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    Portland Winter Wonderland

     I still remember the first time I saw snow a few years ago on my first day of studying abroad in Madrid. My flight had been delayed and I arrived 3 days late to my program, so I was worried about not being as familiar with the city as some of my peers. A friend that lived in the same neighborhood agreed to meet up that evening to show me around so that I could feel a little bit less lost and overwhelmed. As we were walking around exploring our home for the next few months, it suddenly started to snow. That was all it took to replace my feeling of anxiousness with excitement, and I remember simply being in awe of this very rare sight.
    As many of you can imagine, my friend was a bit perplexed about how excited I was about seeing snow, and that it took me almost 21 years to ever see any at all. Well, I think that’s the case for many natives of Southern California, where we’re lucky if we even get enough rainy days in a year. That is why I was filled with the same excitement this past week when Portland got the most snow it’s seen since 2008. We’ve had a few snow days this year, but nothing compared to this winter wonderland. I hope that the pictures below convince you that it was as amazing as I claim it was.
    My first attempt to get out of the house during this snow storm was to purchase groceries, only to find out that the Trader Joe’s nearby was closed due to the inclement weather. I nearly slipped and fell a few times on my way there, probably because the snow on the sidewalks was quick to turn into ice and I could do with more appropriate shoes for this weather. However, it was definitely worth the trip because I got to see some beautiful sights. As you can see from the photo above, even the Trader Joe’s parking lot looked magical.
    This type of weather is rare to Portland from what I hear, and the city shut down whenever it gets just a little bit of snow. Things have been moving pretty slowly for the past few days, which can be perceived as a nuisance for some people. However, I personally like having an excuse to take time to slow down and take it easy. Maybe I should pretend to have snow days more often.
    xoxo,
    Helen
    Travel

    Joseph Woodhill Park

     

    In an effort to escape our apartment a few weekends back, my roommate Candace and I went out for brunch and then decided to drive up to Joseph Woodhill Park, a nice little spot hidden at the top of Rocky Butte. If you’ve never heard of this place before, I would recommend making your way over here if you’re in Portland. The park is enclosed and looks like some sort of gothic castle from the outside. Once inside, you get some of the most amazing views of the city. Candace and I drove up hear on a pretty dreary day, so the city had a very cool and dark vibe to it. However, I’ll be coming back at some point in time because I’d also love to see what type of view I get on a bright and cheerful day.

    If you’re looking to make up your way to this vista point, I would recommend driving or biking up, because it is not very pedestrian friendly.  I tried hiking up here when I first moved to Portland, and ended up giving up and turning back because I felt unsafe walking on the side of a very windy road all by myself. I hope that little piece of advice makes your visit a bit more enjoyable. Until next time!

    xoxo,
    Helen
    Travel

    Valparaíso, Chile

    Valparaiso, Chile
    I’m finally getting around to posting my photos from my visit to Valparaíso, Chile a few weeks back. As I had mentioned in my post on Buenos Aires, I was in South America for a school trip and only spent about half a day exploring Valparaíso. Although my time in this part of Chile was limited, that did not stop me from falling in love with the city. I can only hope my photos do it justice.
    Funicular Ride in Valparaiso, Chile
    Valparaiso, Chile
    Valparaiso, Chile
    Architecture in Valparaiso, Chile
    View of Valparaiso Port

     

    HISTORIC QUARTER 

    My favorite part about visiting Valparaíso was getting to walk around the city’s gorgeous historic quarter. It’s such a treat having the opportunity to check out the colorful buildings, beautiful architecture and street art in this part of town. Furthermore, you get to experience amazing views of the city and port at every twist and turn.
    Plaza Sotomayor
    Plaza Sotomayor
    Valparaiso Port

    Valparaiso Port

     

    PLAZA SOTOMAYOR

    Before heading back to Santiago, our group stopped at Plaza Sotomayor. The Plaza is directly in front of the plaza is the Chilean Navy headquarters, a beautiful baby blue building. Furthermore, the city’s port is also few blocks away. At the port, you can also find a cute little market with a nice array of kitschy souvenirs. I bought a few cute llama keychains to bring back to my siblings, which they absolutely loved.
    Hopefully you enjoyed this photo travel diary of my short visit to Valparaíso! I would definitely recommend visiting if you find yourself in Chile and are looking for places to explore.
    xoxo,
    Helen