Ibiza: A Trip of a Lifetime

The island of Ibiza is a truly magical place to holiday if you’re looking for fun and wild vacation. Ibiza is an island off of Spain, which can be reached easily by a plane ride from Barcelona. Ibiza is definitely a party island, hosting the most well-known and world-renowned musical talents. DJ’s and other musical artists come from around the world to perform in Ibiza’s famous clubs. Many Americans compare Ibiza to Vegas because of its reputation for music, parties, and around the clock action.  A trip to Ibiza requires careful planning, but is sure to be a holiday to remember!

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Where to Stay

San Antonio

Roca Hostel

Roca Hostel is located in the West End of San Antonio, a perfect spot for partiers. The area is somewhat loud, but is very safe and only a short walk from the bus stop. The rooms are clean, and have amenities such as air conditioning, towels, and en-suite bathrooms.

 Playa d’en Bossa

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is located in Playa d’en Bossa, about a twenty-minute cab ride from the West End. Ushuaia provides luxury accommodations and hosts numerous DJ’s in the pool area. Ushuaia is very nice, but the location is convenient as Roca.

Where to Eat

Café Mambo

Café Mambo is located right on the beach and a short walk from the West End. The food is a little pricey, but I would still recommend going once while you’re in Ibiza.

What to Do

Take a boat/booze cruise around the island. Company I recommend: Pukka Up

Pukka Up Boat Cruise

Pukka Up Boat Cruise

Watch the sunrise on the beach after a night of dancing.

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Watch the sunset at Café Mambo.

Sunset at Cafe Mambo

Sunset at Cafe Mambo

Nightlife

West End

The West End is home to numerous bars that always offer food and drink deals. At first you may be overwhelmed by the promoters trying to get you to eat at their bar, but don’t feel pressured to say yes!

Clubs

Amnesia

Amnesia was my favorite club in Ibiza. The venue is massive and has two different rooms with their own DJ’s. When I was there, I had the options of listening to Paul Van Dyke or Calvin Harris. Their musical guests are amazing, to say the least!

Pacha

Pacha is Ibiza’s most famous nightclub. There is both inside and outdoor bars, and plenty of space to dance!

Monika Kruse at Pacha

Monika Kruse at Pacha

Ushuaia

Ushuaia hosts different DJ’s in their pool area beginning in the evening around 6 p.m. until midnight. This past summer they were home to Departures, which brought Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia together on the same stage.

Departures at Ushuaia

Departures at Ushuaia

 Note of Advice

Ibiza may be overwhelming the first time you visit, but the island is truly unique and has so much to offer. Visiting Ibiza was an incredible experience for myself, and I’m sure you will have the same experience as well! I recommend a 3-5 day trip (Mine was 5) because the all night partying can be hard to overcome after five days. Check out Ibiza Spotlight for update news on events scheduled for the 2014 season. This article by Marie Claire is another great reference for what one can expect in Ibiza. Good luck planning your trip!

Until Next Time,

Megan

London Town

 

382417_4035187475919_2093933676_nLondon is an amazing city with a rich history and plethora of sights to see. The city has loads of museums, palaces, gardens, and churches all within a small distance. Although the weather is not always ideal, the monuments and history make up for it. The tube makes getting around the city stress-free and affordable. London also offers a three-day pass that makes visiting multiple sights in an economical way. Pack a rain coat and boots and get on your way!

Where to Stay

Equity Point Hostel London

Equity Point Hostel is a quality place to stay no matter what city. This hostel is located in Paddington, and is a short five-minute walk from Hyde Park.

Lancaster Gate Hotel

Lancaster Gate is located one street away from Hyde Park in a very safe and clean area. The hotel itself is very clean, and offers a relaxing place to rest after long days of sightseeing. Queensway and Lancaster Gate are the two nearest tube stations.

What to Do

Buckingham Palace

Seeing Buckingham Palace in person is the best way to see the beautiful landmark. Good luck making the guards laugh!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Tower of London

The Tower of London is home to the exquisite Royal Jewels collection. Visiting this Museum is a great way of learning the history of England.

View of Tower Bridge from Tower of London

View of Tower Bridge from Tower of London

Saint Paul’s Cathedral

Saint Paul’s is where Prince Charles and Princess Diana wed. The Cathedral is grand inside and out

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011. It’s a truly spectacular building!

Trafalgar Square

This famous square is in London and where you can find the National Gallery. It’s a great place to spend New Year’s Eve!

Thames River Cruise

Viewing London from a boat cruise is a relaxing way to see the city.

London Eye

If you want the opposite view, riding the London Eye offers spectacular view.

Wembley Stadium

This relatively new stadium, opened in 2007, is the venue for numerous concerts, athletic matches, and Olympic events. The stadium is home to the English National futbol team.

Wembley Field

Wembley Field

Don’t forget to stop by Big Ben!

Where to Eat

EAT. (The Real Food Company)

EAT is a convenient place to grab a snack or meal. They have delicious soups and sandwiches, as well as a variety of other goodies.

Wagamama

This Japanese restaurant has great lunches and dinners. Wagamama is a great place to grab a warm bowl of miso soup or bowl of noodles.

Malt House

Malt House’s British-style cooking has been praised by visitors often because of their high standards. The menu even changes daily!

Nightlife

 Mahiki

Mahiki is known for their Themed Thursday night, as well as their royal clientele. Located on Dover Street, this place is one of the most popular in London

2 & 8

This club would be for more of a resident because you must have a membership to hang out here. 2 & 8 are known for having a great atmosphere.

Boujis

Boujis is a club where you can dance the entire night. This place will have a mix of different people, local and foreign.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

Good luck planning your trip to London, and I hope you have sunny days there! Check out this London blog that has a plethora of information. This blog is very well written and informative.

Until Next Week,

Megan

How To: Florence (Part 2)

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Sunset on the Arno

Florence has a three day pass city pass that covers admission into several museums and churches, which is definitely worth it if you plan to do a lot of sight-seeing. Visit the Piazzale Michelangelo to see the best view of Florence, and watch the sunset from one of the bridges overlooking the Arno!

What To See

Duomo and Baptistery 

The Duomo and Baptistery are two of the most iconic buildings in Florence. They are truly remarkable works of architecture and art, located in the Piazza del Duomo.

The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower

Where to Stay

For more economical accommodations, check out Hostel World for the latest and highest-rated hotels and hostels. They provide very honest and helpful reviews on hundreds of different lodgings.

Where To Eat

Gusta Pizza

Gutsa Pizza makes delicious personal size pizzas. Order to go and enjoy your pizza on the steps of St. Spirito Basilica.

Appretivos

Appretivos are something Americans could definitely bring home from Italy. They combine a drink and appetizers for a very reasonable price. Check out this blog on popular and tasty appretivos around the city. Here are some of my favorites:

Obio

They had a delicious selection of salads, pastas, and meats, as well as drinks. The best part is that you can keep coming back for more!

Kitsch

Kitsch had numerous traditional Tuscany dishes, including ingredients such as cheese, beans, and sausage.

Dessert

Gelato

Gelateria La Carraia and La Carraia 2

La Carraia is my favorite place to get gelato in all of Florence. You have to try their “Specialty” and “Cookies” flavors. If you’re a Nutella fan, I recommend their Nutella and Yogurt gelato.

Secret Bakery

Secret Bakeries are like a hidden treasure, they aren’t always easy to find, but it’s worth the search when you do find them! There is one located in the Santa Croce area. Advice: follow your nose!

Bars and Clubs

Yabz

Yabz is a club that you really only need to go to once. They have a cool atmosphere with good dance music, but visitors have a reputation for losing their phones while there. They also give you a drink ticket when you pay 10 euro at the door, however, if you lose the ticket you have to pay 50 euro. Advice: Be careful!

Twice

Twice is a club that is fun with a good group of people. They play a lot of American music, but it’s not necessarily newer music.

Red Garder

Red Garder is a cozy bar with karaoke. Their drinks are expensive, however, so plan ahead!

Shots Café

Shots Café is an ideal place to start your evening. They have reasonable drink deals and play upbeat music.

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As you can tell, Florence has a long list of sights to see and food to eat. Florence is such a wonderful city that you’re bound to fall in love with!

Until Next Week,

Megan

How To: Florence (Part 1)

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View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence, Italy is a truly magical place rich with art history, delicious food, and beautifully made leather and gold goods. I recommend giving yourself a good amount of time to visit all the museums, churches, and other attractions Florence has to offer. Florence is an economically reasonable city and easily accessible by train and airplane. Be strategic when planning your trip, however, because summer temperatures can reach upper 90s with high humidity. Florence will surely be a trip you will never forget!

What To See

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo offers spectacular views of Florence, but requires a hike uphill unless you take the bus or a taxi. I strongly recommend watching the sunrise or sunset from this famous square. Make sure to check the weather, however, because I woke up VERY EARLY one morning to watch the sunrise and couldn’t see the sun through the clouds.

Ponte Vecchio

Known now for their exquisite fine gold jewelry, the Ponte Vecchio used to be a bridge where butchers sold their meat. It’s fun to walk through and admire the beautiful jewelry items.

Academia

The Academia contains the historic David by Micheangelo, among other famous works by numerous artists. The David will leave you in awe.

Uffizi Gallery

Anna Maria, the last living Medici, donated the Uffizi Gallery to the city of Florence in the 18th century. The Gallery contains Byzantine and Gothic paintings, as well as Sienese artwork.

Where to Stay

Hotel Giglio (85 Cavour)

Hotel Giglio is located a short 10-minute walk from the Duomo, making it a great location for visitors. The hotel is located on the second floor of the building, but has a front door that locks in the evening hours.

Hotel Cordova

Cordova is family operated and has an extremely help staff. The room and bathroom are clean but on the smaller size, though most European rooms are! The rooms located on the top floor open up to a shared terrace that provides stunning views of the city.

Shopping

Leather Market

The Leather Market in Florence has a plethora of different leather products including purses, coats, and gloves. The market can definitely be overwhelming, however, so I would recommend walking through once to get different prices before committing to buy an item. Be ready to bargain with vendors!

Where To Eat

Oil Shop

This hole in the wall sandwich and salad joint is simply UNBELIEVABLE. They have fresh and healthy ingredients and a huge menu or the option to create your own sandwich or salad. You cannot leave Florence without eating here!

Dante’s

Dante’s Pizzeria serves traditional Italian food, and offers free wine to students! The owner loves when students come in for dinner.

Firenze Pizza

Firenze Pizza has a huge menu full of various pizzas, as well as other traditional meals. I believe they have the best pizza in Florence!

Mosto Dolce

YOU MUST GO HERE. Mosto Dolce is my favorite bar and restaurant in Florence. They brew their own one-of-a-kind beer, and their food is just as good! They have awesome happy hour deals as well. Mosto Dolce is also a great place to watch sports and hang with the locals.

Bars and Clubs

Santo Spirito area

Santo Spirito is an area that is well known among the locals. They have great bars that won’t be filled with tourists.

Twenty-One

Twenty-One boasts a mix between locals, Americans, and other Europeans. It can get very crowded, but it’s a fun place to spend a night dancing with friends.

Astro

As seen on Jersey Shore, expect loads of American college students. If you’re looking for something more local, this is not your best bet.

Uncle Jimmy’s

Uncle Jimmy’s is indoor and outdoor pub that is a great place for a few drinks. The bartenders are super friendly, and you’ll find signatures of visitors from all over the world around the bar.

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Leaving my signature at Uncle Jimmy’s

 

Check back in next week for part two. This blog has other great recommendations and advice when traveling to Florence. Here’s another blog made by a college student who studied abroad in Italy. Hope this post gives you a good taste of what Florence has to offer!

Until Next Time,

Megan

Day Tripping in Italy: Pisa

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Pisa, Italy is a wonderful place to spend a day trip while in Italy. The city attracts visitors who long to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, but there are several other things to do while visiting. Pisa is a short train ride from Florence with departures at almost anytime of the day. 

What to See

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is obviously a must see while in Pisa. It’s fun just walking around the area pondering how the tower is still standing!

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Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

This beautiful, sacred area contains the cathedral, baptistry, leaning tower, and the cemetery. It’s truly an unbelievable site and is on the World Heritage list.

Where to Eat

Restaurant Duomo

This restaurant offers outdoor seating overlooking Pisa’s cathedral. They have a large menu with numerous options for a delicious meal!

Ristorante Centrale Internazionale

This place offers various affordable and large portioned meals. This place is great for lunch or dinner.

Lo Sfizio

This bar, cafe, and restaurant checks every box when looking for a tasty meal, coffee, or pastry. Definitely make a visit here while in Pisa!

Pisa is a great town to spend a day in, and you’ll be happy you made the trip. Although Pisa is well-known, but offers the charm and authenticity of a small Italian city. Good luck planning your trip to this wonderful place! Check out this blog post written by Patricia Street containing several suggestions while in Pisa. Here’s a post about Pisa from “To Infinity and Beyond,” the same blog featured in my Interlaken post!

Check back next week for another charming Italian city!

Megan

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, CA

Manhattan Beach is by far one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California, located miles south of LA. A great place for people of all ages, Manhattan Beach is a great area for a day trip for locals or extended vacation for those coming from father away. Manhattan has great restaurants, bars, and shopping, all definitely worth paying a visit to!

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier

Things to Do

Beach and Pier

Known for it’s beauty, Manhattan Beach is very popular among locals. I recommend getting there in the morning, so you have the best chance to find parking. Walking the pier provides a great view of the stunning Southern California coast.

Boardwalk

The boardwalk extends the entire length of Manhattan, and is a great way to see the coast. Walk, run, or bike the path along the beach!

Where to Eat

The Kettle

The Kettle is open 24 hour and is famous for their always available breakfast menu. This place is definitely a local favorite!

Fish Bar

The Fish Bar has amazing seafood, and is a great place to catch a sports game. They can accommodate large groups as well. Their happy hour is also a great way to sample several of their most popular dishes.

Four Daughter’s Café

This place is great for breakfast or lunch and has both indoor and outdoor seating. They’re also dog friendly!

Tender Greens

This place is uber healthy and has a large selection of salads, soups, and grilled meals sure to please everyone!

Paradise Bowls

Serving the most delicious Acai and Pitaya bowls, Paradise Bowls is a refreshing and healthy treat after a day at the beach. Check out their website for more information on what they have to offer!

Heaven in a Bowl

Heaven in a Bowl

Manhattan Beach Creamery

The Creamery is a MUST VISIT while in the area. They have the most divine sweets, including ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, and candy. They’re known for their delicious cream’wiches!

Nightlife

Sharkeez

Sharkeez is a local bar that is a popular destination for anyone 21 and older beginning on Thursday nights. They also have Taco Tuesday with tacos for under $3!

*Hermosa is only a few miles south of Manhattan (5 minute cab right), and has a large selection of bars right near the beach.

Here’s the Downtown Manhattan Beach website with more information, including events happening soon. This website also provides a ton of information regarding the area. I hope you enjoy your visit to Manhattan Beach. Don’t forget sunscreen!

Until Next Week,

Megan

The Beauty of Barcelona

This week’s blog post has been the most enjoyable for me to write thus far. Barcelona is truly an unbelievable city with a vibrant and diverse population. The residents of Barcelona are extremely welcoming and want to share their wonderful city with everyone they meet. By the end of your trip, I’m sure you’ll love the city just as they do!

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Lodging and Transportation

Equity Point Hostel

Equity Point Hostel is a clean, affordable place to stay in an upscale area of the city. The staff is speaks English and are very helpful. Security is another key feature that makes this hostel a comfortable and safe place to rest.

The Metro

The Metro is the best way to get around Barcelona. I recommend getting multiple ride ticket since you’ll probably use it a few times a day. There is a metro stop a minute from the door of Equity Point, getting you wherever you want to go!

Where To Go

Parc Guell

Accessible by a quick metro ride, Parc Guell was home to Eusebi Guell and displays a good amount of his artwork. The park provides a remarkable view of the city as well! It’s also FREE!

El Born

Comparable to Abbot Kinney here in Los Angeles, El Born is an area of Barcelona with great shopping and restaurants. There’s a lively feel and vibe to area, especially for the 20s crowCheck out this blog for suggestions in the El born area.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Located near the El Born area and the Arc de Triomf, this park is a beautiful place to spend a few hours or an afternoon.

 Los Ramblas

Similar to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Las Ramblas or La Rambla, is a popular street in Barcelona with diverse shopping and restaurants. There is an amazing Fruit market that is definitely worth visiting!

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic Church designed by Guell, is still in the process of being finished. The Church shares signature characteristics of Guell’s work.

Camp Nou

A must see for any futbol fan, Camp Nou is FC Barcelona’s stadium that can be reached by a 20-30 minute metro ride from the city.

Bars and Restaurants

Opium

Located on the beach, Opium is a trendy underground club that exemplifies Barcelona’s incredible nightlife

Shoko

Located next to Opium, Shoko is an underground bar and lounge that also demonstrates the wild social life Barcelona has to offer.

El Born Area

La Pizza del Born

Simply the BEST PIZZA in Barcelona!

Princesa 23

This bar and restaurant has a great assortment of drinks and meals that you are sure to enjoy. Princesa 23 is a great place to go at anytime of the day!

Here’s another blog with a plethora of Barcelona information that will be helpful when planning your trip!

Until next week,

Megan