China Travels: Trip to Shaoxing

Monday, June 22nd 2015:

That day was a holiday, so we all had a day off from work. We actually wanted to go rafting, but then we ended up going to the gym to play some badminton, table tennis, and tennis. It was quite a hot and humid day so it was good that we could play inside. At the end of the day, we all went home to take showe and then went out to have dinner together. We went to a Korean Barbeque restaurant. We ordered two pans, one with shrimps andthe other one with beef. I didn’t like the one with beef so much, because it was a bit greasy, but the shrimps were heavenly!

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After dinner we talked about our Shaoxing trip again. We actually wanted to watch a movie but I was too tired that I just wanted to go to sleep.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015:

That day, we woke up early in the morning to go to Shaoxing. That’s a city quite close to Yuyao, only 10 minutes with the fast train and 40 minutes with the slow train. We took the slow train because the station for that is closer to the city centre in Shaoxing and it is cheaper. The train got quite full, though, but we luckily had seats.
When we arrived in Shaoxing, we also bought our tickets back. I decided to stay there one night together with our friend, so we bought our tickets for the next day.
So after that, we first planned to go see the Pagoda. The weather was extremely hot and humid that day. I think it was even the hottest weather we have had since I have arrived. And stupid me was wearing dark jeans. I nearly died from the heat.

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The way up to the Pagoda

Anyway, when we finally walked up the pagoda, we stayed up there for about half an hour because we were exhausted and sweating really badly, and the air up on the Pagoda was cool and fresh.

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The view from the Pagoda. It was quite smoggy/foggy, but too hot and humid. On top of the Pagoda, there was a little breeze so we stayed there quite long.
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These umbrella trees looked lovely

However, we got hungry soon, so we decided to look for a place to eat. We found a subway in a mall.
After the meal, we wanted to go to the Shen Yuan garden. When we arrived there, we went inside and it was really beautiful, despite the rain that started to drip a little bit.
After some minutes, something caught my eye: There were wooden boards hanging down with something written down on them. They were wish boards which could be hung up. Of course, it wasn’t free. You had to pay for the boards to write on and hang them up. But it was only 25 rmb, so I got one. I wrote something on it, which took a while, and hung it up. I hope it will still be hanging there for years after that.

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That’s what I wrote on my board. I wrote in all the languages I am fluent in.
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Merve in China, Zhejiang, 2015

Anyway, after that, we went deeper into the garden. Inside, it was really beautiful, quite simple maybe, yet you could find many fascinating details in the untouched natue which made the area look unique in its own way.

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After some beautiful snapshots, we got out of the parc. Together we walked around and found the area in which a famous chinese author used to live, the Luxin Native Place.

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There were many little shops lined along the streets. We decided to walk  through the tiny streets that unfortunately smelled like stinky tofu, a famous street food offered in Shaoxing. Suddenly, something strange happened: Many moter bikes appeared and tried to get past us. We were confused where to walk and tried to get out of the way. Then, out of nowhere we heard loud dog barkings. Three stray dogs were running towards us. At once, we all started to run away from them. I realized that it wasn’t the best solution to run away from dogs, so I screamed to the others to get into the shops. We immediately stormed into the next little shop. You can’t imagine the frightened looks on the two women’s faces who were surprised by some crazy foreign girls who came running into their shop, screaming loudly. When I think about that moment, I still have to laugh. The women were first angry with us, but when they realized that we were running away from the dogs, she gave us an understanding look.

After that, we needed some cool drinks. We went out of that area and found a little fruit juice shop in town. I got a lemon-cucumber juice. In that heat, I just needed something refreshing with cucumbers in it. As we were sitting in the little shop, something droppedon our table, and now guess what it was: A freaking cockroach landed in front of Geet. We all stood upand didn’t know what to do. There was a chinese woman who could speak english a little bit so she killed it. After that we decided to better finish our drinks soon and leave the place, but the fear of the heat was bigger, so we stayed inside a bit longer.

Soon, it was time for two of our friends to go to the train station. Me and our other friend looked for the hotel, and after some help from strange chinese people, we found it. It was actually in the area where the author lived. Our hostel was quite nice, small and cute. Our room’s walls had drawings on from the visitors who stayed there before. I decided to do a drawing of us as well :D

After we took showers, we met my friend Geet’s friend Dylan from New York. He picked us up in front of the entrance wall and we first went to his apartment to meet his 2 roommates, a chinese girl called Ashley, and a Ukrainian girl called Anna. They were both quite young, too, and they joined us in our plans to hit the bars. The first bar we went to was quite cozy. There was a billiard table and someone preparing hookahs. We didn’t get one, but Anna told me that that the guy doing the hookahs was a turkish guy and was actually working in the turkish seafood restaurant in front of the bar. Ashley knew him from the restaurant and the told me I should talk to him. After finishing my beer and talking with the others for while, I decided to talk with him which turned out to be a good idea. His name was Samet and he seemed to be quite surprised and happy to see someone who could speak turkish as well. His friend came, too. He was learning chinese in a language school, and sometimes working at the restaurant and the bar, too.
Unfortunately, we had to leave soon, because Dylan wanted to show us another bar and Samet also had a lot of work to do in the bar. That bar was a bit louder, and maybe more like a club, but we had fun playing that chinese dice game :D Shaoxing is really not a bad place for bar hopping and meeting different kinds of people.

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At about 1:30 am we returned to the hostel. We had a bad shock at first when we couldn’t open the entrance doors. I was freaking out, trying to bang the doors open violently, then suddenly, someone moved inside, right in front of the doors. A man was sleeping there, and he woke up to open the doors for us. We were so confused, but relieved that we didn’t have to sleep on the streets :’D
Anyway, we were really tired and went straight to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up early since I had to get my train back to Yuyao. Geet also got up at the same time because she was meeting Dylan for a sightseeing day.
I arrived home safely that day, but had to work unfortunately. Still, Shaoxing is bigger than I thought and definitely worth a visit if you want to see a classical small chinese city.

Today’s rating:

Sightseeing: 3/5
Food: 3/5
Shopping: 3/5
Nightlife: 3/5

Transportation: 3/5

 

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Hasta La Vista, Barcelona

Friday, 20th March 2015: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Beach, Mercat de la Boqueria:

Today was our last day in Barcelona. After a good breakfast, we went down to have our last breakfast in that beautiful hotel. Upstairs again, we packed our suitcases, since we were too exhausted to do it the day before. But it didn’t take too long anyway. At noon, we had to check out, but we were allowed to leave our suitcase in a room behind the lobby, so that we could still spend the day in the city and come to pick up our suitcase later.

My sister and me wanted to see Sagrada Familia, since we still haven’t seen the most famous sight in Barcelona :D My friend Keddy would meet us later, since it wouldn’t be too spectacular for her. But she recommended us to watch it from the Plaza de Gaudi, a little parc behind the church, because there wouldn’t be too many tourists there, and the view would also be better from that parc. We did as she told us. We took the metro to the station Sagrada Familia. As we got out, we were overwhelmed by the amount of tourists bustling around the church and standing on the pavement in front of the Sagrada Familia, taking photos like crazy. We also tried to take photos, but it was difficult, since there were too many people walking in and out of the picture, and the distance was just not far away to get the monument properly on one picture. So my sister and me started walking around to the backside of the church to find the parc. As we walked around it, we saw the line of visitors who were trying to get inside the church. It alsmost went along the whole church! And the entrance fee wasn’t cheap either: 20€! We thought about going in, but after seeing that, we decided against it. If you plan to go inside, you should buy a ticket online which is a bit cheaper and won’t force you to wait in line to get in. The next time I go to Barcelona, I will definitely buy a ticket to go inside. This time it didn’t work out, but this definitely wasn’t the last time in Barcelona. I want to go there again one day.

Anyway, when we found the parc, we felt way calmer. There weren’t nearly as many people as on the front side. And the construction work didn’t block the view of the church. We walked around the park a little bit and took a lot of photos.

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Despite the construction works, the view is beautiful with the trees, flowers and the pond. And I really love the little roofs on the left side. They are so cute! So, whatever you do guys, go to that parc for a photo and a lovely view.

After enjoying the view in the parc for a few minutes, we set off towards Metro station again and planned to go to the beach, which was at the station Barceloneta. After we got off the station, we had to walk about 10-15 minutes to the beach. We walked past the harbor and saw some beautiful yachts and boats.

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Have I told you that I’d rather own and live in a yacht than a house :D

It was warmer at that station, but as we walked further in the direction of the beach, we felt the wind getting stronger and stronger. It was sunny, but at the same time windy. When we finally reached the beach, I was both happy to smell the salty air, and annoyed of the wind which was swirling my hair around my head and blowing the sand on my sunglasses. Still, it was quite funny to take photos in the wind and looking funny with our hair weighing around :D

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That’s how a wild sea looks like <3 Definitely my favorite landscape!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay any longer at the beach, since our hair was becoming a huge mess of knots. And the wind was surely making us freeze a little bit. We wanted to sit somehwere near and drink something. Earlier, we walked past a cafe/restaurant which looked quite cute, so we decided to go there for a drink. It is called Maka Maka and sold all kinds of food, mostly burgers. The cocktails sounded good as well, but since it was so cold outside, I didn’t want to drink a cocktail. We thought to drink something warm, but then we saw farm potatoes with parmesan and garlic, and immediately decided to take that to eat. We only ordere one, because we still wanted to eat something at the Mercat. Since a hot drink wouldn’t fit with that, I opted for a strawberry-cucumber smoothie with soy milk, and oh my, when it arrived and I tasted it, it was soooo gooooood!!!! The best smoothie I ever drank! Better than the ones at the Mercat, seriously! Of course it cost a bit more expensive, but it was definitely worth it. The parmesan potatoes were excellent as well. We didn’t want it to end, and ate too fast. In the end, we were sad that it ended so soon :’D

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Soooo heavenly!

A good thing was that we could warm ourselves, although we sat outside since the waitress lighted a fire-oven right behind my back :3 After we paid (which took an eternity because they kept us waiting about 10 minutes to bring back the change which was 40€!) I didn’t want to leave because it was so warm there. But we had to hurry up since our friend Keddy was waiting for us at the train station. We met her there and went to the Ramblas again. At the Mercat, we bought our last portions of food to eat in the plane, and also, to bring something for our father and brother. I bought sooo much this time, but still had 20€ left in the end :D

After the Mercat, we set off for our hotel now, to pick up our suitcase. It was quite annoying to walk and drive around with that huge suitcase and my sister and me had huge difficulties :’D But in the end, we made it to the train station to take the train to the airport. We said goodbye to our friend and entered the train.

When we arrived at the airport, we got our boarding passes and searched our gate. The airport in Barcelona is way bigger than the one in Stuttgart, but we soon found it. Unfortunately, our flight had a delay of an hour. And here’s when the scariest departure I have ever experience begins. If you are afraid of flying, you better should stop reading now, guys! Anyway, about 30 minutes after the delay, a lot of people started to come out of the gate we were supposed to go through to board our plane. These people were the passengers who now left the plane we were supposed to be entering later. However, it was odd that they were exiting through the same gate as we were supposed to be entering later. Plus, most of them were looking strained, annoyed, relieved to have finally landed. I noticed this only after we had landed in Stuttgart as well. Why you ask? Well, I will come to that. When we were finally allowed to board the plane, it was 8pm. We should have entered at about 7pm. The first scary thing happened when the plane was still standing still and the pilot was speaking through the loud speakers. As he explained that the delay was due to the bad weather in Barcelona which caused difficulties to land securely, the lights began to flicker violently all of a sudden. Then, before the plane started to drive to the outbound route, a cabin attendant explained us that we would fly with the lights out, to ensure a safe flight. At first, I didn’t think it was strange. I already had a few night flights with turned off lights. But I was getting a bit annoyed when I noticed that the plane was taking way too long to drive to the outbound route. I immediately had to think about the speech of the pilot and the bad weather: Suddenly, I thought it a bad idea to fly at this weather. It was really raining strongly, and the wind was actually so strong that we could see the rain being blown off. Then, after about 20 minutes, the plane found the outbound route and sped up. When it took off, I seriously thought we would crash down! It was shaking from left to right quite violently. My sister was starting to get afraid and grabbed my arm, and I was clutching both of the armrests. I have never had such a flight. In the course of the plane, it was trying to get higher, but every time I felt how the plane had to reduce its height. It was obviously trying to get above this stormy cloud, but it had difficulties winning height with the wind pushing it down and making it more difficult to steer. Usually, I do something during a flight, most often reading. But this time, I was just way too busy with my own mind to concentrate on a book. The seat-belt sign was still blinking after 45 minutes. Usually, it turns off after 10-15 minutes when the plane has took off. I was counting the hours and sometimes closed my eyes to calm down. It was the wors flight I have ever had, and I am a person who flies since her childhood and has never been afraid of it.

Well, we landed at about 10pm in Stuttgart, finally! I was so relieved to see Stuttgart. I didn’t think I would have ever been so relieved :D

Anyway, the story is not finished yet. 4 days after that dreadful flight, news reached us that a Germanwings plane from Barcelona to Düsseldorf crashed into the mountains of the alps. Our plane was also Germanwings. I shivered as goosebumps covered my body. Me and my sister were way too schocked. People kept calling and writing to us, asking if we have already arrived. At first, I was shocked, but then I calmed down after a few days, since the plane was going to Düsseldorf, and we to Stuttgart. Still, after that event, I am feeling a bit afraid when boarding a plane now.

Well, despite of that horrible flight back from Barcelona, the trip was awesome! I would recommend that city to any kind of person, since it has everything for everyone: Good food, a nightlife, shopping possibilities, a beach, and of course the most important, a lot of sightseeing of cultural and historical monuments. Even if our flight was terrible, don’t get misled by my experience; flying is still the safest way of transportation.

I hope you liked my posts. Have any of you ever been to Barcelona? How have you liked it there? Would you go again? And have you ever experienced a horrible flight at which you thought it would crash?

Thanks for reading!

I’m in love with Barcelona <3

First of all: I am so sorry that I couldn’t post this earlier guys, but I was quite busy the last few weeks. I have been reading my books for my bachelor thesis like crazy, and now, I only have 2 left. Still, I wanted to post about my trip to Barcelona ASAP as well, so that I won’t forget what I experienced. If some of you were following me on instagram, you might have seen some of the photos already. Still, I want to give a full report about what I had done during those 3 days in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here we go!

1. Day, Tuesday, 17th March 2015: Arrival in Barcelona

That day, we prepared ourselves for a one and a half hour flight from Stuttgart to Barcelona. image Our trip was enjoyable and we arrived in Barcelona at about 7pm. My friend Keddy who is doing her Erasmus there picked us up at the airport. We immediately went to our hotel to put back our luggage. Our hotel was called Madanis and was near Camp Nou. It was a beautiful place and the rooms were quite comfortable. When we finally refreshed a bit, we set off again to eat something. My friend took us to a restaurant called Montaditos. It is a restaurant that sells sandwiches in small Tapas size. It tasted quite good and was what we needed at that moment. image The wine we drank was also very tasty. It looks a lot I know but we were 3 people and the sandwiches were quite small. But in the end we were full and went back to our hotel. My friend also gave us a metro Plan so we could find our hotel, and the meeting point for the next day. I have to say that the metro plan is easier than I imagined. So if you ever go to Barcelona getting around will be your least problem. I would also advise you to buy a 10-rides-ticket. 1 ride is valid for 90 minutes.

2. Day, Wednesday, 18th March 2015: Sightseeing Parcs:

That day was a loooong day. We had a good breakfast at the hotel. image image

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View from our hotel room.

After breakfast we got on the metro to go to Parc Güell. It was a bit outside of the city centre, at the metro station Vallcarca, but we met Keddy and found it. The weather could have been a bit better but still it was nice and thankfully it didn’t rain.

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Half the way we walked to Parc Güell.

image When we arrived in Parc Güell we walked around the charge-free area a bit and climbed up there to have a view over Barcelona. And it was worth it. There was also a guy playing the guitar, so the atmosphere was very peaceful and calming. image Then we continued walking amd came to the main part of the parc. There we found out that we had to pay so we did. It was about 8€ but I think it was okay. We had to wait 30 minutes to get inside, so that not everyon’d go inside at once. In the meantime we took a lot of photos

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A little bit of posing ;)
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While taking photos here, a group of school pupils came to us to ask us some questions about where we came from, how old we were, and why we were visiting Barcelona and Parc Güell. I think it was a homework from english class at school to interview tourists :D
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Gaudi’s House. What a beautiful building! I wish I could live here in summer <3

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The mosaic embellishments on the stone benches.
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My friend Keddy and my sister. Unfortunately one building was restored, so the view was a bit uncomplete.
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This bench was built so that it could provide you with shadow in summer and sun in winter.

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It was really hard to take some decent photos of the famous mosaic lizard in Parc Güell, since so many people wanted to take a photo of and with it. The man standing there was posing next to the lizard with his wife for several minutes. He was even told off by a parc guard because he began leaning on the lizard -.- That man annoyed a great deal, and I think he was the perfect role model of an annoying tourist.

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I loved this house, it looks like gingerbread house. And the bird in front looks like its sould is leaving him :/
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A last picture of the Parc Güell

After walking for about 2 hours, we got tired and hungry, so we went to Barrio Gracia to find a place to eat. We walked there since it wasn’t too far away. Barrio Gracia is a artsy district with a lot of small boutiques, bars, restaurant and strangely enough, a lot of vegan shops. image After walking around a bit we found a Tapas Restaurant.

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These were our tapas. I know, it doesn’t look like a lot of food, but it stuffed us quite well. They were all sooooo delicious, I wanna eat all of those again.
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Guys, especially these mushrooms with cheese were heaven!
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So, if you want to eat at a good and not so expensive place, this restaurant at Barrio Gracia is amazing. It doesn’t only serve Tapas, but also main dishes.

After eating we got on our way to the metro station. My friend Keddy saw a coffee shop and bought a cup of coffee. Then, a few streets further, we saw a froyo shop and got ourselves a frozen yoghurt :D image Now we took the metro to go to the Parc de Laberint. I saw this online on trip advisor and fell in love with it: It has a maze guys!!! Whatever you do, you have to go to that parc! It is not far from the station Mundet (As I can remember that’s what the station was called). As we arrived we didn’t even have to walk that much. Soon we found it. It is near the campus. And we were lucky: the entrance is free on wednesdays (and sundays as well I think). But usually it’s 2€ so that’s quite cheap.

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The entrance to the labyrinth parc
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Inside, we found this cute door which looked so magical. On the other side, we found…
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… The Romantic Parc

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Further ahead from the Romantic parc, we found little water falls. I couldn’t stop taking photos of these <3

image After that, as we walked around the area, we saw some roofs and I was wondering what building that was. So we had a look and found this place below. It was the entrance to the maze. image

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Me trying to be artsy :D

And finally: THE MAZE!

image image Aaahhhh! It was sooo amazing and fun! The gloomy weather fit perfectly to the atmoshpere of the maze. I think it couldn’t have been better <3 image As we wanted to leave we came across these little cuties :’D I noticed that there are a lot of animals, especially bird-type animals. In Parc Güell we saw some beautiful green birds that looked like tropical birds. Here we saw a heron and some ducks :D Well, after the parc we decided to shortly get out at station Catalunya. There is the parallel street to the Ramblas and so the Casa Batllo. We saw it and it really is quite beautiful. Gaudi was a genius, really. image My friend wanted to show me something. After walking for a while, it turned out to be a bookstore :D what else! It was a book store called Altair and was one especially for travelling. image On this board people could pin their announcements to look for travel partners who want to go to the same place. A cool idea in my opinion. I bought a bookmark here. It was a bit expensive but it was a beautiful one.

After that, we went to our hotel room. In the evening we wanted to go partying. My friend asked us if we want to go to the Sonora Bar first where the Erasmus students usually meet. After that we would go to a club called Razzmatazz. Wednesdays, clubs usually are closed. Only a few are open and Razzmatazz is one of those.

At the hotel, we lay down a bit cause we were so tired. It was also the day when FC Barcelona had a match (against Liverpool I think), so I could watch all the football fans down in the streets in front of our hotel room window. Later when the game started, we could hear everything from the stadium. Well, almost everything. Every time the goal keeper made a long, hard kick to the other end we could hear that, and every time the crowd groaned and cheered we could hear it as well :D no need to pay for a seat ;D

Well, a few hours later we were ready and went to meet our friend at the metro station Marina. At the bar we ate a hamburger but I didn’t like it a lot and couldn’t even finish it. But I drank a lot. Maybe too much. Whenever you go partying in Barcelona, or Spain in general, keep in mind that the drinks are quite strong. At the bar we met some Argentinien friends of Keddy. They were quite funny and nice people :D

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When we went inside the club, I was already a bit tipsy, but the crowd at the entrance gave me a little shock. The People were going crazy as though there was something for free. The entrance was usually 15€+free drink. If you had a screenshot of the event flyer, you could get inside for 8€+drink of course. Well, the entrance fee was the only thing I spent that night. I had my free drink, Rum-Cola and then my sister couldn’t drink half of her Vodka Bull so she gave it to me.

At the end of the night, I was drunk and feeling sick. But still we had fun and met a lot of nice people. Although I didn’t really like the music at the club (it was a mixture between pop charts and 90s trashy music), I had a good time, no wonder with so much alcohol consumed. However, the club Razzmatazz actually is known for its techno music, and its 7 or so floors, but on Wednesday, only 1 floor is open and the music is rather bad.

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Well, at some point in the club, my friend and my sister were gone and I found myself dancing alone and having a lot of fun :’D My sister also told me that she saw a lot of gay couples making out in a corner :’D I think I was just too wasted to notice that.

Well, in the end, when we were feeling tired, we decided to leave at about 5 am. We went outside and there was a huge crowd of young people, mostly Erasmus students. At after 5 am we took the metro to the hotel. At 6 am we arrived and instantly fell asleep.

How we survived the next day, you will find out in the second part of the post :)

Holidays: Summarized

Part2: shopping and airport

Like mentioned in the post before, I went shopping right after finishing my term paper. After sitting at home for weeks, and learning, my money has rested and augmented on my account, waiting to be spent. I went to stuttgart and spent about 60 € on clothes from H&M :) I went into the changing room with twelve pieces. A lot of dresses and trousers. I have tried on this beautiful red dress.

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It actually was nice but I didn’t like the cutting of the dress. It didn’t fit well to my body. This dress was better.

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And I also ordered it later from the online shop because there it was only 15 €, half the prize :) I have tried on a white blazer and a johnny depp shirt as well.

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I know they both don’t fit very well together, but I just tried them both to see how they look like. I have bought the blazer as well :) the shirt I want to buy later. Actually I don’t like the color White but I liked this blazer because of the studs :) Another piece I have tried and bought was this hippie-like outfit.

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The pink top is actually longer but I want to cut it :) I can also wear a bra or bustier under this black net-top. Maybe if I can make it to a festival this year I can wear this on with a pair of jeans hotpants :) I have also tried on these trousers and the leo blouse.

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I know, a bad combination again but I just wanted to compare. The trousers were very cheap, but not so comfortable. The blouse was actually not that bad, but I just had the feeling it might be too wide for me, and thus would let me look smaller than I already am. With this blouse I wanted to imitate Alison Mosshart’s style, but her body shape and height are very different to mine. Next to the blazer and the both tops I have also bought a pack of studs. I am Planning to stick them on a few clothes of mine, probably jeans hotpants or vests :) I am also thinking about leggings maybe or chucks, but I fear I would have to buy 4-5 packs more of them :D what do you think? Do you have any further ideas for arranging studs on clothes?

Besides, I forgot to write about our visit to the airport. On the 3rd of march my father flew to turkey and one week after that, on the 10th of march, one day before due date of my first term paper we picked him up at the airport again. The week he was away was the week in which the weather was so nice and warm. After he came back, the weather got worse, and still is until today. However, like mentioned before, I like airports really much. Everytime I am at the airport I get the feeling of wanderlust, of entering a big plane and just flying away. I also like the minimalistic, futuristic architecture of airports, with their cleanless, and big windows. At airports I always get the feeling of loneliness and excitement at the same time. I have taken a panorama photo of the airport in stuttgart.

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It is not so big like other airports, the one in frankfurt for example, but I love it. If I were an architect, I would like to design airports :) We also went to the terasse, although the weather was like shit and it was raining like hell :/ but still a lot of people were outside, standing on the roof with their umbrellas, and watching the Planes take off and land.

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The quality is a bit bad because I made the pictures with my Phone camera. The sky was also not so blue, it actually was grey. But I edited because I thought blue looks nicer :) We also saw the plane with wich my father arrived :) but of course we didn’t see him.