Blog Written & Illustrated by Tawn Le

Recap (1/2): Week in Berlin and Leiden - Photos and Thoughts



It’s been a little over a week being here in Europe, and not being ‘busy’ feels oh-so-liberating!

It’s nice not having this terrible feeling of having to take a glimpse at my email box after waking up knowing that about a hundred more emails were piled on top during my slumber. 

Solo traveling within the last week in Europe felt (and continues to feel) wonderful, peaceful, and empowering. Knowing that what I choose to do that day - whether that’s to get up and do nothing or get up and see something - is my own choice. And I think that’s pretty cool. “I choose to do [insert activity] today” is how I lived in the past few days, and if another opportunity presents itself and I want to take it, then I will.  

In general, I consider myself a very low-key/lazy/chill traveler which means I can’t work with an itinerary that’s packed with activities (I guess this is the other reason why I dislike bachelorette parties so much). I can maybe do one or in some cases two ‘activities’ per day and I’m good to go (eating can be considered an ‘activity’ in my book).

So when it comes to traveling, I like to take my time, do what I feel like doing, and really just soak up the environment.  I am still intimidated to talk to people especially if I don’t speak the language, but if I’m in a public space I will try to muster up the courage to start a conversation with someone because there’s always something interesting to learn.

Below is a quick recap of the last seven days. Hope you all enjoy and feel free to let me know your thoughts!

Where Did I Go, What Did I Do?

London: Tower Bridge Area

London: Tower Bridge Area


  • London. Quick Stop in London to sleep at the Moxy hotel where I got a discount through Hotel Tonight.
  • I actually didn’t do much besides go see the London Tower Bridge, grab a bite at Tesco, and then go to bed.
  • Berlin. I would say out of the cities I’ve been to in Germany (Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich, and Berlin), Berlin won in my books not only because of the history there but also the diversity and culture. I stayed at a cute flat from AirBnb within the Friedrichshain district of East Berlin.
    • Took a graffiti class near the Berlin Wall and did my first graffiti art on the wall through AirBnB Experience (the instructor was nice enough to let me take the class, because I actually signed up for the wrong day...oops)!
    • Went to the Pergamon Museum
    • Met up with 1/2 of We The Matriarch Shoes, Sarah Waxman 
    • Met up with a former colleague and her family, Mounya
    • Best thing about having an AirBnb is that I can cook some of my own meals rather than eat out every single meal.
  • Leiden. I deviated from going to Amsterdam first because I wanted to discover something that wasn’t touristy and to be quite honest, I wanted quiet. Leiden is such a beautiful and calm city where people can leave their doors unlocked and it was exactly what I was looking for. I opted to stay in an AirBnb and was so happy with my decision (see some pics below of the home I stayed in!).
    • I spent a lot of time outside in the garden and within the home.
    • Walking around the canals and hanging out at the shops and restaurants was calming (everything in Leiden is like walkable)
    • This upcoming weekend, I’ll head back into Amsterdam

First Reactions from my Trip

  • OMG, there is not air conditioning system/units anywhere. During the hottest days, I’m DYING. When I asked Berliners how they survive, they tell me that it’s not common that it gets hot and they are suffering too - Global Warming.
  • I’m so sorry for some of my people (Americans). A lot of Americans are so loud
  • Vietnamese communities exist Berlin - what?!
  • Wow, Dutch people are super tall. I can’t see out of the peephole because I’m so ‘short’ at 5’4
  • Dutch people do not turn on lights if they don’t have to.  They also don’t use solid curtains or blinds in common areas of the home and people outside of the home can look in.
  • I can’t edit my blog as well with an iPad. DOH.

Where to Next?

  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • ?
  • Tuscany

Google Map of Where I’ve Been

Because updating my blog with an iPad limits me from capabilities like embedding a map, below is a link where you can click to see where I’ve been!

Click HERE to be taken to my Google Map