Barcelona, The Gaudied City



Eindhoven meets Amserdam (part 2)

My trip to Eindhoven revolved around the Dutch Design Week, a yearly event that takes place in this calm city. While it was very difficult for me to get around at first, with absolutely no bus signage, the bus breaking down and the landlady where I rented a room totally vanishing, soon things took a much smoother turn.

I met up with my new friend Niels, and my newer friend Saskia from Bremen. 15 minutes after, and I have absolutely no idea how, I find myself in the middle of a portfolio day, giving interviews to great Dutch photographers, eager to hear what the “Lebanese”, from the other side of the world, has to say 🙂

I have submitted an article to Arab Ad, talking about my experience at DDW. You can read it hereafter.

Gather up your courage and enter
Dutch Design Week 2012

Under the slogan “Get inspired. Get connected. Get ready.” the Dutch Design Week (DDW) took place from October 22nd until October 28th, 2012, in the Southern Dutch city of Eindhoven. The DDW is a forum for designers to display their thrilling work, mind-blowing inventions and extraordinary ideas.
The event’s 11th edition offers a dazzling “insight into the near future” of design, where borders between different design fields on one hand, and science, technology, art, food and sociology on the other, are blurred.

It showcases the work of more than 1800 designers. They are a mix of industrial, spatial, graphic, textiles, and sustainable designers that are leaders in design management & trends. The event was spread over the whole city in 82 different locations, with only creativity, innovation and insightfulness in common.

Dutch Design Week is not about beautiful logos, flawless typography and colorful posters. It is about pushing boundaries, fusing design with science, and using technology as a
medium and art as a platform.

The controversial Nano Supermarket ( is a great example. It gives us a quick peak into the near future and the designed inventions that await us. All designs are based on Nano technology, a field of science that manipulates structure on an atomic or molecular level. Some examples are a belt that burns body fat and turns it into energy, or programmable wine, that allows you to have different kinds of wine depending on the duration you microwave it for, to dog food that allows your dog’s poop to glow in the dark, making it easier to pick up at night.

Marije Vogelzang, and her “Faked meat” project, invents animals and cooks their meat, as a response to the meat substitutes offered in supermarkets. The outcome of her sessions are made up dishes, with made up recipes of made up animals, which look so real that they would tempt any epicurean.

“Street Food Lighting”, injects life, light and a feeling of safety into the darker streets of Eindhoven, by projecting in its isolated alleys, footage of well-lit street food kiosks shot in third world countries.

Fresh graduates, well-established designers and world-renowned artists, all find their space at this inspiring forum of creativity and innovation. While it might seem a bit futuristic, out of reach, and far from what our “Lebanese clients want”, the DDW is definitely a mind-opener and a revealing window of where the world of design is heading. Enjoy it in detail at

Eindhoven meets Amserdam (part 1)

Far from Karadeniz, where this blog started, I took a trip during October 2012, to Eindhoven, Amsterdam, and …
I won’t be following a chronological order this time, I won’t have a detailed journey, no maps or links. Just highlights spotted by my new 650D (excuse my ISO).
Starting with a lovely day spent at the Artis Royal Zoo, followed by some shots from the Stedelijk Modern Art Museum.

Most of my trip was spent behind my viewfinder. Not such a bad place to be…

Days 11 and 12: Last days of Istanbul

Leaving lake Abant early in the morning, we arrives at Istanbul in the afternoon. A quick shower then headed to Istiklal cadessi, then to Marmara Hotel in Taksim Square, where we shared a bottle of white with Houssam’s friend, then had a delicious dinner of Menti.

Last day started with a walk and a copious breakfast by the Bosphorus. Then Zeinab and I met with Houssam at Sultanahmet and went and visited The Blue Mosque and the breathtaking Hagia Sofia. Then we met with Tangor, had lunch and walked through the Grand Bazar. Headed back home, took our luggage and headed straight to the airport, Sabiha Gokcen.

It was an amazing trip, incredible friends and reliable 3o22es. You should come with us next time 🙂

Day 10: The Lake. Abant the lake.

While we left behind the most beautiful Old city, Lake Abant Nature park with it’s natural reserve, it’s small pensions and Saudi tourists, was waiting for us.

We arrived around 11am, checked into our modest pension, took our host’s offer to drive us to the lake; as the pension was 16km away. On the way there, we passed by his brother’s kiosk, and while it was pouring outside, we had kofte and sucuk sandwiches for lunch in the warm and cozy venue, and then sealed the deal with some smoked tea.

And off to the famous lake…

Abant is a nature park, with forests and a huge lake, with a 7km perimeter. It is a very touristic area, mainly to Turks and Saudis. People go there to spend the day or stay a weekend in of it 3 major hotels. Our fist stop was at one of its major hotels, a pipi pause, then we hit the road to walk the 7 km perimeter. After the first kilometer, we could hear music, loud music, with tambourines and flutes. We went closer to discover a 150-member-family having a picnic besides the lake. They so friendly, invited us to join in, dance, eat and drink with them. They were dancing their local version of our Lebanese Dabkeh.

We bid them farewell, and then went our own way again, going around the lake. BUT there was something missing, we haven’t tried the Abantian version of the 3o22ess, and that was out of the question. We simply had to. And since I was the connoisseur on the matter, I went in head first into the uphill forest and gave it a go. And as usual, it never disappoints us, it stung like hell!!! As bad as ever!  All over my right arm!

We continued, bought from 3 old ladies some hair flowers, had a breathtaking break eating local sweets, and finally made it back to the hotel by the lake. 3 seconds after it started to rain cats and dogs and horses and donkeys! We were saved by the pension’s owner who drove us back in his car after a warm coffee break.

On our way, we bought some honey (bal) and some local kishek. Headed straight to the pension and to our beds.

Day 9: And then there was Safranbolu

The fellowship is now down to 3.

But Safranbolu, the old Ottoman city that we had reached the night before is a satisfying compensation. A Unesco, world heritage sight, it’s a beautiful village that only has old, restored Ottoman houses.

We stayed at the Kahveciler Konagi, an old Ottoman building, amazingly decorated in a traditional way, and with the friendliest staff. We walked around the town, tasted 50 different brands of loukoum from 50 different shops, some with Saffron (d’òu the town’s name) and some with findik (hazelnuts). We visited 2 museums, at both ends of Safranbolu, each standing tall on a hill, with the town in between.

We also climbed the clock tower and waited for the bell to ring (Zeinab thought it was done manually 🙂 ) then hit the HAMMAM! and had a Hammam men ka3b el dist!

The night ended at the local pub, where we watched a drag queen dressed in a man’s clothes singing and dancing and cheering his fans. YES. He had quite few of them!

And then off to our hotel and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Day 8: Sinop, the bluest black

We left Unye by bus, heading to Sinop, and changed buses at Samsun.; reaching our destination at night. We freshened up, and directly hit the road. We walked to the town, since Sinop is actually a semi-island, and our hotel was at the tip, around 7 or 8 km away from the town. We had fish for dinner, cooked the Karadeniz way. We discovered many new tastes with familiar ingredients. It was one of the most delicious and simple dinners we’ve had on this trip.

That morning in Sinop, we missed 2 things, my camera, which had problems with the memory card reader, and an essential member of the fellowship of the ring. Rabih, or otherwise known as 7arkoush decided to ytanneshna, and head to London for “work”; but we actually never saw any contracts to prove this claim. Investigations are still being carried as we speak.

Yet, life goes on, new memory cards can be bought, and new fellowships made, like our new found friend: Erdogan. He drove us to town, offered us coffee and took us to the top of the hill that looked over all Sinop.

Then we hit the museums, the Ethnographic museum, and the Archeological museum. Then the old Madrassa, which became a small artisan souk. We visited the old town prison, the statue of Diogenes, and the one of the towers of the surrounding walls of the city. There we met 2 friendly guys, and one of them was, still to be proven, a coffee cup reader. The day ended with a walk by the sea, and a bus ride to Safranbolu, w safranna la ben ma wselna!