Paphos, Republic of Cyprus: Archaeological Park

We flew down to Cyprus at the beginning of November and had a very enjoyable week with lots of sun. It was hot enough to go swimming, but cool enough to go on day trips. The ocean was unfortunately too turbulent to go in without crashing into the pier, due to the heavy storms over Europe, but the swimming pool was fine. From most hotels you can easily catch a bus at a nearby stop and travel to the city center for a very low fare. Near the bus station you will find the entrance to the mosaics in the Archaeological Park (the reason why we chose to stay in Paphos). These mosaics stand on the list of World Heritage Sites of the UNESCO.

It is advisable to carry along some water, as the area of the mosaics in ‘NeaPaphos is quite extensive. The mosaics, some in the open, some under excavation and some in the four very large Roman villas (House of Dionysus, Aion, Theseus and Orpheus), are very well preserved. The villas are usually built around an atrium with a proclinium in the front.

Other constructions have also been uncovered, an agora, the basilica of Panagia Limeniotissa – “Our Lady of the Harbor”, a Hellenistic-Roman theatre, the Saranta Kolones (40 columns) fortress, an asklipieion and a necropolis. If you are lucky, you can watch the archaeologists working. The opening times are from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm. Currently the entrance fee is €4,50.

Shanghai by Day

When visiting Shanghai you should take some time not only for the fashionable colonial street “Bund” and the skyscrapers, but also for their wonderful museum.

Right outdoors of the museum is the river bank walk, where we witnessed a young bridal couple having their photo taken. From the walk you can admire the Bund and the skyscrapers opposite.

Funnily enough, on the way to the airport we saw an area with low houses and little grass + garden plots all around. We were told they belong to affluent people who can pay to have a larger plot and not have to live in a tall building.

As to ownership, the Chinese may only lease their appartment for about 70 years, then it is given to the State. Those people who wish to make money by renting out appartments can only buy a second or third flat under certain circumstances, such as divorce. One lady was in the newspaper for divorcing her husband several times over in order to buy new appartments!

Dornbirn near Bregenz, Austria – home of the Opernfestspiele

Dornbirn is a small town on the outskirts of Bregenz, home to the spectacular Opera Festival on Lake Constance. We had arrived a day early for “Carmen” by Georges Bizet and decided to explore our surroundings. And we found many interesting things to do following the street up the mountain:

  • the Rolls Royce Museum
  • the aerial tram up to the very top of the mountain: “Karrenseilbahn”
  • the swimming pool in the glade

The owners of the small museum offer detailed insights of the making and history of the luxury cars. Spend a delightful hour or two admiring the sleek chassis, leather seats and “Spirit of Ecstasy” figurehead.

This is the view you get when you take the aerial tram “Karren.at” to the top. Not only is there a breathtaking view, but also a nice restaurant. We had Wurstsalat with cheese and onions. Prices for the aerial tram are about 12€, up and down.

The pool is nearby, with nice meadows next to the river Dornbirner Ach. It’s a great place to cool off before dressing up for the big opera “Carmen”in Bregenz, the backdrop of which was designed by the Londoner Es Devlin.

Museum Brandhorst in Munich

Should you ever happen to be in the lovely city of Munich, capital of Bavaria, you should not miss out on visiting several of the fantastic museums there. Most of them are concentrated in the area Schwabing and the Königsplatz, there is a special Museum-Bus no. 100 running from the Train Station East (Ostbahnhof) to the Main Train Station. Nearby you will find the three Pinakotheken, the Mineral and the Egyptian Museum, a bit further on the Glyptothek, the Staatliche Antikensammlung and the Lenbach-Haus

The Collection Brandhorst in the Theresienstrasse specializes in modern art, currently showing oeuvres by Alex Katz and many others, such as Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke, Laura Owens et alia. The entire upper level is dedicated to Cy Twombly.

Admission fee is €7 for adults. The locker room and restrooms are airy and pleasant downstairs from the information desk. The snack restaurant cooks excellent soups and salads, closed on Sundays. Sundays the admission fee is only €1. All museums offer audioguides for enhanced analysis of the works on display. Don’t miss out!

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Puerto Madryn is on the southwestern coast of the province of Chubut, Patagonia. The peninsula Valdés, World Heritage site of the UNESCO, as well as Punta Loma, a reserve since 1967, hosts many pebble and sand beaches full of sea lions and rock shags, terns, cormorants as well as other wildlife like penguins on its beaches, also whales and dolphins offshore. It is wonderful to be able to observe these interesting animals without having to disturb them. The male sea lions have a mane, are darker in color and can attain up to 350 kg at more than 2 meters height. We greatly enjoyed this stop.

The Welsh have had close connections to the Patagonians ever since 150 Welsh people landed here in 1865 under difficult conditions. We visited the lush town Gaimán and enjoyed a Welsh tea spread with scones and biscuits. The houses are neat and well-kept with trees and gardens. All around this area, irrigated by a small waterway, the landscape is rocky, arid and bleak, covered with low, thorny plants.

We also visited the paleontogical Museum Egidio Feruglio in Trelew. It seems most of the bones and objects on display are not original, as they would be too heavy to support. However, it is an interesting place with good guides, a nice gift shop and coffee corner with generous cake slices.