So far, I haven’t done a single blog post on a country we’ve lived in because condensing 1-3 months into a single blog post felt intimidating. But today I decided to finally go for it and at least share part of our adventures in Romania with you all! Romania was the very first country we “based” ourselves in while teaching with VIPKID. We stayed in the capital, Bucharest, from October to December 2018. It was great stepping stone for us because it has a relatively low cost of living, high-speed internet, pretty scenery (I wanted autumn leaves & snowy winters!), and an airport with tons of cheap flights. We spent a lot of time teaching, but also did some sight-seeing around Bucharest and Transylvania. I’m saving Bucharest for a second post because we did actually visit Transylvania twice (once in October by ourselves, and once in November with my parents), so this post is pretty photo-heavy already! Anyways – on to our cheap European fairytale!
Tommy and I spent a couple weeks back in the Midwest while we were in the process of switching continents (we are now back in Asia!), so blogging once again took a break. Whoops! But I am still dedicated to catching up on each and every place we visited this past year, so I return with some photos from one of our longest-ago trips – Paris, back in late September/early October 2018!
As Tommy can attest to, you cannot take an art history major to Paris without them going absolutely bananas. Over the course of 6 days, we went to 5 art museums and a whole bunch of chapels and other historic buildings that were either full of art or fell into the category of architecture-as-art. (I also spent a lot of time eating cheese plates, drinking cheap wine, and talking about how romantic everything was. I love France!)
One of the weirdest travel habits that Tommy and I have picked up this past year is looking for long layovers. It started on our journey from America to Europe, when WOW Airlines (now-bankrupt) had a steal of a deal from Chicago to Germany… with a 17-hour layover in Iceland. We decided to make the best of it and spent our afternoon soaking stress away in the beautiful Blue Lagoon. Ever since then, we’ve kept our eyes peeled for layovers just long enough to squeeze in a top attraction or two! On our way from Romania to Egypt in December 2018, we found another opportunity for a “free” mini-trip – this time to the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
If you missed it, our first stop in Peru was Cusco (Adventure in the Andes 😉). Our second major adventure was visiting the Amazon rainforest (one of the new 7 wonders of the natural world!). After completing his Peace Corps service, my late great-uncle Peter Jenson built Explorama Lodge in the mid-1960s. Located 50 miles down the Amazon River from Iquitos, his company has since expanded to also include 4 other accommodations and one of the world’s longest canopy walkways. 😲 Tommy and I spent an amazing 3 days there (+1 in Iquitos) exploring the river and rainforest.
As our last post detailed, we’ve spent the past 8 months teaching with VIPKID while traveling the world. Our destinations have been guided by cheap flights and bucket list activities – which led us to Peru and its world wonder (Machu Picchu) in late February!**
Arriving in Peru was a breath of fresh air. We loved our time in Europe and feel so blessed to have traveled so much during our time there, but many of the places we lived in or visited felt a little too “easy.” A lot of people spoke English, quite a bit of the food was familiar-ish, we were usually in large cities, and we just didn’t have as many, “Wait, WHAT?” moments. The exceptions to this were our trips to Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt – noticeably, places mostly outside of Europe (part of Istanbul is in Europe, while part of it is in Asia). We did love the architecture, museums, and accessibility of Germany, France, Romania, and Italy, and overall had a very positive time in each place – but… when we arrived in South America we were just excited to be in a continent that felt “different” again! Peru was definitely a highlight of our travels.