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Have you noticed there’s no other place for teenagers to talk about travel?

Here you can read what other teenagers have to say about travel – from day trips to journeys abroad, shopping, eating, coasting, and other activities on vacation. Also, parents can read what teenagers like and dislike about family vacations and destinations so that they can plan a family trip that YOU will enjoy.

 

Teen Travel Talk is also interested in YOUR travel experiences. If you want to become a paid blogger and publish your travel stories on Teen Travel Talk, click “contact us” on the left hand side, fill out your contact information and tell us why you’d be a great teen travel blogger.

 



Chicano Park, San Diego

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For every culture, there is so much history. My favorite places to visit are the ones with a fascinating story behind it. Chicano Park, built in April 20, 1970, has an amazing story.

Brief History of Park

As a result of San Diego’s proximity to Mexico, the area has become predominately bicultural. Going back to the late 1800s, that specific region in San Diego was known as East End, and later had the name changed to Logan Heights once Mexican-Americans settled in the 1910s due to the Mexican Revolution. They referred to their home as Barrio Logan.

There were nearly 20,000 Mexican Americans making it the second largest Chicano community on the west coast.

 During World War II, Barrio Logan became industrialized which kicked out many of its residents. With toxic junkyards and the establishment of Interstate 5, the Barrio was being cut in half. These changes had many being forced to locate to other areas and the people accepted without question the changes made to their community. At the time of 1963, Chicano activists around the nation were fighting for their rights and this inspired the people of Barrio Logan to do the same for their loved community.

Their first demand to the government was to be given land in their Barrio to build a recreational park. In response, they were granted a tiny piece of land, which was nothing what they envisioned for their dream park. Shortly afterwards, the people patiently asked for some more land, specifically, the one that was under the Interstate 5 bridge. Instead of hearing a response back, bulldozers arrived on the land below the bridge to start construction on a Highway Patrol Station. Mario Solis, student of San Diego City College, heard the news and immediately took action. He gathered his family members and friends to protest the construction by surrounding the land with a human chain.

As the Chicano flag was raised, the people fought for the land they would use for their park. The number of people protesting the construction of the station increased as people from all over San Diego came to support the park. The protesters began planting trees and plants to commence the building of their park. Twelve days later, as the people of Barrio Logan withstood the police, they were granted the land.

The anniversary of this colorful park is still celebrated every year on April 20.

My Visit to this Park

The entire park is alive with color. The incredible artwork displayed on the columns that hold up the bridge depicts the historical struggles the Chicanos have faced. The talented artists portrayed the story in their own way that gives life to the history.

My favorite piece of work is the Historical Mural. It contains all of the famous activists and faces in the Mexican culture. It summarizes what the Chicanos/Mexicans journey to get to where they are today.

They also have 2 playgrounds. I obviously took advantage of the chance to play on this amazing playground.

I can’t wait to go back again and look more into detail the beautiful murals.

The Great Wall

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On a burning hot humid day in Beijing, China a group of forty two stood in the sweltering sun anxiously waiting to be cleared to go through the gates. Just as the tour guide told our Rabbi that it was time to start the journey, we all ran through the gates excited to see what we have all been waiting for;  The Great Wall of China.  We were all disappointed. All we saw was a long road with a bunch of locals trying to sell us goods.  Our first reaction was, “where is this historical site?!” The tour guide explained to us that we had to walk up this tall mountain in order to actually get up to The Great Wall.

One of my peers asked me to take out the speakers as we blasted music and motivated everyone to hike up the mountain in order to see this, so far, disappointing landmark.  As we continued to sing and laugh we didn’t realize how much ground we’d covered. We finally decided to raise our heavy heads drenched in sweat to see the beautiful historical site.  We finally made it; we were at The Great Wall of China.

As soon as we finally arrived at our destination the cameras came rocketing out.  The tour guide was trying to tell us all the facts and the history behind the wall but everyone was to overwhelmed with excitement and joy that we refused to do anything else but capture the moment on our devices. When everyone was done with their pictures we all then wanted to understand what is so great about this “Great Wall”.  One of the kids that was paying attention started describing to the rest of the group that the wall was made to keep out the invaders of the seventh century, the Mongolians.  The wall stands a whopping 25 feet high, 13,170 miles long and was as thick as 30 feet.  Although the The Great Wall of China still stands today it doesn’t have a purpose, but it continues to be one of the greatest wonders of the world because of its importance in history and its incredible size.

As my friends and I walked the wall, we then started to fully comprehend how extraordinary and fascinating this landmark was.  It was one of the most unbelievable experiences I have ever encountered in my entire life.  I strongly recommend visiting this unbelievable place.  One cannot fully understand how outstanding the Great Wall truly is until they experience it for himself.  

Belated Greetings from Peru

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I was just in Pisac, Peru for a gathering of Quakers from all over the world. It was definitely an interesting experience, as I met people from a variety of theological, spiritual, and cultural backgrounds (as Quakerism is a broad, global movement) and engaged with different traditions and ways of relating to the Divine. That said, it was also just a really beautiful place to be.

This selfie barely captures where I was. Behind me were hills, with pre-Inquisition terraces and structures still scattered throughout the surrounding mountains. It is apparently the rainy season, but every day in Pisac (an hour drive from Cusco) while I was there was packed with sun and was consistently in the mid to high 70s. All the sweaters I packed were left in my bag.

full-sacred-valley-urubamba-town

Here’s a view of the Sacred Valley at this time of the year. Yes, I got to see this everyday for almost two weeks. It was… amazing, to say the least.

The high altitude took a day or two to get used to, and I had a mild headache push me to bed early the first night, but with the help of coca leaves and lots and lots of water, I transitioned fairly smoothly in the mountain air.

Sacred-Valley

This region was at the heart of the Incan society, as the nearby Cusco was once the Incan capital. There are plenty of tours of the ancient structures that reveal the genius of the Incans, showing off their advanced architecture and agricultural technology. The terraced farms are breathtaking.

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I’ll be posting more about Peru soon, but I thought I’d provide readers with a glimpse into the Incan paradise I got to enjoy the past few weeks.

Peace and joy!

5 Reasons Your Family Needs to Visit Korea

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Somebody recently asked me where I’d recommend their family to go on vacation. Immediately, without thinking and with no hesitation, I blurted “KOREA!” That may sound a bit odd to you, but I could go on and on about why this country is so packed with good things the whole family can enjoy. Humor me and listen to me for a minute.

5) South Korea is rich with history. There’s plenty of well-preserved historical sites that are not just interesting but breathtakingly beautiful, such as the Namhansanseong Fortress about 16 miles from Seoul or the 5th and 6th century tombs of South Gyeongsang province, which looks like a field of hobbit homes. The Hwaseong area is pretty packed with historical sites, including the Hwaseong Fortress, which strongly resembles the Great Wall of China and was built in the late 18th century by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty, and Geolleung, a tomb built for that same king Jeongjo. The Korean peninsula is also filled with hundreds of Buddhist temples, some dating to soon after the arrival of Buddhism into Korea (like Jikjisa).

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South Gyeongsang tombs

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Hwaseong Fortress

4) There is plenty of beautiful nature, such as Sambuyeon falls, which looks unreal, like some kind of fairy sanctuary. Korea has rivers, lakes, mountains, beaches, islands, forests—just about everything you need for a very long, very fun outdoor adventure.

Upo Marsh

Upo Marsh

3) There are so many museums. Hundreds, even. Of course, many of those cover local history, but the fairly recently-built Daejeon Museum of Art, Dokdo Museum, and Museum of Korean Culture are more diverse in their exhibitions. The National Museum of Korea is the major Korean history museum, featuring hundreds of beloved national treasures.

Daejeon Museum of Art

Daejeon Museum of Art

2) All the shopping. I talked about this six years ago on this blog, but I really love shopping in Korea. The shirts with absurd, nonsensical phrases in English, and the cheap knockoff brand shoes, and there’s a certain aesthetic in Korea that I can barely find in the US. I’d say it’s like an edgier J-Crew, or something to that effect.

Shinbudong

1) Most importantly, the food. Korean barbecue (how can somebody not LOVE bulgogi and kalbi?!), kimchi in all its forms, red bean buns, rice cakes, the walnut cookies of Cheonan, japchae, spicy ramyeon, gomguk soup, all the glorious jjigaes, etc. Writing all of those delicacies have made this already-full tummy rumble. The best part of any trip/vacation is the food, and Korea definitely has a lot to offer in this department.

All that foooooood

All that foooooood

Now, do you see why your family needs to make their way over to Korea?

Missing Philly Summers

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My friend and I at the Swann Memorial Fountain

All the farmers and night markets, the Made in America Festival, the outdoor concerts, the tourists flooding Old City, dancing Hare Krishna devotees in Center City, and eating brunch outside. Summers in Philadelphia are glorious. They include everything for everybody. Now, Philly is great all year long, believe me, but there’s something magical about the city in summer. Everything and everybody is bursting with life.

One of my favorite parts about Philly in the summer is Spruce Street Harbor. Most famously, the park is filled with hammocks for anybody to lay on. It’s nice and shaded and though frequently busy, it is often quiet enough for you to doze off and take a little nap. (Or maybe I’m just a heavy sleeper?)  There’s bocce and shuffleboard courts, a giant chess board, and there’s kayaks and paddle boats. Plus, there’s all sorts of other games on the boardwalk.

And, well, there’s lots of food.

Long-time readers know I like food. A lot. And in this off-the-water sanctuary, there is plenty of it. Giant ice cream sundaes, hotdogs, donuts, fried chicken, burgers, ribs, tacos, ice cream waffle sandwiches, chicken wings, sesame noodles, bacon knockwursts—there’s all of that and more at their food trucks and nearby restaurants.

It’s also just really, really beautiful. With the view of the big ships on water, and the lush foliage hovering over and holding together the park, as well as the whimsical design and layout of the park, it’s not a bad sight. And at night, it’s even better with the subtle multicolored lights that beam all around the park. You can’t complain about the view of Philly’s dramatic sunsets, either.

Spruce Street Harbor

Spruce Street Harbor

In a way, Spruce Street Harbor sums up why Philadelphia is great, and especially why Philly summers are basically the best. There’s this sense of excitement that is tangible, there’s something to enjoy for everybody, there’s plenty to eat (and though you can get that classic Philly grease food, there’s plenty of healthier and lighter and even, dare I say, bougie options), and it’s all supported by a city, a community, that cares. That’s Philly for you, I’d say. It’s a city full of passion, adventure, fun, and really good people who love their city. And the truth is that I love it in the fall, I love it in the winter, and I really love it in the spring, but there’s really nothing quite like summer out here.

So, yeah, even though we’ve just entered winter, I won’t lie… I’m already daydreaming about journaling on a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor while drinking some lemonade and eating something fried and absurdly delicious.

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