Spring Break Stories
MODA bloggers traveled far and wide this Spring Break–keep reading for a roundup of our favorite stops along the way!
Olivia ✈️️ Amsterdam
Amsterdam is incredible! There are plenty of things to see and explore around the city, but it's easily navigable and small enough that you can accomplish alot even if you're only there for a couple of days. The world renowned Rijksmuseum is a must-see for art lovers–be sure to stop by their café after strolling through the galleries for delicious cakes by Amsterdam's famous Patisserie Holtkamp. STACH food has great sandwiches, treats and healthy food for on-the-go. Also keep a look out for Pluk (a beautiful, airy café) and Meneer Nieges (a bar and restaurant that attracts a lot of young locals for its riverside views and avant-garde art installations) as well.
Amsterdam is best explored on foot (or bike!), so save the bulk of your time to wander the streets and canals and discover the city for yourself. Vondelpark is perfect for strolling and located in the beautiful Museum District. The De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Districts) is home to countless vintage stores, antique shops and coffeeshops. The city definitely caters to a young international crowd and public transport is seamless, but watch out for the lack of traffic lights when you cross the street!
Nivedina ✈️️ Dallas
I spent my first full day of spring break at the Dallas Museum of Art, where a new exhibit called “México 1900-1950” features the works of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Ángel Zárraga, Tina Modotti and David Alfaro Siqueiros as part of a survey of Mexico’s modern art history. This collection, which made its only American stop in Dallas, is breathtaking. There are paintings, and sculptures, and films and newspaper articles, all featuring women, children, indigenous people, queer people and families. There is so much color and there is so much history. Despite many of the artists having lived and worked in Paris and Germany, the art they produced upon their return to Mexico amplifies themes of Mexican nationality, traditions and dreams.
Among my favorite pieces was David Alfaro Siqueiros’ 1935 “Portrait of María Asúnsolo Descending a Staircase/Retrato de María Asúnsolo bajando la escalera.” Inspired by Duchamp’s “Nude Descending the Staircase,” Siqueiros’ painting is both dramatic and delicate. Also like Duchamp’s painting, the portrait of María freezes an instant in which everything is in motion. Before seeing this piece, I didn’t understand how a painting, which hangs still on a wall, could be dynamic and full of motion. Siqueiros shows this so beautifully, with the contrasts between the red curtains and the dark shadows, as well as the sharp black staircase against María’s luminous white dress. But my favorite part of the work isn’t the staircase, or the curtains, or even María. It’s in the bottom right, where Siqueiros scrawled “C.T.M.E.Y.M.C,” which stands for “con toda mi estimación y mi cariño,” (with all my appreciation and affection).
Connor ✈️️ Chicago
Despite the title, I actually only spent about three days in Chicago, which was home base for getting out to different forests in the Midwest. Nature remained in an undecided state where it stayed warm(ish) out while the trees were still barren for the most part. Got two (count em, two) good pictures of owners with their dogs.
I capped out the week with seeing the Chicago production of Hamilton, which preceded itself in every way. The vocals, choreography, and design worked in perfect harmony with the Pulitzer-winning lyrics to create a show that met and then went far beyond all the hype. Also Wayne Brady (playing Aaron Burr) did a freestyle at the end that was 💯.
Laden ✈️️ Istanbul
As an Istanbulite for 21 years now, it is still fascinating to me how much my beloved city has to offer. Every time I go back, I manage to find more hidden gems in the narrow and tired streets of this historic city. As a native, I would definitely recommend you to go to the touristic areas first. And if you have time and energy left, here are some of the newly popular stops where locals spend their time.
A little outside of the historical peninsula, Balat is returning to its glory days during the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish neighborhood of the past has been recently renovated and you can find many cute coffeeshops, vintage shops and restaurants. If you want to hang out in the Galata Tower area a little more after visiting the old city, make sure to check the hip places where the working class chill after a long day. The Nardis Jazz Club is definitely worthy competition for some of your favorite Chicago jazz clubs. Named after one of Miles Davis' songs, the internationally renowned club (and also the only club in Istanbul that The New York Times recommends) has an intimate atmosphere.
Feature image courtesy of Olivia Jia; all other images courtesy of the authors