Tag Archives: colours

Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

33775970_10157472239279606_3040322213996658688_n

As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

Advertisements

Best Castles in Germany

I have quite a soft-spot for Germany. My fascination started way back when I was barely a teenager. At that time, I was supporting the German National Football Club, better known as Die Mannschaft. Since then, I discovered another love – Castles. After exhausting my travels in the UK, in 2016 I started traveling to Germany. So far, I have visited between 30 to 40 castles in Germany and based on my experience, I would like to write about my favourite 5 castles (so far!) in Deutschland!

Burg Hohenzollern

Located on top of Mount Hohenzollern, one can find a very distinguished castle.  What I would also call distinguished is the view from the castle onto the surroundings; the mesmerizing view of the Black Forest. Upon entering this castle, one would realise that no expense was spared in building and maintaining this castle.

The first mention of the castle was in 1267, however the mentioned castle was completely destroyed in 1423. Roughly 30 years later, the second Hohenzollern Castle was built – now bigger than ever. The fortification around it is a testimony of several conversions the castle has endured during its lifetime. To this day, the structure is sound and in perfect condition thanks to all the tourists who have visited and will visit in the years to come. Personally, I appreciate it when admission fees are used for the maintenance and renovation of the castle I visited.

 

Burg Eltz

Located along the Mosel Valley, one finds a breathtaking castle by the name of Eltz. Remembering the first time I visited this castle, I was unaware of the long (and pleasant) walk in the forest to reach it. We were puzzled; How is it that we are visiting a castle so out of sight? Trust me, the fifteen minute walk is worthwhile. If you find this as an obstacle, you can always take the shuttle bus however! English tours are available in this castle which is kind of expected considering how popular this castle is.

The castle is still owned by the same family who around 33 generation ago lived there. Eltz is one of the only three castles on the left bank of River Rhine which has never been destroyed. Construction started prior to 1157. Another house within the castle was built in the 1400s, whilst the third part of the castle was considered finished in the 1530s. The upside of this last construction is the fact that each room was heated, unlike the remaining parts of the castle which were partly heated only. The Eltz family is still considered noble to this day.

Schloss Drachenburg

Although Shloss Drachenburg looks like a castle, in fact to me, it looks very similar to Disney Castle, this is considered as a villa. What is unbelievable about it is that it was built in just two years between 1882 and 1884. It belonged to a banker who initially planned to make it a home, but then he didn’t. It was later donated to the State Foundation and is now open for the public. The western facade of the palace was heavily damaged in WW2. The restoration took many years to fulfill as even roofs needed to be replaced.

Aside from the beautiful views of Bonn and the river from the very top of the castle, one must admire the interiors who have been hand-painted all these years ago and are to this day so well maintained. I also remember huge stained glass windows, with details I have never witnessed before; and even after visiting several other castles in other countries, still remain unbeatable…

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein – such a big name, for such a small castle! One can find this little gem in the middle of River Rhine. In fact, to gain access to it, you’d have to ride a short boat trip. Once we arrived on Falkenau island we started by admiring the river from a different angle. We also noticed that from a certain level, this castle looks like a ship. Since the river’s depth varies due to seasonality, the castle had to be built in such a way that it did not flood when the water rises.

Built between 1326 and 1327, its function was as a toll-collecting station. A chain across the river forced ships to stop and pay the fee. If they did not cooperate, they were kept in the castle’s dungeon until a ransom was received. Although the castle was restored to its glory, to this day one does not find neither electricity nor a lavatory. The area is a World Heritage site.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Possibly the more popular castle not only in Germany but worldwide. What many do not know, is the sad story behind it. Back in the 1800s, the King Ludwig II, started to build this most magnificent and luxurious castle, only he died before it was completely finished. In fact, the king only lived in the castle for 172 years (in his private headquarters, whilst it was still being built), and it was opened for public viewing shortly after he died in the year 1886.

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world…

— Ludwig II, Letter to Richard Wagner, May 1868[14]

 

Most of the photos above are my own (apart from interior photos of Neuschwanstein, Eltz and Hohenzollern for the simple reason that it was not allowed). Kindly seek permission before re-using.

Don’t Assume A Girl Wants A White Wedding When You Can Have This Much Fun

Just Married

Any avid fans of this blog out there may well remember a blog I did about assumptions you should never make about a girl. There were things on there about how pink isn’t every girls favourite colour, how every girl doesn’t love wearing heels, how some girls love football and that the only genre of films we want to watch are chick flicks. It’s nonsense, as is the belief that all girls want to have a white wedding.

We don’t.

Sure, white weddings are beautiful and elegant and timeless, but that doesn’t mean the classic white wedding is every girl’s cup of tea. Nah ah. Not when there are so many ways to dot some personality around and add a splash of pizzazz and have some fun with the one day that will be remembered forever.

And with that in mind, we have pulled together a list of impossibly fun wedding ideas for all those girls that want to step away from the white wedding thing:

  1. Pre-Wedding Sports Day Party

A lot of the time, the big day will be the first time your guests have met one another and that means there will be a lot of shaking hands, air kisses and testing the waters before people get really loose. Well, why not get past all of this by having pre-wedding sports day party where your bridesmaids and groomsmen can get to know each other in the most fun environment possible.

meet up

  1. Request A Dance Floor Classic

Another great way to make your big day the best kind of riot is to have space on your wedding RSVP cards for song requests. But don’t just let them have free reign, specify that their choices have to be from the naughties. That way you will get some real dancefloor fillers. We’re talking Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” and Rihanna “Disturbia” and “It’s my Life” by Bon Jovi.

  1. Break Invitation Convention

When it comes to wedding invites, most people think they have to choose a white card with silver writing and then a pretty flower illustration. But that’s nonsense. You can do what you want. You could pick blue wedding invitations if you fancy, or have a scratch card sort of thing where the date gets revealed, or you could invite everyone to a multi-storey car park and then chuck the invites down the stairwell like you would an American house party.

  1. Flower Girls From A Different Generation

Think of a flower girl and you probably imagine your cousin’s daughter’s wearing pretty frocks as they sprinkle petals down the aisle. But just imagine how amazing it would be to break convention and have your grandma’s play the role instead, skipping along with baskets on their arm. Amazing.

sparklers

  1. Hand Out Them Sparklers

Okay, so this modern trend is fast becoming a wedding mainstay, and for good reason. The sparkler exit is just the most epic way to leave your own bash; each of your friends waving sparklers in front of the night sky as you and your love leave for your new life together. Trust us, this will be the photo you cherish more than any other.

  1. Midnight Feasts, Yes Please

Everyone tends to get a little peckish late in the night (when those signature cocktails of yours start to kick in). Well, instead of having cheese and biscuits or whatever else, you should hire a food truck to come and save the day. Come on, how cool would it be to have a burger van show up as everyone starts to feel hunger rumble away in their bellies.

  1. Liquid Confidence

There are two things that will get most people on the dancefloor; great music and a glass of wine. That tends to do the trick. If, however, there are still people that aren’t quite feeling confident enough, you should give the classic chalkboard a makeover using some quotes like, “Trust me, you can dance” – Vodka. You’ll be amazed at how much it works.

  1. Colourful Bridesmaids

Traditionally speaking, bridesmaids all wear the same dress in the same colour. And it looks nice. But we would much prefer to be supported by an array of friends rocking different shades. Have them look stunning in the same dress, just let them rock different colours. It looks soooo good. It really-really does.

  1. Order Of Service

We love how personal people get with their order of service programs. They have a so and so is going to speak and such and such a hymn is going to play and then this poem will be read. But why not just keep it short and simple. “Music will play. We will get married. The party kicks off.” Done.

Destination: Cruise

If you are on a tight budget, and would prefer knowing how much your trip will cost you before even getting to your destination, then you are probably into the idea of going on a cruise! There are several other advantages when choosing to go on a cruise.

  • A cruise is as luxurious as it gets in terms of rooms – It is as moving hotel! Picture this, you have to unpack once, yet you get to see tons of different cities and exotic places. Your room will contain perks such as air-condition, flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, wardrobe space as well as tea and coffee making facilities.image.png
  • You don’t even have to think that far ahead on where to go for drinks or meals as you have several options under one roof. Not just that, but it is included in the price! On top of that, one can enjoy the entertainment provided. From live music, to west-end shows, to quizzes, casino and even stand-up comedy! There is really something for all ages!

image-1

  • You don’t have to do much planning – You just have to be ready to go when the ship comes in. Who doesn’t enjoy being driven around – Less stress, more fun!
  • Traveling on a cruise is most definitely more convenient – You get to enjoy whatever you fancy, move around at your convenience, and appreciate the fresh air! Highly recommended for those who are claustrophobic or afraid of flying!

    image-2
  • If you enjoy socialising, going on a cruise is by far the best way to meet new people. People tend to enjoy chatting and getting to know each other, especially when drinking is involved.

There are many destinations to choose from, and you can get on a cruise ship from any continent in the world, as long as it has a port:

  • Sail from Newcastle, UK to the Fjords and Glaciers. This is a dream destination for me when it comes to enjoying a holiday in Northern Europe. This one week long cruise would take you to Flam, Skjolden, Bergen and Olden in Norway. These picturesque villages offer beautiful sightseeing opportunities ranging from mountains, to glaciers, to even historical cobbled streets.

image (3).png
Nærøyfjord, Norway
  • Leaving from Montenegro Bay in Jamaica, embark a cruise liner for the next 15 days. Enjoy the rainforests in Costa Rica, Panama, the coastline in Colombia, old towns in Cuba, followed by the white sandy beaches in Mexico. This is truly a magnificent way of appreciating the simple life away from modern, hectic America.

image (4).png
Havana, Cuba
  • The eastern Mediterranean offers so much when it comes to history; A 7 nights cruise would cover stops such as Alanya in Turkey, which is the legendary hangout spot for Queen Cleopatra, the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and of course Crete – famous for the Greek mythology remains.

image (5).png
Alanya, Turkey
 

Personally, I like the idea of going on a cruise, to relax and sample destinations. This way, I can decide which localities are worth revisiting for a longer time period in the future.

12 Things you should not assume about a Girl

Let me share with you some basics about girls. These are based on my experiences from being a teenager until now:

  1. Our favourite colour is pink
    Why would you think something like that? Is it because all the boys like blue? Ha!
  2. We love wearing heels
    Some of us do, I suppose… But I do not see the point of wearing shoes that cause discomfort, and then complain about it all night long. The only time you’d find me in heels is in special occasions such as weddings, and trust me – I wear them because they’re mandatory and not for any other reason.
  3. We dislike watching football
    I won’t speak for all women here, but watching football is a lot of fun and a fantastic way to relax, get mad at people and enjoy eating snacks and beer. (*) See point 5.
  4. When we get dressed up is because we want to get laid
    Not really. If I dress up, I do it for myself. Sometimes I like pampering myself and look good.
  5. Beer is disgusting
    Are you kidding me? It is one of my favourite beverages, as is wine and Jagerrmeister. Also stout and ale. Yum!
  6. We love cleaning the house
    You might as well say that women “belong in the kitchen!” too. This statement might have been okay in the 70s when women stayed home and didn’t work, but in today’s society, it is absurd and I believe everyone should clean.
  7. All we want from life is to have your babies
    We have more purpose in life than having babies, like careers.. traveling, learning. Having babies and a family, is nowadays just one of the options and/or possibilities for a girl. And why can’t we obtain more than one? 🙂
  8. We are not into video games
    Some of us enjoy gaming as one of our pastimes or a way to exercise. It might not be our life, but we can definitely be up to play some games with you.
  9. We are not good in math
    Or science… Right. When I was at school studying IT and Software Development, the guys believed that I would fail because this is a male’s world. But here I am, two diplomas and a degree later, and with tons of IT experience. Again… the world has changed.
  10. We only love watching chick flicks
    What if this is true? Does this make us weak? NO! 
  11. We can’t make our own decisions
    Let’s hope for our sake that this applies for all women: We are mature and sensible enough to make our own decisions. We are not stubborn, and if you are important to us, we listen to your ideas, and we factor them in our decision process.
  12. When we are nice, it doesn’t mean we are flirting
    If this were true, I’d be one of the biggest flirts in the world. I’d like to think of myself as a good person, for those who deserve it. So I am nice, I am helpful, I am patient. But please, in no way shall you mistake this to me being flirty. Thank you.

never-assume

Nail-Polish Mantra

I love nail polish. It is such a shame that we do not know who invented it per se.

This is what the internet told me: Nail polish was invented by the Chinese in about 3000 B.C. It was made from a mixture of Arabic gum, egg whites, gelatin and beeswax. It is unknown who the first person was to invent nail polish, but it was used by the ancient Chinese and ancient Egyptians. Chinese royalty often used gold and silver nail polish.

Well, may I say… thank you Chinese peeps, what a great discovery, which we are still using after all these thousands of years!

This weekend I purchased four more colours to add to my collection… All from Rimmel. I will review the colours in due time:

nailpolish

What brands do you prefer? I always struggle when it comes to brands. Some brands who I’ve never heard of, have really long lasting colours, others chip immediately. One colour from another of the same brands, sometimes behaves differently too. It’s a mystery I tell you!