3 novels to put on your Xmas list, novels that all take place in NYC

“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”

– Charlaine Harris

Do you know that feeling too? You have been somewhere and although it is always great coming back home, you also kind of want to prolong the holiday or at least that holiday feeling. Books are a super solution to get the best of two worlds. You can curl up on your own sofa with a novel and the book brings you back to where you have just been (or takes you where you’d like to go one day). Books are therefor the cheapest vacation you can buy and thus a  perfect Xmas gift!

Have a look at my selection of novels to put on your Xmas list (or to give someone else of course). The novels have one big thing in common: the story takes place in NYC. Trust me, a trip to NYC is far from cheap, so this may just be a perfect alternative. The novels can also serve as a prelude to a planned city break or as a trip down memory lane. NYC is simply fascinating, and so are these novels!

For teachers and story-lovers among you I have selected Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. For shopaholics and those of you are fan of a feel-good story, I have selected Still Me by JoJo Moyes and for those of you who just love a good thriller, you will be thrilled by Run Away, Harlan Coben’s latest novel. And for everyone who loves reading novels about relationships, any of these will work for you!

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10 tips to make most of your visit to Milan, city of fabulous fashion & fantastic food

“Without stones there is no arch”

– Marco Polo

Milan is a shopping paradise for fashion lovers and offers cultural minded visitors the Duomo, the Last Supper and many museums. Going to Milan also means lots of delicious Italian ice-cream, Risotto alla Milanese for lunch and a legendary Aperitivo Milano at the end of your day.

Reasons enough to visit Milan and to enjoy all the good stuff this city has to offer you. Below you find 10 tips to make most of your city trip.

Enjoy your virtual visit to magnificent Milan and your real one even more!

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10 things NOT to do in Hamburg, Germany

“Nowhere does the sky shine so beautifully grey as in Hamburg.”

“Nirgendwo strahlt der Himmel so schön grau wie in Hamburg.”

– unknown

After a romantic city break to Venice with my husband and a weekend in Paris with one of my friends from Holland, my next city trip was to Hamburg. I went with a large group of female friends (10 in total!). We had extra planned our girls’ weekend away in August to enjoy the city in warm and sunny weather…

Well, the weather wasn’t warm and sunny at all. It was gloomy, rainy and cold. The company and Hamburg itself were fantastic though. It’s a city I would definitely put on your list of places to go to: awesome architecture, positive people, musicals and museums in abundance, lots of water (and that does not include the rain), fantastic”Fischbrötchen” and “Franzbrötchen” and the epic Elbphi of course.

Having listed all that, there are some things I would NOT do when visiting Hamburg. Read on to find out which ones and what my alternatives for you are! 

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How I was stubborn about my goals, and flexible about my methods on a city trip to New York City.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”

-unknown

In one of my previous blogposts I have already hinted at my trip to NYC. Can you imagine my stress when one week before the trip I sprained my ankle while taking one of the beautiful photos of “petite” Alaska in Switzerland?! I was wondering how much I could actually do and see in NYC…

Like so often, a story popped up and I’d like to share it with you this week. It’s the story of Diederik, who owns a vineyard on the shores of Lake Zurich, and it’s about the way he has dealt with disastrous weather conditions for winemakers.

Continue your read to find out what the link with my NYC trip is and what a great learning this story offers all of us. 

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“Into the wild” and what we can learn from that film

“Happiness is Only Real When Shared.”

-Chris McCandless

As you can see on the photos in this blogpost, Switzerland, despite being so organised and clean, can look pretty wild too.

When we went for a walk in Graubünden’s National Park a few weeks back, I felt like really going “into the wild”. Look at these impressive mountains with that first touch of snow on the top. Can you imagine how I felt, walking on a trail amidst these mountains and lots of trees, crossing wild waters (OK, over bridges, but still…) and even spotting some deer and other game. The film “Into the Wild” spontaneously popped up in my head and I turned to my husband to tell him so. In that instant the famous sentence “happiness is only real when shared” got its extra dimension for me.

It’s so true. No matter how happy you are, you are happier when you can share your happiness with others, building up memories together. That is also one of the pains of losing loved ones: shared happy moments can no longer be shared.

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How history influences vocabulary: Meet Hamburg’s “Mahnmal”, St. Nicholas Church

“Memories are not just about the past. They determine our future.”

– Jeff Bridges

“What’s in a name?” is one of Shakespeare’s many famous quotes. When you look at the beautiful German word “Mahnmal” (oh, how I love the alliteration in it) you will agree with me that there is a lot in a name.

A “Mahnmal” is a special sort of monument. It is designed to make people do more than just remember an event or person. Its function is to teach, to awaken awareness, to inspire insight and to appeal to a tolerant attitude towards others. 

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