A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about lakes

The German excursion: Lindau im Bodensee

Bregenz and Lindau im Bodensee


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A special day today, both at school and afterwards.

Today was the day when all the local teachers were having their annual grade-deciding conference, and as part of that they had a big buffet in the staff room. My co-teacher and I were both urged to have as much as we wanted from it, both during the mid-morning break and afterwards for lunch. The vast majority of the dishes were homemade. I was urged in particular to have a Bavarian speciality, weisswurst with sweet mustard; it was absolutely delicious - so juicy and tasty. I don't normally like mustard but this was much nicer than English mustard. I also had some amazing pumpkin soup (which tasted very similar to Dad's curried parsnip soup), a slice of pea and broccoli quiche, a small cheese and spinach pie and an onion and roasted vegetable slice. What a feast!

After class finished we took a train around the lake into Germany to the historic and picturesque Lindau im Bodensee, which is set on its own little island connected to the main town of Lindau by the rail line and another bridge. We went on a lovely extended wander round town in the sunshine and crisp winter air, admiring up close the harbourside...

0cc35770-eaa6-11e9-a7d7-a9af9d3e31f5.JPGIMG_8693.JPGIMG_8706.JPG

...the lighthouse and Bavarian Lion sculpture at the harbour entrance...

0bd48aa0-eaa6-11e9-8c40-e79f4e0abc1a.JPGf31892b0-eaa8-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8694.JPG0c8d5350-eaa6-11e9-8c40-e79f4e0abc1a.JPGIMG_8710.JPG

...and the view over the rest of the lake. I spotted some mysterious wooden posts sticking out of the water which I thought could be old supporters of a former, wooden jetty;

0d4afe00-eaa6-11e9-b1a1-5bea42e395a0.JPGIMG_8704.JPG

On our walk round the historic town I admired a lot of the buildings. One of them had an absolutely massive, woody plant growing up one side; maybe an ancient wisteria or laburnum.

3f1341b0-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPG40176b40-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8712.JPGIMG_8711.JPG4186d9c0-eaa9-11e9-b7fd-552ad6336e0a.JPG571c5d00-eaa9-11e9-b7fd-552ad6336e0a.JPG4058ba00-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8741.JPG

Some buildings had murals on the front and antiques stalls set up outside.

IMG_8718.JPGIMG_8733.JPG

Before returning to the train station we stopped at a cafe, where I had a lovely Black Forest coffee. Then we went to a supermarket to get sandwiches for dinner, as we'd already had a main meal at lunchtime.

Posted by 3Traveller 08:00 Archived in Germany Tagged lakes art snow trains austria germany bregenz explorations german_cuisine lindau_im_bodensee Comments (0)

On the shore of the Bodensee

Bregenz


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I'm now in Bregenz, on the shore of the Bodensee - almost as far west as you can go in Austria, just a couple of miles round the corner from Germany and Switzerland. I'm teaching an exam preparation course this time, and it's a short course - only Monday to Wednesday. I have one co-teacher (a different one to last week).

After class today we went for a walk into the centre of Bregenz via the edge of the Bodensee. It had snowed overnight and during the morning, but the lake itself hadn't frozen.

IMG_8649.JPGf0dce4c0-dd19-11e9-8860-ed6e64034b98.JPGf1428460-dd19-11e9-9c07-e7bbf4064ec8.JPGf14fa3c0-dd19-11e9-8ebf-d946083f050f.JPGIMG_8654.JPG

Blue skies, peaceful snowy fields, forested hills in the background, ripples on the lake... it was so beautiful!

22010090-dd1a-11e9-9bf7-173624223623.JPG4c0ba2f0-dd1a-11e9-b055-5571dcb8a96e.JPG4bc7e330-dd1a-11e9-b055-5571dcb8a96e.JPGIMG_8993.JPG4ba84d40-dd1a-11e9-9bf7-173624223623.JPG

Once we reached the city centre we were initially a little disappointed with the buildings and general architecture (it wasn't bad, but wasn't as totally amazing as everyone had told us) but then as we followed the streets higher and higher we grew more and more impressed, until we could completely see why everyone had raved about the place to us. I most definitely recommend visiting!

IMG_8663.JPGIMG_8657.JPGIMG_8658.JPGIMG_8673.JPGIMG_8688.JPG

We got a great view of the Oberstadt on its hill, overlooking the rest of the city; it was getting dark by now so we decided to leave going up there for another day. Instead we stuck to wandering the cobbled streets in the twilight.

Before we headed back to our guesthouse we had some dinner at a brewery. I had a lovely dish consisting of roast pork slices with potato dumplings, sweet purple cabbage and gravy.

IMG_9024.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 01:50 Archived in Austria Tagged lakes snow austria bregenz brewery explorations austrian_cuisine Comments (0)

First proper taste of Madrid and I love it

Madrid


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

The highlights of today (not in chronological order);

- the same feeling of excitement that I had yesterday

- the Museo del Prado - lots of really famous art by El Greco, Goya, Velázquez (I was particularly keen to see his work because I remember doing an essay in my third year at Swansea about some of his paintings within this museum), de Zúrbaran, Fra Angelico and Titian, amongst others. I only had to queue for twenty minutes and because it was between 6-8pm I got in for free.

IMG_3265.JPGIMG_3266.JPGIMG_3267.JPG

- A lovely walk through the massive Parque del Buen Retiro. These gardens were really pleasant and I came across a big lake as well as the beautiful Crystal Palace... slightly bizarrely the latter had lots of small wicker rocking chairs set up inside, each with a thick book attached to the chair by a string. I thought that was a really good idea. You couldn't stay inside the building for too long because the sun created an atmosphere like the inside of a greenhouse, but it was still a very interesting and rather unusual environment to be in!

IMG_3232.JPGIMG_3236.JPGIMG_3243.JPGIMG_3244.JPGIMG_3199.JPGIMG_3201.JPGIMG_3233.JPGIMG_3245.JPGIMG_3209.JPGIMG_3207.JPGIMG_3208.JPG

- Another lovely walk, this time round the small Royal Botanic Gardens.

IMG_3258.JPGIMG_3246.JPGIMG_3250.JPGIMG_3255.JPGIMG_3256.JPG

- Wandering the streets, taking in the beautiful plazas and architecture.

IMG_3263.JPGIMG_3179.JPGIMG_3182.JPGIMG_3185.JPGIMG_3187.JPGIMG_3192.JPGIMG_3188.JPG

- Churros and a mixture of hot chocolate and black coffee with sugar for breakfast at the hostel.

- the interior of the Parroquia San Jerónimo El Real, which is behind the Museo del Prado. Unfortunately I could only have a quick look from inside the the entrance because a service was going on, but I loved what I saw.

IMG_3270.JPGIMG_3271.JPG

These aren't highlights in particular, but I'd still like to mention them. On the way back from the Museo del Prado in the evening, I came across a peaceful pro-Gaza march along a street round the corner from my hostel.

IMG_3273.JPG

Once I got back to the hostel I had some of the paella that is provided cheaply there every evening - not bad at all.

Posted by 3Traveller 06:07 Archived in Spain Tagged lakes art museum spain madrid hostel botanical_gardens churros spanish_cuisine Comments (0)

Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi National Park and Quito


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A trek up part of Cotopaxi Volcano today. It was organised by our hostel and although absolutely exhausting, it was well worth it.

A minibus took us and three others to a parking area already up part of the mountain. We'd stopped at the entrance to the National Park; at the café I bought a cup of coca tea because I was starting to feel unwell due to altitude sickness. It helped a bit, thank goodness.

2014-06-19-09h47m53.JPG2014-06-19-14h36m41.JPG

The first part of the trek was OK, if tiring. It had a steep incline but wasn't all that long. The ground was a very fine gravel, so our feet sank into it. When we reached the top of this first part we turned and saw wonderful views over the rest of the National Park. The glacier above us was beautiful and awe-inspiring.

2014-06-19-15h25m20.JPG2014-06-19-15h26m49.JPG

Dave stayed at this part, but I decided to carry on to the base lodge that was in the process of being built. I'd had to stop for the loo, because I was absolutely desperate, so the others in the group had already gone ahead of us. That second part of the trek was very difficult - in terms of sheer muscular exhaustion it was on par with the last hour of our trek up Ben Nevis in 2011. This was the view of the second part;

2014-06-19-16h22m20.JPG2014-06-19-16h22m39.JPG

It didn't look all that far at the start, but that was misleading! I was struggling quite badly with altitude sickness by now - no nausea, luckily, just feeling quite lightheaded and off balance. My chest was hurting where I injured my rib in February last year and the back of my head hurt where it joins onto my neck. One of the guides was with me and she let me sit down and rest on rocks whenever I needed to, which helped. There were several moments where I considered turning back, but a voice in my head pushed me on. At one point a load of donkeys passed by me coming from the opposite direction.

2014-06-19-16h30m18.JPG2014-06-19-16h30m54.JPG

And despite being physically one of the hardest things I've ever done, it was absolutely worth it. As soon as I reached the lodge I had my photo taken next to the signpost that said I was at 4864 metres altitude, then tottered over to a seat amongst the masonry at the front of the half-built lodge where two workers were busy working. It felt amazing to be so high up.

2014-06-19-18h07m21.JPG2014-06-19-18h07m42.JPG

I had a enormously satisfying rest for five to ten minutes, along with a drink, before descending. The descent took about five minutes, making a mockery of how long it had taken me to get up there... a fast walk turned into a jog and then I was pushed by the slope into a run. Dave was watching from the bottom of this section, so he took a few photos of me coming down.

Then, after another little rest, we descended the first section together, at a walk. It was just us two along with the guide that had been with me on the second section. The others had carried on higher than the base lodge, to the edge of the glacier itself - this was an optional extra activity as part of the excursion - but Dave and I gave this a miss. By now I was starting to feel dizzy and sleepy and a headache was developing.

The three of us sat in the minibus waiting for the others to return. I started off in the front passenger seat but then I felt so bad I needed to lie down, so I moved to lying across the back seats and Dave took my seat at the front. The guide gave me an inflatable neck/head rest which helped make me more comfortable.

2014-06-19-13h01m39.JPG

Thankfully, once the others had arrived back and we descended to the plains of the National Park, I started feeling much better. We stopped at a beautiful lake for a bit and then to a small café where we were given free cheese rolls and we could buy other things if we wanted to.

2014-06-19-18h52m16.JPG2014-06-19-20h00m32.JPG2014-06-19-20h01m46.JPG2014-06-19-18h51m02.JPG2014-06-19-20h30m42.JPG

I wasn't hungry at all so I didn't have my roll, but I did get myself a hot chocolate and some Coke. Dave bought some coca boiled sweets, which we ate on the rest of our return journey.

2014-06-19-14h31m42.JPG

We stopped again at the entrance/exit to the National Park. There was a TV playing the England vs. Italy World Cup group match - Italy were winning 1-0. It was just after half time. Just as we drew up to the hostel later on, the match finished. England had lost and were out of the World Cup.

As soon as we got back from Cotopaxi National Park I went to bed. I was feeling lightheaded and dizzy again and started throwing up. I had about four or five bouts of it. At around 6.30pm my engagement ring was delivered! - I couldn't get out of bed so Dave collected it from reception. It was just as beautiful as I expected.

2014-06-19-18h35m19.JPG

I didn't have any dinner but Dave went out and had a similar mixed grill to the one he had at the Argentinian grillhouse a couple of days earlier.

Posted by 3Traveller 16:55 Archived in Ecuador Tagged mountains lakes football volcanoes hostel dave quito andes ecuador explorations ecuadorian_cuisine cotopaxi_national_park Comments (0)

Galápagos Islands: Isabela (Abermarle)

Galápagos Islands

For breakfast we boiled the rest of the special sausages we'd had some of the night before (we didn't have any oil or a grill, so couldn't fry or grill them) and we had half of them - I made sausage sandwiches with the other half for us to have later for lunch.

Then we hung around in the reception area of our hostel while Dave checked his email to find out when we were getting picked up by the G Adventures representative. He didn't have any emails, though, so he and the hostel owner (who was incredibly nice and helpful all round) went down the road to the tour office to speak to them face to face. They came back having found out the required information (we had to meet at the port, it turned out) and so we hung around for a while longer before getting a taxi to the port with all our stuff.

2014-06-03-09h49m24.JPG

Before we set off for the port, we did a little bit of shopping in town. On the way in we passed a fish stall next to the waterfront with lots of pelicans and a sealion crowded round it. We stopped to watch for a bit before moving on.

2014-06-03-19h31m43.JPG2014-06-03-19h33m10.JPG2014-06-03-19h31m19.JPG2014-06-03-19h34m59.JPG2014-06-03-12h22m57.JPG

We both bought a t-shirt for ourselves and I also got myself a carved wooden tortoise ornament and a woven 'Galapagos' friendship bracelet to go with the ones I bought in Peru five years ago. I also did a little bit of secret shopping.

At the port we had to have our bags checked for fruit, vegetables, seeds and other plant material, because quite understandably the Ecuadorians are very keen for there to be no cross-contamination between different islands. Then the tour company representative met us and we also met up with the other couple who we were going to be with on all our activities on Isabela Island for the following three days. This was a recently retired American couple, Bud and Gale, who until recently had been living in the US Virgin Islands for 20 years. They were both really nice and friendly.

The tour representative put us on a water taxi which took us to the speedboat that took us to Isabela Island. The crossing took between two and three hours and the word 'rough' to describe the sea would have to be the understatement of the year... both Dave and I had never experienced anything like it! Even the Cork - Swansea ferry journey I took with the rugby club at uni pales in comparison. Some of the others were sick, but neither Dave or I were. Dave was fine actually because he'd taken a tablet against motion sickness an hour before the journey, which worked a treat, and I didn't feel sick, only a little dizzy due to the horizon going up and down through the window so much. The jolting of the boat pitching so much meant I didn't get any sleep, though I did try.

As soon as we arrived and I felt the fresh air on my face I stopped feeling dizzy and I felt really excited instead... days of adventure and new experiences were ahead! We were met by the tour guide, Ricardo, and got into the open-sided truck which would be taking us from place to place during the next few days.

We were taken to our hotel, Hotel San Vicente, where we dumped our stuff and got changed before going out with Bud, Gale and two German girls on our first excursion... a flamingo lagoon! Ricardo told us lots of interesting information about the flamingoes and the lagoon. We both love flamingoes so it was wonderful to see them.

2014-06-04-01h16m55.JPG2014-06-04-01h03m19.JPG2014-06-04-01h13m18.JPG2014-06-03-23h56m36.jpg

The water in the lagoon is brackish, both salt and fresh mixed together, which is why the flamingoes are there.The lagoon was manmade a few decades ago (before the Galápagos became a National Park) when locals quarried for basalt to use as a building material. Once they dug deep enough for water to come through, they had to stop quarrying and they just left the crater as it was. Then the flamingoes moved in. We saw the flamingoes doing their funny 'dance', not a dance at all but a process to stir up the mud to make the tiny crustaceans they feed on to come to the surface. Ricardo also showed us a lava gull that appeared. We were there for a while but then it became dusky and few drops of rain appeared, so we went back to the hotel. We rested until dinner, which was at 7.

Dinner was lovely - yuca, potato and vegetable soup as a starter, a great big slab of fresh fish with white sauce, rice and vegetables for the main and a very thick fruity mixture (like yoghurt with holes in it, but a bit more gooey) for pudding. We had a glass of juice each as well. Ricardo appeared after a while and briefed us about the next day; we had to be ready to leave the hotel at 8.50 the next morning.

We played some cards after dinner - five rounds of 10-card rummy (Dave won overall) - before going back to our room, having showers and downloading photos from our cameras onto my laptop and Dave's USB pen.

2014-06-04-03h56m36.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 16:29 Archived in Ecuador Tagged lakes birds pelicans coast hotel dave ecuador sealions galapagos_islands flamingoes explorations unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]