Category Archives: Saturday Feature

Saturday Feature: Creatrice Mondial

It’s been sunny and gorgeous here in Germany, but all I see across my social media sites is everyone begging for some sunshine. In the interest of Springtime, Summer, gorgeous photos and ideallyic travel locations, Amy is our Saturday feature this week.

How many of you out there know our lovely Amy, from Creatrice Mondial? She is a designer and amazingly talented at that. Her photos will blow you away as will the many people she has come across through her travels around the globe. And even more exciting?? She’s currently living stateside, but all that will change later this year when she becomes New Zealand’s newest expatriate!

Prepare yourself for the beauty you’re about to see….


Top 6 Best Mediterranean Views

We all dream of a Mediterranean vacation. The sun-kissed coast gently touched by a salty breeze and that crystal clear blue water… it truly just doesn’t get any better. There are many spectacular places to choose from for this dream holiday. Here, I will share with you six of the very best Mediterranean views, based upon my personal experience. In no particular order.

1. Capri, Italy

Ahh… Capri. With the fresh sea air keeping you cool as you sip on the famous limoncello… you could spend an infinite amount of time on this little island just across the water from the southern town of Sorrento. Main attractions include both the Green and Blue Grottos by sea, and the town of Anacapri by land. This tiny commune is located at the top of the hill, although it is more like a mountain to flat-landers. The views, such as the one pictured above, make the effort worthwhile. But don’t worry – you don’t have to huff and puff your way up to the tippy top. There’s also a bus and a funicular rail that runs between Anacapri and Capri, the main port town on the sea. Helpful after you’ve indulged maybe a little too much on the limoncello.



2. Cinque Terre, Italy

Everyone has seen a version of this photo before. In fact, you may have already seen it here if you read myadventures hiking Cinque Terre. This is the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages on the Italian Riviera that make up Cinque Terre, or Five Lands. Really any view from the rugged hike that hugs the coastline between these villages belongs on this list. Vernazza was my very favorite though, and it’s easy to see why. Combine that view with the perfectly sunny day we had for our hike and it’s amazing we aren’t still camped out there today, eyes glues towards the sea. The towns of Cinque Terre are easily reached by train, being located not far from Pisa. And if you don’t fancy a hike (although I strongly recommend you opt for this method) there is a train the connects the five towns that runs regularly throughout the day.



3. Ios, Greece

The Greek islands are famous for their white-washed buildings with beautiful blue roofs and accents. There’s no denying the mixture of sun, sea, landscape and architecture blend to give this region of the Mediterranean its own unique appeal. The island of Ios, among others, is also famous for its windmills, such as the ones pictured above. Ios is quite mountainous, and the windmills perch on top of hills in a prime location to catch those sea breezes as they whip across the island. I have no idea if they still work, but they have a particular charm sitting there, facing the sea. I stopped by this island during my spam-email Greek island sailing trip, when we spent 10 days sailing around, island hopping until we were all convinced we could live that life forever.


4. Mykonos, Greece

Oh Mykonos… what a crazy wench you are!! But you are good lookin’, so you’re forgiven for being a bit rowdy by night. The party reputation of this island precedes itself, but it would be a mistake to dismiss it as purely a hedonistic paradise (although that description does fit). While my stories from our stay in Mykonos is reminiscent of “Hotel California.” it is a beautiful place. It really wouldn’t be so bad to check in and never leave. The sea was a bit wild due to weather conditions the previous day, but it suited the place. The best activity by far, besides renting four-wheelers and driving all over the island, was enjoying a crisp glass of wine at sunset on one of those balconies pictured above. Gorgeous.


5. Santorini, Greece

This is not your typical viewpoint of perhaps the most famous island in Greece. But that’s because I wasn’t viewing the town in the typical way – we were arriving by sailboat, after a sunrise sail from Ios that morning. So instead of the views from the city looking down onto the water, we had the advantage of looking up. It is so impressive how they built the entire town into the cliffside. We were sailing into the caldera, which is actually a result of volcanic activity. It is formed when land collapses following a volcanic eruption, and thus the land here was reclaimed by the sea. In spite of its violent origins, it was really quite peaceful. And, of course, afforded stunning views.


6. Naxos, Greece

It wouldn’t be right to get through this entire list without including at least one shot of ancient ruins. This one, on the island of Naxos, features the Portara, a giant marble door that seemingly leads to nowhere. It faces the island of Delos, supposedly the birthplace of the god Apollo. The door is part of an unfinished temple, dedicated possibly to Apollo, or possibly to Dionysus  (who was worshipped on the island in ancient times). Either way, depending on which angle you view it from, the sun sets right between the pillars. It sits on a small island of its own, attached to the main island near Old Town by a causeway. It’s an easy walk from the port, and the best place on the island to watch a sunset.

So that wraps up my top 6 best Mediterranean views! Of course I realize there are many places left off this list (it would probably take an entire book to cover all of them). And it was largely influenced by the places I have in fact visited, and therefore experienced first hand. Now it’s your turn – any not-to-be-missed views you would like to add? Leave your contributions in the comments below, and I will promptly add them to my bucket list. Maybe we can all plan a group trip someday… rent a villa somewhere… sit outside sipping white wine and munching on fresh local cuisine. How fabulous does that sound?

See what I mean? Gorgeous.

Please leave a comment or stop by Amy’s blog and say hello. Have a great weekend!



Saturday Feature: Tales From The Motherland

I love this link-up so much! I hate to admit it, but I’m just not always able to get to everyone’s blogs during the week and I miss out on some great posts sometimes. But, when you share them here, I never miss out and neither does anyone else who follows along. I had some great ones this week and even more fun were the new people who joined us. Just so happens that this week’s winner is a newbie because this post is just too funny and right up my alley this week. We sold our car and haven’t found another one yet so it has been very challenging and stressful. We don’t live in a city where there is easy access to public transportation and while everything is going to be fine, I still used the word “HATE” a lot this week.Plus, this post mentions the other place I call home on the internet, Tipsy Lit. 

So, when I saw Dawn’s post, I just knew I had to feature it. Dawn writes over at Tales From The Motherland and is the process of waiting to hear back about the publishing of her novel. She is a traveler, as are her children, with one who lives an an expat herself, like many of us. Her youngest is about to graduate and I mention this because the pieces she writes about her children just bring your emotions out in full force. She has so much knowledge and wisdom to share about parenting and is an excellent writer who has been freshly pressed twice and also had a story published like myself.

A pretty picture I took, to soften the blow of the word “hate.”

First, let me explain the title… I can easily come up with 21 things that I irrationally (if you say so) hate, but the idea for this post comes from Ericka Clay’s post, which she stole from me, before I could think of it. She did it first, but it was just so great, I had to do my own list. These are 21 Things I Irrationally  Hate:

  1. Bloggers who come up with ideas for posts that I totally wish I had thought of myself. This is specifically directed at Ericka Clay, at Tipsy Lit, for coming up with this particular blog post, before I could think of it myself… Which, for the record, I eventually would have. (It should be noted that Ericka’s post is titled, “Twenty-one Things I Irrationally Hate, while mine is “21 Things…” See, it’s different. I thought of using the number… not spelled out. Not the same.)
  2. That my husband can’t in fact read my mind. If he could, we could avoid so many arguments, because he would know that I’m thinking: … And don’t argue with me.
  3. When someone in my house, generally a teenager, or someone much younger than me, eats the last of something that I didn’t say I wanted (particularly left-overs that I cooked!)… but I did… really want. This could also be filed under: people who can’t read my mind.
  4. Raisins, especially cooked in anything. (And once you’ve picked on out of your kid’s diaper… well, you can never eat one again!)
  5. When anyone at the grocery store, anyone, calls me “Mam.”  It’s bad enough that I have to do the grocery shopping in the first place, without also being reminded that I’m a Mam now.
  6. Sauerkraut.
  7. Scales that don’t say what I want.
  8. That eating chocolate chip cookies/bacon/nutty bits/milkshakes/Cheez Its/ Doritos/most of my favorite foods, don’t melt fat.  Who thought of that bullshit science anyway? Thank God, sushi does… melt fat.
  9. That working out and not eating does in fact burn fat.  Again, science. Really?
  10. That I’m 51 and I didn’t start doing what I really want to be doing: writing, thirty years ago. For real.
  11. Editors and Agents that seem to think it’s reasonable for me to wait 6 to 9 months, to know if they like my manuscript. Don’t they know that I’m 51 and wish I’d done this thirty years ago? (Even if I couldn’t have written this particular novel 30 years ago.)
  12. That other writers keep telling me that I do indeed have to wait this long to hear from editors and agents, and that: “that’s just the way it is.” Bite me, agents, editors and other writers.
  13. Most teenage girls.
  14. Teenage boys who say “dude” to everyone. Really? Dude?
  15. Other bloggers who get their novels published, while I wait to hear from editors and agents… Hmm, Ericka Clay just got her novel published.  And well, it does look really good, but… Other bloggers who get their novels published.
  16.  That bladder control issues, wrinkles, acne, weight gain, and a host of other insults, all come at an age when you are already freaking out, just thinking: What the fuck! I only have twenty (reasonably good) years left? And I haven’t heard from that agent or editor yet!
  17. Stores who post a “We card anyone under 40,” sign, and then card me. Do we really need to make that point, Mam?
  18. People who are always on time. So, I’m a little late sometimes. It starts innocently: I have some extra time, and then some friends from high school, who I wasn’t necessarily friends with in high school, have posted some things on Facebook that I really need to read? And like, and comment on.  And then there was a photo on the sidebar of Facebook that I had to see: of a snake eating a crocodile (never mind that snakes give me the willies, and these photos totally freaked me out)… Which led to a photo of an otter (!!) eating an alligator… Which got me wondering when crocodiles and alligators became such losers… Which got me wondering what Liza Minnelli had to say about Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar joke… which made me wonder which award winning movies I should add to Netflix (because yes, I still use Netflix)… which got me checking out other movies, and realizing I’ll never get to see the 3,452 movies on my Netflix list…  Why the hell doesn’t the rest of the world realize that shit happens, and I might be late?
  19. When people put the chips on the cereal shelf, or the measuring cups in the Ziplock- bag drawer, and then when I complain explain why I don’t like that, ask me why I care, when my office is a hoarder’s den… like chips have anything to do with my office?
  20. Yellow bananas. Make mine a semi-green one, every time.
  21. Whistling. Unless it’s in this song. Or this one.
  22. People who complain.

Yeah; that’s twenty-two. I had more than 21, and I didn’t want to erase any of them. I also hate limits.  Now, share yours. What do you hate? You can make your own list… but be a good egg, and link back to my post, and Ericka’s. And Note: I think I have more than made up for borrowing Ericka’s idea, by linking to her a bazillion times here!

Hope you enjoyed that and if you did, make sure you go by and check out Tales From the Motherland for yourself. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday Feature: The Rococo Roamer

This week, Brittany, from The Rococo Roamer, won the feature for 1) being so determined she shared two links (haha) and 2) these pictures are just gorgeous. She’s also a fellow expat in Germany and we share similar career backgrounds as well. I have yet to go Garmisch and I had never heard of Partnach Gorge. It is just SO beautiful. Enjoy.

During our trip to Garmisch, I really wanted to see the Partnach Gorge.  It’s pretty easy to find and navigate.  It’s right next to the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Winter Olympics.  The Gorge is a natural monument separating deep cuts of rock by a stream.  The water is beautiful.  It’s open year round with the exception of certain times in Winter when the snow is melting and it becomes unsafe.  You have to pay a few Euros to get in.  You get to veiw the gorge by walking a path that is cut into the rocks and roped off at the sides.  The views are stunning.

The walk through the gorge is not at an incline.  It’s an enjoyable stroll through nature, however, once you exit the gorge you can either go back from where you came from or you can go up the steep mountain to the top.  It’s a bit of a climb but not very long and worth it because there are some beautiful houses at the top with the mountains for the backdrop.  There is even a restaurant that has some limited items for those that are hungry or want some beers.  I recommend grabbing a drink and trying the homemade cheese cake or apfel cake!

Near this area you can decline to a bridge that overlooks the gorge.  You can actually see this bridge when you are below and it looks terrifying.  Once you are on the bridge at the top of the mountain it’s even more frightening.  It reminded me of the Indiana Jones bridge.

When it was time to leave, you could either hike back down the mountain or take a cable car back to the beginning.  The cable car was kind of interesting because I wasn’t sure if it was in use or not.  You had to get the attention of the guy that runs it.  He happened to be doing chores around his barn.  He put us in the rickety car and told us to pay at the bottom.  There were no lines for this car and seemingly no one around.  B thought it would be funny to open the door while we were up there and the car stopped as we were about 200 feet in the air. I wasn’t impressed to say the least and slowly entering panic mode.  He closed the door and the car began to move again.  The guy that was running the cable car at the bottom reprimanded him, which I encouraged and we were on our way.

The last image is of the Ski Jump from the Olympic Games.  I can’t imagine how you get into a sport like that.  I also enjoyed my time snapping some shots of the scnenery at the top of the mountain.

Definitely worth spending a few hours or half a day at the Gorge if you find yourself in Garmisch!

I didn’t include all of the photos from her post because there just so many! But you will always find great tips and gorgeous photos on her blog so make sure to stop in and say hello! Have a lovely weekend all!

Saturday Feature: Unlocking Kiki

Although there were a few favorites missing from the link-up this week, we still had some beautiful entries! It was so hard to choose between Paris, Pandas and the others and actually, one person who linked up, their link didn’t work? I’m not sure what happened, but it just gave me an error and only showed as a text link. I know it happened to Cindi the week before, so please make sure it shows properly after you add it. I don’t want to miss out on reading your great work! And by the way, keep linking up, you can win more than once! 

This week, Kaelene won me over with her endearing post about her mom. I love the struggle she shares with us, the inspiring words from her mom and the awesome bracelet! I think you will, too.

Mom Knows Best

Two years ago on Valentine’s Day I was saying goodbye to my mom at the airport about to head off to Iceland for my first move here. I was excited, I was nervous, and most of all I was completely confused on what I was doing with my life.

Having just recently graduated college I had never seen myself as one of those girls that would move somewhere to be with a guy. I was always too independent to deal with that. But here I was, with my two bags packed about to move to a completely different country for a boy I fell for in Australia!

As I was hugging my mom goodbye I found myself questioning what I was doing. Is this really the right path I should be taking? Maybe I should just call if off and head back home with my mom.

I voiced these sudden feelings of doubt and my fears to my mom and in her response she gave me this bracelet.

“The biggest risk in life is the one you don’t take”

She had been saving this bracelet to give to me and while it is just a simple bracelet the words make it so meaningful to me. This quote completely captures my mom and her advice she has always given us girls over the years. She has always encouraged us to go after our dreams no matter how crazy they may sound she never wanted us to live in regret. She is one smart woman.

Two years later I have worn this bracelet on the days I needed my mom by my side and to be reminded of these wise words. A few examples:

  • When I first moved to Iceland and had a interview for a internship I woke up not wanting to leave the house. I had only been here a few days and was scared to venture off in town alone. I looked down at my wrist and was reminded of what my mom would say and got myself dressed and off to the interview. I landed the internship which lead to a wonderful learning experience and a week paid trip to Paris.
  • I took a summer job after moving home from Iceland with a company I had thought was who I wanted to start my career with. After the first week I wasn’t so sure. When I wanted to quit my mom kept reminded me if I don’t try I will never know. Again I went to my bracelet for strength and worked my butt off that summer. While the company was not the right fit for me the money I saved that summer funded a month long backpacking trip through Europe, so I am glad I took the risk.
  • H and I took a month long break, I was heartbroken and confused but long distance is tough and it adds an extra stress factor that only those that have been in long distance can understand. When H wanted to come visit me for the summer I was so confused and unsure of what to do. What if I saw him again and it just ended terribly. My mom said her favorite quote and left me to it. H stayed 5 weeks and by the end of his stay we decided I would make my now move to Iceland.
  • I have signed up for several events since being here in Iceland in attempts to meet new people and make some friends. Each time I have to walk into an event not knowing anyone I feel completely terrified. I have yet again turned to my bracelet for strength and because of these events have now met some great people from all over the world.

The point of this is I never want to live in regret. There are so many choices in life that stress me out but at the same time tempt me. When I want to back out of something because it makes me uncomfortable I refer back to this quote and ask myself, “if I don’t do this will I regret it?”

Amazing things have happened because I haven’t want to live in regret and I have took chances. Sure I have had some low points from risks I have took that haven’t worked out, but at least I will always know the end result and will never live in regret.

So get out there and apply for that job you really want, make that move to the new city you feel is right for you, buy that puppy (you will never regret it) do whatever you are on the edge of doing because no one should live in regret! And listen to your mom, they really do know whats best!

Thank you mom for being my best friend and the wisest woman I know. This bracelet will always be cherished by me and those words will continue to power me to live my life to the fullest!

Lovely, right? Hope you go say hello to Kaelene and make sure to join us again next week!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Saturday Feature: The Tide That Left

Ok you guys, again, I found it hard to choose this week so I ended up using the few rules of the link-up to break the ties I had among my final choices. Don’t forget that the post needs to be from the previous week and you must share via Twitter. 

Now on to the winner, Amy from The Tide That Left. I had seen here around the blogosphere for a little while, but it wasn’t until we both guest posted for Polly that I really discovered her. This story featured here is also the one (mostly) that I read on Polly’s blog and it blew me away. I love how international relationships begin, but I find inspiration in how they weather the storms of long distance, travel and sacrifice. Amy and her husband are a prime example of both sacrifice and fighting for the one you love. After you read her post, you’ll see what I mean.

Expat Life: Love Lessons Learned

I’m not a celebrator of Valentine’s Day. I’m moody and grumpy like that, but thankfully Mr Tide is moody and grumpy in the same way so we both spurn the day of love hearts and chocolates (who am I kidding? We NEVER turn down a chocolate) and all is right in our little love-nest. 
Last December I wrote the following as a guest post whilst the gorgeous Polly from A Girl and Her Travels married her Russky and enjoyed time with her family. I’ve given it a tweak or two, but the general essence is here in all it’s smushy glory. One obligatory Valentine’s Day blog post. 

Our expat relationship started as a long distance relationship in 2009 when I met Mr Tide just days before he moved to Libya for work. We fell in love via the medium of Skype, helped along by his visits home to England every couple of months. The thing about LDRs is that they need an end in sight in order to work, and so, a year after we met, I moved to Benghazi, Libya, to be with him. It was a big leap for both of us, but one well worth taking. And I guess that’s lesson one we learned about expat love - you need to be brave. You might take plenty of leaps throughout your time as expats, but if you can hold hands while you do it, you’ll both land firmly.Libya was incredibly hard for me, much harder than it was for Mr Tide. Our little love nest in Benghazi was a safe haven, but beyond that I was miserable. Mr Tide realised this, and so we decided to say goodbye to Libya and hello to Russia. In December 2010 we moved to Moscow, which is evidence of lesson number two - sometimes you have to give a little (or a lot) to make sure that you’re both happy. It can be tough to make those decisions when they involve the career of a loved one, but if you’ve chosen to be in this together, then you both need to be on board. In my experience, there will always be a way for you to both get what you need/want, if you’re willing to compromise.

Moscow was quite an adventure, and our longest stint together. We got engaged in Moscow and it will forever be a special place for both of us. One day in mid 2012, Mr Tide received one of those phone calls. His old boss had a job opportunity in Qatar we couldn’t say no to. The only problem was that they needed him to start right away and the decision needed to be made within 24 hours. We stayed up nearly all night talking through the options, discussing how we felt, challenging the circumstances to see if they could/would/should work differently. We learned, perhaps not for the first time, that communication is key. We were determined to come to a decision together on this, so we didn’t stop talking until we’d got to that point. June 2012 saw us getting married (we had to fast track our wedding plans) and moving to Qatar. We had three weeks to rearrange our wedding, and then we flew to Doha together the day after we said ‘I do’.

Since then we’ve lived in Angola and South Africa, as well as a short stint in the UK to sort out visa issues. We ended 2013 by moving to Tanzania. It was the year of learning to be flexible; most importantly to be flexible with each other. I used to be the kind of girl who needed her life mapped out, but since we started our expat life together we’ve both had to find a way to go with the flow. We’ve chosen a lifestyle that throws up the unexpected, and we wouldn’t be able to cope if we didn’t roll with the changes. That’s not to say it’s plain-sailing, but of we keep flexibility at the heart of our discussion we can usually find a way through.At the beginning of 2014, as we settle into life in Dar es Salaam, we’re aware that life is bound to throw up some challenges, but I’m sure if we remember all the lessons we’ve learned over the years we’ll be just fine. Better than fine!

What lessons has life taught you about love? 

After all that moving AND a long-distance relationship, you can see why I thought this was a special post. I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am and that you keep linking up. I look forward to reading them every week! Hope you all have a great weekend!