Summer day at Barigui Park

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On Monday I went to Brazil. I was an exchange student in Curitiba in 2012 and I kind of left half of my heart here. The people, the food, the nature – everything is just so nice.

I’ll be in Brazil for a total of 16 days, two weeks here in Curitiba and then 2 days in Rio. This is my second time coming “home” after my exchange year, the last time I was here was in December/January of 2014/15. Back then I celebrated Christmas with my host family here in Curitiba and NYE in Rio with friends.

I had a pretty hard time the last few months, so I decided to go back to my “happy place”.

One of my favorite places in Curitiba is the “Parque Barigui” – the cities most famous park. It was one of the first places I visited here and I fell in love with it. People go there to walk their dogs, run, relax or have picnic.

My (host) sister and I went there with our dog Smartie, we walked around the lake and had coconut water.

Stay tuned for more posts about Brazil

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Outfit:

  • Dress: Asos
  • Hair: Barefootblondehair
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48 Hours in London

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I was really excited to go on this trip, I had planned it for months. I’ve been to London before, this time was going to be my 10th time in that wonderful city. But this trip was something that I was especially excited about. I’m a huge NFL fan, I’ve been watching games for years, stayed up all night to see my team win and bought a ton of merchandise over the years. So planning my trip to London was something really special. My first American football game. 



We decided in February to go and see the Rams play the Cardinals in Twickenham stadium at the end of October. A good friend, as well as my cousin were gonna join me.

Since I live in Berlin and the airports there are really bad – sorry to say it, but it’s true – I went to Hamburg to catch my flight to London Heathrow there on Saturday morning. My flight was delayed by an hour due to the heavy wind in the London area. I normally would’ve taken the underground but because of the delay, I decided to take the Heathrow Express, which only takes 15 minutes from Heathrow to Paddington, which is right in the centre of London.

At Paddington, I met my friend, who shared the Airbnb with me. We stayed near Kings cross, which was perfect since it’s so close to the centre.

We spend the rest of the day shopping at Oxford Street, which is always really nice since there are so many shops that we don’t have in Germany. I got myself a sweater, as well as some Rosie for Autograph make up. I only travelled with carry-on so I didn’t have much space left in my suitcase.

The day after we went to get breakfast at a coffee shop before heading (yet again) to Oxford Street, this time I bought nothing and we ended up at a sports bar, where we stayed to watch premier league. In the afternoon we went to the Twickenham stadium to see the game. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera and since it was dark I didn’t take good iPhone shots either.

The game was a lot of fun, even though the game wasn’t as thrilling as we expected it to be (the Rams won 33 – 00). It was freezing and I really wished I would’ve brought a scarf and gloves.

My flight back to Hamburg was at 3:30pm the next day, so I still had some time left to stroll around a little more. I went back to Oxford and Bond Street, bought some stuff at VS, had a snack and then went to the airport.

Even though it was a really short trip I still had lots of fun and I already miss this radiant city.

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10 Days in Bali

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For our first summer vacation together my boyfriend and I decided to go somewhere tropical. We wanted to go somewhere with good food, nice beaches and lots of things to do. So we went to Bali.

Travel:

We went from Berlin to Abu Dhabi with AirBerlin, then from Abu Dhabi to Singapore with Etihad and from Singapore to Bali with Garuda Indonesia. Our Luggage arrived a few hours late but we were on time. On our way back we flew from Bali to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian, from  Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi with Etihad and again to Berlin with AirBerlin. (Personally, I’m not a fan of AirBerlin, they are often late and they “lost” our luggage at Berlin Airport when we arrived.)

Stay:

We stayed at the Elysian Villas Hotel in Seminyak. We had a private Villa with a small pool. The hotel itself had only a few villas, so it wasn’t crowded at breakfast or at the hotel pool. We only had breakfast included since we read so much about good restaurant and cafés in Seminyak.

Get around:

If you want to get around in Bali you have 3 choices: you go by scooter, taxi or rent a driver. We only tried going by scooter once and that was enough for us. People in Bali drive on the left side of the road, opposite to the way we drive in Germany, so you can imagine how overwhelmed we were with the traffic. We went by taxi a few times, but only within Seminyak, since it’s only around 2€. For longer trips, we went with a driver that our hotel called for us. That was a great way of getting to know the Balinese culture better. We asked him a lot of questions about the Balinese way of life.

Eat:

I will do a separate blog post on my favorite Bali restaurants and cafés

Beaches:

Bali has many beautiful and different beaches. Since we stayed in Seminyak – and Seminyak doesn’t have beautiful beaches – we went on day trips to Uluwatu and Nusa Lembogan.

Let’s start with Uluwatu. We went to Padang-Padang and Blue Point Beach as well as Sunday’s Beach Club in one trip. At Sunday’s you pay an entry fee of about 20€ which includes 10€ for drinks and snacks at the beach club as well as snorkeling, paddleboarding and beach equipment. I would definitely recommend going there since it’s a private beach the water is very clear and the beach isn’t crowded at all. After we went to Sunday’s, our driver took us to Blue Point and Padang-Padang. They are really different from the beach at Sunday’s. At Padang-Padang there are beautiful rock formations and it’s great for surfing. Blue Point has a huge cave, that fills up with water during high tide. There is an old shipwreck at the beach, which is a great location for photos. Both beaches are only accessible if you climb several stairs. On top of Blue Point, there is the Single Fin, with many restaurants and cafes as well as the Single Fin Beachclub.

We went to Nusa Lembogan as a day trip on one of our last days. A shuttle bus picked us up at the hotel and brought us to the harbor. From there we took a speed boat to Lembogan. The little island is really different from Bali, there are hardly any real roads, no big hotels and you can do watersports. We went snorkeling and saw plenty of colorful fish. But I also have to say that I personally didn’t like Lembogan that much because it was quite dirty.

Ubud:

On another one of our day trips, we went to Ubud. We heard so much about it from our friends who’ve been there. We went to the Pura Tirta Empul  – The Hindu Water Temple located close to Ubud. There we participated in the ritual bath, which was an amazing experience. After that, we went to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. You’ve probably seen them on Instagram because they are simply incredible. Quite hard to climb but amazing for pictures. When we arrived in Ubud itself it started pouring rain and unfortunately the café we were planning on going to was closed. We didn’t go to the monkey forest because I’m actually rather scared of monkeys and seeing them in Uluwatu was more than enough for me.

The best cafés in Berlin

Berlin is an amazing city with so many bars, restaurants, and cafés. I’m gonna share my personal favorites with you.

Friedrichshain:

Silo: This coffee place is small but really cozy. They have great coffee, espresso, cappuccino and more. If you are in Friedrichshain I would advise you to get a coffee there.

Gabriel-Max-Straße 4 | 10245 Berlin | Opening hours: usually 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

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Macarons de Stéphane: Ever since I first visited Paris I loved macarons, so naturally I was super excited when I found this macaron store. It’s more of a takeaway place than a café but still, they have the best macarons. They have “normal” flavors such as raspberry, chocolate, and pistachio, but they also have special flavors like lavender, orange petal or rose.

Gärtnerstraße 13 | 10245 Berlin | Opening hours: 12:00 am – 6:00 pm

Macarons

Mitte:

Oliv: Mitte is one of the city centers of Berlin, so if you’re there and you want to grab a coffee and maybe just watch the people of Berlin, Oliv is the perfect place for you. Minimalistic design, good coffee, and great cakes and sandwiches.

Münzstraße 8 | 10178 Berlin | Opening hours: usually 8:30 am – 7:00 pm

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Rose Garden: Rose Garden has amazing sandwiches and cakes, but sometimes it’s really really crowded. Be sure to check in advance if you want to got there on the weekend.

Alte Schönhauser Str. 61 | 10119 Berlin | Opening hours: Usually 8:00 am – 11:00 pm

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Kreuzberg:

Hallesches Haus: The Hallisches Haus is located in an old storage building which gives it little the extra. The café is next to a small store in which you’ll find all kinds of stuff. It’s a really quiet place, so it’s great if you want to read a book or study.

Tempelhofer Ufer 1 | 10961 Berlin | Opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

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I hope you enjoy these places as much as I do. If you go there share your photos on Instagram and tag me or send them to me, it’s @inacathrien.

Thank you and bon appetit.

 

 

Merci Paris!

I was quite busy the last few months. But I went to Paris with my boyfriend between the holidays last year and it was incredible.

We decided to go to Paris for 4 days after Christmas. It was a well deserved break for both of us and since he’s never been to Paris before I though it was a good choice.

We arrived in the evening and our hotel was super close to the Panthéon. The first evening we didn’t do much since we were really tired from the flights. The day after we went out to explore the city. I’ve been to Paris before, so I tried to show him all the places I remembered. There was this great breakfast place close to the Panthéon and we had crêpe for breakfast there. We walked from our hotel all the way to the Louvre with little stops in Saint Germain as well as at Notre Dame and on our way back we visited the Eiffel Tower.

On the second day I decided to bring him to the rooftop of the Lafayette. You have the best view there and it’s completely free. It’s sort of a rooftop garden/bar and  you can enjoy some hot and cold drinks up there. During our stay the city was really foggy but the view was amazing anyways.

I have to say that this trip was one of my favorites so far and if you’re looking for a weekend getaway Paris is a great choice.

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A short trip to Milan

 

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Italy – the country of pizza, pasta, and ice cream. How come I’ve never been there?

That’s exactly what I thought when I was looking for short trip ideas. I wanted to escape the usual stress for a while and have some alone time. So I booked a ticket to Milan, found a host on Couchsurfing and went there a few weeks later. It was a really good decision. I met some really nice people and we just had the best time.

On the first day, we went to Lago di Como ( Lake Como), which is roughly an hour away from Milan. The weather was good, so we even went for a swim. Lago di Como was simply amazing – the mountains surrounding the lake were so impressive and the small Italian houses along the lake were just so beautiful. I would definitely recommend going there.

I spend the other two days in the city. I visited the Duomo, the Sforza castle, and the San Siro stadium. I just loved the atmosphere in Milan. I went to see Inter Milan play Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League for only 10€ (student price) and even though the game wasn’t the best it was still a lot of fun.

One thing that I really liked in Milan was that the city isn’t expensive. I had vegan icecream near the Duomo and it was only 3€ for three scoops. Here in Germany, it’s usually around 1,20€ per scoop and if it’s vegan it’s even more expensive. Also the “aparetivo” thing – you pay for the drink and get the buffet for free. I went to Navigli for having the aparetivo and I paid 10€ for the cocktail + the buffet. The food was super good and the drink was even better.

So if you’re looking for a destination for your next city trip, Milan will be a good choice.

 

 

 

10 Things I learned while traveling alone

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During the last few years I traveled quite a lot. I learned new tricks and hacks on how to make the best out of your trip. Not everything will be as planned, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

I started traveling alone when I was a teenager. Brazil then London, Madrid, and Germany. Nothing really bad ever happened to me and I would definitely recommend traveling by yourself. There are some things you should take care of beforehand like accommodation, Visa etc. Many of my trips were spontaneous and that’s what made them such adventures.

I’ll be going to Milano in two weeks, so I thought I’d share my top 10 travel advises with you

1. Try to book in advance – If you know you have a few weeks off in 3 months, why not book right away? Flights are cheaper and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress. If you book last minute, so flights will be reeeeeaaaally expensive. Same goes for buses, I travel a lot using Flixbus and many tickets are really cheap and then suddenly way more expensive the next day.

2. Try to book carry on luggage only –  This will save you time, money and stress. If you go somewhere for seven days or less try to fit everything in a carry-on suitcase. Most times it works and it’ll save you about 50€ per ticket. It’s also a lot easier to only carry one suitcase instead of two and you won’t have to wait for luggage drop off etc.

3. Bring an empty water bottle and baby wipes – While you can’t bring a full bottle of liquid through security, you are allowed to bring an empty plastic bottle. Just fill it up at the next bathroom (if the water is drinkable) or at the next fountain. This will save you about 3€ each time since drinks are really expensive once you’re through security. Another thing I always carry with me while traveling are baby wipes. You can bring them through security without problems and use them for cleaning your hands, refreshing your face or just as make-up removal wipes. They’re super cheap and super convenient.

4. If you get stranded somewhere go to places such as McDonald’s – Just buy something cheap like a coffee and sit down. This happened to me a lot, I missed my bus/train/whatever and had to wait some hours for the next one. McDonald’s has free wifi for 3 hours, so you can watch a movie, listen to music or whatever else you want to do. If you’re a girl it’s also a lot safer than waiting alone in the dark or at some random train station.

5. Bring a blanket – Most airplanes and buses use AC and I tend to get really cold. I try to always bring a blanket to wrap myself in. Baby blankets are the perfect size since normal blankets are rather big and hard to fit in your bag. If you’re not cold you can use it as a pillow and save yourself some neck pain.

6. Make a playlist for traveling – Background noises can be super annoying. I had people snoring, talking or listening to their music, while I wanted to sleep. So I decided to make myself a “sleeping” playlist and it worked really well. Just listen to some calm and relaxing music and you’ll find sleep way sooner. I personally really like Bon Iver for this kind of playlist.

7. Bring your own food – Airplane food can be gross and you wouldn’t want to be hungry for 5 hours or more. Just prepare some food at home. As long as it isn’t liquid, meat, dairy or egg it shouldn’t be a problem to bring it through security. I like cookies and pasta for long trips. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying food out of convenience while at the airport or train station. You wouldn’t want to pay 5€ for a sandwich.

8. Buy a colorful suitcase – If you own a black suitcase the chances of it getting switched are quite big. Most people have black suitcases and they all look the same. If you don’t want to buy a new suitcase, put a colorful ribbon or belt on it, so you can spot it right away.

9. Send yourself a copy of your passport – Before you start your trip you should take a photo of your ID, passport or Visa and send it to yourself via email. This will help you a lot if you lose your passport or if it gets stolen. You can access your email from every computer and you will get a new one a lot quicker.

10. Be nice to the people at the airline counter – Even if your flight is delayed or canceled, it’s not their fault. Stay calm and be nice. They don’t want to help you if you scream at them. Tell them your problem and ask them for a sollution. They’ll be a lot nicer if you don’t yell and get angry.