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.

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Culotte from Zara, 49.95€
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Dress from Mango, 49,99€

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

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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This was pretty impressive. lightning bolts would apear when you touched the glass. I guess it was some magnetic lightning ball.
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There was a hall of mirrors that had special effects, like this one making us small and wide :’D Not flattering at all.
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This one’s already way better. The kid’s face is too hilarious :’D
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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
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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. 

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This is something like a small wish shrine

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

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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:

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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. 

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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.

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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.

Taipei Travels Part 2: Locals, Views, and Food Craze

On my previous blog post you could read about my difficult arrival in Taipei.

On the second post you will finally see the first impressions I got from Taipei which were pretty awesome and fun.

First, a small introduction. As you might know, Taipei is the capitol city of Taiwan, a small island south from China. Hundreds of years ago, citizens from Fujian Province in China settled to this small island. They just hopped on a boat and sailed off. In the last decades, Taiwan was also influenced by the Japanese occupation that happened when Japan tried to take over China and Taiwan, so you will meet many Japanese locals and tourists, and the language is spoken by quite a lot of people as well.
Nowadays, Taiwan is famous for its laid-back lifestyle, its fast trains, and milk-tea culture.

So here are in 7 steps of how to discover Taipei on your first day:

1. Play with squirrels: 

My hostel was very close to the National Taiwan Museum, and it had a huge park I had to pass to go to the metro station. When I passed that park on my first day on the search to the metro station, I came across a man who was feeding the pigeons. As I followed him and his animals I also met some squirrels who were fearlessly approaching me. When I was trying to stroke them, they would quickly run away though. I took some snaps of them. I might upload those short video snippets here as well.

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2. Use the metro:  

Taiwan is famous for its trains and its flexible metro, so you have to use it as often as you can. Plus, it is super cheap, one ride is less than 1€, a dream for a european budget traveller.

3 Visit a cute cafe: 

Coffee Culture is a big thing in Taipei. It is actually known as THE coffee city of Asia, and with so many choices, I had to visit one. Mine was the Rilakkuma Cafe I saw on the internet, and I knew I had to find this place, or I’d kill myself. Anyway, it was really hard finding this. I was walking around for a VERY long time, so guys, if you wanna find a specific cafe or location, make sure you have the right directions or a local sim card with mobile data on it. I didn’t have either, so I was trying to connect to some random wifi on the go and it was a huge pain the ass.

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But I eventually found it, after what seemed like hours of searching and wandering around the place. It is in some hidden side street with a lot more cafes and little restaurants. I entered, was seated and fell in love with the menu. I decided to take a chocolate cupcake and a coffee latte. Both of them tasted amazing and looked very cute *o*

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What I ordered
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What I could have ordered
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The toilet mirror

For all of you who don’t know what Rilakkuma is, it is a japanese cartoon character, similar to Hello Kitty, actually it is from the same brand and designer if I am not mistaken. But it is not a cat, though. It is a brown bear and it is so much cuter than Hello Kitty. Kuma means bear in Japanese, and Rilak means, very easy, relax. So it is a lazy, relaxing bear :’D

4. See the changing of the guards: 

I decided to go to the Dr. Sun-Yatsen Memorial Hall for this which also had a small park inside. I think the Chiang Kai Shek Mausoleum also has a changing of the guards, if I am not mistaking.

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Unfortunately, I missed the beginning of the guard changing, but I saw how the old guards walked away and the new ones took over their places. It was really impressive and calming to observe their mechanical movements.

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5. Meet the locals:

While I was walking around the grounds of the memorial hall, I saw a lot of groups exercising, dancing, and doing taiqi. It was quite interesting because none of them cared that I was watching and filming them. They just continued doing whatever it was.

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Something very funny happened then. I was filming 2 men doing taiqi and there were also 2 women waiting for their exercise. While I was taking pictures, one of the women approached me and started chatting with me. She wanted to know where I came from and when I said Germany, she was thrilled to hear it. She wanted to exchange Line contacts so that I could meet her daughter. We then talked and talked and she offered to invite me for a coffee after her taiqi lesson.

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So after her and her sister’s taiqi lesson was over, we went to a coffee shop, together with the taiqi teacher and some tea, coffee and cake. It was a lot of fun talking to these people, and they also recommended me many things. The sisters also invited me for dinner the next day which was such a nice gesture.

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The best croissants of my life! No exaggerations

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The most beautiful cake

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6. Go up Taipei 101 in the evening:

This sight was on the top of my Taipei To-Do List, so I had to do this on the first day. It was a bit hard to get up all the escalators in the mall up to the top. I don’t know if there was an elevator or not, but I just saw the escalator and used it.

At the ticket counter, I purchased my ticket and had to wait in line for the elevator to go up to the observatory platform. The elevator was pretty fast. My ears popped, but the ceiling was amazing! It was getting lit up and changing colours. So that was pretty impressive.

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When I arrived at the top, finally, I had a view over Taipei at night, or should I say in the dark, because it wasn’t really night, but evening. Anyway, the view was pretty nice. Not as overwhelming as the one in Shanghai, though, but still awesome, and worth taking pictures of. Convince yourselves:

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The view looks super blurry because the windows were a bit dirty from the rain that was going on the whole day :/

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The view from the park downstairs from Taipei 101

7. Go to one of the Night Markets:

I saw some videos and pictures of the night markets of Taipei and of course I had to go to one. I wanted to go to the Shilin market because I heard that they have lots of amazing sweets and desserts.

At first, I was busy with buying lots of merchandise stuff like pokemon plushies, Disney stuff, and studio ghibli socks :D When I finally realized how hungry I was, I ventured out to look for some food. The place was packed though. I could barely move around, and eating and walking is something I am really bad at, so I’d prefer standing in a corner to eat.

I ate Hong Kong Waffles, Sweet Potato balls with peanut powder, roulade filled with spring onions (there were way too many spring onions inside, it burned my mouth), some kind of vegetable pastry cake, some berry juice, and as dessert, I had matcha crepe with ice-cream on top, and it was AMAZING!

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Roulade with spring onions on the grill
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The vegetable pastry cake. I also got to choose some toppings
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There was a temple as well
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And the glorious matcha crepe with an Oreo and ice cream on top <3

 

The Shilin Night Market was also the last stop on my first day in Taipei. I had too much food and spent quite a lot of money on merchandise stuff, although I could have spent more as well :D I had to be careful with my luggage though.

Anway, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Taipei and if there is anything you loved that I didn’t mention.

Catching up

Today, I met my friend who was studying abroad in Seoul for one year. We went shopping or rather window shopping at the outlet city, but couldn’t really concentrate on the clothes because we had to tell each other so many things :’D We decided then to sit at a cafe and talk calmly.

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I told her what had happened here while she was away, and she told me about her adventures in a huge metropole in East Asia. She is an asian as well, but a vietnamese. We met in our first year through my other friend who also has a wordpress blog. She invited us all to a party, and there we met. Like it is usual for your first year during your studys, we went to a lot of partys alltogether. It was a great time in my life that I won’t forget. But then, all of them went to South Korea last year in February. Now most of them are back again, and I am so happy to see them all again. On the one hand I am happy to spend time with all of them again, probably for the next year if I won’t go abroad. But then, if I really should be lucky enough to get a place at a uni in Schottland, then it will be a short time again. But whatever will happen, I will be quite happy :) Although I get a bit envious when seeing most of my friends studying abroad, I will just have to do, and hope for the best to come…

However, after we sat a while in the cafe, we decided to walk around a bit since our drinks were empty, and it was getting a bit colder. It was actually a nice, and rather warmer day compared to Monday and Tuesday when it hailed. Yes, you hear right, in the middle of spring it hailed two days consecutively.

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Monday: Hail corns next to flowers
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Unfortunately, I was outside Monday, on the way to work. My feet got wet… I was quite pissed off…
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Tuesday: Fortunately, I was inside this time :’D

Actually, I shouldn’t be surprised, because last year, the winter lasted until April here in Germany. But well, I guess that was just early april weather. I actually don’t think that the winter will return anymore, this year. Today, it looked like this:

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The magnolia trees are starting to bloom slowly :) I love this, when everything starts to slowly wake up again. I hope I will be full of energy after my stupid term paper… -.- I just decided to stop for day. I only wrote 1 page… but tomorrow I have to hurry up. I just don’t feel like sorting my thoughts anymore. My mind is such a mess! I just can’t manage to structure them. But well, whatever… I don’t care anymore :’D

Back to the topic again. After sitting a bit, we went to the drugstore. We looked around a little, but mainly talked about what we experienced. The worker in the shop already looked strangely at us :’D And we haven’t even finished talking about everything xD Well, we have to do a second part of catching up, soon. After that, we went to Vero Moda, and tried on the same trousers which were sold for only 5€, but had only the smallest sizes. I tried on size 28 and my friend Yen tried on 26. I got inside the trousers, but couldn’t close the button :’D And Yen looked for a size smaller :’D I have to loose weight. My legs, back and hips have gained a bit. That’s another disadvantage of not being thin: You can’t buy trousers for 5€ :O I am poor anyway :’D

Well, after that, we slowly went towards the train station. As the train arrived, we were just in the middle of talking, but I had to hurry up and get inside :D

And here a photo of us in the drugstore, with the perfumes in the background.

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A bit blurred, and we actually both didn’t like how we look on the photos, but I just picked one for now :)

 

Fridays are the new mondays

Today was quite a busy day. I woke up at noon, because I went to bed at 3 am last night. I looked on my phone and got a message from an Erasmus-student for whom I applied as a mentor. I got a girl from Turkey whose name is also, just like mine, Merve. She is from Istanbul, and arrived here in Germany on Tuesday. She had to do some organisational stuff that’s why we couldn’t meet sooner. But today, I had the whole day free and told her that I had time. But she had to go to an event for Erasmus students, and didn’t know how long that would take. But she said she will write if she has finished. I didn’t think about it anymore but was happy when I saw the message that she was free from now on. I told her that it would take a little bit for me to get there. We agreed to meet at 2.30pm in front of the H&M. She came out of the shop and we recognized each other right away :D I have asked for her facebook before, and she has added me then. So we knew how we looked like although she said that I look different on photos :D

We walked around the city a little bit and then sat into a cafe to drink something. It has also started to rain already, so we thought it was time to get into the warmth. My battery was quite low, so I decided not to take any photos. You can’t imagine how big the difference is. I told her about the book fair in Frankfurt, and that we maybe want to go there tomorrow. Then she told me that her father was there since Tuesday, but would return back to Turkey tomorrow.

After drinking something, I showed her the university a little bit. We sat down at the cafeteria of the library and ate something there. Then I showed her the building where she would have all her courses. She didn’t find it that bad, although she was a bit disappointed that she wouldn’t have her courses in the nice building that was only for law students.

I showed her everything inside and then we set out back. I had to catch my train at 5.30pm because I was invited to an alumni feast of my old school. They are now planning to do this every year. At first, I was a bit nervous, because I actually didn’t like that school. But I have to admit that I wanted to see some teachers. Unfortunately, there weren’t so many teachers present today. I spoke with my german teacher and my spanish teacher who has hugged me heavily :’D Then I also saw my ex-ex-class-teacher (I only had him in my first year there), and with my data processing teacher. He even knew my name. Of all names, he could recall all the foreign names, but not the german ones, although he himself is a german. In general, there weren’t so many of our old class mates. From my class, there were only me and another girl. I went there with my friend Giuli, but she was in another class. From her class there were 8 people. Quite a lot :D It was really fun to see some of them again, although I have already seen them outside randomly the last few  months. My childhood friend Aylin was also there, but she is no alumni, she is still a pupil at that school and had to come like everyone else, because they had compulsory attendance. In the end, we stayed longer than we have planned.

At home, I wrote my brother and asked him about the book fair. He told me that his girlfriend couldn’t make it. After telling my friend about it, she was also quite unhappy about that, because the ticket would get more expensive for each of us now. She also said that she wouldn’t come because she was short of cash. So it was only me and my brother, and he thought that it wouldn’t pay it off if only we two went there. Fortunately, we haven’t paid anything for busses or tickets, and we haven’t prepared anything big. But I was sad for my brother, because he also wanted to go there with us last year but he couldn’t make it because he had to work. And this year, well. It just wasn’t meant to be.

But I was quite content about the day. I met a new person, and a lot of the old ones. I am completely tired now, and should go sleeping right away.

Therefore I wish you all a good night! And thanks for reading :)