Travel

 

The second part (PART I here) of my trip to Zurich was so refreshing after spending a few days running around the city center. We packed our bags and headed out for some nature. Although, this nature was really just within the city itself…

We took a short boat ride (maybe 15-20 minutes) from the city across Lake Zurich to a little campground called Fischer’s Fritz. We arrived in the late afternoon and the campground was glowing with golden light. Fischer’s Fritz was an eclectic mix of traditional camping tents, RV’s and yurts. It was our last night in Zurich, so we booked a group of beautiful yurts – my first time staying in one and I loved it! I remember sitting on the bed sketching while the golden light and tree shadows played on the canvas around me. Magical! It was such a peaceful place to be, right on the water with a sunset view just in front of us.

Inside the tent, I took some time to paint with my Winsor & Newton field box set (comes with me everywhere!). Then got crafty with a Swiss Army Knife I picked up along the way. I created some paper cutouts to play with shadows on the tent by placing them on the outside and photographing them from the inside.

 We spent the evening at the campground and had an amazing dinner outside at the Fischer’s Friz restaurant filled with plenty of wine. Afterward, a few of us took our wine over to the firepit and had some fun well into the next morning. While we sat there, we were visited by a wild hedgehog!

The next morning was rough, but we all headed straight for the airport to part ways. I’ve always loved extra long flights, so I was excited to settle into a seat on Swiss Airways and turn off for the next 8 hours. It was the perfect way to end our time in Switzerland, complete with a beautiful in-flight cheese plate!

I can’t wait to get back to Switzerland… especially to experience the Swiss winter on the Glacier Express! A dream trip.

*My trip was sponsored by the Tourism Board of Zurich. All opinions and views are my own, as always!*

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Earlier this summer, I was lucky to find some time to travel through Europe for a few weeks. Beginning in Spain, then Italy, over to Croatia, and eventually ending up in Zurich, Switzerland. It was my first time in Switzerland, a place I’ve wanted to visit forever! Must’ve been all the tales of cows, watches, dadaism, cheese, and of course chocolate I’d heard ;)!

After flying from Florence to Frankfurt, Germany for a night, I took the early morning train straight to Zurich. Over the four hour ride, the windows displayed a beautiful shifting German to Swiss countryside view. Trains really are my favorite way to travel…there’s something great about the sounds while you’re staring at the passing scenery as the classic uniformed train attendant paces the aisle punching each passenger’s ticket. Also, unsurprisingly, the coffee is much better on Swiss trains than the US trains!

My first day in Zurich, I spent exploring the newer more modern parts of the city. Wandering through a beautiful market, and stopping in to see the Freitag shop constructed of stacked shipping containers (if you climb the stairs to the top there’s a nice view on the roof!). The area just around the Freitas shop was filled with lots of cool shops and outdoor bars.

The modern areas of cities are nice, but rarely what I come to see, especially in a place filled with history like Switzerland. The second day I spent exploring the old town in Zurich, which was straight out of a storybook. My kind of town. One charming building after another placed neatly next to each other, painted in beautiful color combinations and accented with contrasting wooden shutters. You must go see for yourself!

I wish I had had more time to spend in the old town of Zurich. It was spotlessly clean (as the majority of Zurich was) and full of a Disney-like charm. Old ringing clock towers, bridges over the swan-filled Limmat river that runs through the center of Zurich, the scent of Sprungli’s chocolate and fresh cheese fondue make the city effortlessly magical. On that note, I had an amazing cheese fondue experience at Swiss Chuchi.

On an overcast afternoon, I took the Swiss metro train (the best way to travel in Switzerland) up to Uetliberg, Zurich’s local mountain. Once you arrive, you walk a short uphill hike to the peak of the mountain. At the top, you can then climb the antenna tower for a view that makes the many flights of stairs and 2 euro fee well worth it! A 360º view of Zurich with the Alps in the distance.

Arriving back in downtown Zurich, I went to dinner at the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe (which is quite famous in Switzerland). The Haus Hiltl convinced my carnivorous self to enjoy everything set in front of me. Definitely worth a visit!

Zurich, Part II tomorrow! #PaperTravels

My trip was sponsored by the Tourism Board of Zurich. All opinions and views are my own, as always!*

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Ever since I was little, I have always loved going places. Whether it was somewhere local, or somewhere far away; it made no difference. I was curious about traveling outside of what I knew.

The first time I went to Europe, I was leaving for a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. I can’t remember an ounce of fear or hesitation… I knew I wanted to go before I had taken the opportunity. The moment I stepped on the plane for Italy, I loved it. I instantly fell in love with long distance plane travel – it was such a different experience than domestic flights. A moment I’ll never forget, is when I looked out my window while most of the cabin was asleep, and seeing the big dipper the brightest and closest I had ever seen it. It was dreamlike to lift the window shade and suddenly be immersed in the stars.

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Fast forward to today, and I am still in love with traveling. I obsessively peer out of the window to see the stars on overnight flights (a window seat is a must). I feel lucky to be able to travel as much as I do. Not only to see the stars but to see new places and experience new things.

Of course, there are a few not so fun things that can happen when you travel, but I’ve learned to just have a relaxed mindset about things. You can’t get too stressed when things are out of your power- to me, that is the key to happy travel. However, here are some of my favorite tips to travel smarter!

PACKING

I only travel with carry-on luggage. It alleviates the possibility of your luggage being lost, it forces you to pack less, and you avoid having to wait at a baggage carousel when all you want to do is get to where you need to be.

No one ever wishes they had more to carry when traveling; so packing less is key. I keep my clothes pretty simple when I travel. Comfortable, versatile, neutral. If I can’t wear a piece of clothing in more than one situation, I don’t need to bring it. A simple black dress goes a long way. A great carry-on suitcase makes a huge difference too. Here are my favorites:

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Hybrid 21″ – This one is pricey, but will last you forever. It’s sturdy, thoughtful, durable, and beautiful. My favorite part is that there are expandable external pockets- which keep things extra organized. I always pair it with my Lotuff sling backpack – the best multifunction purse for travel.

Away Carry-On – This one is more affordable than the Rimowa. It is still a great case, and also includes an internal battery charger – which can be super helpful when you’re stuck in the airport with a dead phone. The quality and details are not on the level of Rimowa though.

Ultra Olive Folding Bag – This one I love for a few reasons. For one, it fits a lot more than you would think since it’s a soft duffle-type bag on wheels. The other thing I love is that it folds flat when not in use (which is amazing when you live in a small New York apartment!). Fits right under my bed.

Packing Cubes – I’ve recently started using packing cubes. They keep things extra organized. Sometimes I’ll bring an empty one to pack with clothes I’ll need for the next day in my purse. That way I don’t have to unpack my suitcase when I’m moving locations frequently. They are also great for shoes.

FOREIGN CURRENCY

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Especially when I’m traveling to places with more than one currency, I like to order a little bit to start with before my trip. Bank of America allows me to preorder currency online and they ship it before my trip so that I’m ready to go. I never get very much, but sometimes it’s nice to arrive to a country with a little bit of cash just in case you need it right away. Especially since some countries aren’t as credit card friendly as others.

SQUARECASH

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When I travel with friends, there are lots of times when we’ll book different parts of the trip for each other, cover dinners under one card, etc.  Instead of dealing with paying each other back in cash, well just pay each other with the SquareCash app. It’s super easy and convenient when you’re on the road. Just a few taps and the money is sent. My friend Valentina and I used it pretty frequently when we were in Europe the past couple of weeks.

WiFi

The most annoying thing about traveling in a foreign country is not being able to use your phone as you would at home. Mainly in case of an emergency, or if you get lost. Luckily, I’ve come across a few tricks!

TEP WIRELESS & XCOMGLOBAL

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I never travel without one of these devices! They have changed the way I travel. Both companies have small devices you can order based on the countries you’ll be visiting for a low cost per day (typically around $8/day). The devices allow you to have a personal wifi hotspot with unlimited data wherever you go, allowing you to use your phone as you normally would- preventing you from getting lost, and allowing you to share your travels as you go. It also gives me peace of mind if there’s an emergency. My wifi device even worked in the Sahara Desert!

Another new thing I’ve discovered is AT&T wifi calling. They are covered under your normal plan, you just have to turn the wifi calling access on within your device. If you’re connected to wifi, you can make and receive calls internationally as you normally would- without incurring any additional charges.

Okay, those are all the tips I have for now… will share art supply travel tips with you soon!

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When I was a little girl, my mom and aunt gifted me their grandfather’s painting easel. At the time, I had no idea how amazing it was to have such an incredible heirloom in my possession (I also had no clue what my future held, or what my great grandfather had created). So, like any other kid would, I added a little pizazz to the easel with some crayons and paints. Many years have gone by, and my mom has kept the easel for me all these years… until now. It’s not the best working easel, but the idea that our professional tools have remained so similar throughout the decades fascinates me! I love that both my mom and aunt have used it for their own creative endeavors as well. My aunt, as a painter, and my mom, as a musician. It is now one of the treasures of my studio.

I recently traveled to Italy with my good friend, Valentina Kova, and felt like it was finally time to purchase a travel easel (I’ve been researching them for months). I decided to wait until I arrived and purchase one at a local Florence art shop (I love finding art shops in new cities!). Lucky for me, there was an art shop right next to our first hotel.

I spent a morning there, sifting through all the art supplies I had seen a million times before, but as if they were all brand new since everything was in Italian. I hadn’t been to Florence since my study abroad days in college, and it felt so wonderful to be back. In fact, it was the place I truly discovered my love for fashion and fashion illustration.

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I purchased an Italian Mabef sketch box easel and am so happy with it. It traveled through Tuscany with me, where Valentina captured our quiet moments together in dreamy fields of sunflowers, lace flowers, all with a storm brewing in the distance.

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White Francis Trench by Valentina Kova.

 One of those moments you will remember for a lifetime, a moment when time stands still. The smell of the earth with fresh rain in the distance, cool summer breezes whispering through the trees, and the stroke of a paintbrush just before a Tuscan sunset.

More on Tuscany soon!

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Last night, I arrived home from what seems like a year long trip! It’s funny coming home after a long trip… you see familiar things with a new point of view. Letting all the new memories you made settle within your home. From a ranch in California to the west coast of Mexico, then over to Africa, and ending the trip in my old southern stomping grounds of Georgia.

These places inspired new ideas, new energy, and I’m ready to paint!

One of the greatest things about traveling is coming home.

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