Every place is possible - I want to reach it! 

I'm on a bicycle trip around the world. 

 To see the world, I am selling 2000 destinations (from 1€ to 2000€) for this journey - worldwide. 

You decide the destination - I will go!


  = not visited    = visited

reached #4 Easter Island 

[2014.04.14 | Chile | no comments]

Preface: in some coding languages, a $ sign as first letter marks a variable. For easier understanding you usually name a variable with a word that gives you an idea of the variable content. $name probably means a random Name, maybe Stefan or Henry.

On the list of crazy things man invents in his - on crazy things extremely rich - history, "Moai" expected to be near the top. Almost 900 of these stone statues stand and lie around on Rapa Nui. Size: colossal, purpose: unknown. On top to that a still not decrypted written language, a bunch of ominous art and ritual objects, some vague descend customs and rites, all you need for a proper mystical civilization. That this civilization disappeared quite suddenly fits the topic perfectly.

Some facts: Rapa Nui - also known as Easter Island - with 160 km² as big as Liechtenstein or Disney World / Florida, 24km long and 13km wide, located in mid Pacific. 3500 km to the Chilean mainland, 2000 km to the next inhabited island, 5800 residents, subtropical climate, barren landscape. So far, so boring. But there are these impressive Moai. The "Jon DoeMoai" is on average 4 m tall and 12 tons heavy, the highest ever erected is near 10 m, an unfinished one even 21 m. Carved out of solid rock without metal tools, often moved for kilometers across the island, some are even got a heavy red stone "hat".


There are only speculations about the Who and Why. Relevant experts have different opinions, locals tell strange legends and you can yarn your own story while sitting in the shade of a Moai, watching the sunset. The (currently) preferred opinion's been a settlement sometime in the 5th century from West. Whether this was done by a group of heroic explorers, visionary artist, useless telephone sanitizer, nasty pirates and / or religious fanatics, no one can say for sure. Probably the nasty pirates unauthorized reproduced or distributed copyrighted stone statues, where investigated by the FBI and punished with lifetime exile. So the guilty ones where thrown into some canoes with course towards west. They had some space left, so they packed the lazy telephone sanitizers and the religious fanatics also into the canoes. Against all odds, the mob survived the trip, landed on a lonely island and named it Easter Island Rapa Nui. Here in the land of the free, home of the brave, the pirates where able to carve their statues warning letter free, the fanatics enjoying free speech even for their hate preaching, and due to the lack of phones, the telephone sanitizers are laying lazy around the beach all day long. Eventually they get hungry, but there is no one who cares about the food. A proper fanatic tends to be lazy but imaginative, so they explain the telephone sanitizers that the pirates are carving the status because of $imprtantReason, a $bigDisaster threats if the statues are not $keyFeature and if you work dutifully until death, a $unbelievableReward is waiting for them in the afterlife, all others will get $cruelPunishment. Who's not helping is promptly blamed for a recent $misfortune (logical, he has angered $god) and to motivate all others he will publicly $heavyPunishment. The sanitizers are now highly motivated working on the logistical support of the stone carvers and fanatics. This is working great for the next few hundred years, the statues are getting larger, more beautiful and powerful, the fanatics wear wonderful hats, invent funny dances and carve elaborate cult objects, the telephone sanitizers are turning slowly into professional agricultural economists and even colonize the barren inland. In between they fight a little bit about who owns the best / coolest / biggest stone sculpture, splits into a few clans, build alliances and breaks them, steals cult objects / food / women from the others, they just behave as you can expect from a decent high culture of that time. And as the high cultures have to be, one strives on higher and higher. Obvious, the new stone sculptures may under no circumstances less $keyFeature as the ones before. The small island only provides limited resources and so unsurprisingly at one point they start to secure trade routes and stone sources. From about 1500, the local defense industry develops high-tech spears withs sharp obsidian blades, raids and wars increase and the fanatics raise the crowds hard. Just imagine if the crowd would figure out that the $importantReason for carving the sculptures has nothing to do with $bigDisaster, also the $unbelievableReward in the afterlife is maybe nonsense and the whole thing seems just to serve the fanatics to live an easy and fun live. In fact, most would prefer to sanitize phones and hit the beach right after work (phones are not yet invented, so beach for the whole day) instead of work like a dog for vague promises. Time has come in the mid 17th century: the stone workers union calls for a general strike, the statue production stops, the exploited agricultural economists are waiting far too long for a reason to start a revolution and the fanatics lose most of their credibility as $bigDisaster fails to appear even as the statue productions has stopped. Their worldview erodes even more when the first European tourists stops by. There are reports from 1722 about intact ceremonial platforms and erected statues, just 50 years later (the next European visit) the facilities are abandoned, the Moai are overturned, the worldview of the fanatics finally bursts. What follows is the reasonably well documented (and as usual poorly processed) classic rape of an indigenous tribe by European "explorers" with all its disgusting cruelties and brutal savageness.


February 2014. During the first two weeks of the month, the most important festival - the Tapati Festival - takes place on Rapa Nui. A wild mix of sport competitions and modern entertainment, historic preservation and touristic attraction, traditional rites and put-on customs. At noon the gods propitiated with an archaic ritual including a chicken (what else?), just to race down a quite steep hill on banana trunks right afterwards, in the evening men with shirt and feather headdress playing accordion. There are competitions in spear throwing, swimming, paddling, face painting and dancing. Poorly insincere from time to time but mostly wonderful honest and sometimes with pleasent consideration to the present tourist, myself included. On addition the impressive ceremony facilities, the many small and large cultic sites, this very small island with its very large culture. During the whole time on the island I feel like a child, constantly discover new, understand everything and realize nothing.


Henry says: "Yeah, this Island is quiet impressive! We don't have figures like this back home in Sweden. At all, there where no Elk girls, but I met a very sweet and open minded ladybug. We discovered the island together, Stefan was distracted by filming and photographing all the time, sunrise here, sunset there, full moon over there... Oh dear was he stressed..."


eher übersichtlich nicht viel zu sehen die klassische Osterinsel Ein Wheinachtsbaum Speerwerfen Schilfboardpaddeln Rennstrecke die gesamte Insel Hühnchen Opfern selbstgebaut einer der Rennfahrer alle helfen mit bis zu 80km/h stolz präsentiert Abends wird getanzt und musiziert breit gegrinst die Hüften geschwungen und alte Rituale nachgespielt herrliche Bunte schlechtes Wetter zwischendurch dafür haben Blumen Ausflug unter Wasser der alte Mann große Parade mit Kind und Kegel ob ganz jung oder schon etwas älter schwer engagiert oder eher gechillt einheimisch oder Tourist mit den Kumpels oder allein hoch oben auf dem Wagen... Erkundung auf dem Rad Nachts am Friedhof Abends am Strand Nachts am Strand Apropos Palmen Freut den Esotheriker Bilder im Fels Bilder auf Fels Bilder im Fels Höhlenforschen manchmal steht manchmal wächst die berühmten Steinfiguren diese Moai An der Produktionsstätte Abtransport der größte Moai fast wie Gartenzwerge seltenes Exemplar Mit Vollmondpircing, 6 Moais Hutmacherei Tongariki beeindruckend groß ganz besonderer Moment oder dahinter und langsam die Sterne


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swimming Easter Island 

place #111 aconcagua visited! 

[2014.01.26 | Argentina | 3 comments]

Aconcagua. A 6962 meters high bureaucracy monster. The visit requires a permit, exclusively sold in Mendoza. Crime scene Av. San Martin 1182, 2nd Floor, Aconcagua National Park Authority. At first, fill out an online form. Name, date of birth, complete address, mobile and phone number, passport number, e-mail address, gender, blood type. Then choose your tour (seems that Telekom and Deutsche Bahn - both famous for their tariff jungle - were consulting here): ascent route A or B, 1, 3 or 7 days trekking, half-day excursion, with an agency (only Licensed, see list!) or without, Argentinean, Latin American and other foreigner, planned ascent route (very nice, called "upgrade path"), number of expedition members, guide (choose from list, only licensed!), name of the expedition leader, other tour providers, emergency contact, insurance including details, medical data (long list), GPS tracking system including access. I choose 3 days trekking, high season, other foreigners, no agency, no guide, call mum in case of emergency, healthy - except glasses (yes, you have to specify). Switch from computer to human. human number one can't find my request - special characters in names are something ugly. Finally, the request is found, compared with passport details and printed. Under controlling gaze I have to read the three pages carefully (written like a license agreement - inaudible) and sign it. Now leave building, go a half block further, and hand over the application form plus a wad of notes to human number two in a dingy kiosk. He scans a barcode, compares my pages and the screen, counts the wad (three times), checks two notes in detail, prints a receipt, pin it to the application, stamped both, sign something and dismisses me. Back to the office. Passing the stamped application and the passport to human number three. Informations on passport and application are getting inspected, matches get marked with yellow marker. If the application is yellow enough three signatures are following and the leaves are directed to human number four. A barcode scanner beeps, comparative views between paper and screen, a bit of keyboard clatter, a bit of mouse clicks, appreciative nods, the three pages disappear in three different drawers. A printer rattles. The print result - the permit - goes to human number five. Check of ID and Permit again, marking passport number and name in yellow, signing the new document three times, stamp it three times. At the park entrance (I'm getting ahead) human number six compared ticket and passport, transferred some information in a book, write a number three times on the ticket, in a book and on a plastic bag, three times pops a stamp three times followed by a signature and the upper third of the ticket stored in a drawer. The usual policy (Do not leave paths! No fire! No free camping! Do not shit in the streams! Penalty!) followed by some special notes. The numbered plastic bag is the personal assigned garbage bag, give back necessarily (Penalty!) and not empty (Penalty!) at park exit, to see the camp doctor is mandatory (Penalty!) and has to be confirmed on the ticket (Penalty!), same for the proper use (Penalty!) of the provided toilets including confirmation (Penalty!) on the ticket and that I should not exceed (PenalWTF!) a maximum height of 4,300 meters under absolutely no circumstances!
I just wanted to go trekking!

Needless to say that human number seven in the first camp though controlled Passport and Permit but no doctor examined me and confirmed my proper bowel movements, nobody controlled my maximum elevation and the trash bag disappears into a container without any further investigations.


By bus - I cycled the same route a few days later - from Mendoza (800m) to the park entrance (2850m), on foot to Camp I, Confluenzia (3400m). That was slightly too fast. The unusually thin air takes its toll, I pay immediately with 12 hours of dreamless deep sleep. Also in the morning limp, dull, tired. Unfortunately, time is money here, my three days Permit is 170 $, extend it in the park is not possible. And at least I want to see the southern wall. Amazingly, once a tired body forced on the road, all inertia drops, the body obeys as usual and the legs follows willingly the path. The path winds its way through a surreal, barren landscape with a fascinating vision and sharpness, with endless new rock formations and color combinations, with a scorching sky-blue and glistening peak-white. At Plaza Francia (4250m) the path ends at the nearly 3000 imposing Aconcagua South Face meters. 4 km air line to the summit - so incredible far away. I sit for a long time, staring into the wall, looking for lines, succumb wild ascent fantasies but knows that this wall will remain untouched by me. But the summit, the summit! A few days ago, the decision to climb not now but "sometime" was looking perfectly reasonable, logical and rational (money! time! equipment!) but now the longing is hitting hard and shouts a vicious "told you so!" at me. Eventually, a small noisy group wakes me from my dreams. Chris, Andy and Jon are now on a acclimatization hike, the summit is planned for the next days. They tell of past tours, speculate about future ones and rave about the current trip. Their reality rushes my longing like a startled deer until it hurts. I mumble a "ciao", turn my back to group and mountain, start walking - no running, want to escape, sprinting away from my longing. This doesn't work a minute and the landscape captured me again, I marvel at my surroundings, be so happy to be here today, breath deeply the fresh air, enjoy every single step and know for sure, I'll come back and stand on top. At the very top and look down to where I was today.


Henry said: "Headache! I have headache but not even drunk! Wow is that high! So Stefan can go alone to the top if he really wants. That's nothing for a elk. I'll wait in Mendoza, check out the vineyards and visit the girls on the alpaka farms. And he even not think about using me as a mule to save some money! What is he thinking who I am?!?"

Kitesurfen recycling was yesterday! golden mountain Area for studying and reflexion Hiking boots To build a bridge Stone formations lonesome valley fascinating bridge of the incas Tourist market Dragon Park entrance Laguna Espejo means mirrorlake Fine: 37 $ Lugageservice Camp I Confluenzia great stone lines the coolest guy around a lst bit of greenyellow stone desert Stone formations I Stone formations II Stone formations III On the way the south face End of my way Plaza Francia lonesome not cheap


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Christmasshopping in Temuco 

[2013.12.20 | Chile | 4 comments]

Christmas shopping in Temuco. I'm looking for a very useful, practical gift, I need a new camping stove. Roughly three hours from the hamlet Lonquimay to the city of Temuco. People catch the bus by waving and stop it with a word, wherever it is. Doesn't matter if it's the middle of nowhere or the emergency lane on the highway, official stops are only incidental extras. Although hopelessly overcrowded everyone stays relaxed, everyone's friendly, everyone's helpful. The Baby gets a lift by strangers to the exit while the mother, totally overloaded with bags but smiling, pushes afterwards.


Two good sorted outdoor stores there are in Temuco, conveniently right next to each other , annoyingly, in an American style shopping mall. "Portal Temuco" the sonorous title of the three-storey temple of consumption. Inside the usual mix of usual shops, shoes, clothes, toys, electronics, etc., etc., a large super market, and one bookstore. Scattered through cafes and bistros some rustic wooden, some metallic modern, depending on the target group. "Credit cards welcome" sticker anywhere, the nearest ATM always in sight, the consumption intoxicated junkie has to be milked without bigger interruptions.
In the middle stands a decorated tree biblical proportions, crib installations on each floor, "Feliz Navidad" (Merry Christmas) everywhere, "Silent Night" as the pan flute interpretation, several bell swinging Santas, one or two golden cherubs; The reminder for the upcoming High feast of capitalism... - uh Christianity is a sledgehammer. Subtle is different.

Cleverly placed at the top, so the march to the summit makes you hungry, the temple of feed. All the "big ones" are represented: the golden arches, fried poultry from Kentucky, dough rings in orange & pink, the Swiss Bird's Nest - here with an ice bar, the modestly veiled green coffee Irene... so, how many you've identified? The tables along the panoramic windows offers at least a somewhat interesting view - even if its most gray concrete - but most densely occupied are the tables close to the troughs, the dispensaries. It's hastily stuffed - literally fast food. In steak paralysis the consumer cattle trotting slow down, not without passing again half the mall, thanks to the skillful architecture. Maybe one forget something, an advertisement didn't hit or might have overlooked a very special offer...

For this, only guerrilla tactics works. Quick in, secure prey, fast out, avoid rapid loss. The battle plan is right at the entrance, the site map shows shop positions and escape routes. A roadmap is quickly elaborated: after the third shoe shop via escalator to the second floor, turn left at the lingerie business (and not stare too long) four shops further and the goal should be achieved. Withdrawal through the nearer north exit. The attempt succeeds, the new stove and with it hot meals in future are saved. But the withdrawal is lost before it has begun. The Bistro "Cassis" lures with a professional coffee machine, tasty cakes presented and comfy looking chairs. Target group aimed, hit, sunk. Two amazingly good cappuccinos (important: order the "international", without the two pounds of sweet spray cream on top of it) later, I eventually decided to see the full mall., but regret and escape after 15 minutes.


Significantly quieter, unobtrusive and clearer - but unfortunately too small - the "Museo Regional de la Auraucania". In particular, about the history and culture of the Mapuche in this region, archaeological finds and historical records are presented pleasantly modern. The Mapuche were extremely well-fortified and defended themselves over 300 years bitterly against the colonization. One of their tormentors, Pedro de Valdivia, they captured and forced to drink liquid gold. Unfortunately not proven, but an extremely suitable method of execution for a gold greedy conquistador in the 16th Century.


Replacing the Museum's coolness with midday outdoor heat. At the central Plaza Anibal Pinto people lying in the shade of palm trees, lining up for an ice cream, siting for a chat on the benches. The shoeshine boy smiles friendly, then smiles quickly to the next, I wear sandals (without white socks! I'm not that German!). Here at the Plaza is - as usual - a cathedral, whose bell tower - rather unusual - was built as an office tower. Unfortunately I wasn't able to figure out if the regional administration, which is housed here, have some extra breaks during bell ringing.


Back on the bus. The same game as in the morning, load after a beckon, unload by appointment. I watch the landscape rushing past, sink into thoughts, chat briefly with my seatmate. Towards the end the bus getting emptier, the talks getting quieter, the music louder. Driver and assistant hum at first with silent, getting braver with every song, eventually singing out loud every chorus. Whinny laughter of the two when I break into  their singsong and - now in German to the Spanish interpretation - smashing "Earth below us, drifting falling, Floating weightless, calling calling home...".
Of Course, the bus makes an extra stop and I can get off at my hostel door. The Bus Terminal would have been uncomfortable 138m away ...


Henry said: "Moose goodness, I did not got my gorgeous, powerful antlers through the bus door so I thankfully missed the bi city and discovered instead this alpaca farm on the outskirts .... Duhuh, all this woolly - shaggy alpaca ladies! An elk could fall in love here and maybe want to stay longer... hopefully Stefan don't want to leave too early...!"


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Place #38 reached! 

[2013.12.05 | Chile | one comment]

After a (ok, very...) long winter break, I eventually jumped back on my bicycle. I cycled on beautiful roads and tracks from Bariloche, Argentina, to Pucon, Chile. The wheels bumps over gravel, steep rises the road towards the border. On the only rainy day I reach the "Epulafquen" hot springs, just before the border. An abandoned luxury spa replaced the tent for the night, I lay in the hot pool for hours and let the rain falling on my face. Fast downhill on gravel into the Chilean lowlands. Every two or three curves the Villarica Vulcano appeares on the horizon, every two, three curves slightly larger. My route takes me directly through the same named national park. The ranger at the entrance looks skeptical on my bicycle. The road is "muy dificil", very difficult, not for cars and hardly suitable for bicycles. I grin "es bueno" and the tires crunching through the dark volcanic sand. Steep and washed climbs the road through old, natural forest. Downhill on the next day, rather trail riding than smooth downhill. At the very bottom eventually waits a fine paved road which leads direct to Pucon. Roughly twenty thousand habitants live here, can marvel at the almost perfect volcanic cone from anywhere in the city. And the volcano is not only beautiful, it is also easy to climb and hence the tourist top attraction. At Pucons main street, tour vendor beside tour vendor court for customer attraction. The National Park Service supports the business, solo climbs are theoretically possible, but the effort - required permits, certificates and equipment - is so high that it is hardly worth.
With two mountain experienced swiss guys and a guide we start early in the morning our way up. Much faster than the other groups we reach the top, have it all to ourselves. Acrid vapor rises from the crater, it stinks, scratching in the throat. But the view is awesome. The descent is fast, the majority is sliding down on the bum, extremely fun! Back at the hostel, the summit is celebrated with a beer or two.
A lot lonelier but no less beautiful is Mirador (viewpoint) El Cañi. Steep and exhausting path leads up onto a rock on almost 1600m. Who takes the effort will be rewarded with incredible views of three beautiful volcanoes: Lanin, Villarica, Llaima. I stay overnight, gorgeous sunset, starry sky, perfect sunrise. A perfect place.
My thanks to Thomas_U who sent me here!

Heinrich said: "Well, at last it works even further, Stefan was already getting fat and lazy from all the steaks, chocolates and red wine in Bariloche. But I did not understand why he didn't bring some red wine to the hot springs. Thats unprofessional! And the whining because of gravel and steep and so on... come on! Now he sits again in a hostel and waits for the next asado. And although there are not even some elk girls here for me! Grrrr!"

good by spring perfect for the night welcome beautiful entrance to Nationalpark more trail cycling nearby perfect huge crowd the lines getting thinner impressive view the 'must' two swiss guys volcano Llaima Volcano Lanin Volcano Villarrica Pucon and Villarrica great place mystery morning waht a cone Lizards agrophobia anybody? Asado one... wifi Soon


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Bariloche side trips II 

[2013.08.31 | Argentina | 2 comments]

Wintertime in Bariloche. Snow in the mountains, rare down in the town. The city occupied by Ski and Snowboarders - some with years experience, some see the snow for the first time. Who's not on the slopes wastes his time in the hostel, waiting for better weather. When the weather is fine you follow the call of the mountains. Two times more I climb up to Refugio Frey, stay some time, enjoy silence and view, stare for hours on fascinating landscapes. Up to a wide view for sunrise, struggle around in a forest until getting a glimpse of "Torre Bustillo" - a mystic Scottish type stone tower, keeping an eye on the competitors on the national sheep shaving masters, put some trouts from the lake beside into the oven, watch the waves at the beach in a storm while eating "Dulce de Leche" ice, get to Chile for two days, shopping, extend visa, wait for the spring, looking forward to ride my bike. Live is beautiful.

winter say hello to the snow (my) Hostel trout add some fresh and a potatoe shaving competition little bit crowded a lot more crowded flag water short after sunrise short after sunrise incredible landscape Torre Bustillo Torre Bustillo Osorno market in Osorno market in Osorno Markt in Osorno no tee? no violin? some have nothing fontain architectural town houses Hospedaje Royal Kunst und Kaffee nothing in the world gets destroyed it just changes the form Winterwonderland Refugio Frey in front cheap Chinese snowshoes good morning deep freezed but on sunrise granite peaks mystic moods at night in Refugio Frey or walk around some meters beside traks and early in the morning


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Bariloche side trips 

[2013.06.22 | Argentina | 2 comments]

Weather wet, cold, gray, in between some days clear, warm, blue. Autumn on southern hemisphere. A bit south of Bariloche: Pampa Linda. The Name ("beautiful Pampa"), a logic consequent of location - at the end of a remote valley - and view - majestic Volcano Tronador surmounts the valley. An isolated farm in old times, nowadays coffee shop and popular by tourists and locals. The landscape can be easily enjoyed out of the minibus, viewpoints are less than 5 minutes walk beside the next parking lot. With a small group from the Hostel I explore the beautiful valley, the hike to Refugio Otto Meiling (starting point to climb Tronador) I defer to next time.


Two, three weeks later. The weather oracle promises a full week fine Autumn weather, new moon in addition and volcano Copahue spits some smoke. Sounds exciting, auspicious. On 4 odd wheels to north, first destination: Pucon in Chile. Volcano Villarrica located in the same named national park waits for ascent. In the local, very friendly Hostel they "strongly" advice to ascent in guided groups, terrain and conditions are "extremely difficult". "Dangerous!". Mh, lets see, but okay, finally group not solo. 6.30 a.m., 14 pay willing novice mountaineers and 3 guides get stuffed in a minibus and consigned to the starting point. Ascent at dawn. Intermittently the Wind, some of the group start stumbling, crucify themselves on unknown crampons some small steps higher. Break under a ridge, I climb up to the ridge with a guy and a guide, the blows even faster up there. The guides decide the - for the most - right, descend. Understandable, some are nearby done. Not so Vincent from France (very cool page!) and me, we would love to have gone further. In the evening hot thermals under a bright milky way on the starry sky.


Meanwhile, Vulcan Copahue decided to delay his eruption, yellow alert instead of red, evacuation undone, no smoke left. But right next to it - on Chilean side - a small preserve lives his unfrequent visited existence. Reserva nacional Ralco, 12.421 acres big nugget beside the upper section of Rio Biobío, far end of a remote, bad 70km long gravel road. A handful of Pehuenches Families - the natives - lives in the preserve, two ranger watch at the entrance. They are quite surprised, I'm the first visitor since 5 weeks, at all, Gringos can hardly be seen here. Little surprising, nearby no tourism infrastructures or informations, onerous approach and there is acute lack on trails and marks. Only on beauty, on beauty it certainly does not lack. Slopes filled by evergreen Araukarien, steep walls mark the valley end, between trees and valleys view of Volcano "Callaqui". After a 17km hike trough mystic forests the goal for the day: "Laguna Mula". The setting sun burns the horizon, covers the polished lake with a blaze and leaves it at some point to the sparkling night to put the solitary observer at the waters edge into ecstasy.


Heinrich said: "Bah, ouch! these shitty Araucarias, you can't eat that prickly shit! Okay, they look nice, but if you can't eat it, it needs to be abolished! And by the way: these car driving... Much too fast and on that shaking gravel I always muck up my fur!! At least, there was some good wine in Pucon..."


on the way Autumnvibes here swims at Lago Mascardi a little bit higher Pampa Linda Schwarzwälderkirschtorte with Coffee seven lakes route Flat tire can be nice reat grafitti another nice one the hike up at this view Pucon evening relaxation pampariding Last Hamlet Araucariaforrest again and again frozen Water Mountains Araucaria and Araucaria burning Sky Araucaria sunrise


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Luftpost Podcast II 

[2013.05.14 | Argentina | no comments]

studio Bariloche
studio Bariloche

Some time ago, Daniel from the German speaking Luftpost Podcast recorded an Episode with me. We talked about my Website, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. Time now for an update and after far north we are now talking about far south. In the actual episode, we're talking about Argentina, Chile and the picturesque Patagonia Region. Thanks a lot Daniel for recording and all the other interesting episodes!


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the big Bariloche Chocolate test 

[2013.05.05 | Argentina | 5 comments]

Bariloche. Famous for chocolate and Mountains. I was already in the mountains, now the chocolate. They are pride for ("capital of chocolate") their brown gold and for easter, they build up a 4 tons heavy easter egg on the main square. The egg was already eaten but in the main street B. Mitre the chocolate shops lines up. Paradise for a cycling chocolate friend. But what is the best? If you ask the locals, the answers are as numerous as the shops. Somebody has to investigate that. I accepted (reluctantly!) the challenge and started the big Bariloche chocolate tasting. That you don't need overeat, here are the results.


To prevent myself of bursting, I limited the test to the central stores on B. Mitre and also on shops with fresh counter. Who knows how old the boxed chocolate is. In 11 shops I bought one white, milk and dark chocolate and ask for their one or two specialties. All over I had more than 45 peaces of chocolate. To reduce influence of knowing the manufacturers name, somebody placed the three standard peaces on a plate and numbered it randomly. I tasted them in one row, noted the number, my impressions and a grading from (theoretical) o to 100. They didn't print the weight on the receipts and before I recognized that, the most was eaten. So an objective price comparison was not possible any more. I hope that my highfaluting talk gives you a small idea of the local chocolate.


White chocolate

Mamuschka very fine lemony note, slightly dry melting, sugar little pushy 65
Rapa Nui little creamy, initially dull, finish beautifully intense, sweetness appropriate 65
Frantom something sugary melting, beautiful cacao notes, sweet, creamy melt 60
Tante Frida slightly sugary cream, initially latent pungent sweetness, very fine, creamy notes in the finish 60
Torres quite dry, then very creamy. Strong but still pleasant sweetness 60
Turista dry cream, pleasant sweetness, taste unexcited, somewhat flat 55
Abuela Goye with nut, very dry, almost creamy, pleasantly sweet, little flavors 55
El Reino quiet dry, strong sweetness 50
Havanna intrusive sweetness, a little creamy, boring cocoa note 50
Dolce Rama strange note, a little grainy and creamy, barely cocoa notes 40
Bonifacio unpleasant taste in the beginning, very sugary cream, too sweet 40



Mamuschka quite creamy, interesting, slightly smoky note, not too sweet and pleasant 70
El Reino nice and creamy, pleasant sweetness, delicate cocoa notes 70
Frantom nice and creamy, very sweet, nice cocoa notes in the finish 65
Tante Frida beautiful creamy, slightly sugary, interesting aftertaste 65
Abuela Goye quite dry, slightly grainy, slightly creamy, fine cocoa flavors in the aftermath 60
Turista only briefly creamy, pleasant little sweetness, taste does not remain long in the mouth. 55
Rapa Nui slightly dry, slightly creamy, very sugary, leaving unsightly 55
Torres moderately creamy, also very late, something dusty and dry 50
Dolce Rama quite grainy, moderately creamy, very strong sweetness 50
Havanna too dry, almost creamy, little chocolatey 50
Bonifacio disconcerting entry, sugary cream, virtually no cocoa flavors 40


dark chocolate

Mamuschka quite creamy, interesting whiskey on the finish, little sugary sweetness, nice cocoa flavor 70
Frantom creamy melt, very good cocoa flavor, moderately sweet 70
El Reino very creamy, delicate touch, pleasant dark note 65
Torres pretty sweet. moderately fine cocoa notes 60
Rapa Nui Melting beautiful, harmless cocoa flavor, very sweet 60
Dolce Rama delicately bitter, pleasant creamy, nice cocoa note 60
Tante Frida pleasant cream, a little bit sugary, short very nice notes of cocoa, leaving unfortunately rather uncomfortable 55
Turista short creamy, nice cocoa flavor, a little too sweet, very short taste 55
Abuela Goye pleasant cream, cocoa notes rather dull, quite grainy and rough 55
Bonifacio strange entry, pleasant creamy but too sweet, cocoa too profound 50
Havanna (Chocolate candy wrapped rather than pure dark chocolate) -


Specialties 1

Frantom Rectangular chocolate with fine dulce de leche filling, good balance between filling and chocolate, nice creamy chocolate, sweetness pleasant 70
El Reino 3 layered chocolate bar with peanut butter, very nutty, nice and creamy, not too sweet, fine glaze 70
Abuela Goye Shaped praline with liqueur cream, very nice liqueur notes, not too pushy, fine cream, good finish 70
Torres Layered chocolate bar, fine aroma, nutty cream, slightly grainy finish 65
Turista Chocolate roll of white, milk and dark chocolate, Christmas flavors, nice and creamy but tend sticky, a bit too sweet but still within 65
Mamuschka 4 layered chocolate bar with marzipan cream, sugary grainy rough melt, little creamy 55
Tante Frida Layered chocolate bar with dulce de leche filling. Filling very sugary and grainy, much too sweet, too-heavy filling 55
Rapa Nui layered chocolate bar, nice and creamy, a little too sweet, little cocoa flavor, filling meaningless 50
Dolce Rama flat praline with "puffed rice" and dulce de leche. Chocolate sugary, highly granular fill, too sweet 50
Bonifacio layered chocolate bar, very sugary-grained cream, very short finish, very sweet and too dry 45
Havanna Praline. Hardly creamy, sugary filling and very dusty 40


Specialties 2 (if available)

Mamuschka Chocolate with macadamia and dulce de leche filling, very good nut, fine stuffing, great chocolate flavor 75
Frantom square praline liqueur filling, bit sugary and grainy consistency, fin and surprisingly changing flavors 65
Havanna Role of white, milk and dark chocolate, very nutty flavor, grainy but pleasant creamy, long finish 60
Abuela Goye shaped praline with walnut filling, good cream, unpleasant aftertaste, leaving quite idiosyncratic taste 45
Rapa Nui Walnut on chocolate praline, nut musty, strange filling, unpleasant finish 40


conclusion and infos

Mamuschka 67 Big store with huge fresh counter and attached café. Cakes and sweet pastries are also offered.
Frantom 66 Big store with a connected cafe, rather smaller fresh counter, some other local specialties such as jams.
El Reino 63,75 Very small, fancy store, very little fresh counter with a small selection. Various other local specialties
Tante Frida 58,75 medium size, attached cafe with cake counter, other local specialties and WiFi.
Torres 58,75 very small store - but at least two stores, a large fresh counter, barely boxed chocolate
del Turista 57,5 two very large stores, in addition to the large fresh counter a lot boxed chocolate, attached cafe with cake and ice cream counter, many local specialties. (why do you create such a name?!?)
Abuela Goye 57 very small business, small counter with a small selection
Rapa Nui 54 large shop, large café in the back, selection of local specialties
Dolce Rama 50 small shop just outside of Bariloche with tea room, ice cream, only fresh counter. (The only exception to my restriction to the center)
Havanna 50 very small shop, deli counter and smallest selection, lots of packaged and also looked more like industrially made​​.
Bonifacio 43,75 very small with little selection, some local specialties


Henry says: "highfaluting talk, you nailed it! Well at least I get some calories to feed up my fat for the upcoming winter. I really can'T complain about quality, but Stefan has bought far too little. The next days, I'll try to sneak in somewhere for the night. Everything else is worthless."


In a town and the Kiosks its hard to belive 11 Manufacturers to prevent influent Bonifacio and not really tasty Havanna and also not the best. Dolce Rama Rapa Nui with better marketing Auela Goye without proper package del Tourista just average Torres good average Tante Frida good average El Reino Place 3 Frantom not only visual Mamushka best grades in the field the specialties at the end


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Place #700 reached! 

[2013.04.29 | Argentina | 2 comments]

Bariloche. Famous for chocolate and mountains. Mountains first, chocolate later. 20km by bus to Villa Catedral, a copy and paste version of a random Swiss ski village, poor (german!) Apres-Ski songs from cheap speakers at overpriced kiosks included. Easy uphill from 1000m to 2000m in a cosy chairlift, dangle your feet, enjoy the views. Then climb the ridge by foot. After a few minutes the fun resort and day trippers stay back, make way for countless towers, needles, pillars, columns and wildly cluttered piles of granite. The horizon ends at hazy, blue mountains, a Condor circles above, gravel crunch under your feet. The stony path leads over a pass and crashes abruptly down to a small mountain lake, winds down further into a valley. Surrounded by millions years old pillars, Laguna Toncek is located down in the valley, a small stone building on the bank - Refugio Frey. Built up 1957, since then a popular base for walkers and climbers. Attic dormitory for up to 40 people, kitchen and lounge with magnificent views downstairs, stones outside, in between space for tents and finest climbing routes around. Finest as well for body and soul: the evening pizza with beer, wine, wonderful sunset light moods as appetizer or dessert, starry sky as midnight snack, breakfast with golden sunrise. Enjoyable descent through dense bamboo bushes and sparse forest, gorgeous views of the mountains and lakes of the Nahuel Huapi National Park included. An unconditional recommendation!



Many thanks to cab-computer.de for place #700!


Henry said: "Hola, such cairn is not accustomed for a moose. Strenuous and difficult one and broke your hooves! But really beautiful area, even if it's nothing up in the mountains to eat. Not even Moose or something! After all, the wine supply fits in the Refugio, only missing a few moose girls and you would feel completely at ease."


Bariloche dangle your feet dangle your feet Refugio Lynch Stonesea Condor a good idea A little pearl who is wilder? can you... Refugio Frey good idea outside inside small but cosy the moon rised more Moonring what a spot less than 5 minutes mirror, mirror early morning panoramic view for your soul on the way down one of the lakes burned trees


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