Not only does being trapped at home mean that you’re staying safe and you’re helping save other people’s lives by not spreading the virus – it also means you have a new opportunity to reconnect with yourself, your friends and family, and your interests.-Nicole, The Expatcast
The 2020 pandemic has been a tough situation for all communities, and now that we are in 2021, it is still a part of our lives we are all adjusting to. But I find it to be not all bad, it is creating a new level of creativity.
Back in the summer my friend, fellow expat in Germany and dynamite podcast host, had a virtual quaratine sitdown to discuss our optimistic thoughts on the topic.
Have a listen and let me know what you think or if you prefer a visual option, check out the Youtube version ( kindly excuse the lazy lockdown video look) ⤵️
What better way to begin your first eurotrip than with a trip to Paris?
and no no, I’m no spring chicken when it comes to the euro game, but my Californian cousin S sure is. She planned to finally get out of the country with a three week trip to stay with me, and naturally we had to plan to do some traveling elsewhere.
As I have ( or havent) previously mentioned, I used to live in Paris. So for me, it was more of a revisiting my youth.
but onward to the trip. It started out great, we even made a friend on the plane
When we arrived in Paris it was sunny and divine. We met up with my friend N from London
and headed straight to the Parisian Paradise that is Ladurée
We had a marvelous afternoon tea and were in Macaron heaven
We unfortunately were only in Paris for two days, so the rest of the time we ran around doing all the splendid touristy things and sight seeing.
We ran around all the major monuments,
strolled by the Sein
a little pop by the Moulin Rouge
and ate in far too many cafes
I must admit, I really do love the culture in that city. It can be very difficult at times(a reason I didnt stay) but as a visitor its nice to see how everyone moves so casually and in their own way. They seem to do what they want, when they want and dont care otherwise. The cafe life is much different as well.
Going out is about spending time with people, not a focus on the eating itself. You enjoy your company, the view, the time. Theres no pressure or rush to do anything else but enjoy yourself.
Although our trip was brief, it was grand. And the perfect european introduction for S.
As for me, I will be back very soon… as my macaron stash is getting low
Now I say curious because to be honest I do not know why I fell so quickly head over heels for this small, extremely expensive, not-so-aesthetic bauhaus city …but ohhh baby am I now in deep.
To be honest I have so much enthusiasm right now that I just have to break it down for you list style. So here are my tip of the top 5’s
Tel Aviv is small, Tel aviv is Big
It’s Incredibly small. I think between my explorations and running the half marathon I have the city basically all mapped out.
It has a feel like Munich, where it has everything you need for a city but at the same time all the conviences and social comforts of a small town atmosphere.
but then again I say big because once you are really out you can feel its strong heart and soul.In the evenings or late afternoons, the people start coming out and the bars and cafes are crowded with lights and laughter.
It feels so exciting but so comfortable, and it seems everyone is always bumping into someone they know
3. The beach, the glorious, fabulouuuus beach
Coming from freezing winter wonderland that is Bavaria, I was probably most excited by the heat of Tel Aviv. It was only around 20-25 degrees but the sunlight hit you just right.
All around adults and children alike were playing sports, in the water, cruisin about
or just soaking up sun.
We were able to relax in minimal clothing and get some new freckles all in “winter”time…except no smoothies. FYI even if the coffee shops are air conditioned, they still apparently respect a no smoothie in the winter months rule
4.The cozy chill culture
Perhaps it was because I have been in Germany too long, or perhaps its just the way it is, but withhold your potential comments about bias when I say, people there are just so so nice.
The people I was hanging out with were so open and welcoming. I mean my host did know me and gave me free range of his flat (and bed), introduced me to friends, and even let me me finish his box of captain crunch at 1am- soo nice.
5. Houmous is youmous
ok not just houmous, but food in general.
The food there is so glorious. Fresh ingredients, mixed in peculiar ways with loads of unique flavour combinations and textures.It is just so busy but so delightful. Its not all Shawarmas and Falafel but Shakshuka, Sabih, salads and so much more. You get food and youre just like, what is this? but it doesnt matter what it is because once find out its delicious no more questions are ever asked…ever
Alright, I know 5 for now seems pretty slim for someone so “excited”, but believe me its hard to narrow down what I experienced for a post.There is just so much good I dont know where to end, so I had to after so little…also I still have to write about the marathon experience-aaaayyyyyeeee
Sorry for the post abscence, but my year has started off quite stressed. I had to go to America spontaneously for, unfortunately, a funeral. I had to go to my grandparents home in Alabama. It started out with a completely complicated flight but
Three countries and three layovers later
I arrived in the home of the brave… on Inauguration day
Definetly a yuge culture shock.
but luckily for me in my third layover I was greeted by a happy and familiar face
I got to visit some family during my Texas layover and got to take some off grandma’s fresh baked bread along to my final destination..
FYI dont ever take bread through TSA, they had a hay day,
but I was let go in time for my flight
I arrived in Birmingham shortly after, and the events began.
To be honest. I am not the best with loss, and it was a very hard week. I am beyond thankful I am a runner, it was the best coping method I could have had to fall back on.
My grandma passed away and it brought up so many feelings from previous losses. My family is not so big and going back has always been hard. Luckily for me there was a great running track near my grandfathers house I was able to escape to in between runs around the neighborhood
I think I got in a good 28 km that week. It would have been more except for crazy southern thunderstorms. but I tried my best to get out whenever the sky was moderately clear
The trip as whole was a good time for getting the closure I think I ultimately desired. My mind is still a bit distracted, but now that I am back in Munich I am my most happiest. I am so thankful I have found a place to call home and above all feel home.I can hop away to the mountains on the weekend or run around the city and work my way back up after a fall.
Whenever life gets hard, its good to be able to just go home.For me this is Munich.
” Youth is happy because it has had the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old”
I have read so many posts about how “magical” Prague is. Many people write about its “fairytale feeling”
I must admit, that even in a frosty snowy wonderland of weather, the city failed to give me these feelings.It was a bit of something else.
Prague stood out to me most due to its history. Dealing with the Nazi occupation of WWII and still coming out with most of it medieval old town still intact is a very impressive site to see.
The city’s architecture mixture alone was one aspect I was pleased about; Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque
designs are mixed together with a high dose of Parisian feel.
Some areas of the city were a visual splendour
and some provided the cozy atmosphere I so crave in my travel down time.
but as per usual I chose to admire all the river and rooftop views I could
lucky for us, we arrived on the very last day of the Christmas markets
With a massive decorate glimmering tree
and even some sweet little furry friends
With all these sweet views, came the sweet tourist trap that is
A sweet pastry that is made from dough wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with a sugar and walnut mixture. It has a distinct wood and smoke flavour.Not entirely sweet but if you choose the modern version I did with nutella, its a pretty good taste combination.
In the end to me Prague had a feeling of sweet melancholy.
The tall building created endless hallways. The new was well mixed in with the old and the poor with the rich
The culture and history does not hide.It endured generations of foriegn domination-the Nazi occupation and Communist rule. Once the Iron curtain cracked it became one of the first Central and East European countries to embrace the western culture.However with this came naturally the party seekers and their drunken exploits, tacky tourist shops and Tescos galour.
but the marvelous part was how enduring the character of Prague stayed. This city pushes to create a good integration of the old and the new. Making it unlike anyone I have ever been before.
Even though it has these cultural and historical marvels I admire, I must admit it was not my favourite city. Perhaps because I enjoy lighter atmospheres, the food was not to my taste palette or I am too biased by previous experiences, I am not entirely certain. It was a good experience but I will choose to continue to head on to new places and most likely not head back too soon