This one is on my bucket list for 2023. I recently explored part of this Nature Reserve at the Exsternsteine rocks and loved it, especially since it is pretty close to my new home. For hiking, biking or just some relaxing runs, this area is pretty neat and I cannot wait to discover it further with my dear friend Alexa.
The Externsteine rock formation is undoubtedly one of the most impressive natural monuments in the Teutoburg Forest region. Millions of years ago, these originally horizontal layers of rock were shifted into a vertical position and presumably owe their current extraordinary form to the action of water over millions of years and the friction of ice during the Ice Age. An impressive display of the geological forces that have shaped our world. The stones appear other-worldly to some of the 500,000 or so people who visit the attraction each year, and some even say that they have magical powers…
Closer examination of the five sandstone columns reveals that they had fascinated our very early ancestors in a similar fashion. They are marked not just by water erosion, but also by the hands of men. The people who lived in this area in the Middle Ages appear to have established a place of Christian worship here, with a grotto, a grave and a relief showing biblical scenes all visible today. The relief depicting Christ’s descent from the cross is regarded as a work of art of European importance. In the 19th century, some rather more secular features were chiselled in to the rock: a stairway leading up to a viewing platform. (source: NRW Tourism)
Shocking! Munich Mountain Rebel is leaving Munich some time in December. 🙃 My time in Munich has come to an end. I have been here for almost 20 years, with some breaks in between, where I lived in Berlin, explored Australia or spent some other time abroad. It played a huge chapter along my journey, helped me grow, I met amazing people, never stopped exploring and learning at my jobs and I met some of my best friends EVER, that have now become part of my family.
A personal note
I wasn’t sure, whether I should write a long blog post on everything or some of the greatest memories I made, but nothing would do justice. Besides, I don’t wanna bore you with half my vita here on this blog. I mean, I started my career, my profession, in Munich at the agency haebmau after some experience in the media industry. When you read my old yearbook entries I always wanted to become a journalist, but after time I discovered my love for brand strategies and digital marking – always “hungry” for more, wanting to create change and finding simple solutions for complex problems. Looking back, I am so grateful for all opportunities. Whenever something presented itself as a chance to broaden my horizon or to learn more, I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Whether it was with haebmau, Sony, Ketchum, fischerAppelt, Holtzbrinck, gutefrage.net, Rapid Peaks, wirhelfen.eu, the Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik, or the amazing brands and companies I got to work with such as Salewa, Weber Grill, Adidas, SAP, FC Bayern, BMW, Coca-Cola, Biotaurus, Kungs, Victorinox, Generali, or the endless projects I got to create during my 13 years of blogging at V’s World, having 500,000 readers every single month. I traveled the world, learned so many new things, not just on a professional and personal level, tried scuba diving, paragliding, went beyond my limits on trail running competitions, discovered mountain biking as a passion, fell in love with the great outdoors, learned the ropes of a mountaineering guide and so much more. As I said, I could never do justice saying “thank you” to everything that has happened during the past 20 years. And I am pretty sure I forgot someone or something.
Thank you, Munich
In retrospective, there were no wasted opportunities, no dead ends. Everything together made me who I am now and over time I found my purpose. Find your purpose and you will find your voice – and then everything automatically falls in place, no matter where you are.
The past years during the pandemic and now during the economic crisis and in times of war in Europe, many of us got to reflect, put things in perspective again and realized or remembered what is really important to every single one of us. For me, this means: my family and following my purpose to get things moving; creating solutions that have an impact in the brand marketing world and hopefully beyond – meaning, creating values and solutions that are useful or helpful in our world.
So, yes, now it is time. I am leaving Munich by the end of this year, just right before Christmas. I am moving to my family in Westphalia and am really excited about my next chapters. And no worries, there is lots of room for my outdoor adventures, there are bike trails in my hood, yes, I will still do some mountaineering tours, but also explore other mountain regions or national parks – and most importantly, spending more time with my family. Here you will find a little sneak peek of what is close to my new home.
You can keep following me on my social channels, I will continue to share my outdoor and travel tips here on the blog and regarding my profession, my love for brand strategies and digital marketing is forever. I will stay your Munich Mountain Rebel, just living somewhere else. And yes, I will definitely plan some trips to the greater Munich area to spend some time with my friends every now and then. 🙂
I am stealing this quote ’cause it fits. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Lenggries is the center of the Isarwinkel, the region along the Isar between Bad Tölz and Wallgau. For those of you who are looking for less crowded outdoor tours, here you will still find some hidden gems.
It has been pretty quiet, since I am still recovering from my last surgery and was crazy busy at work. Not the best combination, I admit, but now I am finally finding my inner balance again. Hence, I hit the pause button and traveled to Fuerteventura where I slowly started with my training again.
Endless MTB trails Fuerteventura
If you like it less crowded like me, I can recommend Caleta de Fuste: not too touristy, awesome trails and bike routes and not too far away from other beautiful areas on the island.
Here are just some impressions from my short break. I will definitely be coming back sharing more insights.
But for now I will focus on my recovery so that I can offer some guided tours during summer again.
Living through a global pandemic takes its toll on your physical and mental well-being. As the weeks go on under quarantine, lots of people have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings – from sadness and anger to tiredness and feeling groggy. I call it the COVID burnout.
First my MTB accident with a rather severe trauma 2 years ago, then the pandemic. After carefully weighing the pros and cons, I decided to go on my first vacation during the pandemic.
Some might think it’s pretty selfish, others would consider it stupid with me being a person at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. But you know what: you only live once. My life, my rules. However, during a pandemic it is not that simple, since I don’t wanna spread the virus or endanger others. Hence, I self-isolated myself ten days before the vacation and took a COVID test once a week.
Preparations before the vacation to Mallorca
You need to familiarize yourself with all travel restrictions. For Mallorca I needed to fill out the Spain health form in advance and I took a quick PCR test 24 hours before my flight. Make sure the official document is signed by a certified doctor and that it includes your passport number. The costs are not covered by your health insurance. Also, safe the QR code from the health form in your phone’s wallet. You will need it several times.
For my travels, I booked Business Class to feel safer. Up to 12 hours before the flight you need to upload the filled out Spain health form and the negative test result of your PCR test. Make sure to do so in advance to avoid any trouble at the airport. Also, I booked a private Transfer Service to the airport for both destinations avoiding any contact in public transportation. I also ordered more FFP-2 masks for my vacation: one mask per day. Additionally I bought some COVID-19 quick tests, just in case I needed extra precautions on my side.
I strongly recommend to also check the German travel registrations beforehand. The German government tends to make things complicated. When returning from your vacation, you need a certified negative COVID test before boarding any plane or ferry. I recommend to find certified places in Mallorca beforehand, since local doctors and clinics have limited appointments. I chose to book an appointment at the Eurofins MegaLab at Palma Airport: a quick PCR test on my departure day. Make sure to download their app Trust One beforehand and register. Within 30 minutes you get your results and can easily check-in.
As I mentioned before, I felt safer booking Business Class and already checked in via the Lufthansa app. Then I used the self-check in service at Munich airport, since I already had my boarding pass. One scan, dropping off my luggage, no contacts with other people. I was all set within 5 minutes.
At the safety control, it was the same procedure as usual. Only this time I was the only passenger standing in line, nobody else was there. The airport felt like a ghost town.
Then, at the gate, each passenger was checked individually before boarding. You needed to show your passport, the filled out health form and the negative PCR test. After the check you get a yellow sticker on your passport which you needed to show once again during boarding.
When stepping on the plane, everyone received some disinfectant wipes. The board service is limited: they handed out packed chocolate bars and a bottle of water. But honestly: you don’t really need a board service for a two-hour flight. I kept my mask on the whole time.
After landing they called out the respective rows that were allowed to to leave the plane. One row after another.
On the way to the luggage you will undergo several inspections. Health check & screening of the negative PCR test, QR code from your health form. When I arrived, the airport was pretty empty as well. Many sections were completely closed and it was easy to avoid any contact.
Vacation in Mallorca
The reality is pretty sad. Empty villages, closed shops & hotels, empty beaches…. An estimated 75% of all income generated on the Balearic Islands are directly or indirectly linked to the travel industry, which has led to both rising living standards and higher costs of living for its residents. The inhabitants are experiencing rising poverty that’s even spreading to its wealthier quarters. The next holiday season is unlikely to heal the wound from the pandemic….
For me, however, this meant that it was much quieter and safer than currently in Munich. For several days I had the beach completely for myself and it was generally very quiet: in the supermarket, on the streets; but the change of scenery worked wonders.
MTB in Mallorca during COVID
Mallorca is more popular among road & gravel bikers. Due to the pandemic, many shops are still closed and services are simply not available. Hence, you need to be flexible and pragmatic. For me, it meant a road bike helmet for an average Hardtail. I made it work, though.
BUT: there are currently no shuttle services and in order to get to the trails, you need to cover lots of mileage on the hilly roads. With beautiful mountain ranges with an elevation gain of 1,000 m, that’s tough. Sometimes it was the hell of a workout, but always worth it. I discovered so many beautiful hidden gems.
Mask or no mask
The rules are stricter than in Germany. As soon as you leave your home, hotel room or finca, you need to wear a mask at all times. The only exceptions: during outdoor sports or when sunbathing. When walking along the beach, you need to wear a mask. It is strict, the fines are pretty high. But everyone seems to follow the rules.
Just a little tip: rent a bike. This way you can mostly breathe freely without a mask while discovering the island and enjoying scenic moments. I didn’t eat out, though or sat down at a cafe. I mostly avoided personal contacts and simply enjoyed the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and some personal wellness.
For one exception: I booked a private boat tour at sunrise watching dolphins in Alcudia Bay. I just needed it for my mind and soul.
All in all, I have zero regrets and am pretty sure we will experience new ways of traveling within the near future. And yes, I felt pretty safe and was very cautious myself.
I hope all of you are safe, healthy and also get to refuel your energy during these tough times.
During fall season, this area around the Kreuzeck is a secret tip: not crowded, endless trails for mountain bikers, climbers, trail runners and hikers. On my last tour I also discovered a magical spot for a snowshoeing tour in winter. As soon as the cable cars are up and running again after the winter COVID lockdown, I will share it with you.
But for now, I will leave you with my fall impressions.
I love the Zugspitz Arena, especially the Austrian side. One of my all-time favorites is the area in Ehrwald, up to lake Seebensee with some nice flowing trails. Just take the cable car up to the Ehrwalder Alm and then enjoy your ride.