I have desperately been wanting to add more of my photography to the blog lately. Photography is such an important part of who I am when I travel and I want to give that more of a presence on the blog. Lately I have been revisiting my archives from travels, looking for missed opportunities and overlooked shots that need a little extra TLC. For the most part. you can see the images on my professional photography website, but I plan on growing my photography section to include all of the fun and unique photographs that might not otherwise make the cut for my website.
Let me know your thoughts on adding blog post with the photography in the future.
Do you want to know the process behind photographing the series? How long it took or how much time was spent?
The inspiration behind photographing while traveling?
xx A Traveler's Bliss
I don't know where in the world you are, but over the weekend in Chicago it was sixty degrees fahrenheit (about 16 degrees celsius). Everything school related was irrelevant and all that mattered was getting out into the city to do some much needed exploring. The only downfall of the day was reminding ourselves that the weather was not going to last and it was still only FEBRUARY. It is not spring yet. Cannot get the spring jitters just yet.
A few friends and I decided to feed our souls (with donuts. lots and lots of donuts) and set out to try and find as many of the insta-famous murals in Chicago as we could in one day. Some were a bust, others were just to far to do all in one day on public transportation, and others were beyond amazing in person.
One of the Stan's Donuts locations at the Damen Blue Line stop in Wicker Park. I got a blueberry donut and it was heaven.
The Flamingo wall is probably one of Chicago's most instagramed and well known murals. You are definitely not going to be alone when stop by this wall so be prepared to share the space and wait for a photo-op.
Painted By: JC Rivera and Andrew Ghrist
Location: 601 N Wells St
Closest CTA: Blue Line Clark & Lake or Red Line Grand
Level of Difficulty: 3/5
The side walk is not very wide and there is a parking lane next to the curb. It is a hit or miss if there will be cars in the way. To have enough space to take a photo with the flamingo in the photo (like the photo on the right), you have to stand in the road. There are three lanes of traffic driving by so be careful as you time your photoshoot with the red lights. The cars are coming off the expressway into the city and can be a bit speedy if they catch the green light coming in.
Best Time To Go: The best time to go (currently) is mid-afternoon about three-four hours before sunset. The sun will be starting to set in-front of the Flamingo Wall and the taller buildings in-front of it will block the sun. An overcast day is just as good as a sunny day to photograph, as well.
It is another hot spot an popular mural in Chicago so don't be surprised if you see a few people hanging out here on a nice day.
Painted By: Victor Ving and Lisa Biggs
Location: 2236 N Milwaukee Ave
Closest CTA: Blue Line California
Level of Difficulty: 1/5
This mural is about three blocks off ofd the California stop outside of Logan Square. It is in an empty gravel parking lot with loads of space to photography and take your time in the process.
Best Time To Go: The best time to go is early morning. The sun won't be as harsh and it will be facing the mural so the shadows are behind you. (we got there way to late in the day but still had fun with it). Overcast days are great days to photograph, too!
Let me know what you think of the mural photos and if you want to see more.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
What would my final edition of my Eurail Adventures series be without showcasing all we did through photography? I wanted to go all out and post some of the highlights from each city that best represented the city and our time spent there. It is the best way for me to show an entire collection of photographs from the journey without going overboard. Cause I can. Easily. If you have been following along with me on Instagram this week, you've probably noticed by now that I have been posting a photo a day from each city that we visited along the Eurail. Feeling the nostalgia is sadly part of coming home from any great adventure, but going through old pictures, reunions and connecting up with travel friends, and always talking about more travel is part of keeping the wanderlust alive.
I think one of the best parts about being able to look back is we can say we accomplished so much is a such a short period of time. Ten countries and sixteen cities in twenty-five days is a lot of culture and history condensed into a short amount of time. There were some days we felt rushed through a city and others we felt like we had time to take everything in and enjoy the moment. By the end we all felt the experience left us with an overall concept of which cities we knew we needed to return to and spend more time exploring, and others we felt just didn't leave that lasting impression on us and we would rather see another part of the country.
Overall, even with every struggle and the packed schedule, the low moments could not even begin to match the highlights: getting on our first train to begin our journey, climbing to the top of the Astronomical Tower, lounging in the Baths of Budapest, singing in the hills of Salzburg, eating gelato for breakfast, wearing a bright yellow rain coat so I could never get lost, and watching a sunset in Lisbon while listening to the sounds of the city.
These are the little things that make everything worth it, especially when you get to share the memories.
Prague, Czech Republic
Vienna & Salzburg, Austria
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Barcelona & Madrid, Spain
xx A Traveler's Bliss
Is it just me, or does everyone have that dream at some point in their life to live their life on the tracks? Just jump train-to-train and go wherever the wind takes them. Maybe it was from growing up with a train track in backyard, but I always wondered where all the trains were going and I always wanted be on one and go somewhere too.
Last spring, a group of friends and I got the chance to experience a very small taste of what the fantasy of that life would be like. We had about a month off for our spring break and decided to spend as much of it as possible traveling on the Eurail, exploring as many different destinations as possible with the time we had. It was our way to experience as much as Europe had to offer in the short amount of time we had off.
All of the Planning
We decided that the pass that best fit out itinerary was the Global Pass twenty-two day continuous and at the time we purchased it we received an extra three days free with our pass. We also decided that since we were going to be spending a lot of time on the trains, it was worth it to spend the little extra money for the first class tickets versus the second class. (Not gonna lie, it was a fantastic choice and I highly recommend it if your planning month long or longer trips)
For our trip, we used the Eurail’s European Highlights itinerary as a starting point to plan out trip, and then edited it according to our timetable and everyone’s personal preference for the trip. One of the easy adjustments we made to the itinerary was taking France off the trip since we had done a weekend trip previously, so we decided to start in Amsterdam and and add destination after destination after that.
We manages to explore ten countries and sixteen cities with our “twenty five” day Global Pass on the Eurail. Most major cities we stayed about two days and the smaller cities we stayed about a day and a half. We would schedule our trains either early in the morning or later at night if they were longer so we wouldn’t waste too much of the day. With shorter train ride, we scheduled those around mid afternoon so we could spend the morning wandering in a city and have the evening in a new city. We tried to plan out as much as possible ahead of time so that while we were traveling we didn’t have anything left to think or worry about.
(Also, when I say “schedule”, I mean we planned out most of our time table so that we knew expactly what train we were taking and on what day. We had a few that required reservations but most never reqiured it. On our first train ride, we all got divide up because we didn’t have reserved seats together. Which is not a big deal because we had a ticket no matter what. After that train ride, we decided to make reservations on the longer ones so that we could all sit together and not worry about being separate. We like’d our buddy system.)
The best AirBnb award goes to our double-balcony in Venice. Even when it rained we lived for that view!
A lot of our planning revolved around time, budget, and effeciency. We wanted to make sure that we did not spend the rest of our savings on the trip ( we still had a month left of school in London when we got back.) So we were still trying to be cautious, but we wanted to make sure we werent always racing against the clock instead of taking in all of the experiences.
We kept an incredibly detail document between the six of us on our google docs up to date with our travel plans. Any time a train time, flight, or revervation changed we updated the document. You probably thinking, that is incredibly over the top to go that much into detail, but it was exactly what we needed. Most of the time we didn’t always have WiFi so it was important to have a saved copy of the document on our phones (and a hard copy) so we would always have the train times, our AirBnb rservations addresses, and emergency contacts.
During our planning, we found that one of the things that was equally as important to us was time management. We ended up booking a flight from Monte Carlo (technically we flew out of Nice) to Barcelona to not only save time, but so we didn't waste a day dedicated to travel. We wanted to spend as much time in each city as possible, and by switching it up and taking that flight we were able to to extend out trip to Lisbon. We also found that we saved more money by booking AirBnbs. AirBnbs tended to be in the locations that we wanted, whether it was in the city center, close to the train station, best prices, and felt more autentic. It was like a homey introduction as soon as we got to each city and the hosts were always willing to tell us where the best food, hidden attractions, and local favorites were in the city.
Overall, the Eurail was the most flexible and cost effective option for us and everything we wanted to accomplish. And oh boy did we test the limits of what we could pack into twenty-five days.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)