2012

 Bogotá (27) January 
Colombia! I've heard a lot of friends and travellers saying "Colombia is safe now", so I decided to go. I have always wanted to but a few years ago this wasn't really recommended, but things have changed. Colombia is indeed very safe if you follow the general rules for Latin America. Bogota felt safer than most of the capitals in Latin America that I know, there was police nearly in every corner. And the people - I don't think I have ever been in a country with people that are so open, hospitable and kind. So travelling is easy and great. From Bogota I went to Villa de Leyva, a small colonial town with an interesting National Park nearby. click for more pictures
 El Pulpito (34) January 
I had read there would be great hiking in Colombia as it has its fair share of the Andes. So I brought my tent, sleeping bag, hiking boots and everything else I need to survive a few chilly nights under starry skies. I was planning a 6-day-circuit in the national park of El Cocuy but as it turned out it was not possible for different reasons, depending on whom I asked. Since it was difficult to rely on others people's opinions and concerns and because it was impossible to get a good map of the area, I decided to go up there and see for myself. So one morning, at 6am the "lechero" (milk man) took me from the village of El Cocuy to the last farms at the border of the national park. From there it was a 4-hour hike to the impressive mountains "El Pulpito del diablo" and "Pan de azucar" (both above 5.000m). click for more pictures
 Laguna Plaza (30) February 
After two days of hiking I met Ana and her daughter from Bogotá with a visiting couple from Belgium and we walked the rest of the trip together. At the "Laguna de la Plaza" we met a climbing expedition who had already spent 40 days there and had installed a new climbing route up the face of "El Diamante". click for more pictures
 Laguna Grande (33) January 
From the Laguna Plaza we went over the rather difficult pass of "Bellavista" to a campsite next to the Laguna Grande de la Sierra, at 4.500m, a fantastic place. No other people for miles, no wind, no creeks - it was so quiet I could hear the blood flowing through my ears. The night sky was incredible. My new friends took me back to El Cocuy the next day before I continued to warmer climate. click for more pictures
 Bucaramanga (23) January 
My travel book described Bucaramanga as a big, hot and busy town with not too much to see for tourists, who normally only stop to change buses. Which is exactely why I wanted to go there. Big place, no tourists. Plus it was a good stop in between the cold mountains and the hot beaches. Indeed, I did not meet any backpackers and stayed in a normal hotel. There was really nothing to see in Buca itself (sorry...) but I went out salsa dancing on Friday and on Saturday and always met the most wonderful people. I went to Giron, a small town nearby and on Sunday some of my new friends took me to the pleasant mountains of "La mesa" where many people from Buca spend their weekends and we went on a breathtaking cablecar-ride through the Chicamocha canyon. click for more pictures
 Tayrona (31) February 
My first stop at the coast was Taganga. It used to be a small fishing village near Santa Marta (where de myth of El Dorado was born), probably was a secret backpacking paradise for about six weeks but is now well-known and therefore quite touristy, but still nice to relax for a few days. From there I went to the National Park of Tayrona where the cloud forest meets nice beaches. A lot of them with spectacular boulders but also many with dangerous undercurrents. I stayed at a pretty campsite about a four-hour hike from the entrance for one night, then went back to Taganga. The Carribean always slows me down. click for more pictures
 Cartagena (31) February 
Cartagena sees about one cruise ship per day so it is quite touristy, but still worth going because the old town is very beautiful. It made me want to go to Havanna. I went to Playa Blanca, about an hour away from Cartagena. I also went snorkeling there for about an hour but there was not much to see, the reef was almost dead. Again, I spent a lot more time there than I planned so I decided not to go to Medellin but to fly to Cali. Flying is fairly cheap in Colombia :-) click for more pictures
 Los Nevados I (29) February 
Colombia itself is already famous for salsa, they even play it in supermarkets, but Cali is the capitol of salsa. So I spent a weekend there and went out every night, it was fantastic! The first night I went to the "Tin Tin Deo", the oldest salsa joint in Cali where I ran into Chris, a friend from Belgium who I had met two years ago in Antigua because we had the same salsa teacher, incredible! After so much dancing I went to the quiet town of Salento in the coffee region, to visit the nearby valley of Cocora, famous for its up to 60 meters high palm trees. The canyon also provides an entry to the National Park "Los Nevados", with spectacular mountains and beautiful landscapes above the treeline. Again, it was difficult to obtain any maps or tour descriptions so I just went in as far as I could in one day and spent the night at the Laguna del Encanto. click for more pictures
 Los Nevados II (26) February 
From the lake I went back to Salento and Cali for one last visit to the "Tin Tin Deo". One day later I took the night bus to Bogotá where I met Ana (from El Cocuy) and her family. They dropped me off at the airport in the evening and I went back to Berlin. click for more pictures
 Elbi (34) March 
For a weekend a group of colleagues and friends of mine and I went to the Elbsandsteingebirge near Dresden like we had already done in recent years. It is a very special type of mountains and not very big but there are always more things to explore. We were lucky to catch the first warm weekend of the year and did some very nice hikes. click for more pictures
 Kajaking (24) May 
This is more of a collection of pictures of my numerous kajaking trips this year. It is just so nice to grab your tent and get out on the water for a few days and enjoy the the quiet landscape and the exercise. click for more pictures
 Stubaital (29) July 
My warming-up-hike took me to the Stubaital, one of my favorite and most-visited places in Tyrol. For this one I don't even need a map anymore. With some luck weatherwise and long days I managed to do the seven-day circuit in four days before I took the night train back to work the next day. Great fun and a good preparation for my next vacation. click for more pictures
 Daniel + Lorea (19) August 
In spring I read (for the first time) about Daniel - the highest mountain of the Ammergauer Alpen, so I decided to start my summer vacation with climbing this summit. It is in Austria directly across the Zugspitze (highest mountain of Germany) and offers great views all around. At the end of my trip I climbed the Loreakopf, also a mountain with a superb view. The more summits I climb the more often I recognize them from other peaks and I am starting to feel like I know this place a little bit :-) click for more pictures
 Lechtal I (35) August 
My long trip (10 days) is the backwards version of this one in 2007. Starting in Lech I climbed the Wösterspitze, one of my favorite mountains and I could even spend the night up there in my sleeping bag, the weather was fantastic. The tour continued on the Inntal-side of this ridge with great views at the valley, the Verwall and the snowy mountains of the Ötztal in the distance. click for more pictures
 Lechtal II (33) August 
The second part of the Lechtal trip took me to the mountains above Imst. The first days were also sunny but usually it started to rain in the evening. Fortunately, the rain stopped in the morning as soon as the sun came out. But eventually I had to spend a rainy weekend at the Muttekopfhütte which was quite entertaining because there was a guitar class going on with a nice concert in the end. click for more pictures
 Lechtal III (20) August 
On Monday I met some friends and we climbed the Muttekopf together. The next night - the last of this trip - I could sleep outside again. The big finish was the very long (9-10 hours), sometimes tricky, but beautiful "Anhalter Höhenweg" which took me back to the cute village of Elmen where my car was waiting for me. click for more pictures
 ILA (40) September 
The ILA is an international aviation exhibition which takes place in Berlin every other year. I had seen it about 18 years ago and this year I decided to see it again. It is a great and rare chance to see some famous and well-known civil and military aircrafts. Besides that there are some spectacular shows going on the whole day. click for more pictures
 Ägypten (38) October 
After eight long years I went diving again for the first time. Egypt is a great place to do this and I saw almost everything there is to see - dolphins, sharks, turtles, stonefish, clown fish… See for yourself! click for more pictures