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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Visiting something familiar

Helsinki cathedral and Christmas Market

Okay, this story needs to be told, tho. Even though I haven't posted for ages. Mid of December I was traveling back to Helsinki again, just for a weekend which was so much worth it. Reason: Jouni's birthday blast on Saturday. We got all that stuff together, booze and that sort of things, prepared lamb and deer meet for dinner and awaited the other guests. While having a few beers and some discussions we prepared for heading to the city centre – club Le Bonk it was once again!

Jouni, waving and smiling in the harbour kauppahalli

I don't know how Jouni managed to play the basketball game the next day, still hangovered! In the evening, Sauna helped to get over the worst. On Monday morning we went shopping and had a little stroll out through the city before taking the flight back home!

Helsinki harbour boat restaurant

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Valencia and Palma just for quick

View from the hotel in Port de Sagunt

At the beginning of December, I had won a little business trip to the Cometa project. A trigger in the running Fault Recording System needed to be set - a little work and much travelling. Starting Monday evening to Valencia, I had a night in Port de Sagunt and at site in Morvedre before taking the early evening flight to Palma de Mallorca.

Old olive tree on the Palma Square, Palma de Mallorca

I had a few hours to walk through the city. Pretty strange, in winter time, streets and restaurants are full of spanish, or better said, majorcan people - no flood of tourist can be sighted. A warm and cozy atomosphere was spread. On Wednesday, I had another site visit in Santa Ponsa before flying back home after the job was done.

Palma de Mallorca cathedral

Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn ups and downs

Day 1: La Villa - Wolkenstein, via Grödner Joch
Street maintenance work just halfway to Grödner Joch made the traffic stand still for more than one hour. Nothing moved, no one going up, nobody able to enter the valley. I placed myself right next to the traffic light, had some refreshments and waited for the workers giving me sign to go on. That took quite a long time and I had to hurry to reach my Wolkenstein before dawn.

Grödner Joch

Day 2: Wolkenstein - Passo Duràn, via Sella-Joch, Passo di Fedaia, Alleghe, Agordo, Rifugio S. Sebastiano
The day started with an appointment with the barber - an italian pensioner; and he had some stories to tell. I hit the road afterwards, reaching Agordo too early to have a rest. Bring it on, this Passo Duràn, I said to myself! I should have stayed where I was! That hill was killing me. I had no power left, it was already getting dark when I saw the cottage (which was open luckily) and I was crawling in.

Passo di Fedaia

Day 3: Passo Duràn - Passo Giau, via Dónt, Zoldo Alto, Passo Staulanza, Selva di Cadore
The only relaxing day was this one, when being on top of Passo Giau at 1 pm already. I had my lunch in the sun and decided to hike around a bit, in cycling shoes. Wasn't the wisest, but no other option available.

Sunrise at Passo Giau

Day 4: Passo Giau - Passo di Valparola , via Cortina d'Ampezzo, Passo Tre Croci, Tre Cime de Lavaredo (Dreizinnen), Passo Cimabanche , Cortina d'Ampezzo, Passo di Falzarego
I was awake that early, the sun did not even rise. How rare is that? The mountains were drowned in awesomely beautiful colours. After breakfast I had a long 20 km pace down to Cortina d'Ampezzo, passed Passo Tre Croci and entered the Tre Cime National Park. The street up to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo was incredibly steep. It took ages to go up there and breaks were so much needed every now and then. But it was worth it - with spectecular views!

Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Day 5: Passo di Valparola - La Villa, just speeding all the way down in the morning freeze

Passo di Valparola

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Czech Republic and Přibram

Frenky invited for a weekend trip to his hometown. It’s more than a long time ago I’ve been to the Czech Republic, so why not joining him? We went on a Friday after work, had a little stopover and look around in Plzen (unfortunately we had to rush a bit, thus not enough time for the brewery tour). His mother was awaiting us with dinner already – Knödel & mushrooms. We ended up having some beers with some friends of Frenky. We went to the forest the next morning, to pick mushrooms for the evening. It turned out to be a challenge, there were only a few, and we, obviously, had been a bit too late. In Czech Rep. it seems to be a great tradition to leave the city early in the morning, to marsh through the forests. And early means, approx. 5 am!!!

Without anything eatable, we've got back home! Frenky's mother was laughing at us being that unsuccessful! Not the warmest welcome! Pretty much unimpressed, we proceeded with the tourist program - a walk around through the city centre (ice cream included, and it's definitely not the worst one), the silver mining areas of Přibram, a little bit of shopping and a garlic enriched BBQ until late night...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Snow at the end of August?

Rinkes, Tobi and I had the idea to go biking, a weekend tour in the Alps - Friday to Sunday. After having some troubles getting three bikes in and on one single car we were heading south as far as Mayrhofen, Zillertal, Austria. Starting unexpectedly late, 600 metres of altitude were awaiting us already. It was dark, of course, before reaching the apartment which was hosting us as its only guests. I believe it's gonna be more crowded in winter time.

The next morning was starting as promised, clouds and heavy rain regionally! Well, we've been in that region, obviously. No mercy. Tobi was suffering knee problems and wasn't able to make it up the Tuxer Joch.

He didn't miss much uphill, 5 degrees, still rain. No view, no lookout, nothing, just that freezing cold forcing us to rethink if it has been a good idea. We continued downhilling (I had a little incident and took a shortcut, kind of), crossed the Brenner and finished the day off by approaching the Enzian cottage right at dinner time, but too exhausted and falling asleep at 9 pm latest.

Weather in the Alps could change rapidly. And we were part of it on Sunday morning. While having breakfast, the sky was clear and it seemed to be acceptably warm outside. We changed, packed our stuff and were about to leave. When leaving the cottage we found ourselves in dense fog – temperature 1°C!!! Luckily, I forgot my gloves. The further up we went the more rain turns into snow. The summit – Schlüsseljoch – was covered with snow.

What a ride down to the valley. I don’t know how we managed, but we did. Down there, temperature was going up as far as 24°C again. Time to change once more. Incredible! A little lunch and power nap was well deserved before passing the Pfitscher Joch and closing the circle in Mayrhofen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kjeragbolten in Norway

It was time to go where I wanted to be ever since. I have booked a flight to Oslo and rented a car there to commence the 500 km journey. I slept in the car a few hours, yeah really not comfortable at all, and met my parents (they were there for their summer holidays) in Nomeland the next morning.

We climbed the Kjerag, together with a few dozen tourists from all over the world. The view from a 1000 m high cliff straight down was stunning – no rope or fence was limiting the access, you could get as close as you can handle. I would have stayed longer if there wouldn’t have been the hike back.

The next day was relaxed in a sense of floating on the ocean, doing nothing but fishing and eating fresh seafood afterwards, some beers served as well. I was heading back to the airport on Monday morning after a Norwegian breakfast with Sjokoladeboller and Gudbrandsdalsost/Fløtemysost.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another tick on the bucketlist

Along the Copenhagen harbour

After breakfast, I was walking down to the garage, grabbing the race biking, starting to dismount the front wheel and putting all together in the back of the car. I had an idea – a short visit to Copenhagen. Too bad buddy Giang wasn’t there for the weekend. I was leaving Itzehoe, passing Kiel and approached Heiligenhafen at around noon. I started not well prepared, had no maps with me, just an overall feeling where I need to go. Fehmarn was found easily, no problems, signs were leading me well enough. At the islands northern end I took the ferry to Denmark Røbyhavn. Before it was getting too late I started to look for a place to stay for the night and found a campsite in Guldborg. The 4 bed dorm was that tiny, you hardly could turn around. But for sleeping there one night only it was more than alright.

Boats roped up in the channels of Christianshavn

I started early the next morning, another 100 something kilometres to go to Copenhagen. It was nicely hot and extremely humid – perfect conditions though. I arrived in the afternoon and checked in the next youth hostel. The Danhostel was almost fully booked, I was advised to accept the five bed dorm. So I did. Then it was time for a short city centre visit. I didn’t get far – Brazils world championship eights final game was thrown on a laaarge screen in the harbour. I decided to stay a while. I wouldn’t have time to see the whole city anyway. The things I saw led me to the conclusion: Great city with so many things to offer. The channels drawn through the city, historical and cosy places inviting to have a closer look or just to  have a little coffee or snack… The next morning was coming to quick, and I had a long journey ahead – going all the way back to Germany – 190 km overall, and I made it before 7 pm the same day. Even with two times heavy rain which slowed me down and made me stop. I slept like dead and wished the night be a bit longer…

Bridge crossing the Storstrømmen on the way back to Fehmarn

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Short trip to Balearic Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca
The well planned MTB tour through the Dolomites was rescheduled for next year due to too less riders! What to do with the days off? Going somewhere else last minute - sun, beach and easy to reach! Antje was taking the flight from Nuremberg, I started in Hamburg just two hours later. Too bad the ordered Alfa Romeo wasn't available. But cruising around Mallorca with an Opel limousine wasn't the worst thing either.

Beach Sankt Elm
We've spent the first day in the capital, Palma, strolling around a bit, enjoying the sun and some tasty snacks every now and then. Cool city indeed. We headed east then, along the coast, stopped at some rugged cliffs and climbed one of those old brittle light houses. Before going to our Finka in Algaida we stopped by Cala Pi for a little swim.

Cliffs at Cala d'Or
The next day awaited us with a little road trip going south west. Starting in Port d'Andratx and some afternoon hours at beach Sankt Elm we finished the day with a sunset sea side view dinner in Estellencs.

Don't know the name of those flowers in Valdemossa
Another day another road trip - heading east this time. Destination. Cala d'Or - it's said it's one of the most beautiful bays on the island. Pretty crowded too, but which bay isn't? Great spot with crystal clear turquoise water was inviting us to stay there a bit longer.

Valdemossa's tiny roads decorated nicely
Valdemossa, the historic mountain village, was a must see too, and on the route going north west. Streets were narrow and structured confusingly, but very clean and rich in details. Flowers, paintings and other stuffies everywhere. We tried a kinda traditional bread as well, fluffy and a bit sweet, but I can't recall the name. With the first rain drops coming down we decided to get ourselves moving.

She's posing in Fornalutx
Fornalutx is the most ancient village (or maybe not, i am not sure, but it's one of the oldest at least) on the island. That's what it is famous for, but looks pretty much the same as others.

Fornalutx road signs
Before racing home back to Algaida, one more stop was necessary (and on the way too) - Torrent de Pareis. Just a 20 minutes walk from the car park - that little stony beach is accessable via a track along the coast (I almost hit my head when passing the tunnel at the end!). The sun was about to go down already when getting there, so people left, but jellyfish came (so called mauve stinger) the later it got, the more appeared. Once hit by their tentacles it really was adventurous getting outta the water.

Torrent de Pareis
Last day, last hours before departing back home: Chillaxing at the beach Cala ses Covetes. White sand dunes and a wavy sea was a perfect finish.

South beach, Cala ses Covetes

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Somewhere in the North Wadden Sea

Cycling paths on the island Pellworm, view from the dike
I've got my parents here visiting me in the north. Plan were made quickly, and we took the ferry to Pellworm on Saturday. Usual procedure: almost missing every ferry - don't know how we're able to do this every time. We cycled along the island's dike, getting a little red taint by using no sunscreen of course...

I am walking in the Wadden Sea
 A funny thingy to do: Walking and slipping around in the Wadden Sea! A bit disgusting to get stuck in there but some say it might be healthy for ... I don't know what for! A must see and do being at the North Sea.

Lighthouse around dawn on the island Amrum
On Sunday, we went to another island - this time: Amrum. Great island, beautiful scenery with a certain relax and chillout factor. So we did, and missed the ferry (the last one leaving the island that day) going back to main land. We got stuck - no way out. Nothing with us, just bikes and the clothes we had on. No hotel or apartment booked. And it turned out everything was fully booked. Some 10 phone calls later, we were forwarded to an elderly family offering us a place to stay for one night! Thanks so much - staying outside at night would have been too much, though! Thus, we've won a second day and a second chance to reach the ferry...

Wide spread dunes on a beach of more than 1,5 km of width

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

HH - Heligoland and Hamburg

Heligoland cliffs and its famous free standing rock column "Lange Anna"

I picked up colleague Patrick from the airport Friday night. A few hours later, Saturday early morning, we were on the way to Büsum (a bit in rush a speeding camera flashed, but obviously hit the driving school in front of us), taking the ferry to Heligoland, a remote German island located approx. 40 km off shore in the North Sea. 3 hours later we walked the round trip with some hundreds grannys lined up in a row one after another. Overtaking? Kind of difficult...

Patrick and I are sitting in those beach chairs on the island "Düne"

We spent the Sunday in Hamburg, strolling around a bit through the “Harbour City” and enjoying Mexican Food, before heading back to the airport.
Graffiti in Hamburg, Landungsbrücken

Friday, May 16, 2014

Strong winds all the way up north

I’ve got a free weekend with weather foreseen to be excellent which happens rarely up here. Yeah, more or less. Anyhow, after having a great terrace breakfast I hit the bike, followed little streets and cycling paths, crossing the North-Baltic-Sea-Channel, going through Büsum as far up as St. Peter Ording. 

Heavy clouds bringing not yet rain
I checked in to the beach hotel and finished the day off finding out I’ve got sunburned while eating delicious fish in the city centre’s restaurant.

Husum harbour front
Husum and inlet Nordstrand were my destinations on Sunday. Again hot hot hot and sun all day. I made another 120 km this day, with still having enough time for fish snacks and beach chlling. I went back by train in the evening.

People walking along the Wadden Sea somewhere on Nordstrand peninsula

Friday, April 25, 2014

New project, new country

View from the beach in Friedrichskoog-Spitze, just the freezing wind can't be captured on pictures!

I am now working at the North Sea. My apartment is part of Old MacDonald’s farm. No neighbours, no things to do (or see) – just farmland. That’s where little kids go spending their holidays. But yeah, enough of complains. I probably just need some time to get used to that remoteness. Luckily, Hamburg is pretty close. A city I would love if there wouldn’t be rain all day!!! :D

Hamburg City photographed from the Dockland Tower

Monday, April 21, 2014

A little skiing trip is a must do!

Lookout from Steinplatte summit

Long time no see, so here we come again, back to old traditions. It’s been a while I’ve been in Waidring. Car’s rented, bed and breakfast is booked, Antje is picked up … off we go. Just three hours later, surrounded by the Alps, pacing down the slopes started. The weather was excellent, maybe a bit too warm for skiing already, but elsewise, perfect. Germknödel, Kaiserschmarn, Jagertee and Almdudler are simply delicious. Could have stayed for longer but yeah, see next post…

Some nice features to regain strength