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Stephanie

Late Summer Walk

Inhaling the beauty of late summer nature

By | Germany | 2 Comments

We all know life is not about the big things. It is about the everyday beauty and the precious things at reach, which come at hardly any costs. But often I find myself forgetting about it, getting stuck in “to-do-lists” instead of taking a break to treat myself with some purity and nature.

Finally, this weekend I put on some walking shoes, got in the car with some friends and did a short 2h walk in an area 3o minutes outside Hamburg. It did not take any effort, just a quick research on the web to find a destination and a proper map. I believe, there are many of those places outside most of the big cities. But somehow, we seldom go for a half day vacation.

So get out there! Inhale the green, admire the beauty of late summer weekends! Get your feet dirty, admire the deep blue sky and enjoy the tranquility outside the big cities. Be surprised and inspired of the precious nature just a few footsteps aways. Although I only walked for a couple of hours, it felt as though I was traveling France, Sweden, Tanzania and Ireland all together.

For anyone living in Hamburg, we drove to the “Boberger Dünen”, parking at Boberger Furt. From there you can basically go anywhere you want. We kind of stuck to this route.

Happy weekend everyone!

Refugees 190

Refugees in Europe: Doing good & spreading humanity!

By | Germany | No Comments

Refugees

We all are aware of the cruelty around the globe which makes people leave their most beloved behind to ensure a living for themselves and their families.

I have seen documentaries and read news, yet I still did not do anything apart from being compassionate with those who dared to leave their countries at the risk of their lives. And I again became aware of my own luxurious life with a place to stay, a job I like, lovely friends and family … not to forget – social security and freedom.

A couple of days ago I decided to actually do something good and donate clothes and things I felt I could give away. I have traveled many countries and met people all over the globe, who cared about me although they did not know me at all. I was given presents by those who had literally nothing and experienced hospitality wherever I went. Thinking about this, I felt ashamed, I had not packed anything earlier. I guess I felt too busy doing other things.

For sure, there is not only good in this world, but also cruelty, greediness, inhumanity, corruption and many more, which I have also experienced, with people taking advantage of me being a tourist with a backpack full of desirable things including a German passport.

But I am sure, those are not the people who left their homes to find a safe place to live.

So this is a post to inspire all of you to free some time in your calendars for one of the upcoming weekends to do something good for those in need. For the refugees in Europe or for those in need anywhere else in the world, despite the fact, that our calendar is packed with “important” things.

When I went to the refugee camp in Hamburg at the Hamburg Trade Center, I was touched by the kindness of the people who dedicated their time to support the refugees, by organizing donations and coordinating the center. While Hall B6 is set up for the refugees to stay, Hall B5 is solely for people to bring clothes, bags, suitcases etc. to be then sorted by gender, type and size. Find further information here.

So if you live in Hamburg get through your closet to find things you have not been wearing in the last two years. Clothes, blankets, bags, suitcases but also hygiene products, pencils, books to learn German or toys and games for the kids. Sort them by type and gender in different bags and simply write on the bags whatever you have in there. You can also donate some extra time in the center to directly sort whatever you brought to the piles of things there.

Directions: Walk to Hamburg Trade Center Hall B6 (Glacischaussee opposite the prison). At the little booth you will 24/7 find people to welcome you and guide you in.

When I arrived there, I could see and hear kids and teens playing football through the covered fence – I wished I had also brought some of the Tennis balls lying around back home. Next time.

It is so easy and comforting to do good. Especially, when you have the chance to bring your donation directly to the place where people are in need. Pack some bags or do something else to spread humanity, wherever you are!

Sehr sehenswert! ARD Mediathek: Flüchtlinge - Aufnehmen oder Abschieben?

Free Walks 194

Free Walking Tours: Discovering cities around the world

By | Travel Tips | 2 Comments

Free Walks 194

Whenever I visit a new city, I want to get an overview first and thus find the places I am really into. Two years ago I first tried a Free Walking Tour in Buenos Aires, which has since become my preferred way to discover new cities in a couple of hours.

It is a tip-based movement, which started in 2006 introducing people to new cities. The founder, Chris Sandeman, started this business in Berlin and has since expanded all over. In addition, many other companies have started to offer tip-based “Free Walking Tours”. The guides are often students or historians, with profound historic and local knowledge. The beauty about these tours is, that you are in mixed age and cultural group of people, who usually prefer to travel independently and thus have a quite some travel experience to share themselves.

Once I went on a business trip to Florence and found two different walking tours, which helped to gain a feeling for the city and its history effortless in a beautiful way.

As always, there are downsides to beautiful ideas, and Sandman has been accused of charging his guides for every guest and thus the guides push people for the tip. I have never had such an experience, but wanted to make sure, you have heard about it.

As summertime is up now and you might be traveling to a new place soon, I want to encourage you to give try a “Free Walking Tour”.

Happy discovering!

Café des Delices: Sensing Tunisia and its tragedy

By | Tunisia | No Comments

The most popular café of Tunisia, Café des Delices, is situated in a picturesque village outside of Tunis at the coast. The beauty of the place is not only about the cafe itself, but the entire setting and feeling of the area. We were sitting there, overlooking the ocean with the smell of a Jasmin flower in our nose, which someone had given to us and the taste of warm mint tea with pine nuts in our mouth. Relaxing. Grounding. Free.

The village is called Sidi Bou Said and is famous for its beautiful white houses with blue front doors and windows decorated with colorful flowers. It feels as though you were walking through a painting.

There is one famous song about this cafe, expressing the beauty and melancholy of this place. Whenever I listen to it, it pulls me back into the feeling of sitting in this cafe, with a breeze of fresh air in my hair and the warming sun on my skin.

After the attacks a couple of weeks ago, I was hesitating to write this post as there is a new sadness to this song whenever I listen to it. I decided however, that we have to remember what happened, that the people who tragically died on the beach in Sousse were not unmindful, when they decided to spend their vacation in Tunisia.

We all have to realize, that the world has changed and that brutal and crazy attacks can hit us anywhere in the world. Sure, we have to be cautious, but we may never become afraid of discovering new places to truly understand the people of a country.

Let’s rather become aware that every new day is a gift to be thankful for and make the most out of.

Enjoy listening to the song by clicking the below video.

 

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Juist: Rejuvenating & grounding short trip

By | Germany | No Comments

Spending time at the coast or islands of Northern Germany, I always feel extremely grounded and taken care of.

It is for the freedom of the endless beaches and dunes, which I could look at for hours, while the wind is blowing through it as if it was the little prince’s hair. It is for wind, which embraces me and lets me truly feel the nature around me. It also is for me being reminded of my childhood, when I spend a weekend every summer with my dad’s family at the northern coasts.

For the first time since I was born, I spent an extended weekend on the island Juist, which is amongst the most tranquil German islands, as there are no cars on the Island. Instead, once you arrive at the island with the ferry, you will be picked up by a horse-drawn carriage. Or … guess what… you walk.

I felt entirely set back to old times or as if I was walking through a movie set for an ancient movie production. When my parents picked me up from the station, their 5-days-stay seemed to have rejuvenated them by 10 years.

There is really not much to do on the island but walk, relax at home or spend some time at the beach. A true gift to anyone with a busy everyday life!

Getting to remote places always takes some efforts… however it ensures, that there won’t be too many others. The island’s webpage provides a good overview of the area. There is one or two ferries and tiny planes every day leaving from Norddeich Mole. There are many apartment houses on the island, which are recommendable. We stayed at Uns zu Hus and loved it.
If you look for a nice and charming place to eat, I recommend you try the Restaurant and Tea House Loogster Stuv.

Terrace overlooking the ocean

Luxury Escape: Design Villa Dar el Bhar – a lifetime time out

By | Tunisia | 2 Comments

I am still overwhelmed that I had the opportunity to experience this place through friends of mine. It still feels unreal and I returned back to work more relaxed than ever before although I was only away for 10 days. During my entire stay, I could not believe I am truly experiencing Villa Dar El Bhar. A place full of beauty and tranquillity. The house is situated in a famous tourist area 60 km south east of the capital Tunis, called Hammamet. It is not for no reason, that this place is designed with perfection as the owner is a Spanish designer.

The villa is built at the seaside in the ancient city within the famous medina (market). So just a step out of the house you will be in the midst of Tunisian life with lots of offers for local crafts and food. There are countless areas in the villa to relax and simply enjoy yourself. The view towards the endless horizon will open your soul. Whether you are lying on the upper terrace in the shade or in the sun, in the living room with the huge windows opening up to the turquoise ocean – you feel the breeze and ease of pureness. The privileged and panoramic view to the bay, dome, fort and the lighthouse make it hard to leave the house.

The tiny beautiful pool is the best refreshment. You will hear the waves of the ocean below you and feel the sun tanning your skin. It will wash away any stress of the past. Bring some great music and install your own chill out place.

Not only is this an extraordinary place, it is also exceptional people managing it. The villa comes with a full service staff, who will take care of all your meals as well as the cleaning. Whatever you might need – it will be taken care of in the most charming and considerate manner. Whatever we wanted to eat, we would buy in the market and lovely Ines and Anis would create a delicious Tunisian meal out of it.

The house has three bedrooms with twin beds. Two are of normal size for those who love each other 🙂 and there is one in the first floor, which you have probably never seen in your life. A huge bed and a marble jacuzzi in the middle of the open bath area. Out of this world!

I guess you can imagine, what sunsets and night time feel like. The stars will be sparkling above you, the breeze a bit stronger, the charmingly installed indirects lights of the villa turning it into a dream place to finish the day. It will make you wish to never wake up from this dream.

For sure, it is a luxury to stay here and it comes at a luxurious price. However, since I had the luck to stay here and got in contact with the management of the place, I made sure I am able to share this experience with my SUNDAYBLOG readers. If you are interested in staying at this place feel free to contact the management with a reference of SUNDAYBLOG as I negotiated a special price for all travel addicts exploring Tunisia.

Management: Sami Azaiez
Villa Dar el Bhar on facebook

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Secret Escape: Remote down to earth on Kerkennah Island

By | Tunisia | No Comments

Looking for a down to earth escape for a couple of days? I’ve found something for you!
Villa Dar El Sidu Bou Said on Kerkennah Island, Tunisia. The Island is a local vacation retreat for Tunisians with 100.000 local tourists at 20.00o inhabitants. During the 1 hour drive with the ferry you will most probably be the only tourist. Arriving on the island, you might doubt if it really will be a retreat, as the island looks pretty dry and people throw their garbage everywhere.

However, once you arrive at the villa you will see, that I was not overpromising. It is really about this place. It is a beautiful and typical Arabian house constructed in a way, that you will feel the breeze in the courtyard, which will basically become the “outdoor chill living room”. There are four rooms out of which three have king size beds and one has two single beds. There are two bathrooms, a large pool, a separate kitchen as well as an upper level with two terraces and an indoor living room with a fireplace.

The house is facing the sea, with a beautiful view to the fishermen’s boats. The Bardo attacks in March 2015 have hurt the Tunisian tourist industry badly. On this Island you will not see a fake profile of the country, but the poverty and the truth of the challenges people are facing here.

As people are trying to get tourism back, you will be taken care of in the best way. While we were staying at the place, we were in constant contact with the management of the place, who showed us the best spots on the island. The place comes with a chef, who will cook two three course meals a day from local food.

As French is second language in the country, you will be able to have great discussions and conversations to learn about the culture. But no worries, everyone speaks decent English as well and you will be able to communicate easily.

So if you are looking forward to this privileged and grounded retreat, check out the villa’s Facebook website to find out more. For all my SUNDAYBLOG readers, I negotiated a special price to spread this experience amongst everyone curious to discover unknown places. Simply contact the management and led them know, you found about them on SUNDAYBLOG.

For further questions, please reach out to the Management via a private message on Facebook:

Management: Sami Azaiez

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Cairns: international trail marker

By | USA | No Comments

Cairns (German: Steinmännchen) exist all over the world in all sorts of shapes from small piles to artificial hills or delicately balanced sculptures and sizes to mark trails and special areas. Sometimes they are painted or decorated for increased visibility or religious reasons.

I love these little architectural masterpieces which seem so beautifully balanced.

They have existed for centuries and whenever I see one it looks as if they have been exactly in this place forever. This cairn I saw at the beachside of Monterey, California.

Cairn
Biking Mallorca

Biking Majorca: Short trip to free your mind

By | Spain, Uncategorized | No Comments

This post is especially dedicated to all my European sporty readers. I am not very much into race biking, but I love to ride a light and fast bike once in a while. This year I decided to do a 4 day short trip to my beloved Island Majorca, Spain to go cycling with my dad.

People who race bike, have probably been to the island. This is especially to all of you, who like biking, but have not done race biking before – because… you don’t need a race bike. You can simply book a hotel in the North East of the island and either rent your bike through the so well known Huerzeler company or any other bike shop.

Usually people go to the island in summer time, when it is indeed beautiful as well. But in spring time, between late march and beginning of may, biking this island is a pure treat. Foremost, the island is blossoming in the most diverse and amazing colors. Biking through this picturesque and tranquille landscape is like big spa. It kicked so much energy in my body and felt like a meditation at the same time. I returned after four days as though I had been away for weeks.

I really recommend going! Give it a try during a prolonged weekend next year and led me know about your trip! To me it was really romantic even with  dad :-). Meanwhile I am trying to convince my mum to join my dad on his next trip to Majorca on an e-bike. I know she will love it, but she is still held back by the idea of cycling the island for several days…

Florence Dome

Florence: Climbing ancient architecture

By | Italy | No Comments

Climbing the dome in Florence is one of the things every tourist does. But maybe it is not necessarily something people do, once they are on a business trip. So even if you are only in the city for a limited time, you have to make sure, you climb the stairs inside the dome to see the masterpiece of cupola and enjoy the amazing view from above.

It is challenging. Especially, since inside the cupola it gets really narrow and might feel frightening to some people. So once you are inside, take you time and calm down, to make sure you do not panic. Climbing the tower on the other side of the dome completes the fitness program of the day and will make you feel refreshed, energized and for sure – proud!