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2014 Travel Wrap Up

© aNadventures

© 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.

© aNadventures

© 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…

Being an exchange student in Izmir

Photo courtesy: Stephanie

Photo courtesy: Stephanie

If you’ve been following aNadventures for a while, you may know that I was lucky to spend 1.5 years as an exchange student in Izmir, Turkey. I recently talked to Stephanie, a friend from my school who also chose to study abroad in Izmir. I asked her about her experience so far and she shared some interesting insights:

Why did you choose to spend a semester in Izmir?

For my exchange semester I was looking for a country with a contrasting and challenging culture. Turkey seemed perfect, as on the one hand it differs quite a lot from Germany, on the other hand there are still many connecting factors in German-Turkish relations and I was curious to explore them from the opposite point of view. Besides, it was a big advantage, that although not being part of the European Union, Turkey participates in the Erasmus program.

Photo courtesy: Stephanie

Photo courtesy: Stephanie

I have to admit that when I thought about Turkey, it was Istanbul that immediately came to my mind. After talking to friends, however, who had experienced both, Izmir and Istanbul, I decided to apply for Izmir, as everyone was praising the city for its quality of life.

What are your impressions after your first months in Turkey?

Meanwhile I have been in Turkey for 2.5 months, but right from the beginning I felt “home” here. Read more…

Izmir: A source of serenity

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© aNadventures

Throughout my time in Turkey, I experienced many moments of serenity. There’s something soothing about the country and its people, some force that keeps reminding me that life is beautiful.

The city of Izmir was my home for one and a half years. It was love at first sight. I instantly knew I’d feel at ease there. One of my favourite places is the area by the clock tower, Izmir’s most famous monument and meeting point. I’d often go there and just sit, reflecting on my life and observing the numerous bypassers. I’d feel the sun on my skin and watch the pigeons flying by. Regardless of whether it was day or night, any time I’d pass by the clock tower, I’d stop and contemplate it, taking a mind picture and feeling a smile in my chest.

For more interpretations of Serenity have a look at this week’s photo challenge.

Thank you 2014, welcome 2015!

2014 was a special year, a great one, not only because 14 is my favourite number.

A year ago this time I wouldn’t have imagined all the turns my life would take in just one year. I was still in Turkey then and couldn’t picture life elsewhere. By now, being back in Berlin feels so natural (and fabulous) again.

In 2014, I experienced reverse culture shock, I closed circles and opened new chapters, took my time, travelled near and far. My return to Canada after ten years was unforgettable. In 2014, I made spending quality time with my dear friends and family a priority. I discovered that those who really matter will always stand beside me unconditionally – a precious certainty.

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Colombia participated in the FIFA World Cup and did extremely well, making every Colombian on this planet proud. Germany took home the cup which was also epic. Read more…

December Travels: Merry Christmas in Northern Germany

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© aNadventures

One of the things I actually missed when I was living in Turkey was Christmas. I mean, there’s Kirismas but it’s just not the same. I missed the German Christmas, especially the time from December 1st up until the 24th, with its Advent calendar where you get to open a present every day, the St. Nikolaus tradition, the Christmas markets, the mulled wine, sausages, cookie baking, cookie eating, the cozy evenings with friends. So I caught up on all of that this year and enjoyed every second of it. Read more…

Reviewing NaBloPoMo 2014

November has been a special month full of travels, encounters and, most notably, writing.

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

For the second time, I’ve participated in the National Blog Writing Month (NaBloPoMo) challenge, which consists of delivering daily posts to my blog. I must admit, I couldn’t quite keep up with the daily schedule due to insufficient internet access on the road as well as a fever that knocked me out for a few days. But I managed to catch up and there now is a total of thirty November posts on aNadventures, one for each day of the month. I don’t know if that counts as successfully accomplishing the challenge but it doesn’t really matter to me. All that matters is that I got to write and that it was a rewarding experience. I also interacted with a lot of fellow bloggers whom I didn’t know a month ago. I’ve found new sources of inspiration and got insights into vast topics that I’m now following with interest and curiosity.

Here’s what I’ve written about throughout NaBloPoMo 2014: Read more…

The mysterious bit – Part 2

You may have asked yourself what THIS was all about:

© aNadventures

© aNadventures

Well, it’s time to unveil the mystery. As you may have noticed, food plays quite an important role in Turkish everyday life. People gather over food (and çay!) to discuss all sorts of matters. It’s just in the center of the culture. And that’s great!

Every region has its own traditional meals. I was lucky to try many of them first hand throughout my Turkey Travels. One of my trips led me to İnegöl near Bursa. The town is famous for its köfte (meatballs). To my surprise, as we were arriving, my friend pointed this out to me: Read more…

Best Burgers across Germany: A selection

A burger isn’t just a burger. It’s happiness between two slices of bread. Everyone has their own interpretation of it. You don’t necessarily have to be a “meatophile”. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a vegetarian burger as well, such as leaving out the meat and replacing it by assorted vegetables, halloumi cheese and various sauce creations.

This year, I’ve tried burger places across Germany on several occasions and I hereby proudly present you the three winners that convinced my palate.

#1 Berlin Burger International (BBI)

Berlin Burger International is a stand not much larger than a caravan in Berlin’s Neukölln district. A handful of gentlemen works at a flaming grill making your fondest burger wishes come true.  Bacon, fresh guacamole sauce, goat cheese, caramelized onions, crispy chicken, halloumi cheese and of course pure beef… They have it all and the queue says it all. The food is certainly worth the wait. Just make sure to queue up before you’re actually starving and you’ll be fine. The burger prices range between 5€ and 7.50€. Make sure to try the delicious chillie-cheese fries as well. There are a number of benches to enjoy your burger outside and believe it or not, they’re even full throughout the winter months. Just beware of pick pockets in the area. But again, great burgers and one of my favourite food discoveries of the year. Read more…

November Travels #2: Lots of meat in München and Freistadt

After a productive and insightful week in Düsseldorf full of (food) encounters, a quick stop-over back in Berlin including some kebab-testing and a visit to the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, my second November Travels led me to München in Bavaria (Southern Germany) and Freistadt, a small town in Austria.

Never having been to München (Munich) before, this was quite an interesting trip. I had heard of the famous Oktoberfest and seen pictures of people wearing the traditional clothing and all that but actually being in the city was quite special. It felt like being abroad. People talk differently down there. I like their accent. The city is quite small, compared to Berlin, and the center allows for on-foot explorations.

Should you ever have a stop-over down there, I recommend you to: Read more…

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