Last Friday, I experienced a unique Christmas with my friend Amanda. I went to a Scream Hollow Twisted Christmas in a town called Smithville TX, it’s about 40 minutes from Austin. They had three Christmas haunted houses, a bonfire, a Jack Frost maze, the Grinch, bad Santa, Krampus, and nightmare before Christmas characters. Scream Hollow also had a band playing Christmas music, Christmas lights, they had food, hot chocolate, alcohol, and hot cider. When we first got there we walked around and got drinks. Then we ordered food and listen to the band. They had Oogie Boogey, the Grinch, and Elf on the shelf walking around. They follow the guests and try to talk to you. It was very interesting and fun. We did take a picture with the Grinch and Oogie Boogey. It felt like October for me. It was a good thing for me because I did nothing for Halloween. We took a picture with Bad Santa and Krampus but we did not tell them what we wanted for Christmas.
We visited all three haunted houses back to back. My heart was racing and I kept thinking it was October. The three haunted houses all had different themes The Slaughter House Toy Factory, Mansion of Terror Krampus, and asylum. The most scary for me was the Krampus one because it took us out to the woods and it was very dark. I had no idea where I was going. I’m so glad I was with a friend because it made the experience less scary. The toy one had more actors that would jump and scare you. That house was the more suspenseful one. I think that my favorite haunted house was the asylum because it had different holidays like Valentines day, Easter, St. Patrick’s and the actors participated by the holiday.
Overall this place is a good place to check out if you want to experience a different Christmas. It really was a unique Christmas experience. The tickets are $24.95 dollars and it’s free parking. They are opened from 6 PM-11 PM Fridays and Saturdays. The haunted houses were creative and the actors did a good job. My advice would be to get there at 7 PM to see the Krampus parade. I was late and missed the parade. I feel like this is more of an adult Christmas. So I would only bring kids that are 12 and over.
My boyfriend and I have been together five years. During those years we have not traveled much in the United States or internationally. He went to Seattle for my 30th birthday and Portland for my summer 2019 trip. All my other trips for the past five years, I have gone alone or with friends. I like to travel so if my boyfriend does not want to go, it’s not going to stop me. I feel like if I do not travel now when will I? My friends and family do ask why he does not travel with me? It does make me think is he suppose to be going with me? Does it mean it’s a bad relationship? My boyfriend is different than me when it comes to travel. He rather save for other things than travel and I want to save for travel. I know traveling is expensive, so I completely understand. That’s why I try to save for awhile before a big international trip and use travel points when I have them.
Relationships can be difficult because you are both different people. However, you do want to have things in common with your significant other and be apart of each others lives. That means even doing activities that they like that you do not. I do like other things besides traveling. Like exploring my city, Austin and having a lazy day. The fact that I get spend those days with my boyfriend is amazing and I really cherish them. We even do some traveling in cities and towns near Austin. He does want to go to Japan and New York. So I am hoping I can plan those trips soon. I’m trying to see if I can get cheap flight deals.
You might not see me and boyfriend on an international trip any time soon. Unless I find really good flight/hotel deals. However, I do love the times I do spend with him even if it’s not traveling. You will see us visiting Fredericksburg TX a cute wine/German town, trying new restaurants in Austin, having potlucks at our friend’s place, and just spending time together. The fact that we have the time to spend together means the world to me and who knows Japan can have cheap flight deals really soon.
I have seen the world’s smallest park and the world’s oldest restaurant according to the Guinness Book of World Records. So I thought I could try to continue this World Record thing while Traveling. Not all of them are Guinness Book record things, its a list of interesting things I want to do. I do not know how many I will do or when I will see the next world record but I’m going to try. Here is my world record bucket list:
World Oldest Bar
Sean’s bar in Athlone Ireland, the bar has been operating since 900 AD. Athlone is about an hour and 30 minute drive from Dublin. I am definitely having a drink at Sean’s bar and checking out the bar scenery. Since, the United States is really new compared to other countries. The World’s oldest restaurant and bar really fascinate me.
First New Year
I want to go to Kiribati (the Christmas Island) because they experience New Years First in the World. The island is located in the central pacific Ocean. Every New Years, I tend to forget that other parts of the world are already in the New Year. When I go to the Christmas Island, I really will be the first to experience New Years.
World Tallest Building
The World’s tallest building is Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, I hear that the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia opens in 2020 and it will be taller than Burj Khalifia. I will have to keep researching if the World’s Tallest building keeps changing.
I want to go to the oldest pizzeria in the United States in New York City and the world’s oldest pizzeria in Naples Italy because I love pizza. The United States one will be easier to visit for me, its called Lombardi and it has been open since 1905. It’s been recognized on the Pizza Hall of Fame as the first pizzeria in the United States.
The pizzeria in Naples is called Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba it was founded in 1738 as a seller of street food and became a pizzeria in 1830. I will be going to Italy in September 2020. I need to see if I can stop by Naples to visit this pizzeria. It would be very worth it.
There is other World Record places I want to see and experience but I made my list small to not overwhelm myself. I really do want to accomplish these things. I have a lot bucket lists and little by little I am accomplishing them. The world record thing is really interesting to me; I think it would be cool to have a drink at the world oldest bar, experience New Years first in the world, see the world’s tallest building, and eat pizza at the oldest pizzeria. It’s just amazing how many things they are in the world to experience.
There is so many sights to see in Barcelona that it was impossible to see them all in one day. I was only in Barcelona for 9 hours but its better than not going at all. I was in Madrid for only a week and my friends and I wanted to visit Barcelona. We had no airbnb or hotel there. So we decided to just go for the day. We decided to take the AVE, fast train because Barcelona is a six hour drive from Madrid. With the AVE train it would only take us three hours to get there. We bought the tickets at the station and there were $194 dollars for a round trip ticket. It was about 10 bucks cheaper to fly and faster but we wanted the train experience. We tried to buy the train tickets online but there was complications. The train heading to Barcelona made two other stops, so it took three hours. The train heading back took two hours because it did not make additional stops. The train was a good experience, they offered food and drinks. We even got a free beer out of it.
We got to Barcelona at like noon and left at 9:30 PM. We made a plan of everything we wanted to see before we got there. First we visited Park Güell, then Sagrada familia, Casa Batllo, Port of Barcelona, and a flamingo show on las ramblas street (popular street). To get the majority of the places we took a taxi but after Casa Batllo we just walked. The trip was great and I was happy that we did a lot in such a short time. We did not get to see inside of any of the sights because there was a line and we did not buy tickets in advance. However, we enjoyed the views from the outside. So, I advise that you buy tickets in advance if you want to see the popular sights in Barcelona. The flamingo show was great, it was like mediation for me. The place also offered a sangria with the flamingo ticket. I just sat there with my sangria and watched the amazing flamingo show. After the flamingo show, we ate paella tomato bread, calamri, and drank some beer. The restaurant was touristy because it was on las ramblas street. It was expensive but the food was good with great service. Then after we took a taxi back to the train station to head back to Madrid.
Barcelona was fun to visit. I wish I could of seen the beach but we did not have enough time. One of the highlights of my trip was eating lunch at this place called Buenas Migas and having a view of the Sagrada familia. I had my chai latte and pizza and just enjoyed the view. I also had fun just walking around with my friends while we explored Barcelona. It kinda reminded me of Boston and New York together. Hopefully, one day I can go back to Barcelona and see more.
My view 🙂
I absolutely feel in love with Madrid. I loved the food, the architecture, lifestyle. I wish I never left but I can go back. This trip was really special for me. It was the first time I traveled abroad with close friends. It made the trip so much better. I did not get homesick and missed Spain and my friends after I left. Here were some of my favorite places in Madrid:
- For Churros and chocolate: Chocolateria San Gines. The chocolate was so good. I could drink the whole cup without the churro. These churros and chocolates can help fix any bad day.
- For Spanish Tortilla: Juana La Loca It was packed when I went on 9 PM on a Saturday. A Spanish Tortilla is an omelette made with eggs and potatoes. If you want a seat I would go earlier or see if you can make a reservation. However, the Spanish tortilla was amazing here. I did not mind standing with my wine and eating the Spanish tortilla.
- Coffee: Toma looked like a hipster coffee shop near our airbnb. They had cappuccinos and chai lattes. The place was so cute and their bread and jelly was so good. I would definitely walk to this place every morning, if I lived in my airbnb.
- Roast Suckling Pig: Botin,the world’s oldest restaurant. The restaurant is pricey but it’s worth it. You need to visit at least once. Sitting at the oldest restaurant eating good food and drinking wine with friends was one of the highlights of my trip. We ordered the roast suckling pig, lamb, and two bottles of wine. It was about 90 Euros ($99 dollars).
Areas to visit:
- Museum: Reina Sofia. I would able to see Picasso’s and Salvador Dali’s art. The museum is 10 euros for admission and free after 7 PM.
- Plaza Mayor: its a public place in the heart of Madrid it was the centre of Old Madrid. It’s very popular with tourists and locals. There is also a lot restaurants and shops nearby. I had the best sangria near there.
- Puerto del sol: It’s a public square and one of the busiest areas in Madrid. This area has a lot restaurants and shops. The main area has a statue.
- Palacio de Cristal: It’s located in El Retiro Park. The park is beautiful and it’s a good idea to walk around before you get the Palacio de Cristal. They had amazing art in the Palace. My favorite was the outside of building, it looks like a dream home.
- Azotea del Circulo: get some drinks and enjoy the nice view of Madrid. The restaurant even has blankets and heaters to keep you warm. I had a tinto de verno (similar to sangria) and a mojito. Both were delicious.
Madrid was amazing and I really want to go back. It’s probably one of my favorite cities to visit. There are so many things to do in Madrid that this blog can not get everything. I also recommend visiting Mecardo de San Miguel and Mercado de San Antonio for food/tapas. I was so happy that I got to spend my trip with close friends and that I met new friends. My new friends are Madrid locals that showed us around Madrid. Next time I go to Madrid, I want to spend more time there and visit other nearby cities. Maybe a 10 day trip.
This past Saturday morning, I went to the first Austin Coffee Festival. I was fortunate enough to have gotten two free VIP tickets. I was so excited, I dreamed of coffee for weeks. The festival was located in Fair market near downtown Austin from 10 AM-4 PM. It’s free entry to the festival and you buy nine dollar coffee flights. For VIP it was $30 dollars to buy online and $40 dollars to buy in person. For the VIP you get unlimited coffee, cocktails, and access to the VIP lounge space. In VIP they had cold brew, dripped coffee, and they provided you with milk, milk alternatives, and sugar. They recommended that you bring your own mug to help not use a lot paper cups at the festival. However, I forgot mine. Outside the VIP they had free samples of some coffee drinks or food. They also had food and coffee that you could buy. Such as breakfast biscuits and pastries. I went outside to the food trucks and had a vegetarian quiche made with sweet potato crust. It was delicious and perfect with coffee. One of my favorite parts of the event is that you could bring your dog. I saw a lot cute dogs and it was amazing.
My recommendation for the Austin Coffee Festival would be to use the free entry instead VIP, walk around, and see what samples you can get with the nine dollar coffee flight. Then try the free samples and enjoy the event. The VIP was great because I got unlimited coffee/cocktails and my cold-brew was delicious but you can still enjoy the event without having to purchase VIP for $30 to $40 dollars. Especially, if you want to spend more money on food and buying coffee beans. I had so much fun at the event that I wish I spend more time there. Now, for the next Austin Coffee Festival in 2020.
For my Malaysia trip, I will be stopping in Phuket, Thailand. The whole trip is six days that I will be spending with my friend Lydnsey. I will spend three days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then take a flight to Phuket. I will spend one night in Thailand, then fly back to Malaysia then spend another two days there. Even though our trip to Thailand is very short, its something we are excited for. These are some things my friend and I will do in Thailand:
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Paklok:
It’s the first and only ethical Sanctuary in Paklok, Phuket. The first day we are in Phuekt we will do an afternoon tour here. We choose to come here because they rescue elephants. You get less time with the elephants but you to see elephants in their natural habit. We will get to feed them, watch them bathe, and walk the area. The ticket is a $100 U.S dollars and they use the money to rescue other elephants. That is a good $100 dollars well spend.
Boat ride in Phang Nga Bay:
The tour we are going on is called BJ canoeing tours. A boat trip were we go to various islands. Like James Bond Island, Panak Island, Hong Island and etc. This will be the second day in Phuekt. The last day will be there and a great way to trip, with a lot sightseeing.
I am pretty sure we check out the nightlife and explore more of the Phuket. Also, relax in our amazing resort. We have not bought our flight to Thailand yet. That is something we will be purchasing next month. I am so happy that I will be visiting two countries in December.