The country of Teranga
As people change in ten years (#10yearsChallenge), a country and its inhabitants do too…
You won’t be surprise if I tell you that Senegal followed that rule! It is indeed amazing how the country has developed these past few years; for the pure pleasure of its tourists!
In regards to its inhabitants, they obviously are not spared. Life has also its own surprises… We, sometimes, have to be prepared to the fact that the people we traveled with in the past or met years ago are no longer part of this world… I would say that this was the hardest part of the journey but I tried to enjoy every single minute of this trip; not knowing when I would come back and who would still be there next time…
I spent two weeks and a half; half time in Dakar and half time in Kounghany my parents’ village.
Following me in this journey… my roots-trip like I love to call it!
French is its official language, along with Wolof. With more than 15 million of inhabitants, the country is represented by more than six ethnic groups such as Wolof, Fula, Serer, Jola and Soninke from which I am from.
Since its independence on April 4, 1960, Senegal had four different presidents; the current one being Macky Sall since 2012.
Senegal, the generous country...
Senegal is known for its hospitality (Teranga in Wolof). And this is true! Whenever you need help, you will always find someone that will generously give you a hand. However, like everywhere, you will still need to be careful on whom you give your trust to…!
The country’s beauty is huge (okay, I am not being objective) but I will focus on Dakar, the capital, as I spent half of my time there. There are so many places to explore in the city but surely places you cannot miss!
The African Renaissance Museum
During the inauguration, various presidents of African countries were present, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Tchad, Togo…
It represents a woman, her husband and their child overlooking at the Atlantic Ocean which symbolize the opening of the continent to the rest of the world.
They either were from Africa or had African roots (African-American). You will also learn about some of Senegal ethnic groups and their singularity.
Besides learning from History, you will also benefit from a view on Dakar from the head of “husband”
Place of the African Souvenir
From politicians, music artists, activists, writers..., you will find a little biography with a quote that symbolizes the work they did.
I have always been curious about Africa's history but was still impressed by some of them as we do not necessarly learn their story in European schools. It also confirmed how important it is to educate yourself, besides what is tought at school. There is no better way to widen your mind.
However from 1817 to Senegal's independence in 1960, Goree Island was under the control by the French, You can notice that the architecture is a mix between slave-quarters and elegant houses of the slave traders.
Since 1978, the island is listed among UNESCO's World Heritage site.
Constructed in 1786, The "House of Slaves" was a first stop for some 20 million African slaves destined for ships moored in the deep waters off Goree's rocky shores. It testifies to an unprecedented human experience in the history of humanity. It symbolizes the slave trade with its cortege of suffering, tears and death.
The now “memory island” is a pilgrimage destination for the African diaspora, a foyer for contact between the West and Africa, and a space for exchange and dialogue between cultures through the confrontation of ideals of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Exceptional testimony to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of human societies, Goree island continues to serve as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.
Right before the "House of Slaves", you will notice "The Statue of Liberation". Sculpted by the guadeloupean brothers Jean and Christian Moïsa, it was revealed to the public in 2002. As it can be read on the sign at its left, it was a gift from the "guadeloupean brothers to their brothers from Africa).
HLM: You will find all type of fabrics to realize your most creative clothe designs! If creativity is not your “thing”, don’t worry! You will also have extensive choices in terms of ready-to-wear. It also the good place to go would you be willing to buy jewelry.
Sandaga: just like HLM, Sandaga is not a place to miss! It is a market where you will find anything you are looking for. And… by anything, I really mean ANYTHING! Actually, we usually use the expression “this place is like Sandaga” when a place is messy! Lol. Indeed, you will find everything from fabrics, African jewelry to home stuff! Well, I found everything I was looking for there.
People who know me know my love for African jewelry and accessories! For instance, I’ve been chasing a necklace for yeaaaars!! I also bought all the gifts for my nieces and nephews at Sandaga.
Malian market: this one was THE one I was specially looking forward to go! I heard a lot about this one so I obviously had to check it out. And so do you if you are interested in African home materials, home-made soaps. As the previous markets, you will be walking around Malian fabrics (bazin).
A long road to the roots : Kounghany
It consists in crossing the crossing from west to east... literally...!
Kounghany is located in the region of Tambacounda, in Bakel department. It shares frontiers with Diaguely, a Mauritanian village.
I spent 5 days in my family and a sentence that I heard once really echoed: “Home is not a place. It is living among those who love and honor you”. It perfectly describes how I felt when I was there!
Indeed, in our daily life, we are so caught up in our work and daily occupations that it is hard to find time for the people we love. I enjoyed the time with my family to the fullest! Every day, you have someone coming to great you; bringing welcome gifts and showing you so much love!
It was also important to be brought back to reality… Their reality… To see from where my parents came and how many sacrifices they made (leaving their family on top of them) for us to have better opportunities...
The circumstances that brought me there in 2008 were completely different from the one that brought my mother and I in 2018. So many things happen in ten years… Some are sad and some others are positive. I could not help but reminisced how great it was when I travelled with my parents, brother and sisters back then. We were going to my grandmother’s every day (who passed away in 2013…), we were spending nights discussing with my cousins… It was pure joy back then and I felt that kindness this time as well.
I promised myself to never stay that long away from Senegal. The feeling that traveled through my body… I want to feel that again.
Leo season... Birthday weekend celebration !
And it happened... I turned 27 and celebrated this new chapter in Germany along with my best friend !
All I can say is that I am grateful... Grateful for God blessing me with another year.. Grateful for the adventures that this new year has in store for me ! Grateful for celebrating life surrounded by my love ones!
Last may, I decided to take a big step in my travel adventures... On September 2017, a Sunday I remember, I was looking for my next vacation on voyagespirates.com. How surprise I was when I found out that there was a price error on Air Canada website ! I bought my round-trip tickets to Vancouver for 130€. No need to tell you that I did not wait for any of my friends to jump on that opportunity. and I must say, this was the best choice I ever did !
On May 3rd, 2018, I was getting on a nine-hours flight for a two-weeks trip in Vancity with... Me, myself and I !
Stanley Park, Vancouver
I landed in Vancouver on a sunny Thursday and took a taxi to the HI Vancouver Downtown, the hostel where I was about to spend the next 12 days. As I arrived too early for checking-in, I went for a walk in Stanley Park which was less than 10 minutes walk from the hostel. What a pleasure !
Stanley Park is a well-known park and tourist attraction of Vancouver. Its 400 hectare gives its visitors a magnificent scenery of mountains, forest and water. It is the ideal place to relax reading a book during the day or to just watch the sunset.
Totems Pole in Stanley Park, Vancouver
When visiting Stanley Park, you will have to stop by the Totem Poles at Brockton Point! The collection started in the 1920s' and is now composed of nine totems.
The ninth and most recent totem pole was added in 2009 and carved by Robert Yelton of the Squamish Nation.
The Squamish people are an ethnical group of indigenous people of British Colombia. In 2012, the population in British Colombia was estimated around 3 800 people registered within the Squamish Nation.
Considered today as a national historic site, Gastown represents the core of Vancouver's creation as a city.
It inherited its name after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain. When approaching the place, you will see a statue that actually represents him.
After a couple of walks, you will notice the Gaston Steam Clock (cf. picture). Famous landmark of Gastown, it was built in 1977. Make sure to be there at noon... You'll be surprised !
Granville Island, Vancouver
Located across False Creek (Sunset Beach) from Downtown Vancouver, Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district of Vancouver City. With the mini-boat, it will take you no more than 10-15 minutes to get there and the round trip will cost you around 7 dollars.
Once a industrial area, it is now a very touristic area full of shops and restaurants. Perfect place to enjoy a seafood dish (yes! it's all about food with me!).
It is also a cultural district with theaters and artisans workshops.
Kitsilano is located right across the Burrard Bridge, close to Vancouver Downtown. In the 1960s, its beachside was Vancouver's hippy hangout, drawing comparisons to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. Today, Kitsilano's beach is still a really good spot in May and obviously during summer time.
If you are a fan of exhibitions and art, it is at Kits (like the locals calls it!) that you will find the Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Sunset Beach, Downtown Vancouver
As mentionned before, Vancouver offers a beautiful landscape to admire ! For those who know me, you won't say I am lying if I tell you that I am not a morning person! However, I woke up a couple of times at dawn just to watch the city at its early hours and even went for runs...the non-sportive me ! Can you imagine?!
Besides, I am definetely a Sunset lover so you must know that Sunset Beach and English Bay were my favorite spots !
Vancouver Lookout, Dowtown Vancouver
Also in Vancouver Downtown, the Vancouver Lookout is situated at the top of the Harbour Centre building on West Hastings Street, near Canada Place and the Waterfront.
Officially opened by Astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1977, it is one of the tallest building in the city and offers quite a stunning view ! The ticket price is around 18 dollars. Once inside, you can either be accompany by a guide or just hang around by yourself and even sit for a drink watching Vancity's beauty !
Squamish, British Colombia
Sea to Sky Gondola - Squamish, BC
Now, let's talk about the place that got me in awe !
An hour drive away from Vancouver, Squamish's Sea to Sky Gondola provides a wonderful view of mountains and lakes, including a stunning views of Howe Sound. In May, there was still a little snow; which made it even more astonishing !
Sea to Sky Highway was voted one of the best scenic drives in the world by the way and you will understand why if you ever get the chance to see it!
I booked my trip though their website and it was worth its 75 dollars honestly ! The pick-up point was at Canada Place in Downtown Vancouver
They propose various trails depending on your trekking capabilities ! Thus, make sure to wear the appropriate clothes and shoes. Indeed, you can expect some inclines. I highly recommend this place which is breathtaking and once again, confirms Canada's beauty and diversity in terms of landscapes !
Hey everyone !
Hope you are ready to embrace the joy that May will bring!
I'd say that I surely am as I'm about to go on my first solo trip to discover the wanders of a city I really love ! Excited, thrilled but also freaking out to be honest...!
Stay tuned to know where and discover it with me ;)
X's & O's
Well, well, well... I just came back from a week in New York, the city that caught my heart years ago! I must say... it is still the case !
May 2012 was the last time I put my feet in the city and it was like I never left...
New York obviously melts my heart every single time ! It was good to aknowledge the beauty and magic of the city that never sleeps, once again.
Everybody on this planet knows about this place!! Movies, music videos, pictures are our references !! :)
Times Square is located on 7th Avenue. It a beautiful place, always crowded by American but also many tourists. As I always say, New York (or should I say the US) has this power of breaking the ice between people. It is always to share few words or even a smile with people crossing your path...
Chelsea - Greenwich Village
Chelsea, a suburb located on the East of New York City. There was the High Line, i.e the former rail line where we can now walk on. It is a beautiful place of NYC to see. It is near Greenwich Village, little Italy and Soho. It is an another face of this huge city, a step away from the noise of Times Square.
Little Italy - Soho - Chinatown
Little Italy and Soho are the places for artistic people. If you are looking for local artists exhibitions or just willing to do some shopping, well, that's a good place to go !!
Obviously, every big city has its Chinatown and New York does not break with this rule ! After visiting, London's and the Hague's Chinatown, I had to go back to NYC's. It is really a little China as everything is written in Chinese, stores and directions.
If you like long walks (and you better do when visiting NYC), if you go straight on, you can see the Brooklyn Bridge.
Besides rediscovering NYC's beauty, I attend Macy's 97th Thankgiving Parade held on November, Thursday 23rd. I must say that the streets were very crowded and it was hard (not to say impossible) to see a lot, except if you have long legs; which is actually not my case !! ;-)
Central Park to Upper East Side
Central Park is located between the Upper West Side and the Upper East side.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962, it is not only the most visited park in the USA but also the most filmed location in the world !
It is huge, gorgeous and very pleasant to walk there either during sunny, rainy and even snowy days ! You can also enjoy a bike tour if your feet need some rest (although you would still need to use them to pedal...!).
I continued my exploration to the Upper East Side. It is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan between Central Park and the East river. Known as one of the most affluent neighborhoods of New York and also said to be for wealthy people, it is also where famous series such as Gossip Girl, How I met your mother or Sex and the City were filmed. If you are a fan of exhibitions or just architecture, you will enjoy the Metropolitan Museum and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museam located in the area.
Also, if you like natural history, you will have to cross the park to the West side and visit the American Museum of Natural History.
Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, NYC.
Long time known as a working class neighborhood, it has now been aknowledged as a place where you will admire streetart at every corner.
I spent three nights there via airbnb and took the time to discover its beauty as the weather was clearly on my side !!
If you like to discover the work of some artists, you must go to Artists & Fleas !! Warmly welcome with "Hi's" and Smiles, you will find clothes, jewelry, accesories and have the chance to discuss with talented and kind people.
Plus, one of cool things about Williamsburg is that you can observe Manhattan skyline from the East River State Park. Ideal for a walk, a run or a picnic (my fav') !
Top Of the Rock - Rockfeller Center
Would you think of a better way to end this trip than admiring the city from the above? Neither do I...
The observation deck "Top of the Rock" is an experience you have to go for !!! The Rockfeller Center is located in Midtown Manhattan.
Considered as the best panoramic view, it offers a view of NYC including the Empire State Building.
The view is absolutely breathtaking !! I would advise you to go either at sunset to admire the gradation of colors or at night to realize that New York is, indeed, the city that never sleeps...
A travel lover passionate by writing who, sometimes, get lost in wanders... Here is your chance to join me !