May 272015
 
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey: Astounding Details

Istanbul, Turkey’s famous Blue Mosque is hypnotic. You could stare for hours at each swirl of decoration on its 141-foot domes, and at each glint of color on its 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, imagining the work that went into every intricacy… feeling the energy and spirit of the structure.

During my glorious week in Turkey this month thanks to Turkish Airlines, the Blue Mosque was at the top of my list of places to see. I was [...Read More!]

May 192015
 
A Fun Weekend Getaway with Family in Mystic, CT

Even before we arrived, my family knew that Mystic, Connecticut was the right mini-vacation spot because of the way people spoke of it. “I used to love going to Mystic as a child,” person after person sighed when we told them of our upcoming trip. “It’s such a charming little place!” Mystic has many fans, and we soon learned why.

Mystic is a New England seaport village with just 4,205 inhabitants and 3.4 square miles. In fact, it is not an actual [...Read More!]

May 112015
 
Beautiful Istanbul, Turkey at Night by Boat and Rooftop

“Why are you going to Turkey?” sneered the saleswoman I was chatting up in the store in the week before my trip. “There’s not much there, plus it’s really dangerous, and also oppressive to women.”

“Ms. Marshall!” yelled one of my seventh grade students when he learned I would be taking the next four days off of teaching to fly to Istanbul, “Don’t go. It’s a war zone over there!”

Readers, let me assure [...Read More!]

Apr 232015
 
Times Square, New York City in the Middle of the Night

It was midnight, I was walking alone through Times Square, New York, and all was right with the world.

What brought me there this week? My husband, baby, and I have been traveling in Manhattan for vacation, and on Sunday, I was afforded a solo night out to meet up with my travel blog mentor. When dinner was over, I decided to walk the 50 blocks back to where we were staying.

You can guess where [...Read More!]

Apr 152015
 
Ireland's Most Unexpected Best Tourist Attraction

Sometimes the best tourist attractions are the ones you least expect. My husband, baby, and I were on day three of our Ireland road trip, and as our car rumbled up the path from Clifden to the Connemara Heritage and History Centre of Ireland, I tried to figure out what the heck this “Centre” even was.

“I think this is some guy’s house or something?” I muttered to my husband, Colin, shuffling through print-outs [...Read More!]

Apr 082015
 
Ireland's Kylemore Abbey: Surprising Beauty and History

Ireland is a country of castles. In fact, the Emerald Isle has so many castles that on each day of our Ireland road trip, we saw no fewer than two castles per day, just chilling by the side of the road. Many of these castles date back to the 1400s!

As our car chugged towards the turrets of famed Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, County Galway, medieval tales bounced through my head. Little did I [...Read More!]

Mar 082015
 
The Burren, Ireland's Most Famous Ancient Portal Stones

“Excuse me, I’m looking for the famous rock thingy in the Burren?” I asked the Irish gentleman. “You know, the one with the rocks that are like this, and this, with one like this?” I flailed my hands around, making a tipped square shape. “I think it’s called Hole of Sorrows, or something creepy like that?”

The man shook his head with a smile, and replied with that delightful Irish accent, “Google Maps [...Read More!]

Feb 212015
 
A Perfect First Day of Ireland Travel: Bunratty Castle

I have just returned from a fabulous 7-day road trip through the southwest of Ireland, and I’m so excited to share it with you! My Ireland travel articles (at least fifteen) will chronologically follow our route.

Let’s start from the beginning. Two months ago I had zero plans for February vacation, but knew we had to get away from the insane Boston snow somehow. One day, a friend suggested I try a free [...Read More!]

Feb 172015
 
The Moment in Cuba That Opened Its Secret to Me

This is the last of my four-part series on traveling through Cuba, and in it I will share the shocking moment that revealed the dark side of the country. It all started in the town of Cienfuegos, on the very evening I looked out at the stunning sunset pictured below.

My travel partner, Oliver, and I were staying in a “Casa Particular,” a local Cuban’s home that is permitted by the government to take in travelers. As you can see [...Read More!]

Feb 102015
 
Photos of Boston Under 6 Feet of Record Blizzard Snow

Yipes! Over six feet of snow have blanketed my dear Boston in the past 30 days, demolishing all previous blizzard records. We have now had EIGHT snow days off of school, forcing Boston Public Schools to eliminate two upcoming holidays to reach the allotted 180 school days before July hits. (Oh July… sweet, warm July… The city aches for you.)

Meanwhile, our public transportation system (the “T”) has completely shut down for today as another [...Read More!]