Italy in September

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but Italy, by far, is my favourite country in the world. It's a country I will never tire of, no matter how many times I may go there. At the beginning of September, I headed there with one of my closest friends for two weeks of sun, food and a lot of delicious wine. Our little trip started in Pisa for a night, before heading to Florence and then on to Rome. I hadn't been to either Pisa or Rome, so it was super lovely discovering two new cities in one trip. I have been to Florence before and I instantly remembered the city as if it was yesterday, I also reminded myself why it's one of my favourite cities. 

Some of the highlights from the trip include this food & wine tour in Tuscany (never usually a fan of group trips but my god, this tour was absolutely brilliant), dinner at Ristorante Dal Bolognese in Rome and Il Santo Bevitore in Florence, all of the gelato and wine. 

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What To Do In Berlin?

I can promise you that you won't get bored in Berlin, unless you don't enjoy wandering around, eating or shopping, otherwise you're at the wrong place. Think of Berlin as a giant East London, as everyone was so much cooler than I will ever be and they serve really great coffee everywhere. In the short four days I was there, I feel as though I covered some distance and happened to find amazing places. Here is a short guide covering a few of my favourite places.

eat & drink
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SILO

Mix Australian breakfasts with Berlin coffee and you've got yourself a great mix there. Silo is an Australian cafe serving local coffee and absolutely delicious food. I had the Silo breakfast which consists of poached eggs, avocado, sourdough bread, bacon and feta - delicious! Situated in Friedrichshain, it's the perfect place for a wander too.

BRAMMIMBALS DOUGHNUTS

I love doughnuts, but who doesn't? I'm also not a vegan so I was pleasantly surprised to find that these doughnuts were both vegan and absolutely delicious. I went for a traditional cinnamon sugar doughnut and my friend went for a mango & goji doughtnut - both demolished in seconds. They have a cafe open Tuesday-Sunday but can also find them in Markethalle on Thursdays. Be sure to check out their website too, one of the most asthetically pleasing cafe websites I've seen. 

FRIEDL ROSTEREI

Roastery & cookies, perfect mid-morning pit stop! A tiny coffee shop near Schnohauser Allee station which roasts its own coffee & bakes its own cookies. Be sure to pick up some ground coffee to take home too as it's the good strong stuff, perfect for a weekend coffee at home. 

CAFE OLIV

Cafe Oliv is situated in Mitte is a great lunch stop. We headed over there at around 1pm and it was just before the lunchtime rush so we still managed to get a seat. With a selection of specials and an open kitchen, I loved being able to sit next to the chefs and watch them make my food. I went for a simple sandwich and juice, but the open sandwiches and the fresh quiche looked delicious too. 

MARKETHALLE

If you're in Berlin on a Thursday, you have to go to the street food market, Markethalle. I was so overwhelmed with the choice of food, just too many amazing things to eat and too little time. I will openly admit that I had around four courses that evening, as I simply wanted to eat everything. I started off with a delicious gorgonzola focaccia slice (to eat while deciding on everything else) and followed by a Bao bun the size of my head. I finished off the savoury dishes with a mini cheese board and had cookie & ice cream for dessert. I'm drooling thinking about the food again, so please visit on my behalf. 

things to do

 SHOPPING AT VOO STORE

For all the cool people, you will like this store. It's an extremely cool concept store full of amazing designers & handpicked items, with a coffee bar inside. I fell in love with a handful of Acne items inside and left empty handed or else my credit card would have taken a battering. 

VISIT THE EAST SIDE GALLERY : BERLIN WALL

You can't go to Berlin and not visit the Berlin Wall, mainly as it runs through the middle of the city, but the art is simply breathtaking. At the time of my visit, it was actually barracked off for some unknown reason, so I wasn't able to see the art up close. If you visit in the summer, take the time to walk all along the wall as it's such a beautiful walk, just not in the chilly conditions when I was there. 

VISIT THE BERLIN CATHEDRAL

I love visiting cathedrals, I find them so fascinating, but I think that's because I grew up in a town with a world heritage cathedral. So I happily dragged my friend up to the top of the Berlin cathedral, where we took in the amazing views and took a million selfies. It's a low price for entry, but worth it for the slow walk around to take everything in. 

VISIT : HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

Two places I really wanted to visit was the Holocaust Memorial and Jewish Museum, which are both breathtaking and sad at the same time. I was there on a particular grey day, which made the whole experience even sadder, but you really feel something when there. In fact, I felt something about the city the whole time I was walking around. The Jewish Museum was my favourite and the whole museum has been designed to reflect all those people went through, it's a museum I will always remember & most likely return to in years to come. 

Berlin in Autumn

I popped over to Germany last week for four days and I completely fell in love with Berlin. Two friends of mine have been living out there since before the summer so my visit was well overdue. Turns out that staying with people who live in the city not only makes the experience better (mainly due to the fact you're not going back to a hotel bar), but you can force those people to play tourist with you. I hadn't been to Germany before, but Berlin has always been at the top of my wanderlust list. Autumn is my favourite season, so I happened to visit at the perfect time. 

Look at the trees! Look at the leaves on the floor! Autumn was in full force, including the crisp breeze which made me require multiple layers at one time. 

Atlas Mountains & the Sahara Desert, Morocco

Two days spent in the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert was certainly an experience and it's an experience I'm glad I didn't miss!

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We knew before going on our trip that we wanted to go to the desert for the night, especially as it was something which many people had told me that I couldn't miss. When we had arrived at our hotel, the kind manager was able to organise the trip for us and gave us the option to go with a private driver or with a group trip. We went for a private driver as it worked out to be around 20 euro difference each and it meant we could pick & choose what we saw on the drive there, as well as being able to stop whenever we wanted to take a picture, plus there was no one else to judge us sleeping and eating all the snacks. I'm not going to lie, the 8-hour drive around the smallest winding road was horrible and it was possibly the worst car sickness I've ever had (the downside of living in London and never going on long drives anymore). I didn't think it could have got worse, but it did when altitude sickness hit me as we were so high up in the mountains. The thing which made me feel a whole lot better (aside from the odd fizzy drink to settle my stomach) was the views. I've never been anywhere like that before, it was truly breathtaking. 

That beautiful dusty town above there? That's where they filmed Gladiator! 

Once the drive came to the end, we were in the middle of the Sahara Desert and our camel leader was waiting with our camels to go to the camp. Now, riding a camel was certainly an experience. Be prepared for the most uncomfortable ride of your life, it makes your lady parts ache a little after 10 mins on the came. But after a while, I came to love my camel as it kept tripping over stones and looked like it needed to brush its hair - just like me! As we were riding the camels, the sun was setting behind us (photos are above) which only just prepared us for the sunrise we were going to see in the morning. That night we were cooked delicious traditional Moroccan food in the camp, before going to sleep in a tent where a beetle ran over my stomach in the night and we heard wolves outside, so it's no surprise I didn't get much sleep that night. 

The next morning was the spectacular moment, as we walked to the top of the sand dune to watch the sunrise at 6am. The photos below don't capture the beautiful sunrise we saw and I only took a few shots due to wanting to embrace it without looking through a viewfinder too much. Afterwards, it was time for breakfast, another camel ride back to the car and the car journey back to Marrakech, which turned out to be half as bad as the first journey.