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Oriental Discoveries – Istanbul in 2015 Pt. II

Situated both on the European and on the Asian continent, Istanbul is the entry gate to the Orient, yet at the same time it is also the last major European city in the southeast. Istanbul, or Konstantinopel, how it was called before the Ottoman conquest, has always been a metropole. Today roughly 15 Million people call it their home. The vast sea of houses is divided by the Bosporus, a water way connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It is one of the busiest waterways in the world. Not far away – on the European site – grand mosques arise, built over the centuries by Ottoman rulers to show of their power.  They are majestic indeed, rich decorated with Islamic ornaments and beautiful interiors. Between the mosques you will find the Grand Bazar, a covered bazar consisting of 61 streets and many thousand shops. In Istanbul everything seems grander than usual.

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Greek Series: Greece in Black and White

This post is part of the so called “Greek Series”, consisting of photographies I shot while backpacking Greece in September 2013. You’ll find a basic introduction to the series here and a list of all previous posts over here.

Without any doubt Greece is a colorful country and I myself am very fond of powerful colors in photographs. But interestingly sometimes the absence of color brings focus and a certain sharpness to pictures.

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Greek Series: Mykonos Part I

This post is part of the so called “Greek Series”, consisting of photographies shot while I was backpacking Greece in September 2013. You’ll find a basic introduction to the series here and a list of all previous posts over here.

So you may wonder how we got from Nauplia to Mykonos. The truth is we didn’t, at least not directly. Mykonos was actually one of the last destinations on our journey. Before we embarked on a ferry to the islands we travelled around mainland Greece quite extensively. But for today I skipped the Peloponnes because the weather there was not always perfect and as much as I like archeological stuff and hilly landscapes, I think the blog and I myself needed a bit of summer island feeling in these (more or less) harsh and dark winter days. And that we definitively had on Mykonos. Still there is a lot to cover on the Peloponnes and many shots are left, so next time we come back to mainland Greece again. But for now: Hope you enjoy beautiful Mykonos as I saw it.

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Greek Series: Nafplio

This post is part of the so called “Greek Series”, consisting of photographies shot while backpacking Greece in September 2013. You’ll find a basic introduction to the series here and a list of all previous posts over here.

Nafplio is a port city in the western part of the Peloponnes peninsula. The former capital of Greece today is mostly a vacation destination for tourists from Athens due to proximity and good ferry connections. People from Athens escape here for weekend trips to shop and enjoy themselves. It is a touristy place for sure with shopping boulevards and many luxury brand stores. The economic crisis Greece is facing was not very obvious and we saw a lot less graffiti and poverty then in other urban areas. Though the city as we saw it definitely didn’t represent the living reality of most of Greek people it was definitely a good place for going out and having a good time in general. There are two castles / fortresses to see here, one on the top of the hill behind the city with a great landscape view over the buildings and the sea and a small fortress on an artificial island within the bay itself.

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Istanbul April 2013

Less then a week ago I returned from a short trip to the magnificent Istanbul. It was the first time I visited an Islamic country and the first time I experienced a megalopolis with staggering 16 million people! So it was a very insightful and interesting trip. We enjoyed the beginning of spring in the Gardens of the Saray, drunk tea served in the traditional way above the city skyline and paved our way through the busy streets of the Old Bazar. We saw the last station of the Orient Express (sadly not existing anymore), found a feline friend on the Prince Islands (should be rather called cat islands) and explored the nightlife of Galata. In short the city on the Bospurus was beautiful and amazing!

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View of the Bospurus from the Galata TowerPrince IslandsBetween the MosquesHagia SophiaCat in Mosque

Portugal V (last part)

Some weeks went by since I visited Portugal in mid of February and started to share my impressions with you in a series of posts. This one will be the last one for now. But I will be back in April with new pictures of a new city (hopefully :))! Enjoy.

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What is truly great about Lisboa and Porto and what I didn’t mention before is the great choice of hostels here. Portuguese hostels win competitions on hostelworld and hostelbookers almost every year and they definitely deserve the prices! A lisboan hostel I can recommend from own experience is the Good Morning Hostel on the Praca dos Restauradores in the city centre. The people there were lovely and very helpful. We cooked together and had a great time. If you go to Lisboa check it out

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Honestly I can’t remember the name of the church, but it was most certainly in Porto. The city has many magnificent churches, some of them made of pure gold. They are remains of a colonial era in which Porto became on of the richest cities on the Iberian peninsula thanks to trade and the importance of the local harbor. + I miss the blue sky terribly.

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Number 28 again as seen on a rainy day in Alfama. My favorite part of the old town. Especially the surroundings of the Castello are beautiful and very charming. A nice part of the town for a walk, but you shouldn’t mind steep hights 😉 In case there is always a tram to bring you up & back.

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A panorama picture of Porto. One day was definitively not enough for Porto. Although there are not many traditional “tourist sights” here the city doesn’t need them at all. It is the maritime flair, the port wine and last but not least the architecture and the small streets which are selling Porto and making it so attractive (especially for Britons we were told because there is a cheap connection from London introduced recently).

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There had to be a cat picture at some point 😉 I get her anger, probably wouldn’t enjoy it either if someone would point a camera on me 10 cm in front of my face. So I was a bit of a cat paparazzi here. Guilty as charged. Still cute 🙂

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The end of the world. Almost. The end of the European continent at Capo da Roca 3000 km from home. An amazing, almost spiritual place. But unfortunately we had bad luck with the weather, the wind was awful and cold as ice so we had to return rather quickly. Our hope to see the sunset stayed unfulfilled either. It was beautiful nontheless.