Lost But Not Forgotten Vol II. -German F-Laying

So it’s official. I must be on the top of my Airline’s list of German speakers. At least one would think so by looking at my summer flying diary. Frankfurt. Zurich. Dusseldorf. Hamburg. And Frankfurt again… I know all of my German announcements backwards by now. As reserved and unimpressed as I was by frequent visits to Pretzel& Beerland to start with I have learned to really like them. I have started seeing them as my monthly grocery shopping trips. Honestly – living in the middle of a desert really teaches you to appreciate the beauty and taste of fresh produce and quality meat. Not to mention anything organic.

I don’t believe I have mentioned my first visit to Frankfurt yet – probably because there wasn’t much to talk about. The highlight of my layover there was (beside a 20-odd-hour sleep) making a friend behind the lobby bar in our crew hotel. I impressed him with my language skills and he impressed me with his knowledge of a good beer. And also with his cutting of my final bills to a ridiculous 10 %. We bid our farewells after an evening well spent chatting about life and love and I promised to look him up next time I was visiting. Little did I know that would happen in less than a month.

My second time around in FRA was much more exciting. Flight-wise, crew-wise, layover-wise. I was assigned a much better-timed flight which brought me to Germany fresh and ready to have some FUN. Yes- with a capital F and U and N. I happened to have flown with a few of the people in my crew before and knew them to NOT be the ones to skip on a party and even the rest has turned out to be just the right kind of people you wanna have around when you feel like a couple of bruskies. To my surprise my friend behind the lobby bar was working that night too! What a great reunion ! I decided on the spot to leave my sensible self locked in the heavy duty suitcase and let my party self loose. To cut a long story short – I ended up closing the bar that night. And boy what a night that was ! It wouldn’t be far from the truth saying that the only people flying to Dubai without a hangover the next day were the passengers.

Couple of weeks later I found myself Germany-bound once again. This time to Hamburg. I was just in the middle of my no-drinking no-junk-food-eating working-out-a-lot phase and Hamburg has turned out to be just the place! The hotel was situated right next to a beautiful lake surrounded by a park that just invites you for a run. And I never turn down an invitation this tempting. It was a brisk late summer morning and I and half of the Hamburg population decided to go jogging. Honestly I must have met about 200 people running my usual 5k. But I didn’t mind. The lake park (as I like to call it) was obviously designed with sport enthusiasts in mind. Or by one. Or both. It even had little workout stops where one could stretch and do work on the rock-hard (hahaha) abs:

Don't Twerk- Work out !

Don’t Twerk- Work out !
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Hamburg in general strikes me as a very health-concious place. They have massive stores with organic products, organic cafes on every corner and plenty of fair trade shops. I have enjoyed my time there so much that upon leaving I couldn’t remember for the hell of it – WHY exactly did I NOT want to come ? I’m definitely gonna try and go back – this time to have a proper browse in all the cool little boutiques I have only managed to see from the outside so far…

The Tale of Two Girls (and many Cities) continues…

Chapter Four – Island Living…

… is yet another thing (after drinking wine) that I have learned to love in Croatia. What does ” island living” mean? As told by many Croatian islanders it’s basically taking things slow and as they come. Not fussing about the time or being on time. Get up whenever it suits you and start a day off with a glass of pear liquor… To put it simply island living is a bliss. Dolly and I have visited three of the many islands along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and each one of them was somehow unique and different yet they all had something in common – they were all absolutely beautiful.

First on our itinerary was the island of Korcula – the birth place of Marco Polo (yes I know- we thought he was Italian too). I don’t usually play favourites but if I did I’d have to say that Korcula was mine. We stayed for three days and during those we saw as much as we could on foot, on bikes and even on a kayak. We embraced the island living pretty much the moment we arrived. A glass -sorry a bottle of wine with an early lunch? I don’t mind if I do! Seafood for dinner every night – well that’s just what we do! Going to sleep at 9pm ? So what ?!

Island living

Island living

I have become a professional at taking selfies

I have become a professional at taking selfies

morning markets again

morning markets again

Korcula

Korcula

Life is a Beach

Life is a Beach

Kayaking

Kayaking

sunset on our own private mini island

sunset on our own private mini island

dinner timeeeee

dinner timeeeee

The next stop was the Sipan island– a place that marked the highest point we have cycled up to during our entire trip. It also marked the earliest we have started drinking during a day. I believe it was hardly midday when we order our usual bile vino accompanied by a glass of Kruskovac. The island was so tiny we managed to zig zag out way through it all in just a couple of hours before heading back to Dubrovnik. Even so I will always remember it for its peaceful atmosphere and friendly people. We have scored free drinks at the local restaurant and didn’t even have to join the table (and that is something one gets to appreciate after having lived in Dubai for some time:).IMG_5138

where we stopped for a cheeky dip

where we stopped for a cheeky dip

yes.. it's happening

yes.. it’s happening

i loved that dog

i loved that dog

ok.. i forgot.. it was red not white

ok.. i forgot.. it was red not white

on the way back catching up with the "real" world

on the way back catching up with the “real” world

And last but not least – The Island of Mljet, which is known to the rest of the world as a national park and a place of extreme beauty. To us it will always be the Half-Island. For some reason our tour-operator didn’t think it would be necessary to give us the full map of the island. Maybe he didn’t think we were hard-core cyclist enough to take on the full length of the place or maybe he just forgot. Who knows… All I know is that we figured that out after having cycled for about 30 km (mostly uphill) and finding ourself facing even more hills and having no idea what we were cycling towards or to. We have quite literally came to end of the map. We considered our options and then decided to do what we did best. Yes – indeed- we had some wine and then turned back.  And a couple of hours later that has turned out to be the best of decisions because the hell has opened and massive storm came upon us. But by then we were already all cosy and comfy on our balcony watching the storm happening above the Adriatic Sea.  With a bottle of wine of course. The next day we got up nice an early and went for a run (yes believe or not it wasn’t all just drinking and eating!). We have just gone far enough to make it worthless to go back when another storm has started. And honestly it was a Storm with a capital S. The road we were running on has turned into a river and my T-shirt into a full length dress. We got so soaked no car even bothered to stop and offer us a lift. The drivers must have thought we were crazy which we probably were since we ran 8k in total. My longest outdoor run yet. I wish I had taken a picture but my Iphone was safely stored in my undergarments to prevent it from drowning. You just have to take my word for it!

Kruskovac ... the best of Croatia in a glass

Kruskovac … the best of Croatia in a glass

ever wondered what is at the end of a map?... this is

ever wondered what is at the end of a map?… this is

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But the time we got back and dried off the weather has cleared in a matter of minutes. We have decided to try and explore the unmapped (well at least to us) part of the island once again – but this time with a little engine help and rented a scooter. If there was something I felt was missing (which I didn’t) this has definitely covered it. I was in heaven cruising around and repeating “yes- this happening! Croatia baby!” in my head and possibly also aloud a couple of times!… IMG_5391 IMG_5429 IMG_5399 IMG_5351

Oh damn.. I got so distracted by that storm and scooter story I forgot to talk about the national park thing! Ok so basically- Mljet is a very famous island, apparently even Homer was there (as in the Greek one) and mentioned the island in his Odyssey and stuff. The park is mostly all about these two salty lakes and their surroundings and it is pretty spectacular ! You can’t really cycle or walk the whole way around them because as our half-map said “the roads turn to dirt and then disappear”. And they actually do! But since it was just a half – map we decided to not believe it and see for ourself. It did turned to dirt. And it did end. But what the map didn’t say was that the view at the end was totally worth having to cycle all the way back. It also didn’t mention that you don’t HAVE to necessarily go back since there is Charon – well that’s what I decided to call him anyway. It’s this friendly guy manning an ancient little boat pending between the narrowest point of the Big Lake and taking you over to the other side. That’s him:

Our Croatian Charon

Our Croatian Charon

At first we were gonna cycle just for the sport part of it. But then – just look at the guy! Could you resist him? 🙂 Anyway here are some pics of the national park :IMG_5263IMG_5273Chapter Five – Domestic food.. and domestic wine

… ok – Dolly and I have come up with many theories about the origins of the expression “domestic food” that the Croatians just LOVE to use. Many of them – ok all of them- we came up with after at least of bottle of wine and they are therefore not to be published. Ever. Thankfully we have also made some Croatian friends during our time there and they have kindly explained the whole thing. “Domestic” in croatian means “home-made” and also “local” and “traditional”. So why use three expressions when you can just use one, right? It’s shorter, to the point and very very VERY catchy. I can assure you that at the end of our holidays both of us REQUIRED at least one serving of domestic food a day otherwise we weren’t fully satisfied. “Home-made” just wouldn’t do. It would have to be “domestic”.  “Domestic” food is to be found everywhere in Croatia – you can get domestic bread in bakeries, domestic cakes in restaurants, domestic tea at the airport if you wish. And then there is the domestic wine of course since every lucky Croatian seems to be in possession of their own little vineyard and a small winery located near-by. I was never much of a wine drinker. Well – people change and so did I.  And I only have Croatia to blame for that. It’s the sun, the sea, the air, the simply everything beautiful that one can taste in every sip of every wine we tried. And we tried a lot trust me. And none – N O N E – tasted bad.

domestic fish

domestic fish

domestic wine on the beach ... as you do

domestic wine on the beach … as you do

domestic fish soup

domestic fish soup

more domestic fish

more domestic fish

domestic "hot" wine... who says that's a xmas thing? tasted good in september too

domestic “hot” wine… who says that’s a xmas thing? tasted good in september too

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domestic octopus salad and mussels

domestic octopus salad and mussels

domestic wine

domestic wine

The Tale of Two Girls (and many Cities)

15 days, 4 countries, 3 airlines and many MANY many bottles of wine later and I’m finally back from my summer vacation.

There is so much – perhaps even too much- two young girls travelling around Europe can jampack into two weeks of holidays- but fortunately for you my dear readers I have just ordered a large soya cappuccino and have all the time in the world to describe everything Dolly and I got up to during our girly trip to Croatia. So why don’t just sit back, relax and enjoy the read ?:)

Chapter One – The Most Wonderful and Horrible Thing…

… that can happen to you when travelling stand-by is to miss or not get on the connecting flight you were hoping for. Like it did to us. We happily boarded the A380 bound for Munich and spent the few hours it takes to fly from Dubai to Europe watching films, drinking miniatures ( or as we liked to call it “sampling for future reference”) and chatting to our former batchmate who happened to be the operating crew on our flight.
We (still happily) disembarked and made our way to the check-in counter of our connection. And that’s when the fun started. I’m not gonna bother with the details and wonders of stand-by travelling. The important thing was that some 40-minutes later we found ourselves mentally exhausted and without a flight to board that day. The miniatures we haven’t managed to finish on board came in handy at that moment. We were stranded in Munich for 24-hours. It was horrible because thanks to the Octoberfest all the hotels were fully booked and there was no way we could find a last-minute accommodation. And it was wonderful because out of all places I’d have wanted to be stranded in Europe- Munich during the Octoberfest was the best of them all! We put our heads together and figured there was no harm in asking our batchmate if she would mind terribly letting us crash in her crew-hotel room for the night. Which she didn’t. The holiday had started right there and then. IMG_4253

Chapter Two – Octoberfest…

… is not your typical festival as you would imagine. I have always wanted to go. Just like everybody else I guess. I expected it to be crowded, chaotic and commercial. To my surprise it was none of the above. For such a massive event the whole place felt very intimate and so so soooOOO super friendly! It had everything – massive pretzels, foot-long sausages, roasted sugar coated almonds, music, drindls and leder hosen, amusement rides and THE BEER of course! And we tried all of it. If you ever considered going then DO IT ! It’s an unforgettable experience !IMG_4268 IMG_4279 IMG_4317 IMG_4327

Chapter Three – Dubrovnik …

… has very nearly taken over the Number One City spot in my heart that has been so far occupied by Prague. Well- when I say nearly I mean I still haven’t decided. It is a true germ – so stunning it makes you wanna weep. I scored a window seat on the way there and got the chance to enjoy the most beautiful approach and landing in my life (yes -and I have landed into Maledives before).

We checked into our approx. 100yo little stone-cottage B&B overlooking the Old City of Dubrovnik, downed a shot of something very strong offered to us by our friendly landlord and ventured out to savour the moment of our first Adriatic sunset. There is so much I would like to say about this amazing city starting by describing its white streets full of jewellery shops and ice-creams parlours and beautiful architecture and its morning markets with all kinds of fresh fruit and home-made products and the most fantastic wine bars on the city walls and all the painters and musicians on every corner and all the different smells from local restaurants  and… and… and are you still with me? We have fallen head over heels for this hidden paradise – so hard we decided to extend our stay from the originally planned two nights to full 5 days sacrificing the Venetian part of our trip. Yes- that’s how very awesome Dubrovnik is!

After having spent our first night gorging on seafood and wine we left Dubrovnik for a couple of days and returned for another overnight stay a few days later. This time around we have learned a lot about the history of the settlement and the importance it has had throughout the history of the Medditerranean trading. We have walked on the City walls and visited even more jewellery shops in preparation of making some very hefty purchases. And because we felt like that still wasn’t enough we returned yet another time right at the end of our tour of Croatia and stayed until we really HAD to go in order to return to work on time. But not before we treated ourself to some bling bling shopping and -you know it’s coming – yes even more wine!IMG_4403 IMG_4420

I will never get sick of taking pics of palms... never

I will never get sick of taking pics of palms… never

Morning fruit markets... fresh figs, dried figs, fig salamis, fig jams, fig liquers, fig brandy... but they also had some grapes...:)

Morning fruit markets… fresh figs, dried figs, fig salamis, fig jams, fig liquers, fig brandy… but they also had some grapes…:)

ahhhhhh...

ahhhhhh…

first evening in Dubrovnik - the City Of Stunning

first evening in Dubrovnik – the City Of Stunning

The view from our room

The view from our room

Dubrovnik from above ..and my Croatian ring

Dubrovnik from above ..and my Croatian ring

Just chillin' on the last day of our epic trip

Just chillin’ on the last day of our epic trip

One of many mouth watering dinners we have treated ourself to.. this one featured a lobster...

One of many mouth watering dinners we have treated ourself to.. this one featured a lobster…

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Croatia has it all... sun, wine, seafood, silver... rain

Croatia has it all… sun, wine, seafood, silver… rain

The City Walls and the two of us

The City Walls and the two of us

Ahhhhh

Ahhhhh

Having a glass of vino and watching the sunset on the City Walls.. my life is complete now

Having a glass of vino and watching the sunset on the City Walls.. my life is complete now

another day another breath taking sunset

another day another breath taking sunset

yes... it's happening

yes… it’s happening

and another one

and another one

Dancing, Singing and Holidaying !!

Hey everybody,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post ! But I have been away on holiday – which you may have noticed if you follow my Instagram and since coming back I had hardly any time to spare. I have a few drafts laying around tho and they are about to be published later today !

So watch out for this !

x

G