Saturday, April 30, 2011


Berlin has officially made its way onto the list of places I need to go back to. I. Love. Berlin. I really don't think I can emphasize this enough. It was sunny and warm, and the city just has its own personality. So often when you visit a city, it's cool but looking back, it could really be any city around the world. Not Berlin. When you are there, you are constantly aware that you are in Berlin, because it has such a unique, all-encompassing culture and style. Plus, there's just so much to see! I need to go back and see all the museums on Museum Island, go into Parliament, see the concentration camp, and check out some of the more...unique museums, the Currywurst Museum for example (currywurst is a Berlin speciality; basically, it's sausage in a ketchup/curry sauce).

I went to Berlin over Easter weekend, which meant that for a good portion of my trip, I was following lent rules, which included the fact that I had given up meat. I do not, repeat DO NOT recommend attempting to be vegetarian in Berlin. Basically every specialty is meat based, and when the food smells and looks as good as it does, it's painful to not be able to have it. Fortunately, they're also really good at making soft-serve ice cream :)

The first day I got there, I went on an alternative city tour, where we saw tons of street art (aka graffiti). We also learned about squats and about the techno music in Berlin. It was a great tour and it was really neat to hear the stories behind the art that basically takes over the entire city.

The next day, I visited Potsdamer Platz, went to the Panorama for a great view of the entire city, Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, and Tiergarten. It sounds like a lot, but they're all really close to each other, so it was reasonable to see all of them. Pariser Platz was soooo touristy, but it was really funny with star wars characters, and actors dressed as soldiers (and a gorilla at one point). I also got my "passport" stamped by a border guard.

The next day Lizzy showed up! We went to a traditional German market for lunch, followed by the DDR museum exhibiting life in socialist Germany. We ended the day with a trip to a carnival I had seen being set up outside the Brandenburg Gates and a walk through Tiergarten.

 Riding in a trabi, a typical East German car :)

 The last day was Easter, and also the day of our free tour! Along with seeing a ton of other things, we stopped by the Holocaust Memorial and got a chance to walk through it. The artist specifically refused to say what it was supposed to mean, so that the viewer could interpret it for themselves. In honor of that, I'm not going to say anything further about it, and just put up some photos.

We then went to mass at St. Hedwig's Cathedral. At about 45 minutes, it was definitely the quickest Easter mass I've been to. Those Germans are efficient! We then went to dinner, where I finally got my wienerschnitzel! I'm going to finish this post with a photo of the most amazing beer I've ever had, Berliner Weisse, which is light beer with raspberry syrup. Soooo good.
Now I just need to make some plans to get back there! First, though, study Oscar Wilde in preparation for my Modern Period I final on Friday. It's coming up fast!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's inspiring me today

Yes, this is a bit of an unusual post, but I just wanted to share a few of the things that I'm loving today (and that are distracting me from the mountains of papers I still need to study lol).

Ranunculus, my favorite flower
Paris Flower Market (I should have bought some, just 6 euros!)

Cutest postcard ever via Colette Paperie

Style inspiration for the summer via Anthropologie

The perfect summer necklace via tamar

And fantasizing about a trip to Jamaica where I could wear summer clothes :)
Warmth and beaches sound really nice right now.

Well, back to studying now! Have a lovely day everyone.
<3 Emily

Monday, April 18, 2011

Versailles {and my top 10 reasons to love Paris}

I spent the majority of last week in Paris with my mom and grandma. It was a great trip, but I'm not really going to do a recap of it here, as I've already written a post on a Paris trip and this would be extremely repetitive. I will, however, talk about one of the places I went on this trip that I didn't have time for over my birthday weekend.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, that place is the Chateau de Versailles, one of my favorite places in the entire world. I have now been there three times (maybe four) and each time, I fall in love with it a little bit more and discover something new. Those are the same hallways that Marie Antoinette walked, and the same gardens that she spent her time in. It's like stepping back in time to one of the most opulent, extravagant eras of French history. But to see the Place de la Concorde, the former location of the guillotine, the next day, brings me straight back down to earth, as a memory of the poverty that was just outside those gates and of the reign of terror that followed. But today is about the beauty that is the chateau! This is going to be a very picture heavy post, as I believe the pictures speak for themselves. So, enjoy the glory of Versailles :)

I also promised a list of my top 10 favorite things about Paris! Oh, how I love list-making.

1. Marie Antoinette: Seriously, you could just have a Marie Antoinette themed vacation (that’s not a bad idea, actually…), and as most of you know, I’m just slightly obsessed with her. So yeah, she gets the #1 spot on my list J
2. An authentic croque-monsieur: my favorite sandwich ever. Yes, it’s pretty much a glorified ham and cheese sandwich, but somehow the French manage to make it so much more than that.
3. The architecture: I don’t know how it works, but Paris manages to be breathtakingly beautiful even in bad weather. The roofs of Paris against an overcast sky, everything draped in a thousand shades of cozy gray…it’s just gorgeous.
4. Croissants and fresh bread: need I say more?
5. Joan of Arc: not only is she the coolest saint ever, leading an army and driving the British out of France at the age of 16, she also happens to be my confirmation saint, and I love seeing statues and paintings of her everywhere!
6. Macarons: The only reason they didn’t make it higher is because I can get Laduree in London, but still. I choose to believe they taste better in France lol.
7. Gardens: My free tour on Wednesday took us through the Tuileries, which used to be the site of a royal palace. Now, it’s a gorgeous garden. I love how well-designed and maintained French parks and gardens are. It just feels glamorous to sit in one.
8. Montmartre: Some of the best and most unique shops are out here, along with tons and tons of artists who will draw your portrait (sometimes for a very hefty cost). If you’re ever in Paris, definitely set aside a day to get out there and just spend a few hours wandering around.
9. Crepes: My advice, get a banana and caramel crepe from one of the vendors next to Notre Dame and eat it while walking around the square people-watching. Sooooo delicious and a great way to spend an afternoon.
10. Being able to use my French: Although I’ve stopped taking French classes, I still love the language. It makes me feel so accomplished and happy when I’m able to speak to people in French and carry on a conversation. I wouldn’t want to do it forever, but for a few days, it’s really fun!

Oh, and just because I don’t like following directions, even my own, here’s one more.

11. The fact that about half my list is made up of food: How did one country get such a monopoly on good food? That’s just not fair. It was so sad to go back to London food.

Paris, I miss you already. Just one more photo for good measure. See my facebook page for more Paris goodness!

Je vous aime,