Petřìn Lookout Tower Prague 

Usually there is little time beside work to take a trip to or inside Prague – but recently I was lucky, caught an early bus and went to the lookout tower close to the hotel.

The Petřìn Lookout Tower is build after the model of the Eiffeltower – and, fun fact, the two ends are exactly at the same height (on purpose certainly) – and located close to a monastery in the middle of a park.

Beside the tower tour you can also make a little history tour around the monastery and the historic walls. Within the park a few sign posts explaining what you see. To serve the many tourists visiting, there are also restaurants around the monastery and a Lindner hotel. 

The tower itself has around 330 steps and a tiny elevator that costs extra. While the entrance fee is 150 CZK – 5,50 Euro the elevator costs an additional 60 CZK – 2 Euro and does not bring you to the top but to the intermediate level.

One side of the tower is for up, one for down, so the climb up or down is rather convenient – also as additionally small seating spaces are on every other steplevel.

In comparison to the Cologne Cathedral a rather relaxing walk.
The view, however, is very impressive – especially on the top. If you are lucky one of the usually closed windows is open and you can also make cool pictures. 

As I only had my mobile with me, you’ll find room for improvement for the pictures taken 😉

Before I forget – there is also a small streetcar going up the hill, starting outside the monastery area. But if you are not severly obese, ill or handicapped you should not need it.

To look it up in Google: https://g.co/kgs/vFpqyL

Not taken from the tower – all right 🙂

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Sunshine – where I went!

Niece – what a pleasant city to go to when it is no season. The sunshine hit us the moment we left the plane – a pleasant breeze that got more intense during the day – and a mood in the city to die for.

Coming from cold and rainy Germany the difference is so amazing – and it also is just two hours away (like some Spanish Islands that Getans otherwise tend to go to ;-)).

Prices were fair for such a hot spot, all places friendly, welcoming and with a good service.

A trip into the surrounding mountains was pure fun as well. 

However – there is one point you need to be aware of: you need to speak French. 

Not much maybe, but you won’t survive without (except probably in the 5* locations that are out of budget.

Go to Niece, forget Montecarlo and habe a good time. 

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Here we go again…

Long time no post… I am apparently not great in making myself public. 

Bit there are so many things going on my nerves that I am likely to be back in the posting business. 

Like this queue for the flight. Does honestly anyone believe it will be faster the more you push?!

Has honking evet brought love and world peace?

And please… Start using smaller cabin baggage. That has become a bad habit.

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Bodybutter / Bodymelt – selfmade

While in the past “when I was younger” 😉 I felt inclined to buy expensive cosmetics, I have gotten rid of that habit after recognizing what is all in it and as well after having once been totally ill-adised by a Shiseido-Sales Lady (my skin took months to become itself again).

As I cannot get hold of the bee-product-creams I used for some time and my skin behaves different in summer and winter, I wanted something I can dose myself according to my needs.

After having initially used a Body-Butter from an online seller of soaps and beauty stuff, I have now started doing  my own, as the online-shop has proved not to be reliable. In the end, it is extremely easy to make your own BodyButter or “BodyMelt” enabling me to control what goes into it.

After a couple of tests, try and error, I have found my preferred recipe but for sure it can be varied based on one’s preferences – I prefer to have not too much beeswax in it, so I try rather 3gr than 5gr (if it goes wrong, the mix will get a bit too soft, but is still fine for use). I do not use perfume, though you surely can do that. I don’t need any conservation as I simply work with fatty ingredients and do not have any water in the recipe.

So the standard recipe I use is:

  • 50gr Cocoa butter (comes usually in lozenges)
  • 30gr Mango butter (comes in a block)
  • 3-5gr Beeswax (very small pastilles)
  • 10ml almond oil (ensure brown bottles)
  • 10ml grape seed oil (ensure brown bottles)

I keep all ingredients in my fridge to shield them from light and too hot temperatures in summer.

As I live in Germany, I order it from a German online trader “Dragonspice” and you would need to find yourself one in your country of residence. In addition I highly recommend to use proper laboratory glas ware for the creation (melting) and melting it on a proper stove in a proper pot. A good thermometer will be helpful to ensure it does not start cooking, as that would be too much heat. Definitly!

What else do you have to think of… not too much actually – don’t go crazy about all the do’s and don’ts and you must not overheat over 50° Celsius.

The problem is: Beeswax has a higher melting point than all other ingredients – so you need to have at least 60° Celsius to melt it (with that, your water in the pot where you have your lab glas in surely has around 70°Celsius) and when you add the other ingredients, you need to make sure, it is not getting to cold as it won’t mix with the other ingredients then. A lot of stirring is involved…

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You see here the last struggle to melt the mango butter into the cocoa butter and beeswax

Before making my body melt, I pour boiling water over my silicone mould to have it as good as possible cleaned and impurities removed. I let it dry by itself to avoid bringing fresh impurities onto it and then start melting the bees wax in the laboratory glass that stands in hot water (not boiling water! I hardly ever go higher than 70° Celsius). When it has melted, I add the Cocoa Butter – melt it (don’t forget the stirring) then I add the mango butter (stirring) and the oil (stirring!). When everything in the fluid is clear, I pour it into the silicone mould (beware of the hot glas!).You can also use other forms, but I found the silicone the most easiest one – also to get the pieces out of it again..

When you are done you need to WAIT.

WAIT…

…usually in my experience at least 24hours to have the Bodybutter cool down and dry. Once the blocks have become solid, you can also put them into the fridge to further cool down and become even more solid. In case you have not used enough bees wax, there is no other way than using the fridge, honestly. I already had that 😉

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24hours later

I keep the blocks in the fridge in any case, after taking them out of the silicone. You can store them in a plastic bag (use it only once) or a box that you can clean before the next use.

Working in a relatively clean environment is important – any impurity you have in the Bodybutter might cause infestation with mildew – that is also the reason why I do not want to have water in my mixture, as it makes it more vulnerable.

Last but not least – using it 🙂

The body melt really melts with your body heat so when you spread the small block over your skin, it melts. Depending on how much “thirst” you skin has, you can use more or less of it. Afterwards, as my skin needs lot of water as well, I pour a few drops of water from the tap into my hand and spread over my skin as well. Sometimes I cann see the mix of fat and water turning white, like a “normal” cream. Only that normal cream can contain crude oil, conservation, acids… what ever things I don’t want to have there and on my skin. I use my body butter also for my face, except for the eyes. Although I probably could.

 

You cycle, you learn

I do cycle for hobby, not for sports, however, I do like to go some distance and I am not happy if I am being slowed down by young-blondes-with-mobile-phones on their bikes or myriads of deaf pensioners taking up all the path which pedestrians and bicylists have to share. I have to admit though, that in Cologne those paths that are meant to be shared are usually in a better shape than a bicycle path only, which often is hazardous to travel, as it is full with tree roots, potholes or sudden manhole covers. Which is also a specialty of Duesseldorf – but later more of that.

To escape the overcrowded paths in Cologne, I took my chances on a public holiday and went towards Duesseldorf (the forbidden city in the eyes of many Colognians) – on the left hand side of the river rhine. There are many nice and empty ways, despite some tourists attractions like Kloster Knechtsteden or various farmer markets like the Grenzhof Dormagen. You can really cycle long ways (also get lost…) end up suddenly in a small nature reserve and from there travel through Neuss and then come to Duesseldorf.

Where the quality of the cycle path is so amazing, that your inner tube bursts. Luckily germany is blessed with working public transport, hence I made it safely back.

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A flat tyre – but the underground station was just a 2min walk away…

Which left me with the problem of a non-usable rear tyre. The other day was a day off so I tried reaching out to my bicycle seller – which did not work. Being in Cologne though, I had a choice of 3 different bicycle shops close by and the one open and with service was Portz am Ring. As they were absolutely overcrowded they could have fixed my inner tube only within a week – but I got a start-off to “do it myself”. And after 30 years not doing anything by myself I am now proud to say I can fix things again and on my own. Which is a very nice feeling. On my next trip, I had a spare inner tube and fixing gear with me. But there was no need to….

…. as after my bad experiences when trying to go to Duesseldorf, I was recommeded to take the right hand side of the river rhine and go towards Bonn. I took the advice and went across the “Deutzer Brücke” (Bridge connecting the left hand center with the right hand center – Deutz) and up the river (as Bonn is south of Cologne). I had not planned to go really go to Bonn today, as the last days were rainy and unpleasant and I just wanted to take a chance to get out.

I found that the right side of Cologne is nice to travel – but nothing for speeding. So the idea of a “bicycle trip” for me is definitly something different apparently – but I enjoyed myself nevertheless. Next time I’ll be prepared for a stopover at the “Zündorfbad” – which appears less overcrowded than the public baths in the inner city and has an indoor as well as an outdoor pool.

So if you want to take some time out, visit “die Groov” or Zündorf (which belongs to Cologne) itself – a very inviting little city centre – but be aware, that now, after all the rainshowers, the mosquitos are breeding…

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Schwerin – Provincial capital from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

For many who have not been to Germany before, but also for many west germans, the East of Germany is a “why go there” part. It is not reknown like Berlin, the innovative, egocentric party city, or Cologne (my home-town) for the historic parts like the cathedral. But the East of Germany has many nice spots very worth to be visited.

Schwerin, the provincial capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (lovingly also named “Meck-Pom” which makes it easier and shorter to talk about) is such a beautiful spot. If you don’t know how to find it, you can locate it via Schwerin – Google Maps

Getting there is easy, by car or by train – to give you an impression, I simply attach some pictures of the city, most of them from the castle and the surroundings, but when we walked through the city, we found it very alive with street musicians and people sitting already in cafés, also many small shops that defy the big chains influence.

I like it there and surely plan to return there … by motor-bike next time!

All pictures taken with my Canon SX610HS