Karins Fernweh

July 25, 2011, 10:09 AM
Filed under: Uncategorised | Tags: , , , ,

Hello everyone,

first of all my apologies for drastically cutting back my online time which, as you might have noticed, also affects my blog. Having handed in all assignments for uni I’m now back home in Germany and busy writing my dissertation. I’m writing about blogging, by the way!

It’s great to be back home for more than a few weeks of vacation after five years of travelling and this absence from home has opened up my eyes again to the beauty of this region. Nevertheless, I already have “itchy feet” again or “Fernweh” as we call it in German. One of the most popular German singers called Herbert Grönemeyer recently made a song about Fernweh, which I’d like to show you here. Even if you don’t understand German, the video is quite interesting to watch.

Enjoy and see you soon!

Busy times
May 27, 2011, 1:05 PM
Filed under: Uncategorised | Tags: , , ,

In case anyone wondered why I’m lagging behind with my blog posts, this is what I’ve been busy with. If you’re interested in PR and Communications, take a look!

Finally I’ve submitted the last university assignment and I should be able to focus more in blogging now. You’ll soon be updated with stories from England, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands!

Here’s a little sneak peek of Ireland’s west coast!

Cliffs of Moher

See you soon!

Bath – City of Inspiration
April 19, 2011, 4:03 PM
Filed under: United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , ,

One very early morning it was time for a weekend of travelling again! Our destinations this time: Bath, Stonehenge and Avebury. I’ll write about Bath in this post, Stonhenge and Avebury will follow soon!

Bath is a very old city (even the Romans lived here) located in the Southwest of England, not very far from London. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the name Bath is derived from the baths that have been here since the Roman times – there are hot water sources in the city. If you love vibrant and lively metropolises, Bath may not be the place to go. However, it has beautiful old houses and with its charm even attracted the famous author Jane Austen (yes, the Lady who wrote “Pride and Prejudice” amongst others). Indeed, if I had been there for a few more days I would have probably found inspiration for many more blog posts. Perhaps next time I’m in a creativity low I shall return to Bath.

The most inspiring places (if you’re not looking for inspiration, these are also the most touristic places) include the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. I also enjoyed the view on the river Avon a lot.

In terms of sight-seeing, one day is enough to see the touristic things in Bath. In the evening we had dinner at the Turkish restaurant Marmaris, which I can recommend just like the YMCA hostel where we stayed for the night. At the hostel I met a girl from South Korea who was travelling across Europe all by herself. Wow, that’s courageous! I’m not sure if I’d dare to travel around Asia on my own. Hostels are always a great opportunity to meet interesting people.

That’s it for Bath, the next morning we left to Stonehenge and Avebury. Read about it here soon!

Beautiful England: The Lake District
April 4, 2011, 2:07 PM
Filed under: United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , ,

Goethe, the German poet, was a wise man. He once exclaimed: “Why search far afield when the good is so nearby?” He’s absolutely right! A couple of weeks ago I visited the Lake District which is only a couple of hours driving from Leeds and it is stunningly beautiful!

Our trip was organised by Don’t Be a Tourist, an organisation of (former) students organising trips for international students. We left drizzly Leeds in the morning and arrived at Lake Windermere, the biggest lake of the Lake District, around noon.

The Lake District is a beautiful area with lakes (what else?) and hills and England’s highest mountains, all in the county of Cumbria. The first thing we did upon arrival was climbing one of the hills. We were quite out of breath once we reached the top, but it was worth the pain; the view was amazing! (see pictures)

Surprisingly, the weather turned out to be really nice and we descended the hill to go on a short boat trip on the lake and rest our feet. Same landscape, different perspective and still absolutely beautiful! The skipper explained things about the lake and the little islands which are home to a variety of birds.

After the roundtrip we were ready to explore Bowness-on-Windermere, a very small, but lovely town at Lake Windermere. Fans of Beatrix Potter and her characters Peter Rabbit & Co. might want to visit The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction. Frankly, there’s not much else to see in Bowness, but I got a real holiday feeling there. There’s a number of cosy cafés and after enjoying a coffee with some pastry it was already time to go back to the bus.

Visiting the Lake District is perfect for a day or even a weekend out. Why search far afield when the good is so nearby?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t be afraid of big steps!
March 29, 2011, 6:01 PM
Filed under: Uncategorised | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve just come across a citation that I would like to share with everybody. Unfortunately the author was not mentioned and also a google search did not solve the riddle. So here’s what an unknown genius came up with:

If you’re not afraid of the next step, then the step is too small.

That is a bold statement! But I think it is something that international students (including me) can identify with. So far I have lived in seven cities in five European countries and with each one I have had different kinds of fears of what to expect there. Some things turned out even worse than I expected, but the best experiences are those that you don’t expect. And believe me, they are of immense value!

So many times people tell me “It’s fantastic what you’re doing, but I couldn’t do that”. Well, you don’t have to go abroad, but find your personal big challenge and take a chance! For me, living abroad is a way of forcing myself to jump in at the deep end. And, figuratively speaking, you become quite a good swimmer after a while. Although the countries I moved to cannot really be compared, I now find it easier to adapt to new situations quickly and keep cool when unexpected things happen.

So, people, take a big step. Yes, there’s risk, but the rewards are multiple times higher!

Little update on Martenitsa
March 21, 2011, 11:24 AM
Filed under: Sofia, Bulgaria, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , ,

Hello everyone,

there are a lot of new stories that I would like to share with you. I’ve been to the Lake District last weekend and yesterday I got back from a weekend in Bath and Avebury and Stonehenge. I’ll write about that very soon, uni is keeping me rather busy, sorry! Anyways, here’s a little update on the Martenitsa story, the Bulgarian tradition I told you about a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I left one of my two Martenitsas in Avebury. Now hoping for my wish to come true 😉

That’s all for now, I’ll be back soon with the latest stories!


As the tradition demands, I left the Martenitsa with a budding tree

Impressions from Leeds
March 10, 2011, 9:51 PM
Filed under: United Kingdom | Tags: , , , ,

Time is flying and spring is knocking on the door. The weather could be better, seems like Baba Marta is being a little grumpy these days. Nevertheless I’ve been able to capture some beautiful places in Leeds. Enjoy the slideshow!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Martenitsa – A Bulgarian Tradition
March 1, 2011, 2:19 PM
Filed under: Sofia, Bulgaria | Tags: , , , ,

Today is the first of March, a special day in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian culture is very rich in traditions, stories and also superstitions.

Naturally, people are craving for spring to arrive at this time and in Bulgaria it is believed that the month of March (called “mart” or “март” in Cyrillic letters) is a grumpy old lady who often might send even more snow to the country in her moodiness. In order to please Baba Marta (Grandma March) people give each other so-called Martenitsas (мартеница). These are little adornments made of red and white yarn, worn around the wrist. Red and white are symbols for health (red cheeks) and a long life (white hair). I received one from my Bulgarian friend today and I feel honoured and happy to be part of the tradition!

The Martenitsa has to be kept around the wrist until one sees a sparrow, a stork or a budding tree – or alternatively until the 22nd of March. Once you saw any of the above or it’s the end of March you have to take off the Martenitsa and put it either around the branch of a tree or under a rock, then you make a wish.

If you ever visit Bulgaria, have a close look at the trees there, you will spot a lot of Martenitsas!

My Martenitsa (actually it should be worn on the left wrist I just read... oops)

February 27, 2011, 10:11 AM
Filed under: United Kingdom | Tags: , , , ,

On an early Thursday morning we hopped on the bus to Manchester. It’s takes slightly over an hour to get there from Leeds and offers some beautiful views on the typically English landscape. Once we had arrived, our first stop was the Visitor Information Centre where we got some city maps and other brochures.

After leaving the Visitor Information Centre we found ourselves in Chinatown. There is a big Chinese-looking gate (apparently they celebrated Chinese New Year there) and Chinese paper lanterns were dangling above our heads. And of course there were a lot of Asian shops and restaurants.

Next, we headed towards the Art Gallery which displays historic as well as modern pieces of art. I found the historic paintings especially interesting, since they gave me an impression of life in former times. There were paintings from different eras in British history, also showing everyday scenes of life back then.

After a coffee and tea break we went to see my personal highlight of the trip: the John Rylands Library, part of the University of Manchester. The library has been built in the 1890’s in Gothic style and holds a lot of very old collections of books. Walking there felt like a little time travel and it is actually possible to work and read in those old rooms. It is not allowed to take pictures there, but for those of you who are interested, google it or check out their website.

We proceeded to the more modern part of Manchester, walking through the shopping streets and grabbing a bite to eat. It was already afternoon and our next stop would be the Manchester United stadium, which is a little outside of the city centre. We got on a bus and arrived at the stadium, only to see that the shutters were going down. The employee at the entrance kindly told us that the museum (and thus the entrance to the stadium) was closing now, but that the megastore would still be open for an hour. Oh no! We went to the megastore anyways, some of us wanted to buy souvenirs for relatives who were Man United fans.

Back in the city centre we had one hour before our bus back to Leeds departed. We spent it in a pub nearby the bus station and had a toast on the nice day.

We are now planning a trip to Liverpool, home to the Beatles. And as soon as I get to shoot some nice pictures of Leeds with good weather, I will post them here as well. So long!

Some last pics from Bulgaria
February 13, 2011, 6:33 PM
Filed under: Sofia, Bulgaria

I just found these pictures I had taken with my phone and wanted to share them! They show scenes from my daily life in Sofia.