I didn’t expect to visit Cologne on my last European trip, but sometimes your flight from Berlin to Paris is cancelled and while rearranging plans to get to Paris as quickly and inexpensively as possible, your best bet is to take a train to Cologne for the evening and head out from there the next morning. I had a deadline so I wasn’t able to leave my hotel until around 4 and left Cologne right after breakfast. My time was limited, but I saw enough to make me want to return one day.
“She believed she could, so she did.” I reread the words engraved in the silver bracelet my sister had given me before I went on my first adventure after quitting my job to travel. The bracelet was just inches away from my face as I clutched the bar in front of me with all my might, knowing I’d have calluses on my palms later. My hands were cold and wet from the rain that was pouring down on top of us. I had a thin rain poncho on that would flap loudly in the wind to hit me in the face at the fastest moments and stick to my skin to make me feel claustrophobic in the slowest moments.
I had a weird introduction to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was signed up for a “premium car” from the airport when all I asked for was a taxi. I had issues finding my hotel due to the address being completely different than what was in Google Maps and the name being completely different than what I’d booked. I searched for street food on Jalan Alor but it was a weird in-between time so not much seemed fresh. I went to a bar to help me stay awake from my jetlag and my waist was grabbed three times by a questionable man (who, I should note, was not local). I fell asleep at 6 PM until 2 AM and was wide awake for a few hours, doing research on what to do in the city. Since I’d woken up early, I thought I’d get a head start on the tourists and visit the Batu Caves, which thankfully changed my feelings about KL at first glance.
Before we traveled to Italy, I made my traditional spreadsheet of places to visit and eat, all recommended by friends and fellow travel bloggers. One woman I didn’t even ask for advice kept telling me that there would be a church on every corner, but not to waste my time with them. She wanted to only talk about St. Peter’s Basilica and said that nothing else was worth going to. I had a feeling that this woman and I would not travel well together, so I made a note to ignore her advice.
One of the things I was looking forward to about Thailand was visiting lots and lots of wats, also known as temples. Buddhist temples are not something you get to see everyday, and that’s what this trip was about, seeing and experiencing new things. Now, some of the people we met while in Asia said “once you see one wat, you’ve seen them all,” but I have to disagree.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is arguably (or is this even an argument?) the most iconic church in the city. It’s right across from Rockefeller Center so if you get overwhelmed by the crowds from the tree and people window shopping, you can duck in there and be quickly transported somewhere other than midtown Manhattan, somewhere peaceful.