whole camping experience to have to make a trek to the lodge to use a toilet.”  Okay, for the record: I was WRONG.  The dome shaped tents do indeed have bathrooms.  No worries.

Oh, the pods are also heated by a woodstove.  The bathrooms are heated by an electric heater.  Can’t have those pipes freeze up; otherwise, you’ll really be running to the lodge to use the john.  But, I thought the woodstove was a nice touch.  Makes the stay at the pod a little more hands on, and I’m all for that.

Whitepod has quite a few activities to offer: snow-trekking in the mountains, dog sledging/sledding, paragliding, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding.  I have to include that one of the paragliding packages entails climbing a mountain and then paragliding down it.  Right now, I’ll just have to dream of doing that, because there isn’t a way I can actually do it right now.  Bummer.

I encourage you to visit Whitepod‘s website, or better yet…visit Whitepod.

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David Eustace

I stumbled across this guy while working on a school assignment.  Scottish born photographer, David Eustace gives an amazing glimpse of Scotland from behind his camera lens.

I find his photography is breathtaking…refreshing…inspiring.  Check out his collection of “Scotland” photos here: Highland Heart.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.

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Experience English Country

So, when I think of England, I usually think of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Bridge, ect.  Sometimes the quaint countryside come to mind, and I find that to be very intriguing.  But how in the world could someone (a foreigner) enjoy its beauty?  Personally, I think it’s lame just to settle for the English countryside via the latest Jane Austen movie that BBC produces (and in no way am I trying to belittle BBC.  I think they do a fantastic job).

I did a little searching and found a some places where one can enjoy the great outdoors of England by way of camping.  Here’s one of them:

Sawday’s Canopy & Stars

http://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/find-a-place/ekopod

It’s not your commonplace camping.  They call it luxury camping or ‘glamping’.  They’ve developed a collection of places which are beautiful and quirky at the same time.  One in particular stood out to me…and its calling my name.  It’s called “The Geo” and is located in Cornwall.

The Geo, Ekopod

The Geo, Ekopod, Cornwall (thanks to Sawdays Canopy and Stars)

It mixes modern and nature together.  It’s sustainable and at the same time caters to your necessities.  Yes, it has its own private kitchen and bathroom.  Upscale camping?  Yep.

Think you would get bored with a mod-tent and some trees?  Think again.  There’s plenty to see and do around the area.  Hiking, bike rides, surfing are all suggested activities…and Tintagel castle is also in the area.

However, if  “glamping” isn’t your thing…you’ve got to check this place out.

The Temple of Folly

www.templefolly.co.uk/index.html 

Temple Folly

The Temple located in the Northshire Dales National Park(thanks to templefolly.co.uk)

Located in Swinithwaite, North Yorkshire, the Temple of Folly was built in the 18th century.  It’s octagon shape makes it a rather unusual building.  It was originally built to be a summerhouse or belvedere for a gentleman named T J Anderson.   It’s architectural designs inside and out make it a very intriguing and interesting place.  Not only that, the Temple provides a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape with its second-floor, open air balcony.  At night you can enjoy the view across Wenslyeydale to the floodlit Bolton Castle.

Depending on the season, the price varies from around $650-$800 per week.

Bedroom in the Temple

Second-floor bedroom in the Temple (thanks to templefolly.co.uk)

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A Little Hungary

Hungary.  Not “I’m hungry” (that’s what I thought when I was little…who didn’t?), but the country of Hungary, or as the Hungarians call it Magyarország.

I personally don’t often hear of this country as being a common tourist destination.  But let me tell you, it’s worth the money to check it out.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

The picturesque landscape is full of lakes, mountains, rolling hills, golden fields, and dark forests.  Dotting the hillsides, you will see ornate churches and quaint houses.  The Danube’s bank nestle against the country’s capital, Budapest.  In this large city, you will find McDonald’s and the ancient aqueducts from the Roman Empire.

Hungarian Countryside

Hungarian Countryside

The signature food of Hungary is Gulyás (gou-yash).  It’s a mix between soup and stew.  It’s full of vegetables (potatoes/carrots/onions) and chunks of meat, not to mention the most popular spice in Hungary, paprika.  It is usually served with slices of hot peppers.  Note to self, do not touch face after cutting slices of pepper for the soup.  It burns.   Sometimes it is cooked outside in an open vat, which makes the meal even more tantalizing.  Delicious?  You bet.


Another traditional Hungarian dish is cabbage and pasta.  I regret to say the only healthy thing to found in the dish is the cabbage…I think the rest will just help clog your arteries.  That’s probably why it taste so good.  Here’s the recipe (well, the Americanized version of it…still tastes very much like the stuff I had when I was over there):

      5 slices bacon, diced

      2 tsp. sugar

      1 tsp. salt

      6 cups chopped cabbage (1-inch squares)

      3 cups cooked noodles (4 oz. uncooked)

      1 cup sour cream

      Paprika 

Saute bacon until crisp in large frying pan.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Stir sugar and salt into bacon drippings.  Add cabbage, stirring until cabbage is coated with bacon drippings.

Cover and cook 7 to 10 minutes.  Add cooked noodles and bacon, stirring to blend.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Spoon into a 2-quart baking casserole; cover tightly and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  Spread sour cream over top of casserole; sprinkle with paprika and return to oven for 5 minutes more.

(Note: Usually I drain some of the bacon drippings, so I don’t have to serve all that fat)

Okay, I’m done with the food.  It’s starting to make me hungry.

The city/town of Szentendre is full of quaint cobblestone streets lined with little shops.  There is a certain spot in the town where you can overlook all the red tile roofs.  Very old world and very memorable.

Shop along the cobblestone streets

Rooftops of Szentendre

Have you ever wanted to push a pause button on life and let time stand still?  The little, rural village of Hollókő is just that.  Developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, Hollókő has kept to itself over the period of time.

Here all of the buildings are whitewashed, be it a home or a shop.  And this is where I say, “Make sure there is a sign outside of the building before entering.”  You may be barging into someone’s home.  And that would be kind of embarrassing.

Hollókő also has this amazing castle.  It’s been dated back to sometime in the 1300’s.  Climbing up inside of it and looking out over the hills to the edge of the dense forest will bring your imagination to life.  Let it go wild…you’ll be able to see the enemy armies lurking behind the dark trees, or troops descending the mountains off in the distance.

Hollókő Castle

The castle ruins of Hollókő

The village of Hollókő thanks to Krzyżówki from Wikimedia Commons and Ookaboo!

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