It’s a Saturday morning in late April, just after sunrise. I’m sitting on my sofa wrapped in a blanket, one cat to each sides. The window is open bringing in the first ray of sunlight and some brisk air. This is the season for enjoying breakfast outside. The sun will soon warm Istanbul and this fresh morning will become a pleasant day. Grab a book, a group of friends or just yourself and have breakfast at one of my favorite spots in Istanbul….
Did you know that travel makes you a much more awesome and happier person? You know what’s even better? Skip the jam-packed itinerary of a guided tour and travel independently. We did exactly that on our recent trip to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. We loved the freewheel, without any guidelines, timelines or other rules and regulations. We had the freedom to do what we want and when we wanted. Although daunting at first because East Africa doesn’t have a reputation for being a backpacker destination, travelling to the beat of our own drum was the best thing we could do.
For years Asia has been known for being the perfect place to explore by travelling independently. Africa on the other hand is much courted by travel agencies and there doesn’t seem to be a big backpacker scene in East Africa. But travelling independently in countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda grows you in a way that any organised tour won’t. So I’ve compiled a list of reasons why everyone should travel to East Africa independently.
Hamburg! You hold a special place in my heart. I can’t believe it’s probably 3 or 4 years that I last visited. Not much has changed though. With the breeze still fresh, the Labskaus still the typical food and the Reeperbahn colourful and crowded as ever, Hamburg stands its ground at the German north coast. But, a big BUT, the food scene has seen some changes. Vegan, vegetarian and organic restaurants and menus predominantly appear in the cityscape, at least much more than a few years ago. Notably one neighborhood seems to attract restaurants and cafes that embrace vegan or vegetarian options, St. Georg. Here are four that I visited during my 2-days trip to Hamburg this fall….
The capital of Lebanon is known as “Paris of the Middle East” and for capturing the hearts of visitors from around the world. Due to recent political developments many travellers avoid Beirut nowadays but let me tell you, it is completely safe (or as safe as a big city in Europe would be). With its beautiful charm, cool restaurants, thriving bars and gorgeous backstreets, it is the perfect get-away for a long weekend.
So we booked the flights from Cairo, boarded the plane a few days later and all of the sudden landed in Beirut. After some negotiations at the airport, we stepped into our taxi and went straight to our Airbnb in Gemmayze, Beirut’s trendy district. Once we reached the city center I immediately knew that our time in Beirut would be amazing. It was also that drive that we decided to stay in Beirut for all three days (instead of visiting places outside of town for one day) and explore every angle on foot.
So, safe some money on taxis and the hassle of finding the right bus and instead put on some comfy shoes and walk your way around the capital. Beirut is pedestrian-friendly for Middle Eastern standards and you’ll always be able to find some kind of sidewalk wherever your are. Getting hungry on the way? I also have that covered for you. Below is a quick guide to walking and eating your way through Beirut….
If you have ever been to Cairo in Egypt you know that it can be quite overwhelming and at times even stressful. Cairo is known for being a bustling and energetic city which I love as there is always so much to explore and discover. But sometimes I feel the need to unwind and relax. So, no matter if you come to visit Egypt’s capital for a few days or if you live here, there are some laid-back ways to make most of the city….
Let me get right to the point: Soma Bay is the best place to stay in Egypt. Considering that you like the beach, some sun, crystal clear water and relaxation, there is no finer destination at the Red Sea. Soma Bay is surrounded on all sides by the sea and thus perfect for all kinds of water activities. The best part, it’s an exclusive holiday resort destination in Egypt and not as overrun by tourist groups like Sharm El Sheik or Hurghada. And even though Soma Bay is located on a remote peninsula there is not reason to get bored ….
I just got back from an 8-day trip to Iran and this is the first time that I write a post about my latest travels so quickly. I’m really excited to share my impressions about Iran here and now and in some upcoming posts.
Iran has been on my bucket list for quite some time as I have a few friends who visited it and only had the best to say about this country and its people. That made me curious especially since the media seemed to tell a different story. When I told family and friends about my travel plans most were concerned about my safety. I was only concerned about the dress code which eventually was easy to apply. So let me tell you with all my heart, I have never so felt so safe and welcomed anywhere in Europe and North America. And I have never met friendlier and curiouser people than in Iran….
“I’m on vacation” is a sentence I hear often when friends and family excuse their full plates at the hotel breakfast buffet. Overindulge is a common behaviour when people go on vacation and often they have the tendency to choose really unhealthy items from the breakfast selection: croissants, muffins, sausages and sweet juices. However every hotel breakfast buffet offers some good-for-you options that are nourishing, nutritious and filling. Having a healthy and refreshing breakfast provides you with energy and a mental boost. Apart from that it is so much easier coming home from a wonderful vacation and not going on a diet immediately to fight your holiday weight gain.
Travelling a lot I am often faced with the breakfast buffet dilemma. At home I usually have a breakfast smoothie with oats (check out my Instagram for some recipe inspiration) but finding maca powder, chia seeds or even non-diary milk at a hotel breakfast buffet is nearly impossible. So, it took me some time to find my favorite holiday breakfast foods that would would be healthy on the one side but also satisfy my taste buds and soul.
When I am having breakfast at a hotel I am ideally looking for various food combinations, low-carb fruits and slow-digesting carbs, fat + proteins and low-carb vegetables or proteins and high-carb fruits. This sounds all more scientific than it actually is and these are only my ideas of understanding healthy food (I’m not a nutritionist) but with some common sense and inspiration you’ll find an energising and healthy breakfast. So here are my preferred vegan and vegetarian hotel breakfast choices.
There are many great things to do in Egypt but there is only one that’ll keep a place in your heart and soul forever. A Nile Cruise on a Dahabiya (typical Egyptian sailboat) is a remarkable experience that shows another side of Egypt far away from the dusty pyramids and crowded Cairo.
Most Nile Cruises are 3-5 days long and go from Luxor to Aswan or the other way around. The Dahabiya is perfect for all tourists, expats or locals who wish to experience Egypt at a leisurely pace. It allows you to enjoy the fresh river breeze, drink in beautiful landscapes and marvel at temples of the riverbanks.
I did a 6 day cruise together with some friends from Luxor to Aswan beginning of 2015. During our trip I saw, sensed and experience beautiful moments and would like to share my favorite scenery and impressions of our Nile Cruise.
If one goes on a desert trip, there are some essential travel tips that ensure a safe journey. Some of these tips always include to plan your itinerary carefully, bring plenty of water and watch your gas tank. When we went on our first desert trip in December 2014, we had a Bedouin guide with us who took care of all the basic necessities. However, there are still plenty of things that can be easily forgotten at home but that make a trip much more joyful.