Tagged vegetarian food

A day in magical Marrakech

When I found a one-way flight from Madrid to Marrakech for 40 €, I was super excited. As I was so close to Africa, I realized the opportunity to visit Morocco had come.

But then I got scared. I had never been to Africa, let alone a Muslim country.

Even though the name of this blog is Ammi’s Adventures, I’m not nearly as brave as I’d like to be. I’ve written before how it’s important to face your fears, but at times I find it hard to follow my own advice. Reading travel forums about solo females being hassled in Morocco scared me. And even though many people wrote about the wonderful experiences they had in Morocco, the negative messages stick to your head so much easier.

But usually, honesty pays off. I was scared about the prospect of traveling to Morocco alone, but I wasn’t scared to let people know this. After openly sharing my fears, a male friend traveling in Spain at the same time as me, agreed to join me on my trip.

The Moroccan coastline as seen from the plane — Janne and I are about to land on African soil for the first time in our life!
The Moroccan coastline as seen from the plane — Janne and I are about to land on African soil for the first time in our life!
We stayed at Hostel Rouge in the medina (old town) where we were welcomed with mint tea from the hostel's friendly staff.
We stayed at Hostel Rouge in the medina (old town) where we were welcomed with mint tea from the hostel’s friendly staff.

After dropping our bags at the hostel, we had a look around Marrakech. We were surprised how quiet a Saturday afternoon at the main square, Jamaa el Fna, was. There were almost no people around and the few locals we saw were minding their own business. We were expecting a culture shock but found Marrakech to be relatively calm.

The first sight when arriving to Marrakech were some lonesome horse carriages. The lack of crowds took us by surprise.
The first sight when arriving to Marrakech were some lonesome horse carriages. The lack of crowds took us by surprise.

From the square we continued to the souks — an endless maze of stalls selling herbs, clothes and handicrafts. The shop owners were knitting hats and carving wood in their stalls, from where they sold their items. The colours and smells of the souk really awaken your senses. Women are draped from top to toe, but still look very fashionable, wearing clothes and scarves in all imaginable colours and patterns.

In Morocco, there’s basically two options for lunch: couscous or tajine. Couscous, granules made out of durum wheat, is probably more known in the Western world than tajine. Tajine is a North African dish cooked in a cone-shaped ceramic pot. Both couscous and tajine are usually served with meat. In the vegetarian option the meat is usually just left out, but sometimes the meat is replaced with eggs, olives or chick peas, leaving you with a dish that’s not as bland as just steamed vegetables. Being a vegetarian in Morocco is not easy, being a vegan is almost impossible unless you cook your own food.

Olives and lentils as an entrée, before being served tajine in Marrakech.
Olives and lentils as an entrée, before being served tajine in Marrakech.
The restaurant was on the second floor and it was interesting to look at the souk from above. From up here, you could never imagine all the life going on underneath the shades.
The restaurant was on the second floor and it was interesting to look at the souk from above. From up here, you could never imagine all the life going on underneath the shades.
A random goat was hanging out on one of the roofs.
A random goat was hanging out on one of the roofs.

Sunset came and so did the people! Finally Jamaa el Fna was alive: smoke from the stalls selling food, children running, people laughing, music and performances. It was a stark contrast to the calmness of the square at daytime.

Climb up to a second floor restaurant terrace for a view of the entire Jamaa el Fna!
For 3 dirhams (around 30 cents) you can enjoy a hot bowl of soup at Jamaa el Fna.
You will also enjoyed sitting at a communal table with the locals.

As soon as you leave Jamaa el Fna, the loud sounds of the market square die out and there are not many people around.
Retreating back to our hostel after an exciting day in Marrakech.

So were my fears of solo female travel in Morocco valid? It’s hard to say, since I didn’t experience it. But in Marrakech, I never felt threatened. The locals approached us with curiosity and eagerness, never with aggression. At Jamaa el Fna, the stall owners are trying to get you to eat at their place, but if you decline, they will leave you alone or maybe say a snarky comment. Nobody will touch you or yell at you. Just remember, this is coming from someone who travelled with a male by her side.

I am so grateful that I found a travel companion as my fears might have stopped me from experiencing this intriguing Moroccan city. Once again, travel efficiently removed any prejudice I had about a place I hadn’t visited before.

Stay tuned for a blog post about our trip to the Sahara desert!

Hola Madrid y Toledo

At the beginning of September I headed to the Spanish capital. I only spent one day in Madrid, but somehow, it was enough. Because I lucked out big time with my Couchsurfing host. An avid learner and sharer of knowledge, Nico showed me around Madrid, all in one day. Couchsurfing saves you so much time and energy. You don’t have to read through Tripadvisor or lug Lonely Planet books in your backpack, as you can so easily get the best pieces of advice from a local!

We started our day walking through Parque Retiro.
We started our day walking through Parque Retiro, one of the largest parks in Madrid.
A statue of the fallen angel, Satan, stands tall in the middle of the park.
A statue of the fallen angel, Satan, stands tall in the middle of the park.
The Monument to King Alfonso XII looks over people rowing in the artificial pond.
The Monument to King Alfonso XII looks over people rowing in the artificial pond.
This guy dropped a feather in front of me.
This guy dropped a feather in front of me.
I put it in my hat.
I put it in my hat.
All this jumping made me hungry so it was time for lunch.
All this jumping made me hungry so it was time for lunch.
At vegetarian restaurant Artemisa, the daily menu costs 11,90 €. It consists of soup or salad for a starter, a main course and your choice of dessert.
At vegetarian restaurant Artemisa, the daily menu costs 11,90 €. It consists of soup or salad for a starter, a main course and your choice of dessert.

After lunch, we walked around the city before visiting two famous museums in Madrid.

I enjoyed looking at colourful houses...
I enjoyed looking at colourful houses…
...and colourful people!
…and colourful people!
Many roads are named after famous people and the street signs feature an image of the person in question.
Many roads are named after famous people and the street signs feature an image of the person in question.
Museo del Prado, with a collection of famous paintings from both Spain and abroad, is one of the most important sights in Madrid. Entry is free the final two hours of the day!
Museo del Prado, with a collection of famous paintings from both Spain and abroad, is one of the most important sights in Madrid. Entry is free the final two hours of the day!
In contrast to the classical paintings on display at Museo del Prado, Museo del Reina is dedicated to modern art. Museo del Reina also allows museum guests to enter for free during the last two hours it's open.
In contrast to the classical paintings on display at Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía is dedicated to modern art. Museo Reina Sofía also allows museum guests to enter for free during the last two hours it’s open.
Our final stop of the day was the Royal Palace, which is lit up at night time.
Our final stop of the day was the Royal Palace, which is lit up at night time.
After walking around for twelve hours, dinner at macrobiotic restaurant La Biotika was very welcome. A three course menu will set you back 14,90 €.
After walking around for twelve hours, dinner at macrobiotic restaurant La Biotika was very welcome. A three course menu will set you back 14,90 €.

As we managed to cram all the main sights of Madrid into one day, I headed to Toledo the next morning. The old Spanish capital is situated approximately 70 km from Madrid. A round trip with the bus costs around 10 €. Trains also run to Toledo but are more expensive. Toledo makes for a good day trip from Madrid.

Besides exploring the small streets of Toledo, I visited the Toledo Cathedral, one of the main sights of the city.
Besides exploring the small streets of Toledo, I visited Toledo Cathedral, one of the main sights of the city.
Madre Tierra is the only one vegetarian restaurant in Toledo. Dishes at this cosy place cost 10-15 €.
Madre Tierra is the only one vegetarian restaurant in Toledo. Dishes at this cosy place cost 10-15 €.
One of Toledo's most famous inhabitants was the painter El Greco. He lived in Toledo over a period of 37 years, and the city frequently appears in his work. In the early 20th century, Marquis de la Vega Inclán purchased a run-down 14th century house in Toledo’s old Jewish Quarter, in the mistaken assumption that he was buying the remains of the painter’s own home.
One of Toledo’s most famous inhabitants was the painter El Greco. He lived in Toledo over a period of 37 years, and the city frequently appears in his work. In the early 20th century, Marquis de la Vega Inclán purchased a run-down 14th century house in Toledo’s old Jewish Quarter, in the mistaken assumption that he was buying the remains of the painter’s own home.
Marquis de la Vega Inclán managed to perfectly re-create some of the rooms, making El Greco’s house a popular sight in Toledo. Entry to the house museum costs 3 €.
Marquis de la Vega Inclán managed to perfectly re-create some of the rooms, making El Greco’s house a popular sight in Toledo. Entry to the house museum costs 3 €.

It was nice to combine a visit to the busy capital of Madrid with a visit to the smaller city of Toledo. Most importantly, my trip to Spain allowed me to practice my Spanish.

¡Hasta la proxima!

Carpooling around Italy

Due to bad weather, I decided to cut my time in Slovenia short and switch the rain for some sunshine by carpooling to Italy.

Ah, Italy. What an incredible feeling it was getting out of the car in Bologna to a warm summer’s evening and hearing the honking vespas, seeing the big hand gestures and smelling the pizza!

I had no idea where I would stay for that night, but I didn’t care. I was just taking in the atmosphere. After wandering around for a while, I sat down for a margarita pizza, connected to WiFi and booked a room through Airbnb. It’s an interesting feeling arriving in a city in the evening — not until you rest for the night and exit your accommodation the next morning, do you see what the place actually looks like. And on an early summer’s morning, Bologna looks something like this:

Being so close to Florence, I decided to move on from Bologna to the Tuscan capital. There are intercity trains that take you from Bologna to Florence in half an hour for 25–40 €. If you take two local trains instead, the trip will take an hour, but the price is only 9 €! Being a frugal traveller, I obviously opted for the local trains. Please remember to validate your ticket! I forgot, and had to pay an extra 5 € on the train (luckily not 65 €, which is the fee for someone who is not a stupid tourist an innocent traveller).

Again, I had no idea where to stay for the night, so I visited a travel agency, where I could use their computers to book accommodation. (Sometimes it’s just so nice to look at a screen bigger than your mobile phone.)

In Florence, I stayed at Emerald Palace for two nights, where a bed in a dorm cost 30 € per night. The clean and comfortable hostel is situated opposite Basilica di San Lorenzo.
In Florence, I stayed at Emerald Palace for two nights, where a bed in a dorm cost 30 € per night. The clean and comfortable hostel is situated opposite Basilica di San Lorenzo.

I had no plans on going to Florence, but I happened to arrive there on the day of San Juan, which meant a 30 minute firework show at 10 pm. As I sat on the bank of Arno river, watching the massive fireworks, surrounded by happy Italian families, I couldn’t help but feel as though my steps had directed me to just where I was meant to be. Another way I knew I was in the right place: I absolutely loved Florence! I think it actually ended up being my favourite place during my visit to Italy.

The firework show is organized every year on the day of San Juan. The fireworks are shot from Piazzale Michelangelo.
The firework show in Florence is organized every year on the day of San Juan. The fireworks are shot from Piazzale Michelangelo.
The following morning I walked up to the square named after the famous statue.
The following morning I walked up to the square named after the famous statue.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a great vantage point for views over the entire city.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a great vantage point for views over the entire city.

From Piazzale Michelangelo I walked back down to have a look around the city. Florence is quite touristy, but you can still get an authentic feel of the city if you know where to look.

Quinoa is a 100% gluten free restaurant in Florence. Unfortunately I can't agree with their tagline.
Quinoa is a 100% gluten free restaurant in Florence. Unfortunately I can’t agree with their tagline.
A better restaurant in Florence is Konnubio. It has the most uncomfortable benches I've ever sat on but the food is pretty good, with plenty of vegetarian options.
A better restaurant in Florence is Konnubio. It has the most uncomfortable benches I’ve ever sat on but the food is pretty good, with plenty of vegetarian options.
With two locations in Florence, Shake Café is a good option for a light lunch after indulging in the Italian cuisine for days on end.
With two locations in Florence, Shake Café is a good option for a light lunch after indulging in the Italian cuisine for days on end.

The main reason tourists flock to Florence, is The Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. Entry is 12 €, or 16 € with a pre-booked time slot for entry. I got to the gallery half an hour before it opened and didn’t have to stand in line or pay extra for a specific entry time.

Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is one of the famous paintings on display at the Uffizi gallery. I would devote at least a few hours to explore all the different rooms in this massive museum.
Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” is one of the famous paintings on display at the Uffizi gallery. I would devote at least a few hours to explore all the different rooms in this massive museum.

Utilizing carpooling again, my next destination was Verona. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is mostly known as the setting for Shakespeare’s tragic love story “Romeo and Juliet”. I booked a room through Airbnb and stayed with a woman who only spoke Italian. Despite the language barrier, we got along great. Elena made me breakfast in the morning and even showed me around the city on my first night in Verona.

A balcony was added to this old building in the 1930's in order to attract tourists. The inner courtyard is packed with people photographing "Juliet's Balcony".
A balcony was added to this old building in the 1930’s in order to attract tourists. The inner courtyard is packed with people photographing “Juliet’s Balcony”.
Poor Juliet's right breast is completely faded from people touching her inappropriately in order to take "funny" photos.
Poor Juliet’s right breast is completely faded from people touching her inappropriately in order to take “funny” photos.

Juliet’s House is an underwhelming tourist attraction and I recommend walking around other parts of this historical town, to experience ancient buildings and the Italian ambiance.

Ghiotto is a vegetarian pizzeria serving pizza al taglio (by weight). I love pizza al taglio as it gives you the chance to sit on a park bench and sample different kinds of pizza. The owners of Ghiotto are super friendly, and the pizza — best one I’ve tasted in Italy. I had to walk back to the pizzeria just to tell them how good it was.
Ghiotto is a vegetarian pizzeria in Verona serving pizza al taglio (by weight). I love pizza al taglio as it gives you the chance to sit on a park bench and sample different kinds of pizza. The owners of Ghiotto are super friendly, and the pizza — best one I’ve tasted in Italy. I had to walk back to the pizzeria just to tell them how good it was.
Gelato for dessert. I’m nice and plump now.
Gelato for dessert. I’m nice and plump now.

From Verona I moved on to my final destination, Venice. BlaBlaCar is very popular in Italy, so it was easy to find a ride one last time. Venice is a very expensive city and even a bed in a hostel dorm costs more than 50 €. But as with everything, there are always options. You just have to be willing to do a bit of research.

I ended up booking a two night stay at Residenza Gesuiti, a university residence, where my own room with private bathroom cost 35 € a night.

Seaside view from my 35 € room in Venice.
Seaside view from my 35 € room in Venice.

When I checked in, the staff asked me: “Are you here for the biennale?”. Once again, a special event was happening that I knew nothing about! I didn’t really even know what the biennale is… In a way, I was in Venice for the biennale, I just didn’t know it yet.

The Venice Biennale is organized every year – with an art exhibition every second year and an architecture exhibition every second year. In the year 2015, it was the art exhibition’s turn.

The Biennale runs until 22nd November, so if you’re in Venice before then, I really recommend visiting it! Entry tickets are 25 euros but totally worth it. The ticket allows you to visit the exhibitions in Giardini and Arsenale. You can visit the two venues on different days, and I really recommend doing so. The exhibitions are open from 11 am to 6 pm and I ran out of time trying to see everything in one day! In addition to the art exhibitions displaying things like a self-playing piano and a colourful room full of rubble, different countries have created pavilions representing local art, nature, culture and life.

Venice is such an interesting city. If you get lost, it‘s not like you can just take a turn at a random street corner — because it’s full of water! Venice is best explored by foot (when you finally find a bridge that lets you cross over to the other side). I also bought a 24 hour water taxi pass for 20 €, that gives unlimited travel around Venice as well as the surrounding islands.

Of the many islands surrounding Venice, I only had time to visit Murano. In the words of a Murano local, there are three things to see on the island: glass, glass and more glass. This is definitely true — there are glass blowing factories and galleries all around the island.

Final night in Venice. Nice and plump.
I returned to Venice for a final stroll around the city.
Grazie e buona notte Italia.
Grazie e buona notte Italia.

Couchsurfing and road-tripping in Slovenia

After experiencing incredible hospitality in Croatia, I moved on to its northern neighbor, Slovenia, where I was met with just as much warmness from total strangers. I couchsurfed in Ljubljana with an amazing couple, who provided me with accommodation, food, interesting conversations and good laughs. They even invited me to a party, which was a lot of fun!

Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital but it’s really small with only 280 000 inhabitants. A day or two is enough to explore the city.

Metelkova brings colour to Ljubljana with its several clubs, art galleries and a hostel. The autonomous area was born in 1993 when activists occupied former army barracks to prevent their demolition. During the following decades, organizations maintaining Metelkova faced a lot of struggles with authorities, but the area is now thriving as a space for cultural activity.

It happened to be the Museum Summer Night on my first day in Ljubljana. The annual event grants visitors free entry to museums all around Slovenia between 6 pm and midnight. I visited three museums near Metelkova:

The Slovene Ethnographic Museum is a museum about cultural heritage, identities and civilization. Until December 2015 they are running an exhibition about doors. Doors! The exhibition was very well done. Who thought doors could be so interesting?

The Museum of Modern Art lives up to its name, displaying things so modern, that you don’t know whether to laugh or to question if it’s art. The museum displays mostly installations — for example a machine that at the push of a button sings you a song and showers you with polystyrene beads.

The National Museum of Slovenia is a good place to start learning about the history of the country through old paintings and ancient items.

On my second day in Ljubljana I participated in the free walking tour that starts in front of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation every day at 11 am and 3 pm.
On my second day in Ljubljana I participated in the free walking tour that starts in front of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation every day at 11 am and 3 pm.
The dragon is a symbol of Ljubljana, and can be seen on the city's coat of arms. Four dragons also adorn Ljubljana's most famous landmark, the Dragon Bridge. Legend has it, if a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.
The dragon is a symbol of Ljubljana, and can be seen on the city’s coat of arms. Four dragons also adorn Ljubljana’s most famous landmark, the Dragon Bridge. Legend has it, if a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.
The free walking tour ended at Križanke Outdoor Theatre, set up in an old monastery.
The free walking tour ended at Križanke Outdoor Theatre, set up in an old monastery.
In contrast to the colourful Metelkova, the rest of Ljubljana looks like a clean and traditional European city.
In contrast to the colourful Metelkova, the rest of Ljubljana looks like a clean and traditional European city.
For some nature, you can head to Castle Hill just south of the city centre.
For some nature, you can head to Castle Hill just south of the city centre.
From Ljubljana Castle complex you have views over the entire city.
From Ljubljana Castle complex, at the top of Castle Hill, you have views over the entire city.
At the tiny all-vegan restaurant Bobenček you can fill your stomach with salads, soups and sandwiches. For a couple of euros I was able to enjoy a large bowl of delicious lentil soup.
At the tiny all-vegan restaurant Bobenček you can fill your stomach with salads, soups and sandwiches. For a couple of euros I was able to enjoy a large bowl of delicious lentil soup.
Around Ljubljana there are vending machines that sell unskimmed raw cow milk. The vending machines are filled daily with fresh milk from nearby farms. The taste? Just like milk.
Around Ljubljana there are vending machines that sell unskimmed raw cow milk. The vending machines are filled daily with fresh milk from nearby farms. The taste? Just like milk.

From Ljubljana I continued northwest. I met a local man who drove me all the way to Bled and even took small roads instead of the highway so I could see some other towns as well. Anyone ever tell you not to get in a stranger’s car? I say do. It might be hard to believe for someone living a conservative life, but trusting people opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

Somewhere in Slovenia with a private driver. Awesome!
Somewhere in Slovenia with a private driver. Awesome!
Škofja Loka, an old town in Western Slovenia.
Škofja Loka, a medieval town in northwestern Slovenia.
Bled is known for Lake Bled, and the small church perched on an island in the middle of the lake.
Bled is known for Lake Bled, and the small church perched on an island in the middle of the lake.

Bled is quite touristy so I took a bus to Bohinj where I stayed for one night. There is a lot of accommodation in the area, so after stepping out of the bus, I went to the tourist office where they booked me a room in a nearby villa. A private room cost 20 €.

Bohinj, with clear waters, fresh air and big mountains, is popular among hikers.
Bohinj, with clear waters, fresh air and large mountains, is popular among hikers.
Structures in Bohinj for drying grains. And for looking at the world upside down, obviously.
Structures in Bohinj for drying grains. And for looking at the world upside down, obviously.

Rain was pouring down the following day so unfortunately a hike up the mountain was out of question. I had gotten a Couchsurfing invite from someone who lives in the nearby town of Tolmin so I decided to go there. I was supposed to take a bus to the local station to catch my train, but the driver forgot to stop there, so I decided to skip the rainy countryside and ride the bus all the way back to Ljubljana instead.

I didn't feel sad about escaping the rain to Ljubljana, because it gave me the chance to visit Loving Hut, which had been under renovation the previous two days.
I didn’t feel sad about escaping the rain to Ljubljana, because it gave me the chance to visit vegan restaurant Loving Hut, which had been under renovation the previous two days.

Sitting down for lunch at Loving Hut also gave me a chance to connect to Wi-Fi. I logged on to BlaBlaCar and searched for all rides leaving Ljubljana that afternoon. One couple were on their way to Bologna a few hours later, so that’s where I went!

I love not having set plans while traveling. Things don't usually turn out as planned in life, so the less plans you have, the less disappointed you'll feel. One of my favorite quotes is Relax, nothing is under control.
I love not having set plans while traveling. Things don’t usually turn out as planned in life, so the less plans you have, the less disappointed you’ll feel. One of my favorite quotes is Relax, nothing is under control.

Asanas in Istria

Yoga retreats are a convenient way to combine my two main interests: yoga and travel. They’re also a great way to meet like-minded people. And the food! It’s usually so tasty that you don’t only stretch your muscles but also your belly.

Even though my travel style is quite budget orientated, I don’t mind paying more for yoga retreats. The money is deposited to the best bank possible — my wellbeing.

I have been to a budget yoga retreat before. For 30 € a night I got one class of yoga and a big breakfast. The rest of the meals I cooked myself and accommodation was in tents. While the experience was absolutely amazing and I would gladly go again, I like trying new things. And sometimes it’s nice to pamper yourself instead of worrying about money.

As I found a retreat that coincided with my travel dates, I decided to go there after exploring other parts of Croatia.

In May I experienced an intense three day retreat in Finland — this time I opted for something a bit more relaxing. The seven day retreat was held on the Istrian peninsula, in a tiny village called Orihi. A typical day consisted of a two hour vinyasa flow class in the morning, followed by brunch. In the late afternoon we were pampered with a one hour restorative class and a three course dinner!

A big villa complex was exclusively in our use during the retreat.
A big villa complex was exclusively in our use during the retreat.
Classes were held in the patio turned into an outdoor yoga shala.
Classes were held in the patio turned into an outdoor yoga shala.
The outdoor area was decorated with colourful flags and fabrics, which added a lovely atmosphere to the classes taught by Nina Vukas.
The outdoor area was decorated with colourful flags and fabrics, which added a lovely atmosphere to the classes taught by Nina Vukas.
The interior of the villa was also super cozy.
The interior of the villa was also super cozy.
In between classes there was free time which was usually spent swimming, reading, talking or napping.
In between classes there was free time which was usually spent swimming, reading, talking or napping.
Nina's dog was also enjoying the sun.
Nina’s dog also enjoyed the sun.
Seeta, named after the hindu goddess, became everyone's friend.
Seeta, named after the hindu goddess, became everyone’s friend.
Professional chef Maja Kefecek worked hard every day to serve us healthy and delicious vegetarian food.
Professional chef Maja Kefeček worked hard every day to serve us healthy and delicious vegetarian food.
Brunch was huge, with a selection of bread, cheese, omelettes, pastries, salads, soups, vegetables, yogurt, granola, smoothies, tea — just to name a few.
Brunch was huge, with a selection of bread, cheese, omelettes, pastries, salads, soups, vegetables, yogurt, granola, smoothies, tea — just to name a few.

For 700 €, I got an entire week of yoga, food, excursions and a bed in a three person room. I think it’s funny how the cheaper option (not getting a private room) is almost always more fun! There wouldn’t have been as much laughter if it wasn’t for my roommates.

There were also different treatments on offer and I went for the one hour abdominal massage. Like I said, I like trying new things, and even though an abdominal massage sounded pretty intense, it ended up being a really relaxing experience and something I definitely want to do again.

Walking through the tiny village of Orihi takes about five minutes.
Walking through the tiny village of Orihi takes about five minutes.
One of the village locals.
One of the village locals.
One afternoon some of us made an excursion to the medieval town of Motovun.
One afternoon some of us made an excursion to the medieval town of Motovun.
Motovun is located on a hill 270 meters above sea level.
Motovun is located on a hill 270 meters above sea level.

Beautiful Monja, who in addition to being my roommate, definitely became a soulmate.
Beautiful Monja, who in addition to being my roommate, definitely became a soulmate.
Halfway through the retreat we visited an olive farm where we learnt about the harvesting process and got a chance to buy olive oil so tasty that you could eat it with anything (I have to try it with vanilla ice cream, as recommended by the farmer)!
Halfway through the retreat we visited an olive farm where we learnt about the harvesting process and got a chance to buy olive oil so tasty that you could eat it with anything (I have to try it with vanilla ice cream, as recommended by the farmer)!
On the second last night of the retreat, we visited Rovinj, and old city on the western coast of Istria. We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man! He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a resort in Lapland.
On the second last night of the retreat, we visited Rovinj, and old city on the western coast of Istria.
We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man. He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a ski resort in Lapland.
We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man. He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a ski resort in Lapland.
Afterwards we walked around the old town.
After the boat trip we walked around the old town.

In Rovinj there are many small shops and galleries selling quirky artwork.
In Rovinj there are many small shops and galleries selling quirky artwork.
With my yoga retreat roommates in Rovinj.
With my yoga retreat roommates in Rovinj.
At the yoga retreat, I met so many amazing women, who provided me with inspiration, support, growth and laughter.
At the yoga retreat, I met so many amazing women, who provided me with inspiration, support, growth and laughter.
Final night at the yoga retreat — last chance to enjoy Maja's cooking.
Final night at the yoga retreat — last chance to enjoy Maja’s spectacular cooking.

Even though this retreat had more laughter than the previous one, a lot of tears were shed on the last night. It feels like we didn’t do that much, but time went so quickly, and true friendships were formed. I will definitely miss everyone I met in Orihi.

Check out Supersoul Yoga for retreats in Croatia and around the world.

The clear waters and friendly people of Croatia

I love Couchsurfing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the best way to travel. You can learn so much in such a short time just by spending time with a local. I love how I can go to a town I know nothing about and have someone tell me the best sights to see, the best places to eat and of course teach me a couple of words in the local language! Usually the experience gives me so much more than I expected.

I started my summer holidays Couchsurfing in Split for two nights. Shortly after settling down at my host’s apartment, he had to go to work and I headed to the city centre.

The sun was shining in Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
The sun was shining in Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
I walked up to Marjan hill where I had great views over Split.
I walked up to Marjan hill where I had great views over Split.

From Marjan hill, I walked back down to the city centre to experience the old alleyways and marketplaces of Split. And also all the tourists and souvenir shops!

As Split is located on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, fish is popular here. I visited Split Fish Market, a lively market square and hall with all the sea food you can imagine. One interesting observation I made: almost every single vendor had a cigarette either in their mouth or in their hand while preparing and selling the fish!

For people not eating animals, there’s really only one vegetarian restaurant in Split. But with Makrovega, one is enough! A big delicious lunch, consisting of a soup and main course, costs less than 10 €.

My Couchsurfing host Mladen had made a joke about the Croatian lifestyle: say one thing, do another and think a third! On my second day in Split I got to experience this on my own. A tour to visit Krka National Park was advertised to leave at 9 am but when I arrived at the travel bureau, the tour had already left at eight! After wandering around Split for a while, I decided to visit the nearby island of Hvar.

The catamaran from Split to Hvar Town takes one hour and costs 60 kuna (approximately 8 €).
The catamaran from Split to Hvar town takes one hour and costs 60 kuna (approximately 8 €).
There's a beautiful panoramic view over Hvar and the Pakleni islands from Hvar fortress.
There’s a beautiful panoramic view over Hvar and the Pakleni islands from the Hvar fortress located on top of a hill.
Tourists taking a rest in Hvar.
Tourists taking a rest in Hvar.

From Hvar town I took a bus to Stari Grad (literally “Old Town”). There is a car ferry back to Split from Stari Grad so you don’t have to return to Hvar town unless you want to take the catamaran back to the mainland. The two hour journey from Stari Grad to Split on the car ferry costs 40 kuna.

I preferred Stari Grad over the touristy Hvar. There were almost no people on its picturesque streets, just lots of animals: dogs, cats and even a rooster!

This spot called for a swim. Mild evening sun, no people around and the clearest water I had ever seen.
This spot called for a swim. Mild evening sun, no people around and the clearest water I had ever seen.

That’s until the following day, when I visited Croatia’s top attraction, Plitvice Lakes, a four hour bus ride from Split. The water was so clear that I almost stepped into the water until I saw the fish swimming in there! Walking a whole day in a national park gives you lots of time to think about things. But with views like the ones below, my main thought was thank you.

As Plitvice Lakes is Croatia's main tourist attraction, there's an abundance of accommodation in the area. I stayed in Villa Lykos in the nearby town of Jezerce, where a private room set me back 38 €.
As Plitvice Lakes is Croatia’s main tourist attraction, there’s an abundance of accommodation in the area. I stayed in Villa Lykos in the nearby town of Jezerce, where a private room set me back 38 €.
After walking next to refreshing waterfalls in Plitvice, I moved on to Croatia's sweltering hot capital, Zagreb.
After walking next to refreshing waterfalls in Plitvice, I moved on to Croatia’s sweltering hot capital, Zagreb.
I had booked a room through Airbnb with a man called Dragan. He not only provided me with comfortable accommodation and interesting conversations, but even prepared me lunch and breakfast! All for the price of 11 €.
I had booked a room through Airbnb with a 65-year-old man called Dragan. Not only did he provide me with comfortable accommodation and interesting conversations, but even prepared me lunch and breakfast! All for the price of 11 €.
A ride on the world's shortest funicular, 66 m in length, costs 4 kuna.
A ride on the world’s shortest funicular, 66 m in length, costs 4 kuna.
As it was such a hot day, I escaped the heat to The Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum consists of artifacts that real people have donated to the museum along with a story related to the item. Displaying everything from an axe used to destroy the ex's furniture to a mother's suicide note, the museum was selected as the European Museum of the Year in 2011 and quite rightfully so. The museum is funny, sad and thought provoking.
As it was such a hot day, I escaped the heat to The Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum consists of artefacts that real people have donated to the museum along with a story related to the item. Displaying everything from an axe used to destroy the ex’s furniture to a mother’s suicide note, the museum was selected as the European Museum of the Year in 2011 and quite rightfully so. The museum is funny, sad and thought provoking.
“I had this big, truly big love, a long-distance relationship, Sarajevo – Zagreb. It lasted for 20 months. Of course, we dreamt of a life together and with that in mind I bought this huge caterpillar. Every time we would see each other we would tear off one leg. When we ran out of legs to tear, that would be the time to start a life together. But, naturally, as is often the case with great loves, the relationship broke and so the caterpillar did not become a complete invalid after all.”
“I had this big, truly big love, a long-distance relationship, Sarajevo – Zagreb. It lasted for 20 months. Of course, we dreamt of a life together and with that in mind I bought this huge caterpillar. Every time we would see each other we would tear off one leg. When we ran out of legs to tear, that would be the time to start a life together. But, naturally, as is often the case with great loves, the relationship broke and so the caterpillar did not become a complete invalid after all.”
The Dance Week Festival is held yearly in Zagreb, with performances around the city. Already in its 32nd year, I had the privilege to witness the captivating performance of Spanish dancer Concha Vidal.
The Dance Week Festival is held yearly in Zagreb, with performances around the city. Already in its 32nd year, I had the privilege to witness the captivating performance of Spanish dancer Concha Vidal.
I had dinner at Zrno Bio Bistro, a vegan restaurant that sources its produce from local organic farmers. Del-ic-ious!
I had dinner at Zrno Bio Bistro, a vegan restaurant that sources its produce from local organic farmers. Del-ic-ious!

Even though I really enjoyed the parks, waterfalls, alleyways, museums and restaurants of Croatia, my fondest memories are of the incredible hospitality and friendliness of the Croatian people.

The longest journey in just three days

It’s easy to think that travelling has to be into far away countries. But actually, this entire life is a journey. Just like on any other journey, you never know what life will bring you: surprises, disappointments, ups, downs, hellos and goodbyes. Travel is not a cure for anything (not even wanderlust – it just makes it worse!). I guess travel is my way to learn, to grow and to experience new things. That’s why, at the moment, being based in Helsinki, I try to fill the gaps between trips abroad with travel. How do I do it? I go to events such as World Village Festival, take a different route to work, try new restaurants, host Couchsurfers at my apartment and say yes to new experiences. It’s my way of bringing the world to me. It doesn’t make sense to dream about walking in a national park in a faraway country when I have nature at my door step. This doesn’t mean that I’ll stop travelling further away as well! It just means I’m right where I should be and happy about it.

When I found out that two of my favourite yoga teachers (and dear friends), Jack and Hanna, were organizing a yoga retreat an hour away from Helsinki, I knew I had to be part of it. The beginning of the year had been quite tough for me so I felt that this short holiday came at exactly the right time. Held at a Buddhist Retreat Centre on the shore of a serene lake, the retreat would include three days of yoga, meditation, healthy food and self-inquiry.

The last-mentioned scared me. Since the year had not been the best, it felt scary to plug out of the rest of the world and look within. For a long time I’d felt lost  – to the point of googling the meaning of life (believe it or not, even Google doesn’t have the answer to everything). What if more questions would reemerge at the retreat and I’d feel even more lost? Since it scared me, I knew it would be good for me.

The retreat started on Thursday night with welcome dinner and yoga class. As the retreat centre is located on the shore of a lake, those who wanted could wind down with a swim and sauna. The next day we continued with meditation, yoga, good food, discussion and writing exercises.

All the yoga classes and discussion sessions where held in the meditation hall of the Buddhist Retreat Centre.
All the yoga classes and discussion sessions were held in the meditation hall of the Buddhist Retreat Centre.
The day’s programme was always written on a flip board.
The day’s programme was always written on a flip board.
At the retreat, we had two private chefs, who prepared an abundance of nutritious and delicious food for us several times a day.
At the retreat, we had two private chefs, who prepared an abundance of nutritious and delicious food for us several times a day.
The sun shone almost the entire weekend. Whenever there was free time, you could sit outside with a cup of tea, while enjoying the weather and the company of other yogis.
The sun shone almost the entire weekend. Whenever there was free time, you could sit outside with a cup of tea, while enjoying the weather and the company of other yogis.

On Friday night, after yin yoga class, we had to team up with a partner and share things that haven’t gone right in our life. After that a silence was announced. The loneliness of being left completely alone with dark thoughts felt overwhelming. I think some of us just felt ready to leave the whole retreat.

On Saturday I felt so annoyed, confused and just lonely. Yoga didn’t inspire me at all and the exercises we did writing or discussing felt totally pointless. The weird thing was, no-one was judging me. I was actually acknowledged for having the integrity to not participate in something that didn’t feel right and for having the vulnerability to cry in front of strangers. It felt refreshing to show your real feelings and still be loved for who you are. I have noticed that the truest of friends stay by your side even when you’re going through tough times. But how could every single one of these eighteen people, most of whom I had known for less than 48 hours, completely accept me for who I am?

I am especially grateful to Jack, who instead of defining me as someone who doesn’t participate, kept pushing until I did. Sometimes you need the help of other people to do something. And even though it was so hard to declare out loud what was hard in life, when I was finally able to do it (between uncontrollable sobs), I felt cleansed.

Every day, someone read a chapter from “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie. It was almost scary how poignant a text that was chosen randomly could be. There were even word-for-word sentences about something that had been discussed prior. After physical and mental exercises that completely drained us, the book gave us hope and encouragement.

It was incredible how a bunch of strangers could immediately form such a strong bond.
It was incredible how a bunch of strangers could immediately form such a strong bond.
In the words of fellow yogi Jussi, these really are the superyogis.
In the words of fellow yogi Jussi, these really are the superyogis.
On Sunday it was my 30th birthday. I could never have imagined five years ago, that on my 30th birthday I'd be at a Buddhist Retreat Centre in the middle of the Finnish countryside with people I'd just met! I guess I wasn't exactly where I thought I'd be, but probably right where I was supposed to be.
On Sunday it was my 30th birthday. I could never have imagined five years ago, that on my 30th birthday I’d be at a Buddhist Retreat Centre in the middle of the Finnish countryside with people I’d just met! I guess I wasn’t exactly where I thought I’d be, but probably right where I was supposed to be.
They say you become similar to the people you spend time with. I guess I should hang out with people who accept me as I am, so I can start accepting myself as well (and stop Googling the meaning of life, because really, how boring would it be knowing the answer to that?).
They say you become similar to the people you spend time with. I guess I should hang out with people who accept me as I am, so I can start accepting myself as well (and stop Googling the meaning of life, because really, how boring would it be knowing the answer to that?).

Like I said, you don’t have to travel to far away countries to experience a journey. But I never expected so much to happen in such a short time. I felt more emotions in three days than I usually do in three months. On Sunday night, before passing out after the most intense weekend of my life, my favourite quote sprung to mind: “The longest journey you will ever take are the 18 inches from your head to your heart”.

Rainy days in Lithuania

After a travel hiatus of 18 weeks, my wanderlust had grown into unbearable measures. I was back in the working life so another long trip would have to wait. Luckily Easter was on its way which meant a long weekend. Last year, I spent an amazing Easter in Latvia. It seemed like the Baltics were a good place to go during Easter, so this year I headed to Latvia’s neighboring country, Lithuania. I took two extra days off from work, so I had six whole days to explore Vilnius and its surroundings.

After landing in Vilnius, I took the train from the airport to the city centre. The trip takes seven minutes and costs 0,72 €. The trains only run once an hour but there are also several buses from the airport to the city.

 I started my first day in Vilnius with a delicious lunch at Namai, a vegetarian restaurant that uses a lot of local and organic produce.
I started my first day in Vilnius with a delicious lunch at Namai, a vegetarian restaurant that uses a lot of local and organic produce.

After lunch, I checked in to my hostel. I stayed at Home Made House, which truly lived up to its name. This small hostel, with room for only twelve people, is super cozy.

A bed in a four bed dorm costs 13 € per night. The price includes breakfast.
A bed in a four bed dorm costs 13 € per night. The price includes breakfast.
Due to its small size, it's easy to get to know other travelers in the hostel's communal kitchen.
Due to its small size, it’s easy to get to know other travelers in the hostel’s communal kitchen.
Some people say Lithuania gets its name from the Lithuanian word lietus, which means rain. Most of my time in Lithuania it was raining - when it wasn't snowing! I recommend visiting Vilnius in summer.
Some say Lithuania gets its name from the Lithuanian word lietus, which means rain. Most of my time in Lithuania it was raining – when it wasn’t snowing! I recommend visiting in summer.
After walking around in the rain for hours, a warming meal at hare krishna restaurant Radharane is more than welcome. Their lentil dahl is to die for.
After walking around in the rain for hours, a warming meal at hare krishna restaurant Radharane is more than welcome. Their lentil dahl is to die for.
I always end up ordering too much food when the prices are so low! I just assume the portions must be very small. At Radharane the total of a lentil dahl, a chana masala and a carrot juice was 5,10 €.
I always end up ordering too much food when the prices are so low! I just assume the portions must be very small. At Radharane the total of a lentil dahl, a chana masala and a carrot juice was 5,10 €.
On my second day in Lithuania, I visited Trakai, a town about 30 km west of Vilnius. Trakai’s most famous sight is Trakai Island Castle.
On my second day in Lithuania, I visited Trakai, a town about 30 km west of Vilnius. Trakai’s most famous sight is Trakai Island Castle.
Entrance to the castle grounds is 6 €.
Entrance to the castle grounds is 6 €.
The chapel with its impressive vaults is the biggest room in the castle.
The chapel with its impressive vaults is the biggest room in the castle.
While in Trakai, I made sure to eat kibinai at Senoji Kibininė. Apparently Trakai is the best place to get this traditional pastry, and even Lithuanians travel to Trakai just to buy them.
The Vilnius Free Walking Tour starts everyday at 12 pm from the Town Hall and takes participants around the Old Town.
The Vilnius Free Walking Tour starts everyday at 12 pm from the Town Hall and takes participants around the Old Town.
The tour also ventures into Užupis, an artist district that has declared independence from Lithuania!
The tour also ventures into Užupis, an artist district that has declared independence from Lithuania!
My favourite street in the Old Town is Literatų Gatvė with its picturesque houses.
My favourite street in the Old Town is Literatų Gatvė with its picturesque houses.
I especially like Senamiesčio krautuvė, an adorable store selling various local produce.
I especially like Senamiesčio krautuvė, an adorable store selling various local produce.
I recommend stepping away from the main streets and stumbling upon small inner courtyards strewn across the city.
I recommend stepping away from the main streets and stumbling upon small inner courtyards strewn across the city.
 There is also a large number of churches all around Vilnius.
There is also a large number of churches all around Vilnius.
I walked up to Gediminas Hill to visit the ruins of the Vilnius Castle Complex.
I walked up to Gediminas Hill to visit the ruins of the Upper Castle of the Vilnius Castle Complex.
From the top of the Gediminas Tower you have a 360 degree view of the entire city.
From the top of the Gediminas Tower you have a 360 degree view of the entire city.
On Easter Sunday the hostel owner Lina had cooked a massive Easter breakfast, which included some beautifully coloured eggs.
On Easter Sunday, the hostel owner Lina had cooked a massive Easter breakfast, which included some beautifully coloured eggs.
Upon entering Vegafé, you take off your shoes and sit down on the floor. Unfortunately, the food didn’t match the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.
I had lunch at Vegafé. Upon entering the restaurant, you take off your shoes and sit down on the floor. Unfortunately, the quality of the food didn’t match the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.

A museum in Vilnius worth visiting is The Museum for Genocide victims. Entry to this powerful museum is only 2 €. In the basement there is an old KGB prison. Grim, grim place.

The duty officer processed the papers of new prisoners in this room. With the equipment he could communicate with guard posts and interrogators, as well as receive calls from prisoners.
The duty officer processed the papers of new prisoners in this room. With the equipment he could communicate with guard posts and interrogators, as well as receive calls from prisoners.
Here, prisoners were stripped away from their clothes, as well as their humanity.
Here, prisoners were stripped away from their clothes, as well as their humanity.
Lunch at Raw Raw, a lovely raw vegan restaurant
Lunch at Raw Raw, a lovely raw vegan restaurant.
Halės market
At the massive Halės market you can buy almost everything from sauerkraut to underwear!
Balti Drambliai
On my final night, I ate dinner at the lovely Balti Drambliai, located in an ancient basement in the old town.

On my last day in Vilnius I treated myself to the most relaxing massage at Tailando Masazai. A 60-minute massage cost 25,50 €.

Before heading to the airport I had time to have lunch at Ajurvedinė virtuvė.
Before heading to the airport I had time to have lunch at Ajurvedinė virtuvė.

Yeah, in true Easter spirit I mostly just ate. A good holiday, then!

The long way from New York to Dortmund

It’s kind of fun trying to find the most affordable way to travel. While travelling on a budget, you often see more places, meet more people and experience more things. I knew I needed to be in Dortmund on Saturday but decided to do a little tour north of the German city first. Mostly this was due to Dortmund not being a huge city, so flying there directly from New York wouldn’t have been possible anyway. The cheapest flight from New York to anywhere nearby Dortmund was to Copenhagen. I crossed the atlantic with Norwegian Air, landed in the capital of Denmark and took a train from the airport to the city centre. Having a few hours before my train to Hamburg would depart, I had time to eat lunch before continuing my journey.

Having flown all night and being jet lagged, I fell asleep quickly after getting on the train to Hamburg. I woke up some time later to the repeating announcement of how it’s not allowed to stay on the train. Half asleep and having no idea what was happening, I followed the other passengers up some stairs. We were in some kind of lobby with shops and restaurants. Suddenly we started moving. The train had boarded a ferry!

After the ferry ride and a while longer on the train, I arrived in Hamburg where I had booked a hotel room for one night. It was such a strange feeling: within 24 hours, I had gone from an apartment in Brooklyn to a hotel room in Hamburg. I had been in three countries on two continents using three means of transport.

I stayed in A&O Hostel and Hotel near Hamburg central station. While the hostel has dorms, I opted for my own hotel room after a whole night and day of travelling. A private room set me back 36 €.

I had the following day in Hamburg all to myself, because I wasn’t continuing my journey towards Dortmund until the evening. Hamburg is an easy city to walk around in, but public transport is also good there. I bought a day pass for 5,90 € that allowed me to travel as much as I wanted on the S-bahn and the U-bahn.

St. Michael's church is a symbol of the city. But on a day like this - not so much.
St. Michael’s church is a symbol of the city. But on a day like this – not so much.
The Rathaus, or city hall, is 111 meters wide with 647 rooms.
The Rathaus, or city hall, is 111 meters wide with 647 rooms.
Next to Rathaus, in the basement of Buckerus Kunst Forum, you can fill a plate of vegetarian food for 10 € at Restaurant Season.
Next to Rathaus, in the basement of Bucerius Kunst Forum, you can fill a plate with vegetarian food for 10 € at Restaurant Season.
The Old Elbe tunnel was built in the beginning of the 20th century as a means to link the port and the shipyards together.
The Old Elbe tunnel was built in the beginning of the 20th century as a means to link the port and the shipyards together.
Before moving on to my next destination, I sat down at Café Koppel for a bowl of vegetable soup.
Before moving on to my next destination, I sat down at Café Koppel for a bowl of vegetable soup.

In the evening, I took the final train to the last leg of my three month trip, Dortmund.

Highlights of New York

Besides an overnight trip to Washington D.C. and a couple of nights in Boston, all of my four weeks in USA were spent in New York. New York is such a large city, I still feel like I only saw a portion of it during my time there. My favourite thing about the city is definitely the variety of different people you can meet on the streets, and the different shops and restaurants in every single corner. Also, navigating in New York is really easy. On Manhattan, the streets are named by numbers that increase the further north you go. Numbered avenues run from east to west. The subway is easy too, just head north with the uptown train or south with the downtown one. It’s really easy to adapt to New York. It’s strange, I had never been there, but as soon as I landed at JFK Airport, it felt like coming home.

Below are some highlights of my time in one of my favorite cities in the world.

Halloween is huge in USA and nowhere more so than New York. It was incredible to be in a city where, on one single day, almost every person you see is dressed in the most imaginative costumes. I had a blast walking the New York City Halloween Parade (and apparently almost got eaten by a vampire).
I survived camping in subzero temperatures in Harriman National Park. The massive park is located an hour's drive north of New York City. There are small huts called lean-tos that provide shelter for campers. The height of the fall foliage had already passed but the trees still had some colour in them.
I survived camping overnight in subzero temperatures at Harriman State Park. The massive park is located an hour’s drive north of New York City. There are small huts called lean-tos that provide shelter for campers. The height of the fall foliage had already passed but the trees still had some colour in them.
I skateboarded for the first time in my life. Despite falling over a couple of times, I loved cruising (or rather rolling at minimum speed...) down the streets of Brooklyn.
I skateboarded for the first time in my life. Despite falling over a couple of times, I loved cruising (or rather rolling at minimum speed…) down the streets of Brooklyn.
I found my favorite restaurant in New York! Unfortunately I didn't find it until a few days before leaving and only had time to eat there once. The macrobiotic restaurant Souen has three locations in downtown Manhattan.
I found my favorite restaurant in New York! Unfortunately I didn’t find it until a few days before leaving and only had time to eat there once. The macrobiotic restaurant Souen has three locations in downtown Manhattan.
I also ate a lot of New York pizza...
I also ate a lot of New York pizza…
I watched the sun set over New York from the Empire State Building. A visit to the 86th floor viewing platform costs $29.
I watched the sun set over New York from the Empire State Building. A visit to the 86th floor viewing platform costs $29.
I got lost at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum is so big, you could spend several days here. Like most museums in New York, entry is donation based.
I got lost at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum is so big, you could spend several days here. Like most museums in New York, entry is donation based.
Another museum on Manhattan I visited was the International Center of Photography. On Fridays between 5 pm and 8 pm it's pay-as-you-wish night! The exhibition was by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, with spectacular photos from around the world. I really recommend visiting this lesser known New York museum if you like photography.
Another museum on Manhattan I visited was the International Center of Photography. On Fridays between 5 pm and 8 pm it’s pay-as-you-wish night! The exhibition was by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, with spectacular photos from around the world. I really recommend visiting this lesser known New York museum if you like photography.
Besides the two museums on Manhattan, I also visited the Brooklyn Museum. This donation based museum had several interesting exhibitions, such as an entire exhibition about high-heeled shoes. The best exhibition was Crossing Brooklyn, which showcased local Brooklyn artists and collectives.
Besides the two museums on Manhattan, I also visited the Brooklyn Museum. This donation based museum had several interesting exhibitions, such as an entire exhibition about high-heeled shoes. The best exhibition was Crossing Brooklyn, which showcased local artists and collectives.
The New York Neo-Futurists' show "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind" was one of the coolest things I experienced in New York! This theatre group puts on an ever changing show with the intention of performing 30 plays in 60 minutes. The audience are given a menu and they can order plays in whichever order they want. Entry is $13 plus whatever you roll on a six sided die. See it!
The New York Neo-Futurists’ show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind was one of the coolest things I experienced in New York! This theatre group puts on an ever changing show with the intention of performing 30 plays in 60 minutes. The audience are given a menu and they can order plays in whichever order they want. Entry is $13 plus whatever you roll on a six sided die. See it!
I saw my absolute favorite musician live. I've seen Ryan Adams live on three different continents and he just gets better every time. I don't know how the hell he does it - he just sits there with a guitar and has the entire audience captivated.
I saw my absolute favorite musician live. I’ve seen Ryan Adams live on three different continents and he just gets better every time. I don’t know how the hell he does it – he just sits there with a guitar and has the entire audience captivated.
I played tourist in Times Square (hey, I didn't actually enter Madame Tussaud's!). I did however manage to get a $30 ticket to see the Aladdin musical. Once again, the odds of winning the raffle for a matinée show are quite big.
I played tourist in Times Square (hey, I didn’t actually enter Madame Tussauds!). I did however manage to get a $30 ticket to see the Aladdin musical. Once again, the odds of winning the raffle for a matinée show are quite big.
I visited The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, where until the end of this year, you can see Xu Bing's large phoenix birds made out of debris. I also attended Sunday mass at another Harlem church. It was a pretty crazy three hours full of singing and preaching! Like nothing I've ever experienced before.
I visited The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, where until the end of this year, you can see Xu Bing’s large phoenix birds made out of debris. I also attended Sunday mass at another Harlem church. It was a pretty crazy three hours full of singing and preaching! Like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
I witnessed the beautiful autumn colours of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
I witnessed the beautiful autumn colours of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
I also returned to Central Park for a walk around the areas I hadn't seen during my first week in New York.
I also returned to Central Park for a walk around the areas I hadn’t seen during my first week in New York.
I experienced New York's holiday lights and the weather at its coldest!
I experienced New York’s holiday lights and the weather at its coldest!

Goodbye New York. I’ll miss you.