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Impressions of La Alhambra

Thank you! – Danke! – ¡Gracias! – Merci! – Teşekkürler!

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Today is a special day. This is not just any post. It’s the 200th post I publish on this blog. Already?! Wow! Let’s celebrate! I invite you all to a virtual glass of çay and of course there’s lots of chocolate as well. Afiyet olsun, everyone, enjoy!

I’d like to thank you all for following, reading and commenting on my aNadventures. Throughout the last years, this blog has been a great platform for expressing my thoughts and ideas, for playing around with words and pictures and for getting to know like minded bloggers from all around the world:

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

That’s you. Ranging from Afghanistan to Zambia  ̶  danke for being out there. If you weren’t, I’d probably write it all down anyway but it’s just much more fun to actually have a network to share my impressions with, to interact with and to be inspired by.

A special gracias also goes out to Read more…

Enveloped in our own reality

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© aNadventures

In the process of clearing out my room, I just came across an old notebook. Amongst lots of Turkish phrases and framed in bright colours, I recognized my own hand writing stating the following words:

“Try to see people in their own context.”

We tend to be absorbed by our own way of understanding the world. We sometimes don’t dare thinking out of the box and are caught in a kind of tunnel perspective. We assume that our own truth ought to be everyone else’s.

Take the above picture, for instance. What do you see? A beach, some buildings, palm trees and two dozens of boats? Read more…

Oh, this happy life

I had my first ever kebab when I was about fifteen. The taste of fresh pita bread stuffed with red coleslaw, tomatoes, cucumbers and crisp warm pieces of lamb meat all topped with a savoury yoghurt sauce made my palate fall in love with the dish quite instantly. I kept returning and became a regular customer at the local Dönerbude (German for kebab place) in the city I grew up in.

This morning, as I was strolling through the still sleepy streets of that very same city, I came upon a cozy Turkish coffee shop that opened up recently. In the mood of Turkish breakfast, I approached the place and there he was: Mustafa, the former kebab shop owner. Even after all these years, he recognized me, beaming one of those huge smiles so characteristic of him. The kebab place had been passed on to other hands and he was now proudly showing me around his new coffee shop.

I told him I’d been living in Turkey for a while and he was both surprised and pleased to see me speaking Turkish to him now. Breakfast and çay were served, smiles exchanged, more çay.

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© aNadventures

It’s been a little over a year now since I returned from my 1.5 year Turkey adventure. That experience has shaped me in so many ways and I often find myself recalling those happy moments spent over there, just enjoying the Turkish way of life.

Sitting in the coffee shop this morning, listening to the chatter of some other customers (obviously regulars), sipping my çay, watching the people passing by from my window seat, having the sun rays of a beautiful spring day caress my cheeks, I felt teleported back to Turkey.

Mustafa introduced me to the other customers. Read more…

Motion: Just jump on the train

Life consists of a series of motions taking us from one point to the next. Sometimes we travel in a group, sometimes all by ourselves. The road may get bumpy at places. We might even have to swim to cross certain currents or leap from tree to tree when having lost ground contact. Leaving our comfort zone is frightening but exciting. Motion creates adventures which are certainly not always the way we expected things to be. The journey is worthwhile though and we end up right where we’re supposed to arrive. Sometimes we just have to take risks and jump on a train without knowing its destination.

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© aNadventures

Here you can get a glimpse of a spectacular train route I’ve found myself on recently. It’s the Albula railway line in Switzerland. This line with its many tunnels and bridges has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to book a seat in the panorama wagon with its extended window size to enjoy the splendid view to the fullest. Enjoy the ride!

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

Unrush your world: A marketing approach embraced by Turkey’s Yeni Rakı brand

When I first came across this advertisement poster in Berlin’s district of Kreuzberg, it made me smile:

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

There it was, rakı, Turkey’s traditional alcoholic drink, being branded as a beverage to be enjoyed among friends to escape the fast pace of today’s daily routine: Slow is our luxury. I was smiling because I recognized a pattern in contemporary advertisement appealing to the consumers’ desire to slow down, to enjoy every moment to the fullest and to be among peers.

Having lived in Turkey myself for a considerable amount of time, I found the spirit of unrushing one’s world and sharing fitting to the Turkish way of life. I was surprised to find it paired with an alcoholic product, though. This was my first reaction to Yeni Rakı’s new marketing campaign.

In the course of the last few weeks, I started to notice the advertisement more and more scattered across Berlin announcing the Spirit of Istanbul festival which was to take place in Kreuzberg on March 14th.

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© aNadventures

I was curious to see what it was all about so I joined the party. Read more…

Turkish Daylights: Pazar

Kilo bir lira, kilo bir lira! I’m making my way through a mass of people. Buyurun, buyurun!  Spring has arrived and the late afternoon sunrays tickle me through the tissue umbrellas extended along the lane. Kampanya! It smells of people, vegetables and garments. It smells of life.

It’s been almost a year now since I last walked through my favourite Turkish pazar in Özkanlar, a part of Izmir’s Bornova district. I remember it very vividly, though. Every Saturday, my Turkish flat mates and I would go there to buy our groceries for the week: A kilo of onions, two kilos of potatoes, another two of tomatoes, fresh green and black olives, cucumbers, eggplants and green peppers, carrots, lemons, eggs, white cheese and yufka dough for preparing börek, a traditional Turkish pastry.

After taking it all back to the flat I’d generally return to the pazar to have a look at the latest clothes collection and accessories. The vendors already knew me and were often in for a discount. One of them even gave me his number in case I’d need anything and I promised to stop by again once I’d be back in Turkey.

I must admit that the first time I visited a Turkish pazar or “bazaar”, as they are called in English, I was quite overwhelmed by the crowd, the smells, the noise, the language. Read more…


Rule your mind

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© aNadventures

2014 Travel Wrap Up

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© aNadventures

Travelling has always been an inspiring experience to me. You never know what and who you’ll encounter when on the road and you return home with a suitcase full of memories and ideas. Breaking out of the daily habits may be helpful for organizing one’s thoughts, putting things into perspective and gaining new insights.

Last year, I took up the challenge of undertaking a trip every month. The destinations were varied. Sometimes I boarded a plane, sometimes a train or a bus, sometimes I walked. I explored cities near and far. There is no need to cross an ocean to seek adventures. Even the neighbourhood may be turned into an exciting place of exploration. So I grabbed every opportunity to get to know parts of Turkey and Germany, my countries of residence in 2014, as well as other places beyond. Let me tell you: Family, friends and food were almost always involved.

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© aNadventures

Here’s where I went:


January: Eskişehir

February: Manisa

March: Izmir

April: Lisboa Read more…

Word repetitions in the Turkish language

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© aNadventures

As I recently called my grandmother who lives in Colombia, I found myself speaking Spanish in a way that felt strangely unnatural: Sí sí, claro claro, bueno bueno…

It took me a moment to realize what was happening. I was speaking Spanish and yet embedding it into a Turkish structure.

Upon reflecting on it, I have noticed that repetitions are quite common in the Turkish way of expressing oneself.

Here are some examples:

Repetitions as a means of emphasis

A: Bizimle gelmek ister misin?

     (Would you like to come with us?)

B: Olur olur.

     (Alright (x2) [strongly agreeing].) Read more…


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