Once again, I have finished editing the next video. In this one, I am taking the Star Ferry to Lantau Island, visit the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery, and take the Crystal Cable Car back down.
Yesterday evening/this night was a great night! I did something amazing! The first step into a bigger plan I have been thinking about since April!
Last night, I was browsing through skyscanner and I came across cheap flights to Tokyo! Then, on Airfrance, I found an amazing flight, from Frankfurt to Tokyo! For 527 € two ways! This was like a sign sent from heaven (okay, I’m exaggerrating! :’D) But this was the first time that I found a flight from a good airline, with the perfect flying times, short layover that also had a great price! I couldn’t believe it! Usually, I was seeing flights for around 700€. There were also cheaper ones for around 400 with AirChina, Aeroflot and Allitalia and I have heard not so good things about them, or not many reviews.
So last night, I was surprised to see that perfect flight from Airfrance, with only a 1.30h layover in Paris <3
I knew I had to book it! I KNEW IT! Everything was going perfectly! I was even able to pay with paypal! Everything happened so smoothly that I soon found myself clicking on the ‘pay’ button and there it was: “Airfrance wishes you a pleasant flight!” And on the right side there was my booking code staring at me! And my itinerary sent to my e-mail!
It’s official now:
I AM FLYING TO TOKYO!!!!
On December 7th, at 10:25 am I will be boarding my plane from Frankfurt to Paris! And then, at 1.55 pm I will be boarding my plane from Paris to Tokyo! I can’t believe it! I will be landing in Tokyo at a perfect time! 9.30 am! My plan is to sleep well so that I can explore the city a little bit when I arrive! Even if I don’t sleep, I think I will be too pumped to not go out exploring!
I am soooo excited already, that I still can’t believe what I did! My heart beats up to my throat when I think about it!
And again, this is proof that nothing is impossible! You JUST have to DO IT! Like our dear Shia taught us! :D
Of course, there is still quite a long way for me to get my work and travel visa. Here are the things I need to hand in:
√ Have a valid passport
Ο A fully filled out application form (found on the website of the designated embassy)
√ ID Photo not older than 6 months
√ Flight tickets (two ways)
Ο Financial Verification of at least 2000€
Ο Travel insurance
√ Travel plan (layout found on the website of the embassy)
√ Motivational letter
= 6/9 done!
Filling out the form is actually the easiest step in the list, but strangely, I haven’t done it yet :D The next thing I will do is getting the travel insurance together with my father since he has a membership at a company and he gets a huge discount there.
Saving up the 2000€ will be the hardest part I guess, but I am positive that at the end of October, I should have the money together!
There are 3 more things that I have to do which are not asked for the visa but things that I have to do to survive in Japan:
Find an accomodation
Register in Tokyo as a citizen (including opening a bank account and getting a SIM card)
Find a job!
Of course, I will have to organize the accomodation in advance which I will do tomorrow and I am intending to finish as well!
The following two points are mostly just possbile as soon as I get there.
Also, at the weekend, my friend will bring back my japanese textbook, so my future weekends will be all about studying :D I’m kind of looking forward to that :)
I hope I didn’t bore you with this blog post! For me, it’s just super exciting, I had to share it here! Even if it’s only for me to track my achievements :)
I hope you enjoyed this!
If you have any recommendations about work and travel (a.k.a. working holiday) or Tokyo or both, please let me know in the comments :)
I will already prepare you for this post, since it only contains a little preview of my short trip to Berlin. Nothing else really happened that week. I was basically just working, except for this little weekend getaway to Germany’s amazing capitol city. Let’s start with the pictures!
1. At the beginning of the week, we all got together with my cousins and had dinner at Archie’s, which is an American style chain restaurant. They have amazing burgers. I ate the Kobe Beef Burger which was delicious <3
2. On Saturday morning, around 6am, I arrived at the airport and was shocked! It was filled with sooo many people! Thousands of thousands of vacationers, getting ready to fly away to some sunny parts of the world! I have never seen our home airport so busy. I felt lucky that I already checked-in online and didn’t have to queue for that. The lines for the security checks were so long, they nearly reached back to the entrance doors. Nevertheless, I made it on time for my flight.
3. After I finally arrived in Berlin, I took a nap at my friend Yen’s apartment and then we met to get our nails done. It’s really cheap there, only 26€!!! Here, you pay 35€ just for a refill -.-
4.+5. We then walked around the city of Potsdam a little bit. Here, you can see the Brandenburger Tor of Potsdam, and the city hall.
6. In the evening, it was finally time to meet for Yen’s Birthday Dinner at the korean BBQ restaurant Kimchi Princess. The lighting was really bad though, so I don’t have good pictures from there :’D
7. After dinner, we went to the club The Pearl where my friend booked a table for us. It was an amazing party and many of us had some drinks too much :’D
8. The next morning, we woke up pretty hungover and tired, but we decided not to waste the day and go explore the Thai Park. It was all very yummy, but unfortunately, I lost the pictures :'( To make up for that, here is a photo of my favourite dessert: Hong Kong Waffles. This was sold at a restaurant at Rosenthaler Straße called Chicken Buzz. It was a chinese restaurant, and they also served these waffles and refreshing lemonades <3
9. Towards the end of the day, we were feeling a bit more energetic, especially after that raspberry lemonade. We decided to head to Alexanderplatz and take some photos in front of the TV Tower. They actually turned out pretty fine!
I will write some seperate posts about Berlin as well. It will contain a lot of food, so be prepared for that. I was actually thinking about starting a restaurant guide on this blog where I review different locations and the food they serve. Tell me if you’d be interested below. In general, I am lagging behind with blogging. I am always extremely tired from work, so it’s really hard for me to blog regularly. It was easier in the past when I was still a student. I realize how much time I used to have back then.
What about you guys? When do you find time for blogging?
Have you ever been to Berlin? If so, tell me your favourite spots there.
Having layoverscan be hard for many people, but if you look at the bright side of life, you can get a whole new experience out of it.
I had quite a few layovers on my travels so far, and most of the time, it was very interesting to explore yet another different airport.
Every airport is different, and the smaller ones don’t really have much to offer, still you can prepare to kill time before your connecting flight, be it at a tiny or huge airport. Here is how:
1. Freshen up
This is probably the most important thing to do after stepping out of the plane. For this, make sure you always carry around lotion, brush/comb, and a little bit of make-up in your hand-luggage. Body Wipes or roll-on deodorants can also be handy if you feel super disgusting. Some airports even have shower rooms, but I am not sure if they are free or not. Another good idea is to carry extra clothes in your hand luggage. If you were sweating too much, or just wanna feel more comfortable, it’s gonna save your life.
2. Get your gate information
Many times, the gate and time won’t be announced yet, by the time you land. This is pretty common when you have connecting flights, so you would have to make sure to keep yourself updated in front of the departues boards. It’s more relaxing if you have 3 or 4 hours until your flight, but if it’s only 1 or 2 hours, and your gate is still not being announced, make sure to ask someone at the information desk when to expect the announcement. They will be able to tell you more.
Not only gates, but sometimes, you might even have to get your ticket during a layover as well. That happened to us in March when we were flying back from Dubai to Stuttgart with Turkish Airlines. We had to get our connecting tickets at a counter right after landing, and we only had around 1 hour in total until our flight’s departure. That was very stressful, and I’d prefer airlines not doing this at all.
3. Social Networking
Posting your location on Facebook or an Instagram picture of your flight is almost mandatory when travelling. Of course, not only for entertainment, but also to inform your family and friends back home and let them know you’ve landed and are safe and sound.
For this, always make sure to have your battery fully loaded or plug it in at one of the charging stations at the airport. If there is none, take a portable battery with you and make sure that it is fully loaded as well.
In January, during my flight from Taipei to Shanghai, my phone’s battery was so low that I couldn’t text my parents after landing, because I needed to show the address to the taxi driver. My parents were extremely worried by the time I finally got to my hotel. It was already midnight and they thought that something happened. After that hassle, I will make sure in the future to keep my phone fully loaded.
4. Food and Drinks
Sometimes, the food you get on the plane won’t be satisfactory to many of us. How lucky we are that there are food courts even in the smallest airports in the world. It’s nearly impossible to starve on your layover. The higher possibility is that you’ll spend an infinity on deciding where and what to eat. If you don’t wanna opt for fast food on your travels (which I wouldn’t suggest), then there are many beautiful restaurants with great food options as well.
Other than a hot meal, there are lots of cafes, bakeries and shops to get some snacks and drinks for the flight. I personally love to sit in cafes and have a cup of coffee with something sweet to keep me energized.
Some people actually buy a lot of things in those shops at airports since it’s duty free and you can find almost every brand at one place. Especially the cosmetics sections are very popular, and even I stroll through those venues every time I’m having a layover. It’s a nice way to kill some time, but also get freshened up with high-end perfumes (I am looking at you YSL). I even bought a MAC lipstick once on my 6-hour layover in Hong Kong, one that I have been searching for a longer time. And I also bought presents for my cousin’s two kids at the Disney Store at Hong Kong Airport. Usually, I buy magazines or books at airports, but that one time in Hong Kong, I just did some last-minute shopping since I still had some money left :’D
6. Extra Activities
The biggest airports in the world have more to offer than just shopping and food. If you are lucky, you can actually kill some time in an airport cinema (Changi Airport in Singapore, Hong Kong Airport, Schiphool Airport in Amsterdam,…). I would love to try that out once if I have another +4h layover somewhere, but I would think about doing No. 10 instead.
Some airports offer a cultural exhibition. There will be a small section with utensils being exhibited, almost like in a museum. Or even performances to keep the travellers entertained.
In many muslim countries’ airports, there will be prayer rooms offered for free. And I am sure that many more airports around the world will have individual activity programs designated to each airport.
This might be one of the most popular things to do during a layover, since most of the time you won’t be able to strech out on a flight. Plus, if the jetlag hasn’t reached you at your layover airport yet, it will definitely kick in after landing at your destination, so sleeping off during a layover might be the smartest idea.
If you haven’t already packed an exciting read in your hand luggage, then you might as well check out the books at your layover airport. If you are not so much into books, you can also get one or two magazines.
I personally love browsing through bookstores at airports, and I even got myself a great book once at the Taipei International Airport (“Crazy Rich Asians”). I don’t always buy a book, though, since I try to bring my own.
9. People Watching
At an airport, there will be people from all over the world. People you might never ever see again. People who look differently, and talk in different languages. And this is one of the reasons I love airports so much. They are the places where people from almost all nations worldwide meet. I personally love people watching; guessing about their lives, where they are going to, where they are coming from, what language they are talking. I love making stories in my head for just a few minutes.
10. Explore the City
Most of the times, your layover might be around 3 hours maximum, but sometimes, you will have extremely long layovers where a short trip to the city might be actually worth it. Many big airports will have airport expresses which will take you to the city centre in less than an hour (Hong Kong, London,…). Also, airlines like Turkish Airlines will offer a free city tour in Istanbul when you have +5h until your next flight.
Until now, I only had 2 very long layovers, one 6 hours in Hong Kong and one 3 hours in Dubai. The one in Hong Kong passed by almost immediately. I did almost all activities stated above except for Nos 6, 7, and 10. I could have actually gone to the city as well, but I have already been to Hong Kong several times, and I didn’t want to be more stressed than I already was. In Dubai, I had a layover of 3 hours which made it impossible to take a trip downtown, so I just wandered around the airport and looked around most of the time.
What about you guys? What are the things you love to do at airports during a layover? Let me know in the comments below.
I woke up super early on my last day in Xi’An which was a Friday, and I had to be super fit, because it should be a day where I would be in 5 different cities on ONE DAY!!! How is that possible, you might ask. Read on to find out.
It takes around half an hour to 45 minutes to the airport, and during the ride, my taxi driver kept on talking to me. He was the same age as me as I found out, but he could only speak chinese. I understood most of it, until he tried asking me if I had a son. That was weird :’D At first I wasn’t sure if I understood him correctly, but it turned out that I did. Next thing, he wanted to talk about money and how much money german people were earning. It was an interesting cab ride, but I was glad when I reached the airport. I really liked the Xi’An airport. It’s not that big, but everything is easy to find and it has all the important shops you need before a flight.
I arrived in Shanghai at around noon, and then had quite some time until my train ride back to Yuyao, where my boss picked me up.
Here is why he picked me up. Shortly before my trip, I was told that I still had to go to Hong Kong for one last time because my visa had to be renewed for only a few days. So I had to look for a hostel last minute and buy a bus ticket to Ningbo Airport. If they had told me earlier, I could have just made them book a flight from Xi’An to Hong Kong, or at least, from Shanghai to Hong Kong. But I had already bought my train ticket ages ago.
Well, it was still manageable. I put all the important stuff in my backpack and left my suitcase with my boss. In the late afternoon, I made it to the bus and in the early evening, I was already at Ningbo airportfor the 4th time now. So the next post will be another Hong-Kong-in-less-than-24-hours post.
I spent another night at that amazing hostel from last time which was also very central. This time, I met a Korean girl from London who was a fashion buyer but wanted to start a career as a fashion designer in Asia, so she started to check out the market in Hong Kong. She admitted that it was a tough job but it was her dream.
This is one of the most amazing things about Hong Kong. You can meet all different types of people from all around the world here. I have already met a Canadian who was a malay, indian, and chinese mix, I met two german girls, I met a Thai girl who I am still in contact with today, and this time I met this Korean girl from London.
After talking to her, I went to bed and fell asleep with the thoughts for the next day’s plans in my mind.
For the next post, you can look forward to more Hong Kong related stuff, but it’s also gonna be the last post about that gorgeous city.
So for me, I was in 5 cities on that day: Xi’An, Shanghai, Yuyao, Ningbo, and Hong Kong. That was a record for me.
What about you guys? What was the highest amount of citites you have travelled through/visited on one day?
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.
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.
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*
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
You guys must be wondering where I have been all this time. Well, I was in China for 10 months, as you could see from my last blog post.
Although I arrived at the beginning of April, there was a lot going on, so I couln’t update this blog.
You can’t imagine how many blog posts I have planned already. Everything that happened in China, all those travel posts and more. I will be blogging in a new style now, I decided. I want to make my posts a bit shorter and just keep the most important parts inside. I hope you will like it.
I am so excited to be back here in this community, and I will try to focus more on travel posts from now on.