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

Good weather brings opportunities for weekend canoeing or biking trips. Somehow these trips are always the highlight of my year. Being constantly active during the day leaves no time for pondering over work stresses, and getting from one place to the next by your own horsepower is somehow very satisfying. Taking in the countryside and village scenery at a slow pace instead of racing from one destination to the next by car, train or plane like one usually does when travelling makes all the difference. Camping also brings you back to basics, and you realize that you actually don’t need many things to live quite happily. It also makes you appreciate luxuries like having your own bathroom and a soft bed when you get back home! There is also a thrilling sense of adventure when you set off for a trip with just a backpack and a tent, not knowing what the days ahead will hold. Continue reading

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Walking the Suikerboschfontein Hiking trail in Carolina, Mpumalanga

This time while visiting South Africa, we decided to get off in Joburg to visit a friend before heading down to my family in Cape Town. She suggested we do one of her favourite hiking trails in Mpumulanga over the weekend: the Suikerboschfontein 2-day hiking trail. The hike was wonderful and I’d highly recommend everyone try it! Continue reading

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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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More cross country skiing adventures in the Harz mountains

Spring is in full bloom now, so time to quickly finish telling all those winter stories!

Unfortunately we only managed to go downhill skiing once this winter, but we squeezed in two weekend trips to the Harz mountains for cross country skiing. Last year I wrote about my first time cross country skiing and how I fell a lot. Well, this year was no exception, but at least other people were falling a lot as well. If you’d like to hear more about our cross country skiing experiences, read on!

Here is my most spectacular crash – yes, that is me eating snow!

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First snow: hiking in the Harz mountains

 

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This weekend a friend organized a spontaneous trip to the Harz mountains when a colleague mentioned to her that it was snowing there. Although the highest peak, the Brocken, is only 1141m, the area has an alpine character with lots of fir trees and receives much more snow than the surrounding areas. It was amazing as we drove from autumnal forests full of orange and gold up to a snow-covered winter wonderland. We visited earlier this year in January or February when the snow was deep for cross country skiing. This year we did some hiking in the hills instead, another way to enjoy the beauty of the snowy trees. I can hardly wait to visit again. Continue reading

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Castles, vineyards and solar observatories on the Saale bicycle trail

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Germany is full of surprises, and I am continually finding out about new places here. Last Saturday has to rank as one of the best days of this year. We spent the weekend cycling on the Saale bicycle trail in Thuringen and Saxony-Anhalt, an area of vineyards, castles, ancient archaeological finds, medieval villages and beautiful countryside. Here it how it all began. 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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