6 Things to do in cute, cozy Colmar

On the 19th of July, we took a little day trip to Colmar.

Our way led us through the Blackforest and the Titisee (Titi Lake) where we also had a short stopover.

Here are 6 things to do during your Colmar trip:

1. Drive through the Blackforest

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

If you want to drive to Colmar by car, the route through the Blackforest is inevitable. The ride offers some great and amazing views of massive trees that will make you feel stunned by the sheer size and might of nature. 

2. Eat Blackforest Cake with the view over Lake Titisee

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are a lot of cafes that offer Blackforest cakes by the Titisee. If you don’t have time to walk around the little village, it’s not a big loss though. It’s basically filled with tourist shops selling expensive Cuckoo’s Clocks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

3. Explore Colmar by foot

Processed with VSCO with  preset
There is a reason for the colours of these houses. In the past, they had certain meanings. Yellow: Bakery; Blue: Fisher; Red: Butcher; Pink: Brothels

Processed with VSCO with  presetLRM_EXPORT_20170722_092154-01LRM_EXPORT_20170724_164006LRM_EXPORT_20170724_214603LRM_EXPORT_20170724_224005SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It’s a tiny town which is easy to explore by foot. Plus, you will discover many cute streets, shops and cafes.

4. Explore Colmar by boat

LRM_EXPORT_20170724_220131-01

LRM_EXPORT_20170724_215357
This was the swans’ nest <3

Processed with VSCO with  presetProcessed with VSCO with  preset

This is a must, since Colmar is a canal city. Make sure to first buy your boat ticket and return at the designated time to enter your boat.
We took the tour close to a pub where we had to purchase the tickets inside the pub. Also, our boat guide was very charming and handsome. I loved his french accent when he talked english.

5. Eat Crepes

If you return from France without eating Crepes, you obviously have done something wrong. It’s not only a myth: crepes in France do taste better.

6. Eat before 2pm or after 7pm

LRM_EXPORT_20170724_215101

Most, or rather, no restaurant will be serving food between 2pm and 7pm. There are some that still serve food until 4 pm, but only a handful. Most restaurants are also completely closed during this time. When we wanted to eat at around 4.30pm, they told us that the kitchen just closed and will open at 7pm. We were desperate, so we visited the Marché Couvert where we had that meal above. It was delicious, but we were sad that we couldn’t try one of the many, lined up Michelin restaurants.

Weekly Wonders: Cute France, Summer Fests and an exhausting week

1. Finally, my book “OTP’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy and Broke”, arrived on monday, the 17th, as well as my Gorillapod. 

2. In the evening, I had Indian for dinner, because I was craving it soooo much lately <3

3. + 4. Summer Day trip No. 2 took us to Colmar which is in the Alsace region of France. It was beautiful, cute and relaxed, with some minor difficulties :’D More of it in a seperate blog post. We even visited the Titisee on the way back.

5. + 6. We also took a ride on the canal in one of the boats. Our punter and guide was a young handsome frenchie and he provided us with a lot of interesting facts about the architecture we saw lined up along the river Rhine.

7. No trip to France is complete without having a real french crepe <3 It was truly delicious!

8. + 9. I even found a small japanese shop there that sold Omochi filled with red bean paste <3

10. On Thursday, I first, had to work for the day shift, then I went to the summer festival of the company that owns my workplace. It was amazing, including these black bun burgers <3

11. – 13. Just shortly after we arrived at the venue, it started raining though. All the benches outside got wet and the ground got all muddy and wet. When we tried to walk back to our seats, we literally sunk into the mud. Our feet looked disgusting at the end of the night.
Still, it didn’t hinder us from taking a lot of selfies :’D
Also, in the late evening hours, we started to take over the dance floor. It was so much fun and I was so exhausted when I finally fell into my warm, cozy bed :’D

 

As you can probably tell from my entries above, the third week of July was pretty exhausting for me. Not only with work, but also with travels and activities scattered throughout the week, it was hard to find time to do anything else – including blogging which is why I only had time to do so now :’D

Also, on saturday after work, I was invited to one of my longest known friend’s birhtday party. We went to a mexican restaurant. I had Tacos Dorados con Pollo and after finishing eating, I had the biggest food baby ever. I was so full! And the drinks didn’t make it feel better :’D Anyway, it was a very fun evening, but I was so happy when I finally came home and fell into my bed – once again :’D

On Sunday, I just stayed home the whole day  :’D

I hope your week was as great and les exhausting than mine :D

Thank you for popping by and reading my entries!

See you next week on Weekly Wonders!

Merveille.

Weekly Wonders: Food, Castles, and Reggaeton

Apart from our trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle on Monday, July 10th, the rest of the week was not very spectacular. Most of the time, I had to work until late. Still, I managed to do some stuff:

 

1,2+3. As I have already described in my last blog post, I have visited the Neuschwanstein Castle in Füssen, and it was AMAZING! You can read all about it here.

4. I have also finished this book: “Read this if you want to be Instagram-famous” which I got as a birthday gift as you can read on my blogpost here. The book was actually really good and very interesting.

5. On Thursday, we went to our local ice cream parlour to have some delicious ice cream bowls. I also got one of my last birthday presents – a huge see-through umbrella :)
I also got my new passport, finally :)

6.+7. On Sunday, we went to a summer party called Latin Island together with our cousin. First we ate something. Without hesitation, I chose the grilled shrimp skewers. Later, we sat by the pool after we finished eating and being fed up with the wasps swarming over our dishes. In the early evening, we decided to move to the dance floor and mingled with the crowd. It was a great party on a sunday afternoon/early evening.

 

I hope you guys had an even more amazing week!

Thank you for reading! See you next week on Weekly Wonders!

Merveille.

 

Do’s and Don’ts at Neuschwanstein Castle

Because it was my brother’s birthday on Monday, July 10th, and we all had the day off, we decided to take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. Despite having lived in Germany for all of our lives, we never managed to visit this most iconic castle.

Here are the most important Do’s and Don’ts for visiting the busiest place in Germany:

Do: The early bird

Arrive as early as possible! Whether by train or car, make sure to leave on time.

Don’t: Forget to bring enough liquids

The air up there is a bit thinner, and a lot of walking is involved. Make sure to bring at least 1L of water and stay hydrated.

Do: Buy a ticket for visiting the inside of the castle

I’d recommend booking the tickets online so you can skip the line at the ticket counter and you can decide which time you wanna visit. Especially if you can’t arrive there early. We didn’t book them online, but we planned to arrive there quite early.

Do: Book an audio guide tour

If the guided tours don’t fit your schedule, the audio guide is a good alternative.

Don’t: Forget to bring your umbrella…

…or cagoule since the weather can be unpredictable, even in summer.

Don’t: Stand in line for the carriages for ONE HOUR!

 

I actually wanted to take the horse carriages up to the castle, but the line would take 1 hour. Plus the animals looked quite exhausted :/ Better to walk or opt for the busses which are also cheaper (1,80€).

LRM_EXPORT_20170711_225715

Do: Visit the Alpsee lake

You can find this lake right away after buying your tickets. It is very close to the bus stop. The lake is utterly beautiful and worth spending the whole day there, just enjoying the view.

LRM_EXPORT_20170710_214504-01LRM_EXPORT_20170714_153435LRM_EXPORT_20170714_154642LRM_EXPORT_20170714_151900LRM_EXPORT_20170714_171842LRM_EXPORT_20170714_152150LRM_EXPORT_20170714_145027LRM_EXPORT_20170714_145545LRM_EXPORT_20170710_224233-01LRM_EXPORT_20170714_144808LRM_EXPORT_20170714_151621LRM_EXPORT_20170714_151227LRM_EXPORT_20170714_171558LRM_EXPORT_20170714_145814LRM_EXPORT_20170714_152506

Don’t: Skip the Marienbrücke

Although you might get a shock from how filled it is, just brace yourself and go on that bridge to take that postcard picture. Be careful though, and hold on tightly to your camera.

LRM_EXPORT_20170712_000338LRM_EXPORT_20170711_174353

LRM_EXPORT_20170711_195939

Do: Go beyond the Marienbrücke

Try to walk across the Marienbrücke and climb up the little ledge if you trust yourself and have some firm walking shoes made for that.

Do: Snacks

Eat something small and simple like a pretzel. Also a great photo idea together with the castle :)

Don’t: Forget to take photos of the architecture

You will probably have plenty of time before your tour begins, so this leaves the opportunity to snap a lot of photos of the castle from every angle imaginable.

LRM_EXPORT_20170714_172846LRM_EXPORT_20170711_212432LRM_EXPORT_20170711_194540LRM_EXPORT_20170711_210027LRM_EXPORT_20170711_194016LRM_EXPORT_20170713_061820LRM_EXPORT_20170711_214534LRM_EXPORT_20170711_221944LRM_EXPORT_20170711_213606LRM_EXPORT_20170711_103102-01

Don’t: Take photos inside the castle

It’s not allowed in the first place. Also, don’t play on your phone but absorb the surroundings and the intricate details of each room you are guided to.

Do: Visit a gift shop

Take your time to visit the second gift shop after the castle tour. The first, bigger one is overpriced and I didn’t like the stuff offered there. There is a second, smaller gift shop and they have some beautiful bookmarks there as well which I bought (5€). Also, there is an observation terrace after the castle tour where you can get the most awesome views on the two lakes and the Marienbrücke. Another reason to book the castle tour.

LRM_EXPORT_20170711_235747LRM_EXPORT_20170711_220625LRM_EXPORT_20170711_220305

Do: Have dinner at the Schloßrestaurant

When you choose the walking path down from the castle, you will come across this beautiful restaurant. They have great food, especially their sweet stuff smelled divine <3 I ate vegetarian cheese dumplings swabian style (It’s said that they were created there)

LRM_EXPORT_20170717_215929

Do: Walk all the way back downhill

Back down is easier than up. You can also do both if you are fit enough :) Plus, it saves you some money.

LRM_EXPORT_20170714_143902LRM_EXPORT_20170714_143622LRM_EXPORT_20170714_142629LRM_EXPORT_20170711_224656

Don’t: Loose your car at the parking lot

Remember exactly which parking lot it was that you used, and how you walked to the ticket counter. If you still end up loosing your car, ask one of the workers there, they will, strangely enough know exactly where you have parked :’D

LRM_EXPORT_20170711_231552LRM_EXPORT_20170711_230847

Do: Explore the oldtown of Füssen

If you are not too exhausted, and the weather is nice to you, drive downtown and explore the cute, colourful oldtown. Sit down at one of the street cafes, or get yourself a Schneeballen, a sweet treat that is famous for that part of Germany.

LRM_EXPORT_20170711_232234LRM_EXPORT_20170711_233347LRM_EXPORT_20170711_234517LRM_EXPORT_20170713_213209LRM_EXPORT_20170713_213817

 

 

Weekly Wonders: Birthday Week

 

1. Monday started with a brunch out in town. We ordered the breakfast for two which included a basket full of bread, a plate with scrambled eggs, two different types of jam, butter, 3 different kinds of cheese and ham, different kinds of fruit, two cups of fruit oatmeal, and two glasses of orange juice. I also ordered an extra ginger tea since I was a bit sick. The breakfast was extremely yummy and filling. We couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.

2. The rest of the day was dedicated to shopping. I found a pair of sunglasses which were reduced from 120€ to 99€ and I spontaneously bought them as you can see on the picture. I did need a new pair though.
3. We were walking around a beautiful park, looking for a nice spot to take photos at and they had these colourful flowers planted.  We didn’t take too long, and went back home. We were completely shattered.

4. On Tuesday, July 4th, it was my birthday. We had planned to go to the thermal baths that day. My sister still had free tickets, so we used them. It was a day full of relaxation, swimming, sunshine and yummy food and drinks. Despite being sick, I enjoyed it a lot. Still miss the steam bath and the amazing fruit sugar peeling we got there for free.

5. At the weekend, I finally got to celebrate my birthday with all my friends. My sister did my make-up and I got to wear my new dress from Mango.

6. It was such an amazing evening, despite some reservation problems. I booked a table for 11 at the most popular sushi restaurant in town called Origami at 9pm (8pm was not possible), and when we arrived at 8.50pm, they told us that we’d have to wait for a while until the guests have finished eating. It was around 9.30pm until we were able to go inside for food finally. Until we had ordered and got our food, almost one hour passed. Some of us got starters as well. I got the gyoza, and it was friggin yummy!

7. Finally the food – and with it the sushi – came. I also ordered a huge sushi platter for everyone to try. I didn’t only eat sushi, but also a coconut udon soup with shrimps. I didn’t like that so much though, and my sister’s beef pak choi dish looked so much yummier. It was a great evening though, and by the time we left the restaurant, they were about to close :’D We were the last ones inside (11:45pm), but then again, it wasn’t our fault, since we did arrive on time.

8. Group picture with everyone :)

9. Me with the cute HappySocks I got from two of my friends :)

10. On sunday, I first had to unpack all my gifts and take photos of some of them. I loooveeeed all of my gifts I got and want to say thank you to everyone who came and got me presents. I am fortunate to have friends who know me so well :) The ‘One-Line-A-Day’ 5-year-journal is actually one of the things I have thought about buying, but never did.

11. And the Instagram-famous book is a book I just recently discovered at Urban Outfitters and had to think about my friend Giulia thinking about me if she ever got to see the book :’DD And then she actually got it for me :D

12. I just specifically fell in love with the Harry Potter pillow set <3 The trio and Hagrid look soooo cute! Hagrid is actually my favourite out of the four in this pillow collection :D Other than these gifts above, I got a Sailor Moon mug and a unicorn pocketmirror, an Amazon voucher and some bathing stuff, and I am gonna get a see-through umbrella :)

 

I hope you guys had an awesome first week of July. Mine was great as you can see. I was sick on my birthday, probably for the first time ever, but it was still a great birthday week with all the friends, food and swimming <3

Thanks for reading! See you next week!

Merveille

10 Things to do at airports during a layover

Having layovers can be hard for many people, but if you look at the bright side of life, you can get a whole new experience out of it.

I had quite a few layovers on my travels so far, and most of the time, it was very interesting to explore yet another different airport.

Every airport is different, and the smaller ones don’t really have much to offer, still you can prepare to kill time before your connecting flight, be it at a tiny or huge airport. Here is how:

1. Freshen up

Bildergebnis für airport toilets
Source: Pinterest.com

This is probably the most important thing to do after stepping out of the plane. For this, make sure you always carry around lotion, brush/comb, and a little bit of make-up in your hand-luggage. Body Wipes or roll-on deodorants can also be handy if you feel super disgusting. Some airports even have shower rooms, but I am not sure if they are free or not. Another good idea is to carry extra clothes in your hand luggage. If you were sweating too much, or just wanna feel more comfortable, it’s gonna save your life.

2. Get your gate information

Bildergebnis für airport flight information
Source: newdelhiairport.in

Many times, the gate and time won’t be announced yet, by the time you land. This is pretty common when you have connecting flights, so you would have to make sure to keep yourself updated in front of the departues boards. It’s more relaxing if you have 3 or 4 hours until your flight, but if it’s only 1 or 2 hours, and your gate is still not being announced, make sure to ask someone at the information desk when to expect the announcement. They will be able to tell you more.

Not only gates, but sometimes, you might even have to get your ticket during a layover as well. That happened to us in March when we were flying back from Dubai to Stuttgart with Turkish Airlines. We had to get our connecting tickets at a counter right after landing, and we only had around 1 hour in total until our flight’s departure. That was very stressful, and I’d prefer airlines not doing this at all.

3. Social Networking

Bildergebnis für airport internet wifi
Source: surfsonix.com

Posting your location on Facebook or an Instagram picture of your flight is almost mandatory when travelling. Of course, not only for entertainment, but also to inform your family and friends back home and let them know you’ve landed and are safe and sound.

For this, always make sure to have your battery fully loaded or plug it in at one of the charging stations at the airport. If there is none, take a portable battery with you and make sure that it is fully loaded as well.

In January, during my flight from Taipei to Shanghai, my phone’s battery was so low that I couldn’t text my parents after landing, because I needed to show the address to the taxi driver. My parents were extremely worried by the time I finally got to my hotel. It was already midnight and they thought that something happened. After that hassle, I will make sure in the future to keep my phone fully loaded.

4. Food and Drinks

Bildergebnis für airport food courts
Source: pinterest.com

Sometimes, the food you get on the plane won’t be satisfactory to many of us. How lucky we are that there are food courts even in the smallest airports in the world. It’s nearly impossible to starve on your layover. The higher possibility is that you’ll spend an infinity on deciding where and what to eat. If you don’t wanna opt for fast food on your travels (which I wouldn’t suggest), then there are many beautiful restaurants with great food options as well.

Other than a hot meal, there are lots of cafes, bakeries and shops to get some snacks and drinks for the flight. I personally love to sit in cafes and have a cup of coffee with something sweet to keep me energized.

5. Shopping

Bildergebnis für hong kong airport shopping
Source: newjetsetters.com

Some people actually buy a lot of things in those shops at airports since it’s duty free and you can find almost every brand at one place. Especially the cosmetics sections are very popular, and even I stroll through those venues every time I’m having a layover. It’s a nice way to kill some time, but also get freshened up with high-end perfumes (I am looking at you YSL). I even bought a MAC lipstick once on my 6-hour layover in Hong Kong, one that I have been searching for a longer time. And I also bought presents for my cousin’s two kids at the Disney Store at Hong Kong Airport. Usually, I buy magazines or books at airports, but that one time in Hong Kong, I just did some last-minute shopping since I still had some money left :’D

6. Extra Activities

Bildergebnis für airport cinema
Source: cnn.com

The biggest airports in the world have more to offer than just shopping and food. If you are lucky, you can actually kill some time in an airport cinema (Changi Airport in Singapore, Hong Kong Airport, Schiphool Airport in Amsterdam,…). I would love to try that out once if I have another +4h layover somewhere, but I would think about doing No. 10 instead.

Some airports offer a cultural exhibition. There will be a small section with utensils being exhibited, almost like in a museum. Or even performances to keep the travellers entertained.

In many muslim countries’ airports, there will be prayer rooms offered for free. And I am sure that many more airports around the world will have individual activity programs designated to each airport.

7. Sleep

Bildergebnis für sleep at airport
Source: traveltalkmag.com.au

This might be one of the most popular things to do during a layover, since most of the time you won’t be able to strech out on a flight. Plus, if the jetlag hasn’t reached you at your layover airport yet, it will definitely kick in after landing at your destination, so sleeping off during a layover might be the smartest idea.

8. Read

Bildergebnis für airport bookstores
Source: flydenver.com

If you haven’t already packed an exciting read in your hand luggage, then you might as well check out the books at your layover airport. If you are not so much into books, you can also get one or two magazines.

I personally love browsing through bookstores at airports, and I even got myself a great book once at the Taipei International Airport (“Crazy Rich Asians”). I don’t always buy a book, though, since I try to bring my own.

9. People Watching

Bildergebnis für airport crowds
Source: irelandfamilyvacations.com

At an airport, there will be people from all over the world. People you might never ever see again. People who look differently, and talk in different languages. And this is one of the reasons I love airports so much. They are the places where people from almost all nations worldwide meet. I personally love people watching; guessing about their lives, where they are going to, where they are coming from, what language they are talking. I love making stories in my head for just a few minutes.

10. Explore the City

Bildergebnis für airport express hong kong
Source: travel2next.com

Most of the times, your layover might be around 3 hours maximum, but sometimes, you will have extremely long layovers where a short trip to the city might be actually worth it. Many big airports will have airport expresses which will take you to the city centre in less than an hour (Hong Kong, London,…). Also, airlines like Turkish Airlines will offer a free city tour in Istanbul when you have +5h until your next flight.

Until now, I only had 2 very long layovers, one 6 hours in Hong Kong and one 3 hours in Dubai. The one in Hong Kong passed by almost immediately. I did almost all activities stated above except for Nos 6, 7, and 10. I could have actually gone to the city as well, but I have already been to Hong Kong several times, and I didn’t want to be more stressed than I already was. In Dubai, I had a layover of 3 hours which made it impossible to take a trip downtown, so I just wandered around the airport and looked around most of the time.

What about you guys? What are the things you love to do at airports during a layover? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Merveille.

Weekly Wonders: All about shopping

 

Last week, it was all about shopping. Online or in retail stores, I splurged a lot, too much even.

First off, all the shops had a huge summer sale, and I ordered two huge packages from Mango and Zara plus a small one from Stradivarius. I didn’t keep everything I ordered, especially with the Mango package, I sent everything back except a black-and-white striped t-shirt with a mermaid printed on it. It’s super cute <3 And only 8€

Gestreiftes baumwoll-shirt | MANGO
Source: http://shop.mango.com

More about the rest of my shopping later.

Let’s start with my week:

1. The sunset on monday last week was just as beautiful as the downpour of rain that followed the colourful tint on the sky.

2. Tuesday was the last day of Bayram which is the Sugar Fest after the Ramadan month. We celebrate it by visiting family and friends, exchanging gifts in the form of sweets. We got an amazing collection of Lindt pralines, and of course I had to instagram it.

3. Now the orders from Zara. This outfit was not planned at all! I fell in love with the skirt and the slippers seperately, and I took the red shirt to match it with the white trousers on picture No. 5, but it turned out to be the most perfect outfit out of this haul.

Here are the pictures and links to the products:

Bild 3 von OBERTEIL MIT VOLANT von Zara
Source: zara.com
Bild 1 von KURZER JEANSROCK MIT RISSEN UND JAPANISCHEM MOTIV von Zara
Source: zara.com 
Bild 1 von PANTOLETTE MIT SCHLEIFE von Zara
Source: zara.com 

 

4. The second outfit inlcuded the long, printed culottes I fell in love with last month, but didn’t buy because they were 50€. I got them for 30€ and I am sooo happy with them <3

Unfortunately, they are nowhere to be found on the internet, so if you want them, you might have to head to the stores and pray they have them.

The shoes were also one of the things I wanted to get as soon as they were reduced. I love the plateau and the appearance of them looks like some cosplayer at Harajuku would wear. These were also originally 50€, but I got them for 30€.

Bild 3 von KEILSCHUH AUS MATERIALMIX von Zara
Source: zara.com

5. The same with these pants in the picture. They were the same style but different motives. I loved the white one as well, but it was see-through. And I had to decide upon one pair of pants, so I took the black ones. They were my first love and and also easy to combine.

Again, I can’t find these pants anywhere in the onlineshop. So I would assume that they are gone for good :’D

The silver metallic sandals you can see on the picture, I wanted as a substitute for the metallic ones I owned because they broke apart recently, But after I fell in love with the plateau ones and the slippers, I decided to send the ones from Stradivarius back. I got them for 20€, but now they are 15.99€

Source: stradivarius.com

6. After my packages arrived, I decided to return some of the items in the stores, and also look for the mango dress that was sold out online. All of this can be very exhausting, especially during the humid heat, so a froyo break was everything I needed.

7. I was lucky of course, and found the dress at Mango for 30€ instead of 50€. Can’t wait to wear it on my bday finally <3

8. The rest of the days, I was mainly at work, so one day after work, I went to get myself a cup of rolled ice cream. It’s a new food trend now, slowly emerging in Germany.

At the weekend, I didn’t do many things. Just cooked a lasagne with my sister, that’s all.

The following week is gonna be way more exciting. Stay tuned!

See you next week at Weekly Wonders!

Merveille

5 Myths about China that are not true

1. Everyone eats dog meat

IMG_20150723_101435
A dog enjoying the calmness of that dirty river :’D

It’s true that there is a dog meat festival in a village in Guilin. These people are definitely the cruelest, dumbest, most ignorant and evil people in this world. Seriously, how can you possibly tortue and then eat a dog??!?!!?!??
Yes, this festival is a reality in China, but it’s the exception. I have never seen anyone eat dog meat where I lived in China. I also don’t know anyone of my friends who tried it or seen dog meat being offered anywhere.
Of course I am not trying to deny that this behavious exists in China, but it is also not true that everyone in China eats dog. It’s rather more common to see dogs being kept as pets now, and they seem to be more popular than cats. There are also more people protesting against the dog meat festival every year. So I hope that after a few years, the government will actually do something to ban it for good.

2. You will return with lung cancer

20160214_121031_Richtone(HDR)
That day the smog in Shanghai was stronger than on other days.

Another misconception that many people get after watching the news too much. Again, I am not trying to deny the fact that the air is polluted, but it is by far not as bad as you see in media. Of course, when you happen to live in Beijing, it is more serious, but if you happen to live in any other city, you won’t see the smog as often as you feared. I was living in small town close to Shanghai, and the only times it was really smoggy were the 2 or 3 days after Christmas.
December is a very bad time to visit China, because the pollution is gonna be the strongest. Since winter is really hard in the north, heating will go up during the cold months. The eastern and southern parts of China don’t have central heating since there is basically only one month of proper cold weather. Still, the smog from Beijing wanders east to Shanghai and the cities around it. I did wake up to a smoggy morning and I just cried in my bed. I didn’t know what to do other than wear a face mask.
Still, this only lasted a few days. The other days were maybe only a little bit more polluted than the weather here in Germany. No city nowadays is 100% clean. I guess you’d have to live up on a mountain or by the beach to have clear and clean air.

3. Street food is not safe

IMG_20160324_230513
Some fatty but yummy street food in Xi’An

Totally wrong! Street food is in most cases even safer and cleaner than restaurant food. You can actually see all the ingredients and how they cook it, so they can’t trick you. Also, most locals get streetfood on an almost daily basis, so don’t worry. It seriously is restaurant food that you should be worried about. Behind closed doors, those cooks use MSG and used oil and what else we can only guess about.
Street food is the safest option in Asia in my opinion.

4. Everyone is rude

IMG_20160604_152028
Some frown, some laugh.

I hear a lot of tourists and travellers complain about how rude chinese people are. I can see how that happens though. I also had my share of chinese rudeness, but it was mostly some mean taxi drivers refusing to take us because we were not chinese, or couldn’t speak the language, or didn’t have the adress in chinese characters. Other than those evil taxi drivers, I mostly met the nicest people on earth. When I was lost, there were people who would get out of their ways to help me. Once, a girl even took us all the way to our hostel although it was raining outside. Not only young people, but also older people are so nice when they see you are lost. They are actually the ones who will understand your broken mandarin the best :’D
Also, when you plan to go to China, you should get ready to learn at least some basic sentences in mandarin. People will appreciate it and they will be more eager to help you out. Actually, this is something you should do for every country you visit. In the end, you are the visitor.

5. It’s a communist country

IMG_20160313_234626
Mao is watching you

Of course, the party that rules the country of China is a communist party. Still, chinese people must be the most capitalist nation I have seen. They are addicted to shopping and real estates as well as tourism. China is a rising star, and without a capitalist concept, it would have never become the most powerful developping country.
I would describe China as a perfect mixture between communism and capitalism. I am sure, that the political situation in China will eventually get better and better after the following years to come. I kind of feel like China might be the next super nation since the US is doomed with Donald Trump :’D
Anyway, what I wanna say is that the political situation in China is actually not as bad as others imagine it to be.

So these were the most crucial myths people know about China before actually visiting. If you visit a country with specific misconpetions already floating around in your head beforehand, then it is quite certain that these things will actually happen.

So please, wherever you go, let go of your prejudice and enjoy the place in its purity!

Merveille.

Weekly Wonders: I nearly caught Justin Bieber’s Yeezy!!!

 

Last weekend was insane! I was at the Wireless festival in Frankfurt, and I never imagined to experience the crazy stuff I did.

First of all, The rest of the week before the festival was rather calm. The only exciting thing that happened was the beginning of the sales in various shops like Zara and Mango. Of course I did some shopping :’D More about that at the end of this week.

I also came across a beautiful rose garden and  had to take an instagram picture.

  • Saturday, June 24th

After that, the long-awaited festival arrived and with that, two days filled with worldstars performing on one stage.

On Saturday, it was mainly german rappers like Materia and Genetikk. There weren’t many artists we wanted to see that day, and Rae Sremmurd had cancelled weeks ago as well, so that was a huge disappointment for us since he was one of the main reasons for us to go there.

During the breaks, we went outside to explore the area, take some photos and eat something. My friend and me decided to get some rolled ice cream which is a food trend now. The queue was endless and we stayed in line for one and a half hours in total. While I was standing there though, I suddenly saw a group of girls asking a stranger to take photos of them. Then I noticed that two of those girls were famous german youtubers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just 5 minutes ago, I was talking about one of them, and now she was standing in front of me. Of course I had to ask for a picture :’D It’s the picture with the readhead :’D She is one of the funniest youtubers ever :’D

After we were finished with eating and roaming, we went back inside to secure some spots until the headliner at 9.45pm who was The Weeknd for that day. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of him, because my phone died. It was amazing although he was around 20 minutes too late and finished 5 minutes too early. Plus, he always stayed in the back of the stage :/ I enjoyed his starboy tour performance in Cologne way more than the festival performance.

By the end of the night, I was shattered. Everything was hurting, including my right eye. I stayed at my friend Giulia’s house, and after chatting for a while in the middle of the night, I had to excuse myself and go to bed.

  • Sunday, June 25th

We decided to meet at 12.30 at noon to walk to the festival area. The first performance was at 1.55 pm by german trap rapper Rin. My friends were die hard fans, and I had to say that he was pretty good. Actually, Lil Uzi Vert should be performing, but he cancelled last minute, so they had to arrange someone different. Rin is less popular of course, but there were still some fans of him.

Of course, everyone was waiting for Justin Bieber’s performance in the evening that day, so the place was filled with Beliebers. The crowd got tighter and tighter, and people were pushing us forward all the time.

We saw so many more artists perform, including Machine Gun Kelly, Jess Glyne, Sean Paul, until we were finally waiting the last minutes for Travis Scott. He was one of the reasons I went to that concert. And he was freaking awesome!!!!! He leaned in to the crowd all the time and he even made one of his fans rap. As a thank you he gave her his hat.

Of course the show was over too soon, but it was about time for us to get out to get some fresh air, drinks and food. We were standing in the crowd from 1pm – 7pm!!! 6 HOURS!!!

We had some pizza and water before getting inside to get some good spots for Justin Bieber. We didn’t want to be too much at the front, so we were standing rather at the back right side of the first block. At that moment, we didn’t know that this was the most perfect spot.

Justin Bieber was even earlier than on time. He entered the stage at 9.26 pm (4 minutes earlier than scheduled), and his performance was lit! It was probably the most professional performance of that festival. I liked how he was just walking around the stage and trying to look his fans straight into their eyes. When he was not dancing of course. His voice is actually pretty amazing life. I just felt like he was way better life than on audio.

Anway, I was dancing, singing and screaming together with the other beliebers, when I realized that he was coming to an end. It was getting weird now, because he started taking off his shoes (white Yeezy) and throwing them into the crowd. Into OUR DIRECTION!!!! The first one came flying into my face and I kept staring at how he was throwing away the second Yeezy. The crowd was raging by now and the girls around me were running, pushing, falling to the ground and crying. A tall guy who was standing behind me caught the he first Yeezy. The second one flew to the second block right behind us.

GUYS!!!! I just missed the jackpot of my life! The right Yeezy is on ebay now, selling for 6,5K!!!! And it’s still going until next week Tuesday. Here, you can have a look.

I think I have never regretted anything more than not catching Justin Bieber’s Yeezy. I would be planning my asia trip now. I could be buying a new camera and a Macbook with that money. My life would be changed.

Can’t believe it! I was centimeters aways from catching it. It flew right past my head :'( How did I not jump??!?! WHY??!?!?

I guess in that moment, I was just too perplexed, suprised, astonished to move anything, neither brain nor body.

I’ve gotta say that Justin Bieber gave me a once-in-a-lifetime experience here. It was one of the most unique and energetic, and professional performances I have seen so far. Everything was thought-through, but at the same time full of heart.

I am aware that JB treated his fans badly in the past, but I think that most of his performances were like the one that I witnessed at the weekend. I am not suprised why his fans love him so much now. I might even commit to becoming a Belieber as well. :’D

Anyway, I took a video of that shoe, and now I put it on youtube. You can watch it here:

After that exciting turn of events, we left the concert area and headed back to the car and drove back home on an 2-hour ride.

Although we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t catch Justin’s Yeezys, we were still content about what we got to experience at the festival.

Can’t wait for the next festival experience to come :D

I hope your weekend was just as eventful as mine.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Last Parties in China: What I learned from 10 months living abroad

As I promised to upload the last post about reflecting on my time in China in 2015/2016, here is the last post in chronological order of my time there. This doesn’t mean that it’s my last post ever on China.

Less than one week before my flight back to Germany, we had 3 parties. 

On the 25th, we went to KTV all together. I don’t really have pictures from that evening, since we had too much fun singing and dancing. The only ones I have are quite blurry :’D It was a blast though, and definitely one of my most favourite night-outs in China :)

On the 26th, the next day, it was my friend Ana’s birthday. First she hosted a BBQ party at her apartment. Everyone came, even our boss :’D The food was great, she got some awesome gifts, and we drank a lot of alcohol before heading to the club.

IMG_20160428_235528IMG_20160330_145520

But first, before entering the club, we had to have some fireworks in front of the club, because that’s what you do in China on your birthday :’D
When we entered the club, we were suprised to find out that our boss got us VIP seats. I don’t know why, because he left only 1 hour later :’D I think that was his gift for Ana probably :’D The guys also ordered Hennessy, but I didn’t like it at all :’D

Everyone was so drunk, except the ones who survived the night at the Xiao Long Bao place to get some midnight snacks before heading home. Ana was not with us though. She already returned home quite early without telling anyone :’D We were all worried and started looking for her EVERYWHERE, until one of our friends confirmed that she had gone home :’D

IMG_20160330_151547
At the Xiao Long Bao place with the survivors of the night :D

The next party, my goodbye party was also my last full day in China. I spent the whole day going shopping (I did so much shopping, that I had to take the taxi back home although it was only 5 minutes walking distance), cooking and preparing everything.

In the evening, my friends slowly started to arrive. They also brought some snacks and drinks and we all had an amazing party. I hope I could be a good host for them the first time ever (I wish not the last time).

IMG_20160401_100122

Our friend Harry brought a box of Durian for me to try :’D That’s the second time in one week that I have tried something crazy in China. Of course they had to be last minute on my last week there. Just 3 days ago, I tried Stinky Tofu in Shanghai which you can read here. Now it was my turn to try real Durian fruit. It smelled horribly, but the taste wasn’t as bad as I thought. It has a slightly onion taste to it. I wouldn’t crave it though.

20160330_213250

Apart from the Durian, I got some more gifts. Nicole, the girl on the picture next to me, made me some apple muffins that looked like roses, and she got me a collection of lollipops with photos printed on them. The photos were of my friends I met in Yuyao. It was such a beautiful gift to keep me reminded of my time.

20160330_21291720160330_212848

Josie also got me a gift. A keychain of a Buddha’s foot and a card from one of our students. Also a letter from her and Harry which I was supposed to read on the plane :D

Plus, I got the best of the best gifts ever. Two photo albums filled with pictures of my 10 months here. Everyone took part in making it, especially Ana, Veronica and Josie.

When I read through the first pages, I was about to cry. I had to hold in the tears. I didn’t cry at the end, though, because the pictures were so funny that I had to laugh all the time flipping through them :D

The party became loud and boozy, but soon everyone had to go back home since all of them had work the other day (a thursday). It was a wonderful last evening with all my friends that I met there. It was a weird feeling to be sitting on the plane the next day, on the way back home again. I did feel sad, but also happy to see my family again.

Veronica cried a little bit that evening when she gave me her gift which was a wooden comb she used to use. It was before the others arrived so no one saw it.

The next morning, after I had lunch with Josie, Ana and Veronica before my bus to the airport arrived, Ana also cried when we said goodbye. I felt really sad and also guilty for not crying, but I think I was just too stressed about my flights I woud have to take (Ningbo to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Frankfurt). Also, something inside me told me that I would be seeing them all again very soon, which was true :’D
[January 2017, for my friend Veronica’s unexpected wedding]

Anyway, I had such a blast in China during those 10 months I lived there.
I made friends for a lifetime.
I visited places that I have never thought to be visiting before.
I solo travelled for the first time ever.
I tried foods that I would have never tried if I lived all my life in Germany.
I became more confident talking to strangers.
I became more tolerant towards different cultures.
I found out that I wanted to become a full time traveller.
I realized that there were so many other places I wanted to see in the world, just because I met a lot of amazing people from there.
I learned to trust strangers.
And I can call an additional place my third home now.

Thanks to everyone who accompanied me through the blog posts about my time in China. I appreciate that a lot.

‘Till the next adventure in China (which should be next year if everything works out properly).

Zaijian!
Merveille.