OUR TRIP TO THE ISLANDS OF VENICE - MURANO, BURANO, TORCELLO (ITALY)

BURANO
Burano
BURANO

One of these days, I will write about our spontaneous weekend trip to Venice - it was magical (not without its ups and down but still an excellent time). One of our favorite parts of the trip was our time visiting the Islands of Venice - there are three of them - Murano, Burano and Torcello. This is one of the highly recommended things to do when visiting Venice. It is a half day trip taking off from Venice (just off Saint Mark Square) in the morning or afternoon. At the time of our visit, it cost about 20 Euro per person - we bought our tickets online but you can get them off the main square as well. If you are planning to go be aware of a few things

MURANO
MURANO

There are three towns in total and because this is only a half day tour the tour are very strict on time alloted on each Island. We had about 45 mins in Murano ; an hour in Burano , which is the most famous of the three islands and about 45 mins in Torcello. We missed our boat from Burano to Torcello and had to bargain with the next tour group to take us (we got lost trying to find our way back to the dock); We were lucky to find a boat with space. If that happens to you and you don’t have the luck we did - you can take a public taxi to get to the next stop or back to Venice. Basically, it is NOT the end of the world if you miss your boat.

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Murano was the first stop and if you know nothing about Murano - know it is home of glass blowing, crystals and glass making and with our tour we were able to visit a glass blowing factory and seea demonstration. For over a century artisans have lived here molding glass from sand using air and fire to create the most exquisite, intricate pieces and passing that skill down to the next generation. The main street was lined with shops selling the intricate pieces if you want to pick up some as souvenirs. It is extremely hot in the factory but it was very cool to see the process of sculpting from glass. We did not attempt to do much here, we walked around, took some pictures, visited the Church of San Donato and then headed back to the boat. If you have time, you can visit the glass museum.

MURANO
Murano
Murano
Murano
MURANO

The colorful Island of Burano was our favorite, there is quite a bit to see/do here and we felt very rushed here. We discovered after our trip, this was actually an archipelago of five Island connected by bridges (never would have guessed that in a million years). It is also the home of the most beautiful hand crafted lace - thankfully, we had restricted ourselves to our budget - I might have returned how with several lace pieces. Burano is also home to the leaning bell tower in the main square - not as distinct as Pisa; yet a wonderful find in Burano.

BURANO
BURANO
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Burano
Murano

Torcello was our last stop and we did not do much here at all. We heard of the Devil’s bridge legend based in this city; It was the first thing we saw as we approached the town from the dock - it is about a 7 to 10 minute trek from the dock to the town; once we saw bridge - we called it a day at that point. We just could not be bothered after spending over an hour trying to sort out how to get here after missing our tour (this was before we discovered the public taxies). The Cathedral of the Assumption was also highly recommended but we did not make that far into the town. Instead, we found a restaurant and had an incredible Italian lunch at Ristorante al Torno di Attila. The tiramisu was incredible.

We returned to Venice will a full stomach and full heart.

TORCELLO
TORCELLO
TORCELLO
TORCELLO
BURANO
BURANO







THE BERLIN CITY GUIDE - HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN THE GERMAN CAPITAL

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Within the first few hours of arriving in Berlin, I had a mini panic attack that fed into an already rocky start to the trip which included standing in the security queue in Bordeaux for way longer than normal and nearly missing my flight and realising that the extra money I paid for Easy Jet flexi was a waste as I did not enjoy many of the benefits on this flight and a flight delay. I arrived in Berlin several hours after I hoped which ruined my “perfectly planned” itinerary; then my connections failed; my phone for some reason would not pick up an network in Berlin (and I could go one)….it was a rough start and given that, I did not expect to have as great a time as I did. I since visited Berlin again and it is a city I quite enjoy visiting. It is relaxed and laid back.

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VISA REQUIREMENT. Germany is a Schengen member Country which means you can gain access with a valid Schengen visa. Pro tip - when applying for Schengen visa, make sure to request multiple entry - not two entries. Certain Schengen countries have the option for “two entries” on the application so make sure you select “multiple entry” on your application. Also make sure to apply in the Country you will be spending the most time - I cannot stress that point enough.

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GETTING THERE. Flight time from London to Berlin is under two hours (about an hour forty-five minutes) direct flight are available from all London area airports via most major airlines - British airways and Luftansa or a low budget airline like Easy Jet and Ryan Air. There are also direct flights from most major cities in Europe - my flight was direct from Bordeaux (READ: Guide to 48 hours in Bordeaux)

GETTING AROUND. The city has a great transport system, you can take the train from the airport to city center and once you are in the city center; the trains are a great way to get around. Even if you choose to walk everywhere - visit the train stations - the Berlin train stations are a work of tiling art.

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HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED. I spent (almost) exactly forty hours in the city and I packed in a lot in that time. I did not realize how much until I started putting the post together. For context, I arrived at my hotel about 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and I was on the 7:30 p.m. flight on Friday evening back to London. There were a handful of things I did not get to; but all in all I enjoyed my time in the city and did not leave with major fomo. I did not take my usual day trips while in Berlin - if that is something you want to add to your itinerary, then make it three days / a long weekend.

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WHERE TO STAY. Unbeknowst to me, I had booked a hotel that was right in the center of the city - the train arrived in city cen ter and I was in my hotel less than 5 minutes later. I highly recommend the Park Inn by Radission Alexanderplatz - it was ann excellent base camp for my Berlin excursion. On a subsequent trip, I stayed at the Soho House Berlin which is located 7 mins from Alexanderplatz, if they have availability and you are looking for somewhere really lush - that is a great option as well.

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WHAT TO SEE / DO. You are in Berlin, so you should highly consider visiting the various memorials of world war II. I recommend it but I also want to say visit with caution - I was not alive at the time; but visiting some of the sites and reading through the events (especially in Germany) affected me very deeply. At one spot, I broke down in sobs which is not something I do (in public ever). I visited the topography of terror monument/museum build around a section of intact Berlin wall on the site of the former Gestapo HQ; About a 10 minute walk from here, you will find checkpoint Charlie - the US army checkpoint between the former west and east berlin (you can even get your passport stamped as those who were living in that time would have needed to going back/forth from west to east. Across the street from Checkpoint charlie is a monument with some remnants of the Berlin wall. If you want to see more of the Berlin wall - you can visit the Berlin wall memorial and/or the East side gallery. I did not visit the latter but I am told it is best to go early as it gets incredibly crowded. On a lighter note, Trabi World safari is mid way between the topgraphy of terror and Checkpoint charlie and presents a unique way to experience Berlin’s History. For more on the history of the Berlin Wall and its fall - there is a great exhibition at Potsdamer Platz just outside the train station - this wall monument is not the best kept (as many is covered in chewed up gum), but the information and exhibit is excellent.

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The museum Island is a must visit - the UNESCO world heritage center is located in the heart of Berlin and home to five museums - Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum) ; Bode-Museum; Neues Museum (New Museum); Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery); Altes Museum (Old Museum). If you only have time to visit one - I personally enjoyed my time at the Bode-museum. he Island is also home to the Berlin Cathedral with interior and exterior that is an architectural spectacle. If you visit the interior of the cathedral - I recommend visiting the dome as it has excellent view of the city. Lustgarden is the park in front of the Pergamonmuseum and Berlin Cathedral - the park/fountain in front of the cathedral is great place to picnic and rest in between exploring or just to read a book if the weather is nice out.

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Whether arriving by air or train - you will most likely be arriving to the city center at the evry busy Alexanplatz - the largest square in the city lined with shops ; restaurants and hotels. It is also a major stops for trams; trains and buses (so at some point during your visit, you will find your self here). It is also where you will find some must see attractions including the world clock ; fountain of international friendship and the Berlin TV tower.

The Brandenburg gate is one of the city’s best known landmark - the gate once represented division but is now seen as the symbol of unity. If you are visiting in summer - part of the gate may be covered up as it is often used a stage for summer concerts and events. A short distance from here is the Reichstag Building (aka the Parliament) and the glass dome - the dome and roof terrace is offers great views of the home of Government. Reservations are required to access the dome. The Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe (aka Holocaust memorial) is located in the same area. This is another one I recommend making a decision on for yourself.

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Gendarmenmarkt square is home to the French Church and German Church as well as the Konzerthaus Berlin (Berlin Concert hall). If you cannot attend a concert, you should still visit the hall; you can get a glimpse of the beautiful concert hall and the interactive exhibit in the lobby when I visited was a personal favorite. The book burning memorial in Bebelplatz is another chilling site - it is easy to miss if you are not looking for it. Look for the glass plate on the spot of the book burning - the memorial is about what is missing. There a few other spots in Bebelplatz so walk around and visit those that peek your interest. Looking for something not on the tourist book, go in search of the house that used to stand in two countries - it is not an easy one to find. Here is a picture of it so you know what to look for (if you are interested)

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For a bit of shopping - the Hackescher markt was my favorite spot. Although I did not buy anything (carry on luggage struggles); I enjoyed exploring the unique shops here. The shipping center is also quite unique as it spans multiple courtyards in the Mitte area of Berlin. You cannot go wrong with Galeries Lafayette if you are looking to shop during your time in the city.

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(“HALF”) DAY TRIP. While I did not plan a day trip, I did escape the city center for a few hours to visit Charlottenburg Palace. The lavishly designed baroque style palace is one of my favorite ones in Europe. To get your monies worth and to fully explore the palace and grounds; I recommend planning three to four hours to explore the new wing; old palace; tea house; Belvedere and the the Mausoleum.

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WHERE TO EAT. I could do a standalone blog posts with all the place I shortlisted to try while in the city; but there is only so many place I could try in 48 hours (even wearing stretchy pants). If you only try one place - make sure it is Benedict. It is a bit outside city center but it is worth the journey. It is open 24 hours and they serve breakfast ALL day. The blueberry pancakes are EVERYTHING. If you are close to the plaza - may I recommend Burgeri - a Asian burger spot for lunch and/or dinner - all the burgers are under 10 euros. Lokal is a Michelin Inspector/Guide pick and they sever up excellent dishes - any place that can make me crave Cauliflower soup is a winner in my book (reservations are recommended). The bakery chain zeit fur brot bakery is a great spot for quick and delicious. It is one of my favorite bakeries, anywhere. Depending on what time you arrive, you may experience long queues but it is worth any wait. On my last day in the city, I stumbled on Kantine and I regretted not finding it sooner. It is located on architect David Chipperfield’s Berlin campus so it is great food and great ambience. The lunch menu changes frequently, but if the offer a fish soup and you have no qualms with seafood - get it and I will await my thank you note.

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THE BORDEAUX CITY GUIDE - WHAT TO SEE AND DO; WHERE TO EAT AND STAY IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE

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The trip to Bordeaux was as unplanned as they come; I had a few days off in the summer and needed to get away from London. As always, France was at the top of the list of destinations. Paris was out of the question as I already had a trip booked for later in the year. I considered heading back to the south of France but the tickets and accommodation were out of my budget. Enter Bordeaux, not sure why I searched for it; but I did and the fares were as friendly as they get traveling across Europe in summer. I am glad my travel plan worked out that way.

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I think of Bordeaux as the capital of the to french wine country - this city in the South western part of the Country gives you access to some incredible wine chateaus in Saint Emilion; Bages and Pomerol. In addition for being the access to the wine country, Bordeaux has an incredible scene of food; cultural and activity to you entertained during your time in the city.

By sheer coincidence, I planned the trip for the same weekend as the wine festival which happens the third weekend of June every year with wine makers from across France and Europe making appearance. The festival was a very unique part of my visit and very happy I got to experience it. If you are considering a trip to France / Bordeaux in the summer, you should look into getting tickets to this event.

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I booked a half day trip to explore a winery in Pessac - that was one of my favorite parts of the trips. I also made a stop in Saint Emillion a lovely town just half hour outside Bordeaux. If I had more time on the trip, I considered spending a couple of days in Saint Emillion.

VISA REQUIREMENT. France is a Schengen member Country which means you can gain with a valid Schengen visa. Pro tip - when applying for Schengen visa, make sure to request multiple entry - not two entries. Certain Schengen countries have the option for “two entries” on the application so make sure you select “multiple entry” on your application.

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GETTING THERE. Flight time from London to Bordeaux is under two hours (about an hour forty-five minutes) direct flight from London either via British Airways or a low budget airline like Easy Jet and Ryan Air. If you are visiting Paris, a flight to Bordeaux is about an hour ; fifteen minutes.

GETTING AROUND. The city has a great transport system, you can take the bus to city center with just one change and once you are in the city center; the trams are a great way to get around. You can use one ticket for up to two hours. If you are planning to visit a wine chateau, consider booking a tour. It is much easier than trying to navigate on your own. Check with your chateau of choice as well - I am told some of them offer a free shuttle.

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HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED. If you are thinking of touring neighboring wine chateau, then I recommend a long weekend (3 nights minimum). I arrived in Bordeaux just after noon on Sunday and left at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, so I had about two and half days in the city. In hindsight, I should have taken an evening flight on Wednesday or spend an extra night in the city to allow me visit a few spots that were highly recommended by locales.

WHERE TO STAY. I stayed in a apartment hotel right in the center of the city just off Rue Sainte Catherine - the main street in the city center. The property - Studios in historic center was the perfect home in Bordeaux.

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WHERE TO EAT. Like most French cities, Bordeaux has an amazing food scene; I received more restaurant recommendation than the days I was in the city. For coffee and a dessert (also great spots for light breakfast), you should check out Plume which also has great healthy options; Tata yoyo serves a delicious cup of hot chocolate and a great dessert selection to go with that cup of chocolate. Contrast cafe has a great brunch menu (and the food is pretty too - if you like that sort of thing). Cafe des arts on Rue Sainte Catherine is a great spot for the coffee and a great backdrop if you want the iconic drinking coffee outside a french cafe picture.

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For lunch and dinner, my options were endless, I dined at a couple of real winners - My last day in Bordeaux, I was lucky to get a lunch spot at Le Bouchon Bordelais which continually ranks as a top ten restaurant in Bordeaux and yes it is worth the hype. I still occasionally dream of the gazpacho which was heavenly. If you are looking to get a table here - I recommend making reservation. Actually, for any highly ranked restaurant in Bordeaux, it is best to make a reservation. I stumbled on Le Bistrot one evening by coincidence and it was the best seafood pasta , ever ! By far the best seafood I had was at Le Petite Commerce, again make sure to make reservations or plan for an early dinner. Le Noailles is a Bordeaux establishment and has been serving dishes since 1932. I debated putting this one on the list, while the meal was good; the price and service could be improved. I had better meals in Bordeaux for cheaper and wish the service was better. A few other spots that I looked into but could not go due to not making reservation / not having enough time in the city - La Tupina; Restaurant Influences ; Restaurant Lou Lou and La Brasserie Bordelais.

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WHAT TO SEE AND DO. If I had a bit more time in the city, I would have loved a beach day to visit one of the many beaches in the area. This site has a list of all the best ones in and around Bordeaux. The sand dunes at Archachon bay was another sight I missed out on - the sand dune is said to be the highest in Europe. If you have more time in Bordeaux than I did - you should consider adding these to your itinerary.

I happened to visit the same weekend as the wine festival which was amazing to experience. This also happened to be the 20th anniversary of the festival so it was extra special. If you are thinking of visiting Bordeaux in 2020, you can find all the information on the festival here.

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Bordeaux TSE

On my first full day in the city, I booked a half day wine chateau tour to Pessac which included wine tasting; tour of chateau and a visit to Sainte Emillion. That tour was about six hours of the day and very worth it. I booked my tour with Ophorus excursions and our tour guide was excellent. The tourism office can also help with wine tour options if in doubt. The office is located just off the main square. The main square - Place de la Comedie is a must see. Here you will find the grand theatre and its impressive columns; Sanna of Bordeaux aka “giant head” sculpture; grand hotel Bordeaux; restaurants and cafes. There is also a tram and bus stop in the Square. The main streets of Bordeaux converge here including Rue Sainte Catherine which is the main shopping street which lined with shops; boutiques; hotel; restaurants; cafes and grocery shops. Not too far from the square you will find the girondins monument - an impressive work of art - part sculpture; part fountain. There is a park nearby where you will find locals picnicking and a ferris wheel for some great views.

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Place de la Bourse is a gathering point for locales and tourist. While it is impressive to see at anytime, you should not miss seeing this at night. I recommend seeing the building up close to appreciate the intricate design; however, the beauty of this structure is captured from across the street at the “water mirror” - a large pool with occasional mist and thin film of water which is a favorite of locales and tourist especially in the summer months. The water mirror feature is best at either sunrise or sunset with the exterior lights of place de la Bourse on.

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A few other spots not to miss out on - the Notre-Dame Bordeaux; Bordeaux cathedral and the neighboring Tour pey Berland bell-tower. The bell tower entrance is on the side of the cathedral and the trek up its 282 steps rewards you with an excellent view of the city. On the other side of the cathedral is the iconic Hotel de ville - once a palace, it now serves as the Bordeaux city hall. Visit Port Cailhau and Grosse Cloche. Port Cailhau is the city’s gate built in the 15th century; you can pay to climb to the top of the tower - I did not make the trek so I cannot vouch for the views. Gross Cloche is on the other side of Old town from Port Cailhau and it is considered one of the last few remaining medieval monuments in the city. It has got two towers and the big bell which used to be very symbolic of the city I am told. If you visit Tata Yoyo for a meal, you will be within a very short walk from Gross Cloche.

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If you take no other recommendation from this list, please make sure you take these two as they were two of my favorite parts of my time in Bordeaux. The first is La cite du vin (aka Museum of wine); you can take a tram from the main square to get here - it will take about 20 minutes. La cite du vin is excellent for many reasons including the architecture of the building; the detailed and entertaining way wine history and process is presented. I don’t want to ruin it for you just know thatIf you are a lover of wine and how it is made, you will not be disappointed. Your entry ticket also earns you a free glass of wine in the wine bar at the top of the building. Finally there is Darwin (Darwin Ecosysteme); there is a skatepark on site, organic grocery store; restaurant; wellness center and free expression canvas for graffiti artist. The graffiti art here are some of the best I have ever seen and it was the main reason I visited. I loved every moment of it. It is a bit further out from the center of the city. I recommend taking the bus to get here. I did a trek from the main square and could barely move the next day.

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GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN MILAN - WHAT TO SEE/DO ; WHERE TO STAY AND EAT // MILAN , ITALY

Milan
Milan Cathedral

It has been a challenge putting this guide together because I did not feel like we fully explored Milan. Due to flight delays, we arrived four hours later than planned and the weather was working against us most of the weekend. Our carefully curated itinerary had to be tossed out quickly. We made the most of our time there and although we did not get to see and do all the things, we still had an incredible time. Milan is very different from most other Italian cities I have visited - it is more formal/business like; its architecture is more modern and while other Italian cities thrive on their history; I think Milan is thriving on its present. 

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VISA REQUIREMENT. Italy is a Schegen member state which means you can gain with a valid Schengen visa. Pro tip - when applying for Schegen visa, make sure to request multiple entry - not two entries. Certain Schegen countries have the option for “two entries” on the application so make sure you select “multiple entry” on your application.

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED. That depends. Milan is a great base for exploring parts of Italy and Switzerland. If your plans involve day trips then you should consider staying longer than I did. I spent three nights in the city with two day trips. I was on a mid morning flight out of London and had a half day to explore Milan. The main purpose for the trip to Milan was to get to Como so our time in Milan was limited to a few hours before and after our day trips. We spent Saturday in Verona and Sunday in Lake Como. Verona was not planned but it was raining very heavily in Milan on Saturday, we opted for the trip to Verona over staying cooped up in our hotel room.

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MILAN
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Milan

WHERE TO STAY. Although we stayed in the suburbs - we were within a 20-minute bus or tram ride to city center and only an eight minute uber ride to/from Milano Centrale. We stayed at a three-star hotel - Hotel Ideale. It was clean; comfortable; rates included breakfast and the staff was very friendly and helpful. If I find myself in Milan again, I could see myself staying here on a return trip to Milan.

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WHAT TO SEE. I don't think you can claim a visit to Milan without visiting the Milan Cathedral (Duomo). What sets this apart from other Duomo is the gothic style architecture and it fills its space. I don't quite know how to describe it. Just trust me and put this on your itinerary. If you can withstand the queues, you can walk around the top. I stuck to viewing it from the Piazza and I am still in awe.

Next to the Cathedral is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is home to high-end boutiques and fancy cafes. Walk to the center and look up to admire the intricate details that makes this one of the most photographed spots in Milan. If you superstitious, find the image of the bull and spin on it for some good luck. 

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On the other side of the Galleria, you will find the famed opera house - Teatro alla Scala. If you can get tickets to a show, I hear it is one of the most impressive opera houses in Europe and a great way to glimpse into the culture of Milan.

Santa Maria delle Grazie. This is one of the reasons I will be returning to Milan. I missed out on visiting this place. It is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site and the place that displays the famous Leonardo da Vinci mural - The Last Supper. 

Watch the sunset from Naviglio Canal. If you have visited Venice then you may not be impressed by this. If you want an escape from the center then here is an option. It is quieter than the area around the Duomo and has a variety of restaurants; bars and cafes.

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LUINI MILAN

WHERE TO EAT. I discovered this Italian culture of snacking while we were in Venice and I definitely embraced it (wholeheartedly). Our first stop in Milan was to Luini which is an incredible snack shop near the Milan Cathedral. They do snacks well here. For Pastries and sweets, head to Paticceria Marchesi located above the Prada store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

For Pasta and Pizza visit one of these Milan spots - Ristorante da Teresa; Norin Cafe and Bistro; Pizzeria Di Drago and El Brellin.

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DAY TRIPS. I did not realize how close Milan was to several Italian cities. We knew it was close to Lake Como (that was half the reason we were there), but thanks to mother nature ruining our plans to spend Saturday in Lake Como, we discovered several other Italian cities within a two-hour train ride from Milan. We visited Verona, Bellagio, and Lake Como. You can read all about our time in Verona here. Other day trip options we considered: Venice (2.5 hrs via train); Rome ( 3 hrs via train); Bergamo (1/2 hr train ride) ; Cinque Terre (3 hrs via train); St Moritz, Switzerland (2.5 hrs via express train).

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THE SEVILLE CITY GUIDE - HOW TO SPEND THREE DAYS IN THE CAPITAL OF ANDALUSIA , SOUTH OF SPAIN

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We were desperate to be in Europe in December but wanted to avoid the cold as much as possible. The south of Spain proved to be the perfect destination. Earlier in the year, I wrote a blog post about traveling Europe in Winter. Seville is one of those destinations you can visit in winter as it has with milder winter compared to other parts of Spain and Europe. I had my eye on this region of the world for ages and I could never get the pieces lined up to take the trip that was until a while ago when the opportunity presented itself. We flew British Airways out of London Gatwick and despite the drama of getting through security (read: I almost missed the flight); we arrived in Seville ok; took a cab to our residence for the week.

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WHERE TO STAY. By sheer coincidence, we ended up staying at two different hotels during our stay. They were both excellent; except for the spotty internet at the first one; both had an insane view of the city and within walking distance to the Royal Alcazar palace and the Seville cathedral. We absolutely loved our time at Hotel Palacio Alcazar and Eurostar Seville.

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Sevilla

GETTING AROUND. Because there were three of us, we opted for taxis when the destination was not within walking distance. Cab fares split three ways was cheaper than getting a transport card. We used cabs to get to and from the airport ; to and from the train station for our day trips and once to get to/from the national museum. Almost everything else we did was within 20 to 30 minute trek of our hotels.

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TIME OFF WORK. We planned a full week in the South of Spain from Seville to Granada. We spent 3 days in Seville and it did not feel nearly enough. If I had to do it over again I will probably plan to spend four full days in the city as I felt we rushed thing. You will need a day dedicated to the Royal Alcazar and the Cathedral. If you want to take your time, you could stretch out the Royal Alcazar to a full day; we rushed through it because we knew we were short on time and want to do and see as much as possible.

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WHERE TO EAT. We did not have a bad meal in Seville, on our first full day, we stumbled on spot that became our default dining option when we could not agree. A note to bear in mind, meal times in this part of the world are typically later than meal times in London or the States. Once we showed up to dinner at 8:30 p.m. and were the only ones in the restaurant for about forty-five minutes. Our favorite spot for Tapas was Postiguillo and we loved every dish we ordered here. We especially enjoyed the OxTail. I grew eating OxTail in Nigeria but had a rediscovery while we were in Seville - we ordered it at every Tapas meal. Other favorites were Ovejas Negras Tapas and La Gorda de Las Setas. Curros was recommended to us but we did not get a chance to visit. Panypiu bakery was one of my favorite spots for coffee and a baked good in the morning. I recommend drinks at Hotel Alfonso XIII - the hotel was commission was the king of Spain in the 1920s and remains an iconic cultural landmark - we stopped by for tea and drinks before dinner one of the evening. I loved the vibe of this place. The Eurostar hotel rooftop bar with an excellent view, I cannot recall the quality of the drinks, but I remember the view. We also dined at La Moderna - while I did not enjoy the meal here, others in our party did, so I am including on this list due to that fact.

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WHAT TO DO. I have written blog posts of two of the highlights of our time in Seville - The Royal Alcazar of Seville and the Seville Cathedral - check those out here and here for details. The blog archives also contain all the details of the various days trips to Cordoba ; Granada and Carmona that we to completed during our time in Seville. If you can, I recommend spending at least forty-eight hours in Granada - our day trip was very rushed. Besides those, I recommend visiting the La Giralda, a bell tower next to the Seville Cathedral. Visit one of the many museums in the city - my personal recommendations are the museum of fine arts and Archaeological Museum. The Metropol Parasol (aka the Mushroom building) is a stunning structure that you should see if you are into that sort of thing. The Jewish quarter is a great area to explore. Besides the Jewish Quarter, I also recommend exploring Plaza Nueva outside city hall and Barrio Santa Cruz. My one regret of our trip was not visiting Plaza de Espana, do not miss it on your trip.

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