Sunday, 29 June 2014

Summer Vibe

Good morning and happy Sunday!

After a new record of post publishing this week (3!), I'd rather go for a quick recap today. I've just come home from a great morning work out in the park and will now spend the day inside as Paris is rainy today. Watching football and catching up with all my unread blog is on the plan - what are yours for this Sunday?
  • ... I was happy about: That I only have one week of internship left. Done! Summer here you come!
  • ... I was sad about: The defeat of Chili last night. I bet on them and with Brazil's victory I keep stabilizing my last position in our internal office ranking. 
  • ... I shopped: Too much. Bag, dresses, tops, pants, jackets... it's summer sale and the first four days were very very successful. More about that next week. 
  • ... I was proud of: Getting up this morning in order to take part in Andros Matin activities. I started the Sunday with Body Combat and Zumba, followed by a healthy breakfast.
  • ... I saw: A lot of bi**h fights in Les Galaries Lafayette and other stores. Girls, it is only a handbag. You don't have to hit people because you want it. You are only making a big fuss and in the end you are thrown out of the store - without the desired item. 
  • ... I planned: August activities. I'll be home in Geneva and started to compile things that I absolutely must do. Les Voiles, boat, hiking, pick-nicking.... 
  • ... I ate: An amazing "pizza". Rocket, Parma ham and pickles butter. More than delicious. 
  • ... I enjoyed: Every minute with my friends. The meet ups with them give me a lot of positive energy and create this special summer vibe. 
  • ... I thought: Why is weather always great during week but not on weekends? I want to go back to Deauville and enjoy sun rays on my pale skin. 
All the best,

This is how I want weather on weekends. #throwback
Breakfast this morning, thanks to Andros.
Pizza time

Friday, 27 June 2014

Half Time

The first two weeks of the FIFA World Cup are over. As a football lover, it’s now time for me to present my first summary of the matches, players and highlights. And this World Cup is full of surprises and suspense that I hardly know where to begin.

Despite my passion for the matches and endless after work sessions in pubs during the last two weeks, I enjoy the broadcasting with a depressing sentiment. Is the World Cup really positive for the country development as promised by the organization committee and various politicians? Taking into consideration all the protest movements during the last weeks, I have difficulties to fully believe in it. For me, the FIFA has already lost a lot of reputation when they decided to give the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 – we all know that money is what matters. Not only that the Brazilian government is known to be corrupt, but also the FIFA is highly involved in corruption accusations. Corruption + Corruption = More Corruption?! When we believe the rumors, people from poorer districts were resettled in order to improve the access to stadiums. Some speak even of killing street kinds to fulfill the perfect picture of Brazil as host. For sure is, that the World Cup will only help little to gain economic growth. A lot of the newly built stadiums are useless after July as no professional teams are playing there. These stadiums are more than functional, pompous and modern although people are craving in hospital hallways, kids don’t go to school and elderly people cannot pay for food.
The winner in the end is surely the propaganda, Brazilian politics and the FIFA – but not the country and not the people. This system has been going on for decencies now and I don’t know how we can stop it. Or how we can transform the power of a simple ball into a power for people. At one point we all should boycott the event – but then, what will I do in 4 years?

After so many turbulent events, there is one question left : Who will be world champion? Among the Europeans I see the Dutch and the German team in very good positions. Yet, I believe in a South-American champion as a lot of matches are scheduled around midday – a crucial time for European teams. Eventually, I bet on Brazil or Chile. What do you think?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tallinn - Welcome to Estonia!

During my trip to the Baltic Sea, I had the chance to stop by Estonia for my first time: Tallinn was on the agenda! I unfortunately had only one day to explore the city as we took the ferry back to Stockholm again but yet I got a first impression and can now share a couple of things that I discovered. Let me take you with me on a trip to the medieval city with some Baltic charm (and loads of tourists)!
  • Klaus: Let me start with my favourite place in the city - the Klaus restaurant. It is located a little bit outside the city center, next to the harbour (which is convient after having taken the ferry). I hardly can decide whether I love the place so much because of its food, especially their tuna salad, or its interior design with a Scandinavic touch. Yet, only when I left the restaurant I discovered to even greater outdoor terrace. 
  • Must Puudel: If you are tired of walking around the medieval paving stones - don't wear high heels - the Must Puudel Cafe offers the perfect retro arm chairs to relax. I love the cosy atmosphere and their cakes.
  • Labor: Chemistry was definitely not amongst my favourite subjects at school. Nevertheless I am a high advocat of the Labor Cafe in Tallinn's city centre. On one hand you get all your drinks in test tubes and flasks, on the other hand they change colours with food colouring. Who is brave enough to drink bright pink water?
  • A place to avoid to eat and have drinks is the Raekoja Plats (Townhall square). It is the main square on the city that is full of tourists and touristy restaurants. One restaurant next to the other offers 'Estonian' specialties that are highly overpriced. Moreover service is pretty bad in most of the places. Keep strolling through the little streets and you will find a lot better place worth your money. 
  • Oleviste Kirik: I like the view on a city's rooftops. Therefore I don't baulk at climbing a lot of uneven stairs or even at taking any other risk. Once again, I found a perfect church in Tallinn in order to do so: The Oleviste church for 2 € entrance fee offers a remarkable view over the city and the Baltic sea. 
  • Tallinna Linnahall: When the Olympic games were hold in Moscova in 1980, Tallinn was selected to be the place for the sailing competition. For that occasion, the city built the Talinna Linnahall. I wouldn't consider it as a very pretty building but yet it belongs to Tallinn and is part of its history. And while being their, my friends and me, we transformed into a different purpose: the industrial background served perfectly for a photoshooting and action movie remake.

Having spoken of loads of tourists, let me give you a little warning. Since cruise ships have invaded every sea worldwide, the Baltic sea is no exception. Though, it is a very small sea with even fewer cities. When we arrived in the harbour, there were already 3 other cruise ships waiting for us, a total of more than 3000 tourists. You can easily imagine what a great feeling it is to conquer a city with such a hoard. At one point I didn't feel as if I was in Estonia but on a promotional trip with German and Spanish pensioners.

Welcome to Estonia
Harbour treasure
Tallinn Harbour

Medieval flair
It's like a castle
Don't you dare to wear high heels
Let's say that the top of the church roof is secured... Estionian-like.
I totally fell in love with Klaus
Action movie on the Tallinna Linnahall
Labor drinks. Welcome back to school.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The new art of transport: biking

Throughout my blog it is pretty obvious that I am little sports-fanatic. I go running 2 to 3 times a week, I love watching sport events and walk around Paris for hours. Lately, I decided to even skip the metro system (except to go to work). After only 4 months here, I already have enough of the stinging smell and the sweat of my standing neighbours. Luckily, the city of Paris has established the Velib’ system a couple of years ago. More than 100 bike stations in the entire city give you the possibility to take and depose your bike and to start to discover the city on two wheels. While tourists always haggle with the vending machines, I opted for a yearly pass.

The best…
… is taking your bike at night. Few cars populate the streets, lights illuminate Paris’s buildings, fresh air surround the waving hair in the wind. Instead of taking night buses I love to jump on my bike after parties and take the little tour in the darkness.

The funniest…
… happens to me when I try to get my bike. I don’t know why but the saddles are always at a height that are only meant for 2 meter men. Unfortunately, the regulation is more than difficult as it always stuck. If you see a small woman walking around a couple of bikes trying to change the height of the saddle, it might be me. When she starts to curse, it might be even more me. When she looks for help, it is me. When she starts flirting with the guys next to her, it is certainly me. Honestly, most of my flirts here in the city take place around bike stations.

The longest…
… ride I did so far is from Bercy to my place – it took me 45 minutes which is the maximum time for taking my bike for free (afterwards you have to pay a couple of Euros for each hour). Hey, I am student and don’t pay extra. I prefer getting of my bike before and either change for a new one (with new 45 minutes) or keep walking the rest of the way.

The shortest…
… journey took exactly 1 minute, from one Velib station to the next. The bike I took was so bad that I couldn’t stand it for any longer. Then I walked as I was pissed of by the system.

The most uncomfortable…
… are always the flagging that adorn the city. Never mind which Boulevard I take, I have lots of bumps that keep shaking me. Yet, I kind of stick to the big boulevards as they help me to orientate easily.

The weirdest…
… is the instability of the system. Thanks to their app I should easily find accessible bikes. Should. When I arrive at the station, I often face broken bikes or even no bike at all. Or I find my perfect bike and then my yearly pass isn’t accepted. It is jinxed. There is a gremlin in it. Yet I don’t give up and I usually find "my" bike after having passed two or three stations.  

The prettiest…
… are the bicycle ways along the Seine river or the Bois de Boulogne. I am a nature lover, so every possibility to cycle without the high chance of being hit by a car, are highly welcome. Let the sun shine, take your bike out and finish your trip at the Eiffel Tower with a little picnic – this is how I love my Sunday afternoons.

The most dangerous…
… every time I cross one of Paris’ perilous crossings. Most of them are not equipped with extra bicycle ways so that I keep juggling between cars, motorbikes and buses. Oh and not to forget the aggressive taxis. 

Grab your bike, ready, go!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stockholm again

A street in Södermalm

Hej hej! Having been to Stockholm for my third time, I am still convinced that this city is my favourite place on earth. The lifestyle, the landscape, the language, the people, the weather. I JUST LOVE IT. Again, I compiled a few new spots that you need to check out while in the city – with all the other ones I wrote down here. Enjoy reading while I now start planning my future that includes a move to the Stockholm. Yes you read the right way: I definitely want to live here.
  • Swedish National Day: I had the chance to be in the city on the National Day (6th of June). All the museums and the king’s castle are for free on that day, so don’t hesitate to check out Sweden’s culture. Furthermore you can even meet the king who flies the flag at 6 PM in the museum of Skansen (that is not for free though).
  • Tully’s Coffee, Götgatan 42, Södermalm: Stockholm people look always gorgeous and are highly aware of their fitness. They keep jogging and taking healthy meals. At Tully’s coffee I joined their lifestyle and had an enormous salad with tuna, beans, avocado and grains. Yummy!
  • Juiceverket: Speaking of healthy life style, I found this great place in Södermalm. Fruits are freshly pressed and all kinds of juices are imaginable. I can only recommend the Apple-Maracuja with mint and lemon.
  • Meatballsfor the people: Sweden without meatballs is a no go for me. Unfortunately, all the “Köttbullar” restaurants in mainly Old Town are very expensive which is why I was so delighted when I came across that place. Meatballs for the people is a hip restaurant and offers great menus for reasonable prices.
  • Jogging: As already mentioned above Swedes love running. Honestly, I rarely have seen so many Nike trainers at of one place. Hence, I also grabbed mine and started a great run for an hour during which I even met the Swedish princess Madeleine. The Royals are so down-to-earth here which is another reason why I totally fall in love... with the country, not with prince Phillipp. 
  • Smaka pa Stockholm: Stockholm’s food festival in summer. You can try food from all over the world – Italian, Indian, Turkish or whatever you desire. It always takes place in the begin of June and is a great event to meet up with friends while having dinner, listening to Swedish folk music and enjoying the late dusk at midnight (!).
  • Hemköp: Since I had such a great weather, I couldn't force myself to sit inside for lunch. Yet, I found the perfect alternative: The food store at Hemköp. Salads, wraps, sushi, warm buffet, snacks - the most difficult is to make a proper choice in the end. I recommend eating by the waterside afterwards.
  • KappAhl: When I am somewhere else, I try to avoid stores like H&M and Zara that you find everywhere nowadays. I'd rather go to little boutiques or at least chains that cannot to be found where I live. This time I went to Kappahl, a clothing company mainly based in Scandinavia and parts of Asia. I bought a really nice sweater there, perfect for summer evenings.
  • Chokladkoppen: If you are looking for sweet treats in Gamla Stan (Old Town), I highly recommend the terrace of Chokladkoppen and their great cinnamon rolls. Perfectly located in front of the Nobelmuseet, this is the spot to hang out after a tiring museum visit.
Are you ready for Sweden?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Friends make life just better

Stunning Baltic Sea at night

Good morning folks!

What an eventful week that lies behind me: my trip to Northern Europe, the begin of the Football World Cup, birthday parties and a lot of work!

Today I therefore had no other choice than sleeping in. Hence, I sit here now, having a good breakfast while the sun is shining on my back. As predicted last week, I went to Stockholm and Tallinn over the last weekend and only came back on Tuesday night. Believe me, it’s been literally five incredible days of holidays with some of my best friends from high school that made me sometimes feel as if I was on a class trip as we used to be. I have discovered so many great places that I need to share them with you in an extra post. For now, let me tell you: I will always love Stockholm. I arrived on Thursday and we stayed until Sunday night when we took the overnight ferry to Estonia. On Monday night we took the same ferry back, spending the last day in Stockholm again. During our trip we always had sun and when I write always, I mean it – even during the night as we were quite far up in the North. When I sat back in the plane for Paris, I was even a little sad that these amazing days had already been over but luckily I also have lots of other great people here that I planned some activities with.

For instance, we had after work drinks at the Seine riverbank. This wouldn't be anything special, if not the prices were so incredibly cheap. I only paid 2 Euro for an immense glass of wine! The spot? Check it out here.
A very good Irish friend celebrated her 21st birthday even on two days. So we first we went out for dinner and birthday cake the first night while we went to an Irish pub (what a coincidence) the second one, all being appropriately dressed for the white party.

Finally, I had a lot of work during the three days I worked. I had to catch up with a couple of things and so I spent a lot of time in the office. But hey, it’s only 15 days of internship left and I start realizing it a bit more every day. Oh Paris, I don’t want to leave you. Yet, to compensate my static posture in the office, I went jogging twice and did some yoga yesterday afternoon that took place on a terrace next to the Seine River. Furthermore, I follow at least one match every night of the World Cup. What’s your tip for the trophy? Is it the Netherlands after their great victory over Spain? The home advantage for the Brazilian team? Or even a totally other surprise? Let’s see what the next weeks will bring – I definitely keep you updated!

Enjoy your Sunday and the rest of the week!

After work wine
Lovely Ice Cream
Healthy food
White party outfit. Cropped top - Skirt - Flats - Bag (all H&M) - Blazer (Mango) - Watch (Tissot)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Can you spare a few minutes?

Good morning everyone,

Every time a stranger asks me where I come from I respond: Can you spare a few minutes?
It is not that I want to expose my life but the question of my origin is not so easy to answer. Living in a globalized world, I even think that more and more people face those "problems" because they are constantly on a move, possessing multiple passports and see their home in a variety of places.

In my university, my professor lecturing about the European Union once said that the European identity only exists on the paper. One would always consider him- or herself as Spanish, French, German and so on. In my case, this is not true. Having grown up in England, Germany and France I can’t identify myself with only ONE nationality even if I only have one passport. On top, my parents life in another country. Let me even say that I incorporate this mystical European identity. And my urge to further develop this personality is not fulfilled yet as I crave to live in other countries, may it be within the European Union or outside. Outside the EU, I can easily imagine that there are lots of people that even say that they have a global identity (anyone of you maybe?).

When I walk to work in the morning, I often keep asking this question to myself. I work in one of the lousiest and most dangerous suburbs of Paris where lots of immigrants share their lives. I cross the Moroccan butcher who keeps chopping the gigot, the Indian shop with its pink suitcases in front of the door, the African market vendor who sells 5 Euro shoes, the Chinese vegetable place with all the ginger in the shop window or the East-European mothers that try to survey their children. Where do they come from? Were they born here? Why did they leave their country? What is their story?

Their stories are probably a lot longer than mine and the question of origin often can’t be answered with only one sentence. People are often unhappy when I cannot give a proper origin as answer and I can tell you that I am freaking out every time they don’t understand. My reasons for my multicultural identity are bonded to blessed circumstances, but imagine those people that had to give up their origins due to negative influences! How must they hate to be not accepted when we talk about this topic!

I personally feel blessed to have this story, to tell people that I feel home in different countries or that I support a couple of nationalities during world championships. No, I am not lost nor am I indecisive. I believe that everyone should be proud of it and all the question-askers should tolerate every answer, never mind what one’s story behind is.  

P.S. I am in Stockholm this weekend. More about that next Sunday.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Roland Garros

Happy Sunday!

I have just brought my Mom to the station since she stayed in Paris over the last few days. Once again, it was such a pleasure to have her here. We discovered Paris even more and had the most impeccable food in fancy restaurants that I will share with you by the end of my stay. End? Yes, time passes so incredibly fast that I only have few weeks left in this gorgeous place and I already feel that certain wrench…

As I literally grew up on the tennis court, Paris oozes a particular charm for me these days: the French Open – or Roland Garros – are taking place in the city. Since forever I have been watching the tournament on TV, always crossing fingers for my favourites and hoping for the day to go there myself.

And the day came: Last Thursday I early caught the metro to enter the holy zone. Thanks to a nerve-wrecking procedure I obtained my tickets and felt like a little kid going to Disneyland for its first time. I was mesmerized by the three impressive stadiums, the experts around me, the excitement of all the spectators in the air. It wasn’t my first time on a tennis tournament but it was my first Grand Slam (the others are Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open). All in all I watched 5 matches, amongst them the Olympic Gold Medalist Andy Murrey who easily defeated his opponent. I also attended the games of Simona Halep, the best ranked woman in the tournament, and Ivo Karlovic, the 2.11m-man with services of 200 km/h. In fact, the matches with no name players were even better because they were less one-sided - I was probably as anxious while sitting in the public as when I play myself.

Yet, I unfortunately couldn’t see Rafa Nadal, my all time favourite and idol, who played the same day, but to which court I didn’t have access (as I said nerve-wrecking process).
But I don’t mind since I had a blissful day without a single drop of rain, the world’s best tennis and the one-time experience to have finally attended such a prestigious tournament.

Roland Garros, I come back.

Simona Halep
Court No. 1
German Andrea Petkovic
Ivo Karlovic's forehand
The four Grand Slam tournaments

My Roland Garros essentials