I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe the summer holiday is already over. Why do spring and summer always fly by, while winter seems to last forever? It has literally been raining all day in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, I’ve been so distracted with trips to the beach and exploring new cities that I haven’t posted a lately update for a few months. Well, it’s back to business for most of us, so now is the time to get back on track!
Uncovering Ancient History in Bodrum
Let’s first go all the way back to June, when I travelled to Turkey for the first time. I joined a press trip to Bodrum, a destination that’s mainly known as a resort town. Most tourists, however, don’t even realise that Bodrum was the Greek city of Halicarnassus. There is so much history to uncover! My favourite moment from the trip was when I got to learn the basic knot in traditional Turkish carpet making in Etrim village. Ummahan patiently showed me how to make a knot, a woman with a beautiful smile and over 50 years of experience in making carpets. It takes about 2 months to make a 1.5 square m carpet. Lots of respect to her.
Dutch Mini-Vacation in Ameland
My parents also had a few weeks off this summer, so I joined them on a mini-vacation to Ameland. Ameland is a small island along the Northern coast of the Netherlands. We went on a little road trip across the Netherlands, passing through Almere and Friesland. We spent one night in an adorable cabin and took the ferry to Ameland the next day. The beaches on Ameland are simply breathtaking. I saw the best sunset I’ve ever seen in the Netherlands at Hollum Beach. It was so quiet, so pristine.
Going Undercover as Tourists in Amsterdam
The number of tourists in Amsterdam has really been getting insane over the last few years, but there are still ways to cut loose from the crowds. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s better to put on your rose-colored glasses and pretend you’re on vacation in your own city. My friend Esther and I met up for the day, walked along the canals, had a yummy lunch at Singel 404, and chilled at the Rijksmuseum Gardens. Such a great day!
Backpacking Solo in Bavaria and Austria
When the month switched to August, summer break was nearing its end and I still hadn’t done any solo travelling. I hadn’t been hiking in ages and fatally failed to suppress a strong urge to climb some serious summits. Trust me, a little bit of fresh mountain air goes a long way, especially if you live in a country without mountains. So, I decided to go on a summer solo backpacking adventure in Bavaria and Austria. I started in Munich, headed to the Kitzbühel Alps, stayed a few days in Graz, and finally ended my trip in Vienna. I had an incredible two weeks, and I can’t wait to do it again next summer! The rumours are true, by the way. Vienna has got to be one of the best cities to live.
Visiting Kraków for the First Time
Poland is a country I know very little about. I remember I visited Poznan once, but I was an annoying 14-year-old on a hugely exciting school trip, so I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the city itself (you know how it goes). When I was preparing for a press trip to Kraków with Zoover.nl, I had no idea what to expect. Then, after spending a few days in Poland’s second city, I became fascinated by the city’s many faces. There are architectural traces from the Second World War, limitless stories from a communist past, streets full of artsy shops and murals, neighborhoods with chill and trendy student vibes, and so much more. I will tell you about it in upcoming blog posts!
Lunch Date in Utrecht
The older you get, the more friends will move away to different countries. That’s my experience, at least. This is especially true if you’ve gone through any type of internationally-oriented education, of course. Honestly, it’s a pretty cool thing to have friends in so many places, but it also means that it gets harder and harder to meet up in person. Thankfully, my college friend Sanna and I finally managed to see each other in person again! We decided to meet up in Utrecht and have non-traditional scones at Keek, a cosy and affordable coffee place.
Exploring Leiden with a Local
There are so many cool cities in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam, so I’m always excited to hop on the train and go explore somewhere else. My friend Flora invited me to Leiden and was my tour guide for the day. She shared a ton of hidden stories about the city’s history. The Morspoort in Leiden’s historic heart looks adorably picturesque, but it used to be known as Gallow’s Gate (Galgenpoort). It was originally a prison, as well as the gate that led directly to the gallows (as you may have guessed). You can expect more about Leiden soon, such an amazingly pretty town!
That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to lately! Uni has started again, so I’ll have to focus on writing my thesis this year, but I’m still hoping to do a little bit of travelling in the meantime. It will be a challenge to balance everything, though. Enough about me, how about you? How has your summer (or winter) been? Any adventurous experiences? Let me know in the comments below!