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diving_whale shark_midnight blue elephant_annika Ziehen

GONE DIVING.

Actually not true. I’m just sitting on my couch and dream of whale sharks, turtles & co. But my site seems to have gone under while I’m switching to another web host. It will all be worth it, but in the meanwhile please excuse the mess here –  The Midnight Blue Elephant come back up shortly!

cape town_south africa_daydreaming_blue sky_cat_pizza

DAYDREAMING OF SUBURBIA. OF CATS, PIZZA AND VERY BLUE SKY.

When I was sixteen I came to Cape Town for the first time. A big part of my family lives there and over the years all of my cousins from German had gone for a visit except for me. So when my older sister wanted to go I asked for a Christmas present in form of a plane ticket and begged her to take me with. For our week in Cape Town we stayed with my aunt and her husband in their little Claremont cottage. Claremont is part of the Southern Suburbs and that says it all – you are in suburbia. While it boasts some good schools and is close to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, it is truly not a very exciting place when you are a teenager or even when you are just looking for a decent place to have a drink as a grown up. As this was my first Cape Town impression, it could have gone horribly awry and who knows where I would be now. But it didn’t. With that first …

Finding Nemo - Waldo - Egypt - El Gouna - Red Sea - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen

SWIMMING WITH NEMO AND FINDING WALDO.

A few weeks ago I was invited to Egypt. While I was planning to walk like an Egyptian and follow in the footsteps of my aunt who is convinced she was Cleopatra in a former life, there was none of this to be found in El Gouna where I stayed. Admittedly I was a little disappointed at first. That was until they strapped me on a wakeboard, fed me tiger prawns till I burst, and I went looking for little Nemo under the (red) sea. Can you find him? I added the arrow because frankly I almost couldn’t find him even though I knew he was there. I must admit that I am not very tech-y. While my friends brought their Go Pro and other fanciness that works on and under the water, I went old school and got myself a disposable underwater camera. In hindsight I wasn’t very happy with it as it was tricky to use and I swallowed a whole lot more very salty seawater than strictly necessary in the effort to take …

hamburg-christmas-winter-market-travel-midnight blue elephant- annika ziehen

‘ITWAS THE NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

I recently wrote a story for the Travelettes about experiences. So often we seem to have a destination bucket list, but for me it is really all about the things I want to do and see rather than just places. One of the things I really want to experience now is Christmas time at home. While there are many times when I miss Cape Town temperatures, I haven’t had proper Christmas feelings for the past seven years there. As a child my mother would tell me that in South Africa the candles were melting on my auntie’s Christmas tree, because of the December heat. That is a complete hoax I think my mother made up as I have never seen that happen (if you are a South African and it has happened to you, speak now or be forever silent!). But still the sun is shining and everyone struggles with eating too many Christmas treats while trying to maintain that bikini body. And with all that sunshine you will have a hard time seeing the …

GIFT GUIDE TO THE ART OF TRAVELING & A CHRISTMAS TREE GIVEAWAY.

You could assume that I have traveling down to an art by now. But the truth is…I really don’t. When I have to pack, I sit in front of my suitcase paralyzed, I sleep really badly if I have to catch an early flight, and despite never being late for anything, I always manage to run into trouble on my way to the airport, cutting it too short for my liking all the time. Part of this art is also not leaving your passport at home when you want to fly to New York. Nope, I don’t have this art down. Neither the part to travel in style as people call it. I’m happy if I manage to not forget my camera/iPhone/Kindle charger at home, do I really care if they are neatly rolled up in a suitable charger case? I don’t, I just keep them in an old Azzedine Alaïa shoe bag. You could argue that this screams style, but mind you, I never owned the shoes that went with the shoe bag. In …

midnight blue elephant - perfect holiday - cambodia - vietnam - marocco - annika ziehen

A PERFECT HOLIDAY.

What is the perfect holiday? Is it travel, is it vacation? Tomāto, tomăto. My newfound travel heroine Lisa Lindblad said in her interview for Pure that travel shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a requirement. And that travel in itself is meant to be challenging as it is work already through its etymological meaning. I like that sentiment. And so travel doesn’t contradict with the sentiment of sunloungers and holidays, it’s simply a part of it, or at least should be. Personally I don’t need a sunlounger and while I’m not one of these strange people who never seem to get sand on their towel (how is that even humanly possible?), I want the sand. I want it everywhere. A beach holiday without sand is completely pointless and if I don’t bring it into my living room upon return, I wonder why I even left in the first place. Also the mozzies…While I really don’t like mozzies, I think a holiday without them doesn’t feel quite right.* I’m writing this and I just smashed …

midnight blue elephant - perfect holiday - cambodia - vietnam - marocco - annika ziehen

A PERFECT HOLIDAY.

What is the perfect holiday? Is it travel, is it vacation? Tomāto, tomăto. My newfound travel heroine Lisa Lindblad said in her interview for Pure that travel shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a requirement. And that travel in itself is meant to be challenging as it is work already through its etymological meaning. I like that sentiment. And so travel doesn’t contradict with the sentiment of sunloungers and holidays, it’s simply a part of it, or at least should be. Personally I don’t need a sunlounger and while I’m not one of these strange people who never seem to get sand on their towel (how is that even humanly possible?), I want the sand. I want it everywhere. A beach holiday without sand is completely pointless and if I don’t bring it into my living room upon return, I wonder why I even left in the first place. Also the mozzies…While I really don’t like mozzies, I think a holiday without them doesn’t feel quite right.* I’m writing this and I just smashed …

Baan Talay-Koh Tao-Thailand-Midnight Blue Elephant-gecko

THE TALE OF HOW A GECKO ATE MY BACKPACK.

Okay, well, not quite, but almost and this is how it happened… As per usual I had gone all out in my planning for my last week in Thailand. After weeks of reading, searching, and asking around I had settled on Koh Tao and the Baan Talay Resort, mainly because they offered yoga classes and huts with hammocks in an ultra secluded location. Before I continue my story, let me say that Baan Talay couldn’t be any more beautiful, so if you go to Koh Tao, I can highly recommend it. However this is not meant to be your average raving hotel review though it would deserve one. I just think as per usual the buts make for a more fun story. The one but of Baan Talay is that you are completely surrounded by nature. Which of course is great in theory, especially when you learn that trees are not cut away just to have a view and that everything is done in the least invasive way possible. But it also means that nature …