Tag Archives: Europe

Throwback Thursday: Parc Güell in Barcelona

"El Drac" ("The Dragon"), which welcomes visitors to Parc Güell.
“El Drac” (“The Dragon”), which welcomes visitors to Parc Güell.

Seeing as the demon residing in my nasal cavities is still putting up quite a fight, despite me throwing hefty doses of Nyquil, Dayquil, and cursing its way, this Throwback Thursday post is technically just one long photoessay. Such is what the laziness of being sick brings.

Sitting on the main terrace.
Sitting on the main terrace.

In a city that belongs to architect Antoni Gaudí, Parc Güell is probably the most expansive of his accomplishments. Half garden, half architectural playground, Parc Güell is an essential part of any visit to Barcelona. (And it’s free, too!) However, it’s definitely not a “get in, walk around for five minutes, get out” sort of place. No, you need the better part of an entire day to get through the whole thing.

Getting there is where the battle begins. Parc Güell isn't located in close proximity to any metro stops. You'll end up walking around twenty minutes. The main entrance is closest to the Lesseps, and the side entrance is closest to Vallcarca, near where this picture was taken. Prepare your calves now. They'll be hurting.
Getting there is where the battle begins. Parc Güell isn’t located in close proximity to any metro stops. You’ll end up walking around twenty minutes. The main entrance is closest to the Lesseps, and the side entrance is closest to Vallcarca, near where this picture was taken. Prepare your calves now. They’ll be hurting.

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Throwback Thursday: Saint-Malo

My first love may be the mountains, but I’ll never turn down a bit of sea air when I’ve got the chance…especially if I can breathe it in Saint-Malo, the small walled city that I tacked on as a short day trip after visiting Mont Saint Michel. In the past, Saint-Malo was the base of corsairs, and its walls were constructed against the threat of British attacks. Nowadays, Saint-Malo is a beautiful seaside locale…the perfect place to work up an appetite by walking along the beach and then eat a dozen (or two) fresh oysters, still briny from the sea, washed down with a glass (or two) of cider.

The view of the sea from the walls around Saint-Malo
The view of the sea from the walls around Saint-Malo

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Throwback Thursday: La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

I am a wanderer by nature. Metro, train, plane, automobile, bus, horse…you name it, I’ll hop on board. But you’ll most likely find me hoofing it most of the time. Given the choice, if I can walk somewhere, I’ll let my feet carry me there.

I love to go wherever my feet lead me, whether that be circling the outer walls of Hamlet’s castle in Denmark, scaling the rocky goat paths of Mount Fuji’s upper reaches, or browsing the endless stalls of Hong Kong’s Jade Market. I don’t mind sore feet, because fantastic sights have almost always accompanied the walking that caused them. When those sights and exercise are accompanied by food, you might as well write me off for a few hours, because I’ll be disappearing down the rabbit hole for a good chunk of time.

The front entrance of La Boqueria market in Barcelona.
The front entrance of La Boqueria market in Barcelona.

Because of that heady combination, one of my absolute favorite places to wile away the hours is La Boqueria market in the Citutat Vella district of Barcelona. Take the Barcelona Metro to the Liceu station on L3, walk a bit down La Rambla, one of the most prevalent pedestrian promenades in the city, and there on your right, a small stained glass sign proclaims that you’re now entering “Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria.” Come with an empty stomach. Continue reading Throwback Thursday: La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

Throwback Thursday: Mont Saint Michel (Or Hogwarts in the Flesh)

Like so many twenty-somethings who grew up reading about the adventures of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of their wizarding cohorts, it still breaks my heart a little bit when July comes and goes and still I haven’t received my owl from Hogwarts. Such is life as a lowly Muggle. But a small consolation comes from the fact that, for all intents and purposes, you can waltz off to Hogwarts for a weekend. And no, I’m not talking about the theme park in Florida. 
When can I move in?
When can I move in?

I mean an honest-to-goodness, medieval castle that looks like it would be the perfect home for Harry and co. I’m talking about Mont Saint Michel, a castle off the coast of Lower Normandy in northern France. When you think of Hogwarts, you might as well think of Mont Saint Michel. Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Mont Saint Michel (Or Hogwarts in the Flesh)

Throwback Thursday: German Christmas Markets

Seeing as it’s the Christmas season, it seemed only appropriate that I write about one of my favorite European winter traditions: Christmas markets. When I studied abroad in Cologne, Germany, going to the Christmas markets was absolutely one of my favorite memories. They’re becoming a bit more popular now in the States (I hear the one in Chicago is particularly impressive), but perhaps I’m a bit spoiled or biased, because those in Europe, especially Germany, will always be number one in my heart. Give me the choice between doing my Christmas shopping at an American mall or spending the afternoon perusing a Weihnachtsmarkt with a mug of mulled wine in one hand and a potato pancake in the other, and that decision is a no-brainer for me.

Even when it was rainy, the Christmas market in Berlin was warmly lit.
Even when it was rainy, the Christmas market in Berlin was warmly lit.

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Throwback Thursday – Helsingør

Looking out over the Øresund strait from the ramparts of Kronborg.
Looking out over the Øresund strait from the ramparts of Kronborg.

I suspect that Hamlet must’ve been smoking something hallucinogenic, because I couldn’t find a single thing rotten in Denmark while I was there. It’s a country full of impossibly beautiful people, breathtaking coastal scenery, and a relaxed, accessible cultural vibe that I fell in love with. One of my friends once remarked to me, “If you really want to achieve the American dream, move to Denmark.”

A sign that tells it how it is.
A sign that tells it how it is.

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Throwback Thursday – Prague

I’m digging way back into the archives for this Throwback Thursday. Even though I didn’t even spend 72 hours there, Prague (or Praha), the capital of the Czech Republic, is one of my favorite cities, regardless of country or continent. I went there during a short weekend trip while I was studying abroad in Cologne, and ever since, I’ve been itching to go back. Going through my old pictures to write this post gave me a real case of bittersweet nostalgia.

In Prague, what's not to love?
In Prague, what’s not to love?

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