Blogroll.

I recently added a list of links to the blogs of my classmates. It can be found on my main blog site or to the right of this post. I encourage you to check out these blogs, as they cover a wide range of topics from food to travel!

 

 

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A Few Days in Germany

img_9520After visiting Greece for a week, I decided to go to Germany to visit my aunt who lives there. I have only been here for a week, so I will probably update this post in a few days.

So far, I’ve had a lovely time and I can’t complain except about the weather. Sitting at about 45 ish degrees, I can’t say I don’t miss the warm weather of Greece. The worst part is that it’s also windy and it rains about once or twice a day. However, this makes for the perfect opportunity to bundle up in chic winter clothes. There’s something about wearing scarfs, booties, and big coats that I just love.

I am currently in Mannheim, a city close to Frankfurt. Mannheim’s symbol is der Wasserturm, a Romanesque water tower.

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Another well known landmark of Mannheim is its Palace, which is now a University.

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If you enjoy my posts, I invite you to check out some of my friends’ blogs:

  • Voleer Thomas who writes a lovely blog about his journey to veganism!
  • Andrea Terrasa who writes an aspiring blog on how to be an artist…
  • Britteny Smith who writes a blog on how to successfully do what you love!

Cheers friends!

One Week in Greece

We had the wonderful opportunity to visit Greece last weekend. Even though it was only a few degrees warmer, I was overjoyed to get away from the cold weather in England.

Since my boyfriend was there for work, we spent most of our time in Athens. The first day we got to get out and explore, we drove out to the city of Corinth to check out the temple of Apollo.

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We had a pretty nice time. Corinth was a nice little town with a lot of little stores full of souvenirs. There were also a lot of nice coffee shops where we stopped to have a latte. There wasn’t a lot left to the temple, but it was still a pretty sight thanks to the town and mountains surrounding it.

The next day we headed towards Athens to check out the Parthenon and the Acropolis. It was 20 euro to see both of them, but I thought it was worth it.

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First we saw the Acropolis, which is pictured above. Then we saw the Parthenon. Both were breathtaking. The ruins really make you wonder how such architecture was possible back then. Athens is a beautiful city full of history.

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All of the ruins are located up a hill, which made it possible to see the whole city surrounding it. I wondered what the view from up there looked like during the time of Ancient Greece…

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After fullsizerender-17seeing the “must-sees” in Athens and eating way too many Gyros, I decided to hop

on a ferry and head to one of the Islands. I decided on Mykonos, which is known as the “Ibiza of Greece.”

The Ferry from the port of Piraeus Athens to Mykonos took about five hours and was 35 euros. Though I prefer flying, the ferry was a nice change because it stopped at other islands and we got the chance to see them even if it was for  few minutes. The unbelievably blue waters of Greece were also quite lovely to look at. During the high season (summer) there are fast ferries available which are a lot faster reaching Mykonos at about three hours.

Mykonos was beautiful from the moment we arrived. We were able to book an Airbnb literally three minutes from the water for about 50 euros a night, which was the great part about visiting Mykonos during the low season. The bad part? The town was absolutely dead.

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A lot of people wondered why we were in town this time of the year when they found out we were American and suggested we come back during summer. Although, most businesses and bars were closed while we were there, we still had a lovely time.

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We honestly appreciated how peaceful and quaint the town of Mykonos was. I could of wondered for hours walking through the streets filled mostly with white houses with blue doors. There were beautiful flowers everywhere making the town even more charming.

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My favorite part of Mykonos were definitely the amazing sunsets we had both of the nights we were there. I think it made my most-beautiful-sunsets list without doubt. I took so many pictures, but they really did not do it justice.

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I truly loved Mykonos, but I do hope I can visit again during the high season.

If you enjoy my blog, please consider checking out some of my friends’ blogs:

  • Brooke Burkett who has a beautiful blog about fashion and style, but most importantly about inner  beauty.
  • Sydney Zaruba AKA the Boho Traveler who currently lives in Florence Italy and also shares her travels throughout Europe!
  • Alex Ciccarone who writes about hidden treasures of New York City!

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

Three Days in Paris

If you had a chance to read my previous blog post, then you know this weekend I will be traveling to Paris. I am leaving tomorrow, Friday, and coming back on Monday.

In my other post I talked about how I got my tickets and hotels. I will be mainly going to Disney, but I do have some other stuff planned.

I am, without doubt, checking out the Eiffel Tower on Friday. We are planning on getting a couple bottles of wine and having a picnic on the lawn before heading up the tower. We thought it would be a better alternative than having lunch in the tower, but I’m willing to bet that’s a nice time, as well.

On Saturday and Sunday we are doing Disneyland. Let me tell you, I am a huge Disney enthusiast. I have been prepping my boyfriend all week because we will be the firsts to get there and the lasts to leave – no question about it. I have heard some mixed reviews about ‘Eurodisney,’ but in my opinion, I don’t know what kind of weird people don’t like Disney…

Then on Monday, we are checking out the Picasso Museum and relaxing. I figured we will be exhausted by then.

Pretty eventful weekend coming up. Can’t wait to get everything up on the blog. Be on the look out for some major tips!

The White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover form part of the English coastline that face the Strait of Dover and France. The cliffs get its color from a composition of white chalk contrasted by black streaks of flint.

The top of the cliffs are covered with beautiful green pastures making it a peaceful spot to spend the day, or simply go to for a walk. The cliffs themselves sit as high as 350 feet in the air and are surrounded by beautiful blue seas.

I wish I would of spent more time at the cliffs, but we decided to just stop by after spending the day at Leeds Castle located about 45 minutes away. We spent longer at the castle than anticipated and by the time we reached the cliffs, we had about an hour and some change before sunset.

Read About My Trip to Leeds Castle

We went to the part of the cliffs that is right by the Castle of Dover. However, rumor has it Seven Sisters and Beachy Head are the best places to see the white cliffs.

But anyhow, we immediately started making our way up the cliffs. On our way, we were surrounded by green pastures and blue seas. fullsizerender-10

I was in love before I even got a glimpse of the actual cliffs. Once we made it all the way to the top, we started descending towards the edge. fullsizerender-11 This is where we saw the cliffs for the first time. It was a beautiful warm day, yet there was a refreshing breeze. It was so breath-taking, we decided to lay out a blanket and have a little pick nick, which I totally recommend if you are planning on making this trip!

After we ate, we continued our journey getting as close to the edge, as we could. It was wonderful. I could of stared at the ocean for hours.

This is my favorite picture I took at the cliffs, but it really doesn’t do it justice.

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There was also a port very close to where we were for ferries that traveled to France. I did some research and the ferries go to France for a 100 pounds, so that could be a neat little trip for another day. By the way, we could actually see the coast of France from where we were and when it got dark you could even see all of the city lights.

The sun started to set, which only made the view that much more enchanting.

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The above picture was taken as close to the edge, and as low, as we could go. We had to head back to the top since we didn’t have that much time. So, if you are planning on making this trip, I recommend going with a few hours to spare to really take advantage of the scenery.

If you have more than a few hours to spare, you could even check out the South Foreland Light House, the Dover Castle, and the Dover Museum. I plan on making a trip back out to Dover soon to check all of these out, so I will keep you all updated.

– Valerie

 

 

 

 

A Day Trip to Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle has often been called one of the most beautiful castles in England. With more than 900 years of history and beautiful gardens, it is a perfect place for anyone of any age to enjoy.

Leeds Castle is located in Kent, England. It is five miles southeast of Maidstone and about an hour and 40 minutes from London.

While in England, Leeds Castle was not high up on my list to visit, but I only wish I had visited it sooner. We finally decided to make the trip out last weekend and it was truly a magical experience I am sure your whole family will enjoy as much as I did.

As soon as we got there, we purchased our tickets which were 25 pounds each BUT one ticket gets you admission to the castle for a whole year!  This is awesome, especially if you have kids.

IMG_8955.JPGWe got there at around 1:30 and we were advised to go straight to the bird show they hold at 2pm. The bird show included four different kinds of birds. Tons of people gathered around the arena to learn about the feathery animals while they flew around the crowd. The birds got incredibly close to us making the experience pretty exciting.

The last bird they showcased was a falcon which flew right over our heads at an amazing speed. I was highly entertained, so I imagine all of the kids around me probably didn’t know what to do with themselves.

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After the bird show, we went straight to the maze. Let me tell you, it was actually pretty challenging getting out of it. But when you finally find your way, there is a podium at the center of the maze where you can appreciate the structured and beautiful trees (2,400 trees to be exact) surrounding you. It is said that the structure of the maze mirrors the Queen’s crown, making it unique to Leeds Castle.

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After the maze we walked around and appreciated the open fields and gardens. There are also beautiful trails that are absolutely worth getting lost in. You can also feed the geese and ducks surrounding the rivers nearby.

After walking around some we shared fish and chips for a snack. We sat down in front of the castle as we ate our food and the view was something else. We even witnessed a duck and her ducklings swim up right in front of us.fullsizerender-2

Just when I thought our day couldn’t get any better, I found out we happened to visit the castle when they were holding their Festival of Flowers. They hold the Festival of Flowers every year during autumn and it is included with your entrance ticket.

I did not know what to expect…it was 100 percent breath taking. Every room/area of the castle was decorated with a different set up of majestic flower arrangements. As you go through the castle you are supposed to vote on your favorite arrangement and submit it at the end. Of course, I couldn’t choose just one…

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This is my favorite picture I took that day. To be honest, it’s probably one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. For purposes of not making this post eternally long (I could post pictures of these flowers for three whole days), I’m making another post to specifically show off the Leeds’ Festival of Flowers. If you love flowers and plants as much as I do, you should totally check that out by clicking the link right under this!

Read My Post About Leeds’ Festival of Flowers

I felt like I was in heaven walking through the castle. One time wasn’t enough I wanted to stay there forever. However, since we were in the area, we had planned to go see the White Cliffs of Dover located about 45 minutes from Leeds Castle.

Read About My Adventure to the White Cliffs of Dover

– Valerie

The Festival of Flowers at Leeds Castle

We heard Leeds Castle was one of the prettiest castles in England, but we got incredibly lucky going there right when they were having their Festival of Flowers.

The festival happens every year during Autumn. This year it happened to be September 24th-28th. The whole idea of the festival is that each of the castle’s state rooms are adorned with lavish flower arrangements with theme, “A Queen’s Castle.

I am a sucker for flowers. This is my second time in England and I’ve done some pretty neat stuff, but this definitely gets top of the list status.

I’m going to be honest, this isn’t going to be much like my other blog posts. This is mainly going to be a collection of the pictures I took that day because I feel like they really speak for themselves.

So anyways, when I found out about the Festival of Flowers, I had no idea what I was in for. My boyfriend and I had spent a few hours in the trails outside the castle, getting lost in the maze, and appreciating the beauty of the castle from the outside. When we finally made it to the inside of the castle, our plan was to breeze through it since we had other plans for the rest of the day.

Then I caught a glimpse of this:

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And that’s when I knew our tour through the castle was not going to be as brief as I expected.

It was not just the state rooms that were adorned, but there were charming arrangements all throughout the castle that made this trip a magical one. Some of them were big, others small; some were simple while others were extravagant.

Most of the halls had designs such as this one, which exhibited more herbs than flowers.

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Other small designs were overflowing with different flowers. Some were vibrant while others modest, but each different arrangement set its own particular mood.

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fullsizerenderThen through a window, I took a glance at the most beautiful bouquet of roses my eyes have ever seen. This is my favorite picture I took that day. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. Hence why it’s the featured image for this post. I also think this was one of my favorite arrangements even if it was one of the smaller ones…if you’re thinking it’s crazy this is one of the smaller ones, you have no idea what’s coming.

The first big “state room arrangement” I saw was this one, set up in one of the dining rooms. It’s definitely also a close favorite…what I would do to have something like this at my wedding…

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fullsizerender_22Talk about lavish. After all, we are talking about ‘A Queen’s Castle’ theme. Here is a close up of this arrangement. From what I know, it was mostly a mix of peonies with roses and hydrangeas, which in my opinion is worthy of any queen.

Here is a slideshow of a few other arrangements that caught my eye. I really wish I could of taken pictures of the whole rooms, but with the crowd of people, it was near impossible.

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Most of the arrangements had a very classy feel to them, which made sense, considering the theme. However, others stood out such as these, which had more of a tropical feel to them. Nonetheless, they were still fascinating.

And last, but not least is the arrangement, which I thought contrasted all of the other ones. I keep using the word, ‘beautiful,’ but there really is no other word to describe it.

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This is just the bed. However, the whole state was covered in these vibrant flowers that simply made me feel like an actual princess.

So now, I hope that next year’s Leeds’ Festival of Flowers is high up on your list. I know it’s on mine and I can’t wait to be back!

Other than this festival, Leeds’ Castle holds many other events year round.

Read More About My Adventures at Leeds Castle.

-Valerie