Author Archives: andreaonderweg

Of all the canyons in the Slovak Paradise national park, Prielom Hornádu is one of the few, if not the only, that is a two-way street. This made it perfect for a loop, taking a detour via Kláštorská roklina, monastery gorge, up to the monastery ruins, down a steep forest trail, past the Tomášovský viewpoint and back along the river. It’s a 19km adventure taking you over ladders and steps, high over the water, hugging the rocks and immerses you in the forest. It’s a beautiful fall day when I make my way to the start. It’s early, but the sun is already driving away the clouds. I walk down the road, away from the town Hrabušice, and find the Hornád river near an intersection. A sign directs me to a path through the fields, alongside the river. Further along is a small rest area where a man is enjoying…

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Sucha Bela is one of the most famous hikes in the Slovak Paradise. While researching I’d read it could get pretty busy, so busy even that there may be small traffic jams on the trail. Imagine my surprise when I found a pretty quiet Slovak Paradise. It turns out October was not a popular month for people to visit the national park, even though all the trails are still open till the end of the month (some, like the via ferrata, close for winter). It meant that I didn’t have to wait for people on the narrow trails and that all my photos were all about nature. It also meant I was extra careful, and very aware that I was hiking by myself. From my base in Hrabušice I followed the main road to Podlesok. I passed empty parking lots and arrived at the eerily quiet base. There were some…

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The Firmenlauf, or company run, is a 5,5km run around the Tiergarten area in Berlin, open to companies to sign up for. I hadn’t done a race since I was a teenager, so when the sign up sheet was published in our company, I decided to go for it. I picked up a number, T-shirt and tracker chip and was ready to go. On the day of the race weather had turned. After a couple of beautiful September days, there was now rain in the forecast and with it the complaints from other participants started flooding in on Slack. Once again I was surprised by the negativity of people. Because of COVID there were stricter rules at the race and you couldn’t leave your bags anywhere this year. That meant that you had to run with everything you carried. It was raining lightly as we all gathered near the Brandenburger…

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For my last day in the High Tatras I took a train to Strbské Pleso and chose the popular route to Popradske Pleso. It felt so much busier than the other trails I’ve done. Perhaps it was because it was Friday, perhaps because the sun was finally out and the sky was mostly blue. Lots of people were arriving in the small town and heading either for the ski lift or the trails. Right from the start of the trail I noticed a lot of people chose the same route I did. I had hoped that after the snow from 2 days ago I would be able to go a bit further than Popradske Pleso, to Hincovo Pleso, but I had never thought I’d be able to climb even higher. Today was the day of the unexpected. The morning started easy, with a pleasant forest path that wasn’t too challenging.…

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A holiday in October… anything can happen. October can bring the unexpected sunshine that makes you think it is spring. It can also quickly remind you that winter is around the corner. Today was one of those days. I woke up to find out the temperature was around zero and rain was forecasted for the majority of the day. I went down to the breakfast room and sat next to the window. But wait… is that… white? The top of the cars was covered in a tiny layer of snow, although what was coming down was mostly wet and not sticking to the ground. Due to the weather and other plans I’d scheduled a short hike and I braced myself for the cold. I had leggings and waterproof trousers, two layers and my rain jacket. I hadn’t exactly packed for winter, so until I started my hike I was freezing.…

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For the third year in a row I visit the Festival of Lights in Berlin. This year’s theme was creating tomorrow, supporting the climate pledge, so there were plenty of images of nature and renewable energy. The main three places displayed man, nature and technology on the Brandenburg Gate, Bebelsplatz and the TV tower. All up there were about 70 locations showing light installations varying from lit up trees and still images to video mapping. The main difference with last year was that it felt like COVID was just a figment of our imagination. It was incredibly busy, with masses of people moving along Unter den Linden. Tourists and Berliners alike had come out to see the show, even on the colder and wetter days. Bebelsplatz was one of the crowded places along the main route through Mitte. I always love Bebelsplatz since there are many installations in one place…

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Rhodes’ medieval citadel is one of the best preserved ones in Europe and earned its place on the Unesco heritage list. We can thank the Knights Hospitallers for much of what Rhodes looks like now. They moved to the island in the 14th century and left their mark in the approximately 200 years that they were there. After some Ottoman attacks the knights decided to build heavy fortifications, which you can still see today. However in the the 16th century the Ottomans won after all and added some oriental flavor to the town. Visiting Rhodes Town now, you can see elements from different times in the small streets within the city wall. If you enter the old town from the coast, you walk through the impressive Knight’s street towards the even more impressive palace of the grand master. At the hottest time of the day, tourists were using the small…

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The forecast showed a sunny Saturday, so I decided to sign up for a meetup. I’d been trying to find a day to go kayaking but so far it hadn’t worked out. Perhaps this was my chance. The day started off cloudy and it was the obvious first point of conversation as I met the other people at Schlesi U-bahn station. From here we walked to Freischwimmer, a quirky café along the canal that ends in the Spree river. Signs directed us through a small entrance along the back of the café, passing a little stage with a wide selection of chairs in front of it. It all felt very ‘Berlin’. At the very end was a small dock with a bunch of kayaks, canoes and old paddle boats. We sorted in some groups and the 11 of us entered the water. I was well familiar with the area, doing…

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You often hear travel is all about the journey, not the destination. And the journey certainly counts. Over the years I’ve gathered a lot of good memories and interesting stories on old, crowded buses crawling over bumpy roads, on trains that seemed to have come straight from the past or on foot with my backpack, alone or with fellow travelers. So when I had to cross the Aegean Sea to get from Athens to Rhodes, I decided not to take the plane, but enthusiastically promoted the ferry to my boyfriend. Initially he didn’t really understand why, but was ok with it because I wanted it so much. But after our overnight journey he’d changed his mind. I’d taken an overnight ferry once, sleeping in the trucker’s cabin. There’s something about boats, especially massive ships like the car ferries crossing from Athens’ Piraeus port to the Greek islands. Even as we…

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If you travel with someone who’s training for a marathon, you can’t really escape doing some exercise on your holiday. And not being able to do my regular classes, I thought I’d join for a few running sessions. Whereas my boyfriend ran in each city we visited, including Athens at 43 degrees Celsius, I only joined 4 times. I guess I didn’t want to miss out on the beauty we would see along the way. Here’s an overview. Symi – 3,5km mini run Of course I loved my run on Symi. I went solo for this one since my boyfriend had to do hills training. Now, I like a run, but I’m not crazy. So together we walked down the hill from our accommodation towards the Pedi bay as a warm up. Do you really need a warm up when it’s 33 degrees? At the bottom he went uphill and…

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