Our next stop in Europe was a quick trip to Berlin, Germany. Which is huge guys! Huge. It was about 3-4 times bigger than we thought it was, which is even more amazing when you remember that a giant wall went through the middle of it.
Due to a delay getting into Berlin (thanks to some crazy fog in Amsterdam), we had just about 30 hours to see all of Berlin. So to make the most of our trip, we booked the most touristy thing ever: a hop-on, hop-off tour bus complete with headphones to hear the automated guide!
Check out below for more for our Berlin highlights and what quickly became a favorite traveling outfit!
Top Nine Things to Do in Berlin (in the order we did them):
- Eat Currywurst – If you can’t tell, we’re all about trying different foods/staples when we visit new places. This was the first thing we did after getting our bus tickets, since we arrived in Berlin right at lunch time. Currywurst is literally a grilled sausage (similar to a bratwurst) cut up into slices with ketchup on top of it. It’s then sprinkled with curry spices and usually served with really crispy fries. It’s typical street food, but I was more into bratwursts with tons of mustard on them, but I can get on board with fries dipped into the spicy ketchup!
- Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus – This was honestly the best way to get around the city. Like the name suggests, you just get on and off the bus whenever it stops at the 14-16 different stops on the route. A bus comes to to each stop about every 15-20 minutes, so you normally don’t have to wait that long for it to come pick you up. It’s easier than navigating traffic on your own, and you make it to a lot of different sites in a short amount of time. If you’re ever in Rome, we used it there and highly recommend it there too!
- Brandenburg Gate – This is one of the most recognizable sites in Berlin, and where Ronald Reagan stood to deliver his famous speech (it’s also on one of the Euro coins). It’s kind of crazy to stand at the base of it and stare up in awe at the sheer height of the gate and the immense history that has been at its base.
- Walk the Tiergarten – This is basically Berlin’s Central Park…aka a super pretty park that we just walked the brink of to get back to our hotel the first day. It’s super large, so it would have been nice to explore this with bikes! This used to be the area of land that German kings hunted on, and the name translates to “animal park”
- Take in the Views at the Reichstag Building – This is a the government hub of Berlin, but may be best known for the great (and free) views of Berlin. We unfortunately ran out of time and didn’t have a chance to go up the elevator to the top, but we did walk by.
- Visit Salamas Bar for Some NFL Action – We had already missed seeing one Indianapolis Colts football game (we listened to it on a radio app while we were in Ireland)…we weren’t about to miss another one. We got to the bar about 30 minutes before our game started and a huge mob of people were there. Since I’m a naive American…I panicked and thought they were all there for the NFL games! Nope, turns out one Germany soccer team was playing another one. One that game finished, the bar completely cleared out except for about a dozen NFL fans. We made some fast friends, joked around with some locals (my limited German got me nowhere), and watched the Colts squeak out a win! It was a great way to spend a Sunday night in Berlin!
- Walk the Berlin Wall – We walked to the last remaining preserved part of the Berlin Wall early on Monday morning. The grounds remain nearly as they were in the 1980s when the rest of the wall was torn down. This error is super eerie (only a few tourists were up as early as us) and the signs do a good job of describing the area and the circumstances of that time in history.
- See the Topography of Terror – This exhibit is set entirely outside in an open air environment on the grounds of the Nazi Germany headquarters (including the Gestapo headquarters). It documents the chronology of the rise of the Nazis and how they inflicted terror and horror in the world and how it impacted Berlin as a city and a population. Again, a really moving exhibit that makes you think.
- Checkpoint Charlie – Super tourist trap area (you know this because it also has one of the fanciest McDonald’s ever), but still a place that I didn’t know a lot about. This was the area of Berlin where foreigners could cross between East and West Berlin. We didn’t go into the museum here, but it apparently has tons of artifacts from people who successfully made it over the wall (including a hot air balloon)!
So there you have the world’s quickest tour of Berlin! We just ran out of time to see the rest (there is so much more to see)!
Tomorrow is sadly my last Europe post (until we go back next time ;))! Can you guess what city in Germany we’re going to next? Spoiler alert: it was The Husband’s favorite spot!
Have you ever been to Berlin?
Our second stop was Amsterdam (spoiler alert: we did not go for the drugs)! We both had never been to this city (or The Netherlands in general), and I’m so so so glad that we did. The appeal of this city was obviously 1.) everyone bikes and bikes are everywhere and 2.) canal cities are magical.
Check out below for more from our Amsterdam adventures and learn why this city was my favorite of our trip and might be my new favorite city ever (sorry London)! This was also my most “Sporty Spice” outfit for exploring the city on rented bikes (and eating too many Dutch cheese samples)!
Top Ten Things to Do in Amsterdam (in the order we did them):
- Anne Frank House – This (beyond renting bikes) was my most important “stop” in Amsterdam. We got to Amsterdam around 5:00pm and unloaded our bags at our AirBnB and went for a walk. We just happened to find our way to the Anne Frank House and the line was only a 30-minute wait to get into the building (some tour books said that at the busiest time, it might be a three hour wait), so we got in line. I had reread most of Anne’s diary on the plane ride over to Europe, and it was really moving and special to be there.
- Walking Along the Canals – We found out that the best (and prettiest) way to explore the city of Amsterdam was to pick a canal and walk/bike along it. It’s crazy to see that nearly all the homes have a canal view and most of the canals were lined with bikes and houseboats! Just a really pretty scene!
- Sample Dutch Cheese – Sign me up! Cheese is a top food group for me (jokes…but really), so I was excited to sample all the different varieties of Dutch cheeses. Right next to the Tulip Museum (see below) is a store hilariously called the Cheese Museum that offers samples of EVERY SINGLE ONE of their cheese. So of course, I tried nearly all of them. Heaven, I tell ya!
- Visit the Tulip Museum – Because we’re too cheap to pay the admission price (a constant theme on our travels if you haven’t figured out yet), we just ducked into the gift shop where they had 100s of tulip bulbs for sale. Tulips are my favorite flower of all time, so I was excited to see all the different varieties (some I didn’t even know existed – like the ice cream tulip here)!
- Eat a Stroopwafel – The Husband and I would agree that this was the best thing that we ate during the entire 14-day trip. It’s hard to explain, but basically imagine the thinnest, crispiest waffle cookie and layer that with a warm caramel syrup and another thin and crispy waffle cookie. Delicious when made fresh by a street vendor and still good when store bought! Someone on Instagram mentioned that you may be able to buy them at Trader Joe’s so I know what I’ll be adding to my basket next time I’m there!
- Rent a Bike – There was NO way that this bike-loving-gal wasn’t going to bike in Amsterdam (aka City of Bikes)! The city has the nicest bike streets (over 2,480 miles of them), and nearly everyone bikes (there are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people!). I had heard horror stories of people being yelled at in Dutch and nearly run over, but we didn’t experience any of that (though The Husband’s rented bike did have a chain come loose/off).
- Take a Day Trip to Bruges – We’re obsessed with checking new countries off our list AND a restaurant here in Indianapolis called Brugge (that serves Belgium food, including mussels and frites – my fav!), so we knew we had to take a day trip to Bruges, Belgium, since it is so close to The Netherlands. We didn’t end up having a ton of time to explore the city, but it’s frequently referred to “the Venice of the North”, so imagine lots of beautiful waterways and a maze of roads and lots of mussels and frites. A very fun trip!
- Visit a Windmill – Amsterdam is known for tulips and windmills, and since we had already seen the Tulip Museum, we had to take a day trip to see a full-working windmill in the Dutch countryside. It was a great trip – super informative and a reminder of a really idyllic lifestyle!
- Try on Some Wooden Shoes – The ultimate fashion accessory in The Netherlands (kidding…slightly)! We saw how they were made, and it’s a pretty neat process, plus they’re apparently perfect for farmers and super wet climates!
- Evening Canal Cruise – We booked this right before leaving for Europe for our last night in Amsterdam, and I’m so glad that we did! We love being on the water and seeing the city in a new way, and this evening cruise featured a cheese plate (#somuchcheese) and unlimited wine. Sign me up! The captain drove us around for roughly 90 minutes and provided some facts when passing various landmarks. It was a magical way to end our wonderful time in Amsterdam!
Windmills, bikes, tulips, and cheese? What more could anyone want? Stay tuned for The Husband’s favorite stop! There will be two more Europe posts next week on Wednesday/Thursday!
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? More importantly, did you ride bikes or try stroopwafel?
Today’s fun highlights:
- Football started yesterday, but the real team (the Colts) are back in only two more days, guys! I promise to be camped out on my couch to watch the debut!
- Summer is not officially over until Colts football starts. That’s the saying in Indiana, right? I used that as one more opportunity to bust out these shorts that my mom loves so very much and stole The Husband’s hat for the day!
- Wednesday snuck up on me this week, so The Husband and I defaulted to Noodles & Company for our date night, and my favorite dish (the Thai Hot Pot) is back! So yum!
- We also had our fantasy draft Wednesday night, and my team is sooooooo GOOD, you guys! Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?
- This weekend we’re headed to another wedding (friend of The Husband) and watching way too much football. So fun!
Happy weekend, friends! What are you up to?
Ten Things I’ve Loved This Past Week on The Internet:
- I‘ll take this perfect-for-fall skirt in all four colors, please! Can you imagine how many different outfits you could make?
- Blogger love of the week: I’m obsessed with Fran’s ikat dress, and she’s killing it with all the ways she’s remixed it already.
- A polka dotted puffer vest (say that 5 times fast)? Yes, please! It will even match my purse in today’s look! ;)
- The PURE JOY of this British five-year-old who finds out he’s going to be a big brother made my day. “Is it really in there…right now?”
- 21 ways to pay it forward (I love articles like this!). I’m trying a couple of them this week!
- Another day, another plaid shirtdress that I love. This one might actually be hanging out in my online shopping cart right now!
- What if your mom (or dad) wrote your dating profile bio…would it look like this? Nicole shared this two week’s ago and I thought it was so nice and sweet! The ONLY reason I wish I was still on the dating scene (love you, The Husband) is so that my mom/dad could write one for me!
- I love this side-zip sweater so MUCH! The only problem is that I might love all four striped patterns equally, so how will I choose?!
- That’s it guys, I’m moving to Chicago. Because they are going to have a Target that serves booze. Game changer while grocery shopping or while bringing your husband to Target while you shop for clothes! ;)
- These totes have the FUNNIEST sayings on them. I can’t decide if “Be a beautiful cupcake in a world full of muffins” is funnier than “I know guacamole is extra”. Which one is your favorite (mine is the dog one!)?
- BONUS: I know you hate these shorts, Mom. No, I didn’t pay extra for the distressing. ;)
- On Target item: Merona Eyelet Sweatshirt (super similar)
- Lip Color: Covergirl (exact)
- Watch: Timex (exact)
- Purse: Merona, Target (similar)
- Shorts: Old Navy (exact)
- Shoes: Mossimo Supply Co., Target (exact)
Full disclosure, I like to think I’m a creative person, and sometimes that is right, but not in today’s post. I had the brilliant idea to title this post “Sneak Attack” and was really excited about it. Turns out…I already thought of that idea…five months ago. Good idea, Past Katie, you’re a smart one.
So you’ll have to settle for the “lamer” post title that is “Sneaker Spotlight,” but the good thing is that the sneakers in this post (glitter, gems, tweed!) are so cool that they don’t need a fancy title.
Thank goodness for that! ;)
- Mossimo Gemstone Slip-on Sneakers
- Mossimo Supply Co. Black/Silver Sneakers
- Mossimo Supply Co. Leopard Slip-on Sneakers (these come in black/white tribal too)
- Mossimo Supply Co. Gray Polka Dot Sneakers (also come in a black/white polka dot here)
- Mossimo Supply Co. Chambray Sneakers
- Mossimo Leopard Print Lace-up Sneakers (I have my eye on these!)
- Mossimo Black Perforated Lace-up Sneakers
- Mossimo High Top Black/Tweed Sneakers