I grew up as European, between Italy and Germany often visiting the UK, France and going on ski trips every winter short car rides away to Switzerland that all of that seemed normal to me. Europe was nothing special to me and so I dreamt of the colours of India, the food in Lebanon, the rainforests of Southern America, the road trips of Northern America, the beaches of Thailand and the pineapples of the Philippines. But what I realised this month travelling through Berlin, Hamburg, London, Milan and Florence is that no were in the world do you have a history and culture that is collectively as rich as the European one. No where in the world do you have a conglomerate of countries so different in aesthetic and language but that all share the same routes and all seem to be connected by something that goes far beyond politics. No where in the world can you spend a month travelling freely through countries without having to get a visa or expensive plane tickets. You can car-share, couch surf, airbnb and ride a train to what ever spot you blindly pick pointing at a map in Europe. No where in the world do you have almost one friend living in a different country that you can crash with and that you can visit because you just feel like it.
And that's exactly what we did. Me and my two best friends live in three different countries and sometimes it's really hard to get all three in the same place between work, studies, boyfriends and other commitments, but this time we succeeded. One of the girls Luci (check her blog here) is currently working in a hotel in the tuscan countryside and my other friend, Marina who is about to continue her law studies in Dijon, France for a year was also, like me, at a time of transition in her life so we decided this would be the right time to do a girls trip to Florence.
Here's our little photo diary (which could've been better except I only had my phone full of blog videos - coming soon) and some tips on where to eat and what to do.
Culturally you HAVE to see the dome and the Uffizi where some of the most prominent art of the renaissance is located.
Street Doing Couture Vintage has an amazing selection of branded vintage that isn't too expensive! Definitely check it out for unique pieces
WHERE TO EAT
You might think that being in Italy you could just walk into any restaurant and the food would be pretty much amazing, but take it from an Italian - that ain't the case! Here are our favourites from our 4 day trip.
BEST PIZZA I'VE HAD IN A VERY LONG TIME.
they have a lot of delicious options without cheese on the menu for all the vegans. If you're not vegan the one with anchovies is delicious. Like seriously. Also it's made with sourdough and whole flour so you won't feel bloated as you do from yeast and white refined flour.
This was another restaurant we found by chance on our way to another restaurant and decided to stay here because there was such a lovely atmosphere and a really delicious menu. Amazing selection of pasta and salads that aren't done the boring way. Also staff is amazing, we got complimentary prosecco while waiting for our table and as well as some digestives at the end of dinner!
This is such a cute breakfast spot, for the interiors and atmosphere and REALLY great coffee, sadly not the healthiest of food though! But at least go and try the coffee which you can also get with soy milk!
Also, get a bottle of wine and sit on the steps of Piazza Michelangelo at sundown. Words can't express.
Another city another millennial-worthy brunch recommendations to go through. Was only able to try a few on this trip so here they are.
My Goodness Berlin is a cute morning meeting spot with amazing breakfast options and in the heart of Berlin Mitte.
Halleshes Haus is a cool spot with huge tables which is Millenial working ground with everyone working away on their computers either by themselves or in groups.
Prague, it's been a pleasure.
This city is beautiful, not just for it's instagramable/ millennial appropriate pastel houses, but for the people and the cultural richness.
Without further ado, this is what you should absolutely go see on a weekend trip.
The Old Jewish Cemetery and it's Synagogue, whose walls are covered in about 85.000 names of czech jews who died in the holocaust. It also includes an exhibition of children's drawings done in concentration camps which was quite touching. The one that I think is going to stay with me forever showed the ugly grey metal bunk beds small and far in the background and a huge colourful bunch of flowers in the foreground. Isn't it beautiful how children always choose to see beauty, freedom and hope - crushing that is the most cruel thing you could ever do to a human, isn't it?
The Charles Bridge crosses the Vlatva and leads to the old part of town with the castle. It's quite beautiful with the statues of saints along it and a beautiful view. Do go there in the vending because everything is lit beautifully!
The Castle which took 1000 years to build, so it's a feast for the architecturally-savy!
The Veletrzni museum has a beautiful collection of modern art from picasso to matisse and when we were there a great exhibit by Ai Wei Wei on refugees.
Where the cool kids hang out. The coolest interiors. The coolest mags. Just the coolest. They also stock some sustainable brands and natural beauty brands. In the evenings they also have cool events so might be worth checking out if you are in town!
If you're not up for the heavily meat-based czech cuisine, here are some really nice vegan/vegetarian spots on both sides of the river.
ask for the burger of the day and ask to be seated upstairs, possibly outside for the best view. This is near the castle and bridge.
everything tastes amazing and we tried most of it!
BLACK GELATO - how can you not?
It's called coconut ash, made from coconut cream (and is therefore dairy-free) and activated charcoal. IT'S AMAZING. the other flavours aren't vegan but really delicious if you're up for that.
Let me know if there are any other spots and especially sustainable brands I should check out next time, I'll definitely be back soon! x