The first time I went to Paris was in 2012. I remember feeling content at the end of the few days that I didn’t really feel compelled to return to the city again. Despite being one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places I’ve even seen, I just didn’t get the magic of it at the time. In hindsight, this was probably because I had a nasty sinus infection, it was the third stop in a month-long trip, I was tired and it was January so absolutely poured with rain the entire time. Fun, right?!
Serendipitously, I’ve found myself drawn back to Paris no less than four times in the past two years. Most recently, to make like Carrie Bradshaw and pop over for lunch with a couple of the girls.
There’s really not much else to say, other than I get it now. I mean – when you find yourself drinking champagne, watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower, it’d be hard not to.
Paris, je t’aime.
There’s some cities that I’ve been to which have been purely and utterly love at first sight: New York City, Venice and London, obviously. Berlin was not one of them.
My love for Berlin has been more of a slow burn. There’s something cold and quiet about the city that makes it feel, on the surface, unwelcoming and a bit disinterested. It’s not crowded and its best bits are decidedly hidden – but as you come to learn, part of Berlin’s charm is having you discover them on your own.
It goes without saying, but Berlin’s obviously seen some dark days. The history in the city is overwhelming and totally humbling. This most recent trip in late November marked my fourth trip to the city and I can honestly say that every single time I’ve been, I’ve learned something completely new. I don’t think anything I’ve seen in my travels has really had the same impact as when I first stood at the Berlin wall – I mean, they just put up a WALL. It’s crazy.
Aside from all this though, Berlin has so much to offer in terms of shopping, design, food and some of the best coffee you’ll find outside Melbourne. Having now travelled a bit more around the rest of Germany, there’s really nowhere else like it. It’s affordable, quirky and ultimately, such a rewarding place to spend some time.
Until next time, Berlin.
After you’ve driven around the picturesque streets, stopped for some gingerbread in Grasmere, visited Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top farm and hiked up to see Aira Force Waterfall, it’s probably about time to participate in another fun Lake District activity: vintage shopping in Coniston.
Because, let’s be honest, it just wouldn’t be a trip to the country without some time spent perusing vintage wares, dreaming of the house you’re going to put all those shabby-chic mis-matched tea cups in and all the occasions you can totally wear that top hat.
Be strong, self control, be strong.