A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Modi Memoirs

[8] I'll be lying right by your side, in Barcelona

Every time you have to go | Shut my eyes and you know | I’ll be lying right by your side | In Barcelona

Just landed in Barcelona and realized I get to spend 9 days with my best friend in Espana! From the moment we checked into the hotel, I knew I was going to struggle communicating. I should have definitely brushed up on my Spanish besides donde esta lost pantalones (WHY is that the phrase I will always remember?!). We took the train to go the Teresa Carles, a vegetarian café and walked around the city to the magic fountain, where we sat and listened to the music watching the fountain. Absolutely in our element… until the rain came. And then my hair turned into a lion mane and I was a disaster.

Next morning was a mess, to say the least. Couldn’t figure out breakfast because of communication skills and we had to run to find our taxi. We went on a free tour of Barcelona and 99% sure our tour guide as high but was an entertaining and good way to see the main sights and understand the history of the city (but don’t ask me now because this trip was 6 months ago…). After lunch we went to Park Guell which was so beautiful, even if we were melting. It was a lot smaller than we thought it would be. We hiked up to this top of this random little mountain that overlooked the city and got to overlook Barcelona. Amazing. We spent the evening having dinner and walking along the pier and decided to walk along the beach an hour back to our hotel.

Seems to be a recurring trend but again the morning didn’t start off well. If you know Brinda or me, food comes first so not being able to order a simple greed cheese from a local deli gets frustrating. Instead of a grilled cheese (as pictured on the menu), we got a footlong white bread with cold sliced cheese. Close enough? Then we were running late to our time slot for sagrada familia so we basically ran 45 minutes to the church. Sagrada Familia has been in the works for a very long time and isn’t planned to be completed until 2026 or somewhere along those lines. You cant help but think about Delhi Akshardham being built in 5 years and on a much, much larger scale. During my travels in Europe, I’ve been to a lot of churches, but this one definitely takes the cake. The stained glass windows and the tree stump pillars were astonishing. Then we walked to two more of Gaudi’s work – casa mila and casa batllo and made our way to Ramblas street through Plaza Catalunya. I was super conscious on Ramblas street because my research said I was pretty much going to get pickpocketed there. We steered off from the main roads and wondered through the alleys until we grabbed a vegan sandwich and sat (and baked) in the sun. Yesterday I got sun burnt on my shoulders and today I got sun burnt on my nose. We took the cable car to the base of the mountain and overlooked the city where we practically passed out from walking around so much (darn it, why did I stop wearing my fit bit I could have beaten everyone!!). We plopped our tired selves onto the beach and just sat there for the evening. After dinner we watched some street performances of acapella singers and then did the walk home along the beach again. Across our hotel is a small pier that we sat at as the sun had just set and enjoyed the breeze.

The fourth day was a lazy day where we woke up later than usual and walked through a nearby park and went back to placa de espanya where the magic fountain was and spent the afternoon in the Mnac museum. Our flight was delayed a few hours and no food to eat really at the airport so that was a womp but On to Seville!!

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Posted by Modi Memoirs 14:51 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

[7] iAMsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

22 April - 24 April

Friday
Kristine, Michele and I landed late Friday night and we met with Ruchi and a few of her coworkers and went to a pub and then a club and had so much fun dancing and being silly to our classic r&b – usher, genuine, chris brown. We ended the night doing interpretive dancing to We Belong Together - Mariah Carey and Pony - Genuine. By 3 am we couldn't keep our eyes open so we headed back home…. A sure sign of old age. It was amazing to walk through the canals and peaceful streets on our way back to the hotel.

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Saturday
We went to the iamsterdam sign and got breakfast and went through Rijksmuseum ... Ruchi and I caught up the entire time so I couldn't really tell you anything we saw in that museum but I can recall Ruchi's life at that moment haha. Pretty sure at one part when I was reading a plaque in the museum and Ruchi yelled at me to pay attention to her and not ignore her. Classic. After that we went on mikes bike tour which I would definitely recommend it was so much fun just riding bikes around the city and learning about the history and culture. One moment I remember vividly was when someone in our tour group asked our tour guide about the blue light district which they thought was like the red light district but with male prostitutes but it's actually transgender so the tour guide kind of made a shocked face and said that he wouldn't personally go there but if that's what you're into... The tourists who asked were so embarrassed.

Afterwards we went to Heineken experience brewery which was so much fun. More fun for my friends because they got my extra beers and fun for me because we got to do interactive things like make a music video shoot and a virtual soccer game etc. My favorite part was watching this movie that they have you standing in something that moves and you feel like you are in the actual movie and things spray you etc. Idk it reminds me of Disney world and brought back childhood memories. We were starving on our way home so we picked up some snacks for a pre-dinner. Our snacks consisted of three different cheeses and crackers and we ended up having our entire dinner as a massive cheese board. And finished every last bite. We tried to go out after our “dinner” and practically fell asleep at a pub/ restaurant.

Amsterdam was beautiful and you can tell people are just so chill there... Probably because they are all high.

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Sunday
Ruchi left early morning so I didn't see her at all Sunday. The rest of us went to the tulip festival and that was sooo beautiful but I didn't have Claritin and my allergies weren't loving it as much. Not much to say here more just appreciate the beauty of the gardens and flowers and landscaping so I’ve attached a few pictures!

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Posted by Modi Memoirs 14:23 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

[6] Lead me to the Leprechauns

Dublin, Ireland

25 March - 28 March

I should be working right now but decided to use this time to catch up on some travels.

Flashback to about three months ago when I had a four day weekend in Dublin, Ireland. I went to go visit Josh (us Princeton Deloitter’s gotta stick together)

Friday night was sweet and simple – we just went to Josh’s place and hung out with his flatmate for the evening.

Saturday morning we went to brunch with a few of Josh’s friends. After brunch, we did a walking tour for their 1916 Irish Independence (100 years since the war started really not since anyone won anything... the “fight” is not over with the split of northern Ireland). I probably learned more about Irish independence than US or UK history combined. Well… I knew it more three months ago (don’t test me now). In the middle of the tour it started pouring freezing rain and was literally about to leave the tour and go in a restaurant. After a few minutes it stopped raining and we looked up and saw the most beautiful double rainbow. I couldn’t be bothered with my actual camera so phone pictures will have to do.

We went to a pub after and met up with my friend, Anna, who was home from London that weekend as well. Anna and I met my first week at work in training so it was really nice to see her in her hometown.
We went home that evening and watched Michael Connoley (a prequel to the irish independence tour)… I told you…. A lot of irish history.
^part of my memory must be missing.. I feel like I wouldn’t have missed dinner…

Sunday morning Josh wanted to work so sent me off with his friends (Courtney, from back in the States and one local Irish guy, Craig) and it was their Easter Sunday parade - all of their armed forces got to parade around the streets. You should have seen these troops trying not to smile/smirk. In a tiny place like Dublin they have never had a parade like this and they felt like celebrities! It was too cute. They took me to some of the touristy sights such as Christchurch, saw Temple bar, St Patrick’s cathedral and walked along the canal.

Monday morning Josh, James and I went to breakfast at one of their favorite places on the canal by their house. Afterwards Josh and I went to Guinness factory. Obviously not much for me to do there but Josh enjoyed having the second drink ticket but I really liked the advertising section! As we were walking back home we got lost and ended up in a sketchy neighbourhood and thought that’s where I was going to die. Definitely won’t forget that part haha.

I definitely want to go back to Ireland to go to the countryside as I didn’t have a chance to go to cliffs of Moher. Thanks for the great hospitality Josh!!

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Posted by Modi Memoirs 13:56 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

[5] Pass us the Pierogis - Poland

Krakow, Poland

March 18 - March 20

First group trip with the big D (that's Deloitte y'all) and of course they are all American expats. It’s Michele’s last day of work in the UK before she starts heading home to the US so we wanted to do a final goodbye trip. Speaking of which, my group of friends are mostly ending their program this year and heading back home – Please don’t leave me!! We arrived in in Krakow, Poland and started heading towards the apartment. Our driver ignored us the entire time until he heard Michele whisper if our apartment was in the castle. He laughed and shook his head. We arrived at the apartment and it was beautiful – More than enough room for 6 people. The best thing about Krakow? How incredibly cheap everything is.

That evening we went out to dinner and had my first pierogis (first of many) and we walked around the Krakow Main square just to see the city at night.

Saturday morning started off bright and early with a bus tour to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. I can’t emphasize enough how important this was. We sat on the bus for two hours and watched a documentary on the history and impact of Auschwitz and heard testimonials of witness accounts. At one point it presented a scene of the doctors doing testing on Jewish babies and started cutting some open and I suddenly became nauseous. I had to look out the window and listen to the documentary.

In that moment, I disliked everything. In that moment, I didn’t understand anything. How can people hate like this?

We arrived at the Camp (Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau) and toured the grounds starting with the gas chamber. I kept having internal conflicts about how I felt taking pictures there. Most of me felt like it was wrong to take pictures of this but part of me thought it was important to help tell the history… to help feel the history. Walking through the grounds we tried to really put ourselves in their shoes – imagined the sleeping conditions, the abuse, the smells, the starvation, the punishment, and so on and it just sent chills down my spine. As with the video when it came to children and babies, I kept getting nauseous.

I can go on about the history and how it affected so many nations but here’s the important part. Our tour guide ended on two important notes -->
Note 1: Be Careful because history has a way of repeating itself (and then she stood there silently) and

Note 2: We are luckier than those affected during the Holocaust because we get to come home to Love. (I’m going to leave it at that. Think about it)

We were pretty silent on the ride back (party sleepy partly hungry partly introspecting on everything we had just seen and spoke about). After a quick refresh, we headed out for the rest of the evening. They had Easter markets up in the Main Square and we did our souvenir shopping at Cloth Hall (supposedly the oldest shopping mall but i could totally be making that up) in a beautiful Renaissance monument. For as old as this city is, most of the buildings looked very much kept up and new. We went to dinner at a nice restaurant with a view of Wawel castle and there was live music. After dinner, we went to a hipster bar and danced to some hipster music and ended the night at Café V (as if we were still in London). Michele has perfected the pretending to type on her phone while she’s asleep but I'll save her the embarrassment of posting those pictures.

Sunday morning we went up to Wawel Castle and St Mary’s Basilica before heading back home. Wawel castle was very cool so dear future husband, I would like to live in a castle, please. It was great to see the original castle ruins and artifacts from that time (swords, armour, etc). We went to the exhibit to see Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, Lady with an Ermine and I can tell you I don’t appreciate art as I should. Anika and I ended up throwing out words like color or texture or shadow and pretended to have an intelligent conversation about it. I should probably research about the importance of this painting...

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Posted by Modi Memoirs 15:30 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

[4] Mayhem in Munich

Cologne and Munich, Germany - New Years

December 28 – January 2: Cologne & Munich, Germany

I spent the last two weeks at home (Detroit for work and Home for birthday and Christmas! I love home but there’s no blog post for that) and met up with Michele and her sister in Germany the night of the 28th. We spent the next full day in Cologne (Koln), a quiet little town. There was only one Christmas market left open after Christmas but it still felt like the holidays were here (Christmas markets are so European). We took a trip to Cologne cathedral and had dessert before dinner at the Chocolate Museum. Most importantly, Germany included a lot of food (pretzels and spatzel). Walking back from the chocolate factory at night we came across a guy playing live music by the water. We sat alongside the river and listened to him cover Ed Sheeran and pretty much fell into a trance when he covered Oasis - Wonderwall. I’m a sucker for live music by the water.

The next morning we took a train to Munich. The first night in Munich we met up with two other people from Deloitte London and ended up at hofbrauhous (the beer hall) – basically imagine a room of rowdy Germans shouting and clapping and pounding the table (and the occasional dancing) to live music. While they drank their huge beer mugs, I ate my weight in extra large pretzels and we had a great time. Some of the people we met that night at our table can’t speak a lick of English and I ended up having a full conversation with an Italian thanks to Google Translate.

The next day we took a bike tour (Mike’s Bike Tour – definitely recommend) and went with a group of Americans and Australians. It was FREEZING and started pouring rain but I forgot how much I enjoy riding bikes. We rode our bikes through Englischer Gardens and got to see a small surf area where a lot of celebrities come and ride the wave (George Clooney included). The tour ended with me running into a wall when I was parking the bike… no surprises there.

New Year’s Eve at Marienpltaz (City center square) in Munich is something to remember! The city doesn’t set off its fireworks but individual people do. Pretty sure I was going to get set on fire. I didn’t. I call that win number 1. Another tradition is to break beer bottles on the street – this could be thrown down or tossed up in the air and come crashing. I got hit with a tiny bottle and didn’t get cut. I call that win number 2. Spent the night dancing away with Michele and Kristina and attempted to avoid creepy Germans.

Random note - earlier that evening we tried to go to the train station and was blocked off by police. Later that night I received a text from a friend in London saying stay away from the train station there are bomb threats in place. That wasn’t fun to think about.

The last day we took a mini trip to see one of the castles (everything was closed on New Years) and just spent the afternoon walking on the premises of the garden.

And then I returned back to London and busy season started………

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Posted by Modi Memoirs 15:16 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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