Author Archives: nn

European Roadtrip Day 3: Lucerne

Lucerne (or Luzern as it is called there) was a great surprise. We’d picked it as a half way point between Freiburg and Lake Como, not expecting so much as we’d never heard anything about it before. However, it is a beautiful Swiss town, with lots of old buildings, a rushing mountain stream though the middle of the town, old fortress walls you can climb and a historic old  bridge bedecked with flowers. Continue reading

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European Roadtrip Day 3: Freiburg

We drove towards Freiburg from Heidelberg on Day 2 of our road trip around part of Europe (see here for the itinerary), arriving in the evening at our accommodation: a room on a wine farm just outside of Freiburg. Our hostess was lovely, and gave us a good tip for dinner, an Italian restaurant in their village. we headed straight there as it was dinner time and enjoyed a delicious meal, with the owner bringing us bread with olive oil, parmesan, aïoli and other toppings and a surprise starter of smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade. That was followed by the mail meal (risotto) and of course we accompanied it with wine, since we were right in the wine region.

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European Road trip Day 2: Heidelberg

After spending the morning in Weimar, we headed off to Heidelberg, day 2 of our European road trip. The sky darkened as we were driving, and it started raining just as we arrived. Nonetheless, we were keen to get out of the car and explore Heidelberg. We headed to the main street and found that it was very crowded – Heidelberg is obviously popular with tourists. Continue reading

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European Road trip Day 1: Weimar

Long ago in August (it feels like ages since we’ve seen the sun) we did a road trip from Berlin to France and back again, driving through Germany, Switzerland and Northern Italy to the south coast of France, then back again (you can see our route here). We saw so many things that it’s impossible to share it all in one post, so I thought I’d break it up into days. First stop: Weimar.

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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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