Triglav, Krn and Soča

My walks through the Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps in Slovenia led to impressive views of rugged limestone mountains and small mountain lakes and along the beautiful mountain river Soča.


Back from the Simien Mountains in the old capital Gondar, we found out that Lufthansa had suspended flights because of Corona, leaving a thick question mark regarding the return flight. We were rebooked on Ethiopian Airlines flights, but spent a total of 7 h in the Ethiopian office trying to be booked earlier (without success) … Continue reading “Gondar”

A Beginner’s Guide to Economic Geology

The quite successful book Die Welt der Rohstoffe, which I wrote together with Gunnar Ries, has now also been published in English. I am happy that it is now available to a larger, more international readership. Florian Neukirchen, Gunnar Ries The World of Mineral Deposits A Beginner’s Guide to Economic Geology

Trosky, a volcano in the Bohemian Paradise

In the Tertiary period, many volcanoes were active throughout northern Czechia (and beyond), indirectly related to the mountain building of the Alps: Parts of Europe tried to avoid the thrust of the collision, which was accompanied by stretching roughly in an east-west direction. Throughout Central Europe, rift systems (including Rhone Graben, Upper Rhine Graben, and … Continue reading “Trosky, a volcano in the Bohemian Paradise”

The thresher sharks at Malapasqua

The small island of Malapasqua, located just north of Cebu (Philippines), is particularly famous among divers. Because at a nearby sunken island, Monad Shoal, thresher sharks can be observed with a very high probability, which normally tend to stay in deeper water.


A pretty old town with a fusion of Spanish colonial style and the influence of Chinese traders in northern Luzon (Philippines).


Despite hanging coffins and the Cave Connection, the supposed backpacker’s paradise in the mountains of northern Luzon (Philippines) disappoints.

Lake Como

Many of the deep lakes in the Alps are known to fill valleys that were once carved out by the glaciers of the ice ages. However, this is not the case with the lakes in the Southern Alps. Where Lake Como, Lake Lugano, Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore are located today, there were already deep … Continue reading “Lake Como”


Ronda is a pretty town in the mountains of Andalusia. It is situated on a mountain ridge, with a vertical gorge running right through the town. The town’s landmark, a massive bridge from the 18th century, spans this gorge. Otherwise, there are shining white houses, a few churches and, above all, always beautiful views of … Continue reading “Ronda”

Langtang-Trek and Gosainkund

The Langtang Valley, in the mountain range closest to Kathmandu, is the destination of this popular trek in Nepal. Vantage points such as Tsergo Ri, Kyanjin Ri and Morimoto Base Camp are worthwhile, with views of large glaciers and some six-thousand-metre peaks. A side trip leads to the Gosainkund mountain lakes.


It was about time that I paid a visit to the Canary Islands. After all, Teide is the highest hotspot volcano after Hawaii’s and much quicker to reach… However, there are also a few important differences to Hawaii, for example, a stratovolcano like Teide is not exactly typical of a hotspot, nor are the large … Continue reading “Tenerife”

Roraima Tepui

Hike into the “Lost World” of the Roraima Tepui: a table mountain on the Gran Sabana in Venezuela, with bizarre rock formations, endemic species and a lot of rainfall


…I was in Antofagasta for one reason only: to fly home again. Read on Travelogue Andes 2010 San Pedro de Atacama Sajama and Lauca From Uyuni to San Pedro and ascent of Licancabur


In Røros, the idyll lurks around every corner. All the cute colourful wooden houses, the hills of the slag heap behind the copper smelter…. You really forget what hard working conditions prevailed here. The museum is worth seeing, it’s unbelievable how much wood was used in the mining industry. It’s just a shame that not … Continue reading “Røros”

White Desert

In the White Desert near Farafra, one feels transferred into a painting by Dali. Everywhere you look, wondrously shaped knobs of white chalk lime. With imagination you can find faces, animals, flames, tables and more. You don’t even need imagination to see the mushrooms. Sometimes the ground looks like snowdrifts, which look especially crazy when … Continue reading “White Desert”


The Islamic old city of Cairo is a wondrous collection of domes, minarets, market alleys, fountain houses; most of them in dusty brownish-grey colour. In between, a dense throng of market criers, porters, shoppers and tourists. The most beautiful buildings were built by the Mamluks. These were originally soldier-slaves, Turks bought by the Middle Eastern … Continue reading “Cairo”


Deep blue water full of coral reefs, with reddish granite mountains towering behind. So beautiful that this is the third time I’ve come to this coast. In places, the granite rocks are criss-crossed by swarms of black dykes like a zebra pattern. Nuweiba is almost deserted, the camps and restaurants are empty and the few … Continue reading “Sinai”

Start of war

On the drive from Kutaissi to Borjomi, it was clear to see that something was happening: endless military convoys and crowds of people waving at the roadside, cheering the soldiers. So this is what it looks like when a war starts. This morning Georgia invaded the breakaway province of South Ossetia, Russia is defending it. … Continue reading “Start of war”


Wild mountain villages in Georgia: Cycling from Mestia to the defence towers in Ushguli and a hike to the Coruldi Ridge with a view of Ushba

Nagorno Karabakh

The self-proclaimed Republic of Nogorno Karabakh is not recognised by anyone, according to international law it is still part of Azerbaijan. De facto a part occupied by Armenia and for those living here it is 100% Armenian and always has been. There is nothing to discuss. That is a daring thesis, since an independent Armenia … Continue reading “Nagorno Karabakh”


Baku is oil. A whole row of oil platforms can be seen on the horizon in the bay, even in the suburbs there are oil pumps on every corner and in every second front garden, and the wider surroundings of the city are a tangle of pipelines. In the many bars, money is immediately converted … Continue reading “Baku”

Caspian Riviera

Iran is not known for its beaches. Of course, men and women have to bathe separately and for this purpose pieces of beach and sea are separated with corrugated iron walls. The amount of rubbish lying around doesn’t make it any better. But for the Iranians, who will probably come here in a fortnight, the … Continue reading “Caspian Riviera”

Entering Iran

When we arrived at the border in a minibus (coming from Dogubayazid), there were several busloads of Iranians on the Turkish side, jostling, shoving, shouting and swearing around the two open counters, waving their passports…. It took hours until we finally got the exit stamp in our passports. I was a bit annoyed that today … Continue reading “Entering Iran”


Istanbul serves us as a gentle introduction to the Middle East, after all, this city still has one foot in Europe. A fantastic backdrop of domes, minarets and water, but also a vibrant nightlife, hardly any headscarves… Hagia Sofia (6th century) is also a good historical introduction, as it is the architectural model for many … Continue reading “Istanbul”


Isn’t it fascinating how stubbornly this small country and its inhabitants defy everything that befalls them? The collapse of the Soviet Union, economic blockade, the lack that comes with it…. Who knows what will happen when Fidel is gone; high time I thought, to drink a mojito to the revolution on this green island lapped … Continue reading “Cuba”

Rocks and minerals around Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron

Oldoinyo Lengai (expedition report 2003 with further explanations and references) is well known for its strange lavas: natrocarbonatite is only found here, and at the same time it is the only active carbonatite volcano in the world. But the silicate rocks that make up most of the volcano are also unique, such as combeite nephelinite … Continue reading “Rocks and minerals around Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron”


How pleasant to be met by Marta at the airport! We spend the first night in Guatemala City, a chaotic metropolis with broken, crowded streets, street kids, …. In a minibus we drive down from the coffee town of Coban through beautiful tropical karst landscape. In a village with a colourful market, more and more … Continue reading “Guatemala”


This national park lies in the lowlands, on the fringe of the Ganges plain. From a canoe I see marsh crocodiles and the long-billed gavials, as well as various birds. The jungle walk was less impressive, but at least we saw deer, a king cobra and (through binoculars) a sloth bear trolling in a clearing … Continue reading “Chitwan”


For around 2000 years, Xian was the capital of China regardless of the ruling dynasties. Accordingly, the city and its surroundings are full of ancient temples, gates and tombs. One of the most interesting buildings is the Great Mosque, it looks like a Chinese temple, the minaret like a pagoda. But the main reason to … Continue reading “Xian”


The city is criss-crossed by wide avenues lined with skyscrapers, but in between there are still remnants of the hutons, the old neighbourhoods of low, grey brick houses, where old people drink tea in the shade or play board games in the narrow alleys; coal sellers cycle their wares to customers… The centre of the … Continue reading “Beijing”

Guilin cone karst

Around Yangzhou, once again, cone karst at its finest – admittedly quite similar to the corresponding landscapes in northern Vietnam or southern Thailand. The best thing is to cruise through the landscape on a bicycle (if only it weren’t so brutally hot), because between the rocky limestone mountains everything is flat. I was less prepared … Continue reading “Guilin cone karst”

Kawah Ijen

This volcano is situated in the very east of Java. The crater is filled by a greenish sulphuric acid lake. A huge sulphur body has formed near the shore, brown hot sulphuric steam rises hissing. When the wind carries the cloud towards you, breathing is almost impossible, the acid bites your eyes and nose. Some … Continue reading “Kawah Ijen”

Visa Run

Why not go for a tandoori chicken from Java to Kuala Lumpur? The real reason, of course, is that my Indonesia visa has expired. So I spend one night in a minibus from Yogya to Jakarta (the train was unfortunately fully booked), fly to KL and back the next day. One night on the train … Continue reading “Visa Run”

From Thailand to Malaysia

I have just arrived in Kota Baru, in the north-east corner of Peninsular Malaysia. Tomorrow I’m taking a boat to the Perhentian Islands. Read on 13 months as a backpacker through Asia Ko Pha Ngan Ko Tao Krabi


The sky is cloudy and almost every day there are one or two heavy monsoon showers – it’s obviously time for me to go to Malaysia, because the rainy season is already over there. But when it clears, the limestone cliffs shine beautifully in the sun. A bar on the beach has new furniture made … Continue reading “Krabi”


The charming 15th century ruins of this town (and of Si Satchanalai, another one a little further north) are set in a large park that blends into the green of the surrounding hills. As you would expect, it’s all about Buddhist temples and monasteries, stupas of all shapes, sitting, standing, walking Buddhas…. The kingdom of … Continue reading “Sukhothai”

Chiang Mai

The much-vaunted flair of Chiang Mai is somewhat relative compared to Luang Prabang, but there are some pretty corners and a few nice temples. An image for the gods is the “Fuck off wankers” shirt by the punk band Exploited, worn by the boy sweeping the floor in front of the golden pagoda. To praise … Continue reading “Chiang Mai”

Plain of Jars

We went to the Plain of Jars, where hundreds of cubic metre-sized monolithic stone jars (made of sandstone) are lying around. Around 2000 years ago, they were probably used for burial. Read on 13 months as a backpacker through Asia Vang Vien Luang Prabang Muang Ngoi Neua

Angkor Wat

Angkor: hundreds of temples from the 9th to 16th centuries are scattered across the plain here, Angkor Wat is only the best known and largest. Depending on the whim of the respective ruler, they are dedicated either to Buddha or Hindu gods, but in any case to the god-king at the same time. In most … Continue reading “Angkor Wat”


So much for plans: as the Vietnamese consulate is on holiday for a week, I’m stuck for the time being, or rather I can’t leave for Cambodia until half a week later. So I’m going to take a trip through central Thailand first, because what am I going to do in Bangkok for so long? … Continue reading “Bangkok”

Kama Sutra in Stone: The Temples of Khajuraho

This small village, completely removed from any city, is home to some of India’s most exciting temples – known mainly for the many erotic depictions dating back almost 1000 years. Better than the Kama Sutra. All the possible and impossible positions stand in stark contrast to modern Indian society, where (except perhaps in Bangalore, Mumbai, … Continue reading “Kama Sutra in Stone: The Temples of Khajuraho”


A stark city, packed with people, an unbelievable chaos. The best thing is to sit on a cycle rickshaw and watch people go by. It’s hard to move forward, sacks of chili or whatever are being unloaded from other cycle rickshaws or bullock carts everywhere, men with all kinds of beards and headdresses, women in … Continue reading “Delhi”


In the fog – quite frustrating after weeks of cloudless skies. The Taj Mahal is really not without reason the most famous building in India, built by a Mughal king for his 2nd wife. The best of the 20000 workers had their fingers or hands amputated afterwards so that something so magnificent could not be … Continue reading “Agra”


Cinema has always been celebrated in India and the Bombay film industry is older than Hollywood. I see a dramatic love story rolled out to epic length. The fact that I don’t understand a word of Hindi only adds to the exoticism. Highlights are the elaborate dance interludes, partly shot in Switzerland. In these, mostly … Continue reading “Bollywood”

Mount Abu

Mount Abu is a kind of Indian honeymoon resort. We didn’t come here for that, though, but for the impressive Jain temples nearby. These temples, almost 1000 years old, are carved out of marble in such detail that it’s hard to believe they took only 14 years to build. LP aptly writes that it looks … Continue reading “Mount Abu”


How fabulously beautiful Udaipur must be when the old city and palaces are reflected in the lake! It’s just too bad when, in a dry year like this, all that’s left of the lake is a sad puddle. The City Palace is nevertheless impressive, the rooms grouped around beautiful courtyards. The rooms themselves reveal that … Continue reading “Udaipur”


Ahmedabad is a rather noisy and smoggy city. Well, some interesting mosques and pretty old houses between Le Corbusier concrete, a fascinating fountain house, but never a quiet place to linger. The bugs I discover in the morning when I take down the mosquito net finish me off. But I only get one bite and … Continue reading “Gujarat”


Between two trains and alone again, I am in Hyderabad, where I didn’t really want to go. At least time passes faster here than in boring Bangalore. The Golconda Fort is interesting, however “… is a must-view” (Lonely Planet) is exaggerated. Nearby are some royal tombs, somewhat similar to the Taj Mahal – but with … Continue reading “Hyderabad”


A man who comes to Kochin immediately forgets his wife, because of the beauty of the city. So they say. Indeed, there is something about the cosmopolitan flair with a mix of Portuguese, Dutch, British, Jewish and Indian culture. The city, situated on a narrow peninsula, is very green and the best thing is that … Continue reading “Kerala”


The beach vendor looks at me incredulously: “why do you come to the beach if you don’t want to buy anything?” Well, why? To forget the stress of university, to swim, relax in the sun or read a book in the shade. Eat delicious fish in the evening… And just in time for the European … Continue reading “Goa”

Zermatt-Saas Ophiolite (excursion)

The rocks of the Zermatt-Saas zone are an ophiolite, i.e. originally oceanic lithosphere (of the Penninic Ocean, the deep-sea basin of the Alpine Tethys). However, the unit is highly deformed, so that the normal sequence of serpentinite (mantle), gabbro, basalt and sediments cannot be found in one piece. Furthermore, they were metamorphosed (eclogite facies, retrograde … Continue reading “Zermatt-Saas Ophiolite (excursion)”

Turkey 2003

Three weeks in Turkey – exactly the time of the war in Iraq, which gave us a cheap flight. I am particularly excited by the ignimbrite landscape of Cappadocia, eroded into fascinating shapes. Early Christian churches set the mood for Byzantine and Ottoman architecture in Istanbul…. and the antiquity of Pergamon or Ephesus. The sinter … Continue reading “Turkey 2003”

Sri Lanka

Six weeks in Sri Lanka: the small town of Kandy offers more than the temple with Buddha’s tooth, above all also beautiful surroundings. We drive past the cave temples of Dambulla to the impressive fortress of Sigiriya, perched on a rock. In Polonnaruwa we admire the wonderful semicircular moonstones that mark the entrances of the … Continue reading “Sri Lanka”