Where am I?

Villa Vizcaya was built by James Deering in the 1910s and served as a winter home. It was intended to appear as an Italian estate and the expansive gardens combine elements of Renaissance Italian and French designs.

That’s what my guide read. And this is what I found:

More than a villa it reminded me of the old Spanish town houses that almost look like fortresses. I couldn’t take any pictures inside the house, but it was just as impressive as the outside. In my eyes, who have seen more than one European castle, it was like a compressed Europe. All the styles mixed together blended perfectly and created a great place. After touring the house I just sat on a bank in the garden and rested for some time enjoying the park…

And then, it was time to head back to the hotel. The sun was already going down and I still had to pack my bags to fly home the next day.

I feel like I’ve run a marathon

I had only one day left and was feeling a bit panicky. I had so many things I still wanted to see. So I got up quick and early on my last full day in Miami and was out the door at 9 am. Yes. 9 am. I almost hit the morning rush hour. My destinations today were:

  • Campus of University of Miami
  • Coral Gables and the Venetian Pool

I took the bus downtown and then the Metrorail down south. My first stop: 

It’s totally different from a German university campus. It’s more like a small town itself, with an own bus system and police. What I particularly liked were the licence plates with the university logo on it. I’m still thinking about getting myself one of those…

After I had walked over the campus for some time, I headed back to the metro to ride up north just one station to Coral Gables.

I took the electronic trolley from the metro station to Miracle Mile where I had lunch and then just continued to walk along the streets taking in impressions. 

I was loosely following the route towards Venetian Pool a public swimming pool from the 1920. Unfortunately, it was closed, but I still got a nice impression on what it looked like. If there was a town to choose to move to, it would probably be Coral Gables. It was so peaceful, green and everything reminded me of paradise…

During my quick lunch at Starbucks I met a nice guy who patiently endured my questions 😉 On my ride down on the metro the train had stopped at a station called Villa Vizcaya. I had read about this place in my guide, but it hadn’t given clear instructions on how to get there and I thought that it would be too far to walk by foot. But – as the guy told me – it was just over the street from Villa Vizcaya metro station! A look at my watch told me that I still had some time left of the day so again I hopped on the metro to take a look at Villa Vizcaya.

Join me again next time for the last part of my trip – my visit to Villa Vizcaya.

Downtown Miami

Growing up in a small German town, I’m mainly used to this:

So you can surely imagine what I felt like when we were heading towards this:

I was completely overwhelmed. The size of the  buildings, of everything, it seemed just so huge and made me feel like an ant. But, one gets quickly used to everything and we enjoyed one day strolling through downtown Miami, riding the Metromover, visiting Hard Rock Cafe shopping at Bayside Marketplace. When we took the bus back to our hotel we could barely walk any more…

Don’t miss the next post about my last day in Miami!

Miami Beach

As it’s quite a distance and takes some time to travel from Germany to the US, I decided to stay some days longer and do some sightseeing in Miami after the end of my yoga teachers course. The best idea I could have had!

My hotel was the tiny, lovely hotel/hostel called “Tropics” in Miami Beach, situated perfectly on 1550 Collins Rd, between Lincoln Rd Shopping Mall and Ocean Drive!

It’s was also only a stone’s throw to the beach. I spent some time there watching the kite surfers, listening to the waves and enjoying the sun. One absolute highlight of the stay was doing yoga in the morning while watching the sun rise. After getting up at 5 for two weeks, six o’clock felt like sleeping in 😉

Join me again for my next recap on Miami Downtown and my trip to Coral Gables, the University of Miami and how I found out about Villy Vizcaya.

Beware!

One thing I didn’t really think I’d be doing was going to the Everglades. Don’t ask me why, I just didn’t consider it, thinking I’d be busy enough just getting around the Miami area. And I was, but I also got lucky and was able to make a trip to the Everglades Holiday Park.

After having studied hard for one week we got Friday off after breakfast to do whatever we liked. First, we thought about going to the beach, but then someone mentioned the alligators and we were all hooked.

Of course, I know alligators from the zoo. I know how they look, but the possibility of experiencing them in real life? I’m in it!

So we took of to make a 1 hour boat tour with one of those air boats to search for alligators. As it was “winter” in Florida (which equals German summer) and pretty cold (around the mid 70s) chances were pretty high that we would actually see one or two.

Well, we were beyond lucky. We got to see 4 alligators and one was even active, swimming behind another air boat! We also got to see some other wild life, but I wasn’t fast enough to capture those with my camera. Still, we had a great time, learned a lot and captured even more memories to tell our kids of!

After the boat tour we got to see the Alligator Show.

Well, it wasn’t really a show, but they had some alligators that were captured in swimming pools – very creepy if you ask me – that they were keeping for taking them back into the wildlife and they also had baby alligators…

St. Malo, France

This post was originally written in February 2010. It’s part of the series of posts I wish more people had read and which I will repost during my absence…

This is one of the old posts I had in my former blog. After I had got home from my exchange semester in Spain I travelled straight away to France to see my boyfriend – who was spending his year abroad in France. He stayed in Rennes, a small town in northwest France and from there we did various trips to the surrounding cities. Indeed, if you’re planning to make a trip to Europe or France make sure you spend some days in the Bretagne. It’s one of the most beautiful regions I know in Europe.

So here we go. One of the trips we did was travelling to the sea. Unfortunately, it being March, we didn’t have the best weather, but still we had a lot of fun…

On this first picture you can see the old castle. We took this pic right after we got off the bus. Today they have all the city administration in the castle, so it’s not open to the public. That’s really a shame, I think, as I imagine one would have a wonderful view from the tower.

The castle lies directly at the coast and close to the harbor which is behind us.


So, of course, the first thing we did, was walking to the coastal line. This was right behind the castle. They have quite a tide there. I’d say it makes up to 4 metres. When we arrived it was high tide and the water was just beginning to pull back. This was very good, because it meant that we’d be able to go to one of the many islands they have around…

One of the many things St. Malo is so special about, is that you can walk right around the old city centre on the town wall. Actually, the whole city was destroyed during WWII, but was rebuilt in it’s original way afterwards. This is a look into the city. I think it looks quite chaotic, doesn’t it?

For lunch we went into the city. It looks very similar from the inside, as it does from the outside. Tiny streets going up and down:

Sometimes, you felt like you had walked right into the scene of a movie and I expected a horserider to come around the corner more than once! Also the light was incredible, though it was quite cloudy that day, sometimes the sun would come out and create this surreal feeling…

Before going home we went back to the beach and walked over to one of the islands. I really loved this – along the way were about a ton of empty sea shells and I started collecting some. Well, I could have taken ALL of them, because one was more beautiful than the other. However, my boyfriend wanted to get to the island and BACK again before the tide came back. It was a close call, as you can see in the picture below. The castle in the background is the one we went to and a short time after we got back the water began to rise, again. However, I had a lot of fun:

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København – Wrap up of the weekend

This post was originally written in November 2009. It’s part of the series of posts I wish more people had read and which I will repost during my absence…

After a three day sightseeing marathon we decided to take things slowly on Saturday and slept late. After a huge breakfast we headed to the city center to go shopping. Well, in the end, we didn’t buy anything despite postcards, souvenirs (black currant jam) and a wallet, but we had a great time strolling through the city and its shops.

In the afternoon we visited the National Museum that displays the history of the Danish people of the last 2000 years. It was really interesting to see the parallels and differences of our own history. In the evening we went to the Copenhagen Film Festival to see “No one knows about Persian cats”. I’ve written an individual post about this movie which you can read here.

Here’s the route we followed on Saturday (without the cinema):

On Sunday morning we packed our bags so we could enjoy the last hours in Copenhagen without having to worry about luggage. Then we set off to search the alternative Little Mermaid. We were lucky, but it was mere chance that we really found here near the new port:

Around noon we met with Manuela to have a look at Rosenborg Castle. Yeah, we visited a lot of castles, but it didn’t get boring, because they were all completely different.

Rosenborg was built as summerhouse in the 18th century and turned into a museum in the late 1800s as the regents didn’t have any use for it any more. Today it houses a collection of artifacts that were collected by the former monarchs and the Royal Crown Jewels.

It’s surrounded by a huge park that invites to spend some time just wandering along, marvelling at the nature… This is also where we took this picture:

In the evening we had delicious dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in the city enjoying the last hours of our stay. All in all I have to say, it was a wonderful time we had and if you ever come to Europe or to Denmark, take your time and visit Copenhagen. It’s really worth it!!!

Follow these links to read the other posts from Day 1Day 2 and Day 3.