Travel Highlights from 2015
Part of the reason I’m so excited about the New Year finally being here, is thanks to some pretty awesome moments in 2015. Last year I made a resolution to visit as many new countries (ones I had never been to before) as possible. Well I don’t think I did too bad; I visited Germany, The Netherlands and Italy. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, and it has spurred me on to work even harder in 2016.
I will be returning to Japan in March. It’s been almost five years since I was there last, so naturally I am already planning all of the things I want to see/do. Of course I intend to reunite with all of my friends. I also hope to eat ALL of the delicious food, and take plenty of photos. My inner photography geek is pretty excited about this, because when I was living in Tokyo I only took snapshots on my mobile phone/digital camera. Oh hey there, my name is: the annoying tourist in the corner with the DSLR.
I’d also like to take more long weekends away from London, and discover more European countries I’ve yet to visit. On my travel wish list this year? Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. I wonder if I can best 2015 and manage to do those alongside Japan… I’ll certainly try my best.
You can check out my 2015 travel posts here.
Send me your travel recommendations in the comments below.
District Mot | Vietnamese Street Food | Rosenthalerplatz – Berlin, Germany | Website
Of course the first thing any self-respecting foodie will do when they get off a plane is go in search of food. So it made sense for the second instalment of my Berlin Travel Diary to be a restaurant review. We headed down the street to one of V.A‘s favourite lunch spots – District Mot. District Môt labels itself as Saigon street food. In fact this is Vietnamese food with a slight fusion twist. I had a Vietnamese coffee (the best kind of coffee), and we ordered the Banh Trang Bun Thit Nuong (DIY summer rolls with noodles, chicken and salad, which you wrap in rice paper), and a Bao Burger to share.
The Bao Burger, oh the Bao Burger. Where do I begin? A succulent patty encased inside a steamed boa bun, and topped with mango, herbs and chilli sauce. This is no ordinary burger. I could have easily eaten one of these by myself. However that doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy to share, especially when it meant I could follow it with several summer rolls. One of my favourite things about Vietnamese food is how light it is, and Summer Rolls are a perfect example of this. The clean, fresh flavours of DM’s offering were exactly what I wanted. Of course light food means more room for pudding. I can’t say I’ve had a Vietnamese dessert before, so when V.A ordered Thao Pho Nuoc Doung (silk tofu with a ginger syrup), I was eager to try something new. I love both tofu and ginger, so this is the perfect kind of pudding for me. I even nibbled on the ginger root, something I realised is probably a little odd…but I adore the fiery kick.
We paid €12 (around £8.50) each, with soft drinks. As a Londoner, this is amazing value. I was told that this is one of the more expensive street food restaurants in Berlin, but I would happily pay this again and again. V.A had waxed lyrical about District Mot and I can honestly say that I now share her sentiments entirely. If you’re ever in Berlin, make sure you stop by – you won’t regret it!
You can check out the rest of my Berlin Travel Diary series here.
Jacket: Primark | Dress: Warehouse | Trainers: Nike | Backpack: ASOS
What do you wear when you go to a city known for it’s fashion? This particular question ran through my mind as I packed my suitcase for Berlin. I only wanted to bring 6 outfits for 6 days, so I knew I had to plan meticulously. Right down to the last midi ring on my little finger. This isn’t something I usually do when I travel. I’m a little haphazard and I end up throwing in half my wardrobe, as I want the freedom to “decide on the day” – but we all know how that goes. I end up annoyed with myself for bringing 5 jumpers and I only end up wearing 1 dress that I’m not even 100% happy with.
But you know what? I think I did pretty good for myself this time. With only a couple of key pieces (and a few accessories) I was able to put together several outfits that I was really pleased with. This one in particular was comfortable enough to meander around museums for the day; but at the same time I still felt as though I had put an effort into my look. It probably isn’t anything new to most of you, but my mind has been blown by this little “life hack”. I will definitely be bringing a lighter, more stylish case next time I travel.
You can check out my Berlin Travel Diary series here.
Photos of me by V.A (chopstickpanorama)
Mani Hotel, Torstraße 136, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Let’s start from the beginning. Having never travelled to Germany I had always wanted to visit Berlin. So when V.A suggested a holiday in the capital – with her as my tour guide – I could hardly say no…could I? They say good friends should never travel together, but we were confident that we wouldn’t be screeching at each other by the end of the holiday. So we packed our bags and hopped on a plane to the home of curry wurst.
The Mani Hotel had kindly offered to put us up for our first night in the city, and after a relatively short train journey from the airport, we dropped off our bags and freshened up. The hotel is located in Rosenthaler Platz, Mitte, which just so happened to be the area we had marked down for its variety of restaurants and shops. We explored the area a little (something I’ll go into more detail on in the next post), and it did not let us down. Later we caught up with a friend (and a heavy rain shower) before rushing back to the hotel for dinner.
I don’t usually “do” food at hotels. I prefer to explore the restaurants nearby, but we could hardly say no when the Mani so graciously offered us a dinner and breakfast package. After a 2am start, we were running on only 3 hours sleep, and the idea of only having to take a lift back to our cozy bed was glorious. Luckily for us the food at the Mani hotel is not an afterthought to a room, instead it elegantly compliments your stay. The sharing plates for dinner were a modern fusion of French and Arabic cuisines. However it was the breakfast buffet (which non hotel guests can have for only €15) that excited me most. It was like letting a child loose in a sweet store. The food here is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and presented beautifully. If I were to visit Berlin again I would definitely visit the Mani hotel and restaurant. In fact I’m considering catching another flight back asap just for those breakfast meatballs!
You can check out the rest of my Berlin Travel Diary series here.