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Turkish Baths: Intimate Versions of Modern Day Spas

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Almost everyone loves a good massage, a clean scrub, nice steam rooms and a warm bath. These are also offered by modern day spas, with package deals, though I always feel something missing from them, as if relaxation is a mandatory requirement, as if when you are in a spa, you have to have a relaxed face with calm breaths and all those symptoms of relaxation. I must say, I am not a big fan of them.
Hamams (or Turkish baths) are different. They are built to clean you, not unwind you, no one expects you to make that relaxed face at the end, they just expect you to smell of soap, and that relaxation persists. In Istanbul, there are many hamams, but never go to a mixed gender hamam. Traditional hamams are about bonding with your real friends under a historical dome, cleaning your soul together with cleaning your body. Unlike spas, no one expects you to be quiet in a hamam, instead, everyone reveal their hearts, and gossip, under that concealed space. As you might understand from the lack…

HONG KONG: Tin Hau Temple and Kowloon Island

Hong Kong. City of mixed cultures of Brits and Chinese.
Dont expect a typical city of China. Definitely not London too. Many skyscrapers and temples to see. Dont forget the food! Most importantly Dim Sum!! March is a good month to visit Hong Kong. Not so cold not so hot, just a perfect weather for tourists! Still watch out for the light rain. Kowloon Island Best place to view Hong Kong Island is Kowloon Island. Both in day light and night time. Kowloon island is also best for shopping. We stayed on Kowloon Island. So it was easy to reach shopping malls and get back to hotel without the traffic jam. A beautiful park is located in the middle of the island. You may take your food and have a little picnic over there. There are also some interesting animals -especially the birds-  I have not seen before. Many old people meet at this park for doing yoga or other exercises. Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong Island Temple basically has been made of mosaics.  Some interesting belief you may encounter …

HONG KONG: Tin Hau Temple and Kowloon Island

Hong Kong. City of mixed cultures of Brits and Chinese.
Dont expect a typical city of China. Definitely not London too.
Many skyscrapers and temples to see. Dont forget the food! Most importantly Dim Sum!! March is a good month to visit Hong Kong. Not so cold not so hot, just a perfect weather for tourists! Still watch out for the light rain. Kowloon Island Best place to view Hong Kong Island is Kowloon Island. Both in day light and night time. Kowloon island is also best for shopping. We stayed on Kowloon Island. So it was easy to reach shopping malls and get back to hotel without the traffic jam.
A beautiful park is located in the middle of the island. You may take your food and have a little picnic over there. There are also some interesting animals -especially the birds-  I have not seen before. Many old people meet at this park for doing yoga or other exercises. Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong Island Temple basically has been made of mosaics.  Some interesting belief you may encounter …

PHILADELPHIA - FIRST CAPITAL CITY OF THE USA

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Imagine a room, once it was the place where Founding Fathers of the USA came together and signed the Decleration of Independence. You may visit this very room in Philadelphia, first capital city of the United States.
Another symbol of American Independence located close to the Congress is Liberty Bell that was used for the summon the legislators. Today, this cracked bell visited by many famous politicians/legislators around the World just because what it symbolizes, Independence. Food- Philadelphia Pretzels & Cheese Steaks You cannot leave the Philadelphia without tasting the delicious Philly Cheese Steak. My favorite place for it is Jake's Sandwich Board.
You do not have to eat the cheese steaks every single day. There are many things to discover. So many restaurants, bars.. I found the potato chips hided as noodle perfect! Also check out the Franklin Fountain to taste the ice cream in a historical decor.
Phildelphia claimed to be the home of the American Pretzels. You can t…

WASHINGTON DC - The White House Virtual Tour

If you see someone who actually born in Washington DC,  hug him. S/he is so rare to find.
District of Columbia is not a state as you may predict from its name. It is like an artificial city. Everyone (you may call them Washingtonians or Dcist) in the district is there for a reason. They are either working for the government, World Bank, NGO,  etc or has a meeting with one of them.
White House
If you are one of the lucky ones who had a chance to visit the White House many years ago,  you know how the second floor looks like!!
Today they do not allow visitors to second floor where the President and his family live.
I cannot say much anything interesting going on the first floor but the best season to visit is Christmas. White House looks awesome with the ornaments.
However, you may always take the virtual tour! Check the link and please share what you think about this amazing project. It saves money, effort and time. Otherwise you need to submit request to your Member of Congress, wait…

Brighton, UK: Storms, Sun and Impromptu Picnics

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A friend once said "We live like teletubbies here in Brighton." Coming from a big city where daily life is a struggle, I believe that is an accurate statement for Brighton where no one feels like a foreigner; being eco-friendly, vegetarian and retro are glorified, and "marginal" groups are never marginalised.
Brighton (and Hove) is a small city with a population around 270.000 people, just in the south of London, can be reached with a 50 minute train ride from the Victoria Station. Though it is not worth a visit during the storms,  when you cannot even reach the seaside because of the crazy ocean winds, it is heaven when it's sunny, and everyone is trying to reach the beaches from the hills of the city, like newborn caretta carettas.
As the saying goes for all Britain, Brighton as well, "does not have a climate, it has weather, and if you don't like it just wait for a few minutes."  Thus, you have to be prepared, and educated, to be able to have i…

La Grande Bellezza: The great beauty is Rome itself, or I got the film terribly wrong

When watching this film, I ended up asking where did they find these beautiful places to film, they are not in any guide and I spent a lot of time in Rome. And I got the answer, they probably went two blocks away from the city centre. Indeed, Rome is an unending great beauty, but what about the film?
Frankly, what about the film is none of my business. I should say I really enjoyed the film, the acting, the scenario, it is a great example of Italian cinema, but I am not here with the identity of a film critic. I am writing as an admirer of Rome and linen suits. I believe, before filming, the director, Paolo Sorrentino and the cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi, elaborately searched Rome, and found these beautiful places, the rooftops facing the Coliseum,  gardens located under aqueducts, beautiful churches, monasteries and mansions.  But further credit shall be given to the costume and wardrobe department that tailored those beautiful linen suits for Jef Gambardella, for completing the be…

Neolokal, Istanbul: Good Intentions / Result: So So

After reading many comments and reviews, I have decided to give a chance to this popular restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey.  Since it is super popular and in demand by the COOL people, I kept my expectance very low. So please read this post while keeping this in mind. Let's start with the reservation. We want to reserve a table by the window to have a good view of the Bosphorus. Their response was very nice - they do not take reservations specific for a table but they were gonna do a favor for that time-, we were sooooo happy. But wait.. The view is not fantastic at all. Actually nothing special because it is very limited. So, do not care to be seated in any area, you will not lose anything.. You will be overdressed whatever you wear. Neolokal located in an modern art gallery, Salt. Just ask where it is exactly located when you enter Salt. Otherwise, you can take the stairs, assuming Neolokal in the top floor with a view. No, it is not. We checked. It is not there. But at least we t…