Image Gallery

This is the personal home page of Thomas and Jun, a couple of a German husband and Chinese wife. We live near Munich in Germany and have seen quite a bit of the world in recent years. Our web page is currently dedicated to our photos, mainly from vacations. We might bring in other topics in the future.

Enjoy the images. If you like them, drop me an e-mail. You can find the e-mail address on the About page.

Total number of images: 9469
We embarked with a friend on an NCL cruise ship with destinations in the Aegean Sea. We visited Cyprus with an excursion to the Kourion archaeological site, then continued to Crete and visited the Minoan palace of Knossos. Next stop was in Rhodes with a tour to the ancient Acropolis of Lindos. On Santorini, we saw Oia, Imerovigli and Fira. On the tiny island of Patmos, we visited the famous windmills and monasteries. While in Volos, we made a tour to the hillside village of Makrinitsa. Our last cruise destination was Mitilini on Lesbos, with excursions to local villages. Back in Athens, we visited the Acropolis and its museum, the National Archaeological Museum and made an E-bike tour through the city. At the end of our vacation, we made day trips to Delphi and Meteora with a rental car.
During the second Corona year, we stayed in Germany at the Baltic sea in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. We rented an apartment in the spa town of Kühlungsborn and made day trips from there. This included the island of Rügen with Sellin, Prora and the National Park Jasmund. On Usedom, we saw the remains of the WW2 armaments research center Peenemünde with life-size models of the Fi103 and V2. Nearby was the Soviet-aera submarine U-461. We spent the evening in Stralsund and visited the Ozeaneum. We drove with the historic train Molli to Bad Doberan and Heiligendamm, and made on another day a combined ship and bicycle tour from Kühlungsborn to Warnemünde and back. The highlight, though, was a day in Hamburg by attending a concert in the Elbphilharmonie. On our way to the Baltic sea, we stopped by at the Sanssouci palace in Potsdam, and the Panometer and Battle of the Nations monument in Leipzig.
The skiing slopes in Switzerland remained open during the winter and Gstaad managed the safety measures in an exemplary way. We enjoyed four days of skiing in a well controlled environment and without fear of getting infected. We went to the three major skiing areas, which are Schönried, Gstaad and Glacier 3000. We had snowfall during the last two days and got fresh snow slopes. On our way to and away from Gstaad, we stopped over in Bern, Veytaux and Lausanne. In Bern, we saw the historic city center. The major attraction in Veytaux is the Chillon Castle, directly located at Lake Geneva. In Lausanne, we visited the Olympic museum and the cathedral of Notre Dame.
Corona in Croatia also had a positive effect: empty tourist hotspots, such as Dubrovnik. On our way to Croatia, we first stopped at the Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in Slovenia. Then we stayed for 2 days at the Valalta campground on the Istrian peninsula and visited from there Rovinj, Pula and Motovun. Then we continued to Dubrovnik. We booked a guided tour through the old town. In normal times, it usually has 30 to 40 participants. When we took the tour, we were the only ones. We also went up on Mount Srđ by cable car and visited the nearby island of Lokrum by boat. On another day, we did a combined kayak and bicycle tour at the Elaphite islands of Lopud and Šipan. We drove to Split and saw the remains of Diocletian's palace, before we boarded the ferry to Ancona in Italy and drove to San Marino for a brief stop over.
We ended this year with a 4-day skiing vacation in Sankt Moritz throughout the Christmas days. We got plenty of fresh show and perfectly groomed slopes. On our last day, when all the photos have been shot, we made a grand tour through the skiing areas of Corvatsch, Corviglia, Diavolezza and Lagalb.
For our second visit of the Bayreuth festival, we have chosen the spa town of Františkovy Lázně as our staying place. We got some cure treatments there and visited the nearby Soos nature reserve. A day trip brought us to the german museum in Mödlareuth, showing the former border fortifications between east and west Germany. We also visited the continental deep drilling project in Windischeschenbach and the Plassenburg in Kulmbach. In Bayreuth, we have made a guided tour through the newly renovated Margravial opera house, one of the few remaining examples of a baroque court theater. The highlight of the trip was attending the performances of Lohengrin and Parsival, two memorable evenings in our lifes that will be remembered forever. We even got an autograph from the tenor Beczala on a Lohengrin Blu-Ray disc.
Switzerland is so beautiful, so we visited the region for a second time this year. First, we went to the Grimselwelt touristic area. This included the Reichenbach Falls, one day of climbing the Tälli via ferrata, a hike to the spectacular Trift suspension bridge, a tour through the power plant Grimsel 2 at the Räterichsboden dam and a hike around the Gelmer reservoir. We spend one day at the Aletsch glacier, hiking from the Bettmeralm along the Aletsch glacier hiking path to the Fiescheralp, and then going up to the Eggishorn. In Zermatt, we visited the Matterhorn glacier area and Gornergrat, and hiked the Matterhorn glacier trail at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn. Sad to see, that some glaciers, like the Furgg glacier, almost ceased to exist.
With friends from the US, we visited the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. We stopped by in Lucerne and did some hiking at the nearby Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatus. On our way to Grindelwald, we saw the spectacular Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge and Harder Kulm at Interlaken. Next day, we drove with a cogwheel railway train from Grindelwald to the Jungfraujoch at 3,454m. We hiked over the Aletsch glacier to the Mönchsjochhütte and did skiing and snow tubing. Back on the foot of the mountains, we hiked along the Eiger trail. The next two days, we visited the First and admired the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks on the opposite while walking to the Bachalpsee. We drove to Lauterbrunnen, got up on the Männlichen summit, walked along the Rotsteckli trail to Kleine Scheidegg, and visited the Schilthorn and the roaring Trümmelbach waterfalls.
Our first summer vacation in 2019 took us to Slovenia and Croatia. Beautiful lake Bled lies like an emerald in the Julian alps. We used a bicycle to ride around it and to the Vintgar Gorge all in one day. The Julian alps with the Vršič Pass and the gigantic Planica ski jump arena are worthwhile a visit. We saw the Lipica stud farm and the Skocjan caves. A definite highlight is the Plitvice Lakes National Park with its countless waterfall cascades amidst a forest. And as this is not enough, we drove to Rastoke, a few miles north of the park, which is a historic milling village that is built around waterfalls.
This skiing vacation was organized by Jun's dancing club. We spent one week in Kaprun with five days of skiing. The weather was cold and snow conditions were excellent. The slopes on the Kitzsteinhorn and in Schmitten were well maintained. We both enjoyed skiing a lot, while Jun had evening dancing classes in addition to that. When she was dancing, I was working on the pictures that you see right here.
The Watzmann massif lies inside the Berchtesgaden National Park. We went up to the highest peak of the Watzman and hiked around the Watzmann massif in five days. We stayed at the Watzmannhaus at 1930m, from where we reached the Hocheck at 2651m and the Central Peak at 2713m on the second day. In the following days, we walked to the Wimbachschloss, Wimbachgrieshütte, Steinernes Meer, Ingolstädter Haus, Kärlingerhaus and through the spectacular Saugasse back to St. Bartholomä and Schönau.
The Silvretta area has three major reservoirs for peak-load electricity generation for the European electric power network. We started at the Silvretta reservoir our roundtrip hike to the Saarbrücker Hütte at 2538m. Next day, we climbed the Klettersteig up to the Kleinlitzner peak and hiked across the border to Switzerland to the Plattenjoch. On the following day, we crossed the Litzner ridge and walked along the Klostertal back to the Silvretta reservoir. In the following two days, we stayed in Galtür, did a guided tour on the Jamtal glacier and a Klettersteig tour to the Flimspitz in Ischgl.
We spent our summer vacation 2018 in the alps at three of the top alpine locations for hiking, climbing and spectacular mountain scenery. We started at the Formarinsee and stayed for two nights at the Freiburger Hütte. We walked up to the Saladina Peak at 2230m, then walked around the Formaletsch on a geological path, and ran back to the hut when a thunder storm approached. Next day, we went on the very long and strenuous path to the Rote Wand with its summit at 2704m. On our way, we saw marmots and ibexes.
Beginning of 2018, we did a combined sightseeing-, wellness- and skiing-vacation. At first we visited Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We saw the Bratislava Castle, the St. Martin's Cathedral and the old city. We continued to Piešťany for some wellness treatments, e.g. mud packages, mud baths, thermal baths and massages. Invigorated from all the wellness, we continued to Jasná Nízke Tatry (Jasna Low Tatras) for three days of skiing. The Hotel Srdiečko, where we stayed, is directly at the slopes. After a long day of skiing, the hotel's saunas and outdoor whirlpools offered a much sought-after relaxation.
Dubai was our 3-day intermediate stop-over from South Africa to Germany. This is where our Petro-Euros go: ultra-modern skyscrapers, artificial islands and mega shopping malls with indoor-skiing, all build on sand in a desert. We have been in the Dubai Mall, visited the top of the Burj Khalifa at 555m, participated at a tour in the Jumeirah Mosque, did the Dubai Ferry Mini-Cruise with a gulf-view on the Dubai skyline and the luxury apartments on Palm Jumeirah, went on a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari with a 4x4 in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and - to top this all - did indoor skiing at -2°C at the Mall of the Emirates (at outside temperatures of 30°C).
South Africa is a country that is stimulating all your senses and your mind. When in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area, you can marvel at the origins of mankind in the Sterkfontein Caves, and the origins of apartheid, liberation and democracy in various museums and a tour to Soweto. Very worthwhile and quite unique is the fascinating 4h Cullinan diamond mine underground tour. The absolute top attractions of South Africa are their national parks: we stayed at Kruger, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Royal Natal, with side trips to iSimangaliso Wetland, Ukhahlamba Drakensberg and Golden Gate Highlands. We saw an abundance of wildlife, including the big-five, but also rare sightings, such as a Zebra in a tree or a turtle mistaking a crocodile for its own kind. Here, you are in the cage (your car) and you can observe the animals in their natural environment, showing their natural behavior.
After finishing our business trips in east Asia, we met in Kyoto and spent four days there to admire the cultural richness of Japan's historic capital. We visited the Kinkaku-Ji, also known as the "Golden Pavilion", one of Japan's most famous sights. Other Buddhist temples were the Daitoku-Ji with its famous raked gravel gardens, the monumental Nanzen-Ji and Chion-In temples, Fushimi Inari-Taisha with its thousands of gates, colorful Kiyomizu-Dera and the Nijō castle. Quite a lot of fun was the Arashiyama Monkey Park with an opportunity to feed wild Japanese macaque. The nearby city of Nara hosts one of the world's larges wooden structures, the Daibutsu-Den hall, which houses one of the world's largest bronze statute of Buddha, the 15m tall Daibutsu.
Norway is a very scenic country, similar to Austria or Switzerland. However, there is one major difference: some valleys are filled with water, called "fjords". We have been on the most scenic fjords of Norway via ship: the Lysefjord, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. Hiking led us to the famous Kjerag Boulder and Preikestolen. We visited Stavanger, met close friends in Bergen, and continued with them to the Jostedalsbreen National Park and Oslo. We visited the Austdalsbreen Glacier by kayak, the Nigardsbreen Glacier by foot and used a raft to navigate the Jostedal River. Other attractions had been the Borgund Stave Church, the Viking Ship and Fram Museums in Oslo and the Holmenkollen.
After a class reunion in Husum, we travelled for a few days to the North Sea island of Sylt. We rented bicycles and did day trips to the south and north of the island. The main destination of the south is Hörnum, where we went on a ship for seal watching, walked around the Hörnum Odde and finished the day in a beach sauna. The north is called "Listland" has a spectacular dune landscape and many sheep. We spent one day bicycling on the island of Föhr, which has Nord Friesland's biggest church and very beautiful, original Friesian houses in the village of Nieblum.
Cortina D'Ampezzo is probably the most famous skiing location in the dolomite alps. We went with friends a day before Chinese New Year and spent one week of skiing there. Cortina has several, seperate skiing areas. Some of them can only be reached by bus or car. We skied them all: Faloria, Cristallo, Tofana, Cinque Torri and Lagazuoi. The latter offers a spectacular view on Marmolada and allowed us to cross to the Alta Badia area. Cortina might not be as big and well developed as many other skiing locations in the alps. However, skiing is very diverse there and the vistas on the dolomite alps are fantastic.
During a short 3-day vacation in the Oberstdorf region, we stayed in Germany's most southern year-long inhabited location Einödsbach. The hotel has a spectacular view on the Mädelegabel mountain range. We spent a sunny day on the Hindelanger Klettersteig (via ferrata) with spectacular views on the German, Austrian and Swiss alps. Next day, we hiked up to the Rappenseehütte. This hut is situated on a remote mountain high-plateau and seems to be a paradise for cows and people who like to swim naked in a bone-chilling mountain lake. On our last day, we drove to the Lünersee in Austria and hiked up to the Totalphütte.
The Dachstein mountain range in the Austrian state of Styria has it all: mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, deep gorges and alpine meadows with crystal clear lakes. We did via ferrata tours to the Dachstein summit, the Koppenkarstein, Gjaidstein and the Siega in the Silberkarklamm. Opposite of the Dachstein, we went up the Hochwurzen with a cable car and down with a gokart. In Rohrmoos-Untertal, we went "through the hell" on an alpine path along waterfalls to the beautiful mountain Riesachsee lake. We visited the Hohenwerfen Fortress near Salzburg and saw an impressive falconry flight show. The Federal Stud Piber near Graz is the birth place of the Lipizzaner horses. The guided tour shows, how much effort is put into breeding those amazingly beautiful horses.
Southern China has two top destinations that are very different: Guìlín and Hong Kong. The region around Guìlín has a scenic river and mountain landscape. We walked to the top of pinnacles and visited caves at Guìlín and Yángshuò, cruised along the Lí Jiang river and did two bicycle tours along the Yùlóng Hé river and into the countryside. Hong Kong with its high-rise buildings was a stark contrast to the high-rise pinnacles of Guìlín. We explored Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, three temples in Tsuen Wan and saw the New Year's Eve fireworks at Victora Harbour. We also did a one-day trip to Macau. Here, we also encountered a stark contrast: the Portuguese architecture of old Macau and the ultra-modern Casino towers of Macau and the Cotai strip.
Why traveling to distant countries, when one of the most interesting mountain landscapes is just 90 minutes away? During late summer, we undertook a 4-day hiking tour through the Wetterstein mountains just south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Starting at the castle Elmau, we hiked up to the Schachen to King Ludwig II's royal mountain hut. Next day, we went further up to the Meilerhütte and took the via ferrata to the Partenkirchener Dreitorspitze at 2633m. On day three, we went from the Schachen house down into the Reintal valley to the Partnach source, stayed overnight in the Reintalangerhütte and went back next day to Garmisch-Partenkirchen through the spectacular Partnachklamm.
We spent Christmas of 2013 with friends in the skiing area of Flims-Laax in Switzerland. During the first four days, the weather was not good and we even had to skip one day of skiing due to too many closed lifts. However, Flims-Laax is an attractive skiing area for easy skiing. Most of the slopes are blue and the Vorab glacier offers long and wide runs. Ultimately, we decided to extend our skiing vacation by one day and drove to Davos. The weather was good again and we enjoyed a day of exceptional skiing. Our favorite slope was the very long tour from the Weissfluh summit at 2844m to Schifer at 1562m.
For about eight days, we escaped the cold and rainy autumn in Germany and flew to the Canary Islands. Together with a friend from Munich, we undertook many activities on land an on the water. On La Palma, we hiked through the Caldera de Taburiente and parts of Los Tilos. We did mountain biking along the route of volcanos and visited the Roque de los Muchachos for a spectacular view. On Tenerife, we hiked down the El Teide and the Barranco de Masca. Those are strenious but spectacular hikes that are unrivaled in the world for their sheer scenery. Other activities included horseback riding, flyboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, quad driving and we even did a underwater dive with a submarine. We spent some time in Puerto de la Cruz and the nearby Cueva del Viento, which is a rare lava tube cave.
Hallstatt is a picturesque mountain village in the Austrian alps. We went there with a couple from China with whom we are friends. Since they have small children, we had to focus on family-friendly activities. A favorite in Hallstatt is a tour through the historic salt mine, which includes a ride on a giant slide and on a train. We did a bicycle tour along the eastern shore of lake Hallstatt and a boat tour through its northern part. The main attractions in the Dachstein region are trips to the mountains. We went up to the Krippenstein near Obertraun, including a visit to an ice cave, and to the Zwieselalm near Gosau. For the kids, the waterpark in Russbach was a lot of fun.
Israel is a small country, but big in history and religious sites. We rented a car for a few days and drove to the Golan Heights, first. We saw the Agamon Hula Bird Sanctuary, Banias Nature Reserve, Nimrod Fortress and finished with a horseback ride around Mt. Bental. Then we drove via Bet She'an to the Dead Sea. We participated in an archaeological digging program at Tel Maresha, visited Masada, Ein Gedi and the erosion crater of Makthesh Ramon in the Negev. Finally, we arrived in Jerusalem. Even non-religious people can easily get overwhelmed with so many religious sites on one spot: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Mt. of Olives, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount with the Dome of Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israel Museum shows the history of the Jewish people. We also recommend to take the Biblical City of David Tour and the Western Wall Tunnels Tour.
From Munich, it is just a 3.5 hour drive to Gröden (it. Val Gardena), one of Italy's largest skiing location in the dolomite alps. We went there with a couple with whom we are friends. We stayed in Wolkenstein (it. Selva) in a guesthouse close by the Saslong FIZ slope. Gröden is part of the Dolomiti Superski region, whose main attraction is to circumnavigate the Gruppo del Sella mountain. The "Sellaronda", as this tour is called, is about 40km long, takes about 6 hours and can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise. We did both directions on two days. Besides excellent skiing, the craggy and sandstone-colored peaks of the dolomite alps are quite unique and provided a fascinating backdrop for our skiing adventures.
This one-week trip at the German-Czech border region had a lot of facets: alive and dead nature, German cities outside Germany, wellness a la 19th century and a world-class opera event. We started at the Bavarian Forest and visited the Lusen National Park Center. Its main attraction are a tree top walk with a 44m high dome and its wildlife enclosures. Hiking to the Lusen peak led us through a forest destroyed by a bark beetle infestation, where new live slowly comes back. We visited for a day the historic town of Ceský Krumlov (formerly Krummau). Then we continued to the historic spa town of Karlovy Vary (formerly Karlsbad) for a few days of wellness and sightseeing. The top attraction, though, was at the end: the Bayreuth Festival with seeing a performance of Wagner's Tannhäuser
We visited Egypt in a year of political unrest, which resulted in a sharp decline in tourism. Even at the most popular tourist sites, we never had to wait in line and our view was rarely blocked by other people. Furthermore, we went with a private tour guide from Egypt Fun Tours, who took good care of transportation and hotels, and provided competent explanations of the sites we visited. Within two weeks, we travelled to Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, made a Nile cruise and a safari into the western desert. Along the way, we have seen pretty much all the highlights of Egypt, like the pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel, the Luxor and Karnak temples, the valley of kings and so much more. Egypt can be strenuous sometimes, but the cultural sights and the beautiness of the desert are absolutely worth the effort.
We went for three days of skiing to Sölden in Austria over Christmas. The weather was cold and windy, but snow was new and perfect. There were not too many people over the Christmas days, so we had plenty of space on the slopes. Giggijoch is quite easy. The Tiefenbach Glacier is extremely wide and perfect for wide parallel swings. One of the longest descents I have ever experienced is from the top of the Seiterkar down to Sölden, about 12 km. A bit shorter but more challenging is the red descent from the Gaislachkogl on red slopes down to the village. Sölden is fantastic if you like long downhill descents.
We spent an extended weekend in Tokyo, while I was on a business trip. On our list of places to visit was the Ikebukuro Earthquake Hall, which has an earthquake simulator. That simulation was too late for us, as we experienced a real earthquake in Tokyo just the night before. Other destinations on our plan were Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi Hills, Ginza, Akihabara Electric Town and the public section of the Imperial Palace Garden. The Yasukuni Memorial Shrine to the Japanese war dead is noteworthy, particularly the museum with its view on Japans role during the second world war. We visited a public Sumo wrestling event and the Origami Kaikan Museum. Odaiba is a big entertainment district with the world largest Ferris Wheel (115m), Toyota show rooms, Sega's Joypolis, and the O-Edo Onsen Monogatari hot spring theme park.
Xi'an is an ancient imperial city, founded by the first emperor, Qin Shihuang. It remained the capital until the end of the Tang dynasty in the 9th century. Hence, the city is rich in history. The Shanxi History Museum is rated as one of the best museums in China, worthwhile for a half-day visit. We also visited the Forest of Steles Museum, the Muslim Quarter with the Great Mosque, Bell & Drum Towers and took a 14km bicycle tour on top of the monumental city wall. Together with friends, we visited the farming village of Liquan Yuan, which has turned into a tourist attraction. We did one-day mountain hiking tours at the Shanxi Taiping Forest Park and Hua Shan. The top attraction, though, is the Army of Terracotta Warriors. The dimensions of emperor Qin's necropolis are gigantic and only a small portion of it has been excavated until today.
The Berchtesgaden country is one of Germany's most beautiful Alpine landscapes, so we decided to go there for an extended weekend. We made a detour through Austria on the Gerlos and Großglockner high alpine roads. There are Europe's highest waterfalls (380m) at Krimml, and the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs Heights at the Großglockner, Austria's highest mountain. We walked on the Gamsgrubenweg above the Pasterze glacier, saw marmots and wild ibexes. Another stop was at the Eisriesenwelt in Werfen. In Berchtesgaden, we visited the Dokumentation Center Obersalzberg and the Kehlsteinhaus, took a via ferrata tour on the Grünstein mountain with a mountain guide, took a boat on the Königssee and hiked to the Ice Chapel at the St. Bartholomä peninsula. The biggest attraction of it all, though, have been the spectacular mountain vistas on this tour.
From Taiwan, we flew with a Chinese tourist group to a 5-day organized bus tour to Cambodia. The main attraction of this poor country is the temple complex of Angkor Wat and the countless other temples nearby. Many of them are in a ruinous state and partially overgrown by the jungle. However, this gives them a very special appeal, showing dramatically the transiency of former empires. Besides Angkor Wat, we also saw the temples of Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Eastern Mebon and Pre Rup. Back in Phnom Pen, we got on an organized boat tour on the Tonlé Sap River, saw the Royal Palace (just from the outside) and visited Wat Phnom. We ventured on our own with a Remork-Moto to the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, which are grim witnesses of the Khmer Rouge genocide on its own people.
We met Jun's girlfriend from the US in Taiwan and spent two days together at the magnificent Taipei International Flora Exposition. The city has a historic downtown district with night markets and beautiful temples. A few subway stations to the east, the architecture changes dramatically to an ultra-modern city with the second-larges high-rise building of the world, - the Taipei 101. Inbetween is the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Plaza with monumental buildings commemorating the founder of modern-day Taiwan. The National Palace Museum, Martyrs' Shrine and nearby Maokong tea-growing area are worthwhile a visit, as well as the nearby Yangmingshan National Park. We also rented a car and made a tour to the Taroko National Park, the Sun Moon Lake and the Yushan National Park. Specifically Taroko with it extremely narrow and deep gorge is one of the most spectacular national parks I have ever seen.
Stockholm's main attraction are its excellent museums. The star of them all is the Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum), which was build around a recovered flagship from 1628. Another jewel of the city is the Skansen, which is an open-air museum with over 150 traditional houses, staff in period costumes and zoo of nordic animals. Visiting the Royal Palace and its museums, the Royal Armory and the Royal Treasury, is another highlight. Nearby is the Museum of the Nobel Price Winners and the impressive city hall with its 106m tall tower. The Swedish Royal Family actually lives outside Stockholm in a branch of Drottningholm Palace. Several boats go there from the city hall marina. Quite an experience is the RIB tour (rigid inflatable boat). Those boats reach up to 45 knots and give you the feeling of "flying" through the Stockholm archipelago.
We begun this extended weekend trip at the ADAC Driver Safety Center in Augsburg. The training was quite exciting for Jun, as you can see on some of the photos. Our base for day-excursions was a hotel in Konstanz. Next day was a roundtrip through northern Switzerland, which included Zürich, a wildlife park near Zürich and finally dinner in Lichtenstein. The following day included the Rheinfall in Schaffhausen, the Marienschlucht near Allensbach and the flower-island Mainau in Lake Constance. On our final day, we visited the pilgrimage church of Birnau, the lake-dwelling museum of Uhldingen and the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen.
Those cities are not that far away from Munich, so we decided for a tour with our car to those destinations. Before we went to Venice, we actually made a 2-day stop in Sand in Taufers for white water rafting and horseback riding. Venice was undoubtedly the highlight of our vacation with the famous Sankt Mark's square, the Canal Grande and it's beautiful palaces. We continued to Florence and spent two days there. The renaissance architecture of this city is impressive. We also drove to Pisa, Greve and San Gimignano in Tuscany and made a bicycle tour through the Chianti region with a visit to a winery. On the way back, we stopped over at the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello.
Dresden was our first contact with east Germany, - and it was a magnificent one. The wealth of precious objects that the Saxon kings have amassed is unbelievable. It can be seen today in the various Zwinger museums and the castle, particularly in the Green Vault. The architecture of Dresden's historic center is nothing short of it. Semper Opera and the re-built Frauenkirche are worthwhile a visit. Just south of Dresden lies the Saxon Switzerland with its spectacular vistas, e.g. the Bastei, and interesting hiking paths. A few kilometers across the border to the Czech Republic is the Pravcickà Brána, Europe's largest natural stone arc.
Visiting Iceland in May has its trade-offs: few tourists and bad weather. We brought our own car with a ferry to Iceland and drove on highway 1 around the island. First major stop was Lake Mývatn and Húsavík with its geothermal fields, Iceland horse riding and whale watching. From the capital Reykjavík, we completed the "Golden Circle", - Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and Gullfoss. Of course, we took a bath at the Blue Lagoon, - at freezing air temperatures. Our insider tip is to visit the Raufarhólshellir Cave. You will find there glittering stalagmites made from ice. We then continued on highway 1 via Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Cape Dyrhólaey to our third major stop, the Skaftafell National Park. Hiking in front of and on glaciers is the main attraction here. At the nearby Jökulsárlón lake, we made a boat tour among glacier ice blocks. The ferry stopped on its way back for a view hours at Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands.
Vienna and Budapest are close-by, so we visited both cities in one trip. The architecture of Vienna impressively shows the cities imperial past and grandeur. This impression is very present when visiting the museums at the Vienna Hofburg and at the Maria Theresien-Platz. Even the coffins in the imperial vault are a very unique experience of art. We got tickets for a performance of the Spanish Riding School and took at a guided tour through the stables. The views from the St. Stephen's Cathedral and the giant ferries wheel at the Prater are magnificent. Of course, we did not miss the Schönbrunn Palace and even managed to get tickets for a "Fledermaus" performance at the Volksoper. At Budapest, we visited the opera house, the St. Stephan Basilica, Buda's castle hill and the very impressive parliament building. Most of all, we enjoyed two of Budapest's famous thermal baths, the Széchenyi and the Rudas.
We left Beijing for a 1-week trip to the south-western province of Yunnan. Dàlǐ is a historic city of the Bai ethnic minority. It is known for its well maintained, original architecture. We did a boat tour on the Erhai Hú lake there and a horseback riding trip to the Zhonghé Shan temple. A beautiful gorge can be reached from there via a short trail. Our second destination was the city of Lìjiāng further north. This is already mountainous region on the south-eastern edge of the Himalaya. We joined an organized bus tour to a Naxi settlement, with is now rather a tourist business than a real settlement. The main attraction of the bus tour was the gondola ride to the Yùlóng Xueshan summit at an altitude of 4680m. On the way back, we visited the Yùshui Zhài temple and the Sùhé lamasery. During the next two days, we made a long horseback ride to Saddle Mountain and a trip to the raging Tiger Leaping Gorge.
This was a one-month vacation and a on-in-a-lifetime event for us, - the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. We got tickets for several events: women's preliminary basketball, judo women's 78kg and men's 100kg final, men's team epee bronze and gold medal matches, rowing finals, gymnastics artistic finals, women's football bronze match Germany vs Japan and an evening of athletics finals in the national station, aka the bird's nest. The enthusiasm of the Chinese spectators was amazing and an event of its own. The architecture of the Olympic park is monumental, modern and during night time particularly attractive due to the many light effects on the buildings. Furthermore, we visited with friends the Tánzhè Sì temple. I saw Jun's University, we visited the new Capital Museum and went to the new Beijing Opera for a spectacular Turandot performance.
Paris is called the City of Lights and it truly enlightened our eyes. We packed our five days in Paris with many places to go, but it was still not enough to see them all. We visited the main architectural attractions of Paris, which are the Eiffel tower, the cathedral of Notre Dame, the Basilica of Sacré Cœur and the Panthéon. Visiting the museums of the Louvre and d'Orsay are a must and have been an unforgettable experience. Lesser known but not lesser interesting are the cemetery Père Lachaise and the church of St. Eustache. We also went on a guided bicycle tour through Paris and an eerie 1.7km underground tour through the Paris catacombs. No visit to Paris would be complete without going to the castle of Versailles, seeing the gigantic chateau gardens and the queen's hamlet. We visited friends in Louviers, the nearby gardens of Claude Monet and made a stop at the battlefields of Verdun.
We visited Naples and Rome between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Naples has some interesting churches and museums. The main attractions are actually outside the city: Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, Capri and Sorrento. Then we made our pilgrimage to the eternal city, Rome. More than 2000 years of mankind's history presents itself at the Roman Forum, the Palantine Hill and the Colosseum. Rome is filled with incredibly wonderful churches and museums, with the Vatican topping them all.
Prague is a city of great architectural unity and wealth. We have been impressed by so many well maintained an rich buildings in the inner city of Prague. We went up the towers of the Powder Gate and the old town hall for an impressive view on this city. Another highlight is the world-famous Charles Bridge and the Prazský Hrad (Prague Castle). Inside the latter is the St. Vitus Cathedral and the famous Zlatá Ul (Golden Lane). A few kilometers south of Prague is the Karlstejn Castle, which should not be missed.
This is where we got married. Jun and I flew to Reno and checked in a hotel at Lake Tahoe. The wedding took place at the Carson City Court House at the capital of Nevada. We continued our honey moon to the Yosemite National Park in California, where we hiked up to the upper Yosemity Fall. Then we continued the trip to San Francisco with a side trip to Napa Valley. The last major destination was the Redwood National Park at northern California with spectacular giant trees.
The Formula One US Grand Prix in 2006 took place during the Independence Day weekend. We went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and saw Michael Schumacher winning the race. Another Day was dedicated for a visit to the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton Ohio. The museum shows the complete history of military avionics, from the first flying machine of the Wright brothers to a modern day stealth fighter.
The occasion for this trip was a joined birthday party of my father and my aunt. Jun saw for the first time my parents and my home in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. We then set off for a round-trip starting with the Naval Memorial in Laboe, then driving to Copenhagen, which included a visit to the Tivoli and the new opera house, ferrying over to Lübeck and spending a day in this historic city. Other one-day trips included the Viking Museum in Haithabu, Castle Gottorf, Nordstrand, Hallig Hooge and Helgoland.
After a business trip, Jun flew in to Los Angeles and we started a round trip through southern California. First stop was in San Diego, where we visited the famous Zoo and the Harbour. We then drove to the Yoshua Tree National Park and spent there a full day of hiking and sight seeing. Then we returned to Los Angeles and walked on the Hollywood Boulevard.
Jun's parents visited us in Michigan. We spend time together at the Kite Festival in Holland and visited Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I have photos from the Soo Locks boat tour in Sault Ste. Marie, and then my camera went out of power for the remainder of the trip. This section has also some beautiful night shots from the Independence Day fireworks in Detroit and from the Ford River Rouge Plant.
We went for a week of diving to New Providence Island on the Bahamas. We experienced with Stuart Cove's Diving Center some of the best diving moments that we had so far, including a shark feeding dive. The photos can only give a glimpse of the beauty of the Caribbean Sea around the Bahamas. Outside the water, we visited the Zoo of the Bahamas and the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. The resort has a fantastic living marine exhibition in aquariums and artificial pools.
Jun visited Germany on a business trip and we added a week of traveling through south Germany. We visited the Cathedral of Ulm, walked around Munich with my friend Alexander, did some hiking near the Isar valley, continued to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Zugspitze (Germany's tallest mountain), then visited the Castles of Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein, Hohenzollern and Lichtenstein, with a side trip to the Bear Cave and ended the tour with a visit to Jun's cousins in Stuttgart.
Beijing during the winter time can be a bone-chilling experience. Many of Beijing's attractions are seen from the outside, including the Lama temple, the Confucian temple, Tian'anmen Place, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, White Dagoba and the Tiantan Park. The Great Wall at Badaling is particularly beautiful at winter. A weekend in Shanghai left the impression, that China is on its way to become a modern country in giant steps.
West Virginia is the wild-west of the east of the United States, and Fayetteville is the center of it. We did SCUBA diving in nearby Summersville Lake, western-style horseback riding on a mountain ridge, and white-water rafting in the world-famous New River gorge. This vacation was short, but so much fun. The set of photos also includes our treasure hunt diving at the Gilboa quarry in Ohio, organized by the Rec Diving Center at Royal Oak, Michigan.
Alpine Valley is a small skiing hill in the Metro Detroit area just west of Pontiac. We occasionally did skiing during weekends there. On this set of photos, you see Jun's attempt to learn snowboarding. She took a lesson with a private trainer. It was fun, as the photos show. However, she continued to ski after this lesson.
The Belize was the destination of a 2 weeks diving and jungle adventure vacation. Our first station was Hopkins Village, which we used as a base for visiting the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and diving the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. We then travelled to San Ignacio in central Belize and made trips to Maya ruins and the Mountain Pine Ridge. The highlight, however, was a walking and swimming tour inside the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, with was used as location for a human sacrifices. We ended our vacation on Caye Caulker with several days of diving.
We used a long weekend at the beginning of September for a trip to the Arcadia National Park. We rented bicycles for a full day of bicycling through the park and it's beautiful nature. Climbing to the top of the Champlain mountain was another highlight. One of the unforgettable moments of our life was the windy sunset on the Cadillac Mountain.
Picton is a little town on a peninsula in Lake Ontario. Near by this town, Jun and I made a short diving vacation. The location is known for historic ship wrecks from the turn of the last century, which have been preserved by the cold fresh water of Lake Ontario. On our drive back to Detroit, we made a one day stop in Toronto and visited the Casa Loma and the CN Tower.
Our vacation started in the bustling city of Las Vegas. After checking out the typical attraction, we continued to the string of spectacular National Parks in this region, starting with the Zion NP, continuing with the Bryce Canyon NP and finishing with the overwhelming Grand Canyon NP. We used horses in the latter two NPs to ride down into the Canyon and see landscapes that only few tourists ever get to see.
Coming from Detroit, the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is still within reach by a one day car trip. Jun and I spent an extended weekend there in November. The caves always have the same weather, so the season does not matter. We did two guided tours in the cave and had a nice stroll into the forest. The cave really deserves its name. Some of the underground halls are monumental, in deed.
The Isle Royale is the smallest and the least visited National Park in the US. It is located within Lake Superior. I visited the island with friends during the Labor Day weekend for a few days of hiking. We were almost alone on the island. It is possible to hike there for hours without seeing any sign of civilization. What we saw were moose, foxes, countless frogs and even carnivorous plants. This island is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.
The island of Maui was our first diving vacation together. Diving there has a few unique attractions because of the island's volcanic origin. The prime spot for diving is the Molokini crater, a sunken volcano in the ocean east of Maui. Lanai is known for it's underwater lava tubes. On land, we did an excursion to the top of the Haleakala, which is an extinguished volcano. Driving on the spectacular and curvy Hana Highway, we reached the jungle-like south of the island. Waterfalls there provide an excellent photo-shooting opportunity.
During the summer of 1998, we visited with friends two amusement parks in Ohio, which are situated between Cleveland and Detroit. One of them was Sea World, with displays and shows related to Marine Life. This park was closed forever a few years later. Our next destination was the roller coaster park Cedar Point near Sandusky. You can easily spend a whole day there, riding all kinds of roller costers, from wooden historic ones to the most modern.
After moving to the United States, this was my first big vacation. A friend from Germany came over, and we took-off for a two weeks trip to the Rockies. Our first major destination was the Yellow Stone National Park. Wild Life and Geysers are particularly interesting to watch at the end of September. After a short side trip to Cody in Wyoming, we reached the splendid Grand Teton National Park. Famous activities here are hiking, rafting and horseback riding, which we all did. The journey was framed with visits to Chicago and Salt Lake City.
During my time as a student, I went every year with a group of fellow students to the alps for a week of skiing. Sankt Anton was the last year for all of us, since we finished our studies around that time. Sankt Anton is in Austria and is of medium difficulty. One of the friends tried to snowboard for the first time. I'm not sure, whether it was fun for him, but it was for sure a lot of fun for the others to watch him.
I started my photographic career when I went to India in 1994 for a 6 month internship at the Bosch regional subsidiary MICO Ltd. While I was working there, I used every opportunity to make weekend trips to destinations in southern India. The result is an extensive collection of photos, including Mysore, the Jog Falls, Kodaikanal, Goa, Suratkal, the temples around Hassan, the Nilgiri Hills, Kerala, and of course the Taj Mahal in Agra. Images from Work at MICO, from my home in Koramangala and from Bangalore are included as well. But there was more than work and weekend trips. Some of the encounters were very personal and had a lasting effect on my live. Those were, for example, visits to the Gerizim Integrated Home and School for the Handicapped, and a visit to the Siddapura Slum in Bangalore. In contrast, some of the most beautiful moments have been the two weddings that I was invited to, and attending a Kathakali dance performance in Eranakulam, Kerala.
Skiing vacation with study friends in Verbier, Switzerland.
Skiing vacation with study friends in Verbier, Switzerland.
Skiing vacation with study friends in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
Bicycle tour and barbequing with study friends near Karlsruhe, Germany.
Skiing vacation with study friends in Flims-Laax, Switzerland.
Parties and bicycle tours with friends during my early days as a student in Karlsruhe, Germany.