Best of Tucson

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Ever since my college journey took me from Boston, MA to Tucson, Arizona, I have called Tucson home. Having never been to Tucson before I started school there, I had no idea what to expect. I have been very pleasantly surprised with the city, and have since fallen in love with it. The best part about it is that the weather is amazing. It gets hot in the summer, but the weather in the fall and winter is 70 Fahrenheit and sunny every day.

Here are a few of the things you should make sure you do if you ever find yourself in Tucson, Arizona.

Best Shopping 

University Blvd., right near the school, has some of the best shopping I have ever seen. The stores cater to college students, and the prices cant be beat. Here are some of my favorites:

Colette: This boutique is very girly and filled with everything from colorful rompers to sequined dresses 14713081_1206198836119632_4020844269015124464_o

Swindlers: This is my favorite store on University. This upscale boutique always has something great, and you can order online.

Favorite Hike:

7 falls is absolutely stunning. Located in Sabino Cannon, this beautiful hike with waterfalls is a great way to get out of the city and explore the beauty that the Sonoran desert has to offer.

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Favorite Resturants: 

My favorite restaurant in Tucson is Vivace. Every time I come to Tucson I make sure to eat here. The pasta is amazing!

Gentle Bens: This is a local favorite, and a great place to experience University of Arizona games. The raspberry lemonade cocktail is delicious! My favorite dish is the spinach artichoke dip, the asian chopped chicken salad, and the pizzokies. Pizookies are melted cookies and brownies that have ice cream on top and are a great treat after a long day studying at the library. The service is also great!

The Good Egg: This breakfast restaurant has many locations and is amazing for healthy and nutritious breakfast filled with fresh ingredients.

Hotels: I have stayed at many hotels in Tucson, but the nicest are the following:

JW Marriott: This hotel is absolutely beautiful. When you get there if you rented a car, I recommend you self-park because it is 20 dollars each time you valet. Its main restaurant, Primo, is expensive but very good. They also have fire pits surrounding the outside lobby where you can order dinner (mostly finger foods) and listen to live music. The poolside bar is open during the day, and there is a lazy river. Great for families. Downside: its 25 minutes from campus in the middle of nowhere.

Westin LaPaloma: The Westin’s LaPaloma is great due to location. It is located right next to the upscale mall, La Encentada. This is a great area for amazing food and it is beautiful. The resort is also amazing!

 

 

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Icelandic Adventure

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland. The flight from Barcelona to Iceland was 4 and a half hours. Once we arrived, we took a taxi to our hotel, Hotel Odds-on.

 

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My first piece of advice for people traveling to Iceland: Make sure you arrange transportation from the airport to the hotel before hand. We didn’t, and our taxi was $165 USD. GreyLine tours provides transportation for 24 euros, which is the cheapest we were able to find. We had a great night enjoying watching the snow fall from the Jacuzzi. The next day, we went into Reykjavik to explore the town. Our hotel was only a few minute walk from the city center, so we ventured out in the cold when the snow stopped for a few hours.

 

Later that night, we went with Special Tours on a boat tour to see the Aurora Borealis. Special tours made the experience very enjoyable. We were able to arrange a hotel pickup and drop off, making it much easier. They provided warm overalls for us to wear which kept us cozy the entire time. As the night went on, we were able to spot the northern lights in the distance. They were green because of the altitude iceland is located. Before the science was discovered behind this (see video below for information on what the Aurora Borealis is) each region would have their own stories of why the lights were there. People from Iceland believed the lights were dancing spirits of children who died at birth. In Estonia, the lights were present when the whales were playing games.

 

 

The next day was what we were most excited for. We were going to the Blue Lagoon! The Blue Lagoon is a large, geothermal spa that originates 2,000 meters below the earth’s surface. The lagoon water picks up Sillia, algae, and minerals on its way to the surface, giving it the blue color. The water of the lagoon is between  37°C and 40°C. The day tours that day were canceled due to the weather, but thankfully ours still remained going. We went with Gray Line to the blue lagoon. It was a 40 minute ride from Reykjavik. Once we arrived, we jumped right into the water and stayed there for hours enjoying the sunset.screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-7-35-03-pm

Best of NYC

Visiting New York City is fun any time of year, and even better are the amazing things  to do there. Whether your there for a quick weekend vacation or are lucky enough to spend a longer amount of time there, its guaranteed you will fall in love with this city. Having spent much time in Manhattan over the years, I am going to tell you some of my favorite things to do while there.

 

  1. See a Broadway Showd636df5a-3e74-4a50-8b3a-5d3da1521c7a_560_420

New York is known for their broadway shows, and they are truly amazing! Seeing plays on Broadway is a incredible experience that can be done regardless of the weather, and is great for the whole family. Tickets can sometimes be expensive, so if you are planning on doing this I suggest buying tickets in advance. Wicked was one of my favorite broadway shows, here is them singing at the tony awards to give you a glimpse of how amazing these actors and actresses are!

 

2. Time Square and Empire State Building 

If this is your first time in New York City, Time Square is a place you are going to want to hit while you are there. This is the city that never sleeps, and you can be sure that there is always something going on in Time Square. It is located in Midtown, Manhattan between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. While you are there, you should be sure to get tickets to go to the top of the Empire State Building. They are only a few blocks away and the view from this 102-story skyscraper is amazing!

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3. Where to Stay 

As far as hotels go, there are plenty in NYC! A few of my favorites are the following:

The Marriott Marque: This hotel is located in the heart of Time Square on 1535 Broadway, this hotel is always one of my favorites due to the location and convenience.

Trump SOHO: This beautiful hotel in lower manhattan has great service, as well as food. Also, this area is great for shopping and restaurants.

4. Shopping 
New york has some of the best shopping in the world! Soho, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, is my favorite place to shop. One of my favorite stores to visit there is Dash, which is the store that the Kardashian sisters own. Located at 191 Spring Street, this chic store is a must go to.

Canal Street, also located in Lower Manhattan, spans from East Broadway between Essex and Jefferson Streets in the east, to West Street between Watts and Spring Streets in the west. Canal street is known for bargaining. Many of the open air stores in this buzzing commercial districts are known for selling bags, perfumes, and shoes. Most of the products are notoriously copied, with brand names on all the products.

 

 

 

World Tour

Our first weekend trip was to Copenhagen, Denmark. We stayed at Urban House, a modern boutique hostel in the heart of Copenhagen. We arrived early Friday morning and got lunch as soon as we arrived. We then were able to go to Christiana Island, an island known as “FreeTown Christiana”. This is a self proclaimed autonomous island where cannabis is widely accepted by law enforcement’s. It was very interesting to see the culture on this island.

After the weekend, it was time to head back to Barcelona to start another week of classes. The next weekend, we went to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Once we arrived, we had a cab driver who was very friendly. We were very surprised to learn that 95% of the people there speak English. We stayed in a little hostel called Hostel Orfeo. For the amount of money we paid this hostel was not worth it. We arrived and immediately noticed the horrible smell coming from the hallways. However, the location was amazing. The next day, we decided to visit the Anne Frank house. This was something absolutely amazing to see. She wanted to be a writer so badly, and it is great to see how successful she was. We did a canal cruise throughout amsterdam, and also went to vondelpark and walked around. This was one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been to! anne-frank-house4

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The last weekend, we went to Dublin, Ireland. This trip was absolutely amazing. The people in this country are so kind! It was also a sweet relief to hear people speaking English. We stayed at an adorable airbnb on Dudley Street and the first night we got there we were exhausted so we just went to bed. The next day we decided the best way to see the city was to do the hop on hop off bus tour. This tour allowed us to see the city without being out in the cold walking around all day. Once we got to Temple Bar, we hopped off the bus and got the free beer that our tour provided. I am not a big beer person, but the dark guiness beer there was  great!

The following day, we got up at 6:30 am and boarded a bus to the west side of Ireland, a town called Doolin. Doolin is home to the cliffs of Moher, one of the most beautiful sites I have seen in my life! Our bus driver was very educated and shared with us much information about the history of Ireland. We ate a lunch at a local hotel and the bus took us to see the pier nearby. Overall a great day!

If you click here, I was able to construct a map of my travels thus far. Enjoy!

 

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