By Lucia F and Nieves F, Switzerland and Spain.
By Romina Wicki, Switzerland
Beautiful street art, glorious atmosphere, delicious food and volunteer work to a benefit Children’s Creative Project; this is the iMadonnari Street Painting Festival. This festival is once a year and a really popular event for children and adults. In this article I will give you an impression of what this festival looks like.
At the Old Mission in Santa Barbarathe Madonnari (ital. street artist) festival took place for three days . The area in front of the Mission became during these days colorful by the work from street artists. Only with chalk the artists created beautiful pictures on the floor. The pictures are as different as the artists. Some of them are Christian figures but there are also nature impressions or portraits. This Italian festival is a benefit project for the Children’s Creative Project, which is a nonprofit art education program. More than 50,000 children and over 100 schools are supported by this project.
Before the festival started, families, companies or a private person could buy a square for an artist. When you bought a square you had to find an artist. This artist started his artwork at the beginning of the Madonnari Street Painting Festival. The artists have time during the festival to finishing their work. With only the use of chalk, the artists accomplish beautiful street art. When the iMadonnari Festival is over; the artworks are still on the ground and disappear when it will rain the next time. It’s also really interesting to visit the Mission after the Street Paining Festival when there aren’t so many people. So you can enjoy the artworks at rest.
During the festival a lot of people visit the Mission. It’s a really popular event in Santa Barbara and the near area. Adults and children visit this festival and enjoy their time. The atmosphere in front of the Mission is busy. People observe the artist, marvel the street art, discuss the impressive work, enjoy the good weather and spend time in the park next to the Mission.
Next to the Mission, you had also the possibility to engage the other senses. There was an authentic Italian market and supplies for the street art paintings. A lot of voluntary workers spoiled the visitors with delicious food. For the appetite there was a great choice of Italian food, drinks and desserts. You could enjoy pizzas, Italian sausage, seafood and gelato (Italian ice cream). So you could enjoy your meal in the park with local live music.
I was a voluntary worker at the Madonnari Festival and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. The people were in a good mood and the artwork was extremely impressive. It was a great experience and a lot of fun to volunteer with classmates and local people. This was a joyful day with some new and interesting impressions. I’m so happy that I was there.
By Patrick Schnauffer from Stuttgart, Germany
Do you want to travel to paradise?
The Maldives are definitely the perfect destination for you
Located in the Indian Ocean the Republic of Maldives consists of several atolls with altogether 1196 islands. On 220 of them live the Maldivian citizens and 87 are for touristic purposes. Back in the past when the Maldives were under British occupation the local people gained a living just with the fishing industry. This has changed in 1965 when the Maldives became an independent republic. Since this time the importance of tourism has grown enormously, so that the country developed into one of the most significant travel destinations worldwide.
If you travel by plane, you will arrive in Male which is the largest and likewise the only “city” of the Maldives as well the capital of the country. There are living approximately one third of all the citizens what makes this main island quite crowded.
So if you want to spend your vacation on a lonely island having the feeling of being apart from the rest of the world, instead of experiencing city life, you can choose several types of accommodation located on the beautiful atolls spread around the capital island of Male.
Beginning from common hotels till the most luxurious resorts, you can barely imagine until you have visited them, there is a wide range of apartments where you can select from.
Typical for the Maldives are the resorts where you live in your own house out in the ocean which is built on wooden stakes. A private pool and direct access to the sea is included! Those apartments are connected to the main island of the hotel with a wooden footbridge so that it’s easy to reach the restaurants and SPA areas of your resort.
While spending your vacation on the Maldives it never gets boring. You definitely should not miss to go diving in the Indian Ocean and exploring the amazing coral reefs all-round the atolls which provide unique flora and fauna waiting for you to be discovered. Moreover it is quite worth it to rent a kayak and paddle to some lonely islands by having the chance to relax where you are the only one far away from mass tourism. Likewise I would recommend to you a scenic sightseeing flight over all the Maldivian atolls.
Depending on the hotel you are staying in you are being offered the possibility to enjoy a dinner directly at the private beach of your hotel meanwhile watching one of the most beautiful sunsets you have very probably never seen anywhere else before.
So in my opinion it is a perfect decision to travel to the Maldivian Republic because you got so many different things to explore on those amazing islands with its unique nature. Nowhere else in the world you will have that feeling of being definitely in paradise. So pack your suitcases now and book your unforgettable trip to this gorgeous country. I promise you won’t regret this decision!
Just have a look inside this travel destination by checking out the link below!!
By: Amanda Örnebring, Sweden.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to live in another country. Don’t get me wrong, I love my city, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Not for the moment. I’m in that time of my life where I want to explore other possibilities to really figure out where the best place to live is. So far I’ve lived in two different cities; my hometown Ystad where I was born and raised, and Santa Barbara where I’m currently studying English. The two cities differs a great deal from each other, and I love them both very much.
Not many, apart from people who lives in Sweden, will know about this city. As one of the oldest cities in the country and the highest ranked university, the city is characterized by the many students who lives here. Only one hour by car from the town I’m from, It’s in a perfect location with its proximity to the second biggest city in Sweden, and Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. And also I won’t have any difficulties with visiting my parents often.
I’ve visited Lund a lot of times since I have friends who live there. The city is big with its 80 000 inhabitants, but it feels so much smaller with its narrow cobblestone streets and the many coffeeshops around every block. It’s a very nice city overall, and I think it would be a good city for me to live in since it has a similar feeling to my hometown.
Lund is perfect for anyone who doesn’t like the “big city life”, but still want a nightlife while living in a calm city.
As many others, I have always wanted to live in London. My whole life has revolved around London for as long as I can remember. I had paintings of the city hanging on my wall and I made one of my walls to look like a brick wall with an old subway clock hanging on the wall to resemble King’s Cross.
The city has 8.6 millions inhabitants, which is a big increase from the cities I’ve lived in. But I think that it could be a good experience to broaden my horizon and get out of my comfort zone regarding of living in such a busy city.
Four years ago I spent four weeks in Sydney all by myself. More exactly without my family and with classmates, but let’s say for the sake of the argument by myself. I had an internship there and that meant that I had to live there for a month. I was only 16 years old, but it was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I grew so much as a person, and I was able to do that because of the beautiful city.
As of 2014, Sydney was ranked as the tenth most liveable city in the world, which I can of personal experience agree with. The city felt so safe, even though it’s over 4.5 million people living there.
The weather is amazing, the people, the beaches, everything. It is just a perfect city, and I would love to live there again.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand has always attracted me ever since I saw the Lord of the Rings movies. The landscape blew my mind with the majestic mountains and the blue sea. I’ve only ever heard of three cities in the country, and that’s Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. I did some research and Auckland was always rated as the best city to live in. Located on the Northern Island, it has the best beaches. I first thought of Christchurch, but when I read about the frequent earthquakes, I changed my mind.
Auckland seems to be a smaller version of Sydney as I understand it, so that’s why i think it would be perfect for me to live there.
I’ve never thought of Amsterdam before I went to Santa Barbara. During my stay here, I’ve met many wonderful people who came from the Netherlands. All they said was that I would love Amsterdam. What really makes me want to live there is the similarities between Sweden. The standard of living is practically the same, and the city itself seems amazing. The fact that there are more bikes than people also makes me want to move there this instant since I’m always on my bike.
Since I’ve never visited Amsterdam, I don’t have much to go on, but it really seems to be a city I would thrive in.
By Abdulmajeed ALfrayan. Saudi Arabia
Santa Barbara- Parks& Recreation events:
Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show
Is an event to enjoy your time to give your lives more experience. There are a lot of people selling new things and they’re made in home. You can go there with your family to see new things and learn new culture.
Relaxing under the sun:
In this picture we can see the people sitting under the sun and enjoying the time. Here you can chat with everyone because it’s public and there are a lot of people who come for relaxing and enjoying themselves.
There are some small competitions for the kids:
There is jogging contest for the kids and there are small gifts for the winners and the moms help their children like say good things to them while they running like “you can do it”, “you’re a hero”.
Firework in the park:
There are fireworks at the end of the day and it’s so beautiful. Everyone on this day is waiting for this moment to say it because it’s a beautiful view from the park.
Party in the park.
They make a small party in the park to have fun and enjoy in themselves. But this party dose not happen every year in this event so some time it’s there and sometimes not.
Travel is one of the greatest and most important things you can do on your leisure according to me and one of my favorite cities to travel to be one very close to me in my home country. I’m going to tell you why you should visit the beautiful capital of my home country Sweden, Stockholm. It lives 10 million people in Sweden wish 1, 5 million of those lives in Stockholm. Stockholm is the biggest capital of people in the Nordic area wish includes countries Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Stockholm isn’t one of the biggest capitals but I would say it’s one of the most beautiful capitals because of the position. Stockholm is built on fourteen islands by the Baltic Sea. There are plenty of things to see and do in Stockholm and the optimal time to go is in the summer so you can enjoy being outside and maybe take a dip in the sea? One of my favorites is to walk around in the old town (Gamla Stan) where Stockholm was founded in 1252 and maybe go into a coffee shop and buy a Swedish cinnamon bun or go to a nice restaurant. There are also a lot of museums to go to about old Stockholm, it’s really interesting. The old town has interesting architecture with all the nice old apartments around which are nice to go around and check out. One of the most famous attractions in the old town is the Royal palace which is one of the biggest palaces in the world with more than 600 rooms which in some you can visit. Lastly, you can see Riddarholmen and Riddarholmen church, which is a very old church with a lot of history. As I’ve already said, Stockholm is a very beautiful capital and it’s perfect to take sightseeing by bus or by boat to see every part of Stockholm. Stockholm is one of the best cities to sightsee because of its location of fourteen islands connected by fifty-seven bridges. Don’t miss out on Djurgarden while in Stockholm! You can find a lot of great experiences there. There are great restaurants and a lot of great museums for both kids and adults there. There’s something for everyone. Liljevalchs is the museum for the people who like art and then there’s museums for the kids like Junibacken which is where the stories of Astrid Lindgren comes to life. But my favourites are definitely Skansen, Grona Lund and ABBA the museum. Firstly at Skansen there’s an old village with old pretty houses and animals but the most famous place of Skansen is the stage Solliden where they every summer have a show with artists and celebrities who sings with the audience and it’s recorded to tv, it’s really fun to be in the audience but also to see it on tv. Secondly, Grona Lund is one of the biggest tivolis in Sweden and they also have a stage with big artists every summer. Lastly, the ABBA museum is a fabulous museum surrounding the swedish pop group ABBA. You can see pictures of their music videos, costumes, the background story of their lives and more. The ABBA museum also has the Swedish Hall of fame where you can read about other swedish artists and swedish music history. I think I could write about Stockholm and all its amazing places for so much longer but I will have to end by giving a last advice and it’s by saying that you should not miss out Norrmalm/City, you will find great shopping and restaurants and more. Visit Stockholm! You will not regret it.
By Jade Olivier, Belgium
Do you know the movie, Harry Potter? Do you know the game of Quidditch? Yes, you can play this sport in the true life. Some explanations: How do you play this sport? “To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points. To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers—dodgeballs—to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held, and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play. The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.”[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quidditch_(sport)]. Don’t believe you can fly on broomsticks! You have to run with it between your two legs. It’s difficult, but, with a little bit of exercise and training, it becomes easy. What equipment do you need to play this sport? Is it a physical sport? Quaffle (from volleyball), bludgers (from dodgeballs), snitch (from tennis ball), brooms, hoops. It is a physical sport because it is a mix between different sports: basketball, volleyball and American football. Where is this sport from? Where was the first team in the world? Sure, this sport comes from the movie Harry Potter and the origin of this movie is British. So the first team to play to this sport were British people. The sport was created in 2005 at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont (USA), by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, who later became the first commissioner of Quidditch. So, this sport is 12 years old. It is now an international sport, played around the world: in Europe, in the USA, Australia and China. Each year there is an international competition and this year it will happen in Oslo in Norway. About my experience? I have already played this sport when I was studying Dutch in Antwerp before to come in Santa Barbara. I played this sport with my host-family in one of the best clubs in Belgium: Dodo’s. I played it for only 4 months and a lot of people told me that I was really good at this sport. Now I’m going to Oslo inside the Belgium’s national team of quidditch to play a very big competition: international competition (I think). At the beginning, to run with a broomstick between my legs was really strange and really ridiculous, but everyone runs like this so I did the same. I felt better because I saw that everybody looked ridiculous to run like that but it didn’t cause any problems for anybody.
By Abdulmajeed Alfrayan, Saudi Arabia
Sulaiman AL-Rajhi is the richest person in Saudi Arabia. When he was 16 he started selling the water in the street. He was working at the same time in a restaurant to earn the money for his family. When he earned some extra money he went to trade in fruits and other things until he reached what he is now, the richest man in Saudi Arabia.
Sulaiman AL-Rajhi has the largest bank in the Middle East. He has more than 50 thousand employees.
Sulaiman Al-Rajhi was born in Al Bukairiyah, located in Al Qassim province in Saudi Arabia, and grew up in the Nejd desert with his brother, Saleh. Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al Rajhi holds the largest individual stake in his family’s Al Rajhi Bank.
Sulaiman AL-Rajhi invested more than his half money to benefit kids and the poor people.
Robin Ryffel, Switzerland
Zurich; although the biggest and most well-known city of Switzerland, it’s not the capital. Actually, Switzerland doesn’t even have a capital. The Swiss constitution considers Berne as their federal city, that’s not an equivalent for capital city, though. However, to get back to the main topic of this essay, I would like to point out the many strengths for a tourist when visiting Zurich.
CITY OF ZURICH
Zurich is located in the north-eastern part of Switzerland, which itself is placed in the middle of Europe. The city lies right next to the beautiful lake of Zurich, and a river called Limmat, originating from the lake, runs through the heart of Zurich; a perfect opportunity to enjoy your lunch at the bank, sunbathe all day long or just go for a swim.
LAKE OF ZURICH
One of the greatest things to do is without any doubt shopping. The most popular place to do that is definitely the Bahnhofstrasse. This street, translated to English Station Street, was laid out in 1867. It provides many shops, both internationally unknown Swiss clothing stores as well as shops from acclaimed international designers. It’s also the second most expensive street of the world, right after New York’s Fifth Avenue.
If you love old and absolutely stunning architecture, you just can’t miss Zurich’s old town, the Niederdorf. Literally translated to low village, it was actually the least developed part of medieval Zurich. That’s probably one of many reasons why it looks so special for today’s standards. In addition to its very own construction style, there are a lot of cheaper shops compared to the Bahnhofstrasse, and delicious restaurants. Whether you like Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese or Brazilian cuisine, you will find it here.
There are a bunch of other great activities and things to do, when you, after reading this essay, hopefully take the next plane to Zurich. If you are interested in sports, there’s a local ice hockey and even two soccer clubs which all three play in the highest Swiss league of their respective sports.
Zurich is also an art and education city. There are a lot of history and art museums, as well as great universities that are definitely worth a visit.
Evie de Graaff, the Netherlands
It was 50 years before the Common Era (BCE) when the Romans decided to build a fort called Traiectum. This was the moment the city Utrecht was born. Now, more than 2017 years later Utrecht is one of the famous cities in whole Europe. And I am so glad the Romans build that fort because otherwise I would never have grown up in such a great and beautiful city.
History of Utrecht
Around 50 years BCE the Romans built the fort Traiectum. They built this fort as a border for the Roman Empire. Around 270 years CE the Romans abandoned the city. After that, several nations where located in Utrecht. Around 1122 the city got their official documents and Utrecht was officially born. In the 16th and the 17th century, Utrecht was important for the art development. A few famous painters are Jan van Scorol, Cornelis van Poelenburch and Jan Both. In the 17th century the famous University of Utrecht was created. Today more than 30,152 (2014) are joining this fantastic university. According to Shanghai Jiaotong University’s university ranking in 2014 it is the 57th best university in the world.
Geography of Utrecht
Utrecht is located in center of the Netherlands. Utrecht is the capitol and most popular city from the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 338,949 and counting. Utrecht is famous for her old history, her beautiful channels, the dom tower and of course Miffy. It’s the city where I live. The city Utrecht is a part of the ‘Randstad’ which is part is of the area with the most important cities where most of the money is generated.
The most important train station of the Netherlands is located in Utrecht: Utrecht Central station, because it is located so central, every train to almost every location depart from the train station of Utrecht.
The city of Utrecht is divided into 10 city quarters:
- City center
- Leidsche rijn
- North- East
- South – West
- North- West
- Vleuten- de Meern
Utrecht is a very popular city for tourists. Most of the tourists are coming from Japan, China, Germany, Spain and the U.S. There are beautiful places where you can discover the beauty of Utrecht. Here is a list from the most famous highlights of Utrecht:
- The Dom tower: The Dom tower is the symbol for the city of Utrecht. The tower is 112,5 meter tall and has a beautiful history.
- Oude gracht: The Oude gracht is the most famous street in Utrecht. It is located in the center of Utrecht with beautiful channels and bridges. This is also the biggest shopping street in Utrecht.
- Botanic Garden: The Botanic Garden is located next to the main building of the University of Utrecht. Is has beautiful unique flowers, plants and my absolute favorite, the butterflies.
- Tivoli Vredenburg: Tivoli Vredenburg is a very famous music building in Utrecht. A lot of famous artists and bands have played here.
- Soccer team FC Utrecht stadium: This is the stadium of the national soccer team of Utrech: FC Utrecht. There is capacity for 23.750 spectators.
- Gerrit Rietveld museum: This museum shows the art of famous designer and architect.
- Nijntje museum (Miffy Museum): I believe Miffy is the most famous creature of Utrecht. The little bunny is a creation of painter Dick Bruna who has lived all his live in Utrecht. Especially the tourists from Japan and China love Miffy.
- Aboriginal Art museum : Located at the Oude gracht this museum has a small exhibit of Australian Aboriginal Art.
- Railroad museum : This museum shows the history of the Dutch railroads.
The Dom Tower
The Dom tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The tower is 112,5 meter tall. The Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin of Utrecht, also known as the Dom church. The tower was built between 1321 and 1328. However the cathedral was never finished because there was not enough money. Unfortunately a part of the cathedral was collapsed in a heavy storm in 1674. From that moment the tower became a free standing tower. It is very popular to climb the tower and enjoy the beautiful sight of the city. If you want to do this you have to be able to climb 465 stairs, but I can tell you that it’s totally worth it.
In 2015, the 102th edition of the Tour de France started in Utrecht. The first game of the teams was in the center of Utrecht. All the members of the teams biked next to the dom tower, it was so much fun!
Miffy (in Dutch: Nijntje) is a female little bunny in a famous series of books for children created by Dick Bruna. Miffy was created in 1955 by Dick Bruna after he told his son bedtime stories. What I find so special and funny is because the drawings of Miffy are so easy but it tells so much. When I was a little child I had a stuffed animal from Miffy and it was really a part of my childhood. Bruna has made more than 124 stories about Miffy. The books of Miffy are translated in more than 50 languages, and over 85 million books have been sold all over the world. Dick Bruna has won many awards for his creations about Miffy. In 2005 Miffy celebrated her 50th birthday. In 2006 the museum about Miffy was opened, called the Dick Bruna House or ‘Het Nijntje museum’. It’s located in the center of Utrecht.
Unfortunately on the 16th of February this year Dick Bruna passed away at the beautiful age of 89, but I know for sure Miffy will always be popular.
Famous people in Utrecht
Because Utrecht is a very popular city in the Netherlands with a lot of great opportunities it is almost logic that there are famous people who live in this amazing city ;). Also in the past, a lot of great and important people lived in Utecht. Hopefully, in a couple of years I will also be on this list!
- Pope Adrian VI (1459–1523) – head of the Catholic Church
- Louis Andriessen (1939) – composer
- Marco van Basten (1964) – football player
- Dick Bruna (1927-2017) – writer, illustrator (Miffy)
- H.D. Buys Ballot (1817–1890) – meteorologist
- Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931) – painter, artist (De Stijl movement)
- Paul Fentener van Vlissingen (1941–2006) – businessman and philanthropist
- Anton Geesink (1934–2010) – judoka, first non-Japanese worldchampion Judo
- Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964) – designer, architect (De Stijl movement)
- Dafne Schippers (1992) – sprinter/heptathlon Olympian
Fun fact: The King of The Netherlands, Willem- Alexander der Nederlander was born in Utrecht in 1967 in the same hospital I was born!