Today, I traveled back to LA from my first ever true vacation of the year where I traveled to 4 different cities (3 of them being different countries) all of which I've never traveled to before. I promised myself I'd start blogging daily so I'd be able to reflect on what I had accomplished throughout the year; as I write these sentences I'm currently on the plane ride back. What else are you supposed to do on a 10+ hour flight back with no wifi and having napped twice already? I already watched 2 films so watching another one is out of the question (or is it). I can only imagine how much energy I'll have once I land, but while the trip is still fresh in my mind I wanted to point out my favorite places and give a few traveling tips.
First off, fly with Virgin Atlantic to get to that side of the world. The service is top notch. I remember being really impressed on both flights. Especially, on my flight back to LA. I decided not to spend $40 to choose my seat and I'm so happy I did that because I ended up with an entire row to myself! You can't plan that even if you tried. The crew was so polite and friendly, the food was surprisingly good and the endless amount of wine (in moderation) was much needed after such a long flight. And, no I'm not getting paid to say this (although I wish I was). Sigh, one day.
Berlin. Berlin was the first stop on my loosely created itinerary. I landed at 10pm and mentally prepped myself to get ready to go out , which is quite early for the locals as they start going at 2AM (you read that right). The nightlife in Berlin is otherworldly: the music is un-Shazamable and everyone looks like they are legitimately from the early 90s, which is amazing. Below are the places I visited during my 2 days there:
Chalet: an indoor / outdoor club that has a bonfire, walls to freely write on and is so dark you'll want to use your phone flashlight, but don't because you know it'll be very uncool to do so. TIP: get kabobs after your night of dancing from any place at 4AM. They will be absolutely delicious.
Sonntags Karaoke in Mauerpark: I found out once I got there that you need to come here early in the day to grab a prime spot, which also increases your odds of getting picked to sing in front of a ton of strangers. I got to sing along to someone who belted out Enter Sandman so I was thoroughly satisfied with that activity.
Scheers Schnitzel: please get schnitzel when you are in Berlin or anywhere in Germany. I stumbled upon this place with friends and it was so delicious.
Zeit für Brot: They have traditional German bread, which is pretty hearty. It wasn't my favorite, but it's something you should try at least try once.
Ampelmann Cafe: first off, Berlin had east and west sides (hello, Berlin Wall) so when you walk through the city you'll notice that the street signals for pedestrians are different throughout. It also is now a cafe that sells merch. I had pumpkin soup and bratwurst.
Humana: not a place to eat, but definitely a spot to check out for thrifted clothing. I ended up getting my Oktoberfest outfit here for 20 euros. BTW you can rent proper folk outfits once in Munich, but finding it elsewhere is better for the wallet.
Munich. I technically spent 3 nights and 2.5 days here. It was so quaint and lovely here that I'm planning another trip back just for Oktoberfest. Check out where to go below.
Cafe Lotti: the cutest, most Instagrammable cafe. The cappuccino is delicious and the skinny pancake with homemade jam really hit the spot.
La Vecchia Masseria: OMG this place. I still dream of the tortellini I ordered. It's an Italian restaurant where food critics have birthday parties or so I was told by my knowledgeable walking tour guide, Keith.
Mr. Pancake: blink while you walk down the street where this place is located and you'll miss it. I know because that's what happened when I tried to find this place with friends. The pancakes were ridiculously huge and really good. I dare you to eat the entire plate of food.
Cotdidiano: I had the best fruit tarte here on the way to the festival.
Oktoberfest: where do I start. I first thought this would be a grassland location with open tents and long cafeteria style tables. Nope. It is like Disneyland for adults. There are rides, there are food stands, there are balloon stands and then there are the tents. Massive high ceiling 2 story tents with live bands, full kitchens and lots of fresh beer. As far as required clothing goes, if it looks folky you can wear it. Men tend to wear classic Lederhosen shorts and women wear dirndls (I didn't, but maybe next time). BTW the way you wear your dirndls says a lot about you. Left side tie = single, right = taken, center = virgin, back = widow. I only know this from my great walking tour guide, Keith (again).
Budapest. A wonderful city, truly. Totally walkable to walk the entire city. I did it and got my daily steps in. Look to get an AirBnB here as the buildings are full of history and I feel hotels may take away from that. I stayed here 3 days and 2 nights. Here are a few places to visit:
Humana: you should've seen the joy of look on my face when I found out this store existed in Budapest. Again, they had great pieces for less than $15.
For Sale Pub: make a reservation for this place if you want to eat after 3pm. The portions are ridiculously big so share with a friend. Once you finish you meal you can write a sweet note and tack it on the wall for some stranger to read whilst they eat so make it a good one.
Rudas Baths: I was told by my tour guide Barbie that the Buda side of town had less crowded and cleaner bath houses. I only went to this bathhouse and it was pretty good.
Mazel Tov: I found this place after getting frustrated on a long brunch lunch around the corner. All the food was fresh and decently proportioned.
Gelarto Rosa: okay so this place is another Instagrammable spot. The ice cream is good and in the shape of a flower.
Szimplakert: why can't this place exist in the states!? This bar is located on the Pest side and is one of the best Budapest ruin pubs in my opinion. You can grab a drink, smoke a hookah, listen to live music, or dance to a DJ spinning legitimate vinyl records you've never heard of.
London. The most hyped up city from all friends and co-workers so I was really excited to finally visit. I was there the longest at 4 days and 3 nights. My favorite neighborhoods were Shoreditch and Camden. The food wasn't as special here as the other locations, but that's to be expected. I mean, I just came from Budapest where I ate food I have never eaten before. Fish n chips can't compare to that (sorry, not sorry). Anyways, here are places to visit:
Obicà: funnily enough I've visited the LA location before. This one is just as good. I ate the focaccia, fresh basil pesto with tomatoes and pasta. Lastly, I ordered tiramisú, my favorite dessert.
Gymkhana: this gem. Delicious Indian food with decor that'll make you feel like you stepped back in time. Based off a recommendation from Infatuation and a friend who stalks the Infatuation blog.
Shoreditch Grind: probably the best breakfast spot I ate at in London. Sweet potato cakes and avocado toast were delicious and fresh. Very Instagrammable - as I found this spot off of the explore tab (thank you, Instagram).
Cyberdog: a cool, raver-esque shop with black lights and thumping techno music. I bought a rad glow in the dark beanie.
Shoreditch Vintage Market: haggle and spend all your money here. My friends and I spent about 2+ hours roaming this joint. Individual shops selling either handmade, vintage or thrifted items. I ended up with a leopard weekender bag, which could should really be called a 4-day bag because of the size. I purchased it off of this guy who bought and used the bag from Scotland. I also purchased a pair of red statement sunglasses that make me look like Christmas because I currently have green hair, but whatever - happy holidays.
Suvkaki: a Greek restaurant with texturized walls of marble and posters. The food was delicious, though the portions were kinda small.
Naked Dough: I basically ate a whole cup of cookie dough from this place and enjoyed every spoon full.
Ivy Chelsea Garden: I ate my last breakfast in London at this place. The decor was beautiful and the food was pretty good. I had tea since hello, it was my last day in London.
Have you been to any of these places? If so, let me know of any recommendations as I'd like to travel back soon!