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Earlier this month, I flew to Berlin and then Vienna with my mom for an eight-day birthday trip. Both of us celebrated milestone birthdays this year, and we decided that the best way to usher in a new decade was to go on an adventure abroad. It was a treat to spend quality time with my mom, leaving behind the usual logistical conversations and car seat swapping back home. Exploring both cities was invigorating and offered some much-needed perspective. 

Berlin is an enormous city, rich with history and impressive architecture. We got around mostly by foot, bike, and train, and also took a boat ride on the river Spree. Our local friend, Jan, drove us around a bit too. It was fun to see Berlin from so many different perspectives. The Boros Collection was one of two museums we visited and stands out not only for its contemporary art collection but also for how the art interacts with its setting, a World War II bunker (built by Hitler’s regime). I won’t forget the delicious lunch we ate at Neni. The incredible views, middle eastern inspired food, flowing wine, and hip and friendly atmosphere made for an unforgettable time. When talking to a young local a few days later, I learned Neni was his favorite hang out, so naturally I felt cool and of the moment (a rare thing these days). Other Berlin highlights are the Bauhaus Archive (stars aligning on the design front for me); Tempelhof, an airport turned park and location of the Berlin Airlift; and a big old bike ride we took around Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg.

(image: Boros Collection)

Boros Collection(image: more Boros Collection; walls within the bunker)

(image: outside the Bauhaus Archive with a certain special card)

After four days in a large, action-packed city like Berlin, it felt good to arrive in Vienna with its cobblestone streets and quaint flower shops. Seriously, we walked for three days straight following our noses around neighborhoods, in and out of shops, discovering for ourselves the city of music. My daily and significant intake of Austrian wine was countered by my exploratory morning runs along the Danube. And let’s not forget about those Vienna coffee houses! Although I couldn’t partake in apfeistrudel (apple strudel = gluten bomb), we did enjoy a few afternoon coffees contemplating our next Viennese adventure.

The biggest highlight was stumbling upon Feinedinge on our last day. What started out as innocent window shopping turned into a fascinating studio tour of this Vienna-based porcelain maker. The combination of a stunning color palette and delightfully simple forms made me swoon over every single piece. As much as I wanted to take something home, I knew porcelain would not last more than five minutes in my house full of boys. Other Vienna highlights were visiting the MAK (basically a design think tank) and the Vienna State Opera.

Flowers(image: Protea flowers in Vienna)

(image: Feinedinge's showroom)

Feinedinge(image: Feinedinge's work space)

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better travel adventure. I came home feeling inspired and grateful for the chance to step away for a moment from my everyday life.

Dinner on the Danube(image: dinner on the Danube on our last night)