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Macchia

Macchia at Costa Merlata – Botanical Impressions

During our holidays in Apulia this year, a very special vegetation type caught my attention: the macchia that grows along the coast. You are asking yourself why this vegetation type is special? For somebody, who is not into this kind of stuff, probably nothing…..but for all the others the plants there might have a very subtle beauty to offer. The heat during the summer in combination with the sandy, sparse soil, the wind and the salt from the sea, allows only plants to exist, which are highly adapted to that conditions. The plants of the macchia do not look like the shrubs and plants that you usually plant in your gardens. They are very often small, some of them are creeping plants, and their flowers are so teeny that you have to look very carefully to notice them. The gnarly shrubs and trees rise from the dunes, which makes the macchia, especially after heavy rains like we experienced them this year, to a place with very special atmosphere. Convince yourself!

Apulia – Discovering the Charm of Southern Italy

This year my mom and I spent our holiday in the south of Italy. We decided to travel to Apulia, a region that we both had visited before. It is hard to explain what it is that I like so much about the south of Italy. The landscape is more meager than for example in Tuscany. The coast is rocky and depending on the region there are huge plantations of olive trees. Most of the trees are age-old and they look exactly like that. I have seldom seen so many beautiful olive trees at one place! The soil in Apulia is mostly reddish brown and the architecture shows Moorish influences. For me, all these characteristics make this part of Italy to a very special place that has retained its authentic charm. The weather this year was comparably bad, so we had to use the car a lot to get to places where we assumed the weather would be better. Our hotel is located near Ostuni, the “white city”. Ostuni ist located on a hill a …

Udaipur

India – Impressions

Five years ago today I came back from India where I assessed the data for my bachelor thesis. I still have wonderful memories of that country, the people, the nature, and just all the – sometimes annoying – aspects of living there that differ so extremely from living in Europe. This is the reason why I decided to share some of my impressions. Delhi In the beginning, I stayed in Delhi for a couple of weeks, where I prepared all the necessary information and background knowledge for the data assessment. During this time I barely had the chance to visit anything not related to work, but still the feeling of actually being in India was amazing. I very well remember the first days. The different lifestyle, the smell, the crowds of people, the color and especially the exotism fascinated me from the beginning. On my second day, I observed monkeys climbing up a tree in front of our house. I had never seen monkeys before that were not kept in a zoo, so this was …

Lake Garda

Lake Garda – Impressions

Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I traveled to Lake Garda in Northern Italy. Living near Munich in Bavaria until I was 24 years old, Italy was always our first choice. It is not far away and even weekend trips are possible. This preference for Italy as travel destination never changed, and as we spent our holiday at Lake Garda two years ago, we decided to go there again. I am frequently ambivalent when I have to decide where to go for holidays. On one hand, I love to visit new places and make new experiences. On the other hand, I enjoy knowing which restaurants are good and which hotel to choose. Traveling to a place where you have been before allows you to deepen the experiences you made. You already know what is good and what to avoid, and at least you can refrain from typical tourist attractions (you already saw them) and just do what locals do. This year we divided our stay up into two blocks, one half we spent in the …

Botanical Garden Munich

Burst of Buds – Early Spring at Munich’s Botanical Garden

Every year I am desperately awaiting spring. I am not a winter person. Not at all. Ther perfect year for me would be spring – summer – autumn – spring. But unfortunately there is this unconfortable, cold and dark season that I spend mainly waiting for warmer, brighter times. Spring itself is very interesting, especially from a botanical point of view. On one hand everything is waking up and all these different colours appear. On the other hand, there are so many things that indicate that all plants are still in a state that allow the focus on small details. These details vanish as soon as all the flowering and leave-growing begins: buds. During my studies in forestry at university we had to learn all the different buds of trees and shrubs. This was necessary to be able to identify these plants during winter. That was the time when I first realised how different buds look and how detailed they are designed by nature. I know this sounds a bit nerdy right now, but everybody …

Madeira – Levada Hiking Tour

As we were not completely sure which kind of weather to expect at this time of the year in combination with the fact that Madeira is not really known for its beaches, this trip was planned to be hiking-eating-sightseeing. One of the very typical aspects of Madeira’s mountains are the so called “Levadas”. Levadas are paved gullies which channel water from the mountainous inland to the coastal regions. Along these Levadas there are a lot of official hiking routes that enable visitors to get an extensive idea of Madeira’s landscapes. Another feature of this island are its extensive laurel forests. In Europe the only remnants of this forest type occur in Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Azores, the biggest occurrence thereof you’ll find in Madeira. We did two tours, both located in the north of the island. The first one started in São Jorge and leads along the “Levada do Rei”.The second hiking tour we did was not very challenging. It started near the “Pico das Pedras” and led to the rhododendron-garden of Queimadas. …

Madeira – Mercado Dos Lavradores

The Mercado Dos Lavradores, the “worker’s market”, is one of the must-see-locations in Funchal. It is located in the historical center and it is open every day. It is recommended to go there on Friday because on that day the largest range of products is offered. You might say “there are markets in other countries, too”, and you are right. But nonetheless I was very impressed by the variety of vegetables and especially tropical fruits that are offered at this market and that are all grown in Madeira. Some of these fruits I have never seen in my entire life, leave alone their names. Because of its pleasing climate it is possible to grow almost everything in Madeira, from Mango to Banana and from cherries to chestnuts. I even saw some date palms! Just one good advice if you are visiting this market and want to buy some fruits: Compare the prices! The fruits are offered on the first floor and as soon as you enter that area, the salesmen and saleswomen will attack you …

Madeira – Funchal Botanical Garden

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I traveled to Madeira. I wanted to visit this island for a very long time, honestly, since I watched the “Sissi”-trilogy starring Romy Schneider when I was a little child. In that movie, she has to recover from a bad lung disease and therefore has to stay in better climate conditions. Best place for that: Madeira! With its position in the Atlantic Ocean a bit south of the Canary Islands, the temperatures vary just slightly during the year and make it a perfect travel destination even in the winter. For me, one of the things on top of my “I’m not going home without visiting that”-list was the Botanical Garden of Funchal. I am a HUGE fan of plants. I tend to annoy the people around me because of my urgent need to take photographs of every interesting plant I see, to find out the correct Latin name AND to collect seeds in order to grow them at home…you should see my windowsill! Therefore this post is packed with …

Pasticciotto con Crema – Italian Pastry in Lecce

For me, Italy is – and always was – my travel destination number one. Since I was a small kid my parents and I went to Italy almost every year, enjoying the culture, the climate and the large variety of Italian food. According to the different climatic conditions, the Italian kitchen includes hearty meals from the more Northern regions as well light dishes from the South. For me it was a big surprise to detect how many varieties of Italian pastry actually exist. I was just not thinking about that. I knew that they have a lot of cakes and I knew that Italian people love their croissants (usually filled with “crema”) for breakfast, but what I didn’t know was that especially in the South of Italy they make some very specific kinds of pastry, for example Pasticciotti and Bocconotti. Two years ago I travelled to Apulia for the first time and I loved it. The landscape and the vegetation varies widely from regions in Italy that I had seen before. The landscape is dominated …

Dresden – Cake at Coselpalais

Dresden has been one of my favourite cities in Germany since I had the chance to visit it during a scholl excursion a couple of years ago. Like many other people I tend to visit rather foreign countries for holiday than the tourist hotspots in my home country. As a result I don’t have many German cities to compare, but nonetheless Dresden instantly captured my heart. As the capital of Saxony, Dresden is mainly known for two things: its destruction during the second worldwar and the beautiful „Canaletto-View“ of the historical center. Its great location on the banks of the Elbe as well as its great architecture are always worth a visit. For me, cake at the „Coselpalais“ is one of the things that just belong to a visit in this city. Located directly next to the Frauenkirche, this restaurant is one of the prime addresses in the historical center and, even better, they serve great cake! And after a pleasant and refreshing time there everybody is prepared for exploring this beautiful city! One of …