Monthly Archives: February 2018

The plus and minus of the island of Mauritius.

Sometimes, especially on a flight on the other side of the world, the following thoughts creep into my mind: I’ve lost track of my total number of air-miles flown, of the names of the places I’ve stayed at, of the interesting sights I’ve seen, and so on. To remember it all is practically impossible.

But then I recall: to remember things, people have always written things down, which is just what I’ve been doing since the year dot! And should ever laziness have gotten a hold of me (moi?), I could just consult our accounting department, who are even more conscientious about book keeping (whence ‘bookkeeping’!) than I am: where I was, how I got there, which airports I used, where I stayed and for how long, where I dined… even where I had a beer! And of course let’s not forget the 100GB+ of (sorted, processed and compressed) photos I’ve accumulated down the years. So yes – you get the picture photo: there’s no chance anything could possibly be forgotten!

I also have practically a bottomless store of (actually, nearly 20 years of) travel (both business and touristic) experience, which is now not a bad resource to be tapped by practically any traveler (ok, maybe not the budget traveler; apologies for that) or potential traveler since it’s so vast. And it just keeps being supplemented with more and more new places and experiences. I sometimes have a trip down memory lane and get all nostalgic for the places I’ve been to and haven’t returned to for so long, and also for the simpler days when cameras had film inside that needed to be processed at special shops :). I’m also rather proud of some of the detailed subsections of my blog; for example, my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World and its various sub-sub-sections, my hotels list, and so on…

I also get to thinking about how lucky I am to visit so many beaches of the world on my travels – a bonus of having to be at business conferences, which have a handy knack of taking place in sunny resorts. But of course they are: where are you going to get the most accepted invitations to a conference – in, say, Munich, or in, say, Hawaii? Yep: it’s not rocket science. And I can even give rankings of the best resorts/beaches/conference venues too (my current fave: Surfers Paradise).

And talking of sunny resorts and rankings of the best this or that, there’s also my ranking of the business events. What’s at the top of this list? Naturally, it’s our own: the Security Analyst Summit (SAS). And naturally it always takes place in a real nice sunny resort with obligatory beach. Examples: Croatia, Cyprus, Malaga, the Canary Islands, Caribbean islands; and next month – once again back in Cancun, which will be our tenth SAS!

So what’s most important to you when it comes to beach resorts? Yes, it all depends on your priorities, for a super resort that ticks all the boxes for absolutely everyone simply doesn’t exist. Trust me, I’m a doctor :). Let me explain.

Read on: Like? Or not Like? Let’s see…

New Year further from the center, part 3: Indonesia over and out.

Hi folks!

Herewith, as promised, a brief summary of our recent Indonesian New-Year adventure.

We scaled seven volcanoes (Merapi, Arjuno–Welirang–Kembar, Bromo, Ijen, Kelimutu), saw four dizzying dawns from volcano peaks, stayed on five Indonesian islands, bathed in two seas and one volcanic lake, photographed three orangutans and many a Komodo dragon, swam with manta fish and untold quantities of other marine life, ate tons of local exotic super-fresh fruits, flew four inter-island flights (in addition to the flights to Indonesia and back), and spent countless hours on buses and 4x4s (covering 1300km on… hazardous roads). In a word: phew!

Already back home, I thought I’d dig around on the internet to see what I could find on the volcanoes we climbed. And there was plenty…

Bromo:

Kelimutu:

In all, 18 days (not including getting there and back). A extraordinary expedition. So if you have a bit of a soft spot for volcanism – make sure to get here one day; you won’t be disappointed!

Read on…

Beach, plane, yacht, diving, fishing, sunset.

Hi folks!

All our scheduled Indonesian volcanoes had been duly climbed, snapped, and climbed back down again, but our adventure wasn’t over yet! We still had several days left to go on our trip, but first we needed to get to another Indonesian island. This meant we needed to get to the airport in the city of Ende on Flores island. Now, I was praising Indonesia’s airports a few posts back… Well, this one’s no exception (but for one bizarre detail)!…

So. Ende. A city with a population of just 60,000, but it has a really rather charming volcano nearby plus a really rather good airport. However, flights in and out of the airport are rare, and by day they simply lock the whole airport up (literally)!

The road from Moni (where we stayed after seeing the brightly-colored volcanic lakes the previous day) is a strange one: journey time on it is very unpredictable; example: we were told it would take three or four hours to get to the airport; it actually took one-and-a-half. Not that we’d have minded a longer ride, as the views to be had therefrom when circling the volcanoes are crazy beautiful (featuring remarkable ravines and wonderful waterfalls), and at the very end – while you wait for the airport to open – you can lounge about on a brilliant beach. Aaaah! The perfect setting for meditation:

Read on…

The blue eyes of Kelimutu.

The final volcano on our Indonesia trip was Kelimutu on the island of Flores. Just one look at a photo of this volcano and you’ll guess the distinctive feature that makes it an extra special volcano: its differently (brightly) colored volcanic lakes that sit in its three calderas. Kelimutu for sure helped ‘Indonesian volcanoes’ earn their place on my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World (No. 72). I don’t think much commentary is needed here. As per custom when I encounter off-the-scale natural beauty, I’ll let the photos do the talking…

Read on…

Rome: layer upon layer, added over millennia.

I’ve long been used to extended business trips, sometimes taking me right round the world, sometimes lasting months. The template goes like this: suitcase packed > car > SVO (sometimes DME) > destination No. 1 > destination 2 > destination 3 … 10+ > MOW (doesn’t matter which airport; main thing: I’m back) > car > home. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me that my first business trip of 2018 turned out to be a simple and super-quick one: Moscow (SVO) > Rome (FCO) > Moscow (SVO), and all in two days!

Eh? What was that? A business trip? Surely not?…

I mean, if you’re going abroad on business you need to really go – and go, and go plenty more. All this go-and-come-straight-back lark: nope – not for me. (So I hope those who organize my multinational toing-and-froings are reading this:).

At least – that was my initial reaction to this micro-business-trip before it happened. But then it did happen. And I found out to my surprise I liked it. A lot. But of course I did: it was to Rome. What’s not to like?…

Read on: Rome! The Eternal City!

Ocean warmer than hot springs.

Indonesia is a country made up of many islands – around 17,000, actually! Plus its roads and drivers are hardly… autobahns and sensible Germans, respectively, either, as mentioned earlier. These factors together mean air transportation is very popular in the country (which has more than 130 airports!): national airlines have planes hopping between the country’s large cities like shuttle-buses at rush hour. So – all this flying; but what are the airports like? Mercifully – great! We used a full seven throughout our trip, and every single one was new, neat, tidy and clean – even the small provincial ones with just a few flights a day; here’s an example: Blimbingsari Airport near the city of Banyuwangi, which we headed to after climbing Ijen:

Read on…

Ijen’s yellow smoke: not for all folk.

Hi folk!

Onward we march on our Indonesian ‘volcation‘. Next up: Ijen – our sixth volcano in as many days. Not a bad result considering all the necessary short flights and driving (on not the best of roads with not the best drivers in the world) to get from place to place. We managed it by being on the road by day, and doing the volcano climbing by night. To some that adds up to touristic masochism. To us: tourism at the correct tempo ).

Ijen was no less pleasing than the other volcanoes. This one’s particularly awesome features: a bright turquoise crater-lake, powerful fumaroles, and bright yellow air sulfur resin and smoke…

Read on…

Bromo in slo-mo.

Hi folks!

Right after the Penanjakan morning mist show, our guides took us to one of the main volcanoes that contributed to that show: Mount Bromo, Gunung Bromo in Indonesian:

During the dawn show, it was here:

So what can I say about it? This is getting a bit broken record, but… – it was yet another implausibly fantastical sight to behold! Satellite pics of it look… oh my Gunung, but up close it was simply… oh my GREATEST (caps intentional)!

Read on…

Volcanic dawn mist – not to be missed.

I never did quite work out what this place in Indonesia was called. Is it Penanjakan? And is that the name of the peak, or just the name of the tourist spot near it? Whatever, who cares? Well, for one, a person standing on/at Penanjakan and looking up at the stars – he/she for sure does not care one iota).

How do you like the photo? I’m rather fond of it. A still-life, don’t you think?

It and the ones below weren’t all that difficult to shoot. I placed my camera (a Sony A9) on a reinforced concrete wall, set the shutter speed to 20 seconds, the diaphragm to 6 (or was it 9?), and ISO – to… something (can’t remember, or maybe I just guessed: it has a lot of buttons and blinking lights:). And that was that: done! All that remained was to wait for the sunrise…

Read on…