Saturday, June 22, 2024

stop u.s. air base ramstein

as every year, we the peace activists protest against the u.s. air base ramstein (RMS / ETAR). it is the biggest u.s. military base outside the usa. according to wikipedia, it covers a surface of 1,400 ha (= 14 km2) and there are 38,000 u.s. soldiers 'employed'. btw, killing peole is not a job, is it? well, in the whole u.s. military area kaiserslautern - landstuhl - ramstein-miesenbach which is called kaiserslautern military community (KMC) 'work' 40,000 u.s. citizens (wiki, for the year 2020), but google says there are currently 52,000 people ...

... and yes, in germany are 181 out of the 587 u.s. military facilities (not just bases) outside the usa. on top, the french and british army also have some troops here. so germany is still an occupied territory, isnt it? (source: german government statistics office for the year 2015, which still is the most current data, when you search for it in summer 2024 😰). at least the russian army went home in 1994 ...

source: german government statistics office here
no wars!

this year we have been more protesters than in the last few years, so we were lucky to get a parking slot and a place for tent / place to stay when arrived friday evening at the peace camp ...

the main demonstration was on saturday in kaiserslautern. even if kaiserslautern is not nice at all, i was happy to see new and not again the roundabout in front of the air base in ramstein-miesenbach, where i've got THREE TICKS 🐜when protecting myself from the sun in the adjacent forest beside the demo stage last year ... well, this year we've had rain + mud + sunken cars all over the peace camp (in steinwenden, close to kottweiler-schwanden) ... its not that bad ... i'm sure you know, we do not come here just to enjoy a nice wheather, dont you?

what are the demands of the peace protest?


germany out of NATO

NATO out of germany

no more weapons & money for the ukraine

what else?

  • what a nice speach by the swiss historian daniele ganser in the peace camp on friday evening
  • what an emotional speach by pastor eugen drewermann in the peace camp on friday evening. i've had tears in my eyes ... 
  • swimming in the bärenlochweiher (in kindsbach near landstuhl)
  • castle ruine nanstein above landstuhl with a beautiful view at the surrounding area + at starting military planes from the ramstein air base. of course, we've climbed up to enjoy the nice castle and the beer garden and not the war planes out there ✈🍻🍀
  • tasty vegan food in the peace camp in steinwenden
  • music & bonfire in the peace camp on evenings
  • on the way home to munich: swimming in the lake pfuhler see close to the danube river near the city of ulm and sightseeing in the st. peter + paul monastery in oberelchingen (in bavaria)

... more insights & pictures COMING SOON ... 

even more pictures SOON here.

stop air base ramstein last year's event 2023 here.


Saturday, June 8, 2024

stara bystrica, SK

we have been a quite a good class in the high school, you know? even if many of us left our home slovakia many years ago, approximately two thirds of us regularly come to our classmates weekend in the hills, which we organize every 2 or 3 years ... also this time, after 37 years, we have been 18-20 folks in the northwestern slovakia ... slovakia is beautiful, so make clear you will visitslovakia one day, wont you?

btw, out of 29 students live currently 9 - 10 abroad (czech republic, austria, germany, great britain, canada, usa + australia)

.... COMING SOON ...

more pictures SOON here.

memories about our last classmates event in northeastern slovakia 2022 here.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

portugal 2024

dear friends, lets start identical to the last two bigger travel trips to nepal + qatar with my mobile phone's notes and with the favorite pictures made by my wife, will we? 😎

unesco heritage since 1983: the 16th century tower of belem, build to protect the entry
to lisbon via the tejo (tajo, tagus) river. (wiki: it served also as a point of embarkation
and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.)
unesco heritage pilgrimage site bom jesus do monte in braga
unesco heritage sintra, pena palace
sintra, freemason regaleira palace, way 2 hell or just to the underground corridors?

algarve, the coast between carvoeiro and benagil

highlights from our roundtrip in portugal as seen by my wife 👩

well, what about portugal (PT) after 2.5 weeks spent here? lets go:

  • wiki: PT is one of the oldest countries in europe (since 868)
  • wiki: lisbon is apparently after athens the 2nd oldest capitol in europe => huuuh? what about rome?
  • 10 million inhabitants, located in the western part of the iberian peninsula + the islands of azores + madeira. borders with spain and the atlantic ocean. the portuguese are ancestors of original iberian + celtic tribes. the area was later invaded by the romans, german tribes of suebi + visigoths, arabic moors ... of course, esp. in lisbon you see today people of almost all origin and colors, especially from the former portuguese colonies.
  • there is almost everywhere a lot of free space in PT as the density of the population is lower than in most parts of western europe
  • the portuguese empire was the 1st european superpower thanks to its sailors under vasco da gama (india), magellan (1519-1522 the 1st circumnavigation of the globe), corte-real (canada), cabral (brazil) both in 1500, de albuquerque (moscat + ormuz + west indian goa + malacca / indonesia) in 1510 and many more ... the portuguese conquered angola, mozambique, timor, cap verde, brazil, .... many of my dear readers will be surprised to learn that rio de janeiro was the capital of portugal till brazils independence in 1822.
  • PT = 
    • PORTO industry + work + unesco heritage port wine wineries at the douro river + fish restaurants at the riverbank ⚓
    • FATIMA praying
    • COIMBRA learning + old university (unfortunatelly, we coudnt visit yet)
    • LISBON / LISSABON / LISBOA celebrations & parties + historic tram + eiffel's elevator & bridge similar to the golden gate in san francisco + the 17 km long vasco de gama bridge over the tejo river
    • ALGARVE holidays. lagoa + lagos + tavira + fabrica with beautiful yellow + orange limestone cliffs + swimming at the beaches
    • huge cork oak + eukalyptus plantations
    • ceramic tiles (= fliesen) outside + inside the buildings and even churches
    • superior soccer (= football ⚽) players
    • lighthouse CABO DA ROCA as most western point of europe. hmm, ist it the beginning or the end? who knows for sure? 
    • + the rest of PT
  • there were many UNESCO heritage sites on our way: 
    • mafra palace
    • sintra (summer palaces of the kings and of the rich => pena place + freemason regaleira palace with beautiful garden and a 30m well leading to the hell and underground tunnels)
    • tower in belem (lisbon)
    • tomar (templar monastery)
    • porto's historic center
    • alto douro port wine region at douro river (i could swim in the douro river where it gathers the paiva river)
    • 1st capitol guimaraes (castle, palace, 2 churches / monasteries + historical city center),
    • pilgrimage site bom jesus do monte in braga
  • many rivers, few of them unbelievable wide in their mouths into the sea, especially the tejo river in lisboa. i couldnt believe it is a river a not a bay until i tried the water and yes, it was sweet 😇🐋🍀
  • lisboa ~ sightseeing, using the historic tram, nice lunch in park, 
  • sesimbra castle (castelo) + natural park da arrabida + swimming at the beach
  • algarve, sagres, fort + lighthouse + cliffs
  • algarve, city of lagos
  • algarve, lagoa (3 nights) + carvoeiro + benagil, boat trip to the caves at the beach + walking at the wonderful & colorful cliffs + swimming every day 🏊
  • algarve, rural tourism (herdade da corte), two nights at a cork oak plantation in the hills north of tavira
  • algarve, tavira => castle & city + cacela velha + fabrica => no cliffs any more, but sandy islands made by rivers and sea (esp. during the high tide) => beach praia da ilha de tavira
  • belem (a suburb of lisbon) => memorial for portuguese navigators + the tower
  • cascais ~ cliffs + a funny english couple in a beach bar
  • lighthouse cabo da roca (5 nights in a beautiful industrialist's mansion) 
  • azenhas do mar ~ pool with sea + sweet water (waterfall) below a huge cliff
  • mafra palace ~ by volume bigger then verseilles in paris
  • ericeira, surfers + digital nomads paradise
  • sintra => exuberant luxury in the unesco heritage palaces of sintra meets the extreme poverty in a nearby capuchin monastery
  • 3 or 4 wonderful beaches between cabo da roca and ericeira 
  • fatima, huge place for pilgrims in front of the church. not nice at all and quite dissapointing for me
  • tomar, castle + the unesco heritage convent of christ monastery
  • northern portugal => rural tourism (4 nights) close to the city of arouca => 8 km walk in the canyon at rio paiva river + huge eucalyptus plantations for paper industry in the northern hills (up to 1200 m high here in the region), swimming 2x in the paiva river canyon + 1x at the confluence of the rivers douro + paiva = 3x 🏊, castelo de paiva, ecovia do arda, 
  • porto (2 nights) = beautiful unesco heritage city center, bridge over the douro river to the city of gaia, dinner + port wine tasting in a winery at the river 
  • wind + sea + steep cliffs + waves + ...
  • anything else? quite cheap food + drinks. the most often served superbock beer was really good, if you asked me. parking for free or really cheap, but expensive petrol + highway fees. friendly climate, english in the cities and at the coast almost everywhere spoken & understood, low taxation on (retirement?) capital gains of 5% => many foreigners who live here. often surfers 🏄, digital nomads 💻, retirees .... and especially many british people. maybe because of the old english-portuguese-treaty?
  • very important to know: the portuguese are really friendly people 😍

well, there is still a lot to see for us in portugal: the remaining unesco heritage sites coimbra university + evora + elvas + the two monasteries close to fatima (in batalha + alcobaca) + the prehistoric rock paintings in coa river valley.

we would also like to see the cities ponte di lima + obidos, the nature in the NP in the very north ... but if you asked me, as we have already been to madeira 15 years ago, we will probably visit the nature paradise azores islands first 😉

pictures, pictures, pictures:

algarve, lagos
     what a nice attitude 💖
unesco heritage pilgrimage site bom jesus do monte in braga
west coast close to ericeira
1st capitol guimaraes
guimaraes castle
port wine barrels + porto as seen from gaia
the windy beach in northern part of porto, not any nice ...
arouca, our rural portugal experience
mr. frog
bonfire ~ every evening in arouca
mr. goat meets mr. cock
mr. + mrs. coi carp
arouca, river paiva canyon
river paiva meets river douro meets me
west coast
this cave is accessible only at low tide
sintra, freemason regaleira palace + garden
sintra, pena palace
sintra, capuchin monastery, a very quiet and a very special place 💓
sintra, extreme poverty in the capuchin monastery
two of us
wind, wawes and wind mills?
west coast
some beaches are REALLY DIFFICULT to reach 😉
... but really nice, too
west coast
tourist bus in sintra
1 fisherman + 1 tourist + 1 fortress in ericeira = ???
the huuuuuuge mafra palace
mafra palace, library
azenhas do mar
a lonely sportsman at early morning
lighthouse cabo da roca, the place where our beautiful europe begins
eiffel's (???) elevator in lisbon
santa luzia, tavira
cacela velha
cacelha vela
our stay in cabo da roca
lighthouse cabo da roca
west coast
wind mill (bar + restaurant) moinho dom quixote, cabo da roca
lidl and other supermarkets have a huge fish department
castelo de paiva
northern porto
(eiffel's?) bridge in porto
west coast
west coast, waves + cliffs ...
sunshades? not often seen in portugal
tower of belem
the beaches at tavira
lunch break at the island in front of tavira
santa luzia, tavira
rural portugal, oak tree plantations
strange caves in algarve, south portugal
vasco de gama bridge in lisbon + storks' hotel in central portugal
bizarre rock formations in algarve
nice purple acacias
algarve, city of lagos?
the storks again ..
a nice beach close to sesimbra, central portugal
eiffel's elevator in lisbon
freedom for all hostages! the 200 israelis + the 2.3 million palestinans in gaza
a train station in lisbon
good-bye portugal, i hope to see you soon again 😄


there was a report abt portugal in the facebook group travel facts (source here) recently. of course, you will find many of the the following topics above:

17 Facts You May Not Know About Portugal: 

1. Portugal is home to Europe's westernmost point, Cabo da Roca, located near Lisbon. It's not just a picturesque spot but also holds historical significance as it marks the edge of the European continent.
2.The University of Coimbra, established in 1290, is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Its Joanina Library, built in the 18th century, is renowned for its exquisite Baroque style and houses thousands of ancient books.
3. Portuguese is the official language of not only Portugal but also of Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe, making it one of the most widely spoken languages globally.
4. Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, is famous for its production of port wine. The wine is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley and aged in cellars along the Douro River before being shipped from Porto.
5. Portugal is the world's largest cork producer and exporter, with much of its cork harvested from the cork oak trees that blanket the country's landscape.
6. The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is one of the longest bridges in Europe, spanning the Tagus River at a length of over 17 kilometers (about 11 miles). It's named after the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
7. Portugal's Algarve region boasts some of Europe's most stunning beaches, attracting millions of tourists each year. However, beyond its beaches, the region also offers picturesque fishing villages, dramatic cliffs, and a rich cultural heritage.
8. The Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, is composed of nine volcanic islands. It's a paradise for nature lovers, offering unique landscapes, hot springs, and opportunities for whale watching.
9. Portugal is home to one of the world's oldest bookshops, Livraria Bertrand, which opened its doors in 1732 in Lisbon. It holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest operating bookstore.
10. The Portuguese love their seafood, and one of their traditional dishes is "Bacalhau à Brás," a flavorful combination of salted cod, onions, potatoes, and eggs.
11. The country has a rich tradition of fado music, characterized by its soulful melodies and melancholic lyrics. It's often performed in intimate settings known as "fado houses," particularly in Lisbon's historic neighborhoods.
12. The Alentejo region in southern Portugal is known for its vast cork oak forests, rolling plains, and medieval hilltop towns. It's a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering visitors a glimpse into traditional Portuguese culture.
13. Portugal has a long history of seafaring exploration, with renowned explorers like Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, and Bartolomeu Dias. Their voyages played a significant role in shaping world history during the Age of Discovery.
14. The Portuguese town of Óbidos is famous for its well-preserved medieval walls and picturesque streets. It's also known for its annual chocolate festival, where visitors can indulge in a variety of chocolate treats.
15. Portugal has a rich tradition of ceramic tiles, known as azulejos, which adorn buildings, churches, and palaces across the country. These intricately designed tiles often depict historical scenes, religious motifs, and geometric patterns.
16. The Tower of Belém, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Lisbon, was built in the early 16th century as a fortress to defend the city's harbor. It's a stunning example of Manueline architecture, adorned with intricate carvings and maritime symbols.
17. Portugal is one of the sunniest countries in Europe, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year on average. Its mild climate, combined with its diverse landscapes, makes it an ideal destination for outdoor activities year-round.
even more pictures here