One of my favorite counties in Europe is Slovenia. I love to be outside and appreciate natural beauty (trees, mountains, waterfalls), so Slovenia was perfect. We drove from Germany to Lake Bled (about 8 hours from Kaiserslautern) and brought Henry (our dog). Lake Bled was the busiest place we visited in Slovenia, but it is still a quiet area in comparison to most other places in Europe.
There is a beautiful walking path all around the lake. To get to the church on the island, you need to take a boat. Bled Castle is perched on top of a ridge and looks as if it could fall into the lake from some angles. You can walk or drive up to the castle and from there get some wonderful panoramic views.
My husband loves to scuba dive and is always looking for off the beaten path places to dive...usually more like Palau than Lake Bled, but he figured when else would he have this opportunity? The diving was ok---no huge fish or anything colorful, but the cold climate of the lake has some species of marine life that are not often found in other dive sites.
After Lake Bled we headed to the Soca River Valley. The GPS said something like 50 miles, so we thought an hour or so. What we didn't realize is the route is literally up and over a mountain pass. It is gorgeous scenery, but the road has about a million switchbacks and at some points is very narrow. We were happy once we reached the other side :) The Soca River valley is known for rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter (not world class skiing, but decent skiing). We traveled here in September and it was already turning chilly (even has some flurries at night...this was all new snow on the mountain).
We stayed just a couple of miles outside of one of the small towns and felt like we owned the place. There were more cows than people. We stayed in a small apartment that was part of a working farm. We ate dinner and breakfast with the owners and there were only a few other guests. It was a perfect place to explore....but if this is too quiet for you, stay in one of the main towns and there are restaurants, shops and bars to entertain you while taking in the natural beauty.
On our way to Croatia, we stopped to see the Lippenzzaner horses. Slovenia was one of the original breeding locations for these horses and the area holds on to the tradition. You can see the horses perform on-site. This isn't my thing (my husband was interested, I went for a hike with Henry), so I don't have any photos, but this is something that can done either as an overnight stay (there is a nearby town) or as a day trip. It is about an hour north of the Croatia border.
We stayed in Opatija, Croatia which is about 40 minutes across the Slovenian border. Opatija is a historic beach town and it has a beautiful wooded walking path along the coast. The beaches are all rocky in this area and there are only a few places suitable for swimming (mostly at established swim/beach clubs).
We drove inland to see Plitvice National Park. We arrived in the middle of the day (around 1:30pm), which in hindsight was a mistake. Even though we weren't there in peak season, it was still very crowded. Think about probably 30 bus loads of people.....all in a pristine beautiful park. The two don't mix very well. We started walking (the park is dog-friendly) and it was like a traffic jam...wall to wall people..so much so we considered leaving. After an hour or so of walking, we noticed most people were turning off the trail at a spot where the main trail continued. We learned from our innkeeper that is where the buses are and most leave around 3pm. Sure enough, after that turn off, we lost about 90% of the people and could finally enjoy ourselves (so early in the morning and after 3pm are the best times to visit).
I highly recommend a visit to Plitvice and it is worth taking your time to explore. There are trams that take you from one part of the park to another and you can either start or end with a boat ride across one of the larger lakes (saving about 2 hours of hiking time). I also recommend staying in the area overnight, so you have flexibility to go when it isn't as busy (it made a huge difference for us).
I often get asked where to visit in Europe after you have seen the main attractions (think Eiffel Tower, Rome, London, etc). One of my suggestions is to visit the former Soviet Republics, such as Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. These countries aren't far distance wise (there are several non-stop flights...Ryan Air even flies to some locations), but the experience is different from what you find in many other parts of Europe.
This photo is from a (restored) caste just outside of Vilnius, Lithuania (called Trakai Castle). I mention the restored part because many old buildings in Europe are as they have been for hundreds of years, with only minor restorations. However, in Lithunia the older buildings were allowed to crumble and were not maintained for many years (under Soviet rule). After gaining independence, they have restored many of the cultural centers based on what they looked like in their prime. If I didn't know this castle had been restored, I would have had no idea. The supplies used in restoration were as close to the original materials as possible.
Vilnius is the capital city, but has a smaller town feel with a river running through the city. It is one of the greenest capitals in Europe....both in terms of green space and environmental regulations. The city is very walkable and I found everyone to be very friendly.
As you may have figured out, I love food! Lithuania had lots of great food that I had never tried before---this photo is of potato pancakes (which I've had many times), but on the menu were probably no less than 30 varieties. This was with an egg and onion. Lithuania is also known for kibiny (spellings vary) which are handheld, dough pockets filled with one of many options. The best part is that it was easy to try the local specialties as the prices are quite low....this potato pancake dish was about $2 (even with table service in a restaurant) and kibiny were closer to $1 and two would make a meal.
Moving on to Estonia, many people experience the capital city of Tallinn on a Baltic cruise (I did as well---we were sailing on Seabourn). The old city is fairly compact and can easily be seen during the 6 or 8 hours of a port stop.
If you look close, you can see one of the cruise ships in the background. It is a short 5 to 10 minute drive from the port to the old town and many cruise lines have bus service (it is included in the price with Seabourn and around $10 for other cruise lines).
One thing I noticed in Tallinn was all of the churches of various denominations. There were more than 10 churches right in the city center, many open to the public and several with museums inside.
The most memorable part of my visit was my stop at the Museum of Occupations. As the title hints at, this museum is dedicated to the history of Estonia told through who was occupying the country. It is a fairly small, but the exhibits tell the very personal story of Estonians and how their life changed during the time the country wasn't independent. I learned so much from this museum, I would 100% recommend it. It is about a 5 minute walk outside of the old city.
I visited Riga, Lativa in 2009 and it was my first exposure to an Eastern European country. There is a similar museum of occupation in Riga and I left feeling completely ignorant as I knew nothing about this part of the world (other than it has been under Soviet rule). I also had no idea that there were concentration camps in Latvia. I literally found out this fact looking a tourist brochure showing tours available. I hired a guide and went to the camp about 40 minutes outside the city---I was expecting something along the lines of Auschwitz in that it would be a surviving camp...like with buildings. What I saw was much more powerful in a lot of ways....the camp is now completely in ruins with a simple monument documenting the location. When news spread that troops were coming to liberate the camp, the guards set fire to the camp. There were very few survivors. All that is left is a few concrete foundations. My mind filled in too many blanks and I was quite emotional. My guide also took me to a mass burial site which is marked today with a simple marker. It was an uncomfortable visit, but I felt like I wanted to know more about the history and the guide was essential in giving me that background---had I hired a driver only to take me there I wouldn't have known what I was looking at.
A visit to Riga isn't all depressing. In town there is a new section with high rise buildings next to the old town, so it is easy to mix current day life with history. I wish I could post photos, but after searching for hours, I can't seem to find my jump drive from 2009 (a hazard of moving all the time!!). Trust me, the city is beautiful and worth a visit. A few cruise lines stop near Riga or the airport is just a short drive from the city.
All of the cities I mention are great to visit over a weekend or 3 days. They all have plenty of accommodation and restaurant options and the prices are very reasonable. In addition the the history I mention, there is also plenty to do in terms of entertainment (Riga is known for having an excellent ballet), shopping and a thriving culinary scene. Please feel free to get in touch if I can help you plan a visit.
Not like the book of the same name....a different kind of wild. I have clients on safari now and it made me remember my own safari experience a few years ago. There are many things I loved about being on safari, but the most important was a sense of awe and amazement. In a world where so much is predictable and many experiences choreographed down to the tiniest detail, it was nice change to know that each time I went in the vehicle or set out on foot for safari, I had no idea what I would see. My husband and I went in July which is winter in South Africa. We chose a small safari lodge in a private reserve because we wanted to observe animals in the wild with as few human interruptions as possible. We stayed at Chitwa Chitwa in Sabi Sands and it delivered as promised.
This photo was taken from our back deck, the ledge you see on the bottom right was our plunge pool. We didn't really use it because it was too chilly, but one night we heard a huge splash and in peeking out the window, a leopard had fallen off (or jumped off) the rock wall into our pool. Talk about being close to nature! These elephants came for a visit shortly before our afternoon game drive on the last day. I couldn't take my eyes off them and decided why do I need to get in the jeep when I can sit here in a robe and be on my own private game drive :) The watering hole was full of hippo and the bathroom wall was all glass...so I could literally see a hippo wading in the water while I waded in the huge soaking bath tub inside. Again, my own private safari. The lodge location was excellent and the staff very knowledge about the area and wildlife. Yes, this experience was expensive (about $700 per night), but it included meals, many drinks, two safari drives (about 4 hours each), a choice to go on a walking safari, and a room with probably the best view I've ever had. Our safari jeep always had less than 8 people in it and the private reserve has restrictions as to how many jeeps can be at an animal sighting at one time (a total of 3). The guides are all in radio contact to alert each other when they see something special (for us it was the endangered wild dogs...that just had pups). For many people, a safari is a once in a lifetime experience (the flight is a long one!) and this is not the time to cut corners. It is possible to do a safari at a lower price, but you may not even stay in a park. Or you are in a jeep with 20+ people with a guide not as familiar with the area or the animals. This was my first safari and I really didn't know what to expect (ok, I thought I would see lions and elephants...). I had no concept of how close I would come to these beautiful creatures. Our guide knew so much I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge. One recommendation I have (and something I give to all of my clients going on safari) is bring an animal identification book with you. Once you see something in the wild, it peaks your curiosity as to what they eat, how long they live, who are their enemies, etc. The lodge had a book, but I wanted to make notes so I could reference it again the next day.
The little slideshow gives you a small glimpse of all of the animals we saw on a 3 night safari. I left in one photo where you can see part of the jeep so you have perspective as to just how close you can get to the animals. These photos were not taken with a long zoom lens! We arrived on day one just in time for the afternoon game drive and had to leave before the morning game drive on the last day....so that gave us a total of 5 drives. My recommendation is to stay between 3 and 5 nights on safari. We were in Africa for about 10 days total--we started in Cape Town and went to Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe after our safari. This was a nice balance of safari vs non-safari activities (Africa has a lot to offer!). The journey to the safari lodges is a long one in South Africa. You fly from Cape Town or Johannesburg (or you can do a long drive from J-burg) and then it is about 1.5 to 3 hours by road from the airport---about half on dirt roads. We were lucky enough to see some animals on our drive to the lodge.
I would be happy to help you plan your safari experience. There are lots of locations to choose from (South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania to name a few) and some safari lodges are family friendly. Most lodges do have a minimum age requirement to go on game drives.
Week 2, place 2 :) The photo above is of the Gordes du Verdon in Southern France. France is high on my list because of the beautiful scenery (mountains, oceans, forests) and because of the food. I have visited France many times (maybe 10 or so) and I honestly feel like there is still so much to see and do (and eat!).
Those of you that know me well, know that there has been a time (or two...) that I've gone to France just to eat the food. While I don't speak French well, I have learned to read a menu (to at least decipher if something is vegetarian or not). Food is a universal language!
France, like most of the rest of Europe, puts a focus on local food and eating in the season. This means eating fresh melons from Provence only when they are at their peak. I'm not a big fan of melon, but I still remember how amazing the Cavaillon ones were that I bought at the local market. I thought...oh, a smaller cantaloupe, but boy was I wrong :) France has taught me to live in the moment and buy what looks good at the markets....even if I'm not quite sure what I'm getting. A small purchase of 2 or 3€ could open your eyes to something you may not be able to get anywhere else....and if you don't like it.....you aren't out a fortune. The French (also like many Europeans) value quality over quantity....supersize me isn't a thing. The French also savor their food and (generally) make the time to enjoy meals...tasting every bite. When you are there visiting, there is no reason not to sit and people watch with a drink (alcohol or not) and taste the difference.
France is not only a destination for foodies (or wine lovers)...although there is obviously enough to keep you occupied for weeks...but also a place of beauty and history. The French chateau is one of the iconic images of France and there are hundreds to see in various stages of renovation....from ruins to fully resorted. On our way back from Normandy (a great place to see history) we wanted a half way point to stop for the night. The more I travel, the less interested I am in chain hotels and lodging that could be anywhere in the world. After creative use of Google translate, I found a room in a chateau (that was also dog friendly....Henry our dog was with us) available for our dates. Driving up the chateau make us feel like royalty---and the inside was beautiful. This was just an average, every day chateau....not noteworthy enough to be a museum or owned by a royal. France has given me opportunities to experience these off the beaten path journeys more than most other countries. I often drove myself from one place to the next and went far off the tourist path and was greatly rewarded for it.
Like most places I've traveled, I could go on forever and talk about my experiences. I will leave this post simply saying that France is high on my list and no matter your interest in travel, there is something for everyone in France. I would love to help you plan your trip to France to make it a memorable journey.
I get requests for my top 5 places to visit....or top 10 things to see....or my favorite place I've been. For me, it is impossible! Of course there are places I've visited that I really enjoyed and would go back to in a heartbeat, but after visiting 65 or so countries, there is no way to rank them. That being said, my plan is to start blogging more and I will start by posting some places I thought were amazing. So, in no particular order...one such amazing place hopefully every week :)
I've been to India twice....once to work at mobile medical camps in a tiger reserve in Southern India (my first career was in public health) where I stayed for a couple of months and second time in Rajasthan 5 years later for vacation. I traveled by myself and found that while India can be chaotic it can also be very peaceful. My senses were in overdrive almost every moment but I think travel should transform you....and for me India did that. As a traveler, India offers opportunities to see historic monuments (like the Amber Fort above), beautiful scenery, and wildlife and try new foods, drinks and experiences (like a visit to an ashram). India is also a shoppers paradise and a destination for detox and Ayurvedic spa treatments (I still dream of my head massages...). India has something for everyone....
This is a temple at Mysore Palace in Southern India. Look at how ornate the figures are....so beautiful. There are lots of different itineraries I can plan for India---independent options to explore with drivers on select days (my driver still e-mails me on all Indian holidays to say hello) or options where you are escorted by a guide and driver for your entire visit. There are now even river cruises on the Ganges with luxury companies like Uniworld where all of the details are taken care of and all you have to do is enjoy (and volunteer if you like at certain ports). I am dreaming of my next visit....Kerala is high on my list.
There are several reasons to use a travel agent....here are the top 5.
So, now that we have the agent part down, what are the benefits of using an independent company like Unraveled Travel.
I look forward to working with you all of you!
My husband and I went on a 7-night sailing with Seabourn to the Baltic Sea. Seabourn is the only cruise line to consistently offer 2 overnights in St. Petersburg on a 7 night cruise….which was exactly what we were looking for.
Seabourn has a great reputation and I was looking forward to the sailing. Overall, it was an amazing experience.
-I had reserved the lowest category verandah in a guarantee status. Our stateroom was assigned less than a week before sailing. However, we were upgraded to a V6 in an excellent location. The stateroom was very large with a sofa, table with two chairs, queen size bed, and a long narrow dresser. There was also some storage in the nightstands and above and below the TV. The balcony was large and had room for two chairs and a small table (with room to spare both in front of the chairs (you could stand and look out easily without touching the chairs) and with space in between so you were not right next to your companion). The bathroom had a double vanity with space to store items and a separated tub and shower. Molton Brown amenities were provided. The walk in closet had two tier racks, as well as a one tier higher rack for longer items. There were also a few small drawers and a safe.
-The food was excellent. The specialty restaurant (The Grill by Thomas Keller) was fantastic, especially for my husband who is a huge meat eater. It was ok for me (I’m a vegetarian who does eat some fish). There were several places to eat on board and the quality of the food was great across the board. There were healthy options at each meal, such as fruits and vegetables. I noticed several meal choices were offered such as gluten-free, sugar free, vegetarian. Afternoon tea was held most days and was a nice addition. The desserts in the Colonnade (buffet) and the restaurant were quite good (same with those offered at afternoon tea).
-Drinks are mostly included. I thought some of my husband’s favorite single malt whiskies might be considered premium and charged extra, but that wasn’t the case and he tried several. Be warned that Seabourn will ask for your drink preferences to stock your mini bar. I wasn’t prepared and couldn’t think of anything we liked to drink :) The cabin stewardess met with us the first night to request any drink items we may have forgotten.
-The staff to passenger ratio is very high on Seabourn and while staff were available when we needed them, the service varied quite a bit.
-Fellow passengers. Most passengers were in the 40 to 60 year old range. A good percentage were repeat Seabourn clients (probably 50% or so of the people we met). I was surprised to see as many kids on board as I did---from infant age to teenagers. I would guess 20+ kids on our sailing. Not a big deal for us, but I know some people that are interested in Seabourn want an adult only experience.
-Docking and Port Calls. We stayed on schedule and announcements were made as to which deck to disembark each day (varied between two locations). Most docking locations were close to the city center. In Tallinn, Seabourn offered a free shuttle bus. Most disappointing was that we had to dock outside of St. Petersburg----normally Seabourn docks on the river in the middle of the city with amazing city views. It added about 15-20 minutes driving time each way into/out of the city, but you can only get off the boat with a guide or on a tour (unless you have your own visa), so going on our own wasn’t possible for most at this port.
The two overnights in St. Petersburg were important to us because we also wanted to visit Moscow. You have to have 2 overnights to make this work as it is around 18-19 total hours away from the ship. The high speed train is 4 hours each way or you can fly. It is a long day, but was the complete highlight of the trip!!! Our guide was wonderful---if you want her name, please message me.
-The other item to mention is the ship size. I have sailed on Windstar and was expecting Seabourn Quest to only be a bit larger (I was on Star Breeze---a former Seabourn ship). I was wrong. The ship itself is definitely a medium sized ship. From the pier, it looks quite large (until it docks next to a Princess ship which we did the next day!) We had about 450 people on board—a good amount for a ship this size. However, there were times the boat felt crowded. If you want a small ship experience, Seabourn Quest may be a bit too big. However, if you are used to the big ships and want to scale back some, Seabourn would be a great option.
Yet another beautiful location in the Alps! My husband and I have visited over 12 ski resorts in Europe and while all are beautiful, each one is a little different from the others...in terms of skiing and the atmosphere.
Andermatt is located near the Gotthard Pass in Switzerland. Lucerne is the nearest big city, but you can reach Andermatt from Zurich by train in about 2 hours. The town itself is quite small and has a historic feel (old architecture, narrow roads), but there are plenty of modern amenities. The luxury brand Chedi has a beautiful hotel and spa here (be prepared to spend some big bucks!) and there are several boutique properties. The true character of the city can be found in its small guest houses (Gasthaus) both for the rooms and the restaurants.
There are several ski resorts linked together in this region and you can access all of them by cable car or train from Andermatt (included in the price of the ski pass).
If like me, your other half likes to ski, but you don't....there are plenty of winter walking trails here. Several trails start right in the city. There are also options for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. There are a few stores, but Andermatt is not the place to go to shop. The apres ski scene in Andermatt is fairly quiet, no where near the level of many other Alpine resorts. There is a whiskey bar with high end choices and a few on mountain bars that can attract a crowd.
Since Andermatt isn't a huge resort, prices are reasonable...or as least as reasonable as they can be for Switzerland. Expect to pay around $150-$200 per night for a double room in a gasthaus and $50-$75 for dinner (nothing fancy).
Please message me if you would like more information or are interested in a trip to Andermatt.
A lot of people say to me "I can't afford a river cruise." It is true that the up front costs of a river cruise can be higher than that for an ocean cruise. The lowest price river cruise is usually around $1700 per person and goes up from there. However, because most river cruises include a lot more in the price of the cruise than do most ocean cruises, the TOTAL price of the cruise is often the same.
In the example below, I compare a popular river cruise company Ama Waterways with Holland America, a well-known ocean cruise line. Holland America is considered an mid to high level cruise line (although not considered premium or luxury). The service on board is excellent. Ama Waterways is considered a mid to high level river cruise line (not considered premium or luxury) and the service on board is excellent. So, trying to compare apples to apples :)
Most river cruise rooms, and all of them on Ama Waterways, have a window. Most are full length windows and some rooms have balconies. Holland America has some room choices without a window (called interior rooms) and then rooms with more views as you move up the price categories.
It is true, that if you get a sale price on Holland America for an inside room....even with everything you will have to add on to the cruise, it may still be less than a river cruise. However, if you take the same category of rooms and compare, the price is the about the same (or sometimes even less).
Price isn't everything. The atmosphere on board is completely different between a river cruise and an ocean cruise. Ama Waterways boats hold 200 people or less and dock right in city centers. There is no need to walk from the port into town or take a tender (small boat) from the boat to the shore--both of these are common on ocean cruises. Most Holland American ships hold between 1,000 and 2,000 people. This is considered mid-size for ocean vessels. Having 200 or less companions on board means getting off the ship is quicker and easier and the cruise has a more intimate feel. You have a better chance of getting to know others on board and the staff have a better opportunity to know you and what you like. There are some river cruise lines that allow children, but not all do. The facilities on board aren't as extensive on a river cruise as they are on an ocean cruise---the spa and pool may be smaller, there isn't a kids club (if they allow children), and entertainment options are toned down (no Broadway-like shows like you often get on an ocean cruise).
Please message me and we can discuss which options are best for you...for either a river or an ocean cruise.
I like to travel by myself. Sometimes it is the only way travel is possible....like if my husband or friends don't have the time to travel when I do. Other times, no one else is interested in going to where I want to go :) Or don't want to see a place the way I want to see it. This week I headed out solo for a quick trip to Porto, Portugal. I landed and headed for the Metro to the stop closest to my hotel. I emerged on the street into a chaos of people and noise...and no real idea where I was going. I luckily found a place with free city maps and proceeded to...as inconspiciously as possible...take a quick look and see which direction I needed to go. I guessed wrong, but found a lively street and this beautiful church. Once I knew I was heading in the wrong direction, I changed course and headed towards my hotel. When I travel alone, I have no one to apologize to for going in the wrong direction. I wanted to get to my hotel to put my bag down, but I had no real schedule and knew if I couldn't find the hotel on my own, I could always ask for directions or get a taxi.
I originally was going to stay at a chain hotel where I have points. Free is tempting :) Although as my trip approached and I looked more into the location of the hotel, I realized it wasn't for me. I was in Porto for one full day (two nights) and staying outside the city center (even for free!) just didn't make sense. Porto has lots of reasonably priced hotel options, so that also helped make my decision. For 51€ per night, I stayed right in the city center and it included breakfast. The hotel was old (the oldest in Porto), but was full of character and antiques. This is another time when it is nice to travel solo. My trip, my stay, my decision....
I woke up the next morning to lots of variety at breakfast. I had heard that the Portuguese like their sweets and this buffet certainly showed that. There were 5 cakes, crepes, french toast (more like friend dough), flan, rice pudding and sweet, sugar dipped breads. There were also savory options, but it was clear that there is an expectation to have at least a little sugar with your breakfast (no complaints here!). Feeling fortified, I headed out to explore. I knew I wanted to see the Douro River and at least one of the markets. It was still early (around 9am) when I arrived at the riverfront and things were quiet. I was nearly alone and could appreciate the views and spy the port houses across the way. I knew the area would be bustling with people later in the day as there are stores and restaurants all along the way (they just weren't open yet). I caught a glimpse of it later in the day going full steam and was thankful I had the tranquil moments that morning.
After leaving the river, I headed in the general direction of the Balhao market. I'm not one for maps when I travel alone---I look to see generally which direction---and then head out. The sun was hitting the old marking building when I arrived and it was beautiful. One of the corner stores was a seed and flower shop. Prime real estate for seeds....not something you see in many countries. Much better than a fast food restaurant or tourist store in my opinion. The inside of the market was as old and run down as advertised. I don't mean that in a bad way. There was a little bit of everything for both the locals and the visitors. The stalls set up on the upstairs railing were all fruit and vegetable sellers and downstairs was a mixed of food, souvenirs and small restaurants. I love to see food in each country I visit....what is popular? what is different? what is the same?
Having checked off my two main sights well before noon, I started to wander. I shopped in stores, had tea at the historic and famous Cafe Majestic, and saw the figurines dance out of the nearby clock tower at noon (didn't even know about it until I happened to be walking by right at noon). I got out of the tourist part of town and ended up I'm not quite sure where. The streets are steep and turning a blind corner on a small street, you never know if you are going to be hiking up or strolling down. After some time (not really sure how long), I came across a little restaurant and decided to have some lunch. I thought about asking the waiter where I was, but decided against it. I had no where to be until my flight the next morning and figured I would figure it out....eventually. And I did. I continued to walk for awhile and came to one of the main Metro stops. I recognized the name from the day before and my feet decided it was time to jump on the Metro to head back to my neighborhood.
I feel like I saw lots of Porto in my one day and think it was a great city to be on my own. I know I saw things I wouldn't have seen if I had not decided to simply explore. If I was set on seeing a long list of attractions, I wouldn't have had the privilege to just be. Not all cities can be done so randomly. I cherish my experiences when I can just let things happen.