Vacation booked.

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I AM SO HAPPY! I am going to Istanbul for my semester break in October. I have never been to Turkey before, but I have many friends of Turkish origin, born and raised in Denmark. I know a lot about the culture already, and I have been to several Turkish weddings before, which included dancing halay (folk dance) for hours. The Turkish people definitely knows how to celebrate. I am looking forward to experience the culture and discover Istanbul first-hand.

I borrowed the amazing picture above from the blog:

http://makingmagique.com/travel/postcards-from-istanbul/

The picture shows a view of Istanbul and the famous Bosphorus Strait, with Asia on one side and Europe on the other. It’s  a fantastic blog, and the way the girl writes and describes the places she visits is worth reading. I like to plan my trip by reading travel blogs and recommendations, because if the writers have a huge knowledge about the specific place, or are locals, they often recommend cool, and to tourists, unknown places worth visiting.

I am very interested in hearing about some less touristy must do/must see places, restaurant, markets etc. in Istanbul. If you know any good places, I would appreciate it, if you are willing to share them with me by commenting on this post.

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Madeira, Portugal.

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In the Easter Holiday, I went to Madeira. An Island in the Atlantic Ocean belonging to Portugal, but actually closer to Africa. The weather was above 20 degrees and the sun made the city and island look gorgeous from the windows of the plane. It was windy though and with a short runway, we almost couldn’t land.

Madeira has no white sand beaches but there are many huge hotels with swimming pools right down to the sea. This was not where I lived, but anyway I didn’t spend much time at the hotel. Funchal, the main city on the Island is very cozy and relaxed with many small streets, mostly very steep. Everywhere you want to go is either up or down.

DSC01092On the way to the city centre.

DSC01098Fresh fish at the market.

DSC01112Palms and a blue sky.

DSC01123Funchal City.

Madeira is a destination for adventure and exploring. Many people trek in the mountains or walk along the Levadas. The Levadas are build water channels that transport water from the mountains to the city, Funchal. I did one of those walks on one of the really sunny days, and I had a nice clear view of the sea and city.

DSC01126 Levada walk.

DSC01129Resting and enjoying the view.

DSC01135View of Funchal City.

I also went to a viewpoint where I could see down to a valley called the Nuns Valley, which was a small town enclosed by mountains. We were up very high and could see the skies move slowly into the valley. I also made the to the most Eastern point of the Island.

DSC01183 The Nuns Valley.

DSC01184Walking path to the viewpoint.

DSC01188Up in the skies. The weather changed really fast in this Valley.

DSC01247The most Eastern point of Madeira.

Another amazing experience was driving up to one of the highest points on Madeira. It was a cloudy day but as soon as we came above the skies the sun was shining and the skies looked like pillows.

DSC01208This great feeling.

DSC01210It was possible to walk the last km to the peak.

The local drink on Madeira is called Poncha. Poncha is a drink made of alcohol made from sugar cane juice, honey, sugar, and with different fruit juices according to the version of Poncha, but traditionally lemon juice is used. It’s very stong.

DSC01225John’s Poncha where we stopped to try the Poncha.

DSC01223If you have more than three of these you can speak fluent Portuguese, our guide told us.

Madeira is known for their Espada Fish which is traditionally served with bananas. The Espada fish only lives in the sea around Madeira and Japan.

DSC01234Espada fish with veggies, rice, and a local soft drink.