Monday, 30 June 2014

Photo Essay: Prague




During my year abroad, I decided to return to the Czech Republic and visit Prague once more during a long weekend. 
Escaping to the “Golden City” was the perfect getaway from my fast-paced, and at times utterly chaotic, life in Berlin, only this time we decided to completely abandon any preplanned itineraries and just discover the city through the eyes of a pair of aimless wanderers.


Prague was everything I remembered it to be: striking, dramatic, mysterious and a little bit overwhelming.

















Prague is one of the cities whose atmosphere can only be truly appreciated in either fall or winter. While it is true that winters in the city can be rather harsh, snow is what also turns it into a unique and almost magical place.

The Travel Corner

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Barcelona: 4 days and 8 sights - day 3 and 4

Day 3 & 4: Seeing the city from a completely new perspective

Sightseeing and its bustling crowds of tourists can eventually take their toll on any traveller, even in a vibrant city like Barcelona. It was therefore no wonder that, as our departure was rapidly approaching, we decided to distance ourselves from the usual tourist hot spots and take the scenic route for once. And what could be more scenic than the breathtaking Montjuïc? With an overall height of 184,8 m, the hill, whose name translates to “Jew Mountain” in medieval Catalan, is sure to offer any traveller a unique way of experiencing Barcelona, namely through a panoramic view of the city’s hardbound and skyline. Several fortifications were built on top of the hill, the latest of which, known today as the Castle of Montjuïc, is today open to visitors. 


 

Perhaps what impressed me even more than escaping the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, yet still discovering a new side to it, were The Botanical Gardens. An oasis of tranquility and home to an overwhelming variety of Mediterranean and exotic flora from all over the world, The Botanical Gardens are the simplicity we easily seem to overlook as we let ourselves caught up in the rollercoaster of the busy city life. My advice? Take your time, make the most of your walk and enjoy the stunning views you will get to discover with every step.









When walking around gets too exhausting, do bear in mind that buses, and even cable cars, run regularly and can easily take you back to the bottom of the hill. I am happy to say that for those of you who prove to be real troopers right to the very end, the bottom of hill Montjuïc will reward you with one of the city’s most prominent sights, namely the Palau Nacional (National Palace), a stunning embodiment of neo-Baroque architecture, and home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.




Our visit in Barcelona concluded with what could only be described as a well-deserved “siesta” on Badalona’s sandy beach. No trip to Spain would truly be complete without it, so make sure you take a step back and enjoy the simple moments.



Travel Tip Day 3 & 4: When taking pictures of the new places you visit during your holiday, try capturing those sights the way you see them, and not the way they would appear in a guidebook. Whether it’s a different angle, a detail you particularly like, photography “has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” (Elliot Erwitt)






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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Barcelona: 4 days and 8 sights - day 2

Day 2: Rambling on Las Ramblas


Busy would probably be the best way to describe our second day in Barcelona. First stop – Casa Battló one of the city’s most popular landmarks. Still staying true to Gaudí’s creative genius Casa Battló remains one of his most memorable works and a modernist masterpiece. The building’s entire architecture is a harmonious mixture of irregular shapes, colours and light which encourages visitors to step into a world of fantasy and marine allusions. Students – make sure you have your registration card with you, as nice student discounts are available at the entrance.

Casa Battló


Casa Battló 

Our visit at Casa Battló was followed by a quick change of plans as we realised that La Pedrera, was undergoing restoration works. This gave us however more time to explore the Gothic Quarter, part of Barcelona’s old city. Losing track of time and letting ourselves charmed by the winding streets of the Barrio Gotic dating as back far as the Medieval Times has certainly paid off, as the labyrinth of Neo-gothic works eventually led us to Barcelona’s famous Mercado de la Boqueria, an open air market place and a vibrantly coloured feast for the eyes. A paradise for the senses, and a must visit for any serious foodie, La Boqueria was also my favourite stop of the day, because as you can probably imagine, I couldn’t take my hands of my camera as we were exploring the apetising food stalls. Best part about the market? You can buy fruit, drinks or sweets at the market for as little as 1 euro, so make sure you bring enough spare bags. One thing our hotel warned us about, was staying vigilant when visiting the bustling streets of Las Ramblas due to potential pickpockets. I am glad to say that this was certainly not the case, but receptionists must without a doubt have a good knowledge of the city, so in some cases it might be worth following their advice.

Gothic Quarter

Travel Tip Day 2: Sometimes when travelling things may not always go as planned, so make sure you think ahead and include enough alternative sights to your wish-list in order to make the most of your holiday!






The Travel Corner

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Barcelona: 4 days and 8 sights

Day 1: Arrival and first steps

Badalona

We were booked on an 8am flight from Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport which was due to take us to the sunny Barcelona in about two and a half hours. As we got to the destination airport, our first concern was to secure a 4-day Barcelona public transport card, which would allow us to explore the city at our ease. Once this was out of the way, we took the train to Badalona, where our hotel was. We stayed at the very welcoming Hotel Miramar whose friendly staff and seafront view provided a great start to what was already looking like a great holiday. Badalona charmed us from the very start, but if I were to make any recommendations before booking your stay there, I would suggest brushing up your Spanish skills before doing so, because English will rarely get you too far. This however, did not stop us from having our daily breakfast at the local café L’Antic Café de la Rambla.

Badalona





The afternoon was spent sightseeing, and we started with La Sagrada Família, designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The imposing Roman Catholic Church is still under construction, but that doesn’t seem to affect its beauty, and Gaudí’s own adaptation of Gothic architecture makes it one of the most spectacular buildings I have ever seen. Following the trail of Gaudí’s flamboyant architectural style led us to our second stop of the day – Park Güell. Regardless of what visitor entrance you use, it is impossible not to notice the serpentine bench on the main terrace whose mosaic was designed by Gaudí’s collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol. Equally fascinating are the bird nests adorning the terrace walls and the Chamber of the Hundred Columns.  Would I recommend park Güell to anyone wanting to visit Barcelona? – Absolutely.





Travel Tip Day 1: Those of you who want to take the perfect shot of Gaudí’s multicoloured salamander in Park Güell, also known as “el drac”, should be willing to wait in line and not let themselves be too put off by the unending throngs of people surrounding the sculpture.


The Travel Corner

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Barcelona Photo Essay

A week ago I had the amazing opportunity to spend four incredible days in the beautiful Barcelona. Here is what I came back with:






The Travel Corner

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Travel Motivation




Hi everyone, and welcome to The Travel Corner, a blog dedicated to all those choosing to respond to their wanderlust. As a first post, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what inspired me to create this blog in the first place and why travelling is to my mind one of life’s best experiences.

Why travelling is probably the best investment you can make:

1. Adventure and excitement:

What better way to make the daily routine more bearable than planning ahead a trip, which would without a doubt give you something to look forward to in the future? Travelling should be a lot more than just lying on a beach and eating our own weights in local food, but rather an opportunity to evade our daily lives and create unforgettable memories. Nothing makes me feel more alive than the thought of embarking on a  new adventure. The world is an immense place, and everyone has the right to discover it.

2. Lifelong learning experience:

Compared to a degree, travelling is sure to guarantee a learning experience to last a lifetime, and the best part of it all – there is no graduation date. Exploring new places and discovering new cultures will not only help you expand your general knowledge but also expose you to unique experiences, no books could ever teach you about. When starting to experience new cultures, your mind will begin to change accordingly and you will become more accepting of others and more open to new experiences.

3. Getting to know yourself while exploring the world:



I think this is something any traveler would get to experience at some point during their journeys. Whether it’s a new type of food, a new belief or a new hobby, travel can decisively influence our own personal development by exposing us to a range of experiences we would otherwise never have the chance to discover. In my case, this would be making photography something more than just a hobby. I believe that my decision to go on a Year Abroad to Berlin has convinced me to stop making excuses and get a camera that would allow me to capture the beauty of the places I had the chance to see and make these experiences last for a lifetime.

Believe it or not, booking a ticket to a destination of choice will take you somewhere new and straight out of your comfort zone, but the unique memories you will come back with will undoubtedly make it worthwhile. 

Have you already planned your next adventure?

The Travel Corner