Monday, December 1, 2014

Salzburg, Innsbruck + Hallstatt!

One of the biggest issues living in Austria is that you tend to visit EVERYTHING around it (Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Munich...) I mean... I can't be happier about it's location. But the thing is, Austria is so damn beautiful that not seeing it is the biggest sin of all! Thankfully, in the course of two weeks, I did two trips: Salzburg + Hallstatt (with my roommate on Halloween), and Salzburg + Innsbruck (with my bf). Double Salzburg is double the fun <3 ! 

Salzburg is a small city, where all of the attractions are really close to each other and you can see most of them in 6-7 hours if you really take your time.
When I went with Sofia (my roomie) we stayed at Yoho Hostel, but since we got a room for 2 instead of sharing a big room with 4-6 people we had to pay more (72€/person for 2 nights). I can definitely say the hostel was clean and comfortable, but when I visited with my boyfriend we decided to get an apartment through AirBnb, and that was even cheaper for two people (25€/person+night). So... if you're a big group going to a hostel may be a better option, but if you're not then definitely go for an apartment.

In terms of what to visit, I think that the best route to visit Salzburg is the following: 

  1. Mirabell Palace + Gardens
  2. Mozarts Wohnhaus
  3. River Salzach (walk on the peatonal bridge -very close to Mozart's Wohnhaus-, it's great for picture-taking!)
  4. Getreidegasse (take your time here, it's the cutest shopping street ever - Diagon Alley much?)
  5. Mozarts Geburthaus (it's a bright yellow house on Getreidegasse)
  6. Dom > Residenz > Domplatz > Kapitelplatz > Cemetery of St. Peter
  7. Festung Hohensazlburg (the fortress, where you should definitely spend at least an hour looking at the views, taking pictures and eating Sacher Torte -Viennese chocolate cake-.) 
This is a route that I perfected on my second visit to Salzburg since I only had one day to show everything to my bf and I had had two days to walk around during my first visit. 


Hallstatt was definitely breath-taking and all sorts of amazing. I would definitely recommend renting a car if you're visiting with more than 3 people, but if not, get the bus from Salzburg like we did (more cost-effective  in that case although not cheap!) It's really worth the money though, and we were able to spend the whole day there. 
We visited the whole town (it's really small so 30-50 minutes of wandering and taking lottttts of pictures in piers would be more than enough) and then we hiked up the mountain. I almost died twice during that hike, it was soooo long and we weren't equipped for hiking. 
But we finally got to the top, where a restaurant awaited us and we had the best spaghetti ever... although I'm sure they only tasted that great because we were famished! After that, we took some pictures on the skywalk and then went back down with the funicular (which felt like a really steep roller-coaster track). Last but not least, we walked a little bit around the river area before catching our bus back to Salzburg.

Innsbruck was another thing entirely. Cute is the only word to describe this beautiful city. The old part of the city is even smaller and more concentrated than in Salzburg, which ensures that an hour or 2 (tops) walking around will help you see the most beautiful things.

We saw the Goldenes Dachl, the Hofburg, Domplatz, and walked around the small and cobbled streets. After that, we walked around the Inn River and tried to get the funicular to go up the mountain (it was closed for repairs for the the whole month of November -bummer!-, but it should be open by now), we caught a bus and soon we started hiking around the beautiful woods in the mountain. We were lucky and had a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the walk and the views. We spent around 3-4 hours walking around and after reaching the highest point that our legs permitted us to, we started walking back down because the sun goes down faster than we do and we didn't want to be lost in the woods by night... plus, we were soooo hungry by then! After having lunch, we drank some hot mulled wine (Glühwein in German, in case you need it) and walked around some more... and finally caught the train back to Vienna!

Ever visited any of these cities? Would you?


Monday, November 24, 2014

Internet Blackout

So what has been going on with me, you may ask? 

Top to Bottom, L to R: Me + the bf, the woods of Innsbruck, Salzburg
& the most amazing chocolate shop (in Salzburg)

For starters, my computer broke. My Macbook Pro (that has been with me for 3 years) was getting updated one day and it suddenly wouldn't restart. I had to send it back to Spain for repair and it was quite a stressful pair of weeks since I really need a computer to do my uni work. 

After that, my boyfriend came to visit me to Vienna for a week* and we were able to go see Salzburg and Innsbruck. It was the most amazing trip although the rest of the time he was here I had to leave him quite alone because I had so many classes! Although it sucked not being able to spend as much time with him as I would've liked, soon enough we're going together to Berlin! 
So, at least, during these weeks of exams I will have something amazing to look forward to. 

*He's on his Erasmus too and he's living in Warsaw (Poland) this whole year! 

...Distance sucks. 

Now that my computer is up and running, count on me posting more often. Sorry, guys!
What have you been up to lately?


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The redder, the better

My collection of red lipsticks is getting ridiculous. 50% of my lipsticks are red, and I always find a new addition to that growing list. This time, my newest buy is All Fired Up by MAC.

Although it's a beautiful darker shade than it's sister Relentlessly Red, I can't recommend you guys to buy both. Here they are in comparison to Ruby Woo. All Fired Up is a pinker red and more muted than Relentlessly Red, but if you guys are like me and don't usually have the money to spend on every single MAC lipstick shade (Oh, I wish!), you will barely be able to tell the difference.

Both are coral-y shades of red, but Relentlessly Red is the kind of shade you wear in summer (it is a tad brighter), whilst All Fired Up can also be worn in winter or used as a pink stain without a problem.

Which one would you pick? Do you have any of these lipstick shades?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A day trip to Bratislava!

I feel so blessed for being able to reach so many wonderful places at a stone's throw from Vienna. 

For the sake of honesty, I have to say that although I really liked Bratislava, it's not a huge capital in which you can never get bored. The old part (pictured up and below) is beautiful but it isn't that big. Meanwhile, the rest of the city in my opinion is not something you should go out of your way to visit. 

However, for a day trip it's the perfect destination!  

Our trip consisted of catching a bus from Vienna to Bratislava, and spending the whole day in the old part, just eating goulash* and the most delicious brownie <3!
I wish I had written down the names of the places we ate in because for me they were truly blog-worthy. Both of them where in the old part of the city and I assure you that if you take a walk, you will find many places such as these!

*A wonderful hungarian stew that can be made from various meats although it's typically supposed to be pork. You can find it almost everywhere in central Europe.

I think Bratislava is one of those cities in which you need to just walk around and bask in traditions, eat typical food 
and explore!

Have you been to Bratislava? Did you like it? If not, would you consider visiting?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Falling in love with Vienna

Leaving everything you're used to behind is difficult. You forget stuff, you miss your friends, you miss the food you usually eat... But it's also full of new and exciting beginnings. You get to meet new people, learn different languages and get mixed up in confusing situations. Anyhow, going to live to a different country it's still one of the greatest experiences you can have.

And in Vienna, it's just too good to be true!

I've already been here for almost a month and I have to excuse myself for the lack of updates. You see, I've had to adapt but I've also been doing quite a lot of travelling during this month (Bratislava, Budapest, Warsaw, Linz...) but more on that later! 

Recently, I was speaking with some other Spanish exchange students that live here and we've all come to the conclusion that once you come to Vienna, you set a very high bar! Even if you visit other places and love them for different reasons, none will capture your heart like Vienna has.
It's just too wonderful for words, very safe, amazingly beautiful and there's always a hundred fun things to do. Plus, it's in the centre of Europe so you can get to many destinations without having to spend that much time travelling!

I mean... can you blame me for loving it here?

Have you been to Vienna or would you want to go? If you have, did you like it?
What other places have you fallen in love with?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Travel Beauty Tips

Travelling is the most amazing thing, but beauty on-the-go for a long time is kind of tricky. You don't want to pack too much if you need to travel light, but you also want versatility and options when you're out and about!

Here are some tips and tricks you can use when travelling abroad or when taking a small trip nearby:

1. Makeup wipes + cream = yay! (aka: makeup wipes aren't your enemy)

Taking with you a makeup remover is too much of a hassle. If it's micellar water, there's a high possibility it will leak in your suitcase. Hence, my use of olive oil or body cream... and it WORKS!

During my trip to Turkey, I took a miniature bottle of body cream by accident... and it saved me. When you're doing touristy things, you aren't precisely looking for a drugstore (which in some countries, is NOT an easy feat even if you are) to buy makeup remover.

I applied the cream all over my face, I dabbed it on my lashes and on my eyelids. Be careful and buy a cream that isn't liquid, because you don't want it to get into your eyes! (I know this sounds kind of dangerous even, but I've been doing it for years and never had a single problem. AND mascara just comes right off!)

I let it do it's own thing for 10 seconds or more... and then, using my makeup wipes I remove it gently. This ensures your eyes won't suffer too much scrubbing and your lashes won't fall.

2. Don't take blush, take lipstick!

This is one trick you all probably know about but maybe you don't really use it as much in your daily life. I love using slightly creamy lipsticks as both blush (dabbing some on directly from the bullet and then blending it with your own fingers) and light lipstick. I especially love this when using a red lipstick that isn't extremely opaque but rather natural such as Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Red Island:

I love the natural flush effect... which I usually achieve with my Stila Convertible Color in Poppy. Plus, as it is slightly shiny this is another way of highlighting your cheeks! (Pats self on the back)

3. Don't forget your lip balm! 

Aside from using it on your lips, lip balm can be used for so many things. I like to use this in place of a heavy duty moisturizer when I'm on a plane as your skin can get extremely dry when enduring those conditions for long. Around the eyes, dabbing it or maybe on any dry skin patch you may have... works wonders! 

4. To mascara or not to mascara... 

I know this is kind of horrifying to some people, but 99% of the time I don't wear any mascara. It's not a feeling I cherish on my eyes, especially because I usually wear contact lenses and I tend to rub my eyes every once in a while. 
I do wear mascara when going out or when I'm meeting someone for dinner/lunch/coffee, but usually I stick to some smudged out brown eyeshadow [I use: KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in #39], lining my upper waterline or a thin line in black very close to the lashes (only on the upper lid) [I use: Maybelline Gel Eyeliner in Black].

However, if you absolutely need mascara, take a look at tip número uno to remove it afterwards!

5. Clear nail polish FTW!

If you're on a short (1-3 day) trip, don't pay attention to this tip. However, if you're travelling for more than 5 days, I completely recommend you to go bare from the get go. This way, you won't have a half chipped nail polish during your whole trip and it won't bother you either. If you just can't part ways with nail polish, use a clear nail polish that won't be too noticeable if/once it chips!

What tricks and tips do you use when travelling?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Turkey Travel Diary - Part 3: Pamukkale, Bodrum and Ephesus

After visiting the Cappadocia, our next stop was Pamukkale. Pamukkale is a small town famous for its lime pools (nature made!) Bathing in these pools is a one-of-a-kind experience, and if you get the chance to visit, definitely do! The pools are jam-packed with people during the day so I advise you to go around 6pm or later.

Sadly, the natural pools have been closed off due to people damaging them so we weren't able to swim in those. However, the artificially created pools are quite nice too (not the same as the originals, but I'll take 'em!)

We also got to see the dervish dance! It felt a bit touristy and not that traditional as it might've been in Konya (our stop between Cappadocia and Pamukkale). In Konya it's traditionally performed every other day in caves, which makes the whole experience more authentic. 
However, it was great seeing what it was like!

After spending two nights in Pamukkale, we took off for Bodrum. Let me tell you something about Bodrum: it's awesome for partying (which I wasn't there to do) but too crowded for my taste. It's a beautiful touristy town but I definitely recommend to check out Göltürkbükü (difficult name to remember) if you want to spend a whole day under the sun.

The beaches are made of rock, which I prefer since the water is way more clear than if you go to sandy beaches.  We were able to rent a deck chair literally two steps from the sea for 30 turkish liras (=10€ approx.) which included food, drinks and the rent of the chair itself! (sweet deal, right?)

Our last destination (before going back to Istanbul for our return flight) was Ephesus! Ephesus is the ruins of an ancient Greek city which has so much history you will be fascinated. There's a site that was supposed to be Mary's last home (The House of Virgin Mary), as well as what I loved the most: The Library of Celsus (of which now only remains the façade).

We spent the night in Selçuk, in an adorable and charming hotel called Boomerang Guesthouse, which I strongly recommend if you're going to visit Ephesus. The family that owns the hotel also owns the restaurant beside it and they are extremely lovely!

And this is the end of our trip :)
Let me know what you think about Turkey, these 3-post series or what you had for lunch!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Turkey Travel Diary - Part 2: Cappadocia

After Istanbul, we spent one night in Ankara. We barely saw anything (which is a shame) and there are no pictures of us in the capital. The next morning, our destination was Göreme but we decided to visit Tuz Gölü along the way! :)

Tuz Gölü is a salt lake that you can walk on for miles and find no water whatsoever (at least not in the middle of Summer). It's absolutely beautiful but be prepared: wear sunglasses and SPF! (Your skin and retinas will thank you later)

We finally got to Göreme. That place is truly a beauty! It's a small town, very touristy in fact, but worth visiting. The food is delicious and there's this kebab dish that is prepared in a vase that they break before serving it to you (I've forgotten what it was called, damn)... it was the best! (Pictured below)

We stayed two nights and had thought about getting on a hot air balloon (it's the most important must when you visit Cappadocia), however the prices were way too high and we decided to make the most of our only full day in the area... 
road trip!

During our small road trip, we visited the Underground City of Derinkuyu and the Valley of Ihlara, as well as many other towns along the way. The Valley of Ihlara is full of small, extremely old orthodox churches carved into the stone of the steep valley and is one of the most wonderful things I've seen in Turkey!

<3 M.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Robin

Nothing that I will say hasn't been said before. I wasn't raised with your films, but I have seen enough to deem you a fantastic actor. I had never known that you had a battle with depression because I would've related with you in so many aspects.

I'm sorry about your death, dear friend. Suicide is a choice that many people have been faced with, and it is never easy. People don't usually understand suicide and depression so let's say it's like a black dog or rather a black monster that eats you up from inside. It can make you believe you're worth nothing, that you will never go back to being happy, that no one needs you and they're better off without you. Sometimes you're distracted and don't think about anything, or you feel numb inside, but every once in a while you peek into yourself to just see if the monster is gone and it is frightening how strong it has grown while you looked elsewhere.

I am sorry that the monster finally took you but the rest of us will remember you as a magnificent person, one that was always capable of making everybody around you smile.

You will be missed dearly.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Turkey travel diary - Part 1: Istanbul

There's nothing better than travelling to demonstrate how wrong you are. About life, about the country you are visiting and about the country you come from. We usually expect what will happen when we get there, don't we?

No one would've told us that Turkey is, in a lot of aspects, more advanced than Spain (there were solar panels on EVERY single house). Also, if you get in a taxi, be prepared for the ride of your life... or death!
We would've never imagined that, whilst asking a man -who had absolutely no idea of english- directions to our hotel, he would get in the car and started driving until he got us there. The most amazing thing is... this is thought as completely normal in Turkey. 
Wearing shorts doesn't mean that people will judge you, even if the rest of women around you are wearing burka (although it's not that common). Travelling with a pair of natives (my father and brother) always helps! (I'm joking... but not really.) If you have a beard, come to Turkey... you're going to love it!
And the most usual thing is that, wherever you go, everyone will invite you to çay (tea). If you're not a huge fan of tea, I assure you you will start to be - and if not, try elma çay (apple tea.. yum!)

I wasn't expecting anything of what we encountered, and after these 15 days, I still can't believe how lucky I've been to visit this marvellous country! 

Our route: Istanbul - Ankara - Göreme - Konya - Pamukkale - Bodrum - Efes - Istanbul


Can you believe that this is not the coolest kind of clothing? 

I have to be completely honest here. Istanbul is the place to be if you want to see beautiful architecture (take the Blue Mosque below, for example) and astonishing contrasts (a girl wearing shorts while her sister is wearing a burka).

 I am a big fan of this city, but I have to say we visited on the worst possible moment. The Ramadan had just finished and there were a couple of limitations in restaurants and shops. (i.e. The Grand Bazaar was closed during our first stay... damn. However, we got to spend a whole day -and our savings- when we finished our tour, before getting our flight home the next day) 

The beautiful Blue Mosque

We HAD to try Narguile, at least once!

The whole city was brimming with people and the heat -combined with LOTS of humidity- didn't make it any easier. I have to say, I loved the night time in Istanbul, but I loathed the morning and afternoon. So. darn. hot. 

A couple of Istanbul recommendations:
  • Taksim Square and Itsiklal Caddesi (which is their way of saying "street"). It's a great area, always full of people and excitement. The most important shops are located here, so if you want to make a quick visit to Zara, you most definitely have to come here! There are great restaurants and bars in the adjacent streets, which are also full of charm and music. (If you're after Istanbul's night life, this is the place for you too!)
  • Grand Bazaar: I can't say enough good things about this place. We spent almost a whole day in there, and we didn't even buy that much. It's intoxicating (in a good way) and fascinating, because you can't stop looking around. Most objects you can find in more than one shop, so if the clerk is asking for a high price and you can't make him lower it -bargaining is a must here-, check other shops. But... if you really really liked it, I say buy it, because you most definitely will make a couple of turns and in a second you won't know where the shop is located. (Almost Alice in Wonderland-ish!)
  • Spice Market: Although it's a beautiful place to see, I wouldn't recommend you to buy there anything except maybe a souvenir. Most things have quite a high price and it's fixed, unlike in the Grand Bazaar.
  • The Blue Mosque: If you ever come to Istanbul, this one's a must! A beautiful example of muslim architecture, but if you're a woman you will most definitely have to wear one of those borrowed dresses + headscarves we're wearing in one of the pictures above. There are also delicious small restaurants around that area ;) so check them out after your visit!

Have you ever been to Istanbul? Would you like to?