family tree

Images from my own collection 
Kindly inform me if you would like to use them. 
Thanks to Verele Ghering- Engels for all the amazing information. 
Other related sites: The Curacao Museum and Villa Belvedere 

"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories"

My grandmother comes from an amazing family. I love spending time with her and listening to her stories about her life, the people that make up our family and the amazing things each of them went through and contributed. 

It is also great to hear these stories from other family members, - and so this weekend we had quite the information session with loads of family members, a visit to an extraordinary house on the island and beautiful stories and memories. 

My grandmother is 83. She comes from a long line of interesting, talented and extraordinary people. She still cooks lunch for us every day, we sit around her dining table and laugh, talk and enjoy.
The photos of the house above are of Stroomzigt , a house that was very much part of my grandmother’s life when she just moved to the island, where her children went to the doctor, where her relatives lived and a place she was very happy to visit this past weekend. Stroomzigt is an exquisite home, filled with art, music, colour and a great deal of Curacao's history. Thank you to Verele Ghering-Engels for giving us the opportunity to see this with our families. It is such a privilege to share this with my grandma and the rest of my family. 


"Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one" 

 Photo courtesy: Verele Ghering-Engels 
The family Ecker


Images via various sources

End of the month I am heading to Hamburg, Germany (or as it is officially known, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) to meet up with my girlfriends. My dearest friend has been living there since February, exploring this fascinating and historic city, and now I am ready for a visit.

 Germany’s vibrant gateway to the world

Hamburg captivates visitors with its typical Hanseatic charm, extraordinary architecture from many eras, such as the St. Michaelis Church ("Michel"), unique atmosphere and more bridges than Venice, Amsterdam and London put together. The abundant greenery of the city and impressive views of the Außenalster and Binnenalster lakes enchant visitors.

A discovery tour to the famous port will allow guests to breathe in the exciting aromas from across the world in the air. A sense of freedom and longing combined with the circling of seagulls overhead creates a mellow melancholic mood at the port. The Old Elbe Tunnel by the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (landing stages), which was a sensational technological feat back in 1922, is among Hamburg's nostalgic highlights and is well worth a visit. A sightseeing tour of the port is a real must if you wish to be able to say you have really seen Hamburg. You will get to know the Speicherstadt old warehouse district from the water, but it is also worth having a look when back on dry land. The largest connected warehouse complex in the world can now look back on its 100-year history. The HafenCity, which is well known beyond the confines of Hamburg, is currently the largest inner city development project in Europe. This is an impressive attempt to demonstrate how well living, relaxing and working in a city centre by the river can be combined.

The magnificent villas around the Alster and the elegant shopping streets between Große Bleichen and Jungfernstieg are situated in the immediate vicinity of the rather unassuming port district, the world-famous Reeperbahn and the trendy districts, such as Schanzenviertel and Karolinenviertel. On Deichstrasse, an old tradesmen's street with old residential and office buildings dating back to the 17th to 19th centuries, the past is within grasp. Those who prefer the present should take a stroll along the Elbe in the classy suburban district of Blankenese. The beach offers you a great opportunity to sit and watch the majestic container ships come and go. Hamburg also offers a wide variety of leisure activities, whether it be cultural events or a spot of shopping.
The Hanseatic understatement crops up again when it comes to statistical figures: the vibrant metropolis in the north of Germany is the second largest city in the country with the second largest port in Europe. However, as far as beauty and attractiveness are concerned, it is not only the locals of Hamburg who agree: the city is without doubt Germany's number 1. The unique atmosphere of this cosmopolitan city is sure to impress you. 
More information here

tulip history

Images via various sources
In the 18th century Istanbul was the apogee of the passion for trees, flowers, gardens and tulips in particular. Pleasure was sought in tulip gardens during day time while poetry and musical evenings took place illuminated by candles on tortoise back protected by glass shades.
A new period began in Ottoman arts with the ascendancy of illuminators, and in particular, of Levni; paintings were sent back to the capital from Paris by Mehmed Said Pasha, the Ottoman ambassador. Furniture and clothing that came from Paris began to promote Western fashions in the Ottoman capital.
A refined entertainment culture developed during the Tulip Era. The legendary Kagithane parties and the magnificent Sadabad palace deserve a mention each at this point. All this took place against a backdrop of tulips, like a symbol.
What was it that had triggered this sudden passion for tulips? Where did tulips come from? While the precise origin of tulips is not known, decorations firmly place tulips in the old world. Tulips pop up in Southern Europe, the Caucuses, Iran, and Anatolia. Wild tulips appear in figures seen on Northern Mediterranean shores, in Japan and Central Asia. 
Turks were the first to note tulips in Anatolia. As a decorative plant, the Seljuks valued tulips alongside roses, camations and daffodils. The first instance of a tulip in decoration in Anatolia dates back to the 12th century. Mevlana was the poet to refer to tulips in his poetry: "Come tulip come and take color from my cheek" the famous philosopher wrote.  More information here.