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My camino experience: A general overview

Bom Caminho!

© aNadventures

I left Porto on a cloudy Thursday morning. From the hostel, I followed a very long street that eventually led to the Atlantic Ocean. I had set up my mind to follow the coast line for as long as possible. In the outskirts of the city, I somehow felt stupid carrying the large backpack. Only when, after about one and a half hours of walking, the first person wished me “Bom caminho”, it started to sink in: I’m a pilgrim now. For the next days and weeks my major occupation in life would be walking, gradually making my way from the Portuguese city of Porto up north to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The Camino Portugués, the Portuguese Way of Saint James, is the second most popular pilgrimage route to the Apostle’s tomb in Santiago de Compostela. There is not just one route as, even on the Portuguese Way, there are many options to reach the final destination.

I was probably one of the least prepared pilgrims since I hadn’t looked at the route in detail before setting off. My decision to walk the camino had been a spontaneous one. Read more…

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10 things to do in Porto that cost little or no money

 

As I previously mentioned, I recently spent two days in the beautiful Portuguese city of Porto before heading north on the Caminho Português. Being in Porto felt like being in a Portuguese version of Izmir. Something about the city’s vibe made me instantly feel at ease. If you ever get a chance to visit this splendid place, here are a few recommendations on how to spend your time, especially if you are travelling on a budget:  Read more…

Smiling in Porto: The beginning of my camino adventure

Smiling window.

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As you know from my previous post, it was time for me to leave my Berlin life for a couple of weeks to embark on an adventure. I got on a plane to Porto and stayed in the Portuguese city for two days before starting to walk north towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

My first day in Porto was already splendid. I woke up to a rainy grey sky but as soon as I stepped outside the hostel, I was blessed with sunshine and a bright blue sky. I made my way to the historic city centre and strolled through the many alleys and along the coast line. I crossed the mighty Dom Luiz Bridge and faced my fear of heights. I must have walked around 20 km on my first day in Porto alone, which was a helpful preparation for the upcoming camino.

I felt my pace getting slower, my breath calming down, caressed by the sun and the joy of encountering many friendly faces. People’s smiles are often among the first things I notice when going abroad. It must be related to the weather, I tell myself. Read more…

It’s time

Credencial del Peregrino

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My mom thinks it’s time for me to focus on my career. My gynecologist thinks it’s time for me to start a family. Well, I think it’s time for me to go on an adventure.

The idea of hiking the Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James) has been in my head for quite some time already. I considered it “something I would like to do someday”.  But as I was lying awake the other night, it suddenly struck me: How about NOW? I need to get away, experience something new, breathe some fresh air and get inspired by the unknown.

So I googled the Camino Portugués, the Portuguese route, and made my decision within seconds. Read more…

5 Turkish expressions I’ve learnt while watching “Öyle bir geçer zaman ki”

Öyle bir geçer zaman ki

Photo courtesy of DiziSponsorlari.com

In a previous post, I’ve mentioned 3 Turkish TV series that will keep you up all night. Well, this winter I’ve been spending many hours captivated by Öyle bir geçer zaman ki (~ Time goes by).

This series was broadcast on Turkish TV between 2010 and 2013. It tells the story of the Akarsu family whose life changes considerably when father Ali, a captain, has an affair with a Dutch lady. Mother Cemile fights to keep the family together as one tragedy after the next unfolds. The story is set in Istanbul in the late 1960s and evolves as time goes by. Osman, the youngest son, is the one telling the events in retrospective.

Not only is the series’ story line quite interesting, we also get to learn a lot about Turkey’s historical developments throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Watching the series in Turkish has also enabled me to further improve my language skills.

Let me share the following five expressions that I’ve learnt while watching the series as they’re used quite frequently: Read more…

Sibling time and street art tours: London in June

Street art around Brick Lane.

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I had only been to London once when I was about eleven years old and all I remembered were the Buckingham Palace’s motionless guards as well as lots of walks in the rain. So when my brother invited me over last year in June, I didn’t have too many expectations about the city itself. All I wanted to do was get away from my routine for a few days, catch up with my brother who was studying there and experience London from his perspective.

I couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide. Not only did he show me the mandatory touristy places in an assertive yet relaxed manner but he also introduced me to his everyday life including his friends, his neighbourhood, the library and his favourite restaurants.

Knowing that I very much enjoy street art, he took me around Brick Lane on a Sunday. I simply loved it. It was full of people and there was a market selling all kinds of street food from across the globe. We could stroll around listening to a variety of musicians playing their tunes all while contemplating the graffiti, posters and other kinds of street art to be discovered wherever we’d lay our eyes.

These are some of the encounters I made: Read more…

So Berlin: Ignoring the rules

Berlin tv tower.

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Berlin has been my home for eight years now. I can’t say that I know it like the back of my hand because that hand keeps changing. And so does Berlin.

Being able to constantly explore and rediscover this special spirited city is something I very much enjoy. I’d like to be your tour guide and show you around the German capital’s many customs and curiosities throughout my new series of posts on this blog, So Berlin, which I’m hereby introducing.

Do not label.

© aNadventures

Let’s start with a very common trait of Berliners: Ignoring the rules. Whether it’s a sign kindly asking people not to step on the lawn, not to have any barbecues or not to label an area, it’s very likely this plea will be ignored, as you can see from the picture above. The text says: “Do not label.” Ignoring this kind of prohibitions is no offense. It’s just part of the Berlin culture. So Berlin…

For other interpretations of Tour Guide have a look at this week’s photo challenge.

Six habits of a mindful life in Turkey

Turkish carpets.

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It has almost been four years since I returned to Berlin after having lived in Izmir for eighteen months. Even though I love my city very much, life in Izmir was so different and somehow light-hearted.

As I’ve recently been paying close attention to the concept of Mindfulness, I’ve been finding more and more parallels between this state of awareness of the present moment and the level of well-being I experienced when in Turkey.

Let me introduce you to six habits that made my life in Turkey particularly mindful:

 

Tea and coffee while sitting.

© aNadventures

  1. Sitting

Before living in Turkey I’d never considered sitting a real activity. When you ask people in Germany what they’re doing, they’ll most probably say they’re working, running some errands, cleaning, doing sports etc. In Turkey though, sitting is a very common activity that includes drinking tea / coffee / both, spending time with family / friends / colleagues, chatting away or simply being. It means sitting in the present moment.

Read more…

Silence in my head

Follow the signs.

© aNadventures

 

Silence getting louder in my head

Expanding, feeling threat

A deep void I fear

Getting closer, shedding a tear

 

Silence getting louder in my head

Freedom of the mind, I never had

A deep calmness expanding

On my two feet I’m standing

 

Silence getting louder in my head

No clue of worries, nor of dread

A barrier between them and me

I neither listen, nor do I see

 

Silence getting louder in my head

Feeling peaceful, out of bed

Listening to my inner voice

It’s everyone’s personal choice

 

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

 

Smile at life

Smile at life.

© aNadventures

One of my plans for the new year is to clear out my closet and shelves to reduce my belongings to a minimum. Everything that’s neither useful, nor pretty nor necessary has to go.

In a recent clear out mission I came upon a poem that I wrote back in 2010. I didn’t even remember writing it. I decided to keep this one and to share it with you. It’s in Spanish: Read more…