Saavedra Photography, a photographer based in NYC bio picture
  • Welcome to the website of wedding photographer Saavedra Photography (formerly known as Shang Chen Photography) Enjoy your stay, I'm glad to have you visit! I photograph couples who love life, each other, and express it through genuine, energetic personalities.

    Don't know where to start? Read more about me, see more wedding photos in my portfolio. Want to say hi? Drop me a comment or email me!

The secret to life

I am a deeply religious person, and as many celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ around the world today, I’d like to encourage and let all of you know that there is a beautiful secret to life: Him. The greatest freedom I’ve known is to cast away my worries, fears, and anxieties, onto God and let Him be my guide. It’s impossible to control life. It’s impossible to be perfect. However, it is possible to know an indescribable joy in Him.

I leave you with my favorite Bible verse and some beautiful blossoms captured in Brooklyn including the cherry blossoms at Brooklyn Botanical Garden this weekend

For I am sure that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39)

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography Blossoms Brooklyn Botanical Garden 1 The secret to life

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography Blossoms Brooklyn 2 The secret to life

Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

follow me on Facebook for my latest work and announcements for special shoots and contests

Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

If there is one special train you should take in Switzerland, it would be the Bernina Express. This fantastic train ride takes you past valleys and castles, through the Alps, zooming past tiny little mountain towns, over towering viaducts, spinning spiraling tunnels, with elevations varying between 429 meters above sea level (1,407 feet) to a whopping 2,253 meters (7,391 feet) above sea level at Ospizio Bernina, all in a super comfortable panoramic train. You can read more about it on their website. My favorite part was going through the Alps and feeling like I was on top of the world in a pristine, quiet place. I can see why people flock to Switzerland to ski!

Early morning serenity as we took a quiet train from Zurich to Chur to start our journey

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 02 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

The husband is not a morning person… =)

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 01 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

Check out the panoramic train!!!

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 04 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 03 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

Cute. Towns. Galore.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 05 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

We begin the climb – the train starts zig zagging around the mountains and going into spirals

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 06 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 07 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 08 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

It’s extremely hard to document the train going over a viaduct, but here’s a shot of our train approaching it

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 19 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

And before you know it, we’re on top of the Alps!

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 10 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 09 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 11 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

The snow is several feet tall. I was very impressed with how clean they kept the tracks each day

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 12 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 13 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

Most of the stops on the route are very short, just to load passengers. However, there is a 15-minute break at Alp Grum where you can stretch your legs and maybe get a coffee from the restaurant

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 14 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

The descent was amazing as well

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 15 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 16 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

The cute city of Tirano and their main basilica. The train runs right through the middle of town – you can see the tracks in this photo

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 17 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

One more shot on return

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bernina express train switzerland 18 Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express Train

Travel Tips

How to book: The Bernina Express is run by Rhaetian Railway, a private rail company that accepts the Swiss Pass. You can visit here, and click the tab labeled “Sales” to book online. The route we took was Chur to Tirano, and then on the way back we did Tirano to St. Moritz. However, if you’re taking the Glacier Express the next day, it doubles over the same route from St. Moritz to Chur. The map on the website is confusing. The bus route continuing on from Tirano to Lugano is only available in the summer. The segment between Davos and Filisur is not always available and to my knowledge I don’t think it’s as popular. I highly recommend Chur – Tirano – Chur. You need to make a seat reservation in addition to buying a ticket. If you have a Swiss Pass, you only need to book a seat reservation. There are spectacular sights regardless of which side of the train you sit, and you can always walk about the train to take photos.

Sightseeing: Everything you need to know about main sights on the train will be announced by the conductor in English, and you are also provided with a tour guide at your seat. If you wish to visit any of the towns along the route, then you need to book several train segments as the train only stops for a couple minutes at each station.

Food: There are limited coffee, wine, and snacks served on the train at high prices. Visit the Coop Pronto inside the Chur train station before embarking on the trip for all the food you’d need for the entire trip. You can eat your heart out in Tirano for lunch. When you arrive at the train station, walk half a mile towards the church in the center of the town. We found a place right across from the church (name escapes me) where the portions were huge (one giant pizza each for 7 – 8 euro) and the prices very reasonable.  The Bernina Express round trip will take you a whole day, and since most of Switzerland shuts down early, make sure you have enough food on you to last through dinner when you’re back.

Miscellaneous: Wear sunglasses! I had no idea how bright the snow would be on these panoramic trains and at certain times of the day, the sun and snow reflecting off of each other through the train can be unbearable. I got a little motion sick and had to sleep part of the way back.

Don’t forget the SBB App for traveling on trains within Switzerland.

Don’t miss these related blog posts

1. How to travel well on a budget

2. Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

I was able to take this trip in part because I won the ‘Feel the Music’ Facebook Contest from SWISS and Switzerland Tourism! Remember, SWISS is a great way to fly from the US to Switzerland!

Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

I’m going to start my European Honeymoon recap by going over all the major cities we visited in Switzerland. I see Switzerland tourism split into two parts: the cities vs. the majestic railroads that take you through the Alps. For the most part, Swiss cities take about half a day each to explore, as you will cover a lot by seeing their major shopping street, river/lake fronts, and some old architecture. I recommend a total of 6 days to explore Switzerland, 3 – 4 if you do not plan on training through the Alps.

Shang’s Recommended Switzerland Itinerary

Day 0: On your travel day, select an evening flight out of New York City. Be sure to sleep really early the night before, get up around 5 / 6 AM the day you fly, and then sleep on the plane after your meal is served. This will start your body on the way to adjusting to the new time zone.

Day 1: You will have a morning arrival in Zurich. Spend half a day in Lucerne (45 minute train ride), then another half a day in Basel (1 hour train ride). You will start getting sleepy, so take the train to Bern (1 hour train ride) and sleep there.

Day 2: Wake up in Bern and visit the beautiful city cast in a soft morning light. Take the train to Zurich (1 hour) and spend the rest of your day in Zurich.

Days 3 – 5: The three train rides which I will blog about in the future (Bernina Express, Glacier Express, and Golden Pass – in that order)

Day 6: Geneva

Lucern

Lucern is one of Switzerland’s most darling cities. Situated along a river, its main tourist attractions are the historic chapel bridge filled with historic paintings, a soulful lion memorial, and the waterfront. We recommend walking along the chapel bridge, into the Old Town, then visiting the lion memorial, winding your way to  the Court Church of St. Leodegar, before coming back around the waterfront to the train station

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 02 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 04 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 03 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 05 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 11 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Very tempting chocolates and sweets

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 12 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

The lion memorial

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 06 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Court Church of St. Leodegar

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 07 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 08 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

I was so happy to see flowers blooming

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 13 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon lucern switzerland 09 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Basel

Basel feels like one of the most industrious cities of Switzerland and is famous for its Art Basel festival. This city is best explored by jumping on its trams. It has a gorgeous central square, and the area around it is filled with shops, street markets, cafes, great for people watching.  The beautiful red building at the center is its City Hall (Rathaus) which is open for tours on Saturday. We arrived too late to see it

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon basel switzerland 03 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

City Hall

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon basel switzerland 05 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon basel switzerland 01 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon basel switzerland 04 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

I have a thing for bikes in European cities

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 saavedra honeymoon basel switzerland 02 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Bern

Bern is Switzerland’s capital and also visually, one of the most stunning cities. It sits on top of a hill surrounded by a river. In the morning, go to the east side of the city where the Bern Bear Park (under construction) is to get fantastic photographs of the entire city surrounded by water, punctuated by its steep roofs and narrow chimneys.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 01 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 03 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 04 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 05 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 06 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Just a random favorite – a woman and her dog who is carrying her groceries in a basket

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 bern switzerland 07 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Zurich

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. It is a busy finance town, but you can also come here for its many museums, most notably, the Kunsthaus Zurich which we were able to visit for free (happened to be free that day, I’m not sure why!). If you have the Swiss Pass, it will grant you free admission to many museums in Switzerland, though this is not one of them.

Unfortunately this is one of the very few photos I took in Zurich (my husband holding our bread during a bread, cheese, and chocolate break). I was pretty tired in Zurich!

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 140402 032t Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Geneva

We traveled to Geneva as the last leg on our trip in Switzerland, as you could easily connect to France via Geneva. Geneva is known for being situated on the southern tip of beautiful Lake Leman and is the headquarters of many NGOs. I highly recommend walking around the waterfront during sunset when the lights come on. Geneva is in the French speaking region of Switzerland. During the day, be sure to check out the Jet d”eau (huge water monument), the St. Pierre Cathedral (a gorgeous Bach organ piece was being played when we visited, makes you truly appreciate what Bach’s music was meant for), and Parc des Bastions, which is a graceful, tree-lined park that also hosts large statues of Geneva’s Calvinist founding fathers.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 geneva switzerland 03 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 geneva switzerland 01 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 geneva switzerland 04 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 geneva switzerland 02 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography 1403 geneva switzerland 05 Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Helpful information

The SBB mobile app is amazing and your best friend, it allows you to quickly search train schedules and even predicts train capacity and tracks trains in real time. Swiss trains are divided into two classes (having ridden in both, there isn’t that much of a difference, except that 1st class has more business travelers so is often less crowded and more quiet), and are on time – so don’t be late! Transfers can be as quick as 1 – 2 minutes, so be sure to check the app for the track number where you will be arriving and departing. The tracks will display signs that direct you to which sections the different train cars will be parked.

Nächste halt – German for “next stop”. Most Swiss announcements are made in Swiss-German, French, and English

Information booths – There is usually a city tourist information kiosk at every city’s major train station. Stop in there for free maps and guidance

Where we stayed

Zurich: Guesthouse Dienerstrasse- a no-frills hotel that required a digital code to enter and retrieve your keys (we jokingly called it the robot hotel). No customer service and we did not pick a room with a kitchen, but comes with free wi-fi and a quick 5-minute bus ride from the train station. It is located near several bars and it can get quite loud at night.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography guesthouse dienerstrasse Switzerland: Lucern, Basel, Bern, Zurich, and Geneva

Bern: Bern Backpackers Hostel – I loved, LOVED this hostel. Extremely clean, well-run, great wi-fi and a large kitchen in the common room areas.

Geneva: Hotel Lido. Geneva has no shortage of extremely high-priced hotels, so we were very pleased with our experience at the 2-star Hotel Lido. The staff was very friendly, bed is comfy, room is cleaned every day promptly, and they provide a delicious breakfast. Centrally located and close to train stations. Wi-fi was not great.

Don’t miss these related blog posts

1. How to travel well on a budget

I was able to take this trip in part because I won the ‘Feel the Music’ Facebook Contest from SWISS and Switzerland Tourism! Remember, SWISS is a great way to fly from the US to Switzerland!

Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

How to travel well on a budget

There are a lot of travel blogs out there that will explain in greater detail what me and my husband were able to put together for our honeymoon, but I guess it never hurts to have another point of view! We originally planned for a honeymoon in Japan. We are big culture and nature buffs, and Japan would offer a great combination of both. We booked a Japan trip for this coming June.

I had randomly entered a Facebook contest called “Feel the Music” for US-based travelers by SWISS last year. We found out that I won the grand prize of round-trip airfare for two to Zurich and a first class Swiss Pass for two for a week. We added a leg to Paris on the trip ourselves. And on our way back, despite our first flight being canceled, we had the luck of getting a business class upgrade as well. What an incredible stroke of luck and thank you to SWISS and Switzerland Tourism for the amazing trip!!! And I’ve fulfilled my dream of traveling to Paris with a husband or coming back from Paris with a husband :D

Thank you Swiss Air for the amazing upgrade on the way back!

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography swiss air business class international How to travel well on a budget

Okay, so what do we do when I don’t win contests?

My husband and I are value based people. We believe that travel doesn’t have to be super expensive, but it means doing work to make that happen and making trade-offs. We recognize how lucky we are to be able to afford travel, and we believe that it is very important to see the world as it grows us as a couple, adds to our perspectives, and opens our minds. We forfeit conspicuous luxury and relaxation for the experience of having an adventure. It also helps that between the two of us we can get by in 4 languages (English, Chinese, French, Spanish) and guess at some more

Travel to emerging countries
You get more bang for your buck by going to emerging markets where the dollar goes far. This means avoiding most of western Europe, northern Europe, Australia, fancy resort islands, remote exotic places, in favor of locales like Vietnam, Argentina, Turkey, etc.

In spring of 2012, we traveled to Southeast Asia and it was grand

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography bali 2012 How to travel well on a budget

So I will say this and I’ve said it to my friends often – without the winnings, we’d  never be able to afford Switzerland unless work paid us to go there =)

Travel during shoulder season
Spring and fall are much better times to go than summer for many places, but the definition of “high season” can be different depending on climate. You will have a lot of tourists in your photos during high season, and more competition to get into all the hot spots. Lines get longer. You take a greater weather risk by traveling in shoulder season, but it does help a little bit when it comes to overall costs.

Don’t pay for air travel
We use miles to book most of our flights. He gets it from traveling for his job. I get mine by playing the credit card churn game. There are other websites that explain this, but the point I want to make is that you have to spend money strategically and you need to have good credit. The more you spend the more you get, so it is a linear equation dependent on what you do for your job and your lifestyle. Airliners continue to devalue miles through updates to their loyalty programs, so it will get harder in the future. I have friends who obsess over racking up points and status. I don’t have that much money to earn status, but with a little bit of research and determination, I save myself thousands of dollars a year in airfare. If you are really serious about earning points, make sure you have The Points Guy and Flyer Talk bookmarked

Stay in hostels
I would say that after airline points, this is a place where we save the most. The advantages of hostels include: low price and usually a super convenient, downtown location. We once had beds in a common room in kuala Lumpur for $6 each a night! Hostels often have excellent and free wifi in common rooms (I got better wifi at the hostels than the hotels we stayed at). Some provide kitchens for you to store and cook food. They are reliable and don’t cancel on you (a risk with booking through Airbnb). They have Local staff who will recommend you more local places. Downsides are communal baths, communal rooms if you opt out of a private room, lack of amenities, loud guests, and tiny uncomfortable beds. Hostels in Europe are usually extremely well run and high in quality, the ones on other continents you will have to read the reviews. I think this is where some people will have a comfort obstacle to overcome. Staying in hostels actually forced us to do more out in the cities because at the end of the day, it’s just a bed, and it’s hard to justify paying hundreds of dollars for one. (to give you an idea, if we were to get a hotel we’d prefer around $125 – $150 a night, which in expensive countries clearly doesn’t get you much) We book usually through booking.com and hostelworld.com

Nevertheless, lodging in Switzerland took up a huge chunk of our budget and where we “lost” the most amount of money, and this is us staying at the cheapest places. In conclusion: Switzerland is not cheap.

Use points for hotels
We usually do a mix of low end hotels and hostels, but a night or two, we treat ourselves to a good hotel room. We love the Starwood Preferred Guest program

Take public transportation
Get to know the public transportation system really well for cities/countries that have great systems. For other countries renting a car or using taxis might be better. In developed countries, we have never taken a taxi and the reason we don’t is because we…

Pack light
The less you pack, the more flexible you can be. Travel on a busy US holiday and you can easily earn free air travel by not checking your bags and then volunteering to take a later flight if your flight is overbooked. This also avoids checked baggage, which runs risk of getting lost and of prolonging your transfers. In addition, this offered us the flexibility to chase after buses and trains on tight turnarounds.

This is all I packed for the trip – a Crumpler Dry Red No. 5 backpack and a small duffle.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography backpack and duffel only How to travel well on a budget

For myself, I like to stay relatively fashionable while traveling but I hate dragging around a lot of stuff. For this, I specifically styled a set of clothes that could easily be interchanged to make a large number of outfits, while looking sleek and not too American (the husband often gets mistaken for a local due to his very European face :D). In the photo below you can see basically all the clothing I brought with me (omitted are underwear and socks obviously). I worked with three layers – the inner being tank tops, the middle being one of 5 layering shirts. Then on the outside I layered one of three outerwear options (cropped jacket, jean jacket, or long sweater) and then had the option of accessorizing with one of two scarves. I brought a formal dress for a special night out.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography how to pack lightly2 How to travel well on a budget

I only wore one pair of shoes for the entire trip – Skechers GoWalk shoes. They are the most comfortable walking shoes I have, but since my feet are essentially flat, the arch wasn’t the most comfortable after days of walking ~5 miles each. That being said I think it still is a great option for a lot of people. During the day, I packed a folded tote bag to carry around a smaller amount of stuff

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography pack a light tote bag How to travel well on a budget

For makeup I kept things very minimal, that’s who I am. What you see here: blush, eye shadow color palette, a small lipstick, Too-Faced eye primer (love that stuff!), a lip liner, mascara, and  eye liner

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography how to pack lightly makeup How to travel well on a budget

Get local recommendations for food
It is easy to eat in tourist districts because there are English menus, prices are reasonable, there is a menu of the day, but you mostly get pretty boring food. For our special night out, we usually try to get a friend’s recommendation and then use Google Translate on the menus =)

Use no-fee credit cards
We absolutely love the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, and we prefer withdrawing money at ATMs (never use a money exchanger at the airport) with our TD Bank account which carries no transaction fees. We were hit with a crazy amount of fees the day our TD Bank card didn’t work and had to use Bank of America. In the end, we found that we had the best exchange rate by sticking with our Chase Sapphire card

Pack snacks
It’s really easy to over-eat on a vacation and over-pay in the process. Prior to leaving, I swung by Trader Joe’s and purchased various snacks and divided everything into 150-calorie pouches. I planned for 20 portions though we ended up only eating about 2/3 of what I brought.

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography pack snacks for a trip How to travel well on a budget

Specific tricks for Switzerland
Switzerland is just super, super expensive in general. While the locals have lower rents and many government subsidies that help with daily life, for a US traveler, it is not unusual to find most food priced at 2x US prices. We did a couple of things:

- Go to Coop and Migros for all your groceries, and pick up plastic utensils on the way. We ate nothing but bread, water, cheese, and yogurt for days. We could have eaten just a little more, but we were saving up for France. Also, around 5PM is when most near-expiration cheese and yogurt goes on sale for up to 50% off, so it’s a great time to go shopping at that time!

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography eat bread in switzerland How to travel well on a budget

Did I mention we ate a LOT of bread and cheese?

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography bread and cheese How to travel well on a budget

- Stay near train stations. Large train stations typically have a large grocery store nearby or even a Coop Pronto which are smaller format stores designed with convenience in mind

- Most things in Switzerland close early and you are stuck with kebab and Chinese takeout after 8PM. Most places are also closed Sundays, so make sure you have enough food for the weekend

- Switzerland is a small country and each city is easily explored in half a day or so at our ambitious pace (we didn’t go to any museums), and after a while some of the cities do start looking similar. I would recommend max 4 – 5 days to explore Switzerland

- Most European train stations have storage lockers where you can store your bags (no multiple access privileges). This is great if you’re backpacking. Look for luggage signs that say “Left Luggage”

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography luggage deposit europe How to travel well on a budget

All right! That covers most of my tips for traveling so far. Stay tuned for lots of photos and individual city recommendations coming up from the trip!

Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

Off to Europe! A look back at winter

I will be traveling through Europe for the next couple weeks as part of my honeymoon, courtesy of me winning a contest from swissair and Swistzerland Tourism. My husband and I received roundtrip airfare for two and a 7-day first class rail pass. I can’t wait to blog our adventures when we return!

Winter in NYC this year has been brutal, unfortunately, there were no shoots. I spent most of the time clean eating and strength training thanks to a group workout class with Workout Nirvana that I signed up for through Fitocracy, which is a website I use to track my workouts. I’ve seen amazing improvements in my overall strength (more push-ups!), balance, posture, and, knock on wood, I have not been sick since I started.

I’ve also been learning more recipes

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography asian cooking ingredients Off to Europe! A look back at winter

In particular, I’ve now learned how to make Sichuan shui zhu yu (fish boiled in red hot chili soup)

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography sichuan chili fish Off to Europe! A look back at winter

And for special brunch occasions, nothing beats a stack of Nutella crepes

NYC photographer Saavedra Photography nutella crepes Off to Europe! A look back at winter

Time for me to run off to the airport! You can probably follow me on Facebook for some mobile photos I’ll be taking. To travel light though, we’re only bringing tablets and mobile phones, and of course, I have my camera. This will be the first long vacation I’m taking without a laptop, it’s so amazing what you can do on a mobile device these days!

Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only