THE REALITY OF WRITING A TRAVEL BLOG

So, the reality of writing a traveling blog is a little different than I expected. Though I’m not sure whether to blame my lack of time and posts on my hilarious best friends or the busyness of traveling itself, I was a little disappointed in myself. I was over the moon about starting my “When Abroad” blog, and I planned exactly how I was going to differentiate myself from my other fellow travel bloggers. Well, the truth sometimes hurts. I was having way too much fun all of the time, and dedicating hours each day to edit photos and write something interesting seemed to diminish by the second. I would spend most of my flights writing my posts and editing the hundreds of photos I seemed to take everyday. However, it was not enough. This whole blogging career is serious work! Knowing I am pretty tough on myself, I would spend time making sure my post was perfect before hitting the “send” button. I would also attempt to edit my entire camera roll with VSCO to make everything look as amazing as it was in person. Though I am sad to say I am finished with my semester abroad, I know my work with this blog has yet to be done. I have way too many adventures, restaurants, and places I still want to share with you and anyone you may know. As a lover of all-things-food and exciting places, I know my experience can be valuable not only to myself, but to others as well. If you are still reading this, no worries – I am still here! I will be writing about my time in Amsterdam, Prague, and more. I am also planning on making a special list for all my fellow foodies out there. Though I realize blogging takes a little more time than I expected, I am happy to say I lived and learned. Time really does fly when you are having this much fun! Thank you to all of the encouraging comments and messages I have received about keeping my blog up and running. It means the world to me. More to come!

GOING DOWN IN LONDON TOWN

Oh, London. The most beautiful city! I forgot how much I loved England until I had the chance to return this past month with my two friends, Ellie and Kendall. Since the three of us had all visited London in the past, we decided to devote this weekend to amazing food and new places. Relieved that we did not have to rush seeing all of the touristy spots in just a few short days (like most other cities we’ve been), our relaxing weekend in London was just what I needed.

Since we decided to try and find a place to stay DAYS before our trip (great planners!), we ended up with an airbnb in the Chelsea neighborhood. On the bright side, we were less than a mile walk from Buckingham Palace – it was a beautiful walk in the morning with the fall leaves falling beside me. We ate breakfast at this cute lil’ café right next to our airbnb that was filled with delicious pastries and cakes, a multitude of great looking wines, and the best of all… AMAZING coffee! I got an almond milk vanilla latte and it was probably the best almond milk latte I’ve ever had (except for Coffee with Bread, of course). Ellie and Kendall ordered iced coconut latté’s and Ellie has been dreaming about it ever since. Amazing! (Currently working on finding the name of the restaurant to add in here)

After boasting about our coffees and complaining about the cold, we decided to hop on the metro and shop in Soho and Covent Garden. These neighborhoods are the definition of a gorgeous city – the buildings are lit up so beautifully, it almost seemed like I was in a fake world… AKA something like Vegas. We couldn’t believe it! The shopping in London is obviously spectacular, except for the fact that we are students and can barely afford anything. That All Saints army-green fur coat I tried on, though, will always have a special place in my heart. I would have to sell my own soul to buy something as nice, beautiful and expensive as that coat. Make sure to take a stroll through Carnaby Street, especially if you are visiting London during November or December. It is decorated beautifully for Christmas-time and the shopping is amazing with stores like Dr. Martens, Nasty Gal, Nars, Urban Decay, etc.

Starving after window-shopping, we attended our reservation at the Tea Room at Sketch – the restaurant where every 20-year-old girl studying abroad takes pictures in their super cool bathrooms. If you want to sit in the tea room or one of the restaurant’s other fabulous rooms, you have to make reservations way in advance. Thankfully for us, Kendall knew about this special spot and put our names in well before we were even committed to going to London.

The tea room was BEAUTIFUL! And yes, I say the word “beautiful” a lot when talking about London. With high ceilings and puffy chairs, this all-pink room felt like a dream. Waitresses walked around in their matching dresses as they brought tea and treats to each table. A live-band played and the ambiance was incredible. Sitting in the tea room is a flat-fee, meaning if you make a reservation, you will pay a specific price to sit there and have their all-inclusive meal. Though pricey, I believe my experience at Sketch was worth it. It is truly something else to sit in that room and pretend to be a princess, sipping rosé and endless tea while snacking on chocolate cakes and cucumber sandwiches. Love, love, love! And, of course… I had to take a picture in the bathroom.

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Immediately after Sketch, we visited my aunt at her home in London. This part of the trip was obviously my favorite – it is not everyday that you get to visit your family that visits in London! Even better, she fed us guacamole (my favorite food) and… DOMINOS! I haven’t had pizza since we left the states in September, and it tasted better than ever. She topped it off by feeding us Ben & Jerrys ice cream.

After our second dinner of the night, we moved on to our THIRD. Nearly crawling to the next restaurant, my full stomach managed to make the tiniest bit more room for some sushi and fish at a fancy restaurant called Novikov. The sushi and honey (???) fish here was AMAZING! Though hard to explain because I was close to a real-life coma from my fullness, the sushi and fish was some of the best I have ever tried. If you want a restaurant with some interesting people-watching and mind-blowing sushi, this is the place for you.

The next day, we found ourselves at the one and only Harrods – THE department store of all department stores. Harrods is always a must when visiting London because they have the coolest gadgets. I love going to the entertainment room and gasping at all of the incredible TV’s, speakers and inventions I have never seen before. Though I can afford close to nothing in that store, it’s still fun to explore and imagine what you would buy if you could actually afford something. Before we even got on the plane in Barcelona, the three of us knew we had to go to Chipotle during our London visit. Since Mexican food is my all-time favorite, I felt like I had been waiting for this day for my entire life. If you’re in London and CRAVING America’s chipotle, save yourself the money. We were beyond excited, and the chipotle was pretty disappointing. It did not taste the same as the Chipotle’s at home – the guac and overall bowl was flavorless, the salsa was nothing near spicy, and the chips were extremely unsalted and very sad. Though I’m laughing about it now, I was extremely upset at the time. Chipotle – why did you have to fail us like this?!

Needing a better fix to our Mexican cravings, we decided to go to a speakeasy called La Bodega Negra. YOU MUST GO HERE! The food was incredible, and the fact that it was a speakeasy made it so much better. The outside of the restaurant had strip club neon signs covering the walls. When Kendall said we were here, I didn’t even believe her at first! She confidently strutted through the doors and descended down the dark stairwell into La Bodega Negra. The restaurant is too cool – its dark and underground with exposed brick (my favorite) covering its walls. I felt like we were deep in some hidden war bunkers. Dolls hung from the ceiling and music blasted throughout the joint. We made our way to the bar where I ordered a spicy jalapeño margarita. It was perfect. I love spicy cocktails, and this bartender knew what he was doing. We sat and ordered all of my favorite dishes. When we ordered guacamole, they brought out 2 BOWLS. Yes, 2!!! As a guacamole fanatic, I was thrilled. The grilled corn, ahi tuna tostadas, and crab tacos were so tasty. We topped off our satisfied stomachs with warm churros dipped in hot chocolate sauce.

Short and sweet, our London trip was one of my favorites (even though it seems like all we did was eat)!

 

 

NOTHING TO WINE ABOUT IN MADRID

Madrid – an amazing surprise. For some odd reason, my friends and I were not over the moon about visiting this incredible city. However, once we arrived, Madrid proved us wrong. I will forever remember this weekend as one of my favorites abroad, and here’s why..

Just a 2.5 hour train from Barcelona, Madrid was so easy to get to. I would describe the city as a more open, classier version of Barcelona. The buildings are so unique and painted in colors of the sunset. Starving after waking up at 6am and traveling all morning, we took the advice of one of Malia’s university friends and walked to what could be my favorite restaurant in the whole world: TAKOS! As I’ve probably mentioned plenty of times before, Mexican food is my absolute favorite. And after spending nearly everything I own while I’ve been abroad, Takos was such a blessing in my life. Each “tako” is only 1euro. Yep, I said 1euro. Everything on this menu is dirt cheap and some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. Best of all, this is the first time abroad I’ve actually had something to eat that I can classify as SPICY! Takos had two “squirt bottles” (not sure what else to call these): one with green salsa and one with a spicy, spicy orange salsa. These bottles and the tacos reminded me of my all-time favorite restaurant at home, Otro Café. I almost had tears of happiness (and spiciness!) streaming down my face. We ate at Takos three times before we left Madrid. Can you tell how much we loved it?

After Takos, we walked back to our hotel, which turned out to be extremely nice. My favorite part? We finally had a BATH TUB. Ellie and I shared a room while Kendall and Malia shared the one next door. Each of our rooms had a huge bed and a balcony overlooking the street behind us. Now that I’m recalling our Madrid weekend, I believe this was the first (and potentially only) time we stayed at a hotel since our journey abroad started.

After attempting to go on a tour with our school, Ellie, Malia and I spotted a beautiful white building in the middle of a square that we had to look into. It turns out it was the ME Madrid – the same hotel I have always stayed at in Cabo San Lucas, and the same hotel my parents got married at in Cabo. More than excited, we rushed back to our hotel to grab our things and took the ME elevator up to their rooftop bar. This spontaneous decision turned out to be one of my favorite memories of all time. The sunset was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen as it overlooked the magical land of Madrid. The three of us split a bottle of white wine, snacked on our complimentary candies and spicy nut mix (halleluiah), and laughed in each other’s company as we enjoyed the view. When in Madrid, I would say going up to this bar is a must. Definitely my favorite. From that sunset forward, we had a fabulous night out in Madrid – one that Ellie and Malia will forever talk about as it was life-changing (if you know you know). We also ate at a market called Mercado San Ildefonso – a building made up of a bunch of different restaurant stands that you can choose from. If you’re from Arizona and have ever been to downtown Phoenix, this place was just like Desoto Market. We ordered some of the best patatas bravas I’ve ever had and some chicken tacos that were just as spicy as Takos’. Success!

The next morning, Malia and I woke up frantic as we were supposed to be heading off to the Prado Museum with our program. We arrived at the museum and decided to do our own thing. I saw one of my favorite and one of Spain’s most important paintings, Las Meninas by Velasquez. After getting yelled at by an angry museum-worker for attempting to take a photo, we left and began our own artistic adventure throughout Spain. Malia and I skipped along the streets, walked into some beautiful t-shirt stores, visited Takos again, and came across the Royal Palace of Madrid. Though the palace was beautiful, the church next door was even more incredible. We went inside and it was one of the most interesting cathedrals I’ve ever seen. It was colorful, intricate and massive.

Rushing back to our hotel before sunset, Malia and I had another rooftop bar in mind we wanted to visit. Circulo de Bellas Artes is a bar that was recommended to us by another university friend, and apparently the views are 20x better than that of the ME rooftop. How could it be?! We loved the ME so much! We hurried back, grabbed Ellie (sleepyhead), and tried our best to get to the bar before the sun went down. Once we arrived, there was the biggest line I’ve ever seen wrapped around the building to get up to the bar. What the hell!! We were so excited, and after waiting 45+ minutes, it was nearly pitch black outside. A little disappointed, we still took the elevator up and enjoyed a glass of wine in the restaurant up top where it was warmer. Oh, well. I guess it was a sign I will just have to come back to Madrid after all!

Afterwards, we met up with Kendall and went to a sub-par Italian place for some pasta and called it a night. The next day, we woke up and visited our favorite coffee corner that I forgot to mention earlier (oops). It was a little window in a pink building with marble counters. I ordered an iced soy latté, and everyone thought my order was weird first. Not a usual soy-lover myself, I was skeptical. But, it turned out to be way too good. I proved them wrong, and everyone ordered my same drink on Sunday. I’m always right!

We walked around Madrid once more and marveled at its beauty. The four of us visited Madrid’s main park (huge) and watched some ducks swim for a while before realizing we should probably be heading back for our train.

Though I was able to try many restaurants and visit many places on my Madrid bucket list, I wish I could have made it to the Mercado de San Miguel market and this restaurant called Ten Con Ten. Apparently this market was everyone’s favorite part about their weekend, and this restaurant was one of the best in Spain. Again, another reason to go back! If you are studying in Barcelona, visiting Madrid is so easy and so much fun. I would 100% go again if I had more time this semester.

CASA LOLEA

Casa Lolea… OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT! This little gothic-quarter restaurant has such a special place in my heart. If you are in Barcelona, it is an absolute must for tapas. A great staff, good vibes, incredible food – this restaurant has it all. Casa Lolea also has another location at a hotel called Trafalagar where there is a beautiful rooftop bar looking out on the city. If you go to this bar and order a bottle of Lolea’s #1 Sangria, trust me – you will be the furthest thing from disappointed. Here is a list of dishes that I have tried and that I think are a MUST:

#1 Lolea Sangria

Black Truffle Risotto (the best)

Patatas Bravas (also the best – you might want to get 2 orders because everyone will devour these)

Make-your-own tomato bread

Spanish omelette

Goat cheese salad

Salmon thingies (lol)

Ahi Tuna thingies

Pana Cotta dessert?

….and I am in the process of trying everything else!

 

ONE NOT-SO-GREAT EXPERIENCE ABROAD

As I am currently drowning in my own tears in the Barcelona Airport, I can’t help but think… Is missing a flight one of the worst feelings in the world? As a first-timer, right now it feels like it. I figured I should advise any of you travelers to get your asses to the airport hella early, even if you “don’t have to” in these European airports. If you’re running late, BOLT to the front of the line, plead for forgiveness, and ask to cut. I decided to respectfully wait in my long-ass check-in line, and the woman at the counter decided to make me wait even longer when she couldn’t find my ticket. Therefore, you have it. A missed flight. Now? A new flight costing nearly 100euro to a totally different airport where I will have to take an hour and a half long train to get to my destination… Oh, and arrive nearly 6 hours after I was supposed to. Life lesson, check! Missing my first flight will definitely not be one of my fondest memories abroad, but from here on out, I will forever make my flights and be the annoying mom that claims we have to get to the airport three hours in advance (I love you, Mom!).

DRY MARTINI

DRY Martini – according to many sources, this place is voted the best cocktail bar in Barcelona. Looking for a little fun and getaway from our apartment, my roommates and I got dressed up and ventured out onto the lovely street of Consell de Cent. We walked about 15-20 minutes until we arrived at our fancy lil’ cocktail bar. Feeling a little out of place at first, the bar has a very mature and European vibe to it. We seemed to be the only foreigners in the crowd, and by far the youngest. However, we were excited to finally relax and get away from some of the American crowds. We found ourselves in a comfortable booth in the corner, just a few feet away from the “Speakeasy Restaurant” entrance of the bar. Seemed cool, but we were on a budget (considering the drinks at DRY Martini aren’t the cheapest). However, they were worth it. Carol and I ordered the spicy Amazon cocktails – tequila, jalapeño peppers, vanilla bean, and who knows what else. Ellie ordered a passion fruit martini (classic), Malia and Shelby ordered mojitos (also classic), and Katie ordered a Gin&Tonic (arguably the best drink on the table). If you’re in Barcelona and craving a perfect cocktail, this is your place . It is the perfect old-school, European, dark-wood atmosphere that we were looking for. The drinks were gorgeous, and we definitely did not need more than one. They make these things strong here! Cheers!

 

 

 

THE ALMALFI COAST, OR HEAVEN?

This destination is hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our trip to the Almalfi Coast was one of the best vacations I have ever been on. Katie, Malia, Ellie and I travelled through the Almalfi Coast with a program called Bus2Alps, and I would 20/10 recommend. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard or as much as we did in Italy. We flew from BCN to Rome, piled on a bus, and 3 hours later at 2am, arrived in Sorrento, Italy.

SORRENTO

Gooooood morning, Sorrento! We screamed this line every morning outside our hostel window. Sister’s Hostel (ugh) was extremely nice, cute and clean. Besides the fact that literally zero water would come out of the shower when you turned it on after everyone got home from our daily adventures, Sister’s was truly incredible. The four of us got lucky and got a room to ourselves, and chaos happened in 207. Katie got herself in a little trouble and decided to break something (besides her tailbone) – if you know you know. I’m pretty sure we stayed up till 4am laughing until our faces hurt, which is why we were practically zombies when we had to wake up at 5:45am that same morning to sail to Capri. Can you say sea sick?

POSITANO

Day 1 – Positano. We woke up and hopped on another bus to drive along the Almalfi Coast. Malia and I sat in the very front of the bus and remained speechless for the rest of the ride – it was beyond beautiful. We had no time to be terrified by the fact that we were driving in a huge bus on the side of a massive cliff because we were distracted by how crystal clear the water was. Wait, did I mention it was beautiful?

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We arrived in Positano and I immediately added it to my mental list of places for my honeymoon. The hundreds of colorful buildings stacked on top of one another overlooking the bright blue water was amazing. Paired with one of the best paninis I’ve ever had, this place was heaven. I was living the dream until we decided to hop on a boat and go cliff jumping, where things took a terrible turn. Katie nearly broke her tailbone and couldn’t sit for 2 weeks. I decided to hold hands with Ellie on our way down, and ended up completely horizontal when I smacked into the water. Yep, my side was completely black and blue and the water actually cut my skin! PSA: Do NOT go cliff jumping. At least we laugh about it now!

After our heaven and hell in Positano, we hopped back on the bus to Sorrento. A few friends and I went to Re Food for dinner – and if you’re in this city, please go. We were gifted with complimentary champagne and some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. The owner also took us down a clear stairwell into his wine cellar beneath the restaurant. It was so special to see the vintage bottles of wine and extremely expensive bottles of balsamic vinegar. Yum! 

CAPRI

Oh, Capri. One of my new favorite places in the whole world. We took the public ferry to Capri where we were immediately loaded on to a new, private boat to tour around the island. It was too beautiful to even try and describe it. I would highly recommend taking a boat around the island so you can wave to a little statue boy on the side of a cliff – the legend says that if you wave at him, you will return to the island. So, we all obviously had to wave.

Back on land, we climbed up the island step by step. I tried a special frozen orange drink near the middle of the island, and I can’t stop thinking about it to this day (over a month later?). We continued the climb up to Anacapri (the top of the island) and found a little town filled with gelato, jewelry stores, and touristy places to eat. You can find a chairlift in this little town where you can take an individual, peaceful ride up to the tippy-top of the island. Not gonna lie, I definitely shed a tear on my way up. It is beyond gorgeous. I’ve attached some pictures to prove how amazing this little chairlift is because I cannot even find the words to explain it.

Tired after our journey to the top, my friends and I rode back down to the bottom of Capri in a topless taxi (fun!) along the Mama Mia road. Why is it called Mama Mia? Oh, because you will actually be screaming “Mama Mia!” when you see how close you are to falling off this massive cliff. We took a nap on the beach and headed back to Sorrento.

Night two – we obviously had to have more pasta. We found ourselves at a little restaurant tucked away behind the touristy ones and enjoyed some amazing ravioli and about 5 baskets of bread. Did I mention I love carbs? Our waiter, Pepe, took a liking to our friend group and gave us a couple of free bottles of wine and WAY too many shots of limoncello. Malia threw her limoncello shots behind her seat, and Kaitlyn fed hers to her cup of water. Limoncello… not the best, but usually complimentary. Make sure you have a solid chaser.

POMPEI

After what seemed like the best two days of our lives, we hopped on another bus, left Sister’s Hostel (I miss you), and drove to Pompei. It was interesting to see what was left of the city, but tired and maybe a little hungover from the limoncello, my friends and I were not thrilled when we got lost among the ruins. Haha! After eating what seemed like the worst pasta I’ve ever had (I’m so sorry, Pompei), we hopped on more planes, buses, and trains to arrive back in Barcelona.

This trip was one of my favorites (if not my favorite) of this entire semester so far. We talk about Sorrento, Positano and Capri nearly everyday, and I am so happy that I spent a little extra cash to do it with Bus2Alps. 100% recommend. We love you, Italy!

P.S. We travelled to the Almalfi Coast on the last weekend of September. It was beautiful weather, and the perfect time to go to this perfect place.

Oktoberfest – the good, the bad, and the beer

(Apologies for this post and all of the following being extremely late… life abroad gets pretty busy when you’re having this much fun)

Oh, Germany. After waiting what seemed like centuries, the beloved and famous weekend of Oktoberfest arrived. We packed our bags, hailed our cab at 5am (7am flights – I don’t recommend) and headed off to the Barcelona airport. I closed my eyes on the plane, and when I woke up I was in Munich, Germany. The country is absolutely beautiful – the countryside, buildings, architecture… I didn’t expect anything less. We all took the train from the airport to the Stoke Travel campsite, where my glorious 2-person tiny tent awaited our arrival.

 

Ellie, Kendall, Reid and I were very hungry (as usual) and decided we wanted a little taste of America before heading off into a German festival filled with pretzels and bratwurst. I hate to admit it, but we definitely cabbed 30 minutes into the town center of Munich and found ourselves in McDonalds. This was my first time eating American fast food since I moved to Europe, and to be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself (I miss you, American/Arizona food).

After searching high and low for a cheap dirndl that fit me in a somewhat decent manner, I found one nearly an hour and a half later that finally worked. But of course it had to be way out of my budget. After nearly having a panic attack in the store about whether or not to spend over $50 on a German dirndl I’ll probably only wear once in my life, I decided… who the hell cares. I figured I could re-sell the dirndl later in life if I was needing a little extra cash. In the end, I was happy with my cute little dirndl. Thank you, random German store.

We decided to head back to the campsite, get dressed, and take the long-ish journey to Oktoberfest. A bus ride and 2 trains later, we found ourselves at the famous festival. Not knowing we were supposed to reserve a table for any of the beer tents months in advance, we travelled through several tents only to find out we could not get a single beer without having a table. So, we decided to throw our money at a bratwurst food-stand and headed home (to our tents) to prepare for Saturday.

 

After waking up at 6am absolutely frozen in our ice-cube of a tent, we managed to get dressed in the dark and head to the campsite bar. Drinking a beer at 7am is not my cup of tea, but I did what had to be done. We caught the next bus and headed out.

Saturday was SO much fun. I immediately met up with my roommates in the Hofbraü tent and ordered what could be the largest beer I will ever drink in my life. It… was… amazing. I’m definitely not a beer girl, but this beer was incredible. Though crowded with plenty of college kids, the Hofbraü tent still had its German charm to it. Wanting the real “Oktoberfest experience,” I left the college tent and moved my way over to the carnival rides. The rollercoaster was the best 7euros I’ve spent when abroad (okay, maybe just Germany). It was so nice to finally do something other than drinking!! Having not eaten anything since the day started, I decided to ball out on a steak sandwich (10euros…). It was definitely not a mistake. Afterwards, I wandered into a random golden tent filled with people from all over the world. I met so many new friends, people from other parts of Germany, New Zealand, Australia… Unreal. The day started to become a little blurry after a couple beers, and I headed back “home” to my freezing cold campsite.

 

 

After continuing to join the party at Stoketoberfest (mainly because I was too cold to attempt to sleep in my tent), we finished the night with some weird nachos at the campsite’s stage and listened to their live band.

Sunday – the morning in Germany when you’re frozen (still), hungover, full as hell (from too much beer), and way too tired. I observed people walking around in their dirndls and lederhosens and was astonished. Though I (now) wish I had one more day at the festival, at the time the thought of dressing up in my beer-soaked expensive traditional “costume” seemed unbearable. I caught the next bus and train into Munich and walked around a park (not sure which) and saw some pretty cool stuff. I didn’t really know exactly what I was looking at, but my few hours in the city of Munich was beautiful. I topped off the day with my second abroad trip to McDonald’s (I’m ashamed?) and headed back to my home in Barcelona.

 

 

WARNING – What they don’t tell you about Oktoberfest:

If you’re camping, the smell is honestly pretty nasty. Bathrooms at any campsite are not chill, super gross, and there’s always a line. Yep, that’s right – I forgot shower shoes. Aaaand I never want to talk about it again. Also, it is cold as hell. The tents definitely don’t come with heaters or more than one cheap, semi-thin sleeping bag. Bring 4+ sweatshirts to pile on your body and find a friend (or someone else) to cuddle with. I nearly froze to death, but the beer might’ve just saved me. Bring some protein bars or candy if you don’t prefer prison food.

At the actual festival, 4/6 of us roommates ended up ALONE. Everyone is drunk, and I mean everyone. So no one is really going to be able to help you too much, especially when there are 10+ different languages being spoken around you. The language barrier is real, the drunken slobs are real, and the probability of you ending up by yourself is real. Find a friend, and latch the hell on. Being alone in Germany is not too ideal unless you have a good sense of direction and know which trains to take (thank you, Mom). A few of my friends didn’t have that luxury and had to hail a cab and buy a hotel room for the night (Yikes!).

If you’re planning on attending Oktoberfest with a big squad, you should absolutely reserve a table in advance. By advance, I mean months. You will get shoved and yelled at in German over and over again if you are caught just standing in the “hallways” rather than at a table. It’s not fun.

Finally, I saved the best for last. THE OKTOBERFEST FLU/VIRUS/FOOD POISIONING/SCARY SICKNESS. Apparently every year, nearly everyone from the festival goes home with some sort of illness. Every single one of my roommates was puking Sunday and Monday after Oktoberfest. We heard from several others that the same happened to them and their buddies. A guy we met in Italy claimed the same thing happened to him and his friends a couple years ago. It’s inevitable – and it sucks. Though it’s one of those diseases that everyone is embarrassed about, I thought I should also include that I came home to Barca with a terrible case of pink eye. No thanks!

All in all, Oktoberfest was one wild, amazing experience. PROST!

THAI THAI

Before I arrived in Barcelona, I was a Thai food virgin. Or, at least I was a pad Thai virgin. Hannah (my lovely sister) once made me try some sort of Thai burrito-like thing from a farmer’s market in Santa Clara. Or was that Indian? Either way, I had never tasted what I now believe is my new favorite meal. Thai Thai – a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant one block down from our beloved apartment. We passed this little spot one day when it was closed during siesta hours, and my roommates claimed it was necessary to come back when it opened at 8pm. After trying to convince them for hours to try and find a Mexican food restaurant (I miss you, Arizona), I finally gave in. As we walked in, we were shocked at how beautifully decorated the little spot is. It is red, purple, and gold all over, with beautiful plates and artwork. Each and every one of us ordered the pad Thai (no meat, we’re on a budget) and waited patiently. The food arrived, and my life was changed. Thai Thai – you are my new soulmate. We have also discovered you can dump your pad thai in sweet & sour sauce (yum) and a spicy chili powder for an extra kick (yummier). If I could eat here every night of my life, I would (and I basically have). It is safe to say we are all obsessed with this place, and if anyone comes to L’Exiample in Barcelona, you better not leave without ordering some pad Thai. And yes, I know I am crazy about food. And yes, those are all pictures of the same dish. We promised we would order something else next time, okay?

 

BRUNCH & CAKE

September 6, 2017

Barcelona, Spain

Brunch & Cake

If you want the best carrot cake of your entire life, please go to Brunch & Cake. They have a few locations in Barcelona, with some being named Travel & Cake or Cup & Cake. Ellie, Shelby and I came to this little spot on our first day in Barcelona. My small fear of planes left me a little dizzy after our 9 hour flight from Miami, so I decided to just get a caramel latté (my favorite) and a slab of cake for lunch. Why am I so healthy?! However, I think I’ll start choosing cake for lunch everyday because of this life-changing experience. I’ve been dreaming about the carrot cake ever since. Our amazing waiter also gave us a free piece of their cookies and cream (??) mystery cake, as well as two chocolate chip cookies. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about stopping by this cute lil’ place everyday on my way home from class. 10/10 recommend this place to all of those traveling in Barcelona.

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…Can you tell I love sweets?