New York City #1 – The City That Never Sleeps

Grew up in a town
That is famous as a place
Of movie scenes

Noise is always loud
There are sirens all around
And the streets are mean

If I can make it here
I can make it anywhere
That’s what they say

Seeing my face in lights
Or my name on marquees
Found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems
I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I’m from

New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York

These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York
New York, New York- Empire State Of Mind, Alicia Keys

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Standing in front of this skyline was breathtaking

In the song „Empire State Of Mind“, Alicia Keys describes New York City perfectly.
I fell in love with New York. I fell in love with the buildings, the people, the movement, the spirit.

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This is one of my favourite Times Square pictures!

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In 2015 I travelled to Boston and stayed with a lovely host family for ten days.
After our stay in Massachusetts, we took a plane to New York City and discovered this amazing place for four days.

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Have you noticed Heidi Klum on the add space in the background?
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Wow, what a photo bomb. Thanks dude! 😀

During the landing, I listened to the song by Alicia Keys, overwhelmed by the feeling, that I would soon visit on of the most amazing and vivid cities in the world.
After having left the airplane, the adventure began.

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It took us almost two hours to get to our hostel in Union City because we were stuck in a huge traffic jam. The „Explore Hotel and Hostel“ was quite nice, although I think it depends on the room you are staying in. We (5 girls) shared a suite with a little bathroom. As far as I can remember, it was not that expensive and I took us 20 minutes to get from the hostel to the Times Square. (Going by bus was very cheap)

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Times Square

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The Times Square is just amazing. So many people from all over the world taking pictures of the gigantic advertising space. Famous stores like the Disney Store, American Apparel and Forever 21 are located around the square. You can also walk down Broadway and negotiate with the tourist guides and maybe you will get a „cheap“ ticket and enjoy a special musical on Broadway. We watched „Les Misérables“ and it was marvellous!

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This street performer must have had sore legs after standing on these „stilts“ (??) for a whole day.
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This Minnie Mouse wanted me to pay her 4$ to take a picture with her…

But the number one lesson to remember is: Scarcely anything is without charge at Times Square! There are so many tourist guides who want to grab your attention and sell expensive tickets to you. When your not travelling in a group of people like we did (We were 15 students plus two teachers), then you should probably buy your tickets online before going on your trip.
You will also see many people in costumes who want to take pictures with you in exchange for a dollar or two. But I guess you already know that.
We even saw the Naked Cowboy, casually playing his guitar in the middle of the streets.
I guess he is pretty famous, since I’ve already seen him on TV in Germany.

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The Naked Cowboy, eye candy :D?

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I still miss the hum of cars and horns, the colourful lights from the huge stores, the shouting of police officers and tourist guides. Music and vivid conversations everywhere, traffic and yellow cabs.

Noise is always loud
There are sirens all around

But it is such a wonderful place!
I hope you enjoyed the first post of my New York series!

Stay tuned and have a great week!

Sophie

 

 

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My thoughts on MINIMALISM – happiness, a state of being or a state of having?

„Spend your money on experiences that are gonna feed your soul instead of stuff that’s gonna clutter up your life!“

…is one of my favourite quotes from a TED talks speaker, who held a speech about minimalism. I can highly recommend watching these speeches, they are so motivating, informing and inspiring!

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Today, I would like to talk about a topic which is very important for me: Minimalism.
When I was a child, I used to collect everything. Dolls, papers, leafs, everything.
My room was always full of useless clutter! Later, when I became more interested in clothes, shoes, make-up and stuff, I hoarded tons of these things and the more I bought, the unhappier I became. At that time, this did not make sense to me. I mean, we are almost conditioned to buy stuff in order to be happy. We always need the latest iPhone, that new pair of Nike Sneakers etc. Large business companies want us to maintain our consumerous lifestyle,  they keep on creating new innovations and produce products, which are „predestined“ to die after two years.

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After years of buying and tossing, I decided that I do not want to promote this lifestyle and I started watching Ted talks speeches about minimalism and downsizing.
In addition, I began to downsize my own stuff and stopped buying without thinking.
The point of minimalism is that you do not have to toss and sell everything in order to have all your belongings fit in one backpack, (don’t get me wrong, this is amazing!) but you have to create your own rules and live your personal minimalistic lifestyle, in order to become happy with less belongings!

Additionally, one side effect of minimalism is that you will have more money. Consequently, you can spend your money on experiences and travel for example and in most cases, these experiences will probably fulfill your life to an extent which consumer goods never will.
Why should we spent hundreds of dollars on a designer bag when we could also live in Thailand for a month for the same amount of money?

The less you own, the less you have to take care of.
And the less you own, the happier you will probably be.

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I really wanted to share my personal thoughts with you, and I would also love to write a „Minimalism Guide“ as well. Please let me know, if you are interested!
At the moment, I am often thinking about happiness and how to create a lifestyle and a mind-set which allows us to be happy and independent of how much money we have.
You may have wondered why I am showing you these pictures of me, sitting in front of a white wall. I do not really know. I guess it is because I love to take minimalistic photographs, because there is no clutter which distracts the viewer from the human being in the centre of the photo.

Have a nice and sunny week! Enjoy the little things.

Sophie

 

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Red and Jack the Ripper in London, UK

One of my favourite things to do when I am travelling is going for a walk and exploring all the different streets and places.
I have to admit that I only support guided tours to a certain extent, since you are not able to explore the city on your own.

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Jamie Oliver’s Diner! I wish I had the opportunity to eat out there!

But last year we took part in a Jack the Ripper Tour and it was amazing!
Our guide was very impressive, since he had a vast knowledge about history. Additionally, he used to be an actor.

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This record store was just amazing!

Anyway, I really enjoyed the tour. We were able to see so many different and partly hidden streets, which made the tour a great experience.

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The famous red busses.

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Having wandered around, I discovered many interesting places, stores and pubs. I wish I were able to visit them all! My best discovery was a grunge/indie/alternative/vintage record store! I almost bought Nirvana’s „In Utero“ recorded on vinyl.
But I did not and I still regret it!

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Telephone box twins.

When I am thinking about London, the first colour which comes to my mind is red.
Red busses, red telephone boxes, red mail boxes, red signs.
I like red, red is impressive and classy!

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The streets. 

I hope you enjoyed this kind of „uninformative“ blogpost.
Stay tuned and have a wonderful and hopefully sunny week!

Sophie

 

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One night in Bangkok, or three weeks in Thailand

Thailand. Islands, elephants, jungle, beaches, friendly people, Bangkok.
These are the first few words which come to my mind when I’m thinking about Thailand.
Lucky me, I am going to Thailand for three weeks in November.
We recently planned our trip which I will be sharing with you today.

After we will have arrived in BKK, we would like to take the night train and the ferry to Koh Samui, in order to go diving in Koh Tao and to join the full moon party on Koh Phangan, which will be on 3 November 2017.
I know this is very touristy and stereotypical but I guess if you have the chance to go, you will regret it if you don’t.

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Palm Trees, Koh Samui ’89
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Koh Samui ’89
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Koh Samui ’89

You may have noticed that these pictures look a little bit vintage and they are!
My mum used to travel a lot when she was younger and she also visited Thailand and Malaysia.
She took these pictures in 1989, using a slide film. I was very impressed when she talked about her travel experience and I decided to digitise her photographs.
I hope you enjoy looking at these pretty and old pictures!

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Koh Phangan ’89
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Koh Phangan ’89

If we still have time, we will take the bus to Krabi and Koh Phi Phi, but we decided that we want to be very spontaneous.

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Northern Thailand
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Elephants, Northern Thailand

After we will have discovered some of the paradisiac islands we will probably fly to Chiang Mai, in order to travel back to Bangkok.
Hopefully, we will have the chance to visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
I am still not quite sure, if the elephants are treated appropriately. I will have to read a little bit more about this place, since I do not want to promote animal cruelty.

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Young Woman, Northern Thailand
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Northern Thailand
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Chiang Mai
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Chiang Mai

Last but not least, we will be exploring Bangkok for a couple of days and celebrate my nineteenth birthday there. We thought that it might be less stressful to visit Bangkok at the end of our trip. We will see what happens and I am really excited!

I know that this post does not offer much travel relevant information but I thought you might enjoy these old photos. I am so curious in which way these places have changed the last 28 years.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, Sophie

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Barcelona’s famous artworks – 72 Hours in Barcelona #2

Everyone who is interested in arts and architecture, should definitely visit Barcelona!
Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudí are all amazing artists and had a tremendous impact on Barcelona’s tourist industry.
Today, I will be sharing with you my favourite places and museums in Barcelona, where you can take great photographs and enjoy creative artwork.

Casa Batlló and Casa Milà

First of all Antoni Gaudí the famous Spanish architect who was also a representative of the Modernisme Català.
He created two popular „mansions“ in Barcelona, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

Casa Batlló is situated near Placa Catalunya (which I already mentioned in my last post) and was built in 1877.
This house looks so magical and I would have loved see the inside of the house, but unfortunately the queue was too long and we did not have enough time to wait.

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Casa Batlló

Gaudí finished Casa Milà in 1910 and created it for the Milà Family.
He even created a natural air conditioning system.
Additionally, the villa has a great roof terrace where you have the perfect view on the Sagrada Familia.

 

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Casa Milà
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Roof terrace of Casa Milà

La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is a gigantic Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, also designed by Antoni Gaudí. The construction of the church began in 1882 and it is still not finished yet.
The guides told us that the construction is financed by donations and not by taxes.
Anyway, they plan on having completed the Sagrada Familia by 2026, the centenary of Antoni Gaudí’s death.
You should definitely go inside the church, since it is breathtaking and miraculous!

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The Sagrada Familia – It will probably be finished in 2026

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The inside of the Sagrada Familia

Park Güell

The construction of Park Güell by Gaudí commenced in 1910 and was finished four years later. Gaudí planned a great park with 60 different villas wich should have been purchased before the construction began.

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The entrance of Park Güell
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The famous Gecko by Gaudí – Park Güell

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Nevertheless, his purposes failed, since nobody wanted to purchase the unfinished villas. Consequently, he was not able to finish the park and it now consists of three villas, instead of 60.

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Anyway, I have never visited such a beautiful park before and if you want to visit Barcelona, you will not regret visiting Park Güell.

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The big terrace in Park Güell

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Picasso and Miró

As I am interested in arts in general, it was a pleasure for me to visit the Picasso and the Miró museum. The Picasso museum shows the artist’s work from 1895 to 1904 and it is very impressive to see the development of his artwork. I would highly recommend to buy tickets online, since you do not have to wait that long to get your tickets.
The Miró museum is located at the foot of Montju
ïc, it is devoted to modern artwork .

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View on Barcelona from the Miró museum

Visiting Barcelona was an amazing experience for me and I can recommend it to anyone who is also interested in culture, arts and architecture!

Have a nice day and stay tuned!

Sophie

 

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