Simply monumental!

Dream now, travel later! Ideas for the time after Corona.  Arizona with a Navajo. Join us on a tour from Phoenix via Flagstaff, Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend to Monument Valley. A journey through XXL landscapes and through the history of the First Nations. Back to the roots! I look around in vain to find resigned: No, there are actually no coffee cups here. “Sorry, sir!” Says the very friendly service lady and points to a stack of plastic cups. I’m not in a cheap takeout or a gas station. I’m in the executive lounge of a five-star hotel in Phoenix, the capital of the US state of Arizona. But the cups for the breakfast coffee are made of plastic. In terms of wasted resources, the region is a nightmare anyway: high temperatures in summer and freezing temperatures in winter ensure that air conditioning systems run around the clock and average power consumption is twice as high as in the rest of the USA. That’s the page. The other: spectacular landscapes, many national parks, species-rich flora and fauna, a dry, almost always sunny climate. The southwest of the USA with the states Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado is four times the size of Germany and an almost perfect travel destination for nature lovers. Arizona: Long Road for the Native Americans There is also a special story: First the high cultures of the Anasazi and Hohokam Indians established themselves here, then those of the Pueblo on the Rio Grande and the Hopi in Arizona. Traces of old Indian settlements can still be found, for example in the White House Ruins in Arizona’s Chimney Valley, which are said to be around 1,000 years old. It took a long time for the traditions and language of the “Native Americans” to be recognized. The settlement areas of the Native Americans are now largely administered autonomously, many of them run their own tourism projects, especially hotels or agencies. Like Donovan Hanley, tour guide and managing director of Detours American West. On the Apache Trail through Arizona Donovan picks us up at the hotel in Mesa. It starts with the Apache Trail, an old stagecoach route through the Apache region. The trail runs through the Superstition Mountains, a mountain range northeast of Phoenix. After a short drive we reach the Superstition Mountain Museum. There Jeff Danfort leads us through the exhibition, which deals with the eventful history of the Apache Trail. Jeff points to the photos of the Buffalo Soldiers, the African American soldiers who fought for freedom from slavery on the Northern side during the American Civil War. The Indians called the soldiers that because the soldiers’ often curly hair reminded them of the mane of buffalo. Other pictures show Geronimo, the famous Apache chief who, for 20 years, used guerrilla tactics to wage a hopeless but all the more bitter struggle against the settlers and the US cavalry. In 1886 he surrendered and died in a reservation in 1909. Jeff emphasizes the intention of the exhibition: “We want to keep everyone’s historical legacy in mind, that is, from Indians, cowboys and gold prospectors.” Highnoon in Goldfield Ghost Town Just a good mile away is Goldfield Ghost Town, the largest settlement in Arizona with around 1,200 inhabitants in 1893 and an important outpost during the heyday of gold mining. Visitors can sniff a bit of the flair of gold prospecting along the main street, let themselves be guided through the (replicated) gold mine and then stop off at the “Mammoth Saloon”, where hearty cuisine is served, of course, and where posters by John Wayne adorn the walls. The place is a very tourist homage to the Wild West. Oatman and the decaying Ruby are more authentic. Navajos, the largest “nation” in Arizona Donovan belongs to the Navajo people. With more than 320,000 members, they are one of the largest tribes of the Native Americans. Donovan speaks of “nation” when he means tribe. The word reservation, as the regions in which the different tribes live, is not popular, Donovan continues. It still sounds like what it was once intended for: exclusion. Better be nation country. Navajo also call themselves Diné, translated: the people. Many of them still live in their traditional houses, the hogans, mostly hexagonal buildings made of wood, clay and stone. “Americans are great at looking down on other countries and cultures and telling them what they’re doing wrong. And they believe that they are doing everything right themselves, ”says Donovan. “That’s why they never really admitted to themselves what they did wrong with treating Native Americans.” Much has changed in recent years, the culture of Native Americans is being cultivated, promoted – and, above all, respected. In the saddle to the saguaro cacti The “Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch”, our accommodation for the next few nights, is not far from Saguaro Lake, directly on the Salt River. Built in 1928, there are 24 small bungalows, widely distributed over the site, spartanly furnished, without TV, without WiFi. One should concentrate on nature. Our early morning ride gives us that cowboy feeling, even if we as riders shouldn’t look as elegant as John Wayne. And here they are everywhere, in the hundreds, thousands: the cacti, the symbol of the Wild West. There are around 300 species, the name Saguaro – which is roughly pronounced: Sawaroh – comes from the language of the Native Americans, it is the largest cactus species in the USA. They can be up to 200 years old, weigh up to ten tons and 15 meters high. The typical arms only grow after around 80 years. Thunderstorms in summer and a lot of rain in winter provide the large cactus forests with sufficient moisture. Arizona icons: Route 66 and Grand Canyon Winslow is on Route 66. Since the Eagles in their song “Take it easy” the place with “Well, I’m a standin ‘on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford. Slowin ‘down to take a look at me… “Every tourist wants to be photographed on this corner to set a monument. The residents of Winslow market their homeland with humor: “Winslow: 30 miles from water, 2 feet from hell” reads in brochures. They can be up to 200 years old, weigh up to ten tons and 15 meters high. The typical arms only grow after around 80 years. Thunderstorms in summer and a lot of rain in winter provide the large cactus forests with sufficient moisture. Arizona icons: Route 66 and Grand Canyon Winslow is on Route 66. Since the Eagles in their song “Take it easy” the place with “Well, I’m a standin ‘on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford. Slowin ‘down to take a look at me… “Every tourist wants to be photographed on this corner to set a monument. The residents of Winslow market their homeland with humor: “Winslow: 30 miles from water, 2 feet from hell” reads in brochures. Finally we reach the landscape that stands for Arizona like no other and which is also immortalized on all car signs: the Grand Canyon. The mightiest gorge in the world is almost 450 kilometers long and around 30 kilometers wide. The red and yellow ocher cliffs plunge up to 1,700 meters into the bed of the Colorado River. The highlight of a visit to the Grand Canyon begins on a frosty note: very early in the morning, everyone sits there wrapped in thick blankets. This November morning is freezing cold. The wind whistles and makes the temperatures appear even icier. Everyone waits patiently for the sun to come up. It sends its bright and warming rays over the grandiose gorge, first covering the peaks, then the entire rock walls with golden light.  

Slovenia pleasure tour in a convertible

If it wasn’t such a hot day, a longer stop made sense. A few hairpin bends behind the Eisentalhöhe, in the hairpin (“Reidn”) number 24 of the Nockalmstrasse, is the oldest farmers’ pool in Europe. Nockalmstrasse> Wörthersee 52 hairpin bends and curves. 90 kilometers. The “Karlbad” is a real wellness pioneer: for over 200 years, stones have been fetched from the brook behind the house every day, chopped up and heated to almost 1,000 degrees in an infernal larch fire. The stones land glowing in the 14 massive wooden troughs full of cold spring water, where they burst. The dissolved minerals and the slightly sulphurous steam should be a boon. We don’t have time for that, we continue to the “Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden” on Lake Wörthersee, which is apparently very popular with rich Chinese and Russians. After lunch in the chilled “Seespitz”, Robert will sail us across the water of the Lago di Bonzo in a motor yacht. The always pompous but rarely aesthetic residences of Piëch, Flick, Horten, Glock, Quandt, Porsche, Stronach and other heavy and semi-heavy empires adorn its banks. Afterwards a few lengths in the lake and a drink in the “Beach Club” of the castle hotel are the order of the day.   Slovenia the first: Vršič Pass> Soča Valley > Mangart> Spodnja Idrija 84 switchbacks. 210 kilometers.The Vršič in the Slovenian Triglav National Park has 50 hairpin bends and is the highest pass in the country. It comes up with a rarity: all curves and hairpin bends between Kranjska Gora and the top of the pass are cobblestone. It goes downhill through the valley of the Soča River (Isonzo). This can be seen in the 800 meter long and up to 20 meter deep Great Soča Gorge in almost unearthly blue and turquoise tones. The Mangart Pass, 55 kilometers away, provides a thrill. The beautiful cul-de-sac hangs and curves up to a height of 2,055 meters through the magnificent landscape. The road that you share with countless motorcyclists is extremely narrow. The view from above is terrific. The Fusine Lakes shine in the north, and the five-kilometer ridge of the Loška-Stena north face extends to the south. You then continue relaxed through the Soča Valley, an almost overcrowded hotspot for rafting and kayaking adventurers, to the town of Most na Soči. This towers picturesquely above the confluence of the Soča and the Idrija river. 35 kilometers later we roll in front of the “Relais & Châteaux Kendov Dvorec” in Spodnja Idrija, which is housed in an old farmhouse from 1377. The dinner that Franci Pivk and Klavdij Pirih conjure up on the plate is fantastic. This is especially true for their reminiscences of local cuisine such as Žlikrofi pasta filled with quark and herbs or the lamb in the strong bakalca sauce, which is cooked through and reduced over two days, for the Žlikrofi pasta and the trout from the river Trebušica.  

Norway Go to the northern lights

At the beginning of December I will start in Tromsø. My plan is very simple: I’ll paddle two to three weeks in Norway on my SUP board to the North Cape on the waterway . On the trail of the northern lights, I will be challenged by the darkness, the cold and unknown waters in order to be able to see things with new eyes again. 500 kilometers, enough time and top material – what more do you need?   Sparkling is good in the dark If it weren’t for darkness, we wouldn’t know anything about the stars, is a saying in Norway . My expedition should not take place during the warm summer months. I need to fight the elements again. So why not take on the challenges and experience Norway in the darkest season? The moments when my body slowly warms up after the first few strokes of the paddle are dances of joy for muscles and mind. The twilight that falls over the country for a few hours every day is a gift from the sun, which cheers me up every day. The tail wind that drives me along with the ebb tide is pure relaxation.   Wind and peaks of waves After I was greeted by a snowstorm in Tromsø and the temperatures plummeted, I question this decision with every paddle stroke: Why am I doing this to myself? When the temperature is below zero, crawl out of the tent and then paddle through the darkness for up to ten hours. Lashing wind that piles up the water in waves and almost capsizes my SUP board. A fall would be the end of my expedition, because, as is well known, wet and cold become ice. But that’s exactly where the fascination of my trip lies.   Finally northern lights! When the clouds lift after an exhausting week and I see the northern lights for the first time in my life, I am just happy. For me, life means that I face uncertain situations, challenge myself and grow or fail as a result. Don’t fear the end of life, rather fear that it never begins. According to this Norwegian idiom, I am not afraid of the uncertainty of my plan. I never take unnecessary risks. Already in the first week I decide against crossing fjords, always paddle near the shore and the last stage I do on foot because of the stormy winds. Often accompanied by the unearthly beautiful northern lights. z Home … Despite a dry suit, life jacket and emergency transmitter, I am looking for challenges in physical and mental combat and not in risky situations. It is the inner voice that screams, first softly and then louder, for freedom and adventure. On the way to the North Cape, this voice gets quieter and quieter. Another voice is getting louder and louder. It is the call for company and homecoming! I paddle not only towards my goal, but deeper and deeper into myself. A world which is my life and which I can create and shape myself.   

Nevada road trip through Irrland

A highway for UFO fans. A mini-state called Molossia. School buses buried in the desert sand and lots of nothing. In Nevada the slant is standard! No, he doesn’t need a crown. “I am a military dictator and not a king,” said Kevin Baugh. The outfit is perfect: green uniform, medals on the chest, a three-colored sash in the national colors, plus sunglasses. Only the big grin doesn’t really fit. The wind carries the smell of dust and sage into the 4,000 square meter Republic of Molossia near Dayton in the US state of Nevada. Ex-soldier Baugh, 55, founded his own state 19 years ago in the desolate nowhere. Complete with post office, own currency (Valora), state railroad (model train size), customs office (visitors have to hand in their change) and first lady (Adrianne, 38). “Molossia is my expression of freedom, imagination and personal sovereignty,” he explains. Wasn’t he just a strange weirdo? Baugh pretends to be genuinely indignant: “This is the first time I’ve heard such a question!” In Nevada, the slant is standard. The US state is a reservoir for out-of-the-way attractions and unusual people who would be referred to as strange, crazy, or interesting elsewhere.   Crazy Las Vegas Now the tourism authority has discovered that the quirky attracts visitors. For the past two years she has been placing ads on websites frequented by fans of the fantastic or organizing her own tours under the motto “Weird Nevada”. Tourism director Bethany Drysdale: “This state has always inspired loners, bizarre people and people who think differently. They have settled here and are now living out their strange ideas. That attracts more people who are different from the mainstream. ” Already Las Vegas is basically madness turned into a city. An orgy of neon, music, show girls, stretch limousines and the plingpling of one-armed bandits. You can watch flamingos or tigers being fed, spend $ 10,000 on a single cocktail, or learn machine gun shooting. In the “Heart Attack Grill” fat people who weigh more than 160 kilograms eat for free, the largest burger has 10,000 calories.   Best seller: coffins It gets even more strange in the country. And there is plenty of land. Nevada is larger than the UK and is home to just 2.9 million people, two-thirds of whom live in the greater Las Vegas area. The state offers loneliness and space a lot. Bryan and Dusty Schoening run their funeral home “Coffinwood” in the town of Pahrump. After his parents’ accidental death, Bryan decided to become a coffin carpenter. “It was disgusting how the undertakers treated me. I wanted to find a more personal way for people to say goodbye to loved ones. ”He has had a kind of coffin obsession ever since. On a tour of their dusty realm – a wooden bungalow with half a dozen sheds and corrugated iron huts – the two of them show me their collection of eleven hearses (“Unfortunately, only three drive”), black tulips and lilies that bloom on the beds, and the workshop, in which Bryan makes all coffins by hand.

Ferry instead of plane: the adventure of a bizarre boat trip to Sweden

Refraining from flying is the trend. Our author has embarked on an anachronistic form of transportation: the classic ferry. He would never have dreamed of the adventure he experienced as a solo traveler. Recently I wanted to go to southern Sweden. What’s the best way to get there from Hamburg ? Flight portals recommend a flight to Malmö with two changes in Copenhagen and Stockholm. This is not only connected with crazy detours geographically, but also ecologically unacceptable. After all, it should go to Greta Thunberg’s home country. Even by train, the journey is not a stone’s throw away. Trains over the Öresund Bridge between Copenhagen  and Malmö only take 40 minutes, but a comfortable journey to the Danish capital with the continuous Eurocity is currently not possible. Track construction work on the Vogelfluglinie leads to replacement bus service. As an alternative, the train wants to take me from Hamburg to Flensburg first thing in the morning with the regional express, then it continues via Jutland with three changes to Sweden. However, I would only be there in the afternoon. The best would be to fly from Hamburg to Copenhagen in 50 minutes. From Kastrup Airport, you can continue non-stop to Malmö by S-Bahn in just 20 minutes. But in times of flight shame , I would like to forego the short-haul flight . I used to travel many times by ship from Kiel and Rostock to Scandinavian countries. Why not take the night ferry across? And doesn’t Deutsche Bahn stop at a train station called Travemünde Skandinavienkai? Great, I choose the trip from Travemünde to Trelleborg. According to the timetable, it starts at 10 p.m. and arrives the next morning at 8 a.m. Then I have a whole day in southern Sweden at my disposal. “Where are we going to Helsinki?” When I get off the regional train at the Skandinavienkai stop in the evening, I’m to myself. Signs direct me through an underpass to a bus stop. A fence with a closed gate blocks the way to the harbor. By looking at the map I knew that there was still a long way to go to the ferry terminal with a bus. The area is anything but inviting. As darkness sets in, a young cyclist, heavily packed with saddlebags, is looking for the way to the terminal. “Where are you going to Helsinki here ?” Asks me, clearly desperate. She feels lost in this maritime no-man’s-land. We’ll find a way around the port area for you using your smartphone. According to the timetable, the bus from Travemünde-Strand in the direction of Lübeck city center should arrive soon. It’ll come at some point. I get on the overcrowded public bus for just one stop. The driver opens the port gate by remote control, drives past endless rows of parked containers, new cars and agricultural machines. In a few minutes I can get off at the ferry terminal and am amazed that my wheeled suitcase and I are the only ones far and wide. Doesn’t anyone take the ferry these days? Only those who travel by car or mobile home? Two friendly ladies greet me at the shipping company’s counter and hand me my boarding pass. “The driver of the shuttle to the ship is coming soon”, says one. A large bus pulls up in front of the rear entrance of the terminal in which I take a seat alone. Probably only I’m late, I think, the others are already on board. In the glaring light of the headlights, semitrailers race across the premises. The bus curves around caravan teams that want to Finland. The driver accelerates and drives over a ramp directly into the belly of the ship, which is so wide that he can easily make a 180-degree curve in it. “Take the left door, the right elevator is broken,” he advises me as I get out. The ship’s engines roar, there is a smell of diesel and truck exhaust fumes. Hipster and Instagram free zone A few decks higher, the number of passengers remains manageable. The majority are men in shorts with Adilettes on their feet. You go to the buffet on the right for “Truck Driver”. To the left are the other, mostly older couples, who particularly appreciate the self-service taps for beer and wine: some fill up several glasses at the same time and set them up in front of them. Is it still so dry in Sweden? What I like about this almost 20-year-old ferry: The product with food and cabin is honest and does without cruise frills. There is no romantic port excursion. Instead of 10 p.m., we don’t cast off until 12.30 a.m. The sea remains calm, the ship pleasantly quiet. We moor in Trelleborg exactly at 8 a.m. At the reception I ask which deck I can disembark from. There is no gangway here either. “Please wait here until you are picked up,” is the answer. First all vehicles have to disembark, then the shuttle can drive on board. I’m waiting. Alone. “You are the only passenger, on foot and without a car.” I’ll be the last to disembark. The routes of the big bus are even longer here than in Travemünde. How to scare off passengers A few days later, on my return trip, I find out firsthand why I am a lone perpetrator. This type of locomotion seems to me to have fallen out of time. I only walk five minutes from Trelleborg train station in Malmö to the port terminal. Departure to Travemünde also at 10 p.m. But there is no check-in counter on the Swedish side. After 6 p.m. there will be no counters here. Machines are only available for those who have already booked a ticket. The device spits out my cabin card without any problems. You will be picked up 30 minutes before departure. Then it’s time to wait. In the Hafenhaus there is neither wifi, a snack, nor a reference to toilets. The benches are made of hard wood. Outside, the articulated lorries speed past the window. There is another man in the hall with me. He sleeps on a sofa. He looks less like a passenger. But at least it’s dry here. . The buffet is cleared when you put it down And where should the shuttle bus leave? No scoreboard, no announcement, nothing. We’re not at an airport here. But then something happens that I no longer thought possible: At around 9:30 p.m. one of the glass doors opens. A man in orange overalls shouts a single word into the room. I beg your pardon? I go to him. But he is extremely taciturn and unfriendly. At least I can elicit from him that he is not looking for a person by name, but has just called Travemünde in Swedish. The second word he says is ticket – with a question mark. I show him my cardboard card that the machine had printed out. He turns around and just starts walking, I follow him to a city bus. He brings me into the ship, the deck of which is almost completely parked with trucks. I go to the stairwell on the right: the elevator is repaired and working. Great. I quickly roll my suitcase into the cabin. It is 9:50 p.m. when the ship suddenly vibrates. We cast off. I rush to the restaurant. But the buffet is already being dismantled. Bad luck if you are the last to be brought on board. What timing. Customers can be a nuisance. I feel like a traveler who uses the wrong mode of transport at the wrong time. But a double negative does not automatically turn into a yes. I now realize why I’m the only one again: Why is it made so difficult when you want to do without driving and flying?

Harmony G cruise reloaded

People eat on land instead of on the ship and the excursions are anything but off the shelf: Intrepid, the world’s largest company for adventure travel, is also breaking new ground on the water. How much adventure there is actually in the announced Adventure Cruise, our author tested on the “Harmony G” Young faces laugh from the Intrepid website, the potential customer is talked about. “As a solo traveler, you share your accommodation with someone of the same sex.” That would be an innovative first for me. The average age of cruisers is just under 60 years. Do you really want to share your cabin at this age? Or will the passengers on the Adventure Cruise actually be younger? And what does “Adventure” actually mean in this case? Together with Heidi and Phil from Utah, I’m looking for the Greek yacht for a maximum of 42 passengers in the port of Málaga between large cruisers. The two twenties travel with trekking backpacks and say: “We could never go on a big ship on our first cruise.” But they have only had good experiences with the Australian tour operator Intrepid so far. Does the land philosophy also go on the water? Authentic experiences in small groups that travel sustainably – this is the goal of the world’s largest “Adventure Travel” company. The adventure consists in foregoing full board, using public transport as often as possible and sleeping in small hostels or even with private families. Tour leaders accompany the small groups on their way, although their task is more of an organizational nature. Now the company philosophy is to be transferred to the water. “Adventure Cruising” is the name of the company’s latest coup, which with this offer also wants to appeal to more holidaymakers from Europe. The principle of small groups also applies here: Intrepid charter ships for a maximum of 50 passengers and, unlike all other cruise operators, does not offer full boarding. The guests should eat in the destinations, which, according to Intrepid, is also a form of sustainability. The “Harmony G” trip is adventure light The saloon on board is slowly filling up. Nobody has to share a cabin, although that would certainly have been exciting. There is an above-average number of women traveling alone. A 33-year-old Mexican celebrates three premieres: She is traveling alone for the first time, in Europe and on a ship. And a 44-year-old newly divorced Australian overcomes her fear of the ship’s movement to have a new experience. For them the trip is probably really an adventure. Viewed objectively, however, the so-called Adventure Cruise from Intrepid is also a very sheltered form of travel. In almost all ports, passengers travel with their own coach, which runs parallel to the ship on land. And before they go hunting for their lunch alone in a city, the tour leaders offer an “Orientation Walk”. Sustainability as a leitmotif “Please remember: we are a sustainable travel company. Buy your souvenirs from small local shops and not from large chains ”, tour leader Fatima reminds her guests before they scatter in all directions. When the aluminum water bottle provided by the organizer is empty, I feel guilty while I fill it up with the contents of a plastic bottle. Avoiding plastic waste is just as much a part of the Intrepid principles as 100 percent climate compensation for all trips and offices on land. And while large ships have their supplies delivered to the pier by truck, hotel manager Yannis buys the food for the “Harmony G” fresh in the harbor. With 22 passengers and 17 crew members, he can just about manage it himself. The long-term goal is to build his own ships that use renewable energies such as solar power.

travel tips for the multi-faceted kingdom!

Portugal Travel Tips # 1 Get lost in Lisbon’s old town Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal’s eternal longing! No travel tips Portugal without the capital. Cosmopolitan and dilapidated down to every single brick. So graceful, so full of alleys that meander over hills trying to bring order to this rampant romance of walls and marble. A cloudless dream on the Tagus. The capital of light is a place of reverie and poetry. One would rather be unhappy here than happy, but without this view elsewhere. Fado already sings about it! Inferiority complexes of a proud seafaring state put into melodies and its high gloss, humbled by the earthquake. A sound of lament at the highest level. Lisbon cannot be reduced to its sights, the city is in between. Whoever gets lost in it is on the right path. Portugal Travel Tips # 2  The vast nothingness of the Alentejo In the vastness of the Alentejo, summer lovers can go on into autumn. Across golden fields on which lone green trees grow that can be seen from hotels that lack stars because so far south everyone is needed for the night sky. Everything gets better the further you go inland. More daring, more carefree. An environment that doesn’t ask for anything other than feeding happy cows. A cozy scent of cow shit that can relieve tension and one of the largest reservoirs in Europe, smooth as glass, suitable for days of boating and mooring and what you always wanted to say to each other. Portugal Travel Tips # 3  The giant waves of Nazaré Nazaré is beautiful and dark and heavy. Two hours by car north of Lisbon, it is due to a topographical natural phenomenon that is divided by a headland protruding into the ocean. On the one hand, Nazaré is a popular holiday destination with a fishing tradition. The tourists buy, the fishermen fish. Nothing new. On the other hand, the eighth wonder of the world wakes up in winter. A wave monster, a paradise for superlatives, which creates the biggest waves in the world at the end of the foothills of a huge deep sea trench. As soon as a low pressure area is approaching, the world elite of big wave surfers gathers between October and March and thousands of onlookers make the cliffs on the headland the largest big wave stadium in the world. Waves of up to 30 meters in height were measured here. For good money you can book the Nazaré Surfing Experience with world record holder Garrett McNamara. Portugal Travel Tips # 4  Rendezvous with Coimbra The former capital of the country – it should definitely not be missing from the travel tips Portugal – has everything a southern city needs to be beautiful: It is southern and it is beautiful. There are places with statues and cafes around them and 300 year old trees. The pigeons are aggressive in Milan and the yellow lantern light goes on in the steep streets of the old town after sunset. Coimbra is a proud World Heritage Site, despite the pigeons, it has even been the Capital of Culture. Joanne K. Rowling got her Harry Potter here. So actually she has him and his wizarding school Hogwarts from Porto, but the ones from Porto have them from Coimbra. The university in Coimbra is over 700 years old, one of the oldest and most beautiful in Europe. In Coimbra the people suffer from revolutionary precociousness, here the resistance against the Salazar regime formed as early as the end of the 1950s and from here literary movements set out to finally herald this damn modernity in the rest of the country. Portugal Travel Tips # 5  The most beautiful road in the country The Estrada Marginal is the most beautiful coastal road in the country and leads out of the heart of Lisbon towards the open sea, past the Jeronimos Monastery, very close to the Tejo, until it turns into the enchanted N224 in Cascais. It is one of the main traffic arteries that repeatedly suffers from a heart attack around the evening hours. Once you have left Cascais behind you, the sand turns into rocks that eventually become cliffs, between which a beach is squeezed every now and then, offering unbelievable panoramas that invite you to enjoy the view and to have rear-end collisions. Behind the surfer’s paradise Guincho, the Sintra Mountains rise proudly, which are surrounded by a royal national park and take the coastal road up to Cabo da Roca, mainland Europe’s westernmost point. It goes deep through a tropical, majestic vegetation that leaves romantic villages free and markets and seduces to drive on until its climax is reached: Sintra. On the way you should definitely go swimming at Praia da Ursa (parking at Cabo da Roca, a 15 to 20 minute walk). Portugal Travel Tips # 6  Arrábida, Portugal’s Garden of Eden Portugal is a proud woman who doesn’t let everyone get close to her. Protected by high temperatures and a rigid sensitivity that follows a bizarre collection of old-fashioned rules behind the linen shirt facade. Drunk with friendliness that is not needed for survival and closed like a dusty bottle of hard, homemade schnapps. Conversations lurk around every corner that lead nowhere and make you cheerful, until you think that life consists only of lunch breaks and good red wine. From fat olive oil mothers waving from large, romantically overgrown driveways whose gates lead across carefree avenues to the fulfillment of southern dreams. A life more curve than straight. Through a landscape that you always want to water. A car driving in the distance. Silent. Next to it a bay. A water color overflowing with the sea with boats on it, which suddenly falls off the cliffs as if it had hardly seen the coast coming. Ride a bike and eat cheese, water the roses and catch stunned trout in a clear stream, that’s Arrábida.

These are Mallorca’s most beautiful beaches

There are no deserted beaches on Mallorca in the high season for a long time. We present the ten most beautiful bays on the island – some of which are less visited. Cala Figuera – the rough north Cala Figuera, not to be confused with the fishing village of the same name in the southeast of the island, is a beautiful little bay in the north of the island. In addition to Cala Figuera, the Cap Formentor peninsula offers other low-lying, little, rarely visited bays such as Cala Murta. For visitors who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Ballermann on the island and are looking for the “other Mallorca”, Cala Figuera and the other bays in the north are well suited. The winding approach keeps many tourists off, but you should avoid lunchtime if you don’t want to share the bay with many holidaymakers. With the clean and fine sand and the breathtaking views, you are tempted to extend your stay in the north of Mallorca. Platja de Muro – the beautiful tall one The Platja de Muro is located on the Bay of Alcúdia in the northeast of the island. The fine sandy beach is over four kilometers long and 30 meters wide. With the shallow entry into the sea and the moderate swell, the Platja de Muro is also suitable for children and sports enthusiasts: banana boat rides, kitesurfing, sailing, diving and surfing are offered in the water, and volleyball nets are set up on the beach. The water is very clean, but often churned by the wind. The dune landscape in many sections and the shade-giving pine trees create a feeling of nature. Umbrellas and loungers can be rented, and there are freshwater showers. There are many pubs and bars on the beach promenade, so that after a day at the beach you can experience the Mediterranean up close with a beer in the evening. Cala Torta – between the hills and the sea Cala Torta is a clean bay about 130 meters long and 200 meters wide, which can be reached from the town of Artà in the northeast of the island. Behind the beach, which has a good mix of sand and stones, there are many natural hills. The water in the bay is turquoise and there are occasional seaweed deposits. The Cala Torta falls deep into the sea and is therefore still one of the relatively moderately visited bays in Mallorca. Parking is limited. A small beach bar opens in midsummer and nudism is tolerated. Its two small sub-bays, Cala Mitjana and Cala Estreta, are also among the most beautiful bays in Mallorca, where visitors can enjoy a lot of peace and nature. Cala Agulla – the young wild one This beach is clearly the most beautiful of the many bays around the resort of Cala Ratjada. Crystal clear water, fine sand and a pine landscape are not everything. The Cala Agulla is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts: the windy bay attracts every sport grouch to surfboard, banana boat or at least a pedal boat. If you don’t find your sport here, you only have to go one bay further, as Cala Ratjada’s beaches offer a lot of recreational sports. At the 500 meter long Cala Agulla there is lounger rental, a beach bar, freshwater showers and of course a lifeguard. In the secondary bay of Cala Gat, nudism is tolerated in summer. The beaches around Cala Ratjada are well frequented due to their excellent sports facilities, but are still more beautiful and quieter than Palma’s beaches. Cala Varques – the quiet one This secluded beach is located exactly between Porto Cristo and Cales de Mallorca on Mallorca’s east coast. Behind the 70 meters long and 50 meters wide beach is a large pine forest. The fine sand is a dream, especially children have fun on the gently sloping beach. Free climbers can often be seen on the rocks and cliffs that surround the beach. Cala Varques has a small side bay, Caló Blanc, which is just as beautiful. The number of visitors is moderate and there are some nude swimmers. Be sure to take provisions with you as there is no beach bar! Cala Sa Nau – the hidden one This small natural beach on the east coast of Mallorca is popular with the locals and hardly known to tourists. Compared to the rather overcrowded beaches in summer, Cala Sa Nau is an insider tip. The paths to the bay are narrow and parking is limited on the sides of the path. There is now a small beach bar, a freshwater shower and parasols and loungers for rent. The beach of Cala Sa Nau is only 35 meters wide and around 80 meters deep. The beach slopes gently into the sea and the water is turquoise. The bay is almost completely surrounded by pine forests and cliffs with caves, so that one has no view of the open sea from the beach. But Cala Sa Nau is very sheltered from the wind and clean. Cala Llombards – surrounded by rocks This small bay offers shade in the mornings and is characterized by its flat beach as the perfect bathing bay. The clean Cala Llombards is located in the southeast of the island, between Santanyí and Llombards. The bay is bordered by old pine trees. Music can be heard from the small, legendary beach bar, giving visitors a real summer feeling. There is beer, long drinks and various snacks here. If you are looking for a little more tranquility, there are many ways to spread your towel on the sometimes very flat rocks next to the bay. The beach is also very popular with the locals, who dampen the tourist feeling in Cala Llombards. Loungers and parasols can be rented in the high season. The island’s absolute dream beach stretches for six kilometers on the southwest coast between Sa Ràpita and Colònia de Sant Jordi. The hinterland with its well-preserved dunes and salt pans is under nature protection. In the northernmost section of the beach, the bay is partly still very rocky and natural. In some areas of Es Trenc, loungers can be rented under fixed straw umbrellas. The beach also has a nudist section. In the south, in Ses Covetes, there are several beach stalls, but also more tourists and many unfinished holiday homes. It is almost impossible to get a free parking space near the beach. Portals Vells – four bays in one go Around eight kilometers south of Magaluf are the bays of Portals Vells – four small dream beaches on the edge of a pine forest. The fine sandy beaches drop gently into the sea. Here the waves are gentle and the clean water invites you to snorkel. Thanks to the nearby settlement of Sol de Mallorca, beach visitors have many other options for eating and drinking in addition to beach bars. The nearest parking lot is in the immediate vicinity of the El Mago bay, a popular nudist beach where the 1967 film “The Magician” with Anthony Quinn and Michael Caine was filmed. Visitors can also find a bit of history: on the coast there are still remains of the moor’s tower, built in 1580.If you want to get to this small, 50 meter long beach, you will get to know a special piece of Mallorca: The stony bay can be reached by car via a breathtaking, 13 kilometer long serpentine road with a height difference of around 780 meters. The bay is located in the north of the island, between Pollença and Sóller. The old trees on the beach offer plenty of shady spots and there are a few small bars in the immediate vicinity. In the high season, the beach and the village of the same name are very well visited at lunchtime – many tourists come by coach. However, if you are not afraid to come very early or climb a bit over rocks, you will get an unforgettable impression of Mallorca’s natural landscape and its rugged cliffs. Free parking is unfortunately scarce, but recommended, as the paid parking lot can be expensive due to its minute intervals.

Interlaken lakes or mountains? Both!

Dream now, travel later! Ideas for the time after Corona. Idyllically located between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, the town of Interlaken is the starting point for visiting the world-famous summit trio of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The local mountain Harder Kulm and tandem flights with the paraglider also guarantee great views Those who come to Interlaken want to see the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau above all. And nowhere does the world’s most famous mountain triumvirate appear so perfectly shaped as from the Harder Kulm. Even the trip up is an experience: As reliable as a Swiss clockwork, the cable car has been climbing almost 800 meters vertically upwards in eight minutes since 1908. It feels a bit like flying. Flying over Interlaken is heavenly! The neighboring Beatenberg is completely weightless when you start with a paraglider. The flight area is one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. As is well known, they all come down, but when the thermals set in in the valley in the late morning, it even goes up, high above Lake Thun. It seems that the ice sheets of the neighboring mountain giants are almost at eye level. Finally, it goes down in steep curves. You land at one of the best addresses in Switzerland, right in front of the posh “Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa”. Wooden houses, waterfalls, mountain peaks The cozy Brienz on the north-east bank of the lake of the same name looks like a perfect open-air museum: a village center with sun-tanned wooden houses, shingle roofs and geranium balconies. Also to see: cobblestones and pretty cottage gardens, through which colorful butterflies flutter even now in autumn. Lake Brienz is not as big as its neighbor, Lake Thun a few kilometers further west. But at least it is 14 kilometers long and almost three wide – a real mountain lake, freshly supplied by glacier streams and spectacular waterfalls. The fact that it glows so jade green is thanks to the minerals that sand the ice masses of the four-thousand-meter peaks high up out of the summit rocks and give the meltwater on the way. Brienzer Rothorn: Up with full steam The lake is best experienced with sprightly senior women. The first one on this sunny morning is 90 years old, hisses and lets off steam: the locomotives of the Brienz-Rothorn-Bahn bring tears to eyes for railway fans from all over the world. The smoke is not to blame, the train is rather a masterpiece of Swiss engineering: since 1892 the locomotives, reminiscent of the famous Emma from “Jim Knopf”, have been snorting and rattling the 1,678 meters of altitude up to the mountain station several times a day. This is just below the 2,351 meter high Brienzer Rothorn. At the top, the foehn wind blows properly over the summit ridge, which gives a deep view of three cantons: Lucerne, Obwalden and Bern. And another trio presents itself from up here from an unfamiliar, but no less spectacular perspective: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Lake Brienz: time travel to the imperial era Our second happy grandma that day is already 106 years old! For over a century the paddle wheels of the “Lötschberg” have been bracing themselves ironically against the waves of the lake. With the fantastically beautiful steamer we continue our journey through time and stop at the Giessbach. From there the old funicular rumbles up to a dream hotel in the forest: the “Grandhotel Giessbach”. The Art Nouveau palace from 1875 was once a summer meeting place for the nobility and the chic. A Swiss environmental activist and a specially established foundation saved the building from demolition in the 1980s. Luckily! Today you can experience the hotel and the wide park as if the illustrious company of the imperial era were just out for a moment to lose yourself in the forest. The huge Giess bachfall rushes photogenic in the autumnal colorful forest, completely timeless! Info Giessbach Falls: The falls rush over 14 steps at the village of the same name, 500 meters into Lake Brienz. At one point the show path goes under the waterfall. In the lobby bar or on the terrace of the grand hotel next door, you can enjoy a coffee break like Europe’s blue blood 100 years ago, Boat trip on Lake Brienz: Sea trip with the historic steamer “Lötschberg”. Return ticket Interlaken – Ost-Brienz 50 euros. The combined ticket “Zeitreise Brienzersee” including a boat trip to the Giessbach Falls, ascent with the historic funicular to the “Grandhotel Giessbach” and lunch is particularly nice. 90 euros, Harder Kulm: The route up to Interlaken’s local mountain is steep, with a spectacular view of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz as well as the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Return ticket 40 euros including food in the mountain restaurant, Brienz-Rothornbahn: The spectacular steam cogwheel train overcomes 1,678 vertical meters with an incline of up to 25 percent. Return ticket 90 euros, half price with the Swiss Travel Pass, Paragliding: Lake Thun below and at eye level with the giant mountains of the Bernese Alps – that’s paragliding over Interlaken. Tandem flight 140 euros, The website of offers a lot of information about Adelboden-Lenk-Kandersteg, Gstaad, Interlaken, the Bern and Jungfrau region as well as the Jura & Three Lakes region Out and about in the Bernese Oberland: The Swiss Travel Pass offers free travel by train, bus and boat and entry to 500 museums, plus up to 50 percent discount on mountain railways. From 185 euros (3 days),  

Summer vacation in Spain: sun, beach and protective mask

The Corona hotspot Spain is preparing to welcome millions of vacationers again. Tourism is vital to economic recovery. The first 6000 guests from Germany are to fly to Mallorca next week for a pilot project. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has extended the state of alarm in the context of the corona crisis again until June 21. At the same time, the Spaniards are preparing for the reopening of the country for mass tourism on July 1st with a lot of optimism but also with a queasy stomach. Will the holidaymakers dare to go to the beaches and tapas bars again after the horror news from the Corona hotspot? This should now be rehearsed in a “pilot project”. Starting next Monday, up to 6,000 holidaymakers from Germany will initially be allowed to come to Mallorca and two other of the popular Balearic Islands. In Germany, the situation in the fight against Covid-19 is as positive as in the Balearic Islands, it was said to justify. New figures make us optimistic. There has been no corona death in the Balearic Islands in the past eight days, on Monday only eight new infections were registered within 24 hours. Initially no individual tourism Germany was chosen because the epidemiological situation there is very good and similar to that in the Balearic Islands, it said. A two-week quarantine, as is currently required for all those entering Spain from abroad , should not exist in the Balearic Islands. According to this information, individual tourism is not initially planned. The pilot project was planned by the Balearic Government together with four local hotel chains, reported the “Mallorca Zeitung”. On the German side, the tour operators Tui, DER Touristik and Schauinsland Reisen are involved. In Mallorca, the German vacationers should be accommodated in the Platja de Palma and in the Bay of Alcúdia. The newspaper reported that there had been protests among locals about the pilot project. Parts of the population living there fear for their health. Euphoria initially only online “For a German, a trip here to Mallorca is like a trip in your own country, you don’t see it as particularly risky,” said the head of the “Palma Beach” association, Juan Miguel Ferrer. His father Antonio was the first to serve draft beer in the legendary “Köpi” on Playa de Palma at the end of the 1970s and is therefore considered the founder of “Bierstraße” and “Ballermann”. His son was quoted these days by the specialist portal “Hosteltur” with the statement that he was already seeing the first “euphoria” arise online. However, a considerable increase in bookings was recorded for September in particular, while uncertainty still prevailed for July and August. But Ferrer’s motto is: “No matter how small the season, we take what we can take with us.” In any case, the preparations are in full swing, not only on Mallorca, where one in five is employed in tourism. All over the country, the holiday complexes are being brought up to scratch, screwing, painting and cleaning is taking place everywhere. After the country, which was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, remained in a state of shock for months, nobody can now afford to worry or hesitate. After all, tourism contributes more than 12 percent to national income, and in no other European country is the proportion higher. “I lost about 30,000 euros due to the two-month compulsory closure,” says Adrián Caricart, owner of the “La Vella Lleteria” wine bar in the coastal town of Premia de Mar near Barcelona. “Even if the holidaymakers come back, that can’t be made up, but at least we can survive then,” he says, representing the hundreds of thousands of Spaniards who live from tourism. Many of them earn the money in the main season with which they have to make ends meet for the rest of the year. But Adrián is also a little uncomfortable when he looks from his bar at the tables of the restaurants and cafés on the small square next to the church: The locals sit happily and loudly among themselves in the early evening, hardly anyone keeps their distance and many have dangling the mask under the chin. At “Malle”, in Madrid and in Lloret it is currently no different than in Premia. “It will be difficult to control,” says Adrián, running the palm of his hand worriedly over the short haircut. Video surveillance on the beach Keyword control: Hardly a day goes by without the government and associations not setting up new rules and regulations. The tourist magnet Barcelona wants to monitor the beaches by video in the future. An app is to warn of overcrowding on the water, many beaches set up boundaries, corridors and control points for access. For the time being, however, there will be no delimitations and no special measures on the total of 369 beaches in Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands. In the sun with a safe distance: first vacationers on the Platja de Palma How can one guarantee the safety of bathers ?, the Balearic Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela was asked by the regional newspaper “ARA Balears”. “The number of tourists who will come will be very small,” said the socialist politician. One is used to much higher numbers. As a matter of fact. Most of the 16.5 million holidaymakers who visited the islands in 2019 will most certainly not return this year – yet. Ferrer sees it similarly: “I can’t imagine any partition walls or visitor limits on the beaches here”. On the Platja de Palma you have at least 6.5 kilometers of sand. “There’s a lot of room for social distancing”. As in many other places, lifeguards and beach policemen will also make sure that the regulations are observed, primarily the safety distance of two meters between towels and parasols. And protective mask wherever this distance cannot be maintained. The central government announced at the weekend that wearing masks will remain mandatory even after the emergency has ended on June 20. 27,000 corona deaths in Spain alone In Spain, however, despite all economic hardship, “safety first” applies. “We will guarantee that the tourists will not take any risks and that they will not pose any risks to us,” Sánchez said recently. There is “no conflict between health and business”. “Spanish tourism will now have two seals of approval: environmental sustainability and sanitary safety,” he said. But many Spaniards no longer believe the government. The high number of more than 27,000 deaths made many people aware of the weaknesses of their own country. And the long and particularly drastic restriction of rights has disturbed the country. “I’m not the same as I was before the crisis,” says Adrián. Somehow he feels like he has been raped. Anyone who is currently trying to defend the Spanish anti-corona policy is in a difficult position.