Southern Tuscany

The southern part of Tuscany is a wonderful region in Italy. Not very touristic, at least not from the perspective of a Non-Italian, but has a charming countryside, unexpected pretty beaches and old cities that really do not need to hide behind the famous cities of Tuscany everyone is aware of. We had the chance to stay on the olive and wine farm Il Belvedere close to Massa Marittima. The wine they sold there had just been fantastic, directly from the barrel into the glass…what could be better. Massa Marittima itself has an amazing little historic center which is worth a visit.

Highly recommended, but far off the beaten track are the hot springs in Saturnia. Even if the weather in summer is already hot, it is still enjoyable to relax in the warm water for hours. It had been a 90 minutes drive, but the visit was worth beating all the bends.

Follonica has a nice beach with calm and warm water. This beach, with his shallow water, is perfect for children. And Cala Violina might be the most beautiful beach in Tuscany. It is a little walk from the parking area, but it is worth every step.

Gosseto is just another hidden secret and a gem. Strolling through the medieval center of this little city might give you an idea and feeling how life had been centuries ago and you still have a little time to relax from the crowded cities of Siena and Pisa…

…which of course we also had to visit. But at least we avoided the crowds in Florence this year. Still we had to got to Pisa and Siena…but nothing new…the tower is still leaning and the Piazza del Campo is still one of the most beautiful Piazzas in the world. Those had been 2 wonderful weeks. Ciao e Mille Grazie!

 

 

 

Huntsville, Alabama

Have you ever been in Huntsville, Al? Is it worth a trip? I don’t know. I assume the most interesting thing to see there is the NASA Space Camp. Have I seen it? No…for me the only interesting places I have visited have been breweries…and to be honest…they’ve been great. Okay, I’m German…is there a possibility to get a really good beer outside of Germany? Yes, there is a good chance…forget about the German ignorance…ignore the „Deutsches Reinheitsgebot“…enjoy an IPA…it’s great…although named Indian Pale Ale, it has nothing to do with India and I doubt that it is an Ale at all…but it definetly tastes way better than a Bitburger (probably the worst beer in Germany)…so there is still something to do in Huntsville.

And what really shocked me was the opportunity to walk…it was possible to walk without been hit by a car…the city had walkways…and this in the United States of America…a country build on cars

But the greatest challange was to leave this place again. Never try to leave Huntsville, Al by plane from the wonderful Airport, at least not if you want to catch a connection flight to the civilised world. There is only a slight chance you will make it out. It took me 45 hours from my arrival at the airport until I arrived in my appartment back in Germany.

Relaxing in Koh Samui

I think this was my first vacation in the last 20 years where I really nearly did nothing. Whatever nothing means. 3B’s…Breakfast, Beach & Binner (okay it’s Dinner, but I like the 3B’s). Although Thailand is more famous for the kind of tourism I am not really in to, it still has a lot of places where you can enjoy yourself and relax.

We stayed at this lovely beach hotel on Koh Samui, which was absolutely calm and quite. It offered tranquil bungalows nearly wright on the beach.

This was one of the nicest bays I have ever been to and the water is just crystal clear and we had our „own“ little coral reef. What more do you need? …just nothing.

I cannot recall ever staying in the water for 6 hours without a real break, just relaxing, snorkeling and relaxing again. The water temperature was probably higher than the air temperature. Just perfect.

…and of course. Thai food…I just love those Curries and all the other stuff.

I don’t think that this was my last visit of this wonderful country. Hope to be back soon.

A wonderful weekend in Alsace

Once again I spent a great Weekend in Strasbourg and Colmar. Since it is only a two hour drive from here it is always worth a visit. Everytime it feels a little bit like vacation. Wonderful Flamkuchen and great beers. I would recommend the Flamkuchen menu at Flam´s close to the Munster in Strasbourg or at the Brasserie Les Brasseurs, where you can enjoy one of their Craft Beers acompanied by some Flamkuchen. Cheers

The curious Dassie

Once again I have been driving down the wonderful Garden Route along the southern coast line of South Africa.

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This was my fourth time at the Cape of Good Hope, but it is always impressive and I have the feeling beeing at a very special place. Already driving south from Cape Town via Chapman’s Peak Drive is always a great experience and than spotting those cute penguins again is just fun.

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Are they not cute those Dassies? I love them, but be careful…they bite and as a friend of mine told me…they are one of the most dangerous animals in South Africa. Probably more people have been killed by a Dassie attack than by any other animal in Africa…hahahaha…but please be aware, sometimes they really bite.

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Although it feels like being in a zoo, those elephants are still impressive. Never forget…they always will remain wild animals.

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I like ostriches…but I prefer them as steak on my plate. But those eyes…are they not beautiful?…but still like them as steak.

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One Week in Cape Town

Hi to all that are still following. Beeing back in Cape Town for a full week is just great. I love this city.

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This time I went to all the places I have not seen before and probably spent more time in different bars than ever.

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It really has changed since the first time I have been here some 17 years ago. Thanks for everything you wonderful home away from home

Walking Safari in the Kruger Park

I love being in the Kruger Park. Seeing those animals in real nature, without any fences is just a great experience. And trust me, never fuck with an elephant. He will win.

This time the walking safari was way more fun than the last one I did in the park. The walk started at 5 o’clock in the morning, but it was worth waking up that early. This time we saw animals which we absolutely didn’t expect to see. Standing 15 m in front of a Black Rhino is just a thrilling experience. I would had already been happy to see one in the far distance from the car, but standing in front of two of those was even better. My only recommendation is: Don’t move…they will not see you.

If you think there might be enough space to overtake…just don’t do it…take your time.

There should be better places to relax and feed your bread…but there you go…maybe the asphalt is just too cozy.

Those giraffes are probably as curious as you are…as long as you stay in the car…but as soon as you walk they start running…and they are fast.

Building schools in Togo

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Travelling 9 days through the whole country was an interesting experience. During that time we visited 7 schools and had to realize that in Togo are way more interested students than adequate schools. It will be a challenge to build new schools but the plan is to construct one or two new 3 classroom buildings with office and storage space at each location. Hopefully those new buildings will be constructed within the next year. I hope those new school buildings will give the students the opportunity for a better future. Thank you all for your warm welcome.  img_20161201_112932

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Kara is a city in northern Togo, situated in Kara Region, 413 km north of the capital Lomé. Kara is the capital of the Kara region and, according to the 2010 census, had a population of 94,878. The Kara River flows through the city and is its main resource of water. Originally known as Lama-Kara, the city developed from the village of this name that still exists into an administrative centre. Etienne Eyadéma was born in the nearby village of Piya.

Kara includes a busy market place, numerous hotels, banks, the Prefecture, a brewery and the Congress Hall which was the seat of the Rally of the Togolese People Party before the advent of democracy. Niamtougou International Airport is located 40 kilometers north of Kara.

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Fetish (Vodoo) Market in Lome

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Voodoo is an animist religion indigenous to West Africa that spread across the Atlantic to Haiti and Brazil with the slave trade. There are over 40 different gods, or fetiches, in the voodoo religion, and each god selects his feticheur, or fetish priest with whom he will communicate through dreams, broken shells, and other means. The conversations between the gods and the fetish priests take place in the priests’ hut or shacks, where they usually construct small statues to act as channels for communication.

img_20161206_113826 Got a big test coming up? Powdered chameleon will help you pass with flying colors. Training for a marathon? Rather than protein powder, try horse’s skull. Or, is unrequited love getting you down? A simple wayinoue, or love charm, should convince your future partner of your true worth.img_20161206_113307 Whatever your ailment is, the traditional healers at the Akodessewa Fetish Market in Lome, Togo have a solution. From buffalo skull to antelope horn, desiccated cobra to bear skin, the healers, or fetish priests, in West Africa’s largest “Marché des Fetiches” have a world of decaying animals at their fingertips, ready to be ground up, burned, imbibed, or whatever else the gods may decry.img_20161206_113237 Sitting under a shady tree in the center of an open plaza, Elias Guedenon, the son of one of the market’s fetish priests, describes Akodessewa as something of a pharmacy for practitioners of the voodoo religion.img_20161206_120129_hdr But this market has one striking difference from the others dotted across Togo and its eastern neighbor, Benin, where leopard heads and dog skulls and secret herbs can be purchased to cure everyday maladies. At the Fetish Market in Togo’s capital, voodoo practitioners and tourists alike can, with the help of a fetish priest, consult the gods directly to discuss whatever is ailing them.img_20161206_114708_hdr

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