Pa-frank-land-rid (Paris, Frankfurt, London, Madrid)

Many times when I have a long period of time free to travel, I am always debating if I should try to squeeze as many stops as possible or take my time to really explore a country.  This Christmas, it ended up that I was jumping all around the place.  After Christmas Eve, I made the journey across Germany (who knew it was so large!) to a small town Enkenbach-Alsenborn to meet up with my brother and his girlfriend’s family.BIG SHOUTOUT to Scott and Tara for hosting ALL of us, and giving me a large dose of family and missed American food items!!!!  It surprisingly worked out really well to meet up with them!

We must be related.

We must be related.

Once with my brother, we all loaded up for a quick two day trip to Paris.  Now I should state that although Paris is beautiful, I really don’t see why everyone is in love with it.  Yeah there are crepes and baguettes and the Mona Lisa, but besides that it isn’t really my cup of tea. However, this time around Paris may have grown just a little on me.  I really mean it, just a little.

This could be why I can't make any friends in France.

This could be why I can’t make any friends in France.

The whole group!

The whole group!

When we arrived the largest street, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (won’t even embarrass myself with my terrible French), was having the largest Christmas food market ever.  My crepe dreams came true and I had probably the best crepe of my life, along with the best French Onion soup…it’s just onion soup if I’m eating it in France right?  We continued our adventures by walking towards the Opera House.  Unfortunately it was super cold and rainy, so I turned in early.

#nofilter

#nofilter

Opera House

Opera House

The next day part of our group headed towards Versailles, while I stayed behind in the city to explore more.  Again it was freezing, I’m not exaggerating, I thought my fingers were going to freeze off.  We headed up towards the Sacre Coeur (click here to read about it in more detail).  Even though it had only two years since I had been there last, it was completely different.  First off there were SO many more people, so we couldn’t even sit and enjoy the beauty of the church.  We were herded through the church like sheep…not cool. IMG_5478 Then as quick as we came we headed back to Germany.  The trip by car only took 5 hours!  It was a quick stop for me with Andy, next I was off to Frankfurt to meet back up with my friend Leila!  Frankfurt is much more commercial than Munich, so we spent the day eating Thai food (seriously we had it for lunch AND dinner).  We got to check out the city sky line from a rooftop cafe.  The next morning was going to be rough:  our flight was at 6 AM, meaning we had to be at the airport by 4.  Note to travelers:  If you are flying out of Frankfurt Hahn airport remember that it’s about 1.5 hours OUTSIDE the city of Frankfurt.  So that meant we didn’t sleep much the night before (had to catch the bus at 2:30 AM and our hostel was about 30 min walking to the bus stop) our flight out to London… IMG_5479

After a 2 hour flight, the longest trip on the Tube (due to holiday closures) we finally made it to my cousins flat in the Swiss Cottage neighborhood.  I absolutely love this area, especially the area by the Belsize Square tube stop.  It’s full of cute shops and little cafes, it’s just SO British!

london-tube-map

I have been to London many times, I have my own little tour that visits all my favorite places.  So what is my number one spot?  A pub.  Just like Spain and it’s cafes, London has its pubs.  Our first stop was the famous Sherlock Holmes pub, that is no where near the location of Baker’s Street.  I personally love ordering Fish and Chips, but another good classic is the Bangers and Mash.

Don't forget a good pint of beer!

Don’t forget a good pint of beer!

Once we had our fill of pub food, I took Leila on a walking tour around the River Thames all the way to Victoria Coach Station.  I have noticed since my time aboard, I have come to love walking around more.  I don’t know if that stems from the unreliable transportation in Spain, that I am cheap, or if I have become an actual fan of walking!  Anyways, our tour went by the iconic sites of London:  Big Ben (Fun fact: Big Ben is the name of the bell in the clock tower, the tower itself is named after the great Lizzie; the Elizabeth Tower), Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and Buckingham Palace.  We hung around, probably looking like fools, hoping that Lizzie would invite us in for tea…however, she was out of town that weekend.

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Do we look that desperate, Lizzie?

Do we look that desperate, Lizzie?

The next day was New Years Eve, and my roommate and her friend Nik joined us.  We also invited some other friends of ours to join us for a fabulous dinner of spaghetti and Cards Against Humanity. We decided to skip buying tickets to watch the fireworks from the London Eye, and chose to go to Primrose Hill which looks out over the river Thames. The next day we sucked up our hangovers and did another walking tour.

We are most definitely locals.

We are most definitely locals.

What's up Big Ben?

What’s up Big Ben?

I highly recommend the neighborhood of Camden for some interesting shopping.

I highly recommend the neighborhood of Camden for some interesting shopping.

Then just as quickly as we arrived in London, I was off again back to Spain to meet up with my friends Casey, Danielle, and Mika for Danielle’s last hurrah!  I’ve been to Madrid many a time (the last being in October for the puente).  This time we did an awesome walking tour with MADride tours which included new places I hadn’t been to.  Such as a bar that serves the liquor of the madroño fruit (to be honest it tasted like cough medicine).  And if we couldn’t have been anymore American we found a new restaurant called Paco’s Tacos that served the best REAL Mexican food I have ever had, Margaritas included.  To end our crazy vacations, we finally made it to the club in Madrid, Kapital.  Which is 8 stories of crazy parties.

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Next stop:  Sweden!  Hasta Luego!

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