Jennifer Calkins

Wanderlust Travelers

Jennifer Calkins

For those who follow my blog, I have switched to a new site, which you can find here:

I am an avid traveler whose biggest passion in life involves discovering new places, people, and food. Long ago, I decided to make travel the most important priority in my life.

Its such an amazing experience when you finally discover something in life that brings you complete happiness, fulfillment, and joy. Its even more important when you realize travel has nothing to do with any person or any materialist thing/idea; in my own opinion, experiences that occur while traveling are one of the purest and most incredible things in life.

Traveling has altered my life in more ways than we will ever be able to describe. One of the biggest and most important things traveling has done to me is immensely changed the way I measure quality of life. Travel has also broadened my perspectives and helped me realize that not everyone has the so-called “American Dream” and that having less things in life actually makes you a happier and more fulfilled person. I am also amazed at how much more open-minded I have become than I was prior to traveling; just because other cultures do things in a completely different way than we do or have differing opinions, it doesn't mean that one way is better than the other; this is what is known as the amazing diversity of life.

I can no longer imagine my life without travel. It represents such a huge part of who I am and who I have become; the passion I have for traveling has been etched deep inside my soul, never to be removed. Travel has changed me to the core and I will never be the same again; for that, I am eternally grateful. Sometimes I wonder why I have such a strong desire to see as much of the world as I possibly can, but then, I remember; through travel, I have found my true calling in life, and I know I will always need to wander. Once initiated, traveling is an addiction that can never be stopped.

This blog will allow me to document all of my amazing travels, life-changing experiences, and the interesting interactions I encounter as I travel through this very beautiful and diverse world.

My favorite travel quote: Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. -Miriam Beard

Europe » France » Alsace » Colmar September 23rd 2009

Day 27 (Wednesday, September 23, 2009) We left sunny Beaune, and began the two and a half hour drive towards Alsace, where we would stay for two nights in the town of Colmar. I slept for most of the journey, but did wake up at one point to see that the sun was being covered by a very thick layer of fog. Considering it was nearly 12:00 in the afternoon, I found it very strange to see the fog. Luckily, the sun finally won the battle and burned through all of the gray fog because by the time we reached Colmar, there were no clouds in the sky. Prior to going out and exploring the city, we wanted to stop by the hotel to park the car and check into our room at Hotel Turenne. ... read more
Beautiful buildings in Colmar
Reflections in Colmar
Cute buildings in Colmar

Europe » France » Burgundy » Beaune September 21st 2009

Day 25 (Monday, September 21, 2009) I woke up this morning feeling much better than I had the day prior. After waking up, Mike informed me with a smile that I should take a look outside. As requested, I looked out the window and noticed that we had blue skies with very few clouds and a clear view of the mountains; as nice as that was, it sure would have been a lot nicer to have seen the sun the two days prior. It would have been the perfect day to take those gondola rides up into the mountains due to the lack of cloud cover. However, as irritated as I was, I knew that if it had actually been sunny the day before, I would have been really upset, as I wouldn’t have been ... read more
Ruins from the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny
Church in Brancion

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Annecy September 19th 2009

Day 22 continued (Friday, September 18, 2009) A few hours after leaving Chamonix, we finally arrived in Annecy around 18:00, and were easily able to find Hôtel du Château without any problems. After parking the car in their free lot, we headed into the small hotel, which was slightly rustic, but in a very cute alpine way. Our room had an amazing view of Annecy and all of its colorful tile rooftops. After settling in, we immediately headed into town as both of us were starving. Neither one of us had had a proper meal that day, so after snacking on just bread and fruit, we were quite hungry. Since we were in the Alps region of France, eating fondue was a must for us. After conferring with our guidebooks on the many different restaurants ... read more
Colorful Annecy
Fondue dinner in Annecy

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Chamonix September 18th 2009

Day 22 (Friday, September 18, 2009) The original plan for today was to travel from Lyon to Annecy, and then spend the rest of the day exploring Annecy, possibly taking a bike or boat ride to a neighboring village. We had reviewed the weather forecast the night before, and today was to be the last day of sunshine for several days. This was very disappointing as it was tremendously important that we have sun during the two days we would spend in the French Alps , which was to occur immediately following Annecy. As we woke up this morning and prepared to leave the hotel, we had all intentions of sticking with our original plan. However, very randomly, I made a spur of the moment decision to nix sightseeing in Annecy, and instead spend the ... read more
Going up to Plan de L'Aiguille
Plan de L'Aiguille
Aiguille du Midi

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Lyon September 17th 2009

Day 21 continued (Thursday, September 17, 2009) After leaving Seguret, we began the long drive north to Lyon. This magnificent city is sadly often overlooked on the tourist trail, with Paris and Nice being much more popular cities to visit. This is truly a shame considering that Lyon has much to offer to visitors, including multiple museums, gorgeous churches, diverse neighborhoods, pedestrian-friendly squares, and more restaurants to choose from than anywhere else I've seen in the world. Prior to our visit, even I was unaware that Lyon had multiple areas within its city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including Fourvière, Vieux Lyon, Croix-Rousse and a large part of Presqu'île. Unfortunately, with our tight sightseeing schedule, we had only been able to allow less than a full day in the city. In hindsight, we ... read more
Notre-Dame de Fourviere of Lyon
Exterior of Notre-Dame de Fourviere of Lyon
Interior of Notre-Dame de Fourviere of Lyon

Day 20 (Wednesday, September 16, 2009) We awoke on our second day in Antibes to an absolute downpour. After reluctantly getting out of bed, we eventually began driving and headed north back to Provence. During this two and a half hour journey on the auto route, we ended up paying an astonishing 21.40 Euros (about $31 USD) in tolls. We both thought it was absolutely freaking ridiculous! These two spoiled Americans are not at all used to having to pay to drive on the “freeway” so we were highly annoyed. Don’t get me wrong though; in all actuality, it makes much more sense that those who actually use the roads are the ones who have to pay for it, versus all of the taxpayers (some of whom who don’t own vehicles) paying for something that ... read more
Roman theater of Orange

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Antibes September 14th 2009

Day 18 (Monday, September 14, 2009) After checking out of the hotel in Arles, we left the city and began the long two hour drive towards the Riviera. Along the way, we ended up having to pay three separate tolls, which totaled to a whopping 18 Euro (about $27.50 USD). Luckily, we didn’t have to purchase gas that day, so it didn’t take a huge dent out of our daily budget. We drove directly to our hotel, which was located in the town of Antibes. I had chosen to stay at a place called Hotel de l’Etoile based on the positive recommendations it had received on, plus the fact that it had parking and Wi-Fi. Although we arrived shortly before noon, they had a room available for us, which was great considering that we ... read more
Place Messena in Nice
Church in Nice

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Arles September 11th 2009

Day 15 (Friday, September 11, 2009) Prior to leaving Carcassonne, I was hoping to be able to obtain some exterior shots of the fortress from a distance. We found a bridge from which we had a perfect viewpoint; however, the sun was shining on the opposite side of the structure, so I was unable to take any decent photos. Had I known of this bridge the night before, I would have definitely taken the time to walk to it. From Carcassonne, we headed to a small town called Minerve. This village is placed spectacularly within a wide canyon and is famous for once being a hide-out for a group of Cathars back in 1210. After photographing Minerve from an overlook, we parked the car in the nearby pay lot and then walked through town for ... read more
Window in Minerve
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Carcassonne September 10th 2009

Day 14 (Thursday, September 10, 2009) After eating breakfast, we settled our bill with Le Petit Versailles and sadly went on our way. We had immensely enjoyed our stay at Le Petit Versailles and our time in the Dordogne region. It was by far my favorite area of France, and one that we will come back to again in the future, probably renting a house for at least a week. Today was another long day of driving, with our final destination being the medieval town of Carcassonne. Along the way, we stopped off in two other towns. The first was Cahors, which is well-known for Pont Valentré, a fortified medieval bridge that was built in 1308 to prevent the English from entering Cahors. Before visiting the bridge, we walked around the city, enjoying the cool ... read more
Toulouse-Lautrec Museum of Albi

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Dordogne September 6th 2009

Prior to planning our trip to France, I had never heard of the region called Dordogne. Provence, the Riviera, Normandy, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley were all well-known in my mind and to everyone else. It wasn't until I saw a television show that Rick Steves had produced on the Dordogne that I knew we were definitely going to go out of our way to ensure we would visit. The picture-postcard scenes I saw of people lazily paddling down a serene river with a golden-hued stone village as its backdrop captured my attention immediately. As I drooled over the images, it appeared as though it would be a photographers dream setting, so I was quite looking forward to photographing it myself! The Dordogne is an area of south-west France that is located within the region of ... read more
Chateau de Castelnaud
Beautiful building in Sarlat

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