Rocking it in METEORA

I must admit that till the moment I began to plan my trip to Greece, to me, Meteora was the name of my favorite CD by one of my favorite bands – Linkin Park.

Holy Trinity Monastery at Meteora, Greece
The Holy Trinity Monastery is not the largest of the six remaining cloisters, however, the most picturesquely positioned one.

Since last Christmas, I know better; much better: Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece, about 350 kilometers north of Athens. It is famous for one of the largest complexes of monasteries.

So my initial rock-band reference was not that mistaken, after all: Meteora is rocking – big time!

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ATHENS for First-Timers – Beyond the Acropolis

Yes, I’ve travelled the seven seas – at least metaphorically – yet never made it to Greece. Which is ironic since basically all of Greece is located on the seaside: with 13,676 kilometers of coastline – that’s roughly the little something of 8,498 miles – and 3054 islands and islets, Poseidon definitely is boss.

Not the only amazing facts: Next to Golgota and the Capitol, the Acropolis in Athens is one of the hills on which Europe was founded. Therefore, there is no excuse for having not yet visited the cradle of our civilization.

Cat at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Although Greece is basically sea-girt, besides lots of water, there are many rocks. As well as cats.

So as we got nearer to Christmas and the holy days became holidays, the question of where to spend them was quickly answered: Athens – for the first time.

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city break in COPENHAGEN – cozy and crazy

Copenhagen has many sides that can be explored even in a short city break: Romantic castles and crazy neighborhoods, the oldest amusement parks and modern art. And the Copenhagen Card allows exploring at a very reasonable price.

Christiansborg castle Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish as can be: The iconic Christiansborg castle with its highlight, the royal reception rooms.
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BRUSSELS is for everyone. A Guide.

(Updated January 2020)

If it hadn’t been for my daughter studying in Brussels, it probably wouldn’t have come to my mind to visit Belgium’s capital. Or Belgium at all, for that matter.

Chocolaterie Manneken Pis
Different strokes for different folks: World’s most famous wee-er made of chocolate. Bon appetit.

But Christmas came and families and loved ones were expected to get together. So I packed a couple of warm sweaters, threw in some fun presents and hopped on the late flight to Brussels’ airport.
Just to find out that this European capital with all its old architecture and new street art, its pralines and beers, surrealist art and political reality is not only for me, but for everyone.

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All you need to know before going to GERMANY

German Flag

Whether it’s the legal and formal stuff or the fun and quirky things – everyone should read this compilation before setting foot in Germany.I’m listing relevant figures and important rules and regulations as well as sometimes unpredicted peculiarities and fun facts to know before you go so that no unexpected surprise will impair your experience.

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RIGA – a guide to Latvia’s entrancing capital

At this moment, the Baltic states are in some sort of touristy limbo: Certainly not an insider tip anymore, Latvia is still far from being overrun by large tourist groups.

Music Group at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Riga, Latvia
After having been ethnically oppressed for the longest time, the Latvians happily and proudly rediscover their cultural heritage.

Although Riga is a modern and forward-looking metropolis, Latvia’s entrancing capital preserves proudly its cultural identity, traditions, and a melancholic charm.

Since Latvia, together with the other Baltic states Lithuania and Estonia, was part of the Soviet Union till 1991, these states stagnated pretty much unnoticed by the western world behind the iron curtain. 

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TALLINN – a small city with a great spirit

Estonia’s capital Tallinn cannot be described with a handful of corny attributes and some stock catchphrases.

Tallinn - Estonia: St. Michaels Church
Besides many lovely and alluring things, there is also a bit of creepy to see in Tallinn – which makes the city even more intriguing.

For the standard categories, this city is too diverse, its past too changeful, its faith too inconsistent, its present too dynamic, and its future too promising: A hub between the poles of history and creativity.

Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic States. Culturally and language-wise, there are close relations with Finland, historically there are multiple cultural ties to Germany through the German Baltic states.

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MURANO: it’s a crystalline world

(Updated December 2019)

Most visitors to Venice stay and explore only the Centro Storico, the historic center. It is divided into six districts called Sestieri, seeming to form one large island. Albeit, there are said to be a total of 120 islands in the lagoon whereas only 11 are permanently inhabited.

Italy - Murano Island - Vetreria Ducale

Some of the best places to shop for glass on Murano island: The Vetreria Ducale, adorned by a sign of Guerrieri pottery, and to the left the Ferro & Lazzarini glass factory.

 

Of those islands, Murano is the third largest one – after the Centro Storico and the Lido. It actually consists of seven small islands divided by eight channels and connected by bridges.

World-famous for glass and crystal, Murano is definitely worth the short boat trip from the Fondamente Nove stop. 

Mainly when the exhibition Glasstress is on, visiting Murano’s crystalline world is indisputably a must.

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LUBECK – a guide to Germany’s most ravishing city

Somehow the ravishing city of Lübeck has always reminded me of Venice: An innocently cute and relatively small city that used to possess such a political influence and economic power – reaching all over Europe and beyond.

Holstentor at Lübeck
There are quite a few lions in Lübeck – honoring Henry the Lion, the Bavarian King who after Munich founded also Lübeck in 1159. In the Backdrop the iconic Holstentor and right next to it the ancient salt warehouses.

Although Lübeck has incredibly beautiful buildings and alleys, seven church towers, three Nobel prize winners and world-famous marzipan, it does not suffer from destructive over-tourism. I don’t want to change that, however, I’d like to show you around one of Germany’s most ravishing cities.

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ISLAND HOPPING in GERMANY

While international tourism to Germany is increasing, visitors rather stick to the clichés like beer and Lederhosen at Munich and a cruise on the river Mosel; or they hang out at the hip capital Berlin – instead of enjoying Island Hopping in Germany.

I guess that might be the reason why many people believe Germany is landlocked and don’t think about long coasts, two seas, and about 80 islands.

Beach on the German island of Borkum - inviting you to do some Island Hopping
I think this is not the first image that comes to mind when talking ’bout travelling Germany.

However, that’s exactly what Germany’s north has to offer – and many fascinating phenomenons like the tideland that comes with it. As a matter of fact, Germany’s shoreline is longer than the Portuguese one.

So what are you waiting for? Join me on my island hopping…in Germany!

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