Nomad by Trade

A travel blog for the kid at heart.

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Notre Dame by the River Seine in Paris, France

Notre Dame: Birds, Gargoyles, and an Incredible View

Everyone knows about the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. It may well be the most famous church in the world, and it is a must-see on most Paris itineraries. It’s every bit as hauntingly beautiful inside as you would expect. Here’s what you need to know for visiting Notre Dame.

Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France

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Tips for and photos of driving Pikes Peak

Driving to the Top of Pikes Peak

Driving Pikes Peak is one of those classic American experiences that everyone should try at least once. My dad went as a kid, and it’s always been on my list of things to do. I finally got a chance to make the drive this year and it was amazing!

Pikes Peak (known as a fourteener because it tops 14,000 feet high) is located in Colorado Springs and the peak can be accessed by driving, taking a cog railway ride, or hiking. We chose to drive the 19-mile road to the top. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The drive up Pikes Peak

Switchbacks on the drive to the top of Pikes Peak

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Salt sculptures in the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland

Exploring the Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located just outside of one of my favorite cities in the world – Krakow, Poland. It was a working salt mine for over 700 years, and now is one of the top tourist attractions in the area. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site if you’re into that kind of thing. I loved the tour because over the years, miners carved incredible statues out of the rock salt, and other artists have contributed works as well. The tour is much more than just walking through old mine shafts, and I highly recommend visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine when in Krakow.

Touring the Wieliczka Salt Mine

The regular tours at Wieliczka last a couple of hours and involve a lot of walking and some stairs (though it’s possible to book accessible tours in advance). You only visit a fraction of the chambers in the mine – it would take days to explore the whole thing – but it includes the history of the work that was done there as well as info about the tools and machinery used. Foreign language tours are available, and it’s recommended to book them in advance on their website. With the current exchange rate, they cost about $25.

Carvings in the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Our tour started off with a long climb down a series of stairs (at least we weren’t going up!) to enter the first part of the mine. We learned the legend about how the mine came to be there, and about the different methods that were used there.

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Viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland

Top Tips for Viewing the Northern Lights

Viewing the Northern Lights (or Southern!) is high on many bucket lists. One of my main goals on my recent trip to Iceland was to see them for the first time, and we had phenomenal luck, spotting them four out of our six nights there. There’s no sure-fire way to guarantee that you’ll see an aurora, but here are my top tips for spotting the Northern Lights.

Visit somewhere that experiences the Northern Lights regularly

Viewing the northern lights

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Disney's Hollywood Studios for adults

The Grown-up’s Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios (raise your hand if you still call it MGM sometimes) is undergoing a pretty substantial overhaul at the moment. Large sections of the park have been closed in order to construct new Star Wars and Toy Story areas, and while that has left it looking a bit sparse at the moment, in a couple of years it may well be the most exciting spot at Disney World. Because of its two large thrill rides, it’s long been known as the “teenagers’ park”, and there’s lots to offer for grown-ups. Read on for all of my top tips about Hollywood Studios for adults.

The rides

Hollywood Studios doesn’t boast a lot of rides at the moment, but the ones it has rank as some of my favorites at Disney World.

Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Albany dining guide

Albany, New York Dining Guide

One of my favorite things about traveling for work is getting to try new restaurants in the areas I visit. After eight weeks in Albany, New York, I’ve compiled my list of my nine favorite places to eat. Read on for my Albany dining guide.

C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station

Food at the Albany Pump Station - Albany Dining Guide

This brewery is housed in an old water pumping facility that was originally used to pump water from the Hudson river to supply the city. Nowadays instead of water tanks, it holds vats of beer, although the still-operational crane from its previous life still hangs above the dining room as a reminder of the past.

I was determined to order a salad, but a delicious BBQ pork entree caught my eye on the menu. The dish is layered with scalloped cheesy potatoes on the bottom and topped with pulled pork, melted white cheddar, and delicious BBQ sauce. Health-wise, it’s about as far away from a salad as you can get, but it was well-worth it.

Public House 42

I loved the atmosphere at this Irish pub. You had to climb down a few stairs to get into the half-street level bar felt a little like entering a secret hideout. There was a decent sized bar and a handful of tables, so between that and the low ceilings and dim lighting, it felt very intimate.

Shepherd's pie at Public House 42 - Albany dining guide

Their menu was pretty standard Irish pub food, so I went with a shepherd’s pie since that’s my perfect collection of foods all thrown together in a dish that warms your heart. I was a little disappointed by my first bite, but I think I just happened to get a dry part because the rest of the dish was amazing. When the mountain of food was set down in front of me, I figured I’d maybe get through half of it and take the rest home for leftovers the next day. I was wrong; I inhaled all but a few bites because I just couldn’t stop eating it. The veggies were crisp, the mashed potatoes were delicious, and the cheese baked on top had a perfect little bit of crunch to it.

Dinosaur BBQ

Pulled pork at Dinosaur BBQ in Troy, NY - Albany Dining Guide

You’ll have to head out of Albany a bit to visit this spot, but Troy is only a few minutes up the road and Dinosaur BBQ is well worth the short drive. It’s a New York chain, and I’ve been to several of their locations, including the original in Syracuse. Whenever I’m in New York state for work, I try to have dinner at one of these restaurants if I can find one nearby. All of the locations I’ve been to feature eclectic décor, and the  Troy location has the added benefit of an outdoor patio overlooking the Hudson River.

BBQ sauce at Dinosaur BBQ in Troy, NY - Albany Dining Guide

There are two different sauces on the table for you to dress your own meat – a regular and a spicy. I’m partial to pulled pork when I get BBQ, but I’ve been told by co-workers that their chicken is phenomenal as well. I always get their BBQ fried rice as a side because it’s both delicious and unique, and their macaroni and cheese and baked beans are great as well.

Pulled pork at Dinosaur BBQ - Albany Dining Guide

The Recovery Sports Grill

This small chain of sports bars has a few locations around the area, and it’s a great location to watch a game if you’re looking for good food to accompany it. The original location in Albany is fittingly right across from the medical center, and they’ve expanded to other locations in the area.

Thai chicken salad at the Recovery Room - Albany Dining Guide

I fell hard for their Thai peanut salad – I’m a picky eater, and I’m pretty sure this is the first time in my life that I’ve ordered a salad exactly as it appeared on the menu without asking for them to keep certain items off of it. it’s unique because it doesn’t come with dressing, substituting a delicious peanut sauce that is perfect for dipping the grilled chicken in. The cold noodles seemed like an odd choice at first, but they ended up being my favorite part of the salad.

Recovery Room in Albany, New York

Parish Public House

Ham po'boy from the Paris Public House - Albany Dining Guide

I inadvertently visited this bar/restaurant on Mardi Gras – I should’ve seen this coming since the menu is Cajun themed – and was pleased to find the place draped in beads and full of people celebrating. There was a live band playing for the first couple of minutes I was there, but they went on break when they finished that song. Unfortunately, the large crowd meant that most of the menu items I was interested in were gone, so I ended up with a ham po’ boy sandwich to go. I was a little disappointed because I’m used to po’ boys being served hot, so when I got back to the hotel room and found out that it was cold, I wasn’t thrill. The ham was fantastic though, and the bread was top notch.

Macaroni and cheese at the Paris Public House - Albany Dining Guide

I naturally had to go back again to try what I really wanted, and was thoroughly delighted by their crawfish and tasso ham mac and cheese (I ordered it with just ham). It was incredible. It’s some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

The Olde English Pub

English phone booth at the Olde English Pub in Albany, New York

This English pub is adorable. It really looked like a little cottage, and the interior was well-themed. There’s a cute little garden in the front that  features a classic red English photo booth. The first level of the restaurant has a perfect neighborhood-style bar that was lined with patrons. I happened to stumble across trivia night, so while I didn’t play, I also enjoyed listening to the questions being read off.

Fish 'n chips at the Olde English Pub - Albany dining guide

I chose to sit upstairs where it was a bit quieter and had some fantastic fish and chips. I’m not generally a fan of fish, but theirs looked good enough that I decided to try it and I was not disappointed. The batter was perfectly crispy, and I left completely stuffed.

Wellington’s

Wellington’s caught my eye as I was walking back to my car from another restaurant, so I made a point to visit it later in the week. I was mostly drawn to the sleek décor seen through the large windows, so I checked out their menu online and decided to give it a try. I got a fantastic seat in an armchair by the window, and I even got a view of the capitol building.

I started off with their Saratoga kettle chips since they were only 99 cents. I was glad they were so cheap, because I didn’t like whatever seasoning they used and only ate a few of them. The restaurant was redeemed by the next two courses though.

Though their menu has numerous fine dining options, I opted for a simple caesar salad with grilled chicken added. I really liked it despite the fact that I forgot to ask for the dressing on the side so it had a little more on it than I usually use. The lettuce was chopped into the perfect size to eat it gracefully – a vastly underrated quality in salads if you ask me – and there were large croutons that offered a delicious crunch. The chicken on top was what blew me away though. Most of the time when you add chicken to a salad, you get a sad, bland little piece of luke warm meat. This was not the case at Wellington’s. The chicken I got was so good that I’d gladly order it for an entrée if that was an option. It was steaming hot and coated in a delicious seasoning that gave it just a little bit of a spicy kick.

I almost never order dessert when I’m eating out, but there was a “pumpkin pie” option that was so different that I couldn’t pass it up. It came with two cinnamon waffle triangles with pumpkin gelato and cinnamon whipped crème all stacked together. It was a little melted by the time it was brought to me, but it still tasted fantastic. I love finding unique things like that, and I especially love pumpkin pie.

City Beer Hall

City Beer Hall in Albany, New York

This bar and restaurant was recommended by a local. It has a cool, biergarten-like atmosphere with large tables and benches on the first floor. There’s a large bar area with tons of beers on draft and in bottles and cans. If you’re feeling adventurous, they even have a mechanical bull to try.

Food at City Beer Hall - Albany Dining Guide

I had an incredible pulled pork sandwich with a side of fries. I’m somewhat picky about pulled pork, and this was perfectly moist and not too fatty. The fries were also my favorite style of battered crispiness.

Capitol Melts

I found myself in Albany on National Grilled Cheese Day, so what better way to celebrate than by having lunch at Capitol Melts, a grilled cheese place just down the hill from the capitol building? I had an incredible mac & cheese melt with added bacon. The mac & cheese was good enough that you could just eat that – you can, in fact, just order it as a side. It was the perfect way to celebrate Grilled Cheese Day.

Grilled macaroni and cheese at Capitol Melts - Albany dining guide

Capitol Melts is a great place to grab a quick lunch during the week. It’s only open until 2 pm on weekdays, so you’ll have to time your visit for the workweek. It’s a fast counter-service style place, so you’ll be able to grab your food and get back to work quickly if you’re in the area.

Have you visited any of these restaurants? Did I miss any favorites that I should hit if I go back again? Let me know in the comments.

Read more posts about my work travels here:

Enjoy the Albany dining guide? Don’t forget to pin it for later.

From BBQ to beer halls, Albany, New York has some great restaurants. Check out the Albany dining guide for the best places to eat.

From BBQ to beer halls, Albany, New York has some great restaurants. Check out the Albany dining guide for the best places to eat. From BBQ to beer halls, Albany, New York has some great restaurants. Check out the Albany dining guide for the best places to eat.
Colorful Instagram travel photos

Worldwide Color: Best of July 2017

I run an Instagram feature account called Worldwide Color. Every day, I repost three photos that highlight one color, rotating through rainbow every eight days. I love seeing the pictures other Instagrammers send me for a feature, and the feed is turning out to be one of my favorite digital “projects.” Keep reading to see the Instagram’s most colorful travel photos.

Red

This perfect shot of a red butterfly on a red flower seems like it was made just for this feed. It’s not only gorgeous, but it was also taken during one of my favorite festivals at one of my favorite places: The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot! You’ll never see the park prettier than it is during this time of year when it’s adorned with an unimaginable amount of flowers and topiaries. Be sure to follow @royalcaribbeangirl on Instagram for more great photos.

Other top red photos were of an intricately painted red building in Germany by @grenzenlos_frei and a cute red scooters in Rome, Italy by @brooke.ayton.

Orange

You might ask what’s so amazing about a hot air balloon ride. I’d like to quote Peter Pan here and say, all the world is made of faith, and trust and pixie dust. When you are up there, floating, as though on a cloud, watching the sun slowly making it’s way up the sky, lighting up everything under it, you have reason for a bit more faith, some more trust and belief in a lot more pixie dust. Could there be a better reason to do something? Magic is the word for it. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #travelwriter #travel #instatravel #travelgram #travelblogger #wanderlust #ilovetravel #instavacation #postcardsfromtheworld #travelling⠀ #traveltheworld #igtravel #travelblog #travelpics #wanderer #mytravelgram #ig_worldclub #worldcaptures #worldplaces #traveler #nofilter #instagood #potd #TLPicks #colorfulfocus #nomadsofindia #experienceegypt #sunrise #naturelovers #tripwears

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There were two excellent orange photos that I was deciding between for the top spot in July, and while it was a tough call, this one won out. I love the silhouette of the hot air balloon over Luxor, Egypt, and it really brings life to this sunset shot. Follow @tripwears on Instagram and Facebook, and check out their blog, Trip Wears.

Other top orange photos were of Canyon X in Page, Arizona by @go_on_adventures and another orange sunset over the famous Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina by @aether.element.concept.

Yellow

I have another Epcot picture (this one shamelessly taken by me) as my favorite yellow. I love the little fountain you pass as you enter the park, and Spaceship Earth’s triangular panels make for a unique reflection on its perfectly still waters. You’re already on my blog if you’re reading this, but check out my main Instagram, @nomadbytrade, Twitter, and Facebook.

Other top yellow pictures were of a brightly colored building in Colombia by @coco_boss and a beautifully detailed close-up of a sunflower by @waterunderthebridges.

Green

Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been

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Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia has been on my bucket list since I first saw photos of it years ago. I love this lush green shot by @brianjohnzon. Follow him on Instagram and check out his blog, Leather Backpacker.

Other top green photos were of a beautiful green plant in Oregon by @adventureswithnienie and tea fields in Malaysia by @travelingspud.

Turquoise

This aerial shot of the famous Heart Reef in Australia is gorgeous! It’s perfectly framed against the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Follow @taylorstracks on Instagram and check out her blog, Taylor’s Tracks.

Other top turquoise pictures included a Vanuatu beach by regular contributor @pacifiquegirl and the stunningly beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada by @sweetcarolinaj.

Blue

“There’s some sort of famous tower in Paris. I have to say, it’s not exactly an original idea design. I’ve seen a lot of knock-knacks on clearance at Home Goods that look awfully similar.” -Sarah del Rio • • The Eiffel Tower was constructed between 1887 and 1889 as part of the 1889 World Fair. At 1,063 feet tall, it became the tallest man made structure in the world. The tower was built by Gustave Eiffel and his company. In 2015, almost 7 million people made it to the top. • • • #paris #parisian #eiffeltower #eiffel #tower #gustaveeiffel #architecture #architectureporn #architecturelover #architecturephotography #travel #travelpic #traveller #travelgram #travelshoteu #worldwidecolor #worldfair #instatravel #sister #france #hostelsisters

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I firmly believe that Paris is better at night, and this Eiffel Tower shot only furthers that belief. The Tower is especially beautiful when lit up, and those deep blue skies above it really highlight the iconic landmark. Follow @hostelsisters for more great photos.

Other top blues this month were of beautiful blue lake in Nicaragua by @dom1n1ka.hu and hazy skies over Chicago, Illinois by @ohyasmintravels.

Purple

Capturing lighting is a difficult feat. This dramatic shot of it streaking through purple skies over Calcutta, India is incredible. Follow @sanjiban_ghosh for more phenomenal photos.

Other top purple photos this month included a dreamy shot of Crete, Greece by @verislav and a starry night sky over Mount Fitz Roy in Argentina by @brianwyang.

Pink

How did I spend my night last night? • Warning: Long caption ahead ⚠️ So as part of wanting to venture outside of our comfort zones during this trip, @sandeepkrana and I decided that we would start picking up hitch hikers when we could as a way of doing a nice thing but also to meet new people and hear about their lives/experiences. Yesterday we met Jessica (originally from Portugal 🇵🇹) and Anderson (originally from Angola 🇦🇴), two very free spirited people, who had previously been living on the Canary Islands 🇮🇨 doing community work and now traveling their way through Europe and the world 🌎. They travel with very minimal belongings, and by day, they roam around cities and towns with their bags stored in secret places and at night, they camp out wherever they find a nice spot. Sandy and I had spoken about doing the same before we had left on our trip and also a few times since starting it but we never actually committed to it. After meeting Jessica and Anderson, we were both left feeling totally inspired and motivated 🌟. So what did we do next? Well, naturally we drove straight to the closest camping store and bought ourselves a tent! ⛺️ And last night, we spent our first night camping along the south coast of France in beautiful Istres and got to wake up to this incredible sunrise 🌅💗💜

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This bright pink sunset over Istres, France is stunning. It would be incredible to witness skies that bright in person. Follow @daniishifman for more great pictures.

Other top pink photos this month included pink sunset skies over Istanbul, Turkey by @dreamsinheels and another pink sunset over the beach in France by @photoslascars.

Which one is your favorite? Is there another Instagram feature account you’d recommend checking out?

Want a chance to have your photo featured? Use the #worldwidecolor hashtag or tag @worldwidecolor in the photo to submit it.

Check out the Best of June and Best of May posts here.

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The most colorful travel photos on Instagram are highlighted in this monthly roundup post featuring Disney World, Egypt, Plitvice Lakes, the Great Barrier Reef, Paris, Calcutta, and Istres, France.

The most colorful travel photos on Instagram are highlighted in this monthly roundup post featuring Disney World, Egypt, Plitvice Lakes, the Great Barrier Reef, Paris, Calcutta, and Istres, France.
Diamond Beach in Iceland

15 Pictures to Put Diamond Beach on Your Iceland Bucket List

The Ring Road around Iceland’s perimeter is jam packed with stunning scenery. One of my most memorable stops was Diamond Beach, a spectacular black sand beach where icebergs from the famous Jökulsárlón lagoon wash up. As the ice chunks head out to sea, some of them are pushed back ashore by wind and waves, creating a landscape of ice boulders that is a virtual playground for photographers. It’s beautiful, and a must-see stop on your Ring Road trip. Keep reading for my fifteen favorite pictures that will inspire you to visit Diamond Beach in Iceland.

Ice boulders on Diamond Beach in Iceland

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Litli Geysir Hotel

The Geysir area is one of the most iconic stops on Iceland’s Golden Circle route. Imagine spending the night in a room where you can see its most active geyser, Strokkur, erupting right from your window. That’s exactly what we experienced at the Litli Geysir Hotel in Haukadalur. The hotel doesn’t look like much when you approach, but the interior is beautiful and the service was top-notch. It’s a fantastic choice when you’re looking for affordable hotels near Geysir.

View of geysers from the Litli Geysir Hotel in Iceland

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The Grown-Up’s Guide to Epcot

After being a bit neglected over the last few years, Epcot is about to see some big changes that will be a bit of a departure from its original vision. I picked it to be my first park guide in my series about Disney World for grown-ups because it’s historically been considered the non-kiddie park. I dispute that, as it was always my favorite as a kid, but I was also kind of a weirdo. This is the place where you’ll see the most childless adults hanging around, so feel free to start here if you still feel awkward. Read on for my top tips about Epcot for adults. Don’t forget to check out my grown-up’s guide to all of Disney World here.

Drinking around the world

I guess I have to start with this one. Any Disney fan over the age of 21 (sorry, even though you’re drinking in pavilions made to resemble other lands, the standard American drinking age still applies) has probably heard about drinking around the world. It’s a pretty simple concept: you head to World Showcase – that’s the part around the large lagoon at the back where all of the different countries are– and have a drink from each of the 11 pavilions. You’ll want to get an early start – most places open at 11 – to make sure you can pace yourself throughout the day. You don’t want to be the person who gets kicked out of Epcot because you’re falling over drunk. I highly recommend saving your last drink for just before Illuminations so you can enjoy it during the fireworks show.

Margarita inside of Epcot's Mexico pavilion

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