Head of fulfilment Yaning spent two fun-filled weeks away from packing all of your lovely Biscuit orders, to travel through Rome and Berlin before heading to Turkey for a relaxing round-off! Find out what she got up to below!
The weather in Rome changed quickly, alternating between sunshine and rain three times in a single afternoon. However, looking at the buildings and sculptures in Piazza Venezia in the rain, there is a sense of peace that is steeped in history. I simply loved the trees here, all with their canopies high up in the sky, and the flowers - so unlike the large clusters of flowers in Scotland - but here, dappled and fragmented. Suddenly I understand why Italian style is all about small floral fabrics. The buildings in Rome were all as tall as the city walls and the alleyways were mostly narrow - a joy to weave my way through!
The magic of Rome is the emergence of beautiful statues and small fountains at every street corner - as if the whole city is a picturesque outdoor museum. For dinner on night one, we opted for lasagne and oxtail with tomatoes, a glass of Aperol Spritz in Otello, and then a slow walk back to the hotel - bliss!
A visit to Rome isn’t complete without a trip to the Vatican, the smallest country in the world. The snow-white Vatican Square, St Peter's Basilica and elegant fountains all demonstrate the preciousness of this artistic paradise. One of the world’s largest museums, The Vatican Museum brings together sculptures and paintings from ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the best of Renaissance art, including Michelangelo's wet frescoes, The Creation of Adam and Raphael's The School of Athens. It is such a shock to see all the images you have only seen in history textbooks come to life before your eyes!
Berlin is a hip city with a liberal vibe, with bottles and graffiti on street corners, neat modern brick walls and massive transport tracks. I have to admit that shopping in Berlin is a luxurious but addictive thing. All the shops display their goods in a lazy yet chic, designer way. We found a lot of lovely shops in the MITTE district, like the bookstore Do You Read Me? and plenty of both modern and vintage fashion shops. I was surprised to see the brands we sell, American Vintage, Sessun and BA&SH.
Places I recommend visiting in Berlin
Do you read me? - Auguststraße 28, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Wood Wood - Rochstraße 4, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Platte - Memhardstraße 8, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Store- Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin, Germany
American Vintage Women - Alte Schönhauser Str. 34, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Sessùn Boutique - Alte Schönhauser Str. 44, 10119 Berlin, Germany
ba&sh - Neue Schönhauser Str. 10, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Cappadocia and Fethiye are both nature-based destinations and two of the most relaxing final stops on the trip. Cappadocia is famous for its unique landscape, with its Fairy Chimneys and outdoor rock museum. I stayed in a cave hotel in the center of Greme. At night you can overlook the staggering night view of the whole town lit up, and in the early morning you can see hot air balloons floating all over the sky. The owner of the Airbnb prepared an authentic Turkish breakfast full of the aroma of goat's cheese, my favourite being the cheese omelet and Menemen. The little dessert pastry must be accompanied by Turkish coffee or black tea and you will not be able to resist taking more than one bite!
The small shops in Turkey sell many knitted fabrics with beautiful patterns, especially the famous Turkish blankets. They also sell decorative items with blue eyes painted on them. The blue eye is a favourite amulet and good luck charm of the Turks, also known as the 'devil's eye' and the 'evil bead'. The locals believed that being targeted by the evil gods would bring them bad luck, so they carried blue eye-shaped amulets imitating the devil's eye at all times to attract the attention of the evil gods and escape bad luck.
Finally on to Fethiye - a city by the sea with a huge harbour, yacht club, sandy beaches and also one of the top 10 paragliding destinations in the world. We stayed at the Yacht Hotel by the sea with its own pools and bars. Eating breakfast in the warm sea breeze before later enjoying cocktails and massages,all the while exclaiming ‘this is what a real holiday is about.’ I would be a mild cat in Turkey if I could, listening to the prayer call every evening which melodically floats through the air at just the right time.
The next day we took a boat tour of the four islands - red island, flat island, katranci island and rabbit island (aquarium). People from different countries met on the boat to absorb the sun, sea, alcohol, music and freedom together. When the boat docked, people all jumped off the boat into the blue water and enjoyed the natural wildness. I fed the silver fishes with bread from the boat and also observed the goats eating grass up on the shore. Emboldened by the sense of abandon, I was encouraged by a friend to jump into the sea, an exhilarating experience that resulted in my foot striking a sea urchin and being nursed by the boat’s captain!
On the third day in Fethiye I tried out the famous local paragliding. We went up to the top of a 1969 meter mountain, put on our gear and waited for the clouds to clear, then ran into the wind and flew. The flying was steady at high altitude and I could see very clearly the canyon and beautiful lagoons below. The coach increased my excitement by hovering in the air, increasing our speed, before ascending and descending quickly and finally landing on the unbelievably beautiful beach.
Travelling from the city to nature made me think again and again about the joy of travel. In the city, I visited the museums with their humanistic atmosphere, entered the trendy shops and enjoyed the bustle and splendour of the city. Whilst in nature, I became a free little fish acting upon my natural instincts. The city is such a small part of nature - serious, with rules that help us understand how the world works. We come from nature, build city-states and return to nature from time to time to explore the most primitive meaning of human beings. I made friends along the way, saw sights I wouldn't have seen in the city, and was able to experience the cultural and religious differences. It was like being in a parallel time, travelling through different dimensions.
It was a dream that actually happened, and I'll still be packing hundreds of parcels with Jasmyn when I wake up!