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Rollin’ on the River

Now that I finally have my suuuuuuper long Israel post out of the way (BLESS YOU if you read that entire thing!) I can focus on the rest of my summer and fall 🙂

My friends and I have been meaning for years to do a float trip and we finally convinced our other friend Ben to plan it! A date was decided months prior, Ben made the accommodation arrangements, and we brought the sunscreen.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of floating: you basically find a suitable river, sit in an inner-tube, float to a (hopefully) designated spot, and basically just relax for a few hours with some cold drinks, your friends, and some good music if anyone decides to bring a waterproof speaker. There are tons of places across America where you can do this, but it’s super popular in Texas, especially on the Brazos River.

We all met up on a Friday afternoon, caravanned down to New Braunfels, Texas, and basically had a super chill, fun-filled weekend. We hung out and drank Friday night when we got there. Slept in, got a few hours on the river, and went home the next day. We also visited Gruene (grounded Green), Texas where they have tons of puns, cute shops, and tasty food. Gruene Hall is one of the oldest country music venues in Texas so we obviously had to visit for a photo op.

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Personal Travel Uncategorized

Leg Three of Europe 2016 – Amsterdam

Hello from Amsterdam! 

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Leaving Paris was bittersweet for me since I never want to leave, but at the same time I was so excited to go into the unknown once again. Dublin, London, and Paris, while not quite home, are familiar. It’s been several years since I’ve truly been immersed in another totally foreign culture. I have never been to Amsterdam, I don’t speak the language, know the transit system, etc. so it was a new and exciting challenge.

This brings up a few tips for next time:

  1. Try to book your accommodations as close to the city centre as possible. This will generally save you transit money (and confusion) even if it costs a little bit more per night. Trust me, when you don’t remember if your train stop is Waterlooplein, Weesperplin, or Wilbaustrautt and it’s getting late you will thank me.
  2. Learn a few key phrases in the local language
  3. Have the address of your hotel/hostel/Air BnB saved into your phone where it doesn’t require wifi or data to access it
  4. Download/Screenshot a map of the area
  5. Try to rely on wifi/data as few times as possible. Even if a country is in the EU that doesn’t mean that your data will transfer from one country to another. If you have a US data plan be prepared to pay a huge fee when you get home too…. #DreadingThatSprintBill

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The people in Amsterdam are very friendly, super chill (probably from the weed), and generally have a great grasp on English so this isn’t an incredible culture shock. The worst part was just remembering the train/bus stops. There are easily more bicycles here than cars (at least near the canals), but unless your GPS is working incredibly well I probably wouldn’t try to get in the fast lane with the more experienced cyclists. After breaking my tailbone in sixth grade, I generally avoid riding bicycles if at all possible so I was not eager to hop on for this trip. If I had a guide to show me where I was going then I would be more apt to rent one for the weekend. Side note: how they remember where they “parked” their bicycle is a mystery to me. There will be MASSIVE racks of bicycles that basically all look the same. There must be some trade secret that I am just not privy to to explain this situation.

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Marijuana and prostitutes are legal here and don’t have the same stigma as they do in the states. I did have to walk through the famous Red Light District just to see it for myself. It really is as easy as walking up to the door where the girl or guy is and hopping into the rented room. One prostitute thought I was there with someone else as a couple and I quickly managed to get myself out of that situation. There are tons of “cafes” where you can purchase all manner of weed varieties as well as edibles and mushrooms, but in most of them you cannot also get liquor, only beer or wine. However, Stoopwaffles are available everywhere and only contain fat and sugar 🙂 Illegal on my real life diet, but totally legal on my vacation diet!

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I also finally got to cross something off my bucket list: visiting the Anne Frank Museum. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures of the inside, but I got the see the actual red-checkered diary in which she started writing down her novel. If you do go, I suggest booking your tickets online in advance through the museum website. It’s around $12, but you also pick your time slot for the museum so you are guaranteed entrance. I am visiting in off-season and it was still packed. Make sure you do carve out at least an hour for it since there is a lot of reading involved and people in front of you may move slowly. Everything is in Dutch as well as English and you get to see the real rooms and the bookcase that covered the secret entrance to their annex.

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On Day 2 of the trip I went on another Viator tour to Zaanse Schans, which is about 30 minutes away from central Amsterdam. It is a historic town with a ton of old, restored windmills that are actually working to this day. Each windmill works for a specific purpose: one mills wood, another grinds the pigment for the paint used in the town, another made mustard! It was really cool to walk through them and see the people who are so dedicated to preserving their heritage. (again, not sponsored)

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After the windmills we were then transported to another village where we watched a cheese making demonstration. I have a great love of cheese and I was excited to find out that:

A.) They were making Gouda

B.) I CAN TAKE IT IN MY CARRY ON!!

I bought a regular wheel as well as an Italian herb one so invite me to ALL the cocktail parties! 🙂

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After the cheese demonstration we got lunch at a local restaurant. I got fried mussels, which were very tasty. I had previously mistakenly gotten the wrong type of waffle recommended to me by my friend Julia, but the correct type of waffle was being made right next door so I managed to snag one for dessert. True to form, they were tasty, but how can you go wrong with dough and nutella??

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Once the time in that village was complete we were herded onto this river cruise, which normally I would think would be delightful, but it was FREEZING. Of course by the time I got onto the boat all of the inside seats were taken so I froze outside about 80% of the time until I couldn’t handle it anymore and just stood inside to thaw out. Once the ice boat ride was complete we finally got to go to another little village that makes the traditional wooden shoes you always associate with Holland. Back in the day it would take 3 hours to make one shoe; now with “modern” machinery it takes 5 minutes per shoe. I succumbed to my inner tourist and bought a pair…. they are supposed to be water proof so maybe I’ll wear them around in the garden? Orrrrr just put them in a place of honor on my travel wall…..

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It was an action-packed day and a great way to end my time in Amsterdam. Next time I come I’m definitely staying closer to the city centre to take more advantage of the nightlife. Living so far away kinda put a damper on that idea for this go around. Not a problem though since I will most definitely be back and I really could use the down time in a very comfy bed 🙂

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I am now back in my Air BnB taking advantage of the fact that there is a washer and dryer available for my use since all I brought was a carry-on and we are now 7 days into the trip. I am fairly proud of the choices I made in my small carry-on, but I will make a mental note to bring fewer leggings, fewer shoes, and more shirts next time. I feel like traveling by carry-on would have been much easier in warmer weather. It is steadily getting colder and I know that I am going to probably need to buy a scarf in Berlin if this keeps up. #moresouvenirs 

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Tomorrow I head to Berlin for my last real stop on my European tour! After Berlin I’m back in Dublin for a night to pick up the rest of my luggage and then head on back to Dallas. There are still no direct flights to Dallas from Dublin (weird, I know) so I will have to make the journey back through… dun dun dunnnn CHICAGO. I swear to God, if I get stuck there again for another three days it will NOT be good. (if you are confused about to what I am referring, please read this post for context.)

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Leave me some love in the comments and stay posted for the rest of my trip!

Savvy

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BlogLovin’

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14515835/?claim=896kf5mqvjr”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Just joined BlogLovin’! If you’ve never heard of BlogLovin’ it’s basically like a conglomeration of all of your favorite blog posts in one, easy to find location. If you like to read a lot of blogs, but forget to go check them or can’t always remember the link just find them on BlogLovin’ and see them all in one place!

 

Go follow me! 😀

-Savannah

 

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I made it!!

Hello from Dublin!

Well it took me all of three days to get here, but I finally made it! I was beginning to this would NEVER happen and that I would have to just go back to Dallas.

So on my last post I left off thinking that I had a flight at 8:30 AM the next day. I awoke at 6 to find that my flight had been cancelled and I had automatically been issued a ticket for a 1:00 PM flight to JFK airport in New York City with a flight to Dublin at 6:45. I called American Airlines to confirm and they said that the 8:30 flight wasn’t even showing on their screens. I made a leisurely morning of getting ready and then made my way to the airport. The best part about this is that on my new flight to New York, I got bumped up to First Class. The TSA lines at O’Hare are HORRENDOUS. Fortunately, since I was now FIRST CLASS STATUS I got to avoid these lines and instead went to the much shorter First Class line right behind a very large, Jewish family. I wanted to give them a shout-out, but since I am racially ambiguous, I wasn’t sure how well that would play off. People in Northern states don’t get as excited to see a fellow Jew the way Southern states do I suppose.

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Found out that my 1:05 PM flight got bumped to 1:39 so I went to Macaroni Grill and got a much needed glass of white wine. The lady sitting next to me was very nice and was on her way to deliver a 401(k) plan to a company in San Marcos for Prudential. Since my company clears for her we had a nice little chat.

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Make it over to my gate and I about have an anxiety attack that the plane is going to be late, I am going to miss my flight to Dublin, my bags won’t make it, we are all going to die, etc… Our flight to NYC boards and then we have to wait on the tarmac forever to take off so of course I am panicking that I am going to miss my flight.

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While in the air I take a look at the map of JFK since it’s been a minute since that last time I was there. I figure out where we are landing and where I am taking off from. We are landing at gate 1 and I am taking off from gate 41…. I have 15 minutes to run 40 gates. I make it right as they call business class to board!!

If you have never flown business class on an international flight before, I suggest that you do it at some point in your lifetime. I have traveled to several different countries, all coach level, and I’m really not sure I can go back to that after this experience. It may have been the wine talking, but I just sat there with a big smile on my face thinking “It’s ok if the plane goes down. I will have died happy”. BUSINESS CLASS IS SO NICE. It helped that there was no one sitting next to me so I got to steal the little pack of toiletries to go along with my own little back.

 

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Someone was always there to fill up my wine glass and bring me food. It was like heaven. They woke me up for breakfast and offered me cranberry bread. I freaking love cranberry bread. I watched The Duff and the first part of Get Hard. My only regret was that the flight was not longer.

I got off the plane and the line at customs was like 3 people so that took no time at all. Then came the part I was nervous for: Did my bags make that crazy, confusing trip?….

THEY MADE IT!

The only thing missing was one wheel off my pink suitcase. A small price to pay for all of the trauma they went through.

Got my cab. They took American Express. Had a lovely chat with my taxi driver. She was from Nigeria and was very chatty.

Got into my hotel. Got my room keys and wifi password (very much needed). A manager escorted me and my bags to my room (which is AMAZING). I took a sleeping pill and pretty much slept the rest of the day. Gabe (my coworker who has already been here a few weeks) came to get me and show me around. We had a great time wandering around City Center (their popular downtown area) and got food at a restaurant that would take my American Express (apparently, not a popular card in Europe).

Tomorrow is my first day at work and I am very excited to meet my group and get things started. I’ll post tomorrow about my hotel room and my first day.

Until tomorrow,

-Savvy

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Savvy Carry-on Tips

Hello Gentle Readers, 

As some of you may or may not know, I am currently en route to Dublin, Ireland from my home base of Dallas, Texas for a month-long work trip. As excited as I am for this trip, there are some bumps along the way…

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I was supposed to fly from Dallas to Chicago to Dublin. There are no direct flights from Dallas to Dublin (weird, right?).  Whilst in the air on the way to Chicago, there appeared a storm so we were diverted to Milwaukee. Long story short, missed that flight. There is only one flight per day from Chicago to Dublin (again, 21st century here) so I got my ticket changed for the one for today, August 16th. Work put me up at the airport Hilton (it’s pretty nice too).

Flight was at 5:45. Got through TSA around 2:00 PM. Waiting at my gate. Flight gets bumped to 6:30. 7:30. 8:30. 9:30. 1:30 am…. 8:30 AM…..

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I am currently writing from that same airport Hilton whilst watching The Blindside. Here’s to hoping the flight tomorrow goes well. My resolve is quickly fading.

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Here are the Savvy Travel tips for a great carryon:

1. Invest in a great bag. Pocket, zippers, the whole 9 yards. You want something durable (and cute!). I enjoy medium sized duffle bags, but if you travel often, for long distances, or enjoy only having a carryon instead of checking a bag, contemplate investing in a durable, wheeled bag. I know I wish I had one today… my shoulder marks will tell you that too.

2. Always have a small bag of toiletries. Extra glasses/contacts, small deodorant, mini perfume, extra hair ties/bobby pins. I always have eye liner and mascara with me,  but I usually forget a little thing of foundation. After this trip I will ensure to always travel with at least a day’s worth with me at all times. If you’re missing something, ask your hotel if they have anything they can give you. I got a razor and a toothbrush today. 🙂

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3. ALWAYS have at least 1 (or 3) extra pairs of underwear. This has been my saving grace these past few days. Sorry for the TMI, but that’s what you need to expect on this blog 🙂

4. This goes along with toiletries: Carry a mini brush AND a small can of dry shampoo. My favorite is Not Your Mother’s in the white and green can. I have yet to find a mini version so I have the Treeseme (spelling?) in the black and green can. It’s the best $2 (or less) investment you will ever make. Tips for dry shampoo: if you need it for right then, spray it into the roots in sections over your head. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes in order to soak up all of the oils. Then either brush it through your hair (my method) or use your CLEAN hands to disperse it through your scalp. Dry Shampoo is probably my best friend (sorry to the humans in my life) and is a life saver for the girl who only washes her hair once… or twice… a week.  I used to use it back when I had brown hair and it was a tad more difficult since you had to really work to make sure that it was dispersed so you didn’t look a tad elderly with the muted brown hair. However you can now buy specific dry shampoo for brown hair AND you can make your own out of cornstarch and coco power. Extends your blow out and smells great! What could be better?

5. Make sure your chargers are with you. Never know when you’re going to need to kill some time and your phone battery is low.

These were just off the top of my head and based on my own needs/experiences. You can totally tailor this to your own needs. I have several other things in my bag right now, but these are the main staples that I always carry. Currently, I also have reading material, my tablet/laptop, lotion, a notebook, pens, and my camera.

While I am in Ireland I will be on the lookout for a carry-on upgrade for the trip back…. this one large tote and small purse thing isn’t going to work for me anymore. Time to upgrade 😉

I’ll update you guys as the days go by. I’m hoping that the worst of the trip is over and it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. But hey, it’s me so that probably won’t happen.

Catch you later!

-Savvy

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First Post!

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Savannah (Savvy) and I’m here to invite you to share in my adventure!

I have wanted to start a professional blog for awhile, but always got distracted or determined there was something else that needed my attention.

While this blog is mainly about adventures, that is not what I do 24/7 (I wish!). These adventures will also chronicle my day-to-day life and all of the small adventures that make up my world.

 

Here is to happy reading and this adventure that we call life.

 

-Savvy