2008

 Highlands (30) January 
In my first week in Guatemala I visited the active vulcano Pacaya and two towns in the Highlands - Nebaj and Todos Santos. Both few in tourists and rich in tradtional clothes. They offered good hiking opportunities and a glimpse of the harsh life in the mountains of Guatemala. These areas had suffered a lot from the civil war in the eighties. click for more pictures
 Antigua (22) January 
My second week I staid in Antigua to learn some more Spanish and salsa. It used to be the capital until a big earthquake in the 18th century and managed to keep ist charm - cobblestone streets, lots of beautiful churches and no other buildings higher than two stories. So it is a cute place to stay some time although it is also very touristy. Staying in one place for a week seems long when you only have little time to travel but looking back it might have been the best week of my trip. I found it really nice to get to know one place better and make some friends instead of visiting many places for a short time. click for more pictures
 Chicken Busses (16) January 
I dedicated a whole page to the busses in Guatemala (all from the bus station in Antigua). Let me explain why. Public transportation for normal people in Guatemala means riding the "chicken bus". These vehicles are usually old school busses from the US or Canada, beautifully changed to fit Guatemalan standards. That means vibrant colors and benches which were designed for two 13-year olds now are supposed to hold three adult Guatemalans. Say Good Bye to your knees there :) Of course, a chicken bus is never full, there is always room for one more... I've always wondered how it must feel to find your old school bus on a trip in Guate.... click for more pictures
 Lago Atitlán (21) February 
My last days in Guate I spent on Lago Atitlán - a beautiful lake sorrounded by two vulcanoes. It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and I can confirm that. After a busy week of learning Spanish and salsa it was a great place to hang out with friends and relax. We staid in a cute hostel in Santa Cruz - a small and quiet village near Panajachel. The second day we went out canoeing at 6 in the morning to catch the sunrise on the lake. I also visited Xela for a day where I spent four weeks of studying Spanish four years ago. click for more pictures
 Pacific Coast (19) February 
After three weeks of travelling it was time to hit the beautiful beaches of the Pacific for a few days, on the Southern coast of Mexico. Not much to do there than to sit back, relax, swim and take lots of sunset - pictures (sorry!). Puerto Angel is still sort of a fishermen's village, hence less touristy, while Zipolite is nice beach, 2km (1.5 miles) long. The coast of Oaxaca state is known as a surfer's paradise. I heard it is very addictive so I didn't even try ;-) click for more pictures
 Oaxaca (34) February 
I went back to the highlands, to the cute town of Oaxaca, one of my favorite places in Mexico. It is the town where I had my first salsa lessons four years ago, where they have great chocolate, Mezcal, and lots of places to visit around (El Tule, Hierve el Agua, Monte Alban, Yagul...). It is a great town to spend some time and enjoy the local food and nightlife. click for more pictures
 Puebla and Cholula (29) February 
Puebla and Cholula are paradise for every church fan, all others will have no chance than to become one. There are so many beautiful, colorful churches, it is amazing. In Cholula is also the widest pyramid of the world, mostly hidden under a hill, but topped - of course - by church. It is a classic symbol of conquest, although it is possible it was built before knowing of the existence of the pyramid. click for more pictures
 Mexico City (24) February 
My last two days I spent in Mexico City where I visited a friend from my time in Austin. I also went to the nearby ruins of what probably used to be the former Toltec capitol. It is fairly small but has impressive, well-preserved warrior figures made of stone. There is a lot more to see there of course, Teotihuacan for example, so check out the pictures of my trip four years ago. click for more pictures
 Virgental (30) July 
The last two years a couple of days after my arrival in the Alps the weather got really bad after a really sunny July. This was the main reason I decided to go earlier this year. But, again, the weather was not so good... I even had snow one night, but also a few sunny days. But some things where indeed different from going in August - not many hikers yet, lots of snow left from the winter and lots of beautiful flowers. I started in Matrei going around the Virgental. click for more pictures
 Tauerntal (27) July 
After about a week I went into the Tauerntal. Due to the bad weather I spent three nights at the "Alte Prager Hütte" - a tiny, cute and very old hut run by Florin and Andrea, who made me feel at home the minute as I walked in (they were cooking a stone pine liquor ;-). The weather got a little better in my last days and after two weeks in the mountains I returned to where I had started - Matrei. click for more pictures
 Oberwiesenthal (30) December 
Finally, after about 5 years I got to go cross-country skiing again for a few days. I went to Oberwiesenthal with Robert, a friend of mine who was crazy enough to agree to spend the nights in a tent in the snow. After the first day we realized our types of skis where too different so we had to split up for the rest of the time, he went downhill skiing and I went cross-country skiing. The last day was just absolutely amzing, sunny and cold :-) click for more pictures