It’s Liebster Award time! Lucky me, I have been nominated! When I first started blogging I kep on seeing all these posts about this strangely German sounding prize and I was left puzzled. What is this Liebster Award thing that everyone seems to be getting, I kept on wondering. A little time has passed and while I found out that this Award is not as fancy as it’s name might suggest, I’m still happy and humbled to be finally be a part of it.
So the other day I was rambling about how you couldn’t visit Yangon without paying your tributes to Shwedagon Pagoda – and while I still think that’s true – there’s so many other places that you just can’t miss when visiting Myanmar for the first time. Among these endless must-sees, some do still stand out: For example because they are a world famous, jaw-dropping, cover-of-every-guidebook, seemingly resisting the laws of physics kind of place. All of this (and so much more) is true for Kyaikthiyo, better known as the Golden Rock. For all of the obvious reasons listed above, we had to to see it for ourselves.
Now I’m usually not the kind of person and/or traveler to claim they have everything figured out (cause I usually don’t), but for some reason, every decision made about our trip to Kyaikthiyo turned out just right. So ultimately, what I am looking to share today is nothing less than the perfect visit.
“A visit to A is not complete without B” – a claim found in many guidebooks and one I usually don’t agree to, because how is a visit ever complete really? Either way, in this case I’m going to have to make an exception, because a visit to Yangon simply isn’t complete without a trip to Shwedagon Pagoda. This place is about as impressive and magical as it gets. Visiting one of most important religious sites in Myanmar as a foreigner, or rather as a non-Buddhist, most people with common sense will put some effort into behaving appropriately. Needless to say, many tourists there still prefer to be assholes instead. But even if you try you hardest, there are some cultural tripping hazards around – trust me, I would know.
Yangon was the first place we visited in Myanmar and is for most people because of its well-connected airport. Although the convenience of getting there sure is a major advantage, I found that there are better reasons to start your journey through Myanmar in Yangon – or while we’re at it: why Yangon is great as a first place to visit in Asia altogether.
I don’t know about all of you people, but when I get to go on a big trip, excitement and fear become my constant companions. They walk hand in hand, but there’s always one that pulls a little stronger, a little firmer, on the other’s hand and decides the direction my thoughts are going.
Right now, I’m sitting on the couch at my parents’ house, and it is not only Christmas, but also 2.30 am and another also, two hours before the departure for the next big adventure. And man, it’s an adventure.
A few weeks ago, I finally decided to write down some of the experiences from my semester abroad in Istanbul. These memories were haunting ones and I’m glad to have them off my chest – but I realized while writing that there are many things I happily recall and miss about Istanbul quite a bit. In those first remembrances of Istanbul, there hasn’t been a lot of room for all the beautiful and inspiring things I found for myself in the city – although there have been plenty. That’s why I want to share some of these experiences with you: Because if someone had asked me yesterday, “Do you want to return to Istanbul tomorrow”, I would already be gone – so I hope the picture I drew before, I can set right today.
When I left for my semester abroad, I was full of anticipation to spend five full months in the exciting city of Istanbul. A mere three months later – after having struggled with sexist police officers, stone-hearted doctors, indifferent university officials, after battling the language barrier in a million confusing phone calls, after tantrums, crying fits and endless hours of conversation deep inside someone elses’s spiritual abyss, after all this incredible madness – I left the country as a desperate mess, looking forward to nothing more than hiding from the world under a blanky at my parents house. A recapitulation of What the fuck. Continue reading
I was wondering how long it would take for me to start missing Florence after I left. Well, the answer is: precisely 3 weeks. To be honest, if it hadn’t been for the holidays in between (equal to lots of time spent with wonderful humans) this might have happened even sooner. At least it’s January now. It’s so grey, cold and despicably wet outside that I don’t feel too silly being caught by yet another fit of the grass being greener on the other side. So here I am craving to stroll along alleyways and trip on bumpy cobblestone like the hopeless idiot I tend to be. Continue reading