A Little Bit of Halloween in Copenhagen

27 Oct

I bought this little guy at Tivoli during Halloween celebration last week.  I am not sure whether it is a ghost, a white pumpkin, or what.    But he is stinkin’ adorable and my only Halloween decor here with me in Copenhagen.  Any name suggestions?




Break for the Soul

25 Oct

Hi everyone!

I might as well explain why my blog posts have been scarce.  I have a lot of material that I will be covering when I get back from my upcoming two week travel break, but for now, it has not materialized into posts because it is midterm week!  I am going to take the responsible route  (smile Mom!) and not focus my time and energy on posts when I have exams and papers to crush.

Some posts to look forward to when I return:

  • Why all the Taxis in Copenhagen are Mercedes
  • The fun I have had at Tivoli and Tivoli’s awesome Halloween
  • The free town of Christiana, pictures included
  • The protest in Istanbul that I managed to escape in the nick of time
  • Attending a Hercules performance in Danish
  • A day in the life of my dog
  • My visit to Rosenborg
  • Fitness classes in Danish and how fun it is to have no idea what they are yelling at you
  • Danish hygge and my favorite places to study in Copenhagen

Also, I am sure to be plenty of material and photos to share from my two week travels.  If you want to check out where I will be visiting, you can click here!

Farvel København, Hola Madrid, Merhaba Morocco!

Spas of the Orient

23 Oct

While in Istanbul, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the hammams.  The hammams are bathing houses.  One of the best experiences I have ever had.  I highly suggest one if you ever get the chance.  Just be ready to be nearly in the buff around many other women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

The hammam we went to is super old!

Many may not like the idea of getting naked in front of strangers, but not to worry: the hammam is separated into male and female sections.  This is Turkey after all!  Your bather and masseuse is also a female.  The atmosphere is like an exclusive salon/spa for women only.  Everyone was chatting and relaxing throughout the process.  It was refreshing to be in such an atmosphere after hours and days in the streets of Istanbul hearing cat calls and dealing with uncomfortable male gazes.  I can see why Turkish women spend so much time there!

Entrance to the female section and peaceful sanctuary!

This is the last of my contraband photos…for obvious reasons, it is frowned upon to take photos once within the hammam.

To start off the process, we were shown to lockers to keep our stuff and were given a pair of disposable panties.  We then made our way to the baths where we laid on a heated stone in a very hot room (with a beautiful ceiling above to keep you entertained while you wait).  After a while, one of the bathers calls you over to the edge of the stone and you are exfoliated using a disposable kese (exfoliating bath glove).  You would never realize how much dead skin is on you!  I didn’t see my own when it was removed, but watching other hammam-goers, you see brown dead skin coming off in abundance.  Needless to say, you feel much cleaner just after that!  After this, they pour warm water on you along with suds and give you a clean washing.  None of it is inappropriate, unlike some of the stories I have heard about the men receiving their baths.

After being washed down, you can leisurely soak in their version of hot tubs.  The process is so relaxing because you are not rushed through the process and you can just enjoy yourself.  After we spent enough time there, we headed over to get our massage (this does not come with the basic package, but we decided to splurge to get the full experience).  It was a half hour oil massage and it was much needed!  The whole thing cost me about 60 USD, but it was worth it.  Plus, I think there are other places that are cheaper, this was just a highly recommended place that we knew for sure would be sanitary and satisfactory.

Afterwards, we went to a cooler room with nice oriental cushions and just chatted and relaxed.  Other women got some tea or other refreshing drinks.  Had I known, I would have taken a few lira in with me.

Overall, I think this experience is a must.  Don’t spend much time on your hair or make-up, as they will wash it for you.  I told them I didn’t want them to so that my make-up wouldn’t get all messed up with the water being poured over my head… but then during the massage she ended up massaging my face with lotion, so I really regret not getting my hair washed.  If you are not comfortable going au-naturale afterwards, bring some make-up in your day bag.  Also, we hadn’t thought it through, but we regretted not having brought a brush for our hair.  They have brushes there …. but kind of gross to use them if you ask me.

Afterwards, you feel cleaner than you ever have in my opinion.  I am going to Spain and Morocco, both places that will also have their versions of hammams.  I fully plan on taking advantage of the lower prices for a massage than Denmark and the States and be pampered.  Perhaps even twice in Morocco (cheap spa experience, I say yes!).

My Autumn Lust List

20 Oct

Being in Copenhagen can make me a little sad and nostalgic for autumn at home at times.  Yes, the weather is already chilly here.  Yes, everyone gets all cozy with blankets and candles.  But where is the cider?  Not the alcoholic cider, but the good old-fashioned childhood apple cider.  Where is the pumpkin bread?  Or pumpkin anything for that matter.  And the leaves… some seem to be changing color, but the color palette is nothing compared to the colors in the North.  And to curl up with a blanket next to the fireplace with a really good book?  Yeah, I miss that.

But I guess one way to overcome that is to window shop for fall clothes, because everyone knows that nothing is affordable in Copenhagen for an American.  And did you know that window shopping, or online browsing, releases feel-good endorphins?  Or at least I heard that somewhere.

Anyhow, J. Crew is having a great deal! 25% off orders over $150 with free shipping.  So I picked out a few items I am craving to ease my autumn longings.  Too bad I do not have a monthly pay check to breeze through while I am here.

Merino boyfriend sweatshirt, heather fern

Minimalist mock neck sweater, henna

Suzette blouse, ripe melon

Perfect shirt, tartan

Minnie pant, wool herringbone

City mini, heather fern

Quilted sweatshirt, heather flannel

Suede MacAlister boots, stone

Pearl stud earrings

Printed iPhone case, royal purple

What is on your autumn lust list?

How to avoid men at the Grand Bazaar

19 Oct

If you want a real experience, make sure to visit the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  I cannot promise you that you will get a better deal for a scarf or anything else than you would in any shop outside the bazaar.  If you are great at haggling, then you probably will get a fair price.  Otherwise, you are going to likely pay too much.  But it is all a part of the experience!

Spices at the Egyptian Spice Market

The Grand Bazaar

Soaps from Abdulla.  Great quality soaps!

So many beautiful lanterns! I bought a pink mosaic brass lantern on a whim (and a good deal)!

Every man at every shop had such unique pick-up lines to draw customers in.  I was called Baby Spice, Christina, and even Shakira!  How flattering!  Maybe if I was a 50 year old with low self-esteem….  You dropped something! Me- what? Them- My heart!  Next time I heard that one, I made sure to tell them they are still alive, so I must not have dropped their heart, before they had the chance to finish their little pick-up line.

I managed to buy a few good items and got better at the haggling as I went.  I sometimes got “special price for special hair” without even trying.  I guess having strawberry blonde hair is not the norm in Turkey.  Nor is my skin color.  “Jesus, you are so pale,” in a thick Turkish accent was my favorite line of the trip.

Anyhow, so you may be wondering, how do I get that annoying man chasing me through the bazaar with disgusting and fake perfume to leave me alone?  Yeah, you thought you could just walk away from the stall because the merchant has gotta stay with his ‘dise.  Well you were wrong.  These guys do NOT leave you alone.  So after day one of Grand Bazaaring, my friends and I came up with a solution.

Any time that a merchant starts calling out “Spice Girls,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and saying “I’m here! I’m here!” (thanks, I can see you), you throw them the Jenna Marble’s face.  If you do not know what I am talking about, click here NOW.  I swear, it works!  I threw the face a few times and mid-line, they would legit stop talking, look confused, and just walk away.  It was AWESOME!  Thanks Jenna Marbles!  You are a life-saver!  And provided us with many laughs for the rest of the trip..

End Fat Talk!

17 Oct

This week is Fat Talk Free Week.  Love who you are and end fat talk!  Declare to abandon all forms of “fat talk” here.  Watch the video below to learn more about fat talk and how to end it.

Toilet Seat Mummies

16 Oct

In the States, or anywhere in the world for that matter, I am guilty of creating toilet seat mummies.  I am grossed out by toilet seats and will not sit down on the them without them being covered with toilet paper first.  Not very environmentally friendly, but my delicate skin thanks me for it!

But as I have been traveling around Europe (and recently, Asia!), I have discovered a great invention!  Toilet seat sanitizer!

Nearly all the bathrooms at DIS where I study have it!

Even my hotel in Istanbul had it!

So simple!

Not only does it save time and nixes the problem of placing toilet paper on the seat only to often have it fall off immediately, but it also saves toilet paper.  Good for the environment, good for the bank account of whoever supplies the toilets.

I really think the idea could catch on in the States.  At the University of Richmond, I would love to see toilet seat sanitizer implemented.  You would have to refill the toilet paper in the stalls less often and could add another check under the green initiative column.  If Turkey can do it, so can you!