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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille

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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!

Barcelona: How to combine Clubbing and Sight-seeing

Thursday, 19th March 2015: Arc de Triomf, Barrio Gotico, Mercat de la Boqueria:

On my previous post I wrote about the arrival in Barcelona and our second day there which also included clubbing. Clubbing during your travels can have its advantages and, if time is short, disadvantages. However, I have heard so many things about the nightlife in Barcelona, that I wanted to experience that as well. The problematic part happens in the next day’s morning hours of course. Usually, I am a person that doesn’t need a lot of rest after dancing. On that day, however, I just didn’t want to leave my bed. When my sister woke me up at 9am for breakfast, I felt so sick that I thought to skip breakfast. In the end, I thought it would be better to eat at least something, so we went down and I ate some fruits. After breakfast, we went to bed again, but not even after an hour I woke up again to take shower. I thought that might help to come back to myself and make me stop shivering all the time, despite of the sunny weather outside. My sister’s mood was a bit down since she knew this would happen after the party. But as soon as we got ourselves ready to go, we were feeling a bit better already. We met my friend Keddy at the station Arc de Triomf and began taking photos as soon as we saw the monument :D

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My trying to take selfies. Somehow I think that my front camera is broken, since the pictures is alwas dark at the top/at the right end
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My friend Keddy in front of the Arc de Triomf
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My sister and my friend Keddy walking through the Arc in front of me.
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A panorama shot of the Arc de Triomf

It was a beautiful, sunny day. As we walked into the Arc there was a man creating soap bubbles. We watched him and tried to capture beautiful photos with the bubbles flying in front of the arc. The man started speaking with us as he heard we were german. He also came from germany he told us :D

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Look at the beautiful bubbles he created.

After standing there for a while we continued and found ourselves in the Parc de la Ciutadella. We walked around a little bit and found some beautiful places *o*

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This view is so beautiful <3
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Me doing a little posing with the palm trees
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The famous fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella. In my opinion, it is more beautiful than the Parc Güell
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A memorial for the victims of the war.

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This was at the end of the Parc. That building is the parliament I think, and it was a bit funny to see a statue of a crying person in front of it. I think the statue and the little pond around it should symbolize a legend I have heard about. In that, there is a person who cried so much that a lake was formed. But I forgot what that story was and what it was called.

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Whilte we were there, two friends of Keddy joined us as well. Flor, one of the Argentinian girls from the night before, and Monique, a girl who is also from Germany. Unfortunately, Flor didn’t stay too long with us. When we decided to visit Barrio Gotico, she had to return home to study. On the way there we walked past the old city walls of Barcelona as well.

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Barrio Gotico is really a cute district with its many cafes, restaurants, little shops and tiny, old passages.

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Giant Palm Tree :D It’s steadied by metal ropes :’D

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We walked around there, searching for a place to eat something and drink coffee. Then, my sister saw a shop selling macarons, but ended up buying ice cream which said to be the best in Barcelona.I tried from my sister, and it really tasted good. But I wanted to eat something proper, since my breakfast was a bit poor and I was getting very hungry. After walking for too long, we found a sandwhich shop and Keddy and me bought something to eat there. We took the sandwiches with us and sat down in front of the cathedral there. It was a good atmosphere and the sandwich tasted like the best thing ever :D In front of the cathedral, there was a man playing the guitar, and it fit perfectly to the sunny weather. It really was a beautiful moment, sitting there on the steps with the others and enjoying the sun and the music.

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After Keddy and me finished out sandwiches, we slowly set off to the city, in the direction of Las Ramblas where we wanted to go to the Mercat de la Boqueria. I was already so excited to sea this, and I was definitely not disappointed:

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Every second stand was a smoothie stand. However, I didn’t like the smoothies that much :/ I was expecting more from them. Once, I had a raspberry-banana smoothie which didn’t taste too spectacular, and one day after, I had a dragonfruit-coconut smoothie which tasted like puke :S I think it was because of the coconut. I cannot recommend the ones with coconut to you, guys. You should better stick to what you know and like.
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This was sooo yummy! I want fish right now <3

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Thats what I bought from the Mercat (except for the bookmark of course)

We wanted to go there the next day again to buy something for our flight <3

After we left the Mercat, Monique had to leave. We said goodbye and then we set off to the bay. There was a mall, so we wanted to check that out. We didn’t take too long there. Keddy just went to the toilet, and me and my sister rested a bit. But we didn’t go shopping :D

However, the view was beautiful:

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After leaving the mall, we looked for a place to eat Churros, since we still didn’t have eaten any. When we went to Plaza del Reial, we saw a little cute cafe that sold Churros with hot chocolate sauce <3 We immediately went inside and ordered:

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The interior is so cute guys! If I lived in Barcelona, I would be her every day. I forgot what it was cold, but it is in the little passage way that’s leading to the Plaza del Reial on the right hand side. You won’t miss that cute shop.

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Seriously, I wanna eat Churros for breakfast every day now *o* that was sooo gooood!

Well, after enjoying our ‘meal’, we set off to Las Ramblas again. We planned to go to Plaza Espana. My friend told me that there was a mall called Arena where one could go up the roof and have a view over the Plaza. So we did that. On our way to the metro station, however, my sister found the Sephora Shop and went inside. Guys, it was overwhelming. Never seen such a huge shop only for cosmetics. We don’t have Sephora in Germany, and the one we saw in Prague was tiny. This one looked like a runway when you entered o.O Too much walking for me and Keddy. We decided to sit down on the sofas downstairs. It was a bit embarrassing, since there were only men sitting there, waiting for their wifes/girlfriends :’D

Well, fortunately, my sister didn’t take too long, so we set left. When we arrived at Plaza de Espana, it was about 9pm I think. We were so tired from the night before, that we had difficulties walking :’D But it was worth the walk:

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At the back you can see the Font Magica. When we left the Plaza we went there, too, since we saw the water from above, but when we arrived there, it was already turned down :( Next time, I want to see the fountain show!

When we entered the metro a few minutes later, we were quite relieved to go back home/to the hotel again. It was an exhausting, yet beautiful day. Plus, we proved that you can easily combine partying and sightseeing on a short city trip ;)

The next day was our last, but we still had a lot of time, so we did something as well before heading to the airport. If you want to know what we have done, stay tuned for the last Barcelona Post.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites I have visited so far.

I found this post over at larasgedankenlust and decided to do the same post as well :) Travelling belongs to one of my goals and dreams in life, and that’s why I want to include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites on my blog. Of course, I am not going to list the whole list, but you can have a look at it here.

Here is my list of all the World Heritage Sites I have visited so far:

Straßbourg – Grand île: I have been there twice; once with our french class, and the second time with my parents, my two cousins and uncle and aunt. Both times was different. When we went there with class, we particularly visited the European Parliament. The second time we made a boat trip and entered the cathedral. Unfortunatel, I don’t know where the fotos went, so I will have to take a photo from the Internet.

Image Source: whc.unesco.org

Hanseatic City of Lübeck: Well, we actually didn’t visit the city of Lübeck, but we went to the beach Timmendorfer Strand in Lübeck.

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And here is another picture from the city I found on whc.unesco.org

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Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin: This place was wonderful! I loved Potsdam! We went there with class as well, and it was one of the best days we spent. I can understand why it belongs to the World Heritage Sites. It looks like a fairytale place. Again I can’t find the photos. So here is another picture from whc.unesco.org

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Museumsinsel Berlin: Again with class, but we didn’t go inside the museums. Just walked passed them.

Image Source: whc.unesco.org

Hierapolis – Pamukkale: We have only been to Pamukkale, and it was wonderful! It looks exactly like from another world! Unfortunately, the pictures of that year were accidentally deleted by my cousin who can’t speak any german but wanted to see our photos and thought to be able to navigate through our camera -.- And everything was GONE! It was a bitter moment. But here is a picture from wikipedia.com

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Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church: We have been there with class, and our teacher enabled us to see so many sights in that one week. I am so thankful to her for that.

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– Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church: Again with class, the same trip. We went to the Cathedral and the museum which were quite interesting, and we also went to St. Augustine’s Abbey. Unfortunately, I have lost half of the pictures after my old computer burned off. So here are some pictures I found on google.

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– Tower of London: The Third World Heritage we visited on that one trip. We had a guide, a beefeater how they were called :D He showed us everything, and I felt like being part in a middle age theater play :D Thank you Mrs Erlenmayer for that experience! Again, I can’t find any pictures of the Tower of London, so here is a picture I found on whc.unesco.org

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So in total, I have visited 8 Unesco World Heritage Sites. That’s more than I thought, but it can get better. This year, I will visit Cologne, and with it the Cologne Cathedral. Plus, I really want to go and visit Capadoccia and the Caves there, and also want to visit Istanbul. And maybe, I can also have a boat ride over to Chios if I will have time :) I hope so!

What about you guys? Which UNESCO World Heritage Sites have you visited so far? And which ones are you planning to?

Thanks for reading!

 

30.11.2013: Short trip to Basel, Switzerland

Since I have registered myself as a mentor for an Erasmus or exchange student at the beginning of the semester, I met Merve from Istanbul. This is organized every year/semester by the international department of my university. They also organize trips or events like a swabian dinner. Last time we registered for a trip to Heidelberg, but didn’t get in. This time, we managed to participate to the trip to Basel. I was so much looking forward for it, since it was a city and a country I have never been to.

On Saturday morning I had to take an early train to Tübingen. It was 6 am, and there were many sleepy, young people returning home from partying.

I arrived at the train station in Tübingen at about 6.42. Merve wasn’t on the bus yet, so I waited a while there and read something. There were many different people there. Young people, arriving from a party, old beggars, travellers, even a group of children who were probably returning from camping. The bakery was already open and the queue was getting longer and longer. Merve arrived at about 7.05 am and got herself something to eat and a coffee. We slowly walked to the bus station to waitfor the bus. Therewere already many Erasmus students waiting, chatting around. The girl who was part of the organization team was also already there. The bus howeve was 10 minutes late. When it finally arrived we were quite happy to be able to get a seat in the warmth. In the back of the bus, we had a seat and chatted a while until we waited for the bus to leave. At about 8 am it finally moved. Many people were already sleeping again. I somehow wasn’t tired yet, so I drank my cold coffee and ate my sandwich, as well as Merve, while we were  chatting. After an hour, we noticed that we were crossing a high landscape with lots of trees that was full of white, untouched snow. We later found out that it was the Schwarwald (Black Forest). I have already been on a car trip to Turkey and Milan, but it was always in summer/spring, so the Black Forest always looked normal. But this time it was in winter, and the first time I have seen it snowy. I actually don’t like snowy landscapes, but the Black Forest looked incredibly beautiful, somehow peaceful, only a few birds hopping across the grounds and flying above the trees.

We tried to sleep then while the bus was riding through the Black Forest. It sometimes was a bit hard since the sun shone upon the white snow which reflected the light into my face and I got blended several times.

When I finally was fast asleep, the organizer girl came and woke us all up :’D she wanted us to check off our names on the list. The people behind us took a long time until they have finally finished. We found our names in less than 3  minutes and she was happy that we were so fast. She told us that we were driving through Freiburg now and that we would arrive in Basel soon. It really was closer than I thought. After everyone was finished checking off their name on the list, she made an announcement that we would take a short break before entering Switzerland, so that we could buy something to eat since they have another currency in Switzerland and give Swiss Franc as change back when we pay with Euros. I have almost forgot that they had a different currency there, so got worried a bit. But I got myself a fish sandwich from ‘Nordsee’. After leaving the toilette, Merve bought something to eat for herself as well. When the bus set off, we only drove for about half an hour until we arrived in Basel, the bus stopped in front of the art museum, and we had to wait for our tour guides to arrive. There was one tour offered in german, and one in english. We took the english one since Merve can’t speak german as well. But I think even I would have had difficulties understanding swiss german.

Our guide was a small, thin woman with short hair and a sympathetic face. Her english was great. She had a clear pronounciation and spoke a bit in a british accent.

The tour should take about 2 hours. We started at the art museum. It was a bit smaller but looked nice. We found out that Basel was famous for its many different art museums. A rich woman, a pharmacist,  has donated money for a second building of that art museum. It was now in progress.

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The entrance of the art museum

After that we crossed the road and stood at the beginning of the ‘Freie Straße’, the shopping street in Basel. We could already see the roofs of the city hall from there. That would be our final stop where the tour would end. We continued to the theatre and the fountain in front of that which looked beautiful.

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All of those fountains moved and made rumbling sounds while throwing water. It looked like in a magical world, the kinds of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

We continued then through the Christmas market to the Barfüßenplatz (bare foot square).

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The Christmas pyramide

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Me and Merve in front of the beautifully decorated christmas trees

Here, we shortly entered the historical museum.

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We didn’t stay too long inside, but the guide informed us about a tour inside of the museum called ‘Real Knights, fake Fortresses’.

Back outside again, there was a nice little fountain at the Barfüßenplatz which had dragon shaped sculptures throwing water. The guide explained then the city symbol to us. And this is when it got interesting now. She told us about the love for fairytale and magical creatures that the citizens of Basel have had for many many years. That’s also why the city emblem of Basel is a magical ceature that also appears in many stories like ‘Harry Potter’. A bishop (I think it was a bishop she mentioned), once saw this creature. But since its breeding is very hard and seldom takes place not everyone could see it. It is a saurian kind of creature, with yellow, deathly eyes, turning everyone whoo look in those eyes into stone. As she asked us to guess what kind of creature it was I was quick to say: “A Basilisk!” Of course it was right and I was so proud of myself :D This is also how the city got its name: Basilisk –> Basel. I was so amazed by this story. I have never been to a city which had such an interesting symbol story. It is probably the most magical city I have been to. So, I have already began to develop a certain interest for Basel.

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The fountain with the Basilisks. This somehow reminds me of the sinks in the girl’s bathroom in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ which is the entrance to the chamber. And one of the taps also has a Basilisk engraved on it.

Now we headed to the cathedral that came after the Barfüßenplatz.

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This cathedral was on top of a hill where the rich people used to live earlier. It is made of red sand stone, that’s why it has this red color. There are sculptures on top of the cathedral, one from St. Martin.

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We also entered the cathedral. It is also special because the grave of Erasmus von Rotterdam lies there.

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There was even a Basilisk on the ground of the Cathedral. Probably it was seen here by the bishop? I am not sure. I wished I had asked the guide, but I just noticed the question right now.
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This is the grave of Erasmus von Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the picture is a bit cooked and I didn’t get the top part on the picture, because a guy stood in front of that and wanted to have lots of pictures in front of that -.-

We didn’t stay all too long in the church. We then went to the backside of the cathedral from where we could have a good look over Basel.

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This is the north side of Basel where Germany (on the right) and France (on the left) meet. That’s why the border of Basel is so important since it lies on a point that connects three countries: Germany, France, and Switzerland.

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I was too scared to sit on the border so I took photos of Merve.

We continued our tour and walked through tiny alley back on Freie Straße again. On the was there, we took some photos of the decorations.

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Another huge mansion

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We were now in the middle of Freie Straße,  in front of a bar called Fumare, Non Fumare. The guide told us that it was possible to just sit in there without buying something to drink. That was something very peculiar for me since I am always asked by waiters if I have any wishes still. I haven’t known any bar like this before.

We then stood at the beginning of a wider alley, consistingnof cute little shops like a tea shop, florist, chocolatier, and cheese shop.

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There is even something like a little Walk of Fame in this little alley, from swiss prominents. I didn’t know any of them.
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I loved this little graphic on one of the buildings.

Now the final part of the tour has begun. We headed to the City hall building and I was utterly amazed by this wonderful building!

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Definitely my favorite building in Basel.

Now that the tour has ended, the guide gave us all a map of Basel, thanked us, and said goodbye. She recommended us some shops to buy chocolate for example, and a few museums. On the market place there, we tried a piece of cheese. It had quite a strong taste. Then we decided to look for some chocolate as a souvenir. We were shocked as we saw the prices. Small Praline boxes beginning with 11 CHF and reaching until 20 CHF!!! I thought I was going crazy. The praline bar looked gorgeous, and the Santa Clause Sculptures! In that moment, I wished I was rich and lived in Switzerland.

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Then I decided to buy a pack of different parts of chocolate bars for 11.40 CHF. I had to pay about 9.60€. I didn’t understand this, since I thought Euro was a bit more than Swiss Francs. But the woman calculated it on the cash box. So I guess it had to be right.

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Doesn’t it look delicious? It also was, indeed. Tasted so much different than all those brand chocolate we buy, like Milka. The taste was more natural and less sugary. I loved it!

Now we walked around the streets and headed towards the Christmas market to look through the stands quietly. Image

Back at the Christmas market, we saw the cutest stands. I personally liked them better than those in Germany. It also didn’t smell like sour crout, but rather like Raclette. I liked that smell.

We saw a big tent which was cull of hats (Chapeaux). Since Merve and me are both cap wearers, we wanted to have a look inside.

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Of course, the prices were too damn high, so we didn’t buy anything. But the hats were beauticul.

As we left the tent, we saw a hot chocolate stand. We also wanted to drink some hot chocolate, but the vendor wanted 11€ for that. So we left.

Now we headed to the city again to look inside some shops and compare the prices. In C&A the prices were almost the same as here in Germany. After trying on some hats and caps here, too, we went outside to search for some postcards. We went to the direction of the city hall and looked inside oc the city hall. There was a woman singing in a beautiful voice. It sounded like in a musical.

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Inside, the city hall looked as beautiful as from the outside.

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Now we went to some back streets and alleys to look for postcards. I saw a beautiful building with lights hanging down from it.

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After strolling through the alleys we found ourselves in front of the university.

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We found our way back to the city again, and searched for place to go to the toilet. We thought about the cafe the guide mentioned. After leaving the toilets, we thought we could also sit down and warm ourselves a bit. Merve also decided to get herself a hot chocolate. It is a bar in which you have to get your own drinks, the same as at Starbucks. They also had free wi-fi so we couldn’t wait to write back our friends.

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The hot chocolate cost 5.60 CHF and the girl said it would cost about 10€. I was surprised, because Merve told me hers cost about 5€ but I am not sure if she mixes it up with the francs. However, I like their money. It looks so artistic, and colorful. Probably the most beautiful currency I have seen until now (I have seen DM, Euro, Pounds, and Turkish Lira)

Now, after owning some francs, we thought about eating Raclettes at the Christmas market. It cost about 8.50 CHF. We havent eaten it earlier, beause we had Euros and it sounded more expensive to our ears. We also weren’t hungry yet. But now, we were slowly getting hungry, so we allowed ourselves to try something new.

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I have never tried Raclette since they don’t sell it at german Christmas markets, but I really liked it although it was small and expensive. On new years eve, the germans tend to do Raclette, also called Cheese Fondue.

As we finished eating, it was already dawning. We took some photos of the beautiful decorations, and then slowly walked in the direction of the art museum where our bus would wait.

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On our way there, we noticed that the streets were closed, because of the city marathon taking place that day. Then, all of a sudden, we saw hundreds of children running.

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We thought we would be the first ones to arrive there,but many spanish erasmus students were already there, waiting.

This time our bus didn’t take too long and we happily entered the warmth at 5.30 pm. Merve and me were quite relieved to sit down and to be soon out of Switzerland so that we could have internet on our phones again :’D we are such addicts! Of course we were also sad to leave Basel, but we have already seen everything important, and we definitely wouldn’t miss the expensive prices there.

We arrived at Tübingen at about 8.45pm. My train would arrive at 9.23pm and leave at 9.37pm. I arrived at 10.10pm and my father picked me up. They were at our uncle’s, because my aunt was celebrating her birthday. I ate some salad and samosa, and then we got cake, Tiramisu.

It was a great, interesting, magical day with a nice ending. I hope to see more cities as magical as Basel soon.

Thanks for reading this too long post.