Zentralfriedhof, Vienna – The same size as Zurich and twice the fun!

The Zentralfriedhof (main cemetary) in Vienna lies on the edge of the city not far from the Vienna airport. With a “population” of over 3 million, it houses twice as many people as currently are alive in the city. But why would you ever want to visit a cemetery when you go to Vienna? Maybe…

A classic recipe for a Dark Forest Gateau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)

Typically I am not a cake person but there are definitely exceptions. The Dark Forest Gateau (German: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, literally “Black Forest Cherry Cake”) definitely falls into those exceptions! A wonderful mix of chocolate, cherries and rich cream is a great ending to any traditional meal from Baden-Württemberg (especially Maultaschen or Spätzle). You can find…

Maultaschen (“mouth pockets”) from Swabia, Germany

(The photo of the Maultaschen in broth is by Matthias Haupt) When I lived in Germany, my favourite cuisine from the country was easily that of Baden-Württemberg. As I am someone who eats little meat, I loved the vegetarian options from the region, including some variety of spätzle and the vegetarian Maultaschen. Maultaschen, which translates…

Bismarckturm Schoden, Germany – A silent sentinal

Standing on a hill above the Saar river in Germany near the town of Schoden in Rheinland-Pfalz/Rhineland-Palatinate stands a Bismarckturm (Bismarck tower); a standardised monument built to honour Germany’s first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. These towers were built around the turn of the 20th century to honour him; They conform (more or less) to a…

Rheinschlucht, Switzerland – The Grand Canyon of Switzerland

The Ruinaulta or Rheinschlucht is a large canyon in the Canton of Grisons in Switzerland. It formed approximately 10,000 years ago. when a landslide brought millions of tonnes of debris into the valley, creating this canyon area. The term Ruinaulta refers to this high heap of rubble (the literal meaning), while the name Rheinschlucht translates…

Eltz Castle, Germany – A Living Castle

Eltz Castle is a majestic little castle. It sits on a rock in a small wooded valley in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) in Germany. Although definitely among the lesser-known castles (unlike Hohenzollern or Neuschwanstein), it is extremely appropriate for its location and has a few unique features, both physically and as well as features of its history….

Quora – As a freelancer based in London, is there any way I can live in Spain for 6 months without becoming an ‘autonomo’? It’s a lot of hassle for just 6 months.

Read James Brooks‘ answer to As a freelancer based in London, is there any way I can live in Spain for 6 months without becoming an ‘autonomo’? It’s a lot of hassle for just 6 months. on Quora There is a way that you can live in Spain without registering there as a freelancer but…

Quora – Is there a 2-year grace period before you have to register as an autónomo in Spain?

Read James Brooks‘ answer to Is there a 2-year grace period before you have to register as an autónomo in Spain? on Quora Unfortunately, there is no grace period before having to register as an autónomo. There is, however, a grace period once you become an autónomo. Rather than directly paying €250 into Social Security…

Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft, Germany – The sea is calm tonight

You may not connect Germany with the ocean in your mind. However you would be remiss to forget that Germany actually has two coasts. One the eastern side of the country, directly north of Berlin, lies the Baltic Coast. On the Baltic Coast lies the Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft, or the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National…

Schiefergebirge, Germany – My Heart’s in the Highlands

The Thüringer Schiefergebirge, known as the Thuringian Highlands in English, is an area of the German federal state Thuringia (German: Thüringen) featuring steeply hilly areas on the border between Bavaria and Thuringia, through which the Saale River cuts. As the German name suggests, this area contains a large amount of slate rock. There are very…

Malbun, Liechtenstein – High in the Alps

High in the Alps in microstate of Liechtenstein lies Malbun, a small town a few kilometres from the Austrian border and Liechtenstein’s only ski resort. It has a single access road (through Triesenberg) to access Malbun. Malbun lies in a U-shaped valley; as one would expect from a ski resort, is mostly hotels, restaurants and other ski resort-related…

Steg, Liechtenstein – Halfway up the Liechtensteiner Alps

Making our way up from Triesenberg, the next stop in our trip through Liechtenstein was in Steg, a small village in the Liechtensteiner mountains. It is accessible only through a tunnel. Steg is so small that its population is simply added to the municipality of Triesenburg rather than counted separately. The grand total population therefore…

Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Germany – Here there be witches

The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a major feature of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It runs from flatter areas in the north to mountains separating Switzerland and Germany in the south. The Schwarzwald contains a cornucopia of geography, geology and topography. These include mountains, valleys, large lakes and even the largest waterfall (in Triberg) in Germany….

Ruine Hochburg, Germany – Defending the entrance to the Black Forest

As I promised those who follow this blog on Instagram, this blog post is on the Ruine Hochburg (High Castle Ruins). The Ruine Hochburg is located in Baden-Württemberg near Freiburg im Breisgau between the villages of Emmendingen (where I used to live) and Sexau. Originally known as Hachberg, the castle was built in the 11th…

Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz), Germany – A hike through nature

On the border between Germany and the Czech Republic lies a natural park called Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz). The park lies in the Elbe Valley (the river runs through Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland) and attracts nature-lovers both locally and internationally due to the abundance of nature trails and climbing spots (which literally…

Wartburg Castle, Germany – The birthplace of religious resistance

Eisenach is a town in western Thüringen (Thuringia). It is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Wartburg Castle. This town has a surprisingly star-studded history: Martin Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German in Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach was born here in 1865, and hosted the famous writer/statesman Johann Wolfgang Goethe, all…

Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm), Germany – Olympic hiking

When one thinks about Germany, the usual stereotypes that one has of German culture is from Bavaria, with its Oktoberfest, Lederhosen and Oom-pah music. One of the things that you think about with Alpine culture is the mountains. However, did you know that there are other famous geographical formations around the Alps? How about Partnach…

Pont de Pedret (Pedret Bridge and Church of Sant Quirze), Spain – High in the mountains

Since around the 10th century, a church and bridge of some kind have stood in a secluded location near the River Llobregat near the town of Berga. Fast forward eleven centuries and today, the Pont de Pedret and the Església (Church) de Sant Quirze still stand. The Inventari del Patrimoni Arquitectònic de Catalunya (Inventory of the…

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales – Mum wants to live by the sea

Pembrokeshire is well known for its Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Can you guess where it is?Pembrokeshire. Can you guess what it contains? The majority of the Pembrokeshire coast. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is also the only national park in the UK created primarily for coastal areas. The only non-contiguous parts are a few port…

Oystermouth Castle, Wales – Guarding the Bay

One of the castles overlooking Swansea Bay is Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles, the village of the rich just outside of the city of Swansea. Oystermouth Castle has a thousand-year-old history, although the present castle of stone has only been standing for around 800 years (and underwent refurbishment, meaning they added a few things like a visitors…