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Shortly after arriving in Koh Chang, an island in Thailand, we dug deep online to find some unique locations. We heard about an abandoned cruise ship, turned into a hotel and then abandoned again. We thought it would be a perfect place to take some photos and explore. Information on it was vague and old, we still weren't sure if it still existed. None of the locals seemed to know it. Slightly off the beaten path, but nothing is too far on an island that takes an hour to cross, so we headed towards it's direction.
What to bring:
- Mosquito spray (apply generously, mosquitoes are my nemesis)
- Bring water. Its warm in Koh Chang. 28°C (82°F) is the average temperature during the hot months.
- A flashlight (many creepy rooms inside)
- Cat food and dog treats for stray animals
We rented a motor scooter from our Airbnb and it felt like we could go anywhere. After a few wrong turns we found the spot. A big piece of land with a single road leading up to a hut where a lonely guard charges you a fee to enter. For a little extra we could've rented bicycle's, too.
Once inside its impossible to miss "The Galaxy" a giant abandoned cruise ship. I believe there are still hotels and other areas (ships converted into hotels) functioning so we avoided the front desk area. We found and entrance in the back of the ship even with the front of the ship closed off and there are plenty of open windows to climb through.
Happy to find it still exists it was such an interesting site to see. A cruise ship cemented to the land and slowly decaying away by a beautiful beach. Nobody seemed to care and we shamelessly took our time to explore.
A friendly cat was the only living contact we came to encounter. It was eerie and would not not like to be alone exploring through there.
I wouldn't have wanted to be there at night, it was quite spooky inside even during the day. It confuses your brain in a way, when a place so large that would usually be filled with people is empty. Especially decorations and daily items still about. It feels like someone could walk into you at any second. Exciting to go and explore for some of the same reasons.
We were surprised to find a gorgeous beach right next to the ship. Sun was already set and we played on the swings. Nobody else around we felt like it be worth to visit just for that.
Here is the location to the Aunchaleena Beach Front Resort, Koh Chang (The Galaxy) permanently closed. Enjoy the exploration.
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My first winter holiday in Germany could not have been complete without a Christmas Market visit. We bundled up and made our way to downtown Frankfurt. The first stop was warming ourselves up with some warm alcoholic beverages.
Bethmännchen cookies are a Christmas tradition that originated in Frankfurt. The Bethmann family had a Parisian pastry chef, who was their live in cook. Dating back to 1838, the chef created a marzipan cookie with four almond halves on each side to represent the family's four sons and named the cookie Bethmännchen (Little Bethmann's). Sadly, a few years later one of the sons died and since then the cookies have been made with three almonds.
Ive seen the German Lebkuchenherzen or ginger bread hearts with funny sayings on them that hang from ribbons at other fairs and markets. They remind me of large versions of the Valentines day Sweethearts candies with sayings on them, that don't particularly taste good but are fun to read, give or receive. Except the white ones, I make an exception for them, I actually like them.
Glühwein was probably my favorite. It reminded me of warm sangria. Also known as mulled wine that can be made with red or white (I prefer red) and various spices added. Most commonly cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel and star anise heated and then sweetened. Served in a warm mug like this hit the spot on a cold winter's night.
This concept still makes me so happy and I hope to see more if it all around the world. When going to a bar, festival, or market like this you usually get a nice cup sometimes made of plastic but usually made of glass. You pay a deposit for it and when you return it with the token you get the deposit back. I feel like the drinking experience is better than sipping from a plastic cup and there is nothing to litter or waste and everyone brings their cups back with the incentive of getting their money back. It seems like a win win for everyone.
It was my first time seeing Zwetschgenmännchen, or prune men or prune people, around since 1790. Known to be good luck around the holidays. Usually a six inch figurine, handcrafted individual people made from dried plums, raisins, peanut hands and painted walnut heads. They represent various professions from cooks, to chimney sweeps, gardeners and grandmothers.
All images shot on a Canon 5D Mark III and a 50mm Canon lens. I picked this lens for the christmas market, because it has a low f-stop of 1.4. This means it lets in a lot of light, perfect for shooting at night. As a side effect it creates a shallow depth of field. It means the are in focus is narrow and can be tricky to get right, but it also beautifully blurs the background and brings out the lights. Since I did not bring a flash I tried to get my subjects to step into light sources when they were available.
Happy Holidays <3