Visiting Japan

In late August to early September I went on a trip to Japan for three weeks for my 18th birthday. I took the trip with my mom, dad, and grandpa. We visited Kyoto and Tokyo while also taking many day trips

Maui: Activities

Maui is filled with hundreds of activities, from zip lining to snorkeling, you can find anything here

  

Zip lining can be relaxing for some, but nerve wrecking for others. If you’re conquering a fear or enjoying the view, this is a safe activity for people of all ages. The company you go with also makes a difference. Skyline Eco Adventures made the whole experience fun and enjoyable for everyone

 

Snorkeling in Molokini and turtle town was amazing. Molokini is a crater just off the coast of Maui, we took a boat there so if you get motion sickness, take dramamine. It is a bird sanctuary on top and a marine sanctuary on the bottom. I was nervous at first but once you get in the water and see how calm the fish and coral reef is you’ll love it!

Paddle boarding is a fun water sport to try. A placid beach with less waves would be ideal. Whatever you do, don’t look down!

Check out Lahaina and Kaanapali

Check out Road to Hana

Maui: Road to Hana

Hana was my favorite part of the trip, it is located on the eastern part of the island. I loved it because of the black sand beaches,  waterfalls, and because of how isolated it is from the crowds and touristy parts. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer. When you talk to other people about Hana they will all tell you how difficult it is to drive on Hana Highway. When we heard this, we decided to take a guided van tour and play it safe but while we were on the tour we instantly regretted not driving there ourselves.

There are hundreds of turns, narrow bridges, and times where the lane is a lane and a half wide. I recommend driving there yourself if you have an experienced driver and stopping along the side of the road for hiking trails, fruit stands, or simply just to take photos. Ideally I would of liked to drive to Hana, spend the night, then come back the next day.

Experience the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa. You can go swimming, fishing, or camp on this unique spot. Also, pay a visit to the lava cave and blowholes

No trip to Hana is complete without visiting a waterfall. Along the highway there are plenty, so be ready with a bathing suit and towel to jump in!

  

The Seven Sacred Pools were another highlight, even though the journey can be long and nerve wrecking, it is worth it when you get to see the pools. Sadly, swimming was not permitted when I went but the view itself is worth the trip

 

If you’re looking for a nice hiking trail, Hana is filled with them. Most of them are hidden and lead to waterfalls making them even more isolated and beautiful than the average hiking trail. These are also nice places to stop for lunch and have a picnic

 

Another perk of driving to Hana yourselves and not having a tour guide is having the freedom to stop at as many roadside fruit stands and attractions as you want.

Check out Maui Activities

Check out Lahaina and Kaanapali

Maui: Lahaina and Kaanapali

Maui is one of the main 8 islands of Hawaii, it has a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you want to unwind in the resorts in Wailea, go shopping in Lahaina, hiking in Hana, or water sports in Kaanapali, Maui has it all!

Our first stop was Launiupoko Beach Park. If your’e looking for a place to camp this beach is a good place to do so. It has a smaller pond section for children and the beach itself is beautiful. Don’t forget your hammocks!

    

Front Street in Lahaina is a nice walk next to the beach filled with restaurants, handmade tikis, and the 144 year old Banyan Tree! If the timing is right you could even go to a town party on the 2nd Friday of the month and if you’re really there at the right time you could go to a birthday party for the Banyan Tree held every year!

  

Napili Beach is another beautiful beach. The calm, warm, crystal clear water is perfect for paddle boarding. I suggest trying a coconut while you’re in Hawaii, they’re everywhere!

 

The Pacific itself is a sight to sea. Whether it’s a rainbow or a turtle, the ocean holds tons of unique things. Take some time and look at all the aquatic life and admire your view of the surrounding islands

Check out Maui Activities

Check out Road to Hana

Paris Vegan Restaurants

Even though the average restaurant didn’t have many vegan options we were able to create many makeshift vegan meals. Though the vegan restaurants were amazing we usually had to go a far distance to find them. When traveling in Paris just remember one thing. Where there’s a will, there’s a way… You can make anything vegan!!!

The first night we arrived to our hotel, most things were closed, so we went into a random bar/restaurant to eat ratatouille and rice. This dish can be found mostly anywhere in France and is typically vegan or can be made vegan.

Another make shift vegan meal. When we went to the Eiffel Tower we stopped  at a sandwich place that made a veggie sandwich along with a cup of strawberries.

 

Le Potager de Marais

This all vegan restaurant was definatly my favorite. The first night we went (yes I say “the first night” because I just had to go back) I had roasted bell peppers, veggies, and mashed potatoes then creme brûlée for dessert.

The second time I went I had a veggie platter with mashed potatoes on top and a zucchini soup along with some lemonade. This place was truly amazing, I would have come back again if I had more time!

  

Oatmeal

This all vegan oatmeal bar was not only a break from makeshift vegan breakfast sandwiches but also a nice little cafe to drink some tea and relax. I ate here twice and as much as I like trying new things, I had the same oatmeal because it was just so good. I ordered one with chocolate chips, strawberries, and coconut shreds. They also offer cakes and milkshakes which are just as delicious.

 

Dachau Concentration Camp

Dachau was a concentration camp ran by the Nazis during WW2. It is located near Munich and has now been made into a museum and a memorial site for visitors.

 

This is the entrance of the camp, there are fences everywhere and even a gate that contains the quote “work will set you free” in German.

The photo is a picture of the memorial museum. Inside, one can find photos, artifacts, articles, etc about the history of the camp and the people that were forced to work here.

 

The camp includes a sculpture by Nandor Glid. The sculpture seems to depict several bodies or bones along with limbs that turn into barbed wire.

 

The gas chambers are also open to the public. The first photo shows the exterior of the gas building, while the second photo shows the inside of an actual gas chamber. The inside was a wide room that could cram in about 150 people at a time. There are no windows, only fixtures in the ceiling for expelling  toxic gas.

 

Photos taken of the crematorium where dead bodies were burned. The bodies were placed in the bigger compartment while the ashes were taken out of the bottom.

 

Although these photos are not of the actual bunkers from WW2, these were made to accurately depict the originals.

A Jewish Memorial was also built at the camp.

 

Koblenz and Burg Eltz

Koblenz is one of Germany’s ancient cities, it is home to many castles and also sits near the Rhine River

 

Koblenz is a city built among an ancient city, so simply walking around and admiring the thousand year old buildings and streets will be fascinating

 

Take a walk along the Moselle River and enjoy the view

  

From Koblenz we took a day trip to Burg Eltz, a medieval castle situated in the hills of above the Moselle River. To get to the castle itself you have the choice to hike or take a bus, I recommend hiking to the top because the surrounding area is beautiful and tranquil.

 

The castle itself offers tours which can be presented in different languages. Take a look from the top of the castle to admire the medieval city below it and the surrounding moat.

Chicago Vegan Restaurants

It was no surprise to me when I realized there were many Chicago vegan restaurants, I mean after all the city itself is among one of the most diverse in the U.S.

Protein Bar

Although The Protein Bar was not an all vegan or an all vegetarian restaurant, it did offer a number of vegan options

  

Native Foods Cafe

An all vegan restaurant that serves anything from lavender lemonade to delicious nachos. I’m all for trying new foods but I couldn’t resist coming back to this place over and over….and over.

Chicago pt.2

Check out pt.1

The Art Institute is one of the biggest and largest art museums in the U.S. It has been a popular destination for art lovers for years

Take a walk down the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Street, for a day of shopping. Also be sure to check out this nutella cafe, one of only 12 in the world!

   

Willis Tower is known for its incredible view of the whole city, visitors can go to the top of the skyscraper and stand on a glass floor for a complete view of Chicago, but whatever you do, don’t look down!

The Chicago Riverwalk is a perfect place for dining, water activities, or simply just walking and enjoying the view

Milton Lee Olive Park provides a beach like setting with a skyline view and is also a comfortable walk from the Navy Pier

Navy Pier is long pier stretching out into Lake Michigan, a great place for families, locals, and tourists to spend a day exploring.