04.22.17 Tast of Niagara Falls

This past Saturday I had the luxury of being able to eat out three times. So this may not have been the best thing for me but I was happy to have been able to revisit one of my favorite places in the area, as well as try out some new restaurants.

First off, I am very proud to say that this summer I will be interning at Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls doing Event Planning and Marketing. Because of that, on Saturday I had my first day of job training. Little did I know that at the end they were going to treat us to lunch. We went to a place called 3rd street retreat, which has been open for I think a little over a year now.

I was very excited to try it as I had heard a lot of good things about it. Thank god I went there with my work because I would have got totally lost if I had tried to find it myself. This restaurant is neatly tucked out of the way under an apartment building. Don’t let that deter you from coming to this hidden gem, I was shocked at how cute the interior of this restaurant is, as well as how amazing the menu was! Seriously, I think I am going to make a goal for myself to eat through the entire menu before I graduate. I don’t think there was one item on the menu I didn’t want to try. On top of that they have daily specials and the prices are extremely reasonable. There menu features all day breakfast and a vast variety of sandwiches as well as salads and a few other things.

For my lunch I chose one of there specials: fish tacos. As I ate I thought of my Dad who says if he doesn’t know what to order he always chooses fish tacos if available. Today I was thankful for these words of wisdom because by entrée was incredible! The fish tacos featured breaded haddock, a spicy slaw, and some sort of pineappleish salsa.

As my training finished, I found myself back in my car with a slue of messages from my friends asking if I wanted to go to the silo because it had just opened for the season. Even though I had just ate, the silo is simply one of those restaurants I can’t say no to. The Silo is a seasonal restaurant in Lewiston, NY that was made famous by Man vs. Food for its Haystack sandwich.

This sandwich is one of those things that when I explain probably never makes sense why I am so in love with them, so if you are reading this and are still skeptical you will just have to trust me and try one.

Basically it is shredded sort of beef with mozzarella cheese and I think a little mayo topped with the haystack variety of potato chips. The best part, in my opinion, is the Silo also makes a vegetarian version, which tastes exactly the same (Go Silo!!). There is also something special about enjoying this sandwich with the waterfront view of the river, outside on a nice spring, summer, or autumn day with great company. The best part? If you still have room after you meal there is an ice cream place right next door, which features a variety of sundaes and more ice cream flavors than you could have even imagined existed.

I would be 100% lying if I said I didn’t get ice cream after. Too be honest, I really don’t think I was even hungry anymore, actually, I know wasn’t hungry. There was simply just this sensation inside of me that made me feel as though I needed it. Like this gravitational pull to the ice cream place, I like to believe that in that moment there was a similar dependency between the shop, and me like in that moment we both just simply needed each other.

Okay so enough about that, on to the next one.

Probably a week ago or so, a friend had mentioned to us that there is a taco place (Colosso taco) in Niagara Falls that is opened 24/7. I’m not going to get into details about how we ended up there, but we were excited to eat at a 24/7 place that wasn’t McDonalds.

To be honest, I can’t necessarily say I was 100% impressed. Compared to chains, I wouldn’t say that this place was anything special and the prices also weren’t necessarily brilliant. That being said the prices were decent and the food was good, just not great—especially compared to the food I had tried earlier.

I decided to try the Chicken tender taco, which as I said, was good but not great. I think next time I’ll just go to mighty taco if it is open and I am in need of a taco.

It was an exciting day of trying and getting to eat at all sorts of different restaurants in the Niagara Falls region. As well school year comes to a close I look forward to being able to try more local places and share with you which ones are my favorites!

Have a great day!

xxHannah

02.02.17 The Universal Language of the Cappuccino

So for those of you who don’t know, I went on a solo-backpacking trip through Europe over the course of 11 days over my Thanksgiving break. I had the absolute blessing of being able to travel to 8 countries, 7 of them new to me. Out of the man lessons I learned, one thing that stood out to me is 1. If there was a universal language the word ‘cappuccino’ would be in it. 2. Whenever I feel awkward and don’t know what to do with myself I find myself in the nearest coffee shop ordering a cappuccino.

Now, some of you might say, Hannah, aren’t you vegan? How did you drink cappuccinos? To that I would like to respond with when you are by yourself and menus are written in a Cyrillic or Greek alphabet you have to make the call to either try to figure out a way to explain no dairy or eggs, or you can just go for it. In this situation, I just went for it. I will say that throughout the whole time; however, I never found myself feeling like I really missed these dairy products I was consuming, which was reassuring to me.

 

Okay so now we begin my journey through Europe: one Cappuccino at a time.

 

Sofia, Bulgaria

Long story short, when I got to my hostel I was told that I needed to stay at the sister hostel just a short walk away. Fortunately this walk helped orient me in this new city and also showed me where the main shopping and eating street, ‘Vitosha’, is After getting to the hostel, and being shown my room, I had one of my first chances to take my backpack that I had been carrying around for literally past 24 hours off. I can’t lie, from here I fell asleep in my bed and didn’t wake up till about 4am the next day (thanks jetlag).

img_0111So the next morning I made it my mission to start my day off with a cappuccino from one of the cute cafes on Vitosha street, which I could enjoy sitting in one of the outside, covered patios. I never would have been able to predict how intimidating it is to walk into a café and order a coffee from places where the signs are completely foreign. Seriously. The first café I went into I got embarrassed when the lady told me I had to pay with cash, and left. So now, not only am I on a hunt for coffee, but also an atm. Long story short I found and atm and eventually built up to enter a café that wasn’t that crowded and also allowed me to sit outside.

So basically I walk into this café, take a deep breath, look the man behind the counter in the eyes and say cappuccino please. This is when I had my first inkling that ‘cappuccino’ was going to be a go to of mine. So I grab my drink and head outside to people watch in the covered patio situated outside on the main street.

As I am sipping my beverage watching the average person go about their day-to-day life I sort of remember that I haven’t had this much dairy in one sitting since august. There is a good chance that in oh lets say 15 minutes I will be up running from this café to find the closest bathroom. I guess that was my price to pay for going against my vegan ways for a couple of days. Long story short I was fine and was able to enjoy this delicious cappuccino before a long day of walking, site seeing, and getting a sample of Bulgarian culture.

Athens, Greece

My time in Athens was very short, quite literally 24 hours, but I believe I made it extremely worthwhile. In my taxi from the airport to my hostel, I was fortunate enough to have a driver that gave me a whole bunch of tips and things to try during my time here. He told me I had to the coffee shop chain ‘Coffee Island’ and try a local special called a Cappuccino Freddo. So that beverage became my coffee mission for Athens.img_7330

When you are walking on the street up to the Acropolis, there is a road called Makrigianni. Here you will find a whole bunch of restaurants and shops. The Coffee Island I went to was here, basically right across from the Acropolis metro stop.

So this cappuccino is an iced drink. Instead of milk that blends in easily, the espresso is topped with a very thick, sweet cream. The cream is almost the consistency of a custard and tastes absolutely incredible. Definitely the kind of drink you would save for a dessert or if you are really in need of a sweet kick but 100% worth it.

I walked with my drink down to a bench next to Hadrian’s Arch and the temple of Zeus and enjoyed this refreshing yet decadent beverage whilst once again, people watching and reflecting on all this things I was able to do thus far on my trip.

Paris, France

The tale of the voyage of the cappuccino continues. It was here that I began the ‘lets order a cappuccino because I don’t know what else to do trend. It was started out in the Paris airport. As I walked through the baggage claim exit, I was expecting my passport to be stamped and it just so happened that no one did. So I quickly texted my dear mother and asked if I should be worried. As I waited for a response my café raider seemed to have turned on because I instantly saw a Relay café where I had my first cappuccino in Paris. This cappuccino was honestly nothing too special, but like I said before, stay tuned for a trend to follow. I guess you could say this beverage was also necessary because I was meeting a friend who was studying abroad in France that night and needed any little extra boost of caffeine I could get.

On to the next morning.

img_0390Before my trip I had joked with my family that my Thanksgiving dinner was going to be a Pain-aux-chococolat and a cappuccino. Being that today was Thanksgiving, that was my mission. That morning I was meeting my friend at the Notre Dame so I left a little bit early so I could stop in at a patisserie on my way to the metro station from my hostel. I conveniently passed the café ‘AM Martinho’ so I popped in for my desired Thanksgiving meal and the opportunity to test my French.

I was able to successfully avoid embarrassment and ordered my breakfast in French. Feeling like a champion, I walked out of the café and proceeded to the metro, sipping what tasted like victory, or a cappuccino. Happy Thanksgiving to me.

The next morning was bye-bye to France and hello Croatia for me. In typical Hannah fashion, I arrived to the airport very early. But as you can probably guess, that means one more cappuccino and two more pastries for Hannah. I should probably apologize to the French people for being the reason why they need to restock their espresso bars and pastry shelf but hey, it had to be done.

Zagreb, Croatia

I got to Zagreb around 4 and made it to my hostel around 6. I spent 2 nights in Croatia However, my time was mainly spent in the evenings because I took morning bus trips to both Ljubljana and Graz (stay tuned).img_0658

The next morning I was taking the bus to Graz Austria just for the morning and afternoon. My first cappuccino experience occurred at the Bus station where I happily arrived early to enjoy a delicious pastry and cappuccino at the café called Dubravica. In my opinion, what better way to pass time than indulging? Luckily I was doing more than enough walking everyday to make up for it. Heck, even if I wasn’t I would still have no regrets. No pastry or Cappuccino left behind.

As you can imagine, the next morning followed the same way. I left my hostel a little extra early and sampled a different pastry and yet another cappuccino.

Graz, Austria

img_7944img_7932What a beautiful little city. My morning started out with me finding my way from the Bus station to where the town square area was. I immediately saw to a hill/ mountain you could go to the top and found drawn to it like a magnet. After my climb it was time for a reward, which was my lunch. I walked around the square and considered many tasty options I chose to sit outside at the café/ restaurant AUER, situated right in the square surrounded my many shops with gorgeous architecture and detailing, as well plenty of people for to fancy my people watching obsession. With it I enjoyed a delicious little sandwich, which it is possible may have even been vegan.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

This was my favorite stop; however also the shortest stop my entire trip. This city was quite literally something from my dreams and honestly, I wasn’t going to go because the bus left at 7 am and I would return around 3:30. But like I said 100% worth it.

The walk from the bus station to the old city area was quick and easy. I roamed around for a little bit getting a lay of the land while also making quick decisions as to what I wanted to do with my short time here. After finding myself in constant awe from the beauty of the town during my walk around I found a café situated on a street where there was what appeared to be a little flea marketimg_8077.

Prior to entering the café I walked into a convenience sized grocery store where for literally about 2 Euros I walked out with two different pastries. Then I proceeded into the shop, ordered my cappuccino, and enjoyed it outside with my pastries, watching the locals interact in this charming town.

While I was at the bus station, I got a little bit hungry again because I took another hike up a mountain to see a castle. At the bus station, my choice of food was McDonalds, however I wasn’t really upset because I quite enjoy trying seeing how it differs from in America. You can probably predict the next sentence, so yes, I did order a cappuccino with my meal. The funny part about this one is that I had planned to eat my meal on the bus back to Zagreb.

Unfortunately the spot where I was supposed to catch my bus from wasn’t necessarily clear so here I am carrying my backpack, purse, a salad, a bag with a pastry, and a coffee back and forth along the length of the bus terminal looking for a bus that said to Zagreb. After a couple laps up and back I eventually got on my bus but I could only imagine how silly I looked thinking what would happen if I missed my bus while holding on to this McDonald’s for dear life, while also making sure I don’t lose my bus ticket.

Once on the bus though, I was able to take a deep breath again and sip this McDonald’s coffee in a state of bliss.

Warsaw, Poland

I arrived at my hostel in Warsaw around 8pm and honestly I was exhausted so I basically went straight to bed. The next morning I wanted to find breakfast at a local coffee shop. I took a walk through the old town area and told myself I had to pick place before I arrived back at my hostel. I passed several Costa Coffees and Café Neros, however, I really wanted to go to a place that wasn’t a chain.

img_8188I found myself in a small café called café trackt ordering a tasty almond flavored pastry in addition to my cappuccino. It was much colder here so I enjoyed my breakfast in the warmth of the café. After this, I took another walk through the old town, venturing a little further this time and got myself lunch. After this I walked and checked in to the hostel I would be staying at for this night.

img_0990At this point, I was at this awkward time where it wasn’t really appropriate to eat dinner yet I had done enough walking so I decided gee, I better try one of the chains. Into the next café nero I went and honestly I may as well have just gone to dinner. I ordered a medium cappuccino and this huge slice of apple pie with a meringue on top. I can not begin to explain how good it was but I also laugh at myself because I was avoiding eating dinner early yet here I am ordering a slice of decadent pie probably bigger that my face. But like I said this was a voyage of the cappuccino/ no pastry left behind mission. It had to happen.

The next morning I successfully took the polish metro to the airport and rewarded myself with not just a cappuccino but a mocha cappuccino. Yes, a Mocha cappuccino. I would like to say I was stepping out of my comfort zone but really this was one of those machines where you simply press the button of what you want and your beverage is dispensed because I was in a convenience store. Poland you were so good to me.

Riga, Latvia

Alright so my final stop, you can only imagine what happens here. This was my last chance to leave no pasty and no cappuccino behind. How American of me. Indulge, Indulge, Indulge.

The first cappuccino I drank here is kind of a funny story but also not at all. I was following my screen-shot on my phone of the directions from the hostel website and ultimately ended up walking the completely wrong direction for about 5 minutes. My intuition started to kick in and I ended up turning around. However, about 2 blocs before I got back to where I started my phone had died. I’m not going to lie I began to worry a little bit. So what do I do?

Fortunately the bus stop I was supposed to get off at was a mall, which happened to have a costa coffee at. I had a feeling that they would most likely have an outlet and I would be able to recharge my phone. So in I went, found a seat near an outlet and let my phone begin charging as I specifically ordered a large cappuccino. Yes, I ordered a large. I figured my the time I finished it I would not only know where I was going, but also be more calm. Fortunately I figured it out and was able to not only enjoy the rest of my day in Riga, but also fall in love with the city.

img_1104The next morning would be last morning waking up in Europe. I new I needed to wake up an extra hour early so I could get one last coffee shop visit in. Into another Costa Coffee I went and got myself a caramel macchiato a slice of cake and a muffin. If you were wandering if the barista looked at me like I was crazy, you thought correctly. But, no shame in my game. This ended up being the best piece of cake I have consumed in my entire 20 years of existence plain and simple, no questions asked. I was also able to save the muffin I ordered for the airplane, which ended up being perfect!

Is it ironic to say that my over-caffeinated, over sugared self left that café feeling bittersweet? My cappuccino voyage had come to an end and let me tell you, absolutely no pastry was left behind. So if you’re ever feeling lost or like no one understands you, simply walk into a coffee shop and say cappuccino, you’ll be quite surprised.

If you want to read more, hopefully I will have the rest of the blogs about the places I visited up within the next week!

Have a glorious day!

Hannah xx

05.26.16 First three days in Chiang Mai

IMG_3667IMG_3668After picking up my bags and meeting with a program leader in Chiang Mai, I met up with three girls from the group and we headed to our hotel. Initially when we were outside, I saw a couple vans, smaller taxis, and then these red trucks that had the back mostly open. To my surprise, we got into one of these with our suitcases. If we hit a strange bump or weren’t paying attention to our luggage they definitely would have fallen out, but honestly, the breeze from the open windows and back was nice and I would soon find out that this was one of the main ways I would be getting around the city.

When we arrived at the hotel it was so cute! It was a very good sized and the way the hotel was decorated and furnished was sort of different from what I was used to, but I love it!

Our hotel room is very good sized, as well as the bathroom. The shower pressure is actually incredible and probably better than my shower at home and there is plenty of hot water. The only downfall about the hotel is that the wifi only really works in the lobby.

One of the girls that was picked up with me had to leave because she was actually a part of a slightly different program so for about the next hour and a half the other two girls and I spent a bit of time talking and getting to know each other and debating whether or not we wanted to nap.

IMG_2609After enough chit chat about things we were excited to do, we ended up waking ourselves back up, in my case from pure excitement, so we decided to attempt to venture out into the city to try to grab a meal.

While we were walking, we kept passing place after place but simply couldn’t decide. We got to a main road where a small pond/creek separated two roads acting as a boulevard was, which I later found out was the moat around the old city area. While we were there trying to find a place to eat, we got our first taste of Chiang Mai traffic. After waiting a good amount of time to cross the busy street, it was our turn to walk. The crosswalk gave us only about 10 fast seconds to cross; meanwhile, some motorbikes didn’t stop immediately, and after you were done crossing the cars went anyways, regardless whether or not it was their time to go.

So after wandering up and down about a block of this boulevard, we came to terms with the fact that we had no idea where we were going or if we were even in the area where the old city was, so we started on our way back and decided maybe the first day we would just eat at the hotel.

IMG_2658.JPGOnce we got back, I asked for a map because I was eager and curious to figure out where we needed to go to get into the city. After looking at the map as a group, we agreed on the fact that we were right on the edge of the old city and just needed to cross through the “wall”. So, we ventured back out and this time, continued around the perimeter of the square.

We ended up seeing our first temple, which was breathtaking! The contrast of the white building with the red and gold was stunning! We didn’t actually go in to the temple: we were simply in the little enclosed region where it was. But, we continued a bit until there was a cute alleyway, which looked like it had some shops and restaurants. So we decided to go down there with hopes of finding a meal. Eventually we walked down this road far enough until it met back up with the road we were walking on, just a little further down. So we backtracked and chose one of the restaurants we had passed.

It’s kind of ironic and embarrassing to say, but the one we chose was called “German Beer Garden” but we did not go for the western food, we got Thai Food and it was amazing. I was kind of surprised at how many restaurants we passed that had “best French food” or “best Italian food”… all we wanted was to find Thai food!

For my meal I ordered a vegetarian yellow curry. If I know one thing to be true from this trip so far is that if you told me I would have to eat this way everyday for the rest of my life I would shake your hand and thank you. When people say the food is excellent they are not joking—it is out of this world!

After eating we went back the way we came and went to the hotel. After a tasty meal, being out in the heat, and exhaustion kicking in from two days of travel, I found myself in bed at 6pm and passed out after rolling over a few times.

Throughout the night once it got to about 3 in the morning I found myself waking up every thirty minutes to an hour. By the time it reached 6, I laid in bed until about 6:30 and then got up and got ready for the day. We were meeting the program coordinator at 10 today, so I had plenty of time in the morning to do whatever. I went down to the lobby to use the Internet and ended up sitting there waiting, trying to figure out how I was supposed to get a voucher for breakfast.

Eventually I just asked the front desk people and learned that all I had to do was give my room number in order to receive complementary breakfast. I was laughing at the fact that I had waited about an hour and a half thinking about how it was weird they never gave us a meal voucher or wandering when we would actually receive them… Nope it was my fault for not trying.

By the time we finished eating, it was time to meet with the program coordinator (David), the in-country assistant (Pat), and the rest of the group where we met to talk about Thai cultural values, talk about getting around the are and different thins we would be doing.

There I was surprised to learn that apparently the government gives everyone the salary of 300 baht… per day. This had me in shock and awe because the day before I paid 110 baht for my meal, which was about 3.50 USD. This means that people make about 8 USD a day, which I found baffling. It is crazy how that is, hopefully, a livable wage.

Here the red truck vans were also explained to us and we were told that this was the best method of transportation for us when we didn’t want to walk around the city. David and Pat explained that we shouldn’t pay for that 20Baht if the decide to give us a ride.

IMG_2666After finishing up our first lesson, we got into a van and drove over to Tha Phae gate and then walked just down the block to a restaurant where we had some super delicious curry.

When we came back, we had our second little lesson/ briefing for the day where we learned out Thai values versus US values. I basically fell in love when I heard about the things Thai people find important. There is a very strong emphasis on wanting to maintain harmony so everyone just strives to make everyone happy. As well, everyone smiles all the time. David explains how even if a Thai person is sad or angry you can still catch them smiling or even laughing. He also discussed how Thai people are very present focused versus thinking about the next thing the are going to be doing, as we would in the US. This also explains why Thais are always smiling: there is no time to be angry, you can just simply get over it, move on, and keep enjoying your life.

I loved these ideas and found myself smiling the whole time. I like to think that this is the way my mind sort of thinks so it was cool to find out that there is a whole culture of people who think similar.

IMG_2710After this was over, we were done for the day so we had time to go out and explore on our own. Our whole group decided to try to venture out to the gate we were at earlier and then look around from there. While we were walking, we got sidetracked by someone seeing on their phone the best smoothie place in Chiang Mai. After Google mapping it we realized we were close so decided to go there. Little did we know, it was in the Chiang Mai Gate market area (where we had started). After being out in the hot sun walking around, about half the group was tired and wanted to go cool off in our hotel’s pool. Two of the people in the group were staying at a different hotel in the old city, because they were in a different program, so as they were walking back, two other girls and I decided we would just walk with them so we could see more of the city and get a better idea of where everything was.

I was happy to be with people who were excited to keep exploring because I was still jittery. Their hotel was pretty centrally located inside the square so as we walked through, we got to see the tops of some temples, as well as plenty of shops and places to eat. We ended up deciding to go swimming and escape the heat for a little bit so we ended up catching a red truck back to Chiang Mai gate and walking from there. Once we got out, all we had been told was if you take a red truck van don’t pay more than 20. So, we were basically convinced that the guy was trying to rip us off when really it was us because we didn’t know it was 20 per person. It’s crazy how we often assume the other person is the bad guy versus the fact that we are just wrong.IMG_2725

After quickly changing at the hotel, walked down to the pool and after being in for only about 20 minutes it started to get cloudy, so we got out, dried off, changed, and then walked over to the market for dinner. After wandering around all the delicious looking stands, we chose to try real pad Thai. I ordered a vegetarian pad Thai, which was made with tofu. After handing over my 35 baht, my pad Thai was cooked from scratch and a heaping portion was served on a plate and handed to me. Since I was the first person to get their food, I chose a table nearby and started to eat. By the time everyone else got there, I had basically inhaled half of mine. The funnier part was that once everyone actually began eating, it started to rain that eventually turned into a full on down pour. As we looked around to find an umbrella to sit under we realized there were none left, so there were, the only people eating their food in the pouring rain. After we were done, it was raining so hard we didn’t want to walk back yet, so we sat under a tent and ordered smoothies so the lady wouldn’t kick us out.

I ordered a green tea milk smoothie and it was awesome! Also while I was looking around, my eye caught on these beautiful hand painted bracelets an older women was selling. I had to go over there to take a closer look where the lady made me try them on. I was laughing because she had to pull out the extra large sized ones she made so she could fit it over my fat hand. However, I ended up bargaining and buying 2. The best part was how happy the women looked after I made my purchase.

Shortly after, the rain cleared up to a light drizzle—our queue to leave. We had a pleasant, short walk back to the hotel and then we all decided to go to bed since we were tired.

The next morning I was up again around 7 and after I got ready, 4 of us decided we wanted to take a walk into the market to try to find someone selling fresh juice. Although I was aware of some of the things I would encounter, I was still a little shocked when I saw dead chickens piled up for purchase. That being said, I still found myself taking a picture.

The coolest thing about the morning market is watching local people purchase the food they will be eating fresh for the day—I love that concept. After venturing though the market we had not yet found someone selling fresh juice or smoothies, so we continued about a block into the square, versus just on the perimeter and found a café that sold smoothies. We decided to sit down here and order our drinks. I chose a watermelon smoothie and after it came out, you could quite literally tell that they had through chucks of watermelon and ice into it. The smoothie was so refreshing and it was crazy to think that in the US when you get a fruit smoothie it can be close to five dollars, when you actually want it made with real fruit you pay a little extra cost. Here, I paid a little over a dollar for something completely natural…. Incredible!

We walked back to the hotel, got our actual breakfast and then waited to be picked up to walk around the city again and explore temples.

IMG_2760For the temples, you have to have you shoulders and knees covered up so I was dressed in a way where I had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be covered in sweat, but it was all worth it.

IMG_2771IMG_2736The first temple we saw was Wat Chedi Luang and at first all we saw was this beautiful white building with a golden interior and roof, which I was completely blown away by. After entering, I was in awe by the golden Buddha statue that spanned from the floor all the way to the ceiling, once again, incredible! Then once we exited the temple we went around the corner to where there was a whole bunch of other temples, as well as in the middle this temple, sort of ruin structure you could not go into. As I was walking around I was simply blown away by everything and lost for words. Everything was so beautiful and the attention to detail in the architecture was amazing. Around the perimeter of the middle structure (the one that looked like a ruin) there were different statues representing the animals of the Chinese calendar. I made a donation to the box for the rat (my symbol) in hopes of good karma—because I need all the good karma I can get.IMG_2821

After we continued to the temple next door, the Wat Phan Tao. This one was beautiful because there were hundreds of these sunflower yellow flags with a wheel symbol in the middle surrounding the area. Later I learned that this was a Buddhist flag.

IMG_2812After our afternoon visiting the temples, we went to a place for lunch where we were able to sample a variety of local dished. I tried some of this cold salad, sautéed vegetables, and these super delicious sautéed greens that were my favorite.

We then took a red truck back to the hotel to quickly grab our passports and then head to the mall where we would get our local phones.

For the mall, I can’t say I was expecting much; however, once again I was wrong. It was honestly nicer than just about every mall I have ever been to before. It had traditional mall shops as well as a level that was just like a market. When we had a chance to roam around and shop a bit, I looked the wrong way and jumped a bit when I saw a huge aquarium on the bottom floor.

IMG_2840
Once we had our fix of the mall, we went back to the hotel and were set free for the rest of the day. We decided to go to the pool for a bit and then head to the Sunday market. There were two main roads blocked off in the middle of the old city square for the ven
dors to sell their stuff. Just about anything you wanted, you could buy here for some amazing deals. I found myself trying to bargain but then honestly stopped after coming to terms with the fact that I was paying so little for such amazing things! Plus after learning how little people make on a daily basis, I was happy to give them the money. After exploring for a bit, I found myself hungry, since I hadn’t eaten since lunch, so I found a place selling spring rolls for 10 baht each. I ordered three vegetables ones, two fried and one fresh. Simply put, these were the best spring rolls I have ever had.

IMG_2858Eventually we reached the end of the market, so it was time to head back to the hotel. At first, we thought we knew where we were going but after continuing down the road long enough we realized it was actually unfamiliar. We decided to keep walking down until we reached the end of the road.

Fortunately we were at the moat so we knew we either needed to make a left of a right to get back to the hotel. Lucky for us we chose to make a left, which brought us nicely back to the Chiang Mai gate, just from the way we had not yet explored. If we had made a right we would have ended up basically walking the entire perimeter of the square which who knows how long would have taken us. Because the two other girls I was with did not eat yet, we stopped in the market and grabbed a quick bite, and I had another delicious watermelon smoothie. The chose to grab pad Thai and it just so happened that as soon as they started to eat, it began to rain again. How ironic.

Fortunately for us, this time we were able to go under an umbrella; however, because there was a little bit of rain we still got wet. After the finished their meal we walked back to our hotel and went to bed. It was satisfying to lay in bed at the end of the day tired with sore feel because then I knew I had actually made the most out of my day.

Sorry my blogs have been late, I have been a tad busy and been forgetting to sit down and write. I hope to post about my Monday and Tuesday later tonight and then hopefully get into much more regular posts… and if you have actually made it this far in the post  commend you, this one was a little long and I hope to make them a bit shorter in the future. Today (Wednesday) I begin taking classes so I am excited to learn how to say more than how much, thank you, and hello and learn more about the culture!

Have a wonderful day!!!

Hannah