Balearic Islands: What we particularly miss about Mallorca

Tthere are some islands of space. Sylt has its dunes, Bali its temples, Hawaii its volcanoes. But only one has it Dream bays. Wide arches in the south and north, as designed by a generous creator; small, narrow notches like pieces of cake on the rugged coasts in the east and northwest.

The smaller, the finer. They are for many who now close their eyes for a few seconds and approach Mallorca in their thoughts, the largest longing place on this dream island, which in 2019 still attracted 4.5 million Germans.

Cala Torta and Cala Sa Nau in the east, the fantastic Cala Mondragó in the southeast or Sa Calobra in the northwest sometimes only offer space for a few dozen sun worshipers. But everyone can go, even if a walk or a journey by boat is required.

Mallorca: the beach of Sant Elm (Balearic Islands, Spain)

In Mallorca there is a suitable bay for everyone; if you don’t like one, you switch to the next one next door

Credit: Getty Images / Westend61

If you don’t like one bay, you switch to the next one next door. Depending on the orientation towards the wind and the open sea, it can happen that waves surge in one bay, while at the same time the bay lies calm and flat as in a bathtub.

Hiking in the Serra de Tramuntana

But there is more that we particularly miss about Mallorca these days. If you look up from the turquoise blue water in the bay of Alcúdia and look to the west, you can see it on the horizon Serra de Tramuntana.

Source: WORLD infographic

In winter and sometimes until May, the peaks are covered in snow like an ensaïmada of powdered sugar. If you fly towards Palma in a vacation bomber, the view is of the tops of the Tramuntana the Highlight. With every approach he makes his heart jump again.

The walks through this majestic massif are another reason to long for Mallorca. On the Ruta de Pedra en Sec (route of the dry stone walls) you can experience untouched nature and original villages, which give an idea of ​​what it looked like here in the 19th century.

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Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca, Spain

Hiking on the Königsweg

And only the return trip on the Ma-15 towards the island’s capital: after Algaida you overcome the last hill before the large island level Es Plà and look like a romantic landscape painting of the 19th century. Huge, deserted mountains on the horizon, over which the clouds race, as a contrast the flat, rampant city in the south.

Off to the market halls in Palma de Mallorca

In this city, Palma, the sandy yellow alleys, some of which are still from the Moorish period, and the tree-lined harbor promenade Passeig Marítim remain in memory. Palma ‘s streets are in her Light and glow so completely different from everything we know from Northern Europe, with this magic of the Mediterranean neither Hamburg, Berlin nor Düsseldorf can keep up.

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Full moon over the Gothic cathedral in central Palma, Mallorca

Would you like a bit more Majorcan? Then off to Palma Market halls with their overflowing goods stands and splendid eating stations. Palmesanos are also drawn to the “Mercat” in the hipster Santa Catalina district and the two-story “Mercat de L’Olivar” near Plaça d’Espanya.

They do their shopping here and meet for lunch at a tapas bar. As a tourist, you just stand there and order a small beer – one caña – and scrambled eggs with sea urchins.

If the Spanish of the local Spaniards appears to you to be Spanish and has a growling undertone, then it will probably not be Spanish, but Mallorcan, the variant of the Catalan language spoken on the island.

Palma de Mallorca at night (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Palma’s lights are unique – even at night

Credit: Getty Images / Allard Schager

Mallorcans are also said to be grumpy. The writer George Sand complained about this 150 years ago in her not very benevolent book “A Winter in Mallorca”. The French woman did not find affection or friendships on the island.

And to this day, despite several decades of tourist invasion, many locals keep their distance and down-to-earth objectivity – to be more cordial when you get to know each other better. Not played, but honestly. Anyone who has ever experienced it misses it.

Sea view from the cemetery in Deià

In Mallorca you can even long for a cemetery. Of course, only as a destination. One of the most beautiful places on the island is the God Field of Deià. Seldom are faded a place with such a panorama granted.

Mallorca: The place Deià with its fantastic location near the coast also attracted many artists

The place Deià with its fantastic location near the coast also attracted many artists

Credit: Getty Images / Dennis Fischer Photography

Located 400 meters above sea level on the edge of the Tramuntana, Deià is a prime example of upscale village life. If you prefer Pierce Brosnan or Andrew Llyod Webber as neighbors, then you’ve come to the right place in these successfully renovated village houses.

In the summer months, however, you have to expect bus loads of visitors who look into the window. Or take pictures of the pictures of saints at the house entrances.

Not too many make it to the village church and the cemetery. And in spring you often have this highest point of Deià all to yourself.

Almond cake in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Anyone who has tried Mallorcan almond cake is addicted

Source: PA / imageBROKER / Creativ Studio Heinemann

You look at green hills, hear goats grumble, study the pedigrees between the cemetery walls, think about life and death – or where you can best squeeze freshly after descending in the village Orange juice and almond cake could eat two other island specialties that we currently miss a lot.

The island’s unique fragrance

The last in the series of Mallorcan desires is Scent of the island called. It is more noticeable in spring and autumn than in hot summer. It is a moist, spicy softwood smell, a mixture of pine, lavender and rosemary. Like a bubble bath from the 80s.

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The scent is volatile. You smell it like the perfume cloud of women strolling by when you get out of the bus or car for the first time after arriving at the hotel.

But soon the nose got used to it and you no longer notice the special island aroma. Until the next arrival.

Eight tips for your next vacation in Mallorca:

  • Wine instead of sangria: Sangría am Ballermann, cocktails at the hotel bar – there is a lot you can do in Mallorca for your fluid balance. But what about the great island wines? They have more and more restaurants on their menu, even in package hotels. It is worth trying them. Some wineries can be visited, for example Macià Batle or the Bodegues Ribas near Binissalem. The island drops taste best on site: If you take Mallorca wine home with you, it is no longer the same. Wine experts say that it is due to the lower humidity and the lower salt content of the German air.
  • Try top cuisine: Mallorcan cuisine is down-to-earth, including fish, shrimp, lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, garlic. In the hands of island chefs like Tomeu Caldentey (in Sa Coma), Andreu Genestra (at Capdepera and in Palma) or Adrián Qetglas (in Palma), however, with the same ingredients, it becomes a revelation. And at prices for which you would have to pay three times as much at this star level. Lamb with peas and mint, veal with pears and hazelnuts can be found on the map of Qetglas. Genestra beckons with anglerfish seasoned with pine and razor clams with ensaimada and plum. At lunchtime, these top chefs often offer inexpensive lunch menus.
  • Make a chiringuito tour: There are over 100 beach bars in Mallorca, called chiringuitos. Therefore: do not always go to the same one. You can make an excursion program. Today for a swim followed by lunch on the north coast, tomorrow the same in another beach bar on the east coast. Most chiringuitos are open from May to October, after which they are mined for the winter.

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  • To speak Spanish: Speaking more Spanish would also be a good intent. Or maybe even the grumpy Mallorcan? But with Spanish you can get very far and also reach the guest workers from mainland Spain or from Latin America who toil in hotels and shops because the Mallorcans alone could not keep the shop going (or no longer need it). A few words are a good place to start. The gesture counts.
  • There is not only Palma: The island’s capital is a magnet. But you can also shop, eat and drink in the many other cities on the island. In Alcúdia, in Santanyí, Inca, in the magical Artà in the east. Weekly markets take place alternately in the towns. And there is Manacor, the second most important city, an unknown size for many tourists. Manacor has an imposing church (be sure to go inside, free entry), the tower of which is higher than the Cathedral of Palma, and a historical museum in an old fortress (also free entry). Doesn’t sound that interesting yet? Then maybe a detour to the museum of the most famous living islander: tennis player Rafael Nadal. He still lives in Manacor today.
  • Take bus and train: It doesn’t always have to be the rental car. To Manacor there is another train (from Palma via Inca), the mountain and valley train from Palma to Sóller is wonderful. In addition, there is an ever better developed bus system across the island from the bus station under Palmas Plaça d’Espanya.
  • Evening at the beach: Finding a parking space is a problem on the top beaches in summer. But the beaches are also there in the evening! Then it is still warm, but much emptier (usually from 4 p.m.). The sunset is also a spectacle.
  • November insider tip: Traveling against the masses is also worthwhile with a view to the year. Why only in July and August? One of the most beautiful times on the island, with a lot of sunshine and temperatures that make it possible to sit outside in the evening, is early November. The month, so they say in Mallorca, is the “little summer”.

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from April 12, 2020

Source: ZGB


In times of Corona: Five declarations of love for Italy

Wonderfully unspectacular: Salento

NUsually it is unwise to sound out an insider tip at this point, because if everyone knows about the charms of Salento, the secret will be revealed. But times are not normal, and the southern tip of the Italian hoe – that is exactly the Salento – is large enough that a few more visitors will be able to cope with in post-Corona times.

Not everyone has to go to Santa Maria al Bagno at the same time, this enchanting town with its Art Nouveau villas and bathing bay, which reaches deep into the town like a private pool. You could also go for a swim on the sandy beach of Campomarino or lie on the stones at Lido Pizzo south of Gallipoli, where the Ionian Sea glows Caribbean-turquoise and has bathing temperature until October.

Gallipoli’s old town, founded by the ancient Greeks, is an island, from afar it looks like a white stone ship. Here and in the baroque pregnant provincial capital Lecce it is full, at least in the high season.

Italy: Santa Maria al Bagno is a magical town with Art Nouveau villas and a bathing bay

Santa Maria al Bagno is a magical town with art nouveau villas and a bathing bay

Source: picture alliance / robertharding

Otherwise, the Salento is free of highlights – and pleasantly empty. The really great thing about the area is that everyday life here is still “real” Italian; not as folklore for tourists, but because people here still live similarly to generations ago.

From morning to evening there is life in every place in the piazza, except during the siesta – between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. dead trousers are everywhere. In every village, no matter how small, there is a coffee bar, where the strong local “Quarta” espresso is usually served, 80 cents a cup.

Behind inconspicuous facades are the best ice cream shops in the world, for example “Dolce Arte” in Cutrofiano, where you can buy three types of chocolate ice cream, including a fantastic raven black. The greengrocers crackle through the villages with their Ape tricycles and sell tomatoes from the loading area that still taste like tomatoes.

Italian groceries and dusty pope figures are available in grocery stores. The cobbler parks his Fiat 500 in the middle of his workshop because the alley in front of the shop is too narrow. At the wine dealer next door you can have the house wine filled into your canisters or bottles.

The baker’s wife recognizes you after a year (“You were here last September!”) And donates a round of almond biscuits, and the pastor is also happy about German tourists who made it to his church.

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The Salento looks almost nowhere like picture-perfect Italy, the landscape is too unspectacular for that. You don’t come here because of Instagram scenery, but because of the friendly people, the good cuisine, the relaxed nature of everyday life.

And of course to take home a few bottles of the best olive oil in the world. Mine will last until autumn at the most, then I want to finally come back, by then the virus must have gone far. Sönke Kruger

Catwalk with sea views: Amalfi Coast

Of course, the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful coast in Italy. Oh what: the world! Villages throw themselves up the slopes, here a steep staircase, there a pine tree spreads its umbrella roof, there a squeaky yellow lemon hangs over a dry stone wall.

The Costiera Amalfitana stretches forty kilometers by road between Positano and Vietri sul Mare, past Amalfi, Ravello, Atrani. The place names alone make you want to travel!

Italy: Positano with its many steep streets and stairs offers fantastic views of the sea

Positano with its many steep alleys and stairs offers wonderful views of the sea

Credit: Getty Images / Andrea Comi

There are hardly any streets in Positano, only steep alleys and stairs. On the Amalfi Cathedral Square, there is an impromptu theater every day, you throw yourself in a bowl and pose, the large staircase as a catwalk, bridal couples from all over the world like to be photographed here in normal times.

On the little tables in front of the cafes and bars, a sunset-colored sprinkle shines, along with a bowl of salty, two bruschette, a few anchovies and olives – how can you have so much longing for these everyday holiday moments?

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When overtourism was still the dominant theme, the Amalfi Coast was too beautiful not to go there; but also too crowded to go there a second time. But now you can hardly wait to cruise again along the coastal road, which nestles into every bay, dares out onto every rock spur.

If you sit in the front of the bus, you can catch your breath. This dream road is adventurously curvy and narrow, cars, buses squeeze past columns of racing cyclists, the scooter riders between everyone in the slalom, and you can see espresso cup-sized eyes in the oncoming holiday-car because of oncoming traffic. But like captains through rough seas, the bus drivers steer past their unrest with patience and sunglasses.

At the end of the Amalfi Coast, in Vietri, lies the little hotel “Palazzo Suriano”, the view from the terrace flies over the sea. Now it is closed, but the hotelier still places a gramophone on the terrace when the weather is nice. He then puts on a shellac record, turns the crank, music blows out.

On Facebook you can see the sea with him while Enrico Caruso sings “E lucevan le stelle” in the background. And then you dream of the stars shining until you can finally drive yourself there again. Tornerò. Barbara Schaefer

If you want to read more: The author has published the book “Amalfi / Cilento. Where the red sun really sinks into the sea ”, publisher Picus, 14.90 euros

Art and delicacies: Emilia-Romagna

Parma ham and parmesan, sangiovese and lambrusco, balsamic vinegar, tortellini and a universally beloved meat sauce, which is not only called Bolognese here – we only owe Emilia-Romagna more culinary than we can give it back through so many visits.

Not to mention the works of creative residents such as Giuseppe Verdi, Federico Fellini and Luciano Pavarotti. And as if that weren’t enough, it also has a lot of historic cities and is inhabited by people whose ability to enjoy the moment is particularly pronounced even by Italian standards.

Between the river Po, the Adriatic and the Apennines extends the region, whose name is much less known to us than the wonderful places that lie behind it: Rimini, home of the filmmaker Fellini and an early longing destination of the Germans, with wide beaches and a charming old town that many holidaymakers never get into.

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It is not only the oldest surviving triumphal arch in Italy that deserves a look. In the evening Rimini’s air is heavy with the scent of jasmine flowers, the cafes are full, slot machines are beeping, everything is walking, passeggiata with the family is the order of the day.

Or Cesenatico with its fine sandy beaches and the harbor canal, which was designed according to plans by Leonardo da Vinci: historic sailors on the water, activity and delicious fragrance in the “Pippo” restaurant. The last time I visited, I ate delicious seafood that was auctioned across the street in the morning in the auction hall – ingredients for an evening of pure happiness.

Italy: The port of Cesenatico was built according to plans by Leonardo da Vinci

The port of Cesenatico was created according to plans by Leonardo da Vinci

Source: pA / DPA / picture agency

Only half an hour’s drive from here, Ravenna formed the navel of the world at the end of antiquity. Due to the silting up, the former port city is now nine kilometers from the sea, but without a detour there, no Adriatic coast tour is complete.

Look at mosaics of unimaginable beauty in churches and mausoleums from the 5th and 6th centuries, then eat a Piadina Romagnola filled with Parma ham, arugula and Squacquerone cheese: I’m already looking forward to that.

If necessary, it is also possible without the sea. This proves Modena, which seems to have a monopoly on Italian export hits: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, the foaming red Lambrusco, the famous Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena – they all have their roots here; also over tenor Pavarotti.

It is fantastic to stroll through the shady arcades with boutiques, cafés and – of course – delicatessens, down to the ensemble of almost a thousand-year-old Romanesque cathedral and bell tower on Piazza Grande. Of course, Unesco counts it as a World Heritage Site.

Parma, home of parmesan and parma ham, is also magnificent. Sure, there is also a millennial cathedral here, plus a pink marble baptistery with three ornate portals and an octagonal baptismal font inside.

Despite these treasures, it was always the most beautiful thing for me to sit on the Piazza Garibaldi with an Aperol Spritz and to look at the easily babbling, carefree life. Here, in the middle of Parma, like in any other place in Emilia-Romagna, you can tell that a summer without a holiday in Italy is completely unthinkable. Stefanie Bisping

The world is beautiful: Rome and Milan

The light over Rome has a special sheen. It is warm and sparkling at the same time and still bathes the shabbiest corners in beauty. You take the few steps out of the Roma Termini train station and it is there.

It lies on the pine trees, which span the square in front of the station as cheerfully as if we were already at the sea. Lights up in the small bars where you can rattle with espresso cups. Shines on ancient Roman temple remains and hungry cats, the Chinese textile traders from Esquilino and the Roman women with their huge Fendi sunglasses, Bernini’s baroque fountain and the cracked facades of the old working-class suburb of Garbatella.

Italy: The light in Rome is unique

Warm and sparkling at the same time: the light in Rome is unique

Credit: Getty Images / Harald Nachtmann

Even the mountains of rubbish that rot in front of the patrician palaces and tenements, because the waste management in Rome is obviously as difficult to organize as public transport, begin to shimmer gently in this light. Roman light carries a message. “Relax,” it calls to us. “Whatever happens – the world is beautiful!”

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A nice dose of Roman light would be just right in these difficult times. Unfortunately there is only Roman light in Rome. Even the northern lights from Milan have to admit that, who otherwise always feel a little superior to their capital.

I also like Milan very much. This brisk activity. How people here do business quickly, jump in carsharing cars, drop their espresso on the bar counter in less than a minute and still look outrageously good.

In Milan, they have recently been building sensational skyscrapers. Otherwise they seem to see the future above all as something positive that can be designed in a chic and progressive manner.

To end the working day with an aperitivo and a few thick green olives. Because it was invented in Milan in the 19th century – in a bar called “Campari”.

Only the light is of no use in Milan. A pale haze that rises from the Po Valley and makes you completely forget that the Alps are only a stone’s throw away. Good for work, I assume.

The light in Rome, however, is bad for the work ethic. Very bad. There is an urge to do nothing, everyone wants to bathe in their luscious glow and forget all their duties and worries – preferably with an ice cream in hand, in the street café or stretched out in the meadows of Villa Borghese, the large city park.

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Unfortunately, Rome is very far away right now. As a consolation, I stream “La Grande Bellezza”, the indulgent cinema film by Paolo Sorrentino from 2013. It not only captured the Roman way of life. But also the light. Annette turnip seeds

Batman and master chef: Sicily

My farewell three weeks ago was without melancholy: I had bathed in the sea (fresh but feasible), had successfully processed and eaten various fish, sawed my left index finger while cutting olive trees, made friends with the neighboring donkeys and lightly sang my ear while lighting a fire. In other words: I was fortunate in the form of vitamin B (sea bass) and D (March sun).

The next visit was already planned. Sicily has now moved into an unreachable distance. Those who travel frequently to the same place develop routines and become lazy. In my daydreams about Sicily, I therefore take on the things and places that I have wanted to do for years.

The cathedral in Palermo, where Norman and Moorish influences show that multiculturalism is an ancient concept and has worked. The Cappella Palatina in the Palazzo dei Normanni is said to be even more breathtaking, where eastern and western iconography are interwoven like a crossword puzzle.

Even if it is a tired cliché: When looking at the railway stations in Sicily, one must inevitably think of “The Godfather”. They all look the same, only the stages of decay differ. And at the time, Francis Ford Coppola guaranteed activated one for the shooting.

One line that is still active is the Circumetnea, which circles the mighty cone of Mount Etna. The fertile volcanic earth has grown this region into a lush tropical garden. Of the mongibello is both a threat and a giver of life.

The name Ciccio Sultano sounds like from a fairy tale. It feels similar when you are in front of your trattoria “I Banchi” sits in the midday sun in the two-hill town of Ragusa and enjoys intelligent, but not pretentiously modernized Sicilian dishes, such as tartare with fried egg and porcini sauce. Before ordering the third bottle of wine, you should draw who will return.

I just skipped his two-star restaurant “Duomo” just for reasons of time. But the Ravioli Modicano, filled with kids and spring herbs, are waiting for me.

Italy: Pottery to the horizon in the ceramic city of Caltagirone (Sicily)

Pottery to the horizon in the ceramic city of Caltagirone

Credit: Getty Images / Cultura RF

Everywhere in Sicily, pottery is thrown away, either bowls painted with lemons or vases in the shape of heads. I am convinced that a large part of it comes from the same factory.

In the ceramic city of Caltagirone there are also workshops with more special preferences, such as a vase in the form of a Batman mask. I will track down such quirks next time. Or maybe the time after next. Adriano Sack

Because of Corona – Clear water in the canals of Venice

Venice is deserted. The corona virus has brought the Italian city to a standstill. This has positive consequences for Venice’s famous canals. Some even want to see dolphins.

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.

WELT AM SONNTAG from March 29, 2020



South Sea souvenir: The idea of ​​the “noble savage” lives on

Long-distance travel South Seas souvenir

The idea of ​​the “noble savage” lives on here

At the moment there is little more than to travel to the world of fantasy. There are no limits to dreams – you can go straight to one of the most beautiful places on our planet: the South Pacific.

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The tray is a souvenir from the lagoon island of Bora Bora (South Pacific) The tray is a souvenir from the lagoon island of Bora Bora (South Pacific)

The tray is a souvenir from the island of Bora Bora

Source: Katharina Koppenwallner

Da at the moment that travel has become difficult and many people simply stay at home, trips to the world of fantasy are a serious alternative. And because everything is possible in these worlds, the journey goes to the most beautiful places of longing on our planet, one of which is the South Sea.

So it was a good thing that I recently fell into my hands while staying at home, which my friend at the time had brought from the lagoon island of Bora Bora many years ago.

It shows a classic motif of painting, the three graces, here in the form of three dancing Polynesians on a sandy beach, against the background of the Otemanu mountain. They swing their bast skirts, dance the ’ote’a, wear shell necklaces and colorful frangipani wreaths in their hair.

The idea of ​​the “noble savage” in the South Pacific

The picture is washed with all the waters of the South Pacific clichés. It plays with the idea of ​​a simple life in harmony with nature, in which people freely pursue their desires at the richly laid table, never have bad thoughts and the word work does not exist.

Here the idea of ​​the “noble savage” lives on, of the unspoiled natural man who has been spared any kind of civilizing influences. “Man is inherently good,” wrote the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1755.

Unfortunately, however, the creation of a “noble savage” presupposes that there is also a civilized person who is less noble, but not wild, and therefore also developed. And so we are again with colonialism.

How Tahiti declared French Polynesia

Like its largest neighboring island, Tahiti, Bora Bora is one of the Society Islands that Ferdinand Magellan discovered in 1521 as the first European. Its inhabitants came around 200 BC. BC from the islands of Tonga and Samoa.

In 1786, the islands – which are spread over an area of ​​water as large as Europe – passed into French ownership and for a long time were part of the French colony of Oceania.

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In 1946 they were declared French overseas territory and in 1958 they were grouped together as French Polynesia, giving French citizenship and the right to vote in the European Parliament elections. However, you pay here with the Pacific Franc, not with the Euro.

Bora Bora is the real paradise

Tahiti is great, but the real paradise is Bora Bora, now one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world. Even Paul Gauguin, who went to Tahiti in 1891 to live a life in a society without status and wealth, found that the island was anything but untouched: “Life in Papeete soon became a burden for me. That was Europe – the Europe I thought I was liberating myself from – and, moreover, under the aggravating circumstances of colonial snobbery and the comic-like imitation of our customs, fashions, vices and cultural ridiculousness. ”

Gauguin lived on Tahiti and later on the small island of Hiva Oa with underage girls who were also his models. This is one of the dark sides of the islands, which (like the residents’ previous tendency towards cannibalism) is often swept under the table.

The bast skirt is an invention from Europe

But back to the ladies on the tray. Her fluffy bast skirts have only been around since the beginning of the 20th century. The Polynesian originally wore a wrap skirt made of bark fiber, the tapa, and over it a piece of cloth that also covered the chest.

The bast rock as we know it today is an invention from Europe and for Europe. Nudity wasn’t really the issue for the locals either. It was only required for dances, the body was even covered for bathing.

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With over 55 percent, black cultured pearls are Tahiti’s largest export product. Other popular souvenirs are monoi oil, which you can also buy in any better German drugstore.

You can also delight those at home with a new South Sea tattoo after your return. I think I did it pretty well with my tray.

This is how South Sea snorkeling also works in the swimming pool

Colorful fish and corals as far as the eye can see: Snorkeling is part of many holidays. With the latest technology, this is also possible in the swimming pool around the corner.

Source: WELT / Peter Haentjes

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from March 15, 2020



Caribbean: Jamaica is the real home of James Bond

Hhe sat there. Ian Fleming, journalist, writer, bon vivant, His Majesty’s intelligence officer and inventor of the world’s most famous spy: James Bond. Here he sat and wrote almost all of the twelve 007 novels and nine short stories that were to become the basis of the most successful film series in cinema history.

At a small, brown corner desk with a spectacularly uncomfortable chair. From the window to the left he looked over a lawn to the Caribbean Sea, the private beach in front of it is a few steps down. Cuba is about 200 kilometers away, you could see that far.

Fleming called the small villa “Goldeneye” in which his desk is located. From 1946 he built it directly on Oracabessa Bay in northeast Jamaica. This is also why the island and the fictional secret agent are closely interwoven: Jamaica appears in several bond stories, two bond films partly play here, soon there will be three.

Aston Martin gets a leading role in the new Bond trailer

“No Time To Die”, the new James Bond, will be released in cinemas in autumn. Now there is the first trailer. The Bond car is more often in the picture than Bond villain Christoph Waltz.

In “No Time to Die”, the 25th and newest that will be released in November, James Bond, in the form of Daniel Craig, returns to the place his creator loved more than anyone else.

Jamaica comes close to the idea of ​​paradise

It is therefore not surprising that Jamaica is crazy about Bond. Everywhere there are people who (supposedly) knew Fleming. They know where he (supposedly) invented the shaken, unmoved martini that was to become Bond’s signature drink. They are now mowing the golf course, where (allegedly) a piece by “James Bond chases Dr. No ”was filmed. And so on.

Regular encounters with lived film history can be ideally combined here with one of the most beautiful trips that can be undertaken in the Caribbean.

The 1964 photo shows Ian Fleming at his “Goldeneye” house at the desk where he wrote most of Bond’s novels

Source: Getty Images

Because Jamaica is above all a place where it is evenly 26 to 28 degrees warm – even now, because depressing late winter weather prevails in Central Europe. The beaches are white, the sea is turquoise, the food is fantastic and the culture is full of evidence of a rich and cruel past.

Many people may have an idea of ​​a hypothetical Caribbean paradise in mind. Jamaica comes pretty close to that in most respects.

Montego Bay is one of the most beautiful hotels

A good starting point for a visit is the north coast. The beaches here are more beautiful than in the south, the streets are better, and everything is a little more relaxed. In the northwest, at Montego Bay, there is also one of the most beautiful resorts in Jamaica: “Half Moon”.

Located on a crescent-shaped bay, the “Half Moon” resort has 210 luxurious rooms and 28 villas

Credit: Getty Images / Holger Leue

Founded in the 1950s as a playground for a number of multimillionaires, the hotel complex has grown around the almost unreally beautiful, crescent-shaped bay whose name it bears. There are now 210 luxurious rooms and 28 villas on a good 400 hectares, between which employees drive the guests around in golf karts.

In 1973, Roger Moore came to visit beach house number 10 for the filming of “Live and Let Die”, where he (Bond) was dealing with a poisonous snake in the bathroom, which he improvised in style with a spray can and his cigar Flamethrower did.

1973 in Jamaica: Roger Moore filming “Live and Let Die”

Source: Getty Images

If you are lucky, the details of this anecdote can also be told by a contemporary witness: Just a few doors away, Hans Simonitsch is retiring, Austrians, globetrotters and long hotel directors from the “Half Moon”. He got on very well with Moore at the time, he says, as he did with the other film people who have shot here over the years in his wake.

“But then at some point the German dream ship came,” says Simonitsch, “that was terrible. Everything full of cables, no manners. So I decided: No more films. ”From around 300 euros a night you can do it to Roger Moore today, but without a queue.

Jamaica (Caribbean): Ursula Andress and Sean Connery in 1962 in “James Bond chases Dr. No ”on Laughing Waters beach

Legendary film scene: Ursula Andress and Sean Connery in 1962 in “James Bond chases Dr. No ”at Laughing Waters Beach

Source: PA / United Archives / IFTN;

An hour’s drive further east is an even more iconic Bond location: Laughing Waters, where Ursula Andress alias Honey Ryder emerges from the water in one of the most unforgettable scenes ever and meets Sean Connery. The beach is private, so it is difficult to readjust exactly (there are no such old-fashioned bikinis anywhere else).

On the other hand, nobody really controls access, and just the sight of the mini waterfall that pours out of the thicket into the sea makes up for being chased away under insults. A popular Instagram spot and open to the public is the Dunn’s River Waterfall, a stone or two away inland.

In 1962 the Caribbean island became independent

Jamaica’s history is less idyllic than nature. In 1494, Christopher Columbus was the first European to land on the island. After the Spaniards had largely exterminated the local population, they imported African slaves who had to dig for gold that was not available.

Jamaica: A popular Instagram spot and the public is the Dunn’s River Waterfall

A popular Instagram spot and the public is the Dunn’s River Waterfall

Source: Jean-Pierre Degas / / laif

In the 17th century, the British conquered Jamaica, which shifted the economic focus in two new directions: piracy and sugar cane. From here, Henry Morgan, the famous buccaneer, made the Caribbean unsafe before drowning himself to death.

Fittingly, the rum variety Captain Morgan is named after him today. Johnny Depp’s role as constantly pissed-off captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” is also closely based on Morgan.

Thanks to the skyrocketing sugar price, Jamaica became enormously valuable to the British in the 18th century – and incredibly wealthy. At the height of the boom, the wealth of the average white Jamaican was more than 20 times that of a British man in England.

The slaves and workers had little of this, even after the end of slavery in 1833, and when the price of sugar fell again, Jamaica sank into the same unrest-stricken poverty as many other colonies. The island only became independent in 1962.

Ian Fleming christened his house “Goldeneye”

At that time, however, she had already appeared on the radar of the international jet set, partly triggered by the American actor Errol Flynn, who had got into a storm with his yacht in 1942 and saved himself in Jamaica. “I had never seen such a beautiful country before,” Flynn later wrote.

He bought a small island off the coast and retired there. He was followed by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly – and, although not yet famous, Ian Fleming.

After a youth that had mainly consisted of failed job starts and countless affairs, the somewhat wealthy son of a banking family had been rescued from the outbreak of World War II: he joined the British naval intelligence service as assistant to the director and probably experienced the world fire mainly as a series of inspiring adventures.

Jamaica: Ian Fleming's original house can be rented, but only with the surrounding buildings and own staff

Ian Fleming’s original house can be rented, but only with the surrounding building and its own staff

Source: picture alliance /

In 1943, his job brought him to Jamaica to help organize the fight against German submarines in the Caribbean at a conference. When he left, he had made a decision: “If we won this damn war,” he said on the plane, “I’ll live in Jamaica, swim in the sea and write books.”

He did just that. Fleming, then 38, bought a piece of land for 2000 pounds, had a house built and christened it “Goldeneye”, named after a war plan to defend Gibraltar against the Germans. In 1953, the first Bond book, “Casino Royale”, was published and the legend was born.

A martini with a view of the sea

Today “GoldenEye”, now with a capital “E” and again located about 20 minutes east of Laughing Waters, is probably the most exclusive hotel complex in Jamaica. From the land, the resort initially appears unpretentious, but then opens spectacularly to the sea and a nearby lagoon via gravel paths and wooden stairs. Villas, cottages, huts are spread out in the tropical forest, plus four bars and restaurants.

Sting wrote the song “Every Breath You Take”, Bond actor Pierce Brosnan planted a mango tree, his colleague Harrison Ford a lime. Bill and Hillary Clinton were also there. Ian Fleming’s original house can also be rented, but only with the surrounding building and his own butler, cook, gardener and maid; you have to invest a little over $ 10,000 a night.

Jamaica: It is said that Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming invented the martini shaken on ice on the terrace of the “Jamaica Inn”

It is said that Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming invented the martini shaken on ice on the terrace of the “Jamaica Inn”

Credit: pa / Sergio Pitamitz / robertharding

If that’s not enough for you, you can duck around the corner for the evening aperitif at the “Jamaica Inn”, another painterly antiquated institution from the post-war period. Winston Churchill stayed here several times, and legend has it that the British Prime Minister, along with Ian Fleming, invented the Martini shaken on ice on the terrace of the “Inn” because it was simply too hot for the normal, uncooled version.

Now, as mentioned, the truth of the 007 legends is difficult to assess. Teddy, the bartender, has been working here for 61 years, but he must have just missed the historic moment. Without a doubt, however, the Inn has the most beautiful bar in Jamaica, and a martini in the sunset with a view of the sea is always a dream, regardless of the form of presentation.

Jamaica produces up to 50 million liters of rum a year

Another artifact from the past is the “Great Houses”, the huge properties of the sugar growers, scattered across the island. Many of them can be visited, for example Rose Hall at Montego Bay, where an artificial cemetery was created for the filming of “Live and Let Die”. A visit to these historic houses is best combined with an approach to another Jamaican specialty: rum.

The island produces up to 50 million liters a year, and in addition to Captain Morgan there are a number of others, such as Appleton, Long Pond or Port Morant. The Hampden Estate near Trelawny provides a particularly idyllic view.

Those who have tortured themselves on gravel roads for half an hour at walking pace will be rewarded with an enchanted ambience, 30 free-running peacocks and a lecture which, in addition to the details of molasses fermentation, includes the history of the still since 1753, slavery and pirates.

By the way, you can see more about rum lover Henry Morgan on the south side of Jamaica. Here lies the capital Kingston, a pavement that can only be used with caution, and Port Royal, the old port of the pirates. Captain Morgan rests there – theoretically, because after an earthquake in 1692, parts of Port Royal together with the cemetery sank into the sea. Today only divers visit the dead city, but the history of the pirates lives on in the museums of Kingston.

James Bond is part of a lost era

Bond was of course also here: Sean Connery comes to Norman Manley Airport in “Dr. No ”, the King’s House served as a fictional seat of government, he lived in the“ Grand Port Royal Hotel ”. In Kingston you can also see what Bond is – and to some extent it was already in Ian Fleming’s time: an echo of a lost era.

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Daniel Craig in the © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer new movie: No Time to Die (2020). / James Bond 007: No time to die / action press

There is little left of the colonial glamor and the excessive life of its upper class, in parts of the city the state of emergency applies due to out-of-control crime.

Nostalgia for Britain’s lost empire lived all his life in Fleming, Bond lived in this world, but in the end, reality caught up with him. When 007 leaves Jamaica in the last novel “The Man with the Golden Gun”, written in 1964, he thinks about his adventures on the island, about the women, the drinks, the incredible privileges, and he knows that none of them will come back.

“You had to forget the bad and remember the good,” wrote Ian Fleming. “James Bond smiled to himself as the dusty images flitted through his mind.”

Jamaica in the Caribbean

Source: WORLD infographic

Tips and information

Getting there: Jamaica has two major international airports, Kingston in the south and Montego Bay in the north. The latter is served non-stop by Condor, otherwise there are various connecting flights. A six-month passport is sufficient for German tourists to enter the country.

Accommodation: For Bond fans we recommend “Half Moon” (double rooms from 275 euros / night,, of course “GoldenEye” (from 650 euros, or “Geejam”, where Daniel Craig lived while filming “No Time to Die” (from 520 euros, The “Couples Sans Soucis” from “Live and Let Die” rents Bond’s room as “Roger Moore Suite D-20” (from $ 500,

Highlights for 007 fans: The compulsory program includes “Half Moon” (see above), the Laughing Waters beach and of course Fleming’s old villa in the “GoldenEye” resort. The Green Grotto Caves served as Dr.Kananga’s underground hiding place in “Live and Let Die,” and on San San Beach in the far east, the film team built Bond’s secluded beach house for “No Time to Die”. There are fabulous martinis at the Jamaica Inn. Every good taxi driver drives to all places.

Safety: Same-sex acts are punishable in Jamaica, the Federal Foreign Office warns. Much of the population is hostile to homosexuals. Violent attacks are not uncommon.

Further information:

Participation in the trip was supported by the Jamaica Tourism Board. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.



Palma de Mallorca is fighting to preserve its old businesses

WIf you need an umbrella in Mallorca, go to the Segura family shop in Palma. Since 1910, when there was still no sign of hotel castles on the beach, “Paraguas” has been offering umbrella and pocket umbrellas for women, men and children. Hundreds stand on the wall shelves like a flock of colorful waders, wrapped in transparent film.

“In the past, all umbrellas were still made on the spot,” says Maribel Moyá, who is the fourth generation to run the shop on Jaume II street, “but that has been over since the 1970s.” The watches are also on the holiday island did not stop. The majority of the umbrellas are imported from China today, says the boss. However, she continues to sell Mallorcan workmanship.

If you don’t need an umbrella, after all, the sun is almost always shining on Mallorca, you can buy fans from “Paraguas”. The Segura family keeps their range regardless of the weather. There are castanets too. And shoehorns. And walking sticks with a skull, a duck or a golf ball as a pommel.

Fear of traditional shops in Palma

So special is the range of goods, so unusual is the business. It is wonderfully old-fashioned and is therefore all the more striking in Palma. Because the capital of the Balearic Islands has long been a modern shopping metropolis, like the big cities on the mainland. Already in the 1930s, the center was embellished with arcades and promenades based on the Italian model in order to give it a cosmopolitan character.

In the past few years, large luxury brands with impressive shops for wealthy customers have settled on the boulevard Born near the cathedral. In the old town between the town hall and Plaça d’Espanya there are more and more faceless branches of international chains with their globally identical offerings, whether fashion, jewelry, decorative items, coffee or snacks.

On the island, not a few fear that Palma, despite its characteristic upper and lower town, the old town streets and art nouveau facades, could become the backdrop for a uniform shopping experience worldwide. That is why the city council has launched a program to protect traditional businesses.

Locally significant companies that are at least 75 years old, so-called “establecimientos emblemáticos”, can apply for inclusion in a directory and funding. For example, money for conversions, for advertising or for the modern conversion from plastic to paper bags.

90 shops have now applied and can now hang a corresponding certificate in the shop. Umbrella and fan specialist “Paraguas” is one of them. Similar programs were developed in Barcelona and Seville.

Compartments for men are smaller

Meanwhile, Maribel Moyá has spread out a selection of subjects on the shop counter. Who would have thought there were so many different ones? Made of paper, cotton and silk. With handles made of rosewood, ebony, pear wood or even (recycled) ivory.

As with the umbrellas, there are compartments for women, men and children. For men, they are smaller and kept in dark colors. The children’s subjects are even smaller, but colorful. The prices range from six to three thousand euros.

Palma de Mallorca: “Paraguas” has been selling fans and umbrellas since 1910

Paraguas has been selling fans and umbrellas since 1910

Source: Frank Rumpf

Moyá explains that the compartments for men are smaller because they should fit in the jacket’s breast pocket. Women put them in their handbags and could therefore carry larger models with them.

For individual cooling during the opera in the Teatre Principal, the baroque city theater, for which you still dress up when you attend a performance. Or for an aperitif on Born Boulevard.

Little has changed at the wicker merchant

Just a few steps away from the umbrella dealer is the “Mimbrería Vidal” in a side street behind the splendid art nouveau building Can Forteza Rey. The wicker shop also belongs to the Club of Protectables. Opened in 1925 and in the hands of the same family since 1955, it has not changed much for decades.

Baskets here, baskets there. They stand on high shelves, hang from the ceiling and tower around the customer. You have to carefully make your way through the pockets, braided chests, trays and boxes. Don’t knock anything over! There are also straw hats, perfect for a day at the beach.

Palma de Mallorca: The wicker merchants Tomas and José Vidal in their “Mimbrería” from 1925

The wicker merchants Tomas and José Vidal in their “Mimbrería” from 1925

Source: Frank Rumpf

Behind the counter are Tomas Vidal from the current generation of owners and his father José. Two friendly, reserved men. Here, the customer is not tapped on the shoulder and a glass of Prosecco is served. Tomas and José speak Mallorcan and Spanish. German rather not, English also not so much.

This is unusual in Palma today. But it can also be done without foreign languages, they say. Even now that the city’s program would bring more tourists to the store that only Palmesanos used to know. Any business could still be done with pointing, interpreting and smiling.

Hotel prices do not correspond to the reputation of Mallorca

In contrast to the “Mimbrería”, the environment around the shop has changed. For a long time, this part of the old town suffered from petty crime and prostitution. The houses and streets were poorly maintained. The city administration has built modern social housing and rebuilt squares that open and liven up the district.

What was once gray and dark now shines in light sand colors, with lots of green in between and restored facades. Evidence of the improvement is the half-dozen boutique hotels that have moved into the old patrician houses and now offer renovated guest rooms and spectacular roof terraces in the middle of the city.

The “Fornet de la Soca” bakery, which opened in the “Forn des Teatre”, is also on the list of protected shops

Credit: Getty Images / David C Tomlinson

One of the first was the “Sant Francesc Hotel Singular”, located directly on the basilica after which it is named. The 19th-century house with two courtyards belonged to a family that had once made money from plantations. In the high season, however, the prices of the city hotels do not correspond to Mallorca’s reputation as a cheap family destination, but can rather be compared to Hamburg or Munich.

The development of the quarter is positive for Tomas Vidal. The number of customers has increased. In his view, it would be even bigger if the business were just one street west.

There runs the Sindicat, next to Sant Miquel, Jaume III and Jaume II one of the four major shopping streets in Palma, with visitors all year round. Right next door, in the Carrer de la Corderia and the Carrer dels Hostals – the “Mimbrería” has entrances to both streets – on the other hand, despite the renovation measures, there is not a lot of walk-in customers.

The gastronomy relies on regional products

The list of shops worth preserving also includes restaurants. A lot, actually. The oldest of all Palmesan cafés at 320 years old, “Ca’n Joan de s’Aigo”, now has three branches in the old town.

“C’an Joan” owes its fame, which has brought it to almost every travel guide about Palma, its drinking chocolate and the Ensaïmadas, a traditional sweets made from fermented dough, baked in the oven. The almond ice cream is also recommended, it was already on the menu before the drinking chocolate. Already in the 19th century it was made from snow that was brought down from the Tramuntana Mountains into the city.

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Hiking on the Königsweg

“La Pajarita” by Javier Mulet Sans and his brother José Lorenzo has had a double identity for several decades. The “Charcutería” offers savory, the “Bombonería”, one door further, sweets. The ancestors began in 1872 as a dealer in fine colonial goods.

Today, the focus is no longer on exotic and rare things from afar, but on high-quality products from home: sausage, cheese, olives, wines from the island. Some bottles are available from 6.50 euros, others cost twenty or thirty euros. “Too much for the thrifty Mallorcans,” says Javier Mulet Sans.

He therefore hopes for tourists who do not calculate so tightly when they treat themselves to a wine from their favorite island. But it is not just the economy that restrains Mallorcans from shopping, says Mulet Sans. Drinking a glass of good wine with friends is still a young habit on Mallorca. It’s better to go for beer, brandy, herbal liqueur or, in summer, red wine with soda.

Dealers adapt to customers’ tastes

The 90 shops worth protecting include screen makers, basket weavers, haberdashery and hardware stores, paper shops, even a specialist in tights, bakeries, pastry shops, butchers, cafes and pubs such as the famous “Bar Bosch” on Born. Preserving the legacy is certainly a good project.

Palma de Mallorca: Cafés and pubs like the famous “Bar Bosch” on the Born are also under special protection

Cafes and pubs such as the famous “Bar Bosch” on the Born are also under special protection

Source: pa / Markus C. Hurek

Another question is whether inclusion in a catalog and funding will ensure survival. “We are delighted to be valued,” says Javier Mulet Sans. “But we dealers in Palma were always very flexible.” If customers’ tastes change, try to adapt. That is what matters.

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This is exactly how it is seen in the confectionery “Forn Fondo” on Union-Straße, a fixed star in the best location in the capital since 1911. The fourth generation is managed by the Llull family – a name that could not be more typical of Mallorca. Here too there are the typical Ensaïmadas. If you step into the small side street around the corner of the house, you can see how they are prepared in the bakery.

A popular snack of the house are the cocas, small rectangular Mallorcan pizzas, topped with potatoes, pumpkin, onions or the sausage paprika Sobrasada de Mallorca – and are now also available from wholemeal flour. You just adapt to the zeitgeist.

Also with the sweets for which “Forn Fondo” is famous. In the past, it was based solely on the change of the seasons, but now also on the latest film fashion. And so you can even find glasses, one-eyed minions made of chocolate and marzipan in the range. In terms of taste, the new-fashioned fantasy figures can keep up with the classic tartlets and chocolates.

Bloody spectacle makes a comeback

A bloody event is making its comeback just a few kilometers from Mallorca’s party mile. Bulls can be killed again for the first time since 2017. Apparently, the return of the gruesome spectacle is very popular.

Tips and information

Getting there: Mallorca is approached from every major German airport, flight time about two to two and a half hours.

Accommodation: “Sant Francesc Hotel Singular” double room from 180 euros (

“Protur Naisa Palma” is the first city hotel of the Mallorcan holiday hotel chain, double rooms from 115 euros (

Traditional shops: Most of the shops in Palma have siesta at lunchtime. You should therefore go for a stroll before 1.30 p.m. or after 4.30 p.m.

“Paraguas”, Carrer de Jaume II 22, closed so; “Mimbrería Vidal”, Carrer de la Corderia 13, Sat and Sun closed (;

“La Pajarita”, Carrer de Sant Nicolau 2, So closed (;

“Ca’n Joan de s’Aigo”, Carrer de Can Sanç 10, open daily (;

“Forn Fondo”, Carrer de la Unión 15, open all day (;

“Bar Bosch”, Plaça Rei Joan Carles I 6, open all day

A full list of the names of the protected stores can be found on the website PalmaActiva,

Eat: For the invigorating break while shopping in Palma: “La Rosa Vermutería” with the typical sandwiches called “Llonguets”, plus tapas, tortillas and a large selection of wormwood, Carrer de la Rosa 5 (

The “Aromata” by star chef Andreu Genestra, Carrer de la Concepció 12, is high-class, and there is an inexpensive lunch menu from Tuesday to Friday (

Further information:

Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Source: WORLD infographic

Participation in the trip was supported by the Palma Tourist Office and “Sant Francesc Hotel Singular”. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at,

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.

WELT AM SONNTAG from March 1st, 2020

Source: ZGB


Reunion Island: Hiking over volcanoes on France’s island of fire

JEvery step needs to be considered. Sometimes the hiking shoes threaten to slip on wet basalt rock, which is wrinkled like elephant skin. Sometimes razor-sharp stone peaks protrude from the ground, lava formations cooled one of the five eruptions last year. The strenuous route leads to the 2631-meter-high Piton de la Fournaise, the mostly dormant but always active volcano on the island of Reunion, the French overseas department in the Indian Ocean.

Apart from Hawaii, there is no place on earth where you can get as close to the archaic volcanic element as in Reunion, where you can learn so much about the geological phases of the earth’s history. Every few months the mountain boils, what the locals call “Volcan i pèt” in Creole: the volcano farts.

Many tourists then come especially to see the spectacular eruptions with fire fountains shooting up into the sky. The last eruption occurred on February 10th. Now he’s calm again.

Ascent to the crater rim of the volcano

But the volcano is also a tourist magnet when the Piton de la Fournaise is taking a nap. Then you can reach the crater rim. For the tour there and back, you should allow at least four hours and leave early in the morning, as treacherous trade wind clouds can gather at noon.

The start is at the Pas de Bellecombe viewpoint. From there, the trail first leads through the moon-like, shadowless caldera of the Enclos Fouqué, then past the secondary crater Formica Léo, which was created in 1753, and finally uphill to the main crater.

Reunion Island (France)

Source: WORLD infographic

Julie Férard was born in Brittany and grew up in Reunion. As a qualified mountain guide, she ensures that hikers reach their destination safely.

“It’s not the volcano itself that poses a danger, but the carelessness of many visitors,” says the wiry mid-thirties. She has already met tourists who went to the Piton de la Fournaise like “on a Sunday walk in flip-flops and muscle shirts, without a rain jacket, drinking water and sun protection – total recklessness!”

Tropical showers catch hikers on Reunion Island

Then she becomes energetic. “We have to hurry now. No more time for selfie breaks, ”says Julie, as the group she leads climbs up the flank, which is swept away by all vegetation, to the Dolomieu, the largest crater. Clouds creep up from the sea, which will drape the debris landscape into thick fog.

Once at the top of the demolition edge, you still have a clear view of the gigantic gorge that was formed during the 2007 eruption when the volcanic tip collapsed and tore a hole that is so deep that the Eiffel Tower could stand upright in it.

Reunion Island (France): The 2631-meter-high Piton de la Fournaise spews lava from time to time

The 2631 meter high Piton de la Fournaise spews lava from time to time

Credit: Getty Images / Westend61

But on the way back, the fog catches up with the hikers, who are now guided by the white markings brushed on the ground. It thunders and flashes. Tropical showers of waterfall strength rush down.

“Grand-Mère Kal is at work there,” jokes Julie. “A weather witch who lives in the mountains and has hellish respect for it on the island.” Soaking wet, you arrive at the starting point and are happy not to have to get to know the witch grandma any more.

Black sand beaches and lush vegetation

In the Cité du Volcan, a museum in Bourg-Murat created by the volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, multimedia stations, 3-D projections and rock samples explain the origin and activity of the rumbling fire spouts. It is learned that the Piton de la Fournaise is related to the Hawaiian volcanoes and is actually a youth, since it only puffed up about 500,000 years ago.

In contrast to his explosive colleagues, he has rather little potential for destruction with his temporary burps. With his older brother, the now sleeping Piton des Neiges, he once shaped the whole island.

The famous cirques, the three enormous basins of Cilaos, Mafate and Salazie, emerged from collapsed magma chambers. Volcanic origins are beaches with pitch black sand and high basalt blocks. The island owes its lavish splendor to the fertile volcanic soil with orchid carpets, fiery red bird of paradise flowers, wild papayas and the coveted bourbon vanilla beans.

Shortly before the church, the lava suddenly divides

The Grand Brûlé area, characterized by charred tree skeletons and the smell of sulfur, spreads out on the east coast, a slope open to the ocean, in which the lava flows of the Piton de la Fournaise pour into the sea at high speed like a ski jump. Since the area is uninhabited, only a few people have been harmed.

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It only got hot in 1977 when the lava flowed towards the church of Sainte-Rose, but then miraculously parted just outside the front door and flowed past the church. Today the church, around which the solidified lava has been left as a reminder of the dramatic natural event, is a popular sight.

Reunion Island (France): In 1977, the Sainte-Rose church resisted a volcanic eruption - the lava flowed around it

In 1977 the church of Sainte-Rose resisted a volcanic eruption – the lava flowed around it

Source: Getty Images

Perhaps the Vierge au Parasol, Our Lady with the blue parasol, had protected the church. In any case, the Madonna stands like a one in the sanctuary and is worshiped as the patron saint of volcanic devastation.

With a helmet and headlamp it goes into the caves

A labyrinth of lava tunnels has formed beneath the eruption columns on Grand Brûlé. “The grottos and passages emerge when the upper layer of lava flows cools and solidifies while the magma continues and digs a tube,” says Émeric Beaucheron, one of the few trained speleologists who is allowed to pass through the intestines of the volcano. Beaucheron provides helmets, headlamps, arm and knee pads for scrambling around and leather aprons to protect clothing.

Reunion Island: At the foot of the volcano, cooled lava has created a labyrinth of tunnels that can be walked on

At the foot of the Feuerberg, cooled lava has created a walkable tunnel labyrinth

Credit: Mazodier / Le Figaro Magazine / laif

Some feel a little queasy when Beaucheron points to a hole the size of a barrel, which he calls the entrance to the tunnel. “I hope nobody is claustrophobic,” he says when he shows how to slip through the narrow funnel into the underworld of the island.

The darkness and the sauna heat are getting used to. Then a world of magical charm appears in the funky light of the lamps, like stalactites made of solidified lava, artistically shaped, dark as dark chocolate. They look fragile like crystal, although they will last for millions of years.

Reunion Island: Sometimes the lava flows over streets, which attracts onlookers

Sometimes the lava flows over streets, which attracts onlookers

Credit: picture-alliance / dpa / dpaweb

Beaucheron points to formations that the speleologists named for names and sharks such as shark head, trumpet or royal crown for orientation and mapping. “New tunnels are created with every eruption. Some are even so big that concerts with Maloya music, the blues of the slaves, take place there. ”

Cilaos is the only spa on the island

Cilaos owes its reputation as the only spa town on the island to volcanic activity. The sleepy Piton des Neiges rises above the mountain town, known for its wines and lentils. The “Schneeberg” gets its name from the hoarfrost, which sometimes covers its 3071 meter high peak, the highest elevation of the Indian Ocean.

Although the volcano has died out, its intestines still store hot, mineral-rich and health-promoting water. It supplies the thermal baths of Cilaos that offer baths and massages.

Reunion Island: In the spa town of Cilaos there are not only thermal baths but also colonial architecture

In the spa town of Cilaos there are not only thermal baths but also colonial architecture

Source: pa / dpa / Lars Halbauer

It is only since 1932 that a road with adventurous turns winds up from the coast to Cilaos. Before that, those seeking relaxation, above all rich coffee and sugar cane barons, were brought to cure in sedan chairs along a stony path.

The trip lasted almost a whole day and several porters took turns. During the breaks they took plenty Rhum arrangé, strong rum pot, to yourself. Apparently that didn’t harm their health because one of the last active carriers, François Séry, turned 102.

The hike up the Piton des Neiges

Cilaos is the base station for the ascent to the highest ridge of the Piton des Neiges, which is best planned as a two-day hike because of its challenge. On the first day you climb up to the Caverne Dufour mountain hut for around four hours.

The first meters in altitude lead through sultry, jungle-like tropical forest, in which beard lichen makes the tamarind trees appear like ghosts. Here you would not be surprised if a dinosaur was staring around the corner. But instead of primeval monsters, only small chameleons scurry from tree root to tree root and colorful Tec-tec birds buzz around the gaudy blossoms of ginger and coral hibiscus.

Reunion Island: The ascent to the highest ridge of the Piton des Neiges is strenuous but well worth it

The ascent to the highest ridge of the Piton des Neiges is strenuous but well worth it

Credit: Getty Images / Yoann JEZEQUEL Photography

You can feel all the leg muscles when the mountain hut is reached shortly before sunset. The steaming pots of dinner will soon be on the table in the common room: the national dish Cari chicken, a chicken ragout with rice, served with rougail, hellishly spicy tomato salad with chilli.

At 8:00 p.m. everyone is in the bunk beds. The night is short, which is not just because of the snoring sonatas, but because you should start the summit very early if you want to admire the sunrise.

The majestic silhouette of the Piton de la Fournaise

Most leave the hut at three in the morning. Even with a full moon, the headlamps must illuminate the winding slope through the volcanic rubble fields.

Once at the top, you can see the sun slowly breaking through the clouds. Like white flying carpets, a few wafts of fog float through the rugged depressions before the shadows of the night are gone and the stones glow orange.

It is a terrific spectacle – and you can see almost the entire island, the size of the Saarland. You can see the coastal towns of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Benoît, the primary forest of Bébour-Bélouve with its tree ferns and the Plaine des Cafres, into which slaves once fled from their herders.

And behind the Sahara-like Plaine des Sables, covered with reddish-brown slag, the silhouette of the Piton de la Fournaise rises majestically. From a distance, the volcano, with its flattened shell, resembles a huge, decaying turtle. But the peaceful impression is deceptive. The next outbreak is sure to come.

When the whale washes the whale watcher

Who wouldn’t want to dive with a sea colossus? But conservation organizations warn that splashing around can have unpleasant consequences not only for swimmers.

Source: WELT / Lukas Axiopoulos

Tips and information:

Getting there: Air Austral, Air France and Corsair offer direct flight connections from Paris. Codeshare flights are possible from German airports; Flight time from Paris about eleven hours.

Volcano Tourism: The Piton de la Fournaise erupts on average every nine months. Then the lava zone is closed and you can watch the fire spectacle from safe vantage points. The volcanic observatory provides information on the current situation ( Volcanoes from above: Helicopter companies Corail Hélicoptères offer scenic flights ( and Helilagon ( as well as the ultralight aircraft operator Air Aventures ( Hikes: Individual tours, also with German-speaking mountain guides, are organized by the Bureau Montagne Réunion ( Package trekking offers have, for example, Hauser excursions ( or Viking trips ( in program.

Accommodation: The “Palm Hôtel & Spa” is located above the dream beach of Grande Anse, organizes lava tunnel explorations and panoramic flights, double rooms with breakfast from 290 euros ( “Ferme du Pommeau” on the route to the Piton de la Fournaise, good Creole cuisine, double room with breakfast from 100 euros ( A good starting point for the ascent to Piton des Neiges is the colonial-style “Tsilaosa in Cilaos”, double room with breakfast from 129 euros (

Further information:

Record holder in fire breathing:

Iceland: More than 30 active volcanoes characterize the “land of fire and ice”, which is also the largest volcanic island in the world. Since pictures of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 went around the world, volcanic tourism has been booming more than ever.

The thermal bath “Blue Lagoon” on Iceland

The thermal bath “Blue Lagoon” on Iceland

Source: AFP via Getty Images

Sightseeing tours on the Reykjanes peninsula with its volcanoes, lava fields and bizarre formations are a classic. Here is also the “Blue Lagoon”, the most famous of the approximately 100 public spa thermal baths in the country, which has always used the natural thermal power of its geothermal forces for wellness.

Also exciting are jeep tours to the craters in the north with cave hikes and sightseeing flights over the Grímsvötn crater in the south (

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Italy’s Stromboli: Europe’s most active volcano on the island of the same name erupts reliably every few minutes – a spectacular beacon in the Mediterranean. On a guided hike, the Feuerberg can be climbed in three hours.

The ascent is currently restricted for safety reasons, but you can experience the natural wonder without storming the summit: the eruptions are mostly visible from afar, for example from the “Osservatorio” restaurant or on a night boat trip to the Sciara del Fuoco (fire slide).

Also worth seeing is the picturesque island main town with its square houses, the setting for the classic “Stromboli” by Roberto Rossellini with Ingrid Bergman from 1949 (

Hawaii / Big Island in the USA: The main island of the archipelago offers palm beaches, rainforests and exciting, highly active volcanic landscapes. On hikes, tours or helicopter flights in the Volcanoes National Park, depending on the current situation, you can experience the spectacle of glowing, flowing lava at Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, which hisses rolling into the Pacific.

The 17-kilometer ring road Crater Rim Drive leads to the most important attractions, including bizarre formations and large fields of partially cooled lava, the smoking Halemaumau crater, the “Volcano House”, from where Mark Twain already looked at the crater, and the chain of Craters Road, a road that was conquered by a lava flow and became a dead end. Since a violent outbreak in 2018, parts of the route and some sights are not yet accessible again, the National Park site ( informs about reopening.

Half of Big Island consists of the record-breaking Mauna Loa (Long Mountain). This massively largest active volcano in the world is almost 4200 meters high, from its foot on the seabed it even surpasses Mount Everest with almost 10,000 meters ( MGR

Participation in the trip was supported by the Reunion Island Tourism Board. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at,

Scientists are puzzling over 36,000 small fur seals

Two years after the last major eruption, which also affected international aviation over the Bering Sea, outbreak channels on the island of Bogoslof spew mud, steam and sulfur gases. The fur seals obviously don’t care.

Source: WELT / Nicole Fuchs-Wiecha

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from February 23, 2020



Islands near Venice: holidaymakers swarm, the inhabitants flee

Domenico Rossi lives on the picturesque island of Burano in the northern lagoon of Venice. The captivating charm of this place is deeply rooted in fishing – from the colorful fishermen’s houses to the traditional butter biscuits as provisions for the fishermen to the fine lace embroidery of their women.

Rossi himself is a crab fisherman – a family tradition that goes back to the proud days of the Venetian Republic. But a lot has changed in the recent past.

When Domenico Rossi, 49 years old, was a boy, 100 crab fishermen were still romping in the local waters. Now there are only 20 left and he is the youngest of them. So Rossi assumes that in a few decades no one will pursue this business.

Venice is becoming a kind of museum

The slow extinction of the traditional profession is part of a trend. Burano’s population is shrinking – similar to that of Venice, which is 40 minutes away by boat. And with that, the number of inhabitants who have kept the traditions and the economy of the island alive with their handicrafts is disappearing.

This is what brought Venezia Nativa, an association of entrepreneurs on Burano and two neighboring islands, to life. It tries to breathe new life into old handicrafts in order to attract new residents and encourage young islanders to stay. At the same time, it promotes sustainable tourism.

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Venice has long warned that it is in the process of being reduced to a kind of museum, a place that attracts crowds of tourists but where fewer and fewer people live. The number of residents who live permanently in the historic center with St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal has dropped to 53,000 – by a third within a single generation.

Every year, about 1,000 residents move to the mainland districts, where it is cheaper and easier to live. This changes the social fabric of the city, there are fewer neighborhood shops with local products and fewer public services.

Burano is said to become a tourist attraction

The effects of the population decline are even more visible on Burano and its two neighboring islands, Mazzorbo and Torcello. The population is currently around 2,700, and is decreasing by 60 people each year. 40 years ago there were two primary schools with about 120 children in each year, now there are only up to twelve each.

In the Venice lagoon: there are currently around 2,700 people living in Burano - but the number is decreasing

There are currently about 2,700 people living in Burano – but fewer are

Source: AP

Around 30 business owners on the islands are now betting on a revival of local trade and tourism that is steeped in old traditions. While Venice suffers from the burden of around 30 million visitors a year, only 1.5 million of them travel to Burano.

“We want to make these three islands in the northern lagoon a tourist attraction independent of Venice,” said Roberto Pugliese, Vice President of Venezia Nativa. This includes an offer that includes activities such as fishing or boat trips.

Venice lagoon: The Byzantine church of Santa Fosca on Torcello was built in the eleventh century

The Byzantine church of Santa Fosca on Torcello was built in the eleventh century

Credit: Getty Images / Maremagnum

The attraction of a peaceful life in the lagoon away from the places that have been attracting tourists so far should also be advertised. They include shops with lace embroidery, the Instagram-compatible backdrop of colorfully painted houses and the Byzantine cathedral on Torcello.

Islands reflect on their tradition

On the island of Mazzorbo, a winegrower from the Prosecco region north of Venice has reopened a long-standing vineyard – including a restaurant and hotel. Most of the 30 employees live on the islands.

Manufacturers of traditional Burano lace also want to breathe new life into their sector, mostly by focusing more on fashion items or art instead of decorative goods such as tablecloths or wall hangings as in the past.

Venice lagoon: fewer and fewer women in Burano still master traditional lace embroidery today

Fewer and fewer women in Burano still master traditional lace embroidery today

Source: AP / Luca Bruno

Yuka Miyagishima is a Japanese textile manufacturer. She is currently spending three months in a top embroidery shop in Burano to learn the handicrafts that are now only practiced by up to 100 women – most of them at an advanced age. However, Miyagishima does not want to stay on the island, but want to return home and practice the tradition there.

The fact that it is difficult to get people to move to Burano has a lot to do with the housing supply. Approximately 80 percent of the homes are picturesque fishermen’s houses that are admired by tourists for their bright colors, but are less popular with residents.

Venice Lagoon: The colored houses on Burano make good photo opportunities, but their residents live in a very small space

The colored houses on Burano make good photo opportunities, but their residents live in a confined space

Credit: Getty Images / Manuel ROMARIS

There are strict regulations regarding the extent to which the two-story buildings can be renovated. And it’s really just a house: each floor is just 20 square meters. So many of the buildings are for sale.

In the future, it should also be possible to combine neighboring houses into a single residence. That would be better for families. However, it remains to be seen whether this will encourage young residents to stay.

Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits. The biscuits are traditionally ring-shaped – so fishermen could hang them on their boat masts and nibble on them during long stays on the water.

Venice lagoon: Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits

Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits

Source: AP / Luca Bruno

Mohn’s daughter studies in Milan and wants to become a veterinarian. Her mother grants her that, but she hopes that one day her offspring will live on the island again. “When I hear about a young couple coming back, I’m happy,” she says. “And when I see blue or pink ribbons on Burano that herald a birth, it gives me the feeling that yes, we can repopulate the island!”

Coffee making at the Rialto Bridge – 950 euros fine

If you want to enjoy the view of the Rialto Bridge and prepare a coffee with your stove, you have to expect a hefty fine. But it is not only in Venice that fines are high.


Faroe Islands: “Why a raincoat? He has a car! “

The Faroe Islands

BThe Faroe Islands are 18 islands in the North Atlantic between the British Isles and Iceland. They originated from volcanoes that have long since gone out. The Faroe Islands are part of the Danish crown, but have been autonomous since 1948, largely independent and – unlike the Danish mainland – not part of the European Union.

The capital Tórshavn is clear with 12,500 inhabitants, with a total of 51,000 souls the island nation is one of the smallest in Europe. The Faroe Islands – also known as the Faroese – deliberately do not consider themselves as Danes, but as descendants of the Vikings who settled the islands at the beginning of the 9th century. They speak their own language with the Faroese.

Due to the northern location, trees do not occur in the nature of the Faroe Islands, and there are only a few mammals: gray seals and pilot whales; the many sheep were settled by humans centuries ago.

The most important economic sector is fishing, but tourism plays an increasingly important role – in the meantime, the islands are often visited on North Atlantic cruises, for example. And there is even a regular ferry connection: from the Danish port of Hirtshals to Tórshavn and from there to Iceland.

Faroe Islands (Denmark)

Source: Infographic The World

The quote

“What does he need a raincoat for? He has a car! “

The saying goes for the eye-catching love of the Faroese people: statistically, every island household has a car. In Autonation Germany, on the other hand, around 14 percent of households are car-free.

The high density of cars in the Faroe Islands does not have to do with poorly developed public transport, an astonishing number of ferries and buses operate, but above all with the climate. This is characterized by sudden changes in weather and abundant rainfall.

In the capital Tórshavn alone, there are 209 rainy days a year (for comparison: Berlin has an average of 99 rainy days) – a car protects better than rain from rain.

Cars in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands

Source: pa / Blickwinkel / S. Ziese

The happiness of the Faroese

Despite the often rainy weather, the Faroans are among the most satisfied peoples on earth. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that the islands have the lowest divorce and suicide rates in the Nordic countries. And the crime rate is so low that there is not a single prison for serious criminals – they are transferred to Denmark.

The islanders (and of course all the tourists on the islands) are also lucky due to a merciful mood of nature: no blood-sucking mosquitoes buzz around in the Faroe Islands, but at most a few harmless, orange-brown flies that like to mate on sheepskins.

No mosquitos

Source: Infographic The World

This cliff is a record in Europe

It rises 754 meters above sea level. Cape Enniberg on the island of Vidoy is the highest vertical cliff in Europe, the northernmost point of the islands – and one of the most important sights in the Faroe Islands. From the land side, the cape is difficult to access due to its impassability, the frequent, unexpected fog can make it even more difficult to climb.

The cliff has always been a breeding ground for one of the largest bird colonies on the islands and has long served as a hunting ground: the islanders caught puffins and petrels and collected eggs that ended up in the pots.

The islands of Vidoy with the Enniberg and the village of Kunoy, Faroe Islands, Denmark

Credit: picture alliance / imageBROKER

The ponies are in danger of extinction

Small, frugal and tough: the Faroe pony is perfectly adapted to the rough nature of the islands. It came to the Faroe Islands with Irish monks, probably in the 7th century, and served them as a riding and transport animal. The Vikings, who followed the Irish two centuries later, also appreciated the services of the miniature horse.

In 2004 it was determined by DNA analysis that the ponies were actually a breed of their own, which, however, was in acute danger of disappearing. Currently there is only a higher double-digit number of Faroe Islands ponies.

Faroe Pony

Credit: 500px / Getty Images

The sheep with the special wool

During the Viking Age, wool was an important export product for the islands. The Faroe Islands owe their name to the wool suppliers – in their Old Norse language it means something like “sheep islands”.

The wool from the Faroe Islands is particularly water-repellent due to its high proportion of lanolin – this wool wax keeps the sheep skin dry in all weathers. Wool has lost its importance for trade since the 19th century, but knitwear is still produced today – especially the classics with the typical small-format cross pattern.

Faroe Islands: sweater with the typical small-format cross pattern

Source: Infographic The World

A bloody custom

670 pilot whales are killed on average in the Faroe Islands – an internationally criticized practice that is considered a national custom on the islands. The whale meat is distributed among the population, in larger places it is also available in supermarkets or restaurants. Whale bacon in particular is considered an island delicacy alongside sheep’s head.

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This waterfall “flows up”

A hobby filmmaker on the Faroe Islands has taken a spectacular shot. Because of strong winds, it looks like a waterfall is flowing back up instead of into the sea.

Whimsical, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional customer series here.

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from February 9, 2020