The Silence of Nature

Malta. The island isn’t all too big, all too large and rather easily explored – yet, there’s a new place every time I go for walks with my family. Right after New York, and after spending less than 36 hours in Zurich, I headed right back to Malta to see my puppy again. I left Zaphira with my mom and sister whilst I was gone traveling overseas so that she had family around her and wasn’t alone. Upon my return, I received a million kisses from my pup and couldn’t feel happier. It was just what I needed. Malta was just what I needed. In fact, I needed a short break. Traveling is a passion I love and I cannot be happier about the life I am living and about my career allowing me to travel to different places. Yet, once in a while I am just happy to let go for a bit; almost to shut down in order to reload my personal energy again. That is what I did over Easter together with my pup and the family. We were out daily, surrounded by winds, yet enjoying the warm sun that spring has brought to the island.

Generally, there is not much I love more than enjoying the silence of nature. That is, the sounds of breaking waves, the wind whistling through the sails of yachts and boats, the birds humming their songs and wings of bees vibrating so fast you can hear it for miles if you listen closely on an open field. I have learnt not only to love being outside in nature but appreciating all that it gives to us and does for us. My next personal challenge: the ultimate detox and enjoying nature to the fullest. That is, I want to plan a trip in the near future where I will be almost fully offline – cut off from the digital world.

I love the internet. Don’t get me wrong. I love being online and knowing what is happening exactly when it happens and the second a message gets in. Yet, being available at all times, receiving emails and calls 24/7, answering WhatsApp messages in bulks and FaceTiming every night with family and friends can make one feel restless. I’ve come to notice that a break from everything, at least once in a while, is quite the positive change. I now try going outside without checking my phone every 10 minutes – at least for those 2 hours that I am outside with my dog when going for a short hike. And my next challenge is a trip – a trip where I will restrict myself to only 2 short periods of online time a day (to let my family know I’m alive whilst abroad and to check important emails once a day).  I think it will be a real treat for myself. Have any of you gone through a digital detox – is it even possible nowadays in such a fast pacing world? I cannot wait for it!

MoMA x NYC

Finally I’ve managed it. It’s always been high up on my list. Yet, I’ve never found the time previously to go and enjoy it myself. The MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, is exactly what I am talking about. This time around in NYC, the big apple, I actually found myself more or less free one afternoon (due to a snow storm and all meetings had been cancelled) with my hotel being right across the street of the MoMA. Immediately I took off and decided to spend a few hours in this museum, allowing myself the time to digest each and every piece carefully as I walked through the halls filled with one masterpiece after another. My favorite? Hard to say, though I extremely liked the contrast play in Andy Warhol’s painting “The Supper” from 1986 (top photo) – especially because looking at it I would have thought its from after the 2000s. It’s incredible how far ahead Warhol was with so many art pieces he did 30 years ago.

Yet, it’s hard to say which my overall favorite piece was. All brought out different emotions within me – from feeling blessed and fuzzy all around to being worried about where the human race is heading to feeling empty all inside. That is what I love about Art so much – it has the power to making people feel all sorts of emotions. So I’ve picked out some of my favorites, those that spoke to me with varied emotions, to share with you.

Of course, the all-time famous “The Starry Night” from Vincent van Gogh from 1889.

Tarsila do Amaral’s “Operation (Workers)” from 1933.

Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950”.

Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”  from 1914-26.

Carmen Winant’s wall of photography called “My Birth” from 2018.

Henri Matisse’s “Dance (I)” painting, which I loved so much I had to buy the miniture poster of it for my own apartment back in Zurich!

Entering and Exploring Malta with a Dog

There is nothing I love more than traveling – especially when it involves seeing my family and being able to take my puppy, Zaphira, with me. Due to my family living in Malta, as you may know by now, I tend to visit them ever so often. Traveling to Malta with a dog in general is rather easy – even easier, if it‘s a small dog (up to 8kg in weight) that you can take into the plane cabin with you. Zaphira has flown around 3 times with me to Malta already now, and is getting more and more used to plane rides. It calms me to know that she is less panicky now and I do not have to give her any tablets anymore (which I tried in the beginning to calm her down but did not feel was the right thing to do).

When entering Malta with a pet (cat or dog) it is of utmost importance to register the animal prior at the customs. Recently, this process has been simplified and can be done online here.

Likewise, you must see a vet around 3 days prior to entering Malta to confirm the dog is healthy (get a statement of good health) and it must be treated for worms (in the form of a tablet).

Once you arrive at the airport, you will be awaited by the customs to check that the above processes have been done and to verify the mircrochip number with the one entered onto the online form.

Discovering Malta with your dog is fairly easy when it comes to walking through the streets and visiting utmost touristy places. Dogs are allowed in most public spaces, given they are on a leash, and can run freely in certain areas. Yet, although people living in Malta love dogs, many of them are not used to having their dogs play with others. You will notice that they are kept rather tightly on leashes and are often even scared towards other dogs.

When it comes to Restaurants, one wants to call beforehand to see whether dogs are allowed. It seems that some do not allow dogs at all – not even in the outside areas, whilst others offer your dog their own chair to sit at the table with you. The same thing goes for hotels – make sure that you check online or by calling before booking any rooms.

Funnily enough, and in contrast to what we are used to in most other countries in Europe, dogs are allowed in supermarkets. That is, not all dogs. Big dogs usually need to wait outside and are not permitted. In case you have a small dog, however, no one will tell you to leave the dog outside by itself. Simply carry the dog around whilst you go grocery shopping!

The best seasons to visit Malta with you dog is anything from very late summer / early autumn up until mid-spring. Already in April, and most definitely in May, Malta reaches very temperatures already and walking with the dog for outside for hours is almost impossible and surely not recommended. If you don’t want your puppy to melt away in the sun, and likewise if you don’t want to sit around in the shade all day, the summer is not the best time to exploring Malta with any pet (nor without, as most Maltese that have the possibility leave the island as it becomes too hot)!

If any of you have any recommendations of where to best stay with your dog in Malta, do let me know – as I am still in the midst of further exploring the island; of course, with Zaphira. Likewise, I have planned quite a few trips this summer with her and am always looking for new places to explore that are dog-friendly. Up next with Zaphira is Munich! If you wish, I am more than happy to sharing some tips with you after my visit. Until then, I wish you all safe travels wherever you go! Xo

Vegan Falafel for the Win

Another week, another recipe! I surely do not want to bore you with recipes only on this blog, but if I am in love with something I need to share it. So here I am telling you about my rather newly discovered love: chickpeas! Who would have known that these little yellow fellows are so healthy, so filling, and can be used in so many recipes.

A new favorite recipe of mine is this vegan falafel recipe! It is so simple that it’s almost scary – so good that you cannot stop eating them and the preparation time takes around 10 minutes at max. Personally, I like simple recipes and things that do not take long to make after coming home (usually somewhat late) after work. Given this reason I made these falafel after work the other day and did not even add a side-dish. What I can recommend, though, is a cucumber salad (speaking of, I found a great recipes that I will share in the near future!).

For these crispy, little falafel, you need

240g (drained) & pre-cocked chickpeas
1 large onion
1 handful of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons buckwheat (or any other) flour 
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
a hint of salt

What to do

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250°C 
  2. add all ingredients into a food processor and mix until you get a smooth mixture (make sure it doesn’t become too smooth or else you will get a soup)
  3. take roughly one large tablespoon of the mixture and form each patty with your hand
  4. place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle (or paint) all patties with a light layer of olive oil
  5. bake until golden-brown for roughly 18-20 minutes

Et voila – within a couple of mintues preparing and baking, you have the perfect, healthy (and vegan) falafel ready.

Vegan, Sugarfree & Glutenfree Waffles

Sundays are probably my favorite weekdays. Why you ask? Simple – the week is coming to an end, I can sleep in, usually all household cleaning has been done, and I either go for brunch or make my own larger-than-usual breakfast at home! I have changed up my diet quite a bit these past few weeks – going from eating meat every day to eating completely vegan for a month. The idea behind it was to give my body a break from all the animal derived foods and seeing how my body would adjust to such a change of lifestyle. Although I have gone back to eating meat once in a while now since a week or two, I still try to eat plant-based most of the times these days. I believe everything should be done in moderation and as much as I enjoyed the vegan lifestyle I still do enjoy meat too much once in a while to giving it up completely. Perhaps that will change in the future – or not, we shall see. Either way: during my plant-based diet phase, I tried out several new recipes that were – obviously – vegan.

I am a huge fan of sunday-waffles! Previously, I would make waffles with standard recipes – which usually contained either eggs, butter or some other form of animal derived by-product. This time I went for an all vegan recipe and switched a few things up from the normal recipe I would have used earlier.

What you need (for 8 waffles)

1 large, ripe banana
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
150ml warm water
100ml almond milk with slight vanilla flavor (can use plain almond milk)
200g glutenfree flour (I used buckwheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda (glutenfree)

What to do

  1. get you waffle iron ready
  2. mash the banana and add it into a large bowl
  3. add all other ingredients and mix everything together until you have a smooth dough
  4. heat up the waffle iron once without any dough
  5. add two tablespoons of dough into each iron set (or however large your waffle iron is)
  6. let it bake the waffle until ready

This recipe is super easy, quickly done and barely needs any ingredients. Note that the waffles are not very sweet. If you do want it a little sweeter, I suggest adding a tablespoon of maple syrup or the like to the dough beforehand.

I topped up my waffles with some fresh blueberry “jam” which I made whilst waiting for my waffles to bake. Here I used ¾ cup of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of agave syrup and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and mixed everything up.

Et voila – time to enjoy a lovely little breakfast without having the guilt crawl up after indulging!