There is a lot of Space in Vienna

Vienna_Austria_Space_Apr2014_003Those of you who know me, understand that you should take this title literally. Vienna is known by most visitors as the city of the Blue Danube, Empress Sissi, the Spanish Riding School, Johann Strauss concerts, Disneyland-quality castles, a Boy’s Choir and a lot more classic romantic sights. Many blogs have been filled with these mass tourism travelguide-sights of Vienna and movies about all this made actresses like Romy Schneider famous all over the world. Continue reading

Rovaniemi: Gateway to the Arctic

Rovaniemi_Finland_Mar2013_003Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mail a letter simply addressed ‘Santa Claus, North Pole’? I am sure many kids do, looking at the thousands of letters and postcards, that are collected at Santa’s Post Office in Rovaniemi, Finland. These letters generally end up here, at a large collection of buildings, right on the Arctic Circle. The central building, next to the post office, is the official home of Santa Claus, who can be visited year-round. It is one of the top attractions of this attractive modern city, which literally is the gateway to the Arctic.

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Newcastle: Bridges over Tyne and Toon

Millenium BridgeWhat is it with people on the side of a river? Is the grass always greener on the other side? The two opposite cities of Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne are linked by as many as seven bridges within less than two kilometers. These famous Tyne bridges were once a symbol of British industrial engineering. Now they make great landmarks in a new tourist destination in Northern England, that forever shed its coal dust in favour of science and great nightlife. The bridges still dominate the cityscape, where they carry party goers and football fans from one side of the river to the other. Remnants of a rich industrial past, now functioning as pillars for a rich future. Continue reading

Citytrip to Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty Kazakhstan 39Here is one totally off the beaten track. Literally, because the tracks that lead to the largest city of Kazakhstan are long and virtually unknown to tourists. Cramped in the south-east corner of this immense country, at the spot where the flatlands meet the outskirts of the Tian Shan Mountains, this is not your average weekend city destination by any standards. Nevertheless, it is a city well-known to many Dutch sports enthusiasts. Usually the bell starts to ring when using the old Soviet name of the city: Alma-Ata. Alma-Ata was one of the first destinations in the world offering a high altitude speed skating rink, where European top skaters broke their early world records. Today’s tourism still mostly focuses on winter sports. The ski resorts are within easy reach of city center. Almaty lost its status as the capital of Kazakhstan to the smaller, but more central and hyper modern city of Astana in 1997. Continue reading

Bern: Unesco jewel in the Swiss crown

Bern Switzerland 2013 01Switzerland is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Nevertheless it is not yet known as a destination for citytrips. Most tourists flock to the beautiful and lavish resorts in the high Alps for mountain walking in summer and great skiing in winter. But the country has a few additional hidden gems: its cities. Swiss business capital Zürich and United Nations city Geneva are among the most visited, mostly by business travelers. But from a cultural and historic point of view you should definitely consider visiting the ‘other’ cities in this small mountain country. These gems include Luzern, Basel and the even lesser known capital city of Bern. Continue reading

Beijing for Business

China Beijing 2013 58Most of the time a businesstrip doesn’t leave a lot of time for sightseeing. I spent a week at a conference in Beijing, China in September 2013. Despite a very full schedule I managed to squeeze in some time for wandering around the Northern part of town. With the conference at the 2008 Olympic Park site, most of the wandering took place there. So what does an Olympic Park look like five years after the Olympics? Continue reading

Baikonur blog – A Soviet city

A week in one day

SoyuzBaikonur, 19 December 2011 – At the moment I write this I have spent 28 hours in Baikonur. That is 26 more than when I wrote my blog yesterday. But it feels like more, way more. A day with a full schedule and weird coincidences, which can turn an ordinary trip into a great adventure! It definitely turned these 26 hours into an experience that feels like a week. It started with the alarm clock at 7:30 this morning… Continue reading