Thursday, 21 July 2016

The right time to travel to Egypt is NOW - Prejudice vs Reality

"But are you not worried?" is a sentence I have heard about 30 times prior to my journey to Hurghada in may. No, I was not worried. I was not going to travel cross country and besides, I have already heard of Egypts high safety measurements in tourist areas. I felt completely safe going there and was proven to be absolutely right with this conclusion. The number of extremist related terror attacks has been going back by far and especially places like Hurghada are actually super safe.

Worried bout going there? Don't be. We had a feeling of high security from the moment we left the plane with massive security checks both on airports and streets (and hotel complex entrances). People are very friendly and go out of their ways for tourists. You need to understand, this is the main income for the country and it's suffering from the latest lack of tourists. I find it very unreasonable and hard to understand. Egypt is a lovely, amazing country with a wide range of possibilities. From a relaxing beach holiday, to a nile cruise, seeing the Pyramids or simply a diving holiday - there are endless possibilites.

I myself have stayed at the beach for a week thanks to airline Germania , and can only say it was one the greatest holidays I have ever had. Truly relaxing, we were treated like queens, food was lovely (no problems with water or anything, however, we stayed in a hotel [ Makadi Spa ] that is paying a lot of attention and uses water filters for its guests), staff was overly friendly. From horse riding in the desert and at the beach, to snorkelling all day everyday , to swimming with dolphins (yes, literally, out in the blue sea) i had gained some experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Have a look yourself and be convinced. Btw: 41 degrees in Egypt does not feel as hot as 28 degrees in Germany - the air is so much more dry that you simply don't sweat and there is always a mild breeze. May is a great month to travel there.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Brussels - unexpectedly friendly

What defines a great city? Is it the architecture, nightlife, history, the sights ? For Brussels i can say: it is the people. I have been to Belgium several times in my life, most of the that time was spend in beautiful fairytale city Bruges. So with not too many expectations i made my way to Brussels - by car - to visit a friend that I have knwown since I was 14 but never met in "real life" outside of the internet. I was hoping we would also get along that well in the outernet world and boy we did! It was like we have met so many times before and felt natural! I loved staying, laughing, talking, dancing with that girl in such a vibrant city. It didn't even take 30 minutes in the city until I realized how helpful, genuinely nice people are. I'm used to people ignoring each other in big cities or capitals even but there I got the impression everyone is kind of looking at each other and keeping an eye out for each other. When you look lost, it won't take long till somebody offers you help. The cashier at the supermarket will pack your bag, the car will stop for you, if you have questions people will go out of their way to help you. I felt very much at home very quickly. There was even a moment when I was just walking in a random park in Brussels with my ear plugs in listening to music when this guy and his daughter look at me and i can tell they say something so i approach them and pull the plugs because i think they are tourists looking for help and he tells me he was actually looking at the park and ducks but that i look 'marvelous and beautiful' too. Dont remember the last time my face turned that red . What makes Brussels is their people. I fell in love with it so much that I'll be back next week. Right after I come back from Egypt, where I am headed in two days thanks to airline Germania (will love you forever ):-) and I can't wait.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The dream of flying

Being an aquarius, it isn't hard to guess what i love most: my freedom. But it is often hard to shake off difficulties at work, personal struggles, financial struggles, anything that is running wild in your mind. Easy to guess why flying caught my interest - there is no greater feeling of freedom and nothing that can make you "let go" more easily. Although I have always enjoyed flying (in a big passenger plane that is, mostly Ryanair..ugh!) and anything regarding aviation it only hit me few years ago. I was reading a book called "Dance with wings" by Amelia Carr about a woman pilot and the story of her life as a pilot and her love during a time of war - i can only recommend reading it, it's such an amazing captivate story about a very strong woman. That's when I really started getting the idea of informing myself : what does it take to become a pilot? One of the first things I found out is that first of all it takes a minimum of 10000 €. Which frankly speaking, I don't have. Since then the whole idea was but in the back of my mind. A year later i met the step father of my step dad (ya i know ), who has been a glider pilot all his life. Whenever we get together now the whole family sighs, mentally waves us goodbye and says "later guys" since they know we will spend the rest of the day talking planes no matter what is happening around us. I find myself more interested in motor planes and not glider planes (although it would be the cheaper option). Personally i find myself flirting with Cessna's and Piper's a lot more. It was this year that i started realizing fulfilling this dream is inevitable for me in my life. I have different goals than other people. I don't save money for a brand new car, for a house or for furniture. I don't see myself with children, I never have - I have chosen another life. I only ever saved money for journeys . So this is the first time I am actually dedicated on saving my money for something else and not a journey - yes, I want to get my pilot license. Yes, it will probably take years until i have saved up all that money that i need but i have a strong will and belief. The whole idea was sealed when i took my grandmother on a plane this year. She always mentioned how she was sad that one thing she never did in her life - flying. I kept that in the back of my mind and last christmas i gave her - not my heart, she always had that, but a flight voucher for a sight seeing flight over Leipzig on a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. I am super glad to say - she bloody loved it. The weather was great, blue sky and sun, mild, hardly any wind. We actually killed two (three) birds with one stone. We took my step mum on board who has never had a flight in her life either and me - well i got to sit in the front and interviewed the pilot about what he does and about how to achieve the license. About the money factor he just laughed and said "Well some people buy a new car, others make their dream come true and get their pilot license!" I looked out of the front window, placed my hands on the yoke and i knew. If you need more reasons on why to become a private pilot, check the pictures below.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Discovering the Baltic states - Latvia and Lithuania

Why go there? Well this was kind of an odd one. Let me sum up how the decision was made:

Me: I want to go somewhere over easter, maybe Rome.

Friend 1: but we have both been to Rome. Why not Morocco?

Me: I don't want to go there.

Friend 1: Ok how about Scandinavia?

Me: My bank account says no. Wait a minute. There is that other "North Europe" too...

Friend 1: Great

Friend 2: I want to come with you!

Friend 3: Hi guys, just letting you know, I booked my flight to Riga, I'm coming with you.

That's pretty much exactly how it went. Two months later we landed in Riga and fell in love with the city. We felt at home. Everything was nice, people were friendly and things were CHEAP. I mean CHEAP CHEAP. Cheap as in 3,99€ for a proper meal or 1 € for a drink or dessert or like 60 € for our rental car that we hired fully insured for six days. As a German, that's like paradise. Combine that with the excitement of a discovering two countries you never really heard about because "nobody goes there" (why??? Change your mind people, both countries are super interesting!) and you get a great trip. Speaking about food - amazing. Go for restaurants that serve national cuisine because you will totally fall for bread juice, filled dumplings and red beet soup. Sigh...

I only spend two days in Riga so i can't say too much about what to see and where to go but do check out the lovely city centre , the riverbanks in sunshine and at night time too - it's great.

The second day we drove down to Lithuania. Driving in the baltic states is fun. It seems the only rule that reigns here is "there is no rule". Completely normal to make way for other cars on a two lane road by driving on the emergency lane. Well if a car is suddenly coming your way like a ghost driver because he is overtaking someone - that's exactly what is expected from you - make way! But everyone looks out for each other, it's cute. Really.

Vilnius was nice. The old town convinced us even more than Riga did, yet we prefered Riga's "small town charme". When in Vilnius , do take the walk up to the tower - you get rewarded with a brilliant view.

What i enjoyed even more than the city was the small places like Trakai castle near Vilnius or the famous hill of crosses ( great energy at this place) . My favourite however was the Curonian Spit. We went there by ferry ( 14 euro for a car and 4 people return ) and drove down to Nida. The dunes will make you think you are in Egypt. Such a breathtaking landscape! The Curionian Spit has a border. Basically half of it is Russian land, the other half Lithuanian. Don't go to the border without a Visa. Seriously, don't even try. We tried - it was a bad experience. If you want to get the experience of being 2 feet into Russia then expect to get shouted at by a furious Russian officer.

I seriously hope more people will want to discover these countries. They deserve the tourism and are totally underrated . What are you waiting for?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Lord almighty i feel my temperature rising - Meet Elvis...

Well, technically speaking Grahame Patrick, not Elvis. But he does come really close and so does his tour plan: 80 shows within less than 5 months speak for itself. The show is called "Elvis - The Musical" and they are currently touring Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Being a tribute and specifically - Elvis - fan, i had to go, it was my christmas present for myself. First row, seat one. I met some Elvis tributes myself in the past - Shawn Klush (who can not be topped by anyone, sorry) and a guy from the same city I live in and what I could tell so far is that a part of all these guys actually does become Elvis. "You really are like him" is a thing you might really be able to say about them. Rockstars on stage, quiet and charming off stage. Patrick and the whole cast and crew made time go back to the sixties last night and it was truly fabulous. 10/10 - do go and see it.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Re-Discovering a hobby that enriched my life

Sometime last year i was just randomly going to the shop next door to satisfy my food addiction but then i saw they also had a special offer for A3 paper and charcoal pencils. Now i must say i used to draw when i was around 19-20 , but now i was 25 and didn't touch these things for five years but i took them home with me regardless. These things spend a lot of time in the dark dungeons of the shelf below my couch after that, we are talking months here but one night i DID have the mood to get them out and get started again. The joy and pleasure this hobby gave me can hardly be defined in words. I can only recommend it to everyone who feels like they need to set their mind free sometimes. Now i can't imagine life without drawing and sketching portraits anymore. Yep, very specific, very weird but i'm really not into anything else but portraits. I love people, i love faces , i love...actors. sigh... I am still very far from being a pro and phone pictures look aweful but here are some examples...

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A quick trip to England

I love . Or Seriously, it's the best website for a nice and short holiday. Groupon offers really nice and cheap restaurant deals, hotel deals, adventure deals, just have a look yourself. Recently i go there quite often to just see whats on offer and the last thing i booked was a weekend stay in a wonderful hotel near Wakefield, England. It was just 3 nights but really nice. The deal included breakfast (i hate German breakfasts, but i love English ones. Why dont we have hash browns and sausages and beans in the morning here?? WHY? Come on Germany!) , dinner and the use of the spa (pool, whirlpool, fitness room). In the daytime i visited Yorkshire Sculpture park and Manchester (also the Museum of science and technology, did i ever mention i love aviation?). My plans for my short September holiday starting in two weeks have been kinda crushed so let's just see what the next groupon deal brings...