What is your favorite moment at MS Dhoni
Hamburg, December 28, 2015
A reader asked me to put the list of my ten favorite European places with links and tips on this page - that's what I want to do! Since I published the texts on the Facebook page, I've added a new favorite place, so there are now eleven! :) I hope you enjoy browsing!
Favorite place # 1: ISTANBUL - How could it be otherwise? ;) I don't have to say much about the city, everything is in the novel. Just ask for Can Ocak and you will see the most amazing things !!! But seriously: Istanbul is huge and a new world is opening up in every part of this European-Asian metropolis. If you only have a weekend, I recommend the Side Hotel in Sultanahmet. It's cheap (€ 35 for a double room last year) and the people there are really nice. The guest house has a roof terrace with a view of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. By the way, Isabel also stayed here ...
If you have more time, you should change the district to get a different view of the city, and go to Beyoglu, for example. I can recommend the Grand Hotel de Londres there. Decadent charm of the 30s, a multilingual parrot in the foyer. Around the hotel, on the side streets of Istiklal Caddesi, there are an incredible number of music clubs. This is ideal for everyone who loves live music and likes to go dancing.
Favorite place no. 2: CORNWALL. I fell in love with this region before I was even there. Cornwall and I, for decades, it was a kind of long-distance relationship with a lot of longing and daydreaming. As a teenager I devoured the novels of Daphne du Maurier - not only because she provided the ingenious literary models for the Hitchcock films "Rebecca" and "The Birds". But because it tells so incredibly well. Then three years ago I finally traveled in the footsteps of her novels. From Menabilly (the property with its beach is the location of “Rebecca”) to Ferryside (her parents' holiday home and Du Maurier pilgrimage site) to northern Cornwall (location of the beach robber novel “Jamaica Inn”). In between very lively English pubs, wild cliffs, palm trees and villages like from a very romantic film. Best place to stay (also wildly romantic!): Housel Bay. Best novels to read while traveling: The House on the Strand, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek. What can I say? This love has a happy ending!
Favorite place no. 3 is Hamburg. The blue pearl of the north, the water paradise. Elbe, Alster, canals and canals - you hardly need to move from the spot, a new piece of water is already there. A good way to get very close to hamburgers: book a room in private accommodation via www.9flats.com. Best and most colorful district: Ottensen.
Favorite place no. 4: Brittany, especially the west coast with its cliffs and the wild sea (la Pointe du Raz is terrific !!). The best way to explore is by car and sleep in different places, for example via AirBnB. At least that's how we did it and got to know a wide variety of people: young, old, cranky, friendly ... everything was there. Incredibly good time!
Favorite place no.5: VULCANO. Here I once had the most embarrassing pizzeria visit of all time, but that doesn't detract from the beauty of this Aeolian island. As the name suggests, this island north of Sicily is of volcanic origin. Sulfur bubbles from underwater springs to the surface of the water, which has the advantage that you can swim there in March (it's always nice and warm), but the disadvantage that you smell like freshly escaped from hell afterwards. And that's exactly what the pizzeria guests must have thought of me when I wanted to eat there one evening with a lump of sulfur in my hair. Of course, I actually wanted to take a shower beforehand, but just as I was standing under the shower, the water in my guesthouse was turned off ... Well, Vulcano: beautiful, wild and adventurous!
Eden Park is a good and cheap place to stay near the harbor and with a view of the crater.
Favorite place # 6: LYON. For so many years I drove past this city on my way to Provence without looking at it. Ashes on my head! Lyon is a bit like Paris, only more relaxed and with a river more. In Vieux Lyon there are wonderful squares with restaurants and cafés, you can stroll between the impressively large Place Bellecour and Place Carnot, and then there is a really worth seeing art museum in a Benedictine abbey. Favorite place to eat: Le bistrot à tartines. Here it looks like a French village shop from the twenties, there are homemade breads and delicious cakes. Recommended hotel: Le Phenix.
Favorite place No. 7: SAMOTHRAKI. I owe the discovery of this Greek island to my friend Karen. When I saw her wonderful photographs, I knew: I also want to see these centuries-old trees, the waterfalls, these ice-cold water-filled rocks in the forest in which you can bathe, these ancient temples. Best place: Therma. From here you can hike up the Fengari, the moon mountain, go down to the pebble beach or into the forest. Arrival via Thessaloniki, then take the ferry to Kamariotissa on Samothraki. Very nice place to stay: The Mariva Hotel.
Favorite place no.8: SOGNEFJORD. In Norway I heard silence for the first time in my life. I slept in a hut that a Norwegian friend gave me. The hut stood on a tiny island, which in turn lay in a lake, which in turn stood on a mountain, and which rose above a huge forest. The water of the lake was very dark and cold, and the cabin smelled of warm pine. There are landscapes in Norway that are so beautiful that words can hardly be described. I was speechless by the Sognefjord.
Favorite place No. 9: TARIFA. Favorite moments in this southernmost place in Spain: Sitting on the beach and watching the waves pile up between Morocco and me. Throw me into these waves. Stroll through the old town and admire the Arabic-Andalusian mix of styles. Good place to meet interesting people: the laundromat with attached Internet café Laundry Tarifa. Delightful and affordable hotel in the old town: Pension Correo.
Favorite place no. 9: PARIS. I know it's such a cliché: the city of love, often visited, colorfully filmed. But Paris is changing rapidly - if you haven't been there for a few months, you'll be surprised again right away! Current favorite places: the "Faust" at the foot of Pont Alexandre 3, a kind of beach club, just on the quay. (So a kind of quai club). The shops in the 9th arrondissement, south of Montmartre. It is less touristy here than in the former artists' quarter. Many vegetarian and organic restaurants have opened here, such as Le Pain Quotidien or the Rose Bakery. Total Paris feeling: drink a glass of wine high up next to the Sacré Coeur and look down at the city level. Or have a café on the roof of the Center Georges Pompidou. Nice, small hotel that is a great place to start: The Hotel des Arts in Montmartre. Best jogging route: from the Eiffel Tower along the banks of the Seine to Pont Alexandre 3 and back again. At a normal running pace, it takes about 40 minutes. Nicest bookstore: Shakespeare and Company.
Favorite place no. 10: DUBROVNIK. Because it is fun. To slide over the smoothly polished stones into the Croatian past. There is history everywhere: palaces from the time of the city republic, a cathedral, narrow, overgrown stairs. It is most beautiful here in the early morning to be as alone as possible with the city. Airbnb makes it easy to find private accommodation here, ideally of course with a roof terrace. And then take the cable car up the mountain and watch the glitter of the sea and think about which island to go to later from the port. Or take a walk on the city wall. Great vegetarian restaurant with fresh, homemade dishes: The Nishta.
Hamburg, August 12, 2015
There are times when I want to do everything at once: dance, travel, write, stretch out into space, do something hitherto unknown, incredibly new. How can you want so much and only have these few decades of life for it? There are times when I want to be forever.
My very latest is the ukulele. Played rehearsal and fell in love with shock. Ukulele sounds like Hawaii, like lightness, like: don't take it so seriously. It will. After dancing, traveling, doing new things.
The other day I heard someone say that the ukulele is the underdog of musical instruments. I let him pull me along.
Vacation in the crisis country: "Something big will happen."
(Text from 08/25/2012, due to the occasion)
They almost chop the bread out of your hands. And they fly past us so close that we can see every feather. During the entire crossing from Alexandropolis to Samothraki across the Aegean Sea, the seagulls can be fed and photographed, a summery motif, white with turquoise. Hundreds of them flutter around our ferry, screeching, in a Hitchcock film one would be scared now. The island finally appears with its green, forested mountains, its beaches, a temple complex from the 4th century BC and a forest of strawberry trees. We are in Greece, a part of Europe that is seething, but we do not see it when we arrive.
From the fishing village of Kamariotissa we take the bus to Therma, a tiny town in the north of the island. The bus driver plays an improperly tuned radio station at full volume, pop music alternates with advertising. It is dark when we reach Therma. Floodlights illuminate stalls with jewelry and books, Greek hippies sit in the kafenion on the main road that leads up the slope. We rent a room from Rula and Alexandros, who own a house with a view of the sea. The couple from Athens have spent half of the year on the island since they retired. During the holiday season, which lasts only six weeks here, they rent rooms to tourists, the rest of the time they have the large house with the garden to themselves. Alexandros brings us a plate of mirabelle plums and figs from the garden, but he shakes his head with a smile when I ask him if I can also pay by credit card. "Only cash."
Late in the evening we go to the tavern with the largest terrace in town and order moussaka, Greek salad and a plate of Swiss chard. Valantis, who owns the tavern, only accepts cash payments, and there isn't even an ATM in town. Valantis used to live near Stuttgart, like almost all residents of Samothrace, to work for Mercedes and Siemens. He speaks German with a clear Swabian accent. He advised his son to go back to Germany. "Hia wirsch yes bled, eh", he comments on the situation in Greece.
The government in Athens doubts that traders are taxing their earnings the way they should. That is why she increased the property tax in September 2011. Anyone who owns a house like Rula and Alexandros or a tavern like Valantis should pay the property tax together with the monthly electricity bill, otherwise the electricity will be cut off. The pact between the state and the state power monopoly PPC lasted just two months, then Greece's highest administrative court ruled that PPC should not turn off the power to defaulting payers. But the taxes on property remain. Trifon, a 33-year-old bookseller from Thessaloniki, who uses the holiday season on Samothrace because he hopes to be able to sell more books here, also confirms that it has become more difficult to smuggle one's income past the tax authorities. Anyone who owns a car is also given a higher rating, he explains. That's why he has deregistered his car, but the taxes would break his neck even that way. “I pay twice as high taxes as before the crisis. But I don't even make half of it anymore. People just don't buy books anymore. ”Trifon says that his girlfriend, who runs a pharmacy in Thessaloniki, is benefiting from the current situation. The consumption of tranquilizers and psychotropic drugs has risen sharply. Trifon brushes his dark curls behind his ears. "Did you hear how many people killed themselves in our country in the last few months alone?" When I nod, he looks at me with narrowed eyes. “Something big is going to happen, remember my words. We Greeks can no longer and do not want to. ”I ask who he is particularly angry with. “To all of them,” he replies without looking at me. “To Europe, to the government and also to Germany.” While we are talking, a slim man with gray hair and bright blue eyes joins us. It's Dimitrios, a lawyer from Athens. For two months he has been one of the 22% Greeks who are currently unemployed. He spends the summer on the island, where you can camp wild, and life on Samothrace is cheaper than in the capital. "If we are no longer in the euro zone, we also no longer want to be in the EU," he says. "We don't need you, we will try to be self-sufficient."
Self-sufficiency, that is also the word that Maria uses. She runs a tavern not far from the Gria Vathra waterfalls near Therma. “We have everything we need here,” says Maria, who looks like a cook from a picture book, friendly and extremely fat. “Always fresh water from the spring, lots of goats, our vegetable garden, in winter we play cards, we have each other, we don't need anything else.” That evening, Maria serves a freshly slaughtered goat. Samothrace is populated by herds of goats, some say overpopulated. They are a disaster for the island flora, they nibble away everything that grows on the ground. Since Brussels approved subsidies for more goat herds a few years ago, there have been even more, more than the 180 square kilometer island can handle.
If you want to be alone, you can go to the pebble beaches. Only a few sunbathe here. Vicki from Thessaloniki, who works as a waiter on Samothrace in the summer and looks like Cindy Crawford, spends her afternoon break on the beach. She misses her children, she says. And that she was recently divorced. The beach is perfect for children, not too high waves, not too deep at the beginning, the water is crystal clear.
The hike up the moon mountain through centuries-old forests is also lonely. The path leads up one thousand and six hundred meters, over river bed rubble, past plane trees and tamarisks. The huge, gnarled trees provide shade, the ground is thickly covered with leaves. It's our last day and we're on our way to the falls. We feel for snakes with sticks and jump from stone to stone in the river bed. After a few hundred meters we have left civilization behind us. We dive into the jungle that looks like a world thousands of years ago. And then we see them, the tents between the tree trunks. Plastic bags hang in the branches, clothes and bottles are scattered on the floor. A homeless community in an idyllic setting. The waterfalls rush into stone pools, a young couple bathes naked in them. A few men and women lie on the hot stones around them and look at the sky. There a seagull is circling. It should be that easy now.
Paris, June 12, 2015
Seen while walking in front of a cinema today: a man who sells passers-by fresh poems at his own stand - completely written on the spot! Yes, sometimes authors also have to spice up their daily work a little ...!
I then approached the poet because I wanted to buy such a fresh product. Unfortunately he explained to me a little sullenly that he didn't have time now because he had to concentrate. “But not for customer acquisition, right?” I asked him.
Of course not really. I only write such dialogues in novels ...
Embudu / Maldives, December 22nd, 2014
I swam with a water turtle last night. The sun was setting and the water world was dark blue. Suddenly she was there below me, the turtle, so calm and graceful and old. I dove down to touch their shell and then we swam silently side by side.
Winter vacation, time for reflection, another year has passed, this time one in which I turned my life upside down. The days are colors: turquoise, white, ocean blue, palm green, at sunset a bright orange that presses against dark blue stripes in the sky. The darkness tastes of margarita and mai tai.It is a real holiday island with its own laws, which a Swiss woman explained to us on the first evening: you can buy wifi for half an hour, everyone can take books from the library there, the current around the island flows around like that. A parallel society, populated by many exhausted people who are stranded by the water. And divers exploring another parallel world, the hidden one, the sea. The days flow and flow, twelve have already passed.
And then the sun goes down, butterfly fish glide past me, a shark and so many other sea creatures whose names I don't yet know. This turtle is swimming next to me and I'm just happy to be alive.
Male / Maldives, December 19, 2014
Today I'm at Male, the smallest and most densely packed capital in the world. On an area of two square kilometers, 93,200 people live in brightly painted high-rise buildings, and there is everything here that is also available in other capitals: creaking mopeds, markets, narrow streets, restaurants, schools and a Ministry of Defense, whose building was donated by the neighboring state of India - well, that's really strange now! Incidentally, the Maldives (state religion Islam) are statistically the most divorced country in the world! But it is also extremely easy here: the divorced man simply has to go to the island boss and shout three times loudly: “I repudiate you!” Nobody has yet been able to tell me what the divorced woman has to do ...
Now I long to go back to Embudu in the dhoni across the sea. It's strange how quickly you can develop a sense of home: personal belongings, a somewhat ritualized daily routine and dear people are enough.
Embudu / Maldives, December 15, 2014
It feels strange to be back in class. I have a best friend in class again and a teacher who doesn't think much of me. I can hardly understand him because he speaks a Swiss dialect and besides, he mumbles a lot. He yells at me quite often: because I'm laughing too much, swimming too far away or disturbing the class in some other way. But the man can't scare me, I'm free and easy and incredibly happy that I've lost my fear!
Embudu / Maldives, December 14, 2014
Oh why has nobody ever told me before that diving makes me SO happy !!! It is the ultimate transformation into a different state of being !!!! It's very easy, everything is easy and beautiful! My heart pounded in my first lesson, I didn't know if I could actually slide so deep into the water, so far away from everything I know, my surface world. It was only eight meters that we dived: a long journey for me.
Embudu / Maldives, December 13, 2014
Now the time has come. I'm really excited. In fifteen minutes I'll be taking my first diving lesson! I met my first shark yesterday while snorkeling. Amazingly, he ran away when he saw me, but I don't take it personally now ...
I still don't know how I will feel underwater: is it a feeling of infinite space or, on the contrary, do I feel cramped by the masses of water? My experience in the cenotes of Yucatán is still alive (and unpleasant) before my eyes. I'll know more tomorrow ...
Hamburg, September 25, 2014
As you can see in this photo, bicycles are very popular in our house, especially racing bikes, and I am one of the lucky owners of this fantastic invention. I have now wisely chosen this picture and not a full-body picture showing my arm in plaster and the laceration on my head. The situation is unpleasant, but it also has advantages. So now I spend my days lying on the sofa and shouting my wishes into the room. And a lot to read! Among other things, the books of those colleagues with whom I probably form a kind of club together (in some reviews it says “Mia Sassen: for friends of Dora Heldt and Kerstin Gier”). And so I spent yesterday reading Kerstin Gier's novel “A problem for every solution”. And laughing so loudly that my cycling neighbors probably wondered how happy an arm cast like that makes you. But what a great idea from her too: Write farewell letters, even to people you don't like at all - and then send them off! - but then don't die after all! And now I'm thinking about who I would write to in such a case. And what. Because it is much better to be absolutely honest with yourself and other road users while you are still alive ...!
Hamburg, July 28, 2014
Somehow, you get a new life with every new book, right? Every novel, whether I read or write it, opens up a whole new world to me. Just sit on the balcony and write. I think it should be an adventure trip again. This time the story takes place in Mexico. But I'm in Hamburg - I love this city in summer!
For you out there, who are currently on vacation and experiencing adventures yourself, I wish that you will be accompanied by good people and good books! For everyone who doesn't yet know where to go this year: on my Facebook page I have put together 10 favorite places in Europe with cheap hotel addresses, tips for excursions and lots of private photos. I wish you much fun with it!
Paris, May 26, 2014
The pictures are so big that they tower over me. I am forced to look up to them. And the photographs are so touching: laughing friends, half lathered in a bathtub. Two men holding a baby. Women of different skin colors holding on, one of the two pregnant with a round belly. The French artist Olivier Ciappa asked celebrities to have themselves photographed as homosexual couples, as ambassadors for same-sex marriage. Eva Longoria holds a blonde woman in her arms on a meter-high partition. The pictures have been attacked, Olivier Ciappa has decided not to restore them but to show their injuries. But that evening there is a peaceful atmosphere on the Place de la République. People walk around in the evening light, some of them arm in arm. Men and women kiss in front of these pictures. This evening it doesn't seem to matter who loves whom. I take my cell phone out of my pocket and send a message.
Dubrovnik, April 27, 2014
Here I am. Exactly 30 years later. Back then, I was touring Croatia and the surrounding countries with a friend and her Fiat Panda, Yugoslavia was the name of that, and I didn't have a driver's license yet, but when we stopped shortly before Dubrovnik, I showed my ID, which was gray and turned the page . I pretended it was a driver's license - to this day I don't know why, but the policeman believed me.
And now I want to go again. I feel like everything is new again. That I discover something: a new phase, my second half of life. I never would have thought that things could be so turbulent again from your mid-40s. And that it will be so beautiful! This is also what my new novel is about.
Tulum in Yucatan, Mexico, December 3, 2013
“Do you know the word claustrophobia?” Asks José, a Mayan Indian, just before entering the dark corridor. Ha, do I know the word? Above all, I know the condition! I'm intimately familiar with it, so to speak! I get hot even though the water in the limestone cave is ice cold, and I suspiciously eye the crack in the rock through which I am about to snorkel. I hate the feeling of being squeezed in somewhere. And I don't like darkness at all. Everything in me wants to turn around on the spot. But at the same time, I would also like to be courageous.
The moment I swim into the corridor, I feel the fear overwhelm me. The stalactites hang so low that I have to be careful not to hit them with my head. And then the daylight disappears. I shine my lamp downwards: Several meters below me I see a cave entrance, behind which black shadows move, divers in neoprene. The passage through which José leads me is now so narrow that I have to push myself in sideways. The fact that I can hear my own panicked breath through the snorkel mask doesn't make things any better. Again and again José turns a corner, again and again it goes into a new curve of the tunnel. If I lose sight of José now, I'll be done for. I will never find my way out of here alone!
But suddenly I have something like an inspiration: it's no use driving me crazy in advance! I have to trust José that he won't leave me behind, why on earth would he? And above all to myself. I try the good old Bob the Builder saying: “We can do it!” My breathing becomes calmer. And then the corridor widens and the light returns. We get into a beautiful cave where the water throws sparkling dots on the walls. I take a deep breath and dive to the bottom. I'll get a stone there. From now on I will always have him close by. As a sign that I was scared. But that sometimes I can overcome my fear.
Istanbul, April 25, 2013
I'm writing on a roof terrace in Europe and when I turn my head to the left I see Asia. Isabel and Viktoria accompany me every minute, the women my new novel is about and whom I am closer to than any other character in a novel for a long time. I don't know when I last felt the need to tell a story so urgently, or if it was ever so urgent at all. Maybe because the two seekers are like me, or because despite all the problems they are so hungry for life ...
Today I went to lunch on a side street off Isteklal Caddesi, the long shopping street that leads down from Taksim Square. Across from me sat a young woman with bright red hair who toasted me with her wine glass. A question from my friend Eldad from Jerusalem came to mind, the question he always asks: “So what's her story?” The story of my table neighbor was that she comes from Ljubljana and accompanies her boyfriend on a business trip to Istanbul , has a son and sells agricultural machinery. She mentioned this in case I ever needed a tractor. I said I don't need one right now, thank you very much. I also ordered wine and we talked like friends who have known each other for a long time or who will soon stop at all. When I stepped back out into the street, I saw that my agent had called. I called him back while a tram was ringing and the sun was shining in my eyes. He said a publisher was interested in the manuscript. I felt weightless when I hiked back, weightless and happy, to my roof terrace between Europe and Asia.
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