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A relaxed place. Even though it is supposed to be the high season, there are not too many tourists here. I have a better feeling about this place here than Ambergris cay on Belize. Diving is ok, but not mind …

tien-bue0652 says:
:-)0x07C32E60_error Hello, my name is Jonh Ovalsky. I am a SEO consultant and... more
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Thanks to Brian we were able to see the Superbowl in a school (NCA, a private American school, quite expensive one). Even though I like to see and interact with local people, Superbowl is about atmosphere and whats better than …

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Brian invited me to join an MMA (mixed martial arts) event in Ocotal. We hired a van (15 persons) in Managua and took many of the fighters up to Ocotal. Also in our van: special guest two time world champion …

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When I was walking past all of the tour operators in Granda (looking for transport to León) I came across Leo tours http://www.vivatravelguides.com/central-america/nicaragua/granada-and-around/granada/granada-tours/leos-tours/ I really liked the guy as he said I don’t need to book a transport for 15$ or …

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Granada / Nicaragua – first impression

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The first impression was really good. The climate is just so much better as Austria/Germany at the moment However, I soon discovered that many of the restaurants in the centre where made for tourism (especially for US). By far not …

 

Golf @ Jacaranda Golf Club (Fort Lauderdale)

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After 70.000 tons of metal => golfing the day we return …. how nice is Thanks to Deryn (room-mate on the cruise – how like I love metal as well as golf) I could spend the day on the golf …

 

70.000 tons of Metal => Jamaica

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What should I say. It was great again. Difficult to explain – just join me next time. Enjoy the video and the pics.

 

Powerboat Tour – Bahamas

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http://www.powerboatadventures.com By powerboat to Exuma Islands. Quite remote and untouched. Agenda: feed some iguanas on a nice beach food and beers at 11am feed stingrays more food more beers Guide feeds sharks (contrary to yesterday with diving I DO NOT …

 

Shark feeding / diving – Bahamas

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just WOW…. just watch the video. and NO – sharks are not the dangerous beasts everyone think they are, even though there are a few incidents with snorkelers and surfers who just seem like perfect food. And then it’s only …

 

Hello Caribbean!

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What a difference… I had to add two pics from leaving Munich… The flight was a bit long and US imigration took very long as usual (I had 2:10hours for my layover in Philadelphia – but had to run really …

 

Last day in Dubai

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What a fantastic week. Really feeling sad to leave Dubai as it blew all my expectations. Especially thanks to Youssef which showed us things other tourist are not able to see. It was a fully packed week with lots of …

 

The last evening :(

After my diving today meeting up with the boys again for one last evening in Dubai. Of course we had a shisha, then a huge portion of meat and then a shisha again That’s the way to end such a …

 

Diving in Oman (Musandam)

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Ok, getting up at 5:45am after the Stones Gig yesterday in Abu Dhabi was a bit difficult (back at the hotel at 2am) – but it was worth it. My driver picked me up at 6:30 and we drove to …

 

The Rolling Stones (14 on Fire Tour / Abu Dhabi)

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“Start me up” – was the first song. No need for a support band if you have such a song to start the gigg. Wow, these men are old! But they don’t behave like that! On the one side it …

 

The Beach and a nice meal

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A relaxing afternoon at the beach. We had the beach, beer, the ocean, a shisha… The water was a bit cold though… Youssef  showed us a small little restaurant which is famous for seafood. Youssef knows the owner and this …

 

Burj Khalifa – At the Top

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We started the morning with a trip to the observatory at the Burh Khalifa. I have done this a couple of times now (Petronas Towers, Auckland, Sydney, Shanghai) and I was a bit disappointed that the observatory is “only” at …

 

A day in Dubai

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A relaxing day without too much on the agenda. Started with visiting the Dubai mall for some shopping (well for me: eating). We chose to go not for a “healthy, fat reduced burger chain” but instead went to “FAT BURGER”. …

 

Desert Safari

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Youssef organized a Desert Safari for us. It started with dune bashing – driving ONTO the sand dunes with a 4×4 and not too slow! Really great – but next time I want a private charter. We had a 5-year …

 

Emirates Golf Course

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Martin and I played a nice round of golf at the Emirates Golf Club. Really nice course and the skyscrapers in the background gave the course (layed out by Nick Faldo) a realyl nice touch. We both played a horrible …

 

Burj Al Arab

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Luckily Youssef is working in tourism and very well connected in Dubai. We were able to get into the Burj al Arab and had our own private tour (normally it is only possible with a tour or a booking for …

 

Abu Dhabi

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We drove to Abu Dhabi as Youseff mentioned Friday (when we are there for the Stones gig) is not a good day to visit. We visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Emirates Palace Nice buildings! I’m not so …

 

Grant Hyatt

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Martin had his business meeting at the Grant Hyatt and I joined for a Shisha and some beers. What a hotel!

 

Dubai Marina, Mall of Emirates

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Nice walk through the Dubai Marina (a place we were staying nearly every night for the next week – best area in dubai!) and “The Walk”. Went to the Mall of Emirates to get a local SIM card and visit …

 

Back home…

After one week it was time to go back home. It was a nice time and a many things went on  with no pictures or stories to tell I enjoyed the time here as it showed me a different side …

 

Daytour to Zhouzhouang

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A Water town approx. 1.5 hours outside of Shanghai. Totally differnt world!

 

More Shanghai

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Wondering around the city again, and going up to the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center (474m). Nice views again.

 

Flight to Shanghai

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It started off very well. I got upgraded to First Class on my flight to Shanghai and this was a very nice experience. Loads of Wine, caviar, fantastic food – and a bed. I slept really well! The captain was …

 

Russia: Moscow – END OF MY JOURNEY

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Well, this is the end of my one year journey around the world. I can’t possibly explain what an experience this was. Meeting the people, cultures, sights, beers, food, attractions, activities, mountains, dive spots, golf courses etc for which someone …

 

Russia: Suzdal

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Quiet little town with even more churches – was nice and relaxing – especially as I decided not to stay in the hostel from the tour but in a nice hotel with banya (russian sauna) attached. Really relaxing!!!  

 

Russia: Kazan

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Well, these are the last entries on my blog – and as the year is almost over and I’m about to go back to munich the last entries are a bit shorter About Kazan: Nice little town, lot of churches, …

 

Russia: Siberia: Lake Baikal

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Now we are in Irkutsk or more precise in Listvyanka at lake baikal. Much more interesting than Ulan Ude. What a lake! Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen …

 

Russia: Siberia: Ulan Ude

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After another long wait at the border – we are now in Mother Russia! Not much to add to Ulan Ude. Not that much to see apart from a huge Lenin head – again failed to find a shisha

 

Mongolia: Riding a camel

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was really nice! And it didn’t seem that there are too many tourists coming through and the camels are being used “normally” as well – and well taken care of.

 

Mongolia: countryside and gers

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Now 3 days/2 nights of to the country side. Sleeping in ger camps – traditional Mongolian tents which are still being used my the nomads today (still a lot of people, I think our honcho said 40%, live a nomadic …

 

Mongolia: UB “local” Performance

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On the first evening in UB we also went to a show/performance with music (traditional Mongolian throat singing) dance and  Contortionist (“Schlangenmensch”). Was really VERY interesting. With some of their music they could have a show on a heavy metal …

 

Mongolia: Ulaan Baatar (UB)

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After a long train ride and hours of waiting at the border (8 hours?) we arrived in Mongolia/Ulaan Baatar. We walked around the city a bit – I was on the (unsuccessful) adventure to find a shisha – and we …

 

China: Hohhot

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On our way to Mongolia we had one day in Hohhot – Inner Mongolia (still china!). Not much to see in the town (a few pictures show mosques and more temples and a park… etc.) – nothing special – so …

 

China: Beijing Sights

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Sightseeing in Beihing – the usual suspects: – Tian’anmen square – Forbidden City – Jingshan park – Yu’er Hutongs Especially Forbidden City: just too many people for my taste…. and another Beijing Duck at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant (apparently quite …

 

China: The Great Wall

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That has been the most impressive sight since a long time. Really impressive. And we went to the good part of the wall which is not crowded like the Octoberfest! (I have seen some pictures with so many chinese people …

 

China: Beijing Dining

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Right after arriving I had a nice dinner with Joerg and a friend of him. Really cool and good again. Then we went for some drinks and I couldn’t resist to have a “Franziskaner Weißbier” in Beijing (only one, the …

 

South Korea: Busan

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Miyeon showing me Korea. Thanks so much. The food was so good – I will never forget that Korean BBQ – delicious and a lot of food! Then a good night out with beers and soju and after a “hangover …

 

South Korea: Seoul: Gangnam

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This morning before going to Busan I went to the Gangnam district. Don’t know what the hype is all about – it’s not my style….

 

South Korea: Seoul Day 1

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After just having a beer and a Shisha the day I arrived (still hangover from Tokyo) today I went sightseeing in a quite efficient way: -Namchang Market – N Seoul Tower – Gyeongbokgung     Palace – Bukchon Umgebung – really …

 

Japan: Tokyo: another evening with the locals

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At the end of the tour for the Sumo ringers Reiko invited me/us (Brandon) to a “Sumo Pub” – which turns out to be the smallest pub I’ve ever seen – run by an Ex-Sumo. All her friends were there …

 

Japan: Tokyo: Sumo Training

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I never imagined that Sumo ringers train that hard. Absolutely stunning. Check the Video! This one guy was going so far beyond his limit – I really thought he will die just now! I have much more respect of that …

 

Japan: Tokyo

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The trip from Gotemba to tokyo took a bit longer than planed (4 hours instead of 2 hours by bus) – as there was so much traffic (end of Obon). But once in Tokyo I had to rethink my “not …

 

Japan: Mount Fuji (3776m)

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Japans highest Mountain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Fuji What a nice hike. The view was nearly a bit like Chimborazo as there is no other mountain near with similar hight (nr. 35 of mountains sorted by prominence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peaks_by_prominence) Got up at 3am in the …

 

Japan: Nara

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Based on recommendations from Miyeon I went to Nara to see some deer. Wow, there was a lot of deer! I really thought about “Hirschbraten” in one of my favorite Munich restaurants (Osterwaldgarten). Nice scene: It is amazing where this …

 

Japan: Kyoto

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Temples, Temples, Temples … was nice again – but seen enough temples now Has been a nice day (very hot again) – and the traditional clothes were interesting to see. But soooo many people … Apparently it was “Obon” where …

 

Japan: Osaka

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What a first impression: no queue at the immigration desk (Hello UK/US!!!!) and a beer vending machine while waiting for the speed train. Everything clean, modern – as expected. Had quite a nice hotel – even though the staff was …

 

Manila

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Hmmm… What’s there to see in Manila? Couldn’t find anything… just another big city… (but I needed some time to “really” do nothing again…)

 

Dive Safari Southern Leyte

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WOW. this was a nice trip. Again – see the Video “Diving in the Philippines” in the video section. Such a lovely group and really well organized by JC and Sito! Thanks so much to everyone. Don’t know what else …

 

Philippines – Cebu

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While in Boracay I was thinking what other islands I should visit. Unfortunately I already decided that there isn’t enough time for “Palau” and “Chuuck” (diving) so I was deciding in between Palawan and Cebu… I chose Cebu for diving. …

 

Philippines – Boracay

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After a very exhausting travel from HCMC/Saigon to here (21 hours – 36hours awake – due to bad planing on my side) I arrived in Boracay. What a lovely beach – and very great nightlife – and good (not fantastic) …

 

Good Bye Saigon

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Last day in HCMC/Saigon. Started of with sleeping in (didn’t sleep well the last 3 nights in Phu Quoc and Can Tho because of Waves/boat-noise) – Then a Shisha, then to the Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor of the …

 

Phu Quoc Island

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Nice little Island – apparently one of the best places in Vietnam for relaxing and beaches. It’s supposed to be Phuket but 10 years earlier. Well, the first thing: visit during the dry season – not the wet season like …

 

Mekong Delta – Can Tho

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5.00am start!!!! How stupid am I? This is supposed to be vacation! But the reason was to see the sunrise on the Mekong and also the floating market which is much bigger than yesterday. We didn’t see a sunrise (or …

 

Mekong Delta – Cai Be

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First day of a 2 day Mekong Delta Tour with my private tour guide Jason. 7:30 start and then a nice drive with a lot of information to Cai Be. There we spent a lot of time on a boat …

 

Saigon by night

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… views from Henry’s flat … nice … Henry showed me many places. Really cool. Great nightlife with many bars with live-music (the first one we went to featured a kind of Vietnamese Heavy Metal band – how cool is …

 

Cu Chi Tunnels

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cu_Chi_tunnels Felt like in all those movies – Amazing how small they are! (the ones you/a westerner can go through have been enlarged). All these “simple” but effective traps from the Vietcong – nearly felt sorry for the americans (but …

 

Saigon / HCMC by scooter

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Henry was so kind to let me have his scooter for the day (and following days) – Thanks so much How much fun it is to drive through Saigon with a scooter – unbelievable. Initially it looks crazy – but …

 

Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon

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First impressions of HCMC. Staying with Henry (friend of Jan) – Thanks! The War Remnants Museum was quite shocking. Interesting to see the “other” side compared to the american “version”. It’s really sad what happened – and crazy what the …

 

Cambodia – Silk Farm (@Siem Reap)

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Due to taking a plane instead of the bus I had one extra day in Siem Reap. As I had enough of temples I decided to visit a silk farm. The showed the whole process from the little worm to …

 

Cambodia – Angkor Wat

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Got to Siem Reap by bus (6 hours) and it was a nice drive. Nevertheless, after being on the bus for 2 hours I decided to change my original plan which was to use the bus again to get to …

 

Cambodia – Phnom Penh

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Interesting country/city with different architecture. I liked the houses like the palace and so. Did some sightseeing with Temples, Royal Palace, Wat Phnom, Prison S-21, Killing Fields an more. There are two main things I take from my visit: 1- …

 

Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

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Spent 4 days – really interesting and I had a great time. The Petrona Twin Towers were amazing. The tour to the skybridge and then to the top. Impressive building. I also went to the Batu Caves in the north …

 

Singapore

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Just 2 days Singapore – but that’s also sufficient. It’s a city in the end The first evening started with a really good food. My hotel was in the center of Chinatown and I had some really spicy but delicious …

 

Bali – Summary

I have stayed on Bali for 29 days now (extended my original 23 day stay after the 2nd day). I loved it. It was so different from Australia and New Zealand. AUS and NZ were fantastic for sightseeing and doing …

 

Bali – Daytrip

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Today Jeremy (the other divemaster candidate) and I hired a car + driver and covered A LOT of attractions of the Island: We first stopped at the water temple of Taman Ayun – where we where still discussing whether it …

 

Bali – Uluwati

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Drove to the Russian Consul on Bali today to get my Visa. Quite expensive – 120USD! (instead of 50USD if I would have gone to the embassy in Jakarta). But hey, I’m happy I was able to get the Visa …

 

… gone diving …

On Bali now until the 5th of July for -EFR Course – Rescue Course – Divemaster Course relaxing – no tours – no pictures …   next update to expect in July   UPDATE: See Video! http://www.bronxi.de/blog/?page_id=2889  

 

Jumping Crocodiles

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On the way back from Kakadu to Darwin (to catch my flight to Bali that same day) I stopped by to see some crocs (“salties”) jumping. Very cool (I wouldn’t want to swim here ) You can also see the …

 

Kakadu National Park Day 2

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On day 2 I went to different sites and also went to one of the “free ranger activities” where they explained even more about the land and the people. Again very interesting – which is a bit uncommon for me …

 

Kakadu National Park Day 1

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Instead of going with a tour I just hired a 4WD and did a 2.5 days tour on my own – and I don’t regret it First day was a lot of driving (well, actually every day ) – and …

 

Broome

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Not much to tell about – not a “must see attraction in Australia” (stayed there just one night to wait for the plane back to Darwin). The only noticeable thing: So far the UGLIEST lighthouse I have ever seen Ah, …

 

Fitzroy Crossing and Geikie Gorge

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Fitzroy Crossing and Geikie Gorge I just find it amazing that this “little creek” can be such a big river if the rain comes. You can see based on the color of the stones in the river. There were signs …

 

Bungle Bungles

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purnululu_National_Park (Purnululu National Park National Park) Just… WOW… Really interesting mountain range. First the sunset with champaign and Didgeridoo (even I played and apparently not that bad for the first time!). Next day a bit of … well … hiking …

 

The Kimberley’s

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6 days of camping with a nice group of Aussies (+1 French). I admit I was a bit worried in the beginning as I saw the average age of about … hmmm … 60? (including myself in the math!) … …

 

Katherine’s Gorge

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nice little boat ride … enjoy the pics… At that point I realized that the average age on that train is probably >60 … Met Karen though – which was a really nice company until late evening in Darwin Thanks …

 

The GHAN Train

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short: expensive and at least for the “Alice Springs => Darwin” part not really worth it. Problem is that you mainly travel at night (departure 18:00) – and don’t really see a lot… At 8am you arrive in Kathrine (where …

 

Mt. Gillen & Flynn’s Grave & Desert Park & Anzac hill

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Today combine biking with hiking. Went up Mount Gillen which was originally planned for the first day in Alice Springs – this time with perfect weather (compared to just rain on the day we arrived). Rented a bicycle again to …

 

Larapinta Trail (50KM!!!) @West Macdonnel Ranges

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I did the Heavitreetrek sections: http://www.larapintatrail.com.au/overnightwalks.html You can find KML data there – my GPS recording app crashed again after 30km – unfortunately that KML above isn’t quite accurate as well). It’s supposed to be a 42km and should take …

 

Biking: Simpsons Gap and then to Telegraph Hill

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A bit of cycling today (approx. 60km). Really nice and relaxing. Then some history on Alice Springs at Telegraph hill – very interesting!

 

Kata Tjuta (aka “The Olgas”) and Uluru (aka Ayers Rock or just “The Rock”)

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The Olgas were quite impressive – but the rock was amazing. I don’t exactly know what it is – but especially the climbing was different – because it is a rock! from the bottom to the top. About the “climb” …

 

Kings Canyon

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_Canyon_%28Northern_Territory%29 6:00am hotel pick-up… but worth it! just enjoy the pics – can you spot the rabbit? Unfortunately again one of these things that can’t really be captured on a photograph. Impossible to capture the real feeling…

 

The Great Ocean Road

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_ocean_road It started of with really bad weather – but I’m happy we still went for it. Hired a car, started our drive – it was quite dark… we went to an Info center in Torquay and the guy told …

 

AFL Game (footy) @MCG in Melbourne

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After a really cool night out the day before where Elena and I met some nice locals I gladly accepted the invitation from Tom to go to the MCG stadium for a game of AFL (Richmond vs. Melbourne). The stadium …

 

Bondi Beach

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Took the ferry to Watson bay and then Bondi Beach. Really nice beach – but I have seen many in the last months Then a short walk to Bronte Park.

 

More Sydney

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Another stroll through Sydney and a close-up of the Opera-House. Then Lunch at the 360 Restaurant at the Sydney Tower. Nice Views, right?  

 

Blue Mountains and 3 Sisters

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nice views…  not actual “mountains” by Austrian standards – but still beautiful! no hikes today.

 

Sydney!

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Sydney… hmm. what’s there to add? Did the “Free Walking tour” – which I really like (did this couple of times now) – a good way to see the sights of a city… http://www.imfree.com.au/

 

Gold Coast and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

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Kangaroos: check Koalas: check many other Aussi animals: check Again, the weather could have been better. But I didn’t expect to come that close to kangaroos. That was really nice. And the Koalas? really cool. Much better than a zoo …

 

Mt. Tamborine Wine Tasting

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Wine tasting tour through “Mount Tamborine” area… made it to 6 wineries! Tour in Google maps: View Larger Map

 

Town of 1770 and Agnes Water

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For today I organized a diving trip for Elena so she could do her first Scuba diving experience and on top of that do her first dive in the Great Barrier Reef. Wasn’t easy to organize due to time constraints …

 

Frasier Island

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For the next 16 days I’m traveling with Elena – who I know from Buenos Aires (but she is American – was just in B.A. for a couple of months…) Today: Frasier Island with a 4×4 – that was fun …

 

Hamilton Island Golf Course

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Played golf on Hamilton Island Golf Club (which actually is not on Hamilton Island but on Dent Island ). On the way there I met Bill and we decided to go on the course together. http://www.hamiltonislandgolfclub.com.au/ Yes it was a …

 

40km – Hiking near Airlie Beach (Conway National Park)

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http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/great-walks-whitsunday/ Ok, so Aussies are as slow as Kiwi’s with hiking — suggesting 3 days for a (flat) 30km walk… what are they going to do if they visit the Alps???? So I made it a bit more challenging and …

 

Whitsunday Islands

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Full day out on the boat. First to Whitehaven Beach – the No. 1 “must-do” around here. Definitely one of the best beaches I’ve seen so far. The sand was really amazing – so white and so fine… Never seen …

 

Airlie Beach

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Airlie Beach… cute little town …

 

Townsville and ReefHQ

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walking through Townsville. Nice beach area. As everywhere around here there is no one in the water to due the risk of stings. There are some areas with a net where you can go into the water… Luckily I’m not …

 

Magnetic Island

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Magnetic Island by Bike. Many really nice beaches on a hot day. 44km… Can’t remember all the beaches/bays http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/200523734

 

Townsville Golf Club

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Played golf again… Monday Madness… Play as much as you want for 15AUS – and get one beer for free!!!! (a beer normally is like 7AUS). Played 28 holes (couldn’t find tee off 19 – so I played 1 and …

 

Port Douglas – Daintree – Golf

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Drove from Cairns to Port Douglas to meet up with Gary (from the diving). We went to the Daintree forest but then decided instead of going further into the forest we rather turn around and play golf on one of …

 

Black Sabbath !!! YEAH!

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As I stayed in Cairns and Brisbane is just a 2 hour flight away I went to the Black Sabbath concert! Really cool!!! Ozzy last year was great – but with Black Sabbath it’s just even better… What is there …

 

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

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3 Days diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Can’t keep up with Galapagos – but the corals were really great! 9 dives in 3 days – with Dive No. 57 now. Second best dive experience so far The low altitude …

 

Various pictures from driving in NZ

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Been like 3500km with Campervan, ferry, bus, car and on foot. most of them while driving… View Larger Map  

 

Golf (Queenstown)

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Similar to 3 days ago, I wanted to do nothing. Again it didn’t work out – the weather was just too good. I thought I might have trouble walking after the hike/run yesterday but as it wasn’t so bad I …

 

Routeburn Track (Queenstown)

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Finally a challenging walk/hike/run in NZ Did the “Routeburn Track” today. http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/fiordland/northern-fiordland/routeburn-track/track-description/ Well, I thought 3 days is a too much for the 32km. So I decided to do this in one day. But as this wasn’t challenging enough I …

 

Lake Kirkpatrick (Queenstown)

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Rented the car today in order to do the Routeburn Track tomorrow. Just drove around without any plan – and found a beautiful lake… Really EVERYWHERE it’s beautiful ! I like this country…  

 

Ben Lomond (Queenstown)

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Today I wanted to relax and do NOTHING (except maybe blog update). But when I finally got up at 11am I opened the window and the weather was sooooo nice – I had to go out and climb a mountain …

 

Christchurch

just a night here – haven’t seen that much. Wanted to see what the Earthquake did to the city, but wasn’t really able to (arrived late yesterday evening, and taking the bus at 9am today to Queenstown). One interesting story …

 

Swimming with Dolphins (Kaikoura)

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WOW. This day definitely appears in the top-10 of this world tour. I was expecting a couple of dolphins and thought the guide is taking the piss when she mentioned “approx. 400 dolphins” … well…. she wasn’t. They were so …

 

Mt Isobel (Hanmer Springs)

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Hanmer Springs is famous for their hot-springs. But I said I need to earn the right for that first (including sauna). So I hiked up Mt Isobel. http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/canterbury/north-canterbury-and-arthurs-pass/hanmer-forest-park-tramping-tracks/ As I thought the proposed 5-6 hours are more like 3 for …

 

Golden Bay, Farewell Split, Wharariki Beach

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Just some more scenery – a small hike to a really nice beach at Wharariki… Again the driving was just so cool. Probably the day with the most km. as I continued to Hanmer Springs. Total km today: 468km (Yes, …

 

Pupu Springs

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Well, quite nice. Mentioned in every tourist brochure of NZ. But not that special https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Waikoropup%C5%AB_Springs

 

Kayak (Abel Tasman National Park)

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So today Kayak. We started at 8:30 and boarded a boat which was being transported by a tractor to the sea! The reason is the big difference in the tide. Haven’t seen that before. Where we were with the horses …

 

Horseback Riding (Abel Tasman National Park)

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So now for some horseback riding on the beach. This time it was finally more what I wanted – it was more like 2 hours “lessons” on horseback riding compared to other tourist attractions where you just sit on the …

 

Microlight flight (Abel Tasman National Park)

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So the beach was nice – but the Microlight flight was … WOOOOOW… http://www.skyadventures.co.nz/ This “thing” has power! While Skydiving in Florida that plane was airborne quite quickly – but this ultra light “hanglider with engine” was airborne in like …

 

Abel Tasman National Park

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I did finally sleep a bit longer after quite a long drive yesterday and got into the I-Sight center to ask what I could do (like a “Fremdenverkehrsbüro” in Austria). The guy was really helpful – took I think an …

 

Queen Charlotte Sounds track

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http://www.qctrack.co.nz/ Getting up early and doing a day trip for the Queen charlotte sounds track. The boat left at 8am for Torea Bay – then it’s a 24.5km walk to “Camp Bay” which should be 8 hours (you can see …

 

Wellington and Ferry to Picton

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Well, the Wellington visit had to be cut short. I planned to stay there for 3 days, but after having such a great time with Trev I just stayed here for one night before catching the ferry to the south …

 

Golf (Waipawa)

As Trev, his sister, his parents …. ALL OF THEM .. are playing golf we went for a nice 12 holes golf course in Waipawa. After that we went bar-hopping in Napier – too many beers… WOW… I think we …

 

Napier, Te Mata Peak, Cape Kidnappers Golf Club

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While Trev had to fly to a business meeting to Auckland his sister, her two daughters and I went on a tour around Napier. First we went up to Te Mata Peak – really nice views. Then just had a …

 

Tui Brewery (Mangatainoka)

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After driving down to Palmerston North to meet Trev and his sister we stopped by at the Tui Brewery on our way back up to CHECK (where their parents live). First of all I really can’t describe the hospitality I …

 

Golf (Taupo)

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Today I was scheduled to drive down to Palmerston north to visit Trev (see earlier posts). But after reading that 9 hole green fee is only 15NZD (about 9.50EUR) I just had to get up early to play golf first …

 

Hole-in-one Challenge (Taupo)

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10.000NZD in cash for a hole in one! I tried 50 balls. It is really hard, even though it’s “just” 102 meters. But really funny! (lots of spectators supporting you!). At least I was able to hit that small Island …

 

Tongariro Crossing

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http://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/ First hiking in NZ. Probably the most common hike on the north island. Also famous for Mt. Ngauruhoe = Mount DOOM!!! (LOTR) They claim it is 8 hours for the crossing (crossing was closed so you had to walk …

 

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

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http://www.waitomo.com/waitomo-glowworm-caves.aspx There are several options you can do with the caves. You can do “standard” tours to go through the caves and look out for the glow-worms. Or you can go with the Black-water rafting company and have a more …

 

Redwoods (Rotorua)

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Ok, Yesterday I decided to leave Rotorua earlier as the forecast showed more rain, so I booked the Waitomo Caves (next blog entry) for 2pm. With a 2 hour drive I still had time to do some walking in the …

 

Te Puia (Rotorua)

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http://www.tepuia.com/ Very impressive Geysers! Bubbling mud-pools and similar stuff. Didn’t do the Maori stuff as I did this yesterday already (and from what I’ve seen the Tamaki is better!) Pohutu Geyser The most famous geyser, of the 65 geysers found …

 

Rafting (Rotorua)

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I was signed up to do some Kayaking (tandem) on a class V river. I was a not very happy in the morning as it was raining and quite cold. However when I arrived the sun came out and it …

 

Tamaki Maori Village (Rotorua)

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Again Culture! Some similarities to the Luau. Got to know the history and the customs of the Maori culture (indigenous people of NZ). Not many good pictures as it was quite dark and a lot of movement involved Nice dinner …

 

Hobbiton

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Today Hobbiton – the original movie set of LOTR and “The Hobbit”. I did like the additional info the tour gave. For example that the actors actually drank BEER while filming! (only 1% alc. but still!) – apparently in order …

 

Rapaura Water Gardens

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Nice garden… http://www.rapaura.com/

 

Campervan

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Today I picked up the camper-van and started my journey through NZ. Just the driving was such a great experience (2900km in total at the end!) – I absolutely loved it.

 

Auckland

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Summary of 3 days in Auckland: Good food. Nice people. After arriving at 5am Monday morning I was able to check-in at the hotel at 7am which was really appreciated. I needed some more sleep (also to get sober ). …

 

On the plane to New Zealand!

Well, actually that day didn’t exist for me due to crossing the international dateline! But the flight to Auckland was really cool (Business Class). A Kiwi sitting next to me (Trev) and I were chatting and drinking nearly the whole …

 

Germain’s Luau

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After Pearl Harbor Lissy and I went to Germain’s Luau Culture Culture Culture… Amazing evening – a Birthday I will remember for a long time Somehow they found out that it is my birthday – I normally don’t like to …

 

Pearl Harbor

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Visited Pearl Harbor with Lissy. I mean it is a must do in Hawaii, right? Was actually really interesting to get a bit history on my trip. The aviation museum was really interesting (well, I was more reminded of “Battlefield …

 

Golf with Ed @Oahu Country Club

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On St. Patrick’s Day Ed invited me to play at his club “Oahu Country Club”, so we did on Wednesday. Again what a lovely course! And my game wasn’t that bad at all! Another perfect day…. Thank you so much …

 

Diving in Hawaii (Wrecks) – and then a Hike

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Today I finally went diving in Hawaii. 2 dives and 3 Wrecks, quite effective At some point there should be a video about it at the video section. Getting up at 7am… what a vacation…. After the dive I went …

 

Maui => Oahu in private plane

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That’s traveling in style! Mr Frank Baker picked us up at Maui with his plane. So great. We flew by (really close) by the tallest sea cliffs in the world (Kalaupapa, Hawaii) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaupapa,_Hawaii) The flight was amazing. We got some …

 

Golf @ King Kamehameha Golf Club

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what a nice (again private) golf course! One of the members: Clint Eastwood – so you might get an idea of how exclusive this one was… Giant jacuzzi and sauna (and of course many beers) afterwards. Life is sooooo good …

 

Pools at Ohe’o (seven sacred pools)

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OK. Martin P. really wanted to do this trip. Pools at Ohe’o or “seven sacred pools”. We got up at 5:30am as it was a long drive. Not much milage – but you couldn’t go fast. Well google said 2:20 …

 

Hiking on Maui with Scott

Hiking with Scott. Thanks for everything Then to the beach – then to the bar

 

Maui

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Arrived in Maui today. What a nice flat again! www.honuakai.com/

 

Golf @ Waikoloa Golf Course

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After fishing – playing golf! Nice course. http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/resort_activities/kings_course.cfm After that a couple of Mai Thais at the Hilton…

 

Fishing

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Fishing on Big Island. Even though we only caught one fish (actually Martin P. pulled it) it was quite a nice morning (7am to 11am). Martin P. wasn’t really feeling well (event though you might not see this on the …

 

Big Island Road Trip

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Big Island!!! Yippi. So different. We took an early 8am flight to Kona. We met with Tim for a breakfast at “Taco del Mar” and then did a fantastic road trip. We drove by Mauna Kea to Hilo. There we …

 

Maunawili Falls Trail & Hanauma Bay

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Hiking again and then to Hanauma Bay Park for some swimming and snorkeling. Was snorkeling with BIIIIGGGG turtels and they were really close (didn’t have my GoPro with me )

 

Hiking again

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Hiking with Ted and Ulf. A very hidden track around the ridge near his house. Not just did we have nice views but we were also the only ones as this is a track only locals know of. Thanks Ted …

 

Oahu Road Trip

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Road Trip around Oahu. First some nice beaches (a lot of them!) – then we continued to Waimea Falls. Nice botanic garden and then we had a swim in the falls. Really refreshing. Then we had a late lunch at …

 

Beer Cruise (Waikiki)

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Beer Cruise (or Booze Cruise) Going for the sunset on a catamaran – with “all you can drink” – what a fantastic idea

 

Manoa Falls

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Hiking Day (after being back at Teds house) In the morning a short hike to the top of the mountain just next to Teds house. Nice view from there. Then we got our rental car and made our way to …

 

GOLF @ Waialae Country Club

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Ted invited us to play golf on the course he is member of (private). A bit difficult (holds the Sony Open in Hawaii) but what a fun day! My score wasn’t that great – but at least I had many …

 

Waikiki (Oahu, Hawaii)

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2 days at Waikiki Beach. Staying at a really nice appartment directly on the beach (some of the pictures are from the balcony of this amazing appartment). Enjoying the sun, the water, the sand and everything else Really hard to …

 

Welcome in Oahu

Nice welcome at Ted’s house. What a great house… Jumped into the jacuzzi right away Thanks Ted! And some shopping the next day.  

 

Cabo San Lucas

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Inigo was so impressed that Interjet has a good Whiskey on board that we had to drink Whiskey at 10am… Well, there are worse things Los Cabos was quite nice – but like Cancun too close to the US. Felt …

 

Canopy again (Puerto Vallarta)

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It could have been a really nice day – but the guides of that tour just rushed everything. The normal canopy isn’t really dangerous, but they had a “special surprise” where you go down really steep and cannot break yourself. …

 

Whale Watching (Puerto Vallarta)

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saw some whales

 

Puerto Vallarta

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What should I say about the location of that hotel – other than perfect. On the beach – sea view (thanks to Inigo) – beers at the beach. Inigo and I started our visit with a 30 minute running exercise …

 

Mexico City

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The next day we just took a “hop-on-hop-off” bus tour. The information given was not that much, but we did see a few sights, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (I did like the guy who cleaned the …

 

Hot Air Ballon / Teotihuacan / Mexico D.F

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Hot Air Ballon / Teotihuacan / Mexico D.F Arrived yesterday in Mexico City with Inigo and we made plans right away. A “Hot Air Balloon” flights over the ruins of Teotihuacan. What an experience. Yes, I know that a couple …

 

Fuentes Georginas (Hotsprings)

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It was a really good suggestion from the guy in Lago Atitlan to do the Volcano Santa Maria in the morning (4am) – so you can go to the Hotsprings “Las Fuentes Georginas” in the afternoon. They are in like …

 

Volcán Santa María – 3,772 m (12,375 ft)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Mar%C3%ADa_%28volcano%29 Ok. I arrived in Xela (Queztaltenango) at like 6pm, quickly looked what I can do and came across a nice hike: Volcano Santa Maria (had been suggested to me already at Lago Atitlan). As it was only like 19EUR …

 

Lago de Atitlan

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Not that many pictures, but was nice there. It’s a “volcanic lake” at 1500m asl. You can see the REALLY nice view from my hotel – first 4 pics (but in any other respect it has been the worst hotel …

 

more from Antigua

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a few more pics from antigua – from the roof top terrace of my hotel. You can see Vulcano Acatenango which I climbed yesterday (the middle one where there are 3 peaks – on the left is Fuego on on …

 

Acatenango – 3,976 m (13,045 ft)

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I didn’t hike the volcano just next to Antigua (Agua) – as it is supposed to be very dangerous (very likely to get ropped – more on this toppic on Volcano Santa Maria… later…) So I hired a private guide …

 

Coffee Tour (Antigua Guatemala)

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As I know how to brew beer – the only other beverage (except water) I need is coffee. So let’s see how this is done! Went to a nice plantation near Antigua to learn the process from the very beginning. …

 

Antigua Guatemala

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A nice little town…

 

Tikal

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That was amazing. Anyone who know me know how much I like “stones” – but in contrast to Machu Pichu this site really impressed me. You can tell by the amount of pictures I took (was surprised myself!). Also I …

 

Skydive Sebastian

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Just go to the Video section and have a look. There is not much to add to that video Except that once down, I purchased another jump right away as it was such a great thing! (and on the second …

 

Miami

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Just a few Pics from Miami (including HardRock Cafe). OKish… I stayed there for one day after the cruise – the  went to Sebastian (other blog entry) – and came back on the 3rd for the Super Bowl. I have …

 

70.000 tons of metal

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where to I start… this was sooooo amazing! Anyone who knows how great WACKEN is – this is at least 10 times better. Had a (very brief) chat with In Flames – couple of beers with Subway to Sally – …

 

Cancun and Cenoten Diving

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Viva Mexico!!! hmmm… wait a second… Am I really in Mexico or in the States? Well, the good thing is I enjoed the diving (2 tanks at cancun and 2 at  Cenote Chac Mool). But other than that Cancun is …

 

Activities in January 2013

04: Visiting the locks of the Panama Canal 05: Boat ride on the Panama Canal 06: travel (to Bocas del Toro) 07: Diving 08: Diving 09: Snorkeling and Coral Surfing 10: travel (to Puerto Viejo) + Beach Afternoon 11: travel …

 

Belize Diving

finally today I was allowed to go diving. (my last day here). And guess what: It has been raining!!! – but once under water is was fine The return on the boat in the rain wasn’t that great Did two …

 

Belize Golf (Caye Chapel)

My own Island for the day! Look at this: http://www.caribbeanislandbrokers.com/Caye-Chapel/ I had the island for myself! (well the manager and 2 staff were there…). What an experience… These other two guys were cutting the greens just for me! Just need …

 

Belize – Snorkling

ok, so I couldn’t go diving – but the doc allowed snorkeling. I have to admit it was really great. See the video section for more info

 

San Pedro / Belize

It started really well: The flight from Costa Rica was apparently booked in business class (even though I didn’t select and/or pay for business class) – they had no seat for business class on the second leg (san salvador to …

 

Jacó (Costa Rica – Pacific Coast)

wanted to go there for diving and playing golf – but didn’t do either but on the other hand I had some relaxing days, went horsebackriding and tried surfing the first time! was at an “israeli” hotel (didn’t know that …

 

La Fortuna / Costa Rica

La Fortuna – El Arneal Volcano. Nice little town – lots of things to do. First day: Canopy/Zip-line – then walking to the volcano – and then the hot springs at Baldi Second day: Rafting The only bad thing about …

 

Puerto Viejo / Playa Cocles

Travel to Costa Rica. Nice afternoon at a beach – nice hotel again … relaxing – not much more to add … (the bridge on the first pictures is how you cross the border to costa rica – really “interesting” …

 

Bocas del Toro

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Not many pictures, but therefore 2 videos but a nice hotel – really nice beach view from my room (and anytime else there was sunshine – but then it is difficult to get a good picture against the sun other …

 

Panama City and Panama Canal

On the first day I did a tour to the Miraflores lockers of the Panam Canal. Really impressive to see a ship going through there. I have seen the movies before – but it is different if you are standing …

 

Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis

ROCK ON!!! Well, the first impression of the HR Hotel was really great. Good Music everywhere, really new, everything fine. The room was amazing, the view on the 33rd floor as well. It really felt like a HardRock Cafe with …

 

Guayaquil

Well, I only went to Guayaquil to catch the flight to Munich. It was nice for a day relaxing and 3 hours to see the city. The hotel was really nice – and spending my last days in south america …

 

Quito with Ana :)

THANKS SO MUCH TO ANA. She really showed me the city, especially the fooooooood some interesting things: – apparently it is not allowed to drink alcolhol on Sunday’s in Equador – so I got my beer in a coffee cup …

 

Galapagos – Scuba Diving!!!!

7 days at sea! What an experience. Really nice boat with good food. Download the video to get an impression of that week. I REALLY enjoyed it (if you can’t watch, or the quality isn’t good please use VLC player …

 

Chimborazo – 6,310 meters (20,720 ft.)

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I didn’t think I will make it to the top. After Cotopaxi and the discussions with Marcelo who always said chimbo is twice as hard as cotopaxi – and based how I felt – I thought I give it a …

 

Cotopaxi (5897 m)

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OK. So after Huayna Potosí the next big f***** mountain. I’m glad I had a really good guide (Marcelo jr.) – who also likes my kind of music http://www.goandestrek.com/meet_guides.html Some info about Cotopaxi: Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano in the Andes …

 

Bogotá – Bike Tour

Bike Tour through Bogotá. Really nice – especially our guide, Mike. http://www.bogotabiketours.com/ We went to a bull fighting stadium, had loads of different foods  – a roasting facility… all in all a really great day! also a lot of different …

 

Bogotá – Day 1

Day 1 in Bogotá. Started a bit late due to the late arrival. Went through the city a bit to search for food – and found a nice STEAK Quite a nice city – and for a Sunday many people …

 

Travel to Bogotá (via Lima)

Ok, I admit this post is mainly so I can put a “sign” into Lima (on the map) Bad thing: the flight from Lima to Bogotá was delayed so I only arrived at 00:30 am in Bogotá (like 1am in …

 

Machu Picchu

Started at 7am in the morning to hike up to Machu Picchu and further on to Machu Picchu Mountain (3082m). Was really a great hike (approx. 1000m height difference). We also had great weather considering it is rainy season (didn’t …

 

Sacred Valley

First: There was oxygen in my hotel – how cool is that? loool Ok, so we (Elena, Sam and I) hired a taxi and visited sacred valley today (if I can avoid agencies, I prefer to do so). All in …

 

Cusco

Cusco. Took a day tour: Free walking tour – which I can really recommend – so much better than the agencies. The guide was really cool – and we did other stuff than the normal “historic” bits and pieces. Went …

 

Andean Explorer ( Train from Puno to Cusco)

Today I took the train from Puno to Cusco – Andean Explorer – as recommended by Jan and Jens. THANKS FOR THAT. Really a great experience going through the Andes by train (up to 4200m if I remember correctly). If …