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,


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.

My US West Coast Packing List

As most of you know, I will be going to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco in a few days. I’ll be staying in these three cities for a total of 19 days. These days will be almost equally divided between these three cities where I will be living in hostels. This will actually be my first try to not pack as much as usual. I tend to overpack. First of all, I always worry too much, so I try to be prepared for all occasions. And then, I never want to do laundry, so I try to bring enough clothes. So, this time, different approach: I have read so much about different ways to travel only with carry-on and I wanted to give it a try this time. This is my US West Coast Packing List:

This time I divided my bags and I made a table to sort which bag is going to hold what:

I’ll be travelling with my Kalahari camera bag, my Herschel Backpack and a smaller Carry-On suitcase which has four wheels and has been proven to be very convenient for travelling.

Camera bag

My camera bag will fit into my backpack and is, of course, holding:

I added a plastic bag, in case it might rain. My camera bag will be my daybag as well, even though it doesn’t look that nice, it can hold all the things that I need when I’m adventuring.


My backpack will include:

  • my camera bag
  • my Apple iPad mini + Logitech case
  • all chargers and cables
  • my two Lonely Planets for Seattle and San Francisco (I just can’t leave them)
  • small notebook and pen
  • small plastic bag with medication and liquids that I want to bring on the plane with me
  • my scarf (against the cold, or to use as a blanket or pillow on the plane)
  • phone, money, tickets, passport etc.
  • small bag with an inflatable pillow, Ohropax
  • my collection of sunglasses
Carry on suitcase

I decided a few days ago to check my small suitcase simply because I am too lazy to carry it with me during the layovers that I have. I purchased Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes though to hold most of my things. I’ll be bringing:

  • shoes: Minnetonkas, Birkenstock-like sandals, flip flops for the shower
  • travel towels
  • travel-size hair dryer (it was shortly on my list to be left at home, but I get a cold very easily when I don’t dry my hair)
  • two pair of pants (1 jeans, 1 slacks)
  • dress + leggings
  • underwear+socks for a week
  • my umbrella
  • Bikini
  • seven tops
  • three cardigans or pullover
  • toiletries

Am I missing something? As always, I keep checking my list over and over again, fearing that I might forget something very important!

My must-pack items

It’s exactly 8 days until I am leaving for this year’s adventure. Since I won’t rent a car this year, but will be travelling by train mostly, I tried to plan ahead and think about what I really and absolutely need to take with me and what will be unnecessary baggage. Still, I noticed that there are a few things that I depend heavily on, especially while being abroad:

Sunscreen and skin care in general

Since I can remember, my skin has been high-maintenance. I get breakouts from almost everything such as food, dust, sun or stress. Since travelling combines many of these factors, I am careful to pack all of my skin care things. This time I will bring my favorite cleanser from Sebamed in a travel size and probably stock up on the things I used while I lived in Ohio which was mostly from Neutrogena or AcneFree. Both work fine for me.

As I have very fair skin, I usually end up with a sunburn within the first two days even if it is cloudy. Last time I went whale-watching and even though I used sunscreen, I ended up with a nasty burn and blister on my nose. It took me a week to get rid of it otherwise I would have ended up looking like Rudolph on my friend’s wedding pictures. This trip I thus come prepared: First of all Neutrogena Clear Face Sunblock Lotion with 30 SPF which I like a lot because I don’t feel like I bathed in oil after applying it to my face. The second sunscreen that I am bringing is a foundation with 30 SPF from Shiseido. It is one of the few foundations that don’t cause breakouts with me and that I can use everyday.

My Iphone and other technical stuff

I know I am a typical smartphone addict. My iPhone holds all of my everyday information that I need, all of my contacts, my calendar, my music. I have tried travelling without my phone, without service or without data, simply relying on free WiFi in restaurants or cafés. It doesn’t work for me so far. I hate having to stop somewhere to connect my phone to Wifi in order to look up some places or to google the way. I love using Twitter and/or Instagram when I’m travelling and posting pictures right away. Call me spoilt, but my Vodafone service works all over the EU which is why I decided to go with an American SIM card this time. I’ll probably be able to tell you more after the trip when I can say for certain that it worked. As of now: I ordered a SIM from SIMbee online for 30 USD. I will have unlimited texting and calls within the US, plus 300 MB of data (after that it will become slower), plus a certain amount of free calls worldwide.


Usually, I’d say that I’m a heavy sleeper. I never wake up to any noise outside because I have got used to it, I guess. When I travel, however, I feel like I sleep more lightly which means that in hostel dorms I constantly wake up due to noises. Two years ago, in Boston, I got really mad at the A/C in my dorm room that couldn’t be turned down and kept making so much noise right above my head. The staff at the hostel was very sorry and they provided me with a dozen free pairs of ear plugs. I have to admit that it takes some time to get used to them, but since then I don’t travel without Ohropax anymore.

A scarf

Be it summer or winter, I always bring a XXL scarf which I can use as a scarf, a blanket or a pillow. Air conditioning can be cold even during summer and when you have to spend some time freezing, a scarf can safe you from getting sick. Been there in Thailand where I caught a bad cold from air conditioning on a bus (didn’t have any blankets) and had to stay in bed for three days missing out on a good time on Koh Samui.

Comfortable shoes

Shoes are always a big question mark on my packing list. They take up so much space and still I can never decide on which and how many to bring. They are often the reason that I overpack. I guess gone are the days where I only brought my trusted Converse and a pair of Havaianas to walk around. Lately I had issues with my knees and I know for certain that I will need comfortable shoes on my trip if I don’t want to take an ibuprofen every night. So far (list is not finalized yet) I decided on my Bata shoes which feel like Birkenstocks but don’t make my feet look that big, a pair of sneakers with insoles and my Minnetonkas. I’ll also bring old flip flops for showering in the hostels, just to be safe. Since I like to go shopping anyways, I’ll have a reason to go if it turns out that I really need more shoes (I always do) or that one of the pairs I brought isn’t comfy enough. I was thinking about buying these sandals from Crocs which is something I thought I’d never say about anything from Crocs.

What are your must-pack items? Is there anything that you can’t live without while being abroad? I’m curious!