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sigursaudfe-blog · 4 years ago
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On our way back from Cairo, Egypt, my mom and I stopped briefly in Paris, France.  This is my second time in Paris and my first time covering the same non-American city from different visits on the blog.  This is what I live for - getting the experience to travel to multiple places at various stages in my life and having new perspectives to write about.  Last, I visited with my sister and then-boyfriend for a couple of days but this time I visited with my mom for a couple of hours. We didn’t revisit the same sites I saw last time but we ran around Paris making the most of our time. 
We stopped off at a quick place to eat and stroll through some parks.  The sun shone brightly that day, unlike the light yet highly dedicated drizzle that continued all day every day during trip of 2012.  Regardless, many people were still out and about on both days, enjoying fresh Parisian sun.  The outstanding parks and jardins were highly accessible by public transportation and did not disappoint.  In some sections, an imminent silence would fill the space save for the gravel crunching by our feet.  As we walked along lightly dusted paths, we were surprised to find that the trees groomed for sight lines suddenly became unruly and tangled.  Of course, not every tree canopy in the city can be groomed to the point; the appearance would become extremely peculiar.  But the specific design is iconic of Paris and poses as wayfinding and identity for the city.  We have always seen these lines in photographs and have heard about that history from educators.  With this temporary extraction from expectations and a sudden movement into a new environment, we no longer feel placed in what we remember of Paris - truly a perfect example of displacement and the thin line between strictly urban and forest.  
As soon as we disappeared into another world, our paths became shadowed by hovering wild green of unnaturally naturally shaped canopies that forked into 2, 3, 4 and many more different paths.  Upon encountering this abrupt disorder, we were allowed to wander and mosey about without a destination at hand felt surprising and light in the city of Paris.  We were given an opportunity to flaunt aimlessly through the park without focus and direction, which was a surreal and enjoyable detour intended for decompression before bursting back out into the real world and in our case, before a long flight back home.  Among the strict hustle and bustle of a city, these pocket parks (parcs?) and jardins made the perfect sanctuary for restful minds and souls.  Next time a layover is in your future, pick Paris and visit Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Plantes.  Find comfort among beauty within Europe and respect the scenery.  Even if there isn’t an iconic structure at the end of the tunnel, the landscape is always watching and hopes for protection to preserve the environment.  Thank you to Paris, the urban designers and landscape architects who have created these amazing and timeless memorable spaces.
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sigursaudfe-blog · 4 years ago
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Arizona is one of those mythical states you hear about but aren’t quite sure if it exists.  Like Salt Lake City, the multiple cities within AZ are surrounded by mountains and operate like a mix of small cities would.  My mom and I visited Phoenix and Scottsdale in early April and the temperature had already rose to 70s - 80s.  This was /not/ surprising for obvious reasons but the quick advance into summer weather made the trip all the more exciting.  We hiked to summit and visited many parks / botanic gardens to get a closer feel for the range of horticulture (lots of cacti and adorable desert plant babies)!  
Having learned our lesson in Las Vegas, we knew not to get crazy with alcohol - but it did not hold us back from eating way too much food (of all diversity) and following those meals with drinks [some yums; image 2].  We consumed most of those meals indoors although there were plenty of beautiful outdoor restaurants as well in very artistic and unique neighborhoods.  
Arizona does not hold back on culture, either - in those cities, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West school which was so beautiful and the true epitome of FLW design.  Between every extravagant linear and colorful composition, the architect’s creation displayed and emphasized southwestern natural beauty excellently through house and garden. Beyond those windows and walls are mountains of saguaro cacti of all shapes and sizes ready to prick without a moment’s notice.
A succulent and cacti lover’s dream, the Desert Botanical Garden aims to point and please more than an average botanic garden’s conservatory desert exhibit would.  Viewing these plants in the wild may be the norm for southwestern locals but to a northeastern, a forest of natural danger is delightful.  Unlike a common woodland forest, however, Arizonians seem to recognize their state’s beauty too.  Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art allows a section of cacti to grow in their outdoor space and displays exquisite pieces representing the landscape. Outdoor tours such as Ponderosa Stables’ horseback riding expeditions allow the landscape to be viewed in new perspectives amidst steady galloping sounds. In fact, these plants almost appear as the city’s wayfinding system as one travels from place to place and eventually finding familiarity and solace upon the prickly green sighting.  Among the possible widespread beliefs of what deserts may entail, please allow the fascinating environment of Arizona to become your first experience of southwestern America.  You won’t regret it!
[Many Thanks to tumblr users: @trekethos, @falloutpuppies, @theartofmrdarcy, @egoexnihilo, @moofmoofvan, @jmore8, @themattlowe0606, @bouvier25-blog, @polarizon, @shyguy17019, @scott2995 + @dracomalfoythebouncingferret for the follows, likes and support!  I haven’t posted in over a year and feel like I have let you down. Working on writing improvements and will hopefuly have more blog posts soon.  Thanks all!]
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sigursaudfe-blog · 5 years ago
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Tis the holiday season in which a new year rolls in and we get a fresh start.  I don’t know about you, but 2016 blasted by so quickly that I can still remember where I was this time one year ago (Angel Fire, obvi). However, I have had some major travel breakthroughs this year that I can’t wait to write about.  
In late April - early May, I visited Egypt and was astounded by how remarkable the ancient city was. ¬†My mom and I traveled with G Adventures and experienced the culture and community firsthand with our tour guide, Adi. ¬†Our tour group ranged from all ages and all cultures, which certainly made the trip more interesting and allowed us to focus on foreign surroundings closely. ¬†Even the trip alone was unique in its diversity of adventure (not called G ‚ÄėAdventures‚Äô for nothin‚Äô). ¬†The trip took about a week and a half but we traveled between the three highly different cities of Egypt nearly without a hitch via train, plane and automobile! ¬†Also, via felucca /aka small boat/ overnight (!) - possibly the comfiest form of travel known to man. ¬†Each aspect of the trip posed a challenge but we got through all as a team. ¬†In Aswan, our hotel had a power shortage because everyone wore out the air conditioning. ¬†Our feluccas never made it from Aswan to Luxor due to high winds on water and we had to take buses in the morning. ¬†In Luxor, the panhandlers / random strangers get a bit more invasive as well as sneaky and are hard to lose. ¬†And Cairo was our first exposure to the Egyptian community, but oh how mesmerizing and deep the flows between city and country are; among all bodies of water, splotches of green and neat tan topography against hazy sunlight. ¬†Certainly all are culture shocks if any but perhaps the best and most eye opening there are.¬†
But each moment in between of daily struggles made the trip to Egypt worthwhile.  Eating koshari non-stop, learning art and architecture history, standing in front of the pyramids and following every brick to the top - how did people create such a marvelous mystery in ancient times?  Very impressed and proud of point A - point B in the world of creative design.  Getting straight up beaten by donkey riding (they totally hated me), being mauled alive by flies and nearly drowning in the Nile River all make top of the list of a deliciously fun adventure in Egypt.  
At the end of the year, it is important for both myself and others to really see what we have and what the rest of the world have. ¬†Tourism is so important to Egypt and they need all the support and love from visitors. ¬†Put Egypt at the top of your travel list; the cities are safe and if anything, locals will welcome your presence with open arms. ¬†Don‚Äôt believe me? ¬†Check out fellow G Adventure tour group goers personal ‚Äėreviews‚Äô. ¬†Nkgopoleng runs an amazing blog called ‚ÄėScarf Girl‚Äô and has written impressive day-by-day recaps of our group travel. ¬†Fun fact, she is from Cape Town, South Africa and also covers public spaces in the city which are great reads as well! ¬†Also, she used to live in Green Point in Sept - Nov 2014! ¬†AND SHE WAS JUST A FEW BLOCKS AWAY FROM WHERE I USED TO LIVE. ¬†Damn. ¬†We probably saw each other on the street, hahaha! ¬†Small world. ¬†Lastly, Lori from Canada also found her soul resonating with Egypt (although I‚Äôm sure she would use different words than that) and has created a Facebook page, ‚ÄėBringing Tourism Back to Egypt‚Äô, for all those who are interested in going and would like more information! ¬†Please like and read any and all details about Egypt if you are just slightly fascinated because visiting is SO VERY WORTH IT. ¬†
This is my last post of 2016.  I will cover more of Egypt and other trips I have not yet written about in 2017, with hopefully more frequency than in the past two years.  Happy holidays and happy new year!  Drink and eat well.  Spend all your money.  Book your trips now.  Support tourism 2017!   <3
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sigursaudfe-blog · 5 years ago
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In the midst of these harsh times and rough election period, I like to think back on my previous travels and daydream about the highlights and good times just to keep ‚Äėem rollin‚Äô. ¬†Many of my fondest memories tend to fade away mostly because my brain is fickle and I get pulled back to reality far too often. ¬†But all of a sudden, these memories come back in fragments and I piece together the storyline of what happens during those moments. ¬†
Lately, I’ve been dreaming of Wisconsin and the unique adventures had.  My roommates, Maddie and Aimee, would drive me (I was licenseless at the time) to parks and beaches and we would run around and hike aimlessly until the sun went down.  In those sunset hours, we would go to bars and drink heartily until the sun came up (lol jk that never happened, we worked the next day).  My favorite bar, The Spot, had extremely intricate and tasty drinks but had a light, hypnotizing atmosphere that kept you admiring the dark wooden interior for hours.  I went as often as I could and drank Mud Puppy Porters until I stumbled home along the main road, which was surrounded by haunting woods and shadowy houses leering from the smallest crevices far, far away.  Screen doors would slam in the distance and sometimes winds howled as I shuffled back as quickly as possible.  On my days off, I would go to the local library and read books in restaurants within close vicinity with some beers and wings at hand [The Alley, image 6].  Northern Wisconsin was colder in late August, a concept I heard of but wasn’t quite ready to believe.  Here, in this quaint American college city, I was finally living the full outdoorsy suburban life and experiencing an unknown existence I had only read about in books.  One might think that I had seen it all as a full blown city kid, but I definitely hadn’t (still haven’t) - proven so in the summer of 2014 of Wisconsin.  Damn, I was sheltered!
Not-so-secret: ¬†the reason why I decided to intern in Wisconsin was to do a ‚ÄėBon Iver tour‚Äô, where I would live in places where Justin Vernon became inspired. ¬†Having known that he wrote some of the most haunting songs in the northern woods, I chose to move there in order to experience what he experienced. ¬†And I left those cities with some of the best traveling and eye opening adventures one could ever have in the midwest. ¬†Getting exposed to great music (#YonderMountainStringBand [image3]) at Big Top Chautauqua concerts, milling about along the waterfronts, mesmerized by the golden sun, riding the ferry between Madeline Island and Bayfield -- sooooo many amazing memories. ¬†You guys, Wisconsin is a haven in America. ¬†Visit anytime of the year and fall in serious love. ¬†I hope to go back soon and visit the ice caves during stark winters. ¬†Maybe next year!
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sigursaudfe-blog · 5 years ago
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Hello everyone!  Thank you for reading my several short posts to make up for not posting in over a YEAR!  Unfortunately, I seem to have fallen off the bandwagon again with ZERO posts in the queue so please forgive me as I start to write frequently again. 2016 (and 2015), man.  What to make of it?  Also, I have come into a bit of a writers’ block at the moment but to no avail, I will start again with some small posts coming soon.  
Here is a treat for you if you wish - in such a small town like Angel Fire, NM, there is a wide array of tasty dishes that my friends and I treasured while living there.  So many good memories of eating out, either at the resort or in one of the restaurants along the one street town.  Not too adventurous of most dishes but as mentioned earlier in other food posts, the memories that come with tastes and smells will always bring you back to that moment, a beautiful Nuevo Mexican moment <3  This time around last year, I was starting to live comfortably in Angel Fire and eat some amazing meals.  Most of the time, I drank too much to take pictures of all the food I ate but truth be told, they were as good as one can promise.  Mashed potatos, sliders, sandwiches, pasta, salads, fries, onion rings, simplicity of deliciousness galore.  Fried and spicy everything topped with layers and layers of queso con cerveza.  Yum.  
Side note; our only grocery store game in town, Lowe’s, also carried everything we needed to make those meals at home.  Where would I be without cups of Earl Grey tea in a reusable REI mug (obvious image 1)?  Lost in the mountains (yes please).  
Just picture yourself eating all of those meals with beer and tea, looking out to the woods.  Heaven on earth = Angel Fire.  It’s  W I N T E R T I M E,  so strap on those skis and snowboards and head down south to New Mexico.  Enjoy those hills, go tubing and EAT.  Below is a list of every restaurant I ate at and what I loved the most, top to bottom. 
1_ Zebs (image 2); fave dish: burritos $9.99 2_ Angel Fired Pizza; make-your-own pizza (yo) $18.95 and worth it 3_ The Pub 'n Grub; shrimp 4_ Annie’s; brownies $4.00 5_ Sunset Grille; pasta  6_ Legends (image 3); sliders 7_ H2 Uptown; guacamole tostada dip $8.00 8_ The Village Haus; chicken wings $6.00
[many thanks to tumblr users stephaneraymond for liking my post on Cape Town as well as miltao10 and circular-triangle for the follows!]
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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In the winter of 2015-2016, I had the craziest outdoors experience a city kid could have living in this one street town with a population amount smaller than the number of people who live in my building. ¬†When I told my parents I wanted to move to Angel Fire, New Mexico to work for Angel Fire Resort, their first response was¬†‚Äúmmm, nope.‚ÄĚ ¬†They did have a point - here I was moving to an extremely small town that was 45 minutes away from a hospital, Walmart, McDonalds, Wendy‚Äôs, etc etc all the famous chain stores known to man. ¬†Angel Fire is known for its small ski and snowboard resort; excellent and talented instructors, a pocket resort slowly growing well known and popular among New Mexicans, west Louisianans, west Texans and even some southern Coloradoans (?). ¬†I worked in the Snow Sports Office in a team of one manager (LA), one assistant manager (OR / NM) and one other associate (TX). ¬†I legit came from out of nowhere but was definitely not the first New Yorker to come across Angel Fire (two ski instructors from Brooklyn and even some visitors from NYC!). ¬†At the time, I arrived via public transportation coming up through Albuquerque and Santa Fe with my mom before departing for Angel Fire via sketchy but promising van company. ¬† Upon arrival, I was surprised and delighted by the millions of stars dotting the night sky, with only some streetlights spotlighting the main road ahead of us. ¬†Before the season, the town and resort are completely empty, which kind of shocked me when I headed into the main lobby and was the only person there (aside from the booking agent) until my roommate picked me up and drove us home. ¬†
Turned out, I lived the furthest within walking distance out of most resort employees.  I began to internally panic when I realized that we lived on the other end of the main road, then down another main road (leading to Eagle’s Nest), then down a side road filled with large cabins.  Our large cabin was nearly the last one at the end.  At the time, I didn’t have my license and my driving skills weren’t admirable (still aren’t, tbh). Lol, I remember talking to my friend, Lauren, over the phone and she told me to make sure I knew how to get back and forth from the resort when I stressed about endlessly harassing my roommates for rides. On the first day of the season, I walked to work and it took 2 hours and 45 minutes. While it was the first and last time I walked by myself the whole way, the activity itself was relaxing and calming even in the faintly chilled breeze. The second time I almost made it back was when it had started snowing a LOT and the breeze was definitely sharper and rough, roads slippery.  In fact, it was Christmas Eve hahaha and I made it as far as the start of our side road before one of our neighbors picked me up (thank you so very much again <3). Afterwards, I would camp out in the employee lounge, sleeping on their stank sofa but among lemon bowtie salads and chocolate galore.  One time, I brought my sleeping bag and slept there for two nights, the last night showering in the employee showers by the lobby.  You guys, I was killin’ it.  I thought it was such an awesome idea and wondered why I even considered paying rent in the first place. 
But the mornings at the cabin were worth it. ¬†We would see this amazing sunrise over the mountains, hence the name¬†‚ÄėAngel Fire‚Äô (image 1),¬†‚Äėwhere the angels touch the mountains and fire was made‚Äô, etc. It was beautiful. In fact, the majority of the Angel Fire area is beautiful. ¬†My coworker, Tim, and I went on numerous evening road trips and stopped by open valleys with cattle gazing through (image 2 + 5). ¬†So absolutely incredible. ¬†Even just hanging out in the office at work, staring out up Exhibition - our beginners‚Äô blue run (image 7) as the snowstorm rolled in was a sight to behold. ¬†
On other days, we asked for more unique scenery and New Mexico delivered.  My roommate, Natasha, invited me to go snowmobiling (!!! the best) with her and her family in Red River (image 6) and I left my phone and wallet in the snowmobile suit hahaha so much fun, thank youuu girl.  My other roommate’s husband offered to drive me up there and pick it up but then decided to drive into Taos and hang out at the ski resort.  So nice of him, thanks Willie!  We had lunch in their dining hall and then modeled on the base (image 4). 
Lately, I have been missing the fresh air and mountains. Every morning, I would grab a cup of tea or coffee and a brownie, then climb up several flights of stairs to make it to office which I may have complained about then but I definitely miss it now, all of it.  We were required to play only four radio stations at work; 2 top 40 stations, a country station, and a coffee haus station which was actually a Tom Petty station.  Our ears burned nearly every day but I even miss that now.  There is something magical about New Mexico, Angel Fire in particular, that needs to be experienced in person to believe.  Don’t pass up the chance to go, if you are ever out in the southwest during the winter (or summer, because they also have a bike park then).  Take me back <3 
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Wow, Washington DC. All that history reflecting back on this nation’s land.  The Washington Monument is a commonly shaped structure, yet so incredibly majestic with its towering over the city of Washington DC.  The Monument is famous, playing throughout history in pop culture and social standings.  Imagine how much story it holds, how much it has seen, as a parentlike figure watching over the community as it changes and recreates.  So impressive.  Connecting with the Lincoln Memorial through Maya Lin’s design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and just witnessing the unnecessary drama that had followed. Facing the cast of Forrest Gump as Tom Hanks makes his speech on war.  No one else heard it because of the microphone dying out. But the Washington Monument sees all. And to get the chance to see in person what the Monument sees is an honor.  Atop the Monument roof, the city is beautiful in the stark winter sun, water reflecting sharply onto our surrounding views.  Each sight is spectacular, better than any other look out point in the city.  This place in the city is even far more special because we get the chance to see for miles instead of staring at a dead-end side of a building.  Astounding, all the ants bustling about from place to place, admiring the landscape all the while, even on the roof.  
Can’t wait to go back and admire my favorite type of architectural design (all towers, all day).  It outstands Lincoln Memorial and even the White House, beacause of its purpose.  What is your favorite type of architecture, in and/or out of Washington DC? 
[many thanks to tumblr users, myeverydaycamera (again!) and kingofawesomenessstuff, for liking my post on Cape Town! <3]
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Oh South Africa. Look at the way these mountains move!  The country’s community plays around the mountains in the way a city with mountains should.  My classmates and I went on a lot of walks and hikes, through Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and any weird hill with a potentially adventurous road.  My mom even came to visit for a week and we visited Boulders Beach (image 5) where the penguins are!  While the penguins are cute, what was really interesting about Boulders Beach was the housing surrounding the area.  These residents could actually see what was happening on the beach, observe the comings and goings of penguins as they maneuvered through the landscape.  So cool!  With this fascinating coastline, Cape Town has the opportunity to develop their communities any way they could. This natural design utilizes high points to overlook a metropolitan area, curving grassy hills, vineyards, the ocean and other people looking at the same views through different perspectives.  Each layer of geography telling a story as the elevation expands and contracts throughout the country. Guys, South Africa knows how to do tourism (especially landscape tourism) right.  I am so glad we, as a team of 7 students, got to go to such a gorgeous country with so much opportunity in each tumultuous crevice of the earth.  Different ecosystems, colors, levels of underlying appreciation to each aspect of a city - what more can we ask for in a three month long visit?  Absolutely nothing.  
If you ever get the chance to visit this #1 coastline city, do NOT pass it up.  Cape Town has everything you need, with visits to Woolworths and Kwikspar, between hikes and beautiful scenic bus / boat rides, endless wine tastings to settle your thirst for LIFE and some of the kindest people ever to meet.  I dream of climbing up Lion’s Head often, stretching my legs as we head up the steep, dusty hill and boulder up slippery rocks, making it up to the top and praising the sparkling, bustling land laying beneath us.  Waking up early to feel the deep sunshine on the back of our legs, our faces as we head to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront and endlessly shop while enjoying buskers and people watching.  How I miss that stunning city, my favorite city (next to Reykjavík, of course <3).  When you go, spend as much time outdoors as possible - go to the beach when the wind isn’t strong enough to pellet you with sand, explore the city and its geography, hike and walk but just keep hiking and walking and don’t stop because there is always so much more of Cape Town that you need to see and will always need to see.  I love you, South Africa. 
[many thanks to tumblr user, myeverydaycamera, for liking my post on the Bronx Zoo! <3]
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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I had the pleasure of working in the admissions department at the Bronx Zoo during the fall of 2015.  There, I was exposed to how a zoo, specifically under a large organization called the Wildlife Conservation Society, constructed one-on-one sales and marketing strategies to the public.  Strapped in my sky blue polo and khaki shorts uniform, I stood by one of the four entrances, handing out maps and scanning slews of visitors’ admission tickets.  While this activity was one of the more consistent bullet points of the job, I received the chance to visit the zoo as often as possible as a visitor as well as an employee.  The little joys in life.  One of the best parts of the position itself took place before the job started; arriving early enough to catch the morning sun rising over the Bronx (image 1) and peeking through trees on the northern end of the zoo.  Especially with the weather changing from steamy hot to freshly cold breezes, walking through the zoo in beautiful silence made the atmosphere all the more powerful.  On those cold days, I visited the Children's Zoo (images 4 + 6) and Jungle World (images 2, 3 + 5). These exhibits are my favorites because of their wide range of species and subtle interactions with the public.  
If you are not anti-zoo and love looking at animals in faux-bitats, DON’T visit the zoo on a Wednesday.  Wednesdays are free days but the only things you will see are stampedes of children banging on the glass and screaming at the top of their lungs.  Definitely not worth it.  The downfall on visiting during other days of the week is the unruly pricing of admission itself.  DO get the Total Experience Tickets - you will still have to wait on line with the rest of non -TEX purchasers but just think of how many times you can visit a special exhibit or ride a special ride continuously!  Always remember, there are crowded days and then there are CROWDED days.  Sometimes, weekends are a bad time to visit but none of the exhibits close until after Halloween when the main season is over.  Wildlife Conservation Society also runs the other zoos and aquarium in NYC except for Staten Island Zoo, so if you have any thoughts on what you love or hate about them and/or about zoos in general, let me know!  
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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You guys, I’m heartbroken... heartbroken for the landscape and peace of Namibia.  There is something so ultimately beautiful yet unnoticeable about the country which makes it much more special than any space I have seen before.  Attached are photos of different elements in the landscape; they recreate emotions and thoughts of that time.  But they also memorialize outstanding and silencing peace.  Everything is well in Namibia. The locals are kind, the food is tasty, the scenery miraculous.  Even the lack of breeze and bearing sun feels good on my skin, as we traipse through the thorny paths or we swim in the extremely buggy pools in each and every lodge.  Despite the change in comfort, moving from New York to South Africa to Namibia, we are taught by the atmosphere around us to have no worries.  Coming back to a sharp edged city with a population so extremely thick in its density nearly forces me to crave this amazing desert landscape.  Namibia has to be seen in person to be believed. 
1_ on the road again somewhere in Namibia 2_ Etosha National Park 3_ Mokuti Etosha Lodge 4_ Cheetah Conservation Fund; Otjiwarongo, Namibia 5_ / 6_¬†D√ľsternbrook Guest Farm 7_ Etosha National Park
Between every second of each day spent in Namibia that was in complete silence, I continued to feel more connected with the wildlife and landscape. Sunsets and sunrises were even more astounding in this country because of their reflections on the barren yellow brown sand and eventually a deep dark midnight blue fading into black with spots of light dotting our surroundings.  All the while, we grow quiet as the space around us hushes and we are suddenly a part of the desert itself.  I hope to go back soon and find solace in this stunning silence once again <3 
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Some might highly disagree or have different opinions, but I think Philadelphia is continuously thriving art scene. Between the city’s architecture, museum culture and streetscape, there is a different tone to the artist atmosphere that New York doesn’t have.  Of course, all cities have unique takes on artistic spaces, including Santa Fe (blog post coming soon!) and Paris.  Philadelphia has a similar vibe to London, even with both cities using existing structures and streetscape elements to develop their artistic identity.  Attached are some memorable perspectives that represent artsy Philly.  
1_ from the Rocky Steps (!!) (no, I didn’t run) of Philadelphia Museum of Art 2_ / 3_ Rodin Museum 4_ / 5_ Magic Gardens
Feel free to compare your own photos of Philadelphia and/or London to mine or others on the internet, just to see what strikes you as an¬†‚Äúarts-based space / community‚ÄĚ. ¬†More importantly, what do you see as art in an urban area and could there be a limit to art in an area? ¬†And if you like art and are planning on visiting Philadelphia, Santa Fe, London, Paris or any old / new up-and-coming art city soon, do you plan on exploring each and every artsy aspect? ¬†Let me know, because I am dying to visit every artsy city in the world. :)
[many thanks to tumblr user, stoneravenue, for liking my post on Amsterdam! <3]
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Aaah, Amsterdam‚Ķ While my mom and I were there for just a few short hours, the air seemed too beautifully crisp and fresh for a city. ¬†Perhaps the fairy tale imaginary element of not-so-underground culture painted pictures of a urban space too good to be true. ¬†As an American, I was very excited to visit. ¬†I have heard enough tales and seen enough pictures to run into the city, screaming ‚ÄúWHERE‚ÄôS THE WEED, Y‚ÄôALL‚ÄĚ at the top of my lungs (cmon, America! ¬†we are so close in our health system). ¬†Despite the level of unique culture I expected to witness right off the bat, I was surprised to see tons of American families on holiday in Amsterdam. ¬†Whether they owned summer cottages in Europe or were frequent visitors, the children certainly knew the city quite well. ¬†I heard a group of kids asking their parents, ‚Äúcan we go to the park? ¬†We know where it is because we have been there hundreds of times before.‚ÄĚ ¬†At that very moment, Amsterdam kind of lost my interest. ¬†Don‚Äôt get me wrong, I love that people thrive in traveling and live like locals. ¬†But to have familiar people turn a mysterious place into a common hometown-like space sort of ruins the adventure. ¬†Regardless, I am happy that American families choose to summer in a place like Amsterdam. ¬†It means that pot tokin‚Äô mamas ‚Äėn‚Äô papas are respectful of and will fight for different races, religions, cultures and social statuses and thus hopefully pass that on to kids and neighborhood communities. ¬†Parents, it is nearly your RIGHT to do so, and it is very important in this sometimes sadly backwards country.
But let’s talk about my other favorite type of green.  Like most cities, Amsterdam has a lot of pocket parks (image 3; Rijksmuseum) laid out in its infrastructure but there is one particular famously amazin’ park that everyone loves: Vondelpark (image 2)!  Lots of water features and reminiscent viewpoints along the park’s edge. The temperature was just comfortable enough that I passed out on the bench to rest from jet lag.  Lot of young locals (from what I remember) were also resting on the lawn or walking quickly through the park.  Only few other tourists were exploring the park closely.  
The whole city was grey and rainy that day; few colors popped up including the red from ‚ÄėI amsterdam‚Äô sculpture (image 1) and red / yellow tulips in the park. ¬†These spots of tinge acted as placemarkers while walking through the city. ¬†Even while attending a boat tour, the trees along the canal edge popped out to me first before the buildings or even the people (image 4). ¬†My studio professors always claimed that color doesn‚Äôt hold priority in design but in a city like Amsterdam, it kind of does. ¬†
When I go back, I would love to stay a little while longer than just 12 hours and study the color patterns more closely as well as interact with the new / old locals.  A hidden beauty of a city with still more secrets to be discovered.
Do you like vibrant colors in an urban plan?  What are your favorite spots in Amsterdam, regardless of whether or not you have visited before?  Does Amsterdam strike you as an interesting city even now when non-Dutch folk are moving in?  Is marijuana legalization a valid discussion in a landscape tourism blog?  Tell me all your thoughts!
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Shark cage diving!  What a treat.  When my 6 classmates and I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa together, we attended several tours as a team.  Shark cage diving was one of those tours.  Only two students in our group were from cities by the coast (Portland, Maine and San Diego, California), but the rest of us were from New York and New Jersey, landlocked.  So an opportunity to go to the thick of the ocean and come face to face with some sharks is naturally a delight.  We were really excited and had to wake up before the crack of dawn to get picked up from our cute 3-story house in Green Point and driven to Kleinbaai, where Supreme Sharks’ boats depart from.  
Boy, were we wrong.  About everything.
It wasn‚Äôt Supreme Sharks‚Äô fault. ¬†They were extremely accommodating and provided us breakfast and lollies for seasickness. ¬†Yes, seasickness. ¬†In the midst of the rough waves, nearly everyone vomited on the boat or off the boat on the ‚Äúvomit side.‚ÄĚ ¬†It was really hard not to. ¬†Between the boat‚Äôs movement and the semi-tight wet suit, all we could think about was ‚ÄėI wish to not disperse of my insides‚Äô every time until we finally did. ¬†I would show you pictures of these sad faces that the company generously took and made into a slideshow for our pleasure, but it wouldn‚Äôt be kind to those whose faces screamed despair. ¬†Imagine faces scrunching, sucking on lollies and looking absolutely miserable.¬†
In fact, here are the times I am in the video above, if you care: 3:48 - starting to feel nauseous 4:18 - eating lollies 4:48 - ready to get in the cage 5:01 - in the wetsuit with red square on head; bottom corner 8:17 - on deck looking at sharks  8:58 - eating lollies
The only time we were sort of okay was when we got our chance in the cage.  No one vomited in the cage as far as I knew, but I felt dangerously close to losing it every time I tried to take a breath of air and shark bait swam into my mouth.
The way shark cage diving works is a group of people (we had a cage for 6 people) jump into a jail cage attached to the boat and desperately hang on as the company throws slices of fresh (or day old?) fish on a string in the water in front of us. ¬†Eventually a shark will attempt to eat the fish and the company plays with the shark by dragging the string of fish in front of us, getting close to the cage so we can see the shark better. ¬†I didn‚Äôt wear contacts on the trip to South Africa (though I should have) and had to take my glasses off in the cage, which only meant that I saw frustrated gray blobs pass by me. ¬†The sharks were still really cute though! ¬†Apparently, when I was facing the ‚Äúvomit side‚ÄĚ, I missed some sharks slamming against the cage trying to catch the bait. ¬†
Next time, though.  Since the wind was really strong that day, the waves retaliated and changed the whole experience for us.  Had we gone on any other day that had not been windy, we might have had a better experience.  Turns out, we only saw a few sharks as well which might have had to do with the waves or wind (?) but perhaps another day would draw in more sharks as well.  Looking forward to going back to Cape Town or anywhere else in South Africa again to give it another try and because I miss the landscape and culture IMMENSELY.  
Have you gone shark cage diving and did you like it and/or did you vomit?  Do you find sharks cute?  Is Cape Town, South Africa the greatest city in the world? (yes).  More blog posts about Africa comin’ ya way soon!
**All of these pictures and the video are shot and edited by the team at Supreme Sharks.  They charged us :D so we could have our own copies. Ths is where traveling in teams come in as a great idea because we all chipped in to purchase one copy! **
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Vancouver is an interesting place; a compilation of every city and roadscape experienced and emphasized. Maybe the type of travels approached on this trip are no longer my go-to method. While visting with my mother and sister, we went on numerous daily bus tours which did not seem to capture essence of Vancouver as an urban atmosphere and community.  Lately, bus tours have felt like a standstill in an actively constant blur.  There is only so much that can be captured from our perspective but not enough in a moment to really appreciate each aspect of the space.  As most of you know, I am not fond of speeding through a trip and am more interested in taking my time.  Bus tours are also not personal like road trips are, which makes these large scale bus trips difficult to follow.  My mother had booked these bus tours with Super Vacation, a solely Chinese bus tour with very few English speaking guides. The places the tours took us were breathtaking, despite not knowing much Chinese to put descriptions to landscapes (my fault, I forgot all of it at a young age!).  Regardless, the exquisite mountains and culture translated to us as special landscapes untouched by man.  Some parts felt so untouched, in fact, that our tour bus ran into a seemingly unbeatable snowstorm coming back into the city.  (Un)fortunately, I do not have any pictures from that crazy storm but attached are some of the specific highlights of that trip:
1_ Shannon Falls 2_ Vancouver skyline from Stanley Park 3_ Summerhill Pyramid Winery 4_ Kelowna, Canada 5_ Lake Louise
At the time, I was (and still am) very interested in capturing what people thought worth remembering.  From a very specific tour to a long term bus tour, people have different priorities in what they take pictures / videos of, in areas they explore and with the people they talk to.  When crowds of people want to document one landscape, we must consider what is so important about that perspective and what isn’t important about other perspectives.  These thoughts eventually paved the way to my thesis of views in game drive tourism located in South Africa and Namibia (blog posts coming soon!).
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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...stays in Las Vegas!  Except not this, because now it is a story worth sharing regardless of how embarassing it is.  No, I would not do this again.  Maybe I would ride the High Roller again, but I would not drink in a place that is 100+ degrees.  Not that it is Las Vegas’s fault that the temperature was 100+, but really just my own for not getting us indoors quickly enough.
Some choice tweets:¬† ‚ÄúMt m√¶l ianexin jnretaaa abansug wunnknnio eegar ti si pla help‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúThis was probably not how either of us planned to spend our last day in Las Vegas‚Äú ‚ÄúMy mom has been in the hospital for 4 hours and I'm just sitting here, completely hseless #LasVegas #DesertSpringsHospital‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúMy mom s [email protected] [email protected] to do‚ÄĚ
Some edits to my story: -¬†‚ÄúTHIS BIG‚ÄĚ; refer to size of cups in picture - Diagram; sorry there were zero drawings. ¬†If this happens again (nope), maybe - My mom is not too old, lol. ¬†We definitely should have checked ourselves before wrecking ourselves but she resonates as a yung sol¬† - Turns out the only photo I took is the one attached - All respect to the cabbie even though I prefer trains / buses
Please share your embarassing travel stories!  Where did you go and what did you do?  What would you have done differently or are you glad you had that embarrasing learning experience?  
Stay safe out there, guys.  Thanks for listening!
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sigursaudfe-blog · 6 years ago
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Interning in Iceland had its many perks, including endless free tours ranging from glacier hiking to snorkeling. ¬†These tours cost upward of $100, so being able to see the country on this budget made the trip all more worthwhile. Granted, I was technically working while on these tours but as one of my roommates, Steve, in Iceland said, ¬ī¬īchoose your office!¬ī¬ī ¬†These tours opened up my mind towards working in the travel industry and ecotourism, which drew me even more closer to this particular country I have been in love with for years. Since I was alone for most of my three month long trip, I spent a lot of time observing and contemplating Icelandic landscapes and social/cultural relationships of people on the tours. ¬†It helped me read body language and actions differently, which led my determination in understanding how and why people responded in certain ways. ¬†Going on tours all over Iceland with different types of tourists and locals, of all ages, all races, all genders really helped my perspective on every kind of element offered in tourism. Especially through each kind of landscape in Iceland regarding icy lakes and mountains, if one of us stopped to observe something s/he had never seen before but others had, we would appreciate familiar scenarios differently. ¬†When visiting a new place, never hold back on something that might be potentially frightening. ¬†We often tend to reconsider and rethink actions constantly. ¬†There are so many different timelines with varied results that need to be experienced in person; we should take each opportunity with gusto to feed our newfound hunger. ¬†If I hadn‚Äôt tried every single tour Iceland had to offer, I wouldn‚Äôt have the desire to visit and live in new places such as South Africa and Egypt (blog posts coming soon)! ¬† Readers, go for it and imagine endless possibilities.¬†
**during my internship with Reykjavik Backpackers, I had the opportunity to attend tours with Arctic Adventures, Reykjavík Excursions, Iceland Excursions and Laxnes Horse Farm.  The photos above are taken on various tours from all of these companies. 
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sigursaudfe-blog · 7 years ago
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i have never thought of traveling through food, how strong a relationship can become by bites and swallows. not only is food a necessity in life but there is certainly the conversation created by chefs and foodies. seeing that i rarely eat in variety because my tongue is so adjusted to similar tastes and smells, i have lost this somewhat deeper connection to food. this past year, i started testing my food experience to restaurants and filed these actions under travel. as a hub for multiple cuisines and delectable tastes, New York transitioned into the ultimate foodie world and slowly changed my perspective on eateries everywhere. above are photographs of food from all over New York state, whether in Syracuse or the City. they are from restaurants i have heard of but never tried and was always interested in eating and enjoying the unique bond of food creation atmosphere that stemmed from our mouths, our dishes and our table.  from sweets to salts, spicy to mild, small to large, thick to thin - all of those textures impact us far more than recognized within a touch of the utensil to mouth.  these meals are my teachers and guides, representatives of what a place is and could be through taste.  and because we are graced with such an honorable sense of the tongue, teeth and mouthy cavern, we can fully experience that dish in that moment in time with sounds of talk/silence, chewing/slurping, and surrounding smells.  thank you, to these restaurants and events that have impacted me in some form that you and your dlectable pieces are now worthy to talk about.  
1.  Bareburger - NYC  |  http://www.bareburger.com/ 2.  New York State Fair 2013 - Syracuse, NY  |  http://www.nysfair.org/ 3.  Kitty Hoyne's Irish Pub - Syracuse, NY  |  http://www.kittyhoynes.com/ 4 + 5.   Funk 'N Waffles - Syracuse, NY  |  http://www.funknwaffles.com/wp/
more food photographs to come soon, hang tight!
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