Berlin Tempelhof: Keep rolling..
Sunshine, clear view, no traffic. My turn: 3,2,1 Go!
Spreading not my wings to fly away, but taking the luxuary to enjoy the airstrip of shut down Tempelhof Airport on my skateboard. Geee, I am lucky. Am I in heaven? No hills, no run down streets full of bumpiness.
I am getting faster and faster. Are there growing wings on my back? Feeling the fresh breeze in my face. Am I surfing on a very good, consistent, neverending wave? What’s that? Skateboards with kites in all sizes and self-made funky vehicles are crossing my path…I landed in a Biotope not only of threatened species of birds but also of threatened human species…
After surfing my wave, I dive into history. I close my eyes, lying in the sun and all of a sudden I can hear it: The sound of the airplanes, the “Rosinenbomber” bringing food to the little island: West Berlin. Opening my eyes: back in present time. What an amazing place. Next time I play crazy golf in the artist installation I spot on my way out of garden eden. My escape in Berlin.
Postindustrial buildings and upcoming design scene
Sweatshop Deluxe: Zaagmolendrift 35, Rotterdam
I like the concept of the store: upcoming dutch designers who have forever reasons problems to get into the labour market can produce their design products in the workshops behind the showroom. Most products are made out of sustainable or recycled materials.
Heading South of Rotterdam: Katendrecht
Winkelcafé De Zeeuwse Meisjes: Sumatraweg 13b, Rotterdam
Vintage finds, classics from ferm living and co. and beautiful designed postcards by local designers . Delicious brodjes (self-made bread) with salmon and self-made Senf or chesse with spanish pepper Marmelade.
North Rotterdam: Zwanshaals Straat and around
&Designshop: Zwaanshals 520, Rotterdam
King Kong Hostel: Witte de Withstraat 74, Rotterdam
Inspiring design hostel with bohemian guests. Very comfy beds with high class linen. Clever: the dorms have ensuite bathrooms and extra WC. The lobby is a popular hang out for the locals around. We met the owner of the popular bar next door who gave us fabolous tips for less gentrified ares of Rotterdam. The hostel rents out bikes, but for 15,00 Euro/day they are rather expensive, so check out other places if you have time…
Parking in Rotterdam is horrible. Although there are enough parking slots on the street, it is impossible for a foreigner to take them as you need a Dutch mobile phone number to download the app for parking on the street. The only option in the city center is to drive into an overprized car park (about 20,00 Euro per day, depending on the area, at least 2,00 Euro/hour).
Park and Ride is the best option. The closest and best is Kralingse Zoom (8 min with the underground into the city center). A return ticket costs 6,00 Euro. Parking is for free.
Take the chance to take a watertaxi to Hotel New York. A ride from one of the pick up points costs 3,00 Euro. I felt like in a James Bond film cruising to the other side. The watertaxi fits 6-8 people. From Hotel New York there you have a great view on the other side of Rotterdam. From there it is a stone’s throw to Katendrecht.
Margreet Holsthoorn: Schilderstraat No.5, Rotterdam
Curated Fashion store with regular art exhibitions. Inspiring but Pricy.
Objet Trouvé: Pannekoekstraat 44A, Rotterdam
Fashion, lively tea Scene and lots of vintage furnitures
Thé Atro: Oever 29a, Antwerp
Cute little organic café with an amazing tea only menu. Ask the owner and tea taster Esther for her recommendations. The Tiramisu and the other tarts are delicious and daily fresh.
We took the chance to sleep in the loft of a fashion designer couple. Seemed very authentic when regarding the factthat everybody talks of Antwerp as the fashion capital of Europe. You can find the loft of Ken and Anthony on AirBnB
The car park “National Bank” is the cheapest way to park. 24h for 7,50 Euro.
A.PUUR.A: Nationalstraat 37, Antwerp
Fresh15: Lombardenvest 15, Antwerp
Pop-up-Store of Roos Vandekerckhove
Perfect for lovers of intense colourfull fashion and geometric patterns
Tante Brocante: Kloosterstraat 53, Antwerp
Old pharmacy bottles, massive wine bottles and other decorate vintage stuff for home. Compared to the other vintage shops on Kloosterstraat Tante Brocante has pretty reasonable prices and you can bargain!
Heaven for messsed up industrial design buildings and Lovers of street art
Depot O9: Nieuwevaart 118, Ghent
Vintage furniture in a huge old industrial building as far as you can look. Some coriousities like a head of a stork. Don’t forget your camera as the whole area is a stunning photo option.
Huiszwaluw: Hoogpoort 3b, Ghent
La cité d’amour
Discovering Amsterdam via bike is the best and only way to discover Amsterdam and its neighbourhoods easily. Compare the prices and rather go to a small bicycle shop where you get authentic, not tourist branded organge Holland bikes. A Dutsch Person told me: only tourists walk. Well, I am an experienced cycler, but Amsterdam is really advanced. I felt like in a Computer game with millions of barriers to take eachs second…But it is fun! Try to cyle the small ”Grachten” though as it gives you the possibility to look at the cute little houses and Shops on the left and right. Amsterdam has more than 10.000 little Shops – the only city I know where you are not confronted with the big Labels and anonymous Shopping malls all the time..
I love looking in the houses of other people. Amsterdam is the perfect spot for this hobby. Is not there a voyeur in all of us?
Nature meets art: Great Exhibition by Artist Judith de Vries at hutspot. If you are searching for something to lighten up your home…You can leave your media naranja in the great cafe. Everything you sit on, drink out of and see on the walls is for sale.
Going wild in Amsterdam…
Mid century desgin classics at wonderwood
Friday next: The Dutch People seem to love the cafe in the shop concept. Nice contemporary Nordish design by hay and co..
Vondelpark: Great escape in the middle of the City.
Small guide for 7 hours in Zurich
Never disappointing. The amazing architecture of the kunsthalle itself makes you feel like an Artist - you cannot stop taking photographs of every ankle of the bauhaus style building with your mobile phone’s camera.
Exhibition I watched this time: Lutz Bacher (It’s a Girl!)
Walther Vintage, Bogen 33, Hector Living, Möbel Zürich, Einzelstück, Dotti
Note that the Shops in Zurich Close at five on Saturdays!
Dinner for two for less than 60 Franken in an old industrial building in the Station quarter: Restaurant Rosso
Small guide to surf and chill
Best time to travel: Autumn or Spring
Peak season is over or has not started yet: mild sun (25 C), empty beaches, friendly locals
Flight: Karlsruhe (Baden), Germany –> Marrakesch
Route: Marrakesch –> Essouira –> Sidi Kaouki –> Essouira –> Marrakesch
Length: 8 days
Costs: 1.000,00 Euro for two people all inclusive
Flights: 80,00 Euro per Person from Karlsruhe (Baden) via Ryan Air plus public Transport with Baden-Wuerttemberg ticket from Stuttgart for ca. 30,00 Euro (one way) plus rental car for return as flight arrived too late for 70,00 Euro
Slept at: Riad Bamilike: modern maroccon design meets tradition
Very friendly host that helps at every time of the day and calms you down when being chased by Maroccons through narrow dark streets.
In Yves Saint Laurent’s former house and garden you can very easily escape the noise of the City and dive into a Garden Eden full of exotic plants and wonderfully painted Villa (it reminded me of the house of the Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo)
Shopping: beautiful rugs and pottery can be purchased close to jardin majorelle at Anitan; Maroccon teapots and glasses in high class quality can be purchased at 33 Rue Majorelle . The shop includes a nice Café (perfect when getting a culture shock and you are searching for a western escape).
Slept at: Apartment: 150,000 Euro for one week via AirBnB
Alternative if you have the money check out Emma’s White house
Our sweet little home was situated in an old town house in Essoueira’s medina and great host! A Little treasure from AirBnB. Our host Hamsa was relaxed, friendly and helpful.
Off the beaten track: flea market on Sunday. Our host Hamsa took us there. Vintage heaven! There is also a sheep skin seller a Little bit hidden in a random building where we bought very natural sheep skin for 8 Euro!
Best food in town: Fusion cuisine at the Elizir (1 Rue Agadir; Phone: 5247 472103): Marocco meets France. Awesome antiquities from the last century. Prebook a table if you want to eat there! It is crowded even in low season…
Empty beaches, great and empty waves; beachbreak; waves were 0,8-1,20 m: perfect conditions for me!
Bus or taxi from Essouira: public bus (1,50 Euro per Person) running daily about every hour but especially on Weekends it takes ages until it leaves as the bus driver doesn’t start the journey until all places are taken…A taxi takes you to Sidi for 6,00 Euro (24km).
Small guide to Chile
Best time to travel: late March/April
it is still warm, but the national parks especially Torres del Paine are not stuffed with people, the beaches are empty - perfect for spontaneous travellers who want to experience authentic adventures…
Length: 23 days
Flight: Frankfurt –> Paris –> Santiago –> Puerto Montt –> Puntas Arenas –> Santiago –> Paris –> Frankfurt
Route in Chile: Santiago –> Puerto Montt –> Chiloe –>Puerto Montt –> Puerto Varas –> Puntas Arenas –> Puerto Natales –> Torres del Paine Nationalpark –> Puerto Natales –> Puntas Arenas –> Santiago –> Valparaiso –> Punta de Lobos/Pichilemu –> Santiago
* 780,00 Euro (flight Frankfurt-Santiago-Frankfurt via Paris with Air France per Person)
* 600,00 Euro (flights in Chile. Best offers can be found at seat24 und skyscanner. The local airline is called Sky. If you have time you can save about half of the money by taking public buses)
* 280,00 Euro (car for seven days to travel around Chiloe via Casa Perla; you can save a lot of money if you do not rent a car by a big car rental company but asking your hosts at your hostel),
* 30,00 Euro (pre-paid card for cellphone; good to book our bed for the night while you are on your way)
* 80,00-100,00 Euro per person per day for accomodation, food, public transportation, entrance fees, surfboard or bike rental, etc.
The costs listed obove do not only seem much: Life in Chile is as expensive as life in Europe whereas the value you get for your money is less. Be aware that your pesos will disappear like magic every day. You can save lots of money when you are travelling with your own tent! Chile seemed for me really safe (except of Santiago), so it is really worth it. We always slept in a double room as it turned out that a bed in a dorm costs for two people nearly the same as a double room.
Money: DKB credit Card (Mastercard, pre-paid). You get cash from every bank without paying a fee.
Transit at Charles de Gaulle Airport: it is really hard to get something to eat at Charles de Gaulle Airport in the transit area, so it is good to take an emergency snack with you in your carry-on luggage.
* Taking a rental tandem bike from bicileta verde was the best way to discover Santiago and get in touch with the locals who all smiled when they saw us on our bike. Most bike rentals also offer guided thematic tours through the city if you do not want to ride on your own. You can also make daytrips to the nearby vinyards and go for a wine tasting. We discovered the markets of Santiago and snacked us through the numerous types of empanadas.
*Peluqueria Francesa (Compania de Jesus 2789): amazing old building in the neighbourhood Yungay that includes an old fashioned hairdresser and restaurant stuffed with high class vintage furniture and accessoires that you can also buy. My vintage heaven.
The taxi from the airport to the city cost 5,00 Euro.
Slept at: Casa Perla (Trigal 312, Puerto Montt: 32,00 Euro for a double room with sea view/shared bathroom including breakfast (best value for money option during the whole trip!)
Ask Perla if you want to have a rental car to discover Chiloe or the Carretera Austral. She is really friendly and helpful and takes care that you do not get ripped of.
Puerto Montt has a huge market where you can buy everything especially nature wool in all colours. Damn, I should have bought a whole backpack full of this organic wool that hardly cost anything here.
Route: Ancud –> Castro–>Chonchi –> Cucao (Parque National Chiloe) –> Ancud
Although it is only a half an hour ferry ride it takes you to a total different world. For me the week in Chiloe was the first authentic experience of what I thought Chile would be like: amazing nature, wild, rough. You can walk for hours on long empty beaches without seeing a soul except of some wild horses. My feelings mixed between being in the calmest nature ever and being at the other end of the world.
Shopping: Chiloe offers beautiful crafts work. I can recommend buying hand knitted slippers that keep your feet warm at night. Chiloe is the best place to gather some authentic souvenirs from Chile. I have not found any other place in Chile where I found handy crafts in the same quality and beauty.
Slept at: Palafito hostel in Castro: Design meets tradition meets the needs of the Hipster traveler. Castro is famous for its stilt houses that look amazing especially at high tight in combintation with sunset. The Palafito Hostel is a traditional stilt house. The breakfast was awsome: freshly baked souerdough bread, handmade Marmelade, fresh fruit salad and yoghurt to start the day – when you read this you might not think that this is something special but when you know that a normal breakfast that is included in the hostel prices in Chile normally only include a slice of toast and magerine you will know what I mean: you think you are in heaven.
Parque National Chiloe
Slept at: Palafito hostel Cucao
Long walks on the beach, paddling around the lakes in a canu, enjoying the sun and watching wild horses and fisherman passing by ever ones in a while in their tiny wooden boats.
Especially here, a tent would save lots of money. As peak season was over it was hard to find an open place to sleep in the National Park, so we took the Palafito Hostel although it really hurt our holiday budget. There is a tiny shop in Cucao where you can buy pasta and other very basic food. I would advice to take fresh vegetables and fruits to the park because there are also no restaurants open where you can eat anything at night during that time of the year.
Slept at: Hostel Compass del Sur: Hostel with guaranteed home away from home feeling: warm atmosphere in a Pippi Longstocking environment.
Puerto Varas is the gateway to many outdoor activities. We climbed the Vulcano Osorno which was amazing. On our way back we stopped at a sign: for fresh honey go left and found in the middle of the forest the amazing home of an old woman living there all by herself selling honey and self made marmelade to hikers: absolutely delicous!
Puerto Natales is the Gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. I had the feeling of being somehow in a themepark for outdoor lovers.
Bus Fanfastico sur takes you for 50,00 Euro return to Torres del Paine National Park. As it was low season we had no problem to get a bus ticket and also a park entrance ticket, but in high season they told us you have to book way ahead (weeks to months!).
We walked the W-track and slept in the shelters on the way for a hell lot of money: Bunk beds for 60,00 Euro per Person. You can save lots of money when taking your own tent with you as well as your own gas stove and food. You cannot use the kitchen of the shelters. You can only cook by yourself with your own gas cooker in a restricted area. People I met in the hostel precocked their food and packed it in plastic sip bags so they do not need to carry too much equipment: smart!
I am not an outdoor maniac so observing people in the park who stopped their time when hiking through the park not looking left and right felt really odd for me. You can avoid people when you start the W-track the other way around. For outdoor enthusiasts Torres del Paine seems to be a “Must have on your list”. The destruction of nature by tonns of tourists hiking the park every year although the rangers are doing their best to protect the park is shocking and gives you the feeling of being in Outdoor Disney Land instead of having an authentic outdoor experience.
When preparing for the trip everybody told me to take special outdoor clothes with me. In fact I hiked with my cotton jogging pants and most part of the park I walked in my flip flops. I had a kayway rainjacket with me and cheap zip-pants in case of rain. I felt comfortable with this outfit. For me it seemed more a difficulty of condition to be able to walk six or seven hours a day than to have the know-how alpin hiking. You cannot get lost in the park as there are enough people passing your way.
I really enjoyed observing the birds and guanacos in the park, soaking in the colours of the blue sky in combination with the light yellow grass and the clear lakes: the colours of patagonia.
Back in Puerto Natales we decided to go on a horse trip which was the best thing to do in order to realise that there is also a remote, rough and wild Patagonia. We were three people and a ranger doing a horse ride to Cerro Dorothea. I enjoyed talking with the gaucho on the camp fire while drinking mate about his life in Patagonia. After the trip we stayed for an other hour at his simple hut for a tea. Being confronted with life beyond consumerism was a refreshing experience. I nver experienced such a cold wind before. I was covered in three windbreakers, a hut and helmet and to pair of glove – and still freezing.
Punta de Lobos
Slept at: The Sirena insolente hostel: Design meets the need of a surfer soul of the beaten track. The whole house slept 10 people so it felt more to like visiting friends than staying in a hostel.
Rent your surfboard on the beach though and get a good deal! Taking the bike to discover Punta de Lobos and Pichilemu is also the best way to get around.
“Valpo” as the locals call their city is a heaven for all who love street art. There is a reason why the city is full of beautiful murials: People protect their walls from being spraypainted with uggly motives by letting them painted by street artists. The more popular the artists are in the scene the less risky it is to be confronted with vandalism.
Slept at: Hostel Caracol
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