Friday, 28 December 2007

Budapest - The Final Travel For 2007

The end is near! 2007 has been a very busy year. A lot of work and much more travel kept me active. The best that happened to me was to meet very special people over the world and some became very good friends. For me that is much more important then materialistic things. Looking back gets really difficult so, as usual, I look forward to the next year. Definitely I have to visit my friends and I hope some will be able to visit me as well.

Now at the last weekend of 2007 I will travel to Budapest via train and celebrate new year. My last travel in Budapest is incredible 23 years ago and a lot has changed. Communism is history and since a week also the borders between Hungary and Austria. Hungary is now a Shengen member and has to protect the outer EU-border well. It was very difficult to get a hotel room but now everything is arranged. Later I will give a short update of Hungary in 2008.

Monday, 17 December 2007

A Few Days In The Mountains...

I'm now sitting in the office and thinking about the wonderful days in the mountains in Salzburg. Hinterglemm was my destination of choice. The pension was just a few meters away from the race track and the owners very nice. Thursday was reserved for snowboarding only. The snow condition was great - powder snow and cold temperatures. Unfortunately the sky was heavily over cased and the sight distance was more than poor. On Friday I've decided to go on the mountains with a professional snowboarder to learn some new tricks. We had great weather with sunshine and we went snowboarding off the slope in the deep snow - it was great and exhausting!

On Friday the snow mobile event started and also "Rave On Snow". I’ve tried to combine these two events with snowboarding in-between and it worked out fine. A very cool location was the summit of the Schattberg with a very nice minimal house set. That was really a nice chill out in the sun with good music. Saturday was the same as Sunday – getting around and trying to get at least a glimpse of all actions.

On Sunday I had again a nice snowboarding session starting from Hinterglemm to Saalbach and back. It was a nice ride on a cold day and very relaxing. After fun in the mountains I’ve chilled a bit in my room before I took the long ride home in bus and train. I also have bought new snowboarding shoes and I want to try them out a couple of times this winter. I look forward for the next session in the snow.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Snow Mobile 2007

From the 13th to 16th of December 2007 in Saalbach Hinterglemm (Salzburg/Austria) there will be a snow mobile race through the center of a Hinterglemm. 20.000 people are expected to watch this race over two days. Beside this event there will be also another interesting event in Saalbach: Rave On Snow

I will attend both events and report from them. Besides reporting I will do some snowboarding. It will be the third time I’ve been in Saalbach Hinterglemm and I always had a great time there. Also this time I’m thinking about taking snowboard lesions to fine tune my skills. There is a nice snowboard school and attached to it a great bar in the cellar. I will go there when I get too much of the celebrities of the snow mobile event.

On Thursday the 14th I will get the opportunity to race in the press race. I did this already in 2005 and it was great fun.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Road trip: Novosibirsk - Irkutsk - Lake Baikal


Novosibirsk is the largest city of Siberia, the vast region of northern Asia east of the Ural Mountains. The journey started in Novosibirsk where I got on the Transsib to Irkutsk. I've heard a lot of this train and I also was looking forward to get a ride. The daily passenger train running the whole Moscow-Vladivostok distance takes about seven days and 9300km. The distance between Novosibirsk and Irkutsk is 36 hours and two time zones. Being in the train for so many hours made me understood the name of Siberia: The name Siberia comes from the Tatar term Sibir, meaning 'sleeping land.' It was fun watching villages and cities passing by and then hours of big forests of birch trees. The temperature was between -10°C and -20°C.

Irkutsk (Иркутск)

Irkutsk is the capital of Irkutsk Oblast, at the confluence of the Irkut and Angara rivers. It is a major industrial and commercial center. A large hydroelectric facility is here. A regional cultural center, the city has history and art museums, theaters, a symphony orchestra, and several institutions of higher learning, including a university. Irkutsk was founded in 1652 as a Cossack outpost and developed as a fur- and gold-trading center on the route to Mongolia and China; it was also used by the Russian government as a place of exile. Irkutsk is also the hub for a trip to lake Baikal where I intended to stay for one day.

Lake Baikal (Байкал)

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world with a maximum depth of 1,637 m. It is estimated to contain approximately one-fifth of all the earth's fresh surface water. The lake has an area of 31,500 km² and about 1,963 km of shoreline, making it the third largest lake in Asia, as well as the continent’s largest freshwater lake in terms of surface area. Baikal is known for the remarkable clarity of its waters and for the great diversity of its plant and animal life; the majority of species found in the lake are endemic. The sturgeon, salmon, and freshwater-seal fisheries of the lake are valuable, and large quantities of other fish are also caught. I've spent a wonderful time in a little village at the sea. This region is very famous and touristic - of course just for Russian tourists ;) I found a nice hotel made of wood - a bit log house. Beside the hotel is a dog sledging center where I took lesions in steering a dog sledge - that was a lot of fun and a very quick form of transport. At the evening and after a great dinner Banya was scheduled - the great hot Russian sauna. It's incredible hot and much over 100°C - makes a nice difference when you then go out to -20°C. The next I have bought a lot of fresh smoked fish at the local market. Now I have to persuade the check-in agent to allow me 5kg more weight. I'm curious how this will work out.

After all Russia was a great experience for me. It's a pity that the visa regulations are so strict and the Russian authorities make it difficult to get in the country. Once in you can expect a lot of adventures and friendly people. I look forward to come back soon again. As I have now an original Russian fur hat I'm now winter proof for -30°C.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Томск (Tomsk)

Tomsk is the capital of Tomsk Oblast in southern Siberian Russia. Tomsk, a major distribution center, is a port on the Tom’ River and is linked with the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Electrical equipment, ball bearings, chemicals, and footwear are manufactured in the city. The first university (1888) in Siberia is located here, as are several technical institutes. The city, one of the oldest in Siberia, was founded as a fortress in 1604. Population (2002): 487,700.

Tomsk was on Sunday my fist trip to another city from Novosibirsk. It is really a very nice and charming city with a great history. Many old houses got renovated recently and have now a new shine. I've liked very much the old wooden houses. After a walk in the warm (cold) afternoon sun (-10°C), the city museum was the place of choice to warm up. The trip to and from Tomsk was in a tiny intercity bus for four hours.

новосибирск (Novosibirsk)

Novosibirsk, formerly Novonikolayevsk, is the capital of Novosibirsk Oblast, in southern Siberia Russia, located on the Ob’ River. Novosibirsk is the largest city and one of the chief industrial centers of Siberia. Manufactures include mining equipment, turbines, textiles, chemicals, and heavy machine tools. It is the seat of a university and a scientific research center and has opera and ballet companies. The city, founded in 1893 as a stop on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, received its current name in 1925. During World War II (1939-45) many industries were moved to Novosibirsk from the combat areas of European USSR. Population (2002): 1,425,600.

Novosibirsk is the perfect starting point for me to discover the east of Russia. To get here I've booked a flight on S7 Siberian Airways for a very reasonable price. For about 85€ I got a 3.5h flight through two time zones and a full meal. I arrived Friday evening and it was announced snowfall and -16°C.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Fun in the Metro

Today, after business, I've decided to go to the red square at the evening. The Metro is considered to be the fastest and cheapest way of transport. Obviously that only is correct for Moscow citizens. Because the Russian Lonely Planet is so thick I've decided to leave it in the hotel. At the hotel reception I've asked for a metro map - The charming lady at the desk just shouted back: "We don't have that!". So I thought it will be easy to get around and just follow the signs. Buying a ticket was easy. Magnetic cards are used here where the number of drives are loaded onto. I found also very quick the right direction to the city center. Unfortunately then the problems begun. Because of the lack of public announces and sometimes the missing of station names I've got lost in transit. Of course everything is written in Cyrillic to make it more exciting for the foreigners.

After getting stranded outside the city I had to find out how to use the metro more effectively. Because I had now the feeling for up and down I could manage to interpret the Cyrillic signs quicker and finally made it to the red square. Now that I'm a professional Metro user it was easy to get back and changing the lines two times. Tomorrow I want to leave to Siberia to explore the wild country. I don't know what awaits me and my blog will be probably on hold for a few days...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

First Impressions Of Moscow

It was fascinating to finally arrive at the Аэропорт Домодедово (Domodedovo). The trip was nice and the visa was ok - then some difficulties appeared. First I couldn't get any rubles out of the ATM. Always a messages popped up with "No Funds". I've talked with an American guy and he had the same experience. Later i found out that this message only comes when there is no paper in the machine to print out a receipt! Obviously nobody prints out a receipt ;) Then the biggest adventure of the evening started: Traveling to the city center via Taxi. It was a good decision not to get a special offer pirate taxi but a serious company with a fixed price to be paid in advance. The airport is located 20 Km outside of the city - Unfortunately the city center is more in the south and surrounded by traffic jams. It took "4" hours to get to the hotel. So I have spent one hour more in the Taxi as in the plane.

The weather here is quite nice -4°C to -8°C at the moment. Not a big deal. I had also my big appearance at the fair today. I have presented to an audience of 50 people how I think airports can work efficiently and the challenges for the future. This was actually big fun because I was working with an interpreter. The lady was very charming and so I could tell them what I wanted. Tomorrow will also be a busy day at the fair. Russian airports will talk about their challenges in the new market.

On Friday I have to have a plan what I will do the next few days. I've already found out that running around at low temperatures is not so much fun - So i will check out a nice place and transportation there.

Monday, 19 November 2007



Last week I returned safe home from Ecuador and also my luggage arrived a few days later. After being in Austria such a long time I'm again on travel. Tomorrow I head to Russia for a business travel and a few days sightseeing. The most difficult thing is to get the Russian visa. I'm glad my colleagues from the company took care of that. Now I have two passports to travel! The visa was issued during my stay in Ecuador and I had to get a second pass for it.

This week I will attend a fair in Moscow. It's called Terminals-Russia 2007 and I will represent my company there. After the fair is over I will extend my stay and explore cold Russia. Actually it has -12°C and that is not very cold for Russia. I expect many strange experiences and will report soon from Russia.


Sunday, 11 November 2007

¡Fin De Viaje!

I'm now in the airport again and have a lot of time until the next flight to Guayaquil. The journey is: Quito - Guayaquil - Madrid - Vienna - Graz

This attempt started very well today. All the food and drinks I've ordered yesterday was on the bill of Iberia. Here in the airport I could manage to get in the lounge for free because I could convince the staff that I really would enjoy my stay there [...]

Meanwhile I'm at home! Yesterday Iberia staff came to me in the VIP lounge and guided me to the check-in. They stoped the queue at the check-in and let me enter first. Then all passengers have been transfered in two planes to Guayaquil where the big Iberia plane waited for us. Madrid was a nightmare becuase of the queues in front of all security checks and passport controls. Hundreds of people had to wait for a long time to get served.

In Vienna there was a surprise for me - My luggage got lost on the way and it was not able to trace where it is. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get an update where it is. The rest of the journey was a two hours ride with the train throgh mountainus Austria. In upper styria there was already a lot of snow - Time for winter sport!!

Now my journey is over and I'm a bit sad that this nice time is over now. I'm very happy that I met so many nice people on my trip and look forward to see them again - Either in Ecuador or somewhere around the world.


Stuck in Quito!!

I almost made it to Madrid this evening - but almost is not enough! After coming early to the airport it took ages to get checked in because the plane was fully booked after the accident yesterday. We had to wait a couple of hours until we received the information that the airport is closed because of air turbulences. The plane was already on the way to Quito but had to return back to Guyaquil. The next announcement - again after hours - was that we have to stay over night in Quito and continue the travel at the next day. Tomorrow we will fly to Guyaquil and from there to Madrid. there we will arrive about 7-8 in the morning.

I'm now in the Marriott in Quito and had a nice midnight snack. I could manage to get a single suite instead the double feature that the airline provided. Instead of waiting together with the other stranded passengers I've took a cab to the hotel and was the last passenger of the first group. Now I'll have a nice bath and seep a few hours until we get picked up to the airport.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Iberia jet skids off runway at Quito airport

I was already wondering why I didn't have major troubles with buses this time. The reason is simply that this time I have problems getting back to Austria. I just spend some time if Iberia flies today or not - The flight should be scheduled and I'm heading off for the airport now - Here is a report from the A.P.:

QUITO, Ecuador - An Iberia jetliner skidded off a runway in Ecuador on Friday, an airport official said, the second such incident in the last four months. No injuries were reported.

At least one tire burst on the landing gear of the plane as it touched down, causing it to slide off the runway tipped on its wing, airport director Diego Pachel said.

He said the Airbus A340-600 - the largest aircraft authorized to land at Quito's Mariscal Sucre airport - took off from Madrid and was carrying 330 passengers.

On Aug. 31, the tires of another Iberia jet from the Spanish capital burst upon landing in the Ecuadorean capital. No injuries were reported. (AP)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Cuenca - Colonial Jewel On The South

Today I'm in Cuenca. After an early (05:00) and rather short trip to Guayaquil I've managed to get a express connection to Cuenca. On the road I've passed also the national Park "Cajas". This was great because the landscape is very unique. High mountains, lakes in the valleys and mosey green everywhere. Defenitly worth a visit! After arriving in the city I immediately went to the airport to get a ticket for Friday back to Quito. I didn't want to spend 10h in a Bus again. The ticket was quite affordable - 63$ for a 45min flight.

I'm here in a nice hostel - "El Monasterio". Its continently located in the city center AND at the 6th floor. That means a great view over the Plaza de San Francisco and the city. It's just around the corner of Parque Calderón - the finest plaza in town. As already mentioned the city has charm and is more laidback then Quito. I've visited today a Panama hat (sombrero de paja toquilla) factory and learned how the hats are produced. I have also decided to buy a classic Panama in beige. With the new sombrero I've walked further on and found some Inca ruins and also the main city museum with an impressive collection of live and life in Ecuador. There is also an exhibition with "shrink heads". Human heads shrunken to a size of a tennis ball - Ancient tribes wore these heads to demonstrate their power over enemies.

Tomorrow I will fly back to Qutio and prepare for my leave on Saturday. My journey will be finally over on Sunday late night.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Montañita - Surfers Paradise

I'm now finally in Montañita. It was a very long travel from Quito to Montañita. It took almost two days in tiny andean busses. I've chosen the route Quito - Latacunga - Quevedo - Manta - Montañita. This city is very laidback. Just surfers and some other stranded people are here. No "peligroso" all the time - That is very special for me. Yesterday, in Quevedo, I've decided to take a little walk to the central bus station which is located in the suburbs of the city. Unfortunatley I didn't find it at once and so I had to ask a taxi driver for assistance. This guy was very astounded that I made it through the slums without being bothered.

Today was totaly reserved for chilling and sufing. It was a perfect day - just the weather was a bit disturbing. It was rainy and foggy all day! But after this nice day I will proceed tomorrow to Cuenca - This will take about 12h busride if everythings works out smooth. In this city I will buy me a nice Panama hat and then proceed back to Qito.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

A Weekend In Baños

I'm now currently in Montañita, a little village at the coast. The last few days have been very busy and there was no time for a Blog update. Last weekend I have been with Joke, Marion, Will, John Paul, Hannes and Chris in Baños. This is not a toilet, it is a region in central Ecuador. It's also surrounded by Volcanoes as Quito but it is a special place for outdoor activities and thermal springs. We arrived Friday evening and met some other Europeans at dinner. Later we teamed up with them and visited some bars and had fun. Before going home we went to the local sightseeing attraction - a big waterfall. Spontaneously there was an idea to strip our clothes and get into the waterfall - at 3:00 in the morning! We had a lot of fun fooling around in the cold water. Some random Ecuadorians, still awake at this time, had cheap and fun entertainment by watching us. The next idea was to join some Ecuadorians having a party beside their car on the parking place beside the waterfall. We joined them in our wet underwear and had even a dance with them.

The rest of the Baños adventure was also very nice. On Saturday we had an extensive hike at the surrounding mountains. We could manage to see the volcano Tungurahua spitting out massive loads of ash and loud rumbling noise. After the hike we managed to get home in a truck.

On our final day, on Sunday, we went Canyoning. This is a sport when you hike down a canyon and jump or use ropes to climb down some obstacles. It was great fun and afterwards we had also nice grilled fish fresh from the river.

The only problem we had was our ride back to Quito. It was heavily raining at the afternoon and that caused a massive landslide. The bus had a delay of several hours and we finally arrived back in Quito at Monday morning at 1:00. Overall it was a perfect weekend with great friends!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Rucu Pichincha

Sunday was the "big" day for having a hike to one of the highest surrounding volcanoes of Quito. Together with friends from Spanish school we met at the TeléferiQo. Eighteen gondolas soar up the walls of the mountain range to the west of Quito leading to the Pichincha Volcanoes. We have expected an easy walk but just at the very first beginning the altitude of 4100m was to high for one of our friends. He had to go back! The rest of the hike up to the summit was very exhausting.

It took us at least 3.5h to reach the top. To be on top of this volcano was a great feeling. We even could see a falcon very close to us and then taking of down the crater. We spent some time there in 4680m to enjoy the sun and then went back down again. One of the most strangest things was that we have met several Austrians on the hike. They came from Vienna to Voralberg. Some have been teaching, others have been working voluntarily and a few have been there for vacation.

Back in Quito we've rested a bit before we went for a "all you can eat" Mongolian dinner. It was really great to have this nice day fade out with a good meal and nice people.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Cuban Son - Ecos De Siboney

This weekend was full of activities. On Friday I've decided to go to the city center after class and have dinner. I took the trole bus and suddenly at a bus station I saw a stage and a few guys playing music. So I got out of the bus and listened them a while. The group after them was a big surprise. It was a well known group from Cuba: "Ecos De Siboney". The music was a mix of traditional Cuban son and other influences. The crowed was also in great mood and danced a lot in front of the stage. I also had to dance because there is no way to stay in front and don't dance. I met some really nice people there and after the concert we had a nice time in a bar called "Bungalow". There we continued dancing till the late night.

Friday, 26 October 2007

El Panecillo y Centro Histórico

Today I've decided to go sightseeing after Spanish class. The end of my class is usually at 16:30 but it always finishes later. Nevertheless I was out of school around 17:00 and took the Trole bus (electro bus with a dedicated lane) to the historical city center. The center is really beautiful. The government has really put effort in polishing up the city. Many historical buildings are renovated or are in progress. The whole city is well illuminated and there are just a few places where its highly recommended not to go. By incident I have walked around in these areas and it was perfectly safe. From time to time I met some people who were surprised to see a gringo at night walking around.

After walking around in the city I decided to go up a mountain close to the city center. Its called el Panecillo and has on top a statue called "la virgin de Quito". Of course I didn't pay attention to the guides and locals recommending avoiding going up by foot. Going up the stairs was like hell for me! The little hill was at the end 200m high and the top is over 3000m. But after arriving at the top it was great. Feeling dizzy and elevated without drugs ;) I've spent some time at the hill until it was dark. Then I went down to the city center where I've again walked around and had a look at the colonial buildings.

Tomorrow is Friday and weekend is coming up. I didn't yet decide to stay in Quito or make a short trip to the surrounding villages and volcano's - Let's see what comes out!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

First days in Quito

After arriving on Sunday I didn't have much time to explore the city. I was busy attending Spanish lesions. My schedule is 4 hours at the morning and 3 at the afternoon. After so much Spanish the my brain hurts. But I already have learned a lot. The lesion is 1:1. That means one teacher one student. There is no time to relax but this method is most sophisticated.

Today I made a big walk through the city. Quito has a historical part with colonial buildings and a new part - called "Gringolandia". There are no ruins from the pre-Spanish times left! The weather is most interesting here. First of all you have all seasons in one day and second is the crazy weather. At one side of the street in can rain and when you cross the street the other has sunshine. You must be prepared for every weather condition here. The temperatures are quite constant. All the year between 9 and 14 degrees Celsius. People also ask me here if I don't need a jacket ;)

Monday, 22 October 2007

First Impressions

After arriving in Quito I had to look for a place to stay and a Spanish school. Both was quite easy to find and I'm now staying in a simple hostel for two weeks and visit the school around the corner. It's the Crisóbal Colón Spanish school. They have a 1:1 student teacher system and I've already met a teacher. Her English is just a little better as my poor Spanish. So I expect to have a hard time.

The weather here is cloudy and raining and between 9-12°C. After all not so bad for an altitude of 2850m. Tomorrow I will check out the city and see if I can take some interesting pictures.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Back To School - In Ecuador

Ecuador: This is the country where I will try to improve my lousy Spanish. Because I need more practice I've decided to go to school - and only to school without being disattracted! At least two weeks are planned to attend one of the over 80 language schools in Quito.

The journey will start in Graz where I get into the train to Vienna and then to the airport. With Iberia I will fly to Madrid and stay there over night in an airport hotel. At Sunday noon I will take the plane to Quito. I have good memories of such an airport hotel in Madrid. A few years ago at such a stay, the hotel staff forgot to scramble the adult entertainment channel - It only was blocked in the morning - as far as my red eyes could recognize.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Tough Guy Competition

Tough Guy claims to be the world's most demanding one day survival ordeal. Certainly, it has cause for that claim.

The original, held in Perton near Wolverhampton, is organised in England by former British Army Officer Billy Wilson, who claims nobody has ever finished the entire course according to his extremely demanding rules. Taking place in mid-winter (at the end of January) and summer (at the end of July), Tough Guy consists of an "eight country mile" run followed by a very muddy, very cold assault course which includes such obstacles as crawling under barbed wire, running over burning bales of hay, swimming in underwater tunnels and crawling through underground pipes.

In January 2006 some 4515 competitors entered, but only 3235 are recorded as having completed the course in times ranging from 1 hour 17 minutes to over four hours. At various points on the course and throughout the day, competitors are encouraged to shout "Yohimbe!". The organizer, Mr Mouse, claimed in a 2007 newsletter that this is a Zulu battle cry meaning "My dick's bigger than yours", originating from the use of the bark of the Yohimbe tree as an erectile stimulant.

The Tough Guy event has raised money for the Horse Sanctuary at Mr Mouse Farm for Unfortunates since 1986

Erwin, Hannes and Harald have been our three brave runners. They have done a great job finishing the run under three hours. The conditions have been perfect for the run. Nice weather with sun but not too hot. It was an extreme challenge but successful and without any losses. The run has been documented by the loyal fan crowd: Lydia, Petra and of course me. We have shot many pictures from the race to have every painful obstacle documented.

After this challenge there is only one open question: Where will be the next extreme challenge for our heroes - and will Richard ever join?


Tough Guy, July 2007

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Turkey, a road trip

After Paris and a week in Germany I've decided to go on a short travel again. Turkey is one of the countries I have already been many times. I love the mixture of culture, history, religion and of course the people.

My starting point was Side – Its location is on the southern coast near the villages of Manavgat and Selimiye (75 km from Antalya) in the province of Antalya in Turkey. Side was one of the most important trade centers in its time (6th century BC).

From this great place I've started three trips:

  • City of Manavgat
  • Pamukkale
  • Cappadocia


Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in south-western Turkey in the Denizli Province. The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle". It can be seen from a great distance, eg. when driving down the hills on the opposite side of the valley to the town of Denizli, which is 20 km away. Pamukkale is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which enjoys a temperate climate over the greater part of the year.

From Side it was a two days trip to Pamukkale including a night in the village of Pamukkale. I've chosen to take an organized tour because of the great price of the package. If you can resist the shopping opportunities on such organized trips it’s really a good deal. On the way back we also visited a remote village to visit a mosque. After that we had 10 minutes time to explore the city. That was time enough for me to get invited to a marriage parte with food and drinks. It was great to experience the hospitality of the village people - without being able to speak English!


I have been in Cappadocia before - It was a travel organized by the government of Turkey and the Austrian Journalist Club. One of the main reasons to come back is the great nature and the great history of this region. First traces of settlements can be dated back to 6500 BC! King Croesus, Alexander the great and early Christian leaders are linked to this area. There is too much to tell about this area so I recommend everyone to get an own impression.

The tour was very professional organized. The guide could answer all kind of questions and gave us a lot of background information. On the way to and back from Cappadocia we have visited the city of Konya - one of the world's oldest cities, with excavations revealing settlement from as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The early Christians Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas preached here.


Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Fête De La Musique, Paris

The Fête de la Musique is a festival taking place on June 21. It's also the summer solstice most of the time. It began in France and has since spread to over 130 countries and 400 cities all over the world. The international development of the Fête de la Musique is the result of the firm implication of French cultural networks outside of France and local operators.

The idea was conceived by French Music and Dance director Maurice Fleuret for Minister of Culture Jack Lang in 1981 and first took place in 1982.

It is the occasion of a mass celebration which has grown more and more successful over the last two decades.

Its purpose is to promote music in two ways:

  • Amateur musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets. The slogan Faites de la musique (make music), a homophone of Fête de la Musique, is used to promote this goal.
  • Many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public.
  • This is one of the only nights in the year where, under French law, there is no sound restriction at nighttime. One can party on without being bothered by neighbors calling the police.
For me this was the perfect opportunity to visit my friends Caro and Loïc in Paris. Since my last visit they are now a happy family with a great little boy called Lucas.

For me this was the perfect opportunity to visit my friends Caro and Loïc in Paris. Since my last visit they are now a happy family with a great little boy called Lucas.

Caro and her cousin Andreas have accompanied me to the grand concert at the Hippodrome d' Auteuil with an audience over 100.000 people. Over 30 bands and singers have been on stage like: Yannick Noah, Shy'm, Vitaa, Kamini, Mika, Avril Lavigne, Calogero, Christophe Willem, la troupe le Roi Soleil, David Guetta, Laurent Voulzy, Bob Sinclar, Tokio Hotel Christophe Maé, Clara Morgane ...

It was amazing to see what's going on that day in Paris. Coming home was just a bit tricky - because of the masses going home we decided for a nice walk through the city. Almost an hour later we arrived exhausted but happy at home.

The rest of my stay was also great. Beside of the great time with my friends I have visited the musée du quai Branly. It's a brand new museum and has many expositions of the culture of the world. I was lucky to go there because outside it was raining all the time.
I have also visited a sports event in the parc de la Villette. It was the finals of the mountain bike big air contest from Nissan. International riders could prove in the contest their skills in jumping over big hills of dirt and performing tricks. It was exciting to watch the tricks and to see what's possible to do with a simple bike.

Overall it has been again fantastic to visit Paris and I look forward to come soon again - latest at the next fête de la musique.


Fête de la Musique, Paris

Sunday, 20 May 2007

springseven festival - a short review

Here is a recent photo update for all who have missed the extraordinary springfestival this year. The festival was a big success and many locations had to be closed temporarily because the venues reached the maximum capacity of people. It was great fun to meet so many different people. It doesn’t matter if someone is a superstar or just a local DJ – The personality is important!

The festival was running very smoothly this year. No organizational problems and a pleased audience have let us reach again a new level at the 7th year of the springfestival series. The challenge next year, beside of the line-up, will be to find new venues that are bigger and accepted from the audience.

Because the festival was for me a maximum fun and pleasure please check the following links for more detailed information about the festival. Check out also the audio and video streams from the festival.


Official Homepage:

Radio FM4 Blog:

Radio FM4 Video Blog:

R4NT Blog:

Photo gallery:

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

springseven festival - may 16th to 19th

Exciting!! Just a few hours away and the annually springfestival is back again! This time I don’t have to travel - The world of music is coming to Graz!

springseven, the biggest festival for electronic art and music in Austria, is going into its 7th year in 2007, and will once again transform Graz from May 16th onwards into a throbbing metropolis of vivid pop-culture.

The springfestival is not only the only festival in Graz which takes place on a regular basis but it is also unique in Austria: * 5 Days * 4 Nights * 12 Locations * 250 DJs, Live-Acts and Visual-Artists * 18.000 Attendants make springseven one of the most important events for DJ- and club culture in Central Europe.

2007 will once again see a sensational and unequalled line-up, including the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Turntable Rocker, EZ Rollers, 4 Hero, Shantel, Plump DJs, Jazzanova, Carl Craig, John Acquaviva, Jazzanova, Rainer Trüby, Stacey Pullen, Etienne de Crecy, Alex Gopher and many more. Find more information about the festival and the line-up here:

During these days I’ll take care of the top acts and also ensure that the festival runs smoothly. As usual there will be almost no time to sleep because the venues close in the early morning and the first artists come/leave Graz. It’s great to meet all these open and friendly creative artists and I already look forward to spring 08.

Shuttle bus:

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Morocco - Review and pictures

Finally I'm home again. It was not easy to get to the airport in Casablanca in time but with a bit flexibility everything is possible.
Morocco was a great experience: Friendly people, rural areas, strange offers… all packed in a week long road trip. Every day at least five people wanted to sell me hash - Top quality - (00) and they call it chocolate. I have also met a few people with international travel experience - Drug couriers with international clients.

Another daily experience was that some man wanted to be very "friendly" with me. I think they want to fuck everything blond with blue eyes - even it’s a sheep ;) As usual I haven't bought any presents or souvenirs. Without pressure I could sit down with the trickiest carpet sellers and have a cup of mint tea. Travelling Morocco is still very adventurous if you are on your own. Since I'm not fluent in French it was an extra challenge for me. The Moroccans speak many languages (Berber, Arabic, French..) but English comes on 4th place if you are lucky.

The most importing thing is to know to whom you are speaking. There are many locals who just want to take advantage over travellers. There are also many fake guides who just want to offer you their service. The best thing to answer is always "emshallah". Then you always can rely on god's will if things happen or not.

I have set up a little photo gallery with the pictures of the trip so you can have a few impressions where I have been.

Photo gallery:

Morocco, May 2007

Thursday, 10 May 2007


This is my final post from Morocco. I can type now quite well on the French-Arabic keyboard and its now also quite easy for me to get around. I have just been at the market and bought me some supply for the beach: Water, Oranges, Nuts and something to smoke. Essaouira is a very old town with a long history for trade. In former times with goods from the Sahara and now it became a really busy fishing port. There are very many tourists in town but its still low season - The high season is in summer when it gets really hot in Morocco. Then Marrocians from all over the country to this place because its so windy here. The wind blows constantly all the time and the Atlantic sea is also colder then any other place in Morocco.

Yesterday I had a very special dinner. I met a Marrocanian guy and invited him for dinner. We went together to the market and bought some fresh fish. The we also bought all the ingredients for salad and side dishes. After that we went to a special restaurant where you bring all the stuff that you want to have cooked and the cook makes a perfect and authentic meal out of that.

After the Internet cafe I will go to the windy beach and enjoy my last days in Morocco. On Friday I travel back to Casablanca (6-8h) and then directly to the airport. At the weekend I prepare the pictures for the photo gallery.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Marrakesh - Heart of Morocco

Yesterday evening I took the overnight bus from Fes to Marrakesh - It was scheduled for 20:00 and arrival 8.5 hours later. In Morocco you alwas have to add the word: en'shallah (as God will). The trip was in a modern bus but without heating - After all I have spent 10 hours in a moving freezer. Finally arrived the next challenge was waiting for me. I didn't have a hotel. But it was not a big problem. Because the sun was already out and the streets got busy I found very quick a nice Ibis hotel. The only problem was that Check-in was at 12:00. I decided to check out the city in the early morning - Also a big challenge for me! After walking around i had to rest 2 hours in different parks because I felt quite smashed after two nights with only little sleep.

After having a rest in the hotel I went back to the city - after a nice one hour power walk I've reached the Medina and "La Place" The big square in the old Medina - unique in Morocco. Between hundreds of tourists there have also been many locals to see artists performing (Drums, belly dancing, story telling, snake teasing and so on..). After watching the performances I had a very long walk through the souks (bazaar). I got a little bit lost but after two hours I was back on the square and ready to eat a nice bean soup. After the Internet cafe I will head home and have again a rest. Maybe on the way a mint tea or some coffee.

Tomorrow I plan to travel to Essaouira. This place is located at the Atlantic ocean and should be quite fine. Jimmy Hendrix and Oscar Wild have been there - also some scenes from the movie "Alexander" have been shot there. I'll probably stay there for two days if it's OK. I have to be back in Casablanca at Friday night to catch my plane - en'shallah

Monday, 7 May 2007


After having some interesting experiences in Casablanca I've decided to travel to Fes. This is one of the oldest cities in Morocco and located in the central northern part. Getting out of Casablanca was not so easy and I decided to take a train. Buying a ticket is easy to get proper information when the train is arriving is almost impossible. Its best just to go there and wait. Almost five hours in the train I arrived in Fes. My main idea was to find a hotel and then have a walk through the city. In the city I have met Omar - a crazy guy and member of a local gang. With him I had a crazy time in several old houses of old Medina. Its too much to explain in detail what happened but the day ended at 5 in the morning in a "disco". I've learned that a "piano bar" is like a western disco and a "disco" is a pricey area with traditional live music.

After arriving in Fes my camera displayed a message with "card error" all pictures are lost - but I have managed to get a new one. After Cyber Hatim the next challenge is to get to Marrakesh. It will be a pretty long travel and I will arrive late at night. So long for now and I try to slow down a little bit.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

First Impressions

I had a rough start on Friday. Because of the renovation of a runway in Frankfurt the plane unable to start for two hours. People started to behave strange and begun to sing and shout through the plane. I am now in Casablanca and writing this blog on a French keyboard - I think they call it clavier ;) Today I strolled through the city and met many crazy people. The most loony one had foam at his mouth and tried too touch my hair by shouting salaam alaikum. I have met also several drug dealers and have seen some of the suburb slums. Tomorrow I plan to take the train to the city Fes at northern Morocco. I hope that my french is good enough to manage everything for the travel. After Fes I might go to Marrakesh.

There is of course much more to write but Internet after midnight is expensive and I will have my next thè at a proper Internet cafè!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Morocco - Here I come!

Morocco: المملكة المغربية

I'm now preparing to go to Morocco today. I have done all my preparations: buying a Lonely Planet and making a reservation for a hotel in Casablanca. Usually I check the hotels on site but because I arrive quite late (midnight) I took the easy way and booked a nice cheap hotel in advance. It will be a standard travel for me - I don't know exactly what to do but I will ask people there to help me around. I want definitely to see some spots around Casablanca. Swimming, or better surfing, would also be nice. Depending on the number of internet cafes I try to give a regular update what's going on.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Finally getting started!

Inspired by a good friend who also travels a lot I've decided to start my own blog. This should help my friends to keep track of me, where I am and what I do all the time. It happens to me myself when I reflect the last few months that I forget some places where I have been. Distributing photos should also be much easier since I don't have to send them via email.

I always have the feeling that I'm not travelling so much and that I need to go out and see something new in the world. In future I would love to visit much more my friends over the world. Sometimes that is very difficult without proper planning because of visa restrictions. I'll start my blog with a short travel report from last month when I was snowboarding with friends in Obertauern.

Snowboarding in Obertauern (April 07)

This was one of the rare times of the year when I manage to go on a short vacation with friends. We decided on short term to go snowboarding to Obertauern (Salzburg/Austria). It was just a few days ahead of Easter when we received our booking confirmation for a "special" penthouse. Mathias and I had the honour to get the key from the receptionist. She advised us to be careful when we enter the room because of the tiny door and to get drunk before we see the room - And she was right! The room was a crappy emergency room with a low ceiling and everyone has hit his head on the door frame. The worst thing was the price: 40€ per night and person! Next time we will book a place in advance!

Beside the room everything other was great. We had perfect weather conditions (always sun) and just enough snow for snowboarding. In the morning the snow was compressed and hard. Later on it turned to be perfect until noon. At the late afternoon the snow got wet and heavy. But nevertheless it was really nice to be there. We had also a nice time at "Après-Ski". Just the drinks there have been much too sweet and strong for me.

The evenings have also been very nice. It was entertaining for all of us! Stefan and Mathias had fun to talk with new friends and I have enjoyed also the night life. For me it’s a bit strange to see all these "sportive" people at night at the bars to see them hanging out, getting drunk and trying to get laid.

So, that was the first report for a quick start. I have yesterday decided to go to Morocco for a week to do some nice things. I want to see the great history of this country and travel around. At the evening I expect to chill out with a shisha (water pipe) and have something nice to eat.

Picture gallery: