The Disa hunters: exploring the top of Table Mountain

Everyone has seen the iconic postcard-perfect view of Table Mountain with its flat top. But did you know that up on top it is not as flat as it seems and there is a whole world up there to discover? When I lived in Cape Town, I used to go hiking often with friends, and I have already explained why Table Mountain is so special here. Recently I was back for a holiday so once again we went up Table Mountain. There are numerous ways you can hike up; often we would go up Skeleton Gorge starting at Kirstenbosch or Cecilia forest. Skeleton Gorge is a lovely shady route in summer and has fun wooden ladders to climb and a few boulders to scramble over.  From there you can take the Smuts track to the highest point of Table Mountain, MacClear’s beacon, and then walk along the edge of the mountain with beautiful views until you reach the cable station. Then we would walk back through Echo valley and past the dams to come down at Constantia Nek (we always left one car there and took one to the start of the hike). Continue reading

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Leaving home – again

We just returned from three weeks in South Africa – my home. After one week back at work, I’m already ALMOST back in Berlin mode, but arriving back to the cold and dark was difficult. Here were my thoughts the first day back.

It  never gets easier leaving home. As I walk down the tunnel onto the plane, my heart is kicking and screaming inside. But the reality is, I work away from home (South Africa) and my husband is European (Czech), so I can’t just pack up and leave Europe when I feel like it. As it came up in conversation with another South African-European couple over the weekend – one of you always has to make sacrifices. The family of one of you will always be far away. One of you has to live outside your comfort zone. There are times I regret ever coming to Europe in the first place, because now I feel I am stuck here – at least for the moment. Of course, I cannot regret meeting my husband, and I have enjoyed our travels around Europe. We live in Germany, and while there are plenty of things I like about the place, it’s just not home. I miss the blue skies and sunshine of South Africa, and the (mostly) relaxed, friendly people. Continue reading

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There and back again – December to January

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My last real blog post was just before we went away for Christmas holidays to South Africa via Namibia, and now it’s February already! I feel like I’m always behind these days. In between travelling I am overloaded with work, trying to meet all my many deadlines before the next trip. At the moment I’m away again, at a meeting in Switzerland. It should calm down a bit in February, but let’s see. Hopefully then I’ll have time to update on the places we’ve visited in December and January. Here is a sneak preview in the meanwhile. Continue reading

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Outdoor adventures

So you love the great outdoors? Me too 🙂 Here are some of the blog posts I’ve written about nature, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing and other sports. Maybe some of these places would appeal to you too?

Hiking

Table Mountain

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The Disa hunters: exploring the top of Table Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

Bavarian and Austrian Alps

 

 

 

 

 

Bavaria, Chiemgau region 

 

 

 

 

 

Namib-Naukluft national park

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The Thomas Tucker Shipwreck Trail

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Battle of the Seelow Heights and a walk near the Oder river

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Sächisches Schweiz

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 České Švýcarsko/Czech Switzerland

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Svaneti, Georgia

Snow hiking in the Harz mountains

Two late-winter hikes in Brandenburg

 

 

 

 

 

Cycling

Naturpark Barnim

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City biking for dummies

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Mein Fahrrad

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Brandenburg bike rides: Fürstenberg/Havel to Templin

Brandenburg bike rides: Potsdam to Brandenburg an der Havel

Saale bicycle trail

Biking in the Moravian winelands of Czechia

The Spree cycle trail (Spreeradweg)

 

 

 

 

 

Watersports

Lakes of Berlin

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Watersports and beaches at Müggelsee

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Kayaking at Müggelsee/ Neu Venedig

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Canoeing in the Rheinsberg lake area /Müritz National Park

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Camping and canoeing on the River Havel: Fürstenberg to Burgwall

Canoeing on the Havel river: Pritzerbe to Hohennauener See via Rathenow

 

 

 

 

 

Skiing

Cross country skiing in the Harz mountains

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Les Diablerets, Switzerland

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More cross country skiing adventures in the Harz mountains

Cross-country skiing in the Czech Republic: Hejnice/Smědava

 

 

 

 

 

Snow sports in the Czech Republic: Bedřîchov

 

 

 

 

 

Cross country skiing in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains)

 

 

 

 

 

Nature

Namaqualand

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March – Wildlife in the Garden

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Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck trail – after the fire

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Last time I was in Cape Town, fires were ravaging the mountains. It was early March, and for days the blaze continued, spurred on by strong winds and dry vegetation. Fynbos, the indigenous vegetation in the Cape, requires fire every 15 years or so as part of its life cycle (smoke causes many seeds to germinate, and fires clear away old and dead plants), but the extent of the fires was large this year and it was sad to see the mountain burning.

At the end of August I returned to Cape Town again and went walking with a friend at Cape Point nature reserve at the southwesternmost point of Africa, where we came across part of the area burnt by the fires. There are many great walks here, and we tried one I hadn’t been on before, the Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck trail. It was a cool and windy day, but hiking is great in most weathers, I love to see how places look different in different seasons. Whipped up by the wind, the ocean looked fantastic, and you could easily image how many ships met their demise. The peninsula wasn’t named the Cape of Storms by Portuguese explorers for nothing. Continue reading

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Show your World – Table Mountain

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Tiny expats is hosting a blog event called “Show your world“, where you can describe some of the beautiful places you have seen. If you ask almost any Capetonian to name a beautiful place, the first thing that is likely to come to their mind is Table Mountain, the mountain around which Cape Town is built. So I thought I’d kick off my first Show your World post by describing why I love this mountain, and find it one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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