Wonderlost Wednesday: Berlin

For six months this year, I lived in Berlin. Here, I took advantage of every free moment there was from writing my MA thesis to explore this lovely metropolis with all its delights. However, even having lived in Berlin for a longer period of time, I don’t feel as if I’ve explored and experienced it all – however, that’s just a good excuse to return, right!? Because fact is, there’s just so much to do in this modern metropolis.

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What I like most about Berlin besides its diverse scenery is its cultural diversity – and not only people-wise, however, also area-wise. Each area is characterised in a different way from your high-end to alternative neighbourhoods. No doubt that there’s a lot of history to be explored here as well as (and implicit) culture. I do highly recommend visiting the typical tourist sights such as the Wall, Brandenburger Tor, Berliner Dom, various museums (especially the Wall Museum, which gives a comprehensive insight into the division of Berlin during the Cold War) etc. And although a tourist trap, I must recommend visiting the TV Tower! The view from the top is absolutely stunning. Furthermore, it’s a good way to get an overview of the metropolis and its areas from above. However, you can also do this from Die Welt, which is an air balloon close to the old boarder from west/east Berlin). Also the Jewish Memorial at Brandenburger Tor is a nice place to explore, walking around in between the many stones.

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Besides from all the typical tourist sights, I quite like just exploring Berlin – it’s always fun when you get lost because you come across places and things you didn’t expect. …I could spend hours walking around in my neighbourhood, Kreuzberg, which was a rather cultural diverse and arty area in which street art was highly visible. Here and in Friedrichshain, you can explore street art from well-known artists from all over the world – it’s rather fascinating!

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Food-wise, Berlin is perfect! Because of the many different cultures living in the city, there are a lot of various and different cafes and restaurents where you can dig into the cultural diversity, so to speak. I, especially, grew found of Alarabi Lounge in Friedrichshain, which is a cute and cozy Turkish restaurant that serves a delicious brunch!
These many variations of cultural foods can also be explored at flee markets around Berlin. I quite like Mauerpark Flomarkt, which is a rather big flee market with everything from furniture to clothes to technical gadgets to jewellry and music etc. Beside the flee market, there is a little park where people hang out every Sunday and street artists play music and perform.

As you may or may not know by now from previous posts, I quite like green areas where you can relax, enjoy the fresh air and get away from the noisy big city for a moment. On that note, Berlin is perfect. The city, namely, has a lot of parks. I suspect the most well-known park is Tiergarten, however, my all time favourite is Viktoria Park in Kreuzberg. This park is absolutely stunning: It’s located on a hill and has this amazing waterfall in the middle, which you can see when you enter the park – beautiful, especially, in the summer time. Besides this, there are also some sand beaches located around Berlin, which are open during summer time. These, a friend and I visited a few times, and we quite enjoyed the atmosphere there: It was like visiting an exotic place – in the middle on Berlin! It was the perfect way to have a little vacation away from the MA thesis.

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If you’re into the typical big city feel mixed with a lot of ’personality’ and cultural diversity, then Berlin is the perfect place for you to visit! And if you visit, don’t forget to stop by one of the many photo booths around Berlin – it’s the perfect souvenir to bring home with you.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: Blarney Castle

Build in 1446, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s oldest castles that is world-known for the Blarney Stone. According to myths, you can gain the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone. You will have to climb a lot of stairs and literally throw yourself under a rock, however, you will, of course, gain the gift of eloquence…

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However, there is a lot more to Blarney Castle than just the stone. To the castle, namely, belongs big and beautiful gardens as well as the Blarney House: A spectacular estate in the middle of the gardens.

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Including a poison garden as well as a fern, bog and Irish gardens, there is a lot of gardens to be explored on Blarney Castle’s grounds, which is closely linked to Irish history and culture. If you, for example, book a guided tour, a tour guide will tell you all about the castle itself as well as the stone. Furthermore, you’ll among others gain insight into how rulers, at the time, advanced their political powers by visiting the poison garden. Then, at the beautiful Blarney House build in 1704 – a large Georgian Gothic estate, you’ll acquire insight into how lords and ladies, at the time, lived: You’ll learn about the different families that have lived there, their history and explore the beautiful exhibits of furniture. For anyone interested in aristocracy, this is without any doubt worth to visit. For a picnic out in stunningly beautiful scenery, Blarney Castle is definitely also worth a visit.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: Edinburgh

For years, a dear friend of mine had talked about the magic of Edinburgh. She had visited the city and fallen in love with it from the first day. Finally, in 2013, we were able to go there and explore the city and its magnetic charisma together. After a week in the Scottish capital, I was sold! Since then, we have discussed the possibility of eventually moving there one day, settling for a while and get to know the Scots and acquire understanding for their history and culture.

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As you can imagine, her years of stories about Edinburgh didn’t disapoint me at all – on the contrary. During our travels, we explored the city to its fullest during the Fringe Festivals. As a result, we discovered not only its history and culture through various and different attractions and sights such as Edinburgh Castle, Princess Street Gardens, Holyrood Palace, various cathedrals, Calton Hill, Old Calton Cemetery etc. However, we also explored the Scottish humour through various comedy gigs and a theater play. There are many ways to enjoy this beautiful city, but as the Harry Potter fans we are, we also visited the Elephant House, which is a small cafe, were J. K. Rowling were inspired while writing the Harry Potter books. Of course, you cannot be in Scotland and not visit Loch Ness, right!? Well, we couldn’t. As such, we also went on a day tour to the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness, which was such a nice experience although we didn’t find Nessie. The balance of city and country life is, for me, the perfect way to explore a culture, and when I return, I will make sure to bring a car so that we can experience more of the absolute stunningly beautiful country side.

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All in all, I must say that Edinburgh is a delightful, small city with a lot of possibilities – you won’t easily get bored there especially not during the Fringe Festivals! The Scottish people are welcoming, funny and open-minded, which made our experience even more memorable. It’s definitely worth a visit – I’ll be back that’s for sure(!) and next time for a longer period of time.

xo P!

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Wonderlost Wednesday: Bath

Let me just state what you’ll later have no doubts about: Bath is one of my absolute favourite cities in England! Located in south west England, this city dates back to the Roman times – actually it was the Romans who founded the Bath we know today. Even though the city was established before that and known for its hot springs, it was the Romans who took advantage of these and build Roman baths. As a result, the city became known for these and has continued to expand since the Roman times. Especially later, when a cathedral was build and the city became a religious centre.

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Today, Bath is still known for its roman baths with hot springs, old beautiful buildings made of limestones and stunning scenery. However, there’s so much more to this amazing city: The Georgian architecture and scenery aside, this city has everything – museums, theatres, cathedral, universities, sporting venues, shopping opportunities, nice restaurants and cafes not to forget a lot of history and culture.
If you, like me, are into history and culture on your travels, you’ll adore Bath. Even if you’re not, this city will steal your heart with its beautiful architecture and scenery. I cannot stress enough how worth your time this city truly is. I believe we spent one day there, however, I could easily have spent several days exploring the city as well as the area around Bath. Next time, I’ll bring a car so we can discover more of this lovely area!

xo P!

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Wonderlost Wednesday: The Giant’s Causeway

After having relocated to Dublin, Ireland, for seven months last year, I quickly started planning the many trips I wanted to take around the country and Northern Ireland. As a scenery lover, one of my first trips was to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which has left me with quite an impression.

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The Giant’s Causeway is one of those magical places where you feel overwhelmed not only by the stunning scenery with wild cliffs and the North Atlantic Ocean, however, also the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that line up at the coast. As a result of volcanic eruption, these basalt columns have been a great source for speculations throughout the years resulting in various and different myths. According to Irish folklore, the Irish giant, Finn MacCool, build the columns across the North Channel in order to fight another giant – namely, the Scottish giant, Benandonner. This is quite the story, and if there’s one thing (beside from Guinness) that the Irish like, it’s myths… (And fairies). This fact and so much more makes Ireland a perfect travel destination for me. And with its wild scenery, dramatic cliffs, the North Atlantic Ocean and myths, the area around the fourth greatest natural wonder of the United Kingdom, the Giant’s Causeway, is definitely worth a visit.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: The Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness

Growing up with the tales of Nessie, a dear friend and I just had to visit Loch Ness when we vacationed in Edinburgh. It turned out to be quite the adventure. As so many previous visitors, we unfortunately did not find Nessie. However, we haven’t given up yet, which is the perfect excuse to return to Scotland. What we did discover, though, was the spectacular Scottish scenery and wildlife throughout the Scottish Highlands.

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Taking a day tour from Edinburgh to Loch Ness through the Scottish Highlands, my friend and I had stops along the way, where we explored the highlands with their wild flora and fauna. Along the way, we passed old castles and ruins, small villages as well as rivers – absolutely stunning scenery! – before we arrived at Loch Ness where we went on a boat tour.
On the outlook for Nessie, sailing on Loch Ness was a fun experience even if we didn’t spot her. Dating back to the 7th century, the tale of Nessie has a lot of history to it – so much so that it has become part of the Scottish culture. Our tour guide told us many stories from throughout the years of adventurous’ attempts to find Nessie that included bravery, lies and deceit, which made the experience so fascinating.
Should you ever find yourself in or near the beautiful Scottish highlands, they and Loch Ness are worth a visit – I guarantee. Beside the history and culture in the area, the beautiful scenery and wildlife there are worth exploring along with the fresh air.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: Blenheim Palace

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I’ve visited a lot of palaces and castles on my travels and seen them from the inside, however, nothing beats Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, England – not even Buckingham Palace. Never having belonged to royalty but aristocracy (including the Spencer-Churchill family), the palace is the only non-royal residens in England to hold the title of ’palace’ – for good reasons! As such, not only does the palace have the majestic feel of a true palace including the building itself as well as the interior, it also has stunning gardens with sculptures, water fountains and lakes along with spectacular history.
If you ever find yourself in the nabourhood, please, do check it out. I promise, it would not have been in vain.

xo P!