Europe 05 / Switzerland

1  2   Since I'm going to Art Basel in two weeks I figured it a good time to pick back up my european adventure memoirs. I left off at Germany and from there traveled through Switzerland which turned out to be the most visually stunning and unimaginable place ever. Switzerland was a sleepy favorite of the trip. I say that because I constantly forget to tell people how much I loved it. and from a solo travel perspective, it was one of the only countries I truly spent time completely alone.   7   I literally kept saying, "i'm not really seeing this. it's not real." I thought I was in avatar the whole time, ha. In my journal I wrote: "5/26/14, Even when I stand and stare trying to take it in, it doesn't look real. the air is so crisp here. 5/28/14, The world really is so beautiful. like how can you live your whole life without seeing things like this?"   11   4   I texted a good friend from home when I found out I'd be able to spend the day in Basel and he told me I absolutely COULD NOT MISS the Gerhard Richter exhibiton at the Fondation Beyeler. So I didn't. I took a train from Lucerne where we were staying to Basel and spent the day exploring. it was mesmerizing.

[From the exhibition book, Gerhard Richter Pictures/Series] "In the course of his sixty-year career Richter has produced an oeuvre that has accorded him a place as one of the most influential and successful artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. [...] He is rightly celebrated worldwide as an outstanding figure, arguably the most important painter of our times."

  6   5   8   sometimes i really wish i'd spent more time in art school so I could explain things the way I see and feel them. I always feel lost for words, but I feel so deeply sometimes I wish I could just say what it is I'm really thinking... in a way that more than only just describes it. yahh back to Switzerland. In my journal I described Basel as "Paris meets Amsterdam" based on my short time in all 3 places I think it fits, but I'd need to spend time there again to see if I still agree.   9   10   12   In one of the books I read during the trip—that I'll get into further when I write about Italy—there was a quote by the male character that said, "when you go to a place and have an extraordinary experience, you can never return." That might be the case with Switzerland for me. As dream-like as it was, I'm not sure if I'd want to travel there again and change my memories.


Europe 03 / Amsterdam

ciarabird-amsterdam-1  Brussels and Amsterdam definitely surprised me the most—I had no idea what either looked like so I went with zero expectations and fell completely in love.   ciarabird-amsterdam-6   ciarabird-amsterdam-2   ciarabird-amsterdam-3   The first few hours the only word I could think to describe everything was "cool." I know that seems so simple, but literally the entire vibe of the city was just chill and the utopian mash-up of cultures and styles was so laid back and effortless.

I went on a walking tour of the Red Light District my first night in Amsterdam and it was such an eye-opening experience. but i loved how open-minded and practical the dutch people are. that whole "people are going to do it anyway so we may as well come up with a smart safe way for it to work (and benefit us)" mentality. not to mention all of the amazing concept shoppes tucked in and around the area.   ciarabird-amsterdam-7   ciarabird-amsterdam-10   …then I discovered their vintage book markets and completely lost my shit. I wanted to bring home at least 20 books and ended up mailing some home before leaving the city. it's basically {one} of the main reasons I can't wait to get back.   ciarabird-amsterdam-4   ciarabird-amsterdam-0   xx, C

Europe 01 / London

london-2  Ahh London. My first international experience. Looking back I cannot think of a better city to have started my trip. I instantly fell in love with everything about it and at the time falsely assumed that it was because I hadn't seen everything else and was just excited to be there. From this side I can say London is still one of my favorite cities—top 5 for sure—and I cannot wait to return.   london-6   london-5   I vividly remember the taxi ride (on the opposite side of the road) from the airport to our hostel and immediately noticed how stylish and posh everyone was. The street style was by far my favorite here. and my god, the architecture. I have 100s of doorway, ceiling detail, and store front images that I flitted around snapping with probably as much grace as a crazy person and the same crazed facial expression.   london-1   london-3   Within a day I was trying to convince B to let us live there and began fantasizing about what it would be like to wake up in London everyday and get to do life their way. How long would it take for me to become immune to it's charm?   2   2014-05-16-18.59   I miss walking. as in walking as my form of transportation vs. going on a walk for exercise. I miss being in a place that allows me to physically become a part of the city and forces me to be outside therefore seeing and experiencing all of the details we miss from the comfort and safety of our cars.   bookshop1a   bookshop1b   bookshop2   There is no way for me to describe my experience in a way that makes sense or even fully captures my feelings, what I did/saw, or the city itself. so i think these posts will just contain random thoughts I had at the time and not really focus on any of the details. but to round this first one out here are a few of my favorite moments in London:

1. (Sherlock Holmes?) themed bicycle ride I saw across from St. Paul's Cathedral. 2. Fish & Chips the second night at a random bar. I don't eat seafood so this was big and it was delicious. 3. Wandering through the spitalfields market where I got a vintage black kimono that I'm obsessed with. 4. Meeting up with two of my best friends from LA. 5. and obviously visiting the Harry Potter Studios.. it was completely surreal.   london-7


EUROPE2014  It's official! I will no longer be the last person on the planet (in my age bracket) that hasn't been across the world.. or even out of the country for that matter (the bahamas doesn't count!) It always surprises people when I tell them I really haven't been very far. Every time a travel opportunity comes along I jump for it, but as far as taking a big leap it has always seemed like a far off dream that would take years before I could achieve— an exclusive membership club I didn't have access to.

Not any more!

After a few crazy (and I mean crazy, I will spare the details— but thank GOD there are people who love me) days of thinking and being neurotic (ie. ben stiller in along came polly) I decided to push back my return to the City of Angels and take a 30-day Grand Tour of Europe... leaving next week!! and only about 3 weeks following the initial thought.

I knew that reading the alchemist would do terrible things to my brain and like it said “when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” This has been so true— once I made the decision everything kinda fell into place, almost as if it had been set-up to work in my favor before I'd even considered it.

Of course once I get back I'm going to think I'm a travel blogger (kidding, kinda.) so I want to make nice little lists and take pictures of all the things I packed and places I visited and the things I learned for future travel.

Now to the fun part...   Europe2014_Map   Where I'm going: London (United Kingdom), Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Heidelberg (Germany), Lucerne Region (Switzerland), Venice, Rome, Florence (Italy), French Riviera, Provence (France), Barcelona, and Madrid (Spain)! There are obviously a ton of other cities I'm dying to visit; Milan, Positano, Berlin, Basel, etc. but I will save them for next time (and there will definitely be a next time) when I stay longer in the cities I really liked... or move to Rome ha who knows.

I had the option to visit Greece, but it would have meant losing out on Spain, so again, another time... and more likely when I try to do Egypt (my true bucket-list trip) and Turkey.

I have this visual of the things I want to wear, the books I'll read, the museums I'll walk through, but we all know that things rarely turn out the way we expect so even though I think I'll come back all different from the things I've seen and experienced — I'm just going to pack up my little stuff and go with the flow, fully enjoying each moment and the fact that I will have a month to do absolutely nothing work related, just go-go-go— my favorite thing ever!

xx, C


The books I'm taking: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi Perfume by Patrick Suskind An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan & Rachel Kapelke-Dale

digitally... against my own wishes lol.