Sunday, August 1, 2010

Munich, Germany. July 27 - July 30

In 2006, I had a layover in Munich while on my way to Barcelona. I didn't get a chance to visit Munich then, so I told myself that I'd like to come here one day. Then, in 2008, I found another reason to visit Munich: van Gogh's Sunflowers paintings. After seeing the Sunflowers paintings in Philadelphia, London, and Amsterdam, I found out there's a total of 5 van Gogh Sunflowers paintings in public display in museums around the world, and Munich houses one of them. Therefore, I decided to come to Munich this year as part of my Europe vacation.

I arrived from Prague in the evening. After settling in the hotel, I went out to the City Center to get some dinner. It was 9:15pm and the sky was just starting to get dark. Here's the beautiful City Hall.

Dinner was traditional Bavarian sausages with potato mash.

Prague, Czech Republic. July 23 - July 27

After working in London, I took off for my yearly vacation. When I talked to my girl friends in Europe (Vicky in Amsterdam and Katrina in London) about my upcoming trip, we decided to go to Prague because none of us have been. We had so much fun exploring Prague and goofing off. Added to that, we were constantly working with 4 different currencies (yes, FOUR!). Prague is not converted to the Euro so it's still using the Crowns. Vicky is on the Euro, Katrina is on British Pounds, and I'm on US Dollar. I constantly had to bust out my iPhone and convert the money for everyone. It was too funny.

Katrina and I left from London and met up with Vicky who flew in from Amsterdam at the airport, and went to the hotel together. On our way into the city center, we agreed that although the buildings are beautiful, we still felt a sense of the former Russian regime, that military vibe. It made us want to march on a square or something. :D

The hotel we booked was very inexpensive and right by the Old Town Square. We were stunned by how big our room was, its centralized location, and the complimentary breakfast that was abundant. We felt like we were staying at a room in a castle or something because we had chandeliers in our room!

The reception recommended a Czech restaurant for us to try called Kolkovna. We ordered two different appetizers including Chef's selection of meat, and cheese marinated in beer. Here's Katrina, Vicky, and I ready to chow down.

London, U.K. July 15 - July 22, 2010

I stopped by London for 23 hours in 2008 before moving on to Amsterdam. It was my first time visiting. Obviously, that's not enough time to see this busy and bustling city. I told myself if I get to come back, I'll have to visit the Tower of London, go inside the Westminster Abbey (it was a Sunday when I visited in 2008 so it was closed), and take a flight on the London Eye. I was elated when I found out that work would send me to London this summer.

After arriving, I immediately went to Trafalgar Square. I was very happy to be back. It was a clear and cool day. People were hanging out enjoying this Friday evening.

Of course, I had to visit the National Gallery, which is free and opens until 9pm on Fridays (love it!), and say hello to my second van Gogh Sunflowers painting on display here. (I'm on a mission to see all 5 of them in public display in museums around the world.) Here's looking at Trafalgar Square from the National Gallery.