AK Monthly Recap: June 2015

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Kate in Santorini

Did I ever hit the ground running this month! I began with a little over a week at home in Massachusetts, then flew to the Midwest for the first time ever. In Milwaukee I explored the city and served as a mentor at the Bloghouse, then went on to Chicago to see friends, eat everything, and discover a city that I had shockingly never visited until now.

Then I kicked things off in Europe with a few days in Copenhagen, a new city to me (and very cool city to me), where I spent time with friends old and new and watched some bonfires.

Next up was Barcelona, a city with which I’ve had a complicated history. I’m happy to say that finally things clicked and I really enjoyed my third visit to Barcelona! I also did a day trip to Andorra, which was a completely forgettable place to visit.

And then I hit the jackpot — Santorini, Greece. A place I’ve been dreaming about for years and finally got to experience for myself.

Newburyport, Massachusetts

Destinations Visited 

Reading, Lynn, Boston, and Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

New York, New York, USA

Copenhagen, Denmark

Barcelona, Spain

Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Santorini, Greece

Santorini Sunset

Favorite Places

Santorini. Occasionally you visit a place that is worth every bit of hype. Santorini is one of those places.

Copenhagen. A new Nordic love — incredibly cool yet incredibly laid-back.

Chicago. What a cool American city. I’ll be back!

Bloghouse 2015

Highlights

Mentoring a new crew of bloggers. I love helping to bring up a new generation of travel bloggers, and the people who attended the Bloghouse in Milwaukee are now on their way to becoming powerhouses!

Discovering Milwaukee Tinder. I didn’t end up going out with anyone (there was no time!) but I couldn’t believe how good-looking and nice the guys are in Milwaukee! Is it a Midwestern thing? Ladies, if you’re looking for a nice guy and having trouble in more competitive places like New York, maybe Milwaukee is where you should go!

Eating everything in the city of Chicago. More than anything, I wanted to dive headfirst into Chicago’s culinary scene, and I did just that — from crispy pig’s ear and homemade headcheese to Chicago hot dogs and quite a bit of pizza, deep dish and otherwise.

Getting insulted at The Wiener’s Circle. A Chicago hot dog stand where they yell at you and insult you. Ever since I first saw it on a TV show, I’ve been dying to go there! Oh, and I got insulted. Won’t share the more inappropriate things here (and it was largely inappropriate), but I did get called Fake Nicole Ass Richie on the way out. (Cailin: “Oh! It’s because of your tan!”)

Meeting readers in Chicago. I hadn’t had a reader meetup in over a year, so it was time! It was so nice to meet around 25 of my Chicago readers.

Beth, Kate and Sarah at Big Gay Ice Cream

The best New York layover ever. I had six hours to spare, so I took the train into the village, met my sister and friend Beth, and we indulged in some Big Gay Ice Cream! (Try the Salty Pimp — vanilla soft serve with dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate shell!) And New York pizza. And beer. And horseradish pickles on a stick.

A night out for the ages in Copenhagen. Is there anything better than a crazy night out in a new city with a bunch of new people? (Not to mention how easy it is to party until sunrise in Scandinavia in June…)

Sankt Hans Nyhavn Copenhagen

Experiencing Sankt Hans in Copenhagen. I had no idea when I booked my stay, but I had timed it perfectly for Sankt Hans, a.k.a. St. John’s Eve. I had never heard of this festival, but it’s celebrated throughout Europe with bonfires.

Finally getting to love Barcelona. It took me a long time, but I finally got there! I think I had to discover some new neighborhoods, go to the beach, drink lots of cava, and go to a cool food market (Palo Alto) to get things to click over.

Finally visiting Greece – and Santorini. It is just as beautiful and just as dreamy as everyone says. Truly one of the most special places I’ve ever visited.

Chicago Bean Cloud Gate

Challenges

Oh God. This month was a series of pratfalls. There was…

Getting my iPhone screen repaired twice in a single week. There were a few hairline cracks from Central America, I got them replaced, and a few days later in Milwaukee, BAM. It shattered like a spiderweb. I made sure to buy a Lifeproof case after that.

Losing my debit card for the third time since December. Because I was an idiot and forgot to close out my tab in a Milwaukee bar and couldn’t get in touch with them before I had to leave. Many thanks to my friend Jess for letting me overnight a new card to her place in Chicago!

Kate, Alex and Ali in Copenhagen

Falling off a meat cart in Copenhagen. Because we decided it was a great idea to jump on a meat cart and ride it down the street at about 2:30 AM. I got banged up pretty hard, yet my jacket and jeans remained perfectly intact — how does that even happen?

One of my worst hostel experiences to date – I barely stay in hostel dorms anymore, but I chose a four-bed dorm in the top-rated hostel in Barcelona (Sant Jordi Gracia), which was as close to best case dorm scenario as I could find. Well, there was a kid who set several alarms on his phone between 4:00 and 7:00 AM, yet wouldn’t wake up when they went off. I had to keep getting up, climbing down from the top bunk, shaking him, and yelling at him until he woke up.

I chewed him out the next day in the lobby. His excuse? “Yeah, but I was inebriated!” Yeah, no shit, buddy. Try being a considerate hostel guest and not setting a million alarms the night before you go drinking.

Pink Cava

Wearing a flouncy dress in Santorini? Not a good idea. It’s VERY windy here and I’m not exaggerating when I say that half of Oia saw my underwear. Multiple times. (Joke’s on you, universe – I wore matching underwear! Ahahahaha!)

Oh, and I landed in Greece on the verge of the country’s biggest economic crisis to date, with the banks shutting down and fewer than 40% of ATMs containing cash. Excellent. (The good news is that Santorini hasn’t been affected by this at all. ATMs have money and nobody is panicking.)

Andorra Castle

Most Popular Post

How to Travel the World and Make Money Like Me — my Paradise Pack post was very popular, and it paid off — 113 of you bought the Paradise Pack and are taking steps to learn to work and travel around the world!

Barcelona

Other Posts

Sailing Down the Coast of Belize — Three days of cruising through tropical islands. One of my favorite experiences in Central America and probably the best photos I’ve taken yet!

Why I Don’t Carry On My Luggage — Lots of controversy in this post, and people let their opinions be KNOWN!

Visiting Tikal at Sunset — Everyone says to go for sunrise, but I really enjoyed the photos I got at sunset.

Coming Up: My Summer Travel Plans in Europe — All the details on where I’m going in Europe this summer!

My Favorite Day in Central America — Semuc Champey — Swimming in the pools, swimming through caves with a candle — definitely an unforgettable day!

I Still Don’t Know How I Feel About Antigua — I liked Antigua, but there was a lot that made me feel uneasy.

Chicago Brownstones

News and Announcements

Not much news to announce this month, but I did hit 20,000 Instagram followers! That was nice.

Santorini Sunset

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

If any destination goes up against Santorini, it’s going to lose. Plain and simple. No surprise that this shot was my most popular Instagram pic of the month (and all time)!

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (adventurouskate) for real-time updates from my travels!

Copenhagen Door

What I Read This Month

We’re halfway through the year and I’m more than halfway through the Popsugar 2015 book challenge. 27 books read, 25 to go! Some tough categories are ahead, so I’ll be reaching out to you for suggestions.

Here’s what I read in June:

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. It took a LONG time to get into this 600-page book, and I considered dropping it, but I’m glad I kept going. A woman witnessed her mother killing a man when she was a child and 50 years later, before her mother’s death, she tries to figure out her mother’s secret life in London during World War II. I was crying by the end. Thanks for the recommendation, Candice! Category: a book by an author with your same initials.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. What a great idea – crazy comedian Aziz, instead of writing a funny memoir, teams up with a sociologist to write about dating in the digital age! It was smart, introspective, and because it was Aziz, it was hilarious. I LOVED this book and consider it required reading for any single millennial. Category: a nonfiction book.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. One thing’s for sure – Amazon doesn’t make it easy for you to find plays for Kindle! I’ve always heard about this play but never knew what it was about. It tells the story of a multigenerational black family struggling to get ahead in Chicago in the 1950s. I found it very moving, and love how a play can move you with dialogue alone. I want to make it a priority to read more plays in the future. Category: a play.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. I LOVE Reza Aslan – he’s one of the top religious scholars in the United States and I’ll watch or read any interview he does. This book gives historical, academic context for Jesus the man – as opposed to Jesus the Christ – and I was shocked by so much of what I read. Like the fact that it’s extremely unlikely that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. A bit tedious in parts, but well worth the read and it makes me excited to visit Israel and Palestine someday. Category: a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.

London Eyes by Frances M. Thompson. This is the second collection of short stories by my dear friend Frankie, and they all take place in London. Her stories are wonderfully engaging, and while it’s impossible to cover a city as diverse as London in a single anthology, she does a great job of showcasing many points of view. My favorite part: how some of the characters crossed over into other stories. Category: a book of short stories.

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Coming Up in July 2015 

More European travels are on the way! Tomorrow I fly to the Greek island of Corfu. It’s just a brief two-night stay there, and then I’m on to my three-week overlanding trip through Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia.

At the end of the month I fly to Riga, Latvia, where I’ll be celebrating my 31st birthday a few days later. (Eek!)

Any suggestions for Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia? Let me know!

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39 thoughts on “AK Monthly Recap: June 2015”

  1. Next spring I’ll be headed to Italy to spend two weeks with my family that lives there. My boyfriend and I are flying in to Copenhagen and I can’t wait to explore. It will be my first time in that city and my boyfriends first time out of the US!

  2. Definitely agreed on the Midwestern guys…but somehow ended up with a European!

    In Montenegro, check out the Porto Montenegro in Tivat for a reasonably priced pamper with the famous black mud from Igalo. There was a great wine bar just in front of the yachts, too. Budva has very little charm, and Sveti Stefan wasn’t worth the drive – unless you’re staying on the island! Enjoy!

  3. Ahahaha so many great things in this one! I’ve made the flouncy dress mistake one too many times. Why is it always windy when I decide to wear a dress? And yeah, Wisconsin boys have something special about them. Went to undergrad in Madison. Lots of farm boys there, lol! Also, falling off a meat cart seems like something that would happen in Wisconsin. Or maybe that would be a cheese cart. (Glad you got to try cheese curds finally 🙂 )

    Enjoy those amazing sunsets in the Mediterranean!

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  5. Also, glad you’ve loved Copenhagen! I flew into Copenhagen with my bicycle and biked and trained to Paris for a wedding, and after biking in Copenhagen I was completely spoiled by how wonderful their system is. Even Amsterdam can’t compete!

  6. Just booked a trip to Copenhagen for next weekend and delighted to hear you like it. If only I was a few weeks later, I could take my usual approach to holidays and just steal liberally from all the cool things you noted in your post! Off to try and find nice / cheap accommodation. Exciting times

  7. Hello Kate!
    I always enjoy reading your recaps to get a taste of what you’ve been up to and how much you’ve experienced. Glad you enjoyed the midwest, and I’ve also noticed men from the midwest are very nice too. 😉 If you need play reading recommendations, let me know. I used to work in costumes, so I can help you out. 🙂

  8. Santorini is making me so jealous! My housemate is over in Greece for the next month and between yours and her snapchats I’m wanderlusting something fierce.

    At least I’ve got the consolation prize of leaving for 2.5 weeks in South Korea on Monday, even if half of that time is for a university debating tournament. Bring on all the Korean BBQ.

    I’ll be travelling through Europe this time next year and my sister is flying over to meet me in Greece and Santorini is definitely on our list. My mum’s Greek so the fooooodddd is soooooo good and I’m a tad bit obsessed.

  9. Sounds like a fun month! I’d want to check out The Wiener’s Circle too. Sounds fun. Ever been to a place called Dick’s Last Resort? It is a similar concept, but a restaurant. I think it would be fun to work at a place like that. Ha.

  10. You should go visit Šefpavārs Vilhelms (its a pancake place) when you are in Riga. I was there at Christmas time and got a pancake and cup of tea for 60 cent!

  11. Hi Kate! I’ve been planning a trip to Greece & Turkey, and wondering how the economic crisis has affected travel? I know you mentioned no one’s panicking in Santorini, but are there better deals/lower prices perhaps? Can’t wait for a more detailed post regarding Santorini- photos are beaut!

    1. I’ve written about it quite a bit on Facebook and my newsletter. Long story short, things in Santorini are 100% normal for tourists. I haven’t seen an impact on prices yet.

  12. Looks like another adventurous months for the books, Kate! I visited Santorini once and was awe-struck by the beauty of that island… absolutely STUNNING. I think part of what makes it so appealing is the giant cliff and white + blue architecture everywhere. Glad to hear that Barcelona grew on you too this time 🙂 ohhh and p.s. i never understood those people that have to set like one hundred bijillion alarms to wake up.. haha! i feel your pain!

  13. We were in Albania last summer and we were seriously floored by how amazingly beautiful and pristine the country is. Beaches off the main stops are spectacular so it may be worth renting a car. I am sure you have Saranda on your itinerary, and there you should definitely explore Butrint – massive site of Greek and later Roman city. It may not be as famous as sites in Greece, Italy or Turkey — but it was definitely impressive and barely any tourists! We didn’t get a chance to go into the mountain but definitely plan to be back for that! I hope you do — so we can read about it 🙂

  14. I love all the Kate Morton books. The first one I read was The House at Riverton, and I felt like I had a life changing moment after reading it. I closed the book and just thought, oh wow I don’t actually remember what life was like before that book. It was spectacularly good. My friends think I’m crazy, because the plot shouldn’t be particularly life changing but the book was just so good!
    Sorry for rambling on about a book!
    I’d love to visit Denmark on midsummer’s eve, I’ve heard before how amazing it is. Plus Denmark is beautiful anyway and I could totally live there. Did you see the little mermaid statue?

  15. Hey Kate,
    This post hits close to home for me because I am from Chicago, am living outside Barcelona and have just visited Santorini too. I totally agree with you that Santorini really does live up to the hype. I also made the mistake of wearing a skirt while I visited one of the wineries set on top of the cliff and flashed everyone as a gust of wind blew up my skirt. I wish I could say it was a la Marilyn Monroe but it was far from that. Chicago has SO many great foodie stops so I highly recommend you visit there again soon, especially if you are into the craft beer scene, international food or basically eating in general come to think of it. I’m sorry you’ve had a complicated time with Barcelona. It’s a city that I truly love but maybe it helps that I speak the language and know people from there. I think once you get out of the heavily touristy areas like La Rambla (eek) and Plaça Catalunya you can start to see the real BCN and appreciate the Catalan culture more. Montjuic is really great, I love the Picasso Museum and there are lots of cool areas and neighborhoods outside of the Barri Gòtic. If you ever return to Catalonia or BCN let me know! Safe travels.
    – Allison

  16. Mary Jesserae Anselmo

    Your trip sounds fun and exciting. Going to such places are really worth it. It seems to be so tiring but it’s obviously worth it. You are truly blessed because you were given a chance to go to you dream place. I’ve always imagined myself doing that someday when I grow up. It seems that when I read your blog I started wanting to go to Santorini. Who knows?It might be as special as yours. That’s truly a successful trip and I’d like to Congratulate you for that. Thumbs up!

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