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You know it’s a Turkish wedding when…   

Heart shaped wedding cake.

© aNadventures

When my former flat mate and dear friend announced she was getting married and asked me to be her wedding witness, I felt honoured. Of course I’ll be there, I told her and booked my flight to Izmir. Being back felt familiar and strange at the same time but I was particularly excited about witnessing my first ever Turkish wedding with the people that had become family to me when I was living in Turkey.

The Turkish culture is rich in traditions and ceremonies: What you say in whichever situation, who you serve coffee to in which way and order, what you do or do not do in public… So many things are determined by unspoken rules. That’s why I was very curious to see which traditions apply to a Turkish wedding.

The following are some of my observations. Read more…

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Spending 1.5 days in Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

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When I spotted the famous Cathedral walking into Santiago de Compostela on my thirteenth day on the Camino Portugués, I could hardly believe the experience was coming to an end. I could feel my feet slowing down their pace to make the remaining hike last as long as possible.  I felt like the adventure had only just begun and I’d have liked it to last on.

Nonetheless, I was proud to have walked the 260 kilometres all the way from Porto and I was looking forward to have my feet rest for a while. I reached the final destination with a fellow pilgrim who I’d become quite close to on the way. Standing in front of the Cathedral, we congratulated each other and took some pictures as a souvenir. Then we asked ourselves: “Is this it? What are we supposed to do now?”

Food is always a good idea.  So, on we went to treat ourselves to a nice lunch. I stayed in Santiago for one and a half days and found it to be a nice city where you can really feel the pilgrim spirit.

If you ever find yourself there (as a pilgrim) and are wondering about what to do, here you go for some ideas: Read more…

15 lessons learnt on the Camino Portugués

On my way: Feeling like Don Quijote.

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It’s been three months since I returned from my camino adventure and I still think about it often. Being out in the nature, accompanied by the wind, the soothing sound of the sea and simply being on the move, changing beds and landscapes on a daily basis have helped me get my head and thoughts sorted. Stepping out of the daily routine made me see crystal clear and gain new insights on topics that I seemed a little stuck with in the first place. Here are some simple but important lessons I learnt on the Camino Portugués, throughout the thirteen days I spent walking from Porto (Portugal) all the way up north to Santiago de Compostela (Spain):

Read more…

Every ending is a new beginning: One out of many favourites

My inner compass knows the way.

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When I started blogging in 2012, the Weekly Photo Challenge was a great source of inspiration and a fantastic way to start connecting with fellow bloggers. The first one I ever participated in was dedicated to the theme “Beyond” and many more followed as I was fond to share my interpretations with the blogging community and get my thoughts and ideas out there. Even though I didn’t participate in all of them, I knew the Weekly Photo Challenge was always there to provide inspiration, when needed. I also immensely enjoyed visiting other bloggers’ pages and seeing what they had made out of the respective challenge.

As the Daily Post staff has announced the ending of the Weekly Photo Challenge era, I simply have to participate in this final edition entitled “All-Time Favourites”. Choosing a favourite picture isn’t easy. There are so many photos I love, especially because I like the story that accompanies them. One of them is my contribution to the “Future” theme. Read more…

Top 10 food experiences on the Camino Portugués

As a foodie, I not only very much enjoyed my camino experience from a spiritual perspective but also from a culinary one as I got to try different dishes from both the Portuguese and Spanish cuisine all along the way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.

The following were my favourite ones, in the order that I ate them:

 

Read more…

My unlikely encounter with the Neuschwanstein Castle

Schloss Neuschwanstein hidden in the mist.

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Even though I was born and raised in Germany, I’ve never been to the Bavarian Oktoberfest or the famous Carnival in Cologne. Neither had I, until recently, seen the historical Disney-like Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. It was an image I knew from postcards, from the kind of calendars tourists use to buy, but visiting the castle seemed so far away, so unlikely, that it never really crossed my mind I might find myself suddenly standing right in front of it.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened. After my return from the Camino Portugués, I was hooked on being a pilgrim. I had a few spare days to spend in southern Germany, so I decided to go hiking there as well. Staying in Kempten, I drove to Füssen in the morning, which is a town close to the castle. I knew it would be somewhere around there and I started walking, following the signs. After forty minutes or so, I took out my phone to look at the castle’s location, to see how far I still needed to go. To my surprise, the phone indicated it was right in front of me. I lifted my gaze and had a look around. And there it was, majestically standing in the mist, all covered in snow amidst the mountains. It looked so beautiful I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had turned into a tourist in my own country. The sudden encounter with the castle had been an unexpected one, something I hadn’t planned. But as in many other cases, the most beautiful things in life are the ones we don’t plan, don’t you agree?

For other interpretations of Unlikely, have a look at this week’s photo challenge.

Top 7 places to spend the night on the Camino Portugués

Poster of a pilgrim spottet at Ideas Peregrinas.

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Throughout my camino experience I came to sleep in numerous different beds. Setting off in the mornings, I hardly ever knew where I would end up spending the night. So every day was a surprise. The accommodation I chose was an alternation of church run lodgings, youth hostels and privately run hostels. The costs varied between 5 to 14 euros. So all of them were quite affordable. The lodgings were different in terms of furnishing, comfort and attention. Some were not more than a mere shelter for the night but some others represented a cozy oasis to regain forces after a rough day.

These are my favourite places to spend the night on the Camino Portugués, in the order that I visited them: Read more…

What to pack for the Camino Portugués

Pilgrims on their way.

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When I decided to walk the Camino Portugués from Porto (Portugal) all the way up to Santiago de Compostela (Spain), I wondered about how to prepare for the trip and what to pack. Never having been a hiker or a pilgrim before, I sought advice online before heading to Decathlon to purchase most of the equipment. If you’re preparing for the camino yourself or are just wondering about what to take with you on such a kind of journey, here’s my packing list as well as some dos & don’ts I learnt along the way. Read more…

Lines: Walking around in Pontevedra

One of the stages of my camino experience led me to the beautiful city of Pontevedra, in the Spanish region Galicia. While walking around the historic city centre, I came upon the following collection of lines:

Walking map in Pontevedra, Spain.

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What looks like a metro map at first sign, is actually a walking map. The colourful lines show the walking distances and time estimations between the many nice spots this city has to offer. I was tempted to try them all, if it hadn’t been for the strong pain from all the previous walking.

But the idea was certainly something that struck me.

How about YOU? Have you ever come across such a walking map? Or have you followed the one in Pontevedra yourselves?

For other interpretations of Lines, have a look at this week’s photo challenge.

You know you are a pilgrim when…

Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago.

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  1. You keep a lookout for yellow arrows.
  2. You start feeling like a Hobbit on a mission.
  3. You are happy with every new stamp that fills your pilgrim pass.
  4. You have slept in countless different beds.
  5. You are grateful above average when there are hooks to hang your towel and clothes in the shower.
  6. You can pack up your belongings within minutes.
  7. You get excited when people wish you “Buen camino”.
  8. You enjoy wishing other pilgrims “Buen camino”.
  9. You think a solid waterproof poncho is one of the best inventions ever.
  10. You protect your backpack with a “plastic condom” in one of many available colours.
  11. You recognize fellow pilgrims by their rain protection.
  12. You know exactly who they are talking about when they refer to “the lady in orange” or “the Korean couple”.
  13. You cherish dry socks and the smell of washing powder.
  14. You start craving pasta and fried eggs more than usually.
  15. You are in a love-hate relationship with your hiking boots.
  16. Your feet are covered in blisters or you have experienced at least one other type of pain.
  17. You spot several signs along the way and think they are directed at you.
  18. Your mind feels ventilated by the nature and simplicity.
  19. You make friends along the way and feel you have known them forever.
  20. Your body craves walking even after you have completed all stages.

How about YOU? What makes you a pilgrim?