Seville, Spain

Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. I actually did a day trip from Algarve, Portugal but would have loved to spend longer here to admire its architecture for longer. All the main sites are extremely walkable from one another but it is definitely a lot of walking.

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Plaza de Espana and Parque Maria Luisa just opposite Plaza de Espana which will then get you to the Museum of archeology and  Museum of art and tradition

  2. Seville Cathedral and La Giralda (The bell-tower right next-door to the Cathedral). There are horse drawn carriages everywhere! You could probably take them to visit all the main sites if you are tired of walking
  3. Triana neighbourhood opposite the old city, and a view of of both sides from Isabel bridge including Torre Del Oro, a tower along the river
  4. Metropol Parasol – incredibly unique design! You can go up and they give you a free postcode and drink as part of the entrance fee
  5. Maestranza bull ring 20180209_112237
  6. Alcazar Castle – the queue was so long so I had to give this a miss, but I’m sure it would have been beautiful

Extra note: Have paella of course!

Xiamen, China

Xiamen is a port city on China’s southeast coast, across a strait from Taiwan. It encompasses 2 main islands and a region on the mainland. Formerly known as Amoy, it was a British-run treaty port from 1842 to 1912. Many Europeans and Japanese lived on Gulangyu, today a vehicle-free island with beaches and meandering streets lined with old colonial villas. I went straight to the countryside as part of my volunteer trip!

  1. Great for mountain biking as they have so much open land
  2. Teach at a local school, they could do with volunteers teaching English
  3. Stay in a traditional ‘Tu Lou’ protected by UNESCO World Heritage. A Tu Lou is usually circular in configuration, between three and fie stories high and housing up to 800 people. Smaller interior buildings are often enclosed by these huge peripheral walls which can contain halls, storehouses, wells and living areas, the whole structure resembling a small fortified city. There are several you can visit including Chuxi tulou group, Tianluokeng tulou cluster, Hekeng tulou cluster, Gaobei tulou cluster, Dadi tulou cluster, Hongkeng tulou cluster, Yangxian lou, Huiyuan lou, Zhengfu lou and Hegui lou
  4. Get a view from the top of the traditional houses
  5. Visit a tea plantation and pick tea leaves!

Munich, Germany

Munich, Bavaria’s capital, is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Neuschwanstein Castle, also famously known for inspiring Disneyland’s Castle. Make sure you book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment as they allocate time slots and are always very busy.  You can pay later (12euros per person) but just pre-book a slot! It takes 2hours from the central main station followed by a short bus ride. You get incredible views from here and can also consider visiting the castle next door called Hohenschwangau castle (the yellow one)

  2. Dachau concentration camp 5h half day tour where you will experience the memorial to the holocaust and learn about the history and workings of the camp. I don’t have any pictures to post here for sensitivity reasons, but would still recommend this insightful visit.
  3. BMW museum and world where you can test cars, see how designs have changed over the years and admire the architecture of the building.13240623_10155140864643849_318971308103394758_n
  4. Historic residence and treasury – see the collections and learn some history13265923_10155140865853849_4249492002833796793_n
  5. Marienplatzs is a central square in the city centre of Munich. It has been the city’s main square since 1158. Look out in particular for the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) on the North side with a Glockenspeil in the tower. 13254649_10155140854698849_6015921144990356539_o