Weekly Wonders: Rainbows, Pinapples and Mom Jeans

 

Last week wasn’t very eventful, but still I managed to do quite some stuff.

We had an amazing double rainbow right outside our house which looked amazing!

On Thursday, we went to the waxing studio, but before, we had to try the new Indian restaurant. And it was super delicious!!!! I just couldn’t stop eating! I was even silent most of the time! I have to go there again and try a new dish! I had butter chicken, garlic naan and a coconut lassi which was probably the best coconut drink I had <3 So much love for this location! It’s called Ganesha, again :D (I have been to a Ganesha restaurant in China and in Stuttgart).

My Asos order came on Friday. I ordered a bunch of bathing suits and ripped jeans, but only kept one ripped jeans, which you can see on the picture.

You can shop it here

At the weekend, we had amazing weather, and on Sunday, we spent almost the whole day at the public swimming pools and now I am slightly tanned :) Of course, I wore my new pineapple bikini which you can see on the picture.

You can shop it here.

I hope you guys had a great week as well :)

I’d like to hear about it in the comments.

See you next week at Weekly Wonders!

Merveille

 

 

Weekly Wonders: Streetfood Festival and Sunday Brunches

 Tuesday, May 30th + Wednesday May 31st 2017

We went to the Streetfood Festival two days in a row, although it wasn’t even that big. I have been to bigger ones, especially the ones I been to in Asia which don’t seem to have an end.

Anyway, first we ate some spinach and feta cheese dumplings at an austrian dumpling stand. The next day, we visited this stand again, for some curly potato fries.

On the first day, we also tried Tacos for the first time. Tacos are not as common here in Germany as they are in the US. We have Döner Kebab here, which is rasped beef meat filled in a wrap or a loaf of bread together with some raw vegetables like tomatoes, onions, beets and more. In my opinion, a Döner Kebab is waaaay more delicious and apparently, healthier. But I guess I have to try proper Tacos in Mexico one day.

For dessert, we had Frozen Yoghurt. It was good, but the toppings were just too little. The next day, in addition to the potato curls, we also had a Burger. It was nothing special though. I could have eaten something different instead.

The dessert was great, though. We had Choco Kebab. It’s rasped nougat inside a wrap which has some toppings you can choose from as well. It’s way too small but super yummy! <3

On our way back home, we had the most amazing sunset.

During the course of the week, I finished Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. It was such an amazing read! I love this series! The Lunar Chronicles is probably my second favourite series after the Harry Potter books. I think I love it even more than the Hunger Games. One of the main reasons I love it so much is because it’s a fairytale retelling. The first part, Cinderis set in New Beijing and it’s about a girl who is half cyborg half girl. And she is supposed to portray Cinderella of course. She even has a mean stepmother, and two stepsister, but only one of them is mean. And in the end, she even looses her cyborg foot :’D

The books have this excellent humour, but they also portray serious problems that could be compared to political problems of our time today.

Sunday, June 4th 2017

On Sunday, we met up to have an amazing sunday brunch at a restaurant called Cafe del Sol. The interior reminded me of a hotel breakfast area, and the outside looked like a countryside house which is typical for the USA, with a wooden front porch and a wooden swing in front of the entrance. It did have a mexican-american vibe to it. We enjoyed it and we decided to come back for the 1-Meter Pizza :’D

Last week was pretty great, although I had to work a lot. The week, as well as the weekend were both great! It was very food-filled though, but I guess that’s why it was so good ;D

Hope you guys had an amazing weekend as well!

Thanks for reading!

Merveille.

Movie Monday: La La Land

This movie was everything I needed. It made me feel all the emotions: joy, pain, sadness, bitterness, fear, happiness, everything.

It’s been almost two weeks that I watched it actually, but I needed some time to collect all my feelings and be able to put them into words. 

Every scene and every song had its special place in the movie. None of them were unneccesary. The characters interacted perfectly with each other. I especially loved Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone together. They must be my most favourite movie couple of all times.

This movie is probably my new favourite movie as well, replacing Pulp Fiction.

La La Land made me want to pursue my dreams as well. Dreams I never thought I’d have one day. It is such a bittersweet movie, with such a sad ending, but probably the most fitting ending. It made me feel so sad that I couldn’t bare it. In order to pursue your dreams, one has to give up on the loved ones. It is such a wonderful movie. Starting with beautiful music, dresses, dances and locations. With hope and sunshine, and continuing with the development of love, also pain and difficulties. The songs tend to get less and less and the plot puts itself into the foreground. With it the difficulties and the downsides of pursuing your dreams.

La La Land – Audition (The fools who dream)

This song made me cry like a baby. The wonderful voice of Emma Stone and the relatability of the song had me nearly choking with so many emotions.

Still, the movie tells us to never let go of our dreams. Whatever the dream might be: Opening a Jazz Bar, finding your true love, or becoming a famous actress, all of these have downsides, and we have to choose our dreams and live with them. We have to accept their good sides, as well as their downsides.

I am 100% sure that even people who don’t like musicals will love this movie.

I can only encourage each and every one of you to go watch this movie immediately.

Rating: 10/5 !!!

Weekly Wonders Part 1: 12 Hours in the city, Hello Lillet, Sunday sundaze

I decided to sum up my weeks and weekends in pictures for this format. I will only do this if I had an eventful or insightful week. I also decided to to write more reviews. Reviews about anything: Books, films, products, restaurants and places. I will either dedicate a day of the week to one topic, or I will include the reviews to the Weekly Wonders format, depending on when I watched/read/tried something.

So here we go!

-Friday, May 26th:

 

I started my day at Starbucks with a green tea latte and a new book that I picked up after finishing off The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank the other day. That book was devastating, heartbreaking, yet filled with so much hope and innocence. It was so pure, and that’s why it was so brutal. The dreams of a young girl against the background of the second World War, all the hatred, violence, killing, racism, intolerance. Having such wonderful dreams during such hard, cruel times, is so heartbreaking, that I just couldn’t keep my tears inside my eyes anymore. If you wanna know more about my opinion on this book, read my review on goodreads here.

After my sister was finished at the doctor’s, we went to Stuttgart to have some amazing brunch together. Egg in an avocado, as you can see on the picture. We went to a cafe called Netzer, and they serve some delicious, healthy breakfast there. I would give it a rating of 3,5/5 though, because the selection wasn’t too big and it had more drinks than food.

After our bellies were filled with food and happiness, we finally went on to do some shopping. We went to several shops like Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Mango, Vero Moda, Calzedonia, Hunkemöller, and Promod. I tried on an amazing pair of pants as you can see on the picture above at Zara, and an amazing dress from Mango, all Asia-inspired designs and motifs. I didn’t buy them though, since they were 50€, way too expensive.

Here, you can see the things I tried on.

Bild 1 von CULOTTE MIT PRINT von Zara
Culotte from Zara, 49.95€
Kleid | MANGO
Dress from Mango, 49,99€

I didn’t buy the dress, but I bought a cute bag from Mango.

Umhängetasche mit metallgriff | MANGO
Bag from Mango, 29,99€

Other than the bag, I bought the book “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur from Urban Outfitters and some fishnet tights.

Bildergebnis für milk and honey
Source: Barnes & Noble

After our shopping spree, we met up with our cousin, his girlfriend and one of his friends to eat some burgers at the newly opened restaurant Triple B – Beef Burger Brothers. It is a cool spot, the prices are quite affordable for a filling Burger and the food tastes good. I expected a lot more from this restaurant though, since everyone hyped it up so much. So I will just give it a 4/5. After that we went to chill on the rooftop bar SkyBeach. The day was amazing. Hot and clear blue sky. We had some drinks and the others smoked hookah (I don’t like smoking, so I didn’t join) and we stayed there until the sun was gone and we were slowly feeling cold.

– Saturday, May 27th:

20170527_181727_Richtone(HDR)-01-01

In the early evening hours, we were invited to our family friends’ garden barbecue to have dinner together. The mother of our friend mixed some amazing cocktails for us, called Lillet. It’s a kind of wine that you mix with cherry Schweppes and put some strawberries inside. It’s literally the perfect summer drink. 

At night, we went clubbing. It was a fun night out, although the music wasn’t the best we expected.

– Sunday, May 28th:

Screenshot_2017-05-29-22-10-46-01.jpeg

We slept through most of the day, but as soon as we were as awake as we could, we packed our bags and headed to the public swimming pools. It was pretty hot and it was the first time for this year, so we enjoyed ourselves a lot. We had books and magazines with us, so we could tan and have a relaxed read in the sun.

This is how I spent my past week. Since the days are starting to get longer and warmer, there are way more activities to do during the week and at the weekends.

I hope you guys had a great time last week.

Thank you for reading!

Merveille.

Last two weekends in Shanghai

After this one-week trip, the end of my stay in China was slowly approaching. Right after my trip to Hong Kong, I still had one night to sleep in my room back at home, but the next afternoon which was a Sunday, we had already our next train going to Shanghai. Our group this time should be a very different one. Ana and me have gone on weekend trips to Shanghai or Hangzhou already, but Josie and Ale never joined us, so that was a first time for the four of us. Although I wished that the others could have joined us as well, it was still a nice way spending my second last weekend away with my friends.

On my very last weekend in China, I was also invited to Shanghai by some new friends I met.

In this post, I will just point out what you can do on two Sunday/Mondays in Shanghai:

  1. Have dinner at the top rated restaurant on Tripadvisor:

    IMG_20160330_015649
    Since Ana and me discovered this turkish restaurant Efes after our spring festival holiday, we were certain to tell the others about it and make them try it as well. Especially with our foodie friends Josie and Ale, it was a must.

    20160320_222449-01
    As I can recall, I had a plate of chicken kebab. 
  2. Have you last fancy drink at Bar Rouge:

    IMG_20160330_022252
    After our dinner, we went straight to the Bund to have some drinks at Bar Rouge. That was the second time at that bar for me now, and the drinks are still one of the best I have had so far.

    IMG_20160329_164250

  3. Go to the foreign language bookstore:

    Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
    I do have A Strangeness in my mind by now. My father gave it to me in german.

    On Monday, when we had our train back to Yuyao in the late afternoon, we still had some time left to do some shopping. Ana had to go to the embassy, Ale wanted to meet up with a friend and Josie and me went shopping. We split up as well. She had to go to Sephora and Nike and I wanted to get a new book from the foreign language bookstore that was just down the street from our hostel.
    But none of this could happen without having proper breakfast first.

    20160321_115303_Richtone(HDR)-01

  4. Stroll through Yuyuan Garden:

    IMG_20160331_141028
    I have been to Shanghai so many times, but only on my last weekend in China did I have the possibility to see the Yuyuan Garden and stroll through its streets there. It’s the perfect place to try street food and buy souvenirs. But the architecture looks awesome as well. It is a great spot for photo opportunities. 

    20160327_185810-01

  5. Try Stinky Tofu:

    IMG_20160331_023356
    During my stay in China, I swore to myself that I would never ever try Stinky Tofu, no matter what. But then my friends craved it when strolling through Yuyuan Garden, so I said “yolo” why not? My final thoughts are: Try it, because it basically tastes like nothing. You might like it. I will not eat it again, because I didn’t like the texture and the aftertaste is just exactly like the smell. Not nice.

  6. Visit a Jazz Bar:

    On my very last evening in Shanghai, we visited the Jazz Bar that is right in front of the Captain Hostel which is called House of Blues & Jazz.  That was my third time there, and it is weird that none of the times, none of us had actually thought about taking a photo there. A shame. It is a great bar and the people who go there really go for the music, to dance and just to enjoy the moment. It is not at all pretentious.
    Because I don’t have any photos of the Jazz Bar, here is a photo of a stranger having a monkey pet we saw on the street when walking to the bar.

    20160327_204936-01-01

 

When thinking back of that time, I was having mixed feelings. Both happy and sad about returning to Germany, to start a new life as I imagined, and sad about leaving my new friends and beautiful China behind. I do have a new life now, but it is not as I imagined. I am still struggling to fit in, and I miss Asia, especially China so much that it actually hurts. 

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I still have one last post left which will be dedicated to the last parties in Yuyao.

Stay tuned for some funny posts.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

 

 

How to spend less than 24 hours in Hong Kong Part 4

If you might have missed my previous posts to the Hong Kong series I have written, you can check them here:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

The first two times I had less than 24 hours in this cosmopolitan city. The last time I had slightly over 24 hours. This time I had less than 24 hours again.

I stayed at Hop Inn Mody Hostel again which is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s very central, spacious and affordable. I would recommend this hostel, and I would definitely stay here again.

As the posts before, I will list all the things you could do in one day in Hong Kong.

So here we go:

1. Breakfast in a cafe near your hostel:

20160319_104125_Richtone(HDR)-01

Most chinese cities, especially Hong Kong, have plenty of different cafes at every corner that serve delicious pastry, sandwiches, and coffee, all fitting the taste buds of any westerner. Coming from Germany, the country known for its variety of bread, I approve of the cafes in Hong Kong.

 2. Visit the museums:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Walking to the museum as you can see it in the background

Hong Kong has some interesting and unique museums to offer, especially close to Tsim Sha Tsui in the harbour area. I visited two museums which are in the same building. The Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Science Museum.

Here are some small reviews of the two museums I visited.

  • Science Museum:

I had the feeling that this museum was directed more towards kids. There was a lot of information about the human body, for example, that should be known to adults. Still, I liked how interactive the museum was. There were different activites involved with obtaining the information. It’s definitely worth a visit, even for adults.

20160319_153309_Richtone(HDR)-01
This was pretty impressive. lightning bolts would apear when you touched the glass. I guess it was some magnetic lightning ball.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
There was a hall of mirrors that had special effects, like this one making us small and wide :’D Not flattering at all.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
This one’s already way better. The kid’s face is too hilarious :’D
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
This was a triangle-shaped mirror tube. This is what it looked like from the other side. I asked the girl if I could snap a photo of her. Yes, this time I asked to take a photo of a stranger, not the other way around :’D
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
And this is how it looked like when I tried to take a selfie in that triangle-tube. It didn’t have the same effect of course. SCIENCE!

So if you have seen everything you wanted to see in Hong Kong, go ahead and have a look inside the science museum. It doesn’t take too much time to walk through it, especially as an adult.

There was also a nail bed where visitors were allowed to lie down on it, and a professional advised what to do. I did it as well, and it didn’t hurt at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of that. But it was an interesting experience.

  • Hong Kong Museum of History:

This is in the same building, but you need a different ticket for this. I heard of my friend Josie that it was a highly interesting museum about the dramatic history of today’s Hong Kong. With that I mean the outcome of Hong Kong as a city it is now. It has so many influences from different cultures that make the city so unique like no other in the world. The museum explains how Hong Kong has developped to the city it is today. It shows the ecological development, the unique appearance of ecosystems and animals in this city, and then, finally shows the influence of its chinese origin, the british opium war and the effects of the japanese occupation. All of these incidents are reflected in the city’s unique culture, and have shaped Hong Kong into today’s modern, cosmopolitan city.  Hong Kong might be the most unique city I have visited. You can neither compare it to other chinese cities, nor western countries. 

IMG_20160329_145511SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
This is something like a small wish shrine

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Traditional masks for street performances
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
These fishing boats still exist today.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Its really impressive that traditional restaurants in Hong Kong and China still have the same architecture today.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The Japanese occupation
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
How cute the shops looked like <3

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

There were so much more beautiful photo opportunities. These are the most beautiful snaps I took though.

I am usually not a big fan of museums, but this one was pretty cool. It reminded me of the Story of Berlin museum a little bit.

3. Visit Mammy Pancake – Again:

IMG_20160329_103545

I had to get some of these delicious treats again, before leaving China for good. This time I got sweet potato (the purple one) and Sesame. The sesame one was a bit disappointing. I thought they’d fill it with black sesame paste, but it was just sprinkled with light sesame. Sweet potato was the bomb though. Nothing compared to green tea chocolate though :)

4. Stroll along the promenade:

When I walked towards the promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was heavy fog hanging above the skyline making it look like some sick special effect of a science fiction movie. It looked so beautiful, with the boats sailing in the harbour, and the sun slowly setting into the white curtains of the sky. 

IMG_20160328_171831SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The weather was really nice. It wasn’t too hot, so you could comfortably walk around in short clothes. Unfortunately, I just had a sweatshirt, so I was sweating like crazy.

Still, I had to say goodbye to beautiful Hong Kong for good. Of course, it has always been a bit stressful to just visit this amazing city more of less for 24 hours, but the more often I visited, the more I appreciated it. I had a last view on Hong Kong, and then headed to the airport already.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My flight was in the evening, and I would be back in Yuyao in the evening, early enough to take a shower and find some good night’s rest. The next day, I had one more trip left which was to Shanghai with the laowais (Ana, Josie and Alessandro).

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have ever been to Hong Kong, feel free to recommend me some more places to visit for next time :)

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

From Xi’An to Shanghai to Hong Kong

I woke up super early on my last day in Xi’An which was a Friday, and I had to be super fit, because it should be a day where I would be in 5 different cities on ONE DAY!!! How is that possible, you might ask. Read on to find out.

It takes around half an hour to 45 minutes to the airport, and during the ride, my taxi driver kept on talking to me. He was the same age as me as I found out, but he could only speak chinese. I understood most of it, until he tried asking me if I had a son. That was weird :’D At first I wasn’t sure if I understood him correctly, but it turned out that I did. Next thing, he wanted to talk about money and how much money german people were earning. It was an interesting cab ride, but I was glad when I reached the airport. I really liked the Xi’An airport. It’s not that big, but everything is easy to find and it has all the important shops you need before a flight.

I arrived in Shanghai at around noon, and then had quite some time until my train ride back to Yuyao, where my boss picked me up. 

IMG_20160321_221159

20160318_145027
This was the cutest kid on the train from Shanghai to Yuyao. He kept on distracting me with his toys and his cuteness :’D His sister joined him later on as well. 

Here is why he picked me up. Shortly before my trip, I was told that I still had to go to Hong Kong for one last time because my visa had to be renewed for only a few days. So I had to look for a hostel last minute and buy a bus ticket to Ningbo Airport. If they had told me earlier, I could have just made them book a flight from Xi’An to Hong Kong, or at least, from Shanghai to Hong Kong. But I had already bought my train ticket ages ago.

Well, it was still manageable. I put all the important stuff in my backpack and left my suitcase with my boss. In the late afternoon, I made it to the bus and in the early evening, I was already at Ningbo airport for the 4th time now. So the next post will be another Hong-Kong-in-less-than-24-hours post.

I spent another night at that amazing hostel from last time which was also very central. This time, I met a Korean girl from London who was a fashion buyer but wanted to start a career as a fashion designer in Asia, so she started to check out the market in Hong Kong. She admitted that it was a tough job but it was her dream.

This is one of the most amazing things about Hong Kong. You can meet all different types of people from all around the world here. I have already met a Canadian who was a malay, indian, and chinese mix, I met two german girls, I met a Thai girl who I am still in contact with today, and this time I met this Korean girl from London.

After talking to her, I went to bed and fell asleep with the thoughts for the next day’s plans in my mind.

For the next post, you can look forward to more Hong Kong related stuff, but it’s also gonna be the last post about that gorgeous city.

So for me, I was in 5 cities on that day: Xi’An, Shanghai, Yuyao, Ningbo, and Hong Kong. That was a record for me.
What about you guys? What was the highest amount of citites you have travelled through/visited on one day?

Let me know and stay tuned.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me.

Merveille

Xi’An Day 2: The Terracotta Warriors – Do’s and Don’ts

As you may have read in my previous blog post about my arrival in Xi’An here, you might expect a visit to the Terracotta Warriors for sure, which I was looking forward to see for quite a long time already.

I knew about the Terracotta Warriors way before I even planned to go to China. And now, it was finally time.

I woke up early and took my breakfast at the hostel. Then the group arrived to pick me up. Here, I want to say that I wouldn’t recommend to book a tour to the Terracotta Warriors, neither from your hostel/hotel, nor online. Here is why:

  1. Money:
    It’s gonna be more expensive than going there on your own. The amount of money they take from you might not seem much, but it would be even less if you went there on your own.
  2. Time:
    You’re not only gonna save money, but also time. Although I was picked up really early, we didn’t only go to the Terracotta Warriors and back. We first went to a factory where they produced and sold replicas, statues and figurines of the Warriors which was actually not so bad to see. But after that we stopped at 2 more archaeological excavations which was soooo boring, omg!!! I can’t believe that this was actually included in the price. I would have saved so much money -.- AND time of course. Even after visiting the Warriors, our trip was not finished yet. We still went to another tourist sight, which we would have to pay EXTRA if we wanted to get in. And because some idiots in our groups have already pre-booked a ticket (they were germans, of course), we had to wait for them finish and exit.
  3. Making you own decisions:
    I could have decided when to wake up, when to take the metro, and when to leave the warriors. If I went on my own, I even would have had time to explore the Muslim Square a little bit more again -.- I actually regret taking that group trip more than probably anything that I did during my time in China.

Of course, tours can often be very handy, informative and a great way to meet new people. I did meet an interesting woman from England. She was hilarious and as crazy as me, so I always hung out with her. Our guide was also great. Her english was almost perfect and she gave us a lot of information about emperor Qin and the Qin dynasty. 

So, if you don’t wanna make the same mistakes as I did, make sure to inform yourself about the stops on the tour you are taking, and only take it if you really wanna see the additional sights.

After this little lecture, let me show you some snippets of that day:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The little figurines being painted here
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The end product

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
That guy made me try my calligraphy skills. I got to keep that work of art I created without having to pay anything :)

IMG_20160325_131132

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
One of the many excavation sites. As you can see, nothing interesting here…
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Spring was starting, so the first flowers were almost in full bloom already :)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_20160325_135116
Finally at the Terracotta Warriors

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Headless warriors. There were several stations here. One of the stations was the hospital, where broken or incomplete warriors were mended. 
IMG_20160326_154021
We were able to pose with replicas in exchange for 20 RMB
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The UNESCO World Heritage Sight is for the grave of Emperor Qin which is supposed to be in the hills and mountains in the background. He wanted to be buried close to the Warriors, so they could protect him in the afterlife.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
That place we had to wait for that elderly german couple to finish their sightseeing. This statue depicted the importance of belly dancing in Xi’An. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

At the end of our trip, our guide offered us to book a seat at a traditional dance show that included a dumpling Dim Sum. I love dance performances, and I love chinese food, so I was quite intrigued by that. I seemed to be the only one interested, so I asked about it. The price was a bit expensive, but it really sounded good so I did it. It was really worth it guys! If you are looking for some evening activities to do in Xi’An other than exploring the food market, I can highly recommend you to visit this show. Apart from the show, the food was DELICIOUS! The dumplings were beautifully prepared and I kinda felt sad eating them.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Unfortunately, the duck-shaped is very out-of-focus in this one. I don’t know what my camera did here :’D
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Deliciousness <3
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The two amazing bamboo baskets in one picture. 

You don’t have to book that show through a tour. I guess you can also do it online or through your hostel. You also don’t have to include the food, but I recommend. It is a great atmosphere as well, since it takes place in an old chinese opera house with tables at the front part and normal seats at the back part.

For me, going to the show after the trip was a bit stressful. I barely had 1 hour to get changed until I was picked up next. That was insane. But I made it!

The show was great as well. The music was not as weird as the typical chinese opera music. The performances were utterly beautiful, as well as the dresses they were wearing. It was awesome!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

At the end of the evening, I was full but super tired. I was so happy that my driver was actually waiting for me outside and brought me back to the hostel. I immediately prepared my bags and got bed-ready.

This amazing trip ended with a busy last day in Xi’An. I would like to revisit this city just because of the food alone. It was fantastic. Definitely one of the best cuisines I got to try in China. I would even say that, together with Zhejiang food, Xi’An food is my favourite. 

What about you guys? Have you ever been to Xi’An? Do you have a favourite chinese cuisine? And have you ever had bad experiences with organized tour groups? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

From Beijing to Xi’an: First evening in Xi’An

As you might have followed my previous blogposts about my trip to Beijing and my 3 days there, you know that the city was a very exhausting one. There is no denying it, that it is beautiful, has a lot of culture and history and I saw so many different things I couldn’t have seen anywhere else, I can be sure that I would never want to live in this city, even if the smog disappeared one day. This also doesn’t mean that I dislike big cities, quite the contrary actually, I really love big cities. I am in love with Shanghai for example, and I could seriously imagine living there, but Beijing was something different. It’s nice for a trip, but that’s all.

If you have missed the posts, you can read about them here:

Arrival | Day One: Great Wall |Day Two: Forbidden City

When I woke up on my fourth day in Beijing, I took my bags, checked out and headed to the train station to catch my early train to Xi’An. The train station was smaller than expected and super busy. There were almost more foreigners than chinese people. I also saw like three travel groups full with german people.

Taking trains in China is so convenient and the prices are pretty good. Way cheaper than the trains here in Germany. That’s one of the things that I miss the most about China.

Anyway, I arrived in Xi’An in the late afternoon. By the time my taxi driver took me to my hostel it was almost early evening. While I was on the train and on the taxi, I was texting my friend Qiqi, who lives in Xi’An. I met her on my travels to Suzhou in September as I posted on this blogpost, and I promised her to visit her in Xi’An before I left China.

She told me that her friend would pick me up and show me around town until she made it out of work.

By the time I got my things inside my dorm room which was huge by the way and very clean and almost empty (only 2 other people with me there), Qiqi’s friend texted me that he arrived and waited in the lobby for me. We planned to go visit the Drum Tower and Bell Tower and then go to the Muslim Street Food Square. I was starving, so this was a great idea.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_20160323_155829
This guy was legit fire spitting in front of the Bell Tower
IMG_20160324_005815
Drum Tower

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was really nice of him to show me around. His english was also quite good, so he could do a little bit of translation between Qiqi and me. Qiqi’s english was around the same level as my chinese. We somehow managed to communicate, even if it was just through smiles, gestures and hugs. But it was nice to somehow be able to communicate with her through her friend.

The Muslim Square actually blew my mind. It was my favourite part about Xi’An, and I would love to return just for the food sold there. They have everything from Kebap, Nut Candies, Muslim noodles, soups, pita-like breads, Fruits, Juices, Milk drinks, Fried stuff, just EVERYTHING! I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know where to look at and what to eat.

12080442_531486327032434_361316694_n(1)
This is how the nut candy is made. The white stuff is a sugar mixture they use for any kind of candy. It was very relaxing to watch this. 

We sat down at a traditional restaurant that sold soups and meat. My friend told me that this place was a very old family restaurant, and all the locals knew about it. I ordered a normal noodle soup, my friend ordered the spicy version and he also ordered a dish made of intestines. He didn’t know that I don’t like intestines, but I tried to see how it tasted. I definitely didn’t like it :D But he appreciated that I tried.

The food was delicious. We continued to roam around the streets a little bit more. I found a stand with the pita-style bread and bought one. It looked yummy, but it tasted a little bit dry.

Then I saw something fried. It was dough filled with vegetables and it looked sooooo yummy! We ordered some, shared it, but could only eat a little bit since it was really oily.

IMG_20160324_230513SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Street Food market has a lot to offer. I was so full after only 3 dishes, that I could neither eat nor drink anything. I regret not having tried the pomegranate juice and the milk drinks that are really famous here.

I still wanted to buy some boxes of the nut candy though. I love them and I wanted to bring them to Germany so I bought two boxes, one with sesame and one natural.

After that, we finally went to meet Qiqi. She came with our friend’s car which was a Jeep. We then drove to the Wild Goose Pagoda, another famous sight in Xi’An.

IMG_20160325_020110SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The Wild Goose Pagoda does have its charm when it’s dark

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bascially, on that first evening, I saw all the famous sights you can see inside of the city of Xi’An.

We took a lot of pictures there, walked around the square, and even found a park which had funny sculptures to pose with.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
One of the few nice pictures of me that day. I looked just so tired and exhausted, that I didn’t want to upload the pictures showing me in the park. 

It’s one of the best things you can do during your travels: Hanging out with locals who can show you around.

Unfortunately, it was getting quite late already, and I was feeling really sleepy. I had an early start and I had to wake up early the next morning as well, to go see the Terracotta Warriors.

Have you guys ever been to Xi’An? And let me know about your favourite street food you ever had.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

Beijing Part 3: Beautiful people, 600-years old cat, and Kung-Fu Boys

After the very tiring second day, I woke up with only slightly hurting legs. I expected them to be more painful, but it was bearable.

I woke up early and headed to the Temple of Heaven. It was really close to my hostel. Not even 10 minutes walking distance.

I paid the entrance fee and was at first overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the place and the activities that the locals, especially the seniors were practicing early in the morning, including Badminton, Taichi, Water caligraphy and more.

20160315_091425-01IMG_20160319_095318

I enjoyed watching them which I found way more interesting than the Temple of Heaven itself.

20160315_091852-01

IMG_20160319_183403

20160315_092234_Richtone(HDR)-01
Inside the Temple of Heaven

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So definitely make sure to visit this sight as early in the morning as possible. I think I was there at around 8 or 9 am. 

After you are finished taking photos of the Temple of Heaven, you can also have a look at the Temple of Good Harvest. There are also many people exercising.

20160315_091938-01

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Some women were playing an interesting game wich looked like a hybrid between badminton and dancing. And the ball had a chiffon tail, so when it went flying up in the air, it actually looked like a beautiful singing bird.

I have all of that on film, so if I ever get to find a cool video editing program, I will just edit them all together into one video and post it here. If you guys have any suggestions for a good video editing software that is not too hard to learn and not too expensive, then please let me know.

Anyway, after leaving the Temple of Heaven, I took a taxi to the Forbidden City. I could have taken the metro, but the station was kind of far away, and I honestly didn’t feel like taking the metro again. The metro in Beijing is very cheap, but also quite inconvenient since you always have to change lines. 

Arriving at the Forbidden City, I was first confused because it said Palace Museum. I thought the Palace Museum was something different, but then quickly found out that it actually was the Forbidden City. I also bought a beautiful map that looked like drawn by hand. And I also got a electronic guide with a gps function that always told me where I was and gave the most important information about that certain place.

It was nice walking around the grounds and snapping photos of the intricate and unique architecture.

IMG_20160320_004834

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

IMG_20160321_215406

IMG_20160322_100624
It’s said that his cat is as old as the Forbidden City itself (~600 years)
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Inside the buildings of the Palace Museum
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Mostly, the concubines lived in here.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
A Pixiu with its baby, garding the gates

I would still advise you not to fall into the traps of the souvenir shops inside the Forbidden City. They are pros, and they will seriously make you buy stuff that you don’t really need. They will actually follow you, run after you to make you buy that thing they are trying to sell you. In the end, I was so pissed, that I just bought it. The best thing is to not even step foot inside those shops.

When I wanted to leave the Palace Museum, I was kind of confused. I couldn’t find the exit right away, so I ended up strolling in the park right before the exit and took some photos of the surrounding.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
These trees were all around the garden right before the exit
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Ceiling decorations of a Pagoda

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Unfortunately, this place was closed :/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Some high school students then wanted to ask me some questions and take photos with me. They also offered me some delicious chocolate as a thank-you.

In the end, I finally managed to get out of the Museum and headed up to Jingshan Park to get a view of the Forbidden City from above.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The walk up was a bit tiring, but it didn’t take too long and soon I found myself at the hill. After having climbed up the Great Wall, this ascension was a piece of cake :’D

The views from up there were unfortunately not as perfect as the views I got at the Great Wall the day before. Everything was smoggy and foggy and the pictures just didn’t turn out as well as I expected.

20160315_143727-01IMG_20160322_215613

Still, you can easily grasp the gigantic size of the Forbidden City. It literally is bigger than a german suburban town. I am sure that it is bigger than the suburban town I come from.

After the Palace Museum, I actually planned to visit the Summer Palace, but I realized that I probably wouldn’t have enough time. I still took a taxi and told the driver that I wished to go to the Summer Palace. He then started talking in chinese and told me that it probably wouldn’t be worth it, since it was quite late, and the Palace closed in like 2 hours or so. He also said with this traffic, it would probably take us around 1 hour to even get there. He then offered to drop me off at the nearest metro station. I was really impressed by myself that I understood everything he told me :’D It seemed like he was impressed, too, because he was laughing and talking to me as though I was a local. I then decided to go to Sanlitun, the main area for shopping and restaurants.

When I arrived there, I was kind of disappointed. It was quite a let down and not at all comparable to Nanjing Road in Shanghai. The whole area felt too westernized and kind of out of place.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I chose to roam around the sidestreets to find a restaurant to eat at. Most places would serve food at 5pm (it was around 4.30). I didn’t want to wait, because at 6.30 pm I had to be at the hostel to be picked up for the Kung-Fu show. I was lucky with a Japanese restaurant which was quite small but very, very cute.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I ordered rice and sushi (as I can remember), quickly finished my meal, went to Starbucks, got a drink and then stopped a taxi.

That was probably one of the longest taxi drives in my life. It took me 1 hour and around 80 (!!!) rmb to get to my hostel. If I knew how long this would take me, I would have taken the metro. I was almost late for the pick-up. I still had to get changed and leave all my bags in my room, but I made it in the end.

Upon arrival at the Kung-Fu show, I went inside and looked for my seats. The last few hours didn’t go well with the let-down that was Sanlitun and the long taxi ride, but I met Lisa again! The girl I met on the Wall. I also met another friend of hers, Lynette, a french girl who stayed at the same hostel as Lisa. They also just met at the Kung-Fu show. How random! That was the best finish to that rollercoaster trip that was Beijing.

The Kung-Fu show was amazing! Waaaaay better than the opera. I can only recommend you guys to visit it. Here are some pics:

IMG_20160322_220611
Before the performance, we could watch the performers practice

20160315_195847-01

IMG_20160323_124310
At the end of the show, everyone was allowed to take a photo with the crew.

After the show, we walked all the way back, trying to find a metro station. By the time we found a metro station, I realized that we were right in front of the Temple of Heaven which meant that I could walk to my hostel from there. It was quite late in the evening, but I wasn’t scared at all. I said goodbye to my newly-found friends, bought fruits and snacks for the train ride the next day and then headed to my hostel to pack and go to sleep.

Although my trip to Beijing included a lot of fails (Getting lost, wrong hostel, longest taxi ride ever,…), I can say that I truly enjoyed Beijing. It is not my favourite city though, and if it wasn’t for the Great Wall, I probably wouldn’t have visited.

This was my last day in Beijing, and the next morning would start with a train ride to a different city.

Stay tuned to find out where I was headed to next.

Have you guys ever been to Beijing? What were your experiences? Tell me in the comments.