Last two weekends in Shanghai

After this one-week trip, the end of my stay in China was slowly approaching. Right after my trip to Hong Kong, I still had one night to sleep in my room back at home, but the next afternoon which was a Sunday, we had already our next train going to Shanghai. Our group this time should be a very different one. Ana and me have gone on weekend trips to Shanghai or Hangzhou already, but Josie and Ale never joined us, so that was a first time for the four of us. Although I wished that the others could have joined us as well, it was still a nice way spending my second last weekend away with my friends.

On my very last weekend in China, I was also invited to Shanghai by some new friends I met.

In this post, I will just point out what you can do on two Sunday/Mondays in Shanghai:

  1. Have dinner at the top rated restaurant on Tripadvisor:

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    Since Ana and me discovered this turkish restaurant Efes after our spring festival holiday, we were certain to tell the others about it and make them try it as well. Especially with our foodie friends Josie and Ale, it was a must.

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    As I can recall, I had a plate of chicken kebab. 
  2. Have you last fancy drink at Bar Rouge:

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    After our dinner, we went straight to the Bund to have some drinks at Bar Rouge. That was the second time at that bar for me now, and the drinks are still one of the best I have had so far.

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  3. Go to the foreign language bookstore:

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    I do have A Strangeness in my mind by now. My father gave it to me in german.

    On Monday, when we had our train back to Yuyao in the late afternoon, we still had some time left to do some shopping. Ana had to go to the embassy, Ale wanted to meet up with a friend and Josie and me went shopping. We split up as well. She had to go to Sephora and Nike and I wanted to get a new book from the foreign language bookstore that was just down the street from our hostel.
    But none of this could happen without having proper breakfast first.

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  4. Stroll through Yuyuan Garden:

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    I have been to Shanghai so many times, but only on my last weekend in China did I have the possibility to see the Yuyuan Garden and stroll through its streets there. It’s the perfect place to try street food and buy souvenirs. But the architecture looks awesome as well. It is a great spot for photo opportunities. 

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  5. Try Stinky Tofu:

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    During my stay in China, I swore to myself that I would never ever try Stinky Tofu, no matter what. But then my friends craved it when strolling through Yuyuan Garden, so I said “yolo” why not? My final thoughts are: Try it, because it basically tastes like nothing. You might like it. I will not eat it again, because I didn’t like the texture and the aftertaste is just exactly like the smell. Not nice.

  6. Visit a Jazz Bar:

    On my very last evening in Shanghai, we visited the Jazz Bar that is right in front of the Captain Hostel which is called House of Blues & Jazz.  That was my third time there, and it is weird that none of the times, none of us had actually thought about taking a photo there. A shame. It is a great bar and the people who go there really go for the music, to dance and just to enjoy the moment. It is not at all pretentious.
    Because I don’t have any photos of the Jazz Bar, here is a photo of a stranger having a monkey pet we saw on the street when walking to the bar.

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When thinking back of that time, I was having mixed feelings. Both happy and sad about returning to Germany, to start a new life as I imagined, and sad about leaving my new friends and beautiful China behind. I do have a new life now, but it is not as I imagined. I am still struggling to fit in, and I miss Asia, especially China so much that it actually hurts. 

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I still have one last post left which will be dedicated to the last parties in Yuyao.

Stay tuned for some funny posts.

Thanks for reading and travelling with me!

Merveille.

 

 

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Beijing Part 1: Getting lost and overwhelmed

As promised, I am writing about my final trip I did around China in March, before I headed back home last year April. I still had Beijing and Xi’An on my list to tick off, so I decided to do the typical trip to those two cities. I heard many tourists and travellers take that route between the two cities via train, and I decided to do that as well.

That was not all, though. Last minute, before I left for Beijing, my boss told me that I had to go to Hong Kong one last time, because I had to extend my visa once more, for only a few days. That did piss me off, because I have already booked all the planes and trains already, and I could have taken the plane from Shanghai airport. This way, after arriving in Shanghai from Xi’An, I’d have to take the train to Yuyao, my boss would pick me up, take my suitcase, and take me to the hotel for me to catch the bus to Ningbo airport. Such a hustle can only happen in China :’D

During that one week, I took 4 trains, 4 planes, and 2 busses in total :’D If it wasn’t enough, we even planned one last Shanghai trip after I came back from Hong Kong :’D That was insane! Never travelled to so many cities in such little time :’D Almost felt like funforlouis :’DD

Anyway, my flight to Beijing was early in the morning from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. I took one of the earliest trains to Shanghai, and upon arriving at the check-in, I was happy to see a great seat which turned out to be an emergency exit seat. The views from the plane were great. The sun was blasting and the sky was clear blue. A pity I didn’t use my camera to take a photo.

I flew with China Eastern Airlines, and I really liked it. Everything was on time, the stewardesses were friendly and the flight was smooth.

I think everything was just too good.

After landing, I took the metro to find my hostel. I had the directions and I also had the address in chinese. I was doing fine, but then, I completely lost my way. It was ridiculous. I was already on the way for almost 3 HOURS!!! Walking around in circles, asking for the way, trying to stop taxis to take me there. Nothin worked.

Because I was so stressed, I didn’t take so many pictures. I was despairing. Finally, a taxi stopped and took me to my hostel. But he was driving in the opposite direction that I came from. I was starting to get really confused. Then, he just let me out in front of a construction and told me I had to walkd behind it to get to the entrance of the hostel since cars couldn’t drive there. It was ridiculous. Ive had enough. I walked and walked through bumpy streets with my huge suitcase and finally, FINALLY found the entrance. It was very hidden, the taxi driver was right.

I entered, relieved and they were looking for my room on the computer. And the bad luck didn’t stop. They said there was no room unter my name. I was panicking. I showed them the e-mail and the girl understood. I was at the wrong hostel. It had basically the same name.

Happy Dragon is a hostel name that is used for three different hostels in three totally different locations in Beijing. They called the hostel and asked if there was a room booked and they confirmed. The receptionst was so kind to organize a driver for me to take me there. And again, they took me back to where I came from.

As it had turned out, I had the directions to the right hostel, but wrote down the wrong chinese address. So guys, please, if you decide to book a room at Happy Dragon, double check which one it is you are staying at and make sure you have both the right directions and the right address.

I paid for the drive at the reception and was told that I got a room upgrade. I actually booked a dorm, but I got a private room. And I didnt have to pay anything extra. I was so happy, and even happier when I saw how clean and beautiful it was. The bed was soft as well. I was so tired and exhausted that I could just lie down and sleep. Even my hunger couldn’t keep me from sleeping for around 2 hours.

When I woke up, I was still tired, but I had to get something to eat and I wanted to explore the city a little bit. It was slowly getting dark, so I got out of bed, got dressed and left. First, I also signed up for the Great Wall trip the next day.

I walked to the metro, and since it was already around 7pm, the streets were full with people. The metro as well. I thought Shanghai metro was full, but the one in Beijing was even worse. I couldn’t believe when I saw how many people were still getting in.

I somehow got off at my station which was the entrance to the Forbidden City.

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Of course, I wasn’t planning to get inside, since it was already closed, but I just wanted to explore the area. I guess I would have done a better choice if I went to get some street food somewhere.

After walking around the area, I quickly got bored and felt my hunger. I took the metro again, this time to find a restaurant somewhere. I didn’t have to walk too far from the metro station. It was a modern american-korean-mexican fusion restaurant in a Hutong. The area was very quiet and old but it looked very authentic.

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Nachos and a salad, Although I was pretty hungry, I didn’t want to eat anything too heavy at that hour.

When I was soon finished with dinner, the only thing I wanted to do was go sleeping in my warm, comfy bed. I took a taxi and enjoyed the late night views I got from Beijing. A beautiful, big city with a huge history, but very overwhelming for me. I saw the beauty of Beijing, but it was still very confusing to me.

What about you guys? What were your first expressions of Beijing?

Travel Plans: Amsterdam

I’m sorry that I was away for longer than I planned, but things were kind of stressfull the last couple of weeks with my birthday, bayram, and all the horrifying events happening all over europe (France, Turkey, Germany). It breaks my heart to hear all of that, and it makes me wary travelling recently. My sister also flew to turkey las week saturday, one day after the coup attempt and we were worried if it was safe to go. Luckily, she is in the west of the country which was not affected so much by that.

Anyway, another thing I was busy with the past week was planning my short trip to Amsterdam. My friend’s birthday is on the 27th and she asked me if I wanted to travel somewhere with her. Since I have to work that day, I could only go somehwere before the 27th and only for 2 or 3 days. So we agreed on a short trip to Amsterdam, from sunday, 24th of July to Tuesday, 26th of July.

Amsterdam has always been a city somewhere on the top of my travel bucket list, and now I am so happy to finally tick it off.

The Netherlands, in my opinion, are one of the most successful countries in the world. I have only met a few dutch people, but I never had any negative experiences with them. They are always friendly, fun and extremely attractive – male or female. And since I had developped a severe fandom for the dutch football national team in the past, I am even more excited to explore the capitol of this wonderful country.

For that, I have created a Plan with all the things I would love to see. Here are they, sorted after priority:

1. Canal Ride

https://www.canal.nl/Canal/media/Webshop/Headers/B2C/HEADER_Canal_by_night_HOME.jpg
Source: canal.nl

This is the top one must-do activity on the list when going to Amsterdam, I think. Of course, there are all these museums this city is famous for, but since the canal belt is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the most important activity in order to get to know the city in the best way.

We plan to do a canal tour in the evening, combining it with a cocktail canal tour deal. You can find all the deals here.

2. Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) and Singel Canal:

https://i1.wp.com/promptguides.com/amsterdam/_photos/bloemenmarkt/bloemenmarkt_002.jpg
Source: promptguides.com

Tulips are one of the most famous symbols of The Netherlands, therefore, it is a must to visit the flower market in this city, although I heard it to be very small and unspectacular. I found out that the tulips were actually a present from the Ottoman Empire, since they were originally grown there. Another interesting fact I would like to learn more about.

3. Heineken Experience:

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Source: Google.com

Well, it is one of the museums you can find in Amsterdam, maybe not the classiest one, but still quite interesting and a fun thing for young people. Apparently, you pay the entrance which is around 16.50 € for adults and there are two beers included which you can enjoy at the end of the tour on the rooftop terrace. If there is not a long queue I would really wanna see this place.

4. Van Gogh Museum / Anne Frank Huis:

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Source: iqimila.com
https://i1.wp.com/thisisamsterdam.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/anne-frank-house-for-blog.jpg
Source: thisisamsterdam.info

I actually really wanna see the Anna Frank House, but I read not amusing things online, about how long the queue always is (over 2 hours). Thus, I checked the online tickets, but unfortunately, I had to discover that they were sold out until November or so :'( I don’t have big hopes for these museums on our trip. Maybe next time I visit Amsterdam.

5. Streetfood:

I have heard so many amazing food stories happening in Amsterdam. I have already made list of all the foods I wanna try:

Bitterballen

https://i2.wp.com/www.dutchstore.ch/schweiz/images/bitterballen2.jpg
Source: dutchstore.ch

Stoopwafel

https://i0.wp.com/www.iamsterdam.com/media/typically-dutch/stroopwafel-cc-by-20-steven-vance-via-flickr.jpg
Source: iamsterdam.com

Dutch fries

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Source: confusedjulia.com

Raw Herring

https://i1.wp.com/intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/files/2013/08/herring-onions-amsterdam.jpg
Source: intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

Poffertjes

https://i2.wp.com/ohmydish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Dutch-mini-pancakes-poffertjes.jpg
Source: ohmydish.com

Panekoeken

https://media.socialdeal.nl/deal/pannenkoek-enzo-16010715262088.jpg
Source: Google.com

Cheese

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Source: Google.com

Snack vending machines

https://i0.wp.com/www.jonesaroundtheworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/6411906-FEBO_Typical_vending_machine_Amsterdam.jpg
Source: jonesaroundtheworld.com

If you guys have any more food recommendations, please let me know in the comments :)

6. Red Light District:

https://i0.wp.com/www.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/redlight0715-moulin-rouge.jpg
Source: travelandleisure.com

Well, since our hostel is in the Red Light District, it is unevitable to stroll through these streets. To be honest, I don’t think it is as hazy as a red light district usually is. I heard that people are quite chill about these topics in the Netherlands. I have also been to Hamburg and saw all the prostitutes on the streets and wasn’t afraid. It is just another kind of entertainment.

7. Gay Pride:

https://richardtulloch.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/musketeers.jpg?w=1136&h=657
Source: richardtulloch.files.wordpress.com

I found out about this event on tripadvisor and it starts on the 23rd, so one day before we arrive. We really hope we can make it to the concert on the 24th which is supposed to be on the Dam Square close to the Red Light District actually. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see this boat parade which takes place on August 7th, but I think it is an amazing event and once again shows how open-minded and fun the Netherlands are.

8. Visit a coffeeshop:

https://i2.wp.com/polpix.sueddeutsche.com/bild/1.1910532.1394630200/940x528/coffeeshop-amsterdam-coffeeshops-niederlande.jpg
Source: sueddeutsche.com

Even if we don’t try anything here (we might though, I mean come on, when in amsterdam, right?), I think it might be quite interesting to even only have a look inside and learn more about the dutch culture. I am really excited to see how relaxed this nation deals with drugs and doesnt make a big deal out of it (pun not intended :’D)

9. See the I amsterdam letters in front of the Rijksmuseum:

https://farm7.staticflickr.com/6004/5933904735_f05c2531d7.jpg
Source: thisgirlabroad.com

These letters are famous now, and everyone who goes to this city and doesnt take a photo in front of these letters, can’t prove they were there ;D

We probably won’t visit the museum itself, because we are not really interested in art that much, and we are on a strict money and time budget so we decided to let go of most of the museums.

10. Vondelpark:

https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/04/11/92/68/vondelpark.jpg
Source: tripadvisor.com

This park looks so beautiful, but I am afraid we won’t have time to go there. I hope we can manage to squeeze a little chill-out session here, though.

These were about the Top 10 things to do on my travel list for Amsterdam. I can’t wait until Sunday now, and I already dread how fast time will past as soon as we arrive there.

I will keep you updated.

Thanks for reading!

19.04. – 21.04.2014: Weekend in Büdingen, Hessen.

Last week we went to our family friends to visit the mother because she had a brain operation one week before. We drove on Saturday, at about 2 or 3 pm, and were happy to see her in her normal condition again. The only difference was a patch of shaved hair on her head, but it is only seen if looked closely.

We arrived in the evening. We have also prepared some food and took there with us, so they wouldn’t need to cook anything for us. The first evening was rather eventless. We played with the dogs, and I read some books. The next day was Easter Sunday. We wanted to walk through the city, because it was so sunny. First, we went to eat ice cream. My sister and I ordered an ice-cream cup with fruits, but the cup tasted like vomit :S

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After we finished with eating and drinking, we walked around the town. It is a rather old town with many historic buildings.

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Do you see the squirrel on the picture? It is climbing up very fast :’D While I shot this photo I didn’t realize there was a squirrel on the tree. Only when I edited the photo I realized that there was an animal on the photo :’D What a lucky shot!

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As we walked around, we saw a museum that displays miniature vehicles. So we went in to have a look. It was for free.

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After walking around a little bit, we got tired and thirsty, so we went to the Jerusalemer Tor to drink something in the Biergarten. On the way back we saw this cute Irish Pub.

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My brother ordered a Pils, and Pelin ordered a Cappuccino. Me and my sister ordered a Hessen Hugo. Hugo is a drink that is usually mixed with bubbly, mint leaves, and elderflower syrup. It is a tasty drink which is usually drunk during warmer days. The Hessen Hugo is mixed with cider instead of bubbly. It tastes good as well, although I like the normal one a bit more, because it is a bit more refreshening.

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My brother and me :)

In the evening, we wanted to go to the cinema first, because it was Pelin’s sister’s birthday the next day, but of course, we had this idea just at 10 pm, and we wouldn’t make it to the next screening. So we stayed at home, watched a movie and played games. It was fun, too.

The next day we prepared for the ride back home. The weather was warm and sunny in Hessen, but as soon as we reached Stuttgart it began to rain. When we got home I got ready again to go to my friend’s birthday party. It has been a few weeks since the last time I saw her. She was in Spain during the semester vacations, and before that we had exam stress (Well, I wasn’t too stressed out last semester :’D). But it was nice to catch up.

I realized that there are still a lot of sights to see in Germany :’D In October I am going to Köln for one day with an old friend from my high school days. Why? There is the Harry Potter Exhibition Tour!!! *o* There are displaying requisites from the movies. So, similar to the WB Studio Tours. Maybe those objects are actually from London, and are “touring” Europe :’D I am not so sure yet. I have to get informed a bit more until then, but I am soooo excited!!!! And I also have never been to Köln, so it will be the first time.

What about you? Are there still cities in your home country you still have to visit?

Thanks for reading.

Important Monday

Did I tell you that I joined the mentoring programme again? Last semester, I joined as mentor for an international student. I got Merve from Turkey (she has the same name as me), and we spent fun time together while exploring Stuttgart and surroundings. We also joined in a trip to Basel. Now, I have joined again, and I got Salma, a girl from Egypt. We already wrote, and she arrived in Germany yesterday. I already looking forward to meet her soon.

On Monday there is also the Meet&Greet for the ones who still don’t have a mentoring partner. My friend wants to go there, and I want to go as well, just for fun. Don’t know if it is only for the people who don’t have a partner, but I don’t think so :)

I already looking forward to it, although it is also the day in which I have to hand in my term paper. I am on page 15 now, so I have 5 pages left. And I don’t know if I have to hand it in as a copy, or if I can also send it per e-Mail. Last time when I had a seminar at that prof, I could also send it via e-mail. I’ll see. First, it has to get finished :)

How are you? Are you fine?

On thursday I met a friend of mine and we went to have lunch together, since it has been about 2 weeks we haven’t seen each other. We talked a lot. She told me some personal things and I really got sad and angry at the same time. I felt bad that I didn’t see her the last few days and weeks. And I was really thankful to knowing her and be friends with her. She asked me if I was actually fine. She asked me this, something like that not everyone asks. To be honest, I had a little break down on wednesday evening when my old laptop didn’t work. I got mad at that and at the fact that nothing, really nothing worked out this year. I started to cry and shout and throw things around. My phone almost hit my mum. Fortunately it didn’t and just landed on the sofa. After I have calmed down, I continued writing on my tablet. 

I don’t know if my friend sensed that I wasn’t okay, or just asks this question everytime now. Either way, it is important, I think, to ask your friends how they are doing. Later on my way back home I got really emotional and tried hard not to cry. 

Fortunately I was cheered up well that day. My friend showed me a funny site in which you can google everything you want in snoop-dogg-shizzle-language :’D you just have to type in ‘Gizoogle’ on google. I can recommend you to google harry potter and read tbe wikipizzle (yeah, you thought right: It is wikipedia), article about it. 

I laughed my ass off about that xD

Well, short story told: I am very thankful to have some good friends around me. And I will try to ask them this simple question more often and mean it like that as well.

Tomorrow, you can look forward for my blog post about my trip to Basel I took yesterday 30.11.2013). So I wish you all a good night!