Yoho and Radium

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On my birthday, I wanted to see the sunrise, so we started driving in the total darkness.

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Weather did not cooperate; since it was so cloudy there really was no sunrise.

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But we did get to check one thing off my list…

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Canoeing at Emerald Lake was $60 CAD (as of Sept 2017), muchhhh cheaper than Lake Louise which charged $105 CAD (per hour).

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I loved the color of this lake – so much more than all the other lakes we saw on this trip. It was also less touristy and not as crowded.

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After hitting up Takakkaw Falls, we decided we still had time to go to Radium…

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Dinner at Old Salzburg Restaurant – Austrian food which means schnitzel, spatzel, strudel!

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It was around $6 CAD to get into the Radium Hot Springs.

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It was pretty awesome soaking in a hot pool while staring off into the mountains.

On this Canadian Rockies trip, we checked off a lot of things on our bucket list! The next time we come back (and I hope we do), I want to:

  • Finally get to Maligne Lake
  • Hike to Lake O’Hara
  • See the Northern Lights
  • See more sunrises and sunsets!
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Texas road trip: Dallas & Austin

DALLAS highlights

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  1. Walk around Deep Ellum: a neighborhood that is quirky and has lots of wall murals everywhere.

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2) Get a donut from Glazed Donut Works 

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3) Get BBQ from Pecan LodgeGet here when it opens! Beef rib is where it’s at. One of the best BBQs I’ve ever had. Also got brisket but man, that giant beef rib is SO worth it! We got there at opening time and there was already a congregation of hungry people waiting around.

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BEEF RIB.

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*A little out of the way, but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 9 Rabbits Bakery.

On the way to Austin, there is a stop in between that’s called Czech Stop. Open 24/7, they sell kolaches which are these:

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AUSTIN highlights

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1)  Hamilton Pool Preserve such a cool place with a waterfall and places to sit and chill. $15 per car (cash). Plenty of parking. The day we went there, the water had high levels of bacteria so we were not allowed to go in. Would’ve loved to dive right in!

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2) Salt Lick BBQ was one of the highly recommended bbq places but kinda out of the way. We still made it though! They also helped us take pictures in front of the meats that were being smoked.

3) Next, we have LA BARBECUE (Fave of the trip!!!) — I preordered via email and they didn’t have a weight minimum like Franklin’s, so it was pretty easy. We got there at opening time and there was already a huge line wrapped around a few times, but I walked right up to the window to pick up my meats. #winning

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Again, BEEF RIB IS WHERE IT’S AT.

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4) Barton Creek Greenbelt – turns out there’s some hiking in Austin.

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5) Go for sunrise at the Austin 360 Bridge aka Pennybacker Bridge A short 5-10 minute hike up to the overlook.

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6) Check out the graffiti walls at Hope Outdoor Gallery

Madrid: Where to eat & run (Feb 2017)

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Madrid airport. I was in love with the architecture here already.

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Plaza Mayor at sunrise.

Many people told me I should spend more time in Barcelona and that I would like it more, but they were wrong. Not that I didn’t like Barcelona, but I feel like Madrid is underrated. I loved Madrid for its old cobblestone streets, the architecture, the random flower shops, the huge park where I went for a sunrise jog, and all the colors and history.

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Spain

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CaixaForum 

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Templo de Debod

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Mercado de San Miguel was a food hall with lots of vendors selling jamon, wine, tapas, and I loved it. I loved walking around trying out different things.

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Tapas for 1 Euro each!

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Jamon everywhere.

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A glass of wine was only 1 Euro more than water, so I ordered wine everywhere I went.

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Chocolateria San Gines for churros and hot chocolate

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Street XO, a casual hip gastronomic restaurant whose menu features these:

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StreetXO is Chef David Muñoz’s more casual and affordable restaurant. We waited for maybe 15 minutes before getting a seat at the bar where we got to see the chefs work right in front of us.

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PORK BELLAYYYY! All of their dishes were creative and the decor reminded me of a Willy Wonka world.

And amazing, unique cocktails:

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Suckling pig at Botin, “oldest restaurant in the world” — tourist destination

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Rioja is a must.

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Of course I played around with some nighttime photography.

On my sunrise jog the next morning, I stumbled upon a glass palace inside el Parque del Retiro:

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Loved the details.

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This park reminded me of Central Park in NYC. I loved running solo here, and I felt safe. I used my offline Google Map (that I downloaded ahead of time) to get from the hotel in Plaza Mayor to here (~1.5 miles) and back. Highly recommended if you like to run on vacation.

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Sunrise + rainbow!

 

 

Travelogue: Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Sept 2016)

When I told people I was going to travel to Utah for my birthday week, most reactions were “Why? Of all places?”

Other than checking off my bucket list for hiking and road tripping across 5 National Parks, what I really wanted to do was to start my day with the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.

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The weather forecast was not looking good. We experienced torrential downpour for an hour up until we got into the actual park. After we got in, it was fine!

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The “hike” to Mesa Arch was easy, 15 minutes and you’re here. Along with fifty other photographers.

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Utah 2016

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I love sunrises. You start the day from darkness to light, and then you have a whole day ahead of you.

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Utah 2016

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After seeing the sunrise, we went to hike other trails at the park. There were many easy hikes.

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Some crater.

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Island in the Sky.

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We then took an impromptu side trip to Dead Horse Point State Park (entrance fee: $10).

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Colorado River. This view was the main attraction of the park. We spent around an hour and a half there.

On the way to dinner, we saw a rainbow.

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We ate at The Blu Pig. Southern barbecue!

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Then Moab Brewery.

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We stayed in a campground in Moab for the night, since it’s right in between Canyonlands and Arches (for the next post)!

Campsite info:
Archview RV Resort & Campground
U.S. 191 Moab, Utah 84532
435-259-7854

W Trek: Sunrise at Las Torres (Patagonia, Chile) (Dec 2015)

Trek time: 2 hours

So at 2AM, we woke up with our backpacks and clothes ready along with the most important things: headlamps & flashlights. Las Torres is what we came to here to see, since the park is named after the three towers.

Since we would be going back to the refugio after this sunrise hike, we left most of our things behind and carried only the essentials.

Tip: Bring hand warmers and a jacket, it is freezing up there at sunrise!

After a lot of scrambling in the dark (yay for headlamps) over large boulders, we got to the top to catch the sunrise.

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I love the color change

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You can see the moon. Turn 180 degrees and you see the three towers…

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Turn back around and you see Boo…

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As the sun beams touch the top of the towers, people are staring intensely.

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Some camp out on random rocks to sit for hours.

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After breakfast, we hiked to Refugios las Torres, which was to be the best refugio we stayed at with the cleanest facilities and best food!

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Refugios las Torres

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We were hungry so we got a chicken sandwich for pre-dinner snack, it was SO GOOD and juicy and tender.

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Menu

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Amazing pork for dinner. Definitely the best refugio in the whole trek.

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Finally, dessert that tastes like dessert.

We leave for Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas the next day. There are only 2 scheduled bus times that leave the park, so make sure you check the schedule beforehand!

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2015 Miami Half Marathon Recap (and other things)

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Back in January I flew solo to Miami for a half marathon. It was the best half marathon I’ve ever run (I’ve run Brooklyn, Staten Island, and NYC Half) for many reasons. First, the expo was so much fun! Lots of freebies, picture opportunities, presentations, etc.

Since I had to wait for 2 of my friends to arrive from their flight, I went to eat at Morenos Cuba, a great lunch spot that serves Media Noches and Cubanos with crispy potato sticks.

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I loved their mason jars and iced latte.

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Medianoche ($11): Ham, mojo marinated shredded pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on Cuban sweet bread.

Next, I walked over to the Bass Museum of Art. They had several outdoor installations while I was there.

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$8 gets you inside the museum, which isn’t bad. Note: No DSLR photography inside; only phone cameras allowed.

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There was a Gold exhibition… yes, this McDonalds cup in gold.

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After I met up with my friends, we went to eat some more.

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Charlotte Bakery is great for snacking: empanadas, tres (even cuatros) leches, lots of pastries here and some seating.

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The next morning, we rolled out of bed and headed for American Airlines Arena for the big race. It was great because we booked an Airbnb apartment right next to the start line.

6AM. 45 degrees. Shorts and t-shirt… I was frozen waiting for an hour in the corral!

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What I LOVED was that as soon as we started the race, the sun was rising right in front of us. I was swooned by the palm trees on the left side and calm waters and boats on the right side. I didn’t even take many pictures during the race because I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s one of the most scenic races I’ve ever run.

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At mile 11, we got little cups of pineapples! It was so refreshing and also contributed to my love for this race.

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After the race, there were so many goodies to munch on! All kinds of fruits and fruit cups, even rice and beans!!!!!! Definitely the best post-race party.

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#MiamiFamous

For our post-race brunch, we walked over to NIU Kitchen

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Rustic and fresh, they serve Catalan dishes.

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Watermelon gazpacho
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Pa amb tomaquet
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Delicious coffee
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Steak Tartare
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Ous – two poached eggs, truffle potato foam, jamon Iberico, black truffle.
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Esmorzar – botifarra, bacon, fried egg, sautéed white beans.

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I love that almost everything had fried eggs on top. Highly recommend the “Ous” and “Esmorzar”!

Afterwards, we went to the beach where I got a text that informed me my flight the next day was cancelled due to weather in NYC. I was “stuck” here…

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We went to dinner at Tongue & Cheek. All amazing meals so far.

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Chilled Plate of Oysters with Carbonated Cucumber Mignonette and Lemon

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The most amazing oysters ever. Because it’s carbonated and enveloped in a way that when you put one into your mouth, it pops!

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The rest: fried chicken, brisket poutine, beef cheek burger… ALL DELICIOUS.

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The next morning, I got another flight and then cancelled again, and decided to head to the airport to talk to them in person. But first, breakfast at Versailles!

 

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I got on the last flight to NYC that afternoon and GUESS WHAT — I was 2 hours into it when the pilot announced that we had to turn back to Miami. Oh well, more food for me!

I was lucky in that my friends were staying longer anyway so they had a hotel booked… I met up with them at Joe’s Stone Crab.

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Everything was great, plus we got hooked up with free desserts because the waiter was also Cantonese and from Brooklyn. I was loving this trip, can’t you tell?

The next morning, I woke up early to watch the sun rise. There’s just something about Miami skies.

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It was so glorious and I loved being by myself in that moment.

My friends were still not awake yet, so I grabbed a cubano at Las Olas Cafe, a homey little place for cheap Cuban food.

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Yes, I might have overdosed on Cubanos this month.

I took a yoga class before my flight. If you’re in the area, drop by for a class ($20 includes a mat rental) at Miami Life Center — ashtanga style yoga definitely kicked my butt.

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736 6th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139
http://www.miamilifecenter.com/

And that’s all, folks. I loved every minute of Miami. From beach yoga to running a half marathon, to eating innovative and delicious food to taking in all the art… These are all the things I love about Miami.