The Koasa Trail – Hiking in Tyrol

The Koasa Trail – Hiking in Tyrol

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At the invitation of the Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann Tourism Association in Tyrol I went to Austria in June to hike the Koasa Trail there. I was able to combine it perfectly with another motorcycle trip as I wanted to go to Rovinj for the Summer Sensual Days for the second time.

Koasa Trail – A hiking trail in Tyrol

The Koasa Trail revolves around the Wilder Kaiser, a mountain massif that is part of the Kaisergebirge. This consists of the aforementioned Wilder Kaiser, the Zahmen Kaiser and the Niederkaiser. It is located in the eastern Alps and is a magnet for hikers, mountaineers and climbers. The official Koasa Trail has only been around for a few years. It connects different hiking trails to a long distance hike of several days with a distance of 80 kilometres, so that you can easily discover the highlights of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day, a special natural setting is waiting for you, which will make the region grow ever closer to your heart.

Wegweiser Koasa Trail

And one more info in advance with a little outing: When I first read about the Koasa Trail, my inner voice elegantly emphasized “Ko-Asa Trail”. It stayed a few days until I used Google for some information and found out that Koasa is Austrian for Cesar (German: Kaiser). All I can say is: Facepalm, Barbara!

 

Koasa Trail – How to get there

Salzburg (60 km), Innsbruck (90 km) and Munich (135 km) are not far from the Kitzbühel Alps and give you orientation points for your journey. This is a quick and easy way to get to Oberndorf, where the Koasa Trail begins:
  • By plane: I recommend to travel within Europe by bus, train or if necessary by your own car. For the sake of completeness I would also like to mention that the Kitzbüheler Alps are easily accessible from three airports: Innsbruck Airport (INN) is 100 km away, Salzburg Airport (SZG) 60 km and Munich Airport (MUC) 160 km.
  • By bus or train: Unfortunately there is no Flixbus to Sankt Johann in Tirol, but you can go to Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich or Vienna and continue by train from there. St. Johann in Tirol has a stop for an express train and Oberndorf has a stop for regional trains. From Innsbruck you can expect about 80 minutes, from Salzburg about 30 minutes, from Munich about 2.5 hours and from Vienna about 5.5 hours.
  • By car or motorbike: If you have your own vehicle or hire a car, the best way to get from Munich or Innsbruck is to take the A12 Inntal motorway and then the B178 from Salzburg via the A1 or A10 to the B178.

 

Koasa Trail – The stages

As already mentioned, the five stages of the Koasa Trail cover about 80 kilometres, where you will be rewarded for your efforts with breathtaking views of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day a highlight waits for you:

Stage 1

The tour starts at the Info Point in Sankt Johann. From there you walk down the street to the right, cross the Kitzbüheler Ache and leave the city shortly afterwards. After some time the ascent to the ridge of the Niederkaiser begins very slowly. It’s a good hour uphill – past the hermitage with the small chapel Maria Blut, where a nun shouted a happy “Grüß Gott” to me, and the Gmail chapel – until you reach the ridge at 1226 meters altitude. There you will be rewarded with a fantastic view – on your right you can admire the Wilder Kaiser and on your left you can enjoy the view down into the valley to St Johann in Tirol. On the other side it goes down again. A refreshing spritzer of herbs, peppermint or dandelion awaits you at the Bacheralm. Homemade, of course. And at more than fair prices of 2.50 euros for half a litre. From there it is not far to the small village of Gasteig. In about 1.5 hours you walk from there once around the Reitberg and then again 1.5 hours along the Kaiserbach in an idyllic scenery up to the Griesner Alm.

Highlight of the day: The Niederkaiserkamm! The view in both directions is so beautiful that I didn’t even know where to look first…

Koasa Trail Wilder Kaiser

 

Stage 2

For the second stage you can choose between two variants. The first has a length of 10 kilometers and leads you to the Hunds- and Stripsenkopf. Then you run along the ridge over the peaks Tristecken, Feldberg and Wasserlahnerkopf and over the Gamsgraben back into the valley. However, I decided for the shorter variant 2 (during my stay there was still quite a lot of snow on the route of variant 1), where you run to the Fischbachalm and from there up to the mountain. When you reach the top, you pass the Vorderen and Hinteren Ranggen Alm, both of which unfortunately offer no hospitality. Then the descent back to the Griesner Alm begins. In the airy heights of the two alps you have a perfect view of the mighty steep walls of the Wilder Kaiser. When I was there, there was still so much snow that the mountains glittered and sparkled like diamonds in the sun.

Highlight of the day: The Kaiserbachtal! But for me, the sight of the mountains that were within my grasp on this stage was also a highlight that accompanied me all the way.

Kuh am Koasa Trail vorm Wilden Kaiser Etappe 2

Stage 3

The third stage was a bit shorter for me because I spontaneously changed my accommodation. As beautiful as the Griesner Alm is, I still can’t do without Internet for two days. If you choose this accommodation, you will be stuck in a radio hole for two full days and even during the hike of the second stage you will at best have E-Net. So I moved to a hotel in Gasteig, which shortened stage 3 by about 5 kilometres. From Gasteig I went over the small village Hinterberg to the Teufelsgasse – a beautiful gorge, which the devil himself is said to have created, so that the sinful get lost in it. It had only been opened shortly before my arrival, because it had not been accessible before because of the masses of snow. Shortly after the Teufelsgasse a fantastic view of the valley opens up. After only a few bends you reach the Prostalm: a welcome refreshment is waiting for you here, along with another perfect view of the Wilder Kaiser. I took a good hour’s break before I climbed the last few metres up to the Prostkögel – the highest point of this stage. From there it was only downhill to Erpfendorf. Unfortunately I missed the turn-off because the sign had fallen down and I took a detour of about one kilometre to the neighbouring village of Weng. I admit that the descent with the detour was a physical challenge and the temperatures were around 30 degrees. I was more than happy when I finally got to the hotel and ended the day in the whirlpool.

Highlight of the day: The Teufelsgasse! The path is varied and offers a completely new landscape.

Teufelsgasse Koasa Trail

 

Stage 4

For the fourth stage you need endurance and I advise you to start very early. I started at 9am and it turned out to be quite late. The first kilometres make the stage seem harmless, as it goes through Erpfendorf and the neighbouring village without a strong ascent and then through the cool Griesbachklamm. At the end of the gorge you suddenly turn right and climb steeply through the forest. At the top, it’s not far to the Angerlalm, which not only provides the necessary refreshment, but at least has put a big grin on my lips: Several goats and a pig run around freely here and delight kids and grown ups alike. After about 45 minutes, I strapped on my backpack again and continued the ascent. It took me about 15 minutes to get to a gate that I opened. As I turned around, I saw a hiker just a few meters behind me, and I kept the gate open for him. He thanked me and immediately began to ask questions: “Where are you going?”, “Where are you coming from?”, “Are you on holiday? He quickly realized that we had the same path for a good three kilometers before he had to turn left and I had to turn right. He knew his way around incredibly well and even though his walking pace was too fast for me, I was happy about the company and his information about the trail and the surroundings. Nevertheless, I was also glad when our paths separated again. Because I was really out of breath through the fast pace uphill. When I looked into my app I got quite a shock: There were still 10 kilometres to my destination! Exhausted by the previous 9 kilometers and the brooding 33 degrees, before which I could hardly protect myself on the mountain ridge andw hen it went cross-country through the meadows, I went my way. I certainly took three more breaks, because I became more and more tired. Around 5pm I finally came to a road. At some point I met a herd of cows grazing peacefully on the side. Then I turned around the next bend. A black cow stood in the middle of the road and stared straight into my eyes. Suddenly she scratched with her hooves – like a bull ready to attack. I couldn’t really imagine that the cow would really attack, but as you know, better safe than sorry. So I flee under the fence into the high field on the other side of the road. The cow kept looking at me as I slowly fought my way through the high grass one step at a time. I was happy to leave the herd behind me and finally came near St. Johann. Shortly after 6pm I reached the hotel completely exhausted. It was my longest and most difficult hike ever.

Highlight of the day: The Griesbachklamm! Cool, beautiful and photogenic is this part of the Koasa Trail, which I liked best of all.

Griesbachklamm Koasa Trail

 

Stage 5

In consultation with my contact person from the Tirol Tourist Board I decided to take the last day slowly: Instead of the ascent I took the gondola to the Kitzbüheler Horn. The highlight of the day on stage 5 is a waterfall which you pass during the ascent. Unfortunately it was closed, so we would have had to bypass the area anyway. Therefore the gondola ride was an excellent alternative. From the gondola station to the Horn you can normally hike. However, this trail was still closed. The hard and long winter has really affected some stages of the Koasa Trail. Therefore this day trip consisted for me only of the descent to Oberndorf. Also the breaks at the two alps were nice: the Stanglalm and the Müllneralm.

Highlight of the day: Actually it should have been the waterfall as mentioned before, but as I couldn’t see it, my personal highlight was the gondola ride.

Gondel Koasa Trail

 

Koasa Trail – The hotels

Hotel Penzinghof

The hotel where my hiking tour in Tyrol began and ended combines alpine love and luxury. Wood determines the public spaces. Be sure to bring your swimsuit! You shouldn’t miss the infinity pool with a view of the Wilder Kaiser. And if you prefer it dry, there is even a relaxation room with comfortable beds from which you can enjoy the panoramic view.

Hotel Penzinghof Koasa Trail

 

Griesner Alm

The Griesner Alm is a place where time seems to have stood still. There is neither WIFI nor mobile Internet, but lots of good air and good food. The Alm is ideal if you want to switch off for a few days – in the truest sense of the word. You should also be aware that if you book the trail as a package this alp is intended for two nights.

Griesner Alm Koasa Trail

 

Hotel Kramerhof

Although the Hotel Kramerhof is furnished in a rustic style, it still offers modern facilities. For the little ones there is an adjoining horse farm. But I admit that even I was quite excited to open my eyes in the morning and see some horses grazing peacefully in front of the window. I’ve never seen such a sight before.

Kramerhof Koasa Trail

 

Vitalhotel Berghof

I really liked the Vitalhotel Berghof. The name says it all, so you feel like you’re on a farm in the mountains, but the little things that make your stay unforgettable are still there: for example the spa area and the whirlpool. But also the fact that you are greeted with a cheerful smile by the boss himself makes you feel at home.

Vitalhotel Berghof Koasa Trail

 

LTI Kaiserfels

The hotel in Sankt Johann is modern and especially in winter very well situated as it has a lift directly behind the house. It is also ideal for the Koasa Trail hike. However, it is a chain hotel and not a small family business.

LTI Kaiserfels Koasa Trail

 

Koasa Trail – Conclusion

For me, the Koasa Trail was a special experience. Not only did it bring me as a sea lover closer to the mountains. It also gave me a welcome physical effort. I already mentioned in my Venice article that my mother left us a little over a month ago. Through this experience with death, I felt for the first time a certain joy to have sore muscles. It showed me that I was alive. That my body works the way it should. I also had the feeling that my mother accompanied me on this path and discovered the beauty of Tyrol together with me.

Barbara Koasa Trail

I made another experience for the first time and I was deeply surprised: Since this was my first hike for more than two days, I did not know how quickly the muscles got used to the daily effort. But already on the third day my sore muscles became noticeably less instead of more. Even after the 19 kilometres of the fourth stage, it wasn’t my muscles that failed me, but rather my general energy, which was quickly used up in the high temperatures and demanded a quieter day.

I am grateful and glad that I was able to walk the Koasa Trail and hope that I will soon return to this beautiful region to discover more hiking trails and natural sites.

PS: I was invited by the Tourist Association Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann in Tirol. My opinion was not influenced by this cooperation.

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Venice in a Day – A Perfect Day in the Serenissima

Venice in a Day – A Perfect Day in the Serenissima

My mother passed away on May 17th after a serious illness. On May 25th would have been her 62nd birthday, which she would have celebrated in Venice as it was her tradition. To honor her memory and to feel close to her once again, I went with my whole family to the Italian city of bridges over the weekend. Since we went there on Friday and back again on Sunday, we basically only had one day on site: May 25th.

Read here what we have seen and what you shouldn’t miss on a day in Venice:

Venice – From Serenissima to Mass Tourism

Until 1797, Venice was the capital of the Republic of Venice and until the 16th century even one of the largest trading powers in the world. Venice had the most merchant ships, but also warships, and was thus able to maintain its supremacy over the centuries. The city was incredibly rich, which is why we can still admire immeasurable cultural treasures in the lagoon city.

During this period Venice also received the title of La Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco (the most Serene Republic of Saint Mark). The title was initially given to the Doge – the ruler of Venice – and the nobles. After some time, however, it was extended to the entire republic.

Venice was incorporated into Italy in 1866 and has been the capital of the Italian province of Veneto ever since. It lies in the northeast of the country in the lagoon of Venice. Within this lagoon, there are 118 islands, of which only 11 are inhabited. The main island with the old town has 63,000 inhabitants, by far the highest number of all islands. Since 1987, both the city and the lagoon have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today, Venice is more popular with tourists than ever before. Venice is on the bucket lists of travelers from all over the world and is also increasingly part of the itineraries of cruise ships. The new task is to master the balancing act between beauty and mass tourism.

 

Venice – How to Get There

  • By Plane: Venice has two airports. The city airport is called Marco Polo (the code is VCE) and is one of the busiest airports in Italy. The second one is about 40 kilometers away and is located near the city of Treviso (it has the code TSF).
  • By Train: Especially within Italy, traveling by train is cheap and fast. Venice’s train station is located at a vaporetto station, so you can get on a water bus directly if your accommodation is too far to walk to or if you want to start sightseeing immediately.
  • By Bus: Venice is easy to reach by bus and very well connected to other cities in Italy and all over Europe. I haven’t taken the bus to Venice yet, but I changed busses there already. I always use Flixbus.
  • By Car: This may seem strange at first, but since my parents came by car every single time, I want to add this possibility, too. If you drive over the Brenner Autobahn, you pay about 30 Euro motorway toll to Venice. From Mestre (one of two districts on Venice’s mainland) you drive over a bridge to the island of Tronchetto, where parking garages are waiting for the motorized visitors. These cost from 30 euros per day and you should reserve in advance. A pedestrian bridge will take you to the main island and you can either walk to your hotel or take a vaporetto – a water bus.

Venice – Sights

Since I only spent one day in Venice this time, my tips are focused on a day or weekend excursion with arrival on Friday and departure on Sunday.

The main island is the most touristic part of the city. There you will find famous sights like St. Mark’s Cathedral at St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace next to it, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs Ponte dei Sospiri. Be prepared that all these sights are crowded during the day.

 

St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Cathedral and St. Mark’s Tower

Since you will hardly go to Venice and then skip St. Mark’s Cathedral, you will have to live with the crowd. If you want to avoid it, I have a tip for you though: If you, like me, go to St Mark’s Square at sunrise, you will basically have it almost to yourself!

By the way, the tower is the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral and is therefore also called St. Mark’s Tower. With 98 meters, it’s the highest building in Venice. Its top originally served as a lighthouse so that the ships could find their way safely to the lagoon’s harbor. In 1902 the tower collapsed after several earthquakes, but this was due to the fact that metal struts had been removed on the inside in order to build an elevator. The reconstruction, which used the original pile foundations that were 1000 years old but very well preserved, took nine years. The new tower was inaugurated on St Mark’s Day, on April 25th of 1913. Today, it is possible to go up to the bell tower via an elevator. But also this is still on my bucket list…

 

The Doge’s Palace

As already mentioned at the beginning, the ruler of the Republic of Venice was called Doge. The word is derived from the Latin word dux (leader). The first Doge was elected in 726. The Doge’s Palace next to St. Mark’s Basilica was the seat of government from the 9th century onwards and is still today a sign of the wealth, size and power of the lagoon city. This can be seen not only from the outside in the outstanding Venetian architecture but also in the stucco, gilded carvings and magnificent paintings inside. It is one of the most important Gothic secular buildings.

I must confess though, I’ve never been inside of the palace. Maybe I’ll change that during my next visit to the Serenissima.

 

The Bridge of Sighs

Also the Ponte dei Sospiri – the Bridge of Sighs – has a completely different effect in the early morning hours. The water lies smooth instead of being stirred up by gondolas that always glide past. If you’re there at 6am, you can even let your thoughts wander for a moment to the prisoners who long ago walked over the Bridge of Sighs and had a last look at the lagoon before they went to prison for the rest of their lives.

During the day, there is always a traffic jam of gondolas here since they start their tours through the small winding canals just around the corner.

 

The Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal that separates the six districts called Sestieri: San Marco, Cannaregio, and Castello are on one side and Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce on the other.

It’s so peaceful to sit at the Rialto Bridge at 6 am and take as many photos as you wish without bothering or being bothered by others.

This is the view from the Rialto bridge in the late morning after the city and its visitors woke up:

 

Murano

We took a vaporetto around 12 o’clock and went to the island Murano.

The island is famous above all for the art of glassmaking. In the early Middle Ages, glassmakers were banished to Murano because the people of Venice were afraid of the fire. Since then, the precious glass has been produced here and has become world famous.

My mother loved the Murano glass and wanted a chandelier for our living room. I would like to fulfill this wish posthumously sometime.

 

Burano

Even if we didn’t have a lot of time left, we didn’t want to miss a visit to the island Burano. Around 3 pm we took a vaporetto which takes about 30 minutes to go from Murano to Burano. The colorful houses are simply too beautiful to miss. If you’re looking for a peaceful place away from the crowds – maybe this is the place to choose.

What is the art of glassmaking in Murano is the lace in Burano. Here you can see elder ladies making lace. This is the main theme in every shop. Whether decorative items or clothes… Here everything is made of white cloth.

My mother loved to dig her way through the shops here and it wasn’t until her last visit that she got hold of an embroidered painting of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, which hangs in our living room. It was a strange feeling when my father showed us exactly where she had bought it.

Around 6 o’clock we made our way back towards the main island. There we planned to do one of the highlights of the day:

 

A Gondola Ride in Venice

Yeah, it’s kitschy. But shouldn’t a little kitsch and cliché be on the agenda in a city like Venice? I do think so!

The prices for a gondola ride are as far as I know the same everywhere and not negotiable: At all gondola stations of the city, there are signs with prices saying that the small tour (called Giro Turistico) costs 80 Euro until 7 pm and afterward 100 Euro. The so-called Giro Completo costs 120 Euro or 150 Euro.

Gondelfahrt Venedig

With a little luck like us, you will catch a gondolier, who was singing a traditional song about love and longing. Simply beautiful!

 

Venice – Hotel

During the weekend we stayed in this hotel: Hotel Santa Lucia. The hotel is small, but nice and is only a few minutes walk from the train station or the multi-story car parks. But it is a long way to St. Mark’s Square. Still, in my opinion, the price-performance ratio was right. We paid 540 euros for two rooms with a total of five persons and two nights including breakfast.

You want to see other accommodation options for Venice? Check out these platforms: Booking*, Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld*!

 

Venice – Where to go Next

Venice is ideal if you want to explore Italy further or if you want to travel further to the southeast of Europe. Here are a few examples of the cities that would work well:

  • Milan: Milan is the perfect destination, especially for shopping fans. But also culture enthusiasts will enjoy the Cathedral of Milan or the Scala.
  • Verona: The home of Romeo and Juliet is an ideal place for a weekend trip. Even if you are not an opera lover, the Arena di Verona is absolutely worth a visit. The atmosphere is unique and it is a very special experience.
  • Florence: In 2009, I spent half a year in Florence. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back there to write an article about this beautiful city that is definitely in my top 3 Italian cities – with Palermo and Rome!
  • Ljubljana: The Slovenian capital is a pearl of peace. From here you can either explore Slovenia or travel further south. For example to Rovinj.
  • Rovinj: I fell in love with Rovinj when I was there for a week last year. The charming old town on its own peninsula is simply picturesque and the sunsets are a dream. From Venice, you can either take the FlixBus to Rovinj or a ferry. Alternatively, do it like me and go on a motorcycle road trip through Croatia.

And even if this is not just around the corner, as a half Sicilian I would like to mention my favorite island: Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and an absolute beauty.

 

Venice – Final Thoughts

For my family and me, this was a special and important journey where we experienced the places my mother loved so much and visited every year on her birthday. On the one hand, it was a farewell for us, but on the other hand, it also showed that we can feel close to her at any time by going to her favorite places.

But Venice is always worth a visit. I have been there three times now and even if it is crowded and in many corners anything but clean, I feel Venice is an absolute must-see in Italy and even in Europe. I continue to be impressed every time I stand in front of St Mark’s Basilica, walk through the many alleys across the bridges or take a vaporetto across the Canal Grande admiring the old walls from the water. The city is and remains unique and I hope to travel there many more times.

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.

The Palermo Guide for Digital Nomads

Palermo Guide for Digital Nomads

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Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in Europe? You should check out Palermo in Italy!

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The Vienna House Easy Berlin

The Vienna House Easy Berlin

This year, I went for the fourth time to ITB – the International Tourism Fair & Exhibition in Berlin. After testing the Vienna House Andel’s Berlin last year, it was now its little sister’s turn – the Vienna House Easy. I came directly from an event in Sweden to the German capital and after the two nights in the Vienna House Easy I did a House Sit in Berlin Mitte for two weeks.

Vienna House Easy Berlin – The Hotel

Adjacent to the hip Berlin district Friedrichshain, in the middle of the bustling Prenzlauer Berg, next to the Vienna House Andel’s the little sister of the hotel group awaits you: The Vienna House Easy Berlin. Here Viennese charm meets Berlin casualness. Bright colours, carpets with the course of the Berlin Wall, rooms full of history and personality characterize this charming hotel.

Check out the facts:
  • 154 rooms
  • Breakfast lounge
  • 24/7 deli, bar and a small shop
  • 3 conference rooms
  • Mobile concierge
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Parkinglot

The location of the hotel is not only perfect as a starting point for discovery tours in this part of the city, but also for Berlin’s classics. The tram stops just 100 meters from the entrance, so you’ll be wherever you want to go in no time.

 

Vienna House Easy Berlin – The Rooms

The rooms are brightly coloured and the furniture is the perfect mix of cosy, cool and comfortable. The beds are huge, so you can spread out wonderfully with all your belongings. The best way to open your laptop is on your desk. Otherwise the small armchair with the foot rest offers the possibility for relaxed working.

The cotton bag signals that you are committed to sustainability and that your room does not need to be cleaned. You just have to hang the bag on the door before midnight.

 

Vienna House Easy Berlin – Breakfast Lounge

In the style of a bakery, the breakfast lounge offers the opportunity to start the day in a healthy way and charged with energy.

Also here, bright colors will put a smile on your face. Since there is enough space, you don’t have to worry about not getting a place even during rush hours. If you like it particularly quiet, you should be there as early as possible though.

 

 

Vienna House Easy Berlin – Deli, Bar and Small Shop

Right next to the reception, there is a deli, a bar and a small shop. These offer snacks or something hearty for in betweenaround the clock. Whether a lemonade from Berlin or a longdrink from Long Island…. There is something for every taste.

Even if you want to work in a comfy environment, this is a good place: During my time at Vienna House Easy, I saw several people with laptops looking into their computers.

There is also an official coworking corner down here. If you want it a bit more official, you can rent one of the three conference rooms. There you can brainstorm as a team, hold press conferences or present new products. Just the way you like it. Meetings are made easy here

 

Vienna House Easy Berlin – Final Thoughts

I spent two great days at the Vienna House Easy Berlin. In the room, I felt very comfortable and enjoyed working on my laptop in a comfy armchair. The small shop was also available with tasty snacks when I came back late at night from the Kizomba party. And my personal, so far unmentioned highlight was that I could use the spa of the Vienna House Andel’s on the other side of the street. This pleasure is not included in the price of the overnight stay in the Easy, but it’s worth it if you have a hard day behind you.

With the right mixture of ‘getting-shit-done’ and relaxation everything runs more smoothly…. Don’t you think?

PS: I was invited by Vienna House to two nights with breakfast. The invitation was also for a treatment in the spa. I did not receive any financial compensation. My opinion is not influenced by this collaboration.

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Road Tripping in Germany – My Cross-country Adventure

Road Tripping in Germany – My Cross-country Adventure

Being able to travel and make a living in the process is a blessing I vowed to nurture. A blessing I vowed never to let go to waste. And so, from the sunny, honey-hued beaches of New Caledonia, all across Indochina and the Far East, I made my way to one of the cultural hubs of Europe – Germany.

This place is something truly special. I can’t say that I would make a permanent base here, simply because I’m more of a lay-on-the-beach with a margarita in my hand kind a gal, but I will say that my German escapade was an amazing experience, and definitely one of the best digital nomad destinations I’ve had the pleasure to visit. Without further ado, here’s my month-long adventure in Germany.

It all began in Berlin

Ah, Berlin. The party central of Europe, or so I’ve heard. Naturally, my adventure began with a gentle touchdown at Berlin Tegel Airport, from which I took a shuttle to the metro station. From the very first moment, I could tell that this place was a digital nomad wonderland.

Everyone and everything here is high-tech, even the centuries-old heritage buildings and the historic museums scattered around the city center – or Mitte, as it’s called. Although the city is rich with amazing hotels and hostels, I chose to book an Airbnb in the Kreuzberg district as a spur-of the moment decision. The next week was all about exploration, so if you want to follow in my footsteps, be sure to hit the Museum of Technology and the entire Museum Island. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the expansive Tiergarten – a huge part that’s home to the Berlin Zoo.

Dresden – a museum in the open

Germany is a big country, but I wouldn’t consider myself a traveler if I simply flew everywhere, so naturally, I rented a car (I felt obligated to choose an eco-vehicle in such a clean country), and headed south towards Dresden.

I must say, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer and unencumbered beauty of the setting I was driving into. Everything here is Old Town, every building is of historic significance, and every cobble-stoned street has a story to tell. Well, naturally I went to all the museums, and so should you, but I also spent my time wandering around, soaking in the magnificence of its architecture. Be sure to climb to the top of Frauenkirche for some spectacular views of the city.

Off to Munich!

Nope, I didn’t stick around for too long in Dresden, I figured that a couple of days were enough to experience most of its vibrant essence. And besides, Munich was the city I was most eager to visit, and spend most of my time in. For two whole weeks I planned to wander around this multicultural gem, and I was not disappointed in my decision.

Now, I feel it’s important that I mention that you need to come prepared when you’re staying this long in a European country. You will need to communicate with the outside world and it’s important to have a sim card in your phone or use a MiFi device in order to avoid outrageous charges and effectively assimilate yourself in the community. This is not only important for getting around Munich and Germany but the European Union in general.

Now that that’s out of the way, you can enjoy Munich for all it’s worth. I suggest finding a comfy working spot – this can be a pub or a coworking space, whichever you’re most comfortable with. I will say this, though, pubs in Munich are constantly bustling with cheer and excitement, so you might have a difficult time concentrating. I know I did.

For the most part, I worked in my Airbnb. As for sightseeing, you’ve got a long stroll ahead of you. Visit the Alte Pinakothek as well as the Naue Pinakothek, and then make your way to the Neues Rathaus. If you’re a nature lover like myself, then you’ll want to take an entire day to explore the expansive Englischer Garten Park.

Frankfurt and its unique modern feel

I could talk about Munich for hours and hours, but let’s wrap it up with my last destination of this grand escapade – the bustling modern city of Frankfurt. Home to the European Central Bank (so ugly you need to see it for yourself) and the birthplace of Goethe, Frankfurt is definitely a place that can appeal to all types of travelers.

It’s especially appealing to digital nomads, as they’re not only flocking to this technological gem of a city from around the world, but again, everything is so connected and futuristic here. Aesthetically, I prefer traditional architecture, but when we are talking about functionality, Frankfurt may very well be the digital nomad hub of Europe. You’re bound to have an amazing time here with some of the sharpest minds hailing from every industry, so don’t be afraid to seek them out at coworking spaces, nomad hubs, and of course, conferences and meetups.

 

A few parting words

Germany is a digital nomad wonderland. It’s definitely one of the most diverse cultural settings I’ve ever been in, and the architectural wonders I’ve laid my eyes on are something I’ll never forget. I encourage you to put Germany high on your travel bucket list, and even follow in my footsteps if you’re in search of some urban adventures.

About the Author

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger and adventure enthusiast who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. She has always loved to travel, and she loves to talk about her experiences. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and loves to surf the Internet. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on several blogs.

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

You could also be interested in the following destinations for digital nomads:

Jerusalem – Israel für digitale Nomaden

DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

VIETNAM
Rio de Janeiro – Brasilien für digitale Nomaden

DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

SINGAPORE
Spanien für digitale Nomaden
DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS
MALAYSIA

Things to do in Stockholm – My Must Sees in Stockholm

Things to do in Stockholm – My Must Sees in Stockholm

Stockholm has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now, but the opportunity of traveling there never presented itself. As part of the TBEX2016 – a conference exclusively for travel bloggers – I visited the Swedish capital in July.

Of course, my plan was to visit the typical sightseeing spots for a classical tour. However, I didn’t want to miss the chance to experience some more extraordinary tours. As support, I had the Stockholm Card with me that allowed me to access some venues for free.

 

#1 Gamla Stan

Vor dem Nobel Price Museum

An old town perfect for a stroll

You should take some time and really take in the atmosphere of the old town of Stockholm Gamla Stan on the island Stadsholmen.

You should actually come here a few times. Take a stroll through the small alleys and stop for the occasional cake or meatball break. On your next trip, take a walking tour (I can recommend OURWAY) to find out more about the history, told by the many streets, buildings and walls.

In den Straßen der Altstadt von Stockholm

Järnpojkes – the smallest sightseeing spot in Stockholm

Without the walking tour I might have never heard about the small Järnpojkes. Järnpojkes is famous for being the smallest sightseeing spot of the city. Touching its head is said to grant you a wish!

Barbara streichelt Järnpojkes Kopf

The locals treat it with affection: you can find it dressed in regularly changing scarfs as soon as it gets cold (of course handmade). Because everyone wants to dress the tiniest famous person in the old town!

Change of guards, churches, and museums

On your third visit you can have a look at the change of guards in front of the palace, visit the churches (especially the on where the crown prince couple got wed) or take a crash course in Stockholm history in one of the many museums.

For more background and experiences from Gamla Stan, have a look at TravelWorldOnline!

#2 Boat trip

I LOVE water and I LOVE traveling by boat. Therefore, I was already set on joining multiple boat cruises. I picked the following:

  • Historical Canal Tour
  • Under the Bridges of Stockholm
  • Good Morning Stockholm Tour
  • Drottningholm Boat Tour

Historical Canal Tour

Alte Mühle Stockholm

All four of them were exciting and I cannot tell which one I liked the most. The Historical Canal Tour was a great tour for starters with a lot of information around the city and its history.

Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tour

Spiegelung Brücke Stockholm

The Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tour actually took us to quite a few bridges! I was a little disappointed, that most of them were not really photogenic, though (in contrast to Copenhagen). I enjoyed the cruise nonetheless.

Good Morning Stockholm Tour

Auf Fjäderholmarna

The Good Morning Stockholm Tour took us to Fjäderholmarna, a small idyllic island about half an hour from Stockholm. There, you can take a short guided tour around the island and the rest until the boat departs for Stockholm again.

Drottningholm Boat Tour

The Drottningholm Boat Tour brings you to one of the palaces of the royal family. Since 1981 the Swedish Royals have their seat in the southern part of this building. They prefer the seclusion and privacy to the hustle and bustle of the big city, where they resided earlier. Since the trip takes about one hour one-way it is perfect to escape the inner city and just enjoy the breeze.

The palace itself is…. a palace. It is not very different from other palaces. It is pompous and “mighty”.

Schloss Drottningholm

In the rooms and halls that are freely accessible, you can see how the royal ladies (the palace was meant to be for females only) lived back in their days. Not only can you easily get lost in the many portraits and paintings, but also walk through palatial halls and imagine the life 200 years ago.

Some of the windows allow a view on the baroque garden. Now you can understand why this palace is also called the Swedish Versailles.

Schlossgarten Drottningholm

All boat tours were included in the Stockholm Card and didn’t cost me a single cent extra! By the way, the cruises alone had a higher equivalent value than the card itself…

#3 Metro tour

I wrote a separate article about my tour through Stockholm’s metro – that’s how amazed I was. Already during my first days in Stockholm I heard about the artistically designed stations. However, I never imagined how great they would actually be! That’s why I only got around to see them at the end of my stay.

Rådhuset:

Metrostation Kungsträdgården Stockholm.JPG

After only two stops I was convinced, that these metro stations are worth spending a whole day (and a whole article) on them. One of these two stations was Rådhuset, where I found these gigantic caves.

Sadly, I had already planned a mini cruise to Helsinki and Tallinn on the next day. However, I knew I would be back in a few days and would have several hours to explore before my train to Copenhagen left. That was my chance, to discover the beauty of Stockholm’s metro stations!

Said, done!

I arrived by ship on Thursday at 10am from Tallin and immediately made my way to the metro. I initially planned to leave my luggage at the central station but as I was sitting in the metro, I felt it would be a waste of time. So I spent the next 6h going from one station to the next – with 13kg on my back! People had to think I’m crazy, taking photos with my reflex camera and two backpacks on my back.

The result was definitely worth it!

Tekniska Högskolan:

Metrostation Tekniska Högskolan

Fridhemsplan:

Fridhemsplan

Solna centrum:

Metrostation Solna Centrum

Solna strand:

Metrostation Solna Strand

#4 Södermalm-Tour

Södermalm is a District of Stockholm where mostly young people live, love and laughs. In the center of it all is the area SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) with its unique stores (for example for eco-friendly jeans), art galleries and a dissolute nightlife. This is the place to be for party animals and all sorts of other eccentrics. The Berlin of the Swedish capital – or something like this.

Södermalm

This district is also the main setting for Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.

The most interesting thing about Södermalm is, however, its historical background. Even though Södermalm was mentioned in documents as far back as the 13th century, the first real development of the area happened only 500 years later. The reason are the steep cliffs surrounding the island, that made it hard to access. Therefore, only some worker accommodations were placed here and are still there in the north of the island.

Alte Häuser in Södermalm

Through the heightened position of said cliffs it’s a perfect spot for exciting viewpoint. If you are not keen on searching them you can always opt for the elevator, that gives you a fantastic view of Gamla Stan and the north of the city.

Aufzug Södermalm

So, if you are looking for the perfect mix of past and present you cannot miss a trip to Södermalm!

#5 Vasa-Museum

Vasa von vorne.jpg

The Vasa Museum has exactly one main attraction – the Vasa. In 1628, the ship sank on its first cruise, stayed on the ocean floor for 300 years and is unusually well preserved. Heavily damaged or even destroyed parts were replaced and now you can get a really good impression, how the six stories of the ship looked like before it sank 20 minutes after it left Stockholm harbor.

That’s what the Vasa looks like from the fifth story. You can almost touch it:

Vasa von hinten

The whole museum is dedicated to the ship and boat traveling of the past centuries in general. Scattered over the six stories are various showcases with smaller exhibition pieces and descriptions. Also the museum guides are always happy to tell you about the history of the ship.

For example, they explained to me that they were sure this is the Vasa because of the royal emblem at the rear.

Vasa Detail

#6 Skyview Stockholm

Blick auf einen anderen Globe

Skyview is some sort of gondola-elevator outside of the Ericsson Globe Arena in the south of Stockholm. Since 2010, two glass gondolas travel across bend metal tracks to the highest point of the arena at over 100 meters and offer you an undisturbed view across the city.

Beschreibung im Globe

The gondolas take up to 16 persons. One ride to the top or don takes almost five minutes each and the stop at the top takes the same amount of time. So there is ample opportunity for photos or videos or just taking in the scenery.

Handyvideo Globe Stockholm

The entry to the Skyview is also included in the Stockholm Card.

Weitere nützliche Tipps zu Stockholm:

Food and drinks

Stockholm is not a place for low budget travelers. But even here I managed to not spend more than 50 Euro for a whole week for food and drinks.

The first “trick” is pretty straightforward – the tap water in Sweden is of high quality and also very tasty. So there is really no reason to buy and water.

If it comes to food, I simply went into the grocery store and If I wanted to get some food outside, there’s always a Happy Meal from the big M. That’s only 3,50 Euro and together with an extra burger for one Euro it fills me up completely.

At one point I had a Walking Tour in the early morning and didn’t make it to the grocery store. I paid 10 Euros for a sandwich and some juice! I call that a lesson learned.

Accommodation

There are several Hotels in Stockholm. The prices are from 20 to 40 Euro a night. For the same you can also find an Airbnb.

I really treated myself this time: The last night before my mini cruise to Helsinki and Tallinn I spent in a Scandic hotel . That’s a hotel chain across all Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium and Poland. In Stockholm alone there about ten of their hotels.

One of them is the Scandic Ariadne, which is situated directly next to the cruise ship harbor. From here it’s only ten minutes by foot the Stockholm central station. That’s why I decided to spend a night in a fabulous room on the 15th floor and enjoy a nice, big bath tub.

Transport

A big WARNING before we go on: You cannot buy tickets on the busses in Stockholm. You can buy time cards directly at the metro station or as a paper card in every Pressbyran-Shop. For everything else, you need an SL Access Card that you can buy for 20 Kronen (2Euros) and then repeatedly recharge as needed. A 24-hour ticket is 115 Kronen (around 11 Euro), a 72-hour ticket is 230 Kronen (around 23 Euro) and a ticket for a whole week is 300 Kronen (about 30 Euro).

Sightseeing:

To get a good overview about what to do in Stockholm, feel free to have a look at GetYourGuide* !

Hui, that was pretty excessive, wasn’t it? Are you missing something? Leave a comment!

Deine Barbara

PS: The night in the Scandic Ariadne Hotel was sponsored. My opinion was not affected by this in any way. I received the Stockholm Card as part of the TBEX from Visit Stockholm.

PPS: All links marked with a (*) are affiliate links. Click here to find out more about the topic.

During my stay in Stockholm I did couchsurfing and stayed one night in the Scandic Ariadne 

You want to check out other accommodations?

Have a look at Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld* !

There is something for every budget!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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THE TRIANGLE CITY CRUISE

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A Digital Nomad in the Heart of Europe: Prague Edition

A Digital Nomad in the Heart of Europe: Prague Edition

GUEST POST ON A DIGITAL NOMAD IN THE HEART OF EUROPE: PRAGUE EDITION BY REBECCA BROWN

Prague is a city quite unlike any other, a rare example of the perfect blend of history and 21st-century life. If you’re embracing the nomadic style of working and living, it should be your next destination. With an eatery or coffee shop around every corner and plenty of culture and history to soak up during leisure hours, you’ll never be short of something to do.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in and take a look at everything one of Europe’s greatest cities has to offer to a digital nomad:

Prague is a city quite unlike any other, a rare example of the perfect blend of history and 21st-century life. If you’re embracing the nomadic style of working and living, it should be your next destination. With an eatery or coffee shop around every corner and plenty of culture and history to soak up during leisure hours, you’ll never be short of something to do.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in and take a look at everything one of Europe’s greatest cities has to offer to a digital nomad:

Charles Bridge

Prague Charles Bridge

One of the main advantages of your nomadic lifestyle is that you can most often work your own hours, and use the rest of your time to truly get to know your current surrounding. And since you have chosen Prague as your home for the next little while, what better place to start exploring than the magnificent Charles Bridge. Dating back to the 14th century, this marvelous piece of architecture is everything you would expect from a city rich in tradition and steeped in culture.

Take a stroll across it first thing in the morning when the sun is coming up or late at night when it is beautifully illuminated and you’ll be able to really get a feel for the city. If you also happen to have a hot mug in your hand and a slice of cake, the experience will be just a bit better.

The bridge is your connection between the two halves of the city, and from it, you can see most of the important sites you will want to explore in the next few weeks.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Second on your list of must-see attractions has to be Prague Castle. If the walls of this architectural marvel could speak, they would be able to tell you centuries-worth of stories in a single afternoon. No matter where you look, you’ll see something unique and can learn more about the history of the city and the Czech Republic in general. You will need to pay a ticket to enter some of the museums, but most of the castle is yours to roam. Going on a local tour might help, if you want to learn more than the average tourist.

Old Town offers an unrivaled range of eclectic little eateries, so you’ll never have to make do with coffee and a Danish from Starbucks if you don’t want to. Exploring the winding side streets and hidden avenues is what makes this area of the city so fun to be in. For centuries it has been the beating heart of Prague, and it’s a place you’re sure to spend a lot of time in from the moment you set foot in it.

If you find a library or cafe nearby that is calm and quiet enough to allow you to get down to some serious work, you’ll be able to base your working days in the heart of the city. Working in such a magnificent setting might inspire you to turn more productive and allow you to finish earlier than usual, and you might as well make the most of your time there, and enjoy some of the gorgeous food that is on offer all around you. Czech cuisine is known for its sausages and soups, but you can also grab something much healthier and lighter. You will soon get the hang of the best local shops, but try to stay clear of the main square and the streets surrounding it, and venture a bit further into the maze, as this is where the best places are usually hiding.

Stay Round the Corner from Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square

The final thing to think about when it comes to setting up shop in Prague for a while is where you’re going to stay. Luxury hotels for one weekend are one thing, but if you plan to stay here a while, you will need to find a better option. You can also always choose to stay in a hostel, but that might not exactly be the best working environment.

Your best bet is to find a sublet for a few months, and AirBnB* can help you there. You can also browse some of the local forums, but they might not often be in English. Finding a place that is a hop and a skip from Wenceslas Square might be a good option, as you will be located quite strategically to embrace everything Prague has to offer.

On the other hand, you can choose to stay in a village near Prague, and go into the city for the day, but the better option is to stay in the city, or even in the suburbs. No matter which part of town you choose, there will be a glorious architectural wonder quite nearby, and you can use your commute to get some steps in and explore. While the public transportation system in the city is great, you are much better off walking.

Pack your bags and laptop and head on over to Prague, whose hundreds of spires will enchant you in no time.

PS: The link with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link.

About the Author

Becca is an interpreter by day and mostly travels at night, can fall asleep on any means of transportation, and can most often be found either typing in a Starbucks, or armed with a backpack, ready to take on the latest in a series of hikes. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft.

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

Jerusalem – Israel für digitale Nomaden

DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

MEXICO

Rio de Janeiro – Brasilien für digitale Nomaden

DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

TARIFA

Spanien für digitale Nomaden

DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

SPAIN