Situated on the eastern coast of Spain, Valencia is the country's 3rd largest city, behind Madrid and Barcelona. There are roughly 800,000 people who live in Valencia proper and about 1.6 million that live in Valencia's metro area. It is also worth noting that Valencia's harbor is the busiest container port in the Mediterranean and the 5th busiest in Europe. That means that this is a city of economic importance. Stuff happens here.
Today, I’ll be telling you some of what happened to ME (and one very unlucky friend) while I was here.
When I made the move to Madrid in 2012, I hadn't done much research. Upon my arrival, I remember being very surprised at how green and lush the city was. This was not what I expected Spain to look like. I was expecting something a bit more arid, a bit more dry, a bit more brown-ish in color. I'm not sure where these preconceptions originally came from, but now I know that TOLEDO is what I expected Spain to look like. This was the image of Spain that I had in my head.
If you've been a reader for any amount of time, you probably know that I started this website when I moved to Hanoi, Vietnam to work as an English teacher. However, you might NOT know that Hanoi was actually the 2nd time I had lived internationally. The first time was my study abroad, during which I spent a semester living in Madrid, Spain.
This is the first installment of what is going to be a #ThrowBackThursday series. I'll be digging up some choice photos from my time in Europe, re-editing them, and sharing some thoughts and/or stories about each of the places I visited. So let's get to the good stuff!
Dude, I smell like shit."
"Thats okay... It's Milwaukee!"
I think that interaction was what I remembered most about Milwaukee prior coming back here in 2018. I don’t remember a lot of specifics from that trip, save for the realization that Milwaukee is actually a pretty cool place. So when I returned in the summer of 2018 for a wedding, I made a point to break off a bite-sized piece of the city and take a long walk with my camera.
It’s time for our last article on Asheville. We’ve covered some serious ground in this city, and have already had a few surprises, but to me, there were none more pleasant than the ones I’m about to share with you in this article. This is Asheville’s “Street Art” installment; a segment that I am becoming quite fond of. Not every city has a visual arts scene that will support these kinds of public works… but those that do, typically don’t look much like Asheville. I tend to associate street art with giant urban areas like New York, San Francisco, or Toronto.
But Asheville threw down the gauntlet!
Asheville, North Carolina has little trouble attracting visitors from across the country and abroad on its own. Literally smack-dab in the middle of America’s Great Smoky Mountains, this crunchy enclave is a Mecca for outdoorsmen (and women), beer-lovers, weekend warriors, and hippies from around the country. Indeed, this little Appalachian gem has become a destination in its own rite… but it’s still veiled in a level obscurity. So people are usually surprised to learn that Asheville ALSO happens to be the location of the largest private home in America.
Did you know that? This whole experience was sort of a shock to me!
Today, let me introduce you to the famous Biltmore Estate.
In the last article, we talked through a lot of the context surrounding the city of Asheville, North Carolina, as well as a few notable areas in and around the city. Today we’re going to get a bit more specific and highlight a few of my favorite Asheville establishments and landmarks.
Tucked away in almost the exact center of the Smoky Mountains, this city an artsy, crunchy, progressive safe-haven, full of art galleries, beer breweries, wilderness exploration outfitters, and organic grocery stores. It’s pretty much the dream! Many people who come here do so as a stop-over before excursions into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the city itself is becoming a destination in its own rite. Cue our visit.
In the last article, we went through a pretty typical Chattanooga sight-seeing itinerary, but I wanted to take some time to highlight another dimension of the city that actually feels much more defining of the time that I spent here. I’m talking about all the great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that we visited while we were here. I can’t claim that they are necessarily the best or worst of Chattanooga—I didn’t stick around long enough to be making those sorts of assertions—but I CAN tell that each and every place I’m about to show you is really freaking cool.
With a population of just 179,139 (as of 2017), Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in the state of Tennessee, behind Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. It's just over a 2 hour drive southeast from Nashville, and is a relatively short commute to other major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Huntsville. The biggest sectors of Chattanooga’s economy are automotive manufacturing, shipping, and logistics, which are all quite industrial. However, this came as sort of a surprise to me given how quickly the “hipster” demographic is taking control of Chattanooga. This place is a serious contender to become Appalachia’s Brooklyn in 10 years, but it’s true identity is never really going to change.