Sunday, 20 July 2014

ROAD TRIP// Little Grand Canyon (+ #lifewithdenise)

I was SO stoked when I found out that there was a sort of canyon near Eufaula. We only had to cross over to Georgia (actually enter a whole different time zone, which we didn't even realize) and enter the Providence State Park and there it was. The only picture I saw of it before looked something like this (^^) and I therefore suspected that the canyon is probably really tiny. It really wasn't- it has these amazing shades of red and white and brown and surrounded by all the green, it is super beautiful. The funny thing about this canyon is that, compared to the Grand Canyon, it is not actually made of rocks but sand. This thing developed the way it did because of farmers mistreating the land and not through (millions of) yeeears of erosion etc like the one in Arizona. You can just look at it from these viewing platforms, but there is also a hiking path that leads you down in to the canyon. We did that the next day and it was both scary but also really cool.You are not allowed to scratch off the walls or climb on the little sandy hills because that would eventually destroy it. Weird, isn't it? Looks totally like rocks to me from far away.

The whole area is pretty deserted it seems, but as usual in America, the park was well taken care of, but (we assume) because it was off season, there was not really anyone there. Really cool if you don't like to be bothered, but also a bit creepy. 

So on our hiking day, the info center in the park was closed as was everything else (also no phone reception!) and there were only these maps, so we took one to make sure we are not actually gonna die in that canyon. At the start of the trail there was a guest book where hikers could leave their name and stuff. All these posters at the info center about poisonous snakes and spiders seriously got me a bit scared and so I scribbled (in VERY LARGE LETTERS) our names and phone number and date etc. (In my head I already saw the helicopters coming and saving us after hours in the darkness haha). So then we finally properly started walking down in to the canyon, but still every little noise in the bushes made us jump.
You see, Denise has a lot of special talents and one is definitely that she attracts (like a huge freakin magnet) a little bit of drama and misfortune, to say the least. This was just one of those moments, she takes out the map to make sure we are still going the right way and bam, she just rips it right where the important bit is (by accident, she claims). There is really nothing more fitting (in my opinion) than the hashtag #lifewithdenise. 
This could easily turn in to a TV series, let me tell ya. So far though, only Instagram has been graced with this genius idea.

 Anyway, the hike went well and beside a dead baby boar we didn't find that much scary stuff down there. So enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

How to: Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

Sounds a bit scary I guess, but it is really just a show with a lot of music and dance and fun! Edinburgh's castle esplanade is beautiful and the whole event is simply spectacular. Last year was the very first time I attended and even though I didn't plan on it, this year I am going again. With my parents and some friends (yay!)

It is really one of those things where you need to plan and book ahead, so here is my mini guide.

1. Buy your tickets in advance
This sounds like duuuh, but it is really important. It is just one of many festivals going on during August and it can get a bit crazy, but make sure you pick a date and book your tickets. You can do this online or on the phone, but they do charge you for doing so. Crazy, if you ask me. So I went to the office today (32 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QB) and within 5 minutes it is done and you have your tickets in your hand. You can pick the seating yourself, the better the seats the more expensive obviously, but I just wanna say- we sat in the second cheapest seats last year (section 16, click here) and it was absolutely fine! We sat quite high up which gives you a cool overview of everything, so I definitely recommend those seats! You don't need to spend 200 pounds on a ticket!

2. Don't queue, just make sure you get to the venue before 9
Here is the deal. The road leading up to the castle is not the biggest and these several thousand people need to get in somehow. This is done by making them queue up for like ages and forever down the road. What we did is just turn up around 8.45 (show starting at 9) and we were able to slowly walk in and not really queue up at all. I mean, why would you want to stand in line? It's not like it gets you better seats!

3. Bring a blanket and warm clothes
Well, it is Scotland after all. Apparently there was not one show in the past 30 years that has been cancelled due to weather. Good sign, I guess! Nevertheless make sure you bring warm clothes and maybe even some snacks or drinks. You are quite high up on these stands and it can get reeeally cold.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

ROAD TRIP// Eufaula, Alabama

Alabama was preeeetty high on our road trip to do list. Nothing specifically I think, but just proper soak in what the state has to offer. In terms of our route, we entered from the south and drove up all the way up to Tennessee (Nashville, to be specific). It was SO beautiful.
I had done a lot of research on like the official tourism websites for Alabama and Eufaula was apparently one of those typical small towns with a lot of charm. Yes it was indeed.
A lot of the pretty houses are actually marked as historic and some of them are museums as well.

We stayed at the 'Quality Inn & Suites Eufaula' and I was so surprised, the rooms look so modern, the pool is great, the breakfast is better than at other hotels... We loved it, so we actually decided to stay longer than planned.

The most beautiful road is Eufaula Avenue, with sooo many amazing houses just right next to each other.

Crazy hills everywhere!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

TV show obsessions

A lot of times I appreciate a TV show more than a movie, especially if there are fascinating characters that you want to follow for longer than just 90 minutes.
Or you know, if there is just a good concept for a show- I'll pretty much watch anything.

Here are my top 3 at the moment:

Denise introduced me to this show and it is so good. Catfishing is when someone pretends to be someone else on the Internet- and who hasn't heard about that. So Nev and Max go visit people that are not sure if their internet friend is real and actually who he/she really is. They are super funny and really good at making people not feel stupid or horrible about themselves. (The only thing I just do not understand is why people do not just google and find all this stuff out on their own)

A friend recommended this show to me because he knew about my obsession with Texas. I wasn't sure about the whole thing because I am really not in to sport shows or American football at all. The show however is not just about that. It has the most fascinating characters that you just really grow fond of, and I think that makes a good TV series.

This show is something I just recently discovered on TV here. It is a proper British show, if you will. It's pretty simple, it shows people on a first date - but it has a certain sweetness to it and there are such lovely cute people on the show. Cringe moment are definitely in there as well, but I guess that's just part of the deal.

I have so many shows that I still really want to watch, such as The Newsroom, Orphan Black, Utopia and only maybe Game of Thrones, one day.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

ROAD TRIP// Florida: Dolphin Cruise

If you have followed me all the way since 2010 (I can't believe that's already four years ago), then you know that I went to Hawaii that year and sort of fulfilled my dream of swimming with a dolphin. Yes it was at the very questionable Sea World, nevertheless it was amazing and dolphins remain on the list of animals I will never be sick of (despite all the sh*t Denise is talking about them haha).
Therefore I just had to book a dolphin cruise when we stayed at the beach in Florida. As with every tourist beach destination, there are loads of operators and I always find it overwhelming. We just booked a tour that was advertised on Groupon, which made it cheap as well. Obviously it is never certain that dolphins are gonna show up, so we didn't want to spend that much money it.

So we went on this little boat, super early in the morning (okay it was like 9am but that is EARLY!) and took off. To be honest, it gets a bit boring after a while when you don't see anything but waves that really look like dolphins. However, we were lucky and saw a group of three dolphins and (very stalker like) followed them for a while until they disappeared. In my imagination, I thought it was gonna be a whole group of dolphins that are just jumping out of the water next to the boat but I guess that doesn't happen that often... (SUPER DISAPPOINTING)
Something very cool happened though: A MASSIVE sea turtle just casually swam by and then obviously it got frightened because a whole boatload of people just stared at it haha.

What I really really reaaaaally wanna do is go on like a whale watching cruise and see a super huge whale come out of the water. Like right next to me. That's the dream!

But yeah, this was cool too.

yay dolphins!

there again, three this time!

we earned this lunch at the beach

the perfect beach

super empty, thank god!