Cross-country skiing in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains)

The Ore mountains on the German-Czech border are home to a large area of interconnected skiing trails and are hugely popular due to their proximity to Dresden (45 minutes) and Prague (1h15 minutes). From Berlin it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach them, which is close enough for a great weekend getaway. There are also downhill ski slopes in the region, but at the end of January we headed off for another weekend of cross-country skiing, which allows you to take a nice tour of the surroundings. Continue reading

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Snow sports in the Czech Republic: Bedřichov

Boy are we good at picking weekends with lots of snow. Last year we ended up visiting Spitzensee in Bavaria on a long weekend where it snowed so much that the bus stop disappeared and the avalanche level across the border in Austria rose to a maximum of 5. A few weekends ago we spent a similarly snowy weekend in Bedřichov, a popular destination for winter sports in the Jizera mountains of the Czech Republic. It snowed so much on Saturday night that on Sunday morning there were many fallen branches and trees strewn across the track we’d been on just the day before. Continue reading

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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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An Introduction to Ski-touring in the Bavarian Alps (Spitzensee)

The establishment of a fast train connection from Berlin to Munich means that the Alps are now that much closer, and long weekend trips are easier than before. We have a friend with whom we often go on outdoor adventures, including those of the snowy variety, and she is a big fan of ski-touring, so last weekend the three of us headed down to Bavaria so that she could show us why she loves this sport. Ski-touring involves climbing  up slopes with special skis that have “skins” on for grip, then removing the skins so that you can ski down off-piste on lovely, fluffy powder snow. The skins are usually made of nylon (cheaper), mohair (more expensive), or a combination of the two. Continue reading

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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!

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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Les Diablerets in the Swiss Alps – Photo Diary

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As I mentioned, recently I spent a week in the village of Les Diablerets, tucked away in the Swiss Alps at 1160m. There was no time for skiing unfortunately as it was a work trip, but in the evenings I went for a few walks in the woods, and on the last afternoon I went up to the glacier with some friends. When I arrived the forests were quite green, the paths were icy, and the snow levels in the village were not as high as the previous years – it was a snow-poor winter all round in  Europe this year. However on about day two or three it started snowing…and snowing…and snowing…the mountain disappeared in mist, and soon the forest and village were transformed into a winter wonderland. Following that was another day of snow, and then the sun came out and we were able to experience the village and the mountains with sunshine and deep blue skies, perfect for a visit to the glacier at 3000m. It was great to experience the area in all types of weather. Without further ado, here are some photos from my visit. 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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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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic – Snow Scenes

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I saw snow for the first time when I was 19, just a sprinkling in London that was enough to turn the ground white for one night. Watching the snowflakes falling was magical. It was midnight and I ran outside in excitement, my grandmother’s sister came out with me to make sure I didn’t catch cold. After a while she left me there, watching the snow. When I was all alone, two foxes appeared in the field opposite the house, I can still see them standing there in the snow, watching me.

When I moved to Europe again at the end of 2012 I finally saw lots of snow, and every time I see it, it still amazes me. The way it transforms the landscape is also something astounding. Some photos I’ve taken in the snow, you would think it’s a black and white photograph, so that’s why I’ve chosen some snowy scenes for this week’s weekly photo challenge, Monochromatic (although I suppose technically black and white are not colours!). Here are some of them below. When skiing on a misty day, only the bright clothes of the skiers add a splash of colour.

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