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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Day trip to Toledo

Just a stone's throw from Madrid, there is Toledo, a beautiful small and ancient city, set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha. For its monumental and cultural heritage it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.

Streets are narrow, and fully packed with tourists. After turning left or right a few times, entering back streets, we could walk for ourselves, not being pushed back and forth, but taking the time we needed. 

Toledo is paradise for me: one of the city's most famous food productions marzipan, the so called mazapán de Toledo, which is, in my view, extremely delicious.

People put linen or blankets between house walls, to protect themselves from the sun. It makes the streets look unusual, but in a way interesting as well. Or it's just meant to be decoration.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Madrid's Plaza de Toros

When being in Spain, they said you have to see this. So we did, ordered some tickets, cheap ones, sitting in the sun, dazzled with light. But still, the view was good enough for the things that followed. Plaza de Toros - arena of the toreadors. I didn't expect much, knowing what approximately will come. The more you go into details, the more you understand what all this is about. Long traditions, the fight, and the victory, of the human being against the weak. But it's the fashion, the manner, how it's gonna be presented. One by one, six battles in a row, no break, no pause for a moment. It's tough, and although it's Spanish tradition for centuries, it goes deep and I left deeply grieved. I've seen it now once, and I think it will not happen again, and I do understand all criticism about it.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bjerregård in Denmark

One week off work started with a pretty long journey to Denmark. By car, train and a rental car from Hamburg, we arrived in Bjerregård right before dawn, where the prepared BBQ already waited for us.

We stayed with friends at their summer cottage, big enough for 6 persons and fully equipped with everything you would need. Self-made dinner and breakfast outside on the terrace in between sand dunes.

Hvide Sande offers some touristy things too and invites to spend some hours at the beach (we made a sporty activity outta it, draw a starting line in the sand and sprinted into the water - which still was too cold to have a swim longer than necessary), get some fresh fish or shrimps with French Fries. Tasty stuff, I‘d call it.

Bjerregård offered nice views too, and cool sunsets behind the dunes. You just have to enjoy quickly, as the breeze is surely chilly.

Last stop, Dangast at the North Sea, right opposite Wilhelmshaven. A small village, attracting more tourists than people living there. We did a Segway Tour, and proudly own an official segway driving license, and long walks across the mudflats. Last thing's healthy stuff, like massage with peelings, just tickles a bit too much sometimes.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Back in Holland and a visit to Rotterdam

Time for traveling to Holland again. Same region where I've been a couple of times before, working at Maasvlakte, at the end of Rotterdam's Europort, and staying over in a hotel in Rockanje, close to the beach. The job itself was busy as usual, not much time left in the evenings and luckily the guys at site order Chinese Food to survive.

On the way back home, I stopped for a few hours in Rotterdam. From the memories I could recall, the city has changed a lot, the complete infrastructure gets more and more modern. The huge market hall offers everything you need, food from all over the world, Fish & Chips, French Fries, fruits or vegetables, Spanish ham and even more. Just the spekkoek I always try to find is not so easy to get anymore ...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Cousin's wedding in Markgreifenheide

It's a long time ago that I have spent some days at the Baltic Sea. Somehow it's always not the first thing in mind to go to for holidays. Although it's quite nice, destinations more far away seem to be more exciting...

The wedding started in the late afternoon, a nice and perfect celebration directly at the beach, with a nice sunset and clear sky at night. Good to see the entire family again.

Saturday was free, there was enough time for a walk along the beach. Almost everyone joined, but the longer it took and the further we got away from the hotel, the less people we were. Only 4 of us arrived at the pre-defined destination Graal-Müritz, and had a nice iced coffee ice cream afternoon dessert.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ending the winter in Calgary

Why not substituting a colleague while he was on holidays. Doing his job, from the office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Could have been worse.

The first weekend was free, so I hit the road, with a nice, but surely over-sized Chrysler. I cannot even recall the model, except the colour: silver. But that's about it. The Banff National Park was close, really nearby, just a one hour drive, more or less. Streets were wide, curves elongated, not much happening while driving, kinda boring and it seemed the things on the horizon won't really get closer. Everything in sight is within reach, but still far away.

The Rocky Mountains, one of the places on earth of incredible beauty. And bear-less in winter. At least I didn't see one. The snow made it difficult to find the hiking tracks. I didn't even know if there were any. Some footprints made me believe I was not the first one. But I didn't get far - snow too deep, too cold, no appropriate equipment and running out of time. Enough for getting an impression.

Back in Calgary, I tried to discover the city as much as possible. Bur frankly speaking, there is not so much to see. Just as in every other American/Canadian city as well (my personal opinion). Downtown (or financial district) used to be quite dead in the evening, and the famous 17th Ave is definitely ok for a night out (or two) but that's about it. Or maybe I just didn't go to the right spots.

Thus, I spent time doing all the touristy things, such as Saddledome, Wonderland Sculpture, Calgary Tower, visiting those numerous shopping centres and and and... But when being in Canada, nature and wildlife is always on top of my list. And I did another road trip through the Rockies' Banff National Park.

Oh by the way, there is a good thing that should not remain unnoticed, a positive thing to be mentioned ;) NBA games could always be watched at suitable and comfortable times during the evening (no waking up in the middle of the night necessary) ...

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Iciness at Melchsee-Frutt

It's almost tradition - the yearly trip to Melchsee-Frutt in Switzerland. This year, it was supposed to be a skiing event again. And furthermore, a special one, with unforeseen occurrences about to happen.

After having the car parked (long ago since the car park was free of charge, small, uncrowded and unknown) I rushed towards the valley station to reach the gondola before it made the scheduled break to go up one last time for the day. I coincidentally met Karl on the way, and that made me rethink my plan which immediately changed to having a cup of coffee first.

No skiing for me at the first day. Wanted to rest a bit first, spare my old bones for the following days. I did some snow hiking, passed Tannalp and had to return a little later as no track was prepared and I sank in for more than half a metre. Impossible to go further, and probably not the best idea.

And then, getting ready for skiing again. A thing I just do once a year - pleasant anticipation. The thing just was the weather conditions. It was freezing cold, minimum temperatures of -23°C - during the day. Every once in while, we had to stop, somewhere inside, warming up again. Even the Swiss people didn't ski, it's simply not fun at those temperatures. But for sure, having a Jagertee at the bar is definitely not the worst idea.

The nights were so crystal clear. No cloud, but million of stars. Although I could not stay outside for long ...