The Maldives

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.

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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.

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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!!

Maldives Introduction Video

FIVE CITIES I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN

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.

LUND, SWEDEN

libraryNot 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.

LONDON, UK

london-c2a9-qq7-shutterstock-e1455618305877As 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.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

view-of-sydney-harbour-skyline-slider-big-bus-toursFour 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

160113-auckland-new-zealandNew 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.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

eating-amsterdam-aboutI’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.

When In Mexico

By Amanda Svensson, Sweden

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During Spring Break, my friends and I decided that we wanted to go someplace new. After a short discussion we ended up booking a flight to Cancun, Mexico. So, the second week of Spring Break our journey began, early in the morning. A week later, we got home feeling tired, sunburned, and ready to go back to school knowing that Mexico was one of the best trips so far. Therefore, I would like to share with you what you can do while visiting Mexico. Nevertheless, keep in mind that all experiences are individual.

The reason we went to Mexico was due to our holiday break and the fact that we wanted to have a good time. The one thing that we were interested in was learning about the culture and meeting the local people. However, we were having communication problems with people, especially at the airport, due to the fact that not all Mexicans know how to speak English. However, we solved our problems because some of us know how to speak some Spanish. Other than that, Mexicans are really friendly and welcoming. In addition, Mexican food is delicious! Something to keep in mind is to be aware of the food trucks and the warm weather which can cause the food to spoil. I would not recommend eating something out of a food truck; there are a lot of really nice restaurants in Cancun that arenot too expensive.cancun 4

We stayed right next to the beach wit
h our beds facing towards the ocean. It was magical sleeping next to the sound of ocean breeze. The water in Cancun is the bluest I have ever seen in my life. After a five hour flight and security control on top of that, getting to jump into the water and just enjoying ourselves couldn’t have started off our week better. If you are going to Cancun, make sure you get to go for a swim in the ocean.

The one thing that we made sure we did was to go out clubbing. The clubs compared themselves with Vegas and one club’s logo was “putting Vegas nightlife in shame”. The club experience has got to be one of our best memories we took with us, if you are ready to pay for it. Some clubs cost as much as 80 dollars, thus we went to the smaller clubs due to the fact that we didn’t have the knowledge that the clubs were going to be so expensive. However, we did go to one of the more expensive clubs one night, which had the coolest layout any of us had ever seen.mexico 2
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The second to the last day, we decided that we wan
ted to do something proactive. Turns out Cancun are full of adventures. My friends and I ended up doing a day trip starting early in the morning. An organization took us to all these different locations throughout the day. For example, the day started off by going to old town and after that we headed for lunch at a really cool hotel. After lunchtime we went to a sinkhole that was 150 feet deep and was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. Swimming in the water, looking up towards the sky was amazing. We ended the day with going to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza, which was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people. It was the best day in a long time and it only cost us 50 dollars per person. Learning about the Mayan people and leaving the place still wondering how in the world they could have built the different temples 1100 years ago was truly inspiring and mesmerizing.

So, after spending one week in Mexico I can tell you this, I am definitely going back.

 

The Richest Person in Saudi Arabia

By Abdulmajeed Alfrayan, Saudi Arabia

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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.

 

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Sulaiman AL-Rajhi has the largest bank in the Middle East. He has more than 50 thousand employees.

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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.

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Sulaiman AL-Rajhi invested more than his half money to benefit kids and the poor people.

Why Zurich is one of the most attractive cities to visit

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.

zurich 1 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.

zurich 2 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.

zurich 3 BAHNHOFSTRASSE

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.

zurich 4 NIEDERDORF

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 5 KUNSTHAUS

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.

Utrecht: my hometown

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.

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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:

  1. City center
  2. East
  3. Leidsche rijn
  4. West
  5. Overvecht
  6. South
  7. North- East
  8. South – West
  9. North- West
  10. Vleuten- de Meern

Sightseeing

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.

 

 

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Oude gracht

 

 

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

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

 

 

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Dafne Schippers 

 

Fun fact: The King of The Netherlands, Willem- Alexander der Nederlander was born in Utrecht in 1967 in the same hospital I was born!