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Sunday, October 23, 2016

First class wellness action in South Tyrol

Way up Klausberg, near Kristallalm, snow guns already in service

As it has been Antje's present from her parents for graduating from university, I was the lucky one being invited as well. All five of us in one car (Multivan, so comfortable journey still) with North Italy as our destination. Arriving right on time (1 pm as earliest possible arrival time) opened all options for the first day - literally starving we started with having the welcome lunch before checking out the spa and wellness area (and having a little nap of course).

Family Milker photo shoot on the Klausee

Let me tell you something about that dinner. Because this one was just as delicious as stunning. At a point, I stopped counting the courses. The salad only should have been enough, then there was another starter as apetizer, a soup, the main course to pick out of three, a dessert and cheese after this.

View from the hiking track toward Breite Rast

Somehow I still must have looked hungry because I was asked if I wish to have another main course. I don't really why I have said yes, but I did. Which has been too much, by far! With the result of not being able to move anymore. And the worst part is, it has been the same the following evenings.

Leaving the Ahrntal, shortly before Prettau

When eathing that much, you have to do things in order to stay active. On Friday, we took the gondola to the Klausberg mountain station with a bunch of other people, walked around a bit until reaching the Klausee, before taking the icy hiking trail back to the station.

Friends on the way

Spa and wellness was offered to a great extent. Outside as well as inside pools, chillout areas, jacuzzis, fireplaces invited for a little rest. The best thing was the roof top sauna with a widespread view right over the valley. The farmer opposite might be lucky sometimes when using the binocular.

Crystal clear mountain water

When bikes are offered, they should be used. I did on Saturday. Fully wraped up in winter cloths I followed the Ahrtal until the regional street became a narrow hiking path. At 2000 m the temperature dropped below 5°C.

Almost at maximum height, Tauernalm

On my way back, I stayed at that altitude for quite some time. The view was amazing, the higher I looked, the more changed the colour from green to yellow-brown-ish and further to white. Since I didn't expect the tour to take 5 hours or so, I didn't take any food or drinks with me. Okay, almost no drinks. The only thing which kept me alife was my flask, filled with cranberry liquour.

On the mountain path near Waldner Alm

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bilbao in Biscay, worth a next visit

Bilbao sights in the city centre ...

No thank you, this time, no tourist guide is needed. Everything worth a glimpse is marked and highlighted on these maps. A special thanks goes to my Spanish co-worker and friend, who is originally from the Basque Country and Bilbao. So who else should know the must sees and does in the city?

... and in the surrounding

Together with a colleague, I arrived on Monday afternoon. Thus, plenty of time to discover the attractions along the route quickly. Everything's in walking distance and easy to reach.

Roof tops of Bilbao's old town

In the old town, narrow streets are criss-crossed, bars and pubs around small market places invite for drinks or little snacks. The Guggenheim Museum in the new town is an eyecatcher with its metallic copper surface. Unfortunately not enough time to check the inside, so we just strolled along, carefully, because massive spiders were blocking the footpath.

In front of the Guggenheim Museum

Getxo and Algorta, in north west direction, were on the list, too. So was the chapel San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, built on a rocky island close to the shore, only reachable via a stony staircase.

Hermitage on a lonely island, connected to the main land, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Monday, August 29, 2016

Having a little job to do

Today I took my private jet for a little ride and city hopping. Nuremberg - Frankfurt - Oslo - Sandane - Sogndal. 12 hours only! The last two flights were a bit bumpy. Strong winds and an airport with a short landing strip surrounded by high mountains were demanding great airworthiness from the captain.

The wooden cabins I am staying in (Vesterland Feriepark) are comfortable, fully equipped with everything I need. Three German television channels (ZDF, 3Sat, KiKa) are more than enough. The restaurant dishes superb dinner (delicious and cost-intensive reindeer), but unfortunately shuts down its service at the end of August. Then, I need to catch the fish myself. It turned out to get even more difficult than I thought it could be. Not practically, but time-wise...

Most of the time I got stuck at work. Frankly speaking, I was waiting to start my job which I have beent sent for. Finally, on Thursday at around midday I commenced with the measurements and exchange of the primary equipment parts so that everything could be finalized in the early evening.

Later that day I had the chance to explore the surrounding area a bit. Kaupanger is the village located closest to the cottages where we were staying. The most famous sight throughout the year is the Kaupanger Stave Church which is believed to be built back in the 12th century. It's the third-oldest in stave church in entire Norway.

As the off-season has already begun, the Sogn Fjord Museum was shut, no people around, the street were deserted, just the ferry was putting the water back in motion every now and then.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

First time in Magdeburg

View from Sternbrücke towards Hubbrücke and Magdeburg Cathedral

I have never been in Magdeburg yet. This should change that particular weekend. And additionally, on top, the more than overdue Tobi visit could be ticked. Temperatures were way too hot so we took the whole thing quite easy. One by one, slowly slowly. Ice cream here and coffee there, we drifted through the city centre in slow motion.

Hubbrücke crossing the Elbe river

For dinner, Tobi was preparing high class BBQ beef steaks. 500g each, approx. As I am not the fastest eater it took a while and the meat got cold before I was even halfway. What a pity! But delicious!

Section of the Berlin Wall

Another highlight and must see is the crossing of the Mittelland Canal and the Elbe. A bridge (Trogbrücke) is leading the canal over the Elbe - a massive construction with a length of more than 900m, the largest canal underbridge in Europe.

Lonely island in the Atlantic Ocean

You always can get things working. I don’t know why always being that late. When booking the flight tickets to Madeira, the Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, only 2 days has been left before the designated departure date. And all that although we had scheduled our holidays for that particular week quite some months in earlier.

Anyways, the flight was okay, too long though, and quite bumpy when approaching the Funchal runway. Strong winds were making the landing pretty much challenging. From left to right, up and down – the pilot must be accurate preventing to overshoot the too short runway. He managed perfectly.

We picked up our checked in luggage and went to the rental car counters. As we have placed an order just the previous day, we now noticed it has been refused. It was high season, and we were not the only ones asking for a car those days. Luckily, we found a car dealer having one left, overpriced for sure, but better than nothing.

The first days we have booked a half pension countryside hotel. Not too bad and well located – everything in the east could be reached within 30 minutes maximum. Fisher villages and rugged coastlines were inviting for hiking or walking tours, just to wander around a bit.

The trip to the highest mountain (Pico Ruivo) was almost a bit too much. The track was going up and down all the time, stairs and loose stones made it even more difficult than the midday sun alone. But on the other the landscape offered great views, cliffs, gorges and deep and widespread valleys.

We spent 4 more days at the west coast as well. The hotel (O Farol Residencial) at the most western point, the light house, was located far off anything else. It was family-run and people were really friendly although some language barriers. The food was just excellent (the tuna especially) and talking to a French couple was made it even more fun, with or without the local drink Poncha. Really cool and relaxing time, a bit of everything.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Meanwhile back at home

When the weather is nice and the sky is blue, it’s best to stay outside and enjoy life. The parents were in around and in Nuremberg for a short visit.

One must thing to see and do. Having a refreshing drink at Wanderer after climbing the castle, queued up with hundred of tourists doing the same thing.

Beer only ain't a complete meal. Consequently, we lit a balcony BBQ later that day.

Even the dog doesn't want to walk anymore.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Back to something familiar

I have spent much time there - Anttila Converter Station

There it was, next chance to travel to Finland. I joined a colleague whose sister was participating in a student’s exchange in Pallonmäki, close to Helsinki, but far enough outta the city to be depended on any public transport (which you don’t take too often because it just feels like forever). Meaning: we stayed in the centre, less than 100 metres walking distance to the harbour.

World Heritage wooden riverside storage buildings and old church in the backgound in Porvoo

The harbour - the place where we spent the Friday evening and this was leading me to an event I have missed during my entire 9 months stay 2 years ago – the old-timer and self-pimped vehicles gathering at the market place. Obviously, many cracks love to spend some time in garage to re-build, re-design and re-construct formerly used cars. So they show what they got every months’ first Friday.

Street names in Finnish and Swedish

The next morning we went to Palojoki. You can’t put down an invitation for breakfast on a sunny morning. Her guest parents welcomed us warmly, although never seen before. All other activities are well-known. Sightseeing in Helsinki, short trip to Porvoo with its world heritage the wooden storage houses and shopping some Finnish specialties – fish and liquor.

Helsinki harbour, the Viking Line has just landed, small ferry going to Suomenlinna