Fall in Germany is great! Forests turn into a magical place of changing colors, formations of birds cover the sky, heading south to warmer territories and everyone is enjoying the last warm rays of sunlight before winter moves in. Vineyards teem with farmers eager to pick the first ripe grapes and turn them into young wine. A perfect setting for the Oppenheimer Schlemmerwanderung, a gourmet hike along historical tracks peppered with wine tastings and a great culinary selection.
Help me find my surfboard! It came off the roof rack when we were leaving Cactus Beach heading for Ceduna, South Australia. I pretty quick realized it fell of the car but when we headed back it was already gone. There's not much traffic on the road and I am sure someone picked it up. It's a pretty unique board, so please, read the article, have a look at the pictures, share it and if anyone happens to come across my board, let me know!
We were about to leave Esperance for Le Grand National Park when a local photographer told us about Cape Arid. She said it's like Le Grand but without all the people. We were sold straight away. Instead of tourists we ran into a group of researchers from Parks and Wildlife WA. I volunteered to help and had a blast. Stunning wildlife, gorgeous white beaches and crystal clear turquoise water with no one to share but my beloved partner and a few scientists willing to share their knowledge. How much better can it get?
In 1927 Clärenores Stinnes became the first women to drive around the world. Almost a century later Heidi Hetzer set out for a similar trip under similar conditions. In 2014, at age 77, Heidi left Berlin, Germany in a 1930 Hudson Greater Eight old-timer for a two years drive circling the globe. We met her in Albany, South Australia and spent a night and a day listening to her great stories and adventures.
If you love turquoise water and picturesque beaches, Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool in the William National Park will definitely float your boat. No question the rock formations and water pools are among Denmarks main attractions, but taking into account how few people live in and travel through this area, they are still unspoiled natural pearls.
To cut a long story short, we love Fremantle. It's a vibrant town mixed with historic relicts, a large portion of creativity and a hint of wickedness. Freo's streets are filled with little cafés, design boutiques and second hand shops. With its alternative atmosphere the town is a lot closer to what we are used from Europe. Freo has not only captured our imagination but stimulated our creative minds to generate the video you are about to see.
Drop the words Red Bluff in any conversation and be sure to have every surfers attention! It is definitely one of the best surf spots in WA and unlike other spots can handle some serious swell. After being stuck in Coral Bay for almost 2 months I was really looking forward to get back into the water. Now why are we showing a wallaby instead of some stunning surf pics? Guess what, swell doesn't come at the push of a button, unfortunately.
There is one question we keep hearing over and over again: How do you guys finance yourselves? Up to now we made a living on our savings but we always knew there would be a point where we have to take up work on the road. After endless weeks in the dust of the outback reaching Coral Bay felt like being in paradise. I knew this was the place I wanted to stay longer and look for a job.
Here's a travel recommendation you will not find in the Lonely Planet: the Rio Tinto Rail Access Road between Dampier and Tom Price. If you think about visiting the shire of Pilbara this gravel road is a great way to get away from the beaten tracks. Instead of taking the State Route 142 either way from Karratha to Tom Price, we can really recommend to consider the Rio Tinto Access Road as an alternative route.
Along our trip in the Northern Territory and Western Australia people always told us: Wait until you get to Broome…..! We heard about its beauty, about camel rides, beach life and the staircase to the moon. Depending on where you come from, Broome is either the first or last place where the highway hits the Indian Ocean. It's a town where modern life meets aboriginal culture. A face-off that bore a few surprises we did not expect.
Heading west from Kununurra we had to make a choice: Follow the highway and visit Purnululu National Park, home of the Bungel Bungels, or instead, take the Gibb River Road, one of Australia's most famous gravel roads running almost 800 km throughout the picturesque Kimberleys. We decided to not miss out on the Gibb, so the next question was whether or not the Bungel Bungels were worth an extra 500 km return-trip. Read the article, look at the pictures and you know the answer.
To us Darwin really has two faces. Flying in from Europe the town is nothing to write home about. A rather small place with no real attraction. But leaving Darwin and coming back totally changed our minds. Once you discover the remoteness and rural beauty of the Northern Territory, Darwin is a splendid oasis and booming city in the middle of nowhere.
By pure chance Nico and I found out about a firewalk of a Tamil community in Petite France. It is a Hindu ceremony, where penitents have to walk over red-hot coals. Temperatures are in between 240°C and 450°C and not all participants will get away without burnings. All fire walkers have to fast, pray and resign from sex for 18 days to purify body and soul. With adequate respect we mingled with the crowd and had an unforgettable night.
The Kelonia Turtle Sanctuary close to St. Leu is a perfect example of turning swords to ploughshares. It was found in 1977 as a turtle farm, selling the turtles meat, fat and carapace. After more and more turtles became a protected species, in 1994 the farm was turned into a sanctuary and observation center for the animals that were once slaughtered here. It's an interesting place to visit especially when you have children.
Even though La Réunion has two volcanos, you will only hear one name when it comes down to this issue. The Piton de la Fournaise on the south-east side of La Reunion is one of the most active volcanos on earth and overshadows his bigger but inactive brother Le Piton des Neiges. The last big eruption of Piton de la Fournaise was in 2007 with a stream of lava floating into the Indian Ocean. A spectacular scenario that shut down the beach road for several months.
I was on my way from the hot springs at Mount Kinabalu to the Kinabatangan area. Like many times before I was hitchhiking and was offered a ride by a scientific co-worker from the Danum Valley Field Center. After just a few words in exchange, I knew this was the kind of place I was looking for and had to visit. It turned out that it would be a little challenge to get there, but spending a few days in one of the last primary forests of the world will make up for everything. Trust me, it's worth it.
Coming from the Kinabatangan river and heading for Danum Valley I was stuck in Lahad Datu for 3 days. I had no information on this town and virtual no intention to stay, but it became some sort of eye opener to me. You can imagine my surprise when I soon discovered stories about a military invasion that took place a few month ago and was confronted with a large number of illegal immigrants and refugees. Lahad Datu is definitely not among the safest places I have been to, but nowadays I am glad I was forced to spent so much time here.
To be honest, my visit to the Kinabatangan River was among the saddest experiences I had along my whole trip. What else to tell, than the depressing story of a rainforest area that is almost completely replaced by palm oil plantations? Before I came here I heard the river cruises are a Must See with so much wildlife to spot. The truth is, animals have nowhere to go than to stick to those two lines of trees on each side of the river. It's really that bad and really that sad, but keep on reading to hear the whole story.
I can't really tell why, but I am enormously attracted by tea plantations. Just a few weeks ago I spent some time strolling around the gorgeous Cameron Highlands and when I heard about the Sabah Tea Garden, I knew I had to go. The Tea Garden is more or less right behind Mount Kinabalu and not only Borneo's biggest tea production, but one of the only organic plantations in the world. Thumbs up, I am hitchhiking again. Next stop: Sabah Tea Garden!
Summit, summit, summit, that's all I heard when it came down to Mount Kinabalu. But there is so much more to this area than just the peak of a mountain. The Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a beautiful forest, lovely tracks and a rich collection of wildlife. On the backside of the mountain you can find a canopy walk, hot springs, a butterfly farm and a lot more that will make you forget Malaysia's highest mountain peak within the blink of an eye.
This is the second part of the Cameron Highlands story: climbing Mount Brinchang and exploring the Mossy Forest. Well, it was not only me exploring the forest, but also the forest exploring me. We will get to this later, camping in the jungle always turns out to be some sort of adventure. To make a long story short, big mountain, heavy backpack, not much water, scary animals and the hell of a track! Hooked? Than keep on reading.
Walk into any hostel in Kuala Lumpur and ask random backpackers what they are up to. Chances are good that the answer will be: Cameron Highlands. It's totally picturesque, easy to find and makes up for some stunning Facebook pictures. To take a different approach to the offered day trips, I decided to hitchhike and camp around this area for a few days. And guess what, the second and third day were even better than the first one!
Mining for liquid sulfur at the Ijen Crater in Java is among the 10 hardest jobs in the world. A single worker can carry up to 80kg of sulfur up and down a steep 3 hours track. Two loads will keep him 12 hours working a day making just enough money to feed his family. It's been an adventurous trip peppered with risky paths and toxic fumes but definitely one of the most impressing things we have ever done.
Can you imagine an outstanding temple like the Prambanan was forgotten for many centuries? Well, I couldn't believe it. Built around 850, its decay began right after the construction was finished and lasted until 1918. Knowing that Prambanan is not only Indonesias largest Hindu temple and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia, but was rewarded as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, doesn’t make it easier to understand. So welcome to Javas most popular Hindu temple!
Imagine 10.000 workers spending more than 100 years on a single construction. Now take that building, cover it with volcanic ash and vegetation and hand it over for a little nap of almost a millennium. Oh man, would that be a tremendous feeling to stumble across the first stone and start digging. Thanks to centuries of reconstruction, the Borobudur gained back its breathtaking appearance. It is a must see if you are in or around Yogyakarta.
If you ever happen to be in Pangandaran or around during Idul Fitri, the biggest islamic holiday, and everyone is telling you not to visit the Green Canyon: Don't listen! Go! Yes, it will be packed and yes you will get run over by other boats! But you will never have the chance to meet so many locals on holiday and get to know the culture from an all new perspective like during these joyful days.
Seeking silence. Seeking peace of mind. Seeking to blow the cobwebs away. These are the usual unfulfilled aims I’ve been in search for my whole life. But I can tell you, I’ve found them. At least for a few days in Nusa Kambangan.
We were backpacking through Sumatra for more than a month when our journey came to a sudden turning point. Idul Fitri, the biggest Muslim holiday, was just around the corner and we were told that Indonesia’s transportation system was about to collapse. The clock on our 2 month visa was already half way down and to avoid the risk of getting stuck, we had to make a quick decision to leave Sumatra and head for Java.
In a small river town called Bukit Lawang in Sumatra we came across a beautiful and peaceful orphanage. Just out of town towards the jungle a dutch woman and her husband from Sumatra established a place full of love and care.
The concentration camps Auschwitz / Birkenau are truly one of the saddest places in worlds history. Especially for a german citizen it's a tough confrontation with his or hers own countrymen's past. Nevertheless the camps are an impressive memorial of what happened and might prevent us from making the same mistakes again.
Once you are in China The Great Wall is a must see. With a total length of 8850 km it is visible from out of space with your bare eyes and something you don't want to miss out on. It took centuries to build and 2 to 3 million workers died during its construction.