A Day at the Beach on Sanibel Island

Bridge to Sanibel Island Florida I’ve been in sunny Fort Myers, Florida since December. But for various work-related reasons, Tuesday, February 7th was my first day at the beach. I decided to pick up a rental car and drive up to Sanibel Island.

The drive out to Sanibel is nice once you get over having to pay $6.00 on the toll bridge. In the Northwest we don’t have such things so it was quite a surprise.

Along several stretches there is bright blue water on either side and it just looks amazing. There are also several small beaches along the low portions of the bridge to Sanibel that you can stop at. It seemed to be mostly fishermen and tourists taking pictures. They weren’t the kind of beaches you would relax and sunbathe on.

Seashells and People Sanibel Beach

Once in Sanibel I just kind of drove around until I found a place that said “Beach Parking”. Although I had to pay, it was a nice reminder of home because the payment kiosk ($2.00/hr) is very similar to the parking meters in Portland, Oregon (like when I go to Powell’s Books). From the parking lot it is a short walk down the road and across one street to a handicap parking lot which has bathrooms and showers to rinse the sand and salt water off. Just a little further and…I made it to the beach!

The beach is quite different from the one I visited in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a mix of soft white sand and crushed up seashells. In fact, just past the waterline it looked like primarily crushed seashells. For the most part it’s comfortable to walk on but you get the occasionally sharp poke. The soft sand down by the water is really nice though.

I enjoyed a little bit of swimming. At least until I noticed a few shark fins poking out of the water! Holy hell! I was surrounded too. I froze as if they were a pack of t-rex. You remember that scene from Jurassic Park right? They can’t see you if you don’t move.

You can’t imagine how fast I got out of the water.

A little later, I noticed a few more swimming along the shore in surprisingly shallow water (waist deep to less than knee deep). Of course, once I got over the shock and thought to grab my phone so I could take a picture they were gone. I spotted a few rays swimming past as well but I couldn’t get a good shot. Swimming with turtles in Hawaii was fun but not nearly as, um, exciting. haha!

After that bit of excitement I sat back and watched the sunset.

Watching Sunset Sanibel Florida

120 Hours of Atlantic City’s Jersey Shore

In 2011, I spent 5 days in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I visited the Tropicana, Caesar’s Palace, and the Trump Taj Mahal. I also walked a bit of the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.

We lucked out and had nice weather for most of the trip.

Visiting Trump’s Taj Mahal was something that interested me ever since I read Trump’s business books when I was a kid. I was always impressed with his success as a businessman. Only later did I learn what an asshat he is.

Not surprisingly, the casino is very flashy and bright. But I couldn’t help feeling like it was stuck in the 70’s or 80’s. Plus, the crowd was almost exclusively elderly people. I dare say I was the youngest person there. Very odd vibe.

Atlantic City Jersey Shore

I don’t gamble so I just went to eat dinner there. There’s an Asian restaurant on the second floor. I had pork fried rice and kimchee. The food was great but way overpriced. The wait staff was very friendly but I’m sure it helped that I was the only customer.

Without a doubt, the beach beat out the casinos.

Have you been to Atlantic City? What did you think?

Interview with Alexander from GoEuro

GoEuro Home Sometimes planning a trip will include several forms of transportation. For example, when I leave Korea next year I could take a bus, subway, or train to the airport. It sure would be nice to see on one screen which one is cheapest and which is quickest, right?

Well that’s the aim of GoEuro. While they don’t operate in Korea right now, you can book multiple modes of transportation in Europe (currently optimized for Germany, Spain & the UK).

GoEuro’s simple interface gives you important information about how to get to your destination and the time it will take. So, for example if you’re taking a flight GoEuro will also show the time and cost of getting to the airport.

GoEuro Interview

Alexander from the GoEuro team was nice enough to answer some questions I had. Here’s what he had to say.

Can GoEuro be used to book a multi-leg journey around Europe?

That’s exactly what GoEuro is striving towards. At the moment, we have the most coverage in the UK, Germany and Spain. That means we can offer the whole range of air and ground transportation between any destinations within these countries. So if you want to travel from, for example, Heidelberg to Cambridge – two lovely cities with no airports –, we can combine and even compare trains, buses and flights accordingly. Obviously, our long-term goal is to be able to compare and combine every possible mode of transportation that is available throughout Europe and we are busy adding new partners in both existing and new countries .

For those looking to get off the beaten path, can GoEuro help people traveling to, or between, small towns or villages?

The flight comparison websites we all know only take you from airport to airport. We wanted to build a service that is better adapted to travellers’ needs and not the other way around. With GoEuro, you aren’t just restricted to flights. You can search more naturally, as we provide you with an overview of all possible transport options. This helps you to get to your actual destination in the way that’s best for you.

We’re the only service out there that brings together all the information needed to choose a full journey. GoEuro removes the pain of navigating a sea of open tabs, compiling all the data and making it clear and comprehensible with just one search.

Booking with GoEuro is free to use and there are no additional fees to the user!

What is the biggest hurdle the company faces in tackling the “multi-modal travel” problem?

It’s crucial to our mission to work directly with as many providers as possible. Therefore, our biggest challenge is the integration of all the data that comes with new partners. Everytime we start working with a new bus or train company or airline we’re getting their data through different formats or APIs – we then have to adapt our algorithms rather than just applying one standard approach.

GoEuro approaches travel booking at a new angle, has it been challenging to get travelers out of the airport focused mode and into a destination based way of thinking?

We are working on it! We all are so used to searching from airport to airport, it’s not an easy process changing people’s mindsets. But we believe that are product is great and from our feedback we know that we’re headed in the right direction. In the end, GoEuro gives people the opportunity to search in a more intuitive way by also providing alternatives you might not even have thought of.

Over the years, I’ve noticed other travel booking sites have added the ability to book destination specific options like events or activities. Is this something GoEuro will be looking into including as well? Or will the site remain focused on transportation itself?

Right now we’re focused on making our product better by adding more countries, transportation providers and improving the usability of our website. At the moment, we’re already recommending activities and accommodation options straight after booking.

Currently, search results can be sorted by price and travel duration. Are there any plans to expand sorting or filtering options?

We’re certainly not ruling anything out. We’re aware that there are numerous ways to tailor results to searchers’ needs and we plan to implement everything that really adds more value to the product.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

We’re already working hard to bring GoEuro as an app to smartphones. And of course we will continue to expand, adding new countries to the platform as soon as we can offer complete coverage on all three transport modes in each individual country. We plan to be live in a fourth country by the end of the year! We’re also constantly adding new talent to our hard-working and dedicated team, which now comprises more than 40 people from over 15 countries. So if you’re a travel enthusiast looking to work in a fast-moving and international environment, make sure to check our job offers!

Thanks for chatting, Alexander!

Using GoEuro

As an example, here are two screenshots of a hypothetical trip from Berlin, Germany to Cambridge, UK.

GoEuro Screenshot Berlin to Cambridge

This shot is sorted by cheapest price.

GoEuro Route Berlin to Cambridge

Click “Show Route” to see each leg of the trip broken down.

Relaxing at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, Hawaii

Ala Moana Beach Park Back in 2011, I was lucky enough to be sent to Honolulu, Hawaii for a week of work, which would be my first time to Hawaii.

I had been to beaches before – Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida. I’d constantly heard people gush over Hawaii and I was like yeah, yeah. A beach is a beach.

I had no idea how much I’d end up loving Hawaii. There’s just something about it that really warmed my heart.

On Saturday after work, I walked from my hotel downtown to Ala Moana beach. It was only 20-minutes away, a slice of paradise in a busy city. It’s such a wonderful thing to take a short stroll to such a beautiful beach. I thought, “Wow, I could get used to this!”

Considering the beach is right in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was surprisingly quiet and relaxing. The sand was soft and the water was warm – like a lukewarm bath. There was a light breeze and the sky was clear. A perfect afternoon!

Although I had to get up for work at 1:30 AM, I stayed to watch the sunset. Totally worth it.

Ala Moana Beach Sunset

Almost a year later, I was able to work in Kona for almost a month. That was even more amazing and solidified my love of Hawaii.

Now I know that gushing over Hawaii is completely justified.

Have you been to Hawaii?

Visiting Seoul Grand Park: Seoul Zoo

Tucked in at the base of a small mountain is Seoul Grand Park, a place where the whole family can have fun.

Seoul Grand Park includes Seoul Zoo, Seoul Land amusement park, a children’s zoo, a rose garden, the Sky Lift, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, a botanical garden, a campground, and a forest exhibition.

This place really caters to couples and families. I definitely stood out being the only person at the zoo that was solo. It was quite noticeable unlike when I went to Seoul Tower.

Seoul Grand Park Map

Several of my students told me the zoo was really fun and worth checking out. While I’m not generally a fan of zoos, I wanted to see how it compared to other zoos I’ve been to in America.

Seoul Zoo Sign - Travellistic

A Day at Seoul Zoo

Since I rode the Skylift to the top of the zoo, I started out near the bears which included the adorable red panda. These were one of the most active animals in the whole zoo. They were running around, playing, climbing all over the trees, and chasing each other. It was fun to watch but the pictures didn’t come out well at all. And as always, I felt bad that they were couped up in such a small space.

Cute Bear - Seoul Zoo

Another great exhibit was the bison. You wouldn’t think they would be all that interesting in a zoo setting but they were remarkably social. One in particular liked to hang out by the fence, poking his face through, flicking his tongue out to pull at bits of grass, and turning his massive head up every few minutes to look you over with an enormous brown eye. Then, he’d charge around the area, make some noises, and trot back to the fence to resume his eyeballing. I carefully reached out to touch his furry head. He seemed to like having it scratched.

Friendly Bison at Seoul Zoo

Birds at Seoul Zoo

As I was leaving the zoo, it started to pour down rain. Not wanting to look like I came from a wet t-shirt contest, I took the train from the zoo to the park entrance. It was a nice way to end several hours of walking. Curiously, it stopped raining once we got off the train.

Giraffes Seoul Zoo

Tornado Chips - Travellistic While you’re wandering around, munch on some tornado chips. It’s a potato that is sliced in a curl, placed on a stick, coated in batter, fried, and then dusted with a spicy, cheese-flavored powder. Tornado chips are a tasty treat but I think it’d be better with minced bacon or a spicy, ramyeon flavor.

So, should you go to Seoul Zoo?

If you like zoos, or you’re traveling with young kids, then I think it’s worth it if you have the time. I would recommend eating outside of the zoo. The food isn’t crazy overpriced like back home but you can get cheaper snacks from the many vendors lining the walkway from the subway to the park.

Prices

Seoul Zoo (Adult): 3,000 won
1-Way Sky Lift (Adult): 5,000 won
Train (Adult): 1,000 won
Tornado Chips: 2,000 won (small) or 3,000 won (large)

Visit the Seoul Zoo website.

Getting There

Take Seoul Metro Line #1 and get off at Seoul Grand Park.

Have you been to Seoul Zoo? Let me know in the comments below.

Thumb Statue Seoul Zoo