Hot weekend at Müritz See


Although hardly any weekend passed without a heavy rain, especially in the middle of Sunday, a couple of weeks ago, Berlin recorded one of the highest temperatures in the last 10 years, with around 38 C. In warmer part of the world, this can be only the beginning of a hot summer, but here eveything is more dramatic. For running away of the short-term heat, I decided to take a Berlin-Brandenburg ticket for 31 EUR – available for 5 persons – and head to Müritz Lake, that wanted to visit for a long time. The trains – going direction Rostock  – were full of people, with some wagons lacking air condition. After crossing an area with picturesque lakes, we arrived at Waren in the very middle of the day. Colourful buildings and old streets were looking empty under the hot sun. DSC00500Slowly slowly, I followed the arrows leading to the old city center. The big highway with comics-like graffiti was extending his shades over half of the road, that was also that empty that I was able to hear my fast steps crashing against the sand.DSC00505

Before entering the proper historical area, a first stop at the former border Güstrower Tower, a former gate into the city at the end of the 19th century. Although, there is a big selection of hotels in the entire area, those interested to get a local taste, can chose many private appartment offered to rent. DSC00508Heading alongside streets with small shops and fish restaurants, we made a stop at the famous natural museum of Müritzeum, featuring the rich natural landscape of the area, considered the largest water-covered region in Germany.DSC00513Accompanied by the deep screams of seagulls, we use the time before our boat trip to see more about the city. The waterfront bars are ready to welcome the guests, with chairs on sand, local fish dishes and many German beers. DSC00514Everything looks pretty and clean, with glamorous boats put on sale and tourists enjoying their outdoor lunches protected by the big umbrellas of the terraces. During the communist times, Waren used to be a favourite summer location of the Communist elites and the city always benefited of the financial attention of the authorities. Years later, it looks like a quiet Riviera place, where you chose to go because you just need to rest, eat and eventually take a big tour of the lakes.  DSC00526If curious enough, you can find mysterious places, with colourful flowers at the entrance, and upper level with a view over the sea.  DSC00530The historical center has many old buildings, including half-timbered houses. Historical city walkings are taking the visitors slowly around the most important buildings and their histories. DSC00533More history is ready to be discovered at the Waren Museum, with its lively coloured stained glass or at the historical Löwer Apotheke, where between 1 March and 3 October, guided tours are available between 11 and 13 o’clock.  DSC00542Instead of taking any of the tours, I prefer to face the hotness and walk the Lange Straße where everything is full of life and tasty foodie choices. And not forget about the many icecream options.  DSC00549When I was about to consider myself a victim of the heat, it is about time to take my seat on the former steam boat Europa. It is the last shift of the day, and for the next one hour, I am taking sunbaths and having cold drinks on the deck.  DSC00603The view is charming and the sea is busy with boats of different styles and for different budgets. Boat renting in the port is also possible.DSC00575The real sport heroes are doing it the hard way, by kayak. DSC00592The lazy travelers are taking pictures and thinking poetically about the meaning of the wild nature. As there are not too many people on the boat, the silence is overwhelming enough to hear the splash of the water against the wood.  DSC00606When I am back on the ground, ready for the trip back to Berlin, I only blame my late morning start for missing the chance to spend more time around the lakes. With still some good weeks left till the end of the season and the hope of more sunny weekends, I am carefully planning already my next trip to Müritz. And I know very well what my secret destination will be this next time.

For more pictures from Waren (Müritz), have a look at the dedicated Pinterest board.


How much planning in the travel plans?

I like to be as organised as possible and to be able to manage my time as an expert, especially when I am on the road. Before going somewhere, I like to carefully research my topic, to set up a list of the topics I want to cover and to find out through social media and direct discussions how much time I will need to do the proper documentation on the ground. Eventually, I keep in mind various safety and weather concerns that are very important. I also want to know when I go and when I return, where I do stay and what are the possibilities to use the Internet. As I am working online, my time and revenue when on the road depend on the wi-fi facilities. 

If I am on journalistic assignment, and I do have on the menu a specific topic, the most part of my travel time will be dedicated to properly cover my theme. Such trips are usually the easiest one but not necessarily the most rewarding – unless that I publish something which is already a great achievement -, as I know for sure what I should write and photograph about and find something else to do only if it is some time left. 

But there is still an element of surprise that I want to keep as the best piece of cake at the end of the lunch. I always like to walk for hours on the streets trying to feel how it is to live there. I am a big fan of architecture and I want to improve my knowledge about volumes and decorations, especially doors’. I like to see the parks and the shops and the products and fruits and vegetables sold, in order to get an idea about the culinary tastes and how the local people like to spend their time and raise their children. In case that I know the local language, I like to have little conversations with people on the street. This is especially a pleasure in France, where people are happy to interact spontaneously in their mother tongue with funny tourists. 

Very often, those unplanned encounters reveal the best insights into the place. What about a museum whose only disadvantage is of not being located on a central street? Or some streets with interesting stories painted on their walls? What about discovering a hidden episode of history that is well known though among the people living there? Maybe in some cases you may need to stay longer or you will feel the need to spend one day out of the city for finding out new connections and discovering different places. Especially when I am spending time in places close to the borders, I like to spontaneously go in the other country, comparing customs, nature and languages. Often, the cities near the borders are amazing examples of cultural diversity. This is the case with many German and Polish localities situated near the border, or with many villages close to the border between France and Spain. 

I am a traveller, not necessarily a tourist and I prefer to take any trip as a journey revealing more from the world. This is the reason why I promise to never stop travelling. 

Any questions and insights regarding travel and travel planning? Feel free to share them with me at:

ilanaontheroad (at) gmail (dot) com

Keep in touch!

Travel around the world with GuideGecko

Nowadays, the travel guides are becoming more sophisticated and targeted. Regardless of the format, apps or printed, the quality content is always king and will continue to be so. Curious to find out the latest news and opinions about the world of travel writing, I’ve asked the opinion of Daniel Quadt, for GuideGecko. If you have ideas about an outstanding travel guide, go to the site, set up a profile and write your proposal. If your idea is focused and interesting, most likely you will be able to start the work straight away!

 GuideGecko is more than apps

– What differentiates GuideGecko from other guide apps?

First of all, GuideGecko is more than apps. We provide a one-stop shop for travel writers, with all digital publishing formats. That includes apps, but also eBooks and online publishing on our website.

As an author with GuideGecko, you can concentrate on what you really want to do: write articles and provide travel advise.

We provide you with an online system to enter your texts and photos. When you are done, we create and publish your app, eBook, and website. Of course, all of these formats are optional: You can only publish an app if you like, without eBook or website.

Coming back to your question about apps. What differentiates our apps from other travel apps is that all of them are written by genuine travel writers.

There are too many cheap apps out there that source their content from Wikipedia and other, similar sites. Often, the content is not geared towards travellers, and often also lacks in good, opinionated advice.

As a traveller, you don’t want a lengthy discussion of all churches in, say, Cologne. You want advise on which ones you should see, and which ones to skip. Only apps with original travel content will give you this.


– What are the most sought guides for the moment?


It very much depends. In general, we see good sales numbers for specific guides that have a very well defined target audience. So, instead of “Guide #827 on City XYZ”, write “Traveling with Kids to XYZ” or “Kite Surfing in ABC”.

But you also need to be able to reach that target audience. For example, it helps to be active in communities and to have a good Facebook page with interested followers and frequent updates – even better if you already have a related website with a decent number of users.


Are the classical printed guides dead?


They are not dead, but their decline is going to continue. There will be a niche market for printed guidebooks, but why would you want to search in an index or flip between maps and description pages, when all you want is specific information on a certain place?

Technology, such as in apps, can really help here. Looking back, travel information in printed book format is far from optimal. But books have been the only portable solution for a long time.


 Daniel Quadt in Thailand

– What are your plans for the next 6 months?


We will continue to sign up new authors for destinations worldwide.

Geographically, we are strong in Asia and want to strengthen this even further. But we have also expanded to other areas, and already have a good number of guides for America and Europe.

Technically, we have just released a “container app” that includes all our guides as in-app purchases. This will make it easier for users to download more than one guide, and also allows us to cross-promote guides from different authors.

 Go Southeast Asia!

– What would you recommend to someone interested to take a break of travel for 3 months?


Southeast Asia, of course! Pick a starting point and a general route, and then just see how it goes.

I have recently been to the Philippines, and I can really recommend it. The beaches are among the nicest in Southeast Asia.

Bangkok and Singapore are good starting points as well. In 3 months, you can make it all the way from Singapore via Malaysia to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

If you want to get off the beaten track, head to Ambon in Indonesia. You can easily spend a few weeks in the area there.

We actually offer free “Backpacker Cheatsheets” guides on These graphical guides include a suggested itinerary with all highlights as well as options off the beaten track. So, in a  nutshell, I recommend to download a few of these Cheatsheets – and then just go!

Golf in Fiji

I am becoming obsessed about Fiji lately, especially after I entered a competition on Facebook recently and tried to read more about this tropical corner (I avoided to write ‘paradise’ as I have not been yet in person to bring a clear testimony for or against this description). The idea of a gorgeous weather all round the year (the lowest temperature during the winter is around 19 Celsius) is very tempting for me, especially after the long winter that ended up less than one month ago. 

Fiji has around 300 volcanic islands – maybe the earthquakes are not the natural activity that I am in love with – a rich traditional culture and food specialities that mixes the local dishes with Indian, Korean, European to the Australian and New Zealand influences. 

I will not write right now about the wonders of nature or the wide range of possibilities for accommodation, from luxury five-star hotels to budget hotels (most likely my option, as from my home country the costs of transportation are over 2,000 euro). I will talk about golf now, a sport that I was encouraged to practice but as in the case of almost all the sports I wanted to discover I concluded that I am too clumsy to waste my time trying to understand it. In Japan, almost every small village has in the immediate vicinity a nice golf area, besides the usual sauna.

The good news for people like me is that I’ve heard that in the golf resorts of Fiji there are enough experienced coordinators that are ready to teach even the clumsiest persons in the world. 

Where to golf

One of the most highlighted golf course is Natadola Bay Championship, situated alongside Fiji’s six-star resort, the Intercontinental Fiji Golf and Spa Report. Denarau Golf and Racquet Club is considered unique in elegance among the South Pacific golf resorts: it has two practice putting greens, with special lessons offered for adults and juniors. Only 10 minutes away from the airport is the Nadi Airport Golf Club, with 18 holes and a view to both the ocean and the mountains. Another challenging playground for the professional and experienced players is the Pearl Championship Fiji Golf Course, that has 66 bunkers and multiple water hazards on 12 of the 18 holes.

Some of the most recommended nine-hole golf clubs are: Ba Golf Course (North East of Viti Levu), Novotel Hotel Nadi Executive Golf Course, Shangi-La The Fijian Resort Executive Golf Course or Vatukoula Golf Course.

The guests of Laucala Island Resort can have their own private lessons in a gorgeous location, close to a mountain and with a natural vegetation around. Image


Cultural warnings

If you visit Fiji, there are a couple of local customs that the tourist should be aware of. For instance, dressing modestly when visiting villages is a sign of respect. However, when you visit a village, be sure that you do not wear a hat, as it is considered an insult to the village chef. Be also careful to do not touch someone’s head as it is considered an insult. 

In case that you are invited in someone’s house, to dot wear shoes.

When you visit a village, don’t forget to bring with you a special gift for the head of the village. People are welcoming and curious and can’t wait to shake hands with you and ask you a couple of very important questions, including where you are from, whether marries and how many children do you have. 

It looks as a challenging adventure for me. Let’s hope will win at travel competition soon!



A little taste of Belize

Situated on the Eastern Coast of Central America, Belize was extremely in fashion when people were waiting the end of the world while misreading the Mayan calendar. A former British colony, it has not only several dozen of islands – among them the famous Isla Bonita – and coral reefs included on the list of UNESCO’s heritage, but also museums, a good Caribbean food and a surprising list of activities for every age.

In the administrative capital of Belize City the visitors will be invited to discover the colonial past but also make a tour of the bars and restaurants and a shopping tour. Besides the usual fashion brands, there are many small shops selling traditional handmade objects and clothing objects. For more cultural activities, visit Dangrica where the Garifuna culture is strongly represented.

The Mayan temples are spread all over the islands, some of them are still hidden and wait for the archaeologists to discover, including in Caracol, an important capital city of the Mayan culture. If you love chocolate, you may try a big bit of the products prepared following the traditional Mayan recipe. The food is healthy and the life on the islands is not only easy, but also close to the nature. For those who are not interested in spending their stay in a classical hotel, there it is possible to find out home stay programs that will open the window to the heart of the local people. 

A journey to Belize suits the high-end and middle class tourists, including family with children and honeymooners. You may find secluded beaches, a natural landscape that invites to adventures – scuba diving for beginners and experiences divers as for instance Chasbo’s Corner or the South Water Caye (where you can see sharks and turtles), caves – the most extensive caves in Central America are in Belize, reef atolls – Belize’s barrier reef is the longest in the world, 185 miles, and even helicopter adventures and transfers

The most important thing after you read this is not to believe me but to try to check carefully my words. 


Source: www.


Travel kit by Body Shop

Unexpectedly hit by the sudden and long-waited spring, I am trying to manage my time between long walks during the day and late evening shifts spent writing and doing the usual chores covered otherwise during the light time. 

Shopping is part of the non-scheduled activities, but my biggest excuse is that I do ground research for my posts and prepare the inspiration for new trips and photographic moments. 

As a women interested in fashion and other beautiful addictions, every time I enter a beauty shop I spend some more minutes checking the possible choices for the travel. This time, I spotted a functional travel kit by Body Shop. It contains 3 empty bottles of 80ml, and 2 of empty jars of 25 ml. I would take some shampoo, body cream, night and day creams, cleansing and a body milk too. Eventually, one may write on each bottle on a small etiquette what is the content of each bottle that may avoid the confusion of using the body milk as a shampoo or conditioner. 

All the recipients are hold in a transparent zipped bag that will definitely pass the usual airport control. It can be reused as often as possible and if carried properly, can last at least 2 years. Thus, the investment of around 8 Euro is relatively low and affordable. 

Now it is time for a new adventure in the city! Write to you soon!Image


With a bad head on the road

There are two big disasters that I am more than afraid to face when on the road: allergies and headaches. If the first I can relatively keep under control with healthy food and a lot of anti-stress care, the headaches are unexpected and persistent; they break my mind into little pieces and keep me away of any pleasure of the road. They come and go when they really want to.

Two months ago, when I was trying to spend beautiful time with friends and relatives in London, I was hardly able to enjoy my time. At least for a couple of hours when suddenly, after midnight, I was feeling as fresh as at 9 am. And the story goes on and on. What can you do for avoiding such unpleasant medical situations?

Here are a couple of advices:

– Even though you may go to the most exciting trip of your life, you better calm down. The pressure of the once-in-a-lifetime feeling is so strong that your fragile health system will react sooner than expected. Most likely, exactly when you need less. Take it easy, relax and sleep and prepare for your trip with a lot of energy.

– Take with you the pills that usually help you to get rid of the pain. As in many countries you cannot buy medicine for free without the recommendation of a local doctor, be sure that you have with you all you need. In my case, I never leave without painkillers and allergy pills.

– Before leaving, be sure that you have a list of the emergency services, English-speaking doctors and eventually your local embassy. When you travel with kids, that part of the preparation should not be skipped!

– A health/travel insurance is always healthy. – An extended article about this issue will be posted soon! – It may be pricey and not a good financial investment for someone travelling on a budget, but it is very important to have it especially when you go in far away countries, with high medical risks.

– Be sure that you check the weather conditions and you have with you the proper clothing. If you did not know, for instance, that it was snow in London till the last week and you want to wear your spring T-shirts, there are high risks to get a serious cold that will almost destroy the rest of your trip.

– Be careful with what you eat and drink. It is exciting to try new drinks and local foods, but more information about the ingredients may help you to avoid unpleasant situations. Especially if you are in a country whose language is unknown for you, use the advantage of living in the 21st century and carefully ‘google’ the product and find out what you will put in your mouth.

– Rest is important: as a budget traveler you don’t have too much time and you don’t know when you will be back. Thus, you want to see as much as possible in less than 24 full hours. However, you want to survive for your next trip abroad, isn’t it? Try to set up a reasonable schedule, with a list of priorities and ‘must see’ places. Use your time to relax, to peacefully look around and get into the local ambiance. You will not see ‘everything’ in one day? Relax, you’ve been there and you had your own slice of the local life.