Saturday, February 24, 2018

TRAVEL | meet you halfway

Living in Europe is the best--everywhere is only a stone's throw away, which makes it so easy to visit friends who also live in the EU.

Linda and I have been friends for a few years but we haven't seen each other since 2015. I had planned to visit her in Gothenburg during { that Europe trip } but she, coincidentally, was interning at a company in Hong Kong. By the time I returned from my holiday, she completed her internship and had already gone back to Sweden.

Ever since I moved to Germany we often talked about visiting each other but we were never that proactive about it. That is, until two weeks ago when we spontaneously decided to meet up on the weekend. Problem was that tickets from Gothenburg-to-Berlin (and vice versa) were really expensive, so for us the next best option was... Denmark! It was such a whirlwind, she texted me on a Thursday and then we were in Copenhagen exploring the city that same weekend.

Copenhagen was so cold, but funnily enough still felt warmer than Berlin despite being further up north and closer to the ocean. Linda and I did a lot of walking on Saturday and Sunday but we really spent most of our time catching each other up on the last two years of our lives.

Best meal of our trip was at { Slurp Ramen Joint }. It started snowing heavily Sunday afternoon and Linda and I both decided noodle soup would be a good idea. The broth was incredible, so good we didn't say a word to each other the entire lunch.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

PLACES | a gaudi tour: sagrada familia

I was really excited to bring Roman to the Sagrada Familia. I've always told people that Sagrada Familia was one of those sights that just exceeds all expectations. At least it did for me! I think my jaw nearly dropped to the floor the first time I stepped foot into the beautiful space.

Photos rarely do the structure any justice. The way the light shines through the stained glass was otherworldly and unlike that I've ever seen in any other church thus far. We were also extremely lucky that the sun was shining the morning we decided to go (this was the same morning as our trip to Park Güell).

Thursday, February 8, 2018

PLACES | a gaudi tour: park güell

Finally finally finally made it to Park Güell.

The last time I was in Barcelona I caught some sort of cold or flu midway through my week there. I was so ill I couldn't even leave my hostel bed. As a result I completely missed Park Güell, one of the must-sees in Barcelona.

But because the park is such a popular tourist destination I was a bit worried about the crowds, which is why we ended up going at 8 in the morning. I had read online that if you showed up before doors officially open, the park is completely free for visitors. It seemed a bit too good to be true but I can confirm that the tip is actually sound. Not only was the park relatively empty (about 80 other people got the memo as well) but we got to catch the sunrise on the hill too. Was almost worth the tiring-as-hell bike ride up, but I think I'll probably take the bus next time.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

TRAVEL | searching for sun in barcelona

When everyone warned me of dreariness of Berlin winters--how it can easily lead to low moods or depression due to the lack of sun. As someone who's not that keen on hot sweaty summers (but has only lived in places that has hot sweaty summers) I was interested in how I'd fare in the cold. Right now I'd have to say "so far so good", I haven't lost my sanity yet, and it's already February. Only a few more months until spring!

With that said, it's also not a bad idea to leave the doom and gloom for a bit, which is why we flew off to Barcelona for a quick getaway. It's funny that I never even got to posting my photos from 2015, when I was a much different person at a very different stage of my life. I instead of bumbling around alone in the city, I got to explore it with my favourite human--show him one or two of my favourite sights in Barcelona.

Roman is really big on sports, so every time we go travel he insists on us bringing along some
running gear. Though I still haven't grown to love running as much as he does, I do feel I'm
improving! On this particular sunny morning Roman planned for us to run along the beach. Our loop
was 8km long, which is actually the longest distance I've ever run. And all this before breakfast too!

Luckily we found an amazing bakery a short two-minute walk from our apartment. We ordered our
first-of-many jamón sandwich, and some sort of danish topped with sticky-sweet berries. The
sandwich was probably one of the best I've ever had, but I might be biased because also I was also so
hungry at the time. You can see Roman here taking a sneaky bite of the sandwich from my backpack
because we were at another cafe for our morning coffee.

For lunch we went to little restaurant nearby (lucky us!) for seafood. We had tried to get a table here
the night before but when we arrived the line was outside the door, a testament to the quality of their
food. This was why I insisted on us arriving right when they opened their doors for lunch. I know I
probably sounded like some crazy foodie but 1. I barely got to eat any seafood on my last trip
because I was tight on money and 2. it's a good thing we arrived so early because 30 minutes later
this place was packed to the brim.

Prior to our arrival, I texted my friend Carmen for her recommendations for Spanish specialities and
she (bless her *praying hands emoji*) got back to me within the next 30 minutes with a huge list of
many foods I've never tried. Amongst her list was pan con tomate (tomatos on bread), which is what
we ordered here alongside grilled sardines, baby calamari (surprisingly good considering I am not a
fan of fried food), and grilled cuttlefish.

We cycled so much around Barcelona on the third day it was nice to take a break and hang out at the beach on our last afternoon. The trip was short but sweet, and I did end up crossing some things off my to-do list that I didn't get to last time such as Camp Nou and Mount Montjuïc among other things.

My Gaudi related post is coming up next as I felt they deserved a space of their own.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

TRAVEL | grinzens day 2 + 3

Saturday was ski-day! I think the last time I was on ski's was when I was 10, or younger, I don't really remember anymore. I definitely took more than a few tumbles on my way down the slopes. Romans friend managed to get one particularly spectacular fall on camera.

Roman and Karsten, on the other hand, are excellent skiers and helped a out a lot that day. Especially when I would fall so bad the skis would snap off my boot the one of them would have to chase the ski down and then come back help me stand up.

On the third day I was completely out of commission due to skiing the day before. Everything hurt--my arms from using the ski poles to scoot myself through the snow, my buns because I bruised them from falling, my shins because the ski boots dug into my leg. I was done, dead. All I wanted to do was it sit in the flat and take a hot bath (did I mention our apartment also had a sauna? Wild.) Anyways I did drag myself outside to get some fresh air for an hour to two so and explored the little village we were staying in. Really cute!