London Calling?

MadCambridgeHere is a photo from my weekend trip to Cambridge with my Mom last Spring.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve been a terrible blogger as of late. I suppose life and the busy nature of University got the best of me and suddenly this blog took a place on the back burner. But enough of the excuses, let’s get to the point of this little post….Over the past few weeks I’ve been counting down the days till I would get to reconnect with my friends across the pond and now that spring break has arrived, I’m excited to let y’all know that I will be traveling back to London! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone that I got to know during this last year and I’m anxious to gain some great stories to bring back from my travels, hopefully I’ll have some entertaining ones! Looking forward to sharing this adventure with anyone who needs a break or possibly an excuse to procrastinate and have a little read of what I get up to whilst away….

Until next time,

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Seaside Holiday

Brighton HeaderHere is a photograph of the pavilion on this gorgeous sunny day!

Let’s back track a little bit (or maybe A LOT) . . .  When my Mum came to visit me during Spring time in London, we decided to take a little weekend trip to Brighton to explore the coastal city and catch some rays along the beach. It was a quick and relatively inexpensive train ride from the centre of London and since the city is so walkable, finding our hotel was pretty straight forward. Luckily I had my mother with me who has a much better sense of direction, which if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that wasn’t a trait that was passed on to me haha. From our experience, the people in Brighton were very friendly and some even struck up a random conversation with us as we were walking to our hotel. The beach is really lovely on a sunny afternoon; however, if you are used to the sandy beaches of California, you may be surprised to find that the beach is more pebbly than anything. Being a Pacific Northwest girl this didn’t bother me at all because we’re pretty used to the rocky shoreline. After settling into our hotel, we took a stroll down the street lined with cute cafes and shops towards the Brighton pier which had the classic 1800’s seaside style. There were lots of people and luckily, the weather held up so we could enjoy a nice evening walk. I loved how vibrant the beach life was with tourists looking at the different seaside attractions, people on holiday basking in the sun, and street performers entertaining a crowd.  Continue reading

5 Things to Do in Camden

Camden Town

So you’ve found yourself in Camden eh? Now what…Well, I’m no Camden town connoisseur, but I do have a few recommedations for visiting this famous area in London. Camden is a quirky mix of public art on buildings, aromas of vendor food filling the streets and of course the locks. For all of you Seattlites reading this blog, it reminded me of Fremont, especially during the flea market on the weekends. Sure there are plenty of different markets you can frequent whist in the U.K. but a visit to London just wouldn’t be complete without seeing what all the fuss over Camden is about. It’s an easy ride on the tube or bus and you can honestly spend all day wandering around deciding what to eat and looking at the antique shops. Tube Stop: Camden Town on the Northern Line (TFL journey planner)

1. I think my number one piece of advice, at least the one I find important, is to visit on a sunny day if you can. It doesn’t get much better than getting to see the locks on a lovely afternoon. Of course if it’s the middle of autumn, the weather may be a bit fickle and in this case you can always seek warmth inside the covered part of the market, but make the most of the sunshine and take the tube or bus over to Camden!IMG_1573

2. Skip a formal meal in the city and grab lunch at the market! This is a great place to indulge in some good inexpensive food if you are on a budget like I was when I visited. There are lots of different options so if you are traveling in a group of people, everyone can pick and choose what they’re in the mood for. Be warned, if you’re as indecisive as I am you might be here for ages trying to settle on something though haha! A lot of people also like Poppies fish and chips if your craving some classic British food.

IMG_1558My travel buddy Emma on one of the many bike seats.

3. Take a ride on a motor bike! After grabbing some food, make your way over to the motorcycle seats to eat along the water. And while you’re enjoying your time on the bike feeling like a bad ass, maybe even turn on some Bound 2, you’ll feel like your right out of the music video.

4. Visit the antique shops. There are loads of neat little trinkets, clothes, old advert posters, and much more that are fun to look at. Plus, what better souvenir to bring back home with you than a unique vintage piece of London!

IMG_1543Emma by the vintage shops.IMG_1572

5. Visit the locks. Take a little stroll along the locks, especially on a sunny day. There are a few little cafes along the walkway and the walk is pretty peaceful to just enjoy the weather and have a nice chat with your friends. It also is nice after stuffing yourself full of the delicious food.

Well thats all for today everyone, but hope to see you back soon when I talk about my University experience! If you’ve visited the area before feel free to comment down below with your tips and advice.IMG_1567

Until next time,New blog signature 2

This is What Dreams are Made of

Rome HeaderThe Altare della Patria.

Well, we finally made it to our last destination on this trip, the lovely city of Rome! As I talked about before in my Florence post, I’ve dreamed about going to Italy for a while, and seeing The Lizzie McGuire movie when I was ten only made my urge to hop on a jet plane to Rome even more intense (as cheesy as that may sound). Continue reading

Vienna Waits For You

Vienna HeaderHere is a photograph of the Hofburg Imperial Palace exterior just before sunset. Isn’t it just gorgeous!

After saying our goodbyes to the city of Prague, we took the train to Vienna, Austria. Despite the beautiful weather reflected in the photograph above, we stepped off of the train into pouring rain. Now coming from the Pacific Northwest, Emma and I are not strangers to heavy downfalls of rain, the problem was that we yet again had trouble figuring out the right directions to get to our hostel. Getting off the metro line in Vienna, we ended up walking about 20 minutes in the wrong direction, so by the time we arrived at the hostel sopping wet, I don’t think we even needed a shower. Continue reading

Let’s Get Lost in Berlin!

Berlin Blog Post Header

If there was one key lesson that my friend Emma and I learned from our traveling adventures, it was: if you think a destination is in a certain direction, turn around and walk the other way. . .Let’s just say having a good sense of direction is not our strong suit but sometimes it makes visiting different places more interesting! This was a pretty consistent theme with our trip which I will explain later on, but let’s just get on with our stay in Berlin shall we? Hopping on the train to Germany went very smoothly and overall we had a lovely ride over to Berlin with only a minor delay at one of the stations where we had to transfer trains, but unfortunately due to the delay we arrived to the station in Berlin a lot later than we had expected which made it a bit tricky to figure out how to get to the apartment that we had booked to stay in since it was in a neighborhood a bit out of the city centre. I felt really guilty for making the apartment owner stay up waiting for the two of us to arrive and check-in, but I suppose there are some things you just can’t control. Of course knowing our issues with direction, we made sure to carefully follow the directions the owner had given us, but somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up walking ten minutes in the opposite direction. Continue reading

Waffles, Chocolate, and Our Encounter with the Manneken Pis . . .

Brussels Blog Post HeaderThe Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium on the first evening of our stay. The lights just add a lovely magical charm don’t you think?

This past month I had a holiday break from University in between Spring and Summer terms, so my best friend from back home Emma (Hello if you are reading this Ems!) and I decided to take a little backpacking trip around Europe. Cliche, I know but hey I figured since I’m so close to many different countries, I might as well take the opportunity to explore other cities out there because who knows when the next time I’ll be able to do that is. . . Before Emma ventured across the pond to come visit me, we had been planning out where we wanted to go that would be realistic to travel to in the three weeks that we’d be away for. Considering our wanderlust, deciding where to go was actually more complicated than we had thought! We decided to get a Eurail pass to save some money on train tickets, which was also a great decision to help us narrow down our options for where we could travel. Although we had originally planned to fly from London to Rome and then make our way back towards the U.K. through other countries our plans were changed when we discovered there was an airline strike occurring on the day we were meant to be traveling. That day seemed like everything that could’ve gone wrong did, but sometimes things just don’t work out exactly as you’ve imagined and you just have to roll with the punches. After all people didn’t come up with the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” for no reason! I think that part of the adventure of traveling is facing any glitches in the road while remaining positive because at the end of the day, it’s usually a small issue and ultimately makes for a good story! Since we weren’t able to fly out of London that day without paying for another expensive flight, we decided to take the train to mainland Europe and do our trip backwards. Our first stop was Brussels, Belgium! We only had two nights in Brussels and we definitely wanted to make the most out of the limited amount of time we had to soak in the city sights. I will admit, we had a bit of difficulty figuring out the transportation system to get us from the train station in Brussels to our hostel in the city centre but we managed to just observe other people and work out how to pay the tram fare. Our hostel was only about a two minute walk to the main square in Brussels pictured above, which was perfect since it made getting to the main parts of the city really easy. IMG_0935The exterior of the  Hostel Grand Place.IMG_0986The seating area at the hostel entrance. (The evergreens on the curtains in the background were a nice reminder of home back in the States)IMG_0987The opposite wall of the seating area.

We stayed in an eight bed room in this hostel and got to meet a fellow traveler from the U.S. who was really nice! Since we arrived in Brussels in the evening we decided to take a walk around the city centre and go out for dinner and drinks with the girl we met. Emma and I always love meeting new people and I think one of the amazing things about staying in hostels (in addition to the fact that they are usually a lot less expensive than a hotel room) is getting to swap stories with people from different parts of the world! Of course on our little walk that evening we just randomly ran in to the infamous statue of a little boy peeing in to a fountain, the Manneken Pis! IMG_0933We had heard that it was small, but we didn’t know that it was going to be that small! I think that’s what made this tourist attraction particularly funny because it isn’t very epic, yet it attracts so many people photographing and giggling at the uneventful sight. The next day we took a trip to the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, which is a must when you visit a place famous for making the delicious sweets! Although it was a smaller museum, it provided a lot of insight about the trade and history of cocoa as well as how chocolates are made. The end of our visit to the museum even concluded with a demonstration of how different types of fine chocolates are formed today and we even received a complementary piece to eat!IMG_0966The entrance to the Museum.IMG_0956Fashions constructed using chocolate!IMG_0965The chocolatier giving us a demonstration of chocolate making.

It was incredible to see how many chocolate shops there were around the city. Perhaps this is because we were staying in a fairly touristy area, but still you didn’t have to look far to find a sweet treat to eat! Brussels definitely knows how to attract fellow people like me who have a sweet tooth. Following our trip to the Museum of Chocolate we stopped by the Maison du Roi or The King’s House to have a look around the museum which just so happened to be free on the day we were visiting! IMG_0968Stained glass windows by the staircase to the top floor of the museum.IMG_0972A view from the top floor.

 Although we didn’t have the ideal weather during our brief stay in Brussels (We like to joke that the rain just followed us wherever we went on our trip) this didn’t stop the city from really coming alive at night. If the main square didn’t seem buzzing with tourists before, we really got a sense of community during the evenings when people would just find a place in the city centre to sit in a circle with their friends and party it up! I really enjoyed our time in Brussels, but I will have to say it wasn’t the cleanest city we traveled to, even our Belgian friends that we met at a hostel in Prague filled us in on their opinion of that. Next stop on our journey was Berlin, a vibrant city with an enormous amount of history . . .

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Until next time,New blog signature 2