Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Berlin, Germany

Germany was a country I 100% wanted to visit while abroad! After talking with some of my friends that went I knew Berlin would not be my favorite place in the world (which it still is not), but I knew I would love embracing German culture. I did so most traditionally with a giant (like actually huge) glass of beer and a pretzel! A beer garden is a must when you are anywhere in Germany...it was so much fun and felt out of a movie. 
Hofbräu Berlin
Me, my beer, and my pretzel 
Berlin Cathedral 
Brandenburg Gate
The Berlin Cathedral and the Brandenburg Gate are two places where you will find the most tourists, but they are for sure two of the most beautiful monuments. I would make sure to see both and walk around the surrounding areas because it really helped me understand what Berlin had to offer. 

Berlin Wall
Seeing the Berlin Wall in real life had to be one of the most surreal things. It is so simple to just look at, but knowing the great history behind it (which I have been learning about since high school) made it so cool to finally see. Also, the artwork on there was so fascinating to me. 
Museum Island 
Pergamon Museum
Neues Museum
Museum Island was highly recommended everywhere that I researched and it was only about $10 for tickets to all of the museums (student price). As someone who personally does not love walking around a museum for hours, I did not love this. But, I can say I saw a lot of really cool things so I would recommend planning on seeing specific things there in advance. I just went in blindly and did not find it that notable.
Adidas Originals
Adidas was founded in Germany (about 230 miles away from Berlin) and so going into these stores was something I was looking forward to! I went to both Adidas stores and they were not super original, but the timing was great because it had all of their new collection.  & Lizzy if you're reading this I got you something!
Spree Berlin & Reichstag Dome
Checkpoint Charlie 
Berlin Tower
A few other sights to see are those above. I walked along the Spree River one morning and loved how peaceful it was. I almost skipped Checkpoint Charlie, but I am so happy I went and took a photo because it was really interesting to see where the present day spot is so different from the past. Most of where I walked around just happened to be by the Berlin Tower. It is where most of the great shopping and restaurants are. 
The only bar my friend and I went to was this one, which was literally all locals. We also left before the prime time when everyone is out, so I do not have much to share about Berlin nightlife, but my advice is to always keep Euros on you because a lot of places are cash only. 
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
This is a very emotionally moving memorial. I believe this is a must-see when in Berlin and looking up the back story and artist really helped further understand it.

I tried traditional German food and then ate mostly Italian for the rest of the trip (Lol)! It did not taste bad, but I was not in love with the food.
Djimalaya - hummus & grill
This place is insanely delicious! I would go back o Berlin just to eat here again. I know it is super popular so I would make sure to make a reservation. 

Hotel NH Collection Berlin Friedrichstrasse
This hotel was so nice and affordable! Most importantly though it was very centrally located and in walking distance of everywhere we wanted to go. Lastly, there was great shopping in this area, so if you do not stay here make sure to at least shop here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Barcelona, Spain

I'm not going to lie, I knew I would LOVE Spain regardless of what city I went to and even though I eventually want to see Madrid (and Seville and Granada and Valencia etc.), I am so happy I chose Barcelona to go to this past weekend! I fell in love with the people, the food, and the sights!
Park Güell 
Park Güell was not what I expected to be honest. It was more intimate and colorful than I imagined. I highly recommend buying tickets online and in advance! As a lover of art, I appreciated the uniqueness of the tiles and how they looked up close/ in real life. On top of that though, the view of Barcelona from the park is breathtaking!
Arco de Triunfo
To me, this part of the city encompasses the vibe of Barcelona! The street was lined with palm trees with a mix of locals and tourists walking around, which truly makes it a happening area. I loved walking around the Arco de Triunfo!
Ciutadella Park
Right past the Arco de Triunfo is a beautiful park that is a must-see while in Barcelona! It is so lively and colorful, which makes it a place for people of all walks of life to hang out. I especially loved this grand fountain!
Port Vell
Barceloneta Beach
The port and the beach were my favorite places in Barcelona to just sit and enjoy! It reminded me of home and brought me so much peace. I probably spent hours taking in the views.
La Rambla 
Passeig de Gracia- La Pedrera
La Rambla and Passeig de Gracia are the two best shopping streets I found in Barcelona. La Rambla has more of the action with more people and crowded streets. You can expect more sidewalk restaurants and street vendors. On the other hand, Passeig de Gracia had all the designer stores and higher end brand stores. 
Sagrada Familia
Some new friends!
This church had the most detail I have ever seen on a building. I especially loved it because it was impossible to capture on camera. When I see something like that I feel so happy to have seen it with my own eyes. It was something I will never forget.
Ayre Hotel Rosellón
This rooftop had a great view of Sagrada Familia! Tip: You must order from the downstairs bar right when you walk in and then take the elevator to the 8th floor!
The Coconut Club
Don Juan
Shoko & Opium 
When in Barcelona I knew I needed to spend at least one night at a club (no matter how much I dread clubs). After dinner my friends and I made our way to The Coconut Club to get some drinks and pass time before it was socially acceptable to go to the club a.k.a 1:30 am (I honestly do not know how I rallied, but I did)! To give you perspective, most clubs in Los Angeles close at 2 am. Anyway, we loved The Coconut Club and I highly recommend the Don Juan drink. It was tequila and guava, which tasted like heaven, and of course, topped with sprinkles because why not? Later, we went to both of the most popular clubs where we danced a little and then went home (we were so tired)! But, the clubs are really cool because you have to exit onto the beach.

Flax & Kale
Kale Chips 
Our Feat 
This place is healthfood galore! I ordered the Superfood Bowl and I devoured the whole thing. The food is not only fueling but also so colorful! They have a juice store attached as well, which I wish I would have tried one, but I was intimidated when I could not read the ingredients (because they were in Spanish). 
Mercado de La Boqueria
I. Love. Markets. They are my favorite places to walk around and learn more about a specific place through their food! Luckily, a few of my friends I was with love markets as much as I do and so it is safe to say we spent over 90 minutes walking around Mercado de La Boqueria. Without shame, I will share I had a spicy chicken empanada, a strawberry/banana smoothie, a Nutella crepe, a salami stick, some chocolate samples, and vegetable tacos. I know I am crazy, but I regret none of it!
Segons Mercat
Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Red Sangria
My friends and I ran into this place by accident because we were starving, but it ended up being super traditional and delicious! Coming from London we are used to overpaying for everything, but we split multiple pitchers of red sangria and it ended up being €5 each!
Happy Pills
Happy Pills is a super adorable candy store! The worker was very patient and nice to us. It is a bit overpriced, for example, this little container was €3.75, but I think it is very worth it.
Brunch & Cake
Breakkie Board
Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon Bagel
Iced Vanilla Latte (with oat milk)
This was an adorable brunch place, but it was also delicious! I tried all of my friends' meals as well and I did not have anything that I disliked. It is popular though, so be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes. 
Gourmet Tapas by Sensi
Seafood Paella
Fresh Truffle Ravioli
Beetroot and Parmesan Gnocchis & Red Sangria
Beef Filet (comes medium rare)
This is a staple dinner place when in Barcelona! I highly recommend you make a reservation for around 9 pm because that is when it has the best environment. I loved everything that we ordered and wish I could go back right now! 

Aspasios Paseo de Gracia
I stayed in this charming, boutique hotel in Villa de Gracia. I highly recommend this area because it has all of the designer shops and feels like a very clean, safe area! 
We also took public transportation everywhere when we did not walk because they do not have Uber. It was efficient and very inexpensive to purchase a three-day pass

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