50 Questions for 5 Years

It’s been yet another year in the blogging world for me. Unbelievable how fast time passed when I look back at it.

Because of this special day, I thought to do another Questions about me post. It’s been quite a while since I have last answered such questions. And you might not know this about me, but I love answering questions like these. So if you know about fun question tags (preferrably something about travelling) then please let me know in the comments.

For now, enjoy this random 50 Questions about me tag.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
No, but the meaning of my name is mountain in Mekka.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Actually, it’s  been quite a while now. Probably a few weeks. I can’t really remember which is really not typical for me because I have been a huge cry baby the last few months/years. I think the last time I cried was when I watched a youtube video about loving each other and helping kids.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Nah, it’s really messy!

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I love eating fish 24/7

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
No.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Oh yes, I would probably be my best friend :D I’m a very fun and kind person. Who wouldn’t like to be friends with me? ;D

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Actually no. I am a bit like Sheldon. I don’t always understand/recognize sarcasm.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
yes

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
I would have to think about it. Spontaneously, I would say no.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
It’s been years since the last time I ate cereal. But I really like Cinnie Minnies.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No, I just slip out, and in again.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Physically, not so much. Menally, I would say I am pretty strong.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
I love melon, cookies and cream, lemon, yoghurt, sooo many!

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Facial expressions, especially the correlation between the eyes and the mouth.

15. RED OR PINK?
Red is my most favourite colour ever.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
The fact that I am a bit slow :’D

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My friends I met in China.

18. WHAT IS THE SPARK FEATURE THAT HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST?
I don’t really understand the question :’D

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Right now, I am wearing blue socks. Usually, my shoes are black.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Chocolate with hazelnuts

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Nothing. Usually I listen to Hip Hop/Rap

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
I’d be Fuchsia

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Coffee, Freshly baked cake, Flowers, and the smell of new books.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
I don’t talk much on the phone actually. It was probably with a doctor.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
A beach house! I love being by the beach. Mountains, on the other hand, are not really my cup of tea, unless there is a cable car I can take :’D

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
I love watching Ice Skating performances (although I am unable to ice skate myself), and I love swimming races. It’s so mesmerizing.

27. HAIR COLOR?
Golden/Caramel Brown. Or, the trend colour, Bronde.

28. EYE COLOR?
Light brown.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Yes, I do. But I can’t keep them inside for too long.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Lasagne and all kinds of fish dishes.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy Endings. I hate scary movies.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Baby Driver just now :D It was a great mix of funny, sad, and action.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Black and White Stripes.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer forever <3

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
I am the kisses kind of person.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
This is really hard! But I have to say, it’s the Hong Kong Eggloo Waffles <3

37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Cardio. I suck at Strength Training.

38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
Computer. I do almost everything on my laptop and a little bit on my phone (like IG)

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don’t have one, but I should get one.

41. ANY TATTOOS?
No, but I’d wish some.

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Birds chirping in the spring mornings.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Beatles!

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME IN 2013?
I haven’t been on vacation in 2013, but I have been to some german cities. Augsburg and Frankfurt.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Dancing, probably.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
In Southern Germany.

47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Still in the same area I was born.

48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
Orange, brown, and white.

49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
I don’t have a car, and I don’t need one.

50. ANY PETS?
No, but I would love to have a dog <3

 

So, this was really quick,  but here are all the 50 questions answered. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to copy this and answer it yourself.

Thanks for reading!

Merveille.

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Weekly Wonders: Berlin Callling

I will already prepare you for this post, since it only contains a little preview of my short trip to Berlin. Nothing else really happened that week. I was basically just working, except for this little weekend getaway to Germany’s amazing capitol city. Let’s start with the pictures!

1. At the beginning of the week, we all got together with my cousins and had dinner at Archie’s, which is an American style chain restaurant. They have amazing burgers. I ate the Kobe Beef Burger which was delicious <3

2. On Saturday morning, around 6am, I arrived at the airport and was shocked! It was filled with sooo many people! Thousands of thousands of vacationers, getting ready to fly away to some sunny parts of the world! I have never seen our home airport so busy. I felt lucky that I already checked-in online and didn’t have to queue for that. The lines for the security checks were so long, they nearly reached back to the entrance doors. Nevertheless, I made it on time for my flight.

3. After I finally arrived in Berlin, I took a nap at my friend Yen’s apartment and then we met to get our nails done. It’s really cheap there, only 26€!!! Here, you pay 35€ just for a refill -.-

4.+5. We then walked around the city of Potsdam a little bit. Here, you can see the Brandenburger Tor of Potsdam, and the city hall.

6. In the evening, it was finally time to meet for Yen’s Birthday Dinner at the korean BBQ restaurant Kimchi Princess. The lighting was really bad though, so I don’t have good pictures from there :’D

7. After dinner, we went to the club The Pearl where my friend booked a table for us. It was an amazing party and many of us had some drinks too much :’D

8. The next morning, we woke up pretty hungover and tired, but we decided not to waste the day and go explore the Thai Park. It was all very yummy, but unfortunately, I lost the pictures :'( To make up for that, here is a photo of my favourite dessert: Hong Kong Waffles. This was sold at a restaurant at Rosenthaler Straße called Chicken Buzz. It was a chinese restaurant, and they also served these waffles and refreshing lemonades <3

9. Towards the end of the day, we were feeling a bit more energetic, especially after that raspberry lemonade. We decided to head to Alexanderplatz and take some photos in front of the TV Tower. They actually turned out pretty fine!

 

I will write some seperate posts about Berlin as well. It will contain a lot of food, so be prepared for that. I was actually thinking about starting a restaurant guide on this blog where I review different locations and the food they serve. Tell me if you’d be interested below. In general, I am lagging behind with blogging. I am always extremely tired from work, so it’s really hard for me to blog regularly. It was easier in the past when I was still a student. I realize how much time I used to have back then.

What about you guys? When do you find time for blogging?
Have you ever been to Berlin? If so, tell me your favourite spots there.

Thanks for reading! See you next week!

Merveille

 

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

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!

What to do: Chinese New Year | Part 4 Tibetan Hospitality

On our fourth day we had to wake up even earlier than the days before. We had to catch a bus that would take us to Jiuzhaigou – a huge national park famous for its turquoise lakes and deep blue pools – in 10 hours. We were excited that we would finally be able to see this beautiful place but we didn’t feel like going on a 10-hour bus ride into the mountains.

Plus, when we entered the bus, we realized that 1. we were the only non-chinese tourists and 2. that Ana and me were sitting in the crammiest back row seats I have ever seen.

Anyway, the bus ride did really feel like 10 hours. It was driving through winding streets up to the mountains. We were snacking, sleeping and trying to read. Unfortunately, I have been having a huge reading slump with A Clash of Kings, the second installment of A Game of Thrones and the bus ride felt even longer than it already was. Once in a while I was able to take some snaps out of the back window.

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When we finally arrived at the bus station, we first had to check out where to take the taxi to, because the valley consisted of different villages and our hostel was in a quite small one. They helped us at the bus station but there were just too many clueless people like us trying to find their way. When we finally made it to a taxi he took us to probably the tiniest village I have ever seen. The taxi driver was  a little bit confused about the exact location of the hostel as well. He brought us to the end of a street and told us that our hostel was up the street. We paid and tried to find it, but it wasn’t there. We searched through the place and aske a chinese woman who couldn’t speak any word of english. She tried to help us, asked for a phone number which we didn’t have and then also asked another man passing by. They were really helpful, but it was all for nothing. We couldn’t find it. They left us and I was starting to panic. I suggested to take the taxi back to the city centre and look for a hotel there. Luckily, Ana managed to calm me down and suggested to look inside that one hostel in fron of us. We went in and the hallway was empty. There were rooms but it didn’t seem like anyone was in there. At the end of the hallway we saw a stairway leading up to a room from which we could hear voices and noises. Ana waited for me downstairs with our suitcases and I went up and knocked on the door.

When I opened a door I saw two young girls approximately my age, a young guy, two older women and one older man sitting and having dinner. I went inside and I tried to tell them in a mix of english and chinese if they knew where this hostel was. While the two young girls approached me immediately and spoke english to me, of the elder ladies who was standing in front of the stove pushed a bowl of rice into my hands and insisted to eat it. I was overwhelmed by such warmth and kindness that I felt my eyes burning. My voice was shivering now, too and as the girls told me that they knew where the hostel is, I felt so relieved. I told them that my friend was waiting downstairs and they told me to fetch her up so we could have dinner and warm up.

We were eating rice and some vegetables. Then she offered us the most delicious Baozi I have ever eaten. It had walnuts inside and although I don’t like walnuts, it was one of the best things I have eaten in China.

The lady was one of the nices people I have ever met in my life. She wasn’t able to speak our language. She probably didn’t know anything about our countries. We could have been robbers or killers, but she welcomed and accepted us without fearing or judging us. It was obvious that this family wasn’t wealthy. They were sitting in a little room, 6 people crammed together and were ready to share their food with strangers. In this moment I realized that kindness never has to do anything with money or education and this is the most important feat a human being can have.

After we finished with our meal, we asked if we could take a picture, so one of the girls took a picture with us and their aunts and uncle and it is one of my most favourite pictures I have taken in China.

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The woman in the blue sweater was the one offering us the food.

The girls helped us and we finally found our hostel. Then, they invited us to a Karaoke evening with them and all of their cousins.

Our hostel’s owner was a very friendy young mother and she welcomed us in a friendly way. She also offered us dinner but we told them that we already ate.

After checking into our overly cold room we got ready and met the girls. They took us to the city centre and we picked up some more cousins. One of the cousins’ parents has a souvenir stand with a lot of beautiful things. I bought a bracelet for our family friend’s mum and a mirror for my mum.

The KTV we went to was probably the most beautiful KTV I have been to. One of the reasons was that the rooms had their own toilets, so you didn’t have to use the disgusting public toilets. The ones at KTVs are always so dirty and disgusting that sometimes, I refused to use them.

It was so much fun to sing with those girls. There were so many of them :’D

Unfortunately, the germs of that woman in Leshan that sneezed on Ana caused her to feel a bit tired and sick so we told the girls that we wanted to go back to our hostel. They had drunk beer though, so they told one of their cousins to drive us back. We didn’t know him, so we were a bit suspicious, but she said that we could trust him. So we did, and he brought us back to the hostel safely.

It was an unbelievable day with a fun and unexpected ending.

Have ever had such an experience with locals offering you food and shelter? Tell me in the comments, I would be so interested to know.

Thanks for travelling with me!

In the next post, you will finally see the wonderful colours of that place.

What to do: Chinese New Year | Part 3 The biggest Buddha you will see

Our third day started early as well with our walk to the bus station where we wanted to take a 1-hour bus ride to Leshan in order to see the Big Buddha which is the biggest stone Buddha in the world with 71 metres in height. Actually, I can’t imagine any other Buddha that is bigger than the one in Leshan. I was seriously in awe when I saw it and couldn’t stop staring.

Our ride there was quite comfortable and we even met a polish guy who just happened to have the same surname as my friend Ana and they both couldn’t stop laughing at this coincidence.
Later, on our way walking to the Buddha, we also met a girl from Germany. So we were 2 Polish and 2 Germans :’D Best crew ever!

DISCLAIMER: Before you decide to go visit a mountain or a Buddha statue or anything that has to do with Buddhism, be warned! If you wanna do this during Chinese New Year, you should expect a lot of people. MASSES! And you should also calculate some time for queueing. We didn’t expect that and thought we would be able to visit the surrounding area as well, but our plans were destroyed within seconds of seeing the unbelievably long line leading to the Buddha. We wanted to cry, but we didn’t give up. We had come all that way to see the Buddha, and we would get through the queueing.

We were lucky that we were a bunch of fun and chatty young people with so many topics to talk about. 4 hours (!!!!) in a queue flew by so fast and before we could say knife, we were already descending the stairs down to the Buddha.

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Of course, something had to go wrong: As we were descending the stairs, an old chinese woman came up next to me and behind Ana, and she suddenly sneezed on Ana, so loud and spraying saliva all over the place. It was disgusting and rude! Ana got all the germs on her. I literally saw it rain down. We got pissed off at the end and sweared to never go to any holy monument during a holiday in China anymore :’D

When we were finally at the bottom, the size of the Buddha overwhelmed us even more. It was immense and we had to contort our necks to see the whole thing.

We took some pictures, and it was already time for Ana and me to slowly head back to the bus stop. We had booked a Sichuan Opera show in the evening so we had to be ready at the hostel on time.

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It was really hard to fit all of us together in one picture with the Buddha, but we somehow did it. We then exited which meant climbing up the stairs this time. It was really exhausting and we also had to hurry a little bit.

Back at the hostel, we just had time to buy some snacks for the next day (A 10-hours bus ride would await us), get changed and ready for the pickup. There were two other guys with us in the minivan. One of them was from France, and the other one from a South-American country (I think Argentina or Brazil or something), but studying and working in Shanghai. They told us they had like 6 weeks off and planned a trip through China. We were quite envious of them.
Anyway, when we arrived at the opera house, we had to wait for about 20 minutes before the show started. We were invited to wait and tea was served, Jasmine tea I think, one of my favourites <3

The show finally started, and it was really impressive. It had everything you could wish for: Acrobats, slapstick, singing parts, action, firespitters, amazing costumes and face-changing masks which is famous for Sichuan Opera. I can 100% recommend you to visit the opera while you are there. The price is fine as well.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have more pictures because my camera died. 

After the show, we looked for a place to eat and found a venue with food stands and restaurants. There, we ordered some malatang, hot spicy soup (Mine was not spicy of course) and roamed through the streets a little bit to buy some fruit for our bus ride the next day.

This was our 3rd day in Sichuan. I enjoyed it a lot, despite spending it waiting on lines all the time. The opera show was my highlight and the big Buddha was something different than I had seen.

What about you guys? Have you ever been sneezed on?
What was the longest time you had to wait in a queue?
And tell me about the biggest Buddha statue you have seen.

Thanks for travelling with me!

Stay tuned for my next post which will be a quite emotional one.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I know that for many people around the world, 2016 was a hell of a year, or should I rather say, hell on earth.

So many great people died, including David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and too many more :'(
And then, more political changes occured that will probably change the future of the world forever. The Brexit in the UK, Donald Trump being US president which was my biggest nightmare, and the war in Syria bringing so much grief into our lifes. Terrorism reached its peak with destruction in France and Turkey, both countries I was lucky to visit unharmed this year, and both countries with so much beauty that it breaks my heart thinking about explosions and destructions :'(

But I think we should always have some light to follow, or else, our world would be hopeless. That is also something I want to follow in 2017. I will try to stay more positive, try to accept more than I already do. I will try not to judge and gossip. I will try to learn more things about the world, about others and also about myself.
As a friend already posted today, my New Years Resolution is not about loosing weight or making more money. It is about exploring more and judging less. Being more creative and active. I hope 2017 will be even way better than 2016.

For me, actually, it wasn’t too bad. Many awesome things happened. I met a lot of great people and saw many beautiful places.
Here is a little wrap-up of the things I did:

Cities visited: 12 (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Beijing, Xi’An, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Cappadocia, Cesme, Selcuk/Ephesus, Paris)

Countries visited: 5 (China, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Turkey, France)

Planes took: 15 (China Eastern, HK Express, Lufthansa, Germanwings, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus)

Books read: 24 (Check my goodreads account)

Just a couple of things to sum up. And now here are some of my favourite moments from 2016

January: Seeing new sides of Hong Kong

The first month of the year was probably one of the best Januarys I had. It was filled with mild weather, yummy food, and another side of Hong Kong which you can read about here.

February: Spring Festival in China

Spring Festival is Chinese New Year, as you could read in this post from a few days ago. I will write the following posts as soon as possible, so here is a little sneak peek already.

March: Beijing – Xi’An Trip, Birthday Parties, Goodbye

This month was filled with many of our friends’ birhtdays. It was also filled with some goodbye parties because it was my last month in China. A very sad moment, but I tried to make the best out of it and took a last trip to Beijing and Xi’An. It was probably my second favourite month this year. Posts are following.

April: Reunion with old friends

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April was meant for my friends I couldn’t see for 10 months. It was also the month of one of my best friend’s birthday.

May: Bridesmaids and Wedding Fever!

In May, our childhood friend got married and we were meant to be her bridesmaids. Some beautiful pictures were taken.
Plus, I got to give my cousin’s daughter some cute Frozen gifts I bought from Hong Kong :)

June: Kangaroo Cuddling

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I know, there is no kangaroo on this picture, I only got it on film, but I was surprised by a baby kangaroo at the zoo in Leipzig and I couldn’t handle the cuteness <3

July: Birthday Girl and Amsterdam Trip

July is one of my favourite months. It is my birhtday, it is hot and it is summer.Also this year, it was a very good month. I spent it first with my sister going up the TV Tower, and at the weekend I celebrated with my friends. At the end of the month, I took a short trip to Amsterdam with my friend. Read about it here, here, and here.

August: Hottest summer in Frankfurt

My highlight in August was our short trip to Frankfurt to visit my best friend there. It was probably also the hottest weekend of the year, so we did a lot of things while we were there.

September: Balloon flight in Cappadocia, Beach days in Cesme

You probably still know the most memorable things I did in Cappadocia. September was by far my favourite month this year. It was filled with so much beauty and magic in a world that is usually taken by fear and violence these days. Read about my adventures here, here, and here.

And if you wanna know more about surfer’s paradise of Cesme, you can read my blogpost here.

October: Paris mon Amour!

October belonged to my favourite months this year as well, and everything just because of Paris. I think no matter how bad your mood is, it will lighten up as bright as the Eiffel Tower as soon as you visit that beautiful city. Read about my experiences here and here, here and here.

November and December: Chocolate/Christmas Markets

As you can see, November and December were my least favourite months this year. Even February was so much more amazing, although I usually don’t like that month too much. November usually is a good month, but the only amazing thing was the Fantastic Beasts movie and all the Christmas markets, including the chocolate market in my old university town.

 

What to do: Christmas in China

In a previous post I wrote about what to do in China on New Year’s Eve which you can read here.

Now that Christmas is almost ringing on our doors, I thought it would be nice to reflect on what I did last year during that time.

I might have mentioned that as coming from a muslim family, I am not really used to celebrate Christmas. I sometimes did Secret Santa with friends, or at school with our teachers and classmates, but other than that, I don’t really celebrate it every year.

Last year, we planned to have a christmas party at our friends’ new place that they moved in at. It wouldn’t be on the 24th, because some of our friends would go back home for the holidays, so we did the party 1 week before.
Everyone should prepare something to eat so we would all have a feast. And everyone should buy a secret santa gift that we would put under the christmas tree and people would pick one. I remember having bought tea and hand warmers. I personally would have loved that gift, and I thought it was unisex and something that everyone could use.

My food part was almost decided by the others: They were dying to eat something turkish, so I asked my mom for recipes I could also cook in China. We agreed on stuffed bell pepper, and I was really excited to try cooking that for the first time ever.

I got all the ingredients from the supermarket really early in the morning we wanted to celebrate and started cutting and cooking. I struggled a bit, but I managed to do it pretty well:

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Ana did some pancakes for dessert, one of our friends who is french prepared foie gras, then we had a lot of chinese food, some potatoes, and many more yummy things. We also had drinks such as mulled wine, juices and different spirits.

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I am sorry for the blurry picture. I also don’t know what happened to the buffet pictures :'(
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The tree looks pretty poor, but China is not famous for its pine trees :’D 

At first, we waited for everyone to arrive, of course, and when finally everyone was there, we started with the food orgy which lasted quite long :’D Everyone liked my peppers I think, except for our british roommate who wouldn’t touch it, because they looked weird :’D

After dinner, we decided to play games to decide the order of the secret santa picker. We played different games and of course, I was the last to pick a gift :’D I got the smallest one but it was really cute. I found out that one of my best friends, Veronica, chose the gift and she secretly hoped I would choose it :’D

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I used this all up! It was an amazing lip balm <3

My gift was chosen by a friend who has made me the phone case for my birthday, and I was so happy to see her picking and liking it :)

After the games we were just drinking, talking, playing more games, and taking photos. It was such a wonderful evening!

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Seems like I was the only one wearing something red :’D

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After our party, Christmas preparations at school just started. On Christmas Eve day, we had a little christmas party at the kindergarten where me and my british roommate dressed up as Santa Clause. It was so much fun and the kids were so cute <3

 

When we arrived back home after classes, a surprise awaited us. Ana has left us a little gift, for me, Mitch our british roommate, Veronica, and Harry. We should enter her room which was not locked and take our gifts. It was so cute of her to think about us even without her being present.

So that was how I spent Christmas in China. I think it was one of the most christmassy years I have had so far. I guess mainly, because it involved a lot of children learning english and with that also the cultural meaning of christmas in England and America.

What about you guys? Have you ever celebrated Christmas in a foreign country?

Thanks for travelling with me!

 

 

Top 5 Christmas Markets to visit in Germany

It’s Christmas Market season in Germany right now which means that famous city centres all around the country are lit up and decorated  for about 1-4 weeks of Pre-Christmas Celebrations.

I have been living in Germany since my birth and I have spent almost every winter at my hometown, often going to Christmas markets around the place.

I haven’t been at every Christmas market, so this list is a mixture of the ones I have been to and the ones I would like to visit one day.

The order has no significance whatsoever:

1. Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market Stuttgart):

Source: stuttgarter-weihnachtsmarkt.de

The first part of the Christmas market in Stuttgart starts in the middle of the shopping street Königstraße, and it goes on into the market square which is actually quite big and very beautiful.

Source: stuttgart-tourist.de

Dates: 23.11.-23-12.2016

Opening Hours: 
Monday – Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday:     10am – 10pm
Sunday:                        11am –  9pm
Opening Day (November23rd): 5pm – 9pm
Shopping Night (December 17th): 10am – 10.30pm

Location: Marktpl., 70174 Stuttgart

2. Esslinger Mittelalter – und Weihnachtsmarkt (Middle age and Christmas Market Esslingen):

Source: bahn.de

This one is a very special Christmas Market. It is sprawled through the old city of Esslingen and one part consists of a middle age market with torches that light up the streets, dishes and snacks from that time, antique clothing pieces and activities like archery.

Source: simskultur.de
Source: sippel-reisen.de

Dates: 22.11. – 22.12.2016

Opening Hours: 
Opening Day (November 22nd): 5pm – 8.30pm
Daily: 11am – 8.30pm
Closing Day (December 22nd): 11am – 6pm

Location:  Rathauspl., 73728 Esslingen am Neckar

3. Dresdner Striezelmarkt (Christmas Market Dresden):

Source: prinz.de

Dresden is actually a city I have never been to, but would like to visit. The perfect combination for a city trip would thus be in December I guess.
In general, you can never do anything wrong with visiting Germany during December, because it is one of the most beautiful months to meet this country.

Dates: 24.11. – 24-12.2016

Opening hours: 
Daily: 10am – 9pm
Opening Day (November 24th) 4am – 9pm
Sternstunden (December 9th) 10am – 11pm
Closing Day (December 24th) 10am – 2pm

Location: Altmarkt, 01067 Dresden

4. Nürnberger Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market Nürnber):

Source: stadtarchive-metropolregion-nuremberg.de

Nürnberg might as well be called the hometown of Christmas markets and Ginger bread. As a huge ginger bread fanatic, this Christmas Market is on my to-be-visited list, and should be on yours as well if you wanna come to Germany during Christmas-market season.

Source: bayern.by

Dates: 25.11. – 24.12.2016

Opening Hours: 
Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 9pm
Christmas Eve 24.12.:10 am – 2 pm

Location:  Hauptmarkt, 90022 Nürnberg

5. Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market Frankfurt):

Source: 

I have been to Frankfurt so many times, but I was never lucky enough to be there during the Christmas Market. Although Frankfurt is a very metropolitan city with skycrapers, it didn’t lose its historical side either.

Dates: 23.11.-22.12.2016

Opening Hours: 
Monday-Saturday: 10 am – 9pm
Sunday                       11 am  – 9pm

Location: Römerberg, Paulsplatz, Mainkai, Hauptwache, Friedrich-Stoltze-Platz

I hope you enjoyed this little blog post about the Top 5 Christmas Markets in Germany where you can sip on some Glühwein (mulled wine) and eat some german delicacies.

Have you ever been to a Christmas Market in Germany or somewhere else? Did you like it? What was your highlight?

Thanks for reading,

And Travel Well!

What to do: New Year’s Eve in China

Since it is only 3 weeks until the end of 2016, I thought it would be a great idea to reminisce about last year’s NYE adventures in China. This adventure was a not a very positive one though. It was still a fun evening, but it was a bit different from what we expected.

First of all, the western NYE is not really celebrated in China. There are no fireworks nor parties. Even in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai everything is very subtle and not as crazy as in other countries. I guess Hong Kong would be the best choice but if you want the experience to be in Mainland China, then Beijing comes closest.

We were actually thinking about going to Shanghai, but that was almost impossible. Thus, we decided on a closer destination, namely Hangzhou the place that is famous for its West Lake. We organized a huge group with a lot of friends who joined us. We also looked for hostels and booked a nice one which was way nicer than all the hostels we have stayed at in Hangzhou before.

We managed that everyone met up at the hostel. Quickly we got changed into our dresses and went out for dinner.
The food was amazing, but our table neighbours were very loud and rude so we couldn’t understand each other which was not very good since we were playing some chinese drinking games.
When we finished all our food and drinks and had enough of the noisy people next to us, we decided to leave and slowly get going to the place where we should be able to watch the firework.

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Before and After the New Year

Our friend told us that there was a place where we should be able to see a firework display show so we went there. It was kind of far and none of the taxis would take us there because the area was closed and there was too much traffic. We didn’t want to walk there so we decided to take a taxi from another corner and they agreed to take us. It is always a struggle to find a taxi in Hangzhou, in my opinion the city with the worst taxi drivers in China I have been to.

Upon arriving, we realized that we were not the only people there, looking for the firework. It was already 11pm and everyone was hurrying through the area. It was like a maze and it was really confusing to figure out where to go. We just followed the mass and found ourselves in a round circle amidst some tall buildings. We waited and waited and sipped on our drinks all the time. It was quite freezing since we were only wearing tights with our dresses. Our feet were hurting from all the walking as well but it was only a few minutes until midnight. Suddenly, there was a lasershow which wasn’t really a show but only some green and white lasers searching the night sky. We thought the firework would follow after that but there was nothing. Everyone was waiting, looking up at the sky just to get disappointed. It was a huge disappointment and we couldn’t believe that we walked all the way to see nothing basically. It was the biggest joke of a NYE I ever had.

We were still not in the worst mood and decided to take some funny photos.

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Our friend had a beauty cam app. Everyone in china has something like that :’D

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Anyway, we still wanted to go clubbing which was close to the place the firework should have happened. I forgot the name of the club but it was new and supposed to be quite fancy. We ended up being seperated, some of us not being able to get passed the bouncers. It was frustrating. We were sending messages back and forth to get out and go to another club. We managed to stick together, find enough taxis and walk to Queens Club which was finally a proper club. The drinks were only a bit expensive and the dancefloor was packed but we still had fun, at least the part of the group that was left :’D Some of us have left for the hostel but we stayed 1 or 2 hours longer.

If you wanna see some typical, fancy chinese clubs, here you go:

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Towards the end of the night, when we were trying to find the toilet you can see on the picture above, I tripped over a step in the darkness of the club and nearly fell right on my face if a huge chinese guy hadn’t caught me with one arm. He practically saved my life :’D I think that was the highlight of the night. It is just so nice to know that there are friendly strangers who don’t make a big deal about helping other people :)

Before left the club and went back to the hostel, we found a balloon man and bought 2 helium balloons which were sticking to our hostel room ceiling when we got back :’D

In the end it was a fun evening with a difficult start to it. So if you don’t wanna be disappointed like we were, make sure to go to an official NYE party. Your best source might be an official wechat page you can stick to.

The next morning, we checked out and still had a little bit of time to spend the first day of the new year strolling through Hangzhou. We had lunch at a fish restaurant which was extremely yummy. And then we went to the famous shopping street and looked into all the stands with touristy stuff. I bought small wooden keychains for my parents in which I could let words engrave. I wanted the man to engrave family. It consist of 2 characters so one part I would give my father and it would have his name at the back and the other one to my mom with her name at the backside.

My friends also got some wooden engraved keychains for family and friends. It is an awesome gift and I would recommend all of you to get something like that as a souvenir or a gift.

We also walked into some other stands and shops and I fell in love with some bamboo umbrellas I saw:

In the early evening we slowly had to say goodbye to the wonderful and sunny new year’s day weather and headed back to Yuyao.

It wasn’t the best new year’s eve I have had, but it was not the worst either. Plus I got to spend it with some new friends I have met for life.

So what about you guys? Do you have any plans for this NYE? Have you ever had a disappointing NYE like we did last year?

Thanks for travelling with me!