Tourist in Germany

For the first time I visited my homecountry as a tourist which was an interesting experience. I wasn’t in Germany for almost a year and it was time to see my family and friends for christmas and new years. Plus I wanted to show my country and former live to my fiance. We were both excited about the trip, booked flight tickets about 3 month in advance, applied for the visa and then we found ourselfs in the plane towards Germany. It was incredible how fast the time was running and even on the way to Germany I could hardly believe that I’ll be back home in just a couple of hours 🙂

We arrived Frankfurt in the early morning of Dec,22nd and my Dad picked us from the airport. He was prepared with my warm winterjacket and even some boots but gladly it wasn’t too cold so without changing clothes we started our drive to Weingarten/Pfalz, the village I grew up and my parents still live in. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weingarten,_Rhineland-Palatinate ) We had a warm welcome and a nice christmas celebration together with my parents, sibblings, nieces and nephews. We spend some days with my sister and her family in Mannheim, went for ice-skating in Ludwigshafen and had a lot of fun with her kids.

Next stop was Tauberbischofsheim to visit Tine, a friend I met during my travels in 2011. I’ve never been to that area of Germany before but it’s definitely worth it to go there. Tauberbischofsheim is located in northern Baden-Wurtemberg in the beautiful Taubervalley. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tauberbischofsheim )
Tine was a perfect tour guide for us. She showed us the nightlife of Würzburg, the old town including the castle of Wertheim. We went for some outlet shopping to Wertheim-Village and checked out a Thai-Restaurant in that area. I know it’s a bit funny to travel from Asia to Germany and then go to a restaurant to eat Thai food but it was really delicious and worth it to go there! After 2 days with Tine we started our trip to Munich.

It’s a three hours train ride with a short stop over in Nuremberg. All in all we had a smooth journey beside of the fact that we arrived Würzburg train station just a few mins before departure time. So it was a bit of a rush to buy the ticket, find the right track and hop inside the train. But we made it in time 🙂

It was really nice to be back in Munich and to see that almost nothing had changed during the last year. It still felt a bit like coming home for me and it was really nice to meet my friends again after such a loooong time. I showed Lawrence different parts of the city and we did a lot of walking at least as long as it didn’t rain. We went to the Olympiapark where the Olympic Games were in 1972, we saw th BMW-World, te english garden including the river surfers. We walked around Schwabing and I showed him my old flat in Ramersdorf. We went to the hospital and I showed him my former working place including some of my former colleagues. We had an awesome new-years-celebration with about 10 people at my friends place and btw thanks for that to Katrin, Tobi, Alex, Dani, Dana and Maik!

The highlight for Lawrence was definitely the visit of the Allianz-Arena including Arena-Tour and FC Bayern-Fanworld. But generally it’s an interesting Tour even if you’re more interested in architecture then in soccer 🙂 so even for me it was an interesting afternoon.

We went for shopping at the Riem-Arcaden one of the newest and, in my opinion, nicest shopping malls in Munich. We searched for the best Döner in town as Lawrence fell in love with this turkish fast food. In our opinion the best one we found at Ostbahnhof/ eastern station!

In in between all that we spend time with my friends, ate fresh homemade cheesecake (thanks for that Chrisi), had coffees and just enjoyed our time with doing nothing.

After a week we made our way back to my parents. We found a “Mitfahrgelegenheit” which is maybe one of the cheapest ways to travel in Germany. It’s a car sharing community in the internet http://www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de where people offer rides through Germany. You just search for the connection from city to city and you get a list with all drivers and their contacts. The website is only in german but many of the drivers do speak english as well 🙂

In the end we spend another week with my family and all in all the 3.5 weeks were gone really fast. We had to pack our stuff again which was not as easy as we thought in the beginning and after my sisters birthday celebration we went back to Frankfurt on Jan,14th to catch our flight. The last highlight was that Romy came to meet us for a coffee at the airport before we went for te security check. It’s so nice to see that friends ar actually leaving their office and tell their boss it’s more important to meet at friend at the airport than to do teir job…thanks for that ❤ I guess that’s what friends are for!

 

DSC_0861% DSC_0863% DSC_0859% DSC_0858% At least a little bit of snow in the end... DSC_0841% DSC_0825% DSC_0824% DSC_0810% DSC_0808% DSC_0803% DSC_0798% Olympiaparc DSC_0772% BMW-World DSC_0764% DSC_0753% DSC_0749% DSC_0742% DSC_0740% DSC_0732% Riversurfers @ english garden DSC_0711% DSC_0708% Yummy Mashed Potatoes The Castle in Würzburg DSC_0691% DSC_0689% DSC_0686% DSC_0684% DSC_0672% DSC_0667% DSC_0664% DSC_0663% Wertheim DSC_0652% Würzburg by night Dance-Session DSC_0628% Iceskating is fun! DSC_0624% DSC_0621% German Christmastree :-) DSC_0585% DSC_0583% DSC_0579% Cathedral Speyer

Takeo-Province

WOW…I can’t believe that it’s more than a month since I wrote my last post. Time is flying so fast these days!

Last week we had a long holiday because of waterfestival. This year all the celebrations were canceled because the country is still mourning for King Sihanouk Norodom but anyways we had 6 days off.

The waterfestival itself is normally a big celebration where several million people from the cambodian provinces travel to Phnom Penh to celebrate for three days the end of the rainy season as well as the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. Boat races take place along Sisowath Quay and it’s a big party along riverside.

We decided spontaneously to do a 2-days road trip during our time off to escpe from busy Phnom Penh. Because even if the boat races were canceled the city was quite crowded during the last days.

We left Tuesday morning with the car southwards along the national road 2. Our first destination was Tonle Bati a place to have a picknick along the river. It’s about 30km away from Phnom Penh but because of traffic and the road conditions it took us about an hour to get there. It’s a beautiful absolute non-touristy place and the place to be if you just wanna hang out and relax. We went there by car but it’s also possible to hire a TukTuk for a day. We spend there abround 3 hours in a nice little picknick-hut directly at the waterfront – eating, drinking, relaxing in the hammock and enjoyed the nice view over the river. Generally you could also swim there but the brown water was not really inviting.

From there we drove furthe on NR2 for about 10km to Phnom Tamao Zoo – a wildlife sanctuary. It’s a nice park area to have a walk and see lots of differnet animals…elephants, lions, tigers, sunbears, peafowls, deers, differnet monkeys, birds, turtles, wild pigs, iguanas and much more. Also to the Zoo you could hire a TukTuk in Phnom Penh to do a day-trip.

After the Zoo we drove further south on NR2 till Takeo, the capital of Takeo-Province. It’s a small and really calm city and Takeo itself has not that much to offer. But after this nice day outside we arrived at our beautiful guesthouse Daunkeo2 (www.daunkeo2.com). We had a room with fan for 7$ per night in a nice garden bungalow and just relaxed in their garden in the evening.

The next morning we started the way back to Phnom Penh with a stop at Phnom Chiso (Chiso Mountain). It’s about 30km north of Takeo also along NR2. Once we climed up the 412 stairs to the temple we enjoyed the amazing view over Takeo-Province. The oldest part of the temple is from 11th century and in between it’s more a temple ruin with some new build temples and buddah statues around.

It was a great short get away from Phnom Penh and am sure it won’t be the last trip to Takeo as the surroundings has a lot more to offer and the guesthouse is nice and amazingly cheap 🙂 Next time we might hire a bout to visit Angkor Borei and Phnom Da or drive further towards the Vietnamese border to Kirivong to enjoy the nature there.

It’s definitely worth it to do a trip to Takeo-Province especially if you wanna be out of the main tourist stream!DSC_0402%DSC_0406%DSC_0394%DSC_0425%DSC_0408%DSC_0441%DSC_0450%DSC_0446%DSC_0454%DSC_0400%DSC_0470%DSC_0427%DSC_0455%DSC_0472%DSC_0430%DSC_0473%DSC_0413%DSC_0422%DSC_0419%DSC_0465%DSC_0440%DSC_0474%

Looong time no see…

I didn’t write on my Blog for quite a while in between, sometimes there’s just nothing special to write about sometimes (honestly) I was just too lazy to write. But now I’m back and here’s a summarize of the last 1.5 month.

First of all our big Trip to Bangkok and Nigeria. We stayed for 4 days in Bangkok and it was really nice to come back to this rushy, big city. They major reason for our stay was SHOPPING 🙂 and relaxing. So we went to different Malls (MBK, Siam Paragon, Central World, Terminal 21) went for a massage and enjoyed the delicious thai food. Plus we met Jekky again, she was the first person I met in Bangkok during my big trip…she hosted me twice and we became friends in between. It was really nice to meet her again and grab some yummy street food together.

Oh…and I shouldn’t miss to recommend our hostel in Bangkok – CheQinn Hostel. It’s brand new, opened just a couple of month ago and we really enjoyed our time there. It’s a great location just 5mins walk to Nana-BTS-Stop, nice staff and a welcoming atmosphere. They have dorms as well as private rooms. Check out their fb with more informations and contact details: http://www.facebook.com/CheQinn

After 4 days we were ready to enter the plane again for a loooong flight throught Addis Ababa/Ethiopia to Lagos/Nigeria. We spent 3.5 weeks together with my new family. I met all my sisters, brothers, in-laws, my second mum and grandma plus many, many kids – and all I can say is I never felt so welcomed in my life! They took care about me, protected me from all the “bad boys” – though I never really met one 🙂 , cooked all varieties of african food for me and were really happy that I tried everything. Almost everything is a bit spicy but I enjoyed it.                                                                                                           Beside of that I now have a wardrobe full with african cloth in different colours and styles.

Because of some private reasons we couldn’t do that much sightseeing but we’ll do that for sure during our next trip – that was a promise from everybody 🙂  We spend the most of the time in Warri in the Delta-Region, it’s an industrial city with couple of oil companys. Beside of that we went to Ibadan and Lagos and there I had the chance to go to one of the local markets which was an interesting experience.
I was definitely the attraction for all the people around me and am pretty sure many of them haven’t seen a white person before. I forgot to count how many guys wanted to marry me or my sister, I never had so many proposals during one hour that’s for sure 😀

It was hard to say good bye at Lagos Airport end of August and I really miss all of you but I promise we’ll be back!

Back in Phnom Penh I first went to my school and YES…am employed again…I’ll start teaching at CIAPP again from tomorrow on and am really happy to see all my old and new colleagues AND the kids. Two month without work, it was nice to be on holiday again but I missed work and am happyto start again tomorrow.

Now in Cambodia we’re in the middle of the rainy season but surpisingly it doesn’t rain a lot…I was wondering since I moved here how it might be and in between I was a bit worried that the water might come inside the house – but thankfully it didn’t happen so far and I hope it won’t happen during the next weeks. We had some rain showers but not even every day and when it starts to rain it’s quite heavy and the street is flooded sometimes. But all in all it’s not too bad. I kinda enjoy it – the smell of the fresh air after a rain shower and the bit lower temperatures as well.

Another big event was our Engagement…we just had three weeks to arrange everything and here I wanna say a big THANK YOU to our friends Daniel, Ketrya, Martin and Emily – without you guys it would have been maybe impossible to arrange everything perfectly.

It was a nice ceremony and a great party afterwards, all in all a memorable day in our both live! Sadly non of our family members could join and also my friends from Germany weren’t able to come around but the wedding will be together with all of you for sure!

 

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A long weekend in Kuala Lumpur

As I had to go to the Nigerian Embassy in KL and in Cambodia were some holidays for king’s birthday I decided quite spontaneously to travel to Malaysia for 5 days. I wanted to use the weekend for some sightseeing and Monday for the Visa Application.

Kuala Lumpur is beautiful – the old colonial architecture with a lot of islamic influence in combination with skyscrapers and the Petronas Twin Towers. I liked the mix of the people there you can see the influence of different religions everywhere. Malaysia is really different from everything I’ve seen so far from South-East Asia!

I visited the National Mosque and Masjid Jamek, went up the Petronas Towers, walked around china town and saw a chinese temple and also a hindu temple. I passed by the old train station and Medeka Square and visited the Museum of Islamic Arts. Honestly the exhibition wasn’t that interesting to me but the architecture of the building is definitely worth it to got there!

When it comes to food Kuala Lumpur is like food heaven. There’s nothing you can’t find in KL…delicious malay-food, indonesian dishes, chinese, indian, western, ….and the list goes on and on. I went with my CS-host to a little indian restaurant and had an amazing tandoori chicken for dinner – YUMMY!!

I enjoyed my time just walking around the city and sunday morning I had some nice company. Amalia, a local CS, showed me some really nice places in town.

Kuala Lumpur is a big and modern city with a great public transport system and it’s easy to get around. Beside of the sightseeing it’s a great place to do some shopping. There are huge shopping malls everywhere…my plan was to go to Kenanga wholesale store as different people recommended it to me. But in the end I couldn’t make it there as the visa application was a full day project for me.

The best place for me at all was the bookstore at KLCC Suria…I haven’t been to a “real” bookstore since I left Germany! Here in Cambodia you only can find these used book stores, well sometimes I also find really good books there but it’s huge difference if you’re surrounded by all these new books, sorted in different languages and genres…I spent there quite a long time just strolling around looking for new books, reading a couple of pages… 🙂

I’m sure it wasn’t my last time in KL and Malaysia…I’ll be back!

 

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Kirirom and Sihanoukville

It was time to travel around Cambodia again to see a bit more of this beautiful country. And I was happy to spent my first holidays together with my boyfriend 🙂

We hadn’t that much time off but we were able to travel for 6days…first stop was Kiriom nationalparc. We went there by bus, there’s no direct connection to the nationalparc but it’s on the way to Sihanoukville. Soyou can take every bus towards Sihanoukville…just tell at the Ticket Counter and to the driver as well that you wanna go to Kirirom and they’ll drop you at the junction to the nationalparc. The busride takes about two hours.

From there it’s another 15 to 20mins by Moto-Taxi or Mini-Van, there are always drivers waiting at the junction…bargain for the price as usual and for 3 to 5$/Person you’ll make your way to the nationalparc and Kirirom Resort.

We stayed at the Resort for two days and hat a great and relaxed time there…included to the room fare are a lot of activities like kayaking, horse riding, bike rental, rope sliding…but we enjoyed the most of our time our just hanging around the pool 🙂

The Resort is in the middle of the nationalparc, nice little bungalows with a good standard, the staff is nice and the service good. It is possible to have a nice walk around the resort area and bike around as well…there’s a waterfall about 10km away from the park but as it’s end of dry season we didn’t go there.

If  you need a little break away from the city and also from the main tourist route Kirirom is definitely a great option!

After the two days at the Resort friends picked us up to go further to Sihanoukville which made our travellings way easier. But it’s also possible to go back to the main road by taxi and stop a bus or minivan which is passing by to go further south.

Sihanoukville is the complete difference of Kirirom…full of Tourists, Hotels, Hostels and Guesthouses…but if you wanna enjoy the white sandy beach definitely the place to be in Cambodia 🙂 There are many beaches in and around town. We spent the whole time at Ocheteaul Beach which is east of town. We biked around that area and enjoyed the most time hanging around the beach, had yummy food – perfect if you love fish and seafood! had a nice swim even though the water could be a little bit colder it’s not really refreshing but nice anyways.

Nightlife is also great…a lot of restaurants, bars and clubs…we went to Utopia, a nice location with swimming pool, pool table and great music. A really nice atmosphere and a recommendable place to go in the evening.

As we just spent two days in Sihanoukville we hadn’t enough time to take a boat to the islands or check out some other beaches in that area…but I’m sure it wasn’t my last trip to the south 🙂

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Cambodian Cooking Class

As I love cooking and I really like the cambodian cuisine I joined a cooking class together with Micha.

We booked a class at the Frizz Restaurant (www.cambodian-cooking-class.com) and on the menu was:

  • Fried Spring Rolls
  • Banan Blossom Salat
  • Kroeung (base of the Fish Amok)
  • Fish Amok
  • Sweet Rice with Mango

We met in the morning at the restaurant and went first all together to the market to buy some ingridients and learned a lot about the different vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices.

Afterwards we went to the cooking school, a nice kitchen on the rooftop with view over the city – nice! We learned to roll the springrolls correctly and fried them – delicious and so easy to make!

Then we made our own Kroeung, a curry paste which is the base of Fish Amok or the Khmer Curry. Garlic, Chili, Shallot, Shrimp-Paste, coconutmilk, peanuts…everything smashed together to a creamy paste and then marinate small pieces of fish fillet in it while folding a bananleaf to a bowl. Therefore you cut circles out of two leafes and fold about 6 edges all around, fix everything with toothpics and the fill the fish-curry inside. Now everything need to be steamed for about 30mins and there your are…

Next dish was the Banana Blossom Salat which is a really simple dish, prepared in about 10mins. The dressing is the typical sweet sour sauce made out of garlic, chili, shallots, sugar, lime, fish sauce and water. First we cutted the leafes of a banana blossom in small stripes, mix them together with peanuts, small slizes of boiled chicken and the dressing and you have a delicious fresh salat.

Last but not least we cooked sticky rice for our desert, melted palmsugar and cutted a Mango in small pieces…arranged everything in a really tricky way put some black sesame on top and the caramelized palmsugar around – YUMMY!

We had a nice and funny day while cooking on the rooftop and I was surprised how easy it is to cook the typical Khmer dishes. Everybody who is around town and likes to cook should join a cooking class and I completely recommend the Frizz Restaurant cause the whole day was perfect organized.

First Aid in Cambodia

 

This perfect day in the surroundings of Kep had a rough end … on the way back on the dirtroad after a long curve was a waterpipe crossing the street and as I wasn’t sure if we just can drive through I tried to slow down before it. But because of the gravel and dirt on the the road we started to slip and fell down. As my leg was underneath everything and scratched along the ground I had many scratches from the knee downwards and a deeper wound on my foot which was heavy bleeding … but no more details …

 

 

My first thought was … damn I’m in the middle of nowhere at the cambodian counrtyside, my foot is bleeding and everything is dirty around me, I hadn’t even a clean tissue to put on and I had no idea how we’ll come back to Kampot.

 

I tried to walk back to some houses to ask for help but my circulation was pretty bad so I just lay down in the grass, put my feet up and was happy that my foot has stopped bleeding in between. So we called our guesthouse and they arranged us a pick up but we had to wait another 45mins which is actually not too bad.

 

So I just lay in the grass Cindy was beside me and then the entertainment got started … I guess we met every single person who is living in that village nearby…from the children up to the grandparents, sometimes I had a crowed of 30 Cambodians around me and all were just starring at my leg. I’m sure I was the attraction of the month for them 🙂

 

Nobody could speak english but they definitely talked about my wound, about Cindy and me and they try to figure out what exactly happened.

 

A bit scary was the moment when this old farmer with is axe arrived … he was really friendly looking but I was wondering what exactly he wants to do with his axe – amputate my leg? Kill me cause it’s easier to die fast instead of slowly with an infection? Well, who knows … but I’m still alive and also my leg isn’t gone 🙂

 

In between there was a group children beside me and we had a lot of fun tickeling each other and giving high five … they were smiling and it was a great distraction to joke with them. Then there arrived a man who could hardly speak english he wanted to help us but communication was nearly impossible. So he called a friend who was able to translate … he offered us to organize a pick up who could bring us back home and me to a hospital – that was so nice but well the pickup was already on the way.

 

Another 5mins later the next guy arrived with a big black bag and I couldn’t believe my eyes when he started to clean my wounds and desinfect everything in a really professional way. The last thing I expected was first aid in th middle of nowhere in Cambodia – but he was real! After cleaning he put a bandage around the worst part on my foot and my knee and so the most important part was done. The dirt was washed away and everything was desinfected in less than an hour from the accident.And for this whole service he charged me 5$ – incredible!!

 

The pickup arrived during that time as well and so I could just walk to the car, lay down at the backseat and they drove us back directly to Bodhi Villa where we ordered food for dinner and some drinks. The people around me were just lovely and cared perfectly about me. The cutest one was Sophie, she was actually a guest from another guesthouse and just came around with her husband for some drinks. She told me she’s physiotherapist and I shall just yell her name if I need any help. She organized some icebags and placed them on my leg …

 

Even if it was a bad situation I’m so thankfull for everything … to made this great experience with the cambodian Villagers, for the help of the Bodhi Villa Staff, the „pick-up-Crew“ and last but not least for Cindy’s help and and all the lovely and caring people around me.

 

It’ll take some time till my foot is healed but all in all it could definitely be worst!