Goodbye 2013. It has been a pleasure.

Dear 2013,

You were so good to me that I am already missing you.

Best trip: the Sahara Desert. I still can’t believe I made it there.

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My Desert Taxi

Best book I read: After Dark by Haruki Murakami. I’m making my way through 1Q84 at the moment. Just need a few more days.

Best film I watched this year: Les petits mouchoirs. My favorite films of the year always seem to be French. – The Paperboy and Stoker come very closely behind though. I LOVE them. Oh, and Blue Jasmine, of course! How can I forget?

Best move: Living and working in Hamburg, Germany. It was one of the coolest places I have ever lived and I entirely recommend it. Not only is Hamburg gorgeous and efficient, it also has a creative and bohemian side that I love. Germany ROCKS.

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Hamburg

Most “Dream come true” moment: Watching The Rite of Spring at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Best bar: The Sofa Bar in Hamburg.

Best people I met: The amazing new friends I made in Germany. You know who you are!

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Present I found on my desk

Best exhibition: The Steve McCurry show at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.

Most unexpected incident: A camel eating one of my socks in the Sahara. Yes, it happened.

Best breakfast: In this little balcony in Santorini. I can’t remember the food but the view…. ah, the view…

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Santorini, outside my window

Most fantastic news: Four of my friends are pregnant. FOUR.

Best purchase: A goose feather coat from Esprit. Not the most glamorous garment in the world but it has honestly saved my life in freezing-cold-minus-ten-degrees-covered-in-snow Germany.

Best architecture: St Basil’s Church in Moscow.

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Beautiful on pictures. Even better in reality.

Best series: Game of Thrones (though I did fall in love with Dexter a little bit too. Oh, and no, I haven’t seen Breaking Bad yet.)

Most rewarding experience EVER: Publishing a book.

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Book launch in Florianópolis, Brazil.

Goodbye 2013.

You were amazing. I had a great time.

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Happy in Hamburg

Lots of love.

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The Sahara

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I loved, LOVED the desert.

I don’t have the words to describe the beauty of the Sahara. It’s such a surreal, magical place, I couldn’t quite believe that I was there.

I contacted Top Desert, a Desert Adventure Tour company and arranged a 3 day trip from Marrakech to the Erg Chegaga dunes in the Sahara. The trip was long but the scenery was breathtaking: we crossed the Atlas Mountains, passing by Ouarzazate and numerous Berber villages, until we reached the desert. We stayed 1 night in a camp site in the middle of the dunes. Waking up at 6am to watch the sunrise from the top of the highest dune, surrounded by nothing but warm, red sand is something I will never forget.

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I didn’t see any scorpions, but I saw miles and miles of rock, sand and poisonous plants. Not exactly cozy but GORGEOUS to look at.

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That’s me. “Rocking the Casbah” in the middle of nowhere.

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No words necessary.

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The one in the middle was my ride. She ate one of my socks (!!) but she was adorable.

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Camping in style, in the middle of the dunes. We had a fire in the evening and our guides played Berber music for us. It was great fun. Oh, and I must have seen about 20 shooting stars that evening. Lots of wishes were made.

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The giant Tajine mountain.

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That’s Ali, our “Camel Whisperer”.

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I will never forget you Sahara. I’ll make sure we see each other again one day.

Morocco

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Ah, Morocco… Where do I start?

I was on holiday in Marrakech and the Sahara a couple of weeks ago. It was my first time in North Africa and I was beyond excited! I expected lovely people, warm weather, delicious food and lots of photogenic nature and architecture. I saw all of that, of course, and much more.

Marrakech is an experience. It’s not a particularly relaxing place. It’s noisy and chaotic but it’s also friendly and full of interesting things to see, from snake charmers and ancient leather tanneries, to the most incredible mosaics and jewellery I have ever laid my eyes on. It’s a creative city that feeds the imagination. Here is a small sample of what I saw:

Marrakech is pink, orange and terracotta;

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Marrakech is full of quirky and amazing things to see;

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In Marrakech there are gorgeous colors everywhere;

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And absolutely beautiful details.

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Best lunch: Le Jardin.

Where we stayed: Riad El Mansour (Gorgeous rooms and lovely staff).

Best Dinner: La Maison Arabe.

Best things to buy: Leather goods (the handbags and ballet flats are beautiful!) and jewellery, LOTS of jewellery.

Best things to see: The Souks, the Medina and Djemaa el Fna square, of course. Ben Youssef, the ancient Islamic University and the Maison de la Photographie.

Best Garden: The Jardin Marjorelle, designed by Yves Saint Laurent.

Best short trip outside of Marrakech: The Sahara Desert – I’m still dreaming about this place. It is amazing. AMAZING. I’ll be talking about it on my next post.

Lots of love.