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Summer Lovin’: Follow your heart

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

It’s summer – that special time of the year. Days and nights tend to be longer and brighter, the warm air caressing your skin and your senses. People smile, people enjoy themselves. Out in the sun, in a park, by a lake, in cafés… The feeling’s all over the place.

Having a stroll around one of Berlin’s popular districts the other day, I came across a torn poster that caught my attention, clearly stating to follow the heart. Only later did I notice the pair in the background.

For other interpretations of Summer Lovin’, have a look here.

It’s been two years…

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

… since I first set foot on Turkish ground. I remember it was a Sunday. I’d been anxious for this day for months. Nervous and excited alike. My one and a half year study abroad adventure in Izmir started later, in September 2012, but I had signed up for a language course in Istanbul before that. So, on July 29th 2012, I first fell in love with Turkey. Read more…

Leftovers

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What we leave behind is never gone

Things we start we should get done

By the time we know our path

We’re fairly close to the aftermath

Live intensely, do it now Read more…

Turkish Daylights: Friday prayer

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

One of the many things I miss about Turkey is the daily call for prayers. The muezzin’s voice echoes from every mosque in the country five times a day, according to the position of the sun. I got used to this reassuring background sound, to these cyclical religious hymns, even though never understood the texts since they’re in Arabic.

Friday is the Muslims’ holy day. Around noon, all religious men gather in and around the mosques and engage in prayer. I often saw them during lunch breaks in the area near the office. They would lay out their carpets, take off their shoes and bow their torsos. There’s something peaceful about these collective praying ceremonies. Read more…

May travels: Screaming for ice cream

Travelling in Germany has become so much cheaper and convenient since the liberalization of the long distance bus system. Up until the end of 2012, you had to make use of the expensive rail way network which often included over-crowded trains and considerable time delays. But now it’s possible to take busses within Germany, just the way I’m used to from my Turkish travels. You hop in, you lay back and a few hours and some mini breaks later you are at the destination of your choice. Travelling by bus may not be the fastest method of getting from A to B but you may certainly gain quite some insights into a region’s countryside as you can see the fields and towns passing by your window.

On the German highway.

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In May, I went to visit my sister in Osnabrück, a medium-sized university city in Lower Saxony. One of the highlights of my visit was that I got to try Schlecks – the best ice cream creation I’ve come across in my twenty something years as a gourmand. Read more…

Ramazan Challenge Vol. 2

 

Last summer, I set myself a challenge: Not taking in anything sweet during the holy month of Ramazan.  Time flies and the moment has come again. Tomorrow marks the first day of this religious month and Muslims all over the world will fast from sun rise to sun set, until July 27th. Not eating anything sweet is my very personal way of participating. Others call it a diet, for me it’s fasting. No chocolate, no cookies, no sugar. I must admit that given the weather conditions over here in Germany, abstaining from ice cream will be much easier than it was last year. Let’s see how it goes. I’m having my last dose of favourite Turkish chocolate and cookies today. May the holy month of Ramazan bring reflection, peace and self-restraint to all of us.

 

Turkish Daylights: Breakfast time!

 

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Turkish breakfasts are the best. They are simple but complete. Your palate will fall in love with the incredible green and black olives, simit (sesame ring), fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, various types of cheese, sucuk (a kind of sausage – not my favourite though), fried vegetables, egg creations, jams, honey and lots of çay. You might even get used to the French fries.

Sundays are particularly suitable for an extended breakfast with family and friends, either prepared at home or served in a restaurant.

Afiyet olsun!

Extra thoughts

If you walk around the streets of Berlin, you may notice some squared golden plaques carefully embedded into the cobble stones every here and there. They are positioned in front of the houses that were inhabited by Jewish citizens during the Nazi regime. There generally is a name and birth date as well as an indication about where the person was deported to and killed. These sad reminders of Germany’s worst historic events aim at commemorating the millions of innocent people that were murdered in Nazi Germany.

Max and Pauline.

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As I was walking past two of these golden plaques the other day, I noticed a little extra: Two roses someone had carefully placed next to the names. It made me stop and contemplate the plaques for a moment. I think it was a kind gesture to pay tribute to these people in this way.

This is to Max and Pauline. Whatever their story might have been, may they rest in peace.

For other interpretations of “Extra, Extra”, have a look here.

April travels: Lisboa

As the three first months of the year were my last three months in Turkey, I dedicated my travel time to getting to know new places over there (Eskişehir, Manisa and Izmir).

Being back in Germany hasn’t kept me from exploring, though. There’s still so much world to see out there – places close and far to put my feet on. In April, I was lucky to take a family trip to Lisboa (Lisbon), the Portuguese capital.

Never having been to Portugal before, I knew little about what to expect. I associated the place with sun and its green and red flag. That’s about it.

Having little expectations is probably one of the easiest ways of having a great trip. My family and I don’t do much planning before a journey and we rather see where each day takes us. This method served us well throughout our short vacation to Portugal and I would like to share some assorted recommendations on what to do, eat and see if you have a few days to spend in Lisbon. Read more…

The German bill

Who's paying for the meal?

© aNadventures

If you ever visit Turkey you’ll feel like a VIP. That’s because you’ll be treated like a king or a queen. Turkey is recognized as being one of the most hospitable places on earth. You’ll generally be received with open arms and huge smiles and be offered coffee and çay wherever you go. I once asked a Turk why foreigners are treated in such a special way. His reply was: “Foreigners are guests. And guests are sent by Allah. They are a gift that make our days brighter.“ I found this to be a nice explanation. Read more…

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