Things to Do in Bali: Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Even though my first hotel in Bali was just a ten-minute walk from Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the insane horror stories around the internet almost made me leave it off my itinerary. My interest level in having my purse snatched by a thieving monkey, or having to take my travel insurance for a spin after getting bitten, was, uh, less than zero.

But the Monkey Forest also sounded like one of the most interesting places in Ubud. Not only did it offer a chance to see a whole lot of monkeys up close (600, to be exact), it’s also a spiritual center, home to three 14th-century Hindu temples. And the expanse of forest seemed like it could provide a welcome escape from the Balinese heat and humidity. Continue reading “Things to Do in Bali: Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest”

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3 Places to See DC’s Cherry Blossoms

Since it would probably be meteorologically impossible for DC’s chilly winters to immediately give way to swamp hell summers, District residents get a few weeks’ reprieve in March or April to actually enjoy being outside. Lucky us, this also means we get to enjoy the historic cherry blossoms.

Granted, peak bloom means peak traffic. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s 110% worth battling the crowds to take in one of the most impressive sights DC has to offer.

We’re currently mid-Cherry Blossom Festival (this year, it’s running from March 20 through April 17). Peak bloom just happened on March 25. And between two early morning Tidal Basin visits, a morning and afternoon run, and one drive out to Bethesda, I’ve gone cherry blossom spotting on, uh, five separate occasions in the last five days.

Continue reading “3 Places to See DC’s Cherry Blossoms”

Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle

With DC currently getting wrecked by the Snowpocalypse/Snowzilla/Chersnowbyl disaster, and my right arm less-than-functional after I slipped spectacularly on some ice earlier this week, it feels like the right time to recap my quick trip to Iceland.

I didn’t really mean to go to Iceland. After cobbling together the cheapest possible flights—one of the very first WOW Air flights from BWI to Reykjavik, then EasyJet to Luton—I ended up with a day’s stopover there. A quick pit stop en route to the UK.

But ever since, I’ve been telling everyone who asks (and too many who don’t) that they need to visit this spectacular country. And I keep seeing BWI-KEF flights for less than $300 and getting impulsive ideas. What I saw in one day was breathtaking. Continue reading “Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle”

A Day on the Isle of Wight

Just about 24 hours after I handed in my 10,000 words to the Law, Politics, and Sociology Department (yes! I’m finally done!), an acquaintance posted on Facebook that she was selling a ticket to the International Student Office’s trip to the Isle of Wight because she still had a paper to finish. Obviously I snapped that up — and with just 12 hours to spare before the trip was set to depart from campus.

I was kind of apprehensive about this impulse-buy (as I’ve mentioned before, I usually like to book stuff like this months ahead of time, so this was a bit of a walk on the wild side), but it turned out to be such a good idea. We visited a beach and some cliffs and the natural beauty of the island was just incredible. I’ll let my photos do the rest of the talking. Continue reading “A Day on the Isle of Wight”