Category Archives: Europe

My friend and I were planning our trip to Albania. We needed some beach time, but the popular beaches like Sarande were a little too far for our liking. With the short time we had, we needed something a bit closer to the capital. What about Vlorë? Vlorë? Vlora? What’s the name of this place? Why does it have two names? Vlorë. It’s the third biggest city in Albania and about midway between Greece and Montenegro. Why not. Getting to Vlorë from Berat was easy enough. Only, our van had us waiting for several hours until it was full and ready to depart. After all that waiting we ended up with too many passengers and a family we picked up along the way had to sit in the aisle, with the mum on a tiny fold out stool. The poor little boy got car sick and we had to stop…

Read more

My first day in Tirana was not exactly what I’d expected. I’d arrived after midnight the night before and the hostel had an interesting ‘room’ that was somehow connected to the rest of the space without a proper wall. So the 10 bed dorm could hear all the noise from the hallway. Besides, the 6 or 8 bed dorm upstairs had an open ‘wall’, so people could stare right into our room. Basically I felt like I was sleeping in a massive dorm and I felt so bad when I had to brush my teeth in the ‘bathroom’ which was just some wash basins in the middle of the room. Anyway, it was my first day in Tirana and I was excited to see some of it. My hostel didn’t have tea at breakfast, so I made my way to the main street, got some cash out and sat down…

Read more

Taking public transport in Albania takes time. Our bus didn’t leave on time, so we arrived in the late afternoon at the bus station, just outside of the city. However, the ride from Tirana to Berat was pretty smooth. Minutes after arriving a local bus arrived. My friend and I hopped on, hoping it would take us towards Berat’s old town. Although we weren’t 100% sure, all the other tourists followed. We were staying in the Gorica part of town, across the river. It is one half of the Unesco protected part of the city. Our hostel was in one of the typical local houses that Berat is known for. They spread out from the river all the way up the hill and create the most picturesque cityscape. When we saw the river we hit the stop button. It was only a short walk to the hostel. I was eager…

Read more

It seems like I end up in the Spreewald once every summer, but never had I explored it on the water. When my team was planning a day out, I took the lead and booked some canoes. It was the last week of August and after some really hot weather, it seemed like fall was on its way. The weekend had been dreary and this morning clouds were hanging over Berlin, with about 19 degrees. But the forecast for the Spreewald looked better. So we packed layers, but also sunglasses and made our way to Lübbenau by train. While one guy explained the route to us, another put the 2 canoes in the water. We were ready to go! Close to Lübbenau we saw more canoers and kayakers leaving for a trip on the Spreewald’s waterways, but since there are so many options, it quickly spread out and at times…

Read more

On Thursday I decided to buy a ticket to Berlin’s long night of the museums, a night where many of Berlin’s museums open their doors until 2 AM and offer special programs like performances and express tours. With one ticket you can visit it all. It seemed like a great plan. However, on Friday night I attended the company party at the Napolean Komplex. The theme was 80s and after weeks of stressing about the outfit I ended up buying a cheap T-shirt, putting some beads on a string and going overboard with make-up and hairspray. Unfortunately, after many nice days, on Friday a storm rolled into Berlin. It was pouring down and seemed to ruin the party. I think it mostly ruined my hair. No amount of hairspray would keep it up. Arriving at the event venue we had to walk over pallets to cross the puddles of rainwater.…

Read more

It’s already August, the last month of Germany’s €9 ticket. Time to make a trip outside of Berlin, perhaps one of the last ones this summer. With 29 degrees in the forecast I packed my cap, sunscreen and sunglasses. I added my lunch and a book and took a train to the Beelitz Heilstätten, about 45 minutes outside of Berlin. The Heilstätten was a huge sanatorium, mainly for people with tuberculosis. It was built at the end of the 19th century, in a time where Berlin was going through industrialization and attracted many people from the countryside. Hygiene was poor, with dozens of people living on the same floor and sharing a bathroom. It was the perfect place for TB to spread. So all over Germany these sanatoriums started to appear, particularly in places like the Alps, with good air quality. Beelitz was chosen as a site closer to Berlin.…

Read more

I spent some time working remotely in Italy and the first place I stayed in was Altamura, a small town in the Puglia region, right in the heel of Italy’s boot. I had seen some photos on Google and decided it was worth a visit. So I booked a small apartment and took the train from the city of Bari. Bari Centrale is a bit of an odd station, because there are several train companies operating from different stations that are close, but not the same. The regional train to Altamura left from Bari Centrale FAL, which is around the corner from the bigger central station. The journey took about 1,5 hours and went smoothly, through a dry landscape filled with olive trees, brown fields and the occasional building. The old, small constructions were built in a roundish shape with grey stones and a dome roof, the old trulli. From…

Read more

Wrocław wasn’t on my travel wish list. But when my Bari-Krakow-Berlin flight changed into a Bari-Krakow flight, I started looking around for a place to work from around Krakow. Wrocław was only a 3 to 4 hour train ride away and it looked nice in my google image search. I still knew nothing about the city when I finally arrived at 10.30PM. I pulled my suitcase to my hostel, got annoyed there were no lockers in the room, slept it all off and opened my work laptop in the morning for some remote work. Only at lunchtime I got the chance to go on a brief walk and get a glimpse of this great city. Although I was mostly on the lookout for a place to get lunch, I saw some small statues from the corner of my eye. I vaguely remembered hearing about these Wrocław gnomes or dwarfs, but…

Read more

Every day we learn something new. One day I learn about action research, the next I learn about mosquitoes… the hard way! I started counting my mosquito bites, but it’s no use, I keep losing track. The back of my legs provided a tasty snack for several dozens of mosquitoes, the front coming in a close second for the tough guys who didn’t mind biting through my leggings. As I’m trying not to constantly scratch my legs I have flashbacks of the swarms of tiny creatures we found in the forest. For a mosquito the creatures were actually fairly big and they were ferocious. Hiking became an awkward dance that looked like waacking, waving my hands around my head and body, slapping my legs to provide some rhythm and kill a few. Now it’s all I can think about, but the hike was actually really nice. I’d been meaning to…

Read more

This winter I decided 2 ski weeks weren’t enough. I mean… I’d had to miss skiing during the entire pandemic. I had some making up to do. Unfortunately I only have so many holidays, so I settled for a long weekend in Austria. On Thursday we took the train via Munich to Zell am See, with a return on Sunday afternoon. We had 2,5 days and 3 ski fields to choose from. The ski area at Zell am See, Schmittenhöhe, is not that big, so the ski pass also included skiing at Kaprun and Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang. It was really more than we could cover in 3 days, but we managed to explore all of it a little bit. On Friday we were at the rental shops when they opened and we geared up. It was pretty warm and I was already sweating before I even had the skis. We went up…

Read more

10/231