Athens without the Crowds: 10 Tips to enjoy the Classic City

Athens is great: almost year-round sunshine, close to the Mediterranean Sea, safe, brimming with ancient history and museums full of artefacts, the food is excellent, and many people speak English. But this means it is extremely popular, and do not let the recent Greek economy crisis years fool you: tourism is what works well in Greece, and in the summer, the path up to the Acropolis is closer to a stampede than an intense dialogue with ancient history. So, here are my tips for that relaxed Athens...

Move almost accomplished!

At the beginning of a new year, we expect to be full of plans, energy and perhaps some resolutions how to do better  – or maybe have a full list of them? I hope you had a great start to the new year, and that your plans and wishes will be fulfilled. I started 2018 in the rain with a half-finished bottle of Gaillac sparkling wine, a wet cat and not a firework in sight, but with some of my family, so it was good! A day...

My Personal World Heritage Tour: Paleochora, Aegina

It has become a fashion to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While this is a great endeavour (beats getting drunk, quad biking in the desert and elephant riding, yes?), it can be a bit hard to tick them all of (there are currently 1073) or to keep track of them, as new ones are added every year, and Dresden (??!!)  has been taken off, and some appear just a bit dull. But I admit I have a certain fascination with them, and I tried to compile a list of...

Volcano to Kailua-Kona… back round the other side of Big Island

We’re half round the island, and just another three days until we return hone to very early nights and frost, and yet  we’re just been away from home a week – that’s what happens when you start a new job and move house. We better explore as much as much as possible of this beautiful island, which is possible if you have the right transport – your own car. So, healthy breakfast first, as we tossed half a pineapple and a papaya into the blender, along with...

Research Post: Japan Traditional Ceramics Dream Trip ( WARNING: a rather wordy post)

I love Japan, and I love beautiful things. So it comes as a surprise that I have never been deeply into the Japanese art of ceramics. I was lucky enough to visit Japan three times, and every time I would go to one of the small shops in or near Tsukiji fish market and pick up some pretty but inexpensive bowls, sake cups and rectangular plates, or a bento box.  I bought a small vase in a flea market in Himeji and marvelled at its perfectly imperfect...

Where to paddle, surf and duck-dive on the Big Island of Hawaii

Please expect this post to be short. I am a rubbish surfer but I love it. When stand-up paddling came along, it was my saving grace, but due to the lack of waves here in Brandenburg, I am still no good.  I am middle-aged, fat and have bad hips, but I love surfing, or, to be exact, stand-up paddle boarding. So would I try to catch a a wave when in Hawaii? Of course! And if I can do it, nothing should stop you. The Big Island...

Haiku No. 4

Friday is Haiku Day! Fairy Lights outside but winter cold and darkness grips me hard 屋外のフェアリーライト      Okugai no fearīraito 冬の寒さと暗闇                      fuyu no samu-sa to kurayami 私を強く握る                          watashi o tsuyoku nigiru Yeah, it probably makes no sense whatsoever in Japanese, but it’s kinda fun to stick it into Google Translate. I really wanted something a bit sunnier ‘n funnier but the dark wet weather...

Aegina Island, the Sleeping Beauty

If you’re in Athens and want to spend some time at the beach, you could take a tram down to Glyfada – it’s a decent option. Better though, take a ferry from Piraeus to Aegina. Aegina is a decent sized island in the Saronic gulf offering  many “typically Greek” attractions: a small traditional port, beautiful sea for swimming and nice beaches, and some ancient culture (Classic and Byzantine in this case). From the centre of Athens, the Metro takes less than 30 minutes to Piraeus, then there...

An Ode to the Atlanta Hotel, Bangkok

The Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok is one of the oldest hotels and one of the quirkiest places to stay in this thriving and expanding city. Set deeply back in the 1950’s, lacking the ultramodern comforts that have become standards in city hotels, and applying a moral policy that some find not just obsolete but offending, it wouldn’t be an obvious choice for the independent traveller. So why stay there? Just check this out: A cat concierge. That alone would be a reason to visit, right? In fact,...

An Ode to the Atlanta Hotel Restaurant

The Atlanta Hotel is a special case. So, after writing my ode about that one, I felt serving up a huge extra portion about the equally special  restaurant in the same post would be a bit too much. Especially since I appear to have eaten there quite a lot (and have taken enough photos to fill an extra post), so here is a taste of things to come. But first, let me take you for breakfast at the AH! Restaurant. I really wish you will go and...