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Going back

Merida. Last moments. In an hour I’ll be on a bus to Cancun and at ten there is my flight to Dusseldorf. I’ll be back online from Winterthur.

@Latin America: It was a great time! Thanks for being that good to me: no accidents, no serious robberies, wonderful people, lots of sunshine and only one hurricane. I’ll miss you and I wanna come back soon!

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Laurelio Gracioso en Merida

Merida. A little like being home. After starting my trip here 15 months ago it feels familiar being back again. I don’t do much but hanging around, reading a very good book (Shantaram), meeting my Spanish teacher Maria Elena Balam and some friends from Couchsurfing.

Merida. Ein wenig wie zu Hause. Nachdem ich vor 15 Monaten zwei Wochen hier verbracht und mich dann auf den Weg nach Süden gemacht habe fühlt es sich vertraut an. Ich unternehme nicht viel ausser ein gutes Buch zu lesen (Shantaram) und meine Spanischlehrerin sowie einige Freunde von Couchsurfing zu treffen.

Going out with the Yila (aka Dorian) and Daniela (aka Ardillurus Moradus Del Monte) yesterday night, we started playing around with names. Somehow we tried to translate my name into Spanish. With the help of Wikipedia and Leo we came out with Laurelio Gracioso. “Lars” was easy: It comes from the Latin Name “Laurentius” which is in Mexico also “Laurelio”. My last Name “Gnaedinger” was a bit more difficult. When you strip it down to “Gnaedig”, which is quite similar, you are able to translate it into Spanish: “Gracioso”. First the Girls came up with Piadoso, which is pious in English. So there we are: Laurelio Gracioso! The only remaining question: Why did that take me 15 months to find out. It would have saved me so many minutes of explaining and spelling my names!

Gestern Nacht ging ich mit Yila und Daniela von CS in den Ausgang und ganz ohne die Zufuhr von Alkohol haben wir begonnen mit Namen rumzuspielen. Irgendwie haben sich die beiden Mädels zum Ziel gesetzt meinen Namen ins Spanische zu übersetzen. Unter zu Hilfenahme von Wikipedia und Leo sind wir dann auf den folgenden Namen gekommen: Laurelio Gracioso. “Lars” war einfach. Es ist die skandinavische Kurzform des Lateinischen Namens “Laurentius” im Volksmund auch “Lasse”. Die Girls meinten in Mexico wird statt “Laurentius” auch “Laurelio” verwendet, was ich mehr mag. Der Nachname war schwieriger. Wir haben “Gnädinger” einfach kreativ auf “Gnädig” gekürzt und anschliessend erst fälschlicherweise nach “Piadoso” übersetzt, was wiederum “Fromm” heisst. Das passt nun nicht wirklich zu mir, obwohl ich die spanische Aussprache  “Piadoso” mag. So blieben wir schlussendlich aber bei der richtigen Übersetzung “Gracioso” hängen. Die einzige übrig bleibende Frage: Weshalb habe ich die beiden nicht bereits vor 15 Monaten kennen gelernt. Dies hätte mir so viel Aufwand erspart, meine Namen immer und immer wieder zu buchstabieren.


Placencia, Belize


Placencia, Belize


Merida, Mexico

I went up to Merida very fast, missing a lot of tourist attractions on the way but having a few days in Merida to rest. This was the right way to do it. I really enjoy it meeting “old” friends again.

Noch fünf Tage und dann wieder im eigenen Bett schlafen! :)

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Closing the Circle

Heading up north, fast. I’m already in Placencia in Belize. Tomorrow I will close the Circle by heading further up to Mexico and by doing so passing roads I’ve been driving  15 months ago. Kind of strange feeling. Before getting home I wanna go back to Merida, the place where I started, to spend a few relaxed days and visit some friends.

These days are loaded with emotions. Leaving a continent and people I love. Excited to go back home. See my family and friends again after all this time. Having plenty of Ideas what to do with my life but also fearing a bit not being able to fulfill all the expectations which might be out there.

One thing at a time!

I’m looking forward to diving into it!

I just finished a great book: „Falling Leaves“. Heart touching. A Chinese proverb out of the book which sticks to my mind: „While Drinking Water, Remember the Source“. Go and get it.

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Good Friends

Meeting people belongs to travelling. I’m even think that sharing a good time with people, locals and other travellers you met during travelling is more important than only visiting tourist attractions and taking pictures from it. You can be at the most boring place in the world; if you have good people around you might spend an unforgettable time. On the other hand you might visit the most beautiful tourist attraction in the world. If you’re on your own it might only survive a nice picture on the memory card of your camera.

Making friends is not only easy. Equally often you say “hello” you say “goodbye”. Normally that’s not a problem. You get used to meet people which you will never see again in your life. Which is completely ok. But there are a very few with whom you make friend, very good friend. You stay together for a few days and you get to know each other very well. You talk for hours and sometimes it even feels like a little brake in travelling, just spending time with somebody you like. But always comes the time where you have to say goodbye, and it feels sad. You’ve let somebody close, into your heart and you don’t want to let them go.

I wouldn’t necessarily need to write the things below down. There is no way to forget these memories. Nevertheless I want to mention these people here on my blog in a special way. Thanks to and with them I spent some of my best hours during the last 15 and a half months.


image Maria Elena Balam Euan (Mexico)

She was my first Spanish teacher on the trip. Looking back I’m wondering how we have been able to communicate and to talk about all these topics we did with my little Spanish knowledge at this time. From grammar to history and the life of the Mayans. About her neighbors, her family and many things more. But we managed.

We spent not only time in the classroom but also in the city of Merida and around. She is the kind of person knowing people at every corner in the city so it was always a mix of walking and shaking hands.

I still wear the earing she gave me as a present when I left and I will never forget the shared hours.

Unforgettable: Ice skating in Merida

Vanessa (UK / Germany)

With Vanessa I travelled from Mexico to San Ignacio in Belize, from there to Tikal in Guatemala and back to Caye Caulker in Belize. We met at the Hostel in Merida and stayed there for several days whereas all the other travellers moved in and out in only a few days.

She is one of the few people I could travel for weeks without any problems. We had no argue about decisions to be made nor which beer we want to drink. Unfortunately she wanted to leave earlier to go to South America just to visit the same places as I was going to do a few months later.

Beside giving me tips for the next months she is still nowadays a very friend. We fill the communication-lines between South America and UK with long emails and I love her kind how she writes. Direct, accurate and honestly, with a very good sense of humour.

Unforgettable: Swimming in the cenotes around Merida.

image Dale (Australia)

It started with hiking together trough a national park in Chile. Finally we travelled days and days with each other in a period from mid of December until the end of February. In this time we visited together Pucon, Validivia, Puerto Varas, Puerto Natales and Torres del Paina in Chile – El Calafate, Perito Morena and Buenos Aires in Argentina. All the time with Dale is the most that I spent with one and the same person on this trip so far. We even partied Christmas and New Year together and he got to know Mirja in BsAs.

Due to his well organized kind, his big hiking experience and not to mention his gas burner we survived the full six days out in the wild in Torres del Paine spending unforgettable days.

We talked about things only my best friends know and still today we are in contact and hopefully we see each other again somewhere. Normally I don’t tell to guys that I miss them. Dale is an exception.

Unforgettable: Dale lost once his “very old and full of memories” hat in the bus. Luckily he got it back on the next day (it was in Chile) and finally he even sewed some holes in the hat with my needles and yarn.

Marta (Poland, Chile)

Thanks to Marta, Dale and I we went from Pucon to Puerto Varas and slept in the Hostel she was working for. So we met again and soon have been very good friends. Together with Dale she showed us places where normally no tourists are. During the last days I was even able to sleep in the house of her good friend May. Thanks to Marta I slept not only in a house of (kind of) locals, I also was cooking a swiss dish for a group of people there, I went canyoning, we took bathes in natural hot pools and we camped on the beach of the lago Lanquihue. Thanks to her I also had to look for Luna, the little daughter of Piere and Constanza during their absence and I had to fix their computer as well (both was fun doing so).

We spent hours and hours talking about life, love and relationships. I don’t know many that strong, independent and open minded people like her. I enjoyed every minute being together.

I met Marta again ten months later on Costeño Beach in Colombia and we spent some wonderful days together.

Unforgettable: Dancing Salsa on the beach of Puerto Varas after the New Year’s Eve, people standing around and watching us.

image Eunjung (Korea)

A beautiful smile and a quick-witted brain. We met in El Calefate in Argentina but we got to know each other better in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile where I discovered a wonderful, open minded and interesting person which made me changing my travel plans quite a bit so stay more time together. So after TdP we met again in Bariloche couchsurfing with a few students and later in Buenos Aires where we danced tango together. We spent hours and hours hiking trough parks, swimming in rivers, walking trough Cities, grilling meat, starring at the stars and talking together.

We said physically hello and goodbye for four times on this trip and each goodbye was getting more and more difficult. Eunjung is a person I wanted to put in my backpack to have her with me all the time and to not have to let her go.

Unforgettable: Camping in the wild near lago espejo chico in Argentina with the most beautiful starry sky I’ve ever seen in my life!

Natalia (Russia / France)

Alone in Salvador, I didn’t want to eat alone in a restaurant. So I walked more or less trough the city looking for somebody to go for dinner with. I saw this girl sitting on a park bench reading her travel guide. From the moment asking her to have a drink we spent the next two days together until she had to go back to Rio. Although of the fact that two days is not a lot, I have the feeling that I got to know a wonderful person to whom I would like to be friend for a long long time. We shared special and beautiful moments talking, walking and just being together.

Unforgettable: looking at her,how she is sitting alone on the park bench. Hesitating to ask her because of my shyness and finally nevertheless speaking to her …

image Barbara (Brazil / Italy)

I met Barabara at a CS-Meeting in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. I was looking for a couch and she invited me to her shared flat to stay there for a few days. We didn’t do too many touristy things Nevertheless we spent an unforgetable time strawling trough the university, going to concerts, playing (dancing) carpoeira, cooking together and having long talks. Thanks to Barbara I felt kind of home in Salvador.

Unforgettable: After not having real good pasta for several months, Barbara made home-made pasta bolognese in her flat in Salvador.

Nicole (Switzerland)

I met Nicole in the Canyon del Colca in Peru and we decided to travel together because we had the same plans. Beside Arequipa we visited Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Huacachina and Pisco together. She is the only travel mate from Switzerland I stayed with for quite a while. Talking to here was always interesting, somehow we are very similar but at the same time very different. So we had a lot of fun and discussions together – this time in Swiss German ;). Looking back I just felt very confortable being with here.
Nicole is the only one I’m going to meet again for sure – in the meantime she lives in the same city as I do in Switzerland. I’m looking forward to meet and to exchange some thoughts.

Unforgettable: Buying all the necessary ingredients for making Pisco Sour (Pisco, Sugar, Lemon, Egg, Cinamon) and mixing the drink later in the Hostel. It tasted incredible good and I guess it would have been enough for six! But it turned out that we were alone ….

image Juliane und Marcel (Germany) 

I used to make mean jokes about boring couples that are backpacking. Sticking together and not interested in any social interactions. Not so Juliane and Marcel. I met them first in Ecuador in the Guayabeno Natural Reserve and from then we travelled together, separated and met again a few times over a period of five months. It was always fun to be on the road with them, camping, playing cards, dancing merengue and sharing books. They are away from home for more than two and a half year, so they always knew a interesting story to tell.

Unforgettable: Bumping into each other by accident in Granada, Nicaragua. They insisted sleeping in a better Hotel with good services instead of the same Hostel as I did. Unfortunately they found bed bugs in their place and had to sleep beside the pool. Next day they moved into my place.

Lina Maria (Colombia)

Lina was my Couchsurfing Host in Medellin in Colombia. She offered me to pick me up from the bus station and with a bright smile on her face she welcomed me so warmly to her place, it took us minutes to be best friends. I stayed much longer than I wanted and enjoyed every minute. She is such a beautiful, warm and cordial person. Although my Spanish is far from being good, we kept talking all the time. She never gave up in trying to understand me or helping me in improving my Spanish. 

Although her flat was a little outside of town, it was perfect to discover the city during day time and in the evenings often I cooked for her. She is a flamenco dancer and singer and it was a pleasure to listen to her singing while we were cooking together. We are sharing some beautiful memories and in my opinion she is a real treasure of Medellin! Being able to spend time together with this wonderful girl was a great gift to my trip.

Unforgettable: Lina got invited to a birthday party from a good friend on a finca outside of Medellin and she offered me to join her. It was a party which lasted the whole weekend and I will never forget the moment where we were sitting on the terrace late in the night. A small group, everybody in a circle completely quiet, Lina in the middle singing Flamenco a cappella.

Adriana (Colombia)

I didn’t spend that much time with Adriana in real life. Although she is from Cali and we also first met in Cali using the CS website, we mainly spent one beautiful weekend together in Bogota. Beside that we have been and still are talking for hours about life and love using facebook. Talking with her is kind of special, because she is able to speak Spanish, English and German, so we use more or less all three languages together.

Unforgettable: Going out with Adriana in Cali speaking three different languages all evening. I guess the waiter must have been wondering 😉

Valeria Arredondo (Argentina)

Not very often I changed my travel plan because of somebody. For Valieria I did. I met her first in Villla de Leyva, we only talked one evening together, the next day she went to Bogota and I spent more time in Villa de Leyva. Somehow we stayed in contact and, looking back, luckily we decided to meet up again in Taganga and to go together to the Parque National Tayrona.

Valeria is such a wonderful and warm hearted girl.
Being together with her in this beautiful national park, the time passed much to fast. We talked, walked and swam together. Sitting at the beach, looking out to the sunset, not talking any word but understanding each other very well: priceless! 

Unforgettable: Sleeping in my cheap Paraguayan (hecho en China) single layer tent in the Parque National Tayrona. In the middle of the night it started pouring. We tried to ignore that fact as long as possible. So basically until everybody and everything was more or less completely wet. Then, still pouring, we had to move everything under a roof (where the restaurant was in daytime) and go back to sleep.  

image Yovanka (Costa Rica / Venezuela)

Sometimes when you meet somebody for the first time you have no Idea how it will turn out. So with Yovanka. I met her on a boat tour in Bocas del Toro in Panama. We didn’t even talk very much on the tour itself, but somehow I invited her to our Hostel for the evening because she stayed alone in a boring normal Hostel with no social environment. She told me later, that this was her first contact with backpackers and that she had to revise her opinion about them. Beforehand she thought that all backpackers are dirty and smelly 😉

That’s how we got in contact. Later on I wrote her an email if she can recommend any place in San Jose, where she lives, to stay and she invited me to her house.

We spend some amazing time together in San Jose, totally different than expected. We talked hours and hours about happiness, sense of life, money, culture and all this things. She remembered me so much at myself!

Thanks to Yovanka I also got to know a bit of the Venezuelan culture although I didn’t stay in this Country. Talking about her home she definitely made me wanting to go there.

Unforgettable: Being with Yovanka at a huge Venezuelan party in San Jose in Costa Rica. Dancing the while night Merengue and Salsa. I loved it. Thanks!

Ari (Nicaragua)

Ari is an amazing girl. I asked her once, where she would like to live in the world if she could choose. Her answer was “India”. Not what I would have expected. Coming from a poor country like Nicaragua I would more or less expect something like USA or Europa, but not another poor country. Her explanation was conclusive but nevertheless surprising. That tells a lot about her: Open minded, well educated, creative and thinking out of the box. All of this in combination with a wonderful smile and tons of positive energy makes her such a lovely person.

We spent plenty of time together in Esteli in Nicaragua and went together to the Somoto Canyon up north close to the boarder to Honduras. She is definitely that kind of person that once you’ve met her, you don’t wanna let her go again.

Unforgettable: Hiking up a hill out of Esteli for having a good view. From up there we discovered on of the most beautiful rainbows I’ve ever seen.


Normally I tried to use one of my own pictures. If I was not able to find one I used facebook as a source …

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Below Surface

Twelve days. That’s the countdown of my trip. My last days on the American continent. Instead of rushing around to see everything left, I’m slowing down even more to fully enjoy these days. At the moment I’m on Utila, the smaller one of the Bay Islands in Honduras. A totally laid back community, hammocks to hang around, beaches to swim, reefs to dive and a couple of bars to have fun. What else do you need?

In the last days I got the Advanced Open Water certification. Together with the Salsa lessons from Colombia I’m now able to have a nice dance on the ground of the sea, 30m below surface. Oh, and I met Marcel and Julianne again, the German couple which I met first in Ecuador, later in Costa Rica and in Nicaragua.

Zwölf tage. Das ist der Countdown meiner letzten Tage auf dem Amerikanischen Kontinent. So vieles gäbe es noch anzuschauen. Aber anstatt herumzueilen und noch so viel wie möglich zu machen reise ich gemütlicher also zuvor. Zur Zeit bin ich in Utila, der kleineren der beiden Inseln von Bay Islands in Honduras. Eine komplett relaxte Atmosphäre, Hängematten zum nixtun, Sandstrände zum schwimmen, Riffe um zu tauchen und ein paar Bars für die Nacht. Was braucht man mehr?

In den letzten Tagen habe ich den Advanced Open Water Tauchkurs absolviert. Zusammen mit dem Salsa Kurs von Kolumbien kann ich jetzt ganz offiziell 30m unter der Wasseroberfläche auf dem Meeresboden das Tanzbein schwingen! Und nebenbei habe ich noch Julianne und Marcel wieder getroffen, das Pärchen aus Deutschland, welches ich das erste mal in Ecuador und dann wieder in Costa Rica und Nicaragua getroffen habe.


Having a good time, in the back the diving boat …


the diving gear


My accommodation ..


The ferry to Utila


walking down the runway from Utila …


… once there was a cow, she had the same idea. Then she got hit by the airplane ..


poor cow Trauriges Smiley

Due to the fact that ma camera doesn’t like it very much to get wet, I used google to find a few matching pictures on the internet:

Utila, from the Air. The Island looks quite big, but because everything is located close to each other you can go everywhere by feet.

There are not many sandy beaches on the Island, but you don’t need more than one and ….

… there are better things to do as hanging around on the beach.

Diving, like flying, I love it!

This is a visit to the shipwreck Halliburton. It’s quite a big cargo vessel which has been bought together by the dive shops. They sunk it in front of the Island to do offer nice dives.

And it’s definitely an adventure!

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Aepfel, Machos, Kubaner y Vino de Chile

Was für ein Titel. Kein Zusammenhalt. Angesammelte Geschichten der letzten Tage, aufgeschrieben während einem beliebigen Zeitpunkt zwischen weggehen und ankommen. Wer Bilder will muss dieses Mal anderweit suchen. Blick oder Bild hat genug. Für alle anderen: weiterlesen ….

Der Apfel

Was uns die Mandarine, dass ist den Nicas (Nicaraguaner) der Apfel. Aufgestapelt zu tausenden, überall in der Strasse werden sie verkauft. Nicht günstig. Ich habe keine Ahnung, was bei uns ein einzelner Apfel kostet (sagt wohl was aus), aber hier erscheint mir der Preis von ca. einem USD pro Apfel absolut überrissen. Ist ja auch alles importiert das Zeugs. Einzeln ausgelegt und auf hochglanz poliert findet es seinen Käufer. Einen Lokal auf die Aepfel angesprochen sagt er schlicht, dass sei so üblich zu Weihnachten. Da gibt es Aepfel. Plötzlich frage ich mich, woher unsere Mandarine kommt (die es hier in Nicaragua ohne Ende und absolut billig gibt). Bedeutet Weihnachten einfach, dass wir uns Dinge von fern leisten welche sonst einen Luxus darstellen. D.h. dass Güter einfach von einem Ort auf der Welt zum anderen und umgekehrt geschifft werden um uns das Gefühl von Weihnachten zu verschaffen. Ich wusste, dass dies mit der Mandarine so ist, aber ich hatte keine Ahnung, dass in einem Land wo Mandarinen produziert werden dann einfach Aepfel gegessen werden! Ich stelle mir gerade vor, wie das Schiff, ursprünglich gefüllt mit Mandarinen jetzt voller Äpfel die Meere durchpflügt.

Der Macho

An dieser Stelle werde ich keine Abhandlung über den ewigpräsenten lateinamerikanischen Macho schreiben. Er flirtet, also ist er. Punkt. Ein Detail finde ich jedoch erwähnenswert: Also erst mal zur Latinomusik. Es gibt praktisch nur drei Themen: Corazonne (Herz), Alma (Seele) und Amor (Liebe). Also eigentlich gibt es nur ein Thema. Und dann der Macho: Der unendliche Romantiker wie er im Buche steht. Man glaubt es kaum, aber eine grosse Anzahl der Menschen auf der Strasse kennen eine grosse Anzahl der Liedtexte aller Songs im Radio einfach auswendig!! Erlebt: Unterwegs im Karaoke Restaurant in Nicaragua mit einer hübschen Deutschen und einem verliebten Latino-Macho. Gib ihm ein Mikrofon in die Hand und er weiss genau welchen Song er auswählen muss. Die Liedtexte passen Wort für Wort um die angebetete zu überzeugen und werden mit viel Passion präsentiert. Da kann unsereins nur was lernen!

Ich verrate hier das Ende: Er hat seinen Kuss bekommen Zwinkerndes Smiley

Der Kubaner

Vor wenigen Stunden bin ich hier in Tegucigalpa angekommen. Für die wenigen unter Euch, die es nicht wissen; dies ist die Hauptstadt von Honduras. Selbst nachdem ich das Wort vielleicht ein gutes zwei dutzend mal geschrieben habe, bin ich mir über Schreibweise und Aussprache noch nicht so ganz im klaren. Da liebe ich mir doch Hauptstädte wie z.B. Lima oder Santiago. Kann man sich merken und auch ohne Fremdsprachenstudium fehlerfrei aufschreiben. Aber Tegucigalpa …. . Naja. Egal, bin heute hier angekommen. Bereits aus dem Lonely Planet weiss ich, dass die Stadt ein wenig gefährlich ist. Nachdem ich das Grasshopper Hostel in der Seitenstrasse partout nicht finden konnte (vermutlich ist es in der Zwischenzeit eingegangen), bin ich in einem Restaurant gestrandet. Die Besitzer, gebürtige Kubaner, wollen mich nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit partout nicht mehr auf die Strasse lassen, weil es viel zu gefährlich sei hier. Stattdessen offerieren sie mir doch gleich eines ihrer Zimmer. Nun teile ich ein Zimmer mit einem verrücktem Papagei, esse typisch kubanisches Essen in Honduras, schreibe endlich wieder an meinem Blog und wundere mich darüber, ob diese Stadt jetzt gefährlich oder die Einwohner äusserst liebenswert (zumindest die eingewanderten Kubaner) sind.

Der Chilenische Wein

Wein aus dem Tetrapack! Autsch. Jedoch nicht immer. Grundsätzlich trinkt der kommune Ruchsacktourist ja bevorzugt Bier der lokalen Marke. Dafür in rauen Mengen. Oder aber Rum. Auch in rauen Mengen. Ich schliesse mich da nicht aus. Aber ab uns zu muss es halt was anderes sein. Und ein treuer Begleiter diesbezüglich ist der “Clos de Pirque” aus Chile. Ein Cabernet Sauvignon. Kostet in Chile keine zwei Dollar der Liter, in Kolumbien teilweise 14 Dollar und in Nicaragua ca. acht. Ist aber überall gleich gut und damit eine gute Abwechslung zu Rum und Bier und bewirkt auch dass diese Buchstaben hier so wirr zu Papier Bildschirm gebracht werden. Man möge nachsichtig sein.


Nachdem ich nun Nicaragua verlassen habe, fühle ich mich bereits ein wenig auf der Heimreise. Nicaragua war das letzte Land wo ich mehr als einen Monat und damit richtig Zeit verbracht habe. Das Land hat mich vollkommen überrascht. Absolut unerwartet. Das ärmste Land Zentralamerikas, die kommunistische Vergangenheit und die erst kürzlich beigelegten Kriege. Ich habe etwas ganz anderes erwartet. Was ich getroffen habe sind aufgeschlossene, herzliche Menschen die ihr Land lieben und gerne über Politik und Geschichte diskutieren. Was ich getroffen habe sind Menschen welche dich herzlich begrüssen, dir in die Augen schauen, dich ansprechen und sich auf dich einlassen und dich auf- und annehmen. Als Vergleich: in den von der Armut vergleichbaren Ländern wie Gutemala und Bolivien war es relativ schwierig mit der lokalen Bevölkerung kontakt aufzunehmen.

Die Schattenseite: Neben Nicaragua habe ich nur ein anderes Land erlebt, wo die Sexualität so zum Geschäft wird: Brasilien. Wie in dem südamerikanischen Land richten sich vereinzelte Nicas her um Touristen anzumachen und um für ein paar Bier und Rum ihren Körper herzugeben. Als ich einmal nachts um zwei Ihr aus einem Club raus bin hat mir ein Mädel direkt in den Schritt gegriffen um mich zum bleiben zu überzeugen. Nicht ungewöhnlich zu sehen: (frühpensionierte) US Amerikaner, welche sich mit einer 18-jährigen Nica vergnügen”. Widerwärtig! Auch habe ich kein anderes Land erlebt, wo so viele Frauen getrennt von ihren Männern leben. Es scheint geradezu normal, dass der Mann hier fremdgeht und irgendwann seine Frau mit den Kindern alleine da stehen.

Definitiv kein einfaches Land. Trotzdem aber eines, dass dich berührt, dein Herz in Beschlag nimmt und dich nicht so einfach wieder loslässt. Dazu kommt eine wunderbare, reichhaltige Natur und Tierwelt. Strände zum surfen auf der Pazifik- sowie einsame Palmenstrände mit glasklarem Wasser und einer total unterschiedlichen Kultur auf der Atlantik-(Karibik-)seite. Vergesst dass überteuerte Costa Rica. Kommt einfach nach Nicaragua!

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Suicide Showers

As far as I can remember I wrote something about my absolute favourite type of shower more than a year ago. So nothing new, just a nice title: “Suicide Showers”. This fits quite well. The principle: Just one source of Water, cold. You multiplex that with an incredible high amount of electrical current so that the water get’s hot instantly just by passing by. This happens milliseconds before the, now warm, water hits your head. Quite fancy, no? Due to the fact that the Latinos are not the tallest human beings, you might find the showers placed on a level which makes it even difficult to avoid touching them sometimes …



There are only a few simple basic rules you should adhere to, for net getting into troubles:

  1. It’s best to not touch them at all. Just leave them where and how they are. This even when the water that comes out is close to non existent, not warm at all and running down the wall instead of dropping down to you.
  2. Never ever touch any part of it with wet hands and wet feet! Or wet hair or something similar.
  3. Most of the time there is a switch that looks tempering. It says that it is used to change temperature from cold to medium to hot. Don’t get desperate. Often it doesn’t work at all or it’s just there to wake you up with an electrical shock! If you can’t resist, change the gears before showering. Thus with a complete dry body.
  4. It might happen that you feel something else whilst you are taking a shower. It feels somehow like thousands of ants everywhere on your body. Don’t worry. If you’re still alive at this moment, it can’t be too bad. Take it as an additional feature. It makes you awake and I guess it’s good for the blood circulation! Zwinkerndes Smiley

Happy showering!

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Feliz Navidad, the second …

Hi all out there in the world. Travelling also means not being at home. At Christmas time this is always a little special. The Time when you want to be with your family and friends. This is now the second Christmas in a row I spend far from home. I’m in Esteli in the north of Nicaragua. Cars with huge loudspeakers on the top are patrolling the streets playing the “Feliz Navidad” song up and down and, along with it, some advertisement. Everywhere you can see plastic Christmas trees although I didn’t see any fir tree so far out in the wild. As well the plastic Santa Claus with the thick clothes is somehow strange. But the atmosphere is definitely Christmas like. Even in the poorest Country of Central America people are shopping like crazy (Esteli is more a rich city) and everybody is preparing for family party tonight.


Feliz Navidad

to all of you out there. Enjoy Christmas with your families and/or wherever you are.

Reisen bedeutet auch, nicht zu Hause zu sein. Um die Weihnachtszeit ist dies ein wenig speziell, ist es doch die Zeit die man sonst mit den Freunden und der Familie verbringt. Dies ist nun bereits die zweite Weihnachtszeit die ich auf Reisen verbringe, weit weg von zu Hause und den oben genannten. Ich bin zur Zeit in Esteli, im Norden von Nicaragua. In den Strassen patrouillieren Autos mit überdimensionierten Lautsprechern auf dem Dach und spielen den Song “Feliz Navidad”  hoch und runter. Dazwischen gespickt mit allerlei Werbung. Überall sieht man Weihnachtsbäume aus Plastik obwohl ich bis jetzt noch keinen einzigen Tannenbaum hier in der Wildnis gesehen habe (es soll sie geben). Aber auch die Santa Claus puppen in ihren dicken Weihnachtsmänteln sind hier irgendwie fremd am platz. Trotzdem herrscht richtige Weihnachtsstimmung und die Menschen kaufen auch im ärmsten Land Zentralamerikas kräftig ein (den Menschen in Esteli geht es ein wenig besser als dem Durchschnitt).

Selber verbringe ich die Weihnachten eher ruhig mit ein paar Menschen die ich hier kennen gelernt habe. Recht gemütlich und ohne gross Christmas schickschnack. Allenfalls gibt es auch noch ein Barbecue.


Feliz Navidad

Wünsche ich Euch allen. Geniesst die Festtage mit euren Familien und Freunden!



Miraflor, near Esteli, Nicaragua. 22.12.2011


Jetzt sind auch die unvermeidlichen peruanischen Panflötenspieler aufgetaucht mit dem gleichen Lied das ich schon am Flughafen Zürich, auf den Azoren und sonst an einem guten Dutzend Orten auf der Welt gesehen und gehört habe. Autsch! Flucht! Wegrenn!

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Fuer mehr als ein Jahr …


  • die Welt jeden Tag wortwörtlich neu entdecken!
  • in einer anderen Stadt aufwachen, diese tagsüber wie nachts erkunden und dabei das Leben, die Düfte und die Geräusche in sich aufsaugen.
  • auf die Einheimischen zugehen, das Eis brechen, Hemmungen sowie Vorurteile abbauen und sich über den lachenden und freundlichen Menschen dahinter freuen!
  • staunen, mit wie wenig Menschen glücklich sein können!
  • Sachen erleben, die man weder im Reisebüro buchen noch mit Geld bezahlen kann
  • das stressfreie Leben in diesen Ländern geniessen und trotzdem:
  • sich ab und zu über die Ineffizienz und Faulheit von einigen Latinos nerven.
  • die Welt aus den Augen eines Fremden sehen aber auch:
  • ein Fremder sein!
  • Menschen kennenlernen, diese ins Herz schliessen nur um sich wenig später wieder von ihnen zu verabschieden!
  • sich darüber wundern, wie eine einfache, von Menschenhand geschaffene Landesgrenze die Kultur und die Menschen so stark verändern kann.
  • nicht Dinge, jedoch Menschen vermissen.
  • sich darüber wundern wie vielfältig und zahlreich eine Autohupe eingesetzt werden kann!

Aber auch:

  • morgens nicht wissen wo ich abends schlafen werde.
  • Wechselkurse und Geldnoten auswendig lernen.
  • beinahe jeden Tag Reis essen!
  • sich auch über eine langsame 64kB Internet Verbindung freuen. 
  • im schnitt alle drei Tage einen Blog Eintrag schreiben (über 160 in der Zwischenzeit)
  • jeden Tag den iPod aufladen

Es ist nicht so, dass ich des Reisens müde bin. Allerdings freue ich mich jetzt auch darauf, wieder nach Hause zu kommen!

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Smoking Volcano inside!

Since Bolivia I was looking around to by a hammock. Finally I found one here in Masaya in Nicaragua. It took me a while but I’m fine now and I didn’t have to carry it all the way. In general I thing that a tent is more useful for such a trip than a hammock. But I wanted to have one before going back home. Beside I also bought another hat. It’s not a Panama but looks similar. You will see some pictures soon at this place here …

Seit Bolivien habe ich mich immer wieder nach einer Hängematte umgeschaut aber nie eine gekauft. Schlussendlich habe ich es jetzt geschafft und hier in Masaya auf dem Markt eine gekauft. Das Gute: Ich musste das Ding nicht die ganze Zeit mit mir rumtragen und wenn ich nach Hause komme ist sie noch beinahe wie neu. Überhaupt denke ich, dass ein Zelt für einen solchen Trip nützlicher ist, als eine Hängematte. An den meisten Orten, wo man eine Hängematte brauchen kann (Hostels), hat es in der regel bereits. Zudem habe ich mir noch einen neuen Hut gekauft. Es ist kein Panama, aber recht ähnlich. Bilder folgen …

Travelling to the active Masaya Volcano I got to know a nice travelling group consisting of four people. I joined them for a tour trough a cave on the sloop of the Vulcan. Due to the fact that the group was German speaking I enjoyed having a German guide and, after the tour, they even gave me a ride back to the town of Masaya. They are on a guided tour for about eight weeks from Guatemala down to Costa Rica. Everything is set, safe and well organized. Driving back in their car I asked them why they don’t want to make a short stop in Masaya. There was a party going on and the group anyway only wanted to go to Granada, eat something and then go to their well organized Hotel. The guide told me in Spanish, so that nobody understood, that this stop is not possible. He said that each restaurant is carefully selected to make sure that nobody gets sick. Eating on the street just doesn’t fit for them.

They miss the best!

Auf einem Auflug zum aktiven Masaya Vulkan habe ich eine nette deutschsprachige Reisegruppe kennengelernt. Dadurch bin ich in den Genuss eines deutschen Guides durch die zu besuchenden Caves gekommen und die Gruppe hat mich schlussendlich auch in ihrem bequemen Bus zurück nach Masayas gebracht. Die Gruppe aus vier Personen ist auf einer geführten Reise von Guatemala nach Costa Rica. Alles ist perfekt organisiert, deutsch geführt und sicher. Ich habe den Vorschlag gemacht, dass die Gruppe, anstatt direkt nach Granada zu fahren, was zu Essen und sich dann im Hotel zu verkriechen noch einen stopp in Masaya einlegt. Da war eine Party am laufen (Jungfrau Maria) und die hätten leckere Sachen von der Strasse essen können. Der Guide hat mir auf Spanisch, sodass niemand was verstand, erklärt, dass dies nicht geht. Alle Restaurants, welche mit der Gruppe besucht würden, wären sorgfältig ausgesucht worden sodass auch wirklich niemand vom Essen krank wird. Einfach mal was von der Strasse essen liege da einfach nicht drin.

Die verpassen doch das Beste!!

And as usual a few pictures:


Coffee on the plaza central in Masaya, Nicaragua. The chairs are about two meters high! I like the Idea. We should do something like that in Winterthur.


Ok, well, this is a nice Volcano. In the brochure it’s called adventure tourism and due to the fact that the little baby might try to throw some stones or lava after you, they recommend parking that car ready to run away fast. I’ve been there on foot, so I didn’t worry about parking my car correctly.


Nearly full moon!


Little snake trying to catch some bats that are living in the cave below.


This shot is not too dark. It has been taken at night, full moon and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. The small white dots in the sky is not dust on your screen but stars.

And before getting home, I do here something for the first time. I uploaded a YouTube Video. I was sitting in the chicken Bus from Masaya to Granada in Nicaragua. We left the Bus Terminal and the scenery was amazing. The lively bus terminal with all the people selling things, moving and honking buses, helper boys climbing around the top of the moving vehicles … That’s what I love in Countries like Nicaragua and Guatemala!

Und bevor ich nach Hause komme habe auch ich mein erstes YouTube Video hochgeladen. Ich bin im Bus gesessen von Masaya nach Granada. In dem Moment wo wir das Busterminal in Masaya, ein einfacher Sandplatz, verlassen, verliebe ich mich in das Leben an diesem Ort. All die Menschen, Reisende und Verkäufer, die fahrenden und hupenden Busse, die Gehilfen die auf dem bereits rollenden Bussen herumturnen, die Frau die an der Seite ein Huhn mit der Hand wiegt, eine Preis macht und das Ding dann verkauft … einfach wunderbar.

Bus Terminal in Masaya in Nicaragua
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Booking Confirmation / Buchungsbestaetigung

I knew, that once I will have to do it. Nevertheless, I always tried to push it away as far as possible. Travelling without having a deadline feels so good. But due to the fact that I wanted to book my return flight with air miles from Air Berlin I’m quite limited in options and I had to do it early to get a seat. So it’s done now. There is my return date (see below):

Es war mir immer bewusst, dass es irgendwann soweit sein wird. Trotzdem habe ich den Moment so lange wie möglich vor mir hergeschoben. Zu schön ist es, ohne Rückkehrdatum absolut frei zu Reisen. Da ich aber den Rückflug mit Meilen von Air Berlin bezahlen wollte habe ich keine allzu grosse Auswahl und musste auch relativ früh buchen um noch einen Sitz zu bekommen

January the 21th, 2012 – 22:30

At this time I’ll leave Latin America and fly back home from Cancun. After a short stop in Dusseldorf, Germany, I’ll arrive in Zurich Airport at:

Um diese Uhrzeit fliege ich von Cancun ab. Über Düsseldorf geht es nach Zürich wo ich planmässig wie folgt ankomme:

January the 22th, 2012 – 18:15

The flight number for the flight to Zurich is: AB 8142.
Die Flugnummer für den Flug nach Zürich lautet: AB 8142.


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Garifunas, Kreolen und Miskitos

This Time only in German. You can scroll down to see the pictures or use Google …

Szene: Von der Karibik geht es per Bus zurück an die Pazifikküste. Auf dem Schoss habe ich ein dreimonatiges Baby von einer entfernten Sitznachbarin. Weil es gerade so passt, lässt sie mich gerade noch dessen Windeln wechseln. Ich werde von lachenden Frauen umringt … Dies ist also das Privileg, welches ich mir durch den Spanischunterricht erarbeitet habe!

Die letzten Tage habe ich in und um Pearl Lagoon and die Pearl Keys verbracht. Der Name ist Programm. Der äusserst schöne Flecken Natur befindet sich an der einsamen Karibikküste von Nicaragua ca. eine Bootsstunde nördlich von Bluefield. Das Land der Garifunas, Kreolen und der Mistikos. Letztgenannte gehören zu der indigenen Urbevölkerung, während die beiden anderen Gruppen den Weg aus Afrika hierhin gefunden haben. Strassen gibt es wenige. Bevorzugtes Transportmittel sind kleine Speedboote. Die meisten abgeschiedenen Dörfer haben weder Strassen noch Autos. Die Atmosphäre ist so wie die Dorfbar heisst: Relax(ed). Pferde spazieren frei herum  (wenn sie nicht gerade zur gemütlichen Arbeit genötigt werden) und machen damit den Hunden Konkurrenz. Was sonst noch so auffällt:

  • Mehr als ein Jahr lang habe ich mich jetzt damit abgefunden, dass mein Nachnahme praktisch inexistent ist. In ganz Lateinamerika stellt man sich gleich mit dem Vornamen vor. Nicht so hier. Selbst gute Bekannte sprechen sich mit “Mr. soundso”  an.
  • Die kreolische Sprache ist so ein Ding für sich. Man hat immer das Gefühl, man müsste es verstehen, tut es dann aber trotzdem nicht. Es hört sich ein wenig wie “Gassen-Englisch” an. Ein Bsp.: Der Bob Marley Songtitel: “No Women No Cry”, bedeutet soviel wie “No, Women, don’t cry”. Aha!
  • Eigentlich erwartet man ja, dass hier aus jedem Haus Reggae Musik zu hören ist. Dem ist oft auch so. Bei meiner Ankunft hörte ich gerade die Reggae Version von White Christmas. Dies bei mindestens 30 grad im Schatten!
  • Apropos Musik. Das allerschrägste hier. Die Menschen stehen auf Popmusik aus den 80’s und: COUNTRY. Nicht das ich Country nicht mag, aber …. Ich war Freitag Nachts in der Relax Disco und dachte schon der DJ hätte Kokain statt Marihuana geraucht. Nach dem fünften Stück Country in folge und ausbleibender Tumulte habe ich mich dann mal ganz leise erkundigt. Echt, die Rastas stehen auf Country. Sachen gibt’s.
  • In praktisch jedem Haus steht ein, in einer Million Farben blinkender, Tannenbaum aus Plastik. Sieht lustig aus fühlt sich aber trotzdem nicht nach Weihnachten an. Würde die Rastas hier gerne mal sehen, wenn Sie wirklich 20cm Schnee vor dem Holzhaus liegen hätten 😉
  • Oh, und die Menschen hier sind ungemein gross. Nach den klein gewachsenen Latinos und Latinas muss ich hier selbst zu den Frauen hoch schauen.

In einzelnen abgeschiedenen Dörfern kommt man sich ein wenig vor wie im Paradies. Die Menschen leben in einer Harmonie mit der Natur. Stress gibt es nicht. Ist man hungrig geht man nach Draussen und pflückt ein paar Früchte oder geht kurz fischen. Es ist alles da was man braucht. Und dies aufgrund des Klimas das ganze Jahr. Es gibt Momente da möchte man gar nicht mehr weg ….

Bilder, erst von meinem Trip vor ein paar Tagen entlang des San Juan Rivers:


Nächtliche Überfahrt von der Insel Ometepe nach San Carlos


Von San Carlos geht es am nächste Tag weiter mit einem kleinen Boot nach El Castillo. Der Rio San Juan bildet der Grenzfluss zwischen Costa Rica und Nicaragua. Eigentlich wollte ich auf diesem Fluss ganz an die Karibikküste fahren und dann mit einem Boot hoch nach Bluefield. Leiter musste ich den Plan aber aufgeben, da von San Juan del Norte bei dem derzeitigen Wellengang kein Boot nach Bluefield fährt. Stattdessen bin ich ein paar Tage in El Castillo geblieben.


Wenn man keinen Steg besitzt gibt es beim Ein- und Aussteigen einfach nasse Füsse.


Einmal mehr bin ich froh, dass meine Kamera ein gutes Zoomobjektiv hat.


El Castillo


Auf einer nächtlichen Kaiman Tour.


Ich hatte ja keine Ahnung. Es gibt laufende Bäume. Kein Witz. Ok, die rennen dir nicht gerade nach. Aber das Ding da auf dem Bild kann sich tatsächlich bewegen. Langsam. Indem es einzelne Wurzeln hinten absterben lässt und vorne neu aufbaut.


Süss, aber wenn ich es richtig verstanden habe giftig …


Süss und bestimmt ungiftig!

Szenenwechsel. Ab jetzt geht es nach Parl Lagoon (Lagune und Ort) sowie auf die Pearl Keys, welche ein wenig mit San Blas vergleichbar sind.


Unser kleines Inselchen, welche wir ganz für uns hatten.


Das Mittagessen war einfach lecker!!


Leider hatten wir während der zwei Tage auf der Insel nicht sehr gutes Wetter. Und auch wenn das Bild recht sonnig aussieht, bei genauem hinschauen ….


… sieht man dass es wie aus Kübeln schüttet.


Aber Wolken können ja auch schön sein


Auf der Suche nach der Kokosnuss. Nachdem ich auf der Insel vier von diesen Dingern von Hand von A bis Z ganz aufgemacht habe, bin ich absolut inseltauglich!


Uebernachtet haben wir in einem nicht fertig gebauten Haus welches sich ein reicher Ami da hinstellt. War ganz praktisch während dem Regen.


Und über die Aussicht konnten wir uns auch nicht beklagen.


Einen Tag später, in einem Miskito Dorf

P1080138 Nein, das ist kein Schweizer Bergsee


Man glaubt es kaum, aber die Leute hier sind verrückt nach Baseball!




Die beiden hier, irgendwo zwischen 70 und 150, haben uns stolz zwei Lieder vorgesungen


Später habe ich dann doch noch ein Mädel beim Baseball erwischt!



Our Guide and Bootsman Mr. George


Wir hatten ein wenig Probleme mit dem Motor. Achtung: Informatikingenieur mit Schweizer Sackmesser am Werk!!

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Ocean switching, Surfing, Turtles, Kayaking and Yoga

Back to basic Central America. After rushing in about three weeks trough Panama and Costa Rica, it’s a big change crossing the boarder to Nicaragua. Lot’s of things are much more basic, prices drop by about the half or more, the typical US American tourists are gone and locals seem to be much more friendly. It’s also a pleasure to slow down again and enjoy more.

In the last days I changed between the Caribbean and the Pacific side for a few times. Starting coming from the Colombia at the Caribbean I flew to Panama City at the Pacific side. From there I did a trip to San Blas in the Caribbean just to come back to Panama City where I took a bus to Bocas (Panama) and Puerto Viejo (Costa Rica) in the Caribbean. Now I’m back to the Pacific side in Nicaragua. I guess this will go on for a while now.

From the boarder of Costa Rica and Nicaragua I headed directly to San Juan del Sur at the pacific coast. There I learned surfing (unfortunately no pictures) and went to see some nesting sea turtles (pics below). Now I’m on the Isla the Ometepe in the Lago Nicaragua. The setting here is incredible. An Island consisting of two volcanoes that are connected together by a narrow isthmus. The climate is perfectly for relaxing and I found a very nice place to stay on a organic farm. Located at the sloop of the Vulcano Maderas and consisting of more than a dozen Cabañas and supporting buildings which are spread in the green and connected by small footpaths it is a pleasure to hang out here for a few days. My activities here include: Hiking, Bicycling, Kayaking and having Yoga lesions directly at the hostel. The owner is Italian and three times a week it’s Pizza time. The Hostel is five bucks, including Yoga! These are the difficult places to leave!

My further plans is to head back to the Caribbean Coast by boat shipping down the River San Juan along the boarder from Costa Rica and Panama. From San Juan de Nicaragua I wanna follow the Coast northwest to get to Bluefield, named by the British pirate. I’m not sure yet if it works out because there might be no transport from San Juan del Norte to Bluefield (there is no road). I will try to catch a fishing boat. We’ll see. But there might be no internet for a few days.



Nesting turtle on the beach


Over hundred eggs in an hour …


A tiny little turtle just out of a nest  on the way to the sea. If you point with the flash light in front of the turtle it will follow the light. Therefore you can the little creature a bit to find the sea.

Being able to see the big turtles nesting and the small ones fighting their way back to the sea just in front of your eyes, I felt very content and happy at this moment. It’s for sure a picture that I will keep in my mind!


Isla Ometepe in the Lago Nicaragua


Sometimes you need to be flexible in what you want to cattle. But fore sure the little piggy enjoyed it!


Kayaking …


… and a nice place to sleep!

Oh, and another thing that comes with crossing the boarders to Nicaragua from Costa Rica. Showers are once more cold and the Internet is deadly slow if existent at all. So It will take me some time to upload all my pictures.

All the best!

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Backpacking the Costa Rica way

Since a few days I’m backpacking trough Costa Rica:


My transport vehicle …


… my “hostel” …


… my “travel mate” and host Yovanka …


… the pool, best for washing dirty backpackers …


… and finally my personal security officer “Bono”

Isn’t that a nice way of backpacking …?

I met Yovanka in Bocas del Toro and when I asked her for a good place to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica, she invited me to her place where she lives with some relatives. I didn’t want to miss this chance to stay with locals, although locals is maybe the wrong word here. Yovanka and her family is from Venezuela. We talked a lot about her country, the people there, the politics and we even went out to a big Venezuelan party in San Jose. Due to this fact, beside enjoying a few very relaxing days in San Jose, I got to know a few things about Venezuela despite I’ve not visited this country myself.

Worth mentioning: Beside hanging out at the pool, enjoying the food Yovanka was cooking (she is a trained chef) and partying, we also did some serious stuff. We went together to the hardware store to buy things for her restaurant that she is going to open in a few days and we went to the construction site itself because she had to observe the employees and to organize some things.

In general I’m travelling quite fast trough Costa Rica, not spending too much time in the Country. This because I want to focus on Nicaragua and maybe Honduras, which are also more budget friendly. After Bocas del Toro in Panama I crossed to Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica where I met Julianne and Marcel again, with whom I travelled from Ecuador to Colombia. After Puerto Viejo I went straight to San Jose and now I’m sitting in a Bus to the northwest of Costa Rica, already close to the Border to Nicaragua.

A few pictures from the last days:


the receptionist at the Casa Verde in Bocas



This one here is a sloth, in German a “Faultier”. We saw this animal on a tiny little Island and had to ask the guide how it got there. He told us, that this are good swimmers. Because this little creatures always move sleepy slow, it’s really difficult to imagine how they are able to swim without to drown immediately.


Border crossing into Costa Rica


Cabaña in Puerto Viejo


Endless beach in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

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Lost & Found & Angels

So far on my trip, my guardian angel was quite unemployed, just not yet fired. There never was something really bad happening and I didn’t made any use of my expensive travel insurance, which by the way, only lasted one year. So right at the time, when my travel insurance was gone, my luck of getting the right rides on the street went off and my guardian angel went back into action.

I was hitching a ride with two other travellers from the Lost & Found Hostel in the middle of nowhere to a nearby town (40 minutes) to do some internet stuff. It took as only a minute until a car stopped. Two tourists from the USA. The ride was short, in the curvy hills and with the wet roads the driver lost control of his car, we got off the street jumped down a little ledge and finally stopped in a fence, just before falling down into a ditch. Luckily nobody got hurt. But there was no way to move the car any further. So we ended up hitching another ride which only took us another minute ….. and went fine this time.

Mein Schutzengel war bis anhin auf meiner Reise recht arbeitslos, kurz davor entlassen zu werden. Nichts wirklich schlimmes oder gefährliches ist passiert und so habe ich auch von meiner teueren Reiseversicherung keinen Gebrauch gemacht. Eben diese Reiseversicherung war übrigens nur für ein Jahr gültig. Also genau rechtzeitig wo meine Reiseversicherung abgelaufen ist, tritt mein Schutzengel in bester Manier in Aktion.

Gemeinsam mit zwei anderen Rucksacktouris versuchten wir per Anhalter vom Lost & Found Hostel in der mitte vom nichts in das naechste Dorf zu kommen (ca. 40min) um ein paar Internetdinge zu erledigen. In kürzester Zeit hat ein Auto angehalten und nimmt uns mit. Zwei Touristen aus den USA mit ihrem Mietwagen. Die Fahrt war kurz. Nach wenigen Minuten verlor der Fahren auf der kurvigen und nassen Strasse die Kontrolle ueber sein Fahrzeug. Wir kamen von der Strasse ab, flogen über einen kleinen Abhang und landeten schlussendlich an/auf einem massiven Zaunpfahl. Zum Glück wurde niemand verletzt. Aber dieses Auto fuhr bestimmt niergends mehr hin an diesem Tag. So standen wir nach kurzer Zeit bereits wieder an der Strasse mit dem Daumen nach oben. In kürzester Zeit hat bereits das nächste Auto angehalten …. dieses mal geht alles gut.



Final parking lot ….


The lost and found hostel in the middle of the cloud forest. It’s really a great place. The dudes here created a beautiful place to make you feel comfortable. There are a few nice hikes and the best is the treasure hunt, a six hours adventure trough the forest, across the river and (into) a cave. All for a bottle of rum!!


The hint inside the labyrinth ….


hunting the treasure in life-danger situations …

Since a few hours I’m on Bocas del Toro. Lots of rain here!

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Panama City and San Blas

Whereas Panama City is a huge crowded city, San Blas, only a few  hours away, seems to be a little Paradise. After coming from Colombia I don’t appreciate Panama City very much. Although there are some nice areas, most of it is just loud, dirty and crowded. Taxi drivers are maybe the most unfriendly of their kind. Often they even refuse to give you a ride. There is at least one good thing: Wine is so much cheaper than in Colombia!

From Panama City I did a trip to the San Blas Islands. Crossing the whole country in a few hours you realize, how small Panama is (in comparison to South American countries). The San Blas Islands are a really funny thing. Consisting of 378 Islands, of which only 49 are inhabited, the Islands belong to the Kuna people, an indigenous tribe, which live in autonomy from Panama. Beside fishing and trying to preserve their culture, tourism is the big story on the island. And although everything is far from mass tourism, it’s somehow fun but also sad to see how the indigenous people try to make money from the tourists. Taking a picture from them: 1 Dollar, buying a cheap two dollar wine: 7 Dollar on the islands. Nobody is on time and nothing works as it should, but at the end, everything works out. I guess the really good thing about the Kuna’s having a strong hand on the development is, that the Islands stay as calm as they are. There are no big hotel complexes, no beach bars and nearly no reliable tourist infrastructure. This keeps away the mass of tourists and makes the islands to a perfect backpackers paradise. Although 35 Dollars a day is not nothing, considered that it includes three meals a day and all transport from and to the islands, it’s pretty ok. If you plan to go there, don’t expect too much in question of infrastructure. Everything is really basic. The Cabanas to sleep might get wet when it rains, the toilet is a hole over the sea, the shower may consist of a hole with water that you have to apply to your body, somehow. There is nothing like electricity, no shops, not restaurants and the eating table might be below the stars. So just a beautiful sandy islands in pristine clear water with a bunch of palm trees and a few cabanas on it. Take plenty of books, water and alcohol with you!

A few pictures below, all of them can be found here (Panama City) and here (San Blas).


Hey guys back home: If you get jealous, that’s ok :o)




It’s not the worst way to spend your day!

There are also y few pics from Panama:




I’ve been walking trough the city and out of  fun I asked some security guards on front of one of this skyscrapers if we can go op to have a look. Surprisingly they said “yes”.


This is one of the Locks from the Panama Canal

On San Blas I got to know a few IT Engineers from Ecuador that are working here in Panama City. In my attempt to stay with locals to practice my Spanish I hanged around with them for a while and I got invited to visit them in Panama City. I got some delicious Ecuadorian food here in Panama (didn’t eat anything special beside street food in Ecuador itself) and we spend a beautiful Sunday together. Thanks guys!

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Crossing the Darien Gap by Bus, Boat and Airplane

There is no road between Central- and South America. This part of land between Colombia and Panama is called the Darién Gap. Most travellers cross it by taking a plane between Colombia and Panama or by taking a boat from Catagena (Colombia) to Portobello (Panama) which includes a visit of the San Blas Islands. There is a third option, which is a little more difficult because you have to change buses, boats and take a small airplane, but you travel trough a really beautiful area, you see some places where there are nearly no other travellers and at the end it’s the also the cheapest way to get to Panama City coming from Colombia (about 150 USD one way, including the airplane ticket that you need in Panama).

The highlights include:

  • Carpurgana in Colombia, a nice and quiet little town with no cars. Goods are transported by small wagons pulled by horses.
  • I crossed the boarder to Panama by feet to get to a picturesque beach called “la miel” to hang out for a few hours. Unbelievable: Due to my own fault I didn’t have my passport with me, so tried to cross the boarder (which is in the middle of the forrest) just with my Swiss ID card, which is not a valid document there. You even can get into troubles in these countries not having a passport with you, and I tried to cross a boarder. Was fun. The Colombia officer was relaxed and told the Panamanian one to let me in (into Panama) whereas the Panamanian officer was quite sceptic. But due to the fact that you can’t go nowhere from this beach but back to Colombia they finally let me in.
  • I didn’t plan my money situation very well, there is no ATM out there when you cross the boarder and you have to pay everything, inclusive the flight to Panama City with Cash. I run first out of Colombian Pesos and hat to find a rare tourist on the street who changed me some of my backup Euros into Colombian Pesos. To be able to pay the flight I had to use the my backup 100 Dollar bill. The flight was 93 Dollars. When I arrived in Panama City I had about 2 Dollars left when I got to the first ATM.
  • The boarder crossing was a little hairy. We arrived in Puerto Olbaldia in the night when Migration was closed. My flight was anyway the next day so I had to stay overnight. I spent the night with three Colombians in a room and we made friends. Colombians have a problem getting into Panama, they have to prove that they have a return ticket and 500 USD in cash with them to get in. None of them had 500 USD and one of the girls didn’t even have a return ticket. So what they did was going into the migration office one by one giving each other all dollars they had so that the total amount is over 500.
  • With the one girl not having a return ticket we even tried telling the officer that she is my girlfriend and that I will pay for her in Panama. Didn’t help. My “Girlfriend” didn’t get in …
  • Having this discussion with the Colombians about problems with the boarder crossing I started to worry, because I didn’t have a Ticket out of Panama neither. So in the evening I fired up my netbook and faked some HTML-Code to create a flight ticket out of Panama. Finally he just wanted to see my credit card to get in.
  • Oh, yeah, there was also this Guy from the Czech Republic. He seemed to be the only other “tourist” trying to cross the boarder here and he had a strange story to tell. An hours or so after I crossed the boarder he looked for me in the small village of Puerto Olbaldia, followed by a migration officer. They didn’t want to let him in, because he didn’t have any valuable money. According to him, his wallet got stolen in Greece (Greece !?!?). He only had some Czech money with him and due to the fact that I seemed to be the only one in the village being able to translate from Spanish to English they where looking for me to help. He wanted me to help him change his currency into dollars to get into the country. Due to the really crazy story he told (how do you get without money from Greece to Colombia and why the hell do you wanna cross a border without any money at a place where there is nothing like a bank, an ATM or a money exchange. I got super suspicious, luckily I didn’t have a lot of dollars with me, so I just confirmed to the migration officer that this guy had money with him in the value of about 150 USD. I don’t know how, but finally he managed to get into Panama. I ended up paying him the hotel room for the night but was happy to not see him any more later one.

Finally on the next day a small little Airplane brought me to Panama City. The airplane was so small, that everything had to be weighed, even the passengers:


The flight itself followed a long way the Caribbean coast of Panama. It’s a stunning landscape where you can see the ground of the sea even from the airplane.

A few pictures from the trip:


Crossing to Panama by feet. I went back to Colombia at the same day. Finally I took at boat to get from Colombia to Panama.


Enjoying beach life ….



Crossing to Panama



My taxi out of the Kuna Yala region to Panama City


Landing in Panama City

I’m now here in Panama already for a few days and it feels a little wired. It’s hard to realize that I just changed from South- to Central America after being nearly 11 months down there. And I somehow miss Colombia. This country it definitely one of my favourite on my trip!

Here are the Pictures: here and here and here.

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Salsa in a Cuban bar, sightseeing in a beautiful city, taking a mood bath in a “vulcanito”  and having a good crowd around you … what else do you need. Ok, for the third time on my trip I got a little sick so I had to stay in bed for about 36 hours, but that’s ok. Could be much worse. We did some Salsa lessons at the Hostel where I stayed and at the end, everybody hat to dance alone in the circle and show what you learned. For the first time in my life I enjoyed something like that. I guess it was due to the beers I already had in my blood …

Some pics below, all of them can be found here.



Ron y Aquardiente. Because the Aquardiente thing is really ugly I focused on Ron


Cartagena is a real beautiful city, l loved to stroll trough for hours




Looking from the old part of the city to the new part


Having a beer at sunset