Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Keeping up with October Blog Angels


So this month I was a Blog Angel for the second time. If you missed out on all the excitement, please click here and here and here to get up to speed on this amazing project! Since October is at its end, and my birthday is around the corner it is time for the final post on this project and a link up hosted by Rosie from Craftbotic

To be honest I feel like I haven't been the best Blog Angel.... October went by so fast and for my feeling I literally couldn't keep up with Kaitlyn

Keeping up with Kaitlyn

But I did visit her blog as often as I could and left some comments, hopefully she found them useful and even more important I hope she enjoyed them. And learnt that she/her parents have a beach house! Which is totally awesome, I am so jealous!!!! 

I will keep up with Kaitlyn for the future because her blog is just nice! And who knows, maybe there will come a day we can actually meet! That would be awesome!!!

As for my blog angel; Breenah, I wanna thank her for being my Angel! And thank you for all the effort and support!

How did you all experience the October Blog Angel round?! Hopefully till next time!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The bridge between Europe and Asia!

Last weekend I was in Istanbul for the third time already! I was there for a wedding of a colleague of my boyfriend and it was pretty awesome! There were about 200 people, all dressed very very beautiful! Especially the women wore the most gorgeous dresses and had their hair and make-up done. You would never see this amount of glamor at a Dutch wedding! The wedding wasn't your traditional Turkish wedding, it was very comparable to a wedding here, except for the music! Below some picture to give you an impression what it looked like:

Since this was my third time I promised Rosie from Craftbotic that I would make a little Istanbul tour guide for her so she know where to go and what to do when she goes to Istanbul. 

I tried to make top 8 of things I would advise you all to do (in random order)! Why not a top 10? Well because to is always a top 10 which is boring....

1) Topkapi palace
This is a beautiful place where you can see a lot of treasures of the time the Sultans ruled Turkey. There is a treasury room, a Harem where you can have a look and a beautiful view on the Bosporus.

2) Basilica Cisterna
This is a beautiful and very old underground water reservoir.
3) Grand Bazar
Okay,this is a place that you should see but it does require some mental preparation... The Grand Bazar is very crowded, there are a lot of tourists and a lot of pushy sales people.... But if you leave the main road/shopping street and wander through the narrow streets and take your time to look at all the different products, stop for a drink at one of the cafe's you will see it is not too bad... actually it is a beautiful place! One tip... all the products that you see that are supposed to be from a famous brand are fake! So please do not buy it.... The salesmen will try to sell you everything and they will shout at you and ask you if you want to buy something... if you are not interested, just be polite and say "no thank you" instead of just running away. 
But there are some nice textile products you can buy, and there is even an area all the in the back of the bazaar where they sell the most gorgeous fabrics which are also very affordable!

4) Sultanahmet area
This is the most well know and touristy area of Istanbul. This is the area where there are a lot of restaurant and shops with souvenirs. This is also the area where you can find the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Cami) and the Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya). This is for sure a beautiful area where you feel like you are in the Aladdin movie! There is also an area behind the Blue Mosque which is also very nice! It is a bit more quiet, and there are a lot of restaurants and hotels. I think that if you are looking for a hotel this is a very good location!

5) Ferry boat trip
One of the things we wanted to do was visit the Dolmabahçe Palace. I believe this palace is mostly famous of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey (he is still very loved in Turkey), who used this palace as his summer residence.  To go there from the European side the easiest, fastest and cheapest way if to go by boat. This is also a very nice trip across the Bosporus! When we arrived at the palace the line was so long we decided not to go there eventually but still the boat trip was so worth it!

6) Taksim + Istikal cd
Taksim a.k.a. the heart of Istanbul. Basically Taskim itself is a hugh square on the Asian side of Istanbul. The square itself it not that exciting... but from the square you can walk to a huge shopping street called: Istikal Steet. This street is very very long and offers a wide range of European and Turkish shops. It is also very lively (read busy) but so worth going there! You get a different vibe here and you can see how modern the Turkish people are.

7) Spice Bazar
Ah the Spice Bazar... Also one of must sees if you are in Istanbul... But of course this means that there are a lot of tourists and you need to watch your bag... Which basically goes for all crowded area's in Istanbul... But the spice bazar is like the name suggests a market where you can buy spices, thee, and herbs. The smells and colors are amazing and so worth going there. It is not that large, but outside there is also a small animal market, there are some restaurants, and it is near the Galata bridge which connects the European side with the Asian side.

8) Eat Kebap
No explanation necessary I think.... Well maybe just a bit... We all know the Kebap shops here in Holland/Germany and the UK... but the kebap in Istanbul is sooo much better!!! All the food here is amazing! There is a lot of mean, so if you are a vegetarian you have a small problem, but overall the food is fresh, not so greasy as we know it and just very very tasty! I am craving some good Turkish food just by writing about it! So my main tip: eat all you can and try everything you can!

  I also have some small practical things I think you should know:

- Be very careful when crossing the street. The cars will not stop for you (only when there is a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights)! They will not even stop for a zebra crossing, they will slow down but basically you should walk fast because they will not stop.

- I have been to Turkey for a few times now and I must say the people are really great! They are very modern, very pro Europe and also very proud. Proud of their country, there language, their food and the products they sell. So one tip, also be polite and respectful to the people.

- Watch out when taking a taxi, there are still some chauffeurs that try to rip off tourists by overcharging or even try to make you believe you paid to little. So when taking a taxi first agree on a price before entering the taxi, if they do not want to give you a price look for another one that will. 

- Always pay in Turkish Lira! Everywhere you can pay in Euro's but the change you end up paying too much is much higher when you pay in Euro's then when you pay in Lira.

So there you have it! My thoughts and tips on Istanbul! Have you even been to Istanbul? And do you have other tips that I should include?

Monday, 22 October 2012

The amazing Germany

Pfffff I have been so busy the last couple of weeks! I could not find the time (or the energy) to write my last holiday part. But finally it is here!!!! This part is about my little trip down memory lane.... 

But first I have to share this amazing picture with you guys! The autumn started and I really love this season especially the coloring of the trees and you really feel the seasons changing. The light is different, the smells are changing, and in the morning the air is colder and so fresh and crisp. Love it! 

As part of my four year study (International Business and Management) I studied the last 2 years in Reutlingen (FH-Reutlingen). Ever since I graduated, which is about 7 years ago I have not been back to this lovely town in the beautiful south of Germany. You can imagine I was pretty excited to be back and show my boyfriend where I studied and lived. 

We rented a summer house in Metzingen, which some of you might know for the Outlet which is located there. The area here is so gorgeous! Lots of fields, forests, hills, apple tree orchards (which are public, so anyone can go and gather them and make apple pie). Also compared to Holland it is so spacious and quiet. In Holland I sometimes have the feeling that there is no place where you can be alone just with your thoughts without other encountering other people, cars, noise, bikes.... Everywhere you go there are always people of far away noises.... 

 Anyway, the city of Reutlingen is not a large city but it is very pleasant and it is about a 30 minute drive from Stuttgart. 

Ok, lets stop with the talking and start with the pictures! 
When we arrived we met the next door neighbor and she just had got some fresh wild apples! And she gave us the 2 biggest, most beautiful looking apples! And the best thing, it was the best apple I ever tasted!

Below are some pictures of the city of Stuttgart. This is the largest city near Reutlingen, where you can do a lot of shopping! But I didn't do any shopping,my friend forbide me to do any shopping :(

So the next 2 pictures are of the FH-Reutlingen campus! This is where I used to go to school!

 At the back of the school is this large wide spacious area where a lot apple trees grow!

Oh how I love Germany and it's space and nature!

This was a short post but I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you even been to Germany? What is your favorite thing about this country?

Friday, 19 October 2012

What I would read when I was young...

So Rosie from Craftbotic is hosting a link up on our favorite children's books! 

When I was younger I used to read a lot!!! Really a lot! I especially like the historical books about the middle ages, the second world war and ancient Greeks and Romans. Actually I still like these books, and everything that has to do with history, whether it is on TV or written I like it! 

I recently read a book that was written about Holland during the Eighty Years' War, or Dutch War of Independence, (1568–1648). To be honest, and I am quite ashamed about this, I know the least about the history of the Netherlands. I am very sure I know much more for example about the English history (in general), that is also why I believe that I used to live in England during the 1600-1700.

Back to the books, I have 5 favorite books! 3 of them are part of a trilogy so I will count them as 1. So here we go, oh they are all in Dutch so I will not translate the title. Reason for this is that I am not sure if it will be the right translation, so the summary of the books should be sufficient.

1) Geef me de Ruimte! / Triomf van de verschroeide aarde / Rad van fortuin, written by Thea Beckman.

Geef Me De Ruimte !  Triomf Van De Verschroeide Aarde  Rad van Fortuin

This book is about a 15 year old Belgium girl who flees to France when she has discovered that she has to marry a boy she despises. France is in the middle of a war with England (Hundred years' war from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France). So a very historical, romantic book which is also educational.

2) De Roos en het Zwijn, written by Anne Provoost.

This book is like the fairy tale beauty and the Beast. It is set in Belgium (as well) probably around 1600's. Basically it is about a girl who is so beautiful that people believe it is the work of the devil. And in order to do her penance she decides to dine with the boar (the beast). 
I really liked the introduction of the book, I will try to translate some of it for you:

The Rose... 

...It is said she is the most beautiful woman on earth. Her lips are red, her skin as white as snow and her hands as fragile as shells.

The  Boar....

...His face is mutilated. He has a hunch. His fingers of his right hand are cut so his hand looks like a hoof. 

3) Het Amulet, written by Simone van der Vlught.

De Amulet

1630. A period of history which if mostly known for its extensive witch hunts. Women of all ages were found guilty of being a witch and were burned alive. This story is about a young girl who is afraid she is a witch (her mother had been burned as a  witch) and flees her city in order to save her life. This book is set in Germany (Wurzburg actually) and as I remember it, it was a very exciting story, especially because I also was about 15 when I read it. And it was the first book I read about the witch hunts.

What are your favorite books?! Write a post on it and link up with Rosie HERE.