Sledging at Feldberg

Last week I’ve organized a hike trip to Feldberg, the highest peak in Black Forest. It was such a warm and sunny day, that the temperature was above 25 degrees Centigrade. It was April, but it was like in the hottest few days of July. Actually, it is never so hot and such good weather in Black Forest. And definitely not in the first days of April! Sometimes it is even colder than in the northern Alps. There are a lot of days when on Feldberg (about 1450 m high) it is colder than on Zugspitze, the highest peak in the German Alps at almost 3000. The day was so hot, that we even hiked with bathing suits and barefoot. It was a great pleasure.

You can imagine how surprised we were, when we’ve seen that there is still some snow on the slopes of the peak.

There were even some guys snowboarding.

So, we decided to do use the great weather and nature play and have a lot of fun, by doing something very unique – barefoot and bathing suit sledging in the snow. We hat no sledges, but we were smart enough to create such. Just enjoy the pictures as we’ve enjoyed the fun 🙂

At the end we were so tired, that we’ve done some sun bathing in the snow. A great cold-warm feeling for the whole body.

And now I have a good tan from the beginning of April 🙂

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City Free Tours Extended?

Have you ever heard about free city tours? Just type in free tours and a city name and you will be amazed in who many cities there are free city tours. On these tours you can learn quite a lot about the city from people who live there. You can obtain a lot of insider tips. And it is not commercial. It’s for free. Of course a small donation is always welcome if you are happy with the tour. I love the idea and I’m very happy that even Sofia has its own free tour.

Everyone can create free tours in their cities, so feel free to do this. You are not only going to make a lot of tourists happy, but you’ll also meet some great people and have a lot of fun.

On the other hand, sooner or later the free city tours can become quite standard and lose their charm. The only difference with the normal commercial tours will be that they are free. Here some ideas what to do in order to make them always different and always interesting not only for tourist, but also for locals:

1. Change the route.

2. Show not only the typical tourist attractions, but also the everyday life, for example a working area, a living quarter, a market.

3. Make some special tours which have some particular topics. It can be traditional cooking, history, outgoing night, literature, animals in the city, architecture, in the city, restaurants, parks, hotels, language, religions, sports and so on. There is an enormous variety. These tours can be made from time to time and be announced ahead. But they can be done very spontaneous as well.

4. Orientate yourself on the different events that are going on in that particular time and visit them together with the tourists.

5. Go outside the city and show the near region – mountains, rivers, sea, nature and so on.

6. Just visit some local people together.

Just be creative.

Why Do People Sleep in Karlsruhe

I’ve recently heard that 80% of all visitors of Karlsruhe, the city I live in, are business people. And there are almost no people, who come to visit the city itself or the near area. That’s definitely true. My personal Couch Surfing statistics says pretty much the same. Here are the reasons why people surf my couch:

1. Because they need to stay somewhere between Heidelberg and Strasbourg, because they have been riding a bicycle for a lot of days and can’t do more than 60-70km per day.

2. Because it is easy to hitch-hike to and from Karlsruhe

3. Because they are American and travel in Europe and would like to go from Paris to Munich and of course pass through Karlsruhe

4. Because they want to go to France, but prefer to take a cheap Ryan Air flight to Karlsruhe or Hahn.

5. Because they are French and would like to experience East Europe and have to go through Karlsruhe.

6. Because they come from Eastern Europe and would like to visit France or Spain

7. Because they are French and come back from a party in Berlin

8. Because they travel around Germany with a bicycle and make interviews from young people.

9. Because they need to catch an early train from Karlsruhe

10. Because they missed a late train in Karlsruhe

11. Because they have to work for some days in Karlsruhe

12. Because they found a new job in Karlsruhe, but no place to live

13. Because they are students and their studies are starting, but they could not find a place to stay, because there are not enough student accommodations in Karlsruhe.

14. Because they want to visit a seminar in Karlsruhe

15. Because they make an apprenticeship in Karlsruhe

16. Because they hold a seminar in Karlsruhe

17. Because they want to visit ZKM

18. Because I’m organizing nice CS events and people like to come to them 😉

19. Because I’m always inviting people to visit me or people would like to visit me.

20. Because they want to visit a concert at Substage

21. Because they want to visit the Das Fest

22. Because they play music and Karlsruhe has one of the most lively scenes in Germany

As a conclusion here are the reasons sorted by importance:

1. Karlsruhe is an important transportation hub

2. People like to visit me

3. Karlsruhe is an important business and work place

4. People like to have fun in Karlsruhe

5. People would like to visit Karlsruhe

Nevertheless, Karlsruhe is a great city, so I’m going to write another post to tell you why it is great to live in Karlsruhe.

Travel Alternatives

Next to Couch Surfing there are some other good travel alternatives. Here a small list of them:

1. Hospitality Club – it is like CS and it was created even earlier, but does not function so well and is more bureaucratic.

2. Home exchange – it is in principle like Couch Surfing, but you have to find people who want to have a holiday at the time you have and who want to go to your place. It is also possible to do it for a longer time, even for half an year. There are a lot of different web sites for home exchange

3. Yacht Surfing and work on a boat. There are quite a lot of different models, but the basic idea is that you help do the job on a boat and travel around the world with it.

4. World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – if you like to work for a longer period in a organic farm, this is the perfect for you. Normally you obtain accommodation and food. You can learn a lot about organic farming. There are some other sites as well. For example HelpX.

5. Work and Travel – it’s very famous and there are a lot of opportunities. You can travel and earn the money you need for your travel.

And if you prefer to have a “normal” holiday and stay in hotel, there is still a way how to do more about the area where you are and how to travel more sustainably – you can stay in a BIO Hotel or use only sustainable travel products.

Visit People and Get to Know Them

Goethe once said: “We learn new people not when they visit us, but when we visit them” In order to deeply understand the people you have to visit them and see how they live, what they do and what they think. That’s actually exactly what happens when I’m couch surfing. I love to do it, but I’m mostly doing it abroad or in some far parts of Germany. When we think about couch surfing at our home, we think more or less about guests or some meetings, events and so on. This is actually a good starting point, but it does not really seem enough. We have through couch surfing finally the opportunity to visit each other’s homes and to get to know each other. And this not only far away, but directly in the area where we live, next door to us.

Nowadays there are so many people travelling, we all want to experience the world and to meet different people, to see beautiful places, to understand more about cultures. But we don’t really know ourselves and our neighbours next door. We live in a global world and we often forget the local people who live next door. That’s very pity, because we do not use the opportunity to understand ourselves and our society well enough. Of course, when we travel we learn most about ourselves, but we can learn a lot when we just look around.

The greatest politicians and personalities used to visit the people in their own country, area and city. They used to know exactly what people need, because they have the contact with people. This can help not only politicians but ordinary people in their everyday life as well.

I’m writing this post, because I’ve decided to start to do couch surfing next door. I would like to use the opportunity not only to make new friends and meet new people, but also to understand how people are in my own area.