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Around the World – Find the best travel stories about Germany, Europe and the rest of the world at the online travel magazine Breitengrad53 by Jörg Baldin.

Costa Rica: Pure life at Tortuguero national park

Tortuguero National park: Hot steaming coffee, bright-coloured fresh fruit on my plate and I’m looking up where the sun-rays are making their way through the palm leaves. Two people are…

Tortuguero National park: Hot steaming coffee, bright-coloured fresh fruit on my plate and I’m looking up where the sun-rays are making their way through the palm leaves. Two people are talking in Spanish somewhere near me. I can hear their muffled laughter. „Pura Vida!“ It is breakfast time at Mawamba Lodge in Tortuguero National Park. Suddenly, the silence is interrupted: „Look, look, look!“ – our guide and biologist Alex comes up to us with quick steps and waves us to come nearer. Our breakfast can wait for now. We do not waste any time and follow our guide, because we know there is something new for us to discover. A bird, or maybe a snake? This time, Alex shows us a porcupine which is hanging very relaxed on a branch of a tree, looking down to us. Having an animal life like this would be great. We are in the middle of the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica and are discovering the country from its purest and wildest sides. A real encounter between human beings and nature. There is no journey more exciting than this!n!

Tortuguero National Park

Costa Rica - Tortuguero National Park - from above2

Tortuguero National Park with rivers and rainforest – view from the airplane

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The place that turtles come to – Tortuguero National Park

This park is special because every year something incredible happens: Turtles are coming to the Tortuguero National Park to lay their eggs. The Tortuguero National Park even got his name from this great spectacle of nature. „Tortuga“ means „Turtle“ in Spanish. The sea turtles also meaningfully contribute to the constantly growing tourism rates. The Tortuguero National Park is located in the north east of Costa Rica and the 20.000 hectare area is under conservation since 1975. Since that time, the National Park provides a reliable source of income for many locals. But the park is not only the home of turtles: Crocodiles, sloths, caimans, monkeys, dartfrogs, river turtles and bullet-ants can be discovered in the jungle of Tortuguero. Furthermore, a variety of bird species is living in this area. Almost half of all in Costa Rica registered reptile and bird species are expecting me on my journey through Costa Rica.

Costa Rica - Tortuguero National Park - turtle beach

To this beach the turtles will come for hatching their eggs

With plane, car and boat, the journey to Tortuguero National Park begins

Back to the beginning of my journey. Still in Germany, I discover on Sunday morning that my feeder flight from Hamburg to Frankfurt was canceled. Despite of all efforts, there is no possibility for me to book another flight on the same day. Spontaneously, I have to leave five hours earlier with the train to Frankfurt. At Frankfurt Airport I meet the first fellow travelers and at 10pm German time my Condor flight departs in the direction of Airport Alajuela near San José where we arrive after nine hours flight just in time for the sunrise. Tortuguero can only be reached by water or by air

Here, Alex (Alejandro) Castro is welcoming us. „Pura Vida!“ he calls out for us and greets us with the typical saying and attitude towards life of the people in Costa Rica. He accompanies us for the next days as an acknowledged expert and gives us a broader understanding of Costa Rica‘s flora and fauna. „Pura Vida“ – that’s what they call everything here. Thank you! You are welcome! Great! I like that – pure life!

Alex does not waste time and we directly start our journey with the car from Alajuela in direction Tortuguero. From the western edge of San José we drive in the direction of the Caribbean. At first, we travel through San José. After that, Highway 32 will take us to the north-east in a wide arc. We cross the Braulio Carillo National Park with its impressive forest and we pass by seemingly never-ending fields of banana plantations. Once we have to stop in order to let the banana pulley pass, which is pulled only by a single worker’s muscle strength. Bananas are one of the top export products in Costa Rica.


After approximately two and a half hours we arrive in La Pavona. The most common and convenient route to Tortuguero goes via Cariari and La Pavona. Our journey with the car ends here, because for those who want to explore the nature in the national park exclusively, it is only accessible with the boat. Boats are leaving from La Pavona (Rancho La Suerte) approximately at 07:30, 13:30 and 16:30. However, it is recommended to make arrangements with the tour providers beforehand.

Boats will be our means of transport for the next two days. In La Pavona, they are already waiting for tourists, natural scientists, locals and us. During the next one to two hours I already completely delve into Costa Rica’s nature. The route to the Mawamba Lodge takes us through the river system of Tortuguero. The nature here is incredibly beautiful. „Look!, Look!, Look!“ – on the right we can see a Barethroated Tiger Heron, on the left a caiman is waiting for us. The Bats are so well-camouflaged that they are barely visible to the naked eye.

My bed in the middle of Tortuguero National Park – the Mawamba Lodge

We arrive at our destination, the Mawamba Lodge. The special feature of our accommodation is its location, because the lodge is surrounded by water on both sides. While the landing pier is located on a branch of the river, the other side of the lodge’s compound adjoins to the beach. This is where the sea turtles come between July and October to lay their eggs. During this time, the Mawamba Lodge and Tortuguero National Park experience their peak season. Guides and small groups of tourists proceed to the beach at night and observe the animals with the help of special night lamps.

We are happy that we came during the off-peak season and can enjoy the silence. We may not be able to see sea turtles, but we discover a lot of different animals at the lodge. The porcupine hanging from the tree, an elephant beetle is clinging to a branch of a tree and huge iguanas are standing motionless in the shade of palm trees. At night, I have the feeling that my bed is located directly in the nature. I can hear the noises of animals in the jungle everywhere.

The first encounter with the rainforest in Tortuguero National Park

The next morning, we start our day before breakfast at five o’ clock. Because of the time difference (minus eight hours) we don’t have a problem with getting up so early. According to Alex, now it’s the best time to observe nature’s awakening. We depart with the boat. The boat tour to the smaller tributary streams of the Tortuguero National Park is already an adventure. The boat floats on the wide branch stream, accompanied only by the sound of the water and the purring electric motor. Most of us close their eyes and enjoy the airstream in their faces. At this point in time, everyone is fully awake. The driver purposefully takes us to the smaller tributary streams in the Tortuguero National Park. Only now, I completely realize the massiveness of the rainforest. Huge trees, ferns and vines create an impenetrable covert made of plants. “Look!, Look!, Look!” – we can see the first monkeys, and directly afterward an American Anhinga standing next to a Black River Turtle and trying to dry his feathers.


What about a more touristic tour? Trip to the small village Tortuguero

The village Tortuguero is located on the small strip of land between the Caribbean beach and the broad jungle river that runs parallel to the beach. The village has only about 500 inhabitants. While in earlier times many of them could earn a living from fishing, they concentrate more on the steadily growing tourism these days. Even the locals handle all their tasks by water, which is why boats are the most important means of transport. If you need a boat, just position yourself near the riverside and flag down one of the water taxis.

Tortuguero is the only village in the National Park which is why it doesn’t surprise me that a trip to the village is part of most of the tourists’ programs. From our lodge it only takes 20 walking minutes to the village, so we walk there along the beach, stroll around on the promenade of the village and listen to the music that is played here and there. Somewhere, two men sit on the terrace of their colorful house, smoking. Somewhere else, coconuts are sold and in the end of the street the monkeys enjoy their life in a tree. Now, during the off-season it is easy to take a relaxed stroll through the village. During the high season you can find crowds of tourists pushing each other through the small street of the village.


Traveling to Costa Rica during the rainy season?

It is the beginning of June now and the rainy season has already begun. However, this shouldn’t stop anyone to come to Costa Rica because it is low season then and you can find silence instead of big crowds in every hotel and lodge. It is easier to observe animals and prices are generally lower than during high season. Usually, it rains once a day and the showers are short but intense. And afterward you can continue to enjoy warm temperatures between 27 and 30 degrees. The hotels are well prepared for the showers of rain and offer umbrellas to their guests. We were quite lucky in June and experienced only one short shower during the three days that we spent in Tortuguero National Park.

The season for observing sea turtles

People who really want to observe the turtles are advised to travel to Tortuguero National Park between July and September. During that time, the park is getting crowded with tourists and nature-lovers. The turtles come from the sea to lay their eggs at the beach in Tortuguero. In the past, green sea turtles were hunted and prepared by the locals. Because the turtle is at risk of extinction it was declared as a protected animal in 1975. Even today, locals are trying to protect the turtle populations. During the breeding time, voluntary helpers come to the beaches at night, patrolling to keep the turtle’s enemies away. Who is interested in this projects will find on the site of Costa Rica Volunteers more informations. People who really want to observe the turtles are advised to travel to Tortuguero National Park between July and September. During that time, the park is getting crowded with tourists and nature-lovers. The turtles come from the sea to lay their eggs at the beach in Tortuguero. In the past, green sea turtles were hunted and prepared by the locals. Because the turtle is at risk of extinction it was declared as a protected animal in 1975. Even today, locals are trying to protect the turtle populations. During the breeding time, voluntary helpers come to the beaches at night, patrolling to keep the turtle’s enemies away.

Why it’s worth it to book a private guide

It is highly recommendable to have a guide for visiting National Parks. Together with a guide, the tour with the boat or walking distances through the National Park will become a real adventure. One the one hand you get to know the flora and fauna much better and on the other hand you can dive much deeper into the country and its culture.

  • A guide can give advice on the best regions in the country and in the National Parks and the probability increases to see interesting animals and plants.
  • With his knowledge about flora and fauna the guide can illustrate more complex links between the ecosystems of the National Parks.
  • Together with the guide you can look for animals and plants that are of special interest for you, because he knows places, nesting sites and behavior of those.
  • He will help you to train your eyes and sharpen other senses so that you can learn to discover animals and plants by yourself in the National Parks.
  • He knows places where poisonous animals live and can therefore protect you from bites and stings.
  • He knows the country and people and can convey their sense of life.
  • The guide has many contacts and can use these to make the tour even more interesting.
  • He provides you with background information about the conservation of nature and knows the rules of the country.
  • He has knowledge about the weather conditions in the country and can make recommendations for appropriate clothing during the tours.
  • He is mostly equipped with valuable binoculars and you can zoom in on animals that are actually far away.

In this film you will find some impressions of the journey. Andrea Morgenstern travelled with us and has put together some impressive moments.

Other National Parks in Costa Rica

There are 25 National Parks to discover in Costa Rica

  • Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Barbilla National Park
  • Barra Honda National Park
  • Braulio Carrillo National Park
  • Cahuita National Park
  • Carara National Park
  • Chirripó National Park
  • Cocos Island National Park
  • Corcovado National Park
  • Diria National Park
  • Guanacaste National Park
  • Irazú Volcano National Park
  • Juan Castro Blanco National Park
  • La Amistad International Park
  • La Cangreja National Park
  • Las Baulas National Marine Park
  • Los Quetzales National Park
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Maquenque National Park
  • Palo Verde National Park
  • Piedras Blancas National Park
  • Poás Volcano National Park
  • Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park
  • Santa Rosa National Park
  • Tapantí National Park
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park
  • Turrialba Volcano National Park

Some Tipps for the tour to Costa Rica

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Hinweis: Die Reise in den Tortuguero Nationalpark Costa Rica erfolgte in Kooperation mit Visit Costa Rica.

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Flying high at Surfer’s Paradise

Ihave a fantastic view from my 20th floor hotel room in Surfer’s Paradise in Australia. To my left and right there is the seashore as far as the eye can…

Ihave a fantastic view from my 20th floor hotel room in Surfer’s Paradise in Australia. To my left and right there is the seashore as far as the eye can reach. In front of me just now the sun is looking over the horizon. Waves meet loudly and with a lot of foam with the beige-coloured sandy beach. Far away a surfer tries with fast arm movements to get his board up to speed, to then jump on it with one short leap and surf the wave perfectly. A successful morning session on a beach, which in this form you will not find often in the world. But it is also the beach of Surfer’s Paradise, the lively place with an impressive skyline and lots of possibilities to spend your time not only on a surfboard or on the beach.

Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise - Australien - Joerg Pasemann (13 von 21)

Surfer’s Paradise offers contrasts, like barely any other city in the world. On one side of the road you actually find a paradise: clear, turquoise water with the waves a surfer needs to be happy. A broad, beige-colored beach, with sand that squeezes through your toes and in doing so squeaks because it is that fine. Sunrises and sunsets that are so beautiful they give you goose-bumps. And of course there is plenty of sun. The person who once gave this place it’s name, must have found exactly this paradise.

A German built the first hotel in Surfer’s Paradise

A German, of all people, started in 1889 on the other side of the road to open the first hotel. Johann Meyer built in Elston, the place’s former name, the „Main Beach Hotel“. Due to the expansion of different bridges and roads later, more and more tourists and investors started coming to Elston and this way the former paradise became a lively place, which since 1933 is called Surfer’s Paradise.

And this way the town on the Gold Coast is now regarded as Australia’s secret capital of entertainment. This is not without good reason: plenty of attractions developed in the town in the last few years, which offer variety, next to the more boring activities on the paradisiac beach on the other side of the road. Let alone the lively nightlife. A lot of backpackers like stopping in Surfer’s Paradise on their journey to finally let it all hang out again after the exhausting Work& Travel.

Breathtaking view from a height of 270 meters

The most prominent building on the Gold Coast surely is the Q1 Tower, which was built only in 2005. It is one of the highest residential buildings in the world, which at the same time is equipped with the fastest elevators of Australia. With 9 meters per second the ten elevators wind up to the highest end of the building. Who prefers going by foot can look forward to 1.330 stairs to climb the 230 meters up to the 78th floor. There you can find a cafe and a lounge from which you have a fantastic panoramic view.

Who prefers even more height has to go the last 40 meters by foot anyway, secured with professional climbing equipment, a special suit and two belts that hold up to 5 tons of weight. „Skypoint Climb“ is the name of the adventure which promises, apart from lots of adrenaline, a breathtaking view from a height of 270 meters over Surfer’s Paradise and the whole Gold Coast.

I believe i can fly- takeoff with iFly

Another highlight of Surfer’s Paradise is called iFly. This is indoor skydiving, so basically parachuting without a parachute. In a sort of glassy tunnel, an air flow which can be as fast as 286 km/h is generated with which real sky diving can be simulated. But before you can enter the state of floating a lot of preparation is required. At first you are explained with which posture you should enter the tunnel as a beginner: chin up, arms stretched out in front of you, knees slightly pulled up. Who actually manages to float with the support of a „flying instructor“, can look forward to an incredible feeling. Steering is controlled with the hands, back and forth- going happens with the legs. As an outfit you have an overall, a helmet with ear plugs and saftey goggles, which protect your eyes from the strong wind.

Who reached the horizontal position one meter above the floor, experiences an emotional roller-coaster: concentrated, trying not to crash against the tunnel walls, and happy. After all you not just have the sensation of flying, you actually are. All without assistance. Only with the air that brutally blows in your face. After one minute the magic is over and you are literally longing to have that sensation of flying again as soon as possible. Amazing!

Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise - Australien - Joerg Pasemann (10 von 21)

(c) all Images by Joerg Pasemann

Instagram #b53goldcoast – All Images on Instagram

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Info: A big thank-you for the invite to Tourism Australia

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A descent into the Mayan’s underworld

Meeting at eight o’clock. “Well slept? Had a nice breakfast?”, tour guide Anja asks the members of her small group of adventurous Tourists, who arrived on time in front of…

Meeting at eight o’clock. “Well slept? Had a nice breakfast?”, tour guide Anja asks the members of her small group of adventurous Tourists, who arrived on time in front of the hotel’s entrance. “of course”, is the unanimously answer. Everyone is looking forward to a day, which promises, to go a little bit different. It’s going to get sporty, hopefully exciting and a little bit mystical. On that day, the sun won’t play the lead role. A holiday trip to the Mexican Caribbean Coast is not always just relaxing on the beautiful coasts of Playa del Carmen and swimming in, the never colder than 25 degrees, ocean.

Reiseblog - Mexiko - Rio Secreto - Brigitte Geiselhart-3

The goal destination is called „Rio Secreto“. The secret river, which was closed to the public until 2007. Firstly though, during the thirty minute ride in a small bus, the view on the fields and the vast vegetation can be enjoyed. In the meantime Anja mentions that the Rio Secreto are acutally so called “Cenoten”, caves filled with water, which are usually explored by professional divers, and are part of a huge network, which consists of 580 kilometers of underground rivers. A phenomenon of nature, which has an important meaning to the culture of the Mayans. Sounds pretty exciting.

Arrival at the natural reserve. Seven kilometers of rough paths, leading though the Mongrove’s Forest lie ahead. “You see incredibly many orchids and many butterflies. One must not forget though, that some kinds of cats of prey like pumas and jaguars, tapirs, roaring and coatis – and 48 different kinds of snakes, live in this area as well. “Especially during spring time, when the leaves are still on the ground, it is very dangerous to be around this area”, Anja says without moving a muscle. Good to know. The encounter with der “cigarettes snake”, after one’s bite one has only few seconds to live, is not very pleasurable.

First one shower, then we jump into the Rio Secreto

Finally out of the bus, into the neoprene suits. Showering beforehand though. Make-up, sun cream and the left overs of the mosquito spray are not permitted in the Rio Secreto, for understandable reasons. Tour guide Nico is already expecting the seven member group. A guy from Munich, who seems to live his dream on the half island of Yucatan. Special shoes, a helmet with light, a life vest – o.k. And also a stable stick? Does Anybody here have problems with their feet? Is this really necessary? “You need this one for traction on rough and wet terrain, but also the gauge the deepness of the waters for your next step”, Nico says. Alright. A short walk. Strange, even after Anja’s warning words all eyes are on the ground. “By the way, I have to best job in the world”, Nico starts raving. “If you love the nature, the eco system und especially the underground maze, which you will walk through in a minute, then this is the right address for you.”

Arrival at the entrance. A short introduction to the equipment and to anything you might expect. One must not touch the thousands of years old stalagmites and stalaktites. “It is beneficial to you, to stay near me. In this maze with its many paths, an unprofessional visitor has no chance of finding the right way, although there are some markings”, Nico explains and ads jokingly: “I have never lost someone on this tour – but you never know.” So eyes open and trust in the group’s protection.

Without the lamps on the helmet, there would only be darkness

The descent begins. The Mayan’s underworld lies ahead. After some stairs one finds him- or herself ten meter under the ground. First, the terrain is dry, later a little bit muddy. Then the water reaches your ankles, then your knees. The light gets dimmer, disappears completely. Without the lamps on the helmet, there would only be darkness. A little pausing is good. No glance is like the other. Incredibly beautiful stalactite shapes on the ceiling and ground. A bizarre landscape of rocks. Fossils on the walls tell a story, which hasn’t been explored yet. Transitions from one cave to another. Narrow paths. It is important to watch your steps. “Careful, don’t bump your head. Scratches at your arms or legs are common. Up, down, all over the place. Now the water reaches your shoulders. Swimming in the crystal clear 24 degree warm water, which contains a lot of lime but is still nice to the skin. A fantastic, sensual experience.

Reiseblog - Mexiko - Rio Secreto - Brigitte Geiselhart-7

Once the crossings are narrow, once very low, once you need to crouch, climbing, walking through water. The stick, which wasn’t so accepted in the beginning, is now doing its job. You can see sleeping bats on the walls and you can see some fish and fire flies. Other people? Not here. Everyone switches of their lamps now. An incredible silence and mystical darkness, which you have never experienced before. Pausing and realizing that this is a holy, untouchable place. Only a few minutes, but it seems like an eternity.

Two hours have passed. Almost too fast. Two kilometers of walking and swimming lie behind. Return to the above-ground, return to the light of the sun. A trip, which offered everything you could expect. More than that. It will last, guaranteed.

Reiseblog - Mexiko - Rio Secreto - Brigitte Geiselhart-6

[toggle title=”Rio Secreto”]The “Rio Secreto” contains the largest underwater river system on the half island of Yucatan. It has been awared the “World Travel Award” – the “Oscar” of the tourist’s industry. It is a phenomenon of nature, which has grown over the course of last thousands of years and had an important meaning to the Mayans. Daily guided tours –also in German language – in small groups. Arrvial via Playa del Carmen, approximately six kilometers on the highway 307, on the coast route Riviera Maya. Direct flights to Cancun are available from several German airports.

Info: We thank alltours for the kind invitation!

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On “Cloud 203” at the Kinderhotel Oberjoch

There`s hot coffee in my mug, shafts of sunlight are tickling my face and with my eyes closed I notice the muted sounds of my surroundings. Somewhere I can hear…

There`s hot coffee in my mug, shafts of sunlight are tickling my face and with my eyes closed I notice the muted sounds of my surroundings. Somewhere I can hear children’s laughter, a waiter discreetly clangs with plates – I open my eyes and once again I admire the panorama of the alps right under my nose. Mountains as far as the eye can reach; the slopes are lightly covered with snow, enough to go skiing. I’ve reached the destination of our holiday with the family at the Kinderhotel Oberjoch.

A few days before: The journey to the Children’s’ Hotel

The car is packed and ready to start. Thick ski pants lay next to trekking shoes and summer jackets – the perfect equipment according to the weather forecast at the Children’s Hotel. We hope for some snow to go skiing. At 2 a.m. at night, our family starts its journey with the Range Rover Evoque. As parents of two lively boys (3 and 7 years old), a night-drive is the laid-back way to travel. Our kids spend the first five hours sleeping in the backseat, while we drive on empty freeways from the north to the south of Germany. We take a break for breakfast and after nine hours of driving we arrive exhausted but happy at our destination: the Children’s Hotel in the Allgäu.

2016 Kinderhotel Oberjoch Greta Pasemann Anreise

Arrival in Allgäu for our holiday in Kinderhotel Oberjoch, out for the family

Arrival in the Allgäu for our holiday at the Children’s Hotel Oberjoch, time-out for the family, a gasp of relief. The slopes of the ski region Bas Hindelang & Oberjoch are still open. There is snow everywhere on the hillsides. Many skiers use the end of the winter sport season to ski down the slopes with radiant sunshine. After our arrival, we can immediately use the Children’s hotel. Until we receive the keys for our rooms, we enjoy the spring-like weather on the Children’s Hotel’s sun terrace and let the sun shine onto our noses. A little snack from the afternoon-buffet and our children join the other playmates on the terrace. The mushroom, a climbing frame and many other things provide a space for the children while the parents can enjoy their hot coffee stress-free.

Good taste or nonsense on cloud “203”?

Is this cheese? A cave of cheese right in the middle of our family suite “203” is the highlight in our accommodation. The extra space for the kids creates space for us adults! Everyone has their own private space in the room and that provides the necessary relax-factor in our family suite at the Children’s Hotel. While the “cheese mice” are reading in their cave, are romping around or a watching a good night movie, we can sit down relaxed in our area, read, chat and enjoy the view from our terrace. Who is in the mood for a holiday in the Children’s Hotel Oberjoch, can find suitable offers here.

Emil the donkey and other adventures await you

We used the rest of our arrival day to explore the surroundings of the Children’s Hotel. With glorious sunshine, we go all the way through the climbing forest along the Children’s Hotel. The boys start at the witch’s house, climb through the hanging tunnel to the treehouse and balance across the shaky ropes to the ropeway. “yiipppeee, mum, push me!” They get catapulted directly to the petting zoo. With sparkling eyes, our adventurers spot Emil the donkey, Puschkin and Picasso the alpacas, horses, rabbits and goats. They discover the little stream on the neighbouring property of the Children’s Hotel; here they will build artistic dams in the next days. Who thinks that’s all? There’s even bread on a stick in the evening! Near the tipi with the stake, the children come together and have a barbecue on the campfire. A great end for our first day at the Children’s Hotel!

“Pizza & fries” – Skiing is on the schedule

This year we were late for our winter holiday in the Children’s Hotel. Now, in the beginning of April the season is nearly over. We are lucky, that the ski lifts are still open and so we even use the very first days of our holiday to go skiing. Who knows how long the slopes will be accessible. We rent skis, helmets and shoes at the Children’s Hotel and take the shuttlebus in the morning directly after breakfast. The Children’s Hotel is only five minutes away from the Kids-Snow-Land. “Pizza, pizza, pizza!” “Fries, fries, fries!” – Snowplough and parallel position are still working. Our big one is getting confident on his skis, just like on his last downhill in February of 2015. The little one is making his first serious attempts. After he announced his displeasure by screaming loudly last year, this time he had fun. All in good time!

Spring awakening and childcare at the Family Hotel

„Mum, can we stay here?!” “We are welcoming spring!” – on the third day a discreet letter explains to us that the ski lifts will be closed. Now the skiing season is over. On the one hand, it’s a pity, on the other one we can enjoy the various offers and the child care at the Family Hotel.

They live for childcare: Our kids celebrate pirates’ and Indians’ parties, eat with the other kids on the lunch-buffet, do handicrafts, play, do gymnastics, climb, dance and rehearse a play or watch plays in the theatre. One day there suddenly appears a bouncy castle in the shape of a train in front of the magnificent panorama of the Alps at the Children’s Hotel, another day they go on a treasure hunt. It’s no wonder that our son asked us if we could stay here.

Early in the morning (at 8.30 am) our boys can’t sit still at breakfast because they are longingly waiting for “Smileyne”. “Muummm, how much longer?” Now the mascot is on his beat to gather all the kids for the “Smiley Dance”. The day at childcare is starting. There are different programmes for all ages. From babies to teenagers, everyone finds suitable offers. Our 7-year-old son is proud that he is allowed (with our permission) to go alone to the adventurer’s club and that he can move around independently in the Children’s Hotel with his own room-card. The little one signed up for the Miniclub and we pick him up at an arranged time.

The highlight at the Children’s Hotel: The rapid waterslide

Wrapped into fluffy Feel-Good-Bathrobes we four shuffle with our bathing slippers through the corridors to the Fun-Pool-Area with the waterslide. As we open the door, a pleasant warmth is welcoming us. Now it’s time for the family in the bathing area. With sparkling eyes, our 3-year-old discovers the separate kids’ pool with the big tractor, the pigs, the cows and the geese – farm-atmosphere. We splash around and play on the slide for hours. From next-door, we hear laughter and squeaking. The waterslides roars tremendously and one child after another slides down the waterslide just to run back up to the start with the enormous tire.

The sauna and bathing area presents itself in another light in the evening hours. We parents enjoy the childfree time, the panoramic sauna and the steaming outdoor pool with the view on the Alps. The gorgeous view on the wonderful alpine world of the Allgäu takes my breath away time and time again. Majestic, impressive, and always a little different.

[toggle title=”Location”]By car, you drive down the Autobahn A7 to the exit Oy-Mittelberg. Follow the B 309 to the exit Nesseöwang. Drive straight ahead to the B 310. Follow the course of the road for 20 km. At the entrance to the town Oberjoch drive straight ahead on the Bundestraße (B) until you see a little gas station on the left. Turn right. If you are travelling by train, you have to get out at Sonthofen and take the bus to Hindelang / Oberjoch. It takes you 15 min. by Taxi to arrive at Oberjoch. By plane, you arrive at Memmingen (ca. 1 hour away from Oberjoch, alternatively you arrive at München, Stuttgart ca. 2 hours).[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Accommodation”]The Kinderhotel Oberjoch is a child friendly hotel that is located at 1.200 m – in Germany’s highest mountain village. It provides a combination of a vast culinary offer, sport and wellness facilities, playing opportunities and childcare. All facilities of the Children’s Hotel are adapted for children – for instance the sport area that offers a separated indoor swimming pool for kids. For the ones who already know the Children’s Hotel, 1 hour away there’s the sister hotel Alpenrose in Austria that offers relaxation from your daily routine. This hotel is adapted for kids too. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”Ski region”]The German Ski Association elected the ski region Oberjoch the best family-ski-region of the Alps. There are 9 ski lifts, 33 km of slopes and the Kids-Snow-Land on more than 20.000 sqm. The lift pass and the Kids-Snow-Land are free for the owners of the Bad Hindelang PLUS Card.[/toggle]

Other articles on the Children’s Hotel Oberjoch and the Hotel Alpenrose

Kinderhotel Oberjoch: Eine Schneefahrt die ist Lustig
Hotel Alpenrose: Von entspannten Ski-Minis und Alpakas

Info: A big thank-you for the invite to the Kinderhotel Oberjoch

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Through the Alps with the Range Rover Evoque

The car boot is loaded to the max, “Allgäu” has been entered into the navigation system, and the iPod (filled with the best travel music) is connected to the sound…

The car boot is loaded to the max, “Allgäu” has been entered into the navigation system, and the iPod (filled with the best travel music) is connected to the sound system – the Range Rover Evoque is ready to go. The journey to Oberjoch in the Allgäu region can begin, we have 911 kilometers ahead of us, it’s a drive from northern to southern Germany.

“Awesome!“ – The appraisal of children can be so simple, but yet so true. Even with cars! Although the Range Rover Evoque resembles a brawny off-road vehicle, it actually is a SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle – all-terrain limousine). The designers of Land Rover did an outstanding job constructing the “small” Range Rover, as people are still stopping and turning their head around when an Evoque is passing by. Even though it has been on the market for quite a while now.

Range Rover Evoque enthuses children and drivers

Children are often excited about playful elements. The Range Rover Evoque convinces with its ambient interior lighting system, which can be programmed with all different colors. For the outward journey the children asked for purple light and for the return trip they wanted green. Furthermore, the car boot that opens and closes itself automatically as if by magic astonishes the children. Star Wars memories!

Another convincing argument: The brand new, adaptive LED headlights, which ensures the best view of the road even by night. Thanks to the automatic-setting the high beam is turned on and off automatically if there are oncoming or preceding vehicles. Along the Allgeau’s serpentines the automatic lighting causes a light organ effect: left turn, the headlamp to the left turns on, right turn, the headlamp to the left turns off and the headlamp to the right turns on. In this manner, we are driving uphill for about 7 kilometers, from Bad Hindelang to Oberjoch.

“On the street focus!“ That’s what the command of the designers must have sounded like in Yoda’s language, when they were constructing the car. There is a huge variety of little goodies, which help the driver to quickly forget about the fact that he or she is sitting in a SUV. The various settings of the external cameras, for instance. The top view is especially exciting as it shows the car from above. Like being filmed by a drone, the driver can see the Range Rover Evoque from above on the 8-inch-touch screen and this way can observe in real time what is happening around the vehicle. “A lot to see you’ve got!”.

“InControl Touch“ is the center piece

Speaking of touch screens: The in-vehicle infotainment system “InControl Touch“, thrills the driver as it controls audio and video function, telephone, satnav, cameras and a lot more. The swiping motion that we all know from our smartphones has been adapted to the touch screen. And the function “InControl Apps“ controls a wide range of smartphone apps through the touch screen which is positioned in the center of the dashboard.

With all these technical gadgets it is easy to get distracted from the actual purpose of a car – carrying people form one place to another. It is hardly surprising then that the Range Rover Evoque looks good on the road, as well. When you speed along the motorway at 195 km/h, you will easily forget that you are sitting in an off-road vehicle or a SUV. The Range Rover in no way needs to hide behind mid-range or luxury cars. Quite the contrary: The car has been excellently manufactured, all materials are luxurious, functional and decently placed. The only downside is the small tank which can be a bit inconvenient for longer journeys. More than 500 kilometers at a high speed is not possible.

Even off the paved ways, the Range Rover is a lot of fun. Like its big brothers of Land Rover, the Evoque is equipped with the on-board “Terrain Response System”. The floor conditions (asphalt, mud, sand, grass, snow) can easily be selected via touch screen on the dashboard, and the system then automatically controls gear-changing operations, throttle response and ESP.

Range Rover Evoque is capable of a lot more than some off-road vehicles

The Range Rover Evoque is capable of a lot more than some SUVs and off-road vehicles. It can even be an excellent family car: You can sit comfortably in the back, the car boot has a capacity of between 550 and 1.445 liters. For those of you who travel with two little kids – like we do – that is not a big deal. The Range Rover Evoque costs at least 34.500 € and is not a bargain buy. You need to be able to afford the SUV from the house of Land Rover. Eventually, there are only a few cars in the same category on the market that could hold a candle to the Range Rover Evoque.

[toggle title=”Our Car”]The Range Rover Evoque HSE, that we use, is a TD4 Diesel with 132 kW (180 PS), 4 Zylinder, 1.999 cm3. [/toggle]

Pictures from the trip with the Range Rover Evoque on Instagram

[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag=”#b53_rangerover” num=4 cols=4 showcaption=false]

Note: Many Thanks to Land Rover Germany, who provided us with the Range Rover Evoque.

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Straight into paradise with the Iceberg

Die Gischt spritzt über die Reeling, der Vollmond zieht Steuerbord an uns vorbei und der Wind spannt die Segel voll aus, die “Iceberg” ist an diesem späten Abend voll in ihrem Element. Seit neun Uhr ist die zwölfköpfige Gast-Besatzung sowie die Crew an Bord dieses umfunktionierten Rennschiffes, das zweimal in der Woche für zwei Tage die Whitsundays umsegelt, an Bord.

Foam is splattering over the railing, the full moon is passing on the starboard side and the wind is blowing strongly into the sail. The “Iceberg“ is completely in its element late this evening. Since nine o ‘clock the twelve guests and the crew members have been on board of the former racing ship that now sails around the Whitsundays at the Great Barrier Reef for two days twice a week.

The group of islands is part of the Wonders of Nature and is the most beautiful sailing area in Australia. Airlie Beach, a small town in Queensland, is not only the starting point of this sailing trip but an absolute must for everyone who travels Australia, as well.

“Iceberg anyone, Iceberg?” Jessie’s rough voice breaks the silence this early morning at the Airlie Beach harbor. There is the usual hustle and bustle at this assembly point as the town’s harbor is the starting point for almost all sailing trips around the Whitsundays.

A tinge of Jack Sparrow, the famous pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, surrounds Jessie. He is part of the two-man crew of the 16-meter-long sailing ship and he is a true all-rounder. After calling every passenger by name and welcoming them with his remarkable voice, it is time to pack the belongings and finally get on board. When packing for the trip, the passengers really need to focus on their essentials as they can’t bring a lot of luggage on board. There is very little space on the boat which is why some guests need to share a cabin. If you pay a bit more, you get a double bunk – but not necessarily more space.

Just before entering the boat, all shoes are gathered and stored in a bag. “Sand is prohibited on board”, Jessie says. At this point you finally get to know the second crew member. The skipper’s name is Tristan and he is the owner of this ship, too. After having successfully assigned the bunks, we are ready to go: “Cast off!”. We are sailing towards “Hamilton Island”.

Sailing - Segeln Whitsundays - Iceberg - Joerg Pasemann-2-3

Tristan and Jassie at work. (All pictures by Joerg Pasemann)

Sails are set shortly after the ship has left the harbor

Jessie is now rigging up the boat and asks a guest for help – since the passengers are supposed to help out the crew members if they need a helping hand. Shortly after the ship has left the harbor the sails are set and, eventually, the massive ship is slowly leaning on its side. While the skipper is operating the huge steering wheel, Jessie is wiping sweat from his forehead – the hardest part is done.

Tristan calls himself an ambitious sailor: „I like to sail as long as I possibly can and I will only start the engine once there is no wind at all”, he explains to the guests who are relaxing in the sun now. Tristan, however, at this point emphasizes the importance of protecting oneself against the sun and suggests to apply sunscreen regularly: “Never underestimate the sun”, Tristan (who soon will be called Tris by everyone) warns.

The “Iceberg” gradually speeds up now

The “Iceberg” gradually speeds up now. The wind has turned and the boat is slowly tilting into a steep sloping position. While some guests are lying in their bunk beds by now, most of the passengers are enjoying the feeling of sailing on board. We arrive at Hamilton Island, which is the biggest of all islands of the Whitsundays, at around three o’clock. “We are late”, says the skipper, which is why lunch is prepared by Jessie, the ship’s cook and the helmsman at the same time and is served at full speed. “I am doing my best to keep the boat in a horizontal position to make sure the food isn’t slipping of the plate”, the skipper says, but he really struggles in doing so.

At 4 o’clock we find our first anchorage. It is time for snorkeling now as the island group is a part of the Great Barrier Reef and therefore is perfect for snorkeling and diving. About one hour later, we are leaving the bay in order to anchor at a different place. Here, again, the place is perfect for admiring the beautiful reef while snorkeling.

It is getting late and the light is slowly fading. Now we are headed for “Turtle Bay“, this day’s destination and our place to spend the night. At full moon and under half-reefed sail the “Iceberg” makes its way through the water and reaches the bay at half past eight. Protected from the wind, this is going to be a comfortable place for the night. We will continue our trip early next morning…


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