up in the air

hello again, dear friends! it's been a full and pleasant day here at the King-Goulding household; after work hubs and I grabbed dinner then headed off to see the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. I gotta say, I think it's my favourite of his films! it's so wonderfully weird- as one would expect from Wes Anderson- and cute and funny. definitely go see it, definitely.

anyways after the walk home we did a bit of weekend planning, watched a couple episodes of Friends, and here we are. a full and pleasant day.
the fullness means I'm kinda lazy now, so I'm taking a break from travel posting this evening to dwell on something a little more superficial.

my birthday is coming up on Sunday- and by the way I have no idea how it crept up on me so fast- so today's post is just a few pretty things to maybe get me in the birthday mood. which I am not, as of yet. I thought I'd go with a couple balloon pictures, cause, well, what better way to start a birthday than with balloons? and then throw in a mish-mash last-minute birthday wish list.
well, birthday clothing wishlist. because that's the easiest kind to make, and I honestly can't think of anything overly interesting that I want for my birthday. I told you, it crept up on me.

** image 1 // image 2 via google // image 3 via pinterest

this compilation is basically everything I've seen on the internet that I've wanted in the past five months. excluding vintage things, which are harder to make cute collages from! 
wishes include a small mountain of Modcloth dresses (polka dots seem to be my weakness), mint green jeans (although I actually want the pair from h&m, but there's no good pictures of them online!), and a powder blue blazer. also I am just now noticing that a pair of distressed denim shorts have somehow removed themselves from the collage, but you get the idea.

#1, 2, 3, 4, 5, + 11 - Modcloth
#6, 7, 8, 9, + 10 - Topshop
#12 - Seychelles

hope you all get to start the weekend of wonderfully.

playing: your song- Elton John

lions & tigers & bears

I find it simultaneously motivational and overwhelming that the more I travel, the more I get the compulsive need to travel again. and more frequently. most people set goals and plan their lives based on where they'll be working, what their family will be like, where they'll live, in five years or so. I base mine on when I'll get to go on my next trip.


Brando and I are already planning a farewell trip of western Europe for August. next summer I'm hoping to travel the US, as much of it as I can without having to sleep in a box. then whenever I can save up the money, probably the following spring, I want to go to Peru & Bolivia. and as soon as I can get enough time off from whatever job I happen to be settling for at the time, I want to take a month to travel Asia. that's my five year plan.

needless to say, I'm hooked.

going through all my photos for the thousandth time is only making me miss the adventure even more. but I'm also so happy that I have the opportunity to do this stuff! I seriously cannot express through words how much I think people should see the world.

...and if Berlin happens to be the part of the world you are thinking about seeing, boy do I have a post for you!
see what I did there?

Berlin's a great city to just wander in. you stumble across plenty of interesting things; cool statues, good food, shopping, pretty architecture. since buses and trains are a little more daunting when you don't even remotely speak the language (as I mentioned in the last post), walking really seemed like the easiest way to get around. although with that said, everyone we met spoke perfect English, so knowing German- or more specifically how to pronounce it- isn't necessary. except at local flea markets where people don't know the English numbers, but that's not so bad...

nice areas to walk through/around are Unter den Linden, Kurfurstendamm, and along the river Spree. 

if you pay a visit to the Reichstag, do not skip a visit to the dome! you have to make an appointment online three days in advance, which we didn't know, but it's really easy to do and apparently you almost always get the time slot you want. we did. and it's totally free. oh, and they don't tell you to bring ID, but you should, preferably a passport. the security people/staff weren't very friendly, but once you're inside you don't have any interaction with them anyways. you get an audioguide (also free) that cuts in and out with info depending on where you are on the twirly ramp. the whole experience is not overly informative or spectacular, but it's pretty cool-lookin' and definitely work an hour of your time.

after we visited the Reichstag dome Caitlin and I headed to the East Side gallery to check out the Berlin wall. we were having a very historical kind of day. 
it was a little surreal, seeing the wall kind of how it would have been back when it was still in tact. sometimes I forget how really recent the whole thing was. so much controversy and conflict and pain based around this particular hunk of rock. hard to comprehend for someone from rural Canada. 

now the East side of the wall is covered in murals by artists from all over the world. it's the longest continuing stretch of wall left, so it goes on for a while, but we just walked till we found the "test the rest" car. it's pretty iconic, I think.

it was hard to know how to feel about some of the "attractions" in Berlin. it's even a little strange calling them attractions. don't get me wrong, there are tons of great sites; it's just that things like the Berlin Wall or the Holocaust memorial or Jewish museum have a kind of sad reverence about them. I feel weird saying that the Jewish museum was one of the things I enjoyed most from the entire trip, but it was so fascinating and educational and moving. I would definitely, definitely recommend a visit. 

the building itself is amazing; the architect designed it to be symbolic of Jewish history and struggle. it's strange and disorienting and very eerie. the structure itself is an interesting experience. the Holocaust exhibit is obviously extremely sad, so I'd suggest doing it first (which we did) so that it's not the last thing on your mind when you leave. it does have some very interesting, while heartbreaking, stories.

the upstairs floors take you through the history of Jews in Germany, starting right at the beginning; as in, the diaspora of the Jews from Israel. it sounds dorky, but there's really just so much to learn, and it's not at all boring! we were there for almost three hours and were not ready to leave, except that the museum was closing. set aside a good chunk of time if you decide to go, because it's not one of those "pop in" museums. 

on a related note, one museum that was more of a "pop in" type was the Film museum. it was fun and interesting for the first bit, but after a while we just didn't know what was going on. it's a history of German film, specifically. not film in general. but it's cheap entry (as with most things in the city actually) and worth checking out for the psychedelic mirrored rooms and the Marlene Dietrich bit. 

ok, enough about emotionally-charged historical sites and museum stuff; on to the Berlin zoo!
yes, we went to the zoo. 

we were enticed by stories of the famous Berlin zoo polar bear, Knut. if you haven't heard of him (which we hadn't, till I read the guide book) look him up on wikipedia for details. 

basically, he was born at the zoo and had to be hand-raised by humans to survive, and was eventually named the cutest polar bear in the world. he became kind of a national symbol- or so Lonely Planet and wikipedia would have you believe, I don't know first hand. the other funny thing, which is why we eventually decided to shell out the 12 euros each to see the zoo, is that apparently Knut was dependant on human attention so much that he would become visibly distressed if there weren't a lot of zoo visitors around his enclosure. he was, and I quote, "determined by animal psychologists to be a psychopath." 

I mean, how hilarious is that??

so we had to go check out this psychopathic bear. as you can see from the photo above, we kind of assumed this was him. unfortunately for us, the guide book I had was from early 2010, and no one informed us that Knut had died last year. 
yep. paid 12 euros to see a bear that was already dead. 

it's very sad (mostly for poor Knut), but what the heck. the zoo was still good fun. and it's the first time I ever saw a panda in real life! 

and that is the story behind the real Berliner bear. 

the zoo is where we ended our Berlin stay, and it's where I'll end this post! overall Berlin is a great city to visit. you'll never run out of things to check out, and as my guide book said, you get good bang for your buck. well, it's probably pretty clear I didn't research the nightlife or the clubbing scene... we're more the site-seeing, exploring, nerdy travel types. mostly just because we can't be bothered to waste a whole day with a hangover. but I hear that aspect of Berlin is bumpin' too. 
oh, and we did go to a cabaret! 
which was amazing. they do all this crazy cirque-du-soleil type stuff. it's at Friedrichstadt Palast if anyone's interested! which you really should be. seriously. 

okay I think it's become clear that I'm getting sleepy, so that's it for Berlin! if anyone has any questions about going there I'd be happy to try and help. just shoot me an email. 

next time, Roma! 
goodnight. ♥

playing: only the good die young- Billy Joel

willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

and here I am again! my inconsistency and unpredictability must be getting quite charming and endearing by now, right?
thaaaat's what I thought.

after much delay, here's my first post on our Berlin adventures! I had to split it into two because Berlin had the longest stay and therefore the most photos and the most to talk about. although right now I'm finding it hard to come up with something to say... some things just work better face to face, and I feel like talking about Berlin is one of them.

it was my fist time in Deutschland, so I really didn't know what I was getting into! I've met some very lovely Germans here in Aberdeen, so I was kind of hoping for that, plus some Cold War stuff and beer. let's just say Berlin was a bit of a surprise.

first impression? we loved it! it immediately seemed like a cool city. we were staying right by the river Spree in a great hostel, everything seemed so easy to get to, and the weather was great. 

we found the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust memorial basically without even trying (all shown above!). we got Haagen Dazs ice cream and fell in love with currywurst right next to Checkpoint Charlie. everything was so interesting and historical and very German.

and back to the currywurst for a minute; man, that stuff is addicting! I mean, I know Germany is kinda known for sausages, but you never expect to actually want to eat them that often. it was like no matter how many we had, whenever we got hungry again the first thing that popped into my head was "man, I could really go for a currywurst..."seriously, it was like hypnotism for your tummy. 

yeah, on a related note, Berlin- not a great culinary destination if you're a vegetarian. unless you're really into potatoes. 

(just to explain, this photo is referencing a very specific and beloved Doctor Who episode that involves stone angels, so yes, I am supposed to look scared.)

after getting the general feel of Berlin we started with some actual site-seeing. we visited Berlin Cathedral, where you get gorgeous views of the city once you emerge, gasping for breath, outside of its dome. if you're into the pretty churches thing (which we are) then I'd definitely recommend a trip to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church). the old church was mostly destroyed by bombing in WWII, but a new, modern church was built on to what survived. and it is incredibly beautiful. it's basically a complete 360 of blue stained glass, with a "floating Jesus" above the alter. pictures don't really adequately show how majestic and eerie it is. but eerie in a cool way, not a creepy way. 

the Memorial church is also right in the middle of a cool street/area called Kurfurstendamm, which Lonely Planet recommends you take a stroll down. and man, did we do a lot of strolling in Berlin. we even started to look like that famous little East Berlin walking guy... he's on all the cross walk lights. it's funny cause he wears a little hat, and has kind of become a city symbol. you can get him on a t-shirt.

I am sad to say our shining first impression of Berlin did not stay that way for our entire visit. it's not that we didn't enjoy our time there. but we had quite a bit of bad luck...

I brought a Lonely Planet guide book to help us along, and while I think Lonely Planet is amazing, some of the suggestions were a bit of a let-down (most notably a very awkward flea market experience). 

the metro was a little confusing/had poor signage, and it didn't help that there were one or two lines that were under construction in certain stretches. we missed a couple of things because of bad train timing. 

we also had a couple (read: many) bad experiences with employees and locals in tourist areas, which is expected to some degree, but crossed over to downright rudeness at points. there was also an unfortunate incident in which our friendly smiles were met with a "stupid tourists" insult by a cranky lad on a bike, and that is highly offensive to two polite Canadians, especially two who consider themselves to be fairly well-travelled. 

but, we didn't let any of those things sour our opinion of the German capital too much! we were still having fun. travelling can be frustrating at times, but you've gotta take it all in stride. otherwise you're just as well staying home. 

besides, the beer really was fantastic. 

more on Berlin in my next post, where you'll hear about one of my favourite experiences of the whole trip & learn about a psychopathic bear. 
stay tuned, kiddos! and thanks for reading. 

playing: tie the rope- the format

is it love or is it Paris

bon jour, mes amis!

it's about time I started sharing some of the million photos of my little european adventure. like any good story, I'll start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). and the beginning of my recent trip was in Paris, where I met up with my AWESOME friend, Caitlin.

both of us had been to Paris before, so there wasn't any pressure to go everywhere and see everything. we mostly just walked around, enjoying the sunshine and each other's company! we hit a couple major attractions along the way, but it was a very chill couple of days. especially since one of them happened to be a national holiday, so there wasn't much opened anyways...

our first (and only full) day was spend strolling by the Seine. we walked through the Jardin Tuileries, then down past Notre Dame, then got crepes and ate by the river. this is about when I mysteriously dropped my lens cap into the Seine. I say mysteriously because neither of us saw it happen, but it's the only logical explanation for its disappearance. 

this time I got a few pictures of the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge which is covered in "love locks." sweethearts are supposed to write their names on a lock and hang it on a bridge. apparently this newish tradition is all over the world, but this particular bridge behind Notre Dame seems pretty popular. I didn't really know anything about it till I read Jen's post on Paris, so I went to see for myself!

after our riverside wander and a delectable croque monsieur, we headed to the Eiffel tower to bask in the sun and atmosphere. I got photo-happy and Caitlin got a cotton candy bigger than her head. 

we did the Parisian thing and had tiny coffees in outdoor cafes. and no, neither of us has ever smoked, but you gotta admit, the picture smoking in a Paris cafe looks pretty cool.
...but it's not cool. don't smoke, kids. not even for the French. 

on day two in Paris, before our flight to city number two, we made a little visit to a couple museums. we had breakfast at the Louvre, and I had the most delicious mille feuilles pastry of all time while Caitlin fed half of hers to a pigeon with one leg. who later accosted her with wing-flapping and aggressive hovering. we didn't go into the Louvre, though, because we had both been there before, and we were more interested in heading to the Musee d'Orsay this time.

which is what we did.

we went to check out the Degas exhibit, which was really cool, and which you are apparently not supposed to take pictures of. I just got the one of the sculpture. but I distinctly remember taking tons of pictures the last time I was there, so apparently the rules have changed since 2009. 

if you haven't been to the d'Orsay, I'd highly recommend it. it has a lot of famous works by big-name painters like Monet and Van Gogh, so most people will recognize something, and it's in a beautiful building that used to be a train station. 
I'm not all that into art museums; I like to go in, find what I'm interested in seeing, then leave. I don't meander and spend minutes poring over each painting. so I like the d'Orsay because there are famous paintings, and also pretty paintings (there's a lot of impressionist art). these keep my attention. and then, the museum is relatively small, so it's not exhausting. definitely a nice rainy-day activity, anyways. 

that was pretty much it for Paris! we ate many delicious sandwiches, drank French wine, and enjoyed the general Parisian vibe. it was my fifth time in the city of lights, and I don't think I'll ever tire of it. everything is just so... iconic. everywhere you turn there's something famous or something old or something beautiful. 

and I mean, who would get tired of this?

pas moi! vive le France!

hope you enjoyed my (very select few) photos. be back soon for Caitlin & Sarah's Eurotrip, part two! 

playing: can't make you love me- bon iver