4 weeks ago I spent a few days in Lisboa and the mill and the sunshine are still on my mind, so I want to share the spring feelings with you. To be honest: I didn’t know much about Portugal before I went. It’s one of the little countries in Europe, that you tend to forget – am Rande – and to far away from Germany to go there by car. I saw the movie “Train to Lisboa” lately and here and there someone told me Portugal is nice…this February I was desperate to travel south and all of a sudden Lisboa was under the top three destinations to go for and most easily doable., so it happend…and you should go to, if you love the coast!
Lisboa is a beautiful hilly town and you can really called the San Francisco in Europe – I have been in both cities now and it’s really somewhat simillar. The hills, the old tram system, the red bridge, the easy-going livestyle…maybe less kids/young people and less bikers. 😉 What really surprised me is the impression that there is a lot of housing under construction. The sound of Lisboa these days is a mix of roto hammers and cars in the narrow streets, but you tend to forget it…a minute later you will see a guy who is carrying ham into a restaurant…and then you enter a pedestrian area anyway and get a coffee and a pastry and everything is fine.
In the little village Almocageme we stayed in a really lovely avacation flat that was designed as a wind mill. Great fun to stay in a round house and the coast there is a well kept secrete and not crowed (jet). The rest of the story in three words: hiking, hiking, hiking.
Looking forward for spring to come?! Me too!
PS: And don’t forget to try the famous cherry liqueur in Lisboa.
Yep. If you are not a bilingual German-American you might be a little lost. What the hell is a “Meck-Pomm-Lover?” Meck-Pomm is German slang and stands for the name of the province that is called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. If you love the Baltic Sea this post is of interest for you, because I want to seduce you to travel to a little town that is called Ahrenshoop and used to be a small fishing village. It’s located on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula. Just a few hundred meters outside of Ahrenshoop is where the Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft starts. The sign with a black owl on a yellow base tells you, that you enter a national park area in Germany. Make it a day trip, bring a picknick and hike to the light house from here (about 10 km one way). If you start from the little village Prerow at the other end it’s a little shorter. You will be rewarded with a beautiful scenary. Once you arrive at the light house you might be up for a coffee (at least in the summer the little coffee shop is open and there is a little museum too). I have been there on December 30 and it was a really great walk. It’s not like you have the beach for your own (like it would be in Nova Scotia most likely), but the people who do the hike and come to this spot really enjoy it. It’s less busy in the spring and the fall and year-round a truly unique German destination I can identify with…whereas the castle” Neuschwanstein” or the “Oktoberfest” in Munich are not by the way!
PS: And if you have problems to learn the 16 German provinces (called Bundesländer) you might want to check out the songs by the German cabaret artist Rainald Grebe on youtube…here is a link to a song about Mecklenburg for advanced German speakers.
Wow! I have been very busy since summer 2017 and lost sight of my blog. I decided to resign my job at the Academy of Performing Arts in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in August. Never really felt a conection with the city and I was tired to move arround from flat share to flat share every 3 months or so. Therfore I moved back to Cassel until I got the chance to work at the theater in Rostock. That was at the end of September 2017 and here I am: happy on the coast! Baltic Sea and harbor waterfront in the neigborhood and an awesome team to work with for a year at least – it’s a limited contract.
In between changing the job I made two cool trips last summer: to Halifax/Canada again (for the third time) and to France again (I stoped counting…just love the country and there are so many different regions).
My highlight in Nova Scotia definitly was the 3 days tour by bike on the Rum Runners Trail from Halifax to Lunenburg and back. It’s an old rail way trail and I did it on my own, so I had a lot of time to think about the last 1 1/2 years in Ludwigsburg. Hardly any people on the track: just me, the trees and the lakes, that I hopped in once in a while. I was also very happy to visit my guest family from 2012 in Halifax again and spent some time with friends. After I missed out to meet Angie on the Camino in Spain in 2016, it was really awesome to have dinner with her in Halifax. Special thaks to you girl! Perfect 10 days.
In France the hike up to Puy de Dome was awesome and the whole central region. Lot’s of hiking tracks to discover. Funny enough I forgot my hiking boots at home, so I had to buy new once there. Enjoy the pics and let me add: I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!
What’s up? Everything good? You tried your first ginger bread jet? I did and that means it’s December folks. It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. My trip to California this summer was literally a hot highlight and I still want to share some impressions, thoughts and tips with you. I desperately need to remember these sunny days to better survive good cool Germany at the moment. So let’s catch up on this! We went hiking and camping and also spent a few nights in Motels and Hostels.
I flew in to Las Vegas from Frankfurt with Condor (cheap and good, but you pay extra for vegetarian food, which I think is unfair). The long flight and the air-conditioning killed me for a few days, but after that it was great. We rented a car and it was kind of a slow road trip that started with the “Valley of Fire” in Nevada (Valley of fire state park) and “The Death Valley” in California.
California experienced the fifth very dry summer in a roll and you most likely heard about the fires around Los Angeles. However we were very lucky and had no problems. 40-some degrees are really a challenge for me, but the experience is impressive and California deserves the nickname. You drive for hours through a dessert-like environment. The colors are fascinating. Once we passed a prison on our way to the Death Valley and I was wondering how it must be for the people to serve a sentence there. How does the isolation and the silence effectuate the souls? Then all of a sudden you reach a petrol station and you wonder that there are so many people around that you missed out on the road. Always feels like your car is the only car until you reach a car park. They sold all kinds of alien souvenirs at that station and I thought: jepp, this environment supports that idea.
You should also not miss a hike to Indian Rock and the North Dome in Yosemite NP. We drove up Tioga Road and spent a few days on a small and basic campground. You don’t need a reservation during week, but on weekends it can be very crowded in the summer.
Next stop was San Francisco and simply said: it’s a lovely city and fellt more like a little town. The bridge, the fog, the harbor, the people, the foot (fantastic food really), the atmosphere. Only surprise was our chat with an African-American guy in the laundry. He was a good guy, father, fan of Angela Merkel, praised Germany and still wanted to vote for Trump. What he talked about was the feeling of a nation in simple words and when I heard the outcome of the elections a few weeks ago I thought about him again.
Then we drove up Highway 101 for a while and spent a few days on the coast, before driving into Portland to catch a flight back to Frankfurt. I found Portland was a bit disappointing and I was shocked about the high number of homeless people. What I loved most about Oregon are the huge Sand Dunes. That is how it must be in the Sahara, but the temperatures on the Pacific Northwest Coast are so much easier to handle for hikers. http://www.oregon.com/recreation/oregon-dunes
You might wonder why I stoped writing all of a sudden!? Well I went on a walk at the end of May, without any technical equipment really, so I just wrote my diary. In June I started to work full time in a new position at the Academy of Performing Arts in Ludwigsburg and since then I lost track somehow. On the Camino you walk, you talk, you eat and you sleep. I really enjoyed that! In the working world you work, you eat and you sleep. I’m struggeling to adapt myself to the office circle of life at the moment…maybe that is why I was thinking about the Camino experience again tonight. I’m so glad that I joined Chris and Deanne for that one week. It was not my idea to walk the Camino but such a wonderful opportunity to meet friends again and try out some pilgrimage. They wrote a great blog about their camino experience, that you can read here by the way. A few days before I left Frankfurt (Germany) for Bilbao (Spain) I found out that Angie, a friend of mine from Halifax (Canada), was also one her way to walk the Camino. Unfortunately I was not able to meet her, because we started 3 days earlier and I had to return on time to start my new job, but Deanne and Chris did met her on the way. What I learned from all this is, that the world is such a small place nowadays. You just need to communicate your ideas. Maybe a friend would be up for the very same adventure you just dream about, if you would ask. Most often we stop dreaming and say naaa, it’s not gonna work out…but that’s not true. So it’s time to share some picture and dream about traveling tonight.
Deanne and Chris from New Zealand
St. Jean Pied de Port
St. Jean Pied de Port
Girls on the trail
Yes the trail is open
First break and the last option on day 1
Me and my backpack (8kg)
We have met up in San Sebastian and bused to Bayonne to catch a train to go to St. Jean Pied de Port. Make sure that you print out the way to your hotel from the train station in St. Jean Pied de Port to the place where you are staying and be prepared to get lost in France anyway. It’s really funny. Such a small village and thousands of pilgrims from arround the world, who arrive there every year, but they don’t put up any sings at the train station. We have made it anyway – no worries – and once you are on the trail you are fine. I really loved the walk over the Pyrenees and it’s a good thought to know that I already did the most beautiful and most difficult part of the walk. Thank you Deanne and Chris!!!
I walked the fallowing stages:
St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles (27.7 km): The weather was bad in the early morning, good when we started to walk at 9 am and very rainy and cold from 1 pm on until we arrived in the very comfortable albergue.
Roncesvalles to Zubiri (21 km): Good weather conditions, no complains.
Zubiri to Pamplona (20 km): Great weather. Very sunny day, but we missed Deanne as she had to catch a bus, because of knie issues.
Eveybody we met on the trail had some knie or uncle issues. I guess it’s because the very first stages are very difficult. So what you really need to walk the Camino is a knee bandage, anty inflame cream guys and a good jacket to protect you from the cold on top of the Pyrenees.
I catched a bus from Pamplona back to Bilbao, but I would like to continue my walk some day in the future and I already know it’s easy to get there. 😉 So if I decide that I’m unhappy in the office, but don’t know jet what else I would like to do I could just continue this journey and see what happens.
Walk on and take care!
PS: Yes I visited the theater in Pamplona. Guess what: they only have 14 permanent employees. I don’t know how this art system works…unbelievable.
I am so German. That´s what I think, when I think about how I experienced China. I realized that I like rules you know, but in China nobody cares. Traffic regulations? Forget about it. The bigger the car the more likely it´s gonna run you over – no matter what. Green lights, crosswalks…whatever. The traffic is a nightmare and it takes forever to get from A to B, however they have a good metro system. Not to talk about the smog. Why line up, when you can cheat? 1000 people running to a train to catch a seat once they opend the doors to the platform. I saw it happening when we made a trip to the Great Wall. Kids and aged people struggeling alike. Overpopulation is really a problem for me. That´s for sure. What else. Hardly anybods speaks a word english. It´s very tiring if you can´t talk with anybody for two weeks. Not even small talk. Nothing. They look at you like you are an alien if you try it. If you try to speak poor Mandarin it´s even worse. I also like fix prices I guess. Tell me a price and I tell you if I would like to buy it or not, but in China you simple debate about prices all time time. Their is no fix price. I thought about getting a massage at the ariport right befor my departure. They had an official price list…at the end she said 200 and I said no, because the whole situation drove me crazy. I wanted to get an honest information about what I can expect…like what are the differences between the various options concerning the massages. No change. She smiled like she was high. It all was a big joke. Why fallow safety at work … one chinese more or les … nobody will notice it anyway. OK. I am getting cynical here. I really had problems to survive in China and I´m happy that I was not slain by a brick. It´s not my country, but it was an interessisting experience. The food was great and our trip to the Great Wall was awesome. We visited a spot that was not jet crowded by tourist. A wilder area close to a small lovelz village. They will build a holiday village there in the next few years unfortunately. We already saw the signs for the Great Wall Holiday Village. I loved the old opera house in the Forbidded City and of cause there are lovely hidden places like small theaters or roof-deck bars. Need to rethink all the experiences again, but now I am ready to walk a bit of the Camino. I arrived in Bilbao / Spain and I am very excited to meet up with Deanne and Chris from NZ tomorrow. I worked for them in their lovely restaurant on Stewart Island. They had planed to walk the Camino and I decided to join them for a few days. Hurra!