Pai-Land in Thailand – Winter 2016/2017

The farmers in the north start to burn the fields and mountains every year a bit earlier. And I do not like to sit in the smoke all day and night. The particles are super small and go really deep into your lungs. And with plenty of places to choose it is easy to avoid. So I took a 2 months visa only – that leaves about 7 weeks for Pai.
Still I will bring a proper mask next year. It is also very useful in other places where it is dusty and smoky here in Asia and back home.

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Trip to the highest Mountain of Pai – Doi Thong

After a few days in Bangkok it was time to go up north. The night bus to Chiang Mai and the mini bus to Pai. Here are a few pictures from this winter season and I take you to Doi Thong!
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Pai river with the big Buddha in the mountain

Back in Thailand – Winter 2016/2017

Enough of the zigzagging round Europe. Time to see some sunshine and blue sky. Mid November it was – time to fly to BKK. Did book the flight quite early this year after all the cheap offers in my mail box. 528€ with Lufthansa from STR over FRA to BKK. Back BKK over ZHR to STR. Of course the cheapest offer was 430€ with China and I got it after I booked the ticket.
So my Lufthansa flight was Wednesday the 23rd and Monday evening two days before the flight Lufthansa pilots announced they will strike. Starting Wednesday! Great news!
So Lufthansa has a hotline – but only one or two people working that hotline I guess – and after about 10 to 15 minutes the computer tells you to go to the web site and change the flight yourself. So I tried the web site and the phone at the same time. Guess a few more people tried that as well. Nothing worked – every time I had changed the ticket the server gave me an error – so I looked up the Lufthansa number in New York and VOIP them. 6 minutes later I was rebooked to Swiss from STR over ZHR to BKK the same day as the original flight. No sure why Lufthansa can not even deal with a strike that they know is coming? And it was not even the first time. I really have to change back to one of the Golf airlines again.

The first leg was quite nice – small plane and all. The second leg was impossible – I had more leg room in the small propeller plane!! Absolute no space to move – and not only me. That was a quite new Boeing 777-300ER – and do you think you can move the screen? If the person in front of you leans back your movie is over – unless you lean back as well. What a BS! Even the average customer was complaining. To bad I have the same plane on the way back 🙁

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Pilsen for a beer or two – Part 2

The rest of the pictures from the last trip to Pilsen or Plzeň. The forecast called for rain so I only took the iPhone 6 to take pictures – and it did not rain and I was not happy. The quality of the pictures is just not the same as with a DSLR. Still the best camera is the camera you have with you! Next time I bring the Canon – rain or shine!

Entrance to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Boy oh boy what a tourist trap. If you like to visit a brewery – go and visit. It is way cheaper than the Guinness brewery for example but do not eat there or drink a beer. Or drink one beer so you can say I had a beer at the brewery.
We decided to save the entrance fee and invest that money into craft beer!

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Pilsen for a beer or two

Another loooong weekend to burn. This time we went to Pilsen or Plzeň in the Czech Republic.
You might wonder why the pilsner type blond lager is called Pilsner – yes the first Pilsen was brewed right here. Pilsner Urquell is the original pilsner and first pale lager beer in the world. The people of the city where not happy with the beer the local brewers brew. So the city officials asked Josef Groll, a Bavarian brewer, to develop a better beer. On 5 October 1842, Groll had a new mash ready and on 11 November 1842, the new beer was first served at the feast of Saint Martin markets. Everybody was happy so they brew it till today.
A long time ago I passed Pilsen on a train. I saw only the train station but I knew – one day I will be back here.

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Trip to Lago di Garda – Part 2 – Riva del Garda

After a good breakfast at Apart Pension Bergfrieden in Nauders we pointed the car south towards Riva del Garda and crossed the border to Italy.

The fourteenth century bell tower of Graun is all you can see from the village after the dam construction.

The Swiss company Elektrowatt wanted to build a dam in Switzerland but the people of Splügen did not like it too much. So they voted against it. Why like this? Elektrowatt went to Italy! They paid 30 million Swiss francs to the Italian company Montecatini for constucting the dam (in exchange for 10 years of electricity). The people of Graun where not so successful and a few years later 163 homes where submerged.
Lago del Garda

Yes I know what you say – this is a big tourist trap – and you are right. But if you find a reasonable hotel and do skip the restaurants it is still very affordable and you can enjoy the lake and views of the mountains. Swimming in the lake is also free if you dare!
Booked at Hotel Canarino only a few steps from the Piazza Tre Novembre. They have a pool area, sauna and a salt grotto. Interesting! The room was nothing special but we had the view over the pool with mountains in the back. Big buffet style breakfast with lots of options to choose so we never went hungry down to the lake.

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Trip to Lago di Garda – Part 1 – Memmingen to Nauders

Coming back from Heidelberg I was still not motivated to start working. A few days more – only a few please. So I asked my boss and he was not really happy but in the end he said: Yes. Great! (It really does help when you are your own boss!)
Heike was never at the Lago di Garda so it was time to show her a bit of it. Some people have to work so we could not start before noon. And if you want to go down to the lake before nightfall you can only drive the highway. I like the smaller roads more – you see more and you can stop and enjoy the view more often. And spearing the Alps in the tunnel is no fun as well. You should take the pass to cross them. So the first stop was Memmingen for lunch.

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A few Days in Heidelberg


Back in Stuttgart from the Summer 2016 trip and the sky was blue, the sun was out and it was warm – very warm. Could not really start to work with such nice Fall weather. Julie and Kaveh where in Heidelberg to visit family. A good excuse to run from work for a week. Took a Flixbus and was in Heidelberg a few hours later. They picked me up at the bus station and we went to their place. Do not remember when I was the last time in Heidelberg. But it was a long time ago.

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