Phone stories: Indian summer hikes, Bangkok nights & Nordic sunsets

Hurray, it’s summer! Berlin feels like it’s skipped spring and went straight to shorts-and-sunscreen-weather. And what a difference that vitamin D makes! The sun got me itching to change everything! Which would explain why my apartment is an absolute mess of stuff I want to get rid of and new wooden bits that are waiting to be built. Yes, in proper DIY style…

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Colours of 2017

2017 has been a year so crazy and full that it’s incredibly difficult to summarise it in a few words or sentences. It wasn’t one coherent story, it was more like hundred wild stories without any structure or logic. It has been a loud, overwhelming whirlwind of so many feelings, ups and downs, tears, kisses and personal growth. It was by no means an easy year but why should it. Looking back now, it feels a little as if I’ve constantly been on a journey, never quite sure what I was actually searching for and then slowly realising that there is no quick fix for the big questions. So I guess that means I’ll be carrying those over into 2018.

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Gorgeous Georgetown

The day before heading off to the airport, I was given the best tour of an ‘alternative’ Washington: Starting off with a big campus tour at Georgetown University, and some sun-bathing at the Old Stone House (the oldest unchanged building in D.C.), we escaped the heat (+36°C!) and found a cool café to recharge all the batteries and think about what to do during the rest of the day. The perfect choice was Baked & Wired, they have a delicious selection of homemade goodies and all kinds of iced (!) coffee. We ended the ‘America month’ with some drinks in the supercool neighbourhood Adams Morgan: There’s a bunch of really hip studenty bars and clubs, antique book shops and people from all over the world who want to celebrate being in this beautiful city. Goodbye U.S. and thanks so much for having me!

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Hello Grand Canyon!

The experience of hiking in the Grand Canyon effortlessly surpassed all my expectations. The landscapes are so incredible, I felt like I couldn’t handle any more natural perfection; hikers are among the happiest and most welcoming people ever (if they have enough water), you’ll hardly finish one trail without having talked to five people and shared the ups and downs of your lives; and there’s just nothing like the physical exhaustion and euphoria when you’ve made it up again and your feet hit solid ground. But here’s the exact itenary: We went on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail on the first day, got surprised by a huge thunderstorm on the last mile or so, glamourously slept in the car and did the Desert View Drive and its scenic tower the next morning… before heading for Vegas, totally stunned and speechless. Life doesn’t really get much better than that.

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500 Days of Summer, LA and urban sunsets

Did anyone else have a massive crush on the Olsen Twins? (I should probably ask who didn’t) It was great ‘seeing’ them on the Walk of Fame and reading some familiar names. But I didn’t really leave the Hollywood bubble while walking through Downtown LA either… thanks to a comprehensive 500 Days of Summer itenary, including The Bradley Building, the Million Dollar Theater, the Fenton Building and the laid-back Grand Central Market. It’s safe to say that no American city has impressed me more (architecture-wise) than Los Angeles. I found myself constantly stunned by the diverstiy of the grand, majestic buildings. Later, while absorbing a beautiful sunset on … Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, I sipped some coffee at Intelligentsia, browsed through a local events and festival newspaper and prepared the trip to the Grand Canyon the following day. Watch this space!

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Malibu and Santa Barbara

The first part of the West Coast road trip led us from L.A. to Santa Barbara, passing the madness that is Beverly Hills, a rather overrated and grey Malibu and Californian surfer beaches. That truly wasn’t the first time this country has surprised me and instead gave me been the complete opposite of what I expected. The California we like to picture is OC California glamour and 24/7 parties on Malibu Beach, right? Well, the California I found and loved from the first second was one of empty beaches, a relatively humid and cool climate (compared to the East Coast at least) and incredibly rich colours all over. It was some of the best things ever to be able to stop at any random beach, spread your arms, ‘accidentally’ let the waves splash your clothes and let the cool wind mess with your hair and your heart, in the best possible sense.

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I lost my heart on the highway

Pacific Coast Highway. That does sound a little more glamourous than M4 or M25, right!? It has a nearly constant view on the ocean too and it was the road I chose for the kick-off for a week of exploring the most incredible country by car. Besides, there was a substantial amount of prayers sent to heaven that I’ll not ruin that rental vehicle, as my previous driving history hasn’t been all that encouraging and gave my parents a lot of headache. But driving along the West Coast was so much more relaxed than anything I’ve ever experienced in Europe and then the strange thing happened: I actually enjoyed it and didn’t want anyone else to drive… Ha!

So I hope the photos below give you a flavour of how it feels to hit to hit the road over there. The majority of them was taken in Arizona on the way to the magnificent Grand Canyon. There’s also a playlist because roadtripping America has been one of those things I’ve wanted for years, so the tracks are mostly teenage rock… the stuff I listened to at 15 while wishing for those high school days to end and for a wild cowboy to rescue me from my boring town and show me the magic of the country. Ahem, yes…

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