Mirror landscapes and other reflections around the world (photo essay)

Quite surprisingly, it was pretty hard for me to find some images for this week’s #FriFotos theme (which I’m co-hosting over on Twitter, by the way!). I had to scour my collection for hours…and even had to head over to Flickr for additional inspiration. So finally, I present mirror landscapes–plus other reflections that resemble this essential beauty item!

FriFotos: Mirror landscapes and other reflections around the world!

For every country (or significant territory) I’ve visited, I found a mirrored image to represent it. Unfortunately, many photos aren’t from my own collection (my camera always died in most of my early travels!)–but thank God for the Creative Commons license! ūüėÄ Proper attribution always given.

Austria

I fell deeply in love with Innsbruck when I visited back in 2005. Why?

Austrian Alps mirror reflection

Unbelievable window reflection of the Alps and city by James Cridland, Flickr

Innsbruck, Tyrol mountain reflection

Innsbruck, Tyrol reflection by nora gottardi, Flickr

Aruba

Your next shot could be hiding in one of your vehicle’s rear-view mirrors:

mirror landscapes, Aruba rear-view mirror

Jeep mirror reflection of Westpunt, Aruba by dalecarlson, Flickr

Barbados

Selfies from tourists around the capital Bridgetown. Great find! Made me lol

mirror landscapes, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados reflection by Sue Kellerman, Flickr

Canada

Mirrored building above Metro stop in downtown Toronto, Ontario:

mirror landscapes, downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto, Ontario

Dominica

The jungle in Dominica takes your breath away, like this reflection does:

Indian River, Dominica reflection

Reflection over Indian River in Portsmouth, Dominica by sharkbait, Flickr

Dominican Republic

Many Dominican homes humbled me, even as a young 12-year-old visitor:

mirror lake landscapes, humble home

Montecristi, Dominican Republic home by Héctor Mota, Flickr

…while many of its landscapes left me speechless!

mirror landscapes, Dominican landscape reflection

Miches Surreal by Héctor Mota, Flickr

Egypt

Incredible sunset, mirrored over the Nile, from our felucca in Aswan:

Aswan Egypt sunset mirror

The Nile River: a beautiful mirror at sunset

Germany

I also fell in love with German architecture, uniquely depicted here:

mirror landscapes, puddle reflection

German architecture reflected on a puddle by wanderlasss, Flickr

Iceland

You will never escape surreal reflections in Iceland:

mirror lake landscapes, Jökulsárlón Iceland

Mirrored icebergs and by over Jökulsárlón Lake by Niklas Sjöblom, Flickr

Israel

The Dead Sea, one of the most jaw-dropping natural mirrors on the planet:

mirror landscapes, Dead Sea

Dead Sea reflection by Cristian Kirshbom, Flickr

Italy

Reflections over Venice are even more dramatic during Acqua Alta season:

mirror landscapes, Acqua Alta Venice

Doge’s Palace, Venice by ivanneth, Flickr

Jordan

The Monastery at Petra reflected over Aviators by imnewtryme, Flickr:

Aviator mirror reflection, Petra

Aviator reflections are always fun

Martinique

Tranquil palm trees reflection at Balata Gardens, Bois du Parc:

mirror lake landscapes, Martinique

Fort-de-France, Martinique reflections by guillaumeo, Flickr

Mexico

You must dive into a cenote if you visit the Yucat√°n! Here’s why:

mirror landscapes, cenote

“A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath” -Wikipedia (photo by cjette, Flickr)

Morocco

I lived and studied in Morocco for a semester. So much to love there…

Moroccan riad reflection

Bottom of fountain reflecting a Marrakesh riad by srte, Flickr

Palestine / West Bank

One thing you never forget about Palestine: its lively buses & people:

FriFotos mirrors, Palestine

“The office” of a Palestinian bus driver by Mark Nye, Flickr

Panama

Some of my favorite things there? Houses on stilts (& overwater hostels!):

mirror lake landscapes, Panama

Houses in Bocas del Toro, Panama by Chris Goldberg, Flickr

Puerto Rico

My home island has many charms, but my favorite is pretty naughty…!

Motel Villa Arco Iris mirrors Jacuzzi suite

MIRRORS over the bed, by the bed, on top of the Jacuzzi: my type of romantic suite! (Pictured: Motel Villa Arco Iris)

FriFotos mirrors, Hotel OK Jacuzzi suite

Hotel OK had a Jacuzzi with mirrors on the walls and ceiling

Spain

I love Madrid’s special charm, no matter the perspective:

FriFotos mirrors, Madrid

Gran Via, Madrid by J. A. Alcaide, Flickr

Switzerland

Swiss lakes never, ever disappoint:

mirror lake landscapes, Switzerland

Mirror lake shot taken on the way to Interlaken from Lucerne by Alex, Flickr

US Virgin Islands

Green hills and ocean breeze‚Ķ That’s most of St. Thomas for you ūüėČ

USVI mirror reflection, ocean

USVI reflection by Chirag Shah, Flickr

United Kingdom

Nothing screams London like a red double-decker bus and…

mirror landscapes, London

London mirror reflection by Mark McQuade, Flickr

United States

My all-time favorite mirror photo, taken in Siesta Key, FL! LOVE aviator shots ūüôā

Siesta Key, aviators mirror

My handsome gringo in Siesta Key Beach

Got photos of reflections or mirror landscapes? Share them below!

FriFotos: places I’ve called HOME around the world! (photo essay)

To¬†travelers and nomads, home is typically a state of mind. However, for FriFotos this week, I wanted to¬†take you on a photographic journey to some of the places I’ve called HOME around the world. From sailboats to hammocks; concrete blocks to tiki huts: ¬°Bienvenidos a mi hogar!

Home around the world: FriFotos photo essay

Home around the world, Puerto Rico

My humble home in Puerto Rico. Solid concrete = hurricane-proof!

The beginning and the end: my parents house and neighborhood in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Closer to the city of Caguas, though!

Home around the world, Puerto Rico concrete houses

The neighborhood I grew up in! A dead-end street with beautiful palm trees and mountains in the vicinity.

Due to hurricanes, most houses in Puerto Rico are made of solid concrete throughout: ¬†including walls inside the home. Only the wealthy can afford intricate homes, as it is more expensive and difficult to build¬†and mold concrete houses. However, if you just want¬†one big concrete box,¬†that won’t be too expensive!

The million-dollar home in Tampa, Florida

Home around the world, million-dollar home Tampa

The pool area, part of a yacht, the lake, and other million-dollar homes in the area.

In the summer of 2010, I was lucky enough to score a housesitting and pet sitting gig in an affluent neighborhood in Tampa, Florida.  For 2 full months, I lived like a rock star!  A yacht, a boat, fun neighbors, great food! I also got to hang out with the amazing family when they were around every couple of weeks. I bonded with my hosts so much that I now call them my American family. I even call the married couple mom and dad!

Whenever I can’t go back home for Christmas, I spend the holidays with them ūüôā

Home around the world, American family

My new American family!

Don’t worry though, my¬†first familia will always be in Puerto Rico. I simply call them mami and papi to differentiate¬†my 2 sets of parents ūüėČ lucky to be surrounded¬†by so many wonderful people‚ÄĒmuch love indeed.

A hammock, overwater hostel, and a sailboat in Panama

Home around the world, Aqualounge Hostel Bocas del Toro

Aqualounge Hostel in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Only reachable by boat!

Home around the world, Bocas del Toro hammock

My bed for a couple of nights in Bocas del Toro, Panama

While this hammock and overwater hostel in Bocas del Toro were my home for less than a week, I had an amazing time! Great drinking specials, quirky characters, and fun parties.

Home around the world, sailboat Kuna Yala

View of Kuna Yala village from my sailboat cabin

More about this trip: Panama, my last college spring break! (photo essay)

This trip got even better with 4 days sailing down the San Blas Islands‚ÄĒin great company as well. Just imagine this bubbly Puerto Rican,¬†a loopy¬†captain, 2¬†diplomats from the US foreign service,¬†2 retired lawyers,¬†and a¬†Kuna Indian fisherman…!

College campus in Morocco

Home around the world, Al Akhawayn University Morocco

The gorgeous campus of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco (Amina Lahbabi)

In the fall of 2009, I studied abroad¬†in Ifrane, a small town by the Atlas Mountains of¬†Morocco, for 4 months. The American-style college is called Al-Akhawayn University and I had a blast! Gorgeous grounds, architecture, and people. The dorms were even better than in most colleges I’ve seen in the USA, which was crazy!

Home around the world, Moroccan college dorms

One of the dorms! Photo courtesy of Munir Sayegh

I felt most at home in the classroom of my World Religions class with Portuguese professor¬†Jacques, though. Handsome, wise. He¬†taught me so much about unknown cultures, religious traditions, rites, etc.¬†I haven’t been that happy in many other places! Unfortunately, no photo of handsome Jacques available.

 Cluttered roofs and sleeping on an ancient felucca in Egypt

Home around the world, Cairo apartment

Cluttered roofs and dirty apartments — commonplace in otherwise-fascinating Cairo, Egypt

I¬†must have moved about 4 times during my year of Arabic studies in Egypt.¬† Issues ranged from roommate conflicts to sketchy¬†bowaabs¬†(building doorman)‚ÄĒyou name it! And even though my digital camera died within¬†the first week in Cairo, my first flatmate‚ÄĒNatalia‚ÄĒtook a good picture of one of the apartments (photo above).

Umm yeah…with my student budget (relying exclusively on a scholarship),¬†I couldn’t afford a maid to keep the apartment dust-free nor a better view than that one.¬†All in all, a very humbling experience. Seriously, cleanliness‚Ķone of the many things we take for granted everyday.

Home around the world, sleeping on a felucca

Relaxing morning, sleeping on a felucca!

It goes without saying that where I felt the most at home during my year in Egypt was while drifting down the Nile on a felucca for 3 days and 2 nights.  Absolutely magical.

Home around the world, felucca sunset

Sunset during my 22nd birthday (by Aswan, Egypt)

This photo essay¬†is almost 800 words now, so enough of home¬†for today! ūüėČ

Hope you enjoyed it.

Felucca Sunset Egypt

Yup, that’s me on the felucca once more. Had to save the best shot for last!

Where’s¬†home to you? How many countries have you lived in?

Ek Balam Mayan ruins: Temple history and FriFotos from the PEAK

Having just returned from Playa Del Carmen, I have many wonderful photos from the PEAKS of Mayan temples and ruins. Thus, finding out that is the theme for this week’s FriFotos was a delight! While I visited Coba as well, today I will focus on Ek Balam Mayan ruins — one of the lesser-known Yucat√°n Mayan sites.

Ek Balam Mayan ruins panorama

Loved this viewpoint at Ek Balam!

Ek Balam Mayan ruins: Brief overview

Not only in Ek Balam, but throughout most (if not all) Mayan sites in the Yucat√°n, you will find that doorways have “peaks” — they are not perfect arches. They are called corbel arches.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization states that the Mayans created these type of arches, with 9 layered vaults, in order to represent what they believed to be the nine layers of the Underworld. The addition of a keystone, or 10th layer, would be a representation of a body outside the Mayan cosmos (Examiner.com).

Ek Balam Mayan ruins, doorway

Ek Balam Mayan ruins: Corbel arch

Ek Balam Mayan ruins is one of several sites built by the Yucatec Mayans. Located 32 miles (51 m) from its famous cousin Chichen Itzá and 30 km north of Valladolid. It is an easy day trip from several resort towns on the Riviera Maya.

As you know, I visited the Ek Balam Mayan ruins on a combo day trip (including Río Lagartos) from Playa Del Carmen. I felt I had plenty of time at the site and was not rushed at all. Thus, it is quite possible to combine a visit to other site on the same day you visit Ek Balam.

Ek Balam Mayan ruins, main temple

Ek Balam’s main temple

Ek Balam Mayan ruins: Climbing to the top of the main temple

Unlike Chichen Itz√°, tourists are still allowed to climb to the very top of the main temple at Ek Balam Mayan ruins. The views from the jungle and other ruins throughout the site are amazing! A *little* scary to climb down, but I believe the steps are big enough for you to have plenty of room to step firmly and safely. I had doubts about climbing for a second or two, but went for it anyway! So glad I did ūüôā

Ek Balam Mayan Temple climb

At the top of the Ek Balam Temple!

Ek Balam Mayan ruins top view

Me on top of the Ek Balam Temple! So glad I made it

Ek Balam view top

Ah!

Ek Balam Mayan ruins jungle view

View of the jungle from Ek Balam temple top

Ek Balam jungle

Don’t forget to visit the Mayan burial temple on your way up — ¬†or down!

The temple (tomb!) of¬†Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’ was quite fascinating. Its entrance is shaped like the mouth of a jaguar, teeth and all. In fact, the name Ek Balam means “Black Jaguar” in Yucatec Maya language — thus the name of this Mayan ruins site.

I never thought I would see such beautiful carvings inside Mayan ruins before. Clearly, my knowledge about the civilization was very limited! I was like nothing I had ever seen before (i.e. Chichen Itz√°).¬†Thus, if you’re thinking about skipping the Ek Balam Mayan ruins because you are visiting Chichen Itza or Cob√°, think twice before doing so! I’m sure these images will change your mind:

Ek Balam Mayan ruins, jaguar teeth

The “jaguar teeth” at Ek Balam temple’s

For a very cool interactive panorama of this Mayan temple, click here.

Ukit Kan Le'k Tok' temple, Ek Balam Mayan ruins

Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’ temple, also known as El Trono in Spanish (“The Throne”)

It is believed that¬†Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’ was one of the rulers of Ek Balam. What I found the most fascinating about this character, and Mayans in general, though? The reason Ukit Kan Le’k Tok’¬†rose to power is because he was cross-sighted and possibly albino.

According to our tour guide, Mayans venerated anyone who was different — thus his rise to power. It is believed that certain objects were placed on the nose or the middle of the foreheads of children in order to try and make them cross-sighted. What for? In the hopes that they would become someone important one day. Oh, how have times changed!

Ek Balam Mayan ruins, carvings

LOVED the well-preserved Mayan carvings

Ek Balam Mayan ruins carvings

Beautiful

Take your time to explore other ruins throughout Ek Balam

You’ll have to walk through other ruins before you reach the main temple at Ek Balam, so take the time to look at the intricacies and differences between all structures. I found it fun to draw comparisons between the structures I had seen at Chichen Itz√° and Ek Balam. Additionally, trying to capture the nuances and different angles in photos is a game in itself ūüėČ

Ek Balam Mayan arch

Mayan carvings at Ek Balam

The temple at Ek Balam is too wide to fully capture!

Definitely add the Ek Balam Mayan ruins to your travel bucket list!

Chairs around the world: FriFotos Photo Essay

I’m very excited to be co-hosting FriFotos on its second year anniversary, specially as my suggested topic was selected as this week’s theme! I decided to put together a cultural photo essay, showing you different chairs around the world. Please take the time to read the blurbs in order to learn about the history behind them. Enjoy!

FriFotos: CHAIRS Around the World

Chairs in China: According to several sources, the chair model we know today was invented in ancient China. Early evidence was found in royal tombs, especially in the form of folding chairs. Interestingly though, chairs are not part of modern Chinese culture. Nowadays, many traditional Chinese sit on the floor or on mats. Fascinating eh?

Chairs around the world, China

In common neighborhoods throughout China, stools/chairs are primarily used to play games today (Photo: Elizabeth Thomsen)

Chairs in ancient Rome and Greece: The earliest form of chairs in the ancient empires were basic stools as well and they are estimated to date as far back as 2,000 BC! Thrones, however, were a different story:

chairs around the world, Roman throne

Roman throne from first century CE (Photo: Mary Harrsch)

Chairs in pre-Columbian America: As with other cultures we’ve discussed, Native Americans didn’t have chairs until later in their history. Typically, they were made of logs, with animals skins as cushions on the back. Earliest forms of Native American chairs, though, were more like rock pads (quite literally):

 chairs around the world, Native American

Chairs of the Pueblo peoples in Cliff Dwellings Museum, Colorado (Photo: Quinn Dombrowski)

Chairs in the Middle East: Did you know that chairs in the Middle East were very rare in ancient times? Even today, they are more like cushions than chairs by Western standards. Typically, Arabs sit on the floor or on top of a pillow-like “seat,” unless you visit more upscale establishments. I loved to sit in on said cushions though, known as sitting¬†Bedouin¬†style, while visiting¬†Dahab, Egypt¬†(my favorite place on earth, by the way!)

chairs around the world, Sinai

Bedouin-style sitting is typical in most restaurants throughout the Sinai Peninsula, particularly Dahab

That’s it for¬†FriFotos this week! If you have any other interesting chairs¬†around the world photos, please share them on a comment below.

*Special thanks to business chairs library for the fascinating history lesson

What’s the oddest CHAIR you’ve ever seen? Share your¬†FriFotos!

Ancient ruins and other close-ups: A FriFotos special

TGIF! After a hiatus, I join FriFotos for another week to celebrate the theme “Close-up.” I’ll show you photos of my favorite ancient ruins and other close-up shots from sights I’ve encountered throughout my travels in Egypt. Enjoy!

The Ramesseum: Luxor, Egypt

The mortuary temple of the infamous “Ramses The Great,” The Rammesseum is kind of an off-the-beaten-path ancient ruins site. In fact, when I visited back in June 2008, I had the whole¬†place¬†for myself — midday! It was great. I even had time to kill as my cabbie wouldn’t come back for another hour:

Ramesseum Luxor, ancient ruins head

Beheaded! Oh yeah, Karma…

Ramesseum Luxor, ancient ruins feet

Feet?

Ramesseum Luxor, ancient ruins statue

Love staring up high statues

Town’s ferry: Luxor, Egypt

I traveled throughout Egypt independently. My morning routine included reading up the history of most sites I visited before heading out. For Luxor, one of Egypt’s top tourist towns, I simply took the local ferry (picture below) to the West Bank,¬†bargained down a daily rate with a cab driver (in Arabic!), and saw all sights on my own. Later that day, I took the same ferry back, hired a pink bike (US$1.50/day), and saw the rest of the town’s sights. Best game plan ever!

local Luxor ferry, Egypt

local Luxor ferry, Egypt

My favorite soft drink in the whole wide world: Fayrouz pineapple

Fayrouz, not to be confused with Lebanese legend Fairuz, means “turquoise” in Arabic. She happens to be my favorite Arab singer. And favorite color. And favorite drink. The universe knows me well.

Fayrouz pinapple, Luxor Egypt

I don’t ever drink soda, but when I do, it’s FAYROUZ

Hatshepsut temple: Luxor, Egypt

This shall be the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman Pharaoh! She wore a fake beard in order to look like a man in statues and drawings. Rumor has it that people from her kingdom attempted to destroy all evidence of her ever reigning. Clearly, they failed. GIRL POWER!

Temple Hatshepsut, woman pharaoh ancient ruins

Strong woman in history: Hatshepsut, “the Djeser-Djeseru” or “Holy of Holies” (Wikipedia)

Temple Hatshepsut, woman pharaoh ancient ruins

We are powerful

Oh, today I found out this was also¬†the site of the¬†massacre¬†of 62 people, attack conducted¬†by Islamist extremists back in 1997 (according to WIkipedia)…

Have you been to any of these ancient ruins? Comment below!

Cigar City Brewery Tampa: My favorite USA beers (photos and history)

Another busy week in the life of professional juggler Maria ūüėČ I’m still tied up in several travel writing projects, business strategies, etc. Yet, I couldn’t help but join this week’s FriFotos theme “Brands.” Finally, the perfect time to introduce you to my favorite USA beers! Ladies and gents, here’s the sexy¬†Cigar City Brewery Tampa.

Cigar City Brewery Tampa glass

Photo: Dave Goldberg, Flickr

Overview

I can’t believe that the Cigar City Brewery Tampa does not even have a Wikipedia article. So! Here’s my attempt at a short history lesson…

While Florida is commonly known as “beer wasteland,” there have been some fine breweries around. The first was the Florida Brewing Company, which was founded in 1896 and carried on until 1961. Then, other breweries emerged (although not for long).

Finally, Cigar City Brewery Company (most commonly known as Cigar City Brewery Tampa Bay) began operations in 1994 in Ybor City. It remained there until 2003. on this location is where the famous Ybor Gold Amber, Brown Ale, Gaspar’s Porter, Calusa Wheat and Light were brewed. However, following the move from Ybor City to¬†West Spruce Street, these brands were bought by the¬†Florida Brewing Company in Melbourne, FL.

Ever since Cigar City Brewery Tampa moved its operations right to the middle of my current bus route from work to home, it started brewing my favorite USA beers ūüėÄ Among them are:

Maduro Brown Ale

With a higher alcohol content than the regular English Brown ale, the Maduro features  flaked oats in its malt bill, giving it an outstanding silky-smooth feeling in your mouth and down your throat. It is as orgasmic as it sounds!

Cigar City Brewery Tampa Maduro beer

My dark lover, Maduro (Photo: Christer Edvartsen, Flickr)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale

As weird as it may sound, this is the most surprisingly-delicious beer you are lips will ever touch. It really tastes just like an oatmeal raisin cookie! What’s funny is that, whenever I go to the Cigar City Brewery Tampa tasting room, bartenders say that this is one of the most popular beers–particularly among men. It is only brewed seasonally, and whenever they do, it is sold out within a day. And so, whenever I get the chance to get another taste of this beauty, I rejoice in celebration. It is not easy to come by!

Cigar City Brewery Tampa oatmeal raisin cookie beer

Label of one of my favorite brown beauties (Photo: Humble Elements, Flickr)

Cubano-style Espresso Brown Ale

You’ve guessed it: I love my brown beauties ūüėȬ†Whenever my usual lovers are not available, I cheat on them with this Cuban-style beer. It is roasted with rich espresso beans,¬†sweet caramel, toffee, and a touch of dry nuttiness. Yet, once poured, one can also taste notes of¬†chocolate, then caramel, finishing off with some vanilla aftertaste. Ohhh SI.

Cigar City Brewery Tampa Cubano-Style Espresso Brown ale

My only Latin lover (Photo: naiserie, Flickr)

That’s it for today! If you wish to know more about other Cigar City Brewery beer varieties, click here. You will see other available beers and their ingredients on menu on the left.

Have you tried Cigar City Brewery Tampa? Which is your favorite beer?

Iceland waterfalls photos: Photo essay of my favorites

Happy Friday! For FriFotos this week, I decided to share some Iceland waterfalls photos that I have not posted on LatinAbroad yet. Hitchhiking and Couchsurfing in Iceland is definitively one of my top trips to date. Those 7 days, albeit frozen¬†and windy, were fabulous. Iceland is like a different planet and I’ll always be in love with its foreign landscapes and incredible geography. I can’t wait to go back!

If you rather go straight to the FROZEN waterfalls, goto bottom of this post! ūüėČ

Skogafoss face formation

Loved this waterfall! Not only you can see it from the road and it gets more and more impressive the closer you get to it. Also,¬†Skogafoss face formations are interesting and quite fun to photograph. I kissed that wild Icelandic local¬†there…and I liked it.

Iceland waterfalls photos: Skogafoss face formation

Skogafoss face formation

Iceland waterfalls photos, Skogafoss face picking nose

Hehe

Iceland waterfalls photos frozen Skogafoss

Me freezing, standing on lava rocks by Skogafoss. Look at that nice rainbow (on left) making an appearance!

Frozen Seljalandsfoss waterfall

While the flow of Seljalandsfoss waterfall during the winter is rather thin, what I love the most about it was its frozen surroundings. Being from Puerto Rico, I had never seen such a beautiful winter wonderland and it was my very first time seeing frozen landscapes in person. I was like a kid in Disney World! Water that spritzed on my hair froze instantly and I could simply not stop giggling. You can probably see that through these photos!

frozen Seljalandsfoss, Iceland waterfalls photos

Me walking toward frozen Seljalandsfoss. Such a beautiful winter wonderland!

frozen Seljalandsfoss river, Iceland

Frozen droplets on my hair! I had a giggles attack…

frozen Seljalandsfoss, Iceland waterfall photos

Me atop frozen Seljalandsfoss waterfall. I had to take some crazy, completely frozen stairs!

Gullfoss: Iceland’s most popular waterfall

Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s top attractions and for a good reason. These falls are stunning. They are the biggest I’ve seen on my travels actually. Yes, this means I haven’t visited the Niagara Falls, Angel Falls nor the Victoria Falls (yet!). And so, Gullfoss dropped my jaw gently ūüôā Once again, the beautiful frosting was indeed the perfect topping.

Gullfoss Iceland waterfall photos

River and frozen Gullfoss upon our arrival

frozen Gullfoss Iceland waterfalls photos

frozen Gullfoss in all its glory

frozen Gullfoss Iceland waterfalls photos

Gullfoss and Marcello!

| Read more: Iceland Couchsurfing and hithhiking by the Arctic!

Have you visited any Iceland waterfalls? Which is your favorite?

 

FriFotos: Time and clocks around the world

This week’s FriFotos theme is Time/Clocks, so I decided to make a compilation of these representations from my world travels. Above all photos, there’s a blurb about the trip behind the image and maybe even a piece of a travel tale (or two). Enjoy!

NYE Ball Drop in Times Square, New York

Thinking about ringing the New Year in Times Square? Then you must start looking into¬†holiday tours¬†right now! Parties with views of the famous NYE Times Square Ball Drop book quickly. Although the best party in town was TGI Friday’s (closest to the action, anyway!), it was sold out. So…I seduced an NYPD officer and he let me breeze through¬†Times Square Ball Drop¬†VIP lane, get¬†the¬†best view of the Ball Drop, and I only got there at 10 PM, instead of waiting long freezing hours outdoors. Once of my best travel tales to date!

FriFotos Times Square NYE clock

A little video: Just for fun! ūüėČ ūüėÄ

FriFotos NYE Times Square Ball Drop, clock

Best time to look at the clock in Times Square!

Big Ben, London

One of my best¬†Couchsurfing¬†experiences was in London. I stayed in the giant duplex of a model photographer who had at least other 10 models from all over the world surfing his several couches and beds! It felt like a Girls Scouts retreat, but with photo shoots and tons of sightseeing thrown in. All the girls got along very well and we hit town together. We still keep in touch. Here, some photos of my Korean “Couch mate” and me in front of the Big Ben. Good times! ūüôā

FriFotos Big Ben clock

The Leaning Tower of London? Haha, love how this shot came out!

FriFotos Big Ben

Now it’s my time with Mr Big!

Cuckoo Clocks, Black Forest, Germany

In 2005, I went on an unforgettable multi-country Europe tour for the first time. It was mom’s high school graduation gift for me in part, and I’ll never be able to thank her enough. I did work for this too, via fundraising, as it was an “educational tour” of sorts. Maybe that’s why this trip felt so good! ūüėČ Anyway! While I already started to share my travel journal entries from that¬†Euro trip, I have not told you about one of my favorite spots yet: The Black Forest, Germany. Wandering around the cuckoo clocks shop by the Rhine Falls was quite fun (and interesting!).

FriFotos, Euro Trip cuckoo clock

Me in front of the huge cuckoo clock by the shop. See that green kind of window on top? @ 2:10, a HUGE cuckoo came out of there. Too bad I missed it!

FriFotos, Euro Trip cuckoo clocks

Me and some of the famous cuckoo clocks. Gosh, I was young! =P

Got any peculiar clock shots? Which are your favorite FriFotos?

FriFotos: London Chinatown

Hey-oh! Just a little taste of this wonderful Friday here, participating in FriFotos theme “China” by posting the only ones I got from my travels that are somewhat¬†remotely¬†Asian: London’s Chinatown. My intense weekend starts tonight with pre-games and pre-Gasparilla celebrations,¬†so this will be the last post from me ’til the weekend is done.¬†As you already know, Tampa Bay’s Mardi Gras happens tomorrow!¬†Friends have already flown down and I’m going to be quite busy hosting and prepping eggs & kegs + blueberry pancake Jell-O shots for guests. Hope you have a wonderful time and if you are partaking in the local Gasparilla festivities: Be safe and don’t drink and drive! ūüėČ Hallaaaaaaa

London Chinatown

me by the entrance of London's Chinatown!

London Chinatown

Detailed work - only Chinese "archway" I've ever witnessed (for now)!

Chinatown in London

I wonder what that says - anyone?

bustling Chinatown in London

bustling Chinatown in London

FriFotos, London's Chinatown

me getting a little taste of Chinese architecture

red booth London Chinatown

the infamous red phone booths are everywhere in London, even Chinatown!

What’s your favorite Chinatown in the world? Why?