On Home Comforts and City Centre's

Finally showered and rid, mostly, of tomato pips and having had a nap, it was our last night in Valencia, and we were exhausted. Most of us had to leave in the small hours of the following morning, so not all of us were up for a party, and to add to that, it was absolutely pouring with rain.

photo credit julie broberg


And yet, we knew, two blocks away there was a Wok to Walk and a Starbucks... Right. Next. To. Each. Other.



The morning after the night before; or not quite even that long after we'd got in as the sun was rising. My entire dorm room was checking out. Kathy & I had ended up sleeping in my bed in my dorm room and we tossed and turned listening to zips being pulled and bags been scrunched. Everyone running in and out of the shower. The sun was bright and shining through the large French windows into the dorm room, and we were, unfortunately, wide awake. It didn't take long for us to realise that we, too, were going to have to get up. First order of the day? Starbucks.



Walking along Friedrichstraße in Berlin, you see this new high rise Manhattan style shopping street. Along each side there are souvenir shops, and brand name stores all mingling in with each other. Where once was an important Checkpoint, which still stands there to this day, now you can pick up a MacDonalds from one side of the road, or a Starbucks from either side of the Checkpoint. 


Visiting the university town of Oxford was an eye-opener for me. All you see in pictures is the beautiful college buildings of the city. The amazing and beautiful Radcliffe camera, the oldest Botanic Gardens in the country. All things of beauty. If you travel by train, you have to walk through the city centre. Under construction, and with your fill of Boots, and New Look, and Costa Coffee and Starbucks. 

It doesn't seem to matter where you are in the world, you can find these things. Particularly Starbucks. Aside from that one time in Berlin when we walked for what felt like hours looking for a Starbucks and couldn't find one (we needed it after a particularly awful visit to the Jewish Museum)! Does that make me sound jaded? I don't mean it to, all I mean to say is, the world seems to have gotten a whole lot smaller. Do I judge people who use Starbucks in Berlin, Seville, Oxford? Not at all, I do the same. 

Two words: Free WiFi. 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't try local café's or that you should consistently eat in restaurants (if you can call MacDonalds and Wok to Walk 'restaurants') that you recognise. In fact seeking out places on recommendations is part of the thrill of travelling, and I absolutely insist you don't just go for places you know. It's just simply sometimes when you're travelling- and it doesn't need to be for long periods of time- you just need to take ten minutes to yourself. You need to be not pounding pavements looking at all the wonderful sights everyone has visited before. You want to check in with your friends via WhatsApp or Facebook, and that's okay. In fact, I'd say that's pretty important. Sometimes you need to hit a city centre, and pick up a coffee that (although not the best) will taste the same wherever you are in the world, and remind yourself that your home, your friends and family are just at the other end of that smartphone in your hand. 





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Comments

  1. Not a Starbucks fan - we live too close to Italy to drink bad coffee, but I have been known to make use of its wifi on the odd occasion! :D

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    1. Ha, fair enough. I am a fan of coffee coolers (particularly when I was in Seville caffeine in a cold drink that wasn't Red Bull or Toro XL suits me down to the ground). I don't ever really use Starbucks in the UK, it's just knowing it's something that you recognise when you travel, hey?

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  2. We've been known to use the wifi at Starbucks and McDonalds. And the coffee's pretty good too.

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    Replies
    1. I do enjoy a little Starbucks time when I'm away, I don't really use it much at home. I just connect it with being a place I can reconnect with the world if I miss my friends of family. Loving the Wifi haha!

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  3. Lol, Sammi, no Starbucks in Croatia :). Yes the world is getting smaller in many senses. McDonalds is a great place to use toilets too :)

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    1. Oh no! How will I ever cope this summer when I'm there for 10 nights?! No, I'm joking, I don't *need* it, I'm just saying it's something that reminds me of home, and somewhere I can connect to the WiFi and get hold of my friends and family if I want to.
      Do McDonald's charge for the toilets, in Amsterdam I remember having to pay 50c to pee! I'm all for clean toilets and all, but I gotta pee

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  4. There are only a handful of Starbucks in Budapest which I actually really liked. There were lots of other coffee chains though which was unfortunate and strangely many Burger Kings - at least more so than what I see in Vancouver normally. It's strange how globalization brings places together. Comforting at times, but also weird.

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    1. Sometimes you need that little bit of home wherever you are, tho'
      When everyone in the world feels a million miles away, and actually you can find that tiny chunk of something familiar... y'know?
      We only have one starbucks near us, and I never ever use it, haha!

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