29 Jun 2011

Marie's Trip Through Europe : part 1

Istanbul - Malta - Paris - Munich
A 3 weeks trip through Europe.

Dates : 24 may - 17 june
Number of flights : 5 + one 10 hours train
Money spent : a lot!!
Number of pictures : 1/3 lost on the way (usb flash broken!)
Gorgeous memories and landscapes : unlimited!

It all started when my best friend told me she wanted to go back in vacations to Malta around may. Then I had this other friend with who I made agreement to participe in a european youth exchange in Germany. Then my best friend got invited to this music show in Malta, it was one more good reason to go. So it was settled. And I would escape from Rustavi going to Istanbul (because it's cheaper but also beautiful) and the lovely Paris on the way.

 Part I
24 may - 26 may : Istanbul!

I am waiting at the aeroport and I meet Dato, one volunteer from Tbilisi's Droni organisation, telling me he is going to Ukraine for one day to prepare a project. He has his tickets paid, in first class! Getting on the plane is something else. Outside it's very windy, and everybody is pushing to be the first in the plane. I can't wait to get away, after almost 8 months in the same town, and I have of course butterflies in my stomach!

I arrive at 6 am in Istambul, everything is really colorful, the morning clouds covering the top of the highest business towers. Also a lot of mosquees with strange arrows surrounding them. The bus shuttle to the town center is really comfortable and the road without any cracks, I am definitely in the right country. I get out at "Taksim" station the last stop where our evs friend Ibo is supposed to pick me up (or one of his friends). For those who don't know the story Ibo was one couch surfer who wanted to stay 2 days in our place but ended up staying 2 weeks!

Süleymaniye Camii

 I wait for an hour and a half, calling and calling again but nobody in sight. He picks up finally, saying "sorry totally forgot! Go to this hostel they are my friends they will take care of you and I will join as soon as possible". So here I am walking in the busiest street of the country (6 million people/day!) : Istiklal Avenue. At the hostel I meet one australian whose is travelling a lot of course, one german and austrian guys who are writting an article about fashion and social inclusion in Istanbul. I feel really tired but great! 2 hours later, Ibo is out of the shower and taking me to his lovely 3 bedrooms appartement giving me indications on where to go for what as quickly as possible as he has to go work.
 I take a 2 hours nap, later I go for a walk here and there in the neighbourhood. It's really sunny and warm compared to the Georgia I left! There are also a lot of hills to climb up and down (worse than in Tbilisi) but I've had good practise. There is the Bosphorus really blue, and again all the mosquees. I walk also next to one University : all those who don't have the special card don't come in. Really different from mine in France!

Galata Tower

 Then I come back to the appartement - going around for 1 hour because of course I don't remember exactly how the entrance door looks like! - to find Mustafa (Ibo's roomate) who kindly cooks me a lunch (it's around 4pm... ). During the evening I will go out again in the busiest street - it's crazy, because it's a week day but there are already so many people, so I can't imagine what's it's like during the weekend!

The next morning I take my time to wake up, and go around the city again. Ibo shows me where to buy a scarf, and sunglasses (because of course mine just broke)... A little shopping. I'm discovering the small shops where you can buy ice cream (in the very special noisy way they are making it): 

(please don't mind the title of this video- which is not even mine) - but in general a very european way of life. I feel like a total stranger (and I already look like a hobo compared to other girls ^^) but very calm and charmed!

I took the tram to go Saint-Sophia mosque at the end of the afternoon. It was a bit too late to visit the citernes (apparently amazing but almost quite expensive entrance as I fixed a 50 turkish liras budget for those 2 days). I don't go inside the blue mosquee (just across the street from saint sophia) because I don't have the proper outfit, but from the outside it looks already amazing. Then I finish my walk in the park in front of Topkapi palace. Not many people (lovers mainly, on hidden up benches by some wooden structure), but nice atmosphere. And still in the air you can hear the monks singing, calling for prayer. I call it the sound of Istanbul, because it's very loud and it brings this special atmosphere (thanks to cheap speakers probably!) when you hear it.

I go to bed quite early since I have to get up early to take the plane to Malta. But my adventures in the city are not finished : I didn't check twice from where the plane leaves so I arrive in the wrong airport (Gokçen instead of Attaturk). I have 2 hours until my plane, but it's traffic jam time. I have to take a taxi. Finally I make it quite on time, but during taxi time I was really freaking out! I think I managed to limit the payment (already 65 euros) because one 'information' lady in first airport told me "you should paid this amount". So now I got the idea from Georgia to deal the price before going in. When I gave the money taxi didn't look so happy (I think on the counter it was 90euros), but hey that's what we said, and anyway I'm in such a rush that I don't wait for his answer. It's also good that during my stay in georgia I could manage to cumulate so many euros in cash. But this is a valuable lesson : I will always check 5 times from now on, and never assume something!

 To Be Continued...

PS : As I haven't recovered my pictures yet (and maybe I won't ever) I scanned some postcards I bought. Sound by my crapy phone, video found on youtube!

27 Jun 2011

Ivan Kupala Day ( Noc Kupaly in Polish, Jaanipäev in Estonian, Jāņi in Latvian, Joninės in Lithuanian ...) !!!

Kupala Day is celebrated mainly in Northern and Eastern Europe, and this holiday, traditions and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. This holiday is connected with special role of water and fire. There are many traditions related to Kupala Day. For example in Poland, unmerrried woman are making flower's wreaths and throw them into the water! If some bachelor catch it, it means that this girl will get merried very soon;) Because Georgia is still ocupated by European invaders, had to hear about this special day. This year we decided not to celebrate it in very traditional way. So there were no special activities like for example: i didnt make any flowers wreaths and i didnt throw it into the water, becouse i was afraid that nobody catch it (it means that i would become spinster;))) and we didnt make big fireplace, and we didnt jump through it, because we relized that we are not stretchy and flexible enough to do it;))) so we sacrificed our favourite activity: eating ;)))) and in this discipline we are better and better;)))

FOOD!!!! ;)))

Everybody had to prepare something spacial to eat!! French of course made great creps, and Marie's specialty - salat with pasta, i mean pasta with salad;))) Everybody was so proud of Liene, because she prepared traditional Latvian cottage cheese, delicious cherry pie and beans salad!!Really amazing dishes!!!!
I was preparing Russian salad, and the biggest applause for Estonians;)))) they made carmel and put it on the corn snacks;))) bravooo for original idea!!!!

Liene with Latvian cottage cheese!!!

Thanks guys for nice evening, I hope that we will meet each other more frequently at our large table!!!!


19 Jun 2011

Computers Problem

As soon as our personal computers are working again, we'll write some nice articles...
But for now ... LET'S PRAY (or drink, it's up to you!!)

Yours friendly,

2 Jun 2011

Orintas last and Yoann first chadi

We love when volunteers are coming but we are very sad when they have to leave us and to go back home. :(
This thurday evening was from one side sad (our sweet Lithuenian Kung fu Panda Ori finishing her EVS), but from other side happy - we said welcome to new EVS staff member Yoann from France.

We wishing for Orinta safe returning back home, not to forget us and to send us very often postcards. We again very often will bake chadi and will make tosts for her! Thank you Orint for your being with us for one year and for your smile everyday. We love you and see you very soon!

 But for Yoann we wishing to spend wonderful 1 year in our GYE family, to eat as much as possible chadi, sazamtro and to enjoy Georgia from the bottom till top. :)

GYE mamm and dad