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5 unexpected things you notice during your visit to UAE

UAE specially Dubai is one of the biggest and richest cities in the Middle East, it is famous with its tall buildings and advanced technology! I had a big assumption in my mind before going to UAE, I assumed that I won’t be seeing any kind of green life, nor even Emirate people, I just expected to see a 2020 city with lots and lots of internationals!

As always, I was wrong, there is a lot more to this city than just technology and fancy cars, and all we got to do is see beneath the surface!

Since 5 is my new lucky number, here are 5 things you don’t know or expect about UAE:

1- UAE have their own font in Arabic language and as international it is! all the roads, shops and transportation have arabic writings, it is actually a more Arab country than you think.

2- Women in UAE were Abaya (black long dress) and men wear Dashdad (long white something hehe). This might be expected for you but it was a shock for me, I thought everyone will be wearing modern cloths, I mean we all do that in Jordan/ Iraq.

This reason actually made me respect the country more just because they are keeping their culture alive.

3- Women are more in power! I was honored to see the role of leading woman in UAE, they currently occupy 66% of the public workforce in UAE, I love when a country really empower women and encourage them to be fearless!

Badreya Al Dashti — Head of Public Sector and Contracting, Corporate Banking, Noor Bank

4- As we all know UAE is in the Middle of the desert meaning there no sign for any green life! However, Abu Dhabi is filled with great land; you will notice trees everywhere, grass, beautiful family parks and even a beach!!

Also, you can visit Dubai Miracle Garden, such a beautiful place with different kinds of flowers, you can check The other side of Dubai part 2 for more information!

To experience UAE’s real culture; You have to have to visit other cities! 

5- In every country I visited, I had to go through this security door and let someone search my bag, it was simply normal for any security check. In UAE, there were nothing like that!! I mean I entered every mall without any check, no one even asked about checking my bag!

I never worried about walking in side streets or felt a tiny bit scared about anyone there. 

Though there were no security checks yet it felt safer than ever, you can tell that you are safe and nothing bad will happen!

This post was just to give a little glimpse about this interesting country! You can read more about Dubai in Dubai – The city of skyscrapers!

If you like this post, please share it with your friends and follow me on The Zeina Diary or in Instagram at @thezeinadiary

What is the most unexpected thing you faced in UAE?

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Discover The Salt City – Jordan series

Petra, Amman and Wadi Rum, those all are the famous places travelers visit when they come to Jordan. However, there is a nearby city that everyone doesn’t know it exists! Al-Salt!

I mentioned Al-Salt before in My places to visit in Jordan but I thought I should give you an in-depth view of this old city!

Al-Salt city was the old highway that connected Palestine and Jordan, both countries were more than just neighbors. This city holds up a lot of memories and history, you will get a certain feeling as you walk by, It’s like being in another era.

Most asked question: Does Al-Salt contain Salt? NO, it does not!

The heritage trail

Al-Salt municipality estabiled a heritage trail that you can follow to see all of the historical places there. The streets are narrow but beautiful, the people are so nice and welcoming.

My most lovable places there are:

Al-Khader Church

It is a very small yet spiritual church, It was built since 1682! I love the feeling of entering a church or a mosque, a place where I can find peace and love.

The church is built inside of a cave and legends say that every wish you hope for comes true in Al-Khader Church.

Nablusi house

If you ever visited Nablus in Palestine you will feel exactly the same vibe in Al-Salt, my Nablusy friends feel like home while walking there! the houses, the streets and even the people are similar.

Nablusi house is a old house open to public to walk around, people from Palestine still live there and they are the cutest.

Beit Aziz

My favorite place in Salt is Best Aziz, You will have an amazing view that over look the old city, Actually Salt is famous with the color of it’s houses a yellow/honey color that you can see from Best Aziz.

Beit Aziz was actually an old house that turned to a cafe, such a beautiful and a cozy atmosphere to be in. The workers are so welcoming and you will enjoy your time there.

Zeina Tip: In front of Beit Aziz there is an open space that is perfect for taking photos.

 

Sixty Street ( Al-Steen)

The most famous landscape in Salt is 60 street! almost everyone in the city goes out in the weekend and enjoy a peaceful night with Narjeela there.

You can also see Palestine from 60′ street!

There are small ” shops kinda” that sells Narjeela, Tea and coffee and it’s pretty cheap! I totally recommend to go there with a Local cause they will know the best stops!

If you are searching for something different and interesting, then Salt is your absolute destination! I hope you you liked this post and found a new place to visit!!

Have you ever been to Jordan?

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8 reasons why you should visit Turkey

I lived in Turkey/ Istanbul for 1.5 years, It is the place where I started my journey, A place where I found myself! A place I call Home.

I wanted to share my love to this country and encourage you to discover a new and an exciting place! You won’t forget Turkey’s magic.

I created an 8 reasons list on why you should visit this fascinating country:

1- You can travel the world in just one country.

Every weekend I used to book a flight and explore one of Turkey’s magic cities. I got to experience flying, booking , all of the travel process in just a domestic flight.

Then you enter a new city with that is different and unique. Every city has their special components, Every city has a outstanding place or a city-named dish that is worth the way.

Balloon rides in Cappadocia is like a balloon ride in Myanmar! And a beach day in Fetihya is like a Sunday after noon in Nice!

2- Food!

I can’t stop rambling about how good the food is in Turkey. Fish,Kabab, kanat, iskendar, Baklava، waffle, kumpir and many many many more!

Every dish got it’s own signature that makes a simple much like a glorious meal. You don’t have to be rich to eat food in Turkey! I used to eat a 3.5 TL meal (chicken and rice) and it was yummy!

Follow this link to read more about cheap and good Food in Istanbul Food dupes in Istanbul!

3- There is always something to do.

Whatever you do, working or studying, Turkey will never let you have a boring day. There is always some activity going around; A shopping festival, an Ataturk Holiday or simply a ferry ride from the European side to the Asian side.

4- A mixture of modernity and history.

The fantastic city of Istanbul got the best in two worlds. You will be able to travel down in history with every site in Istanbul, yet you will feel the modernity in the malls and in the technology involved in the structure of the city.

The layout of the old building mixing with the new ones is a sight you only can see it in Turkey and specially in Istanbul.

5- Transportation is accesable!

Having some kind of transportation is important in every city and in Turkey you won’t be disappointed. You will find a bus, a metro, a tram, a ferry and a taxi!! All public transportation are covered with just one card!

All roads lead to Rome and sure enough you will find a way to get there in Turkey.

Follow the link to read more about transportation cards and my favorite application to use while moving around 101 guide to your 1st week in Istanbul!

6- A home for an international community.

Students and Travelers from all around come to visit this mesmerizing place. In Istanbul alone I got to meet more than 15 different nationality from all around the world! I had made friendship that will last a lifetime with them! I got to experience and share moments with people from different cultures and end up learning something new from each one of them.

7- You can be yourself.

I always struggled to find a place to fit in, to be the real me! And I found this place in Istanbul and all of the city I traveled to! You are never too weird, or too cool or too unique. There is a place for you in this beautiful country.

You can wear shorts or a hijab, NO ONE will annoy you or make you feel uncomfortable.

8- Cat heaven.

One of the most noticeable scene in Turkey is animals. People every night put food for cats, dogs and even birds! They love and care about their animals, and you see that in the animals themselves. All of them are fat and lovable. All the dogs are under government care.

 If you are a cat lover like me then you will love Turkey.

Are you already booking for your flight?

Share your favorite country with us!

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Places to visit in Jordan – Part 2

Wondering where to go next? Why not Jordan? Jordan is one of those countries that have a lot to offer and I am here to guide you through it!!

Every spot here are waiting for you to discover it! Jordan is not just normal city, it is more like a hidden Gem that should be discovered!

In case you missed part 1, you can check it out here Places to visit in Jordan – Part 1!

Salt

Where: About half an hour away from Amman.

Information about the place:
Salt is one of the oldest and beautiful places in Jordan, As my brother says there are houses that is older than 100 years old, they are unique in their brown- yellowish color.

You can visit down town in Salt and follow the path of the historical places there. It is known that Salt look like Nablus in Palestine. My friends from Nablus actually feel like home there!!

You have to smoke Narjeela in the iconic 60 street or if you want a more cozy place then Beit Aziz is the man.

Dead Sea – Jordan

Where: about one and a half hour away from Amman.

It the deepest and lowest point on Earth, 306 Meters to be exact! and it is 427 below sea level!

Dead Sea is famous with it’s high concentration of salt ( 8 times more than the ocean). Because of those high levels, sea life doesn’t exist there, you can’t sea fish or even allergens. However, people from all around the world come to benefit from it’s healing powers.

Paint yourself with the cool Black Mud that will make your skin more awesome!

You also can reserve in one of those 5 stars hotel for the ultimate experience, you can also check Wadi Mujib and Hidan while you are there.

Umm Qais.

Where: 2 hours away in Irbid, close to Tabria Lake.

Entrance fees:
0.25 JD for Jordanians
2 JD for foreigners ( I think) I entered as a Jordanian citizen.

Information about the place:
The 1st thing to notice when you enter the city of Umm Qais is it’s black bricks, appearently it’s one of the few cities that used black bricks for building.

From Umm Qais you can see the meeting point of Palstain, Syria and Jordan. Also you can visit Tabria lake from there! The view was epic and was amazing to see the three countries at the same time!

The question that I always ask when I visit a new place is: Was it worth it?
And for Umm Qais I found that It is not the most beautiful place in Jordan but the history it holds compensate the lack. I would recommend to read more about the place before you visit!

I hope this post helped you to enjoy this beautiful and small country, Like and share this post!! let me know if you have ever been to any of those places!!

You can find me in all of Social Media, come and say Hi!!

 

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My Pakistan Trip – Places to visit

Hello again wonderful people, today’s blog is about a place that we don’t hear a lot about; Pakistan!!

Pakistan is one of the countries that is known for it’s bad reputation hehe or let’s say it in another words (media doesn’t LIKE it that much). However, we are here to change this cause I believe there is beauty in every country we visit!

I went for 7 days and visited 2 of the big cities, Lahore and Islamabad.

Lahore

I landed in Lahore, the airport was one of the basic airports in the world, a simple line and a passport guy! what I liked that they included women in the welcoming desks ( good sign).

To be honest I was a bit scared when I arrived, I thought everywomen will be covered from head to toe but guess what! They didn’t, they wear modest cloth and all of my friends were uncovered! They streets where 2 times wider than any country I visited.

I believe Lahore is the city that holds the real culture of Pakistan. As I heard from my friends, Lahore city is very old, they used red bricks to build houses and building, it is the main capital of Punjab! You can see both sides (modern and traditional) next to each other in a very special way. Although I was the only tourist there heheh but I enjoyed it.

One of my favorite moment is when I visited the Badshahi Mosque, it was something out of this world, the beauty of this mosque was in it’s details, I seriously can’t describe the peace I felt there.

That guy was totally posing for my picture.

Islamabad

I left Lahore and headed to Islamabad, again I thought I am going to see this really outdated city with no technology and stuff but guess what? It was even better than Lahore, again the streets were extremely wide. Metros, cafes, restaurants were available. Islamabad was more advanced than I imagined.

1st stop in Islamabad was Monal, I got a car, drove all up in the mountain and waited for the sun to go down, sat in this beautiful restaurant and just ate a bunch of meat.

2nd stop was Faisal Mosque the 3rd largest mosque in the world!!! So imagine my surprise when I saw it! it was so WHITE and modern. You can see from the picture how small I am haha.

Before I end this post, I have to talk about food! Of course since India and Pakistan is neighbors and I am like a Indian movies geek I imagined that I will love every meal there!! The food was tooooo spicy for me! ( You can imagine) Pakistani cuisine has a lot of food to offer, chicken, meet , everything!!

Money wise, you can cheap street food or expensive fancy restaurant meals!

I really wanted to share my experience with you all! I hope you enjoyed this one, don’t forget to share and like my facebook page The Zeina Diary!!

You are amazing, never ever forget that!! 

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Where should you go in your Lebanon trip

I know the title is too obvious but when I was searching for my trip to Lebanon, I didn’t even find one website to help me in my research.

So this is for you, you can print it and take it around to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Although Lebanon is very small yet you will need a car or rent a taxi! I highly recommend renting a car, it’s cheaper and you will have more fun! ! Before we start check my 10 tips to be an expert tourist in Lebanon

** download Lebanon map on your google maps or maps.me**

The Jeita Grotto

Entrance fees: 18,150 LL

opening hours: 9AM – 5 PM

I heard a lot about Jeita but didn’t believe the rumors until I saw it myself! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! It was something special, too bad they don’t allow cameras or phones inside.

Zeina tip: visit the lower Grotto! they will take you in a little boat ride!! The water is so cold and so pure, simply fabulous.

Harissa – Lady Lebanon

To reach Harissa you have to pass green hills and mountains, I recommend to stop the car, breath than clean air and then continue your way to reach Lady Lebanon in Harissa!

For food purposes (FOOD is life), there are small restaurants there that you can grab something for 12,000 LL which is pretty good price.

From Harissa you can take the telefrik to reach Jounieh, the telefrik experience is nice but Jounieh is Meh, I didn’t see anything interesting there.

 Jbail/ Byblos

It is by far my favorite city in Lebanon, it is old, clean and fascinating. No words can really describe how beautiful this place was, walking toward the castle of Byblos and enjoying the beautiful old houses, the cute little cafes there which I TOTALLY recommend sitting there.

Ugh Byblos you were so pretty ..

 Beirut

The nightlife city! At first I didn’t like Beirut at all, it was so crowded, so sunny and so dirty (sorry for this) but I gave it another chance and I fell in love!

My only recommendation for Beirut is to discover it at night, the streets are more alive, the people are more fun and even the food is more delicious!!

Tripoli

without planning we decided to visit Tripoli since we were so close and from what I heard my expectation was high but again I was so surprised how bad it is. I am sorry but I will not recommend this to anyone.

1st the road was filled with military that we had a bad story with, then we arrived and it was crazy crowded and sooooo freaking dirty, we couldn’t find a decent shop to eat. It was a different Lebanon. I don’t even have one picture in Tripoli.

Of course time wasn’t enough to discover the rest of Lebanon like Baalbek and Tyre but they are on my list for next time!! Hope you enjoyed and found all the help you need! Till next time.

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Places to visit in Jordan – Part 1

This blog post is a collection of different places in Jordan that you must visit! Jordan might be  small but got a lot to offer!

I lived in Jordan for 17 years but never once tried to discover it as a traveler! I walked in the same street a million times but never knew or noticed the story behind it! For that I decided that now is the time to be a tourist in Jordan!

Mountain Nebo

 

Where: Almost 40 min away from Amman, In Madaba.

Entrance fees:
0.25 JD for Jordanians.
2 JD for foreigners.

The story behind monut Nebo is what made it so special! Thanks to Zain Burçak my trip down in history was amazing!

Mount Nebo is where Prophet Moses was granted a view of the promised land (Palestine), the whole place is build to honer Prophet Moses!

For me, the modern sculpture of Moses was just breathtaking! It represent Moses 2 wonders (miracles in Islam).

You can see the structure of the old church which was destroyed in an earth quick and the preserved old church mosaics which shows the life they used to live.

 

Petra

 

Where: 3 hours away from Amman! near to Ma’an.

Entrance fees:
1 JD for Jordanians
50 JD for foreigners 🙄

Recommendation:
Petra is one of the new wonders of the world! and it sure deserve to be one.
Amazing and beautiful ruins that will take your breath away!!

Do know that you will have to walk a lot!!! so prepare those sneakers.

Secret place (not so secret): The Khubtha Trail
on the right side of The Theatre after the Treasury, up in the Mountains you will see big ruins of an old city called the court, if you pass the court and put it on your right side, you will go on a trail called The Khubtha Trail which will lead you to see the The Treasury from above!! spectacular.

You can also check my trip in Petra one of the World Wonders

Wadi Mujib

Where: near to dead sea, between two mountains with water passing through. 

Entrance fees:
18 JD for Jordanians or resident permit holders.
21 JD for foreigners.

Recommendation:
First of all you have to know that its not easy! It was very hard!! Omg it is an adventure but a dangerous one! If you were like me ( a person who never been hiking and weight 50 KG or more :P) then I seriously recommend having a guide!
I literally almost died twice because I wasn’t well prepared! Watch videos and ask for more details thats how you will enjoy it more!! 😍

Jordan is waiting for you!! And I am waiting for you! if by chance you are planning to visit this amazing country then let me know!!

Part 2 will be up soon!! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!!

 

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10 tips to be an expert tourist in Lebanon

Another country added to the list! YAAAY! Lebanon is not your normal country to travel to .. It’s an small Arab country with European mentality! And though I searched a lot, there were little information about how to adjust and enjoy this country at the most.

So here are Zeina’s 10 tips to be an expert tourist in Lebanon!!

1- Dollars is all what you need to move around the country.

Don’t worry about not having a Lebanese currency, they all take dollars! just make sure to download Currency App to make sure you are not getting fooled :p

2- Transportation in Lebanon is complicated, Taxis’s work both as a private taxi and also ” multi people taxi, i.e Serfees”. They can pick up other people which means cheaper for you!

Taxis have red plates!

Prices for serfees: 2000 LL for one person.

3- Don’t feel shy when you negotiate the price of the taxi, LITERALLY you will find more than 10 taxis passing the same street at the same time. NEXT!

4- In Airport don’t take your taxi from the main door, take it from the 2nd floor and don’t pay more than 30$ (which is still expensive)

5- RENT A CAR! Best thing we did in lebanon was renting a car! Rent a small car, gas is cheap and WLAH you just saved 100$ for a trip outside beirut!

6- Local Food!! Sometimes all of our money goes for transportation and food and since we saved on transportation, food is now the problem!

Buy from local restaurants in al Hamara, my recommendation is “Sandwich w nos” cheap and tastes good.

7- Either choose a hotel that offer breakfast or buy Mankeesh from locals in the side streets! You will save one meal in the day.

8- If you want to enjoy the sea view then visit Korneesh better than Roshaa, less crowded and more enjoyable.

9- Don’t count on anyone and do your own research! Everyone told me that lebanon is just for nightlife (so sad and so not true)!! Driving in Beirut in the night by the water while listening to virgin Radio was one of the beautiful moments in Lebanon.

10- Lebanon is not expensive!! It all depends on you .. If you are going to spend all of your money on fancy places then Lebanon is expensive but if you just think before you spend 50$ then it will make a huge difference.

So here you go your 10 tips! Share and like if you thought this was helpful or can help someone!! And don’t forget to Like The Zeina Diary.

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Traveling without a Visa

Welcome everyone to another blog post!! If you have known me for a while, you will know that I love traveling but can’t travel that much because of my passport! Maybe not all Iraqis face this problem but somehow it’s my ultimate problem haha .. (SADLY true)!

Though this is very sad yet I have found a WAY to make the best I can from traveling to countries I am allowed to (THEY ARE LITERALLY 5 UGH)! And this way includes people!! I travel to meet new people, to engage with new cultures to embrace differences and to do all, you just need people!!

I was fortune enough to meet people from all over the world! I know that one person can’t represent a whole country but hey I work with what I got!!

This might be a little lame hahaha but I will list the countries that I have never visited yet met people from there and how they showed me their country!

Indonesia

I know 3 people from Indonesia and let me tell you they are beautiful inside and out, They are what I call friends for life! I know from them that Jakarta is crowded and hot all the times hahah! I know that Indonesia has a multicultural society and they will accept you with an open mind and heart, and I also know that Indonesia is beautiful like them.

Italy

Somehow I know 3 people from Italy as well!! They are awesome, little bit lazy but still interesting and kind which is exactly what everyone has been saying about Italy.. I got to meet Italy through Lorenz, Francesco and of course Toooottti!!

I know that Italians make the best coffee and FOOD! I know there is a ton of history stories in the streets of Rome and a lot of beauty in the canals of Venice.

Egypt

I might know alot of people from Egypt but I have one close friend, and I think he represent Egypt for me haha. Everyone visits Egypt says its loud, fun and worth the visit which I felt it and experienced through my friends.

Azerbaijan

Esmer was and still is the only person I know from Azerbaijan, I believe she’s like Azerbaijan beautiful inside and out, friendly and loves everyone. Unlike Azerbaijan, Esmer is not shy 😉

 

United States

United states maybe the most diverse society, so many states, so different mindsets. And for some reason I met a lot of people from the US, All so unique and different from each other. I met Allie from Arizonaaa and from her I can understand and feel the Arizona vibes (Chilling gurl). I met Alyne from LA, Danny and Sarah from California!

 

I know I might only gave you the good side of people and countries but hey life is all about being positive so lets try to see the better side and kinda enjoy the little things!

I still have much more to tell but I have no idea if you are bored by now haha, If for some reason you want a 2nd part of this let me know!

You guys are awesome, I wish you an awesome week! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook The Zeina Diary!

 

 

 

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Why you shouldn’t travel Solo

In the past few weeks I have been reading a lot about traveling solo and how it can grow you better as a person.

A lot of my blogger/Vlogger friends made videos and blogs about why traveling solo is the best and they have a point, traveling alone makes you discover yourself and be more confident BUT is it more fun?

I believe of the saying ” whats life without sharing” I think I just invented that hahah (who cares) But its true what is life without someone to share with, what is a beautiful view without someone to show it to and what is a awful meal without someone to complain to.

I believe what makes traveling more fun is having someone to share it with and that will bring me to the basic fundamental of this post which are:

Choosing the right person

My person is my brother although he’s very annoying sometimes but he gets why I don’t like this place or that food or anything which makes him  THE right person.

They say when you are traveling with someone you won’t be open to meet new people But here I am an Arabic girl with an Arabic brother walking in the streets of Amman to end up have 8 more new friends discovering the city with.

Bad moments turn to funny moments

Having shitty moments while traveling together is what makes it fun!! But going through this alone will makes it horrible. Climbing a really long stairs and laughing at each other is more fun than dying alone climbing. Getting lost in a random place with your friends and snap the whole thing is more fun than walking alone with google maps.

Stories are made when you share and thats why I believe you shouldn’t travel Solo!

I understand the importance of being alone but I also believe that traveling with the right person will bring you more joy than traveling Solo.

Tell me what you think? Are you a solo traveler or like me? Share your photos with me I would love to know you all, Thank you a lot and YES its Ramadan in Muslim countries so HAPPY RAMADAN!!

 

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The historic city of Ephesus

Hello Everyone, welcome to another blog post!! Life has been crazy but it is worth it at the end. Today our blog post is going to be about an anicent place in Turkey called Ephesus!! It was one of the few places that I HAD to visit and you should too!

The great thing about Ephesus that it was destroyed and rebuilt so many times till this day. Earthquakes didn’t like that area but somehow it is still standing till this day. You will be able to see the touch of the Roman and Greek Empires.

How to get there

You can get to Ephesus by two ways, the hard way and the easy way! ( I will leave the hard one till the end)!

It is a very simple simple way but I don’t know why Turkish people made it so damn complicated!

In Izmir go to the main Train station ” Basmane” station, there are both a metro and a train station there. Take a train to Selçuk station which is 1:30 hr away.

Selçuk is a small tiny village with beautiful people and CHEAP food!! in there ask for the ” Selçuk Otogar” which is literally a very small buses area, tell them Ephesus and they will take you there!

Basmane → Selçuk → Selçuk  Otogar → Ephesus! Easy right!

When you reach Ephesus, you will notice how big it is! A Turkish man will offer you a taxi that will take you up in the mountain to see Virgin Mary house and then drop you at the top entrance for 80 TL ( You can spilt the money with your friends so it will be cheaper) OR just walk the whole thing.

Seven Sleepers

In the way to visit Virgin Mary house the taxi guy will show you a place that turkish people assume it was the home for The Seven Sleepers. In Islam, the seven sleepers slept in a cave for 300 years and they believe that it is this cave that they slept in. ( Too much history I know).

Virgin Mary 

As they told us, Virgin Mary spend her last days in that house and till now she takes care of the city and Ephesus. There is a wall of wishes where they believe if you write your wish and leave it at that wall it will become true within a period of time ( Well we always should be careful what you wish for).

Ephesus

Entrance Fees: 40 TL.

Ephesus gives you a weird feeling, the feeling of sadness and hope. With everything that happened to Ephesus somehow it still standing.

Follow the path and explore the ruins cause there is a lot of cool hidden places but PLEASE don’t destroy or play with anything, its already destroyed don’t destroy it more.

I know this was a history lesson hehe but what is a place without a story! Don’t forget to follow me on facebook The Zeina Diary.  Hope you enjoyed this one. Till next time. I posted a link about trains in Turkey (Life saver).

Hard way to get to Ephesus 

Take a bus or taxi to izmir Otogar from Otogar you take a second bus to Selçuk from Selçuk a minibus to Ephesus!

Ask on every step of the way its very confusing and far!!

Here is a link to all the trains in Turkey!!

Turkey Rail way

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Abu Dhabi – The Hidden Jewel

Hey Everyone! Welcome to another blog post! Thank you so much for reading. This blog post is going to be Abu Dhabi and a particle place to be exact.

When I visited UAE, there was two places on my list! 1st, Dubai Fountain which was amazing and the other one was Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi and IT WAS AWESOME.

 

How to get to Abu Dhabi

Bus cost: 25 Dh.

Duration: 2:30 hr.

THERE IS WIFI! (For UAE numbers).

I thought its going to be very hard to move between states but I was surprised how easy it was.

1st make sure you buy a Nol Card for transportation, you will need it in the metro and in the bus heading to Abu Dhabi.

Take metro to Ibn Battuta Station (before the last station on the red line). When you go out from the metro, you will be hit with a smell OMG, the worst smell ever. In Ibn Battuta, there is a main Bus station, wait for Abu Dhabi bus (Usually comes every half an hour). Make sure to stay in line cause a lot of people go to Abu Dhabi and you might miss the bus.

Once you reach Abu Dhabi, take a taxi or have a friend to enjoy the city. I was lucky for a friend of mine to take us all around the city ( Ahmad Thank you!!)

Sheikh Zayed mosque

You will see it from far awaaaay, so white and sooo beautiful, I never been to Taj Mahal but I am gonna call it, Mini Taj Mahal!!

Make sure to wear something long and bring a scarf to cover your hair, If by chance you forget, they will give you a whole outfit and its kinda pretty cool! They even give men Dashdash (Men wear in UAE, The dress white thing)!

Some cool facts about this mosque!

Its the 5th largest mosque in the world! and got the largest hand made carpet in the world!! and of course everyone is allowed to visit! (not like the common fact that no one is allowed to enter).

Zeina Tip: Take your time to explore and don’t rush things, take pictures but don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the mosque.

Of course there are many things to do in Abu Dhabi other than visiting Sheikh Zayed mosque but I didn’t have the time hehe BUT I will list them for you in case you are wondering what to do there:

Abu Dhabi Corniche a beautiful place by the beach, to sit, to swim or drink some tea,  Ferrari World a place where all the cool cars hang out ( From outside it look HUGE!)

This was a small tiny post but I hope you liked it! Enjoy the rest of your day and don’t forget to share or like my facebook page The Zeina Diary it will mean the world to me <3.

I linked to you a post I found about the construction of the mosque, Enjoy!!

Before and After Photos

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Who is Zeina?

Today’s blog post is going to be more personal, I want you to know ME more, about Zeina! and more about why I started this blog!

Name: Zeina.

Age: 25 years old (OLD)!

Nationality: Iraqi, Arab.

Education: Chemical engineer and MBA holder.

Status: Single (haha).

WARNING: this is going to be long Post!!!

One upon a time there was a girl name Zeina and that girl decided she wants to travel and here is her story.

Before finishing my degree, I decided that I want to study masters outside the country, for one single reason I wanted to be independent, I wanted to find the real Zeina.

I applied for a British university in Uk and for 6 months I arranged everything from papers to paying my whole university fees. The big shock came when my visa got rejected simply for being an Iraqi. I was depressed, I knew I was meant to do something but all my dreams crashed. SOMEHOW God send me a message (British university in Istanbul)! Going to Istanbul was the best thing I ever did in my life!

In Istanbul, I Lived! I found the real me and I found out that I am meant to do good things in life!

I met sooo many people, people loved me and some people hurt me! All of this made me the person I am Today and I am grateful everyday for this!

 

Why did I started blogging

As a Hijabi woman from a country that is now known for war and destruction, I wanted to make a difference ( As lame as it is) I really want to leave a good and proud Image of Iraq, Women and me to the world.

I wanted to show everyone, That Women especially Arab women can do anything they want! I wanted to show that a normal Hijabi woman like you and me can do something! And thats why I started blogging!

 

Although I started a travel blog! Its very hard for me to travel because of my passport! I got rejected 3 times to go to Europe because I am a single, Iraqi girl!

How did I Start

One afternoon in my lovely Istanbul, I decided that I will start a blog, I opened my laptop and searched ” How to start a blog for free” cause I was poor, AM STILL POOR! many sites pop up and after a bit of research, I created my 1st blog post 101 guide to your 1st week in Istanbul.

After that, I bought my domain with the money I had ( 15 TL) and after 2 months my awesome brother bought my hosting! Babysteps!!

At the end, I am a simple woman just trying to make things more positive and more bright. I know this wasn’t a travel related material but I hope you liked it! If you have more question feel free to reach me.

Thank you all so much <3 Till next time.

Facebook Page The Zeina Diary.

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The Other side of Dubai – Part 2

Merhaba again! Thank you so much for your support! it really means the world to me.

Today’s post is going to be about Dubai, Part 2!! The 1st one included all the malls and all the fancy shiz, now we are going to talk about Dubai Global village and Dubai Miracle Garden!! I hope you enjoy this one. All love to all of you.

 

Global Village

Entrance fees: 15 Dh ∼ 4 $

Hours open: 4 PM- 10 PM

Months open: 1st, November – 8th, April ( it only open for 6 months because of the heat in the rest of the months).

How to get there:

Two ways, the 1st one is very easy and very simple, just take a taxi to the global village which will cost you around 60 Dh.

The 2nd way is by bus and thats why I tried to explain it in boring details! (Thank you Zeina)!!

You have to go to Union metro station in the red line and take the village bus (103)! You have to ask exactly where the bus is stopping but it shall be easy (I mean I did it).

The bus will cost around 13 Dh, its well conditioned and really good bus BUT in Dubai nobody takes the bus so you might feel a little weird in the beginning but NO ONE CARES! Enjoy.

Basically Global Village is a place where you can find stuff from any country in the world! and it is HUGE! You can buy cloth, food, random stuff you won’t use and many many things.

I bought my Abaya from there for 100 DH :p We bought spices From Iran, scarves from Kuwait and CHEAP makeup stuff from China! How Awesome!! You will walk a lot and take pictures with every landscape till your mom gets mad (HI MAMA).

In the night, enjoy the cool weather and sit on the grass, grab Chai or Turkish Ice-cream and enjoy a cultural night.

Dubai Miracle Graden

Entrance fees: 40 Dh ∼ 10 $

Entrance fees for butterfly garden: 50 Dh ∼ 13 $

How to get there:

We got lost in the morning but apparently there is a bus from Emirates mall. We ended up taking a Taxi cause we were burned and tired.

Taxi took around 55 Dh.

Dubai Miracle Garden includes the garden and butterfly garden with all different kind of butterflies and cute stuff. To be honest I didn’t like that much, but kids will love it. Its just a closed domes with high humidity and lots of butterflies flying around, they are really beautiful but for some reason  I was scared! (And I was trying to act tough in front of scared kids, Superwoman Zeina)

The Actual Dubai Miracle garden is just beautiful and pretty. You just want to sit there and feel relaxed and calm (And OF course take a million picture). Its also huge, and everything there is covered with flowers! ( I was searching for the famous car there but ended up finding an airplane)!

My advice is come in the afternoon because girl THE SUN!! My nose was burned after that haha!

Meet people and mix. Help people to take good picture!!! GOOD NOT OK! Dubai is the place where you can meet everyone.

Again, Thank you SO MUCH for reading this small post, I hope it was useful somehow and I hope you enjoyed it! Leave me your pictures if you ever been there, I would love to see them!

Make sure to follow me on Facebook The Zeina Diary.

Here is the link for: Public transportation to Global Village.

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Dubai – The city of Skyscrapers

Hello Everyone! Thank you so much for being here. It is the 1st official post on the new website! I am so happy, Thank you again for clicking and hope you enjoy this one.

Today our blog post is about Dubai! Yes Dubai, the awesome and the modern city in UAE. Since there is a lot of information that I want to share with you, I am going to make it into 2 parts so you can enjoy and have more information!! Yay lets start!!

To start this post, It is the city with the cool buildings AND the tallest building in the WORLD!!! Burj Khalifa.

1st part is going to include Dubai mall (where Burj khalifa Located) and Emirates mall (where Ski Dubai located).

 

Dubai Mall

How to get there

Dubai mall is on the red metro line and connect directly to the mall (You have to walk “a little bit” from the metro).

Zeina tip: Ask your hotel for bus transportation, basically every good mall have their own transportation. It will take you from and back to the hotel FOR FREE!!

What to do

1- Burj Kalifa and Dubai fountain

One of the epic scenes that I will forever remember is The view of Dancing Fountain with Burj Khalfia Background. The Fountain dances on different songs and it starts at 6:30 with half an hour break between each song. Make sure to book your place cause it gets crowded!

I posted a simple video of the fountain so you can enjoy as much as I did!!!

 

2- The Souk

A traditional shops area that will take you to the past, nothing to buy there really, just walk in the halls and enjoy the cool atmosphere and YES there is Mado restaurant there and if you follow me then you know I love MADO!

3- Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Mall is HUGE! but if you get lost and found a HUGE fish tank then you are near the Aquarium. They have a lot of different fish kinds and if you are with small kids they are going to LOVE it!

Entrance fees: 100 DH

Children below 3 years of age are free of charge.

For shopping purposes (like me) this mall was so expensive. However, if you go in the sale season then its the best mall ever.

I found you a link for Sales Seasons for 2017! ( AMAZING i know): Sales seasons.

 

Emirates Mall

It’s smaller than Dubai mall but its still BIG! take a map in the front disk so you won’t get lost! Also you can get there by metro on red line or by the free shuttle buses that the mall itself provide (the keyword here is FREE).

Whats special about Emirates mall that it contains Ski Dubai which is a whole snow city, where you can play, ski and enjoy the snow when its 50 degrees OUTSIDE! Amazing.

I couldn’t go inside because I didn’t have someone to play with :(.

At the end, Dubai was different yet lovely. The most cool thing I witnessed there was people! Meeting people from all over the world, knowing different cultures and becoming more understanding.

This was only the 1st part of Dubai, follow the blog for the 2nd part next week which will include Dubai Miracle garden and Global Village YAAY!

Make sure to follow my facebook page for more updates and little tips The Zeina Diary. Till next time, love you all.

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Your Guide to Enjoy 1 day in Ankara

Merhaba everyone and welcome to another blog post YAY!. I want to say thank you so much for reading we are almost 2 month old! And I am turning 25 next week! (ugh life happened).

Today our post is going to be about another one of how to enjoy one day in somewhere and today it is Ankara! I know you might heard that Ankara is Kinda boring BUT I came to give you a little help in enjoying 1 day in there! Lets Start.

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Birds Picture.

Many of you don’t know this but Ankara is the official capital of Turkey I know I used to think its Istanbul. And that piece of information tells a lot about Ankara! it is the capital so yes work work work. A lot of people living there are either students or employees.

Ankara Airport called Esenboğa International Airport, it is a very small cute airport. Just walk outside and ride the big white bus that will take you to the city center; Kızılay. It will take around 45 mins. In your way back take the same bus from Kızılay.

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Ataturk, The father of all turks.

You will use the main Metro line which passes by the city center Kızılay (maybe its not the city center but it is for me haha) and the place that we are going next Anıtkabir!! I went to Ankara to only see this place and IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!

It is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk tomb; the founder and the 1st president of Turkey. In Turkey, everyone loves and adores him, he is the father of all Turks. And the place IS AMAZING!

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Me trying to be cool.

Seriously this place is amazing, and it is HUGE!! its free of charge and surrounded with a huge forest! Make sure to visit the museum next to it and see how Turkey was founded, they seriously did a great job!

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Ataturk Tomb.

After you visit Anıtkabir you basically finished Ankara, Seriously!! but there a few tips that I can tell you to enjoy the few hours left in your day.

There is a big mosque, Kocatepe Mosque which is a famous one in the Kızılay area also, it literally looks like any mosque in Istanbul but the interior is kinda different and also huge!

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Its very huge in real life.

Zeina Tip about Ankara: Grab as many food as you can cause it is very cheap and GOOD! and they will love that you are a tourist or at least they loved me *sunglasses emoji*.

Don’t forget to visit the 50. Yıl Parkı, where you will see all of Ankara and enjoy a good cup of tea there. Also there is so many cute cats so bones!!

I tried to make you experience the parts I experienced in Ankara, yes it is small and not a lot of things to do there But you will enjoy the quite life, the big streets and the NO traffic part!! I really really recommend visiting Anıtkabir! One of my favorite places in Turkey.

Hope you enjoyed this little tiny post, don’t forget to follow me on my Facebook Page The Zeina Diary. Till next time.

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Enjoy Barcelona The city of dreams

Hola Everyone! Welcome to another blog post and thank you so much for reading this LOVE TO ALL OF YOU. Today our blog post is going to be about a city in Europe that I think everyone loves and wants to visit, Barcelona.

The beautiful city in Spain. I mean we all know Barcelona from it’s famous team and MESSI! But in today’s post I will try to give you little tips and information about things to do and a little tiny bit of history.

Things you must have before you go:

  • Google maps! If you have internet then this will be your pal. You need it for transportation stuff.
  • Maps.me! I talked about this before, you can use maps.me without internet just download the map of the city and go on. Click to Download the App.
  • Musement.com! This is a website where you can buy tickets before you go, so you don’t have to wait in line cause the lines are HUGE!

 

  • SUNSCREEN! You are going to Barcelona, Its going to be extra hot and you will probably get burned so I TOLD YOU, BRING IT.
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Barcaaa.

 

Now where to go? It is known that Bareclona is the city of dreams and Gaudí, which means it is going to be a city of art and culture. The streets will tell you a story so make sure to leave part of yours behind.

Casa Batlló

It was designed by the famous architect that designed most of the buildings in Barcelona; Antoni Gaudí. It is his actual house where he lived! he designed it based on nature and animals. I am not an architect but I know If you are one, you are going to die!!! It is a must visit place for the story behind it. Another place designed by him but not as beautiful as Casa Batlló; Casa Milà, which is  also a place that you have to visit.

Zeina Tip: Take the voice memo, it will guide you through the building and will show you an animated film about every corner in that house.

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Camp Nou

If you are a fan of Barca! This will be your biggest birthday gift. You will be able to enter the stadium, walk in the hallways and go to the original players locker rooms! HOW COOL! You can take a seat in the stadium and enjoy the view of a place that witnessed a lot of amazing games that made history.

Entrance fees: 25 €.

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Love Messi , Hate Neymar.

Sagrada Familia

I mean you will see this place from anywhere in the city. It is one of the biggest churches in the world and it haven’t been finished yet! They have been building it since 150 years, it was Gaudí last project and he’s also buried there.The details of Sagrada Familia are amazing and will take your breath away.

Again book your ticket before you go cause the lines are massive!

Lastly, the beaches of Barcelona!

Everyone goes there for the lovely atmosphere, the sun and the beaches (Also Spanish men but don’t tell anyone). Thats why you will need your sunscreen cause you don’t want to get burned!

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Cute.

At the end, this was a really small helper if you are lost in your 1st day in Barcelona, Nothing fancy here, I mean you know me. Thank you again for reading, and hope somehow my information helped you a little bit. Till next time.

Don’t forget, Follow me on Facebook The Zeina Diary.

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See the lines!

Disclaimer: This is all my brother pictures (Hasan), and he’s an architect thats why all of the building are Gaudí’s haha.

 

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Your guide to enjoy 1 day in Pamukkale

This blog post is going to be about a city or more like an area called Pamukkale, the cotton city in Turkey, it was seriously one of the best places I visited.

Pamukkale is known for it’s famous name the cotton castle, a huge white rocks with hot minerals water, it is one of the World Heritage places that you must visit!

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epic view from the top.

How to get there?

The most important question of all times! Pamukkale is not a city in Turkey, it’s more like a part in a city. The main city is Denizli, and yes they do have a tiny miny airport in the middle of no where.

You can either take a bus or a plane to Pamukkale, I am not sure about the buses but it’s very easy and cheap to book a plane, which will only take 1 hour to reach.

Denizli airport – Denizli Çardak Airport

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One plane in the whole airport.

Trip Details

After you reach, just go outside and you will notice a big bus infront of the airport, tell the guy Pamukkale. The bus will take around 35 minutes to reach. When you reach a certain point, a minibus will be waiting for you to take you directly to Pamukkale (10 -15 minutes to reach). It is a very very small town with a very cute and nice people that somehow speak english! YES ENGLISH.

Zeina tip: Download Maps.me if you want to check where you are and you don’t have an internet.

You will see Pamukkale from far away, a huge white spot in the middle of the mountain!

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That water people.

Once you arrive, walk directly to the big white thing and pay an entrance fees of almost 35 TL.

Zeina Tip: bring a plastic bag cause you will need it once you remove your shoes.

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Everyone wonders the exact same thing, is it snow? No, it is not.

It is a type of a white rock and NO the water is not cold, it’s actually hot water. It is like a healing water, your legs will feel amazing after you leave.

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Once you reach the top, there will be another area that you should visit which is The city of Hierapolis, it is a Roman ruins, in different places, the major one is on the top, follow the signs. It will not disappoint you!

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I mean you can’t believe that this kind of ruins will be near Pamukkale. Note that you are not allowed to go down, it’s for your safety and for the protection of the ancient city.

I really recommend going in the summer because you will able to swim and enjoy the warm water. And for me 1 day was more than enough! You will enjoy and go home in the night.

This was a short post but I hope it made you want to visit this beautiful place. I will drop a link below to let you read more about this place:

Turkey Travel planner

 

Follow me on Facebook The Zeina Diary.

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Your guide to enjoy 1 day in Istanbul

Merhaba Everyone and thank you so much for clicking the link to read this one! Today we are going to the city where all the blog posts started from, ISTANBUL. I consider Istanbul as my second home, a place where I left my heart.

Since a lot of you are going to travel this summer, this is a simple post that you can follow for anyone who have a limited time in Istanbul, going through a transit trip or just for whatever reason you have, ZEINA is here to help. Your guide to enjoy 1 day in Istanbul.

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My 1st picture in Istanbul.

I am going to assume you will arrive by a plane. There is two airports in Istanbul; Ataturk and Sabiha-gokcen. From Ataturk you can either take a havatas bus or a metro to reach the center (note that you must have an Istanbul card to use the metro). From Sabiha Gokcen you have to take the havatas bus. You can take the same buses when you are going back.

Here is the link for everything related to the havatas buses:

havatas bus lines

From Sabiha-gokcen to Taksim – 15 TL

From Ataturk to Taksim  – 12 TL

The 1st stop is Taksim, I mean Istanbul is famous for its Taksim square and Iistiklal street, If you haven’t been there before then YOU MUST see it. Shop and eat (FOOD IS EVERYTHING GIRLS) and  walk to the very very very end of Istiklal street (with all of your shopping bags, struggle is real) to an area called Şişhane. At the end of Şişhane you will see the great Galata Tower! IT IS GREAT! I love this place, drink Chai there or whatever you want. Try for a million times to take a good selfie which will never happen, believe I tried.

After this, by google maps if you walked down to the main street from Galata, opposite way to Taksim square (I am struggling to describe the direction hehe). Anyways you will reach Kadikoy from there take a ferry to Üsküdar, which is the ZEINA replacement for the touristic ‘bosphorus tour’, cool right?

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That place.

This place is really beautiful and calm and you will just enjoy it, you can have food (Balik ekmek) or just have a walk and of course take pictures!! (Always my recommendation, PICTURES!!).

Then what Now? If this is your 1st time in Istanbul then YOU HAVE TO SEE THE mosques!

Take a ferry back to Karaköy or Eminonu and then from there take a tramway to Sultanahmet. Wait for it, wait for it, here you go! the most beautiful mosques of all times.

In the area of sultanahmet there is also, Topkapi palace and the Basilica Cistern which is one of the places that you have to see.

Zeina tip: buy some Simit with Nutella such an tasty little meal on the go.

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Blue Mosque, Hasan’s picture.

After finishing the tour, you should say goodbye to Istanbul in Ortaköy the place of kumpir and waffles YUMMMM! grab one and sit next to the sea and enjoy the magic of the lovely Istanbul.

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Ortakoy Cami

Yalla (Arabic way to say lets go) go back the airport, this was a mini tiny version of activities you can do in Istanbul. Follow this link to learn more about Turkey and reasons to visit 8 reasons why should you visit Turkey!

Have you ever been charmed by such city?

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Adham Hamshary -Egyptian Travel Backpacker

Today our blog post is going to be about another person (I know finally someone other than me). A travel blogger and I believe an influencer, Adham Hamshary. Adham was kind and humble enough to let me interview and introduce him to all of you ( I AM SO EXCITED).

Before I jump to the interview I am going to present Adham from Zeina perspective (which we all know its the best *sunglasses emoji*). I met Adham once in an travelling event in Jordan, he was one of the speakers that literally blew my mind and actually gave me hope to continue so HI ADHAM, YOU ROCK. He is from Egypt, the cool country with the pyramids, so he’s as cool as the pyramids.

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Adham Hamshary

Shall we start? I am going to try to take you with me through this very simple interview I had with him and share his awesome answers with all of you.

My 1st question was how do you introduce yourself? or the very generic question ‘ Who are you’? (smart one right, I know):

” I am an Engineer, I always identified myself as an engineer cause I actually love and work in an engineering field. On the other hand I am a travel blogger (cool right), traveling and traveling in the way I travel changed me a lot, it made me a different man.”

I should mention that Adham ONLY travel with his backpack (I mean ladies our makeup need at least one bag).

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Serious look.

Why did you start blogging? You should know that Adham Facebook page Around The World got over 100,000 Followers!! Insane!!

Adham reply : ” I always wanted to travel, when I was younger I couldn’t travel so I only travelled inside Egypt and started writing notes on my facebook page as a status, a lot of people told me that you will never travel, you need lots of money to travel and I almost gave up. I thought why not share my stories or my tips to travel with more people and tell them that a normal guy like you and me, who doesn’t have a wealth, who didn’t travel when he was young. If I can do it then you can.”

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he is the one in the background 😀

Part of Adham dream to influence people to chase their dreams, in this crazy life with this crazy stuff happening around us, people might give up and stop believing BUT he wants people to chase their dreams because we only live once. ( I mean common isn’t he great haha).  Adham Also shared with me that, he wants to reflect the good side of humans, “sure there is wars and bad people but there is also hope and faith that people are good” and thats why people I like Adham, Hope is just what we need!! (chills)

I don’t want this to be a very long post cause I know we all get bored at some stage, SO Final two question in one sentence: Family, how do you manage staying away from your family? and are you happy in your life now?

” One of the hardest things in life staying away from your family but they understand my dream and now social media made everything possible (MOM DO YOU HEAR THIS) so I try to keep them updated and share everything with them, they are very supportive and my mom is the reason for the man I am today.”

For me family is the most important thing so I asked this question because it is important to know how fellow travelers manage this.

“And yes I am happy with my life, I want to inspire more people to travel and achieve their dreams”

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Cool pose.

So that is it people, Adham one of the normal guys yet not so normal, I am glad that he accepted to do my very 1st interview with him *tears of joy*. Thank you Adham!

Thank you all for reading again and wish a very happy day ahead. Check him out on his facebook page Around The World and take a look at my facebook page also The Zeina Diary.

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I hate the lighting BUT Love the photo.

 

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Venice the Floating City

Hello from the other side (Zeina side), welcome all to this week new post. This post is going to be about a city I think all of you know and want to visit ! it is the beautiful and the romantic city of Italy, Venezia! (with the Italian  gesture).

This post is going to be for the solo travelers and for the people who’s traveling with their families. I mean some of us don’t have a cool partner to take to Venice for a dinner date (I feel you sisters). This post going to talk about the city itself, things to do and a cool, kinda forgotten city, Treviso.

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Lets talk about transportation first how to get the REAL, rivery part. I am going to keep it very simple so you don’t get lost (cause we all got lost NO SHAME). Assuming you will arrive by a plane, you will need to take a bus to main station of trains then take a train to Venezia. Then YOU ARE HERE!

Venice

The question remains, whats special about Venice? I think the whole concept of the city is amazing, to live or to walk next to a water element is just so satisfying. When you start walking in this lovely city and its mini streets, I think at that time you will feel the beauty of Italy. I mean we all love Italians (ALL OF THEM) but the cities are just as beautiful as Italian men *cough*.

 

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Things to do

First things first which means food! I mean you are in Italy the city of Pizza and Pasta (Oh lord), So sit in a restaurant near the amazing river and have a delicious pasta with lots of cheeses and garlic and enjoy the incredible view, life can’t get any better at that moment (unless you were able to eat another dish).

Second thing to do is the boat ride in Venezia! I know! as my brother said the boats are photogenic, every picture will look good (new profile picture maybe?). The downside is that it is very expensive (80 € – 100€ ride at the sunset) so meet a cool group and share the boat!

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Hasan Rocking in Italy

And Of course if you were lucky enough you will be there the Carnival of Venice which means dressing up, wearing cool masks and enjoy an Italian night in ITALY.

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I choose the scary mask.

 

Treviso

You can reach this city by a train from Venice main station which will costs almost 3€. This city is just charming. You will feel the same vibe as Venice with the rivers and the beautiful streets. So if you want a peaceful and a calm city with less tourists then this city is your guy. You can feel the beauty of this city in its simplicity, which we need it after a too busy day in Venice.

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So do you like Treviso now? Give it a visit and send me pictures <3.

At the end, Thank you again so much for taking minutes of your day to read this simple post about this amazing city. Catch me on Facebook at The Zeina Diary for more cool stuff. Till next time.

P.S This was my brother trip not mine, But I sat with him for more than 2 hours just to get the emotions and the feelings that the city gave him. And he likes to talk a lot which is a bonus for me. Thank you Hasan.

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Just a nice boat ride.

 

 

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Cappadocia the city of Air Balloons

Hello everyone! So excited you are here. Today’s blog post is about the beautiful Cappadocia, I mean I am pretty sure after this post you are going to be like I HAVE TO GO, TAKE MY MONEY NOW.

Cappadocia, one of the oldest cities in Turkey, very beautiful, very very different, very small and very boring if you are going to stay for more than 5 days UNLESS you love calm places (I am A city Girl *cool emoji*). In this post, I am going to talk about the city itself, the awesome Air balloon ride and the famous underground cities of Cappadocia, Shall we begin? 😀

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Cool Picture right.

The city of Cappadocia

So what’s special about this city? why should you or anybody go? simple answer, ITS AWESOME. The whole city has this fairy chimneys rocks or mountains (I call them mushroom mountains) which when you see it for the 1st time you are going to be WOOOW. Another thing I noticed about Cappadocia that they have ALOT of evil eye thingy and wishes trees! which give this brown city a little bit of blue so cool! I put my wish on the tree ( which was to eat as soon as possible).

Important note about transportation: If you are going to take a bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia it will last for 10 FREAKING hours. By plane its 1 hour ( SEE the difference). Try to book the plane early so it will be cheap (around 100 TL). Another tip that if you are going with a tourist company thats fine (I don’t recommend it cause you will loose all the fun of travelling). If not, then you have to rent a car or know someone that have a car cause there is NO TRANSPORTATION!

The Balloon Ride

Now, everyone knows that if you are going to Cappadocia then you HAVE to do the air balloon ride. It is one of the best places to do so. The down side of it, is that you have to wake up from 4 AM *crying emoji*. But after you wake up and go to the balloons station, you will realise that It is WORTH it! the view of the balloons in the morning and sunrise is just something you have to see! Once in a life time!.

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I mean really this picture is nothing compared to the reality (Pic by Lorenz Miri; the cool Italian guy).

So I discovered while making this post that I don’t have many pictures of the balloon ride!! :'( thats why I always tell you take as many pictures as you can (still crying inside).

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Best Group EVER!

The Underground Cities

As I understood from our guide (which wasn’t a very good one, very bad thats why I don’t recommend tours) that the underground cities were built to protect the people from the army that came to kill them. What amazed me about this that it was a whole city downstairs, Kitchen, bathroom and a living room, I mean everything!! build in rocks down there. Its very wonderful to see how people didn’t surrender to fear but lived and made an amazing home.

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Have no Idea why I look like this but there you have it.

Also, Another thing to catch up while you are in Cappadocia is the Open Air museum of Goreme, which includes many many cool churches and amazing place to walk in (I sounded like a tour guide, right? TO THE LEFT).

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Mushrooms rocks.

In the end, I really didn’t give Cappadocia its justice cause it was really amazing and different more than what I showed, something you have to see and experience.

Special thanks to Maysam, Esmer and Lorenz for their lovely pictures of Cappadocia.

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Beautiful Picture by the lovely Esmer <3

Thank you again for reading this post and I will also put some links that will help you with your search about Cappadocia:

Places to see in Cappadocia

General Information about Cappadocia

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101-Guide to Istanbul personal favorite places

This blog is another blog post of the series 101. It will guide you on where to go for new cool places to enjoy the epic view and the awesome profile picture after it ( I mean we all want the best profile pic ever Duh).

For this I am going to mention 3 places that I, myself used to go and any new friends will ask me to take them there ( HELLO EVERYONE). The places are; The secret rooftop, Balat and Pierre Loti .

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doing the Pose!

lets start with my Favorite place of all times and I went there literally 20 times (and got a picture each time hehe).  I will keep it very very simple and very easy so all of you can send me your pictures later (I mean you have to, I am not asking).

Istanbul Secret Rooftop

Type Büyük Valdie Han in your google maps and follow the way, you will pass by many markets and you will buy so many things ( like really so many things), while you are walking buy some fresh orange, lemon or pomegranate juice (tastes amazing for only 3 TL, See the cute old man). Then you will go up a hill and die of climbing then will see a big, old door with Büyük Valide Han written above it. THEN (a lot of then’s ) take the 1st stairs on your left (LEFT PEOPLE not right), afterwards walk toward the roof and you will see some old grumpy guy pay him 1 TL and go upstairs.

Wait for it, wait for it, HERE YOU GO!! wait in-line and just breath in the epic view 😀 (Rehmaaa heyyy)

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Balat

Its part of the old city in Istanbul, close to the sea, and have such a beautiful beautiful streets. You can just walk there and embrace the history and see how people reshaped the past to fit their needs for nowadays. I mean lovely with the eye heart emoji.

 

And there is some high school or university there that is just breathtaking seriously YOU must see it just to see how beautiful it is. It is on the very top so you have to walk a little bit (ALOT) but its worth it!

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This picture doesn’t really tell how gorgeous the place is.

Lastly, Eyüp or the Pierre Loti

Eyüp itself is very beautiful, spiritual place with its famous mosque Eyüp Cami, you can just sit in the yard and enjoy the people and THE CATS (cats must be involved)!

Behind Eyüp there is a graveyard and teleferik that will lead you to Pierre Loti. You can either walk through the graveyard, up the hill (Really don’t know why all my places are up a hill) or you can take the teleferik to reach there. I can describe how the view is amazing, you have to see it by yourself!

Zeina Tip: after you go finish from the teleferik, walk by the sea and take a small ride in a small boat for 2o TL :D.

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Cool right!

These were a few of of my most favorite places in Istanbul, everyone of them has a different place in my heart!

 

Have you ever been to one of the places above?

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Pierre Loti view at night.

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Food Dupes- Istanbul edition

This blog going to be about food and I mean who doesn’t love food. Istanbul is the city of food!! I gained almost 10 Kg when I reached here ( I am exaggerating of course but who cares). You can find something to eat with 1 TL to 100 TL depend on how fancy you are ( I am too fancy).

Food dupes mean alternative, cheap alternative, not the same but the taste is brilliant ( I am getting hungry). We will start with breakfast, lunch then dessert then feel guilty forever for those calories (Sorry not sorry).

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That smile is what I call ‘ going to eat’ kinda smile

Breakfast

This is my favourite meal in the day, I love when I start my day with  good food and good company. In Istanbul you can get both for huge price difference.

lets start with the Fancy one, Orange juice and grilled chicken salad from Mado. I mean it tasted amazing, and I love Mado the food is really good but this meal costed me around 35 TL and I wasn’t really full after it (I eat a lot don’t tell anyone).

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having some quality time with myself.

Move to the cheaper one which was as good as the expensive one and more food! (we need more food ladies), the total cost of that lovely meal is around 50 TL for EVERYTHING. I mean look at it, its a peace of art. In case you want to the names of those plates, here you go

1- Kahvaltı tabağı: Includes the plate you are seeing with 1 boiled egg and Chai (tea), don’t forget to thank me later.

2- Menemen: Includes tomato, eggs and a little tiny bit of hot paper. you can order classic Menemen (Sade), with yellow cheese ( Kaşarlı Menemen) and many many options more, my choice will be the cheese one!!! ( Now I am seriously hungry).

3- Bal Kaymak: YOU HAVE TO EAT THIS ONE. put some of the Kaymak in a peace of bread then add honey above it and again you will thank me later.

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Good Company and Good food

Did you get hungry? if No then lets move on to lunch, if yes then make it NO!

Lunch

After walking and discovering the city for many many hours, you are going to be both tired and hungry ( I am hungry all the times) so lets start with the fancy shiz (excuse the word). Although I have to mention my expensive choices aren’t that expensive more like I am feeling like spending some money kinda expensive:

Fish, fresh fish from the sea then grilled and presented to you in a beautiful, lovely delicious way. Squeeze some lemons on the top and you will forget who’s sitting with you.

The cheaper option will be SHAWARMA, it will only cost you 8 TL or 10 if you added cheese. Its cheap, taste good and you will feel full and guilty after it (open that top bottom of your jeans).

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Shawarma on your left and Kabsa on your right.

While you are enjoying Istanbul and the food, don’t forget to spend minutes of your day to feed cats, dogs ,birds or give the left overs to someone who needs them. Give back!

Lastly, Desserts (please don’t have dinner, there is no space left there). This part is where you go wild!! Go to Mado and see the desert menu or go to Otraköy and eat waffles for 15 TL WITH A SEA VIEW.

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YUM YUM YUM!

Or simply just have an ice cream (Dondurma) for 5 TL.

At the end, Thank you again for reading and spending minutes of your day to show some kind of support to me, I really appreciate it. I couldn’t put all of the food in this blog so there a second blog coming soon about food. Till next time :D.

Please follow me on Facebook here so you can follow up with my blogs 😀

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Mornings spend with Simit are the best Mornings, Price: 1.25 TL :O

 

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101-Guide to your 1st week in Istanbul

Hello everyone, welcome to my very first blog!
Let me introduce myself in one sentence, My name is Zeina Atamish, 24
soon to be 25 (ugh) years old, MBA holder and a chemical Engineer, been living in Istanbul for one year and a half and killing it.

This blog will guide you through your 1st week in Istanbul if you were a student, a solo traveller or basically anyone :D. It will include; BASIC Turkish language words, things you must have to move around and basic enjoyable activities.

My brother and Örtaköy Cami

First things first!! Turkish words you need to know!! ( I spend my 1st week saying thank you in Turkish cause I didn’t know anything, ugh struggle is real people, struggle is real):

Merhaba : Hello ( use it with everyone!! like I did ).

Türkçe bilmiyorum: I don’t know Turkish, which believe me, YOU WILL NEED IT. In case you don’t know, Turkish people don’t speak English :)))) * though some of them do.

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Cute Fish Street seller posing for a Pic.

Ne Kadar: this is used to ask about the price of anything. USE it and use a calculator or your fingers to understand the numbers, cute right!

Nerede: this word is used to ask about a place; for example: Sultan ahmet nerede? add the place you want to go and this word after it, they will have their own way to explain the road to you 😀 which mean HANDS!

and Of course my 1st word that I learned here, Teşekkürler which means Thank you.

Move on to the second thing that we are going to mention here THINGS you need to have to move around and believe me you need them! BADLY:

1st : Istanbul Kart, which is as shown in the picture, a normal card that is used in every transportation ( Bus, Metro , Mertobus, tramvay and ferries), you can buy those cards from any newspaper places (like in the picture ) which will cost around 6 TL (1.5 $). You can fill it in any machine near the metros, ferries, etc.. one ride will cost you 2.45 TL (0.5 $) the 2nd ride will be half the price.

2nd: APPLICATIONS!!!!! Istanbul has two main used application for moving around; Trafi (Click to download ) and mooveit (Click to download ). They will both show you the way ( I mean if you get lost in the middle of no where with Turkish people all around you, no English! those apps will be your lover).

Finally, you are visiting Istanbul, the city that never sleeps, a beautiful lovely city where both history and present meet. I am pretty sure there is a million page on google that show you the 10 best places you should visit and I am telling you visit them all! But for me, the beautiful things to do in this city are drinking Chai (Tea) with a sea view, walking in old streets, feeding the cats (Istanbul cats and dogs are the best) and mostly feel the culture and the history.

 

At the end, Thank you for spending minutes of your day to read my article and I will keep posting things I find interesting. Please leave me a comment or send me an email if you need any kind of help in Istanbul.

Disclaimer, All the pictures here are my pictures and were taken by me.