Aarhus, Denmark’s second city

Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city and home to a university that bears its name. I had a bit of time to explore Aarhus as Emilienne is currently living and working there. There is central “downtown/shopping” district in Aarhus, as there is in many European cities.DSC01596DSC01597DSC01599DSC01600DSC01601DSC01603DSC01604

Lights above the pedestrian streets! I believe this street is named Strøget.DSC01605

No trip is perfect without sampling the local cuisine. This was a cozy restaurant near the shopping area where we had a delicious dinner after a day of exploring!DSC01606

Copenhagen in November

My first vacation of intern year I went to Denmark and Italy. First stop: Copenhagen to visit Emilienne, a college friend who has lived in France and now Denmark! I had the chance to visit her in Paris and Beaune many years ago – 2011! – when I was living in Lyon.

I got off the plane and immediately went to explore…DSC01551DSC01557

An old castle:DSC01558

The Danes were big fans of hearts….DSC01569

This is Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s most famous canal.DSC01573DSC01574DSC01576DSC01580

Here it is during the day.DSC01582DSC01587

We next went to Aarhus, where she is currently living…

Dubai day 2

On our second day in Dubai, we went to the Gold Souk. It was this bazaar full of gold merchants. It was insane…it was streets upon streets of gold stores…and the gold was outrageous. so much of it. Yellow gold earrings and rings and dangly necklaces …and some of them were hardly “jewelry” but looked more like art that has been forced into a wearable piece!


On the street, there were merchants who kept asking us if we wanted to buy pashmina scarves, or Gucci bags. Well, Lauren and I were asked that. Carter, the boy in the group, was asked if he wanted to buy some watches. So he took one of them up on their offer to look, but then they started taking us down these back alleyways. We figured out that  it’s illegal to sell faux-Rolex’s or whatever, so they can’t sell the stuff on the street. They tried to take us up this elevator to the 3rd floor of some dude’s apt….hah, Lauren and I were like uh….no. We refuse to go up sketchy elevators… girls don’t do that shtuff, particularly not in foreign countries!  It was pretty hilarious though. Then they took us to the back back door of this shop, where the cheapest fake watches were like 150 dirham, which is like 40 dollars…not really that cheap. Carter smartly decided not to buy a fake-Rolex.


We found the largest golden ring in the world.


Pretty gold jewelry but it was expensive!

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After exploring the gold souk, we took a safari drive out to the desert. The desert was awesome! We went on these land cruisers for about 45 minutes over the desert dunes… the desert was full of red sand. I hear Jordan has better red sand, but hey when in the UAE, enjoy the UAE desert!


Us with our amazing driver:




As part of the safari package, we got to go on a short camel ride.


Lauren and I rode on the same camel and are quite good at making the asian tourist sign.


After the camel ride we had a buffet dinner with chicken kabobs (and lamb for those who like lamb!) There was also a belly dance and a man doing a dance where he spun around for minutes on end.

Dubai, day 1

I left for a 6 week trip to Dubai and India today. We got here just after 8 am, then flew through customs. Seriously, they didn’t even stamp my passport…so sad! I love collecting passport stamps! The Dubai airport is all kinds of big and shiny…which I think set the right tone for the rest of the city.

Dubai is bigger, shinier, and more extravagant than anything. It’s a very cosmopolitan city, very modern and futuristic, but it’s also strange in a cultural sense. On the one hand you have the very devout folk who dress in traditional Arab garb –the men wear the white flowy outfits, and the women wear the black head to toe hijabs. But on the other hand you have the tourists wearing their tank tops and their booty shorts.

After we checked into our hotel (and showered!), we went over to the Dubai Mall. Oh. My. God. The mall has an ice skating rink, an aquarium, gucci, chanel, galleries lafayette, debeham’s. SO EXTRAVAGANT. They have these diver sculptures in over a water fountain.


Because no mall is complete without an ice rink or an aquarium:



We went to lunch at the mall and were able to see the Dubai Fountains show from our restaurant (much like the Bellagio show in Vegas).

The Dubai Mall is next to the Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world. We’re going to go up on Friday afternoon. We got pictures next to it though. Using a funny angle, I can make myself look tall. 😉
Then we took the metro, a transfer to the tram, and a metrorail all the way to the Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah (these are the manmade islands that they made by basically dumping a ton of sand in the Arabian sea). It was such a letdown once we got there! The beach and most of the hotel was only accessible to guests staying at the resort…it was super silly. We snuck onto the beach anyway 😉

At the Atlantis Hotel on Palm Jumeirah, overlooking the Arabian Sea.


In front of the Dubai skyline at the Palm Jumeirah.


Tomorrow we’re off on a desert safari. Stay tuned for more pictures!!

Rock Climbing in Nelson Rocks, WV

A few years ago, my dad and I went rock climbing at this beautiful place in West Virginia.

It was called Nelson Rocks and it’s nestled in the West Virginia countryside, amongst beautiful mountains and green pastures and flowing creeks…. DSC00054

there were trails aplenty to hike….

leaves and blossoms to note….


and a large rockwall to climb.
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From Nelson Rock’s website: “Our Via Ferrata tethers allow for at least one connection at all times. Climbers are connected to steel cables while using the steel rungs and/or rock face to traverse, ascend, or descend the route.”DSC00080 DSC00082 DSC00089 DSC00086

There was a bridge connecting the two rock walls…DSC00095 DSC00096

At the end, we were given the option of doing an additional 100 ft climb (we had already done 200ft) to scale the Head Wall…


I made it to the top!

It was a beautiful trip.

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Honestly, one of the best adventure trips I’ve ever done in my life.DSC00135Here’s to another year full of exploring and adventures.


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New year inspirations

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” — Freya Stark

“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.” — Paul Theroux

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Medical mission to Bolivia, revived

Hey folks, I mentioned in my last post that I recently exchanged photos with my friend Yong, who was a part of my spring break trip to Bolivia. He had some most excellent photos in his collection that I just have to share.

We spent a lot of time at the Hogar de Ninos, the home for boys, in Montero. Everyone, from the boys, to the other volunteers from the community, were super nice.

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The boys really liked to high five all of us!


We got to ride in the van a few times.IMG_0068 IMG_0069

Then we went to the main hospital.


We met the interns, many of whom were from Brazil and were spending a year here completing their internship. These guys had a bit of downtime to read. I think we interrupted their reading, but they didn’t seem to mind too much.


We walked back to the hotel one day and went to the Square in Montero.IMG_0089 IMG_0096

A dentist’s office at the Red Cross.IMG_0103 IMG_0104 IMG_0105

On the roof of the Red Cross.IMG_0113 IMG_0114

In the hospital again.IMG_0117 IMG_0119 IMG_0120

An emergent C-section — baby had to be delivered as the mother was eclamptic and seizing.IMG_0124 IMG_0550 IMG_0551

We also spent a few afternoons in the community, doing free blood pressure and diabetes screenings. IMG_0554 IMG_0555 IMG_0557 IMG_0566 IMG_0569 IMG_0570 IMG_0575 IMG_0578 IMG_0582 IMG_0583 IMG_0597 IMG_0607 IMG_0608 IMG_0609 IMG_0611 IMG_0612 IMG_0614 IMG_0616 IMG_0617 IMG_0626 IMG_0629 IMG_0630 IMG_0641 IMG_0642 IMG_0652 IMG_0665

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There are a lot of really beautiful places in the world.

There's a lot of really beautiful places in the world.

Yong took this photo a few km outside of Uyuni, Bolivia. We exchanged photos recently and this one was just incredible.
March 2013.

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Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, AZ

Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, AZ

view from the Phoenician Hotel

From the Phoenician hotel, Scottsdale, AZ

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4 wonderful days in Scottsdale, AZ

Pardon my long absences, friends. It seems that school caught up with me (again). Last week I had the chance to go to Scottsdale, AZ and let me tell you, it was a glorious 4 days. Here in the DC/Baltimore area it was starting to be a little chilly, rainy–everything you would expect a Mid Atlantic spring to be like. When I stepped off the plane I was struck by how dry the heat was. In fact, the pilot on our flight over told us how the weather in Phoenix/Scottsdale had cooled down to 92. From a temperature of 96 at midday.

Well. As my last post might have implied, I spent a lot of time by the pool. We stayed at the Phoenician Hotel, a luxurious resort nestled at the foot of the Camelback Mountain.


Let me tell you, this hotel was the works. I don’t usually write about my lodging so much, but this hotel deserved a mention. You like golf? There’s a huge (beautiful) golf course.  Tennis/gym/hiking up the mountain, quality bars and restaurants? Yup. It’s a 5-diamond resort, what else would you expect? 24 hour pool? You got it. You want poolside service? Of course, here’s your pina colada.


The view from the hotel was pretty spectacular too. My phone camera didn’t quite do it justice…


So many pools! Seven in total, I think. There was a hot tub and water slide too.
20130430_160837One night we were up in one of the suites for pre-dinner champagne. I caught this not-quite-sunset shot.


So who wants to jetset to Arizona now?

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