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Goals For March

Monday, March 2, 2015

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I know it's a terribly cliché thing to say, but how can it already be March? It feels like 2015 only started yesterday! February was a good, but uneventful month and so I don't really have any exciting stories to tell, but I believe that we all occasionally need times in our lives that allow us to just be.

March is setting out to be a quiet month as well: I'm spending the month living at my parents' place in Frankfurt while I'm interning at a law firm, but I do have a sneaky little weekend trip to Paris with some blogging friends coming up and until then I'm savoring not having to go grocery shopping myself. Stepping away from my regular student life and getting a glimpse of what it may actually mean to be a working professional is an eye-opening experience to say the least and I have a whole new respect for people who manage to have jobs, take care of their homes and families all while maintaining a fulfilling social life.

Goals For March

This month, I have a range of little goals that I hope to accomplish. They're all pretty straightforward and most of them don't require a whole lot of time either, which is perfect since I'm too tired in the evenings these days to achieve much anyway. Because I hopelessly failed at my February blogging goal, I'm scaling down my expectations to two posts a week, but we'll see how that goes. I always miss blogging when I don't have a lot of time to devote to my online space and the creative endeavours related to it and so I hope I won't neglect this part of my life too much in March.

Get my Macbook fixed

The trackpad of my Macbook hasn't been working properly for the last few weeks, so it's time to finally take my baby to the Apple Store and have someone look into the issue. I hope it won't be too time-consuming (and expensive) to be fixed, but I'm mainly just looking forward to watch videos in bed again.

Finish reading a book

Is it sad that I feel the need to add finish reading a book to this list? Don't answer that.
I'm currently reading Kafka on the Shore by Murakami and I'm enjoying it a lot, but reading isn't exactly a priority for me right now and so I'm looking for ways to save this novel from the undeserved fate of only being halfway read just because I'm tired to read during my commute.

Finally edit all my Prague pictures

I took way too many pictures on my trip to Prague in January and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that most of them still sit on my hard drive as RAW files waiting to be converted to a more easily usable file format. I'm very new to the world of post-processing and so even the minimal amount of editing that I do takes me forever. And while we're on the topic of Prague: If I could not only edit my pictures, but also start writing about this trip while it's still somewhat recent, I would definitely feel proud!

Publish a food post

I have come to the realization that I'm not pushing myself enough creatively and therefore I want to try to photograph and write a recipe post this month. Cooking is one of my biggest passions, but one that isn't really represented on my blog yet and so I would like to share this love here a little more often. I already have a few recipes in mind, but I have next to no experience with food styling or food photography and so it's definitely going to be a bit of a challenge.

Move all my pictures to an external hard drive

An absurd amount of space on my computer's hard drive is taken up by all the photographs I have taken in the last couple of years and so I finally had to purchase an external hard drive. Now I just need to get around to moving all the files from my laptop to the hard drive and do so in a somewhat organized manner.

What are your goals in March?

Seaside in Brighton, England

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This is most likely going to be the last proper travel post on the UK that I'll be writing for a long time and I'm not quite sure how to feel about that. On the one hand, it's a pretty good feeling to see my list of places that I'm long overdue to write about start to dwindle down. But on the other hand, it does feel like a chapter of my life is coming to an end. I have a few more posts to write about Norway, but once they're published I'm done writing about my year studying abroad and I guess to me that means that this adventure will be over.

The last time I visited my boyfriend in London, we went on a little trip to Brighton. We had talked about going together for ages, but it wasn't until the very last possible moment that we managed to get ourselves down to the sea. Brighton is about an hour south of London and pretty much the stereotypical example of what you imagine an English seaside town to look like. Brighton is pretty rough around the edges, but it definitely has its own unique charm and it exudes a quirky vibe unmatched by any other place I love in England that makes it refreshingly down-to-earth.

Our first stop of the day was the Royal Pavilion. Built at the end of the 18th century by Prince George - who would later become King George IV. and whose rambunctious love and family life is very worth googling - the Royal Pavilion may just have been the most flamboyant and extravagant palace I have seen in my life. Both the exterior and the interior of the building were inspired by many different Asian cultures - if cultural appropriation is the kind of thing that makes you mad, you would probably have a field day in there - and it's not hard to see why Prince George wasn't exactly the best at dealing with finances.

Unfortunately, photography wasn't allowed inside and so you have to take my word for it, but the Royal Pavilion is definitely worth a visit - it's too different from regular royal palaces not to see and actually quite beautiful.

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But the one true reason to go to Brighton is, of course, the sea! I may be more of a mountain person, but for me the sea is still the ultimate embodiment of wanderlust - have you ever stared at the horizon and felt absolutely overwhelmed by the thought that there is nothing but water for hundreds of kilometres? That's me pretty much overtime I see the ocean! Which, mind you, isn't very often since I live hours and hours away from the next seashore.

Since it was a gorgeous day - for some reason, I always have good luck with the weather when I travel in England - the beach was full with people enjoying the sun, but bundled up against the harsh wind of the sea. We start to wander over the stony beach and occasionally took a minute to stop and take in the view of the incredibly blue water. We kept on following the promenade with its iconic turquoise-colored metal railings until we reached the remains of West Pier.

West Pier burned down in 2003, but at this point the construction had already been a victim of disuse for many, many years. Plans to restore the pier never really came to fruition and now all that remains is a skeleton of burned black metal rods that stood abandoned in stark juxtaposition to the bright light, the blue see and the animated life on the shore.

After grabbing lunch at Iydea - delicious and affordable vegetarian fare - we headed to the town landmark: Brighton Pier. Not visiting Brighton Pier when you're in Brighton is kind of like not seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, except that there are at least one hundred more quintessential Parisian things, while Brighton Pier is THE place to catch a breeze of British seaside life.

There are food stalls selling donuts and churros, gambling halls and - a couple of hundred meters away from the shore and towering over the menacing waters - there is also a small amusement park with a plethora of rides. I'm not fond of roller coasters or any rides that have the faintest chance of being wild and so it wasn't really my playground, but I can imagine that the location would serve up an extra adrenaline rush to those who love a little rush!

Despite the glorious sunshine, it was extremely cold, though, and with one person frozen to the bone and a boyfriend that was fighting off the beginnings of a cold, we decided to head back to the station to catch a train back to London, passing the Royal Pavilion one last time on our way.

Have you been to Brighton? What other seaside towns should I visit in England one day?

Walking in a Winter Wonderland || Taunus, Germany

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last week, we drove up to Frankfurt to visit my parents and used the occasion to go on a little walk in the Taunus mountains. I'm not in the mountains a lot anymore and so going on a hike again was a great break from the study-intensive few weeks before. The Taunus is a low mountain range just north of Frankfurt and a popular recreational area for people of the region. We used to go there a lot when I was a child, but back then I definitely failed to appreciate the beauty of the German mountains or rather the appeal of their hiking paths and it had been years since I properly had visited the last time.

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We took the underground (that is actually an overground for more than half of its route) right to the foot of the mountains and set out on a lovely little tree-lined path. It was a gorgeous day with air that had that sort of clarity that is so characteristic for a bright winter's day and the light of the sun was kissing the sparse tree tops. After weeks of grey, uninspiring skies that made you detest winter and long for spring, it was a revelation to feel the sun lift our spirits and we weren't the only ones that were out and about to make the most of the day.

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The trees along the path quickly grew denser and with the sun hiding behind thick clusters of branches, the light quickly started to disappear and soon we found ourselves in one of the dark fairytale forests of our childhoods in which you suspect trolls hiding behind rocks and witches tracking your moves to put a spell on you.

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The path rised gently and with every meter that we climbed there seemed to be more snow on the ground. We had had no idea that there would be any snow at all and so we were very delighted to have the opportunity to escape to a veritable winter wonderland at least once during this season.

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With the snow, there also came the people. We were passed by sleds occasionally - more often ridden by adults than by kids! -  and I not so secretly wished we would have brought one, too. I don't even remember the last time I went sledding (though I had some major sledding envy in Norway, too), but my old wooden sled still has got to be somewhere in my parents' basement!

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After an hour of walking we finally reached a mountain ridge where the trees started to clear a little bit and the sun illuminated the pure freshly fallen snow. Is there anything more beautiful than snow shimmering in sun light? I can't think of a lot things!

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While I was furiously snapping away at the beautiful scenery - it's been a while since I felt that inspired by photography and the insane amount of pictures in this post is only a little collection of all the photographs I really took that day - I was reminded of this beautiful shoot I had seen a few months earlier and it kind of made me wish I would have brought a ball gown up to the mountains: Wouldn't this be an absolutely stunning scenery for a fashion editorial?

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My boyfriend remarked that the landscape looked more like an advertorial for winter vacationing in the Alps than what you would expect to find in Central Germany and I definitely had to agree. Unfortunately, the Taunus isn't always this prettily covered in snow - in fact, snow is probably the exception rather than the rule - but that made the timing of our visit all the more special.

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We took a little break at the Fuchstanz, a mountain pass and the highest point of our walk, and treated us to a cup of hot apple wine, a local speciality, in the hopes that it would warm us up a little bit. It also seemed like we were joined by half of Frankfurt as walkers kept on pouring in from the other paths.

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We started to descend on the other side of the mountain and eventually spotted a clearing between the trees. Curiously we strayed off the path (I know that Gandalf told us not to, but the magic of Mirkwood was too strong!) and suddenly a beautiful overlook of the landscape opened up in front of us:

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We found our way back to the path - no enchanted rivers or creepy spiders for us - and continued to follow it down the mountain. The amount of snow started to decrease again while the signs of the closest town became more and more apparent until we found ourselves in our final destination, Kronberg, just as the sun was setting and hopped on a train back to the city.

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The mountains of Central Germany may not be the mountains of Norway, but a day spent outside in nature is always a good idea!

Do you get a lot of snow where you're living?

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