Tag: travel guide

The Berlin Breakdown: Must-see Sites and Food

Stop to see the Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor, as the Germans would pronounce it) in Berlin is one of the most popular landmarks when tourists think about Germany. This significant landmark is not just important to the city of Berlin, but for all of Germany.

It was here that monumental German history was made. The Brandenburg Gate is a strong symbol of the country fight against past traumatic events and its diplomatic accomplishments.

The Brandenburg Gate Design

Can you guess what influenced the design of the Brandenburg Gate? It was the Acropolis in Athens. The similarities between both structures are very apparent. The inception-al work of the Greeks, no doubt!  In 1791, the Brandenburg Gate was designed by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans and executed by Friedrich Wilhelm.

At the apex of the monument is the sculpture of the Quadriga, “a four-horsed chariot driven by Victoria, the winged goddess of victory.”

After WWII, the Brandenburg Gate survived, but with many battle scars. The landmark has been reconstructed since then and the original remaining pieces of the four-horses are preserved in the Märkisches Museum.

Brandenburg Gate Today

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany were reunified. The Brandenburg Gate became the symbol of a new Germany. This landmark is special the hearts of the Germans and it is definitely worth adding to your list of must-see Berlin sites.

Gaze at the Berlin TV Tower

Got signal? Sky-high at about 368 meters is Berlin’s famous TV Tower. It is not hard to miss this structure because it sticks out like a sore thumb. In all of Europe, the Berlin TV Tower is the only highest building that is open to the general public. From the observance level at the top of the tower, you are able to have a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of Berlin!

Holy Grounds! The Berlin Cathedral

This remodeled neo-Renaissance to neoclassicist Berlin Cathedral has experienced multiple architectural renovation and religious moments since the Middle Ages. In order to follow the Lutheran branch of Martin Luther, the church was reformed in 1539 and later between 1747 and 1750 when Frederick the Great came to power the new Baroque structure was developed.

Within Berlin’s Museum Island, the Cathedral sit in all her beauty. Across from the river the runs through the island is a great place to get a full view. From the outside of the Cathedral you can see impressive details such as the intricately-designed raised pulpit, the baptismal and matrimonial chapels. If you chose to tour the inside, you are able to climb up to the dome, see the imperial staircase, the gold altar, and the 7000 pipe organ. After the tour, take a break. The areas that line the river are full of great bars, restaurants, and hookah lounges. Grab a drink, a lawn chair, a notebook (or sketchbook, like I did) and relax!

Berlin Wall Art Project

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and since then (20 year later) it has been transformed from a representation of oppression to an open canvas for individuals to express their freedom. On the parts of the wall that were either still stood or that were reconstructed, several artists rapidly began to creatively make their mark. Some of the stunning artworks are signed by its creator, but many murals remain anonymous. The walls of art are interesting and unique. If you are with a group of friends I would recommend that each person interprets a mural and discuss it! This will be a fun debate.  

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews

In the middle of Berlin is the Holocaust memorial for Germany, known as The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas). Near the end of the 1980’s, German citizens Lea Rosh and Eberhard Jäckel facilitated the construction of the memorial. On 25 June 1999, the “German Federal Parliament took the decision to build the memorial according to a design by Peter Eisenman and to establish a federal foundation to run it.”  The aura of this memorial is not chipper, nor joyful (with good reason). It is comprised of 2 711 concrete blocks in a 19000 square mile field of Stelae. People can only guess what the blocks represent.  Why are the blocks  different sizes and heights? It is a numerical symbol? Categories of the fallen Jews? No one knows for sure. The memorial is open to individualistic interpretation.

Must-eats in Berlin

German food is a very interesting, yet versatile cuisine. Some dishes might seem very appeasing to the taste buds, but there is always that dish that you will fall in love with!  German food is hearty, heavy, meaty, starchy, and delicious-y. Meat and potatoes are the staple for many dishes.

Currywurst (Street-Food)

Currywurst in Berlin is like how pizza is to New York City. On almost every street, there appears to be Currywurst shop that serves this cheap meal hot and yummy. The wurst aka sausage itself is not the show stopper, the secret is in the sauce! It is a combination of the three essential ingredients ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder. The sauce can be made either spicy (for the heat seekers) or non-spicy (traditional) with a side of crispy French fries. Each plate can will cost between 5-8 Euros.


This is Germany’s most iconic dish.  Its deliciously tender meat cutlet in a light and crispy batter with a side of potatoes. Salivating yet!?  There are different types of Schnitzel; pork, beef, and chicken. The most famous version of Schnitzel is the Wiener Schnitzel!  A thinly sliced piece of veal-meat is bathed with flour, egg and bread crumbs and then fried in oil or butter until it turns golden on the outside.


Nothing screams German BBQ like a Bratwurst sausage! They come in a variety of sizes and tastes, but all taste amazing. It is easily prepared. Simply grill the Bratwurst for a few minutes on both sides, add a bun, add some ketchup and/or mustard and enjoy!

Spaghetti Ice

Have a sweet tooth? Spaghettieis is a fun ice cream sundae created by “Dario Fontanella, son of an Italian immigrant and owner of an ice cream parlor in Mannheim, Germany, in 1969.” Vanilla ice cream is pressed through a potato ricer to made the “noodles,”  and it is topped with sauce or rather strawberry puree, and coconut or white chocolate shavings as the Parmesan cheese!

For several decades, Spaghetti Ice has remained a German specialty ever since then. You must try this treat in Germany because it is rarely found anywhere else.  

6 Places in Paris That Will Blow You Away!

#1 The Eiffel Tower

One cannot simply tour Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower! Now if you are not a fan of the ‘mainstream’ Parisian attractions you will see it from many different spots in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is about 300 meters tall (984 ft). During the nineteenth century, when it tower was completed it stood almost two times higher than the Washington Monument in D.C., meaning it was the tallest land structure in the world. It took about two years to complete, used about 12,000 iron pieces, and seven million nails to construct.

Gustave Eiffel, the mastermind behind the creation of the Eiffel Tower was known for his innovative bridge building techniques. His unique work is not only see in Europe, but it is also in America as well. Can you think of which famous landmark was constructed by Eiffel? That’s right, the Statue of Liberty.

During the day time the Eiffel tower is stunning in her own natural beauty state, yet the night views are spectacular. From Sunset until 1am every night on top of the hour, the Eiffel Tower is illumined with golden a covering and sparkles for 5 minutes. So grab a picnic blanket, wine, snacks, and good company to enjoy this stunning light shoe on the grassy yards around the tower.

#2 The Palais Garnier

Builtby the genius Charles Garnier between 1865-1872, the Palais Garnier, also known as the Opera Garnier, is the most impressive attraction in all of Paris! That is definitely a matter of opinion, but you must see it and decide for yourself.

This luxurious masterpiece, was basically inspired by Classic Italian architecture yet completed in a classic French form. The marble exterior of the Opera house gently prepares you for the fancy sensory overload of the interior.   

The Grand Staircase massive. The staircase is housed a huge nave made of pink, green and white marble. It makes you feel as if you are a French royal who is adorned in jewels who is ready to see the amazing performance. In the auditorium there are a plethora of minute details. Without question the main attraction is the famous “Chagall ceiling and the 8-ton chandelier hanging down from it. Chagall’s masterpiece was actually painted only in 1965, replacing a few others before it.” The Grand Foyer is my favorite of the whole Opera House! “About 18 meters high, 154 meters long and 13 meters wide hall,” the grand foyer is a beauty to behold.

The Phantom of the Opera

For those who are fans of musicals or theatre, you might recognize the importance of this Opera House. In 1896, the chandelier counterweights loosened and flew down into the crowd, killing an audience member. This event, was the basis that inspired the legendary Phantom of the Opera. If you are lucky enough maybe you will get to see the Phantom!

No matter what time of year, the Palais Garnier is open almost every day. It is easy to spend over 5 hours in the Opera House, so this is the perfect place to visits on a rainy Paris day. Tickets cost about €11 per adult and for an extra €5, you can get a hand-held self-guided audio tour (which is recommend). This is a must-see!

#3 Montmartre

What is the most charming area of Paris? Of course, it’s Montmarte! Quaint coffee shops and cafes, small art shops, cobblestone alleys, vintage markets, you can walk around for days and find all sorts of gems. Step back into the 1920’s and take scenic ride in an old Parisian classic car or walk around at your leisure. Both methods will definitely make you fall in love with this once before quite village. Get your camera ready!

A brief history of Montmartre

In the past, Montmartre was not considered not to be a part of Paris. Although it is in the heart of Paris, you will feel as if you are in the calm countryside’s of France. It was a small, yet adorable homey village. While most of Paris is modern and bustling with the population quickly increase, Montmartre is stuck in its own charming bubble. Time does not seem to age this place.

In the last 100 years, Montmartre become increasing more popular among tourists. Yet, Montmartre was traditionally a hub for creative thinkers, writers, artists, like Picasso, and Van Gogh. Nowadays, Instagram-able cafés, vintage stores, unique boutiques, are lined up on every street and around every corner.

#4 Insta-worthy shots of La Maison Rose

La Maison Rose is absolutely the cutest and most Pariisian restaurant/café that you can visit in Montmartre. During the summer months, a few tables and chairs are placed on the cobble stone at this outside of the restaurant and you can eat in ‘plein air’. The meal in the picture above, is a delicious (and vegetarian) Montmartre platen from La Maison Rose. A dish here is not cheap, but you can taste the love and fresh ingredients that the chefs use! Totally worth a pretty penny, especially for my fellow foodies! After all, La Maison Rose itself has been open for 100 years, “with artists like Picasso frequenting the establishment during his day.”

#5 Watch artists at work in Place du Tertre

Art lovers unite! Have you ever seen streets filled up with A1 professional artist? Place du Tertre is home to some of the best current artists in Paris. Stunning art is displayed and is of course up for sale to the highest bidder with the deepest pockets. Not all prices are expensive, some are available for reasonable prices (time to haggle!). For a not-so-cheap price tag, most artist will draw or paint you or anything that you request that takes less than 2 hours to complete. Oh and it is CASH ONLY!

#6 Moulin Rouge Show

The most iconic show is Paris’ Moulin Rouge (built in 1885). It was is known for its endless wine and bottomless Champagne parties that made cabaret and French cancan dance very popular. Cabaret dancers are not only female, to popular belief. Muscular males with excellent stature and dance talents add a balancing mix to the performance.

Moulin Rouge is admired for its addictive high-energy can-can dance, with a chorus lines that are sang by the most of elegant of female dancers “ruffling their dresses between a series of high kicks, splits and cartwheels. But there’s a whole range of famous performers who have graced these stages from the likes of Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril, and Josephine Baker, and not just dancers, but also singers such as American legend Frank Sinatra and France’s national chanteuse Édith Piaf.”

Shows like Moulin Rouge do have nudity, so please do not bring anyone to the show who is underage. Tickets to the Moulin Rouge show are very expensive, but there are several other more affordable options that are just as stunning!



Fun Outside of Seoul! Chuncheon: Dak Galbi and Hanbok (닭갈비 & 한복)

It is easy to get distracted from visiting other smaller cities in South Korea due to all of Seoul’s magnificence, endless activities, glitter, and glam. Seoul is a city with over several millions of people. Who wouldn’t want a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle? Do not get caught up in the mirage. Seoul is a city where there are bottomless things to discover, yet you must take the time to visit various other smaller Korean cities that hold so much history and tradition. Chuncheon is a city of the old-fashioned; with traditional Korean houses, temples, tea houses, Hanbok, and DakGalbi.

Dak Galbi: The food of Chuncheon

Chuncheon (춘천 ) is located in the north-east section of South Korea. It is the largest city in the Gangwon province and it rests at dip that was created by the Han and Soyang river. This peaceful city is widely recognized in South Korea for it’s Korean dish called DakGalbi. Dakglabi is a delicious dish (my personal favorite Korean dish hands down) that is made on a large type of open-faced skillet and consists of chicken, onions, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, dok (rice cake), gochujang (red pepper paste), and other seasonings.

spicy Korean chicken-galbi

Usually, perilla leaves, lettuce wraps, grilled garlic, and rice are eaten alongside this lip-smackingly good dish. If you love this dish as much as I do, you must go to Dakgalbi street in Chucheon. Yes, a street. It is said that the DakGalbi restaurants on this street make the best Dakgalbi in all of Korea and I must say that my stomach agrees.

To make this dish at home follow Holly’s recipe! It is as tasty as the restaurants in Chucheon! Dak Galbi Recipe

Hanbok Rentals!

In Chucheon, you can also live out your Joseon Dynasty fantasy. By renting beautiful handcrafted traditional Korean Hanbok clothing for a day! Hanbok is the traditional Korean attire that was worn by every citizen, about 100 years ago. These days, Hanbok is still very much a part of Korean Culture and it is still worn today for more traditional events such as a wedding or holidays, such as Budda’s Birthday (check out my post about the Lotus Blossom festival). Not only are these stunning clothes pieces of wearable artwork, but were also symbolic of a person’s social status, marital status, and age.

Hanbok attire

For example, Hanbok with light and bright colors, for example, were usually worn by children and girls, yet more dull colors were worn by middle-aged men and women. Upperclass citizens wore a wide variety of colors, while the lower-class were required to wear white. As seen in the picture above, I wore a yellow chima (치마: skirt), white and blue jokki (조끼: vest)! In this Hanbok, I felt like I was born in Korea during the reign of King Sejong.

There are various Hanbok rental shops in Chucheon! Almost too many to chose from. Sadly I do not remember which shop that I rented from but for about 4-5 hours the rental price of about 30,000 won($27).  That might seem like a high amount, but the particular shop that I went to had other rentable accessories such as hats, fans, purses, and shoes (I am wearing the hat and purse).

Beautiful Hanok Villages

Hanok village

If you are looking to spend little money, but still have a good time, have no worries. Chuncheon is full of iconic traditional architecture. Hanok (한억)  are traditional Korean buildings/architecture that is very iconic to the Korean culture. Hanok’s are heavily recognized by and crisp liner lines thier pointed cornered roofs. Often times they have beautiful painted designs that cover the upper edges and ceilings of the buildings. Be sure to take a stroll through these streets and soak up the culture!

Small garden in hanok home

Other attractions outside of Seoul: The Coastal City of Wando: Beaches, Seafood, Good Vibes

More posts: Sky Park (하늘 공원): Korea’s MOST BEAUTIFUL Park!

The Coolest Museum in HONGDAE (SEOUL): TRICKEYE Museum

Check out my personal story: About Me