I felt a click the moment the wheels lifted off the tarmac. As in: it’s too late, there’s no turning back now. The frost on the airplane window is telling me this is no longer your home. I watch London’s close packed grey roofs fade into squares of white, cordoned by dark green hedges. All of England seemingly covered in crisp snowflakes, never more beautiful than in this exact moment, gazing down from my window seat. Beautiful because it’s no longer mine. It is like the country I love so dearly is sending me a white flag of surrender, offering up a final goodbye. Or maybe the snow is a celebration (of me leaving? or of my years here?).
I came to Hungary hungry (pardon the pun, friends) and I was in for a treat exploring the gluten free Budapest scene! Dan and I spent four days in Budapest in August (a one night layover between Belgium and Austria, and then a proper weekend a few days later). It wasn’t nearly long enough to fully explore the gluten free Budapest scene, or experience
every single thermal bath all the things we wanted to see. I usually shy away from writing up gluten free city guides if I don’t feel like I truly know a city. However, I’m going to give gluten free Budapest a shot because Dan’s good friend and her mom (who are both gluten intolerant) visited Budapest a few weeks before us, and I got to pick their brains as well!
November was one of those months for me that, looking back, seems like it could have been four months. How was I working in France at the refugee camps at the beginning of the month and now I’m here, sitting at my friend’s kitchen table in northern Germany typing this out? I love doing these recap posts because it makes me remember how much actually happens in life.
If you’ve been following my instagram, you’ll see that life lately has been cozy, pink, and full of gluten free bagels: I have Ecomama Hotel Amsterdam to thank for that! With my spike in traveling recently, and also some reflections after working in the refugee camps, I’ve decided to honestly invest in making more ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible decisions with my money when I travel. (You’ll even see that I’ve added a new category in my blog menu: Ethical Travel). Whereas I previously looked for a low price/high design ratio in travel accommodation, I’m now adding sustainability into the mix.
This Thanksgiving was the fourth Thanksgiving I’ve spent living abroad, far away from my family and the traditions I grew up with. Far away from Turkey trots, canned cranberry sauce and anything resembling a pumpkin pie. Every year abroad I’ve made some kind of lackluster attempt at replicating Thanksgiving – a turkey burger one year, a cranberry cocktail at a conference last year, a sad attempt at a pumpkin pie in which I forgot the sugar (mmm let’s not talk about that one). It’s not that I’m not grateful to live abroad (because I am so so grateful), but it can be difficult to spend most major holidays feeling like you are missing out. However, this year was different. This year I celebrated American Thanksgiving in Germany, with my childhood best friend who flew all the way from Michigan! It was one I will never forget.
In the spirit of the Brits (who start making Christmas dinner reservations in June) I’m ready for the holidays a bit early this year: I’ve made a list of unique gifts for every kind of traveler! This is the first time I’ve ever put together a holiday gift guide because, well, I’m lazy. But it was worth the effort I hope, as I believe I’ve found some true gems! Whether you are (or are looking to buy gifts for) the nester with wanderlust, the backpacker, or the overpacker, I’ve got you covered!
**SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT REFUGEES & BUY YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTS AT THE SAME TIME!**
Twenty miles across the English channel, I went to work everyday and spoke with teenage girls who woke up with tear gas in their eyes, police boots in their ribs. On the outskirts of the grey, suburban neighborhoods of Dunkirk and Calais, police soak donated sleeping bags and tarpaulin in tear gas concoctions, rendering them useless. Children sell their bodies so they can pay for a way to meet family across the channel. The first cases of trenchfoot since World War One are running rampant. It sounds like a dystopian reality, but it’s not, and it’s here.
I could go on explaining the police intimidation and horrific conditions that make up life for refugees in Northern France right now (and this is a good post if that’s what you want to read) – but something would be missing. The actual refugees.
What to do in Little Venice London is a good question, but the first question for most people is probably what IS Little Venice London? It took me years of living in England before I’d ever heard of Little Venice, and when I finally did I couldn’t believe that this unique area existed and me, a travel blogger, London lover, and frequenter of the city countless times, had never happened upon it! I suppose that is partly the magic of London: It is so vast and fascinating, that you can spend hours – a lifetime – exploring it and you’ll still happen upon new places to fall in love with.
It has now been, wow, over two months since Dan and I spent a weekend in Budapest. Budapest was our last city before we slowed down and spent two leisurely weeks road tripping and hiking Slovenia, and we were facing sight seeing exhaustion. It was the middle of an August heat wave and our Airbnb lacked A/C, but mostly made up for that with its espresso machine. At the time, I jotted down some impressions of Budapest, which made their way to the back of my notebook and the back of my mind. A couple months, a few countries, and seemingly a world away now, I thought I would share what Budapest is for me.
Prior to our trip to Cinque Terre, Italy, I was thrilled to see the famous coastal villages, but was expecting to go hungry as my Google searches showed that gluten free Cinque Terre options were spotty at best. I figured that there are worse things than living off gelato and limoncello…maybe my stomach wouldn’t feel so empty if I distracted myself with the colorful villages around me. WELL. After our five-day stay in Cinque Terre, I am here with an updated list for all of my gluten free traveling friends out there. This really is the ultimate guide to gluten free Cinque Terre, Italy: below you can read my restaurant recommendations village by village, as well as some general tips such as what village to stay in, traditional foods, and why Tripadvisor is full of lies and deceit 😉 I have also included a downloadable map at the bottom of the post! Enjoy and happy gluten free traveling.