Weekend Wanderings: La Palma’s Salinas De Fuencaliente

The Fuencaliente (Hot Fountain) region in the South of La Palma has been getting a lot of attention lately due to increased volcanic activity. While the Canary Islands are a volcanic wonderland, not all volcanoes have gone sleepy. La Palma’s Teneguia last erupted in 1971 and a recent “seismic swarm” indicated that it’s far from being tame.

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View from Volcan San Antonio over La Palma’s volcanic landscape with Volcan Teneguia to the right and the Salinas de Fuencaliente in the distance

Can you imagine salt flats in the middle of these active volcano fields?

Neither could I.

Yet there they are. Las Salinas de Fuencaliente are some 35,000 square metres of salt flats and the salt produced here is sold throughout La Palma under the brand name Teneguia (like the volcano on the photo above).

It’s a scenic drive from the town of Fuencaliente down to these salt flats, but the Salinas themselves are a photographer’s dream. The black lava rocks, the white salt mounds and the blue water of the ocean form the most beautiful contrast — probably more so on a sunny day or during sunrise, which I sadly didn’t get to experience this time…

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The garden of salt

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The salt pans out of black rock attract heat, allowing the highest concentration that can be reached (360 gram per litre)

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White mound, black mound, white mound, black mound…

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Let’s not get distracted from the red soil!

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Winter in the Canary Islands does not look that different, does it?

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View towards the new and old lighthouse Faro de Fuencaliente

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It can get windy here

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Panoramic view from the restaurant terrace

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What’s New?

You might have noticed that I am blogging less often as I used to. It’s not that I have nothing to say or write about. And it’s definitely not that I don’t want to keep blogging. I do. Life is simply keeping me very busy these days.

But here are the good news: I keep on photographing. That’s why I recently updated most of my photo galleries on this site and you are welcome to have a look at what I’ve been up to in 2016 and at the beginning of this year.

I updated Landscapes, Weather, Nature, Animals, People and Urban to include photos from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

We are planning to travel quite a bit in 2017. New and old destinations are on our list and I promise that you will be able to read about our adventures over here 🌋🏕️🏖️🏜️🏙️

Weekend Wanderings: Coastal Walk In Biarritz, France

Biarritz, queen of beaches, beach of kings. I fell in love with this cute town on day 1 of my visit. I even remember exactly when it happened: at the very moment when I stepped out of one of the town’s narrow alleys, overlooking a long stretch of sandy beach from above with hundreds of surfers paddling their boards towards a magical sunset above the mountains of the Spanish Basque country in the background.

Here is what I enjoyed most while walking along the French Atlantic coast between Pointe Saint-Martin (Lighthouse) and the Plage de la Côte des Basques.

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Weekend Wanderings: Tulips Galore, Holland

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Flower carpets near Keukenhof, Holland

Each year, between March and May, the western coast of the Netherlands is like a bazaar for brightly coloured blossom carpets. Just admit it already; you simply want to sit down, stare, sniff or swim through this sea of spring, don’t you? I do!

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Solitude

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The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
~Ram Dass

Photo details (please click on the image for best quality):
Canon EOS 60D, 31mm, ISO 1000, F9, 1/640 sec.
Location: Lake Rotopounamu, Tongariro NP, New Zealand.

Please watch the video below if you are curious what you can actually hear in the forest surrounding this lake:

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Weekend Wanderings: Mont Saint Michel

When talking about Mont Saint Michel, we are talking about one of the most visited tourist attractions in France. The island commune with its strategic position just at the border of the Normandy and the Bretagne originally served as castle to defend Normans against Bretons, later on to defend the French against the English. Today, the abbey and medieval city of Mont Saint Michel are on the list of UNSECO world heritage.

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Visiting Mont Saint Michel with style! Since the parking places are a few kilometres away from the island, you can alternatively walk, bike or take a shuttle bus. A long bridge will lead you to the island, which is located just a few hundred metres off the French coast.

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A mass is held each day (except Monday) in the abbey of Mont Saint Michel, which crowns the islet and makes it twice as high. Due to its special location, history and look, Mont Saint Michel was inscribed into the UNESCO world heritage list in 1979.

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Mont St Michel is built on 3 levels due to the steep slope of the mount. In the Great Halls under the abbey, monks used to study and host members of the royal family. Did you know that there are still monks living in Mont Saint Michel?

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Mont Saint Michel’s main alley is a bustling tourist trap. Most products offered there can be found way cheaper in other Brittany towns, but of course you can’t say you bought them IN Mont Saint Michel. Originally, the series of stairways, alleyways, courtyards and paths were built due to the need to feed and house the pilgrims visiting the site since the middle age.

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The quicksand and tides surrounding Mont Saint Michel form a natural defence; the tides can reach speeds of 10 km/h and can rise and fall up to 13m (highest tide in Europe). During the low tide you can book a guided walk around Mont Saint Michel — I definitely need to come back for that!

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Dangerous Winter Wonderland

Before blogging about the first signs of spring I would like to share some winter photos with you that I took in Germany last year. They depict a weather phenomenon, which is both beautiful and dangerous at once.

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Frozen ski lift on the Fichtelberg, the highest peak of the German Erzgebirge

In December, Saxony’s low mountain range (Erzgebirge, East Germany) was wrapped into thick fog layers lasting for weeks. The high air humidity coming along with the fog covered the region’s trees with hoar frost, which built up to a 30 to 40 cm thick ice crust. Needless to say that trees snapped off like matches under the heavy weight.

To avoid accidents, local public services decided to impose a ban to enter the forest above 800 metres. Streets were blocked for days and ski lifts had to shut down when some tree branches threatened to fall on the ropes.

Once streets reopened, we wanted to have a closer look at this newly created winter wonderland and went on a day trip to the highest point of the German Erzgebirge, the Fichtelberg (1,215 m), which looked as stunning as I had never seen it before. Me and my camera(s) got all excited; I could have easily spent the day looking at the most bizarre ice formations, but the cold…the severe cold…

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