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Creepy monk

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

I love flea markets. Striving through alleys filled with antique items telling stories. Rummaging in counters full of books and all sorts of stuff we actually don’t need but that’s nice to look at. Finding inspiration for home decorations and gift ideas. This sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon pastime, just after an extensive brunch.

Berlin is a great place for visiting flea markets. The most popular one is the one at Mauerpark. I personally prefer the smaller, less touristy ones such as the flea markets at Boxhagener Platz, Straße des 17. Juni or Wintherfeldplatz.

Last Sunday, I went to a flea market near Fehrbelliner Platz which I also quite liked. I even encountered an item matching this weeks’s Photo Challenge. The monk pictured above just looks perfectly creepy with his glass in one hand, the bottle-opener in the other hand and that dodgy smile of his.

Do YOU like flea markets? Which one is your favourite? And what’s the creepies thing you’ve ever come across at a flea market?

For other interpretations of Creepy have a look here.

A lemon a day keeps the wasps away

Summer time is wasp time. All of you with a sweet tooth may have wondered how to keep those annoying little creatures from flying about your meals.

Well, here’s a solution I recently came across at a Turkish restaurant:

Just take a lemon slice and garnish it with cloves. This combination will make the beasts leave in no time. I was amazed by this trick and have tried it out at home as well. It seems to really work.

What do YOU do to keep the wasps away? Feel free to share your ideas.

Turkey beneath my feet

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

It’s been far over a year now since I returned from my 1.5 year Turkey adventure. This experience has shaped me so much though, that I still find myself saying “when in Turkey“ at least once a day. The Turkey anecdotes keep accompanying me wherever I go. They’ve become part of my story.

The picture I’m sharing today shows one of the last glimpses I got on Turkish soil shortly after take-off – and right before reverse culture shock hit me. Beneath my feet I could spot the Izmir districts of Karşıyaka and Bostanlı with their respective ferry boat docks. It all looked like a toy scenery from my window seat. Even the busiest shopping streets seemed calm and deserted.

I still find it fascinating how we just board a plane, eat a sandwich and get off somewhere completely different. It sometimes all happens so fast that our soul seems to need considerable extra time to adjust. A year and five months should be more than enough. I can’t help it though. When in Turkey, oh when in Turkey.

For other interpretations of Beneath Your Feet, have a look here.

Live long and wear it with a smile

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Expressing yourself in Turkish feels like drawing with your tongue. There are multiple phrases that don’t have an equivalent in other languages but that give us an insight into how the Turkish culture is struck, in quite a graphical way.

When I lived in Turkey, I noticed that there is an expression for almost any situation in everyday life.

Let’s say you have visitors arriving at your home or your office. You would greet them by saying hoş geldiniz (~ you came pleasantly). They would reply with the following words: hoş bulduk (~ we found it pleasant).

When they leave, you’ll say güle güle gidin (~ go with a smile). They will answer by wishing you to stay pleasantly: hoşça kalın.

In between the greeting and the leaving part, there most probably will be some (or rather a lot of) eating and drinking. Your visitors will be likely to praise what you serve them, if it’s homemade, by saying elinize sağlık (~ health to your hands). You’ll respond like this: Read more…

10 fairly reasonable reasons to love Berlin

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© aNadventures

I’ve been living in Berlin (including a 1.5 year Turkey intermezzo) for five and a half years now. No matter where else I go in the world and how long I’m gone for, returning to Berlin always feels like coming home. The city has its very own spirit. Here are ten (rather personal) reasons to love Berlin:

1. Diversity. In Berlin you’re surrounded by all sorts of cultures and languages.

2. You can truly be yourself. No one cares how you dress, what you do or what you don’t do. Just live and let live.

3. There are cellar and roof top bars – you choose where and how you want to celebrate life.

4. Living costs are relatively low compared to other European capitals.

5. A ride in the metro is not just a ride in the metro. It’s a cinema on wheels (cf. #2). Read more…

Colour hunting in Zürich

This week’s photo challenge inspired me to go on a photo tour in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.

Here’s what I came up with:

Red: The Swiss flag blowing in the wind, attached to a boat on Lake Zürich. This reminded me of the ferry boats in Izmir and Istanbul that I used to take as a common means of transportation. The colours of the Turkish and the Swiss flag are the same which probably enhances this association.

Orange: Migros – one of Switzerland’s two largest supermarket chains that I first came across when living in Turkey.

Yellow: The zebra crossings are yellow over here (in Germany they’re white). I was quite surprised by the fact that cars actually stop when you’re standing near them (in Turkey they don’t).

Green: Schnägg is the Swiss German term for Read more…

Ramazan Challenge Vol. 3

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© aNadventures

It’s that time of the year again: The holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish) has started as of today. For thirty days, Muslims all around the world will be fasting from dawn to dusk.

I was first introduced to these practices throughout my 1.5 year experience in Turkey. Apart from being a religious tradition, Ramazan is pretty much a cultural event as well. I was told that the fasting is mainly about self-reflection, self-control and understanding the misery of the less fortunate ones amongst us. In Turkey, even those who are not particularly religious may join the fasting in their very own way, for example by avoiding alcohol or cigarettes during Ramazan. No one is obliged to fast. It’s a personal decision. Children, elderly people, the ill and pregnant women are excepted anyway.

Those of you who have been following my aNadventures for a while may know that with the occasion of Ramazan, I annually set myself a challenge: Read more…

Bluejay is out of town

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

”Hey, this is Bluejay. I need to leave town for a few days and I was wondering if you could take care of Bob in the meantime… Ummm, yeah, that’s about it. Give me a call when you hear this.”

As I was listening to my friend’s voice on the mailbox I thought Sure, why not? and that’s how Bob and I ended up spending a weekend together.

Bluejay dropped him off at my place and the first thing Bob did was smell my feet. Then he looked up at me and wagged his tail. He ran past me and inspected every room. I found out that he particularly enjoyed the view from the balcony. We spent a few hours watching the neighbours down in the garden. I told him about the lady that spreads all the rumours, about the retired teacher across the hall and the soon to move in couple. Bob attentively listened to every one of my words and kept on wagging his tail. Read more…

Drinks on the way

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Every year, over the Whitsun weekend, Berlin hosts its famous Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures). It’s basically a huge multinational open air party full of music, dancing and culinary pleasures reflecting the diversity of Berlin. The event culminates in a large street parade with performances from all corners of the globe.

This year, as my friends and I were making our way through the crowds, I spotted a barber’s shop that had promptly been transformed to sell cold drinks. I thought this was a genius idea. It reminded me of the simplicity I had come across in Turkey so many times. As I was preparing to take a photo of the scene, the barbers / bar men proudly posed in front of their newly created business.

For other interpretations of On the way, have a look at this week’s Photo Challenge.

Turkish Daylights: Water

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Recently I found myself comforting a dear friend who was crying uncontrollably. One of the first things that came to my mind was to fetch a glass full of water and to make her drink a few sips to make her calm down.

The next day, when my friend’s sorrow had faded, she jokingly told her mum about the incident and that I’d brought her some water: “No one has ever given me water before when I’ve been upset. I was wondering why she was doing it. Maybe to recover the tears I had cried?”

Recurring to water in such a situation is without doubt something I learnt in Turkey. I remember being surprised myself, at first, when the answer to fainting or crying seemed to be water.

In the Turkish culture water is of special importance. Read more…

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