What I’m Reading (June 2017)

Hey 20 Something Readers!
I’m a month late with this one, but it’s been crazy getting back into the swing of being home and I haven’t had much time to focus on my blog. But I’m back to share with you the two books I’ve read in June.

The first book is The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah. I took my time reading this book, because it’s quite intense and I had to put it down a few times just to process what was going on. Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer who studied law. The book is narrated by a woman named Memory, who is thinking back on her life and her childhood as she tries to figure out how she ended up in jail with the death sentence hanging over her head. You’ll be captivated by her haunting journey and heartbreaking childhood.

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Secondly I read Period Pain by Kopano Matlwa. I read this book in two days. It’s a short book but it takes you through the most. It deals with South African issues like xenophobia, corrective rape, corruption, crime and being a woman in post Apartheid South Africa. It’s narrated by Masechaba, a medical doctor, who’s journey explores these issues and makes you reflect on your actions as well as helps you question and rediscover your humanity. I loved this book, it’s one of my favourites so far.

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It’s been a slow month of reading for me, I promise to read a bit more in the upcoming months!

Have you read any of these books? Be sure to let me know in the comments what you’re reading!

Till next time,
Nadine

Eurotrip: Paris

We all know Paris is a dream city and it didn’t disappoint me one bit when I arrived there. I knew I loved the city, the moment I stepped foot in it.
We had some time at our hotel to get ready before we went off to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, which sits on top of a hill overlooking the entire city. It’s views for days guys. It’s a great place to watch the sunset while drinking a beer or some wine on the hill.


We then walked down to the Cabaret area of Paris, basically Paris’ own red light district. We got to watch a traditional French Cabaret, which blew my mind. If you’re in Paris, it’s just something you have to witness for yourself. Girls in can-can skirts, men kicking their legs past their heads! And special effects acts that will knock your socks off. And this is all accompanied by a bottle of Champagne for you and your company. We watched a show at a theatre called La Nouvelle Eve. Of course there’s the Moulin Rouge, but tickets are insanely expensive, so be ready to pay if that’s what you’re after. 


We ended our first night there at an Irish Bar called O’Sullivans. It gets very crowded on a Saturday night, but the music is really good. 


We woke up to a city tour, on our bus because it was raining. We then visited a traditional French perfumery, where we found out how Perfume was made and got to do some perfume shopping. 


We then had some time to explore the city and get some shopping done. We then went to the Arc De Triomphe, you can go up to the top for €8 and get an amazing view of Paris. Then if you walk down that road (Champs Elysées) you will see some of Paris’ main shopping spots and cafes. This street has everything you need to get through a full day of Paris shopping.


We then had a traditional Parisian Dinner, where we were served French wine and Escargot. We watched the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower. If you hang out by the Eiffel Tower around 11 and 11:30PM you’ll get to see it light up and sparkle for a few minutes. It’s beyond amazing. 


For more shopping, there’s a huge mall called Galeries Lafayette that houses all of the world’s biggest brands in shopping.


I had two extra days in Paris, I got to explore a bit more and take in more of the beautiful city. I left my heart in Paris. It was the perfect way to end off the trip of a lifetime. Thank you all for following my journey. I can honestly say this trip has changed me for the better. 

Until my next adventure!
Nadine 

Eurotrip: Swiss Alps

Next stop on my journey was the Swiss Alps in Switzerland. Where we would spend the next two days nestled in between the beautiful Swiss Mountains and waterfalls.
On the way we stopped in a city called Lucern, where we got to do some shopping and attended a Swiss Army Knife and watch demonstration. If you’re planning on going to the Swiss Alps but wanna stay in a city, then Lucern is a great option!


We then began our drive up a few more meters above sea level to reach our destination: Camping Jungfrau, Lauterbrunnen. What a beautiful little campsite, it’s walking distance from the train station that takes you up into the mountains and it’s close to town.


The day after we arrived, we went up the Jungfrau mountains, where we would stand at the top of Europe and get to play in the snow. I promise you, this is one of those places you have to see before you die. The pictures do not do it justice. 


Once you’re at the top of the mountain, there are loads of activities to take part in, there’s a zip line, tubing, skiing, an ice sculpture museum, souvenir shops, exhibitions and you can go up to the top of the sphinx for the view of a lifetime.


We spent our time up on the mountain, throwing snowballs, playing in the snow, taking topless pictures and just enjoying having our fingertips freeze off!

A group of us went tubing down the mountain which was lots of fun, it’s just a bit of a bumpy ride, but oh my goodness- is such a rush! 


The train ride up and down the mountain is quite long, I caught a nap on the way down! This might sound weird but, wear sunscreen! You may be in the snow but the sun is still harsh up there and a lot of people came down with red noses and foreheads! Not a good look at all. Don’t forget your gloves and a warm jacket because it’s freezing up there. 


We ended our time in Switzerland with a party in a bomb bunker, underneath the campsite! It was such a good time!
The final stop on the tour was Paris and I could barely contain my excitement! 

Eurotrip: Florence

We only had one day in the beautiful little city of Florence, but it was great. What a pretty little city. The heart of Italy’s artistic past.
The views are to die for, I suggest wondering through the city by yourself to get the most of it. There’s beauty to be found around very corner. We did a walking tour through the city, where we got to see the Statue of David, as well as the other magnificent statues surrounding him. 


We also attended a Leather Demonstration, which is Florence’s specialty. We learnt how leather is made and how to identify fake leather items. It was extremely informative and we were able to do some shopping afterwards. 
A few of the girls bought, what we called, puzzle rings. They’re a Florentine specialty. The ring is perfect when you wear it, but if you take it off, it will fall apart into four pieces. It’s quite complicated to reassemble. The story behind the ring is that a Florentine king knew his wife was cheating on him, so he gave her a ring that would reveal when she was being unfaithful (she would take her rings off to commit adultery!) it’s a fun little gift to get someone back home!


We found a really amazing spot, overlooking the city for a group photo! It was extremely windy up there, but I think we got Florence on a stormy day. 


The evening started with a traditional Florentine Dinner, which was delicious. SO much food! The Italians love to feed you, so if you’re eating out, don’t over order- check the portion size first then decide if you need more!


We ended off at the Red Garter, a local karaoke club in Florence. Bad singing, cocktail jugs and a dance floor? What more could you ask for?!


Florence is so beautiful. I wish we had had more time there, but our next stop was the Swiss Alps- so we had to get going! 

 

Eurotrip: Rome

Rome is just one of those cities you HAVE to see before you die. It’s like being in a time capsule and being able to experience the way the Romans lived in the past, because so many of their ancient buildings are still in tact. 
My time in Rome was filled with Gelato and lots and lots of pizza, accompanied by walking- so much walking! The city is huge, we had a day and a half to fit in all the big sites. 


We started with the Vatican City, we had a guided tour through the smallest city in the world. Our tour included the Sistine Chapel, which is amazing- it should definitely be on your bucket list. Our tour guide explained how Michelangelo designed and painted the ceiling of this beautiful chapel. After the Tour, we got to enter the Basilica. If you wanna see the Vatican, I suggest booking in advance to skip the queues (which go all the way around the block) or book a tour as part of a group. I could think of nothing worse than lining up for hours in The Roman Heat!


We then took a walk down to the Trevi Fountain and tossed some coins! (1 coin means you’ll return to Rome, 2 means you’ll find a new love and 3 means you’ll get married- I’m not telling how many I threw in!)  


It was then off to the mind-blowing colosseum, where we had a guided tour of the floor where the gladiator matches took place! It’s amazing how centuries later, this building is still in tact (with a few bits missing here and there) and standing. We had a few minutes to wander around and I managed to snap some awesome pics! 


Rome is referred to as the Lasagna City, because it has so many layers- this was evident during our tour of the Roman Forum, as we wondered through the ruins of Ancient Rome, my breath was taken away but how advanced the ancient Romans were regarding architecture. 


This time of the year Rome is extremely hot! If you’re going to be doing as much walking as we did, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and dress appropriately. For the religious cites, women need to have their shoulders and knees covered and men may not wear hats and should also be dressed respectfully. 
All in all, Rome was a great time. It was just too hot for me! Which is why I was glad to hear, that our next stop; Florence, was a bit cooler! 

Eurotrip: Venice

We arrived just off the coast of Venice we were stayed on a campsite that was just a 30 minute boat ride away from the floating city.

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Venice is a dream. It’s a time capsule, all the buildings and architecture represent a beauty that can only be claimed by the Venetians. The city is very small, you can walk from one end to the next in about 10-15 minutes. The streets wind into narrow alleyways, where you’ll find some of the best Italian coffee, gelato and pizza.

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If you’re looking for Gelato, I suggest finding a shop called Suso and treat yourself to one of Italy’s delicacies. Try the Spritz when you’re in the city, it’s a refreshing drink and you get a takeaway cup to walk around with while you shop.

We started our day with a walking tour through Venice, where we saw St. Marks Square as well as all the big monuments and important buildings. Our tour was just over two hours and ended in some Venetian Tapas and drinks. There are many walking tours in Venice, I suggest doing them so you can truly understand the history and beauty of the city.

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The local markets are filled with souvenirs, from sailor hats to fans, there’s something for everyone. The local mall houses all of the big designer brands, if you have some cash to spend, you’ll be able to shop till you drop there.

For lunch we got some Pizza and sat in the middle of St. Marks Square eating it. (Like real Italians)

Unfortunately it was raining on the day we were there, so to get out of the rain we went to see how Venetian Glass Ornaments are made at a glass blowing demonstration. It’s pretty amazing and it’s free to watch, so you should check that out!

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We took a gondola ride through the city, where we got to see Venice from a different angle. Do not leave Venice without getting on a Gondola, it’s a relaxing and beautiful ride.

For dinner we stopped at a place that sold Pasta in a box, these places are everywhere, so if you need a quick meal that’s a good suggestion.

All in all, it was a beautiful day in the Floating City. You’ll fall in love with it, just like I did.

Next stop, Rome!!!

Nadine Suliaman
20somethingsomethings.com

 

Eurotrip: Munich and Tyrol

The next stop on my journey was Munich, Germany. As we only had one day in the city, we had to try and fit in as many activities as we could into 24 hours.

We started off by taking a bike tour through the city with Mikes Bikes Tours, this tour is a must for anyone looking to explore the city’s attractions when you don’t have a lot of time. The tour guides are informed and witty and make for an entertaining bike ride. We saw some of the old Bavarian buildings and monuments.

We visited a few of the beer gardens, where we could catch some lunch. The English Garden is a must see, the locals spend their summers next to the river that runs through the garden and you might even see some topless sunbathers.

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Our evening ended visiting the Hofbrauhaus, which houses some of Munich’s local beers and cuisine. It gets extremely full, but the environment is lively and enjoyable.

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Next on our tour was a short stay in Austrian Tyrol, out in the country side.

On the way there, the group stopped for white water rafting. I didn’t join them as I thought it would be quite extreme but it turned out to be a very chilled experience for them.

I had signed up to go Tandem Paragliding, which is one of the main things you wanna do in Tyrol, but unfortunately due to weather conditions we were unable to do it.

There’s a few fun activities to do in the small town of Tyrol, the trout farm allows you to catch your own fish and have a chef prepare it for you. If you’re keen for a swim, the local lake is very popular and a beautiful landscape to take a dip in the water.

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Tyrol is beautiful in the summer, which is why I can only imagine what it looks like in winter when it’s covered in snow! It’s a huge skiing destination in the winter, so if snow and skiing is what you’re after, that’s the perfect time to visit.

All in all, it was a great time in these two cities. The next stop on our trip took us to Venice, Italy! I’m ready for some pizza!!!

Nadine Suliaman
20somethingsomethings.com

 

Eurotrip: Berlin

After spending the day traveling to Berlin, I decided that my first night in the city would be a chilled one. We stayed at the Plus Berlin Hostel, which is a great space for young travelers. The hostel has a bar and restaurant, a pool, table tennis, a sauna and loads of awesome spaces to ensure you have the time of your life.

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Berlin is so rich in history, it’s quite inspiring to see everything that Germany has been through yet they are still trying to correct the mistakes of the past. Berlin is now one of the most accepting and tolerant places in Europe.

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The next day, we woke up bright and early and assembled at the TV Tower, where we started a walking tour of Berlin, by Original Berlin Walks. The tour lasted just over three hours, but gave us all the information on the monuments and world war memorials. If you don’t have a lot of time in the city, signing up for one of these tours is a great idea. Some of the sights we saw included the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, a remaining piece of the Berlin Wall, the Memorial to the Murdered a Jews, the site of Hitler’s bunker etc. Our tour guide Lindsey, was extremely informed and helpful.

I then spent the day exploring Berlin’s shopping scene. The Mall of Berlin is huge and has stores to satisfy all your shopping needs- plus they have a really good food court that has food options from all over the world.

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The evening saw us taking another tour, called Cold War and Cold Drinks. Which covered the effect of the Cold War on Berlin and how the Berlin Wall affected the people living in the city. The tour included two bar stops which gave us complimentary drinks and a German Pretzel!

The night ended with drinks in the outdoor bar at the hostel, which was a great way to end the busy day we had!

 

Don’t forget!
– Sunscreen! It’s extremely hot in Berlin and you don’t wanna get sunburnt while touring the city.

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Now we’re off to Prague, in the Czech Republic! Along the way we stopped in Dresden, a beautiful little city with amazing architecture.

See you in Prague!

Eurotrip: Amsterdam

I knew the moment I arrived in Amsterdam I was going to fall in love with the city. It’s such a pretty city, and I’m probably gonna say that a lot on this trip. But still. It’s amazingly pretty.
From the green trees, to the old buildings, to almost getting knocked over by cyclists, the city definitely has a charm of its own.
I spent the day exploring. Vondelpark is near the city center and is a must see on your trip to Amsterdam. It’s beautiful and filled with people doing yoga, karate and other organized group activities. It’s got some good locations for pictures if that’s what you’re after. 
The first night started with a bang, the tour group visited the infamous Red Light District. If you’re of age, it’s a great time. Experiencing the culture in Amsterdam at its core. We visited an adult club which put on a special show for us. We then spent the rest of the night visiting the local pubs and bars, and even stopped at The Bulldog, which is the first Coffee Shop in Amsterdam.


Things to know before you go:

– always pack a jacket, Amsterdam is known for its rain.

– Look out for cyclists and stay out of the cycling lane!

– No pictures in the RLD, your phone will end up in the canal.

– Hold onto your valuables, the city is known for its pickpockets.  
On our second day in Amsterdam, we went out to the country side- Edam. This part of Amsterdam is known for its cheese and clogs. We started the day with a beautiful bike tour through Edam. The bikes that most people ride in Amsterdam are Granny Bikes, which have no gears and are pretty hard to get the hang of if you’re used to a traditional mountain bike. 


We then went to see how Cheese and Clogs were made by the natives and did some cheese tasting and souvenir shopping.
The afternoon was spent exploring the city and doing some shopping. We visited the I Amsterdam sign, which was extremely busy and almost impossible to get a decent picture. We went shopping in the area around Amsterdam Central which was buzzing on a Saturday afternoon. All the big names in shopping are there, it’s great if shopping is your aim! 


The evening started with a Private Canal Cruise, this is something you must do in Amsterdam, so you can really experience the beauty of the city from the canals.


We then headed off for dinner in the traditional town of Volendam, where I had a traditional Dutch meal. Try the fish. It’s delicious. The night ended with us partying into the early hours of the morning. There are lots of great night club spots in Amsterdam and you’re bound to find something you enjoy.


All in all, Amsterdam gets an A+ from me and has moved up on my list of favorite cities. I plan on retiring here- that’s how much I love it. 
Now we’re off to Berlin! Woohoo! 

Why You Should Give Your Gyno A Call!

Hey 20 Somethings!

Now I know, there is nothing more awkward than the thought of having to undress from the bottom down and place your legs on stirrups, exposing yourself in places you’d rather not be exposed in. But let’s be real. Gynecologist appointments are something you just have to accept as a part of your female life.

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A lot of 20 something women are under the impression that they only need to see a Gyno when they’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Nope! You should be seeing a gynaecologist as soon as you start having sex. Otherwise the recommended age to start making those appointments is 21.

Some experts say you should only schedule a pap once every three years, others recommend getting it done annually. It all depends on your body, you and your doctor will be able to discuss how frequent you should be coming in.

So what is a Pap Smear?
Pap Smears are tests that can detect abnormal cells in or on the cervix. (The type of cells that can be cancerous) Pap Smears help identify abnormal cells and treat them before they can become cancerous. (See why they’re important?)

Fact: Cervical Cancer is the number 1 ranked cancer in women aged 15 to 44 in South Africa.

It’s important you are educated about what’s going on down there. Ask your doctor lots of questions, it’s your body after all. Your doctor can also explain ways to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancies if you are sexually active.

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Another important conversation to have with your Gyno is whether to get the HPV Vaccination, which can help in preventing Cervical Cancer drastically.

Also, Gynecologists are not what our mother’s experienced, so if you’re worried about having a man all up in your business, stop. There are PLENTY of amazing female Gyno’s who will make you feel so comfortable and at ease.

So what are you waiting for? Schedule an appointment now!

Until next time!
Nadine.