Explorer of the World Q & A Series – Luna Rodriguez Natal

Welcome to Hostelfy.me’s  Explorer of the World Q & A series! This month’s featured explorer is Luna Rodriguez Natal, a 24-year-old traveler from the city of Móstoles in Madrid, Spain.

10576955_10154510089445604_183157750195996024_nPhotograph courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

This intrepid journeywoman has voyaged to 11 countries in Europe. Her adventures have taken her to Spain, England, Italy, the Vatican City, Malta, Germany, Czech republic, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, and France. Read on as this soulful European explorer tells us all about what inspired her to hit the road, what’s next on her bucket list, and what makes living a life dedicated to  travel worthwhile.

Want to become an expert traveler like Luna? Get inspired and read her interview below!

How did you get started traveling? Why do you travel?

I’ve always taken excursions around my country when I was younger without thinking that traveling would eventually become the motor that would move my life.

The point of no return was the first time I went abroad in 2002. I was 12 and attended a college in England to improve my English.

architecture-2656_1920Photograph by Public Domain Pictures via Pixabay Commons

It was an experience changed my life. I met people from other countries. I encountered different cultures and languages for the first time. I was also able get a chance to travel and explore London, which is still one of my favorite cities.

The experience was so different from what I’ve always known that I immediately fell in love with everything. When I returned home, I kept dreaming about going back again. It was in that moment that I became curious about what it would be like to visit other cities, other countries. That was how my ‘need’ to travel started, and after having visited 11 countries, I know that this ‘need’ will never end.

10458441_10154500189925604_2853953900576996908_nPhotograph courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

What do you love most about travel?

There isn’t just one thing that I love about the act of traveling, rather it’s a combination of many reasons. I travel because I want to discover the world. I’ve always been a curious person and always loved learning and speaking different languages. There’s also a sense of feeling complete whenever I discover different types of architecture, tasting new cuisines, and meeting and getting to know people from different cultures.

What has been your most memorable and rewarding travel experience?

My most memorable experience was during my time in France as an Erasmus student. I lived in France for nearly five months to finish my studies. I managed to learn a totally new language (French) and meet people all over the world. More importantly, I was lucky to live with people who were also foreigners and get to know all about them and their countries. I also had a chance to travel a lot during those five months. Aside from traveling within France, I was also able to visit cities in Switzerland and Italy.

1518265_10153772893675604_1156882820_oPhotograph courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

What’s your favorite travel destination? Why?

That’s a tough one. I really don’t think that I can answer that question with one city and be satisfied with the answer. I would definitely say London is one of my favorite cities; it feels like home there. But Rome or Praga (Prague) are places that also totally got me due to their charming appearances and their incredible history and cultural heritage.

26519_10150174269410604_7041493_nPhotograph (Prague) courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

What has been the biggest challenge about traveling? How do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge has always been managing to earn the money to actually travel. I’ve always solved this situation by finding inexpensive hostels, flights, and food. I am always encouraging people to travel. It is not necessary to have a bunch of money to do it!

How do you fund your travels? (i.e., save money for trips? work-related?)

Normally I’ve always tried to find a job to earn enough to fulfill my next trip.  Also, as I am still studying, I’ve always been lucky to have some study grants that have definitely helped to keep me traveling from one place or the other.

Do you stay in hostels when you travel? If so, how do you decide which hostel to stay in? What do you consider most important when choosing a hostel? (ex. Price, location, etc.)

Yes, I do. I normally sleep in hostels when the price is better than hotels, and the location is good. I am really not too picky about my accommodation as long as it fits in my budget and it is well-located.

(Editor’s note: Hostelfy.me is the booking site dedicated to helping travelers get great travel deals and find the perfect hostel for their needs!)

Do you have any funny / weird hostel experiences? If so, what?

Actually not yet. It wasn’t that long ago that I started staying in hostels, and so far everything has gone normally. What I’ve discovered is that I really like sleeping in hostels because there are more possibilities to get to know other people. Plus, hostels usually have a nice ambience.

10304966_10154456768375604_4794278376678751146_nPhotograph courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

 What are the TOP 5 things that people should do when they travel ?

1) Visit all the cultural heritage sites, as well as admire the different architectonic styles;

2) Speak, or at least try to speak, the language of the new country;

3) Get involved in the culture;

4) Meet people from the place, share knowledge, and maybe try to become friends with these new and interesting people. Because you never know when will you be back again.

5) Try the local food

new-zealand-225540_1920Photograph (New Zealand) by Martin Str via Pixabay Commons

What’s on your bucket list?

1) Pursue doctorate studies in New Zealand, hopefully next year. That would be amazing. Since I could be there for three years, I could possibly visit some nearby countries like Australia, Japan, China, and maybe do a tour around Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and more.

2) Visit the USA. Maybe work for a while if there is not other option, then quit the job and have the summer off to discover the country.

3) Visit a Buddhist monastery

4) Backpack through India

5) Enroll in one of the “Tournado Tours” in the USA

6HPhotograph by Ryan McGuire of Bells and Design via Gratisography (Free to use collection)

 Any advice for aspiring travelers?

Be open minded, always look for totally new experiences, make friends, and try different ways of travelling. Choose the experiences which you love most and share them with other travellers! Carpe Diem!

1517640_10154163192710604_4296789547114011441_n Photograph courtesy of Luna Rodriguez Natal

What travel quotes do you live by? 

Los viajes son pequenas vidas” by Domenic Cieri

(Trips are like living little different lives)

No aceptes nunca como compañero de viaje a quien no conozcas como a tus manos” by Rómulo Gallegos

(Never accept a travel companion you don’t know as well as the palm of your hand)

Want to know more about Luna and her adventures? Check out her Trip Advisor profile here 

We’re scouring the globe in search of intrepid travelers to feature on the Hostelfy.me blog! If you love to travel, have a ton of stories, experiences, and advice to share just send us an email at lola@hostelfy.me with “Traveler Q&A” on the subject line. 

 

Festivals in Europe – September 2014

Pack your bags and get ready for a fun-filled September! Here’s a list of some of the coolest, hippest, and craziest events from all over Europe!

 

September 3, 2014

DNA Berlin, Germany

Magnet Club

Falckensteinstr. 48, 10997 Berlin, Germany

Facebook Event Page 

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 Image via DNA Berlin Facebook Event Page

Kick off the start of Berlin Music Week with DNA Berlin! This event is the ultimate mashup of art and music. Here, creative communities come together to showcase the best in art, music, and visual media content and promote creative collaborations. Plus, there will be hip DJs, food trucks, and more! Find out more by following the hashtag #DNABLN. And you can RSVP for  free entry until 11pm to rsvp@dnabln.com
(RSVP closes on September 1st)
September 5 – 7, 2014

BERLIN FESTIVAL, GERMANY

www.berlinfestival.de

Join the revelry during the first week of September as Berliners and travelers alike party the night away in the Tempelhof Airport. (Yes, you read that right—the Tempelhof Airport—evidence of how creative and kooky Berlin’s party scene can get!) The event usually draws big acts and this year is no exception, with bands like Bombay Bicycle Club and Warpaint scheduled to perform. There will also be an Art Village and a Silent Arena. What’s a Silent Arena, you say? It’s an area dedicated to “quiet” dancing time—everyone dances with their earphones on.

 

September 4 -14, 2014

THE AMSTERDAM FRINGE FESTIVAL,

THE NETHERLANDS

http://www.amsterdamfringefestival.nl/

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 Photograph by Shadowgate via Flickr Creative Commons

The Amsterdam Fringe Festival is a celebration of all that is quirky and avant-garde with over 80 productions of hip local and international acts and artists in over 25 locations across Amsterdam.

 

September 6, 2014

HIGHLAND GAMES, BREAMAR, ABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND

Memorial Park, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

http://www.visitscotland.com/about/arts-culture/uniquely-scottish/highland-games

 

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Photograph by Fouquier ॐ via Flickr Creative Commons

Check out or even participate in feats of physical strength and agility in Scotland’s rugged landscape. The event draws over kilt-wearing 20,000 people each year and includes activities like Caber-tossing, an uphill race, hammer-throwing and more.

 

September 24 – 28, 2014

BRANCHAGE FILM FESTIVAL, JERSEY
www.branchagefestival.com

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Photograph by Glenn Rice via Flickr Creative Commons

Love movies? Then you’ll enjoy the Branchage Film Festival in Jersey. This popular event features the best in the country of Jersey and often takes place in unique locations like forts, castles, barns, and even a tugbat in St. Helier Harbour.

September 20, 2014
THE GOOD LIFE EXPERIENCE, WALES

www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk

 

Want to experience the “Good Life”? Well, if you travel to Wales on September 20, you just might get your chance to get a taste of what it truly means to be living life to fullest! From Balkan beats to classical music, Welsh singer Cerys Matthews has created an array of diverse and lovely music that audiences from all walks of life will enjoy. But the good life isn’t just limited to music—it includes great food and culture, too. Plus, there will be a morning yoga class, axe-throwing demonstrations, and cool retro rides.

 

September 9 – October 5, 2014

 OKTOBERFEST, GERMANY

www.oktoberfest.de

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Photograph by xsnowdog via Flickr Creative Commons

No journey to Germany is complete without experiencing Oktoberfest. As one of the country’s biggest and most popular festivals, Oktoberfest is an unforgettable—not to mention, fun—experience. While the main artery of this historic folk festival takes place in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is celebrated not just all over the country—but in other parts of the globe, too. Here, people dress in traditional German garb (yup, we’re talking about lederhosen), and breweries offer up every kind of ale and traditional Bavarian treats. And the soundtrack of the festivities? Live brass bands playing Bavarian tunes and happy folks singing warbling beer songs.

 

 

City Profile: Barcelona, Spain

Want to experience the BEST of Barcelona? Check out this guide of must-see sights travel!

La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi

La_Sagrada_Familia

Admission: Prices start at 19.90 Euros (with audio guide)

ADDRESS: Calle Mallorca 401

8034 Barcelona

OPEN: 9 am to 6 pm

TRANSPORTATION: Metro Line No. 5 station

http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/

If You Could only see one thing in Barcelona, ​​make it the La Sagrada Familia. The sight of this jaw-dropping (unfinished) cathedral will have you in a state of wonderment and awe. As Gaudi Had died in 1926, his master piece Which left unfinished and the continuation End of month Has the been the subject of many heated debates. HOWEVER, de four new towers of the Passion facade (south western wing) is nearly finished and the final date of completion Has yet to be deterministic mined.

Park Guell – Gaudi

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Photograph by fstifter via Flickr Creative Commons

Carrer D’Olot 

Barcelona

OPEN: opening: 10am, closing time DEPENDING on the season, mostly around 7pm

TRANSPORT: Green Line: Lesseps, Vallcarca

Commissioned by the rich industrialist Eusebi Güell as a recreation area for the Barcelonian aristocracy. The park’s twisting rock pillars, jaw-dropping view of the city, and sheer size will keep you occupied for most of the day.

Palau de la Música Catalana

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Photograph by John Picken Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

www.palaumusica.org

ADDRESS: Carrer Sant Francesc de Paula 2

08003 Barcelona

OPEN: box office 10 am-9pm Mon-Sat. guided tours daily 9.30am-3pm

TRANSPORT: metro: line 1 and 4 to “Urquinaona” bus no.17, no.19, no.40, no.45

The façade of Domènech i Montaner’s concert hall, with its bare brick, busts and mosaic friezes Representing the regions musical traditions and composers is one of the best examples of the Catalan Modernista movement ever built. The interior of this sight is equally, if not more impressive with its multicolored stained glass ceiling and half-relief figures of the musical Muses.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Ciutadella_Park_fountain

Photograph “Ciutadella Park fountain” by Bernard Gagnon via Wikimedia Commons 

ADDRESS: Passeig Picasso 

Barcelona

OPEN: 10am – sunset daily

TRANSPORT: metro: “Arc the Triomf” or “Barceloneta”

The Parc de la Ciutadella leaves no room for boredom as its attractions include the Natural History Museum, a gorgeous lake, and more than 30 pieces statuary. The park contains artwork by Antoni Tapies, Josep Llimona, Carles Fontseré and many others.

Casa Amatller

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 Photograph by Ulf Liljankoski via Flickr Creative Commons

ADDRESS: Passeig de Gràcia 41

08007 Barcelona

TRANSPORT: Buses: 7, 16, 17, 22, 24, 28; Metro: L2, L3, L4 (Passeig de Gràcia) 

The Casa Amatller, Which is Adjacent to Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, Which designed by the artist Josep Puig i Cadafalch. A tile located at the floor of the entrance of the sights entrance marks the 0 km. of the European Route of Modernism. The goal behind creating this route to what extend the model of the Barcelona Route of Modernism to other cities on the continent thathave Comparable architectural styles in order to promote the artists and Their Work. Though closed to tourists, the main entrance is always open and there is an interesting chocolate shop offers a look into the history behind the building’s did construction.

Font Magica de Montjuïc

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Photograph by Amy Goodman via Flickr Creative Commons

ADDRESS: Plaça d’Espanya 

Barcelona

OPEN: MAY-SEPT 8-11.30pm Thur-Sun; music every 30mins 9.30pm-midnight. OCT-APR 7-9pm Fri, Sat; music every 30mins 7-9pm

TRANSPORTATION: Metro Espanya

The Font Magica de Montjuic is a spectacular display of color, light, motion, music and water acrobatics. It’s first performance Which falling on the Great Universal Exchibition on May 19, 1929 The designer Carles Buigas submitted his plans one year before the exhibition commissioning over 3000 workers for the project Which was completed in less than one year.

City Profile: Istanbul, Turkey – Part II

THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar)

The bazaar is walking distance to Beyazit and Sultanahmet square. Take the tram to Beyazit square and find “Carsikapi,” one of the main entrances of the Grand Bazaar.

Istanbul.GrandBazaar002Photograph by Georges Jansoone JoJan via Wikimedia Commons

Get lost in the Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar), the world’s oldest and largest shopping centre. A shopper’s paradise since the mid-15th century, this vibrant bazaar has everything you could ever hope for and more. With over 58 streets and 4,000 shops, there is a lot to explore. Make your way through the labyrinth of of spices, carpets, bangles, and gold-plated ‘eyes’ which are believed to ward of evil. Walking through the maze is a physical and mental feat, as one must resist the hundreds of carpet sellers eager to lure you in their store, where you may end up leaving with a life-savings worth of rugs.Trade funny banter with the shopkeepers offering bargain deals and children eager to be your guide as you navigate yourself through the web of precious gems, fur, hadicrafts, leather, antique coins, and jewelry.

Bosphorus Night Cruise

Eminönü waterfront-Ferryboat docks or Golden Horn (West Side of Galata Bridge) for the TurYol boats

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Photograph by  via Pixabay.com Commons

To truly experience Istanbul’s romantic splendor, take the Bosphorus night cruise with the Ferry or the TurYol Boat. Experience the Old City, as you watch the fishing boats gently rock to and fro on the waves. Let the twinkling city lights, and the curtain of stars above your head be your guide as you sail through this 32-km strait, joinng the Sea of Mamara and the Black Sea. From any direction you set out towards, the Southern or Northern Bosphorus, Rumeli Kavagi, or North of the Fatih Bridge, you are bound to pass through some breathtaking sites, samles of such are: the six Ottoman palaces, the Rumeli Hisari (Fortress of Europe on the Northern Bosphorus), Sariyer (Fish market on the North side of the Fatih Bridge), the Topkapi Palace (on the Southern Bosphorus). Revel in the myth and mystique of Istanbul as you listen to stories about the sunken cities under the Turkish coast, how the Bosphorus is believed to be the source of Noah’s flood, and how Hera made Zeus’ mistress into a cow.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapi_Palace_Istanbul_-_Imperial_Hall

Photograph by Mircea Ostoia from Focsani, Romania (Topkapi Palace Istanbul) via Wikimedia Commons

Hours: Wed-Mon 9:00am-5:00pm

Tel: 0212 512 0480 (info)

One of Istanbul’s many highlights is that its history is a dramatic one. The Topkapi Palace is evidence of this, as it was the former home of Selim the Sot, who drowned in the bath after too much champagne, as well as Ibrahim the Mad who was inprisoned in the palace kafes (cages).  The tragedies do not end here, as the Topkapi has enough historic tales to fill a national library.

The Topkapi Palace, when translated, means “Cannongate Palace” and was primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans, as well as the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Built by Mehmet the Conquerer after his conquest of Turkey in 1453, the palace underwent numerous renovations all based upon Mehmet’s original four-courtyard pattern. Enjoy the splendors of the past as you walk through the Harem, the Fountain of Sultan Ahmet III, the Audience chamber, and Conquerer’s Pavillion. The harmony of its austere layout and intricate details have made this “Palace of Felicity” a paradise on earth.

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıçı)

YerebatanSarayı (1)

Photograph by Pnc net via Wikimedia Commons

Yerebatan Cad 13

Tel: 0212 522 1259 (info)

Hours: Oct-Mar 9:00am-5:30pm, Apr-Sep 9:00am-6:30pm

Web: http://www.yerebatansarnici.com

The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Sarnıçı, is an architects dream. As the largest of the hundreds of ancient cisterns beneath Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern has 336 columns, a grand ceiling, and a dramatic carvings, such as the upside down Medusa heads and teardrop designs. It was built in AD 532 by Emperor Justinian I with material from ruined buildings, as a place to store water for the Great Palace and surrounding buildings. In its sheer grandeur and composition, the Basilica Cistern is a breathtaking example of Byzantine sophistication.

GALATA TOWER

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Photograph by Penguin Cakes via Flickr Creative Commons

The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi in Turkish) or better known as the Tower of Christ, is a sight as powerful as its name. As a former stronghold of the Genoese defense system of 1348 in Pera, this intimidating sight dominates the Istanbul skyline. Standing at 66.90  meters, the Galata Kulesi was once used as an observation tower for spotting fires during the Ottoman period. The view from the top is not to be missed, especially at sunset when the colors of the city come alive.

City Profile: Istanbul Food Trip

One of the most exciting aspects of traveling is trying out the local cuisine. Istanbul, for foodtrippers, taste-test junkies, and just plain old food lovers, is a 24-hour gastronomic feast. A fusion of Eastern and Western delights, the delicacies of Istanbul will invade the senses. From traditional Turkish and Mediterranean fare to international dishes, there is something to be found for every kind of palate.

6193137266_10eb4c7f56_z                                                                Photograph by Maisy Mouse via Flickr Commons

The gala of food can be found anywhere and everywhere in Istanbul, such as the Divan Yolu and Akbiyik Caddesi in the Sultanahmet, but for a true ‘taste’ of variety, head to the Beyoglu. Walking along the Istiklal Cadesi, you’ll find an array of restaurants and eateries. Ranging from doner kebap places to international style taverns, there’s little chance of leaving this area on an empty stomach.

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                                                                     Photograph by Damien Roue via Flickr Commons

Another prime area for food aficionados is the Kumkapi fish market. With rows and rows of fish restaurants, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered some strange “fish wonderland.” At nights, the area is ablaze with firelamps, fairylights, and glittery tambourines. It’s also a prime shopping location, with stalls and wandering sales people selling everything from rugs to rag dolls. Here you can get your fill of fillet kebaps, tamarind juice, arabic hummus, fish chowder soup, and ayva dolmasi (stuffed melon).

For those wanting to do a cook’s tour of the city, check out the local markets. If you still havent had enough of fish from the Kumkapi, check out the Eminou waterfront where you can literally, buy the ‘catch of the day’ from the fishermen who’ll even cook their catch for you for the all-inclusive price of 1 Euro. Another great area is the Egyptian market on wednesdays, where you’ll find a diverse selection of spices, dried fruit, sweets, and yes, fish.

Istanbul is a city for the senses and food is its most tangible delight. With specialty restaurants, historic markets, and mouth-watering street food, eating is not only a passion and a pleasure in Istanbul–it’s a way of life.

City Profile: Istanbul, Turkey – Part I

Want a chance to be in Europe AND Asia? Well, Turkey is one country where you’ll be able to explore these two continents. Learn more about this fascinating country by reading the first part of Hostelfy.me’s City Profile series!

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Photograph by Moyan Brenn via Flickr Commons

Turkey is culturally, historically, and geographically the cradle of civilization. It has been the fountainhead for the three most powerful societies in history: the Hitite, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empire. Situated between the continents of Europe and Asia, the country is a fusion of the East and West. It is considered as the link between cultures, as eight countries borders this transcontinental land: Greece on the west, Iran to the east, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northeast, Bulgaria to the Northwest, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. It is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the West, and the Mediterranean Sea to the South.

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The Bosphorus Bridge by night, as seen from the Ortaköy mosque. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto via Wikimedia Commons

Although Ankara is the state’s capital, Istanbul, being the country’s most populous city, has steadily grown to be the financial and cultural center. This developing metropolis, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is one of Europe’s most exciting and alluring cities. Encompassing 25 districts, this vibrant city stretches towards the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus Strait. Thus, making it the only city in the world whose home belongs to two continents. The sights, smells, and sounds will intoxicate the senses–with its inspiring architecture, savory selection of street food, and sound of prayer–makes this city a truly physical and spiritual experience.

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Photograph by Moyan Brenn via Flickr Commons

Istanbul is not only caught between two continents, but also by two world views–the traditional and the modern. Despite this, most of the population live in harmony with one another. It is one of the few cities in the Muslim World that embraces both the cosmopolitan way of life and religious conservatism.

The city’s biggest draws? Its plethora of cool events!

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Photograph of the Istanbul Jazz Festival by GriZine via Flickr Commons

The abundance of events in Istanbul lead to an exotic and exciting trip. The Holy Month of Ramadan would have most of the people fasting from sunrise to sunset (at the exact times), therefore be polite and save your feast for sunset when they break their fast. If you really cant help yourself, there are a few restaurants and cafes open for the rare individuals choosing not to participate and for the non-Muslims.  The end of Ramazan, the festival of  Şeker Bayramı, is the feast of all feast. It turns into a massive party full of food, dancing, and mingling. Its also a massive cavity-fest, wherein the most tempting and delicious sweets are distributed. This three-day national holiday is when the city is truly alive with businesses closing and public transport being heartily championed.

Turkey’s most important religious celebration is the Kurban Bayrami. This four-day event is the commemoration of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The celebration results in the city sky being filled with fireworks and sheep being sacrificed and distributed to the poor. Thus, if you would like to participate in the festivities, early planning is essential, since hotels are often fully booked and public transport tends to be packed like sardines.

Turkey, being predominantly Muslim, follow the lunar year of Hejira which is about 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year. Thus, every year Muslim events occur 11 days earlier.

Another interesting times to visit this thriving city is in April for the Istanbul Film Festival, where the brightest stars of Turkey come to walk the red carpet. Other great events include the Conquest of Constantinople ceremony in May, the International Istanbul Music Festival and International Istanbul Jazz Festival in June and July, the International Istanbul Biennal in September and October.

City Profile: Kuala Lumpur Food Trip

www.stuckincustoms.com

Photograph by Trey Ratcliff via Flickr Commons

If there is anything more adventurous and satisfying in traveling through Southeast Asia, it’s testing out the diverse, unique and interesting selection of food. Kuala Lumpur is one of the hottest and most exciting locations for food lovers, taste bud adventurers and fans of cooking travel shows such as Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour.” The plethora of eateries and dishes will make you sweat­from the humid Malaysian weather, the full­bodied spices and most of all, from the excitement of having so many distinct and delicious options laid out before you.

With a cuisine that reflects the multi­cultural history and influences of Malaysia, there is more than one way to eat in KL. The country’s food options have been derived, fused and influenced by Indian, Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Arab and Portuguese cultures which makes it entirely possible not to eat the same thing twice.

So take this gastronomic adventure through the city where you’ll not only have your mouth watering for more, you’ll also learn more about the country’s rich history and culture as well as the most intriguing sections in the city.

Some helpful keywords to use on your adventure:

ayam ­ chicken
ikan ­ fish
garpu ­ fork
lembu ­ lamb
mee/mi ­ noodles takeaway ­ food to go roti ­ bread

Terima kasih ­ Thank you teh ­ tea
teko ­ teapot
teksi ­ taxi

Selamat datang ­ You’re welcome Selamat tinggal ­ goodbye

Here, a guide to everything you need to know about Malaysian cuisine.

Malaysian Indian 

Kuala_Lumpur_Little_India_0009Photograph of Little India by Stefan Fussan via Wikimedia Commons

The country was and is still highly influenced by the Indian culture. With a historical relationship dating back to the 3rd century B.C., wherein Indian traders and fishermen came to Malaysia to trade with the locals and the Chinese. For true Indian cuisine, Brickfield’s is the area to be. This section of Kuala Lumpur is also known as “Little India” and is where you’ll find the best banana leaf rice cantinas, chapati breads and thosai (South Indian pancake).

Mamak

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 Photograph by Krista via Flickr Commons

Mamak, which refers to Indian Muslims, have created their own distinctly Malaysian­Indian fusion of food. One of the most popular category of food is the “nasi kandar,” which originates from Penang.

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Photograph of Mamak Stall by Krista via Flickr Commons

Mamak stalls (a.k.a. mapley) are widespread throughout the city as well as the rest of Malaysia, wherein some are even open 24 hours a day and is considered as the local “watering hole” where people gather to eat, gossip and watch football games (its extra crazy during the World Cup). You’re bound to come across one of these tiny cantinas or stalls wherein you’ll feel fully satisfied by the freshly made roti canai (thin, flaky bread), Nasi Lemak (rice steamed with coconut milk), Teh tarik (literally, “pulled tea” with condensed milk). These stalls (some even illegal­which makes it more fun) can be found in streets and near parking lots all over the city, but a great spot to find a mass of these eateries is by the busy Jalan Imbi section of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Chinese

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Photograph by Pavithran via Wikimedia Commons

For those craving some good ol’ Chinese takeout, you’re bound to be delightfully surprised. Though still influenced by the cultural melting pot that is Malaysia, the food remains discernibly Chinese. Though Chinese food is often rife with pork (which is not allowed for Muslims), there are many vegetarian, chicken and halal (ingredients that are allowed in the Islamic religion) options. A good bet to find fabulous Chinese food is obviously, in KL’s Chinatown as well as in the grungy, red ­light district of Chow Kit (Jalan Chow Kit Road) which has an interesting wet market, an Indonesian community, an African community and a night market.

Malaysian Dessert

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Photograph by Jonathan Lin via Flickr Commons

For dessert lovers who’ve made a special pact with the tooth ­fairy, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory­–Malaysian style.

Kuih which is Bahasa (language in Malaysia) for sweets and pastries which are made fresh with natural ingredients, can be found in specialty shops all over the city.

Most of Malaysian desserts are made with coconut milk and local fruits. For health buffs and/or fruit lovers, you can find your fix in any local outdoor market and must try delights are: mango, mangosteen, pineapple, rambutan, star fruit, jackfruit, langsat, watermelon, papaya, banana and fresh coconut. For other traditional desserts, try: Cendol ­ Green rice noodles served in chilled coconut milk and gula melaka (coconut palm sugar). Ais Kacang/ Air Batu ­ Shaved ice with sweet corn, red beans, condensed milk and sweet syrups. Sago ­ Rice balls or cubes served in chilled coconut milk. Pengat ­ Tapioca and banana with thick, melted brown sugar mixed with coconut milk, traditional fruits Ondeh­ ondeh ­ Pandan flavored balls of glutinous rice flour which is filled with gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) and rolled in coconut shavings.