Wrap Up

Olympics: Wrap Up

This is my way delayed wrap up post dedicated to planning a trip to the Olympics. While we went to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, I’m hoping some of this information will come in handy for others planning trips to a future Olympics. It’s the advice I wish I had read and the advice I would give to anyone looking to attend the Olympics. We hope to go to another Olympics in the future (hopefully Paris 2024?) and plan to use what we learned to make the next trip even more memorable.

This post will be a bit different from my other Wrap Up posts, as it’s less destination specific (I hope), and more event related. Hopefully some of what we learned and advice I can give, will carry over to other Olympic host cities. Rio was a bit unorganized it seemed and a very spread out city so I almost feel that any other city will be a bit more organized and have the arenas closer together. But regardless, I feel it’s sound advice for someone looking to attend the Olympics. As a reminder, here’s my timeline of how we prepped for the Olympics (written before we left). So without further ado, let’s get on with this…

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Slovenia: Summary

We just returned from an amazing 6 days in Slovenia (plus 1 day in Venice). We had chosen Slovenia basically from seeing a picture of Lake Bled at some point and that was about it. When researching flights, we realized it was half the cost to fly into Venice and drive the relatively short distance (less than 2 hours) to Slovenia. Since we planned on renting a car in Slovenia anyway, it didn’t make a big difference to us. Now if you don’t plan on driving yourself around Slovenia, it might be easier just to fly into Ljubljana as train connections and public transport between Venice and Ljubljana aren’t great. With flying in/out of Venice, we decided to spend our final day of the trip in Venice as Brian had never been and it was a good excuse to make a quick stop.

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Palawan: Summary

I almost forgot that I hadn’t published this yet, so oops. It’s a bit later than normal upon return from a trip. Palawan was a place I had pushed to the top of my travel list about a year ago and the timing of our trips this year, made it perfect timing to visit. We hadn’t done a relaxing beach vacation for a long time, as it’s not our favorite type of trip, but relaxing for a week was amazing. It’s a beautiful island and incredibly affordable and while busy, there are plenty of ways to avoid the crowds

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Belgium: Wrap Up

After deciding to visit Amsterdam in April 2016 to see the tulips in bloom, we debated whether to spend the entire week of vacation in The Netherlands or add a second country. After weighing the pros and cons of each, we decided the pull to experience Belgium was greater than seeing more of The Netherlands. However, I absolutely loved Amsterdam and have no doubt that we will be going back to see more of The Netherlands in the future. I enjoyed our time in Brussels and Bruges, but I didn’t feel that pull and love I felt in Amsterdam. Brian enjoyed Belgium more than I did, but he loves beer more than I do so I’m not sure if that factored in at all. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want to re-visit Belgium, I would, it’s just not at the top of my re-visit list.

We also debated quite a bit on where to base ourselves. The most popular cities in Belgium to base yourself in seem to be Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, or Bruges. Granted there is plenty more to the country than those four cities, but knowing we wanted to branch out and visit more than one city, we wanted to base ourselves in one with easy connections. Originally that was going to be Bruges, but after deciding to make a day trip to Paris, we changed to Brussels as it was an easier connection both from Amsterdam and to Paris. Belgium has a lot to offer and you can make so many different things a focus when traveling there from food to beer to World War history to art. We chose the food and beer angle to our trip, as neither of us are huge war history buffs and we had made art a focus in Amsterdam so we wanted something different for the second half of our trip. Therefore in this guide, I won’t be giving much information on war history so if you are looking for advice on the battlefield sights, you will have to look elsewhere. Sorry!

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Galapagos: Summary

Well, eventually I will get around to writing detailed posts on my family’s trip to the Galapagos Islands, but I’ve got lots to post from other trips first. Until that time, here’s my quick summary of the highlights from my recent trip with my family. The Galapagos Islands are an incredibly special place and it was also incredibly hard to leave. You know usually at the end of a trip, part of you is normally ready to come home and get back to a normal routine and not eating out every night. This wasn’t like that at all. Every single one of us could have stayed longer. I am already dreaming about a return and which islands to visit next time.

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Amsterdam: Wrap Up

When we realized we were going to be taking a spring trip in 2016, The Netherlands was the first place we thought to visit. We had thought about visiting in the fall back in 2012, but decided to put it off until we could visit in the spring for the tulips. April 2016 rolled around and we were headed to Amsterdam. Spring is a gorgeous time to visit there, regardless of if you time it just right for the tulips. The trees lining the canal are just coming into bloom making it a very picturesque place to walk around. We debated on whether to make it a Netherlands only trip or add in another country. While I have plenty of sights I would like to see in The Netherlands that we didn’t visit, we had a greater desire to visit parts of Belgium so we added on Brussels and Bruges instead of more places within The Netherlands.

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Jordan: Summary

As I am way behind posting, I will eventually get to Jordan posts after finishing up my previous two trips. This is just a quick wrap up/summary post of the highlights of our week in Jordan. Our week in Jordan was full of top moments and it’s hard to narrow down the best ones. It was an interesting time to be visiting with our presidential election coming up and we had some incredibly fascinating conversations with many locals on it.

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China: Wrap up

After finally finishing up all my Beijing and Xi’an posts, I am writing my more detailed wrap up post on our trip to provide some more detailed insight into how our trip in regards to planning, and how everything went for us,¬†etc. For a quick post trip summary on our favorites, you can read that here. We decided on Beijing mostly because we made a list of top ten Asian cities we would like to visit and went with whichever plane ticket was cheapest. Beijing won, with Tokyo coming in as second.

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Rio 2016: Summary


While I have lots of other posts to get to before I even reach my posts on the Rio 2016 Olympics, here is a quick summary of first thoughts upon returning. It was an interesting trip of contrasting thoughts and opinions on the Olympics and Rio in general. While we loved the Olympics and everything we did in relation to them, our feelings on Rio were starkly different. Rio is very beautiful from far away, but up close and personal, it wasn’t my favorite place I’ve visited. It’s dirty and polluted and often comes with an odor. We found good food difficult to come by and didn’t have a lot of must see attractions besides the commonly visited ones.

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EuroTrip 2016: Summary

As I finish up posts on our China trip, here’s my summary on our recent trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, and Paris. We were in Europe for just 1 week but due to train travel we were able to visit a variety of places. This is just a quick post on our first thoughts upon returning from our trip. As always, will post a more detailed wrap up and follow up to the planning post eventually!

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