Travels

Doors of San Francisco, Part Two.

The Painted Ladies

Architecture photography has a very special place in my heart. The streets, the buildings, trees, facades, windows… they are all little puzzle pieces that give the city its ‘vibe’. I like historical cities where the buildings go as early as couple of hundred years back and you can still read ‘Tailor’ or ‘Butcher’ shop signs made by marbles on a little café. That’s why I will never get bored of traveling through Europe. So much historical beauty in such a small space.

Spending three weeks in the United States, has changed my view on this topic and I’ve added some new cities to my long list of ‘Places I Would Go Over And Over Again’. San Francisco on that list, without a doubt, takes the first place.

Recently, I have decided to write a small piece in order to honour the most beautiful details of this city: the doorways. So just sit back and take a sip of your coffee while you enjoy reading our days in the city of San Francisco with the little help from the colourful doors.

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Door Number 775

It was roughly 8 a.m but we were already showered, dressed up, gotten our caffeine fix and ready right outside of our hotel. A busy day walking to the Fisherman’s Wharf, a strolling through the Pier 39 and visiting the iconic Painted Ladies. Busy day indeed but nothing short of entertaining.

Whenever we are exploring a new city, we always end up walking for the majority of the day. Not that we have anything against public transportation -they do suck sometimes- but walking makes us feel more included in the daily life and we always end up catching the little details this city has to offer.

That’s when we came across Warrington 775, a gorgeous doorway right at the hearth of the city, surrounded by big towering hotels. To describe the contrast, despite the clean esthetics of this photo; we were tired -again, walking for hours everyday is never easy-, defeated by the sun, hungry and my pretty shoes were betraying my feet by causing blistering. On top of that, we were wondering if the tram we are about to take is the correct one or not. Not the condition I would wish anyone to see us in but all those can’t stop me from snapping a pretty doorway when I see one.

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Door Numbers 534, 532, 530

San Francisco can impress you at every corner. Looking away or checking your map for a moment and you might overlook some of the finest details that make this city so unique.

The coffee is tasty, people are relaxed, streets are busy and the hills are steep.

On our way to the Painted Ladies we’ve stopped for a moment to check where we were and apparently we took a wrong turn somewhere. Which brings us to door numbers 534, 532 and 530. Small details we wouldn’t be able to come across if we didn’t get lost first.

These doors belonged to a building that looks like a worn out version of all the other gorgeous buildings surrounding it. Looking very calm, almost unoccupied. What made them special was the sign right next to door 534; saying ‘We don’t care about who you are or which country you come from, if you are in need of a shelter, ring the bell. We don’t believe in walls.’

Small sign with a big meaning. These doors may not be the prettiest of all, but they are the most important. Without even thinking about it, I took this photo.

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Door Number 210

Door number 210 was not the easiest one to spot. This little house we’ve spotted on our way to Pier 39 was nicely tucked away on a crowded street, hiding in a coat of greenery.

It was surrounded by a small garden which looked like it belongs to another place rather than San Francisco. The trees grew taller and the calming sound of the small fountain was there only if you stopped and listened to it.

If you are one of those who enjoys spending time at home more than being outside, this house would be your oasis. Just grab your book, your warm cup of coffee and hang out in that garden until someone has to come and check if you were alright. That’s my kind of a weekend, indeed!

Leaving my dreams behind, I chose to listen to my rumbling stomach. After I’ve snapped a quick photo, we’ve continued our way to grab a bite. What matters more at that point was whether I felt more like tacos or a burrito.

-Ceren

Our trip didn’t end there and neither did the artistic doorways of San Francisco. If you liked what you’ve read so far, why not tune in for Doors of San Francisco, Part Three?

Missed the beginning? then don’t forget to read Part One!

You can find more photos of San Francisco on my Instagram account! Find me @crn.spymn

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Travels

Doors of San Francisco, Part One.

San Francisco Skyline from Alcatraz

When we have decided to do our road trip through California, I had only one city in my mind: San Francisco. Was it because of the fact that I grew up watching Full House and had a crush on Uncle Jesse all those years? That might very well be the case, but let’s not get into that right now. Unlike me, regardless of your reasons; it is very easy to agree on the beauty of this city’s architecture, misty weather, music and history. It is, indeed, fascinating but after spending a few days, there was one little detail in this city that became my sudden favourite: the doorways.
Every one of them has a different story to tell me about what we were talking about as we were passing by, what we did right before they caught my eye and what we were up to right after we parted ways.

So, in order to honour the most beautiful details of San Francisco, I’ll write a little bit about the doors of this city. Just sit back, get your cup of tea and follow our footprints.

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Door Number 2363

On our first morning we woke up quite early thanks to our lingering jetlag; but when you only have a couple of days to explore this city, waking up early was all we needed.

After a stale bagel and a particularly bad coffee at our hotel, we threw ourselves out to the streets. Sunshine, calm breeze, caffeine buzz, -a bad taste of coffee in my mouth- everything you need to start your day right. This lasted only until the streets slapped us with the harsh reality of San Francisco: climbing, climbing and more climbing. Our calves will thank us tomorrow by refusing to move I guess. Plus, the astonishing architecture of San Francisco is a real treat if your passion in photography mainly consists of buildings, small cafés and facades like me.

So that brings us to door number 2363, on a busy street, right next to a mini market where we bought chips and salsa. A gorgeous doorway often occupied with people walking their dogs or rushing to work at this busy morning hour. I stop and snap a quick photo.

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Door Number 2434

After some walking through the city, we made our way to the infamous Lombard Street. A narrow street which curls up like a spaghetti all the way and covered with flowers and bright greenery. Very scenic indeed. The view from the top also includes a fine line of the San Francisco skyline and when you go down, you can see all the way up the Lombard Street, the passing colourful trams and some more.

Although my high hopes, we were not the only ones who thought early morning hours would be better when it comes to sightseeing. We were trying to squeeze ourselves between two busses full of tourists like ourselves. The result? No decent photos taken, but I’ll survive!

As hours were approaching to the end of our morning, we have decided to grab a decent bite somewhere downtown so it was time for another round of exploring. Holidays are for walking at least 5 hours a day, am I right?

This brings us to the doorway number 2434, right by the Lombard Street, always be remembered as the prettiest doorway in San Francisco, spotted on our way to the most delicious bite at a café called 8 a.m. That chia pudding and the avocado toast still whispers my name when I crave something tasty!

Our little stroll through the town and the downtown breakfast turned into one of the nicest mornings we have had in this city. We continued our wandering, went to drink the first Irish Coffee in America and had ended the day with one too many shrimp cocktails downed with one too many Tom Collins cocktails. La Bella Vita!

-Ceren

Our trip didn’t end there and neither did the artistic doorways of San Francisco. If you liked what you’ve read so far, why not tune in for Doors of San Francisco, Part Two?

You can find more photos of San Francisco on my Instagram account! Find me @crn.spymn 

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Uncategorized

Gezelligheid: More of a Feeling Than a Word

I was sitting under the sun, on a chilly but bright day, sipping my fresh mint tea and snacking on a toast with cheese that is decorated with a tiny little Dutch Flag while watching people passing-by either with their dog or a stroller, or sometimes both. On a day like this there is one word that seems to be lingering on everyone’s sentences that I couldn’t help but notice: Gezellig.

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Delft Centrum

 Me being used to asking my husband about explanation when it comes to anything that is related to the Netherlands, I turned to him and asked: ‘What does ‘gezellig’ mean?’

Somehow there was something about this word that got him puzzled. His reply was: ‘You can’t explain it, there isn’t an exact word for it in English.’

But, how? English is a quite extensive language afterall. Surely there has to be some meaning to it, right? Well, the answer is yes and no. From what I understand from my brief search on the internet; it is more of a feeling rather than a word. To get an idea; it is a cozy, comfortable, warm and familiar feeling.

Waking up to a snowy Christmas morning and opening your presents as a child in your warm living room is, for example, gezellig.

Going out to a nice restaurant with your friends and getting tipsy by the candlelight over a delicious dinner and enjoying yourself is, very gezellig.

Coming home after a long day at work and reading a book under a blanket while your cats are laying by your side is also gezellig.

Walking your dog in a park on a day that is just the right temperature, before the city is awake and ending it with a coffee and a croissant from your favourite cafe is, indeed, gezellig.

It is of course different for everyone; but in general everything that makes you feel content, joyous, cozy and maybe even appreciative of what you have can be described with one tiny word and Dutch are embracing it to the fullest!

 If you asked me several years ago how I feel about this whole concept, I would be less than keen about it all, but now, I kind of like it. As if it allows you to be more aware of your surroundings somehow and more connected to that moment instead of being hurled up in the past and overthinking the future. So, when you think about it, isn’t that what ‘mindfullness’ is? Did the Dutch knew about it all along and kept it all to themselves? Hard to say…

I shook my head slightly to get back to the reality of my surroundings. I was sitting on a dinner table, surrounded by few loved ones and having gourmetten that night, by far one on my favourite Dutch traditions. As my father-in-law poured me another drink, my mother-in-law turned to me and asked:

Gezellig hè?’

Ceren

If you would like to see more photos of this little Dutch city Delft, don’t forget to find me on Instagram!

 

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Travels

Iceland, Part Two: Hopping from Hot Springs to Glaciers.

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Reykjavik

There we were, two honeymooners, in the rural of Iceland wrapped up carefully with so many layers of clothing that our bodies resembled more of a star shape; arrived at our first destination that will require a hike and followed by a quick dip in the natural hot springs. Sounds dreamy, almost too good to be true. Except, it was…

Despite being all keen and eager, as soon as the Icelandic wind started to hit our car pretty rough, I knew this was not going to be all fun and giggles. Then followed the snow storm which caused the roads to cover up in the pretty whiteness in about 5 minutes or so, but we were determined to not to let this get in the way of our desire to get this adventure going. So we hopped off the car and headed straight up the hill. Wait, then why were we not moving forward? Unfortunately the snow was now a proper hail storm and the wind was sweeping me backwards rather carrying me. On top of that the hail hitting my face was already giving me red marks. Basically, we were being slapped around by the weather. How marvellous.

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Þingvellir National Park

After accepting the defeat, we continued to our next destination. The days went by pretty quickly admiring the astonishingly big waterfall Gulfoss, seeing the first geyser known to modern Europeans, climbing the 600 steps to get a better look at the magnificent Skogafoss -while risking being thrown off by the wind, of course- and getting our taste of the Game of Thrones worthy scenery at Þingvellir National Park (some of the aerial shootings of Game of Thrones were indeed there).

Maybe you are one of those who would prefer a relaxing day at the Blue Lagoon sipping a cocktail at their wellness restaurant (pretty much like me), but there is something about Iceland’s natural beauty that could turn anyone into a ‘nature person’ who would always be willing to go back to explore some more.

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The Jökulsarlon Glacial Lagoon

While planning this trip we thought we would start with the exploring and the activities and then after a relaxing day at the Blue Lagoon’s hot waters, finish our trip with a city break in Reykjavik. Therefore, before we finish our time in the wilderness, we saved some of the best bits to the last: The Jökulsarlon glacial lagoon and the dog sledding. Because everyone knows by now that I take every chance to pet dogs and watch their little butts wiggle whilst we enjoy a ride pretty seriously.

The glacial lagoon was everything we hoped for and then some more. It was one of those moments where you feel like the moment just stands still in front of you and you are truly speechless from the greatness of what laid before your eyes. The sky was littered with clouds and the weather was crisp yet calm and we were standing right in front of what I can only describe as the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Visiting Jökulsarlon is one of the reasons why I want to visit Iceland again (and maybe again after that).

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Geysir Hot Springs

After admiring the beauty of this cold, dark, amazingly foreign land. It was time for us to reach our final stop, the capital city Reykjavik. This city definitely has something for everyone. Especially if you have slightly different tastes when it comes to evening going-out’s like my husband and me. The bars are cosy, the food is hearty and always delicious and to top things off, the nightlife is quite buzzing. You can always find a cute corner restaurant to sip a Kir Royale while listening to live accordion or get your kicks with a big bowl of lamb soup with the side of a Brennivin.

It was hard to have enough of Iceland in two weeks and if you are planning to pay it a visit, just make sure to bring an umbrella, a thick coat, gloves and a good hat!

-Ceren

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Feels like something is missing? Don’t forget to read the Iceland: Part one!

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Travels

Iceland, Part One: Our Honeymoon in the Land of the Vikings.

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I have always been one of those who would take a city trip over a nature getaway. Especially when it comes to Europe. Maybe it’s because I come from Turkey; the architecture, the history, the streets, little shops and people -even the countless bikes taking over the streets- just calls me for a city venture.

That’s why when my husband -then fiancé- suggested Iceland for our honeymoon, I was skeptical. First of all; I didn’t know that much about Iceland, secondly do I really want to go to a place that starts with ‘ice’ for our honeymoon in November? Umm I think I’ll pass… Oh on a side note, did I mention the fact that my clumsiness simply prevents me from doing anything remotely adventurous because deep down I know it’s only a matter of time for me to break a leg or an arm?

Anyway, after some serious research and consideration I agreed mainly for the day that we will do dog sledding which also involves us spending time with the dogs and petting them (I mean, who can blame me?).

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Þingvellir National Park

The day after the wedding, we hopped onto our flight to Reykjavik from Amsterdam and then it was time for our grand road trip. After arriving to our hotel, the first night was quite uneventful if you can look over the fact that the Northern Lights were on full swing and we slept through the whole thing. Thinking that we still have thirteen more days ahead of us, we didn’t mind this little incident (turns out that was our only chance).

Next morning, as soon as we hit the road, that was it. I was hooked. Iceland surely does not look like anywhere I have ever been before. The vast emptiness before us filled with nature, mountains, dark clouds, and glaciers in the horizon were mesmerising. The rawness of our surroundings made things even better. Because we picked the beginning of the low season, every spot we visited was calm. How can I ask for more?

The Golden Circle with its geysers, volcanic craters and waterfalls was a unique experience that even me, a city girl who would take pavements over dirt roads any day, was sure that I would have to come back to this country in the future.

Our days mostly consisted on hikes, drives, early nights in and early mornings out. Most of the hotels have either saunas or hot spring pools so who can complain about spending the night in when you have that right outside your door!

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Skogafoss Waterfall

While planning; mainly because we had only two weeks and with the Icelandic winter on the way, Northern parts of the country was not the place for the nordic newbies like ourselves, so we have decided to keep our trip mostly on the South. As much as South never ceased to amaze us; from what we heard and read, the beauty of Highlands is a whole another level. Bigger waterfalls, more epic untouched scenery, even more moonlike lava fields and whales strutting all along the bay? How could that be? For now, South would had to do and was absolutely doing fine!

-Ceren

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Somewhere after the Skogafoss Waterfall

Liked our little nordic adventure so far? Then, don’t forget to get some more at Iceland, Part Two!

 

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PERSONAL, Uncategorized

She Came in Through the Bathroom Window

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I certainly did not come in through the bathroom window but here I am, at a very peculiar time in my life where so many things have changed, so many new beginnings have become the ‘usual’ yet somehow, many more is still yet to come.. And in the midst of everything, I have decided to start my own blog.

Thinking about only last year when I was living in İstanbul with my fiancé and two cats Misa and Taco, wondering where we would be in 2017. We got married in October, went to Iceland for our honeymoon only to be followed by five long months of being apart because of my husband’s new job in Doha, Qatar. Through my eyes, 2017 started off very flashy! In March after a very stressful period of time, I have somehow managed to roll myself over to Doha to join my husband in a new country.

So far so good! Now here we were, -two humans, two cats- in an empty house with just our bed as a furniture contemplating how to get through this without losing a marble or two. Thankfully time tends to pass and we were united with our furniture once again. After that, things began to escalade very quickly. 2017, you certainly are full of surprises.

Having a Dutch husband, we visit the Netherlands quite frequently and over the years I have fallen in love with it. (if you have ever been to the Netherlands, you know what I’m talking about). The biking, the architecture, the art, the small cafes, the tradition, the history, the quirks and yes, even the language. So after some serious consideration, we have decided for me to go to a university there to take the first step into our future in the Netherlands. Suddenly, Leiden University here I come!

Which bring us to now, before I move away once again to a different country for this new chapter in our lives I am starting ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’. What is it exactly? A little bit of travelling, a little bit of my life as someone who has decided to quit her job to move to another country, then move away for the second time to become a student as a 28-year-old, a little bit of our house in Delft, a little bit of our house in Doha, a little bit of our cats Misa and Taco, and a little bit of what inspires and interests me.

I guess only time will show how this place will turn out; but for now, just don’t forget to visit every once in a while.

-Ceren

♠       ♣       ♥       ♦

 

 

 

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