Why You Should Visit Hamburg (Like, Now)

View from St. Michael's Church (Michel) in Hamburg, Germany
[The view from St. Michael’s Church should not be missed]
Over the course of our 3 months in Europe, my friend Stephanie and I ended up spending the bulk of our time in Hamburg. This was a total accident! But a very happy one.

I honestly wasn’t even really that excited to go to Hamburg in the first place – I really only went because we found a house sit there and it was for 2.5 weeks which I was stoked about (since we’d been traveling everywhere for about 1 week and I was ready to camp out in one spot for a hot minute), and because my friend really realllllly (like reallllly) wanted to go to Germany.

Canoeing along the Alster River
[Loved all the pretty garden houses/sheds that people had on the banks of the Alster River]
I was more like NORWAY! SWITZERLAND! AMSTERDAM! And I guess Hamburg? Since it exists?

But now I just feel like Hamburg is super underrated (And I honestly prefer it to Berlin, too, for similar reasons that I preferred Lyon to Paris. But shhhh I didn’t say that…), and it actually ended up coming on top as one of my favorite places! Here’s why:

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Packing List for 3 Months in Europe in Winter (Carry On Only!!)

Female packing list for 3 months in Europe in winter with only a carry on suitcase!

My friend Stephanie and I traveled through Europe from January to April. We went to Scotland, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Prague, Norway, and Germany. I am the WORST packer so I read post after post and watched a million videos about what to pack for winter.

What to pack in Europe for a 3 month trip in winter & spring with only a carry on suitcase
[Here’s a photo of everything I took with me! However, my friend took a checked bag and kindly brought my razor blades and full-size contact solution with her]
I’m also from California where it really doesn’t get THAT cold, so I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d be needing on a daily basis. I’m actually pretty damn proud of how I packed to be honest – only a few items that I regret bringing, and I managed to fit everything into a carry on suitcase and small backpack because I am insane! MAJOR WIN for me, the girl who used to bring a suitcase to a sleepover.

I was even able to squeeze most of it into my carry on for a couple of the Easy Jet flights we took (they don’t allow a personal item). The trick is having a giant coat with lots of pockets and a giant scarf to hide your DSLR camera with. 😉

Note: I try really hard to only buy used things; if I can’t then I’ll buy new. Poshmark is my best friend when looking for things online, and I’ve had good luck with Crossroads in person. Therefore, I’ve only linked things I think would be difficult to buy used. You can also see if the products I’ve recommended on Amazon are sold as refurbished/used!

Here’s what I took (dragged) with me:

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My Thoughts & Reflections After 3 Months of Travel

Reflections after 3 months of travel in Europe
[Kriebstein Castle is a great place to reflect]
Fair warning, this is going to be kind of a rambly post…Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my brain. I feel a little scrambled eggs-esque about having been in Europe for the last 3 months and now heading home. There’s just A LOT to process and I’m also going through major chocolate withdrawals (I WAY overdid it on German chocolate and I’m trying to cut out sugar for a bit – wish me luck) so excuse my brain at the moment.

Here’s where I’m at, and how I’ve changed, after 3 months of travel!

I ACTUALLY (KIND OF) MISS HAVING A HOME BASE

Hamburg buildings
[Not gonna lie, I really enjoyed staying in Hamburg for almost 2 months and getting to know the city]
Our three months of travel was a little busier than I would have liked – we spent 2 days in London, then a week in Glasgow, a few days in Amsterdam, a week in Switzerland, a week in Prague, 2 weeks in Norway, and then the rest of our time in Germany (but we moved around pretty frequently while there).

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21 Things That Surprised Me About Germany

21 Things That Surprised Me About Germany

When I first set out on my 3 month digital nomad/travel excursion we had just planned on staying in Germany for about 3 weeks, but that turned into 2 months! Whoops. And during that time I really fell in love with Germany – it’s such a lovely country!

Lübeck in northern Germany from St Peter's Church
[Lübeck is a beautiful town in northern Germany, and an easy day trip from Hamburg; this view is from St. Peter’s Church]
I’d been before – to Berlin for a couple of days and then Starnberg and Munich for Oktoberfest. But this visit was the first time I’d really spent an extended amount of time in one country, and in one city no less!

We were in Hamburg the bulk of the time and Berlin for 10 days, but I was also able to squeeze in some day trips and visit the Saxony region for a weekend, too. Here’s what surprised me most about the country itself:

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5 Winter Day Trips from Basel, Switzerland

5 Winter Day Trips from Basel, Switzerland
[Our day trip to Colmar, France – this is “La Petit Venis”, or Little Venice, that is a popular place for photos]
We LOVED Switzerland. Like, I would go back there in a heartbeat. Except for the stupid stupid expensive sad prices 🙁

But everything else – the nature, the beautiful cities, the food (aka cheese)…We loved (and ate) it all.

Tiled rooftops in Basel, Switzerland in February
[Pretty rooftops in Basel]
We had our Switzerland itinerary written out, which was made up of the typical tourist places: Interlaken, Bern, Zurich, St Gallen, and Lucerne.

We booked a private room in Basel on AirBnb (which is pretty much the cheapest place in Switzerland that we could find for accommodation) and hit it off with our hosts. They showered us in chocolate and beer our first night there, and even invited us to go dancing with them!

They asked what we had planned, and I proudly announced our chosen destinations. Our hosts looked at each other, shook their heads, and were like nahhh we have MUCH BETTER IDEAS FOR YOU.

So, here are the best places to go in Switzerland in winter according to 2 Swiss locals!

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My Favorite Vegetarian European Food Dishes & Desserts

[The array of Stroopwafels at van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam]
Like pretty much every other human out there, I LOVE FOOD. And when I’m in a new country the first thing I want to do is, well, try ALL of it (the vegetarian options, that is).

Because I don’t have a bottomless pit for a stomach, I haven’t had EVERY veggie option out there, but these are the things I’ve tried and liked and felt compelled to share. If you have any suggestions, feel free to share! I’m always looking for new things to stuff into my stomach.

[Stuffing my face with Swiss Alpine Macaroni]
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8 Reasons I Won’t Miss Living in the Bay Area

Why I Won't Miss Living in the Bay Area
[Even though there’s a lot I don’t like about the Bay, parts of it sure are pretty!]
Ahh the Bay Area – land of start ups, the word “hella”, giant tech companies, the best burritos (yeah I said it), the Golden Gate, and so much more that I could never fit it all into one sentence without violating all kinds of grammar rules. It’s a wonderful melting pot of a place.

I grew up in San Jose and was living in Fremont the past 2 years. I will always love the Bay (and there are plenty of reasons I’ll miss it, too), but I’m also very ready to leave. It was a good run, but here’s why I’m not looking to return:

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Doing What I Want Instead of What I Should

Doing What I Want Instead of What I Should - Navigating My Quarter Life Crisis
[Prague is a great place for a quarter life crisis, in my experience]
Oh howdy ho, fellow blogreaders!

LOL who am I? Please ignore that sentence and read on. I promise the cheese stops there.

SO. There have been some pretty big, like WHOA life changes as of late, and I really wanted to address that before publishing the other posts I have waiting in my blogging queue! So here’s what’s up:

I quit my job, and am traveling through Europe for the next few months. How’s that for a big, giant cliche?

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