I’ve been wanting to launch the Travel Series of my blog for quite a while now. Between purchasing my home, to getting engaged & married, to balancing 2 jobs while blogging – it’s been a struggle to keep everything in order. Creating deadlines and sticking to them hasn’t been my strong point in the last 12 months or so. I decided that in 2015 I would get more organized and make a big push to launch this feature.

If you know me personally or just follow along with Pearls & Paris, you already know that traveling is a passion of mine. As a kid growing up, my father brought me to Puerto Rico numerous times. We would stay with my aunt in Salinas and every trip we would explore the island from 1 end to the other. From visiting my mothers (now late) Grandfather and watching him climb his Guenepa tree in Aguada all the way to El Moro in Old San Juan and every beautiful spot in between. We even got to experience El Dia De Reyes (Three Kings Day) there. I left the camels a box of grass under my bed & I woke up to a present…Sally Secret! (Don’t act like you 80/90’s babies don’t remember that doll lol) It has now been 11 years since I lost my dad but that thrill to want to explore and the thirst for knowledge and love of culture runs through me, just like it did him.

IMG_9068

 Later on in my teens, I got to go on a few cruises with some of my family thanks to my mother. On those cruises I got to visit multiple Caribbean Islands. Some of my favorites would have to be St. Thomas, Aruba & Grand Cayman. We were beach bums, swam with stingrays and parasailed. After those experiences I realized that there was so much more to see than good ol’ NJ.

Cruise Ship Docked at Ocho Rios

From a girls only Spring Break Trip to Acapulco, to beautiful Curaçao to now traveling to many parts of the US &  Europe with the love of my life – traveling is a permanent staple in my life.

When someone finds out I have booked my next trip, I always get the same few responses. Some people tell me how amazing it is that we travel so much and say they can’t wait to see the pictures but then I get some of the responses that rub me the wrong way like “How do YOU afford to travel so much” or “I WISH I could travel.”

Traveling: If I can do it, so can you.

I will be sharing my secrets for traveling on a budget and getting the most for your money when away from home. I will also be highlighting some of my own personal trips and giving you tips on where to sleep, eat & explore while there.

Stay tuned & if there are any specific questions you have or a particular location you would like me to post about – email me at: pearlsandparis@yahoo.com

I’m headed back to Montreal for my Bachelorette party next month with a few of my girlfriends. I’m sooooo excited because I haven’t been in 2 years. The city is so vibrant, beautiful & full of culture. The locals are also really nice which is a nice change from my normal NJ/NYC’ers. Here are a few shots I got from Tripadvisor 🙂

1

2

3

While in Berlin, I booked a tour of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Sachsenhausen was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany. Upon booking this tour I really wasn’t sure what to expect but all I knew was that a trip to Berlin would not be complete without visiting this local camp & learning about the history behind it. When people mention Berlin a lot of people instantly think of music, art and especially the Nazi era.

1

This is the walkway into the camp.

2

This is the original gate to enter the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. All of the camps had the same slogan – “Arbeit macht frei” which translates to “work makes (you) free” This detail instantly gave me chills. The people who were brought to the camps did not know where they were going & so this sign was the first thing they saw.

4

Remains of the ovens at the gas chambers.

5

Execution Trench

3

Sachsenhausen Memorial

 About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Camp punishment was extremely harsh and 30,000 people died there from exhaustion, disease, malnutrition, pneumonia, etc. due to the poor living conditions. Many were executed or died as the result of brutal medical experimentation. No amount of words could explain what it felt like to walk through the entire camp, see the bathrooms and bunkers still intact, to feel that frigid cold air and just imagine having to stand out there for hours a day. There’s a museum you can explore and you can see the hand written letters, photos of all the prisoners & their uniforms, messages from prisoners that survived and all the original files. I encourage everyone to travel and learn about life and history and see what others have been through. I’ve always appreciated life but visiting this camp made me feel something I have never felt before while travelling. To think that this all occurred only  69 years ago is very surreal.

Lennon Wall

Photography by S.M

During my last trip to Europe a few months ago, we stopped in beautiful Prague.

The Lennon Wall was really high on my “Must Sees” while in Prague – to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. This small photo was the only portion not covered in graffiti. A wall that once inspired people and was filled with beautiful art, Beatles lyrics and quotes of peace is now poorly defaced. Such a shame! Hopefully it will be re done soon.

Here is what the wall looked like in 1998.

1998

This is the wall currently.

Lennon Wall now