Seoul Searching …

My Airline has not been sending me to the Far East very much of late. Ok – I have had more Manila flights than I could possibly ever care for (more on that later) but the Philippines are not the right kind of “asian”. By that I mean not the kind that I love. Like China or Viet Nam for example.

That’s why I was very excited when I found out I was about to go to Korea in December. Everybody was telling me that since I like China I’ll ADDORE Korea. And all of them were right. I totally did!

Seoul was a very special layover. In the same way that Shanghai has been back in March. Somehow I just know I will never forget about it. Thankfully it’s one of those longer and “social” layovers when crew feel the need to come down and mingle. Possibly also because there is nothing quite like going out in Asia. I’m telling you guys the nightlife is just INSANE! And addictive… You will try it once and will never want to give it up.

We started the night off typically Korean – gorging on some amazing BBQ. Never heard of it? No neither have I till I tried it. The BBQ restaurants are absolutely genius – conveniently placed on every corner in Seoul. All you need to do is walk in and wait to be seated. You get a “table” within minutes, sometimes you gotta wait a little before it gets prepared for its new occupants. What do I mean by “getting prepared”. See – the Korean BBQ is not a restaurant per se… You get to cook your own food yourself. There is a massive hot place placed in the middle of each “table” ( looking a little like the swiss raclette) which you get to use to your own liking. You get to pick your own meat and/or veggies to grill just as you like it. Plus you get an unlimited supply of sauces, rice and spices. As I said – genius! It’s quick, delicious and costs absolutely nothing…IMG_6768

Later that night -after a few drinks in the hotel lobby- some of us decided to head out and party. As we were leaving the hotel Korea gave me yet another reason to love it – it has started to snow! I don’t need to fill you on the details of our night out in the Gangnam District do I? Did you know Koreans love hip-hop? Did you know they were snapbacks AND suits? Did you know guys dance more than girls? All I need to say is that Asia and its club scene has not let me down once again! I had a great time and so so so much fun with my colleagues. We were quite the distraction being the only non-Koreans in the clubs and I can assure you that many pictures of us have been taken… But I guess it wouldn’t be the real Asia if that didn’t happen:). IMG_6759 IMG_6769

The next morning I beat my hangover to it and left to Seoul-search before it managed to fully start. I wanted to walk and see as much as I physically could and I did. I returned to the Gangnam district and explored it from left to right and bottom to top.It is a truly amazing place -not solely for its fantastic shops but I have to admit that the Underground Market is very impressive. I resisted to spend ALL of my money and only spent some – and that was mostly on gifts for others rather than for myself. Korea is famous for its skin product-well I fear I still wouldn’t know the difference between a hydrating and a firming face cream if my life depended on it- and gadgets. And you should already know how I feel about gadgets. IJUSTLOVETHEM! So I couldn’t leave empty-handed… However I believe my purchase was very justified since I have used it every single layover since ICN. I bought a polaroid camera. I sure still use my IPhone a lot but there is a certain charm to the instant photo you get to hold immediately and stick up on your wall as soon as you get back home…

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

the beauty of polaroid snaps

IMG_7231 IMG_7218IMG_6958

South Korea has definitely lived up to my expectations. I would love to go back if only for that great BBQ 🙂

Love

x

G.

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Listen To Your…

…body. If not then at least listen to your best friend. They usually know what’s best for your body. How do I know that? Well that’s a funny story. If you wanna know more – then just sit back and read on.

So I flew to Kuala Lumpur again a couple of days back. You may remember that my first layover in KL wasn’t all that exciting. Well – the second one has definitely made up for it. That one singular trip has given me enough excitement for months of flying. The flight over has not gone as well as I would have wished but I guess after a year of successful flights I was bound to have a… ehhm how to best put it .. let’s say a “challenging” one. I landed and all I could think of was a nice cold drink and a good company. A good company has thankfully been already taken care of as one of my best friends was operating with me that day. And a cold drink was at hand as soon as we reached our hotel. Ok – I may have had a few more than just one. But in my defence… I really had one helluva day that day.

I woke up next morning feeling a little under the weather but nothing a little more sleep couldn’t fix. So yes – I spent yet another KL layover in bed but not entirely. I also pulled myself out to enjoy a beautiful lunch by the pool and even forced myself to do a very minor workout at the gym.

Then I went up to my room and got ready for a long journey back home- and it indeed was a VERY long way back to my apartment. The flight was a busy one. It was somewhere half way thru when I started feeling bad. At first I was blaming the lack of sleep and that one extra drink I probably shouldn’t have had the night before. However as the time and the pain in my lower abdomen progressed I was starting to think this was more than just an indigestion or a mild hangover. But it wasn’t until I nearly fainted that I knew something was amiss. By the time we were landing I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit or stand- both was equally uncomfortable. It took my all to remain smiling for the sake of the passengers. My friend saw my suffering and kept on asking if I needed medical help. That’s when my childhood and my mother’s Spartan upbringing kicked in. See – I was a bit of an attention seeker as a kid and I may have played the “sickness” card way too many times for my mum’s liking. She ended up never believing I was seriously ill until I either vomited or was on the verge of dying in front of her. Once she said she would also believe an open fracture but (thankfully?) I never had one. So when Edel suggested an emergency room I mentally reviewed my state (“Have I vomited?” “No.” “Open fracture?” “No.” “Verge of dying?” “Well…”) and I told him I wasn’t gonna make a big deal out of it.

Well my body decided otherwise. By the time we got to disembark the aircraft and collect our luggage I cared very little for smiling and could hardly walk without whimpering in pain.

“Ok- that’s it” Edel said “I’m taking you to the hospital and I don’t care what you think.”

“Thank God” is what I thought but I didn’t say it because the pain was growing by the second and I wasn’t gonna waste energy talking.

We got to the Emergency room around 6am still wearing our uniforms and carrying our crew bags, which strictly speaking is possibly not allowed but honestly at that point I didn’t care much. It didn’t take much for the nurse to understand my condition and I was hooked on the drips before I even knew it. Wow – I don’t know what it was they pumped into me but I wouldn’t mind having a top up of that stuff! Not only did it make the pain go away – it also gave my memories a nice shiny glow … 😛

I’m not gonna make this any more dramatic than I already have. As you may have guessed it was a suspected appendicitis but thankfully it wasn’t. It took the doctors about 9 hours and a whole list of tests to decide on that but in the end I wasn’t gonna have to go under the knife and they just let me off with some very strong painkillers and other goodies to keep my guts in control.

I'm only smiling coz I'm high

I’m only smiling coz I’m high

They have also put my on a very strict diet of no alcohol (drag!), no coffee (my life is over!!), no tea (uff) and no milk(oh well I’m lactose intolerant anyway). Hence the extensive blogging today. Thanks to the painkillers I spent a whole day sleeping and am now full of energy that needs venting!

The point of the story has however not been made yet. I have come to realise that I haven’t fully appreciate the treasure I have in my life – Edel ! The amazing person who got off a 7-hour flight, dragged me to a hospital and remained fully awake by my bedside the entire time. He wouldn’t leave even when I kept sending him home. It wasn’t until later when I realised how much his support meant for me. Spending a day in a hospital not knowing what’s wrong with you is not the kind of time you want to be alone. And I wasn’t…

Thank you so much boo … You are a true friend!

x

G.

Sistas In Paris

sistas in Paris

sistas in Paris

You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes -when you’ve been real real REAL good- you get so much more than what you could have ever asked for. Like myself this Christmas just passed for example.

My Airline has decided to sent to Paris. Paris of all places – one of the few European capitols I haven’t been to. Paris- so wonderfully romantic and oh-so-french. I was just chilling (and possibly drinking) at my sister’s place in Prague when I found out and the conversation went something like this : (oh please do excuse my “french” hahaha- see what I did there?)

Me: “Holy cow! They gave me Paris for Christmas. SOooo excited – I have never been!”

Nela(my sis): ” Sooo jealous! I have never been either…”

Me:” OMG! You should totally come!”

Nela:“Like seriously?”

It took us about three seconds to put the plan together and then it was real and happening. Nela was coming to Paris to meet me for Christmas. How very puurrrfect!

Our flights landed almost at the same time and I was just about to check in when she entered the hotel lobby. We did our usual greeting dance (as much of it as my image standards allowed me to do anyways) and proceeded to the room where we cracked open a bottle of the french finest (or as we choose to believe) and let the festivities begun.947286_10202165020278915_1692349299_n

Next morning was an early start – we had a lot to do and a very little time. We got to the Champs Elysees at the crack of a dawn and managed to walk swiftly over to the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunrise. After the compulsory photo shoot we found ourselves a cosy cafe and had a very french breakfast- or that’s at least what a croissant and a glass of white wine is in my eyes… 532140_10202008158737851_882802164_n1525126_10202165024759027_718432646_n

…and then we walked. For miles and hours. We saw a lot but we definitely haven’t seen enough.There is so much more we have to come back for. Like Montmartre we haven’t managed to get to, Or Notre Dame we only glimpsed at. Or Louvre we saw from the outside but had no time to explore inside. Or the French kiss we never got… Too early  it was time to get back and catch both of our flights back to Prague and Dubai before we even knew it. We left the rainy city with its Christmas markets and onions soups and Louvre and Seine and all the street sellers behind and went back to the hotel.1532061_10202008166258039_1447705318_n 1476043_10202008168698100_351115196_n IMG_6942947274_10202008167218063_1105599895_n

we love monuments

we love monuments

Just in time for Nela to finish the wine from the previous night which I watched with endless envy, bid me a teary good-bye, wish Merry Xmas and go. I don my uniform and red lipstick and got ready for a very full, very long and very bumpy flight.

I landed back home in Dubai feeling torn between very lonely and very happy. I was very happy because I got to give my sister the best present I could have ever come up with. And I was very lonely because those 24-hours were a poor taster of the family I wanted to be with so badly. But alas- I guess it’s better to have a family to miss than none at all. And I’m blessed with a very big one! And I have hopefully also started a tradition of spending my European layovers with my siblings and parents or whoever is willing to make the journey to meet me… Life is a bliss after all !

Love

x

G.

The Pleasures of Perth and Novelties of New York

Hi to all of you my sweetest dearest readers!

You must be all very excited, mustn’t you? Not only have we entered the most anticipated (and stressful) month of the year but you are also about to read the most anticipated blog post you must have been all so eagerly waiting for … The one about NYC !!

Well I’d like to keep your suspense for a bit longer so let me first tell you about some layovers that I haven’t had the pleasure to write about just yet. Like Perth for example. Perth is one of the regulars on my roster. It seems to somehow find its way there every other month. I don’t mind at all. As a crew I have to admit it’s one of the easiest flights. Never full, relatively short, perfectly timed. It’s a duty from heaven. The only reason why it hasn’t become my favourite layover yet is that there isn’t awfully much to do once you are in Perth. Don’t get me wrong, the city is lovely and all … It’s just not very exciting I guess. But on the other hand sometimes it’s good to just get to the hotel, sit back and relax without the haunting thought of missing out on something that’s out there. I usually take Perth as my workout layover, bring me my running shoes and go for a jog down by the waterfront just 2 mins from the hotel and then change into my swimsuit and do a couple of lanes in the shortest pool in the history of pools (on the upside it’s the only time when I can casually say “yeah I’ve swam 100 lanes today, no biggie”).  It’s exactly what I did today. Now I’m happily typing away comfortably parked in a cafe surrounded by young professionals having their quick 30-min vegan organic lunch. Life is good. Knowing myself I will probably give in to the shopping addict inside of me and go and browse some shops down the high street later. I love clothes shopping in Oz. It is unfortunately a very expensive hobby of mine since the Aussies have obviously never heard of the concept of “a bargain”. The only sole reason why I haven’t moved Down Under is that I haven’t found my multi-millionaire husband to pay for all my clothes. That’s a joke of course…. About the “only sole reason”:)

working out in PER is fun

working out in PER is fun

Seasonal Greetings from 30 degree heat

Seasonal Greetings from 30 degree heat

The one time when I haven’t followed my usual Perth schedule was when Salma was here. You remember Salma? One of my batchmates and best friends in Dubai? She is from Perth but originally… oh crap let’s not get into that here- that’s a long and old story. It was a pure luck that I got assigned PER just as she was back home for her holiday. She picked me up from the hotel and took me to what she promised “were gonna be the best waffles I have ever tried”. She wasn’t lying. I don’t remember the name of the place but if you ever find yourself on the West Coast of Oz and craving waffles then go to Northbridge and just ask. Oh – but don’t go at night because apparently that’s when Northbridge gets rowdy. I wouldn’t know – luckily I left before sh*t got real … 🙂

Ok -enough about Perth. Let’s take a trip across the globe and travel a few time zones back all the way to the NYC!

Oh my – where shall I start? There is simply so much I have to say about New York. I was completely taken aback by that place. I was feeling very sceptical when landing into JFK. I have just served the longest and by that I mean  THE LONGEST (if you get my gist) duty of my entire career. Obama himself could have been welcoming me but all I cared for was a warm cosy bed, cup of hot chocolate and at least a thousand episodes of ANY sitcom to make me feel human again.  Well – as it turned out I didn’t need any of that. All it took was a glance at Manhattan and I was as chipper as a newborn. Our hotel is situated right on the Times Square so going to sleep after the flight was outta question. I splashed my face with ice-cold water put a woolly jumper on, my headphones in and stepped out in NYC for the first time ever.

Breath taking

Breath taking

How was it? It was big – massive actually. It was chaotic. It was breath taking. Stunning. Exactly like in all the film and videos. I ate a chilli dog in Times Square and bought my obligatory snapback (yes I know what I said about the shopping earlier but c’mon we are talking snapbacks and New York here!). Then I strolled down the 5th Avenue, stopped at the Rockefeller Sq. and went up the Top of Rock. OMG! Probably the best decision I made that day! As if it has been ordered the sun has decided to make an appearance (or maybe I was just high enough above the smog cloud) and I got the most amazing view of the City. I stayed for about an hour, rooming around the deck and snapping pics and then really REALLY wanted to make it to the Central park that looked so nice and green from above. But -alas- that’s when my body finally gave up and recognised the fact that I have been up for more than 24 hours and most of it running around a massive cabin serving cranberry juice and ice to 400 passengers. I literally couldn’t walk any longer and had to return to the hotel for a power nap. One that lasted 7 hours. I woke up refreshed and ready for more sight-seeing. At 3a.m. It was 4 hours before my wake-up call and I wasn’t gonna spend all that precious time in my hotel room in one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. They say New York never sleeps and I was about to see for myself. Well – it’s bullshit. It does. I cut a very lonely figure retracting my steps from earlier that day. I really wanted to do that one thing that every girls secretly wants to do- have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hmmm… I found Tiffany’s. But couldn’t find anywhere to get breakfast. Not even the omnipresent Starbucks was open. I assure you that on this one particular lovely freezing morning at 4.30a.m in NYC the only one who wasn’t sleeping was myself. I returned to the hotel with the first rays of the rising sun just in time to watch the city slowly wake up. It was magical. Even more so when a lovely cosy cafe opened in front of my eyes and I gulped down a very much needed hot soya cappuccino and gorging on a blueberry muffin the size of my fist (yes I may have relaxed my diet a little in the States:). Life couldn’t get much better at the very moment.

I only have one word for this - YUM

I only have one word for this – YUM

<3

The Empire State of Mind

The Empire State of Mind

The 5th Avenue

The 5th Avenue

Times Square at 3 a.m.

Times Square at 3 a.m.

I’m due back in three weeks and I’m already getting excited. NYC has definitely made it to my top five layover destinations.

x

Love

G.

Busy busy busy….

Ok I admit to it… I have been such a crappy blogger these last couple of weeks! The thing is I’m a perfectionist and rather than posting something short and rushed I will risk losing your attention for a while and then surprise you with a long and accomplished post. And such posts require time. And time is something I haven’t had a lot of lately.

I’m currently in Prague, spending the last few days of my vacation with my sister. “Another vacation?” I hear you say? Well- rest assured this holiday has been all but relaxing. I have pretty much not stopped until this morning. It’s been mad ten days full of spinning around seeing old friends and even older family members and travelling up and down the Czech Rep like there was no stopping me. If you think that cabin crew would have enough of travelling from their everyday lives and would want to spend their free time on one spot- well then think again.

The holiday pretty much started the moment I landed back from Manila and signed off from my duty. I had about an hour before the check-in for the Manchester flight, which is where I was headed, was to open. I beat the speed of light by making it back home, repacking, taking a shower and getting to the airport just in time to pass out in front of my gate. I was looking forward to at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep since planes put me to sleep like nothing else does -but alas not this time! I spent the flight starting at the IFE in front of me without really seeing what was going on. As the Boeing reached the runway in Manchester I reached a new level of tiredness previously unknown to me. But since I only had less than 48 hours before I was due to leave for Prague I wasn’t gonna spend my “layover” sleeping was I now? I have enjoyed an awesome weekend in the Peak District- a place that has always been very close to my heart- hiking,shopping, lazying and enjoying plenty of tasty mulled cider  at local Christmas Markets. IMG_6247

Before I knew it – it was time to board yet another plane and head to Germany and then onwards to Czech. The next week or so was spent madly pending from one corner to another trying to ration “quality” time between all members of my massive family.

there always has to be some kind of competition in our family...

there always has to be some kind of competition in our family…

watching my brother's floorball tournament.. yes he is indeed playing a girl...

watching my brother’s floorball tournament.. yes he is indeed playing a girl…

visiting my gran always ends up like this

visiting my gran always ends up like this

I sighed in relief when I left all that “stress” behind and made my way back to Prague to focus on one person only – Holly, who was coming from Belfast to visit the Capitol of Beautiful for the first time. I have tried my best to show her as much as I possibly could in our limited time and I believe I succeeded . I have managed to feed her as much Czech food as she could take. We have drank mulled wine and ate smoked ham. We (over)indulged eating Czech sweets in my favourite caffes around Prague. We walked miles and miles sightseeing. We fed our starving cultural selves in the National Theatre having attended the ultimate pre-Xmas show- The Nutcracker.

In The Theatre

In The Theatre

 

different type of culture

different type of culture

Ok – this is not the kind of elaborate post I was talking about at the start… But I promise I have a few up my sleeve. There is so much I have been up to that you guys haven’t heard of… yet. For example my numerous trips to Perth. Or flying to my precious Ghana again. And describing my Filippino experience. It’s all underway just stay put :)!

 

Bye for now

x

Love

G.

The Tale of Two Girls and One More City

At the end of the last month Dolly and I found ourselves having a few days off together. Rather than wasting it doing our usual sweet nothings in Dubai we decided- very spontaneously – to go on a girly shopping trip to Bangkok. Just like that. Yes – feel free to hate me all you want. This part of my job is so insanely cool ! We have booked our stand-by tickets online, packed a few bits and pieces and headed for the airport. All within a matter of one afternoon.

Our Airline flies to Bangkok pretty much every 5 hours and we were therefore lucky enough to get our pick on the most comfortable flight (most comfortable meaning the one with the least paying passengers on it meaning more space for us non-paying passengers to spread over 4 seats and sleep).

We landed in Bangkok late at night , checked into our hotel and went straight to bed (well that’s a lie actually I skipped the part when we ventured out to find the nearest 7/11 to get the compulsory bubble tea. You know what they say “When in Asia drink as much bubble tea as you can get your hands on”). We had a big day ahead of us. We got up nice and early and made our way to the spa we looked up before leaving Dubs and booked ourselves in for a day full of pampering. Sauna, body scrubs, massages and much much more… All super cheap and super professional. Samsara Wellness definitely got our seal of approval ! I even left with a bag full of goodies such as organic coconut oil, pineapple vinegar and some organic ointments.

And after the relaxing couple of hours in the spa it was time to get down to business. Aka The MBK. The massive shopping centre where -among others – people go to get all those not-so-real designer handbags, watches, shoes, clothes etc. We spent the entire afternoon fussing over purses and wallets and had to reminded to leave since the mall was about to close. It was decided then that we absolutely HAVE to come back the next day since our thirst for shopping has not been quenched yet.

Since this was Dolly’s first time to Bangkok or to Thailand in general it has been agreed to we should also do some turist-ey stuff. I let her decide what she wanted to see and only prayed it wouldn’t involve any Buddhas. After having backpacked in Thailand couple of years ago and having been in and out of Asia in my first couple of months of flying I felt like I have seen enough Buddhas for at least two life times. Thankfully my gurl wanted to do a boat trip instead. I was pleasantly surprised since it was once again a side of Bangkok I haven’t seen before. This city just keeps on amazing me. What we didn’t expect was the tour to finish at The Grand Temple which coincidentally is the home to the biggest reclining Buddha in Thailand. Now I can safely say I have seen Buddha to do everything. Sit, stand, lie down, dance, smile, sleep and recline. Oh – and laugh.485521_10201575075871050_1009096869_n

The Grand Temple is called “grand” for a reason. One could easily spend a whole day walking around. But Dolly once again proved why exactly is she one of my best friends by saing after mere 40 mins “Okay, enough culture, let’s go shopping!”. And off we were to the kind of temple that’s much closer to my spoiled consumer’s heart.

Shopping in Thailand is always easier when armed with a bubble tea or two. So we searched the of whole of MBK to find one stand at last. The lady serving us looked like the last thing she wanted in life was to get any business. After a very long international conversation she finally decided to understand what we were after (strangely enough bubble tea was THE ONLY thing she was selling so her confusion was quite… well confusing)  and when we dared to ask for no ice she looked at us disgusted and said one thing that will forever score Number One on my Top chart of Misunderstandings:

“No ice? We don’t have!” Whilst adding some extra ice cubes to our drinks.

All that was left for us was to laugh. The rest of the day was delightful! I left with my brand new wallet much lighter and my shopping bags much fuller. You can rest assured that my winter wardrobe has been all taken care of here in Bangkok…

There was one more place I wanted Dolly to see before we left. The infamous Khao San Road. I remembered it be wild and shocking. But perhaps we were too early in the night. Or too late. Or maybe I have seen wilder and more shocking since. Because this time the KSR seemed calm and civilised. We considered watching a ping pong show but in end rather opted for yet another massage, a little more shopping and some Thai curry.1378077_10201575102271710_1529465280_n

All of our Thai cravings have been fully satisfied and we left Bangkok relaxed and totally shopped out. The nest city break we have panned is Pre-Xmas Prague in two weeks. Watch this space of more mis-adventure and tales of the two girls:)

x

Love

G.

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 !
IMG_3680

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

A Day That Counts

We all have them. The days that seem so pointless it’s like they didn’t even need to happen. The days when the most productive thing you force yourself to do is moving from your bed to the sofa. I call them my “Recharge Days”. I solemnly feel guilty for having one of those every now and then. Because for every Recharge Day there is always a Counter Day. Aka the day that counts as two, as three sometimes even as a whole century of your normal days let along the Recharge Days. I have had many Counter Days in 2013 but I’d like to talk about this one in particular. This is the story of a Counter FriDay 13th September 2013. The day I operated my first ever flight to Prague.

The moment I found out about this duty I decided to make it a surprise and only tell a limited amount of people. One of the hardest decisions I have ever taken because as the date was approaching I found it harder and harder to conceal my excitement when talking to my family and ultimately had to stop talking to them in fear of accidentally dropping a hint.

The night before the flight I hardly slept a wink – I watched the clock slowly move towards my wake up time until I gave up and got ready long before I had to. The 5-hour flight felt like the longest in my life. When we touched down at last I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh- for somebody who has spent the last 7 years globetrotting and trying to move as far away from their homeland as possible feeling so emotional coming back “home” was indeed an experience. Our Captain has observed my pain watching the rest of the crew potter around and taking their sweet time collecting their luggage and what not and has kindly released me to check-in at the hotel well in advance before anybody else. If not for professional image and respect to my uniform I could have kissed him right there.

I was in and out of my hotel room in less than two minutes and rushed to meet one of the most precious people I have ever known- a friend I have met in high school and who has been a huge part of my life ever since, Rudi <3. We talked and talked and talked some more and drunk about 3 litres of coffee -until my jaw hurt from all the talking and heart beat fast from all the coffee. Time flies when you are having fun and especially when you have so much gossip to go thru and next time I looked at my watch I had to go and run  to the train station to pick up my lil step-brother, who had spent the same amount of time on the train to Prague it has taken me to fly over all the way from Dubai. When I spotted him disembarking the train among all the other travellers I realised my plan was coming together exactly as planned and my chest felt really tight and I was out of breath once again. I guess that’s what a complete happiness is all about.

You simply cannot NOT love this person

You simply cannot NOT love this person

And then it was time for the main event of the day – giving my step-sis the shock of her life. She was expecting to see our brother with his fictional Prague (girl)friend and as she has previously shared with me over an email she wasn’t too keen on that being her Friday night plan. What she wasn’t expecting tho was the (girl)friend was to be me. The expression of sheer amazement and disbelief on her face was worth it all- the entire HR process of getting my job, the long and tiring training to get my licence and the endless waiting to get a Prague flight assigned. I would gladly go thru all this a million times over just to see her precious blue eyes filled with tears once again. It was a surprise moment par excellence ! After the initial 10 minutes of talking over each other and laughing and crying we quickly decided what to do with the rest of my layover. And since this was an occasion and we are Czech- we did exactly what all Czechs do on an occasion – we started celebrating. Because “a little party never killed nobody”.

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And boy was that one heck of a celebration! We sang, we drunk, we danced and talked of all the important things people talk about when the bottles are empty the clock shows way past anybody’s bedtime. I think at one point we also slept but I can’t be too sure because the next thing I remember is rushing back to the hotel and pushing the limits of the speed of light putting my make-up and uniform on.  And then… then it was time to check out, kiss everybody good-bye, wipe the tears and the not-so-water-proof mascara of my cheeks and head to the airport with my crew. I landed back in Dubai totally exhausted but happier than ever. My job is a blessing that brings me happiness and fills me with pleasure every time I fly. But I already knew that. What I didn’t know but learned that day was that it can also make people I love the most happy and content. And that my dear readers is a feeling you won’t get from no paycheque.

x

G.

P.S. This post is dedicated to my lil step-bro as a weird way to say “Happy B-day I love you very much”

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