Cross Country Skiing in the Black Forest


I finally found some time to get out of the city and into the Black Forest. There hasn’t been much snow this year but there was just enough for some cross country skiing. We did the Rinken Loipe and then skied down to the end of the snow in Hinterzarten. All together it must have been about 20km, which was maybe a bit too much. I also took some pictures of the Schluchsee. The water level was so slow that it looked like a scene from a different planet.

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Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant in Beijing


Thanks to China’s new transit visa policy, I was able to visit Beijing during a long layover without any paperwork or fees. During my visit I saw the Forbidden City and then met a friend who took me to one of China’s most famous Peking Duck restaurants. Little did I know, the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant is actually the best roast duck restaurant in Beijing (according to one website). I’ve never had Peking Duck before, so I was surprised to see how it is served. You have to roll the duck, some veggies, and sauce all inside of a little rice tortilla, kind of like a Chinese duck taco. Oh, and you are supposed to do all of the prep and rolling using only your chopsticks. It took a while to get the hang of it, but after 10 or so duck tacos I almost had it figured out (and I was really full!). Another interesting thing was that we only got the crispy skin with only a tiny bit of meat for the tacos. It was a little fatty but really tasty and I was glad that we got the opportunity to try Peking duck in its home city. Read on for step by step Peking duck taco making instructional photos…

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Freiburg Münsterplatz Farmers Market

The Freiburg Münsterplatz farmer’s market is a great place to buy some tasty veggies, yummy sausages, flowers, or lots of other stuff. It’s open from Monday through Saturday, 7:30am to 1:30pm. On Monday it starts out small and then it gets a little bigger every day and by Saturday the Münsterplatz is completely packed with stand and shoppers. On the north side of the market you can find local produce from the region, and on the south side there are merchants selling all kinds of things. For lunch a grilled wurst from one of the many wurst stands is a must. The Freiburger Lange Rote is a special long red sausage from the region, and there are also many other kinds to choose from. Vegetarians have no excuse for missing out on the fun because there is even a tofu wurst stand!

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Freiburg to Staufen e-bike Tour

Have you tried out an e-bike yet? They are kind of like regular bikes except they have a battery and a motor which makes them heavy and very expensive. More importantly, some e-bikes can go really fast, like the Raleigh that I rented last weekend. My top speed was about 45 kph, which is just about 28 mph. I found it funny that I had to check the speedometer while driving through towns where the speed limit is 30 kph or lower. The electric motor also comes in handy for hill climbing and traveling long distances. In one day we e-pedaled from Freiburg over the Schönberg to Staufen and then back again. The roughly 40 kilometer trip would have been a pretty intense workout on a normal bike, but on an e-bike it was a relaxing, easy ride through the woods and vineyards. I definitely recommend renting an e-bike (a fast one) for a day if you ever have the opportunity because it is great fun!

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Herbstfest in Markgräflerland

I thoroughly enjoyed Herbstfest in Schliengen last weekend. There were so many different kinds of homemade jams, jellies, spreads, cheese, breads, meats, and apple juice to try. There was also “new wine” which is newly fresh pressed wine not available in supermarkets, and of course gutedel (aka chasselas blanc), a popular wine in Markgräflerland. The fest was held at the Erste Markgräfler Winzergenossenschaft, which is the first and the oldest wine collective in Markgräflerland. It was founded in 1908 by local pastor Leonhard Müller together with 36 growers from the region.

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Local Food in Ghent

According to some internet research, the local foods to try in Ghent are Gentse waterzooi (chicken stew) and stoverij (beef cooked in dark beer). After walking around the city for an hour checking out the menus at every single restaurant we decided on Restaurant de Graslei in the sun by the canal. I got the stoverij and it paired very nicely with a dark Gulden Draak ale. The portion was generous with salad and fries included and everything was delicious. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try the waterzooi but there’s always next time!

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Croatia


I toured the Istrian Peninsula with some friends last week. We went city hopping down the coast from Umag to Novigrad to Porec to Rovinj to Pula. I loved the coastal cities with their stone walls, buildings, and streets. The people were friendly and the seafood was tasty. The best place for souvenir shopping that I found was the city market in Pula. Touristy stuff like olive oil and honey were much cheaper there than in tourist shops or the Rovinj market. The Pula market also had fruits and goat cheese for good prices.

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Hello Germany

Today I am enjoying a cool rainy day in Germany. The last few days just about hit 40 degrees Celsius, which is quit hot when combined with a little humidity. Other than the heat my first week here has been fun. I enjoyed some flea market shopping, ate some ice cream, and visited a few good cafes. Next week will be a visit to the Bodensee and then off to Croatia. Bis später!