Posts Tagged With: Europe

Be(a)rlin, Budapest, Prague, London

I was so busy traveling these past two weeks that I couldn’t update this page, so rather than go into detail about each individual place, here are lots of pictures with the highlights!

BERLIN

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Vicky and I arrived late at night and after many struggles with the public transportation system we finally arrived to our airbnb. The next morning we went to the East Side Galleries which is the Berlin Wall, this was actually my favorite part of Berlin since it is so beautiful and historical at the same time.

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After a lunch of currywurst, we headed over to Checkpoint Charlie, the Topography of Terror museum (about the Nazis and World War II), the Holocaust Memorial, and the Brandenburg Gate.

The next day, we went to the top of the Television Tower which was very crowded but the view was worth it. Then we spent the rest of the day walking around the Friedrichshain are of Berlin which is very cute and “trendy”.

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The memorial for the Jews murdered in the Holocaust

It was really interesting to see the East and West sides of Berlin now, knowing that they were so different only thirty years ago.

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Sight of the Nazi book burning

Also, Berlin has excellent chai lattes, its this brand called David Rio which is actually from California but they have it in every single cafe throughout this city!

BUDAPEST

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Fisherman’s Bastion

This was one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited on my travels. I thought Budapest was extremely beautiful, interesting, and I actually ended up learning a lot about World War II and Hungarian history. It was supposed to rain our entire stay, so right when we arrived we hit all of the main outdoor sights while we still had sun. We saw Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and the Hungarian Parliament building during the daytime. While the sun was setting we got lost in Buda Castle (we couldnt find the castle for hours until we realized the whole time we were actually inside it!). Pretty much, we spent the afternoon and evening walking around Castle Hill and looking at the amazing view of the city. Then at night, we walked back towards the Parliament building to see it all lit up.

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The next day we woke up to sunny skies again and walked across one of the Budapest’s bridges to go to their famous thermal bathes called Gellert. The process of buying our tickets and finding the baths was kind of overwhelming but once we were in the different pools it was quite relaxing. Afterwards, toured a church in a cave and walked up to Margaret Island. Since Gellert didnt have any openings for massages that day, we attempted to find another thermal bath place that did but that ended unsuccessfully. Later that night, we went on a cruise down the Danube river and got to see both Buda and Pest (yes, the city is divided into two halves- Buda and Pest).

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Hungarian Parliament Building

On Friday we woke up to an overcast sky but with no signs of rain, so we explored more of the Pest side and ended up walking to Heroes Square where there was a food festival going on as well.

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Heroes’ Square

We also visited two museums, Hospital in the Rock, and House of Terror. Both were extremely informative and my two favorite museums of the entire trip. Hospital in the Rock is a ex-hospital in a cave used during World War II and it was later a nuclear bunker during the Cold War. House of Terror is a museum located inside the house that was the Nazi headquarters and later the Soviet headquarters in Hungary.

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View from one of the many bridges.

On Saturday morning, we woke up and got brunch at the New York Cafe which is a super classy and fancy restaurant in a hotel near our airbnb. Then we got on a fifteen row propellor airplane and took off towards Prague.

PRAGUE

The tiniest plane I've ever been on!

The tiniest plane I’ve ever been on!

If cities were amusement parks, Prague would be Disneyland. The streets and buildings were absolutely adorable and everywhere we walked there were street musicians and vendors.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

We had four days in Prague, so we were able to relax a little bit more and take our time seeing the sights. We went to the top of the clock tower, saw Olde Town Square and walked over the river via Charles Bridge. We saw the Prague Castle and ate many Chimney Cakes, chocolate, and gelato. We visited the John Lennon Wall which I have absolutely no idea why it is in Prague, but either way it is very pretty.

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John Lennon Wall

John Lennon Wall

One of my favorite things to do in Prague was take a peddle boat out on the river. It was so peaceful and beautiful at the same time.

We also went to the Kafka museum and the Film Special Effects museum, both were very interesting.

LONDON

London is Vicky’s city, which made it so special and exciting to see. Our flight out of Prague was delayed by two hours so we ended up having to take the double decker night bus back to her college campus (I was staying in her dorm). It was quite an experience since the last time I rode on a double decker bus I was five years old.

Big Ben

Big Ben

The next morning we got a semi early start and headed out to Central London where we did many of the “touristy” things such as seeing Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and of course, taking the classes phone booth photo. We even stopped for a classy afternoon tea for two!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

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We also walked around Shoreditch, a much more hip part of the city that is filled with cute book stores, art studios, and coffee shops.

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I loved getting a personal tour of London and despite the cold weather I really did fall in love with the city!

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Amsterdam Stole My Heart

Everyone that I’ve spoken to within the past week has definitely heard my feelings towards Amsterdam. I spent less than four days there, but I immediately fell in love with the city.

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I got in on Friday night and met up with two of my sorority sisters and friends, Eva and Emily, who are both spending the semester there. We went to a cute cafe/bar and got hot chocolates which are apparently really popular there (and delicious too!).

My hostel

My hostel

I stayed in hostel next to Vondlepark called Stayokay. It was my first hostel experience and it was wonderful. They offered discounted tickets to museums and attractions as well as a complimentary breakfast and cheap bike rentals. Also none of my stuff got stolen, so that was pretty exciting too.

On Saturday I rented a bike and we went to the famous and overly crowded

“IAmsterdam” sign. From here we biked past the museum district and went to the Heinneken Brewery for a tour. Afterwards, I biked around some smaller canals and explored the more residential areas. Then I went to the Van Gogh museum. That night we got delicious Thai food and walked through the Red Light District which I thought was really interesting because it is something so different from anywhere else I’ve been before. There are lots of glass windows/doors with prostitutes in lingerie standing on the other side. These windows line the streets and each one has a red light above it (hence the name, red light district). I later learned that these women have to pay 150 euros per day just to rent their window which means they must make more than that every single day!

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Eva and I during the brewery tour

Sunday in Europe is pretty much the worst day as far as traveling because everything is closed. Always. I spent a large portion of the day just walking around, exploring the Red Light District and Dam Square again during the day. I went to a photography museum as well as the prostitution museum both of which had Sunday hours. At night, I ate french fries in a cone with mayonnaise. It was delicious, and definitely an essential food to try when in Holland (in addition to hot chocolate, waffles, pancakes, croquettes, and toast with sprinkles for breakfast).

Vondlepark, right next door to the hostel.

Vondlepark, right next door to the hostel.

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I got an early start on Monday morning and made it to the Anne Frank museum before the line got crazy long (I waited about an hour- definitely buy tickets beforehand if you ever visit). I’ve been once before, right after reading the actual book, I think I knew a lot more about Anne Frank then, but it was still really powerful and moving seeing the house again. Out of respect photography wasn’t allowed inside the house, so I only got a picture of the entrance.

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Reading all about the Holocaust made me very sad so naturally, I went right across the street to the free cheese museum and replaced my sad feelings with free samples of every kind of Gouda imaginable. It was a super cute store/museum and the management didn’t care whether you sampled every single cheese (it was more a cheese shop rather than a museum, but I still enjoyed it).

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I am so glad that I came back to Amsterdam. I had so much fun (shoutout to Eva and Emily!) and actually ended up learning a lot about the city and culture. I also found that Amsterdam, like Paris, has a very cohesive look in terms of architecture, and it is very distinct from all of the other places I’ve visited.

On a completely unrelated note, it’s already mid March which is crazy because it arrived so quickly. But on the bright side, only one more week until my birthday trip to Morocco!

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An American in Paris

The day before I left for Spain, my grandma called to wish me a safe and fun trip. This was right around the time of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, so right before hanging up, she said “and please, stay the heavens away from Paris”, so I would like to start out by apologizing to my grandma, since the first place I visited outside of Spain was, in fact, Paris.

IMG_3420I had a few reasons to go to Paris, to start out, my roommate was visiting the city the same weekend, I have two friends studying there (which meant free lodging!), and the last time I was in Paris, I was three years old so I wanted to see if I remembered anything.

I flew Ryanair (which despite what everyone told me, was not chaotic nor strict, it actually just felt like any other flight) and arrived Wednesday night. The scariest feeling in the world is entering a country and not being able to speak a word of the language other than “merci” and “fromage”.

Thank god public transportation is universally very similar because I was able to figure out the metro system and get to my friend’s stop with relatively no trouble. That night we got sweet crepes and I fell asleep very quickly since traveling always tires me out.

I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to take pictures in the Jewish Quarter! Oops!

I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to take pictures in the Jewish Quarter! Oops!

The next day we got lunch in the Jewish Quarter. At the time, there were many armed guards in the area. I am not used to walking down a street and seeing soldiers carrying weapons so that was definitely an interesting sight. We ate delicious falafel and then I walked around the area, admiring all of the buildings even though it was freezing. In the evening, we ate Chinese food in honor of the Chinese New Year.

On Friday we started the morning by walking near the river and seeing the Notre Dame.IMG_3471_2

I think it is amazing to see the architectural differences between cities. Paris definitely has a cohesive look that is nothing like Sevilla (or New York for that matter), but it is equally as beautiful.

Later that day I met up with my roommate, Victoria, and two other friends to eat dinner and see the Eiffel Tower up close.IMG_3517

It was so pretty at night, all lit up! We also got very lucky with lines and were able to go to the top.

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I actually remember going to the top with my dad when I was three. I remember he wouldn’t carry me the whole way up. It’s weird how memories work.

On Saturday we went to the outside of the Louvre. I’m not a huge fan of art museums, so I didn’t really want to go inside but I do love impressionism so instead we went inside Musee d’Orsay and saw Monet and Van Gogh. The museum itself is very beautiful because it used to be a train station. We also got to cut the line because our student cards got us free admission.

The Musee d'Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay

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Afterwards, we went to the bridge with all of the locks which I thought was really pretty even with all of the recently added plywood (they had to put it up to stop people from adding more locks because they are weighing down the bridge too much!). Then for dinner we got bread and cheese and chocolate which was delicious.

I really liked Paris overall, but I must say that I am very glad I chose Sevilla to study. I prefer the Spanish way of life as well as a warmer and smaller city. By the time I had to leave, my brain was already itching to speak Spanish and see my host family once again!

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I Made It!

Well folks, it’s for real, I officially landed in Madrid! After about 40 minutes of trying to figure out how to access the airport wifi I can finally relax and wait for my connecting flight to Sevilla. Everything here is so trendy, even though it’s only an airport the ceilings are gorgeous and the atmosphere is much more comforting than even the VIP lounge at JFK- which I also got to experience earlier today (or yesterday? This time change is messing with me). Spain, I love you already.

It’s funny actually, the time now is 8am but in my head it feels like the middle of the night so I’m really confused whether I should be feeling hungry or sleepy. The good part about airports is that it’s so easy to grab a snack and take a quick nap. That’s pretty much the best of both worlds when it comes to traveling. Since the time change is so drastic I ended up sleeping for only two hours on my six hour journey so I’m afraid some of my logic is dampened by delirium at the moment. But that’s okay because in two more hours I will finally be in Sevilla and get to start my four month long adventure in Spain!

Now time to find my gate… More adventures to come!

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