A few years ago I went to spend a few days in Toledo (Spain) and I had the opportunity to visit an exhibition about the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. I admire this genius and that was the first time I went to see something about him.

The permanent exhibition is installed in a jail from the c.XV in front of Toledo's Cathedral.

In the exhibition you could find almost every known machine that has designs in his notebooks. There were two floors full of his inventions where you could feel all the dedication and interest he put in every single of his creations. It is a cheap exhibition, 3.5€ with a student car and 4.5€ for adults, however the price might have changed since then. As with any museum you can spend all the time you want there.

Last May in the Real Palace of Milan was the largest and most important exhibition dedicated to Leonardo. There were more than 200 pieces from numerous museums and institutions worldwide. I couldn´t go but I´m waiting for something similar to happen again as I would love to visit it.  As a Leonardo da Vinci enthusiast I would recommend you to visit any of the exhibitions all around the world.

I wanted to show you the next exhibitions about Leonardo Da Vinci around the world, but never realized there were so many. Almost every country has permanent exhibitions about him, which makes me really happy. If you ever visit Toledo going to the exhibition is a good idea that will give you something different to do.

ToledoHere are a few photographs of the exhibition I went in Toledo.

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If you are a chocolate lover you have always thought about one place where you could buy, eat and enjoy chocolate at the same time. Berlin has the answer with the largest chocolaterie in the world!

This place is called Fassbender&Rausch Chocolatiers and is situated near to Gendarmenmark square, the famous place where you can find the Konzerthaus (concert hall), the French and German Churches.

There are two floors. In the first floor you can find the shop and in the second floor you will find the restaurant.

What can this place offer to you, chocolate lover? This place has at the same time a chocolate shop, chocolate cafe and chocolate restaurant. Is there something else that you might want beside that?

Since the moment you enter in the shop you can´t believe what you are seeing... huge sculptures of chocolate, a giant teddy bear, a Titanic, the Brandenburg gate, an aeroplane …

When you see that the first thought in your head will be bite on every sculpture. And that is the reason why the shop is also full of chocolate to buy, to please people like me who couldn’t stop from biting every sculpture. Do you like dark chocolate? They have it. White chocolate? They have it. Exotic chocolates? They have them, they even have a pack with chocolate from different places in the world.

You will want to buy the whole shop but you need to focus and continue to the second floor. If you need to bring some souvenirs home, this is the perfect place for it as long as it is made of chocolate.

When we arrived to the second floor, there was a chocolatier doing bonbons in front of you. Mesmerizing would be an understatement.

The place was full of people but we didn´t wait a lot to get a table in the restaurant. There was a counter full of sophisticated cakes that you could order, and as such I couldn’t resist and I ordered a blueberry and cream cheese mini torte while David ordered a chocolate milkshake. Probably I could live there for the rest of my happy life, it was amazing.

After that the visit was over it was time to keep visiting Berlin.

Enjoy your visit!

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We started the day in an Aer Lingus plane to Berlin-Schonefeld. After arriving to the airport we took the train to the center, the train station 2 min walking from the airport. When we arrived to the center we stopped in S. Treptower Park because it was the nearest stop to arrive to our hostel. After an unnecessary 2 km walk we finally arrive to Cat's Pajama Hostel. There was a good vibe in the hostel and after speaking with the people on reception they let us put our bags in a locker as our names weren’t in the booking reservation. Now free of our bags we went to explore the city.

We only had half day to visit Berlin because we had the 18. Deutsche Meisterschaft during the weekend, this year tournament was celebrated in Tempelhof airport.

We took a U-bahn (Metro) to get to Alexanderplatz to start our visit. The first thing that you can see when you get out in Alexanderplatz is the huge Television Tower (Fernsehturn Berlin). This Tower was constructed by the administration of the German Democratic Republic between 1965 and 1969. The tower is a symbol of the country.

You can visit the Tower and discover Berlin 360 from 13€.

Television Tower
Television Tower

After a short walk we arrived to Lustgarten Parkthat is situated in the Museum Island. From this park you can see the Berlin Cathedral Church, the Altes Museum and the German Historical Museum that is in the other site of the river.

The construction and details on the Cathedral Church are impressive to say the least.

Click here to have all the information about opening hours, guided tours and prices.

Berlin Cathedral Church
Berlin Cathedral Church

Altes Museum was finished in 1830 as a neoclassical building. The museum shows a permanent exhibition on the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans.

Openings hours: 10 am to 6 pm on Tue-Sun except Thursdays 10am to 20pm. Mondays closed. Upper floor opens at 11 a.m.

Click here to have information about prices.

Altes Museum
Altes Museum

The German Historical Museum shows the German History from its beginnings to the present day and it has permanent exhibitions.

Opening hours: 10am to 6 pm.

Click here to have information about prices and guided tours.

German Historical Museum
German Historical Museum
German Historical Museum
German Historical Museum

For sweet food lovers I would totally recommend a visit Fassbender&Rausch Chocolatiers am Gendarmenmarkt, it is the world's largest chocolaterie. You will find a chocolate shop, chocolate coffee, chocolate restaurant and online chocolate shop inside the building. Their artisans have amazing hands with chocolate as you can see in the replicas they have made of various buildings, machines and relics, from a chocolate Titanic to a Brandenburg Gate made entirely of chocolate. If that wasn’t enough for you, head to the first floor to visit the restaurant were you have a wide selection of chocolate related food and drinks. Our chocolate milkshake and raspberry cake was delicious!!

Chocolate Titanic
Chocolate Titanic
Chocolate milkshake and raspberry cake
Chocolate milkshake and raspberry cake

In front of the Chocolaterie you can find the famous Gendarmenmarkt square. The square is the house of the Konzerthaus (concert hall), the French and German Churches. In the middle of the square you can see a statue of Friedrich Schiller, a famous German's poet. Most of the buildings around this square were destroyed during World War II.

German Church
German Church
Konzerthaus
Konzerthaus
French Church
French Church

After our stop at the chocolaterie we decided to go to Checkpoint Charlie as it was really close. Sadly this has become a tourist spot with people dressed as American soldiers that charge you to take a picture with them.

Checkpoint Charlie during the Cold War was the border-crossing point betweenEast Berlin and West Berlin. This place was the entry to the US or Soviet controlled zones.

The first control booth was destroyed on 22th of 1990 but on 13th of 2000 it was reconstructed identical to the original with the only exception of the sandbags now filled with cement.

You can also visit Checkpoint Charlie museum.

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

We didn't have a lot of time left so we decided to visit one of the Berlin's most important monument the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Tor).

This gate is a symbol of the city with over two hundred years of history.

As you can imagine the place was full of people going through the gate and trying to make photos in the middle of the gate.

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

 During the weekend we had a Jugger Tournament, the Deutsche Meisterschaft celebrated in Berlin Tempelhof airport situated in the south part of Berlin. This airport was one of most airports in Europe before World War II. Berlin Tempelhof airport ceased operating at the end 2008 and now is used like a huge park where you can find people making barbecues, flying kites, eating, cycling, running, little mobile shops...

Berlin-Tempelhof
Berlin-Tempelhof
Berlin-Tempelhof
Berlin-Tempelhof

After an amazing tournament we had one day left in Berlin, so we went to Tropical Islands, Europe's largest tropical resort built inside a Zeppelin hangar. This place is situated 60km south of Berlin and is open 24 hours a day. You even can stay all the night in their bungalows or tents.

I was surprised with how huge the place was. Besides the usual things that you will find in a tropical resort like waterslides, swimming pools, you could also find a lot of services like shops, restaurants, spas, Jacuzzi, massage zone, camping tents and little houses where you can stay for the night.

There was a beach area where the swimming pool was bordered by sand to simulate a real sandy beach.Obviously it wouldn’t be a tropical beach unless there are hammocks where you can sunbathe.

After spending the day in Tropical Islands we went for a dinner to a famous place where you can get 1.4 kilos schnitzel. We ordered 1kg of schnitzel with mushrooms sauce. It was amazing but we couldn't finish it.

PD: you can’t leave Berlin without trying a schnitzel!
PD: you can’t leave Berlin without trying a schnitzel!

I'm looking forward to come back because we didn’t have time to visit a lot of interesting things like The Video games Museum, quest rooms, parks, etc.

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Saturday

Saturday was the day we started the adventure. We made the trip with two pit stops in Co. Longford and Co. Leitrim to rest a little and take a look of the views.

Road to Donegal
Road to Donegal
Road to Donegal
Road to Donegal
Road to Donegal
Road to Donegal

Once we got to Sligo our adventurer spirit kicked in and we decided to get lost in the roads to Glencar Lake. When we stopped we had Glencar Lake in front of us and a path to a hidden waterfall on our backs.

Glencar Waterfall
Glencar Waterfall

The lake was marked as a good fishing spot, and while we were there we saw some fisherman in small boats doing their business.

Glencar Lake
Glencar Lake

After getting back to the road towards Donegal we passed a small market and we couldn't resist the opportunity to visit. They are a showcase of what the rural Ireland is, organic food, farming equipment, pottery, woodwork, antiques, etc.

Small market
Small market
Small market
Small market

By the time we arrived to Killybegs in Co. Donegal we were starving so it was time for lunch. After wandering a little in this fishing town and speaking with the local people we decided to go to Tara Hotel.

Killybegs
Killybegs

We went for the typical dishes, Seafood Chowder for starters, Beef Stew and Salmon for mains. Quality, amount and price made it a good decision.

Chowder at Tara's Hotel
Chowder at Tara's Hotel

After lunch it was time to move towards our destination, however there was one stop to do before getting there, Slieve League. Slieve League are one of the highest cliffs in Europe, and as you can image the views were breathtaking, being able to see the whole Slieve League, Donegal Bay and Sligo mountains on the far end. Even if we were starting to feel tired we spent around two hours wandering in Slieve League including an amazing observation and signalling abandoned tower.

Slieve League
Slieve League
Slieve League
Slieve League
Signalling Tower
Signalling Tower
Signalling Tower
Signalling Tower
Slieve League
Slieve League
Slieve League
Slieve League

15 kilometers from Slieve League was our hostel, the Aras Ghleann Cholm Cille is a hostel situated in the Slieve League Peninsula, 4 km from the village of Glencolumbkille. The owners were a charming couple that even offered to take us to the village at night so we can had a few pints in the local pub. I have to say it, having a few pints in a pub with a real chimney and some local people watching a local GAA match while they speak in Gaelic is a nice experience.

Sunday

On Sunday we wanted to do a lot of things so we woke up earlier. After crossing the mountains in Slieve League Peninsula we arrived to the a nice waterfall near the coast called Assaranca, of course being in Ireland means the water was really cold.

Assaranca Waterfall
Assaranca Waterfall
Assaranca Waterfall
Assaranca Waterfall

 We then decided to go to visit the beaches near there. Huge sand dunes surrounded us before getting to the coast where we found bones from what we think was a dead whale. The stink was horrible even when you were 10 meters away. The beach ended in a small cliff with a tiny cave that provided us with some laughs as we had to crouch to get to the end.

Ardara Beach
Ardara Beach
Ardara Beach
Ardara Beach
Ardara Beach
Ardara Beach

Our original idea was to climb Mount Errigal, but by the time we arrived it was already too late to start the climb, instead we went to a small forest near Dunlewy Lake were we got lost in our own ideas completely surrounded by tall pines.

Mount Errigal
Mount Errigal
Forest near Dunlewy Lake
Forest near Dunlewy Lake
Mount Errigal
Mount Errigal

It was getting late so we decided to head back making a stop to fill our bellies. Again local cuisine makes everyone happy.

When we arrived to Glencolumbkille we decided to take some food from a take away restaurant and relax for the rest of the night with a few pints.

Monday

Sadly it was time to go back home, so we started our journey towards Dublin with a different route, this time we went through Northern Ireland.

After a long drive with a lot of changes in landscapes we arrived to Cavan by the time our bellies started to yell for food. After asking a few local we were recommended the restaurant in the Imperial Bar. Who would image that an empty restaurant was that good. We ordered hamburgers, and what an amazing hamburger!

Hamburger at Imperial Bar
Hamburger at Imperial Bar

After lunch we decided to make the last bit of the trip in one go as we were getting tired from being all day in the car.

In retrospect it was an amazing trip but we tried to do to many things in two days. Next time we would focus on one place or go for a whole week.

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