Author Archives: Lindsay Sydenham

Rock Climb in Arco, Italy

Arco, Italy is a mountainous area with a relatively mild climate in Northern Italy – making it the perfect place for rock climbing. The city happens to be a favorite area for rock climbers in Europe, as well as a popular place for professional rock climbing competitions. During a climb, chances are that you will hear at least four different languages being spoken by neighboring climbers.

Sector Assissi at Massone

Never been rock climbing before? Don’t fret. Rock climbers of any skill level are welcome to climb in Arco. There are climbs designed specifically for beginners, intermediate and advanced climbers. Arco boasts thousands of routes to choose from and all climbs are on lovely limestone rock. Ultimately, there is a place for everyone to climb.

The routes in Arco can be climbed year-round, but the most popular times to climb are during spring and autumn. It is said that there are 50 areas, 63 crags, 2130 single pitch sport climbing routes, more than 70 multi-pitch climbing routes and 125 bouldering problems in Arco. A rock climber’s dream.

Lake Garda, a gorgeous lake with crystal blue water, is located just south of Arco. After a day of sweating while rock climbing, I suggest heading to the lake for a refreshing swim. The lake is a popular tourist destination and the perfect ending to a long day of hiking or rock climbing. Go windsurfing, take a swim or simply lay on the beach for relaxation. The beautiful sight of the water and the mountains are worth the short drive to the lake.

Visit the Boqueria Market in Barcelona

If traveling to Barcelona, don’t miss out on a visit to the Boqueria Market, one of the city’s largest, public markets. There you’ll finds fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat, candy, breads and pastries presented in thousands of colors, shapes and sizes. You’ll be hit in the face with smells of every kind – from fish to sweet candy. And your mouth is sure to water as you look at some of the best fruits Spain has to offer. Visiting the market is a complete sensory experience. If you’re a food connoisseur, you are bound to get lost in La Boqueria for hours.

Mercat de la Boqueria

You’ll hear the crowd in the market from a ways away. The noise is busy and inviting and the sound of it alone will make you curious to go inside to explore the busy stalls and walkways.

Many tourists choose to wander through the market without eating or drinking anything. Do yourself a favor and don’t become one of those tourists. With hundreds of booths and stands featuring foods of every kind, you won’t want to miss an experience eating some of the freshest and best-prepared foods in Spain. If anything, at least grab yourself a fresh-squeezed fruit drink as you explore the market.

In hindsight, I wish I had eaten every meal at the market while I was visiting Barcelona. One things for sure, you’re not likely to find foods of this caliber at home.

It is said that some of the best and most famous chefs from Barcelona get their ingredients from La Boqueria. Knowing that some of the greatest chefs in the world, who ought to be picky in their selections, purchase their foods from the market should to give you an idea of the fame and popularity of this market in Barcelona.

This famous food market is an integral part of Barcelona’s culture. Walking through, you’ll see for yourself just how important food is in Spanish culture. The market is almost always booming with a mixture of tourists and locals roaming the walkways. The market is located off of La Rambla, one Barcelona’s busiest streets, and is open every Monday though Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

More Barcelona Tips

Barcelona is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “10 Things to Do in Barcelona” to help you plan your visit to this great city.

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Rent a Cottage in Finland

Finland is a beautiful country known for having thousands and thousands of lakes. If you’re planning on traveling to Helsinki, be sure to find some time to leave the city to experience one of Finland’s many lakes.

My Aunt's cottage in Finland

Renting a cottage in Finland is the perfect way to find peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Neighbors are far and few which will make your travel experience much more private.

There are many cottages to rent on various lakes in Finland. You might choose a cottage located somewhere near activities that interest you or your group. The cottages are quaint and sort of become a home-away-from-home for visitors. Most cottages can be rented year round and most of them are priced per week instead of per person.

During the summer, many families enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing, biking, sailing and other outdoor activities during their stay. The summer days are long and bright and it seems as if the sun hardly sets. In the winter families enjoy ice swimming, trekking, skiing and snowboarding. Winter days seem short, with little light, but the snow adventures make it all worth while.

The backyard to my Aunt's cottage in Finland

Oh, and don’t forget the sauna. Most Finnish cottages are equipped with a sauna that are used daily by the Finns. You have not experienced Finland until you learn to use the sauna like a Finn.

I was lucky enough to stay at a cottage owned my my aunt somewhere outside of Helsinki. During my stay I discovered how to relax over and over again. I swam, went boating, ate crayfish, barbecued and found time to meditate while only listening to the sounds of nature. It was very obvious to me why the Finns are always looking for opportunities to leave the city on holiday and head to the lakes. In my opinion, no visit to Finland is complete without a much-needed stay at a cottage on a lake.

Finding the Perfect Döner in Berlin

Turkish Döner in Berlin

No visit to Berlin would be complete without eating at least one traditional, Turkish döner. While the döner may not be native to German culture, it has become a popular food option in Berlin. With a high population of Turkish people living in the city, Turkish food and culture has become an important part of Berlin culture. To fully experience Berlin would require dabbling a bit into the Turkish influence.

Döner stands line the streets of Berlin and are often the inexpensive lunch option for Berliners. Döner stands are also open later than most restaurants so they are often a dining choice for clubbers or those staying out late.

Döners will typically cost anywhere between two to five Euros — depending on the kind you order. The sandwich is typically served with lamb meat, but be aware that you can order a vegetarian or chicken döner as well. A salad made of chopped lettuce, cabbage, onions and cucumber is then added to the meat in thick flatbread. And your choice of sauce will top the salad. Most stands will typically have a hot sauce, herb sauce, curry sauce and garlic sauce to choose from. My advice? Always order the “Hausegemacht Soße” – the homemade sauce that is unique to each döner stand.

Also, word to the wise: plan on making a huge mess while eating your döner. It is difficult to eat one without getting it everywhere!

While there may be many döner stands to choose from in Berlin, not all of them will give you a quality or worthwhile döner experience. When I lived in Berlin, I had my fair share of good döners and bad döners. And eating a bad döner is enough to ruin the experience for you forever. It became my goal to discover the best döner finds in Berlin before I finished my study abroad. The following are my top three favorite finds:

1. Yorckstrasse Döner: Take the S-bahn to the Yorckstrasse S-bahn station. The döner stand is located just outside of the station. Exit anywhere and once you’re on the street, you’ll find the döner stand. This is my all-time favorite döner. Be sure to ask for the “Hausegemacht Soße” because you won’t want to miss out!

2. Charlottenburg Döner: Take the U-bahn (U2 line) to Sophie-Charlotte Platz. Exit the station on Bismarckstrasse and walk a few steps until you reach SchlossStrasse. Take a left on the street and walk past the small park. On the corner you’ll see a döner station. This döner is delightful and inexpensive!

3. Shark Döner: Take the S-bahn to Hackescher Markt. After exiting the station, look for a gigantic Starbucks. Shark Döner is located right across the street from the Starbucks. Hackescher Markt is a thriving area in Berlin and Shark Döner is located right in the middle of the hustle and bustle.

Best of Berlin Tips

Read our Best of Berlin tips to help plan your trip.

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Tips for What to Do in Germany

We’ve lots of travel tips for what to do in Germany.