Page 3 of ilchicag Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Todra Gorge January 6th 2010

Last night, we ended up staying right near the Dades Gorge, but we did not get a chance to see much of it since we arrived at our auberge well after the sun had set (which was fantastic across all the pink and red earth). We did have a lovely evening with the rest of of clan and got to know a bit more about most of our companions from: India/London, Paris, Australia, Korea, Japan, Canada Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Barcelona. It was great, lingering over our tajines and talking well into the night in the only warm room in the auberge thanks to the fires that were lit. The morning was not so pleasant, as it was chilly and difficult to get out of my camel blanket cocoon and step on the cold tile ... read more
Tinghir Palmeraie Donkeys
Tinghir Palmeraie
Dades Gorge area

Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » Ouarzazate January 5th 2010

We're on our way to the Sahara Desert! I wrote down a stream-of-consciousness while we made our way out to the UNESCO certified Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou: I'm sitting in a van full of people, up in front with the drive. Being able to see out the front window makes me feel more a part of the scenes I'm passing. Gorgeous Marrakech; streets flooded with bikers, pedestrians, horses, buses, cars and taxis. Streets on the outskirts of Marrakech flanked by orange trees and red clay buildings. Tiny villages now, dotted with red buildings, some adorned with a bright red Coca Cola sign. Little towns getting ready for market. Cactus lined roads as we snake up the beginnings of the Atlas. French on the radio. Tractors tilling the soil, people standing around, children walking across fields to ... read more
Ait Ben Haddou
Man in Ait Ben Haddou
Pottery? Rock?

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech January 4th 2010

We arrived in Marrakech and we welcomed in a truly Moroccan style: by being haggled, hassled, and asked for money! I love it already!! We met a girl from Hong Kong, YiYi, at the airport who was incredibly agile off the bat at haggling with our taxi driver to get to Djemma El Fna, where our riad was. We would have taken a bus, but I forgot to print out directions, and Moroccan maps don't really label street names! So we got ourselves a "reasonable" taxi fare for the 3 of us and we were off to central Marrakech! The drive itself was a mind blowing experience. Lane lines were more of a recommendation than a rule. Horns were more of mandatory signal, seeing how every car, motorcycle, and motorized cart that nearly hit us as ... read more
Djemma El Fna at night
Food Stall

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris January 3rd 2010

Today is our last full day in Paris.... it's amazing how fast these days go by. Sometimes I feel like I have not really seen or done a whole lot in Paris, while other times I feel like I have seen a good amount of the city. I guess I can explain the first feeling because we weren't walking around a whole lot. Paris is a large city, and while you can walk and see a whole lot in a single stretch, it's not the most walkable city. There are grand boulevards and squares and gardens, but it's very vast in comparison to a city like Rome. I also never got a "wow, I'm in Paris!" feeling when I arrived, or when walking through the streets. Maybe that was because Paris is so well known and ... read more
Moon over le Conciergerie
Morning scene over the Seine
Notre Dame

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris January 2nd 2010

Today is the day to see some more of Paris! After a cold New Years Day that was hardly maximized, we decided today would be spent outside all day long. And we were rewarded with sunlight and clear skies! Our first stop was Les Invalides. The museum and edifice appealed to us enough that we were willing to make it the only museum we planned on visiting. And it was worth it. Just walking around the grounds was neat. The manicured lawn out front, surrounding the building was just what you would picture a French chateau as. The inside courtyard was also a throwback in time, especially because there seemingly was a military event going on that night and there were loads of people dressed up (which is saying something for it being "French dressy"). The ... read more
Sidewalk Lifestyle
Eiffel Tower

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris January 1st 2010

Notre deuxième jour à Paris, our second full day in Paris. It was cold. So cold that I am sorry to say that I'm slightly miserable. And nothing is open in Paris on New Years Day. Double problem: I'm cold and I have no where to go. You wouldn't think I'd ever say that in Paris. But it's true. It sucks. We started our day okay enough... woke up and took the metro down to Concorde where we walked the Tuileries Garden and ended up at the Louvre. The garden was nice, but in winter... it's cold and bare. I can tell from its skeleton that it would be a very pleasant place to sit with a bottle of wine and a baguette (freshly purchased from Maison Laurent, the delicious little boulangerie Keith and I have ... read more
Louvre et Pyramide
Scene at the Jardin Tuileries
Louvre courtyard

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris December 31st 2009

Last night Keith and I arrived in Paris after a long, long journey (4 flights!). We went to the Tour Eiffel and walked along the Seine at night, but today was our first full day of exploring the French capital. We decided that since we would have a long day with the New Years Eve celebrations going on all night that we would stick around Montmartre (where we were staying) and enjoy all the spoils that the neighborhood offers. And, as we were still exhausted from our journey, having our beds near us in case we needed to crash was appealing. Surprisingly though, we were out for a good amount of time. After leisurely getting up and going next door from our hostel to the cutest (and tastiest!) little boulangerie in Paris, we walked down rue ... read more
Stairs of Montmartre
Montmartre Cemetery
First glimpse of the basilica

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle September 8th 2009

I step outside on 3rd and Pine and before I can even turn the corner, I hear: "Oh, here comes the rain again!" I take one whiff of the air, smell the heavy dampness of the Pacific Northwest and think: Yeah, I'm in Seattle. Of course, while packing for this trip I'm going to a few concerts in George, Washington, but get to bookend the excursion with a few hours in Seattle, I kept checking the weather. Seattle's reputation for being a rainy city made the idea of bringing my rain boots attractive, but as the chances of rain decreased I opted to leave them at home. Besides: it actually rains more in New York or Miami than it does in Seattle; I just forgot that it drizzles like mad here. Luckily, the rain didn't last ... read more
Pike Place sign
Mmm, delicious!
Totem and the Bay

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu February 13th 2009

Actually it's not my last day, technically. But it is the last day of fun. Tomorrow is full of taking students to the airport from 5 AM to 6 PM. So... I need to enjoy today! And I did, for the most part. We went up to the Pali lookout, but spent no more than 5 minutes there because it was so windy. Our next stop was at Kailua Beach, which was also shortened because it was so windy which made the air kind of cold. We also went to the Polynesian Culture Center. The PCC was really nice and beautiful, albeit a bit touristy, but we barely spent anytime there... we had about 1 hour to explore the villages and then went on to the grand luau show at the theater. I would have liked ... read more
Kailua Beach
Looking down to the beach from the Pali Lookout
Pali Lookout view

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu February 12th 2009

Today my group took a day-long tour of the west side of the island. Since O'ahu is quite a diverse island, it was a nice break to get outside of Honolulu. While Honolulu and Waikiki are full of attractions and things to do, I felt like I was getting a one-sided view of what O'ahu is really like. Today was my much needed escape. We started out with a hour outside of 'Iolani Palace, which is the only imperial palace on American soil. It was only in use for the last two monarchs of imperial rule of Hawai'i—King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani—since it was actually the second royal palace to be used in the kingdom of Hawaii. The whole complex was really beautiful looking. We were briefed by our tour guide (aka bus driver) about the ... read more
Isabella the sea turtle
'Iolani Palace
Grand 'Iolani Palace

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