Tag Archives: nature

A Sunny Afternoon in the Botanical Garden of Berlin

As you all know by now, Lars and I like to spend the end of the year abroad. This time we chose one of our favourite cities, which is Berlin.

The first day – 31 December 2016 – was a sunny and cold one. Obviously, we decided to spend that day outside and since we were not far away from the Botanical Garden, this spot became our logical choice.

The gardens are not located in the centre of Berlin, but rather in the area of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, It is easily accessible via public transport and the entrance fee is quite small. The Botanical Garden covers about 13 ha and contains amongst others an arboretum, a museum, a small cemetery and several greenhouses.

The staff of our hotel had told us to check out the cute Christmas market at the Garden. Unfortunately, the event had ended before our visit and we could just see some empty stalls.

Anyway, Lars and I had become hungry and thirsty. We quickly found a cafeteria and ordered soup with potatoes and sausages and a beer.

The idea behind the Botanical Garden dates from the 16th century; the current garden was established at the end of the 19th century.

The cafeteria was conveniently located right next to the greenhouses. There are several of them and most of them are connected to each other.

There are greenhouses that feature cacti and others orchids, carnivorous plants and water lilies. (source: Wikipedia)

If you love nature, and especially plants and flowers, we highly recommend this place. This was our last excursion of 2016 and one of the highlights of that year.

Romanian Mud Volcanoes

Let’s start with a definition of a mud volcano:

Mud volcano or mud dome refers to formations created by geo-exuded mud or slurries, water and gases. There are several geological processes that may cause the formation of mud volcanoes. Mud volcanoes are not true igneousvolcanoes as they produce no lava. The earth continuously exudes a mud-like substance, which may sometimes be referred to as a “mud volcano”. Mud volcanoes may range in size from merely 1 or 2 meters high and 1 or 2 meters wide, to 700 meters high and 10 kilometers wide.[1] Smaller mud exudations are sometimes referred to as mud-pots. The largest (man made) mud volcano is “Lusi” in Java, Indonesia, which is 10 kilometres (6 mi) in diameter.[2]  (Wikipedia)

Or, in other words, it looks like a small volcano and produces a mud-like substance.

Where in Europe can you find mud volcanoes? In Russia, Ukraine, Italy and Romania. If you are driving around in this last country, head to Berca and follow the signs saying “Vulcanii Noroiosi”. You have to pay a small fee at the entrance.

It is better to stay away from the mud. Lars didn’t and afterwards, his shoes were completely ruined.

As you can see, there is little vegetation near the mud (or muddy) volcanoes. This is due to the salty soil. Although these mud volcanoes are not majestic, they create a spectacular lunar landscape!

You can combine your visit to the mud volcanoes with a trip in the nearby Carpathian mountains. Don’t feel like staying in one of the many surrounding villages? The nearest town is Buzau, where hotels and restaurants are waiting for you. Want to know where Lars and I stayed? In our favourite place, of course! Have a look here; it takes a bit longer to reach the mud volcanoes though…

Pictures from a Bus: Ramsau and Hintersee

The correct name is actually Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden; there is also a town called Ramsau in Austria. Anyway, on the last day of 2015 the weather was sunny but very cold; Lars and I liked to do some exploring and photographing, but without freezing to death. So, we took a free bus to Ramsau and Hintersee and took pictures of the magnificent landscapes … in the bus.

The road towards Ramsau is surrounded by mountains:

Ramsau is a charming small town, which is known for its picturesque church, built in the 16th century:

The tower of the church is shaped like an onion, which is common in this area. A few kilometres further is the Hintersee, a small lake. Part of it was frozen and people were skating on it:

We had plans to do some more sightseeing the next day, but the weather changed; temperatures went up and it rained a lot. Not exactly very tempting to go outside and take pictures.

Luckily, things were different in Prague!

Close to Nature – The Wild Horses of Langeland

If you have followed this website for some time, you know something about these animals. If not, have a look here.

In September 2014, Lars succeeded in filming a big group of the Wild Horses and we thought that things couldn’t get any better. Somehow, when we returned to Denmark in March 2015, Lars and I felt compelled to see them again. We didn’t know why, because we were really sure we had reached our highlight.

Boy, we were so wrong…

Since we never know where we can find them, we had decided to drive a bit around… And Lars and I found them at a viewpoint where we had never seen them before. Two horses were standing near the electric fence when we arrived. The rest of the group was about 20 meters back.

Lars and I felt excited and unsure at the same time. We had never been so close to them before! But what would happen when we got out of the car? On many occasions, I had seen them running away when humans came too close and at many place there were warnings about their aggressive behavior. Waiting in the car would get us nowhere, so we decided to get out.

The two horses moved… But instead of running away – as we had anticipated – they moved closer to the fence. Lars and I were in complete awe. Especially the stallion seemed to be very curious. He started sniffing me (and my camera) and he allowed me to touch him. I was touching a Wild Horse! I simply couldn’t believe it! The second horse was curious as well, but seemed to be shy. At least, he didn’t run away.

The rest of the group ignored us.

And Lars was able to shoot this short, but beautiful video!

Needless to say that this is one of the highlights of the year so far!

To Liepaja and Beyond

It was our goal to visit at least 2 places in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. When we left Vilnius, we didn’t go straight to Riga, but had a stop in Liepaja.

Liepaja is the third largest Latvian city and is known for its Seaside Park and white sandy beaches, wooden houses and Art Nouveau buildings and the many shops and restaurants. Ingrid and I liked the harbor area the most.

If you drive on the main road to the south of Liepaja, you will see a road sign towards Pape. A dirt road of 8 kilometers takes you to a nature reserve – with some luck you can see wild horses – and a magnificent beach.

On the opposite side of the main road is the village of Rucava, with its beautiful Lutheran church.

The Bernati Nature Park is also worth a visit. Think forests, dunes and sandy beaches… Ingrid and I also stumbled upon a small monument, indicating the most western point of Latvia (not far from Nica).