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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Mauritius

This was one of the strangest islands I have ever been to. An island crowded with Indians speaking French and as a former French colony driving on the left side of the road. It’s just great.

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According to the 2011 census conducted by Statistics Mauritius, Hinduism is the major religion at 51.9%, followed by Christianity (31.4%), Islam (15.3%) and Buddhism (0.4%). Those of other religions accounted for 0.2% of the population, while non-religious individuals were 0.7%. Finally, 0.1% refused to fill in any data. Mauritius is the only country in Africa to have a Hindu plurality.

An officially secular state, Mauritius is a religiously diverse nation, with freedom of religion being enshrined as a constitutional right. The vibrant and colorful culture of the Mauritian people is reflected in the various religious festivities that are celebrated throughout the year, some of which are recognized as public holidays.

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The Bazaar of Port-Louis — Literally translated as „The Market of Port Louis“ — here you will find a variety of local snacks and tropical fruits, the cheapest food you will find in the capital city. Numerous shops sell well made traditional crafted objects such as the „goni“ basket. Unfortunately you will also find a lot of stalls selling pirate versions of programs, movies and games: they are extremely cheap but still are illegal and do not guarantee quality. You may get a version that is not the original, but created by other than what is stated. Like all crowded areas, be wary of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you. Food sold on the street may have health issues, but that is, for the most part, rare. If you have any allergies, refrain from eating at these stalls.img_20160915_164618

Pereybere — The wonderful Pereybere public beach is popular because of its shopping facilities, restaurants and pubs. This is one of the best beaches for swimming.img_20160913_152307_panorama

Grand Bay was the first area of the island to fully experience the tourist boom. A shopping and leisure paradise, Grand Bay is also where Mauritians go when they want a fun-filled night out (restaurants, bars and discos). Recently renovated, La Cuvette beach is well worth a visit. img_20160912_173955_panorama

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The SSR Botanical Garden If you want to see some plants originating from Mauritius, then this is the place for you. The SSR botanical garden is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. It was founded by Pierre Poivre (1719 – 1786) in 1770, contains some flora unique to Mauritius and covers an area of around 37 hectares. It also has several animals, being especially famous for its fish, deer and tortoises, as well as an old replica of a sugar mill.img_20160911_143243_hdr

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The Labourdonnais Orchards — Discover a large variety of tropical fruit trees, and colourful and perfumed exotic flowers. Trips on mountain bikes or hiking are possible.img_20160911_120305

Ganga Talao – Grand Bassin — Beyond La Marie and Mare-aux-Vacoas is found one of the two natural lakes of Mauritius. It rests within the crater of an extinct volcano. Ganga Talao is an important pilgrimage site and many Mauritians of the Hindu faith walk there during the Maha Shivaratri festival or the night fasting dedicated to Shiva. Gigantic eels live in the lake and are fed by the pilgrims. A walk to the top of the mount beside the lake is recommended for beautiful views over the area known as „Plaine Champagne“.img_20160910_173306_hdr

Black River Gorges — This national park of 6,574 hectares (16,244 acres) was created in 1994 for the protection of Mauritius’ remaining native forests. Visitors can enjoy magnificent landscapes, with endemic plants and rare bird species. A trail leads from the Pétrin information centre to an area of typical plant life and to a conservation area.img_20160910_155609_panorama

Chamarel — A winding road leads from Case Noyale village to the coloured earths of Chamarel: an undulating landscape of different and contrasting shades of colours. The different shades of blue, green, red and yellow are apparently the result of the erosion of the volcanic ash. The neighbouring waterfalls of Chamarel rise from the moors and the native plant life. The site possesses a rare beauty. An adventure park has also recently been opened at Chamarel. Much of the sand has been souvenired by locals. It is now sectioned off, but is not that impressive.img_20160910_135808

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Tamarin Beach offers white sands and crystal clear waters and both novice to expert surfers visit for some of the best waves on the island. The bay also has its own dolphin pod and dramatic views across to the Montage du Rempart – an extinct volcano. It was voted Beach of the Week by luxury online travel magazine Beach Tomato on 29th November.img_20160910_121527_panorama

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Mauritius is a paradise for the senses, not only for the eyes with its beautiful landscape, but also for the palate. Gastronomes will find a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from the different migrations through its history. Culinary traditions from France, India, China and Africa, the best-known and appreciated cuisines in the world, have been passed on through generations.

Depending on the region, rice or a variety of flat bread called chapattis or roti, called farata (paratha) by the local people, is eaten with curries. The extensive use of spices like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and herbs like thyme, basil, and curry leaves are the common ingredients that provide some powerful, yet subtle, savour. Dal, a variety of lentil soup, are many and varied according to which type of lentil is used; vegetables, beans, and pickles accompany the dishes. Dholl puri and roti, originally an Indian delicacy have become the fish and chips of Mauritians.

Biryani from Mughal origins is a dish expertly prepared by the Muslim community, with meat mixed with spiced rice and potatoes.

You can buy many snacks on the streets of Mauritius including the famous gateaux piments (a variant of the indian vadai ; literally, chilli cakes), and vegetable or meat samosas (puffs), along with octopus curry in bread. The tomato and onion based dish called Rougaille (pronounced rooh-guy) is a variation of the French ragoût . The dish usually consists of meat or seafood (corned beef and salted snoek fish rougaille are very popular with the locals) and all Mauritians eat this dish often if not daily.

Mauritians have a sweet tooth and make many types of ‚gateaux‘, as they are called. The cakes vary and you can find cakes very much like those in France and others similar to Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla among many others.

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Ile aux Cerfs — A paradise for water sports and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. You cannot afford to miss this tiny island, delicately poised on the ocean, a real pearl in the Mauritian landscape. Price conscious visitors would be well advised to take ample food and drink, as the only bar and restaurant on the island primarily targets well-heeled tourists. Boats depart regularly from Trou-d’Eau Douce village in the East which has some of the best seafood restaurants on the island. A variety of vessels serve the route including catamarans, yachts and „pirate-ships“. Some serve food (usually barbecue, especially seafood) on board included in the price and tend to take a detour to the Grand River South East waterfalls for a visit. The island also has a 5-star hotel (Le Touessrok) and a golf course.

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Corfu

Corfu (/kɔːrˈf, fj/; Greek: Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra [ˈcercira]; Ancient Greek: Κέρκυρα or Κόρκυρα; Latin: Corcyra; Italian: Corfù) is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and, including its small satellite islands, forms the northwesternmost part of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality, which also includes the smaller islands of Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi.

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The city of Corfu stands on the broad part of a peninsula, whose termination in the Venetian citadel (Greek: Παλαιό Φρούριο) is cut off from it by an artificial fosse formed in a natural gully, with a seawater moat at the bottom, that now serves as a marina and is called the Contrafossa. The old town, having grown within fortifications, where every metre of ground was precious, is a labyrinth of narrow streets paved with cobblestones, sometimes tortuous but colourful and clean. These streets are known as kantoúnia (Greek: καντούνια), and the older amongst them sometimes follow the gentle irregularities of the ground; while many are too narrow for vehicular traffic. A promenade rises by the seashore towards the bay of Garitsa (Γαρίτσα), together with an esplanade between the city and the citadel known as Spianada with the Liston (it) arcade (Greek: Λιστόν) to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound.

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