London + the Cotswolds

London was the second city I visited this time in Europe. Well technically I was to visit a couple places in Belgium but plans got rearranged so I wasn't able to go:( After arriving in London I visited the Cotswolds. I took a bus into the countryside to stay one night in a cute village.

It was my third time in London and I absolutely loved being there. It's different from Paris (obviously) and what I find that draws me to it are the people. It's supposedly Europe's largest city and it is so cosmopolitan. Yes, I've been to other cities that were international but not quite like London. I swear the most English I heard was the announcements on the Tube. Plus, I have a few close friends that are living in London versus the almost non-existent social network I have in Paris.

I guess it's wonderful that Paris as a city draws you in because even if you don't know anyone you are perfectly content wandering around on your own. Not that exploring isn't fun in London but knowing people adds to it's experience. But hey I'm an only child so getting around on my own hasn't ever been an issue.

Anyway, the more time I spend in London the more I enjoy it. There are so many areas to explore, cuisines to try and markets to walk around. I truly sensed that it is someplace I could live. It's a large, diverse city where I have friends and in terms of work there are opportunities in the field I want to pursue.

Okay, stop with my babbling. Time for pictures!

Thrilled

I'm beyond excited to be going to Europe in three days. 3 days!! Proof of my excitement is the fact that I've been 90% packed since Sunday.

I'm not at all fond of packing last minute unless it's traveling from one place to another in which case everything's already been packed so it's just a matter of reissuing it. I notice that I improve over time in how and what I pack. It's much easier I think when you're required to carry on your luggage. Anyway, two weeks and a fairly small suitcase. The last time I was in Europe in March I wore and used everything I brought which was a relief.
This time I hope to do the same:)

My first stop is Paris. I'm hoping to visit Belgium and maybe London.

Since I wasn't able to post pictures from my past trip, I'll post a few of my last European adventure.

Foreign places II

It's December and yet the weather and the temperature in Japan has been warmer than years past. It seems strange but then again going out won't be as difficult when it isn't that cold.

I received a package from my mother the otherday which included a new battery for my laptop, dried persimmon and lip balm.
The new battery has provided new life to my practically ancient laptop (at least in an electronic sense) and now it's mobile and actually like a laptop. The dried persimmon- why send it from the States when it's available in Japan you may wonder- was grown by a family friend and my mother helped them peel and dry them. She was then thoughtful to send me some delicious, local dried fruit. Lastly, the lip balm is my favorite but like the laptop battery they won't ship abroad so i can to get my mother to re-ship them to me. This lip balm is amazing. It isn't easy to find and most of the lip balm I find here contain petroleum which apparently makes chapped lips worse and is also part of the addictive quality that leads many to think they need lip balm. It contains shea butter and smells like vanilla I swear it works miraculously as I've had chapped lips in the morning and applied it throughout the day and had smooth lips by the evening.

Anyway, I wanted to post more pictures from my trip. Spain, more of the Netherlands (I went through A'dam twice) and Turkey.


San Antonio, Ibiza

One of many beautiful coves

Adorable



La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Casa Botllo

Unbelievably delicious paella in Barcelona


Foggy A'dam

Vondelpark


Wonderful canals of Amsterdam


Tasty fries

A little reminder of home


Sunset canal



Blue Mosque, Istanbul


beautiful interior


Aya Sofya, Istanbul



one of the fish boats


Looking from the European side to the Asian side


Famous mackerel sandwiches by the Bosphorous


Arches in the Grand Bazaar


Textiles in Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar)


Turkish sweets



Spice Market

What sort of adventures have you been up to?

Foreign places

Good morning! It's another gorgeous day here in Kobe. The weather yesterday was absolutely perfect. It was about 15 degrees Celsius/60 degrees Farenheit. It's the kind of weather that only requires a scarf and possibly a light cardigan or sweater. Can you believe it's already December?!! This year has gone by too quickly.

Recently I haven't been as busy as I'd like. If I haven't mentioned it before I teach conversational English part-time and have recently started a friend's business in Japan. They make and sell jewelry in Bangkok and London and had aspirations of expanding their business to Japan. I'm passionate about fashion and love their jewelry so I'm trying it out. I won't lie, it's been a bumpy beginning. Unlike a posh market like that of Notting Hill, Japan's flea markets are filled with second-hand things that are inexpensive (Clothes for under 500 yen/$6 per piece and so on) but proves to be difficult competition to the new and antique jewelry that I sell. It's okay though because it's all a learning experience and each path I try, whether it succeeds or not, will teach me something important.

The main reason I wrote today was to upload pictures from the trip I took last month. Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Turkey. What was originally only a two country trip ended up being six. Slightly chaotic but more so enjoyable and exhilarating. I feel so grateful to have visited some new places and even see new things in places I'd already been. I'm having issues with my computer-lack of space- and therefore I can only post pictures from the first half of my trip. Here they are:

Old City in Baku

Beautiful detail for the entrance of Shirvanshah's Palace

Shirvanshah's Palace

Shirvanshah's Palace

Baku and Caspian Sea

Another view


Streets of Amsterdam

Yohji Yamamoto Spring 2011

Breakfast and coffee at the bakery
Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Colorful chairs in Montmarte

Eiffel Tower

Up close


Dinner that included mussels in the Latin Quartier



As soon as I upload the rest of my trip onto my computer I'll post the pictures. The many people, different kinds of food and the contrasting environments. It was truly a wonderful trip.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day (or night)!

Autumn has arrived

Finally?! My gosh it's almost Thanksgiving. Due to the unbearably hot summer and other various climate causes, the fall foliage didn't begin till this month. Compared to past years when it began in October. Fall is my favorite season and therefore I am enthused. I recently visited Kyoto where viewing the fall colors is quite popular but was a bit disappointed as the leaves had barely started to change or were a less colorful brown.

I returned safely from my vacation about a month ago. My mother arrived on the same day and stayed with me for a month which is why a) I've been traveling a bit domestically and b) why I didn't seem to manage fitting in any blog updates. Sorry:(

My trip to Europe and Asia was amazing. The most autumn-like weather was in Amsterdam which I completely adored. Cute houses, throngs of bicyclists and natural supermarkets. But each city had its splendor so therefore its hard to compare or pick my favorite. Baku was completely new to me but being in Central Asia by the Caspian Sea. The people were friendly and I found it quite easy to adjust. Paris was as lovely as I remember, if not more. I wasn't in Barcelona for as long as I would have liked but what I did see and eat was simply wonderful. Ibiza was refreshing after being in so many cities and the ocean was beautiful. Istanbul was exhilarating with its history and culture. I feel so fortunate to have been able to travel to so many amazing places and meet such great people.

My computer is still the same old so I cannot yet include pictures due to the lack of space and slow speed at which the process will all take. As soon as I can I'll post many pictures.

Bon Voyage

Due to my seriously slow computer (It's an iBook G4 going on it's fifth year!) I haven't been able to promptly upload and post photos and therefore anything I took this summer and wanted to post will have to wait till after I get back from my vacation.

What vacation you ask? I leave tonight for Azerbaijan where I'll stay for 6 days then travel via Istanbul to Amsterdam where I take a train to Paris, stay two nights, fly to Ibiza via Barcelona and stay two nights, come back through Barcelona for a night and then head to Amsterdam again before going to Istanbul. What was going to be just Azerbaijan and Turkey turned into a whirlwind of a trip but I'm very excited. Finally done packing so I'm not as stressed. Just have to get ready (shower, dinner etc...). Then I'll take the airport bus and hop on a fairly long flight to Istanbul.

Some of these places I've never been too and others, well just Paris, I have so I'm looking forward to every leg of this trip. I'm excited about the food and fall is my favorite season so the fact that I'll be able to spend it in Paris is like a dream since I'm in love with Paris. Weather-wise Amsterdam and Paris will likely be damp and cool and Baku, Istanbul, Ibiza and Barcelona will be fairly warm so packing wasn't the easiest thing but I just kept in mind the most important thing: to pack light.

Will need a serious photo posting session when I return. That is, unless, I figure how to post from my phone which I tried once and sorely failed at :(

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!