The lovely Leigh from Hike Bike Travel nominated me a little while ago to participate in a fun photo project that’s been going around for a while. Then, Andrew from Grounded Traveler nominated me again. Thanks, you two! Of course I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots! It just took me a while to go through all of my pictures and choose which ones to share here 🙂
A shot that takes my breath away
Scuba diving with dolphins is one of my favorite travel memories ever. I enjoy the whole experience of breathing underwater, being weightless, gazing at corals in all their amazing shapes and forms, spending way too much time looking at the cutest blue-spotted rays, playing with the very protective clown fish, and gazing out in the blue hoping to see something bigger out there. I have done most of my diving in the Red Sea close to Safaga and it hasn’t gotten old yet. One day, we were out at the Middle Reef and our guide decided on a drift dive. We were dropped off over the North plateau of the reef and descended to about 15-20 meters fairly quickly. I started snapping pictures of the beautiful corals with the dark blue in their background and completely missed the group of five dolphins everybody else was staring at. When I finally turned around and saw them, I was awestruck. I have seen dolphins under water before, but always only for a brief moment. This group instead hung out with us divers for probably 15 minutes or so. They kept going around us and interacted with us. I could not stop smiling, grinning really. These animals are so beautiful and smart and I couldn’t believe how lucky we were that they chose to hang out with us silly scuba divers… Seeing dolphins under water turns you into a lovestruck teenager 🙂 At a certain point I started mimicking their movements, much less graceful than any dolphin would ever move with the big tank on my back and all, and they came even closer and swam by my side for a while. What an amazing moment! Looking at this shot below takes my breath away, because I still can’t believe that I was lucky enough to be put in a position to actually take it.
A shot that makes me laugh or smile
I love spending time in Germany during December, because nothing beats German Christmas traditions. Well, ok, I’m biased being German and all, but all the Christmas Markets, Gluehwein, German Christmas cookies, the importance placed on spending time with the family, and more keep drawing me back home for more during that time of the year. Growing up, I remember always hoping for a white Christmas and rarely ever getting one. In recent years, Marco and I have been snowed in more than once and as a visitor it just adds to the fun. After spending an afternoon at my grandparents place, eating, drinking, and catching up, we found our car outside completely snowed in. It was crazy! So, my grandpa outfitted all of us with hats to keep our heads dry and the guys went to work freeing the car. I remember standing on the porch with my grandma and my aunt while watched my uncle, my grandpa, and Marco in the snow 🙂 How could a picture that brings back such a fun memory not make me smile?
A shot that makes me dream
I took this picture on the rooftop terrace of the Nemo hotel in Safaga, Egypt. It brings back great memories of breakfasts with my mom, my sister, Marco, and friends and family who have come to Safaga with us in the past. The breakfast at the Nemo hotel has always been delicious, the view of the Red Sea just below is hard to beat, and memories of good times with loved ones are the ultimate travel dream…
A shot that makes me think
A while ago we had a fairly long layover in Cairo and since Marco had never been, we decided to use that time for a quick tour of the city. Our guide picked us up at the airport, took us to the pyramids, for a long walk through Islamic Cairo, and after I could barely lift my feet anymore (my legs were so sore from hiking in Germany the day before), we picked up delicious Egyptian fast food at Felfela (this is where I fell in love with koshary – the carb-fest consisting of macaroni, spaghetti, rice, black lentils, chick peas, garlic sauce and a spicy tomato chili sauce, all topped with fried onions) and brought it to a little coffee shop at Khan-El-Khalili, the biggest market in Cairo. We plopped down on the chairs, ordered something to drink and dug into our food. While our guide had a shisha and explained some more about Cairo, I started playing with Marco’s camera and took the shot below. It turned out to be one of my favorite shots from that day. Why does it make me think? While Khan-El-Khalili is a very touristy place, we saw quite a few locals hanging out in this coffee shop as well. How great to have a place where you can find sun-burnt tourists trying their first ever shisha sitting alongside locals who have grown up running around the many stores at Khan-El-Khalili. And I was thrilled to see so many local women out there as well. In the smaller towns in Egypt, coffee shops are still a very male domain, and you can barely see any women out. So, this picture makes me think about the changes Egypt went through and is going through right now.
A shot that makes my mouth water
This shot is from our recent trip to Normandy. I’ve mentioned before that we didn’t really have much time to plan our few days on the road there, but Google came through for us and I learned about these two places all the locals hang out at during the summer months: Trouville-sur-mer and Honfleur, both beautiful small cities right at the coast. We just couldn’t resist the call of fresh mussels and fries (moules-frites) in Trouville. What we didn’t know is how swanky this little town is! There is a fancy casino and while eating our moules-frites and dipping fresh baguette in the mayonnaise between bites of jumbo shrimp across from the fish market we saw a crazy amount of high-priced cars drive up and down the road. The food was amazing, but the people watching at the restaurants in Trouville made this stop the more worth it.
A shot that tells a story
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of carnival, especially the Karneval in Kölle (carnival in Cologne). My heart bleeds every year I can’t go. I torture myself with pictures and videos from Cologne and listen to a few carnival songs to top it all of. As one of the marketing campaigns for carnival in Cologne puts it, Koelner Karneval – Ein Gefuehl (carnival in Cologne – a feeling). And it’s true, it is a feeling, a feeling that’s hard to describe to somebody who has never experienced it. I grew up celebrating carnival and everything that goes with it in a small town outside of Cologne, so for me it is normal that everybody during these crazy few days in February/March is out and about, dressed up in costumes, drinking Kölsch, and just having a good time. I tried to explain it to Marco when we first got together, but I don’t think he really understood what a huge deal it is until he came to Cologne with me one year. He thought he didn’t have to dress up in a costume, but was glad that we convinced him to do it as everybody on the streets from tiny little kids to grandparents comes up with something. You really stand out when you don’t have a costume. See, I’m doing it again, trying to explain Karneval in Köln to people, when it really is something that’s hard to explain with words… I think this shot below tells that story much better. Want more? Check out one of the most famous bands from Cologne, die Höhner, with their mega famous carnival song, Viva Colonia.
A shot that I’m most proud of (aka worthy of National Geographic shot)
A shot worthy of National Geographic? That was the hardest one to pick. It’s not that I have so many, but rather, do I have any that are good enough? I’m still not sure, but I finally picked the one below because I love the colors in it. It shows a reef right outside Safaga, Egypt. The little lagoon inside the reef is really not for scuba divers as it is pretty much just sand (rather you dive on the right side that is facing the open water), but it does offer great photo opportunities 🙂
Now it’s my turn to nominate five more bloggers to participate. If you’re one of the nominated ones and don’t feel like participating, let me know and I’m happy to replace your name:
- Choose a photo for each of the 7 categories above.
- Write a short description for each image.
- Write somewhere in your blog post: ‘I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots‘.
- Tell HostelBookers that you have participated and tweet the hashtag #7SuperShots
- Nominate 5 other bloggers by including a link to their blog in your post.
Since it will probably be a little while before my five nominees get a chance to post their 7 super shots, head on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox in the meantime and see which travel pictures have been submitted this week to Travel Photo Thursday. You can also check out my old submissions here.
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