Tag Archives: mountains

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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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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Exploring the calderas of São Miguel, Azores

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In the middle of the Atlantic lie the paradisaical islands of Azores, volcanic islands rising up from the sea. Over the Easter weekend we visited São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands, and spent some days driving around the island, exploring its beauty. I’ve already written about the lush botanical gardens and the fascinating fumaroles we visited in the first day and a half. On our second day, while we were visiting the fumaroles, I had a sore throat, and unfortunately it turned out I’d caught the norovirus (gastric flu) going around my work. As an expat living in Germany I am susceptible to every bug that goes around, as they’re all new to me, so it’s like being  a child again. So I had to spend one day in bed (Good Friday) feeling very ill, while a miserable J spent some time walking around the nearby town alone, coming back now and then to check on me and bring me medicines and drinks. At least he had the chance to watch the Good Friday parade. The only good thing about norovirus is that it is short-lived, and as Saturday dawned I felt well enough to face another day of sightseeing. The fresh sea air, beautiful views and warm sunshine lifted my spirits enough that I even had energy to do some hiking. We drove around the island to admire some of the magnificent coastal and hillside views and hike up the dormant volcanoes for amazing views of the calderas, large craters formed by the collapse of emptied magma chambers during volcanic eruptions, which had filled with rainwater to become crater lakes. Continue reading

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Cross Country Skiing in the Harz Mountains

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When my Czechman moved to Berlin over three years ago, he brought his cross country skis with, ever hopeful that there would be enough snow one day for him to ski to work. So far it hasn’t happened! Rumour has it when it snows enough you can cross country ski in Tempelhof, the old airport that is now an open park in Berlin, but that hasn’t happened yet either. But for cross country ski lovers, never fear, the beautiful Harz mountains lie only three to four hours away from Berlin. Continue reading

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