A year in traveling: rewind (Part Trois)

Pin It 06.11.2011: A weekend trip to Barcelona.
I have almost the same picture with Jen from 4 years ago. 
My friend, Kristy and her fiance were headed on a cruise that left from Barcelona, so, naturally Paul and I met them there for a long weekend of tapas, sangria y la playa.
Jen & I


Oh Barcelona, how I love thee.  It was just what we needed.  To boot, we were there over our 1 year anniversary.   We woke up early, walked on the beach and had my favorite Spanish breakfast (pan tostado con tomate y aciete and cafe con leche), nothing fancy, but muy bien. 

We went to La Sagrada Familia, which is a beautiful church, designed by Gaudi.  Click here for more photos/info.  None of our photos were worth posting.  You see your fair share of churches traveling in Europe, but this one is really something.  Tip: Get your tix in advance, we waited for about an hour to get into the church with plans to go to the top (which is really supposed to be the best part), but that was an extra 2 hour wait! 

Then to Casa Batllo, for more Gaudi architecture and finally ended with a day on the beach.
And more tapas.  And more sangria, oh and some cervezas, too.  All in all, el viaje fue muy bien!  Besitos.  That is all for Spanish class today, ladies and gents. 

09.08.2011:  Paris
After a trip back home for my friend Anna's wedding, and a little break from traveling in Europe that is, we were getting a little stir crazy back in Brussels, so we took a one night trip to Paris.  The weather was hot.  Too hot.

But, we walked along the Seine, ate a sample of Macaroons in flavors such as rose petal, vanilla mint, passion fruit, from La Duree & Pierre Herme.  Which are better, you ask?  The jury's still out.  Comment below if you have an opinion on this matter!  Oh Macaroons, how I love thee (I know I just said that about Barcelona, but I am a woman of extremes when it comes to a rating system.  Everything is either a 1 or a 10, and both Barcelona and Parisian Macaroons are a 10.).

 For the evening, we went to a cabaret show (the Lido), like the Moulin Rouge.  Should have went there based solely on the fact that I love the movie and the song.. "How wonderful life is... when you're in the world.. I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind"... I could go on.  Be thankful you are reading this and not hearing it.  Back to subject, we were in the area of the Lido and decided to stop in.  We had some French Champagne, and returned back to our hotel, in the ghetto (an unsuccessful attempt at being a budget traveler).   More on budget traveling and FOOD in 2012. 

On Sunday, we took a walk in the Jewish quarter, and enjoyed a delicious Fallafel before heading back to Brussels.  A MUST do in Paris.  The Jewish quarter on a Sunday is AMAZING.  No photo unfortunately :(  Next time!  If you need details on where to find the perfect FALLAFEL click here(Edited: Photo's and more info here! ) My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Goal: Find the perfect Fallafel in Brussels.  Tips appreciated. 

10.28.2011 Roadtrip #2:  Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber with Paul and my mom!  This trip was actually pretty budget friendly (YAY).

We left early on Saturday morning for the 10 hour drive to Vienna.  Starving upon arrival, we quickly got a tip from our hostel/hotel Meninger (clean, budget friendly, close to metro, checks all important boxes when choosing a hotel), on where to find some delicious Schnitzel.  And, Delicious it was.  If you are like me and thought weiner schnitzel was some kind of sausage, you are wrong.  It is a breaded thin slice of veal or pork, generally served with lemon and potato salad.  YUM.  Again, wishing I had a picture and again, my mouth is watering.  In 2012, food photos will be included.  I didn't know I would become completely obsessed with everything food related in the past two months and start a blog.  Please, I cannot read the future, I can only strive to improve.  Vienna was nice, but I think the Schnitzel was the highlight of the trip.  Oh, and the sachre torte. YUM.

Budapest:  A beautiful city on the Danube river.  Upper part Buda, Lower Part Pest.
Taken in Buda, looking over Pest
We spent a day at the turkish baths of Szechenyi.  It was ... interesting.  To put it lightly, we were all a little grossed out with the experience.  They look beautiful here.  I think it is still worth a try though, who knows maybe it will cure your (fill in chronic health condition here) and it seems like many people enjoy it from the reviews I read on tripadvisor.com.

In the evening we did a Hungarian Wine tasting at the Faust Wine cellar, located in an old cellar in the Buda Castle District.  It was wonderful tasting the Hungarian wines, not to mention a great value for the money.  Great service & great wine!  Photos to come.  More information can be found here.  Definitely worth going to. 

 Tip: Watch the exchange rate, especially in night shops!  Right when we got into Budapest, we went to buy a large bottle of water in a night shop.  We weren't paying close attention and when we went to our next destination (a restaurant across the street) we were baffled where all of our money went.  Turns out the woman in the shop charged us the equivalent of about 30 Euro for the bottle!  We went back, stayed as calm as possible and explained what had just happened.  A different woman was now at the cashier (thankfully the one that checked us out was still in the back and spoke some English).  The woman at the register did not want to budge, nor did I.  So, I stayed in there explaining my case for about 10 minutes.  After some discussion back and fourth in Hungarian between the two women, the woman opened the cash register and handed me my change.  A friend of ours has a similar story, but unfortunately, he didn't get his money back!  I would have been crying.  Literally.

Munich: The Capital of Bavaria region, Germany

Represent Wisco with the mittens.
First things first, let's try some German beers the way real M√ľnchners would, in the beer garden of Munich's main market.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the perfect way to relax after the free tour.  Yes, I have mentioned them before, but they really are great tours..even though we are getting a little toured out.  You must try one if you are in any of the cities they offer them.

The May Pole, also in Munich's main market.  It is a great market, where you can get fresh food, and cool, unique souvenirs, and obviously beer. 

Paul spent the day getting a guided tour of the  BMW museum, which he said was really cool.  See below a motorcycle.  Maybe I will get a newer model for his birthday some year.... eh, maybe not (He would maybe look a little less Ron Pearlmanish if he had a BMW, instead of a Harley).

My mom and I went to Dachau Memorial Site (he had already been).  It was a sobering experience, but definitely something that should be seen, if you visit Munich.  It was the first Nazi Concentration camp in Germany.  More information on the memorial site can be found by clicking here

No trip to Munich is complete without a stop at the Hoffbrau Haus, so we spent our last night there.  Photos to come!  Need to get them from my MA.

Last stop:  Rothenburg ob der Tauber   A cute little medieval village in the heart of Germany, where we spent the night on the way back to Brussels.
We made some friends in the Pharmacy.  Story:  We needed some toothpaste, so my mom and I went into the pharmacy.  We were debating what to buy, when this woman asked if we wanted help.  We accepted her offer, and she explained to us our options and gave input on her favorite toothpaste.  My mom found her so insightful, she asked her what kind of chap stick we should get.  Well, she had a lot to say about this, and recommended we get ourself some Sheep's fat.  So of course, we did.  We thanked them for their assistance and left.  We then bumped into them on the street and did introductions.  Meet Rosie from Australia and Werner from Germany.  We spent the night in a little German restaurant/hotel and then joined them on their dinner.  Turns out Werner's birthday was the next day, so we met them for lunch to celebrate.  It is amazing the people you meet while traveling sometimes......and was a great end to our road trip. Pin It

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