My days in Portland

Ooops, there has been so much stuff going on that I totally forgot to write about it. Very often I went to bed before 11Pm which is something I would never do at home. Let me tell you about my days in Portland, OR!

My last day in Portland I did a walking tour that I really should have done earlier. The guide, Eric, was entertaining, informative and pointed out a lot of cool places and things to do. Some of them I had already done, some of them unfortunately not. Oh well, maybe next time, Portland is a place that you want to come back to.

After some more shopping I attended a Portland Thorns match at Providence Park. It was nice to see so many people cheering for a women’s soccer club. Even though they lost, the atmosphere was amazing and fun. I originally had bought tickets to an arena football game but since it was all across town I decided to walk five minutes to the soccer game. Did not regret that!

My train ride to San Francisco was relatively uneventful. Except that it was so long and cold that I could hardly bear it! 17,5h to Emeryville and another 30 minutes to San Francisco. I found a nice older lady as a travel companion sitting next to me. As we shared our travelling stories a lot of time went by very fast and besides that I even slept a few hours! The view was interesting, you pass so many different landscapes. Good to do once but I’ll certainly fly next time!
I’ll post more on San Francisco and my adventures later, now it is time to sleep and recharge my energy for my last day tomorrow! I’m quite sad to leave already!

Talk to you later,


Happy in Hipster Portland

I have been remarkably busy here in Hipster Portland, hitting my pillow always around 10PM and being asleep within a few moments.

Portland is as the title of this post suggests a very hip town. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many vegan/organic places or a food aisle that long with just organic products. I’m still very fond of supermarkets, there is a Trader Joe’s nearby that I will probably visit tomorrow to buy snacks for my long train ride.


Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day with some other people from the hostel watching the Euro Championship. I hated to see Germany lose against France but also felt it coming during the game. Nevertheless, we had a good time. Portland is famous for its microbreweries, so we watched in a local pub. I didn’t try the beer though as it was noon and I had planned to do more sightseeing later.

Powell’s book store

Unfortunately I only made it to Powell’s Bookstore that day. Powell’s is this huge and very famous bookstore with the size of a block (imagine a Karstadt full of books). They actually give you a map for that place as it is oddly sectioned. It took me a while to navigate and after looking for one book for half an hour I asked someone and was handed actual directions! Very friendly staff! I then had to turn around because it started to rain and I hadn’t brought my umbrella (silly me, I was so sure it wouldn’t rain).

Street markets

I later went to an art festival in the Pearl District with my roommate Julia. This time with an umbrella. Rain in Portland is different from rain at home, very often just a light warm drizzle. Still it becomes annoying after a while.

weird ice cream flavors

Later that night, I joined a group of people to this very special ice cream place where they have all those funny flavors such as olive oil or cinnamon snickerdoodle. It was a very nice dessert!

My day today started a little late, I had just installed Pokemon Go and I am already really addicted. Most of this morning I had to catch Pokemons and level up! It is so much fun!

Portland Art Museum

I then walked over to the Portland Art Museum to get my dose of culture. It’s a neat place, they have a wonderful collection of Native American Art which is of course new to me, but also a smaller collection of European Art (that is on display). The Modern Art is in a connected building which I didn’t expect to be that big. I only took some pictures (plus that very weird selfie).

The rest of the day was spent on a major shopping walk though I ended up ordering half of it on Amazon (thanks Prime!). TBC tomorrow when I hopefully will know more about nice boutiques!

Portland is very very lovely, I like it a lot and would have rather stayed here longer than I did in Seattle. People are so friendly and some actually say hello on the streets.

I will now go on and relax a bit. Maybe catch more Pokemons!

Talk to you soon!


Goodbye Seattle…

… it has been great! Again, a post that I am typing on my phone. The iPad app is still a bit annoying, so this is faster. But what have I been up to in the last two days?!

Yesterday (Tuesday), I met a fellow traveler at the ferry terminal and started a day trip to Bainbridge Island. It’s a short ferry ride of 35 minutes. Normally I would have been sad, as I love to be on boats, but as it was raining/very windy/extremely chilly, I wasn’t so sad.

At least we had a very good view on the Seattle skyline (imagine that in the sun).

On Bainbridge Island a nice man handed me a map and guided me to the port and some sculptures. I was thinking he was talking about driftwood but apparently he said stone. The town of Winslow is very pretty (again, imagine that when sunny) and it reminded me a lot of Tiffin (or any small town really). Maybe it was the fact that for once there were no homeless people smoking pot on the street.

Sadly, I had missed the 4th of July celebrations there which must have been nice because you could find little leftovers everywhere. The rest of the day I spent getting coffee, reading my book and watching people before I took the ferry back to Seattle.

Skip ahead to Wednesday and I just arrived in Portland, OR, after a 4.5h trainride from Seattle.

I find it relaxing to watch the countryside fly by changing from water to forest to city and reverse. Amtrak isn’t as bad as people told me it was (so far, knock on wood), at least the seats a spacious and I can sit with my legs stretched out wearing my yoga pants/ leggings.

Let’s see what tomorrow and my first full day in Portland will bring. I definitely will watch the semi-finals (let’s feel a bit patriotic there) and explore more. I might go see a movie tomorrow night as well!

Until then,


How to handle jet lag

I know there are probably more ways to deal with jet lag than I can count. Everyone I know has his or her own way and idea what is best.

However, since I feel that I had a bad case on my hand and am now (on Monday) more or less getting over it, I decided to share how I have handled it so far.

1. Keep hydrated!

Drink, drink, drink… Water is best, so no coffee (or just a small amount). Tea is okay I guess or I have been drinking a lot of a soda that is called VitaminWater which I remembered from Ohio. It says zero calories, so not sure about that, but it tastes so good!

2. Get into a schedule!

The worst that you can do is arrive and go to bed (depending on what time it is). I arrived here around 2PM and I was naturally exhausted after being awake for almost 24 hours. I could have gone to bed at 6PM when I arrived at the hostel, but I stayed awake until 10 PM. That meant a lot of yawning and I swear I blacked out a couple of times. But it also meant that I only woke up once during the night and almost slept for 10 hours. The nights after that I would also wake up once, check the time and go back to sleep.

3. Keep moving!

It can be challenging to keep busy and not decide to go to sleep, take a nap or just chill somewhere all the time for days. I figured out that for me it is better to keep walking, see things, get my mind off of being sleepy. I do have blisters now and my feet hurt (on Saturday I walked 15km – so proud of myself), but it also meant that I was tired enough to sleep at night when it would have been hard because my body was on Munich time.

4. Eat something!

With me, jet lag means also loss of appetite. Basically it seems like my body doesn’t know what time it is and thus decides to concentrate on other things than being hungry. It is important to have regular meals with some greens and vitamins! Get on a schedule for that as well! Have breakfast, even if it means getting up earlier than you want, eat a small lunch and have dinner!

What do you do against jet lag? Any helpful ideas out there?



Happy 4th of July!

Typing this on my phone right before bed: Happy 4th of July, you all!

Though the day was quite uneventful, the evening proved to be a lot of fun with new acquaintances from Britain and Canada, some beer and greasy food and watching the fireworks!

On our way back some lady’s car got stuck as she was trying to make an illegal u-turn. Some people helped and they managed to push it back. It involved a lot of cheering, too!

Tomorrow (well, today) I’m going to Bainbridge Island for a day to take a walk.



Seattle adventures

Hi everyone! I have arrived safely in Seattle, it is now 4th of July and since I am taking a slow and relaxing day today, I finally have time to write a bit about what I have been doing the last couple of days, i.e. my Seattle adventures.

Way to Seattle

I started my journey on Thursday after an incredibly busy week at the Munich Filmfest where I have been watching films back to back. My flight was pretty much uneventful. The safety measures in airports are understandably long and extensive. I had a bit of a scare in Munich when the very grumpy KLM lady at check-in asked for my printed ESTA slip and I had actually forgotten to print that. It took me a good 30 minutes to find proof that I had it and she was not helpful at all. I found out later that you are not required to print anything since ESTA is linked to your passport, so I don’t know why she decided to be such a bully. Everything else went fine, I didn’t miss my flight which I was scared of most.

During landing in Seattle we had to wait for clearance, so the plane circled the mountains and since it was a very clear day, I was able to take a few nice shots out of one window.

I’m really bad at geography so I have no idea what I took a picture of. But it was great seeing so much from above. From the airport it is pretty easy to get to downtown Seattle or Belltown where I am staying. 35 minutes on a train and a 10 minutes walk later I reached the City Hostel where I had reserved a bed in a female-only 4 bed en suite dorm. The hostel is conveniently located, very clean with very nice and helpful staff. They are very strict about who they let into the hostel and there are some rules which I appreciate because I feel much safer knowing that not everyone can walk in and that for example smoking inside is forbidden.

Since smoking pot is legal in Washington state, that is a big issue here. Seattle has a big homeless population (although I am told it is even worse where I am going) and many of them smoke pot and/or suffer from mental illness. It took me a while to get used to the fact that many places and people smell like pot and to ignore those who wander the streets shaking and talking to themselves. It puts the whole legalize cannabis issue in Germany into perspective.

Arrival in Seattle

On my first day in Seattle, I couldn’t do much. After I had checked in, I met my two roommates at that time with whom I had dinner that night. After that I passed out pretty early. I have been battling jet lag ever since. It’s a 9 hour time difference to Munich which is 3 hours more than Ohio/East Coast where I have been before. Thus I planned to have a relaxing first full day (and ended up doing most of the sights). And by relaxing I mean going to a museum, in that case the Seattle Art Museum.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum is pretty nice, they have a nice collection and I spent almost 3 hours wandering around, reading books and taking pictures:


They had that nice exhibition of Graphic Masters with Dürer and Goya. I especially liked that they actually told you to take pictures and post about the exhibition. It is really straight forward because often you are technically allowed to take photos but you can’t be sure.

Space Needle + EMP

After a short visit to the hostel, I went to visit the Space Needle although I decided not to go up. A fellow traveller told me that it was cheaper to go up another tower in Seattle with a better view.

Right next to the Space Needle there is a museum for pop culture called EMP (Experience Music Project). Everyone at the hostel had been talking about that so I decided to go in as well. It is a lot of fun, you learn a lot about music (grunge, Jimi Hendrix etc.) and they had a nice horror film exhibition. Everything is very interactive which always takes me some time to get used to. As I went on a Friday of a long weekend it was unfortunately very busy with many families. I also enjoyed the Seattle Seahawks exhibition there (currently I am wearing my new Seahawks shirt).

Capitol Hill

On Saturday I met up with a Robin who I had gotten in contact with through that a nice group on Facebook called HPL (Her Packing List). She had offered to show me around Capitol Hill, her favorite neighborhood, and I had gladly accepted her offer. It is always much more fun to be shown around by a local! Capitol Hill is/ used to be the gay neighborhood but people there struggle a lot from gentrification (reminded me a lot of Munich). Fancy apartment buildings are being built and the rents go up, so that all freelancers and creative people hardly can afford to live there anymore. Still, the vibe there is unique and different to Belltown or downtown. I was listening so intensely that I hardly took any pictures, but sometimes it is more important to stop seeing things through the lens of a camera.

Above you also see the Starbucks Roastery which is located there. It’s very touristy and crowded but I went back on Sunday and had a scone there. They sell amazing (and expensive) pastry and I enjoyed people watching there so much. In the morning I had been to Pike Place Market for the first time where it had also rained for the first time. Very uncomfortable and crowded so I was glad to move on really quick.

Frye Art Museum

I also visited the Frye Art Museum on 1st Hill which was quite a bus ride away (you gladly take buses in Seattle if something is located in a neighborhood with “Hill” in its name). The Frye Art Museum certainly is a nice place if all rooms are open. Unfortunately, I chose a time when they were assembling the new Hammershoi exhibition so almost everything was closed except for one room where they restaged the hanging of the original salon with works of the Munich Secession and the Munich Künstlergenossenschaft.

I took a very long nap that afternoon and only walked for an hour that evening. Roughly I had been walking between 10 and 15km everyday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I am a bit exhausted right now so I will probably spend today just relaxing and watching Netflix. They’ll have a barbecue later here at the hostel which I want to attend.

Tomorrow I’ll probably take a ferry to Bainbridge Island just for the sake of the ferry ride (I love boats!!) and for seeing something different. I’ll keep you posted!



PS: Totally hooked on Netflix shows: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Baby Daddy and Gilmore Girls are my favorite currently.

Taking a train ride

Even though it was the smallest part of my travels, I decided to devote a post to the train ride from New York City to Boston.
During my time in Ohio in 2009 I was never able to travel anywhere by train, mainly because the railroad seems to be a dying way of transportation. I also had heard a lot of unpleasant stories on American trains which I hardly could believe having been a victim of the DB (Deutsche Bahn) far too often.

So I decided to take the train from New York City to Boston because I didn’t want to rent a car in Manhattan that would be parked in Boston for days because I was going to stay there. Amtrak was really cheap considering the distance and the fact that I was not able to use a discount. I booked the ticket online and printed it. When the day came, I was really nervous and went to the train station way too early. Of course the train was late, too (no explanation why) but that felt a bit like home. I was able to wait inside. What’s confusing is, that when the train arrives, you have to storm to an exit where your ticket is barely glanced at and then you can go down stairs and enter the train. That one wasn’t full, so I was easily able to find a seat and enjoy the view. All the waiting and the stress of boarding in the end was absolutely worth it, as the way from New York City and Boston leads along the coast. As the weather was nice and sunny, I was able to enjoy the view and catch up on some reading. There is free internet on the train, they even tell you when to get off!

The quality of my photos is really bad this time, but when you travel, you sometimes travel fast 🙂

While I was looking out the window and saw the small villages and larger cities fly by, I knew for certain that I had to go back and spend more time at the beach. I feel like I’m a sea person, whenever I am near the sea, I feel free!

5 things to bring with you on a roadtrip…

Probably the most exciting thing of last year’s trip was the fact that I was going to rent a car on my own and drive a lot – also on my own. Most of you might know that you have to be 25 to rent a car in the US or you will have to pay a fee to ensure them that you’ll bring back the car in one piece. So obviously the last time when I was still under car-rental-age, I was not allowed to drive the rental. Picture my excitement this time! I seriously love driving, especially when it is an automatic car! I started planning my road trip almost right after I had booked my flight and I also rented the car at that time. However, there are still things that I couldn’t totally prepare for, some of them I even had to learn the hard way. Read about my “5 things to bring with you on a roadtrip”:

1. Bring your own GPS!

I know most rental car companies offer them in addition to the car, but bringing your own GPS ensures that it is updated and has all important addresses pre-programmed. Insert all the places that you want to stay right away, as that will save valuable time. After most days I didn’t feel like sitting on the bed and type in my addresses for the next day, when there is either so much going on around you or you are simply dead tired and you just want to go to bed. I used my old TomTom that I bought in 2009 and updated the maps for USA and Canada beforehand when I had enough time at home. It cost me around 25$ and an evening of installing, but I had a GPS that I (kind of) trusted and knew how to work with.

2. water, water, lots of water… and snacks

It’s really important to stay hydrated while driving and always have a bottle of water next to you. I started driving in Boston after a few days exploring the city with a bad sun burn and just my luggage on me, no water, no snacks. The thing is that you will have to focus a lot on the road and on the unfamiliar car so that you forget to drink and eat or that you are hungry in the first place. It’ll hit you the moment you leave the comfy air-conditioned car… so stock up on your supplies!

3. Music

It’s nice to travel alone but it can also get really quiet in that car when there is no one to talk to. I enjoyed listening to the radio for a while but when you drive longer distances you’ll notice that the channels change a lot and you’ll probably get annoyed as well of the static sound echoing in your car. So it’s a great idea to make your own CD beforehand, and that will even increase the excitement!

4. Knowledge of traffic rules

Brush up your knowledge of the local traffic rules and look up how to react in certain situations. The first minutes after renting the car, I met a school bus on the road and I actually had forgotten that it is a big NO-NO to drive past it when it stops. Everyone honked at me and scared me so much that I almost drove into a fence. I felt like I would get arrested after that, so that was terrifying! Avoid that by spending 10 minutes before the trip googling traffic rules!

5. Lots of money… cash and credit card

Even though gas is a lot cheaper in the US, a road trip can still get pretty pricy after a while. So try to calculate beforehand how much you will have to spend on gas and make sure to have enough money on your credit card. Also, try to find out how much you will have to pay on tolls. I actually had to leave the interstate in Manhattan during rush hour and drive through some really sketchy neighborhoods in order to find an ATM because I had only 3 $ left. The next toll bridge ended up costing 17 $ so I was actually glad I did find an ATM. Try to plan ahead and maybe ask some locals about how much it will be!

Another year went by….

And yet I’m still so much behind on blogging. Last year in May, I was able to travel a little bit in the US. For a travel addict like me, those were the perfect three weeks. Not only did I get to see my college friends again (after four incredibly long years), but I travelled all alone for the first time in my life!

What seemed to be scary at first, now makes me want to tell everyone I talk to: Pack your bags and get up and on the road!
I started in Munich and took a really exhausting flight to NYC. I usually love New York City, but this time due to being so tired, I just felt miserable most of the time. However, I tried to seize the day and took some new photos!

I had to sit on the doorstep of a church for some time because the rain surprised me and I was without an umbrella. It gave me time to get used to the pace of New York, relax and do some people watching!

Isn’t the facade of this building stunning?! I could look at it for hours, it’s mesmerizing!

Those were my bags, I didn’t try to pack small then, but had to carry all these bags with me. It was ok while I was driving but other than that – just too much stuff! Carry-On only for the win from now on!

Puppies in a window display. This always breaks my heart! How can you look at these cute animals and not want to take them all home with you? I’m glad we don’t sell animals like that in Germany!

Amazing street art awaits you wherever you go if you just keep your eyes open. Especially along the High Line which is a long narrow park that I sat down to relax and get over my jet lag!

Times Square right after a big downpour of rain. It always amazes me how busy New York City and especially Times Square is. It’s almost overwhelming but at the same time you feel life pulsating!