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A lovely Italian to try out in Santa Monica

So I’m currently doing a West Coast road trip in the States. We flew into LAX and stayed the night in Santa Monica, before officially starting our road trip the following day.

We arrived at our hotel around 6pm, and after showering etc. we decided to head out and grab a bite to eat. We weren’t wanting to walk too far from our hotel (being understandably jetlagged) and stumbled across an Italian restaurant called ‘Il Forno’ just minutes from our hotel.

At around 8pm, it was still warm and we sat outside in the courtyard, tastefully decorated with plants and fairy lights. Straight away, a pleasant waiter brought us over a portion of warm, homemade bread and a bowl of balsamic, tomato salsa to nibble on. Being so tired, I wasn’t particularly hungry and just ordered an ‘appetiser’. But being in America, the portion was huge! I ordered the ‘Burrata’ which was served on a bed of arugula, sliced beefsteak tomatoes, balsamic reduction, melon and prosciutto di Parma…delicious! Their pastas and pizzas also looked delicious. The restaurant is a little on the expensive side (to be expected in Santa Monica) but definitely worth it for a special treat.

Top 3 things you should see in Vienna, Austria

  1. Naschmarkt. A huge outdoor market filled with vintage clothing, crafts, international food stalls etc. It’s been going since the 16th century! It took me about 45 minutes from beginning to end to see everything…I was walking pretty slowly just admiring everything! The whole market is about 1.5 km. The craft stalls in particular are perfect for souvenirs.

2. The Hofburg. The former imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers. Now, it’s the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. The palace was absolutely stunning. I only admired the exterior, I saw you could do a guided tour of a small section of the palace but at quite a high cost. Depending on what kind of budget you’re on, I’m sure the guided tour would be worth doing. I learned that the oldest part of the palace is the Swiss Wing, dating back to the 13th century.

The Hofburg
The Hofburg
The Hofburg

3. Hotel Sacher. Home to the famous Sacher-Torte! If you’re a ‘foodie’ then this one’s for you. Indulge in a slice of ‘The Original Sacher-Torte’ in the hotel’s luxury café and gift shop. For those of you who have never heard of the Sacher-Torte, it was invented in the early 1800s and they are still using the original recipe. A decadent chocolate cake sandwiched together with apricot jam and topped with chocolate frosting.

The Sacher-Torte!
Hotel Sacher

Berlin, Germany

Second stop on my ‘Europe Summer Trip’…Berlin! So far, I’m loving the city. I arrived yesterday (late morning) and after dropping my bags off at my hotel, I headed out to find something to eat. I stopped by this quaint looking German bistro named ‘Zur Rose’ and decided to eat there. The décor was vintage and cosy. I ordered the ‘Spätzle’. Which I later learned was a pasta variation (with the texture being more like a dumpling) served with lots of cheese and a side salad! I would definitely recommend this restaurant for any of you who are planning a trip to Berlin soon!

Trying the ‘Spätzle’ in Zur Rose.
Zur Rose

Some of the sights I saw that I would recommend as ‘must-sees’ would be the Reichstag Building which was built in the 1800s, the Brandenburg Gate – a stunning sight and an 18th century monument, the ‘Berliner Dom’ which is located on Museum Island in the Mitte district and then the ‘Berliner Fernsehturm’ (Berlin TV Tower) – 368 metres tall, it’s the cities most visible landmark and gives you 360° views.

Reichstag Building

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