Western Europe (July 2015)
Brandenburg Gate: This iconic gate is a symbol of Germany, an arch of sorts. A trip to Berlin would not be complete without a visit here.
Television Tower: This TV tower allows you to view the city but time did not allow for a visit. Great views were also seen from the bridges going across the spree river.
Unter den Linden: In general, the streets in Berlin are organized, clean, and geometric. Most tourists gather in this area on the way towards Brandenburg Gate.
Berlin Cathedral: This cathedral shows some signs of chemical wear and tear but the inside is as astounding as most others. Be sure to walk at least around the outside.
Topography of Terror: This museum features Hitler’s rise to power and terror. Although some parts may be sad, other parts are interesting and even inspiring. The exhibits start on the outside and lead into the building.
Berlin Wall: Although broken, this wall is far from being down and out. The art here is equivalent to that in many museums in the US. Walk along different portions of the wall to see different themes of artwork. Some parts reconnect at another location that may be hard to access but overall you will know it when you see it.
Holocaust Museum: The memorial is arranged in rectangular blocks similar to how a city may be built which makes for an interesting hide and seek game. The museum is underground and crowded, showing the names and quotes from Jewish Holocaust victims.
Reichstag Building: This is a modern building made partially of glass in that you can see both inwards and outwards, located by the Spree River.
East Side Gallery: Again, this is a portion of the Berlin Wall with touching art.
Charlottenburg Palace: Although the palace is relatively small compared to other gigantic mansions in the rest of Europe. events are held in the main square at time. This location is reachable via metro but far away from other attractions.
[Day 2] Berlin -> Amsterdam, The Netherlands via Eurolines bus, not the most friendly
Amsterdam Canal Cruises: Many tour companies offer a wide range of tours by cruise, bus, or both. Canal Cruises just happens to be one to be one of them. The main canal is bigger than what you would expect in a small canal town so be ready to wait for a boat.
Red Light District: Prostitutes attract customers even in broad daylight through the windows. The Museum of Prostitution located in a mock area within this district tries to portray the life of a prostitute. Though small, it is quite interesting how these girls live.
Rembrandtplein: Amsterdam is known for certain drugs that can be done legally. This square offers the most numerous collection of “coffee shops” and other fun activities.
The Jordaan: This district is known for its certain style of homes, similar to those in San Francisco or Paris, tall and connected to each other.
Anne Frank House: Lines around this attraction started forming 1 hour before opening. This was the house that Anne Frank lived in.
[Day 3] Amsterdam -> Paris, France via Thalys train
[Day 4] Paris (Stay Le Terrage Hotel ++, not everything in the room worked, friendly front desk, money does not go far)
[Day 5] Paris
Eiffel Tower: Perhaps the most iconic structure in the world, the tower stands as romantic as ever. The view from Trocadero station is the best for viewing the tower from afar. The tower may be closed as of late due to renovations and potential terrorist activities so double check while you plan.
Arc de Triomphe: Like the high towers to view the city from, many European cities also have an arch with historical meaning. This particular arch honors those who died fighting in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
Chateau de Versaille (UNESCO): This attraction represents royalty and excess more so than any other attraction. The playground is one of the biggest mansions and yards in the world. Currently, it may be renovated into a hotel since the museum cannot support itself. Make sure you visit soon, walk through all the rooms, the huge gardens in the back, and take a canoe in the pool.
Musee du Louvre: One of the most famous museums in the world, this museum houses the Mona Lisa and is featured in many novels and entertainment. Do not expect to get within 50 feet of the Mona Lisa for a selfie here.
Pont Alexandre III: This famous bridge was featured in Les Miserables and a marvel of architecture from the 18th century.
Notre Dame Cathedral (UNESCO): Another site of many stories, the Notre Dame is the largest cathedral in Paris located on a land mass in the middle of the Seine River connected by bridges to both sides. The towers are unique and relatively noticeable.
Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre: This cathedral towards Northern Paris is a lesser traveled gem but equally impressive and beautiful as the other famous landmarks. Be ready to climb some stairs and streets to reach this attraction. See a partial view of Paris from the top.
Marche d’Aligre: This street is known for having plentiful food.
The Catacombs: A giant graveyard where church members moved dead bodies to make storage more efficient, the catacombs was the perfect place. The bones of dead bodies are neatly stacked within. A line wraps around the block, starting 2.5 hours before opening so get there early.
Place des Vosges: The architecture in this little town square with one main entrance, resembles that in fairy tales. Enjoy a nice seat on the grass of the park in the middle.
Place des Absesses: Nothing unique, but another part of town known for food.
Moulin Rouge: This famous playhouse, also a movie, is the target of many stories. Note the amount of red and artificial windmill at the top.
Tuileries Garden: In order to find a spot to view the Bastille Day, similar to July 4, fireworks, you may stumble upon this hidden gem to view the sunset and the Eiffel Tower with obelisk.
Las Ramblas: The party never stops here. Just as many cities has its own culture, the culture in this city is a nonstop party. This street is especially lively at night, recommended for those whose enjoy a little late night chaos. Have a gelato or absinthe or buy some souvenirs.
Park Guell: Acesss to this park requires walking up a lot of steps and hills to see the work of artist Gaudi who also designed many of the famous artistic buildings in the city.
Parc de Montjuic: Take the subway to the allocated station and then a walk outside to take a cable car to the top. Enter the castle and see a whole view of the city as well as the ocean. On the hill itself are sculptures and buildings to explore as well.
Gothic Quarter: This area has a certain type of building and shops, similar to that in Venice with narrow streets for pedestrians only.
La Pedrera: Another piece of art by Gaudi, this residence resembles that of the Flintstones, made of sand.
Casa Batllo: Another work by Gaudi, this residence uses colored ceramics to mimic coral, such as that in the Little Mermaid.
Basilica of the Sagrada Familia: Currently under renovations, this church has unique features and towers that do not resemble your typical church. This privately owned site can be seen from far away, even from Parc de Montjuic.
Royal Palace of Madrid: Fit for Spanish Royalty, this is the king’s palace, tiny compared to Versaille, but less crowded.
Gateway of the Sun, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Santa Ana: Madrid features many different outdoor squares and markets with Plaza Mayor being the largest. Restaurants extend seating for the outdoors when the weather is nice. All of them are close to each other as Madrid is a smaller city.
Mercado San Miguel: This small indoor market features varying degrees of food, from fruit smoothies to candy to pigs.
Casa de Campo, Parque del Retiro: If you find your park at home boring, check out these large parks. Public parks in Europe are well maintained and feature a wide range of activities. Take a canoe in the pool, visit a museum, walk through a garden, or just relax.
[Day 8] Madrid -> Home