Jumping across the pond tends to be easier to do in/out of London. There are so many flights and then all of Europe is open to explore!
It seems that every time I travel I meet about 4,000 new people that live in London. I had plans for a few nights but I wanted to spend a little time on my own to get everything ready to fly home and explore.
The beauty of having no plans is the ability to do something spontaneous. There were some last minute tickets available for Kinky Boots and so I took myself on a little date. I was able to get a half price ticket for a pretty good seat.
One of my friends from my travel family found a free alternative walking tour which had a ton of street art and graffiti. The tour guide was full of interesting and fun facts about London based on street art. I highly suggest this tour.
Located on Fournier St. by Shok 1
By artist Stik
Crane by Roa
Paste up by Pyramid
Street art can be found anywhere
Artist Citizen Kane
Artist Ben Eine
Artist Noriaki Noriaki
One of my favorite things is getting people together from around the world. I met up with some friends for dinner with people I met in Plovdiv, Bern, and Rome and introduced them all to each other because they all now live in London. It was an awesome way to end 46 days of traveling!
I really have been repeating destinations on this European tour but every time I travel I meet more people and just want to visit them. This time a friend from West Hollywood moved to Berlin and there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to see him! You can see what I did in Berlin last time here and here.
Obviously my love for street art will never go away. Since my friend moved to Berlin he has not seen a single touristy thing in Berlin. I thought we had to at least see the East Side Gallery because I love it!
We basically spent the weekend eating at the restaurant he works at and hanging at his house and going to different bars. It was really nice to not be a tourist most of the time and just hang with a friend.
The dog was probably one of my favorite parts of the visit. He was incredibly cuddly and made me feel like I was home!
Prague by day and Prague by night are two totally different experiences. Last time I didn’t adventure at night as much as I did this time and I am so glad that I did! After midnight either everyone was at the club or asleep so the normally very crowded tourist areas were pretty empty. I am glad I chose walking around over heading to the club!
The Powder Tower
Even though I went to the Lennon Wall last time, I had to again because graffiti is always changing and will never look the same even a day after you visit. I love it!
The weather got pretty cold super fast and I was not prepared. I found the jacket pictured above in this amazing thrift store where everything is 49 Koruna ($1.98)! I could not believe it and was incredibly happy with my purchase.
I spent my other evening in Prague adventuring around the Signal Festival which you can read about here.
For some reason Milan has never really been a place I wanted to go but it was on the way from Lugano to Budapest so I thought a quick stop here would be helpful in not moving around a lot.
The main site in Milan aside from the fashion and shopping is the Cathedral. When you come out of the metro the cathedral just looms up in front of you. By this point of the trip I have seen my fair share of cathedrals so I opted out of entering this one. However, it is a beautiful site.
I like to find some of the random focal points of a city and the finger statue did not let me down. This statue was dressed with a ribbon for breast cancer but stands in front of the stock exchange as a big FU from the people to the Italian Stock Exchange. Personally I thought this was pretty funny and entertaining.
One of the amazing aspects of social media is the ability to stay connected with people and make plans. I found out my friend Sarah would be in Milan for 3o minutes for a train switch and so we met up for a quick hello and a hug. Traveling really does show you how small the world can be.
The main tourist area of Milan is pretty clean but once you get out into some alleys, there are some grimey sections and of course some street art. I thought this little guy was pretty cool.
I am glad I went to Milan but it is not a spot I would add as a must see when there are so many other beautiful places in Italy.
When you have a friend that lives in Lugano and they ask if you want to meet in Paris for the weekend, the answer is always yes! This was going to be my fourth trip to Paris but the first for my friend. We basically had one day to try and experience the best of Paris.
We stayed at an Air Bnb instead of a hostel because it was actually less than getting a private room. I arrived before her and went straight to the grocery store to create a little welcome snack to get us started. I think one of the best things about Paris is the affordability of the cheese and wine. A lot of people assume that Paris is a really expensive city but if you shop at local markets, it really keeps down the cost.
What is a visit to Paris without a stop at the Eiffel Tower? We were within walking distance of this gem and took the time to take some pictures an enjoy a glass of rose as the sun was setting. Year round the tower is lit up at night and sparkles every hour on the hour. You can even take a bottle of wine and sit on the grass and enjoy the show. It is absolutely worth seeing at night.
Next was a little walk down Champs-Elysees starting at the Arc de Triomphe. There are tours you can do to head to the stop of the arc but we decided just to admire it and continue our walk.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most iconic Four Seasons in the world.The lobby is full of gorgeous flower arrangements year round. I had to pop in and walk around and capture the beauty. It was fashion week while we were there and so there were kids and paparazzi camped out front of the hotel. I have no idea who was staying there but I was glad to not end up on a worst dressed list!
Continuing on the tourist path of Paris must-sees put us at Notre Dame. The line was incredibly long to take a tour so we didn’t even attempt to go in. You can still appreciate the gothic architecture from the outside and there are plenty of cafes around to sit and relax and people watch.
There is so much more to do in Paris but this was the perfect way to see some of the major things in one day. Au revoir Paris!
Barcelona really is one of the cities where you could spend a month in and still not experience everything. However, after a few days in the city it was time to move on to the next stop of Valencia.
The downside to staying in a hotel is the lack of a kitchen or anywhere to really cook. My mom and I often get pretty creative to make due with what is in the room to create a masterpiece of culinary decadence!
Of course there is no way I can travel without spotting street art and taking pictures. All of this was located in the Gothic Quarter. We went to this area to visit the Picasso Museum where I realized I preferred his modern work more than his early to blue period work.
Sometimes I forget to take pictures of the people I am traveling with since I am usually caught up with the art and architecture and the selfie! But this part of the trip I am with my parents who can be just as silly as me!
Barcelona was an absolute treat. I was able to spend few days of exploring museums and eating delicious food. We head to Valencia next and then to the island of Mallorca before concluding our Spain travels in Sevilla.
I have been a bit MIA lately but the travels are starting up again. Living in the United States I think I take for granted everything that is within a short flight from me or even a short drive. I took a few weeks to visit friends and family in Seattle, Fairbanks and Portland.
The trip started with an easy flight to Seattle to visit my sister who just moved there to receive her dual masters at University of Washington. The view of the city skyline did not let me down!
We went to Gas Works park and went blackberry picking to make a homemade pie because why not? I would say that the final score was blackberry bushes: 4 Jenna: 2. I walked away with a lot of blackberries and a lot of scratches.
Gas Works Park
The final pie was blackberry and peach with a crumble on top and edible flowers. It really helps to have a sister who knows about plants and can tell you what you can and cannot eat.
There is not a city I can go to without looking for graffiti or street art. According to some Google research I found an alley that was meant to have a legal street art wall. However, once we arrived to what happened to be a warehouse just across the street from the Starbucks headquarters, there was absolutely nothing. But Seattle did not let me know down and there was random art throughout the city.
Our day turned into a random day of exploring different neighborhoods that put us in Capitol Hill and some of the gay bars. There was a large contingent of military around and my sister decided to invite them to a bbq at her house the next day. We had a great time with them and even got to pretend to be a Marine for a moment.
There is a lot to see in Seattle but I was treating the trip as more of a place to live like a local. We took a stroll along Alki Beach and captured a beautiful sunset on the water.
Each time I have been to Seattle I have had a totally different experience since I was there for different reasons. Like any travel experience, living like a local is the way to go!
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. When I think of Belgium I think of chocolate and beer and waffles. I was not let down when I arrived and although I did not indulge in all the delicacies, I went into to the stores for the scents and smells.
Every type of chocolate is available
The waffle is super sweet and add on the cream and nutella, I was on a sugar high for about a week.
Moules and frites are everywhere on the streets and something you must try!
I gave in and had some pho for lunch one day. DELICIOUS!
Manneken Pis is famous in Brussels for no particular reason.
Even if I didn’t sample much of the local food, I took the time to sample some of the local beers and headed to the Brewers’ House to see how beer was made in the 1800’s and how it is made now.
Of course, going through a city is not complete for me until I find some graffiti.
I have been to London a few times and also met quite a few people while traveling that now live in London. Since I was in northern England I thought I would swing through and visit friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I met up with friends that I met in Ecuador, Italy, Switzerland and Serbia. I was taken to The Breakfast Club for dinner which has a private bar through a fridge that requires a password followed by a mini street tour of Shoreditch. I went to the oldest wine bar in London and one of the oldest pubs in London. Overall, it was a wonderful few days of hanging out in London with friends!
I don’t really do a lot of research about a place before I go. I tend to throw things out to my Facebook family and go off of suggestions from fellow travelers. I knew Berlin was famous for the Berlin Wall and for the nightlife, but I had no idea as to the extent that nightlife went!
The Berlin Wall is such an important part of Berlin history and truly separated a city into two sections that caused you to be shot on the spot if you tried to cross. There is still asection up and a main spot for street artists to show off their work.
I didn’t intend to go out to any of the clubs in Berlin but I ended up meeting some pretty cool people and thought it was a good idea. Apparently, the more you look like you don’t care about getting in, the more likely you are to get in. What does this mean? Dress in black and wear tennis shoes and don’t speak English! The first club me and another girl got into but the three boys got turned away. I had met a guy in Rome that happened to live in Berlin and he told me about a 90’s party happening at a club. By that time (2:00am or so), most of the group had called it quits but I powered through and had a great time! The clubs open on Friday and close Sunday or Monday. I could not do it all the time but it was fun to do once!
Berlin had some delicious food even if it wasn’t all necessarily German. I was very happy to treat myself to some wonderful meals!
Overall, Berlin was everything I thought it was going to be and more. This is a city I could see myself returning to at some point in my life.