content top

A Day Trip to Rila Monastery

A Day Trip to Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Bulgaria. The colorful monastery was first established in the 10th century by St. Ivan of Rila. After being destroyed by the Ottomans in the 15th century, the monastery was renovated with the help of the Russian church. It was later destroyed once again by a fire in the early 19th century, after which a group of wealthy Bulgarians paid for it to be rebuilt as a way to build...

Read More

A Tasty Tour in Toronto

A Tasty Tour in Toronto

As I planned my weekend trip up to Toronto, I was approached with the opportunity to take a food tour with Tasty Tours Toronto. But not just any food tour – their Oh Canada! Farmer’s Market Sweets Tour. With a sweet tooth like mine, how could I say no? The tour was originally scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, ending at 12:30 – which would give me just half an hour to get across town to start my bike tour of the city at 1:00. I wasn’t too...

Read More

Bulgaria in Photos

Bulgaria in Photos

I have to say, travel to Bulgaria exceeded my expectations in many respects. There were mountains and forests and rivers; cute cobblestone streets and massive Soviet era buildings; colorful monasteries and really, really old churches. Oh, and some amazing Roman ruins. A little bit of everything, to be sure. Take a...

Read More

The French Lessons Begin

The French Lessons Begin

The third time is supposed to be the charm, right? Maybe in other things, but not so much with languages. At least not so far. French is the third foreign language I’m trying to learn, after six years of Spanish in high school/college and three years of Russian in college, plus studying it during my career break. I thought that it might be easier this time around, but so far not so much. Learning French has been hard! I’m taking a class...

Read More

Biking Around Toronto

Biking Around Toronto

I haven’t sat my butt on a bike in more than two years, but when I got the opportunity to do a bike tour of Toronto with Toronto Bicycle Tours, I jumped right on it. With limited time in the city, it seemed like it would be the perfect way to see a lot in a short period of time – better than some trolley or double decker bus tour! I lucked out with perfect, sunny weather for my Sunday afternoon “Heart of Downtown” tour. We met at the...

Read More

A Taste of Toronto at the Taste of the Danforth

A Taste of Toronto at the Taste of the Danforth

My first real introduction to Toronto came around 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night as I stepped out of the Broadview subway station and started walking toward Danforth Street. It wasn’t hard to find my destination – I just followed the crowds and the music to the beginning of the Taste of the Danforth, Canada’s largest annual street festival. In its 21st year, the festival sees around 1.5 million visitors over a three-day period (by...

Read More

Deciding When It Is Not Safe to Travel

Deciding When It Is Not Safe to Travel

I have never thought much about safety while traveling. This may seem odd, but let me explain. Most of my travel early on was to Europe, which generally doesn’t raise many eyebrows – or travel warnings. I traveled with groups not because I feared for my safety, but because I was nervous about figuring out logistics and I wanted to meet new people. My first non-European country (aside from Australia) was Egypt in 2007. Again, I...

Read More

A Preview of Toronto

A Preview of Toronto

I first visited Toronto last June for TBEX – a travel blogging conference. I flew in Friday night and departed early Monday morning and spent most of the time in between at conference sessions. Needless to say, I didn’t see much of the city itself. Therefore, I am very excited to visit Toronto again next weekend. The city is an easy trip from Chicago; just a short flight on Porter Airlines will take me from Midway Airport to Toronto’s...

Read More

I’m Learning French!

I’m Learning French!

Parlez vous Francais? I hope that in the very near future, I will be able to answer this question with a resounding “Oui!” The idea of learning French first popped into my head while I was on my career break. As much as it was great to be able to speak Russian to converse with locals, I felt like I could have connected with other travelers better if I knew French. The majority of people I met seemed to speak French as a first or second...

Read More

The One Where I Went to My High School Reunion

The One Where I Went to My High School Reunion

My iPhone read 5:51 p.m. as I stripped off my royal blue top in favor of a white and silver striped one and pulled on black capris in place of a dark denim skirt. It was one of more than a dozen wardrobe changes in about twenty minutes and it left me wishing that I had brought more options with me from Chicago. The two dresses, two skirts and half a dozen tops just weren’t enough to choose from as I prepared to go to my twentieth (gulp!)...

Read More
content top
css.php