Porto

14-16 March 2017

I went to Porto for a few days during my week in Portugal and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

It is a much different feel than Lisbon. Porto is much smaller, the streets are different, the buildings look different. There is even more street art here and of course, tons of port wine.

I didn’t have much of a plan while I was here either. But once again, it turned out perfectly that way.

While I was in Porto I did two port wine tastings at Taylor’s and Graham’s, drank by the river as one does in Porto, consumed the best seafood pasta of my life, perused Livaria Lello, climbed Torre de Clerigos, wandered around the Crystal Palace Gardens, and watched the sunset from the Dom Luis Bridge.

I definitely recommend visiting Porto while you’re in the beautiful country of Portugal. I chose it because it was too cold for the Algarve region, but I’m so glad I did! There isn’t as much to do as in Lisbon because it’s smaller, but it is so charming and cute, you won’t want to leave.

Peep my photos to be doubly convinced.

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Port wine tasting at Taylor’s. They have a great view!

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Livaria Lello. Not a must-see, but pretty nice.

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Torre de Clerigo.

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Views from the top of the tower.

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One of the many scenic vistas at the Crystal Palace Gardens.

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The view from Graham’s patio.

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The sunset from the Dom Luis Bridge.

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Lisbon

11-14 & 16-18 March 2017

Before I even talk about what I did, Portugal is absolutely amazing so just go ahead and add it to your bucket list right now.

The people here are so genuine and kind and the food and wine will be the best you’ve had in your life (esp. for those seafood lovers like me).

Portugal was my second solo trip ever and I couldn’t have had a better experience. It was also my first trip where I had no plan. I mean, I knew where I was sleeping each night, but other than that, I just went with it.

Because Portugal isn’t a place where you’re crossing off landmarks and museums you just have to see. It’s a place where you wander around, have 3 hour meals and drink a hell of a lot of coffee. So just ask around at the hostel or hotel you’re staying at for recommendations on where to go. They always know the best spots!

I was in Portugal for only one week because of university and I spent the majority of my time in Lisbon because there is so much to do there.

Throughout my time I explored Alfama, went to Castelo de S. George, walked around Belem, ate pastel de nata (many of them), took a day trip to Sintra and walked around Quinta da Regaleira, went to all the major plazas and viewpoints and ate my weight in seafood. 10/10 experience.

Enough talking, check out my photos to really convince you! Check out my Facebook and Instagram for more photos.

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View from the castle.

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Jeronimos Monastery in Belem.

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Pastel de nata.

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Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra

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Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra

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R. da Bica de Duarte Bica, a very famous street in Lisbon.

Abandoned Cement Factory

4 February 2017

A Tallahassee classic, most students visit here at least once if not 10 times before they graduate. It really is a neat place though. Plus, you can get away with doing anything there because it is abandoned.

We just wandered around, checking every little painting out. It’s not even hard to find. You can just type “abandoned cement factory” into Google maps and boom, there you go.

Apologies for the sub par photos, it was super cloudy and dreary out that day.

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Lake Overstreet Trails

15 January 2017

Long time no see. It took me three months, but I’m finally sitting down to update this thing! The truth is I haven’t done many outdoor pursuits/trips so far this year. I have been working my butt off and going to a ton of events. So, I am going to update y’all on the few new places I have accomplished visiting these past three months.

I went on a really nice afternoon hike at the Lake Overstreet trails this past January at the recommendation of many friends. And its true, it was a lovely hike. I’m not quite sure how long the trail is that we chose, but I want to say 3 miles.

We went from trees to water view back to trees at a super leisurely pace. It was the perfect amount of folks as well. Not so many that you don’t even feel like you’re in nature, but not so few that you question if you’re the only one on the trail and something might come out and attack you, you know?

These trails are great are a great option if you only have a morning or afternoon to spare and don’t want to have to drive far. Lake Overstreet was only about a 15 minute drive from my house, so super convenient.

Happy nature walking!

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Love Letter to St. Augustine – Photo Journal

Dear hometown,

I’m sorry for all of those times in middle and high school I thought you were stupid and boring. Since I moved away for college in 2013, every time I come home I appreciate you more and more. Here are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken on my visits back.

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Casual view outside of Publix.

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Came home from work one day to this beaut in my driveway.

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Are you really from St. Augustine if you don’t go downtown for the 4th of July fireworks?

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Climbing the lighthouse is one of the few tourist attractions worth repeating.

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Doesn’t get much better than this.

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My childhood home.

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Dang.

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Even the end of a cloudy sunrise is lovely.

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Nights of Lights is the best part of the holiday season.

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St. George Street, where everyone has spent way too much time, yet never stops visiting.

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What makes us famous (and where everyone goes on their 5th grade field trip).

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Flagler College, a classic.

I promise I talk you up to anyone that asks where I’m from these days. I’ll never call you stupid or boring ever again. Thanks for always welcoming me back.

 

Love always,

Caitlin

 

Austin, TX

30 November 2016 – 3 January 2017

To escape my hometown over winter break, I plotted a trip to Austin, Texas with my brother, childhood best friend and her boyfriend. To save you a lot of reading, I’m going to give you the condensed version of the trip.

Day 1

  • Drove to Austin
  • Ate dinner at Trudy’s
    • Definitely get the stuffed avocados!

Day 2

  • Barton Creek Greenbelt
    • Amazing place to explore. We only ended up going about a mile and a half in because there so much to see and climb on along the way!
  • All you can eat sushi at Sushi Junai
    • Worth it (well we made it worth it)
  • Nightlife on Rainey Street
    • Stopped by 96 Bar and Container Bar. 96 was just average, but Container Bar was super neat.

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Day 3

  • Waterloo Records
    • If you’re into music, definitely worth stopping by because it’s right by the gallery.
  • HOPE Outdoor Gallery
    • Highlight of my trip! There was a bunch of people creating art and even more observing and wandering around.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
    • Spiked. Milkshakes.

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Day 4

  • Lady Bird Lake
    • I walked along the boardwalk for a bit and it was lovely. Lots of locals running, walking and hanging out.
  • Mount Bonnell
    • Not much to do there, but definitely go for the spectacular view of the city.
  • Zilker Park
    • Another one of my highlights from the trip. This park is huge (where they hold ACL and SXSW), plus so many dogs!!!
  • East Side Kings
    • Best meal of the trip. I recommend getting one of the boxes so you can try a little bit of everything.
  • Shakespeare’s Pub
    • We had to stop by dirty 6th at least once, even if it was at 5pm for a beer.

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Day 5

  • Drive home 😦

I could definitely see myself living in Austin! It really is a great mix of nature type pursuits and city life.

 

Goodwood Museum & Gardens

10 December 2016

Goodwood is known in town for its weddings and special events, with its beautiful gardens and 170 year old main house.

I had half a free day recently and had been wanting to visit the iconic place, so I went on a stroll around the grounds. We didn’t stay too long because they were setting up for a wedding (of course), but the grounds are so beautiful!

If you don’t do the house tour its a great free activity to do in town.

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Providence Canyon State Park (Take 2)

I had to come back and take in this view one more time before graduation.

Providence Canyon State Park is pretty far from Tallahassee (2.5 hrs), yet most students and residents go at least once during their time here and for good reason. I might be inaccurate because I have never seen the real Grand Canyon, but lots of folks refer to it as the Little Grand Canyon or the Grand Canyon of the South.

The canyons were apparently caused by poor farming practices in the 1800’s, but we are honestly blessed that it happened.

Both times I have visited I have opted for going down into the canyons versus the long trail that takes you in the loop around them. They are so neat. You aren’t supposed to climb on them but….I’d say try at least one.

Don’t let the distance stop you from visiting! Unfortunately, both times I wasn’t able to leave town until mid-morning and still made a great day adventure out of it.

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Torreya State Park

11 November 2016

I have been wanting to go here all 4 years of college and I finally made it! Torreya is about an hour drive from Tallahassee and totally worth it. I was told by many that it is the least “Florida looking” state park they had ever been to and they were right.

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Torreya is actually named after an extremely rare species of Torreya tree that only grows along the Apalachicola River. The park was developed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has been a popular outdoor destination ever since.

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The park offers over 16 miles of trails. We entered at the trail head by the house and walked along the portion of the Torreya Trail that goes along the river. It was super lovely! I actually felt like it was fall in Florida for a few hours (truly amazing).

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If you live in or near Tallahassee this state park is a must-see!

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Shell Point Beach

31 October 2016

Shell Point is a coastal community located in southeastern Wakulla County. The beach used to be privately owned, but is now operated by Wakulla County Department of Parks and Recreation.

I honestly don’t remember what Google search brought me to find out about this place, but I definitely did not do enough research prior to. Immediately upon arriving I felt out of place, with awkward stares and hellos from the people fishing and walking around.

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Since I had already driven out there I decided to make the most of the situation. I plopped myself down on the beach and read quite a few chapters of Harry Potter, while the boatmen stopped by to use the restroom, guys came to fish and couples walked around.

It really is a quaint little community and it was nice to have the little beach area to myself, however this is definitely a place only used by those who live in the neighborhood and those who do use it don’t actually lay out and tan…

Although I will definitely not be back, this spontaneous trip made for a pleasant afternoon and reminder to always do your research ahead of time!

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