Hiking in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps

As winter approaches, we think of the Alps because of snow and skiing, but in summer it’s another world all together. A world of meadows, flowers and cows with bells, like a scene out of Heidi or The Sound of Music. One of my biggest wishes when moving to Europe was to go hiking in the Alps, and in my fifth summer here we finally made it there in summer. (Fifth summer! I had to count this on my fingers a few times. Has the time really disappeared so quickly?).

We went with a friend to Bavaria in the late days of spring heading towards summer, for four days of hiking in the Alps. The weather was great, four days of sun. We stayed in a little town called Aschau, near the Austrian border. There are hikes leaving directly from the town and many more accessible nearby, especially if you cross the border into Austria. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #35 – Winter is coming (2)

Temperatures dropped drastically in Berlin in September, making even the non-summer we had this year seem like a pleasant warm time. A lot of people started getting colds, including an office-mate, and I subsequently caught the cold from him. Just as i thought I was getting over it, it suddenly turned into a head cold and a cough – argh. So i did not do much last week until Sunday when my husband dragged me outside for a walk because the weather had suddenly improved drastically and it was too good a day not to miss. At any rate, here are this week’s small pleasures, because if you look hard you can usually find some. Continue reading

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Biking in the Moravian winelands of Czechia

I still can’t get used to calling Czech Republic “Czechia”, but I thought I’d try, at least for this post! Even my Czech husband still calls it Czech Republic (or normally Czech for short). Anyway, for years he has been telling me that we should visit the Moravian winelands, in the east of Czechia, more specifically in new wine season (more on new wine later). This year we finally did it, as a group of friends with whom we did Wine-and-Cycling Trip 1.0 with last year in the Alsace wanted to go on Wine-and-Cycling Trip 2.0. In fact for us it was actually the third wine and cycling trip, since we also rode along the Saale river valley. We planned our trip to Moravia in September, which is new wine season.

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Ferdi’s last walk

We lost a friend this weekend. A big, dear, white, doggy friend, my husband’s family’s dog. At least he lived to a good age, but we will really miss seeing him when we visit the family. He had a big, blocky head and he would often push your hand or leg with his head so that you would give him a pat. Every time we visited, we would take him and the other dog for a walk in the countryside, in all seasons. I thought I’d share the photos I took of some of our walks over the years, starting from the earliest about three and a half years ago. You’ll see how the scenery changes with the different seasons.

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Camping and canoeing on the River Havel: Fürstenberg to Burgwall

It’s been a rainy, relatively cool summer in Berlin, but luckily last weekend some sunny weather arrived, so we headed off to Brandenburg for some canoeing and camping adventures involving goats, swing dancing and raclette. For those who may not know, Brandenburg is the large state surrounding Berlin (Berlin is a separate state, or Bundesland in German), and it’s full of beautiful countryside, forests, lakes, rivers and waterways. North of Brandenburg is the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is also a boat-lovers paradise, has beautiful nature, and borders the Baltic sea (Ostsee). We decided to start our trip in Fürstenberg, located at the southern edge of the Mecklenburg Lake District, about 75km from Berlin. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #34 – Work hard, play hard

So summer never arrived this year, but luckily we got at least a little taste of warm weather on our weekend trip to Belgium (stay tuned for that blog post) and our road trip down to Italy and France (also coming soon!). Now it’s back to rainy Berlin, and last week was extremely busy at work, but as always there were some good moments, and in Mani’s weekly blog event “Weekly Small Pleasures“, we try to remember those!

Here are this week’s small pleasures: Continue reading

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European roadtrip 2

Two years ago we did a late summer road trip through Slovenia and Croatia, starting in the Czech Republic. We enjoyed it so much that this summer we are taking another road trip, this time south to Cinque Terre and Cote d’Azur in France. We’re keen to see some of the famously beautiful towns of Germany that we haven’t visited yet, such as Freiburg and Heidelburg. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #33 – Monsoon summer

So far, this is the rainiest summer I’ve spent in Berlin. My first few summers here were good, so last year I was already surprised when June was cold and rainy. This year the cool and rainy weather continued into July, with quite a few days where it bucketed down. Sometimes it was cool and rainy, sometimes warm and rainy with thunderstorms. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #32 – Roses and burrs

If I haven’t been posting lately, it’s because not much has been happening. That said, nothing happening is probably a good thing, taking into account all the bad news lately worldwide.

I still want to write a post about our hiking trip to the Alps in May, but I have to sort out all of my photos first. Anyway, for now, I thought I’d have a quick catch up over a Weekly small pleasures post. Weekly small pleasures as you probably know by now, is Mani’s blog event where you try to remember the good things that happened during the week. This is an easy way to be grateful for what you have and to focus on the good. Continue reading

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Mud-walking in the Wadden Sea

 

The Wadden Sea stretches across parts of the northern coastline of the Netherlands and Germany, and even to part of Denmark. In Dutch it is called Waddenzee and in German, Wattenmeer. The curious thing about the Wadden Sea is that it is so shallow that at low tide you can walk across it! This involves walking through a lot of mud, and a guide is essential as they can judge the depth of the water and how soon it will become too deep. Luckily for the Dutch, they are tall!

Some years ago I visited friends in the Netherlands, and they booked a guided tour in Friesland (a province in the north) to do some mud-walking (Wadlopen). I think they might have booked the guide through this organization. The whole sea does not have mud underneath, of course, and some point you get to more sandy ground, but the initial section is indeed very muddy. Before the tour we went to town to buy some cheap shoes, as my friends said the shoes might get so dirty that you would never be able to wear them again. In the end the mud did come off though, and I kept the shoes in case I ever go Wadlopen again! Continue reading

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