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

When people hear the word skiing, they mostly think about downhill skiing, which features more prominently in outdoor film festivals and the media because it is faster and more dramatic. However, cross-country skiing (or Langlaufen in German) is also popular in many snowy countries, particularly with outdoorsy people who enjoy being in the forests and doing some exercise. Having tested out the cross-country ski trails in the Harz mountains in Germany over the last years, we started exploring the cross-country trails across the border in Czech Republic over 2018/2019 winter season. For some practical tips on visiting the Czech republic for cross-country skiing, see the bottom of this post.

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My travel highlights in 2018

As a new year starts, full of possibilities, I thought I’d take a look back on 2018! I’ve been enjoying reading other bloggers’ 2018 travel highlights, so here are mine.

This year we went to three weddings and none of them were in Berlin, so that was a good excuse to do a bit of traveling. When I have to travel for work I also try to take a weekend before or after the meeting to make the flying more worthwhile. And of course, when possible we also try to get to the mountains to do some hiking or skiing, since Berlin is located in a flat part of Europe. Here’s where we went in 2018. Continue reading

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8 things I miss at Christmas

I am a South African, living in Germany and married to a Czech. When you’re living away from your home country, for the most part you settle into a new daily routine, acquire new habits and generally get on with things. However there’s always going to be those times where you are reminded that you’re a bit of a square peg in a round hole. For me, Christmas is one of those times , because no matter how great the Christmas celebration is here, I always have that feeling that it’s just not 100% Christmas. Here are the things I miss most about my South African Christmas: 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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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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Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

In Czech, June is called červen, which might be related to the word červený, meaning red. Another theory is that červen could come from červ (worm), because the cochineal larvae used for making red dye were around in early summer. Apparently they are now almost all extinct. Either way, June is a red month. The red poppies are out in all the fields and some of the red fruits (cherries, strawberries) are ripe too.

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #30 – November ’16

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Every year I say this, but this year seems like the fastest one ever. I feel like we were celebrating Christmas not long ago and here we are already on the 1 December again. We’re into winter days already (not officially since winter starts on the 21 December) but golden autumn is definitely gone and it’s got a lot colder. Since I haven’t written a weekly small pleasures post for a while (a blog event started by Mani at A New Life Wandering), I thought I’d update on some of the highlights of November. Continue reading

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