The secret about Gaudí – or life in NZ from outer space – The Putangirua Pinnacles – and how do the Clay Cliffs fit in?

Have you ever wondered where Gaudí got his ideas and inspiration from? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if hePutangirua Pinnacles had travelled around New Zealand, checked out the area around Wellington and stayed at the beach house for a creative retreat at some stage in Putangirua Pinnacleshis life.

The Putangirua Pinnacles remind me sooo much of „Sagrada Familia“ in Barcelona, it’s impressive. If I didn’t know the „Sagrada Familia“, I would have thought I landed Putangirua Pinnaclessomewhere else in the universe.

It was just one of these week-end road trips…

Read  more about the Putangirua Pinnacles and the Clay Cliffs.

Queen Elizabeth Park – A hidden gem off SH1


Most people drive past on their way through NZ. From the motorway it actually doesn’t even look nice.

Far from it! Going for one of the multiple ruMagic tramns, or a loop, through the park takes you through all types of views and landscapes. Through dry, dusty hills, you suddenly arrive in dense bush with typical NZ palms on the side of a little lake with wetlands, through hourse riding and training terrain, up a dune, and end up being surprised by the most breathtaking view over the beaches, the Kapiti coastline and Kapiti Island ever. Read more about Queen Elizabeth Park.

Pass of Branda / Eastern Walkway Loop

This article is about nature, poo and the front extension of a man. Well, kind of. 😉View over Cook Strait

It’s about my favourite run a five minutes drive from home. It allows me to switch off completely, especially after a day at work. Now after that introduction, you wonder how that run manages to do this? Well… 😉 Imagine many yView over Cook Straitears ago I would have had to take the boat to go running there!

Following the track, you are exposed to a different view every minute you go ahead. Through native, dense busThrough bushh, with views over Cook Strait, the harbour and Evans Bay, the airport, until the track opens to Seatoun, back passed by cute little houses along the bays, little blue penguin (korora) watching, and more native plants. Not to forget historic sites and Lord of the Rings scenery!

Read the whole article about Pass of Brenda.

Kitesurfing through Sardinia‘s Wild West

Typically my kite gear is the most important part of my luggage when travelling to Sardinia. As usual, upon arrival, I still don’t have a clue where in Sardinia I will end up this year.

I like the idea of discovering the Wild West (I already wrote about most of the other coasts during a Kite-Safari). But will the wind conditions be good to kite there this time? Mostly Mistral is working on the West coast. I’m looking forward to finding the exceptions, together withfortress en route to Stintino the less-known spots.
Like never before I am in a mood to draw every moment of this trip, somewhere in no man’s land, in the middle of past and future. Sardinia is exactly the right place for such an adventure. More contemporary is not possible. On the first night, I don’t feel like sleeping within four walls and I choose to sleep on the balcony. A night spent under the stars.

In the morning I wake up with a breeze around my nose and the buzz of the Sardinian neighbourhood. Taking in breaths of the upcoming wind, I can’t wait to get down to some kiting. And yes – the wind conditions point towards the West. Read more.

The German version of this article can be found on pecora-nera.

Mr. Wind speaks Portuguese: kitesurfing Portugal’s Algarve coast

Al-Gharb – so called by the Moors – means “land in the west”.  Once upon a time, the LagosAlgarve even had “the End of the World”; Stormy Cabo São Vicente next to Sagres, in the very Southwest of Europe. Looking for sun and wind guarantee in July and August, where else could you find it than at nearest European distance to wind-star Brazil? Mr. Wind definitely speaks Portuguese.

By the way: Thanks to the Moors, many village’s and region’s names in Portugal start in rather Arab style with Al, like Al-bufeira, Al-tura, Al-jezur or Al-entejo; Ferragudowith Alentejo wines being among the best besides Douro and Dão regions.

But before starting the after-kite programme, back to Mr. Wind, or is it Ms. Wind? Princess Nortada; an anti-cyclone over the Azores added to a thermal low and local effects. Shaken, not stirred. Read more here.

Kitesurfing Mozambican trade winds “in the foot straps” of trade sailors

On the wayIn the past, traders used the so-called trade winds along the Mozambican coast to make business. From April to October, the trade vessels and dhows followed the southeasterly Kusi, and then made their way back with the northeasterly Kasikasi between November and March.

Today, more and more kitesurfers are spotted along the coast, stepping into their shoes and being attracted by the turquoise water and sandy beaches. They prefer Kusi, though: Kasikasi comes along with the rainy season and is less consistent. EstimationMozambique Norths of locals as of October 2011 count up to ten kitesurfers living in the Pemba area, one on Ibo Island, two in Nacala, one in Beira, 40 in Maputo, three in Tofo and two in Ponta d’Ouro.

Getting excited? Yey, exactly! You have the ocean all to yourselves – there is not a strong trading competition and you can go ahead with trading all goods you can easily take on a kiteboard. Read more.

If Ora can’t make it, Vento per favore! Lake Garda has it all!

Lake Garda East Coast“There is loooaaaads of wind! For sure!” “But there are no other kites over there on the other side!” “Just take a 14m, you’ll be fine.” Just: Why didn’t anybody else have the same idea to take a 14m? Hmmmm….this was when I met “Orisina”, the even lighter sister of “Ora”. If you ask the Lake Garda supporters, you might get the impression that there is storm every day. Yes, e-v-e-r-y single day because of the thermal wind in combination with the nozzle effect. In fact, it’s not. At least for the lighter afternoon wind, the “Ora”, you should be prepared to take a bigger kite. The morning wind, called “Vento”, “Peler” or “Suér” is mostly stronger and often brings more swell. Its little brother is the “Peleri”, its stronger brother called “Pelerot”. The weather system at Lake Garda is very unique and complex. Read more.

You like it windy? And windy? Kitesurfing at Lago di Santa Croce

Kitesurfing between the mountainsIt’s not the German Autobahn. But Italy does have motorways. You can make it pretty quickly southwards through the Alps to South Tyrol, direction lakes and Mediterranean Sea. This time, I don’t want to arrive quickly, it’s silky-way day – let’s discover. On my way to a wedding in Bolzano, I turn left at Bressanone, five and a half hours way round via the Dolomites. Fantastic skiing area in the winter, I decide to have a look during the less touristy-packed season. Scenic and – windy – roads. At the end the reward: Lago di Santa Croce in the Belluno area – and it stays: windy. Read more.

KB4girls World Tour 2011 in Saal/German Baltic Sea – improve your kitesurfing the Erman way with “cocktails on board”

Group picture supremesurf.deI’m driving. Flat countryside, wearing sunglasses, beautiful weather, direction seaside. No, it’s not Southern Europe this time, it’s Germany. Unusual for me to write an article about Germany as I feel more on travels when abroad. But actually, Germany is very different in all partGroup picture Tramontana Grafixxs, and its diversity well worth discovering. And yes, there is a lot of kiting here, too. The North of Germany has quite a bit of coast line along the North and Baltic Sea, and lots of charming islands. Another incentive: It’s KB4girls week-end with world champion Kristin Boese again. Home base for her, too. Read more.

Kitesurfing in Old Zeeland – “Move your hips“ at KB4girls World Tour 2011

Presenting ourselves10 a.m., I’ve been on the road for the last 6 hours. Suddenly red lights, the road opens skywards. No, this is not Tower Bridge. Much more nature here, much more water. Coastline, lots of coastline. And heaps of windmills. Old Zeeland. Yes, silky-way has travelled far around the world again. Roughly 600 km.

Old Zeeland? Yeah, it’s good old Zeeland, the Dutch region, which has given New Zealand it’s name. As usual: If silky-way doesn’t travel to the other side of the world, there is enough of the world to be discovered in Europe. So it’s the Netherlands this week-end. Kamperland in Zeeland. KB4girls calling, a non-profit worldwide clinic tour for female kiteboarders.

Getting started  – 9x world champion Kristin Boese is organizing arrivals, not-yet-arrivals, KB4girls-T-Shirts. Read more.

Following the wind: kite-safari around the world – in Sardinia

Wind; yeah, it does exist. These black sheep on the sea, also called kitesurfers, like the wind so much that they travel where ever they can get it. They put up with bad weather as long as they can get the wind. Of course, they also like the sun and high temperatures but above all they like wind. Sardinia has wind; lots of it. On the bring of summer when the sun is out and temperatures already in the higher levels but still too early for summer-sun-beach-tourists as the weather risk is still too high, Sardinia is a bliss for kitesurfers.
Wind is at home in Sardinia. Italians have even given it names. Their Majesties Tramontana, Grecale, Levante, Scirocco, Mezzogiorno (Ostro), Libeccio, Ponente und Maestrale (Mistral) get regularly support of thermal winds. Most of the time, the predominant wind forecasts significantly underestimate this. On top, the nozzle effect in the Strait of Bonifacio in the North and the cape effect in the Southwest amplify these winds.
The idea – Discovering kite spots for various skill levels and of diverse character in Sardinia. Our path will be designed by the wind which is most promising in April and May, but also in autumn. There is also a good chance to have lots of wind earlier during the year, but you should travel with thicker wetsuit at these times of the year.
The protagonists: A black sheep. An advanced beginner in kite-surfing writing about the kite-safari. A New Zealander in Europe with kite experience (he kited 2000 km along the Brasilian coast, see Porto Pollo
Starting point: Palau, location of pecora nera’s editorial office. “pecora nera” is Italian and means „black sheep“. The online magazine shows the island of Sardinia and its residents from a genuine, outlandish and unsophisticated point of view – looking from behind hedges and facades with blacksheepish curiosity and a clear journalistic approach. Their articles mostly tell stories from the low season and for individual travelers with lively interest in the island, its people and sheep. Sincerity, fun and “la dolce vita” are part of the editorial concept, just as wool belongs to the sheep. This is why the magazine doesn’t avoid writing about the continuous rain during the winter months or endless province streets and shows why this can even be a reason to fall in love with this little continent. Read more.
The German version of my article about the kite-safari in Sardinia is available here.

Black-sheepish silky-way is back on the web

The silky-way hasn’t written travel reports for a while. But I haven’t been lazing around, but went on travelling as you could see when waCumbuco kite beach Braziltching the pictures. Some backpacking, and more and more kite-surfing. Throughout the last year, travels have turned into a mix of travelling, meeting people, visiting friends, and kite-surfing or snowkiting. Black-sheepish travelling as we now call it. The black sheep has its roots in Sardinia, where the Sardinian is home. There has been a silky-way article lately, in German though.

So watch out here, new silky-way reports in English might be written again in the future, or black-sheepish versions in German on In the meantime, I highly recommend the other black-sheepish articles about Sardinia in German on Have fun and keep on travelling!

The world at home in Hamburg

Hamburg, winter, freezing cold, snow everywhere. Time to book a short-term world trip in the world’s largest model railway in Hamburg: Miniatur Wunderland.

MatterhornI started in Switzerland with amazing, six meters high Matterhorn and the world’s highest ski lift, a railway station in the middle of the mountain and cute little villages. Then attended a medieval show with fire-breather in “Castello di Montebello”, collected some chocolate at a Lindt manufactory and watched DJ Bobo during a life concert in front of an audience of more than 20.000 mini people.

In some parts of Austria, there was even more snow than in Hamburg at the time, in another part, I activated an alarm because a prisoner tried to escape from jail. In Knuffingen, an Austrian fantasy village, not only trains are driving all over the country, but a world-wide-unique car system allows true road traffic. The fair with its huge Ferris wheel and around 30.000 lights in the Harz is especially charming during night  – a day in Miniatur Wunderland lasts 15 minutes.

Back in indoor snow-less Hamburg, I cheered for HSV playing in the HSH Nordbank Arena, of course supported by Lotto King Karl, which is also most amazing during night:

After a sightseeing tour around Hamburg including historic main station, Michel, Köhlbrandbrücke, Landungsbrücken and Hagenbecks Tierpark, I jumped over to the US.

Las VegasI discovered the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Redwood Mammoth Trees, Mount Rushmore to drive by genuine American truck on another huge car system highway or train to dusty red Grand Canyon with Bryce Canyon and have lunch with the cowboys. As this is pure nature and pitch-dark in the night, I preferred to stay in Las Vegas or the art deco district of Miami (beach) for some nights, or even underground in Area 51, coming back to Grand Canyon or the peaceful diver’s paradise Key West during next day a couple of minutes later.

I beamed myself from America back to Hamburg via the Wunderländer Eurotunnel heading further North to Scandinavia through peaceful Norwegian landscapes, along scenic dune-rich beaches (including beach love) on the North Sea coast with high tide and low tide, huge container ships, the Flying Dutchman and an Atlantis-like underwater town. Travelled through ever-snowy Sweden, visited Kiruna, a finish ore mine featuring explosions and excavations, and even personally met some pixies.

My world-trip lasted 3 hours, but I’m sure I haven’t seen all the little details that surprised me and made me laugh ever and ever again. You can easily spend a whole day in Miniatur Wunderland, the creative ideas and technique are stunning.

I will surely come back because an airport, Africa, Italy and France are in process.

For more information have a look at the following video: