World Travel

Hania, Crete

Dream about backpacking through Central America, dancing in Havana, diving the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, being awed by huge Volcanoes in Costa Rica, swimming under the highest waterfall in the world in Venezuela, sailing through the Panama Canal, enjoying the white power sand beaches of the Maldives, raving the Streetparade in Zurich and much more.

See it all here in pictures and journals of my travels using budget flights and hotels. Delight your friends with e-cards of any picture from this website.

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Streetparade 2013

Flogging a dead horse is normally not a good idea, but what if you could give it a massive shot of new energy through good music and good-but-not-hot weather? That's just what happened at this year's Streetparade in Zurich, probably the best ever in its 22-year existence.

Check out the pictures

Western USA

Just back from a fantabulous "hard-core" trip spanning parts of 3 states of the USA. Little planning, serendipity and spur-of-the-moment decisions shaped it. The things I experienced had me wishing I had more time. I get to know myself better on each trip, and although I'd been suspecting it all along, it's the surreal feeling at extreme destinations which makes a trip click for me: I preferred Death Valley to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas to LA or SF. Here's a pic which sums it up (not going to argue with this) - - guess where it was taken :

Not going to argue with this

Not going to argue with this

Zurich Streetparade 2011

The Zurich Streetparade happened past Saturday August 13, 2011.

Streetparade 2011 Zurich

I was there, so check out my Streetparade Pictures

All Hotels Should Offer Free Wifi

While PCs providing internet access - some for a fee, others for free - are still often seen in hotel lobbies, enough guests tote their own laptops for the hotels to shift their focus to Wifi. And it IS often available, however hard or easy the hotel allows access to it.

Some hotels have it but it's out of order.

Others offer it for a daily fee.

Yet others only count the online time.

The best however provide it for free - isn't that how it should be?

The hassle - not to speak of the cost - of an accounting system? Making guests pay for a whole 24 hour-day when all they might need is a few minutes of online time per day, every day? All that for the paltry amount "earned" for the hotel?

Look at it from another side - providing Wifi is virtually free for a hotel. Broadband will already be available, as will a wireless router. Slap on an access key and you're done. Change the access key once a month if you must. But that's all that's needed. Do we need Wifi in all the rooms? No, having it just in the lobby or at the bar or courtyard is good enough.

No maintenance, no costs. And endless goodwill from the hotel guests using it.

I WILL remember the hotels with free Wifi.

Playa Esmeralda, Cuba

We'd been to Northern and Eastern Cuba almost a year ago and I will have the pictures and travelogue up "soon".

Here's something very untypical of Cuba (well, the way of life and food, anyway): Playa Esmeralda, Guardalavaca. We splurged on a night of all-inclusive luxury, hehe! If you've been in the "real" Cuba for a few days you have to pinch yourself that the food buffets are real!

Streetparade 2010

Streetparade happened yesterday 14th August 2010 in Zurich. My Street Parade Pictures 2010 are now online.

Streetparade 2010

Cairo, Egypt

The Dome of the Sultan Ali Mosque

The Dome of the Sultan Ali Mosque

If you in any way like to travel independently, Cairo is a must-see!

Being one of the largest cities on Earth, it can be overwhelming. There is smelly, reckless, congested traffic galore, an unending stream of bustling people in it's streets, world-class historic monuments to be seen everywhere, Babylonian street scenes which may not have looked much different a thousand years ago, and sounds, smells, sights and tastes to drive your senses into overload.

And Cairo is safe! Almost totally, amazingly, deliciously safe. Day and night. Unbelievable.

Cairo gets a bad rap from guidebooks and travelers for it's pushy hawkers and lacking service industry. I came prepared for the worst but this turned out to be completely unnecessary. Caireans have a quick smile, a sense of humour, are very friendly and polite (but can get hot-headed astoundingly quickly if provoked) and the hawkers while present are not overly pushy.

We lodged at the Talisman Hotel (which is actually one almost unmarked story in a large old office building) at Talat Harb, smack dab in the middle of downtown Cairo. The shopping streets below are clogged with people, as are the streets with cars, as are the shops with goods. A beehive of activity! The only quiet hours seemed to be early morning, when the shops hadn't yet opened for business.

Fridays are something special, when religion completely takes over daily life. Sermons are listened to everywhere, either live, blaring out into the streets from mosque loudspeakers or via radio. Cab drivers listen to the sermons while on business and it seems most cars have a Koran on display in them somewhere. Praying people are on the streets everywhere. I have not seen religion so take over daily life anywhere else.

Actually just huge piles of stone blocks, I did not expect the pyramids to impress me as much as they did.

The first peek was on landing, when the pilot announced "Pyramids on left". While their symmetry is impressive from the air, their awesomeness truly struck me at ground level. The precisely straight slopes, their sheer size and the colossal weather-worn stone blocks need to be seen to be believed. The tunnels to the burial chambers may be somewhat dark, low and a bit hot, and you should go into at least one tomb just for the experience, but intimately they're just a added experience. The main spectacle is the outside.

Cairo can be well discovered on your own, with the help of a detailed guidebook such as Lonely Planet's "Egypt". We did take a private guide along for Sakkara, Dashur and Memphis but that was not necessary and was - in hindsight - somewhat detrimental to the experience. Taxis are aplenty and cheap, choose the ones with the black and white checkered stripes which have meters. The metro is fast, efficient and cheap and the city, being as safe as it is, is a delight to walk around as well.

Stay tuned for the full picture travelogue soon.

Travel Photography and Gear Rental

Personally I like to travel light and use a Nikon D7xxx-Series Camera (D7100) and the Nikon 18-300mm Lens which is great for allround travel photography, capturing both wide angle shots while maintaining great close-up capability. Optionally the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye for city travel. If you're on Safari I recommend one of the 80-400mm or 100-400mm lenses which you'll need to capture great close-ups of animals. Lenses with greater focal lengths are both costly, heavy and clumsy and don't lend themselves to casual travel photgraphy. Also, having a crop camera miltiplies the focal length of any lens by the crop factor, so the 80-400mm effectively has 600mm of focal length, which can never be a bad thing for safari. I don't take my full frame bodies for travel, too heavy, expensive and loss of focal length.

Rent great cameras and lenses from Sony, Canon and Nikon for travel in Switzerland: Sony Kamera, Objektiv mieten, Canon Kamera, Objektiv mieten, Nikon Kamera, Objektiv mieten

Photography Education

Falls du in der Schweiz wohnst und dich über Fotografie schlau machen möchtest, so besuche die umfassenden Fotokurse in Zürich, die dir vertieftes Verständnis für die Wirkungsweise deiner Kamera und geeignete Einstellungen für jede Situation in der Fotografie vermitteln. Im Automatikmodus zu fotografieren ist zwar bequem, in der Kamera stecken aber viel mehr Möglichkeiten, die erst entfesselt werden, wenn du die Kamerabedienung kennst, die Situaion analysieren kannst und die entsprechenden Einstellungen an deiner Kamera machst. Dieses Wissen und passende Übungen lernst du in einem guten Foto Kurs.