19 February 2008

Surfari - South Africa - December 2006/January 2007

Probably the last post before the new adventure starts, and as you may have noticed I have written everything from earliest to latest (which is not how I planned it, but in my case my blog is definitely learning by doing)

After Christmas 2006 we were joined in Johannesburg by our friends from Hawaii. The plan was a 4 week SURFARI around South Africa, taking in most of the sights along the way.

SURFARI-ers: Jaco, Gilly, Susanna, Koen, Jennifer, Christina, Frauke, Nicolene, Benji and Me

As I mentioned we started off in Jo'burg where over the course of a couple of days we picked up the stragglers from the airport. Our first real stop was Pretoria where we spent an epic evening at the best bar around "Tings 'n Times" (For anybody visiting South Africa this is a must!!!). A brief stop at the Union Buildings - Parliament we
travelled east to Waterval Boven to do some rock climbing and to get accustomed to camping. As Murphy would have it we almost got washed away and our first braai (BBQ-USA; Grillen-Germany) was hastily relocated!

Due to the weather i.e. poor visibility, we were forced to cut our time on the Panorama Route short. Just after visiting Mac-Mac Falls the fog really closed in as a result we headed directly for the Kruger National Park. (For anybody visiting South Africa the Panorama Route offers some spectacular viewpoints from the escarpment, not to be missed are God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Berlin Falls, the three rondavels, Blyde River Canyon and of course Harry's Pancakes in Graskop)

I don't think I have to write much about the Kruger National Park. For those who don't know it is a massive wildlife area where the animals roam free. Mostly it is a self-drive area but all the camps offer guided night- or morning drives. When in the Kruger an early start is imperative.... take along your breakfast goodies and find yourself a camp where you can prepare your "Skottel" with bacon, eggs, baked beans and toast!!!

From the Kruger National Park we made our way down to the east coast, hugging the border to Swaziland. On the way we found these ladies braaiing mealies (maize) over an open flame.

Destination: Lake St. Lucia. This World Heritage Site is a wetland area that is home to hippos, crocodiles, a huge variety of birds, etc. It was also the first opportunity we had to get ourselves into the ocean for some surf action. And we weren't the only ones who wanted to surf....

From St. Lucia we travelled down the KwaZulu-Natal coast into the Eastern Cape. We found an amazing backpackers at Mdumbi and decided to stay for a couple of days. The setting is spectacular as are the waves (the break can be up to 200 meters long). It is also not far to Coffee Bay and Hole-in-the-Wall.

From Mdumbi we made our way to Cape Town along the Garden Route via Knysna, Buffalo Bay and Hermanus. Unfortunately I had to leave our group as soon as we reached Cape Town and head back to Germany.... so no fotos....
this way at least I haven't spoilt everything for you and you still have reason to visit South Africa. If you want to do a big trip plan in at least 4 weeks!!!

10 February 2008

Elbe Sandstone - June 2007

Situated very close to the historic city of Dresden, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains straddle the border between the state of Saxony in south eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. The name derives from the sandstone which was carved by erosion. The river Elbe breaks through the mountain range in a steep and narrow valley. A really beautiful region with lots of possibilities for rock climbing, hiking and cycling.

Actors: Mom-Münster, Aunty Ilse, Andrea, Frauke and me

The ladies on the "Kaiserkrone" - King's crown

View from the King's crown!

View over the Elbe from the "Bastei". These alone standing pinnacles are characteristic of the erosion which created the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

The "Bastei" (engl. Bastion) was the perfect fortress....

Nothing like a good meal after a hard days hiking! The best self catering accomodation on a farm with a beautiful garden for relaxing and a great view of the surrounding mountains.

Mom and me in Dresden

The "Frauenkirche" -probably Dresden's most famous church was recently reopened after being completely destroyed in WWII

Dresden skyline

Cycling along the.....

.....Elbe and into........

....the Czech Republic!!!

04 February 2008

Portugal - Sept/Oct 2007

Whew, this is more difficult than I thought... trying to keep thoughts in order without sounding like a complete nut case, and what ends up first and what is last.....

Anyway, at my second attempt to post something on my site I would like to give you a really small impression of our surf trip to Portugal in September/October 2007.

Surfers: Ulrich "Hot-Like-Fire" Mayer and Me

Start was in Faro, which is part of the Algarve. For everybody who is planning on visiting Portugal, don't get caught in the Algarve!!! It is a place with a whole bunch of tourists and hotels and stress and money and all-round not nice! I arrived early in the morning and picked up our rental car....note to self....if surfing a Peugot 107 isn't the best choice..... and drove straight to the beach. No waves, since the Algarve mostly points towards Africa and doesn't get the Atlantic swell, but I could catch up on some shut-eye on the beach and go for a swim. The way every holiday is supposed to start!

Later in the day I picked up Ulrich and we headed straight out of Faro and for the west coast...

After a brief stop in Sagres, a quick look at the fort and "The last Bratwurst stand before America" .... its no joke, some Germans really have a bratwurst stand there... we cruised up a really spectacular coast to our fist stop near Odeceixe.
The following morning it was time to get the boards wet. A secluded beach with nobody there... Awesome!! After a good session we decided to head for the next break but alas we weren't that successful in finding good waves.

I get the feeling I am elaborating too much, so I will try an keep it short...

The following days were spent searching for waves but the weather didn't want us to have any fun i.e. rain for 2 days solid!

staying in and around Peniche for the rest of our holiday. It is probably worth a meBecause of the rain we decided to hop, skip and jump up north to Peniche via Sines and Lisbon. Were we ended upntion that the Portuguese countrside is really pretty. It is very dry in the south, but the further north you get, the more sub-tropical it becomes. The coastline is spectacular, lots of cliffs falling off into the ocean and lots of really tiny beaches with nobody in sight! It is really cool driving past cork plantations with these funny looking trees "naked" from the branches down where the cork has already been harvested.

Peniche is a very pretty town built on a small strip of land in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its location it doesn't matter where the waves are coming from you can always find a good break. Once we had reached Peniche, the weather was perfect again and we had found a campsite where we paid €1,15 per night...BARGAIN!!!

The surf was great, the chicken was great (we lived off grilled chicken baked potatoes and beer for most of the trip) but as with most holidays our stay unfortunately went by too quickly.

Note to self.... if ever back in Portugal head straight for Peniche!

As you can see we didn't do much sight seeing, but that wasn't what the holiday was about.

Now I hope I can upload some pics (probably all 10 that we took) so you can get a bit of an impression!

Well that's all for now

Keep well

03 February 2008



This is the first posting on my BLOG!!!

Basically the idea is to keep in touch with everybody around the world whilst I am moving around the world....

To start with I have posted a whole bunch of pictures that I have accumulated over the last couple of years in germany, south africa and hawaii.

Have fun and keep in touch!