Quitting a job in Germany: and now what?

What to cancel and how?

DEREGISTER:

Yourself:

FYI you can only deregister a week prior you leave Germany. Some blogs say 2 weeks but no.
Some good tips here.

You can find the reregistration form online translated so I would recommend to print the English version to go to the reregistration office so then you can easily fill the German one.

Your car:

You have to go to the local vehicle registration office (Kraftfahrzeugzulassungsstelle). Some info here.
My advice is to plan a lot of time to go there because it takes a lot of time, even if you have it all ready. If you are more an early bird than me go there before the opening and cue there first.

If you sell your car, I would recommend to go to this person if possible to the registration office so everything is done at once (contract + car deregistration). This can keep the same car plates and no need to take them off then.

INSURANCES:

Health Insurance:

Once you quit, your company will send a notification to the health insurance and it should be cancelled automatically. Nevertheless, it is better to also send a proof of employment contract end and of your reregistration to your local insurance office.

Car insurance:

When you deregister your car (you have to do it anyway, in Germany or once back in your country when you change plates) it will automatically send a notification to your insurance.

Double check you are reimbursed at the pro-rata if ever you pay by year.

I would recommend to deregister while you are still in Germany because it is free and once you are in another country it is up to 200euros for the paperwork.

Habitation insurance: Same, your reregistration should directly send a notification to your insurance but double check with them.

HABITATION:

If you rent a furnished flat it is usually 3 months prior to departure that you have to notify your landlord. Check your contract anyway, it should be written.

You need a proof from your landlord that you left the apartment.

You need to cancel gaz and electricity and internet contracts, do it asap because it can take time.

Make sure you get the caution back!

You also need the overview of taxes and bills of the flat for when you have to do your taxes.

ANY FIDELITY CARDS!!

For example your DB card! They ask you to notify them 6 weeks before the renewal date!

Gym member card? Public transport suscription? Just try to think about all your subscriptions :)

BANKING:

Do not close your account yet because you will receive money back (taxes, bonuses, habitation caution etc) and maybe you have to pay other things.

MOVING OUT:

You king of have 4 options:

  • You do not have a lot and you just book extra luggages when you move out.

  • You send it all via DHL. Look at the pricing conditions because it costs the same to send a box of 19kg or 31kg!
    You can also send parcels and it can be interesting.

  • You rent a car and drive you and your things. BUT be aware that if you leave in another country the “abandoned fees” are just huge! You also have to consider the gaz and the highway fees.

  • Contract a company, it is SUPER expensive but super practical.

UNEMPLOYMENT:

You need your company to give you your U1 form.

I would recommend also to contact the national unemployment office to know about the specificities. For example there is.a high chance you have to ask for the U2 form.

You should also call the unemployment office of your nationally country to get the details of unemployment once you will be back.

For example as a French woman I have zero rights because I resigned. I cannot receive the unemployment payment and I lost my years working in Germany, just because I resigned… It sounds ridiculous especiallyy if keeping working was affecting your physical and mental health… Anyway, just check.

BASIC TIPS:

Super basic. do things asap. I know, it is boring, it is complicated etc etc but the more you wait the more difficult it is going to be! So get at it!

Think about printing things, we do not all have a printer home ;)

At last: positive thinking! It will be difficult, you know it, but you took this decision and you were strong enough for that so you will get through all those administrative details!

GOOD LUCK!!


A long weekend in Taghazout

TIPS:

-      Supratours is one of the  most famous bus company and it is trustful.
I was lucky, the bus was always on time and we arrive at the time they indicated.
Online it seems like you can buy online but the platform blocks each time you will try to finalize the payment. I asked at my hostel in Marrakech and they told me the booking online never works ^^ So you have to go to the supratours station in your city of departure to book the ticket.
Marrakech-Agadir is 100MDR (=10euros), the bus is comfortable, AC.
One thing to know: you need to pay for you luggage (5MDR/luggage, 0.50euros) and you can only do it just before departure so consider a time buffer before departure.

-      Be really careful with the sun, it is super strong there, especially if you surf! Both time I have been there I have seen people getting sun stroke. I also got burnt on the face my last day of surfing because I forgot some spots.

-      Even in Taghazout you have to negotiate prices ;)

 

WHAT TO PACK?

-      Sun cream (strong one ^^) and zinc if you surf

-      Swimsuit

-      Cap

-      Sun glasses

-      Beach towel 

-      Medicines in case you get sick: sun stroke or indigestion

-      Music booth (so perfect when you have a surf break)

-      Book

-      Water bottle (sustainable) because then you can buy the 5-10L water bottles and reduce plastic use.

-      Yoga gear

-      I would say buy argan oil / beauty products / hair oil there

-      Earplugs and sleeping mask

 

WHERE TO STAY:

-      There are many hotel/hostels in Taghazout and many of them look cute but I highly recommend Dfrost. The villa is adorable, perfectly located, gorgeous terrace with view on the see, private bar on the rocks facing the sea, rooftop (the yoga sesh are there!), the rooms and dorms are so nice, the food is delicious, the personnel is adorable, the surf teachers are good and fun and friendly. You get it, I love the vibe there, I feel so good when I am there!
One great thing also: you can pay everything by card at the end so no real need of cash.

 

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:

-      If you stay at dfrost the food will be included and it is so good (and local!) you will not have the need to go somewhere else^^

-      Along the main beach you have many bars and restaurants, all adorable because they really understood what people like us are looking for ;)

 

WHAT TO DO:

-      Surf: Taghazout is known for surfing. Indeed, you have so many surf spots al around and for all the levels. Most of them are beach break with beautiful waves. It also the perfect place to start and learn because of the beach breaks and the great white waters or baby green waves. There are also some pro spots know worldwide. Dfrost offers the full package: surf safari, classes, equipment. The teachers are super nice, chill and give good advice.

-      Hammam! Dfrost offers the experience for 25euros! They come to pick you up at the airport, bring you to this local hammam 5-7min drive from the villa and there you enter a real local hammam. You start by the main hammam room, where you cook for 10-15min and then a woman comes to wash you! Yes, wash ^^ Black soap, shampoo, body scrub, argyle… so nice. Then you relax in the saloon with some tea an biscuits while they get ready for the one hour massage. At last you can relax once again in the saloon until you are ready to leave. SO SO chill and relaxing and your skin is so soft after. I highly recommend it at the start (get you skin ready) and the end (cleanse) of the trip.

-      Paradise valley: a half day / full day experience. Same, dfrost offers an excursion for 25euros I believe. I did it last year and it is a really nice break after many days surfing. You are in the middle of the nature, it’s a beautiful walk and you and do cliff jumping if you wish!

-      Essaouira: I did not go because I was focusing on surfing, especially this time because I had only 3 days. But I know Essaouira is an adorable city so I would recommend to go if you have time.

-      Agadir: Not the most beautiful city and the beach is super touristic but you can still go there for a day to check it out (there is even a souk). You can also surf there. I am not a big big fan but you can go to cross it out of your list ;)

-      Go to the skatepark on the heights of Taghazout. To go you can walk by the road or cut straight up from the city center. The view there is beautiful and the skatepark is colorful and so chill.

-      Yoga classes. It is cheaper than in Europe and the spots are usually great. At Dfrost there is a session early morning (7am) and in the evening (6:30pm) on the rooftop!

-      Eat… enjoy the real tajines for cheap! ;)

 

WHAT TO BRING BACK:

-      Argan oil! Walk along the main beach and at some point you will see a super small stand where a family is selling argan oil. It is super cheap compared to Europe, local, and pure oil. I bought it 2 years ago and loved it. I bought it again this time and still love it.

-      Local silver jewelry: way cheaper that in Europe but still, you have to negotiate to arrive to a ok price!

-      Local bowl/cups/objects: you will see so many things you want to buy, I am not worried ;) I would recommend bowls and cups because once back home when you use it it will bring you back to Taghazout <3

-      Surf poncho: it is THE one thing you will see everywhere on the beach and it is actually so practical and comfy ^^ Yes it will take a lot of space in your luggage but like me you can just wear it at the airport, to really push the surf feeling to the very end ;)

 

THE TRIP:

So here is the deal: I had the wedding in Marrakech and then I could go back directly after or take the next direct flight to NBG, 3days after.

Then when I thought about Morocco I thought about waves so here it was: I needed to surf ^^ And when I think surfing in Morocco I think Taghazout and I think Dfrost!

I loved it so much last time (Jan 2018, see article) that I wrote them again and they told me they would love to welcome me once again. I am so happy!.

 

DAY 1:

I go from Marrakech to Agadir by bus with Supratours. The bus is perfectly one time and we even arrive an hour earlier… No idea how this happened and the people at Dfrost told me they’ve never seen this so… lucky me! The driver picks me up. It’s the same one than 2 years ago! He is so nice. I am just so, so happy to be back. It is crazy how you can feel good in some places of the world. Well Taghazout is one of those places for me. The drive is beautiful but so many things changed! So many new hotels… I really hope they will stop at some point to save the region and I really hope they will not touch to Taghazout and keep it as an adorable fishermen and surf village. I arrive at Dfrost and things also changed there! New reception, new bar on the rocks, new boards room… love it! What did not change is how cute the villa is, how chill is the vibe and how nice is everyone!

I drop my bags in the dorm downstairs. The dorm has an amazing view on the water. Then I go to say hi to everyone and I can feel it will be a nice group once again. It is time for diner! It’s not a buffet anymore but dinner is served at the main table outside and it’s perfect because like this you have a real community feeling and I get the chance to meet everyone and indeed super nice and international group! The food did not change: delicious!

Tonight is Tajine night!

Btw, they always have veggie or vegan options if you specified when you booked. We all chill after diner outside on the terrace of the new bar (literally on the rocks by the sea, so gorgeous) and then it is time to sleep. The beds are so comfy and I am super tired so I sleep like a baby.

 

DAY 2:

Ah… this wake up by the sun and this view on the sea… the day starts right! I go on the terrace by the rocks for my daily yoga routine and for some content creation for Instagram (@mc_followsthesun) ^^ So gorgeous, what a spot to practice!

Then I go upstairs for breakfast with everyone.

. So good and I could drink liters of the fresh orange juice!

Nice moment with the group and then we get ready for… surfing! The waves will be small so the teacher give me a 7.0 with volume. We head to Tamri. I have never been here before so I am happy to discover a new spot! We have to wait for the swell and the waves to come., all good with me because I can have a nap ^^ I just love to nap after breakfast. It is so, so warm though, above 40 degrees and big blue sky. Same, I love it but I have to say it was a lot. Time to surf! I did not surf since January in Tenerife and I have a surf lesson for today. We are only 4 to go in the green waves so nice group. The issue… the current is SO strong, it is almost impossible to make it to the lineup. The only other girl in the group abandons, I make it there 4-6 times but not more! Nevertheless, I catch my first wave so I am happy ;) The board is a bit too big and voluminous for me so I am too much above the waves but I don’t care, I am in Morocco and in the water!

The current starts to be dangerous now so the teachers ask us to leave. We have lunch on the beach, chill and head back to the villa. I cannot wait to be tomorrow already! I decide to make the most of the day and to go for my favorite walk in Taghazout to see the village again and buy argan oil. My friend Rhi comes with me and it is her first time here so it is great to show her around. The place did not change, it is still so adorable and relaxing.

We walk around, buy argan oil and head back to the villa in time for yoga! Imagine, after this day to finish with yoga on the rooftop at sunset… Amazing. What could we ask for more…? What about a barbecue?!

It’s Sunday night so it is barbecue night at Dfrost. So good and so convivial. Once again a great and fun night with the crew.

 

DAY 3:

The same routine again: wake up, yoga, breakfast and get ready for surfing! I get some amazing shots after my yoga sash thanks to the girls!


I changed board and have a 6.5 fish, exactly the kind of board I love! This time we head to Agadir beach. We have to wait more than an hour for any waves to appear but same, I have a nap haha. The waves are small, I knew it, but the group is nice and I love my board so we still have a nice time in the lineup (lineup that we can reach super easily today!). We surf for 2h and then head back because… hammam is waiting for us! Once back at the villa I chill on the terrace and not long after the car to take me and another woman from the villa to the Hamman is here. 5-8min drive and here we are. Really nice to be back. It is the last day of Ramadan and 40degrees outside so the women of the hammam are exhausted and the experience is less nice than last time but I fully understand and it is still a nice moment. We have the hammam, the massage and once we are all relaxed and covered with oil we head back to the villa. Once at the villa we are all in a euphoric mood, so fun. We chill and have beers and then with Rhi and Bri we go for a pic sesh on the terrace, we go crazy haha.

Nice diner and chill night, I love this routine.

 

DAY 4:

Ok, today I wake up earlier to join the morning yoga session! Once on the rooftop I did not regret my choice. What a great way to start the day. Breakfast and we get ready for surfing once again. Today we go to Imouran. Same, I have never been here and it is a beautiful spot. We chill on the beach and go in the water. Once again the waves are small but we make the most of it. After surf I have a mint tea on the beach, I want to make sure I check all the boxes before leaving ;) We also make sure to take all the pics we want because it is my last day!

We head back to the villa and it is time for me to leave… I say bye to everyone and thank the Dfrost team. The driver drops me in Agadir at the bus station and I take a supratours to Marrakech. The way is GORGEOUS, especially with the sunset light. I am impressed. It is Ramadan so we stop after sunset for diner. Yes it is a loss of time but also a great experience because I experience the last Ramadan diner. We stop at a gas station and they have a special menu for Ramadan. I am not hungry but I go for it! Mint tea, glass of milk, glass of orange juice, pastries, oiled egg, crepes. We head back to the bus and arrive in Marrakech! 
Read the end of my trip on my article focusing on the Marrakech part of my trip

 Once again, THANK YOU Taghazout and Dfrost and I will be back :)

Taghazout

Taghazout

 

 

 

 

A long weekend in Marrakech

 TIPS:

-      At the airport, exchange money AFTER the customs. 
Or withdraw at some point.

-      Book a cab in advance from the airport to your hotel. Prices are legally fixed by the government so you should always find around 100MAD (10euros).
OR if you are not at day time there is actually a bus option, for 40MAD (40cents!), just check on google map from the airport to your accommodation and it will show you the way. There are direct line to place Jemaa El Fna so to the city center where most of the riads are.
You can also then negotiate with the cabs on spot at day time, you tell them you will take the bus when they come to you, they will then go down to 80-90MAD, you can go to 40-50MAD. It works especially from the city center to the airport, less from airport to center because many other tourists do not know and will pay the 100MAD.

-      There are legally fixed day and night fares for cabs. It is usually even written somewhere in the cab!

-      The cabs WILL put the counter! They have to buy law. PLEASE do not trust them when they say a crazy price or that it is a special day in the calendar and the prices are higher today, they lie. At least have the counter for your recurrent routes so you know how much it really costs and then you can negotiate even if no counter. For example from my hotel to the one of my parents it was 6MAD with the counter. If I ask a driver he will say 40-50MAD. I tell him I know it is 6 and that I am ok for 10 (or 20 if I am lazy) if we stop negotiating. You will get an idea of the prices easily J
If a driver says no then say by and go to another one.
Start with “Salam” to be friendly and local.

-      When you walk, do not believe the people who ask you where you are going and who tell you it is close. They lie so you follow them in their back up plan.

-      I would recommend not to follow the people who tell you they will show you around for free

-      I was surprised but many tourists had bare legs and arms/shoulders. Up to you and how you feel, just be respectful. Personally it was 42degrees so I has a short, but with a t-shirt covering my shoulders and nothing sexy ^^ I even saw crop tops, seriously!

-      Usually you need to divide the price by 5 but by 4 is a good deal

-      Keep your bag close to you and in the front, we saw pickpockets 

-      Leave space in your suitcase when you come… you will want to buy so many things there ^^

-      If you want to exchange money the best rate is at “Chez Ali” on the Jemaa El-Fna square

-      You can buy double tickets for Jardin Majorelle and for the YSL museum. The queue to the museum is usually shorter and faster so cue there J

 

WHAT TO PACK?:

-      Sun glasses

-      Solar cream

-      Safe bag to walk around

-      Ear plugs

-      Sleeping mask

-      Something to cover your legs and shoulders

-      Depending on the season a fan and a cap/hat

-      Water bottle 

-      Towel

-      Comfortable shoes

-      Camera

-      Swimsuit for hammam

-      If you plan on buying many things an empty folded bag to fill in ^^

 

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK?:

-      NOMAD: YES a touristic please but the location is great, next to the spices market, the decoration is beautiful and the food is good. I loved it.

-      Terrasse des epices: the typical Parisian gathering in Marrakech but yes, it is beautiful, chill, greatly decorated and I have to say the food was delicious! I highly recommend the vegetarian tajine and the ice coffee.

-      Max & Jan: My favorite rooftop maybe. Less “Parisian” and more hippie. I could spend my day chilling there. 

-      Juices on places Jemma El-fna: the place is fool of trucks selling fresh juices

-      Trou au mur: really famous restaurant in Marrakech. I did not go but I got it recommend by several people.

-      Café des épices: just in front of NOMAD, same style.

-      Café francais: super cliché and touristic but what a view on Place Jemaa el-fan and the food is good.

-      Kechmara: highly recommended on the internet and my parents loved it so I would follow their taste J

-      The Moorish Cafe and drinks

 

WHERE TO STAY?:

-      Equity: really nice hostel. The dorms are a bit old school but it is clean, safe, greatly located and the patio with the small pool is really nice.

-      Rodamon: This hostel is amazing! Open 24h/7d, always secured, welcoming personal, super clean rooms, one bathroom per dorm, secured lockers per bed, the beds are like small cabins you can close with a curtain for intimacy, super location, a beautiful rooftop with you on the Koutoubia, a small pool in the patio. HIHLY recommended.
They do not provide a towel though. The breakfast is not included (4euros). The water bottles are super expensive so buy outside.

-      Bed square: I would NOT recommend it. The location is great but not super safe. It is not open all the time. The dorms give on the patio so it is noisy and during the night you are awake by the ring. No chill space, not the best rooftop, no small pool, shared bathroom for all the dorms. The beds are great though, there are individual lockers, they provide a locker and breakfast included.

-      Radison Blue Gueliz: wayyyy more fancy that what I can afford but I was lucky tat my parents stayed there. Great rooms, chill terrace and pool, good food, amazing breakfast, super secured, adorable personnel.

 

WHAT TO SEE?:

-      Well, to be honest google will give you all the main touristic spots to see and you should see them at least one. I list all the ones I preferred and remembered.

-      Palais de la Bahia: the most beautiful palais in Marrakech, it is gorgeous

-      Palais El Badi: great too. Way bigger and it is nice to walk around and to see the storks and ruins

-      Jardin Majorel and YSL museum: The jardin is a MUST to see, gorgeous. The museum is nice but you feel like in Paris and it looks like the other YSL exhibitions you may have seen. There are 2 cues but you can buy a double ticket at both entrance so I would recommend to cue at the museum because usually faster and less people J

-      Medina: just to walk around plunges you in another world, I love it.

-      Menara: emblematic from Marrakech so nice to see but not a must 

-      Place Jemaa El Fna: where you know you are in Marrakech. What an energy! Go there at night especially.

-      Koutoubia: emblematic too. Love the architecture and to walk in the gardens around.

-      Saadien’s Tombs: one thing to see in Marrakech too, beautiful architecture.

-      Souks: the one thing to do in Marrakech! Get lost, buy too much, negotiate a lot <3

-      Maison de la photography: small museum but great exhibitions. Go to the rooftop for the panoramic view!

-      Le jardin secret: adorable and peaceful, go for a coffee even! Just take your time there.

-      Ben Youssef school: I could not go because it is into renovation but if it is open go!

 

 THE TRIP:

Aaaaaaand, I am BACK!
Way earlier than I expected J

I have the wedding of my oldest friend in Marrakech, I cannot say no.

I am not a super fan of Marrakech BUT I am willing to give it another try.

Interesting fact: there are direct flights Nuremberg-Marrakech with Ryannair! Twice a week AND super cheap. I book from Wednesday to Wednesday, will spend 3 days in Marrakech for the wedding and then head again to Taghazout to surf with @dfrost (see updated blog post after my second visit!)

Now I am SO looking forward J

 

DAY 1:

I arrived the night before from Nuremberg. 4hours flight with Ryanair was a challenge for my back and neck back but I survived. The taxi drop me at the entrance of all the small street leading to my hostel. I was freaking out because I have a bad memory of Marrakech but all good, people are nice and helpful, it is a good surprise.

I woke up in my dorm at Rodamon. This hostel is THE BEST, I highly recommend it. I wanted to go running but I am so tired and it is 42 degrees… I chill a bit on the rooftoooooop and go to meet with my parents at their hotel in Gueliz.


To grab a cab I have to walk to Place Jemaa El-fna. Ah… walking in the Medina is for me the most iconic thing. This place is insane with all the colors, shops, smells, people. I love it, but I just want to be left alone and not to have all the vendors coming to me…

I arrive at the place, I exchange money at “Chez Ali”, and I grab a car to the Supratours bus station because I need to buy my tickets for my trip to Agadir 3 days after. The driver is super nice and directly puts the counter. I then walk in Gueliz from the bus station to the hotel. I did not know this district, nice to see but clearly rich and European style. I meet with my parents, sooooo happy to see them! We go to the YSL museum that opened not long ago. It is nice to see BUT you have the feeling you are in Paris (so many French people) and if you have seen already many YSL exhibitions like me it will not change your life. It is nice as a complement of Jardin Majorelle though.

Then we head back to the Medina to have lunch at NOMAD. We have to pass by the souks and the spices market, I love it. I love also the restaurant! YES super touristic and they know what we want but still, the location is perfect, view on the spices market, beautiful set up, delicious food.



Afterwards we head back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. I will not give all the details but it was an amazing moment at Le Palais Paysan outside of Marrakech. I recommend for a party/seminar.

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I come back at 5-6am to the hostel… ^^ Beautiful light in the super calm streets.

 

DAY 2:

Yes… the head is hurting and I am exhausted ^^ BUT so many things to do here, I cannot just sleep. First I head to Le Jardin Secret. It is adorable, peaceful, beautiful, a nice way to wake up.

Then I join my Parents at La Maison de la Photography. It’s a small building but the photos show you a good overview of what is going on outside of Marrakech and why photographers are passionate about Morocco. The building is beautiful too and the rooftop has a panoramic view.

Then we go for lunch at La Terrasse des épices. Big cliché of a rooftop restaurant owned by a foreigner that did everything he knows tourist love and I have to say… it’s a success ^^ It is adorable and the veggie tajine is one of the best I had. We have a great time with my parents <3

To digest we walk in the souk.

I bring them to Max&Jan, a concept store that I discovered in the morning. Same, Parisian style but adorable. We go to the bar/restaurant on the terrace and I LOVE it! It is so chill, almost hippie vibes.

The good thing with having already done all the touristic thing is that we have time to just chill so we stop again for a drink ^^ I am so tried. Then we head back to their hotel to enjoy the poooooool before Shabbat. All the wedding is celebrating together and it is my first Shabbat, I am so grateful I can join it.

I eat way too much and head back to my hostel to sleep at last ;)

DAY 3:

Last day in Marrakech and with my parents. I join them again at their hotel. Btw, it is the Radison blue and the terrace and pool are great so yes I spend a lot of time there ;) We decide to go to the Menara because it is one of my dad’s favorite place (he has been already 6-7 times to Marrakech!) and I have never been. Indeed it is nice to see and an iconic place but it is not my favorite place!

 We go back to the hotel for pool and lunch and then it is time to say bye. I am always so emotional when I have to say bye! They head to the airport and I head to the bus station direction Agadir!

 

DAY 6 (4-5 I was in Taghazout, see article):

So I just arrived back from Taghazout, by bus. For sure the taxi drivers try to rip me off, especially since it’s night time, but I make my point and get the fair price.

Once at the Place Jema El-Fna it is CRAZY! It is the end of Ramadan so EVERYONE is in the streets! I cannot even go through the crowd to my hostel, especially with my suitcase.

A real experience and I embrace it. It takes me an hour to reach the hostel instead of 8min but what a lively moment. I buy a super super small tajine plate. I do not need it but I want a memory of that moment. I arrive at the hostel Bed Square and I go straight to bed because I want to do a lot tomorrow!

 

DAY 7:

Ok, I have no more excused, I HAVE TO go for a run. My running gear is packed in my suitcase since a week and I have been too lazy to go running until now but I am leaving in some hours so no choice. It is so so warm… I decide to run along the ramparts. I kind of get lost though haha. I start with Place Jemaa El-Fna, go to the Koutoubia and its gardens and then get lost in small streets. After some time I make it to the ramparts.

It is 40degrees, I am dying. I cut the run short because I am already at 10km and time flies. I pass by Palais de la Bahia and I cannot resist… I did not go yet while it’s one of the most famous thing to do. There is no cue so I enter all sweaty in my running gear. It is indeed gorgeous. I am lucky I avoid the tourist groups and I am sometimes alone!

What a nice way to say bye to Marrakech!

I head back to the hostel, get the light breakfast on the rooftop under the sun (ah, those fresh orange juices!), shower and head to the airport.

I wanted to take the bus (YES, there is a bus, see TIPS section) but a taxi driver stops me on the way. He tells me 100MDR (official price) but when I tell him I am not interested because I will take the bus for 3 MDR he drops the price to 40MDR so 4euros… In those moments I tell myself I need to stop calculating every euro ^^ So I say yes and end up taking a cab to the airport and arriving so early, its not even possible to check in haha. All good at the airport and here I am in the plane for NBG.

 

What a trip it has been.

I was reluctant to go back to Marrakech but what a trip I had! I felt in love with the city. You “just” need to take the time and chill, to just follow the vibes.

I will definitely be back!

 

10 days in the Philippines

 

TIPS:

  • Withdraw enough money before going to an island. It is difficult to find ATMs and they usually extra charge you.

  • Always calculate the transport time with extra time because buses/vans are almost always late or stop along the way etc.

  • El Nido IS touristic, true, but still gorgeous.
    I would recommend to book the islands tours at Art Cafe: they are really nice, well organized, and take the credit card.

What to pack?:

  • Solar cream + sun glasses + hat/cap

  • SwimsuitS

  • Mosquitoes spray

  • Passport + driving license

  • Camera / go-pro

  • Sport /hiking gear

  • Scuba diving kit

  • Waterproof bag / phone case

  • Medicines

  • Hydration cream

  • Flashlight

  • Small pillow + eye mask + ear plugs so you can sleep in transports


THE TRIP:

Dates: 5/10/17- 16/10/17
Departure: Paris, France
Arrival: Manila, Philippines

New craziness: to book a round trip to the Philippines, just for 10 days.
Indeed, I found those SUPER cheap flights (460euros if I remember well!) online from Paris to Manilla, so I just booked 😂

THEN I realize it is the rain season but whatever, I want to go back to Asia and to backpack.
THEN I realize the French embassy recommends not to go to the Philippines now.
And yes, such cheap flights come with really long layovers in Saudi Arabia.
But once again, whatever ❤


DAY 1:

Let’s go! I take the plane in Paris and arrive in Jeddah for a 5h layover.
As usual, flights go well for me (thanks dear sleeping pill and movies).
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the airport is super small and everyone looks at me weirdly but I don’t care. I read and sleep most of the time.
Then let’s go again: direction Manila!


DAY 2:

OMG, when I arrive I am SO happy to feel the humidity, the warm, the effervescence around. THIS is Asia and I really missed it.

No time to rest, I head over to the next terminal for ANOTHER flight. Direction Puerto Princesa on the Island named Palawan.
It’s late when I arrive and I don’t intend to stay in the city (the French embassy even recommends NOT to travel there because of terrorist groups). I booked a room in a hotel close-by, the Canvas Boutik hotel. It is really nice, super European/modern style but beautiful and nice pool!
Diner and straight to bed!


DAY 3:

Already 3 days I am “traveling”. I want to SEE things, but no, now it’s a 5-6hours drive in mini-van direction Port Barton.
Nevertheless, the road is just gorgeous and it’s a full immersion in the Filipino culture. I am glowing. I am like “THIS is life! Why am I sitting at a desk all day…?!”.
Anyway, I always have existential crisis when I travel ^^
The road goes through the rice fields, the fields, the mountains, and along the sea. Gorgeous.
Then I arrive at Port Barton, at the Deep Moon resort… it is… paradisiac. Seriously, insane. I love it. Wooden cabans, white sand, palm trees, turquoise water, sun, hammocks etc etc, it has it all!

I go for a walk along the small beach and everyone is so nice! I pick up restaurants’ names and boats tour recommendations.

Then, it’s a tradition, sunset yoga flow on the beach. The dream.

Then… massage time! It’s on the rooftop terrasse of the “hotel” so it’s so nice. I fell asleep.. 🙈

I go for diner at Ausan and end up on the terrace of the hotel, drinking San Miguels (love it) with a Californian couple, super chill. I also have to look what I do the next day because this trip was so last minute that I am planning day after day.

At last, sleep in my private little bungalow on the beach ❤

DAY 4:

Hello jetlag!
I just cannot sleep and I am awake at 5am. At 5:30am I take my decision: sunrise yoga sesh on the beach! I am NOT a morning person so for once I am awake at sunrise I should grab the opportunity 😆
It’s one again a magical moment. I even finish with a run on the beach, barefoot.
All the cliches are reunited 👌

Then great surprise: they have porridge for breakfast, youhouuuu. I can have my daily injection 😉

Then I rent a kayak and go exploring the surroundings of the beach. I head towards a beach called “White sand”: promising! And indeed, I am along the cost and then pass a cliff and then the beach appears, all white and with all those palmtrees… Exactly what I imagined / wanted to see when I booked the trip.

Short refreshing bath and I head to the “sand bank”. Indeed, it’s a sand bank in the middle of the ocean. It looks like Robinson Crusoe’s island. It’s just sand in the middle of nowhere. I stop to walk on it and it almost feels mystical…
Unfortunately i still do NOT have a go pro so no pics of it.

I head back to Port Barton and have lunch at Elsa’s Beach resort.

Then I take a van direction El Nido.
Everyone told me about this place so I cannot wait to arrive. BUT, we leave super late and then the driver decides to actually say hi to every single person on the road 🤦‍♀️ Seriously, I think we met his entire family…

I arrive at Cliffside Hotel. The cliff is beautiful but the hotel is really not great AND I realize all my money got stolen at the Blue Moon while I left my luggages at the reception. I don’t really want to explain the next hours of my trip but it’s a shit-show because I need to find cash and it’s late and the international ATMs are closed until the next day 10am. Anyway, let’s pass this.

I end up at El Nido beach, really not the most beautiful place, especially after Port Barton but it feels like holidays still with all the restaurants with their tables outside on the sand. I have diner at the first restaurant with wifi I find because I need to plan the next day.
Then I just go to bed.



DAY 5:

I am just exhausted. This time I just want to sleep again and again. I push the wake up until checkout time and head to the city center to find cash. Once again, a long story that I will skip. I end up at Art Cafe because they take credit cards and have wifi! Also the place is super nice and THE place in El Nido where all the backpackers go so super nice atmosphere. They also have their own “travel agency” and you can pay by card. At last, food is really good.

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Well deserved breakfast <3

Art Cafe.


I rent a scooter and head to Kuyawyaw Waterfalls. The way to there is breathtaking because you are along the rice fields and see the beaches popping up and all the islands in the horizon.

Once arrived, I walk up to the different waterfall levels. It‘s gorgeous. I have a bath and go back down. Really nice spot that I recommend.

On the way back I stop to the beach Las Cabanas… it’s a postal card seriously. White sand, blue waters, palm trees, and more especially other islands popping up in the horizon. I have lunch at Las Cabanas resort. Great view and good food.

Then I drive back to el Nido because I have to grab a van to Dandalay Bay in the north. I meet with the driver at the elementary school of El Nido and I have time to check around and watch the kids playing.

I arrive at night at Dandalay Beach Resort.
Jerome, a Deutsh guy working here (he left everything to come to work here and to renovate a boat) welcomes me. We have a beer, talk about the meaning of life (as always when you backpack) and he gives me tips of where to go around. So I head to the branded new Mad Monkey on Nacpan Beach. What a nice spot! They even have a veggie burger! Paradise 😉 I also try for the first time the Red Horse beer… it’s strong!
I can guess how the beach will be beautiful tomorrow and I cannot wait to see it at day light!

 

DAY 6:

Chill wake up, sun salutations, short run and workout on Nacpan beach. Between each round of the workout I jump into the water because it is SO warm (but I love it). Btw… indeed Nacpan beach is INSANE. So big and really more savage than what I saw so far. I highly recommend to go there.

One thing though… there is trash and plastic everywhere… So over the next days, each time I walk on the beach and head back to the hotel, I will pick up a bag of trash.

I have breakfast/lunch at the hotel and I rent a scooter to go to Duli Beach because I red that it’s the only place in Palawan were I “could maybe” surf.

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On the way… my tire dies. I am in the middle of nowhere!

Thank god in Asia you almost always have those super small garages by the houses and I found one easily. A super nice adolescent helps me. It’s really old school like he burns some caoutchouc on the tire, test under the water etc etc. Well, I learn a lot!

Ready to go again! 
I arrive at Duli Beach (the way there is pretty challenging) and it’s so gorgeous. I KNOW I say this every 10 lines but I have to because really it is!

This beach is so big and so empty! Only 1-2 small hotels/restaurants with some bungalows. But… no waves… I am starving so I have a break at North Swell. Tables and chairs in the sand, I love it. Banana pancake, “coffee” (ok, powder in not even warm water ^^) and sunny nap. Then I head over to Duli Beach surf and after talking to the tenant I decide to postpone to the next day the surf session because there are just no waves. Right decision because on the way back I am taken under a storm, seriously. The already muddy road become small rivers, it’s an adventure with the scooter.. Never again!

I have diner at the Calitang Beach Resort. Once again the tenant, Matthias, is European who left everything and founded a business and a family there. They are super nice and seem happy, good for them! I have a huge diner and chill with Matthias and Jerome. I try the local whisky… not my favorite drink ut still something to try ;)

 

DAY 7:

It is pouring rain and I am SO sick. Nothing to do with the whisky ;)
It is definitely an insolation. I am burning, I am exhausted, I need to drink, I have no strength. At one moment the weather gets lighter and I push myself to head to Duli beach again. I HAVE TO try surfing in the Philippines. Kind of a bad idea because the roads are horrible. I arrive at Duli Beach Surf and the tenant is SOOO nice. He is Filipinos and used to work in finance in Manilla but then he dropped everything to come on this beach and open this small surf spot / restaurant.

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The waves are SO small… but I still go out with a 7.8

ahah, it looks so huge next to me.

I catch some baby waves but my patience is (not at all) legendary so I am out of the water after an hour. I have lunch at the surf spot and it’s super nice because there is an Italian couple, a Taiwanese and an Irish guy, all traveling the world. I head back to Nacpan beach to walk on the beach but I am SO exhausted, like I cannot even walk anymore so I stop and have a nap on the beach. The wind is getting stronger and stronger and wakes me up (I am also covered by a small layer of sand now!). I have a mango shake (oh yeah) in one of the beach restaurant and it is SO fun: a group of adolescent and children are watching youtube videos. At one moment a what, 5-7 years old boy, starts dancing (hip hop style) and it is SO good! We all applause. Really nice moment with the locals. I head back to Dandalay beach and I arrive for the sunset. It is just insane: the view, the colors, the reflection of the clouds on the water… I cannot resist: yoga flow at sunset!

Some kids are also on the beach and see me doing yoga, and handstands. They come to me and want to try! OMG this is what I just love when I travel: those simple moments I will remember for life, when I randomly bound with locals. I teach them the will and handstands and they show me jumps, kicks etc. Such a nice moment.

It is dark now so I head back to the hotel and go to the Calitang Beach resort for the wifi because I don’t even know where I go and where I will stay tmrw ^^ I book something in El Nido and I also book a new flight back for Manila. Indeed I first took in and out flights from Puerto Princesa but I learn that there is actually an airpot at El Nido! So I prefer to take another flight back than to have to lose one full day to drive back to Puerto Princesa (and it’s dangerous). I spend the rest of the evening drinking Red Horse with Matthias and Jerome, chill evening.


DAY 8:

Ok, the insolation got SO worst with surfing and the day out (yeah I know, predicable) and I spent the night suffering and burning (seriously, you could have cooked an egg on my skin). So really difficult wake up. I check out at 6am and drag myself into the van direction El Nido.

I directly go to Art Café to book an islands tour. I book “Tour A”  for later on (it’s only like 8am!) and have breakfast there (so good). Then it is time to join the group for Tour A. I meet Ingeborg, a German woman, retired, who now lives in NYC and used to work for the UN in Tanzania… yeah… I cannot wait to talk more to her!! I also meet a couple from Guernsey island, Harriet and Hayden. She studied photography but mainly work in a restaurant where she met Hayden who is a chef. What a team we have!

Tour A = Small lagoon and Big lagoon (both on Miniloc Island) + snorkeling  around Miniloc + Simusu Island + Entatula.

Get ready… I will write it again… it is INSANE! You are in a small boat, cruising on turquoise water, among islands popping all around you… When we arrive at Minilov they stop the boat we we have to go by swim to the small lagoon and it is like in the movies: you swim, see a space between 2 rocks, enter and then discover this PARADISIAC lagoon. It is breathtaking.

Also I love swimming so I can really go far in the lagoon and explore all around. We head back to the boat and go to the big lagoon. Gorgeous too. A bit more crowded because tourists can access more easlity with kayaks. Anyway, I swim around and it is an amazing moment. We take the boat again and go to another spot close by for snorkeling. Unfortunately we can already see the effect of tourism/pollution on the corals.

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At last, FOOD! On the boat, all natural, so nice.

We then go to Paradise Beach. Well, I guess no need to explain what I thought about this beach… ;) I really miss having a go pro or waterproof camera to show you all of this!
I have a nap to digest all the food and then I pick up trash until we have to leave to the next spot. The crew helps me so nice solidarity moment. I head back to El Nido and go with a tuk tuk to my next hotel, on Las Cabanas! I liked it so much last time that I booked there. I walk along the entire beach and on the way back I caught the sunset… one of the most beautiful of my life, and I am lucky I already saw a lot of gorgeous sunsets in insane places.

I feel so small facing this real piece of art from Nature. I speak with 2 filipinos, they are here with their old mother on a “girls” trip and wait for it… one works in Hamburg and her best friend worked for adidas in Germany at the Transportation center! So she knows Adidas erzo, the campus, Nuremberg etc.
WTF, seriously, the world is so small!


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Then I booked… an aloe vera massage on the beach!

It’s on a small terrace facing the sea and the girl uses real leaves of aloe vera for the massage. It is so good and I feel like I changed my skin after that.
I am done for the day ^^ I have diner on the terrace at the hotel and check what to do the next days and I head to bed.

 

DAY 9:

Difficult wake up, I can feel that my body is paying the constant early wake ups, activities and transports. Yoga sesh on the beach, coffee, banashake and I head to Art Café. I meet Ingeborg there because we booked Tour C the day before with the same group ❤

IMG_2616.jpg

I have some free time so I go for some practical shopping around: waterproof bag and phone case.

Oron, an Israeli on a honey moon (but his wife is sick) joins the team!
Tour C = Matinloc and Tapiutan Islands + Secret beach (like this name! ;))

The weather is not really good but I relativize because until now I was kind of lucky for the rain season. 

We start by secret beach and indeed it is a secret beach! It is hidden in a lagoon and from the outside you just cannot see it. It’s an impressive spot.

Then go or snorkeling on another island and we see some colorful fishes but once again the corals have suffered a lot

The weather is getting worst so we decide to stop on a beach for lunch because the waters are getting wild. The beach is beautiful because no one stops there usually ^^ We start the barbecue but the weather gets really wide. Luckily there is a super small cave so we eat there. I really don’t see how we can even reach the boat now, the sea is crazy and the waves are huge. We make it to the boat (thank god I bought the waterproof equipment earlier on!), I am freezing ad completely wet.

We head to Helicopter island because on the list but once there we all agree that we should head back home directly. On the way back the waves crash on us, we cannot be more wet and freezing.

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At last, we make it to Art Café. We all warm up with food (and beers).

It is POURING rain. Indeed the typhoon they were announcing reached the island. I am still so wet that I realize there is no hope to be dry at one point so I decide to go for some shoping for the family. The streets are small rivers but I don’t really care and at least there is no one ^^ Shopping for the family: done!
Then, I feel like having a massage (ok, I always do) and go to Pure Bliss for a full body. The place is not really nice but the massage is super powerful so good point. After that I meet the group at Art Café again and we all go to diner. We end up at Scene onsight Seafront. The place is nice/local and on the beach. There is a huge barbecue so all the guys just eat SO MUCH ^^ Later, we go to Sava for some last drinks. The place is so fancy/European but yes so nice… Then I leave because I really want to run the next day. Warm goodbye to the crew, the past 2 days were amazing mainly thanks to them ❤

 

DAY 10:

It rained all night long and it is still pouring rain when I woke up (typhoon style) so I have to cancel my run and my plan to do the zipline over Las Cabanas. I pack my suitcase, practice yoga in my room and head to the reception for breakfast and check out. The Filipinos girls are here with their mum and invite me to join them. Nice moment.

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I go to El Nido because I want a haircut and to do my nails.

It is SO chip: 5euros nails and 4euros hair cut ahah.

The girls in the saloon are SO nice. They also help me find a tricycle to go to the airport later on.

I still have some time before heading to the airport so I go… to Art Café ^^
And good surprise! Ingeborg is there!! I seat down with her and 2 Australian girls traveling the world. Once again what a nice conversation we all have. Still some time left… so… massage! I don’t have a lot of money left so I can only afford a foot massage, but still, so nice. Then the time has come… I meet the tricycle driver in front of the hair saloon and I head to the airport. Super nice driver, a young boy with 5 sisters and from el Nido. He tells me about his life and how they leave, about school etc.

I arrive to the airport: it is so small but kind of fancy ^^

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I wait for the plane… a propeller plane…

Should I also remind you that we are in a middle of a Typhoon?

I know I have to leave but on the other I am not sure we should! 🙈 Anyway, here we go… In the plane I seriously thought I could die. We have huge ups and downs and the pressure in my brain makes me feel like fainting…

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Anyway we make it alive and the weather is ok in Manila

I am seating next to a French guy traveling before his studies so at least I have a buddy to talk too!

I arrive in Manila and head directly to Zen Rooms hotel. OMG the uber drive is so nice because I go through Manila and I feel like in Bangkok. I love this atmosphere, this energy. I also spot the 7/11!! I found my activity for tonight ^^ The hotel is “ok”. The rooms are HUGE though. I have a walk around at night, do some shopping (you know all those useless things but that look so cute and are so cheap ^^) at 7/11 and end up in a Chinese restaurant, Golden Lang. I do NOT recommend it, super expensive for what it is and not super good. I take away and watch “What’s the health” in my room. Early sleep to have the time to explore tomorrow before the flight.

 

DAY 11:

Nice wake up, I am such in a good mood. I pack and practice my sun salutations (every day!).

Now, I have less than a day to visit Manilla… I selected the old town after friends’ recommendation. Since I don’t have super long I will run and walk all day to do all I want to do.

I first go to  the bay  to see the sea one last time. Nice panorama of the city and its high buildings.

I first go to the bay to see the sea one last time. Nice panorama of the city and its high buildings.

Then I run the Raval Park. It’s a Sunday and many families are out and there are some celebrations. It is SO nice. People are also so nice, so many salute me on the way. They also probably think I am crazy to run on a Sunday under this heat. Then I arrive intra-muros.

It is SO cute and beautiful. I jog around, stop whenever I want, take a lot of pics.

For breakfast I found a lady selling fresh mangos and fresh mango juice on the road. I order so many ^^

I am one of the only occidental here, it’s weird for such a big city. Then I go to Fort Santiago and super nice too. The view on the river and the building from the backend of the Fort is great.

I then find a district with graffitis / street art, super nice.

At last, I run back to the hotel along the fort walls. Once at the hotel I get ready, have a last glance by the window and jump in a uber. Manilla: I will definitely be back!

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Once at the airport I chill and at last take the time to finish writing my travel journal.

Just for you to know: I never directly write in my blog. I first have a travel journal where on the right page I write and on the left page I attach my polaroid pics, hotel cards, memories etc. I think all my travel journals are part of the most precious material things I possess!

Then I arrive in the plane and final joy: an entire row for myself! So one movie and sleep!

 

DAY 11:

Once again, a 5h layover in Jeddah and then second plane to Paris, and then… a 4h30 layover in Paris at Terminal 2G (if you know, you know)! What a long way back! But I will spend most of the layovers planning my next trip to Italy (blog article already live).

 

To summarize: This trip confirmed once again that I love Asia. I love the energy, the people, the atmosphere. Also I really needed this break because I could feel the burnout coming since my work is an “always on” job. 

I will go back to the Philippines, I have so many islands left!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  







































































































































































BANGKOK: TIPS & 4-DAY PLAN

TIPS:

Caption:
❤️ = don’t miss, REALLY
+++ = don’t miss
++: good/nice
+: ok
-: don’t go

IN GENERAL:

·     Cab: ALWAYS put the meter. They are liars if they tell you it’s a fixed price.
Just say bye and take the next cab.

·     Check the time of sunset to make the most of the rooftops!

·     Be careful pick pockets. I never had an issue but be careful.

·     Eat as many pad thai, padang curry and mango stocky rice as possible <3

·     Withdraw at the Citi Bank at Asok near your hotel. It is one of the bank with the less fees.

·     When you go to a rooftop or a more fancy than the usual place: no flipflops and no shorts/Bermuda for guys

·     Be Careful, there are 2 airports in BKK

 

HOTELS:

  • RetrOasis: great location, really clean, cute and refreshing pool

  • Radison blue: more expensive but insane pool on the roof

  • In general, so many cheap and nice hostels in BKK, trust the reviews!

 

RESTAURANTS:

·     ❤️

Sala Arun: amazing restaurant/view on the river and on Wat Pho

Sala rattanakosin: next to sala arun, great too

Det 5: it was my canteen in Bangkok because super close to my place, cheap and so good.

Stable lodge: my second canteen

Roast: go for brunch

·     +++

Cabbages and condoms: great place, for a good cause, fun decoration and super good food

Blue elephant: more expensive but delicious

Terminal 21: you will find everything for cheap at the food court

22 kitchen

Viva 8: chill and fun space at Chatuchak market

Bonfire

Ban Chang: delicious curries

Baiyoke Sky hotel: more expensive but insane view and huge buffet

·     ++

My darling: huge space near khaosan road, nice decoration

Radison Blue: go for the brunch

Suk 11

Maya: Indian restaurant with a nice view.

 

LADIES NIGHTS:

  • Maya: free flow of prosecco

  • W hotel: free flow of champagne

  • Coyote: Free flow of Margarita

  • Dusit Thani hotel

  • Cé la vie: free flow of "cider”, a bit too posh

  • 22 Kitchen & Bar: free sparkling wine and cocktails

 

ROOFTOPS:

·     ❤️

Octave bar: one of my favorite Rooftop

·     +++

Vertigo - Banyan tree: insane rooftop

·     ++

Above 11: a nice rooftop, super chill, not super high

Moon Bar: great rooftop but too posh for me

Sky Bar: beautiful view but too posh

BARS:

·     +++

Café des stagiaires: feeling like in Europe 

Tuba bar: huge cocktails

Cocktail revolution

·     ++

Charlie's bar: cheap drinks in the party street. Lots of international students going there.

Hemingway: really nice space and with happy hours. But don’t go for the food

Betty Bar

Ocean lounge: cool to chill 

·     -

Sway

 

CLUBS:

·     ❤️

Glow: only techno club

·     +++

Sofitel: Pool party during the day on Sundays
Mustache Bar: Nice line up from time to time

·     ++

Levels: really bad music but nice space and free entrance + free bottle of vodka for 5 people until 11pm 

Cé La Vi: Great view but commercial music

·     +

Sugar: really bad club but free with the levels’s stamp and in the same street

·      -

RCA live: horrible space with 16 years old student and horrible music

 

 MASSAGES:

·     ❤️: Wat Arun massage school

·     +++: Urban retreat

·     ++: Almost any massage place in BKK is ok!

 

WHAT TO SEE?

·     ❤️

  • Chatuchak market

  • MBK Mall: you will find EVERYTHING

  • The royal area:
    -  Wat Arun
    - Wat Pho
    - Royal Palace

·     +++

  • MOCA museum

  • China town:

  • Visit the Golden Buddhas temple

  • Visit Wat Trimitr

  • Walk on Yaowarat Roadand around to feel the atmosphere 

  • Wat saket

·     ++

  • Bang krachao: island to bike. You can go to a floating market and to the Bangkok tree house for a food/drink break 

  • Terminal 21 Mall: Have a walk in to see the floors, each one represent a different country.

+

  • Soy 11: the street with all the bars

  • Coyboy street: the road with all the stipclubs

  • Khaosan Road: the student/party road

 

TRIP – EXAMPLE: 4 days in Bangkok

 I would recommend to book an hotel around Asok (I recommend RetrOasis)

Day 1: Welcome to Bangkok, get the feeling of it and stay awake!

 Landing in the morning.

  • Check-in to hotel

  • Have a walk from your hotel to Terminal 21 Mall.
    Have a walk in to see the floors, each one represent a different country. 
    Have lunch at the food court on last floor.
    It is really local/cheap if you want and you can get the FAMOUS pad thai and mango sticky rice.

  • Take the MRT at Sukhumvit (close by the Mall) until Hua Lamphong and welcome to China town!
    Three main things to do here:

    • Visit the Golden Buddhas temple

    • Visit Wat Trimitr

    • Walk on Yaowarat Roadand around to feel the atmosphere 

  • Take the MRT back to Sukhumvit.

  • Then here 3 options according to how you feel:

    • Massage at Urban Retreat(SUPER nice place but not the cheapest) or a cheaper option around (at the entrance of Soy 8 you will find some)

    • Sunset drink at Octave bar

    • Go directly to diner

  • Diner at (3 options here, all in the area):

    • Det 5

    • Stable Lodbge

    • Cabbage and Condoms 

  • If after you still want a drink close by, Soy 11is THE streets for bars:

    • Above 11

    • Cheap Charlie’s

  • On the way back, pass by Coyboy Street… the prostitution street but still touristic so you should see it.

  

DAY 2: The historical and gorgeous Bangkok

  • For breakfast up to you but find something around Asok and fast/cheap.
    You could go to Terminal 21 again or Det5 or Stable Lodge.

  • Go to the boat pier at Saphan Taksinwith the BTW from Asok

  • Take the boatuntil Wat pho 

  • Visit Wat Pho

  • Take the boat to cross to Royal Palace

  • Visit the Royal Palace

  • Lunch at Sala Rattanakosin (if fully booked go next door to Sala Arun): 

  • Visit Wat Arun.
    Have a massage at the massage school in the temple area. As soon as you arrive go straight there to book a time slot and then visit until your time and after if you are not done.

  • If you want more:

    • Flower market close by, nice atmosphere and really almost in front ofr Wat Arun.

    • Wat saket: a temple with a nice view because on a small mountain

  • Go back to the hotel for shower and change.

  • Rooftop Drink at Octave Bar if not done the day before.

  • Diner at (see day before, depending on what you did the past day):

  • If after you still want a drink etc see day 1.

 

DAY 3: Chatuchak market and MBK: shopping time!

  • Have breakfast around the hotel.

  • Take the BTS from Asok to Mo Chit

  • Walk to Chatuchak market.
    Have cash and bags with you, it is shopping time!

  • Walk in Chatuchak, biggest market in Thailand
    Have lunch in the market at Viva 8

  • Take the BTS until National Stadium (welcome to my school! This is where my Uni was)

  • Go to the MBK center. It is the biggest mall and you will find EVERTYHING for your trips. Really everything.
    Last floor there is a cheap hairdresser so go if you fancy it.

  • Take a cab to Banyan tree for a Sunset drink

  • Take a cab or walk to Ban chiang, a really good restaurant.

 

DAY 4: DEPARTURE

·     Chill at the hotel

·     Brunch at ROAST(go by cab)

·     Head to the airport. 
Go by cab all the way or by cab to the closest MRT or BTW station for your airport.
BE CARREFUL THERE ARE 2 AIRPORTS IN BKK.

 

 

 

Ragnar Relay Wattenmeer

TIPS:

  • How to get ready?

- Read the Ragnar Bible
- Define a captain and 2 co-captains.          
- Divide the responsabilities within all the team.
- Meet with the team several times to go through R&R and the next steps
- Order online all that is needed.
- Start packing early!
- create playlist for the van and your runs
 

  • What to pack?

- WARM clothes for at night or to warm up after a rain (especially if rainy...)
- More running outfits than the number of your runs if ever you have to take the leg of a teammate or the weather changes.
- Cables / Plugs to charge sevral phones in the car
- Power banks
- Music booth
- Solar cream
- Cap
- Raining gear
- 2 running shoes (if wet or blisters)
- first aid (especially for cuts, burns, blisters)
- Mosquitoes spray
- Earplugs and sleeping mask
- Pillow
- confy hoodie/blanket/sleeping bag to sleep in the van
- FOOD: you will want to eat all the time almost to bring healthy and power food. 
I also prepared pasta in advance and I really appreciated it at 2am in the morning.
- water bottle
- earphones
- all the equipment required by the Ragnar Race: secutiry jackets, lights etc
- foam rolls / Compex / Voltarene / Tape
- things to decorate the van
- big trash bags for your used clothes
- "clothes wipes": to put with your used clothes to kill the smell
- toilet bag (the usual: deodorant, toothbrush etc)
- toilet paper
- cash
- running pouch/bag if long run

 

THE TRIP:

So... I’ve done 10km races, half-marathons, marathons... what next could I do? What challenge could I fing in y quest fo always doing something new? 🤔

Fortunately, one day a colleague of mine comes to my desk and ask me if I know about the "Ragnar Relay".
What is that? A 250km run, from Hamburg to the sea, 10 people, 2 vans, 24h.
I am... IN!
Wait... it's only 3 weeks before Berlin marathon. Ok, it's a perfect training then and it's ony an average of 25km per person.
Wait... it's not enough then... 😂
That's when my collegue tell me about the "super difficult leg of the race cold the Ragnar leg", a 16km run in the middle of nowhere at night.
Let's also mention that the crew then have is made of great people so it is decided: I will join! 

You need to know something before joining a Ragnar Relay: it’s a lot of preparation! (See rubric TIPS above).
Build the team, sign-ups, transport, rent the vans, book hotels, read the Ragnar Bible with all the rules, buy the equipment, calculate the paces etc etc.
AND we are lucky: in the team we are all sporty so we did not have to train for it.
But let’s say all of this is taking care of and it’s the day before the event, here is my journey:

 

DAY 1: on the way to the race.

It's Friday, I am home office so all week long I postponed the packing time to today... but things get super packed and when at last I look at the time I only have one hour left to get ready and pack! Thankfully, I had written done on my phone (another tip here!) a list of what to take so I go through the list and pack ASAP. 
I make it to the airpot more than on time (perks of leaving of Nuremberg: the airport is so small ^^) and meet with the team: we are READY!

The journey continues:
Plane ✅
S-Bahn ✅
Air bnb ✅
Bed ✅ 

 

DAY 2: let’s get started!

I wake up and look at the window: it is pouring rain...
We knew it (but I guess my brain did not want to accept the info when I packed so I am not equipped AT ALL) but we still had hope the weather channels would be wrong.
We pick up the vans, check out of the air bnb, go grocery shopping for the weekend and here we are: time to say bye to half of the team that will be in van 2 and meet us at the exchange point 1 in some hours.


Indeed here is the principle of the race: we are a team of 10 runners, divided in 2 vans. The first van starts and each runner has one “leg” to run one after the other (relay). The legs vary from 5k to 16k. At the end of the first 5 legs, van 1 meets van 2 with the 5 other runners in and  we give them the baton to continue the relay. They run their 5 legs and our role is to be at the meeting point 2, 5 legs later. Etc etc during 250km! From Hamburg to St Peter Ording.
Yeah, what an idea 😉

Btw, name of our team: Vicky the Viking and the limping Pirates!!!
(Don't ask, long story 😂)

So with my team (van 1) we head up to the start line near San Pauli in Hamburg.
It is still... POURING rain.
Whatever, we pick up the bibs and our first runner gets ready!


Once at the starting line, I realized that we are in the same wave as Midnight Runners, the Reebok French influencers and a team from AR Berlin! I am so happy to see all those faces. It really feels like a bid running family gathering ❤

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It's 2pm: 3-2-1-GO! 
Our first runner

starts the relay

The start of the 24hours chrono!

Run 1 passes to runner 2, runner 3 passes to me 💪
I am runner 3. My first leg is a 5,4km at the exit of hamburg and along the sea towards the north. It is GORGEOUS and CLEARLY, all the rich people from Hamburg live here! Amazing houses with private garden on the sea.
I run my leg at marathon pace, under the rain… but well at least it is not cold.

I pass the baton and the race keeps on for 2 more legs and we need to drive to the first major exchange point with van 2.
We arrive there and we receive a text from our last runner: she is lost! Apparently, some people on the road gave her a false indication and she went 3km in the wrong direction. She is with a group of runner and they have to wait for the van to pick them up, drive them to where they dropped off the route and then run to us. We loose a good 45min but to be honest I do not take this adventure as a race so I don’t care, but shhhut 🤫😉
While we wait we decorate the vans and take pics, so all good!

At last we give the baton to the other team and we have approximately 2hours in front of us to drive to the next major exchange point and rest/eat.

It is pouring rain and I am FREEZING.
I did not planned at allthe right way my suitcase and I mainly have short and tanks...
But here again the running community is here and Gabriel from Midnight Runners lends me a warm sweter. It will save my adventure ^^.

I skip the diner so I can sleep in the van while the others go for food. It was much needed! 

Time flies and it is already time for our first runner to receive the baton from the last runner of the other van. We hug the team and already time to go.

My second leg is a 8k at 22pm. I am freezing but once I am out of the van and with the runners waiting for their relay I feel motivated. It is raining and windy so I am wearing all the time a gorgeous “kaway poncho”, you know the high quality poncho you can find almost everywhere for 2euros! 😂 I kind of create my own adidas x Alexander Wang style... 👌

The run is more challenging than I expected: in the middle of the fields, pitch darks, some fences to climb, SO windy because along the sea and no trees around. But weirdly enough, to run under the rain, to fix the light spot on the ground that my headlamp creates, to ear the wins... is kind of cradling… I like it!
The 8k goes really well and I pass the baton earlier than expected.

The rest of our legs goes well, we even take a ferry at one point! ^^

We make it to the second exchange point and wait for the last runner of van 2.

IMG_9269.jpg

I don’t even know how many layers of t-shirts I have on me. All that I took in my suitcase and that was not already used for a run is on me!

I should launch my own running collection seriously...

 

DAY 3: I don't know anYmore what dry means...

We all have a short nap in the Van, then our first runner gets ready to receive the baton around  3am.
I eat my pasta at 2am because at 4 I will be up for a 16km. 
Team 2 arrives, the passation is done, hug to the team and time to go!

Run 1: done.
Runner 2: running.
So here I am… 4am and ready to go. We have a 45min delay all in all so I will start my run around 5am. The rain and wind are insane. I am crazy, I know, but actually I find it challenging and super rewarding to be outside running under those conditions. In my mind I am like “wtf MC, it is 5am in the morning, it is pouring rain and windy, you are in the middle of nowhere with a headlamp and you run 16km”. I love this feeling…

Apart from the rain (that actually stops around the 10th km!) the run is really nice, in the middle of Nature and thanks to our delay I witness the sunrise! 
I think it is my most memorable moment of the race, this sunrise in the middle of nowhere, with the headlamps of some other runners in the landscape behind me.

FINISHER! I finished the famous Ragnar Leg (most difficult of the race)! I even receive a special medal. I also finished my work for the Ragnar Relay all in all, I am done! 

We have 2 runners left and then our van is done! We made it!
We give the baton to van 2 to for them to finish the race. Once again I meet friends at the passation spot ❤

My team has some energy left and wants to “drive around”, personally, I eat my daily amount of porridge and fell asleep 😉

We then drive to St Peter Ording where the finish line is.
We even have the time to cheer on the last runner on van 2 beofre the finish line. Then we meet with the rest of Van 2 and we all wait for him to arrive.


We all run (or try to, he is so fast) with him the last 100m and here we are... FINISHERS!


Our captain gathers the medals and give them to us one by one, really nice moment AND the sun is shining.

It is then time to celebrat => Beer time! (Alcohol free for me, marathon prep is still on).
We chill at the finish line spot all together and I can see most of my friends in other teams arriving so it is so nice!
It is still early but we head for BURGERS in a closeby restaurant, Die Insel. The place is nice but I DO NOT recommend the veggie burger. It is a huge piece of cheese, way too fat and nothing elaborated.

Then we drive to our air bnb, 20min from the center, in the middle of nowhere (apart from thousands of sheeps) and in a former school! We even have bunkbeds in dorms, and eat in a canteen style, pretty fun.
But... there is NOTHING to do… The team is tired and happy about it but it is so painful for me to do nothing, I hate this… I do my best: I sort out the pics of the weekend, I expand my clothes outside, I call my parents etc etc, but then I cannot anymore and decide to go to bed at 8pm... Better to capitalize on sleep than to get bored.

 

DAY 4: Back to reality.

We all wake up in this old school: I have the feeling we will actually have classes! 
Breakfast all together and time to leave.
We drive first to Hamburg to give back one of the van and we have lunch at Froindlichst. SUPER nice. I recommend it: a vegan restaurant with so many choices!

Then direction Nuremberg!
Long ride but the stops are pretty fun with all of us stretching by the road. I am almost all the way plugged to my Compex 😂

At last we arrive at Nuremberg and time to say bye 😢

What an adventure... What I will remember:
-      The rain and wind
-      The proudness when running under this weather at night
-      The team <3
-      The meetings with the other teams at the exchange points and see all my friends from different teams and cities/countries
-      The finish line, trying to catch up with our last runner.

I would be definitely in for another Ragnar Relay BUT:
-      Ultra-team: 5 runners instead of 10
-      A place with no rain ^^
-      Pack better
 

So maybe another Ragnar Relay article next year! 🔥