[Praha][Praga][Prague]

All I need to know about life I learned at the John Lennon Wall.

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Third Time’s A Charm [Barcelona]

In life, I believe in second chances.  And by “second” I really mean multiple.  Which is why I decided to travel to Barcelona for a third time last weekend.  My first visit was right after high school, on a tour, and my second visit was a few years ago with my dad.  In all honesty I was not “wowed” by Barcelona during either of these trips.  For being such a huge destination city, I was seriously unimpressed.  Which is to say, Barca never passed “The Test“…until now!

Last weekend was so much fun!  Not having to worry about seeing a single tourist attraction exposed me to a completely different side of Barcelona.  Of course, I revisted a few places since I was with two first-timers, but I had a lot more time to relish in the vibes and essence of the city. 

Despite the massive crowds of tourists and outrageously expensive…everything, I discovered a few things last weekend that actually make Barcelona a dream city for the time and budget concsious traveler:

1.  On Saturday nights the metro stays open all night long.  Triple like.

2.  You can skip the line (which goes around the block) at the Sagrada Familia by purchasing advance tickets at any La Caixa ATM…more people should know about this.  Ps, there is one across the street!

3.  There is a bar called Tres Flores in the Barrio Gotic which sells mojitos for €3.50. 

 (A big thanks and shout out to the guys at Mellow Eco Friendly Hostel for introducing us to this place!)

4.  Water fountains are everywhere!  I know it seems kind of random, but free potable water is a gold mine for the thirsty traveler.  Same goes for €3.50 mojitos.

It’s true, Barcelona finally won me over.  I would love to go back because If I learned one thing this weekend, it would have to be that this city is a treasure chest.  Once you break open the lock, you’ll have access to all the jewels and gems your little heart desires.

Passed With Flying Colors [Amsterdam]

Every time I visit a new place, I administer “The Test”.  There is no grading scale for this test, it is simply pass…or fail.  

The test is quite easy.  It consists of only one question, and there are only two possible answers:

THE TEST.

1.)  Could I live here?

          a.) Yes.

          b.) No.

Amsterdam definitely passed.  In fact, of all the places I have visited so far, I would pick Amsterdam as my #1 choice.

Why?

Culture.

I truly appreciate a liberal city and since Amsterdam is probably the mecca of tolerance it’s no surprise I’m drawn to it.  What you’ve heard about The Dam is true but trust me, there is so much more to this place!  The people were friendly, the fashion was definitely the best I’ve seen (why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how well dressed the Dutch are?!), and any city that is voted the most bicycle friendly city in the world is a good one in my book. 

Green Space.

Every great city has a great park and for this I am extremely thankful.  You just can’t put a value on a vast area of recreational green space in the middle of a bustling city.  I thoroughly enjoyed  my afternoon in Vondelpark…

 Art.

There is a ton of great art in Amsterdam.  Unfortunately, I missed out on the Van Gogh Museum (the line is CRAZY long…either get there when the museum opens or block out extra time for waiting in line), but luckily there are fifty-something other museums in Amsterdam and plenty of free art to go around..

The good news is I have finally figured out my calling in life.  I am going to move to Amsterdam and become a bicycle tour guide.

Go ahead…try and stop me.