Personal · Travel

5 MOTIVE pentru care mi-a fost dor de casă când am locuit în Maroc

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     Am iubit Marocul încă din primele zile petrecute acolo și m-am bucurat de fiecare moment în parte, însă, așa cum este normal, am început să duc dorul micilor lucruri care acasă mă făceau fericită sau creșteau nivelul de confort și la care aici nu am avut acces. Nu cred că este necesar să menționez cât mi-a fost de dor de familie și de cei dragi sau de animăluțele mele pentru că bănuiesc că se subînțelege. În schimb, vreau să vă vorbesc despre lucrurile materiale care mi-au lipsit.

 

Cafeaua

     Nu sunt o consumatoare înfocată a cafelei, dar îmi place să savurez un Cappuccino bun, un Latte Macchiato călduț sau o ceașcă imensă de Latte condimentat. Imi place să testez diferitele arome ale cafelei și să simt textura plăcută a unei spume de lapte bine făcută, lucruri de care însă nu m-am putut bucura în Fès. Acolo oamenii consumă în general cafea neagră care nu a fost nici pe departe cea mai gustoasă pe care am încercat-o vreodată. Am încercat și Cappuccinouri și  Café Lattes, dar au fost cele mai proaste pe care le-am băut vreodată. Toate păreau a avea shotul de espresso diluat, spuma, respectiv crema de lapte au lipsit aproape cu desăvârșire, iar de cele mai multe ori băutura ajungea la mine aproape rece. Singura dată când m-am putut bucura de cafea a fost când am vizitat Casablanca și am trecut pe la un Starbucks *cete de îngeri au cântat*. În  Fès dacă voiam să servesc o cafea decentă, atenție, decentă nu bună, mergeam la mall, de cele mai multe ori la Costa Coffee. Acestea fiind spuse, cred că e lesne de înțeles de ce am devenit bună prietenă cu cafeaua 3 în 1.

 

Mâncarea

     Bineînțeles că nu se putea să nu îmi lipsească mâncarea preferată de acasă, în special supele. Am încercat să le gătesc și acolo, însă gustul ingredientelor de bază diferea față de cel de la noi, așa că și rezultatul final nu era îmbucurător. Totuși, aceasta nu a fost cea mai mare problemă a mea, ci varietatea meniurilor vegetariene. Marocanii sunt mari consumatori de carne și e dificil să găsești restaurante unde să dispună de meniuri vegetariene diversificate. Cred că nu e nevoie să folosesc mai mult de zece degete pentru a număra felurile de mâncare pe care le-am mâncat cât am locuit acolo. Viață lungă Adasului (un fel de supă cremă de linte) și Bissarei (tot un fel de supă cremă făcută din bob verde).

 

Excesul

     Să călătorești sau să te muți într-o altă țară nu îți prea permite să iei cu tine toate lucrurile tale preferate. Au fost momente când mi-a fost dor să pot alege dintre cinci nuanțe diferite ale aceleași culori a aceleași cămăși, sau să îmi asortez culoarea pantofilor cu restul ținutei și nu doar să am încălțăminte neagră și albă pe principiul că se potrivește cu orice. Mi-a lipsit uneori să am la îndemâna un rimel pentru volum, unul pentru alungire și un altul pentru curbarea genelor, un număr infinit de rujuri sau o duzină de creioane pentru ochi. Știu că a învăța să trăiesc cu mai puține lucruri materiale mă va face o persoană mai puternică în cele din urmă, dar asta nu mi-a redus absolut deloc dorința de a deține o varietate mai mare de geluri de duș sau de parfumuri.

 

Internet de calitate și de mare viteză

     Este cunoscut faptul că internetul din România este unul dintre cele mai bune din lume, lucru de care mi-am dat seama și pe care am început să îl apreciez anul trecut după ce am petrecut două luni în Bulgaria. Pe atunci credeam că petrecând majoritatea timpului în zona rurală bulgară a fost motivul pentru internetul cu viteză scăzută, dar în Fès mi s-a confirmat faptul că internetul românesc zboară, vorba vine. Nu mă înțelegeți greșit, pentru 20euro/lună m-am bucurat de o viteză decentă, însă pentru aceeași sumă la noi m-aș fi simțit ca o prințesă a internetului. De cele mai multe ori nu am întâmpinat probleme când a venit vorba de o căutare pe Google sau de o sesiune de scroll pe Facebook, dar au existat momente când să dau upload la o poză sau să mă uit la un film online chiar s-au dovedit a fi o problemă.

 

Viața după 10 seara

     Nu sunt genul de persoană petrecăreață, dar din când în când îmi place să mă bucur de o seară de vineri în oraș. Existau cluburi în Fès, însă deloc variate și nu m-am simțit confortabil în niciunul. Funny story: am vrut să merg la un moment dat într-un club care se numea Afro Club sau petrecerea se numea Afro ceva și nu am fost lăsată să intru pe motiv că, citez, “e pentru negrii, iar tu nu ești neagră”. Dar după cum spuneam nu sunt o cine știe ce petrecăreață așa că mersul în club a fost una dintre cele mai mici probleme ale mele. Ce mi-a lipsit cu adevărat au fost plimbările de seară sau chiar din timpul nopții și ieșitul în cafenele seara târziu. Nu am avut parte de așa ceva, deoarece în primul rând nu e prea sigur să te plimbi pe străzile de acolo după ce se lasă întunericul, iar în al doilea rând cafenelele închid la ora 22.00 sau 23.00 în cel mai fericit caz.

Sursă foto: www.alexanderroberts.com

 

 

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Personal · Travel

5 Things I Missed About Home During My Stay In Morocco

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     I loved Morocco from the first days I spent there and I enjoyed all the months I spent there but as it is normal, at some point I started to miss some things that I used to enjoy while I was home but I didn’t have access to them in my new home. I am not going to talk about how I missed my family, my friends or my pets because it is obvious that I missed them the most. I am going to talk about, let’s say, the material things that I missed. Everything will be in random order because I missed them almost equally.

Coffee

     I don’t drink a lot of coffee but I like to enjoy a good Cappuccino, a warm Latte Macchiato or a huge cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte. I love to try coffees with different aromas and to feel the texture of a nice milk foam but this was impossible to do in Fès. There, people usually drink black coffee which still wasn’t the best one I ever tasted. I tried to have some Cappuccinos and Café Lattes but they were, unfortunately, the worst I ever had. They all tasted like the espresso shots were mixed with water and there was no milk foam at all. Ah, and they were almost cold everytime. The only time I had a good coffee was when I visited Casablanca and I stopped by Starbucks. In Fès if I wanted to drink a decent (not good) coffee I was going to the mall, usually to Costa Coffee. These being said, I sticked to instant coffee like 3 in 1 and believe me it still tasted better than the majority I had in coffee places or restaurants.

Food

     Of course I missed some of my favorite foods, especially soups. Even though I tried to cook them by myself they weren’t the same because the basic ingredients tasted different. But this wasn’t the biggest problem I had to face. Maybe the most difficult thing was to find a diversity of vegetarian food. Moroccans are big meat consumers and it is hard to find menus full of vegetarian dishes. I think I don’t need to use more than ten fingers to count all the vegetarian foods I had during my stay there. Long live Adas (lentil soup) and Bissara (dried fava bean soup)!

Maximalism

     Traveling or living abroad usually doesn’t allow you to carry all your favorite things with you. There were moments when I really missed being able to choose between five different shades of the same color of the same shirts or being able to match my shoes color with the outfit and not only to have black and white shoes because they go with everything. I missed having a mascara for volume, one for length, one for curly lashes, an infinite number of lipsticks and a dozen of eyeliners. I know that learning to live with less will make me a stronger and maybe a better person in the end but that doesn’t make me miss owning a big variety of shower gels and perfumes any less.

Quality High-Speed Internet

     It’s a known fact that Romania has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world and I started to be aware of this when I spent two months in Bulgaria. Back then I thought that the Bulgarian internet was slower because I stayed mostly at the countryside but in Fès I learned that the internet in my native country is really good indeed. Don’t get me wrong, for around 20 euros/month I had a really decent internet connection but for the same price in Romania I would have felt like the queen of internet. Most of the times I didn’t have problems for basic google search sessions or scrolling through Facebook but there were times when uploading a photo or watching a movie were a real struggle.

Life after 10 P.M.

     I am not the kind of a party girl but every now and then I enjoy going out on a Friday night. There were clubs in Fès but not a big diversity and I didn’t enjoy my time spent there, it just didn’t feet right. Funny story: there was some kind of a club called Afro Club or something like this (or the party was called Afro something?!) and I was denied access because, I quote, “this is for black people and you are not black”. But as I said I am not a party girl so not being able to go to a club was my least problem. What I really missed while being there was the late night walks and late night coffees/teas/snacks during these walks. It was impossible to enjoy them because first of all it is not so safe to walk on streets during night and second of all there are no coffee shops open later than 10 p.m. or in the best scenario 11 p.m.

Photo Source: http://www.pinterest.com
Travel

Discovering the Ancient City of Ephesus

   Since I am in love with history and archaeology is what I am doing on a daily basis, the fact that I felt in love with Ephesus doesn’t come as a surprise. It lays on the Aegean Coast of Turkey, near the popular coastal resort of Kusadasi. Ephesus is to Turkey what the Colosseum is to Rome and the pyramids are to Egypt.

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   The first thing I visited when I arrived there was the church of Mary. It is located in the south stoa of the Olympieion next to the harbor of Ephesus (close to the car parking lot). The church is dated to the early 5th century and some archaeological evidence suggest that the church was built on the ruins of an earlier Roman basilica-like building abandoned around the 3rd century. Mother Mary’s House is said to be the last house where the Virgin Mother lived before Her Assumption.

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   The next stop was The Magnesian Gate also referred to as the south gate. There are people who say it’s the best to start here and make your way down to the north gate, a thing with which I tend to agree.

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   Everything you will see around you is impressive and one of the most beautiful things are the massive columns. Some of them are broken, some were well restored, but nonetheless, they are beautiful. There are columns elevated on pedestals, ones that are 13 m high, columns with capitals that are works of art.

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   The city has a very diverse timeline but historians have dated the first signs of habitation back to the 10th century BC. It flourished after it came under the control of the Romans in the second century BC. Also, Ephesus is mentioned in the Bible and it is known as being one of the seven churches of Revelation which were seven major churches of Early Christianity. You don’t have to associate the modern concept of a church to these ones but to see them as local congregations of Christians living in each city, and not merely as the buildings in which they gathered for worship.

   Walking around the site you will be able to see places such as the Library of Celsus, The Temple of Artemis known as being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the  Temple of Hadrian, the public latrines or the brothel. Aamazing architecture will surround you all over the place and last but not least, you will meet the citizens of Ephesus – the cats.

   These are the approximate prices but as far as I know, you can pay only in Turkish lira.

Ephesus: 10.5 euro per person
House of Mary: 7 Euro per person
Terrace Houses: 5.5 Euro per person
Basilica of St. John: 3 euro per person
Archeological Museum of Ephesus: 3 Euro per person

   Note: If you are going during summer make sure you don’t forget to bring a bottle of water since you will have to walk around for a couple of hours.

Travel

1 Year Travel Bucket List

  1. To see the sunrise in the desert
  2. To visit Cairo
  3. To visit Luxor
  4. To eat tajine in Tunis
  5. To discover new Medinas around Morocco
  6. To learn how to surf
  7. To take a walk in Pompei
  8. To eat gelato in Rome
  9. To visit Istanbul
  10. To enjoy a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
  11. To try a Hammam
  12. To see monkeys in their natural habitat
  13. To enjoy a city break in Amsterdam during spring or fall
  14. To drink frappé in Athens
  15. To visit as many museums as possible wherever I go
Travel

Accommodation in Fès

[EN]:  Fès has been my home for 5 months. It was the best life experience I had in 23 years, I feel like it helped me to discover myself, to understand better who am I. It had its ups and downs but overall it was great.

I will try to make a list about the best options when it comes to accommodation. I will focus on Fès but it is applicable all over Morocco.

[RO]:  Fès-ul a fost casa mea timp de 5 luni, fiind cea mai interesantă experiență din cei 23 de ani de viață. A avut suișurile și coborâșurile sale, însă simt că m-a ajutat să mă auto descopăr și să mă înțeleg mai bine pe mine însămi.

În cele ce urmează voi încerca să fac o listă a celor mai bune opțiuni când vine vorba de a vă caza în acest oraș, însă variantele expuse sunt valabile și în celelalte orașe marocane.

For short stay:

  1. Hotels and Hostels

[EN]: The most common solution when it comes to accommodation during holidays is booking a hotel or a hostel. In Fès you will find plenty of them and my suggestion is to choose Medina if you are here for turism and your expectations are not extremly high. If you want an area more quiet and you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, then maybe the New City is a better choice.

For hostels I have two recommendations: Funky Fes and Chilling Hostel Fez.

The first is located close to Rcif gate. You will find here a nice atmosphere with welcoming staff and for sure you will meet a lot of nice people with whom you will be able to walk around the city. The price per night is around 10 euros for a bed in a mixt room with 12 or 8 beds and the breakfast is included.

[RO]: Cea mai la îndemână soluție când vine vorba de cazare în timpul vacanțelor o reprezintă închirierea unei camere de hotel sau de hostel. În Fès există nenumărate astfel de locuri, însă dacă sunteți aici strict în scop turistic vă recomand să alegeți Medina, adică partea veche a orașului. Dacă însă vă doriți o zonă mai liniștită și nu vreți să ieșiți din sfera voastră de confort, atunci partea nouă a orașului este o alegere mai potrivită.

În ceea ce privește hostelurile pot să vă recomand două: Funky Fes and Chilling Hostel Fez.

Primul dintre ele este situat în apropiere de poarta Rcif. Atmosfera din acest hostel este una caldă, cu angajați simpatici și primitori, plin de călători, fiind imposibil să nu plecați acasă fără să vă fi făcut câțiva prieteni noi. Prețul pentru o noapte este de aproximativ 10 euro pentru un pat într-un dormitor mixt cu 8 sau 12 paturi, iar micul dejun este inclus.

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[EN]: The second one, Chilling Hostel Fez, is near Bab Boujloud which is one of the main attractions of the city. You will pay around 5 euros for a bed in a 8 beds mixed dormitory and the price includes breakfast as well.

[RO]: Al doilea hostel, Chilling Hostel Fez, se află aproape de Poarta Albastră, Bab Boujloud, care este una dintre principalele atracții ale orașului. Pentru o noapte veți plăti în jur de 5 euro, patul fiind amplasat într-o cameră mixtă cu 8 paturi. Și în acest caz micul dejun este inclus în preț.

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[EN]: When it comes to hotels you have a lot of options. Among the most famous ones that are situated in the New City I want to mention Ramada, Royal Mirage, Ibis, Palais Medina & SPA and Barceló.

Closest to the train station is Ibis. For one night, for a double room you will pay around 45 euros.

[RO]: Când vine vorba de hoteluri opțiunile sunt nenumărate. Printre cele mai faimoase, situate în orașul nou, amitesc Ramada, Royal Mirage, Ibis, Palais Medina & SPA și Barceló.

Cel mai apropiat de stația de tren este hotelul Ibis, unde pentru o cameră dublă veți plăti aproximativ 45 de euro/noapte.

 

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[EN]: In my opinion the best placed ones are Palais Medina & SPA and Barceló, both of them being near the main avenue, Hassan II, near Borj Fes Mall and quite close to Medina (five minutes by taxi).

Palais Medina & SPA is a five stars hotel and for one night, for a standard double room, you will pay approximately 90 euros.

[RO]: În opinia mea, cele mai bine poziționate hoteluri sunt Palais Medina & SPA și Barceló, situate în zona bulevardului principal, Hassan II, lângă mall-ul Borj Fes și destul de aproape de Medina (cinci minute cu taxi-ul).

Palais Medina & SPA este un hotel de cinci stele, iar pentru o noapte, pentru o cameră dublă standard, va trebui să achitați o sumă aproximativă de 90 de euro.

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[EN]: For a night at Barceló Fes Medina, a four stars hotel, you will pay nearly 55 euros for a superior double room.

[RO]: Pentru o noapte la Barceló Fes Medina, un hotel de patru stele, va trebui să plătiți circa 55 de euro pentru o cameră dublă superioară.

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2. Riads

[EN]: I think this is the best option if you travel to any place in Morocco because you are closer to the so called Oriental atmosphere. You can find riads all over Medina with prices between 10 euros and around 200 euros for one night. If you choose to stay in a hotel I would definitely say you should choose a riad even just for one night. I am sure you won’t regret it.

[RO]: Riadurile sunt case tradiționale care au aparținut în trecut unor familii marocane bogate. Consider că sunt cea mai bună alegere deoarece vă conectează la un alt nivel cu atmosfera locului. Găsiți riaduri în toată Medina, iar prețurile sunt cuprinse între 10 și 200 de euro pe noapte. Chiar dacă alegeți să vă cazați într-un hotel, vă sugerez să rezervați și o cameră într-un riad măcar pentru o noapte. Sunt sigură că nu veți regreta.

 

 

 

[EN]: Of course, there are also solutions like Airbnb and CouchSurfing.

[RO]: Bineînțeles, există și variante alternative cum ar fi Airbnb sau CouchSurfing.

 

For long stay

[EN]: If you plan to stay for a longer period of time in Fès you have three options.

  1. You find a riad or a hostel where you can rent a room. Usually one room with private bathroom in a hostel shouldn’t be more than 2000 dirhams/month (aprox. 180 euros) and a room in a riad shouldn’t be more than 2500 dirhams/month. Usually the price you pay for the hostel includes the bills (electricity, water, internet) and in some places even the breakfast but in riads, in some places, you might have to pay for these utilities.
  2. You stay with a moroccan family. You will have your own room but you will share the livingroom, the bathroom and the kitchen with the members of the family. It costs around 1500 dirhams/month. It is a good solution if you want to understand moroccan culture and society better but you won’t have much privacy and inviting people over might be a problem in some cases.
  3. You rent an apartment. This is the solution I chose. Me and my collegue rented an apartment in the New City close to Hassan II avenue and Borj Fes Mall. We had all the shops, banks, pharmacies, etc. very close to us, no more than a 5 minute walk away from any of them. In that area the apartments have usually two bedrooms, one huge livingroom, one kitchen, one classic bathroom, one turkish bathroom/toilet and one balcony. Also that neighbourhood is one of the safest in the city and there are living a lot of foreigners. We were paying a rent of 4000 dirhams/month and around 700 dirhams/month for bills.

 

[RO]: Dacă doriți să stați pentru o perioadă mai lungă în Fès, aveți trei opțiuni.

  1. Găsiți un riad sau un hostel unde se închiriază camere și pe termen lung. De obicei, o cameră cu baie privată într-un hostel nu ar trebui să coste mai mult de 2000 dirhami/lună (aprox. 180 euro), iar o cameră într-un riad nu ar trebui să depășească 2500 dirhami/lună. În mod normal, chiria pentru camera de hostel include utilitățile (curent electric, apă, internet), iar în anumite locuri chiar și micul dejun, însă în cazul riadurilor, în unele dintre ele, va trebui să plătiți facturile separat.
  2. Stați cu o familie marocană. Veți avea propria voastră cameră, dar va trebui să împărțiți sufrageria, bucătăria și baia cu restul membrilor familiei. Dacă alegeți această variantă, va trebui să plătiți cam 1500 de dirhami/lună. Este o soluție dacă doriți să înțelegi cultura și societatea marocană la un nivel mai profund, însă dezavantajele sunt că nu veți avea prea multă intimitate, iar dacă doriți să invitați pe cineva în vizită s-ar putea să nu vi se permită în unele cazuri.
  3.  Închiriați un apartament. Aceasta este soluția pe care am ales-o și eu. Împreună cu colegul meu am închiriat un apartament în orașul nou, aproape de bulevardul Hassan II și de mall. Aveam toate magazinele, băncile, farmaciile, etc. foarte aproape de noi, la o distanță de nici 5 minute de mers pe jos. În clădirile din această zonă apartamentele au de obicei două camere, o sufragerie imensă, o bucătărie, două băi, una clasică și una cu toaletă turcească și un balcon. Totodată, cartierul este unul dintre cele mai sigure din oraș și aici locuiesc o mulțime de străini. Chiria lunară era de 4000 de dirhami, iar utilitățile aproximativ 700 de dirhami pe lună.

 

1 euro = ~ 11 dirhams

1 leu = ~ 2,4 dirhami

 

Travel

Archaeological site of Volubilis

   Volubilis was the first thing on the “Must See” list for Morocco. The city is the best-preserved archaeological site in Morocco and was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1997. I visited it shortly after I moved to Fes and it was the first real trip I joined. It was a one hour and 20 minutes journey on the highway. The ancient city is situated close to Moulay Idriss, a town in northern Morocco. We arrived there in the afternoon but it was still pretty hot. The entrance fee was 20 dirhams which means around 2 euros so very cheap.

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   The first thing we visited was the museum. Before entering it there is a small Lapidarium which is a place where stone monuments such as columns, cornices,  stone epigraphs and tombstones are exhibited. Inside the museum there were some maps to make you understand how the territory occupied by romans looked like. Also there you can see pottery, statuettes, iron fragments, coins and mosaics found during the excavations.

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After that we started to visit the site. Volubilis is undoubtedly the most majestic Roman ruin in Morocco, but before the romans installed their camp in first century AD, when Emperor Claudius officially annexed North African Mauritania, a settlement of Carthaginian traders had been there for almost three hundred years. We spent around 1 hour and an half wandering around the ruins and I can confirm that the most amazing features are the city’s many beautiful mosaics preserved in situ.

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How to get to Volubilis from Fes: If you are not going by car you can go by bus to Meknes and from there to take other bus or Grand Taxi to Volubilis. It souldn’t cost more than 15 euros.

Travel

5 Tips for when you visit Fès, Morocco

   Moroccans are very friendly and hospitable and you will meet a lot of nice people who will make your journey easier and memorable, but here are some things I learnt after a month spent in Fès.

1. Bonjour! Hola! Hello? Italian, spanish? Amigo!

   As I said, moroccan people are friendly and some of them very curious. You will stand out amongst the locals so a lot of eyes will focus on you and a lot of people will want to start a conversation with you. Some of them will be harmless, they just want to know where are you from and what is your country like but other can end up as marriage proposals in which case you must laugh it off.

2. Stay away from false guides

   First of all because they are illegal. Second of all they will act like they are your bestfriends and they want nothing in return for their favour but remember that a false guide is someone who gives travellers a tour of the city, in exchange for something: whether it is direct payment or spending money on leather bags, argan oil, etc. In 90% of the cases or even more there is the expectation of a purchase being made. Some of these guides may say they don’t want anything and then in the end they will ask you for money. If you refuse to pay them they can get verbally aggressive.

3. Petit Taxis

   These are the most common cabs in the city. Some of them have free counters which means that the driver will turn it on in the moment you start the ride and it increases by 0,3 dirhams. Other taxis have fixed routes which means there is an exact price you have to pay for getting from point A in point B. There are honest drivers too, but a lot of them will try to deceive you so the best way of avoid being over charged is to ask how much you will have to pay to get to your destination before entering the car.

4. The Language Barrier

   The common languages are Darija which is moroccan arabic and French. There is a small number of people who are able to talk in english so before coming to visit the region you should learn some basic phrases either in french, either in arabic.

5. Don’t wander in Medina during night

   An evening walk in Medina could seem an excelent idea especially when the temperatures during day are very high. Enjoy the walk but try to remember your way back because after the shops will be closed you won’t be able to remember the way and you can consider yourself officially lost.

 

Travel

Amsterdam – First impression

   Amsterdam was never on my bucketlist but I am glad I visited it. Even though I think spring would have been a better moment to visit the city, doing it in january was pretty good too.

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    I spent eight days there which for me was a little too long but I don’t regret it. First thing I observed when I arrived there was how relaxed people seem,  how friendly were they when I asked for directions and that almost everyone speaks english fluently.

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    The city is calm even though there are a lot of turists and the traffic isn’t chaotic. I was surprised by how many bikes I saw even though I knew the dutch people love to ride them. I rented a bike for a few hours and, except the fact that my hands were freezing because I didn’t have gloves, it was perfect: it is very safe to ride bicycle through the city and it is a great way to explore the neighbourhoods if you are new there. As for public transport you can choose between bus, tram, metro and train. I never used the metro and my favorite was the train because it is the fastest but mostly I used the bus. You can buy transportation cards from GVB company which allow you to travel by bus, tram or metro: for four days you have to pay 21,50 € and you can travel as much as you want.

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Five random yet interesting facts about Amsterdam:

  1. The canals that go through the city are longer than 100 km
  2. Some say there are more bicycles than people who live in the city
  3. There are approximately 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam; some of them are occupied by residents but some are available for rent to visitors
  4. Amsterdam’s buildings are supported by wooden poles  that sink through the mud and are fixed in a sandy layer
  5. Some people say Amsterdam is home to highest number of nationalities out of any city in Europe
Travel

Morocco – there is a first for anything

   There are two weeks since I arrived to Morocco and I am still learning to adapt. Fes is my new home and it is considered to be the cultural capital of the country.

   When I arrived here I expected to find a city that looks like the Medina that you can find photos of on the internet. I was a little bit disappointed to see that is not like that, that there are two different parts, Medina quarter and the New City which is nothing like the old one. Even though the city didn’t meet my expectations in the beginning, now I find myself falling in love with Fes everyday. It is an amazing combination between wild and peaceful, conservatory and relaxed, old and new. You can always find new places to explore so it is impossible to get bored but more about that soon.

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    Once you arrive one of the first things you will notice is the kindness of the local people. They have the best intentions and they will always try to help you. One thing you should avoid are the so called “illegal guides” whom you can find especially in Medina and who will ask you for money after they help you find the place you were looking for. As a tourist your safety is almost guaranteed here in Fes since tourism is an important income source for the city. Sometimes I feel like the authorities value the tourists more than the fassi people thing which I think it is not really ok: for example it happened that I was walking on the street with moroccan friends and a policeman stopped them and started to ask them several questions just to see if we were friends or if they were bothering me or wanted money from me.

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   Everyday I am learning new things about this amazing city and about moroccan and arabic culture so, as I said, I am falling in love with Fes more and more day by day.

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Travel

Plovdiv: Bulgaria’s Most Enjoyable City

   Since I spent two months in Bulgaria I decided to take the best out of it. I was involved in a project so I only had the weekends free and one free week at the end of the project. As you can guess, I decided to explore the country as much as possible.

   Of all the cities that I visited Plovdiv was my favorite. It is a city where you can go to spend a weekend with your family or you can go to have fun, it depends what are you looking for. Into it’s modern and people-friendly layout it has artfully incorporated its archaeological sites. The city is a beautiful mix of medieval/ Renaissance period buildings and modern ones. There are many remains preserved from antiquity such as the archaeological complex Eirene, the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, Roman odeon, Roman aqueduct, Roman Stadium and others. Of course, my favourite parts were the Old City and the pedestrian zone.

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   Not to forget, Plovdiv has evidence of habitation since the 6th millennium BC and it is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. The old name of the city was Philippopolis and it has 7 hills like Rome but, unfortunately, one of them was leveled during the communist regime. In 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019.

How I got there: Bus from Razgrad to Sliven (aprox. 166 km), bus rom Sliven to Plovdiv (aprox. 178 km)

Accommodation: East Gate Guest Rooms (2 nights), Hostel The House (1 night)

Things to see (my favourite ones): 

  1. The Old Town – amazing architecture

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2. Archaeological sites

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3. Pedestrian zone – you can find cafés and restaurants

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4. You should explore other parts of the city too, especially green areas (mini forests) and parks which are really beautiful

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