Oahu welcomed us kindly. Though hotels are common in the area, I'd highly recommend an AirB&B — much cheaper. Further, all beaches that we came across were public, so there is no loss in coastline.
Lahaina was a beautiful small town, full of art and views. Though most of the galleries are extremely boujee, they were welcoming to those who clearly weren't going to buy (I strolled in sandals with a frisbee to a gallery whose average price was probably around $5k). If on Oahu, I'd also recommend getting a PADI license (it took only two days for me) and specifically the Lahaina Luau.
On the big island of H'awaii: I wouldn't recommend. It's large and beautiful, but mostly empty beyond a large airport.
I had not heard of this place until I was headed there. It is a small island that is partly Malaysian, partly Indonesian, with a tiny bit of it taken up by Brunei. I have only ever seen its match in greenness in Bali. Southeast Asia is really cool (though actually hot and humid)! I have started adopting the local Singaporean view of monkeys as scavengers and pests. Those little buggers can be incredibly annoying. On the other hand, they are undeniably hilarious.
I saw this in Singapore and thought it was worth a share. Sometimes you just gotta ride on your giraffe.
Malaga, a city on the Costa del Sol in Spain, is beautiful. Unlike most cities I have visited, Malaga seems to sprawl about without a discernible center. There are very few buildings over five stories high, but I also haven't seen any under three. In addition to beautiful pedestrian sidewalks, which are regularly traversed by cars, there are breathtaking beaches which stretch along the Mediterranean for miles. The restaurants along the beach are varied and relaxed, featuring everything from tapas to sushi. Pablo Picasso, the famous Spanish artist, was born in Malaga, so there is a small, but comprehensive museum in town dedicated to his works. Another great tourist attraction in the city is the complex encompassing Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba. The views from the fourteenth century walls of these buildings over the city and the surrounding gardens, fountains, and courtyards are stellar.
Germany is an incredible country, though with a last name like Reichenbach, it is hardly surprising that I should think so! Es ist eine die Lande der Sprache, die ich ziemlich sprechen kann. My family has done a couple of house exchanges with German families (one in Berlin and another in Hamburg). While we did a lot of normal tourist-y stuff, going from castle to castle admiring art and architecture, what I enjoyed most was outside the typical tourist destinations. We saw a life sized scene made entirely of margarine. We visited a zoo where we spent nearly an hour watching monkeys corralling their babies with their tails. We ate Spaghetti Eis, an ice-cream indistinguishable from pasta until it begins to melt. Furthermore, I love fresh strawberries and Germany has the best I've ever had. They are sold in giant strawberry shaped stands and, though fairly expensive, are definitely worth the cost.
My dad (the OG localhost) loves to ski, so for his birthday, we had the amazing opportunity to ski in Austria. The Hotel Hubertus, where we stayed, was absolutely lovely, though I conked my head on the ceiling a couple of times. The skiing was incredible, and the views were unforgettable.
Also, our full body color coordination was great and entirely accidental. Dad was in bright red from helmet to boots, so you couldn't miss him on the slopes.
Bali is by far the greenest place I have ever visited. I became good friends with a spider while I was there. He (or possibly she?) would sit next to me in his (her?) six foot diameter web while I ate breakfast. I am quite sure that s/he was the one who recommended checking out some of the artisanal stores in Ubud. They have beautiful artwork, usually made in-house. I also recommend going rafting. The relatively mild rapids gave us occasional heart-racing moments, and the carvings on the surrounding stone walls are intricate and breathtaking.
Singapore is a beautiful, clean, efficient little island. While it's true that you cannot have gum anywhere in the city or eat on the public transportation, this leads to a very pleasant subway (MRT) system. Everything is air-conditioned and connected underground. Though it may seem like a strange recommendation, I'd say check out the malls. They are huge and have great food. I have gotten so lost in a mall that I didn't even know if I was above or below the ground. The turtle garden a little west of Jurong East is also worth a visit.
If you can ignore the politicians in jail and avoid the city violence, the Windy City is a great place to visit. The Magnificent Mile has excellent shopping if you have an arm and a leg to spend. Otherwise, the Doughnut Vault is one of the best doughnut shops in the world and freshly made Garrett's Popcorn is to die for!
Also this, found while I was there. As a natural born Chicagoan, I would just like to say that this is why we can't have nice things.
Give me a little bit of time to get this blog completely up and running.