This summer our friends got married close to Berlin, and we decided to make a eurotrip out of it since we were already making the hop over. Both Cameron and I studied abroad in college and had been longing to revisit. I was able to stay in Europe for a whole month(teacher perks!) and Cameron stayed for 2 1/2 weeks and then my best friend Nora took over being my partner in crime for the rest of the trip. If I would have known I would be blogging I would have been much better about documenting the trip, but the trip was so fun and spontaneous I'm kind of glad I didn't.
First leg of the trip: Berlin and Rome
We landed in Berlin really late at night and were driven directly to Spreewald by our friend's neighbor. The wedding was the rest of the weekend and jam packed full of German and Vietnamese traditions, drinking, dancing, laughing, and more drinking. One of the highlights was a boozy gondola ride down one of the canals. All our friends jammed into the back of one of the gondolas and had one too many travel sized schnapps provided by the boat tour.
After the wedding we headed back to Berlin and stayed in a really cool hostel/airbnb in the Kroezburg neighborhood of Berlin. The building we stayed in used to be a factory, but is now a bunch of creative agencies and businesses with a very convenient cafe on the ground floor. Our first day we had to lay low and do nothing more vigorous than wander aimlessly because we were hungover(if we are being honest it was mostly me that was hungover).
We were lucky enough to meet a friend of a friend at the wedding that was willing to give us a local tour of Berlin by bike. So day two we grabbed three beers for less than 3 euros from a corner store, rented some bikes and were off to explore the city open beers in hand by 10 am. I loved how chill and relaxed the whole city felt, which is not something I would have expected. There was amazing street art everywhere we turned and delicious food of every type. I insisted on having kebab twice during our three day stay, I just couldn't resist. I will definitely be back to explore more of Berlin, I don't think we had enough time to barely scrape the surface.
Not to miss in Berlin
- Rent bikes and wander!
- Mustafa's Kebab
- Drink Matte Club
- Karaoke in the park
- Grab a road beer from a corner store(have the cashier open it for you)
- East Side Gallery(early in the morning to avoid crowds)
- Holocaust Memorial
- Befriend some locals to learn the Berlin way of life
Rome is like the most addictively delicious hypocrisy bathed in golden hour sunlight. I'll explain myself if need be, but if you've been there, you probably get it. I was relieved to find that I can still speak passable Italian even after 6 years of zero practice. We stayed in an airbnb near Campo dei Fiori with an amazing rooftop terrace. I would recommend staying in this part of Rome because it is walking distance to all the major sites, but still has some local flavor.
We lived true Italian style by waking up early and hitting all the tourist attractions first thing before the hoards of tourists descended. We then returned to the airbnb for a late lunch and then a long luxurious nap until evening when we popped a bottle of wine on the terrace and decided where to go out to eat and drink later. My favorite meal of our whole trip was at a wine bar around the corner from Campo dei Fiori called Verso Sera, definitely go if you get a chance. All too soon our stay was up and we were off to our next city, but those relaxed days in Rome still haunt my daydreams. A presto Roma
Not to miss in Rome
- Meatballs from Verso Sera
- Extremely good, extremely cheap wine from the super market
- Trevi fountain people watching(this is by far my favorite tourist attraction. I could stay for hours listening to the fountain and watching people from all over the world mill about and take selfies. I'm a sucker for traditions that are said to bring luck, and Trevi fountain does not disappoint)
- Colosseum/Vatican/Forum/Pantheon(just make sure to go as early as possible to avoid crowds)
- Cappuccino and cornetto breakfasts
- Amatriciana, carbonara, caccio e pepe(the three most famous roman pasta dishes)
- Evening walks around Piazza Navona and Trastevere
- Spritz, spritz, and more spritz(delicious orange cocktail in the picture)