TRAVEL DIARY TO SUNNY SPAIN 🇪🇸

Vanitah

Hey everyone! Now I’m home again after the trip to Mallorca, had a wonderful time! I was there with my family for a week but I would have liked to be there for 1 month if it was so … Because I really have trouble with the change of environment. It takes ages for me to at least start getting used to this cold Nordic weather (truthfully speaking i have Never gotten the hang of it). So when I got home I was inwardly screaming and praying for summer to kind of have a magical reappearance but to no avail. Like seriously falling back into my day to day scheduled routine after a full week of chilling, resting and lounging without a care in the world 🌍 just made me restless and sad. (Don’t get me wrong I was definitely happy to be back home because I missed everyone but that doesn’t mean I didn’t long for a tiny extension of my Mallorcan getaway). Anyway enough about my post getaway inner turmoil and let’s get to the juicy bits of my trip!

On a Friday night at 22 o’clock we landed in Palma de Mallorca after a 4 and half hour flight. I was happy with the fact that it was an evening flight because that gave me a window to get done with the things I had to do for the day before I embarked on my trip. When we landed we went by bus from Palma airport to the hotel in Can pica fort Where We would be spending the next few days. Saturday started out with a Nice breakfast buffet (Which had a Nice Range of food studs from bacon, eggs and potatoes to salads, fruits, cakes and cookies plus oats and cornflakes. This was such a welcome relief since i am literally so Picky with my food). After this We spent majority of the day lounging around pool because We were so tired from the night before to literally do anything else. Plus this also gave me a Window to catch up with Derrick and Christine since it had been a while since We last did that( our banter is in Its own lane). We had our lunch and dinner at the hotel too. On Sunday after the breakfast we went to the Beach (ot was packed with a lot of tourists with made the task of finding a spot sit literally impossible. Once We were done with that in the late evening, We did some widow shopping as We headed back to our hotel with our sand selves( there was sad everywhere🤦🏾‍♀️😂)

On Monday, we went on a leisurely boat ride tour of Cap De Formentor and here I got to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, which forms the northern coastline. We sailed out from Port de Pollenca, where the trip went to Cap de Formentor – It was such a beautiful trip with a couple of bathing stops along the way. Our lunch was also which we enjoyed on the boat was also included in the price. (Sadly I didn’t take any photos because I forgot my phone at the hotel. So me 🤦🏾‍♀️)

It rained quite a lot on Tuesday so I spent majority of the day indoors and at night our hotel hosted a delicious Mallorcan- style barbecue after which we were entertained with live music. ( I also got to try a really tasty Mallorcan cake 🍰 whose name I can’t remember 😬)

on Wednesday and Thursday we went shopping but sadly I was under the weather. I got to try the traditional Spanish paella with lobster 🦞 but It just wasn’t my cup of tea so I ended up just getting chips, beef and sauce with my go to drinks throughout the entire time I was in Mallorca- smoothies except for once or twice when I would get the alcohol free cocktails 🍹.

On Friday which was also our last day of the trip we went to a traditional Mallorcan market in the historic town of Sineu, where lively trade was taking place among the locals as well as us the tourists in the market square and in the small streets. The price of everything from fruit and vegetables to clothing and utensils – even with animals as the only remaining market in Mallorca, is bargained for. After a visit to the market, we went to the east coast and the city of Porto Cristo, where we entered the Hams cave itself. Here we saw the beautiful formations of dripping stones and experienced the impressive natural-created caves. I bought some paw paws ( because it had been ages since I last ate one) and mangos which I brought back home with me along my other purchases.

Till the next post, Vanitah

TRAVEL DIARY: TRIP TO SERBIA 🇷🇸

It’s been about three weeks since my short summer trip to Serbia and I’ve honestly been dying to write about this amazing trip! Well, I was dying to, till i found huge amount of work lying on my office desk after the trip, but oh well! Let me get right to it. It all started on Saturday morning when i woke up slightly hangover from the quite fun Friday night with some friends of mine and i had not packed my suit cases. I still had a few errands like ran to the bank, buy a Ugandan flag and some Ugandan drinks for the culture 🍾🍾🍻🍻. I started packing up like 3 hours to my flight, and a friend dropped me to the airport with a flight to a country that most people were frankly wondering why I was going there. That including the immigration lady at the airport. About 13 hours later, I got to Belgrade, Serbia the next day at around 1 pm and I was welcomed by some amazing ladies from ISWIB.

And there it was!, a summer in a totally different city with new people. Well the most exciting part about my reason for the trip was getting to meet some friends that I had met in Norway earlier this year (pictures of our reunion are right below). Little did I know that I was going to make even more friends, people with lovely souls, good vibes and well even love the city of partying, Belgrade!!

When I got to the residence, I was so happy to see Henry, my crazy rich Asian friend (as I call him) again only after 4 months. We had a quick lunch and caught up on everything going on in our lives and shortly after we set out to the town for a short town walk. When we got back, I had to now try to get to meeting new people. If there is anything I’ve known for so long about myself it’s that I’m not good with crowds of new people. Like the continuous personal introduction gets a bit tiring and I’m also bad with names. But give me three days and I’ll be okay with talking to anyone new 😃😄. A night out partying and dancing with new people is also always a good ice breaker for me haha.

Then this is where the summer in Belgrade began for me. Coming from Kampala, the city that lovessss to party, I was practically at home in Belgrade. I mean, those people are crazy! Partying from Monday to Monday. It’s always a party somewhere. The first boat party we went on in our first nights was really great!! I recall that the party where I actually got to meet so many ISWIB participants and really connect on that dance floor.

For the mornings, I attended this dance workshop, Bring the passion, which was honestly amazing! I feel like I’ve said “amazing” way too many times in this post. But yes! It was. It gave me the opportunity to meet really nice fun loving people from totally different countries and also get to dance both in the morning and in the night partying 😂😂. The total summer dream for me.

I mean I thought I had energy but damn, these dance classmates had energy! We were literally dancing all the time haha. What’s even better is that even three weeks after leaving Belgrade, we are still in contact with each other.

Writing this post, I really feel like I have so much to say especially about each and everyone I met and the good times we had but that would be one hell of a long post!! Anyway, back to the trip, aside from the daily morning dance class, we also had the opportunity to do things like go to beach and travel to another city on Serbia, Novi Sad which was beautiful by the way.

Every day was so eventful that the time we had seemed like a whole month! So crazy. Fast forward to the last day, we had a presentation at a theatre and I’m pleased to say that the dance class I was in really killed it!! Our performance was really good I heard 😂😂😂😂. I’ll just throw in the casual ” I heard” so I don’t look like I’m bragging. And then came my favorite part of the entire event, the Flag Parade in the city. Being the only person from Uganda gave me so much pride to represent my country at this Flag parade. I met this old guy who actually knew what country I was from just from my flag and he mentioned a few towns here, so interesting. The city was flooded with flags from various countries it was such a beautiful sight.

Lastly, to end the summer trip came, the sad part! Summertime sadness literally. The goodbyes started, the long hugs, the cute notes we wrote to each other and small pretty souvenirs were passed along. The strangers I had met in the first days were now close friends! and those I was meeting again in another country were now more like family. So intense. I tell you, it all happened sooooo fasttt.

But this isn’t a goodbye! We are young, beautiful, fun, loving and like-minded. We are going to meet each other soon. Somewhere in this big wide world and add onto the beautiful memories we have already created. Thanks to ISWIB for making this possible. In short, I loved the spirit of Belgrade!

This post also appears on my personal blog at derrickmuheki.wordpress.com

See you in the next blog!

Derrick Muheki

Travel Diary: Trip to Norway

Huh! Where do I start? I think it all began on a Tuesday afternoon when I set out to go winter shopping in Kampala (where it’s summer all year long!) That is say was the hardest this for me because I had never really experienced winter 🥶! I tried imagining how cold it would be but the clothing I got wasn’t as warm as it ought to have been. I then strolled into a Ugandan crafts gift shop and the reception o got there was overwhelming!! They literally thought I was a foreigner getting some souvenirs of my trip and guess what I played along 😅😅 and probably got them for a higher price but it was fun playing foreigner in my own country! The love you get is overwhelming I’d say 😂😂😂

Anyway so Wednesday afternoon I set off on a flight to my first stop at Dubai where I was lucky to have a visa and slept at a good hotel for the night before my morning flight to Oslo, Norway! That morning a my Dubai International Airport, I met some two beautiful Kenyan girls and it turned out they were going to attend the International Student Festival in Trondheim ( the festival I was also attending for my trip) and we hit it off! Probably not in the way you’re thinking. Anyway so arriving at Oslo and stepping out of the plan from the back entrance meant I felt a good -8 degrees Celsius that I had never felt before! Sh*t!! My jacket (that I thought was warm) wasn’t of any help 😱😱 at this point I couldn’t imagine spending two weeks in such cold!!! When I got off the domestic flight from Oslo to Trondheim, it was cold but not like Oslo. About -2 degrees. And well the rest was a good time after that.

With this festival, I got to meet amazing people from different countries in the world. It was amazing and extremely diverse! The workshop group that I was attached to “Big City Life” honestly turned to be The Absolute Most!! It was such a great Norge-family to wake up to see, play with, chat with, debate with, and PARTY HARD with! I feel so honored to have met each and everyone of them. One of the memories I’ll never forget was the last Saturday night together at Sophie’s (our workshop leader’s) house. It was the most! By now you’re wondering what the most is but in quick translation ‘it’s just the best feeling you could get out of the moment you’re in’ basically ceasing the moment. We took so many shots (or atleast Ana and I did😅) and we danced sooo much!!! Plus i loved how we danced to music from each country we were representing.

My amazing diverse workshop family
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This festival taught me a lot about the current issues going on concerning migration and the refugee crisis in the world today. Through the discussions and the few plenary sessions that I attended, I was able to grow in knowledge and this opened my eyes to play which ever part I can to make a change. Humanitarian. That’s the word I was looking for. It was a life changing experience! I wish I could write up everything that happened but that would be an extremely long post. Thanks Trondheim and ISFiT!

Ana
Our countries and Residence

To all the new friends I met and the old ones I re-met in Trondheim, you’ll always have a special place in my heart. I know we’ll meet soon somewhere around the World!

<Photo Credit: @julydragan on instagram

This post also appears on my personal blog at derrickmuheki.wordpress.com

With Sophie and Emily

– Derrick Muheki

Travel diary: Ethiopia 🇪🇹

Christine

So disclaimer! Ethiopia was my first flight. I was giddy with excitement as my beautiful boyfriend (see how I slid that in right there) and siblings drove me to the airport. The flight was smooth…..I had no expectations, just a big ole open mind and it went off without a hitch. Skipping the part about one my interesting flight neighbours and yummy flight food (yes all that happened). I want to rush to the good part…Ethiopia the country, the people. First off this was a work trip but it felt more like leisure than work.

My first opinion of the country, from looking at the capital, apart from the extremely beautiful faces is that Addis Ababa feels/looks like a phoenix. It’s rising from the ashes with all the new high rise buildings and emerging skyscraper constructions in every corner, but you can still see the cracks of what it once was. The tin shacks and shops sandwiched by upcoming 5 star hotels, the people who look just as overwhelmed with what their city is turning into, the newly constructed flyovers juxtaposed with not so well constructed roads all somehow making this wholesome city what it is. It’s its own kind of beautiful. Perfect yet imperfect. I have failed to find a one word fits all for this place. It is just what it is.

Now for the people….oh how I love these people. It’s rare to find so many in one place that match my happiness and enthusiasm for life, always ready with a smile and a new word for the day even when I do not understand their beautiful language, Amharic . This is what I have so far *not sure of the spellings though*.

Damnatush – good morning; Ishii – okay; amasekinalo – thank you; shaii – tea; Buna – coffee; konjo – beautiful/pretty; igyii – go.

If I talk about Ethiopians, I cannot fail to vocal their norm of sharing, caring and supporting local businesses. It is the benign of their existence. Almost all food is shared on one plate by all in the family; rarely did I get to eat on a plate by my lonesome. The people in this place go out of their way for you, never expecting anything in return. To be honest I have not met so many genuine human beings in one place.

At Abyssinia: a traditional sort of pub/parlour where traditional dances are performed while enjoying food and drink

My first day in a restaurant, I had the most melanin in the room no jokes (in my country I am considered lighter than most). However with time, I met all skin complexions; most of the people falling in between that type of skin; not quite black and not white either. Speaking of restaurants, the food here has an acquired taste (in a good way). First day you cannot fathom what you’re putting in your mouth due to the uniqueness in flavours, but 5 days down the road, “engera” is one of my favourites. Engera (the rolled up piece in the picture below) is the staple food in this community accompanying 90 percent of the meals making them wholesome in my opinion. They also incorporate pasta, rice, fish and beef in the meals.

A typical meal shared when in Ethiopia (Photo credit: me)

As I engaged with the people and toured a little here and there, I came to notice the richness and pride in culture that is rare in this day and age. It is as if they haven’t yet been fully contaminated with the need to be thoroughly westernised (they are the only non-colonised African nation) and in my opinion that’s a win. However, I think it’s catching on in the younger generation as viewed from the dress code (mainly jeans) and some of the music, food and general entertainment they enjoy.

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At Entoto hills: residence of the late Emperor Menelik and His empress

The country was built on the basis of religion with Orthodox being the most common religion adapted by the people. They take every opportunity to pray, Saturdays and Sundays for the entire night, and have a lot of fasting periods, I honestly cannot recall many of them. For example during this particular season, they have the 55 days of fasting where no meat is eaten on Wednesdays and Fridays. However their fasting food is so good I almost considered going vegetarian.

To be honest though, I was alarmed when for a glaring two days, there was no Wi-Fi at the hotels because the government had switched it off for reasons unknown to us. I felt as if one of my basic human rights had been stripped away. However the residents on the other hand seemed to take it in stride that if that had been done then there must be a reason concerning security; that was my first peek at the high level of patriotism and positive mindedness of the people for their country and after my fury with the situation faded, I was impressed. They have only good words to speak about their government (maybe it’s just the ones I interacted with).

I hope this piece paints a picture of the kind of community I encountered. There’s a lot not scripted here, like maybe how the income gap is so wide between the poor and the rich that the ones who struggle to make it really struggle and barely break even, how the taxes are so ridiculous that the price of a second hand Vitz can get you a Mercedes in Uganda. I just wrote from my perspective which is usually sunny, but just like any other country, it’s not a bed of roses. I really did enjoy my time and stay and I am forever grateful to all that made it so.