This year we wanted to spend christmas and new years somewhere with sun and not the icky and drab weather of Münster at that time. So we went to Gran Canaria, Puerto de Mogan, a lovely little town in the south of Gran Canaria. Sure, it's a touristy place, but devoid of those ugly thousand-guests-palaces they build as hotels over the coast on that island, with a little harbour, a (artificial, of course) lagoon and nice apartment buildings for tourists to stay. Very relaxing days.
We had no idea what little jewel of a town was just an hour with the train away. Soest has a lovely old town with a large part of the old city walls still there, lots of old buildings and fascinating churches. It has interesting history, too due to it's position as one of the major westphalian cities during the Hanse (actually Lubeck was founded by - among others - merchants from Soest, and the Soest' city rules were exported to many cities in the baltic area due to that during the Hanse time) and the cities decision to switch to the protestant faction during reformation has some really interesting situations with the large cathedral buildings in Soest beeing protestant (which is quite rare in Westphalia). Spent a great time there and had lots of fun exploring Soest.
We visited Trier and some places near Trier - the river valley of the Mosel river, Luxembourg (the city), Idar-Oberstein, a jewellers town in the Hunsrück mountain ranges and other littles Towns like Bernkastel-Krues and Lieser. A lovely and relaxing weekend.
Trier was fascinating with it many remains of the Romans. Luxembourg with it's fascinating placement over several hill plateaus, connected by bridges. Bern-Kastel and Lieser for their lovely old architectures and the whole river valley because of the great landscape. In Idar-Oberstein we visited the jewel mines, where they were digging for several jewels until the 19th century. All places well worth the visit.
For our summer vacation we decided to do something different - we took a car and drove all over Germany and Austria to Slovenia, traveling through Slovenia from the east border near Hungary to the slovenian Adria near Italy. On our way up, we took a first break at Bamberg, visiting it's world heritage old city.
After Bamberg, we went into Austria and stayed for a few days in Graz. There again we visited the (again world heritage) old city, the castle mountain and took a stroll all around it.
Next was Ptuj, our first stay in Slovenia. It is in the eastern part, close to Hungary. There are some interesting places close by, especially Jeruzalem, a hilly region that was once given to the knights of the cross by some caesar or other, and so really is connected in a way to Jerusalem. Nowadays it is dominated by whineries and their whine yards.
We went into the middle of Slovenia next, staying in a farm near the town Skofia Loka. It was a great place with great hosts, we really enjoyed it. And we really enjoyed the Julich Alps and the Kranj mountains close by and the little mountain villages and the scenery. Definitely a place we want to visit again some time. While there we visited Ljubljana, too.
On we went after a few days to Piran, or actually to Portoroz, a city at the slovenian Adria, quite close to the italian border near Triest. So we got some ocean action in and got a chance to visit Italy. The old city of Piran is a crazy place to visit!
We originally planned for a trip to Triest, but due to weather problems (rain in Portoroz and Triest) we went to Venice. Worse things could happen to travellers, I guess.
On the end of our travels we went to Villach in Austria, but didn't take a lot of photos there - guess some kind of vacation burn out or something. We did take a bunch again when we did a stop in Salzburg on our last days, though. And we had Salzburger Nockerl.
That's it from our summer vacation in 2014. Lots of fun, lots of great places to visit and a big success. I guess this roadtrip kind of vacation will happen in the future, again.
We went to Leiden in the Netherlands as a hub for a four day trip. Visiting the Keuckenhof near Lisse, the North Sea at Katwijk and the famous Gouda cheese in Gouda. The weather wasn't too agreeable, especially starting thursday, but hey, why again did I buy a weather proofed camera?
The flowers at Keuckenhof were quite impressive, even though I probably would have liked a bit more intellectual "flesh" to the colorful "bones" - a bit more about the history of tulips would have been fun. Oh well, we got orchids and lilies in addition to the tulips instead of education, so at least it was a feast for the eyes.
Gouda itself is a nice little town, and luckily we were there at the cheese market, so we got to see the touristy show. Since it is done by normal people, don't expect a highly tuned professional show. Fun anyway. And we like cheese.
Oh yeah, the sea - we got some in between by visiting Katwijk, where they were actually rebuilding the beach and embankment. Woops. Not something you get to see every day.