Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Badeschiff is another really great place in Berlin that I recently discovered. Badeschiff, which translates to bathing ship, is a floating pool in the river Spree. It's slightly hidden between several old abandoned factories and opens up to a beach bar with a great boardwalk-looking platform with lawn chairs and the pool on the river.
There are parties and events almost every night, or even yoga classes during the day! It's definitely a refreshing area with a great view of the Molecule Men and the Oberbaum Bridge. You work a 9-5 job? Well that's fine! It's open from 8am to midnight every day, so you can enjoy the sunset on the river!

I went there at the begining of the month on a very hot day in Berlin and though the water was a little cold, it was a lot of fun! It's only 5 euros for a day pass, so make sure you head out there!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Shetland Islands

I always say one of the best things about travelling is the people you meet. I met Megan in Northern Ireland while we were on the same tour to go see the Giant's Causeway. We just got to talking and been friends ever since! Megan is from an amazing place in Scotland that I had only heard of because of the ponies that come from there: The Shetland Islands. Today I'm letting her take over my blog to talk a bit about where she's from!

Hi there, I’m Megan! I’m from the Shetland Islands located at the far north of Scotland, in the middle of the North Sea.

When you think of Scotland a few things that come to mind probably include haggis, tartan and bagpipes. These things are the first to pop into my mind anyway. Considering Shetland is a part of Scotland the only one of these I see regularly is haggis (and that is because I love the stuff…). It is far more common to see reestit mutton, Fair Isle knitwear and fiddle & accordion music in Shetland.
Some downsides to living on Shetland include the lack of access to big shopping chains; not having reliable access to 3G internet (what even is 4G?!) and it takes one hour on a plane or 12-14 hours on a boat to reach the mainland. There are frequent transport disruptions due to weather and this can cause a lack of food in local shops. It is also very expensive to leave Shetland unless you book well in advance.
The beautiful landscapes, friendly locals and unique festivals quickly make up for the lack of these first world ‘necessities’. No matter what time of year you visit the isles, there is always something to see and do.

Up Helly Aa
Up Helly Aa Season is from January until March - in this time there are 10 fire festivals held in various locations around the isles. This includes the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, Europe's biggest and most spectacular fire festival. Want to see 1000 men dressed up as vikings, women and animals parade flaming torches around the town before throwing them into a Galley? Yeah, I would to! Head up to Shetland for the last Tuesday in January to see this fiery spectacle!

Northern Lights
Throughout the winter months Shetland is frequently graced with the beauty of what we call the Mirrie Dancers! Mostly green, but sometimes purple and red, lights dance across the sky and mesmerise you. Having lived in Shetland all my life I'm ashamed to admit I only saw them for the first time this year.
Fantastic walks
Shetland's never-ending coastline and rugged hills make for amazing walks with beautiful views as a reward. I actually have a Shetland bucket list which is mostly full of beautiful walks and islands which I have never visited. This list has grown vastly since my discovery of a website dedicated to showing you Shetland walks! If there is a particular area of Shetland you would like to explore, you can search for walks in the area and the website tells you the distance of the walk and how long it should take you!

Shetland is full of brochs, archeological sights and evidence of our Norse heritage. Our local museum is well worth a visit to take you back in time to life during the viking times, highland clearances and both world wars. The Scalloway museum, set right beside the Scalloway caste, hold the history of Shetland's previous capital and that of the Shetland Bus.

As well as being home to the Shetland pony, we also have one of the best viewing points for puffins in Britain. Seals, otters and various bird species are dotted all over our coastline. We are even lucky to be visited by pods of orcas (killer whales) on the odd occasion.

I could go on for hours about how much I love where I am from. There are downsides to living on an island in the middle of the north sea, but in my mind the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. To make up your mind, you'll just have to make your way up here for a visit. No matter the time of year, or the weather, there is always something to do.

I don't know about you, but I am most definitely going to Shetland one day (soon!). The breathtaking landscape of Scotland never fails to amaze me and Shetland seems like a hidden gem that we all need to see.

You can follow Megan's travels on her blog, Travel and Trowie Tales, and as well as on instagram

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tempelhof Airport

Tempelhof Airport holds a special place in many Berliners' hearts. It's a symbol of freedom for many, it's a huge landmark in the city and a really great public park where anyone can spend the day cycling, running, playing with their dog, or have BBQs and picnics. I guess you wouldn't expect an old, partially abandoned airport to hold so much attention, but it does.

View from the entrance: "Zentrale Flughafen" (central airport)
Tempelhof's history begins well over 300 years ago, when the Prussian army decided to settle on these lands as their base. They also experimented with hot air balloon flights, so we can see that even in the 1720's, was already on its way to becoming an airport.

In 1905, there was a long-distance flight competition held at Tempelhof with over 20 teams from 8 different countries participating, and that's when talk of a real airport began. By 1920, the plans were made and the Tempelhof Airport opened its doors in 1923.

By 1930, using only grass runways, it was the busiest airport in all of Europe, though that didn't last long... Hitler took a personal interest in the airport and ordered major renovations and expansions. We can still clearly see the Third Reich architecture of the airport to this day, even though the renovations weren't all completed. In the meanwhile, the airport became one of the first concentration camps in Germany, though by 1936, it had shut down and was destroyed two years later. During the war, Tempelhof also served as a weapons-manufacture. Over 2,000 foreigners and immigrants forced into labour worked to make weapons and bomber planes.

The fondest memories of Tempelhof, though, are associated with the Cold War period. When the city was divided, the Soviets created the Berlin Blockade; they blocked every single land route of West Berlin, in hopes of choking that side of the city so it would surrender and they would have the entirety of Berlin rather than just half. Of course, the Allies didn't let that happen. With the help of the US Forces, they created what was called as the Airlift. They sent all the provisions, food, water, gasoline, etc, by plane.

The majority of those planes were landing at Tempelhof. The Blockade lasted 11 months, during which there were airplanes landing every 60-90 seconds. There were so many planes, that sometimes they couldn't even land to drop their goods. This called for another airport... so Tegel airport was built in a record-breaking 90 days and is still functional to this day. Over the course of 11 months, there were over 278,000 missions, and over 2.3 million tonnes of provisions given to the 2.1 million West Berliners, which definitely kept them alive long enough for the Soviets to give up the Blockade (and decide to build a wall instead... but that's a whole different story).

After that, Tempelhof returned to its original purpose: a civilian airport and served from the 60's until 2008, when it closed its doors. Many West Berliners fought very hard to keep Tempelhof and was given a protected status, so nothing can be built on the grounds. It is also home to over 150 different insect and bird species, some of which are endangered.

Tempelhof became a public building and space: the airport is home to a military base, a police force, a kindergarten, a nightclub, as well as hosts all sorts of events. There are 7 hangars, the smallest can accommodate 2,000 people, so you can see how using the space for charity balls or conventions would keep the place alive. Right now, it is being repurposed once again to help accommodate Syrian refugees.

As for the 300+ hectares of green spaces and paved runways? Well if you want to have a BBQ, fly a kite or go for a jog, it's the perfect place. It's truly an amazing place; the original signs on the runways are still there, there's even an old airplane or two on display in the field and the airport still looks exactly like an airport, all the gate signs and even the check-in desk are still there.
If you're interested in the historical part of things, there are signs scattered about with information about Tempelhof's history and tours offered inside the building. Lots for everyone!

Tempelhof symbolizes freedom for many. It helped save the lives of the West Berliners and they have responded in kind by saving its life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Currently I'm...

I took a small break from blogging as I was trying to get my life in order... I was nearly homeless trying to find a new apartment while barely having enough money to eat, but somehow I managed to pull through. I found a great apartment with nice roommates and a fun job that pays way more than the museum.... So life is finally starting to work out! So here's what I've been up to!

READING: Stilllllllll reading Harry Potter.... I'm trying, I swear! My goal is to finish it within the next week or so, that way I can start reading Outlander in time for my trip to Scotland!

WATCHING: Mostly romantic comedies... I finally watched Deadpool the other day and I definitely get what the fuss is all about!

LISTENING: SO MUCH ELVIS! I'm working at this American Diner with a 50s theme, so we listen to all sorts of classics like Elvis, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.

WORKING ON: My fitness. I took a break from running while I was also taking a break from blogging to try and fix my legs... I've been dealing with shin splints and Achille's heel pain, so taking a break definitely helped. Now I'm slowly getting back on the horse and training for the half marathon in Scotland.

EATING: My favourite thing right now is actually grilled cheese sandwiches with a hardboiled egg in it. It's been my breakfast almost every day this week! It's so simple and yummy! Okay... and maybe a lot of ice cream....

DRINKING: Passionfruit juice. In German, it's called Maracuja, and I finally discovered that it means passionfruit, so I've been drinking it non-stop at work!

WANTING: My legs to cooperate with me so I can just run pain-free and finally stop worrying about the upcoming races!

THINKING: Where I want to go next. I'm planning on registering for a half-marathon in Rostock, which is a port city that has ferries to Denmark and Sweden, so maybe I could take a little vacation there....

CELEBRATING: Finally finding an apartment that's a little more permanent! I have finally settled in and even completely unpacked my suitcase! It feels so good, you don't even know.

TRYING: To find motivation to work out. Of course, I know I need to if I want my legs to get better, but it's so much work...

ENJOYING: Berlin! Now that most of my stress is gone, I can finally simply enjoying living in this amazing city. I've been to a pool on the river, visited the Zoo and I've got plans to see many, many more things in a weeks to come! Summer is going to be amazing and I can't wait!

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