Monthly Archives: June 2018

Trying to give Zaanse Schans a Chance….

Standard

Screenshot_20180630-071526

Screenshot_20180630-071537

When I think of the Dutch countryside, I think windmills and tulips. I mean, it must be splattered all over books and the internet for a reason, because why else would I think that right?!

I imagined fields and fields of colorful flowerbeds. I saw it so clearly I could smell how fragrant it could have been! I was so excited to take picsssss and picsssss swimming inside those colorful, fragrant tulip fields with those big, huge windmill barns in the background.

I did a little research, but thought this is one of those things I want to go talk to locals about and have them direct me. This situation was like the biggest fail in life! The first piece of information person upon person told me (with smiley confusion on their faces, nonetheless – I must add here, Dutch people are extremely friendly!) was tulip season just ended. Literally by a day! My only thought was that it had to be impossible?!??! It was the middle of MAY! And you know….April showers, MAY flowers…..???????

So after tons of digging and chatting to locals etc, the whole deal is tulip season is basically only like a month and a half. After that, they cut the tulips and sell them all across Europe. And that is that. That is it. That is all. Go home stupid tourists, no flowers here. The reason the tulips get so much hype is that – for that month and a half – they are actually THAT beautiful! You just have to be there for that month and a half from around the end of March until mid-May.

The best place to go to see the tulips is in Lisse, which is in western Netherlands and considered in the Provence of South Holland. There, you will find the famous Keukenhof flower gardens (Don’t even ask me how to pronounce that, because the way I say it in my head, was NOT the way the locals pronounced it even to any degree! Dutch is an interesting language one may find entertaining if not familiar lol). I was told the best way to enjoy the tulip fields is if you bike through it! That would have been nice. Lisse was a bit far from Amsterdam, and since my schedule in the Netherlands was tight, it was a no-go. I figured if I go all the way over there, and it’s just a bunch of fields with no flowers, I would rather not waste the day traveling that far.

I ended up going nearby to Zaanse Schans, to take a chance to see the flowers (there were none!) but there were windmills!

Screenshot_20180630-070525

Screenshot_20180630-070608

Screenshot_20180630-070655

Screenshot_20180630-070716

Screenshot_20180630-070728

Screenshot_20180630-071221

It was a cute little village with traditional Dutch style cottages. I’ll be honest, it looked man-made, but I heard it is not. I don’t know, that’s just the feeling I got. Maybe it would have not felt that way, had there been tulips. This place was filled with tourists as well.

Screenshot_20180630-070601

Screenshot_20180630-070630

Screenshot_20180630-071458

After taking a walk around for about 15 mins, I was pretty much done lol. None of my pics turned out nicely either. The sun was a little too bright, I was traveling with others who are not into photography and I didn’t have my selfie stick at that time.

I really did try to appreciate it but it just wasn’t for me. I think when you have a glorified image of a place in your mind, and it turns out to be not as magical, you can’t help feeling disappointed. In my defense, the way I see it, the world is humongous and every place you might end up traveling to and exploring may not be magical for everyone. There were some picturesque moments though….

Screenshot_20180630-071247

Screenshot_20180630-071301

Screenshot_20180630-071406

This is my favorite pic!

Screenshot_20180630-071359

I do have to note, as I looked out onto the open field (which should have been filled with tulips, and was the week before!) It totally reminded me of India! I have a fond memory of my cousins taking me for a drive in the countryside of Punjab on our way from picking up my nephew from his college (or “tuitions” as they call it lol) to show me the “real” pindh! Lol…

Screenshot_20180630-071239

DDLJ…? 🙂

Screenshot_20180630-071325

Screenshot_20180630-071344

Screenshot_20180630-071340

Sometimes you have to go to a place to understand these things so you don’t get so disappointed. Next time I go to Holland, I will know to go in April for the tulips. I will also try to research more villages I can go to any time, like Giethoorn, which I really wanted to go see but had no time. I wrote about it on my old magazine if you would like to check it out here:

http://www.hautedvie.com/discover-dutch-village-straight-storybook/

Anyways, Holland is beautiful, but you have to go on the right season if you want to experience the whole galore of swimming in tulips. That was a major thing I wanted to see. I’ll probably do some more research on some other villages besides Giethoorn to explore any time of year without the disappointment of no tulips. Europe is known for some exquisite countrysides!

screenshot_20180630-071446.png

Screenshot_20180630-071414

Screenshot_20180630-071233

This guy made and sold fresh orange and apple juice. I posted a fun video on Instagram

Definitely on my bucket list is to tour around as many European countrysides as possible! You definitely need the time and also understand the best villages in Europe may not be the easiest to get to. Definitely do your research, plan ahead and accordingly and possibly rent a car.

Screenshot_20180630-071515

-Karen Bahri

Advertisements

Valletta – Malta’s Unique Capital City!

Standard

Valletta is the Capital city of Malta, I’ve never experienced such an interesting city! You know a native Maltese person when you hear them talk. When they speak English (I actually can’t remember hearing many people speak Maltese, so I can’t speak for that, but I am sure it’s the same..obviously it has to be! lol), they talk in a sing-song style tone – which is the best way I can describe Valletta! It has steep sloping streets…so basically “sing-songy” streets! Baroque to Modern in it’s style and sooo beautiful!! The architecture here is like nothing I have ever seen either!

Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards. The city is essentially Baroque in character with modern elements in selected areas. The Second World War left major scars on the city, particularly the destruction of the Royal Opera House (which I don’t think I saw). The City of Valletta was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.

To be honest, I only decided to go because I felt I had to. It’s the capital of the island. A lot of reviews online say it’s worth seeing, but I wasn’t dying to go, so we went one evening thinking a couple hours would be enough. I definitely did not plan that accordingly! A city is a city was my ignorant New York mindset!

Once you arrive in, you are greeted with this big roundabout type thing with some cool art. As fascinated as I was with this big sculpture of a hand holding a bird…..

IMG_20180521_135543

And this interesting sculpture with description:

IMG_20180521_135800

IMG_20180521_135812

I stopped everything as I noticed the sun setting behind this wall over a beautiful landscape!

IMG_20180521_134847

Definitely spent about 20 minutes there taking pictures and just taking in the view that I lost my travel partner lol.

IMG_20180521_135035

From there, there is a main street with tons of designer shops and cafes – many the typical global brands you are familiar with, and some you aren’t. There were musicians blasting loud tunes from their trumpets and various street performers. Something definitely gave this town a very Christmasy type vibe. Christmasy yet caveman lol.

IMG_20180521_135838

IMG_20180521_135926

IMG_20180521_135941

IMG_20180521_140029

As I was walking, I kept looking to my left where I noticed through the intersections that if you went down that side you would hit the view of the ocean.

IMG_20180521_140241

So we decided to take a detour and check it out (and then get back on the main route and continue down) OMG – even more beautiful streets.

IMG_20180521_140517

IMG_20180521_140611

IMG_20180521_140628

IMG_20180521_140716

These streets, all different but with a pattern of steep sloping roads. The architecture was so unique! Valetta is a city with so much character! You picture yourself in some old Kris Kringle meets Flintstones type town back in time, haha! That’s the vibe you get!

IMG_20180521_140759

IMG_20180521_140912

IMG_20180521_141002

Anyways, was hoping to get a close up, grand view of the sea – but realizing how slopy Valletta is; from the main street we could see the sea, but when we got to the edge there was a barrier that blocked the view, that we didn’t notice from the Main Street, because of the slopes!

We headed back on to the Main Street and found ourselves at a square with a fountain, and we noticed a bunch of cafes and a lively, floral, nicely decorated area to our left.

IMG_20180521_141900

IMG_20180521_141909

IMG_20180521_141717

IMG_20180521_141915

IMG_20180521_142005

We continued straight though because we wanted to go all the way to the end of the city hoping for a view of the sea. Once we passed the square the streets were quieter and more residential. I keep saying this but the architecture was so unique!

IMG_20180521_142644

IMG_20180521_142344

IMG_20180521_142522

IMG_20180521_142631

IMG_20180521_142708

The vehicles were a combination of modern, nice sports cars, classic, old school cars and stuff I have never seen before lol.

IMG_20180521_142148

IMG_20180521_142446

At the edge of the road, there was a turn that sort of led to a wider street. We found the sea there!! The streets went on but we knew we would have gotten lost if we continued, and it was getting late.

IMG_20180521_143201

IMG_20180521_143305

IMG_20180521_144355

IMG_20180521_144433

IMG_20180521_144615

We headed back to the cafe area which was a nice, lively area! Hoping to try something different, perhaps local Maltese cuisine, which we were still trying to figure out what that was, beside Rabbit – yes, their most famous local dish is Rabbit! Italian food is quite common, as is American/British junk food. Unfortunately that’s all we pretty much could find. Don’t go to Malta expecting amazing cuisine. Ohhh, also, for some reason, the chicken is different there. I definitely could not eat it lol. I couldn’t even stand the smell! I don’t know how to explain it, but it just wasn’t right. I think all I ate in Malta was pretty much junky pizza and fries, ugh! Europeans also have a thing for mayonnaise. Mayo, bread and cheese. LOL. Very common in Europe. Finding food was pretty frustrating and being Indian, I need spice. Lots of flaming spice. A lot of places, when I asked for hot sauce, they gave me black pepper…..#fail. They did have good ice cream though!

As we exited, I noticed some ads for Malta Fashion week! I guess I was so mesmerized by the sunset I didn’t notice them when I arrived! Hosted by Mercedes Benz, so it’s pretty legit!

IMG_20180521_161817

IMG_20180521_161755

IMG_20180521_161906

IMG_20180521_161916

IMG_20180521_161926

IMG_20180521_161954

Valletta is definitely a place I want to go back to and explore more than just a couple hours! I don’t think I would look for a hotel there, as I doubt there are any beach resorts, and thats sort of my thing. I def would go back to Malta, stay at a beach resort in a neighboring area and do a full day trip to Valletta again and get lost in those sloping streets!

IMG_20180521_142301

-Karen Bahri

Mariama Designs

Standard

Hanging out backstage at IFWAmsterdam, I noticed this woman with striking features dressed in African attire, but what caught me the most was her purple lip!

Screenshot_20180607-213217

Why? Because purple lip has been MY winter jam for the past few years lol! And it’s something people tell me is one of the first things they notice about me hahah! So I approached her as so, and she introduced me to her unique collection.

Screenshot_20180607-213209

Mariama Onitiri showcased her collection of vibrant kaftans designed with intricate Senegalese prints at IFWAmsterdam this season. Onitiri is a Senegalese/Guinean/ French luxury wear designer who has lived in France, England, America, Mozambique and Singapore over the past 28 years. She currently is based out of Baltimore, Maryland.Screenshot_20180607-213800

 

Screenshot_20180607-213818

Screenshot_20180607-213805

She began her career as a fashion and interior designer in Washington DC, in 2005, and has showcased her collections in different cities in the US and in several fashion shows in Mozambique and Singapore. Her designs incorporate splashes of her travels in over twenty countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East over the past decade.

Screenshot_20180607-213902

Screenshot_20180607-214044

Screenshot_20180607-213951

Screenshot_20180607-214018

Lady Mariama Design’s idiosyncratic eye for detail and her use of different elements from other cultures elevates contemporary African fashion to a new level! Her style is a fusion of all the cultures she has been immersed in, mixing elements of different cultures to create stunning silhouettes!Screenshot_20180607-213931

 

Screenshot_20180607-213832

Screenshot_20180607-213924

Mariama works mainly with silk. Her mission as a Designer is to celebrate the human body and to highlight the beauty of the metissage (marriage) of rich and diverse cultures.  Wishing her all the luck and eagerly awaiting what she creates next!

Screenshot_20180607-213825

Screenshot_20180607-213115

-Karen Bahri

​

 

Burano pt#2 – Colorful Canals!

Standard
Burano pt#2 – Colorful Canals!

IMG_20180518_063404

IMG_20180518_063750

IMG_20180518_063826

IMG_20180518_063832

IMG_20180518_063845

IMG_20180518_064406

IMG_20180518_065258

IMG_20180518_065353

IMG_20180518_065835

IMG_20180518_065853

IMG_20180518_065930

IMG_20180518_070015

IMG_20180518_070836

IMG_20180518_070846

IMG_20180518_073319

PhotoGrid_1526647957609~3

IMG_20180518_081338

IMG_20180518_081927

IMG_20180518_075914

IMG_20180518_080041

IMG_20180518_080307

IMG_20180518_100521

IMG_20180518_100551

IMG_20180518_100626

IMG_20180518_111125

IMG_20180518_111153

IMG_20180518_111228

IMG_20180518_115735

IMG_20180518_120210

 

-Karen Bahri