South Australia: How a Baby Koala Became a Symbol of Hope

The South Australia region

South Australia or South Australia is one of six states on the smallest continent in the world and almost three times the size of Germany. The majority of its 1.7 million inhabitants live in the capital Adelaide. It is named after Adelheid von Sachsen-Meiningen, who later became Queen Adelaide, and from 1830 to 1837 Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.

Human settlement in the area by Aborigines can be traced back around 20,000 years, for example in the Koonalda Cave in Nullarbor in the extreme southwest. A good two percent of today’s citizens of the state are descendants of these indigenous inhabitants of Australia.

Declared a colony by Great Britain in 1836, the first European settlement was founded on Kangaroo Island. Today, the region with its Mediterranean climate, no less than 3700 kilometers of coastline and endless sandy beaches is a surfing and swimming destination – and with volcanoes, salt lakes and red deserts a huge outdoor playground.

Source: WORLD infographic

Christian settlers occupied Aboriginal land

While the other areas of the continent were established as convict colonies for English prisoners, South Australia was specifically settled by free European settlers. The residents of the state refer to this with some pride to this day.

In the founding charter of the colony, the “Letters Patent”, drawn up in 1836, it was also laid down that nothing should affect the rights of the indigenous inhabitants and that they would enjoy the same protection as the other subjects of the British Crown – which, however, did not prevent Christian settlers from doing so To want to “civilize” Aborigines and to occupy the land they have inhabited for millennia.

It was not until 1992 that the then Australian Prime Minister apologized to the Aborigines for the injustice done to them by the whites.

A koala as a symbol for the recreation of nature

When the serious bush fires raged in early 2020, in which it is estimated that more than a billion animals and at least 30,000 koalas died across Australia, soldiers on Kangaroo Island also helped to nurse injured animals:

Soldiers lovingly nurse baby kangaroos and small koalas

Army members lend a hand on Kangaroo Island. They help to foster the injured animals.

The koala Holly was also saved from the fire. When Holly was recovering from the horrors at Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide, carers discovered she was carrying a baby in her pouch.

The offspring, named Phoenix, saw the light of day at the end of September and became a symbol of nature, which is slowly recovering. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, fewer than 100,000 of the marsupials currently live in the country and are considered critically endangered.

Koala Holly was lucky: Their baby Phoenix was born safe and sound in September

Koala Holly was lucky: Their baby Phoenix was born safe and sound in September

Quelle: Jim Geddes

Why some lakes are bright pink

As if they had been invented especially for Instagram, the water of some lakes in South Australia (like Lake MacDonnell in the photo) shimmers bright pink. The reason is the high proportion of salt, which promotes the growth of pink bacteria. The less water the lakes have, the more intense the color.

A salt lake is less known for its color than for its name: Lake Cadibarrawirracanna is Australia’s longest place name, in the language of the Aborigines it means “dancing stars on the water”.

South Australia: A high proportion of salt favors the growth of pink bacteria in Lake MacDonnell

A high proportion of salt favors the growth of pink bacteria in Lake MacDonnell

Quelle: Getty Images

The wine stronghold in Australia

South Australia is home to 18 wine regions, by far the most in the country. More than 75 percent of Australia’s wine products come from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and the Adelaide Hills, mostly Shiraz wines.

The first vines were shipped from South Africa to Australia; After a few teething problems, the first domestic wine came onto the market in the 1820s. It was then emigrants from the Prussian province of Silesia who, from the middle of the 19th century, made the Barossa Valley 55 kilometers northeast of Adelaide into one of the world-famous wine regions.

Ghostly mushrooms glow in the dark

The Australian ghost mushroom (Omphalotus nidiformis) bears its name rightly: In the dark, the plant found in South Australia and Tasmania shines like a small neon green ghost.

This is due to the substances called illudins, which also make the ghost mushroom poisonous. If you want to see it shine: In May and June it can be viewed in a pine forest near Mount Gambier.

The Australian ghost mushroom (Omphalotus nidiformis) glows neon green in the dark

The Australian ghost mushroom (Omphalotus nidiformis) glows neon green in the dark

Quelle: Getty Images

The quote

“Adelaide has so little to offer that it should be closed”

Robert Doyle passed this harsh judgment in 2009, when he was mayor of Melbourne. And because he was doing so well, he referred to Sydney in the same breath as “a city with a wallet instead of a heart”.

At least as far as Adelaide is concerned, the man has to be resolutely contradicted. There are not only numerous cultural events (art festival, film festival, music event “Womadelaide”), but also some of the best museums in Australia with important works of art by the Aborigines. And thanks to the many city beaches and the lower cost of living, Adelaide is the most popular big city on the continent, especially with the younger ones.

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

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

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Latvia: Salmon have to fly in the Kurzeme region

The Courland region

DRamatic cliffs. Lonely sandy beaches. Miles of dunes. Pine and deciduous forests. Ice age lakes and moors. The hills of Courland Switzerland. This is the mosaic of the landscapes of Courland (Latvian: Kurzeme) – a piece of Latvia, as one dreams of being a Baltic holidaymaker.

The historical region right on the Baltic Sea in the far west of the country is also culturally exciting and varied: Many influences shaped the Land of the Kurds, a Baltic people whose name derives from the Indo-European krs should derive what means “fast at sea”.

In the 13th century the cures were subjected to the Christian Brotherhood of the Sword and the Order of Teutonic Knights, thus beginning a centuries-long German aristocratic rule. The cures, which spoke their own language, were for a long time the simple rural population, while German was the language of the upper class until the 20th century.

Today Latvian is spoken in Courland. Many cities still have a historical German name, such as Jeglava (Mitau), which was the capital of Courland until 1919, when Latvia became independent. The residence there is the largest baroque palace in the Baltic region and, like numerous other mansions, is a legacy of the Duchy of Courland and Zemgale, which was under the feudal rule of Poland-Lithuania from 1561 to 1795.

Source: WORLD infographic

In the course of the Third Partition of Poland, the Russian tsarist empire annexed the region, but the Baltic German nobility continued to rule in the Courland Governorate. During the World Wars, Kurland was occupied by Germany and was heavily fought over, with many Latvians joining German troops in World War II and fighting the Red Army. Bloody battles raged in the Kurland basin until May 1945.

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Today, travelers will find peace and untouched nature, beautiful country estates and cities – and something unique: In Alsunga, you can get to know the way of life of the Suiti, a Catholic minority that had isolated itself from its Protestant neighborhood since the 17th century. Their old dances and songs have been protected as a World Heritage Site since 2009.

Salmon jump up the waterfall

The Ventas Rumba rapids in the medieval town of Kuldiga (Goldingen) are 249 meters wide – a record in Europe. Although barely two meters high, it is a popular photo backdrop, especially since one of the longest brick bridges in Europe spans the river in the background.

Kuldiga in Kurzeme (Latvia): Salmon jump up the rapids to migrate upstream to spawn

It is not easy for them: salmon have to overcome the waterfall against the current

Quelle: Getty Images/500px Plus/500px

In autumn, the waterfall offers the spectacle of flying fish: salmon jump up to migrate upstream to spawn. In spring, the show repeats itself with a species of carp. Under Duke Jakob, who was born in Goldingen in 1610, they were caught by the thousands with baskets, today they are protected during the spawning season.

Kuldiga, once the largest trade and cultural center of the spa, in the 16th century the residence and temporarily capital of the Duchy of Courland, is also worth a visit because of the picturesque old town.

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The colony in the Caribbean

The Great Courland Bay on Tobago and a Latvian postage stamp from 2001 are reminiscent of the times when the Caribbean island off South America was called New Courland. The Duchy of Courland and Zemgale, the smallest European country that had colonies in America and Africa, had conquered Tobago in 1654 with the “coat of arms of the Duchess of Courland”.

On board: cannons, officers, soldiers and 80 families who were supposed to establish plantations for sugar, cotton, coffee and other groceries. Jacobstadt was created, named after the bustling duke on the stamp. He had previously tried in vain to conquer Tobago against the resistance of the Caribs.

In 1649 he managed to build a base in the Gambia River in Africa: Jacob’s Island, now Kunta Kinteh. His capture by the Swedes from 1658 in the Second Northern War heralded the end of colonial dreams. The African Kurland branch was captured by the English in 1661 and Tobago by the Dutch.

A Latvian postage stamp from 2001 commemorates the time when the Caribbean island of Tobago was called New Courland

A Latvian postage stamp from 2001 commemorates the time when the Caribbean island of Tobago was called New Courland

Tens of thousands of migratory birds attract birdwatchers

At Cape Kolka, the northernmost point of the Kurland peninsula, where the open Baltic Sea meets the waters of the Gulf of Riga, you can admire both the sunrise and the sunset over the sea – and now in autumn another natural spectacle: tens of thousands of migratory birds fly over daily the sky.

The Slītere National Park, which surrounds the cape and extends as far as the Blue Mountains, is therefore a top destination for birdwatchers who position themselves on the beach with cameras and thick binoculars.

Especially since the multi-faceted landscape of coast, lagoons, swamps and forests is also a breeding area of ​​125 species, including rarities such as capercaillie and black grouse, black stork, eagle owl, osprey, snake eagle and golden eagle. Elk, wolf and lynx are also at home here, along with rare plants.

Kurzeme in Latvia: The Slītere National Park is a top destination for birdwatchers because of the many migratory birds in autumn

The Slītere National Park is a top destination for birdwatchers because of the many migratory birds in autumn

Source: Lauku Celotajs

The service of the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin

Noble austerity as a timeless cult: the Kurland service from the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin has been popular for 230 years. KPM designed it under the name “Service with antique canthe” in 1790 for Peter von Biron, Duke of Courland and Semgallia, who wanted the dishes for his Berlin residence, Schloss Friedrichsfelde. It was later renamed “Courland” in honor of the Duke.

Those who buy the classicist design icon with a mint green background and 24-carat gold decoration (salad bowl: 396 euros) dine like Friedrich Wilhelm II, Thomas Mann and Joseph Beuys, to name just a few of the celebrity fans. Over the years, numerous (also cheaper) variants have been added, in plain white or painted with flowers. The Kurland to-go cup has been a bestseller as a single item for two years.

Latvia: The Kurland service from the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin has been popular for 230 years

The Kurland service from the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin has been popular for 230 years

Source: KPM Berlin

Latvia has the northernmost vineyard in the world

Wine tourism in Latvia? That is surprising. In fact, the Sabile vineyard is a small miracle: According to the “Guinness Book of Records”, it is the northernmost vineyard in the world. Its origins go back to the time of German rule from the 14th century. New varieties were planted under Duke Jakob (1610–1682), and the strong, sour wine was popular at court.

Today around 30 varieties grow on the 1.5 hectare mountain, most of which were bred by the Latvian luminary Pauls Sukatnieks (1914–1989) especially for the harsh climate, such as the red Zilga grape.

The wine is also curious because it cannot be bought: the vineyard is owned by the city and the state, which by law is not allowed to trade in alcohol. It can only be tasted once a year, at the wine festival at the end of July.

But you can enjoy other wines on wine tours in the region – and become a winemaker yourself: the wine town of Sabile has a tourist offer where you can plant your own grapes and visit them at any time.

Wine is grown in Courland (Latvia)

Source: WORLD infographic

The quote

“As if the individual wave voices could be distinguished, how they called each other and fell into the word”

In his novel “Wellen” (1911), Eduard Graf von Keyserling, born in 1855 on a manor in Courland, raves about the Baltic Sea – at the same time he draws an ironic portrait of the Baltic German aristocracy, which had nothing to report after the First World War.

The author, himself a member of that aristocratic society, moved to Munich in 1894. Sick of syphilis and atrophy of the spinal cord, he dictated the novel to his sisters there, already blind, in 1918 he died alone. Marcel Reich-Ranicki was one of the later fans of the writer, who was known as the “Baltic Fontane”, and he particularly liked “the fabulous dialogues” about the “waves”.

The book became one of the most important novels of Impressionism, which also offers a lot of insight into the old Courland: “Small and dark, the fishermen’s houses squatted on the pale dunes, here and there a yellow point of light awoke in them that blinked short-sightedly into the rising night. “

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Denmark: At 128 meters, the chalk cliffs on the Baltic Sea island of Mön tower over the Königsstuhl by 10 meters

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Cruise Ship: The "Hanseatic Inspiration", here in front of Flensburg, belongs to the Hapag-Loyd expedition class

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

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

Welt am Sonntag from October 25, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


The champagne pool on the North Island is a hot spot

One of the largest thermal springs in New Zealand is the “Champagne Pool”. An eye-catcher, but not suitable for a bathroom – temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees Celsius. The North Island has even more fascinating things to offer. .

In the north of Borneo: The Niah cave is a sensation

Long-distance travel Country customer Nordborneo

The largest room in the cave is one kilometer long

The discovery of the gigantic Niah Cave in Borneo was a sensation for archaeologists. But the dimensions of their rooms alone are impressive. But the north of the Pacific island has even more fascinations in store.

| Reading time: 4 minutes

Baby orangutans go to school here

Forest fires keep raging on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. Many orangutans lose their habitat and their parents. In a school, baby monkeys are prepared for their release into the wild.

The Nordborneo region

Dhe two Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah are located in the north of the Southeast Asian Pacific island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea. Borneo is politically divided into Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In all parts of the island, the rainforest, which is up to 130 million years old, is threatened by deforestation. Also in Malaysia, which has now designated more than 20 national parks in Sarawak and Sabah, where the jungle is actually protected. Outside of the protected areas, however, the jungle hardly exists. 30 or 40 years ago the island was almost completely covered by jungle.

The rainforests are also home to the orangutan, which only occurs in Sumatra and Borneo. Its habitat is massively endangered by the clearing. Animal rights activists strive to preserve the great apes; Tourists can visit rescue stations and watch the animals up close.

The human rights situation in Borneo also remains difficult: there are public flogging and homosexuality is criminalized.

Source: WORLD infographic

The gigantic cave of Niah

In the 1840s, Melibong, a hunter of the indigenous Penan, came across the entrance to a cave in the far north of Sarawak. It turned out to be one of the world’s most impressive archaeological discoveries.

The gigantic cave of Niah, named after the Penan’s home village, extends over eleven hectares underground – the largest room is one kilometer long, 500 meters wide and up to 60 meters high.

Borneo: The Niah Cave extends over eleven hectares underground

The Niah Cave is eleven acres underground

Quelle: Getty Images

The sand-lime brick structure was once a coral reef and served as a habitation 40,000 years ago. In 1958, rock carvings, a human skull, axes, pottery, mats and even wooden boats were found, with which the residents sent their dead down the nearby river.

In addition to thousands of bats, the cave is inhabited by hundreds of salangan swallows, whose saliva-glued nests on the cave ceilings are considered a delicacy in Asia.

The highest mountain in Maysia is growing

The highest mountain in Malaysia, the 4,095 meter high Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, grows five millimeters per year. Geologically speaking, he’s a child: just ten million years old. That’s why its granite slabs are still shifting a little upwards. The demanding ascent is only allowed in the company of a local guide.

The floating mosque in Borneo

One of the most spectacular buildings in Borneo is the floating mosque in Kota Kinabalu. Opened in 2000 in an artificial lagoon, it appears to float on water. It can accommodate 12,000 people. Boat tours in the lagoon are popular: at night the mosque is illuminated and glitters in bright colors.

Borneo, Malaysia: The floating mosque in Kota Kinabalu is located in an artificial lagoon

The floating mosque in Kota Kinabalu is located in an artificial lagoon

Quelle: Getty Images

The smallest elephant in the world

It is the smallest of its kind: the Borneo dwarf elephant with a shoulder height of only 2.50 meters. For comparison: Asian mainland elephants are four meters tall. Only about 1000 specimens live in northern Borneo; their existence is considered extremely endangered.

It is unclear how the species got here. Some zoologists consider them indigenous, others consider them to be descendants of Java elephants imported in the 17th century, which became extinct in their homeland.

Only about 1000 Borneo dwarf elephants live in northern Borneo

Only about 1000 Borneo dwarf elephants live in northern Borneo

Quelle: picture alliance / imageBROKER

The traditional costumes of the indigenous Bidayuh

The Malaysian constitution recognizes a total of 53 different ethnic groups for the states of Sarawak and Sabah, including the indigenous Bidayuh. On festive days, the fashion-conscious Bidayuh women wear particularly colorful traditional costumes that would also look great on the catwalk: blouse, skirt and braided raffia hat with umbrella hat, mostly in the colors red, gold and black. Matching accessories such as sashes, necklaces and earrings.

Borneo (Malaysia): On festive days, the Bidayuh women adorn themselves with colorful traditional costumes

On festive days, the Bidayuh women adorn themselves with colorful traditional costumes

Source: AFP / Getty Images

The quote

“Remember: It’s a jungle out there”

These are the words of the youth book hero Jungle Jim, an alter ego of the British writer James King, who went on an expedition through the jungles of Borneo in 1998. The jungle Jim of his books is enchanted and from then on regularly turns into a speaking orangutan – as the protector of Borneo.

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If the world traveler Wolfgang Clemens weren't traveling with a crew, he would have holed up somewhere on a lonely island

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

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

Welt am Sonntag from October 11, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Canada: Pasta and cocktails are now allowed in Québec

Die Region Quebec

She is Canada’s largest province – and the most idiosyncratic. In Québec, only French is officially spoken, English is not even the official language, although of course everyone speaks it here. About 79 percent of the eight million inhabitants are native French speakers.

You have always gone your own way here, and the wish of many to break away from Canada is still present today, but it cannot be fulfilled. The new Canadian Constitution of 1982 has still not been ratified by Québec.

And after a narrowly failed independence referendum in 1995, in which 50.58 percent of the population rejected secession from Canada, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled three years later that a province could not unilaterally declare itself independent. After all, in 2006 Québec was recognized as a “nation within a united Canada” to calm the minds.

There are two national holidays in the province: the Fête du Canada on July 1st and the Fête Nationale on June 24th. The provincial flag adorns the French Lily, a lily made of three stylized leaves.

Source: WORLD infographic

This is all a win for visitors: you get French charm plus North American simplicity. Those who throw in a few French vocabulary are well received. With Hello, Things are going well or one Health makes Québecers happy. Or rather happy.

The language police reach thousands of complaints

Every year, angry citizens send 4,000 complaints to the Québec Language Bureau because they do not feel well informed in French.

In the office, linguists make sure that the Charter of the French Language of 1977 is respected: Everything is Frenchized, street signs (Stop instead of Stop) anyway, with multilingual menu cards, French should always be written in bold. After all: Pasta and Cocktail after much debate, for example, are now allowed without translation.

Canada: If you order a cocktail in Québec, you can't go wrong

If you order a cocktail in Québec, you can’t go wrong

Source: Getty Images / Pakin Songmor

Like a city in France from the 17th century

Put on your hiking shoes and go: 135 hectares of old town, divided into the upper town on the rocky plateau and the lower town of Petit-Champlain. Upstairs, downstairs over cobblestones, through alleys and arches, past wall paintings that tell the story of the French in North America.

Vieux-Québec looks like a French town from the 17th century. Overly motivated, it was restored in the 1970s, British things were redeveloped. Still a UNESCO World Heritage Site – because of the historic city wall, it is the only one in North America that has been preserved.

The waterfall is more spectacular than the Niagara Falls

Not only is it 30 meters higher than the famous Niagara Falls, but, if you take a closer look, it is also more spectacular because it is less built up: The water of the Montmorency Falls near Quebec City falls over a rock 83 meters deep into the St. Lorenz current.

The cable car takes you up, then you walk on a suspension bridge directly over the waterfall. Sporty people take the panorama staircase carved into the rock, 487 steps. In winter the spray freezes at the foot of the waterfall sugar breadwhat looks like a giant sugar loaf.

Canada: The water of the Montmorency Falls near Québec City falls over a rock 83 meters deep into the Saint Lawrence River

The water of the Montmorency Falls plunges over a rock 83 meters deep into the Saint Lawrence River

Quelle: Getty Images

Artists make sculptures out of ice

February, when temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees, is the big time for Québec ice cream artists. They shape, saw and hammer filigree sculptures from blocks of ice: figures such as ice dancers and ice hockey players, airplanes, trucks and horse-drawn carriages – and again and again the Gallic rooster, the French rooster.

For example, at the “Saint-Côme en glace” ice cream festival in Lanaudière near Montreal and at the winter carnival in Québec City (February 5-14, 2021). Nice to melt away.

Canada: In Québec, artists use ice to create filigree sculptures like ice hockey players

In Québec, artists use ice to sculpt filigree sculptures like these ice hockey players

Quelle: Getty Images

Feed elk and deer from your car

Many Québec visitors do not fare much differently in nature than tourists in Sweden: They wonder where the moose are, a symbol of the Nordic wilderness? The animal can almost only be seen as a pictogram on street signs; it prefers to hide in the woods.

An alternative: the road trip through Parc Oméga – a twelve-kilometer drive-through wildlife park near Montebello, an hour and a half from Montreal. Elk and deer lurk along the way, having learned that carrots are handed to them from the car window. If you are concerned about your vehicle and your health: This tour is also available in a grille-protected VW Caddy.

Québec in Canada: In Parc Oméga, moose and deer can be fed by drivers

In Parc Oméga, moose and deer can be fed by drivers

Source: WORLD infographic

Maple toffee on a stick is a specialty

How about a maple toffee on a stick in winter? Maple syrup fans swear by in Quebec Maple Taffy. This sticky candy is made by simmering maple sap for a long time. The hot syrup is then poured onto a wooden stick laid out in the snow, where it curdles immediately.

If that’s too sweet for you, order Putin: crispy fries, sprinkled with cheese and soaked in gravy, often refined with a lobster topping: a hearty lumberjack mishmash. There is also the national drink of Québecers: Caribou, a kind of mulled wine, but it has it all – a mix of red wine, rye whiskey and of course a dash of maple syrup.

Canada: Maple syrup fans swear by Maple Taffy in Quebec

Sticky candy: Maple syrup fans swear by Maple Taffy in Quebec

Quelle: Getty Images

An environmental museum in the Montreal Biosphere

A round eye-catcher from afar, downright mystical at sunset. The Biosphère Montreal is in a park on the island of Sainte Hélène: a spherical dome with a grid of triangles. It has a diameter of 76 meters.

This imposing dome was originally built for Expo 67 and had an outer shell made of acrylic, which was destroyed by fire during renovation work. Now it is “open”.

It houses an environmental museum that has been dealing with climate change and sustainability since 1995. Tip: the panoramic view on the top platform inside the dome.

Canada: The Biosphère Montreal is located in a park on the island of Sainte Hélène

The Biosphère Montreal is located in a park on the island of Sainte Hélène

Quelle: Getty Images

The quote

“I’m from Québec, and every time I go to a country I say that. It’s my roots, my origins, and it’s the most important thing to me.”

Celine Dion, born in 1968, comes from Charlemagne near Montreal. She wrote music history with the “Titanic” title song “My Heart Will Go On”. She makes it clear again and again that she still doesn’t feel like an English-speaking singer. She once turned down the award for best English-speaking artist on the grounds that she was and will always be a French-speaking singer.

Today she commutes between Paris and Las Vegas, she sold her castle on a private island near Montreal for 25.5 million US dollars after her husband’s cancer death.

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An abandoned farm near Empress in the Badlands, Alberta, Canada

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

When a whale takes a joke

A whale terrified the crowd in Quebec, Canada. At first he doesn’t show himself, then suddenly he appears in front of the rubber dinghy with his mouth wide open.

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

Welt am Sonntag from September 27, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Brittany: This Atlantic lighthouse is “the hell of hells”

Europe Regional geography Brittany

This lighthouse is “the hell of hells”

The Armen lighthouse is located in the middle of the Atlantic. Building it there was so difficult that it took 14 years to complete. And there are even more unusual things to see in Brittany.

| Reading time: 4 minutes

Brittany (France): The Armen lighthouse was built between 1867 and 1881

The Armen lighthouse off the coast of Brittany was built between 1867 and 1881

Quelle: Getty Images

The lighthouse in the Atlantic

Sa Breton name means harmless “the stone”, but it is also known as “the hell of hells”: The Armen lighthouse is in an isolated location in the Atlantic Ocean – 24 kilometers from the mainland, where waves up to 30 meters high hit it threaten to devour strong winds.

Work on arms began in 1867 and, due to the extremely difficult conditions on site, took a full 14 years. The roaring sea kept the two guards captive for weeks at a time.

Initially powered by oil, the beacons have been flashing automatically since 1990 – and Armen is orphaned. In 1967 the experience report by the Breton author J.-P. Abrahams, in which he writes about his meager life as a lighthouse keeper.

The Brittany region

Brittany is in the far west of France; As the largest peninsula in the country, it separates the English Channel from the Bay of Biscay. They decisively shaped the Celtic tribes, which they called Aremorica – “Land by the Sea” – and from here they drove out with their fleets.

Brittany in France

Source: Infographic Die Welt

Today Brittany is one of the most important tourist regions in the country. It impresses with its Atlantic beaches and bathing bays, good food typical of the country and Neolithic cult facilities in the form of thousands of menhirs, which seem to sprout from the heather like gigantic stone mushrooms.

The walled city of Saint-Malo

The historic town center of Saint-Malo at the mouth of the Rance River, surrounded by ramparts, is washed by water from three sides at high tide. What used to protect the privateer and shipowner stronghold from raids makes the city a magnet for Breton visitors today.

Saint-Malo in Brittany (France)

Quelle: Getty Images/RooM RF

The self-confidence of the inhabitants of Saint-Malo is legendary: They achieved great prosperity through trade in goods from Newfoundland and India, and in 1590 they proclaimed their own republic – which only existed for four years. But to this day her motto is: “Neither French nor Breton, I am Malouine!”

Asterix – the famous Gaul

Perhaps the most famous Celt is Asterix – the Romans called the early inhabitants of Brittany “Gauls”. The “Asterix” comics have been telling stories about the Gallic village and its inhabitants for more than 60 years. In 2009 the town of Erquy made a name for itself as the alleged model for Asterix’s hometown, but there was no solid evidence.

“The daughter of Vercingétorix”

At a press conference, the Albert-René-Verlag revealed little about the new adventure of little Asterix and his big friend Obelix. Again the author Jean-Yves Ferri and the draftsman Didier Conrad are the fathers of “La fille de Vercingétorix”.


The pointing dog Epagneul

Bretons love their epagneul, the red and white spaniel. The Greek poet Oppianus already mentioned in his “Kynogetika” that the dog breed was used here around 200 AD for hunting and falconry; in the Middle Ages it is not missing in any painting about hunting parties. Even Rembrandt painted it.

The pointing dog Epagneul

Quelle: Getty Images

The pointing dog has a strong hunting passion to this day and likes to retrieve game birds. Therefore, the 50 or so puppies that are littered each year in Germany are only given to hunters and falconers.

One of the most beautiful castles in France

Brittany has 4,000 castles, fortresses and manor houses. Many of the stately buildings can be visited – for example the 400-year-old castle Le Rocher-Portail, which is one of the most beautiful in France.

The claim “Downton Abbey à la Française” is not only used to attract fans of the British series. A dozen rooms can be visited, from the servants’ room to the curiosity cabinet. The extensive castle park is available for picnics.

Where to slurp oysters

Fresh oysters are eaten raw “in their very natural simplicity an unsurpassable dish”, wrote the “King of Chefs” Paul Bocuse in his standard work “The New Kitchen” from 1977. This has not changed until today.

Eating oysters in Brittany (France)

Source: WORLD infographic

In Brittany, the municipality of Cancale has been particularly successful in breeding since the 13th century. Two varieties thrive in the self-proclaimed “oyster capital”: the European oyster and the Pacific rock oyster. It is best to slurp them on the spot.

The quote

“Ar brezoneg hag ar feiz zo breur ha c’hoar e Breiz”

The Breton proverb “Breton and faith are siblings in Brittany” refers to the Catholicism that dominated the region for a long time. Brittany and the Breton language did not become part of France until the 16th century.

The Breton language that British immigrants brought with them from their islands at the time of the Anglo-Saxon conquest survived – to this day. However, with only around 150,000 speakers left, it is considered seriously endangered.

In many areas of Brittany, bilingual street signs refer to the heritage. Mini-lesson for visitors to Brittany: Thank you is called “mersi bras”.

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Swiss nationals Karel (L) and a friend Celine (R) ride bicycles with their children at the Centre Helio-Marin (Center for Sun and Sea) naturist campsite on the Atlantic coast in Montalivet, southwestern France, August 13, 2013. The Centre, created in July 1950, was the first vacation nudist camp to open in Europe. France is host to some 83 naturist sites where 60% of the holiday makers are foreigners. During the peak summer holiday period, 14,000 people spend their vacation at this nudist campsite on the Atlantic Ocean. Picture taken August 13, 2013 REUTERS/Regis Duvignau (FRANCE - Tags: TRAVEL SOCIETY) TEMPLATE OUT

This article was first published in September 2019.

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

Brittany – sweet, salty, fat!

Anyone coming to Brittany should cancel their Weight Watchers membership beforehand. In the far north-west of France, lots of flour, sugar and salted butter are a must.

Source: WELT / Laura Fritsch / Jörg Malitzki

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

WELT AM SONNTAG from August 4, 2019



Gotland in Sweden: Quirky Viking-style competitions

Gotland Island

Ahe Gotland is perhaps the most famous house in Sweden: Villekulla, known in this country as Villa Kunterbunt, the wooden house of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. Those who visit the “Kneippbyns” amusement park – a magnet for visitors to the second largest island in the Baltic Sea – can visit the original setting of the “Pippi” films shot on Gotland.

Typical for Gotland: the many pretty fishing villages on the 800 km long coast with wide sandy beaches, ideal for walks. Gotland, island, municipality and historical province at the same time, is one of the sunniest spots in Sweden. The Swedes in particular like to vacation on Gotland and the offshore islets, enjoy the almost Mediterranean climate: in the interior of the island even vines thrive.

Once the Goths gave the island its name, later the Vikings came, and during the Hanseatic League the island’s capital, Visby, became an important trading center. It offers the feeling of the Baltic Middle Ages: its old town is surrounded by a city wall from the 13th century, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Source: WORLD infographic

Tree trunk throwing is part of pentathlon

Throwing a tree trunk as far as possible in Obelix fashion – it sounds strange, but it is a serious discipline of the Gotland pentathlon. It is part of the Gotland Olympic Games, which in turn have a long tradition. The competitions have been taking place since 1924, most recently with over 2000 participants, the roots going back to the Viking Age.

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Stone throwing is also an old discipline of pentathlon Warp throwing, a kind of Scandinavian boules. Sprinting, jumping up and playing the ball are also measured. The winner is whoever wins the final wrestling match. The next one will take place in July 2021 The bar games instead of.

Sweden: Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Source: Christophe Boisvieux / laif

Natural reef art on the beach

The story that Gotland’s stone landmarks, the Raukar, have to tell is splendid: Because the island, or what it was as part of an ancient continent millions of years ago, was on a geological journey for a long time.

Land masses pushed their way from the southern hemisphere to what is now the Baltic Sea area, while a coral reef formed at the equator as it were passing through. Today Gotland is based on a limestone plateau, which the iconic Raukar remind of.

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The washed-out, imaginative structures can be found on many of the island’s stone beaches that have the funny name cobblestone beach as well as further inland where the coastline once ran. The tallest of these reef limestone towers at seven meters, Virgo (Virgo), is half an hour’s drive north of Visby on Lickershamn beach.

Entire rock fields can also be found on Gotland’s small neighboring island Fårö in the north. Famous all over the island are, for example, a dog-shaped Rauk in the shallow water on the beach at Gamle Hamn or the Rauk, reminiscent of a head, in the Langhammars Nature Reserve.

Near Gotland (Sweden): On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

Quelle: Getty Images/imageBROKER RF/MLNG

Wild horses in the heathland Ljosta Hed

Anyone visiting the Ljosta Hed heathland in the interior of the island on guided tours can discover the last of Gotland’s wild horses. Around 80 Gotland ponies, largely left to their own devices, live there in a spacious area.

The horse breed is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe and almost became extinct around 1900. Domesticated animals live on farms and in riding stables as good-natured riding horses.

Wild horses on Gotland (Sweden)

Source: WORLD infographic

Church ruins in the old town of Visby

Nine church ruins stand as memorials in Visby’s old town. When troops from the Hanseatic city of Lübeck invaded and started a fire in the 16th century, that was the end of the once 14 magnificent sacred buildings within the city wall.

Where today there are only round arches and dome ruins, there are no longer any services, but you can rent the ruins for weddings. Only the cathedral remained undamaged.

Pancakes with saffron is a specialty

The precious spice saffron, which first came to the island at the time of the Hanseatic League, is the coloring ingredient of the golden yellow national dish Saffron pancake, Saffron pancakes. So delicious that it is also served at the Nobel Prize Banquet in Stockholm.

Pancakes with saffron in Sweden

Source: WORLD infographic

The quote

“Here I want to live and here I want to die”

After the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman set foot on the neighboring Gothic island of Fårö for the first time in 1960, he was enthusiastic about the landscape and solitude. He moved into a house, made films, in addition to cinema strips, “Fårödokument” (1970), a TV documentary about the islanders. And he died on Fårö, where he is buried. The Bergman Center Fårö documents his life and work.

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

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

Welt am Sonntag from September 13, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Thessaly: The monks reached their monasteries via rope ladders

Die Region Thessalien

Mith around 30 million tourists annually, Greece is one of the 15 most popular travel destinations in the world – that was true before the outbreak of the corona pandemic and will certainly not be any different afterwards. It is all the more astonishing that there are still such untouristic regions in the country as the Agrafa massif, which is traded as an insider tip among outdoor activists. After all, 15 peaks are over 2000 meters high here, the highest, the Tymfristos, reaches 2312 meters.

Agrafa is located in western Thessaly and is the largest of the nine Greek regions in terms of area. Enclosed by high mountains, there are two wide, fertile plains with Tríkala and Lárissa as urban centers – Thessaly is also Greece’s granary. It is not boring for tourists here: Even the ancient Greeks were diligent in agriculture and animal breeding – which makes Thessaly a treasure trove for educated citizens on the trail of antiquity and its mythology.

Another advantage of visiting the area is that it is, with the Metéora monasteries, Mount Olympus and “Mamma Mia!”, A world cultural heritage site, seat of gods and the location of a cult film. And from Volos, the largest Thessalonian port, it is only a stone’s throw over to the Pelion Peninsula, a hiking paradise with shady oak forests and picturesque bays – without any tourist crowds.

Source: WORLD infographic

Monks built monasteries on pinnacles

For almost 400 years they were fortresses of the Christian faith in the Islamic Ottoman Empire – the Metéora monasteries in Thessaly, enthroned on pinnacles. Around a hundred stone solitaires, remnants of a sandstone mountain, rise up to 600 meters near Kalambaka.

Thessaly in Greece: Roussanou Monastery used to be reached via a rope ladder, today there are steps up

In the past, Roussanou monastery was reached via a rope ladder; today there are steps up

Quelle: Getty Images

In Byzantine times, a few hermits from the monastic republic of Athos built airy outbuildings here, but after the Turkish invasion in the 15th century, every third rock was occupied by monks – and only accessible via rope ladders.

Six monasteries are still inhabited today, they now have stair access and can be visited. The remaining “rock nests” were gradually abandoned after the liberation of Thessaly in 1881; ruins are clearly visible on two dozen sandstone towers.

Monasteries in Thessaly (Greece): Around a hundred stone solitaires rise up to 600 meters near Kalambaka

Above the clouds: around a hundred stone solitaires tower up to 600 meters near Kalambaka


Beaches and bays as a film set

Thessaly not only includes miles of beaches along the Olympic Riviera, but also cinematic bays. The blockbuster “Mamma Mia!” Was filmed there in 2007, on the Northern Sporades, part of Thessaly.

According to the script, the Abba musical is set on a fictional Greek island, and the camera team chose Skopelos as the location for the beach scenes: with its 80 percent forested hinterland, the Sporades isle is considered the greenest island in the Aegean – and with its 66 kilometers of turquoise coast The sea is also a bathing paradise. If a tree-lined bay comes into the picture in the film, it should be Kastani Beach.

Greece: The 2007 blockbuster hit the Northern Sporades, which belong to Thessaly "Mamma Mia!" turned

In 2007 the blockbuster “Mamma Mia!” Was released on the Northern Sporades, which belong to Thessaly. turned

Quelle: mauritius images / Collection Christophel

Hiking in the Agrafa Mountains

It is considered the most remote mountain range in Greece – Agrafa in western Thessaly. Not even the Ottoman tax collectors penetrated the difficult-to-access area, which saved many residents from taxes. The landscape is still archaic today. If you want to experience it: The European long-distance hiking trail E4 touches 14 ancient mountain villages.

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Music in honor of the gods

Zeus on Mount Olympus, Apollon in the Témbi Valley, the Centaurs in the Pelion Mountains: what had rank and name in the ancient world of gods cavorted in Thessaly. The gods loved music, and in their honor it was played at every opportunity.

Water-powered organs, called hydraulis, which are among the oldest keyboard instruments in the world, were also used. In 1992 a specimen was found at the foot of Mount Olympus.

Hydraulis: Water-powered organs are among the oldest keyboard instruments in the world

Water-powered organs are among the oldest keyboard instruments in the world

Source: WORLD infographic

A mountain railway in “Switzerland of Greece”

The Greeks praise the Pelion peninsula in the south of Thessaly as “Switzerland of Greece”. The fact that a narrow-gauge railway from 1895 trundles through the rugged mountains, passing two tunnels and nine viaducts, fits in well with the Swiss cliché.

The Pelion Railway takes 90 minutes for the 15 kilometers from Ano Lechonia on the Pagasitic Gulf to the mountain village of Milies. Before it goes back three hours later, the locomotive is turned manually on a disk; Travelers are allowed to help.

Greece: The Pelion narrow-gauge railway passes a viaduct

The Pelion narrow-gauge railway passes a viaduct

Those: De Agostini via Getty Images

The marathon leads over the summit massif of Olympus

The Faethon marathon participants have to conquer 3200 meters of altitude. The 43.4-kilometer circuit leads from Kokkinopilos in Thessaly over the Olympus summit (2918 meters) back to 1250 meters. Ten hours are set for the route.

Alongside the Olympus Mythical Trail, the Olympus Ultra and the Almira-X Triathlon, the Faethon Marathon is the most demanding of eleven running events that have been established on Olympus since 2004.

The quote

“I have a horse like you’ve never seen it before”

Philonikos, a 4th century B.C. Horse breeder living in Thessaly, rightly praised his animal: under the name Bucephalus it would later write world history, because it carried Alexander the great through all battles.

Thessaly’s warhorses had already proven themselves against the Persians. Alexander even founded a city in honor of his horse, Alexandreia Bukephalus, now Jhelam in Pakistan. There are no longer any purebred Thessalians, but the tough Pindos pony can probably be traced back to them.

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

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

WELT AM SONNTAG from August 30, 2020



Carinthia: In this tower you slide 120 meters down

Europe Regional geography of Carinthia

In this tower you slide 120 meters deep

There is a 100 meter high observation tower on the Pyramidenkogel in Carinthia. In addition to six viewing platforms, it lures with a record slide. And there are even more interesting things to discover in Austria’s federal state.

| Reading time: 4 minutes

Austria: The observation tower on the Pyramidenkogel offers a fantastic view over the Carinthian landscape

The observation tower on the Pyramidenkogel offers a fantastic view over the Carinthian landscape

Source: Kärnten Werbung, photographer: Tine Steinthaler

The Carinthia region

Kärnten is the southernmost federal state in Austria. It is known for its mild, almost Mediterranean climate, for castles and its extremely beautiful nature. Neighbors are Italy and Slovenia. Around 13,000 of the 561,000 inhabitants are Carinthian Slovenes and speak Slovenian. The bilingual nature of the region goes back to the time of the Great Migration in late antiquity, when the Slavic principality of Carantania emerged, the forerunner of today’s Carinthia.

The lindworm, in appearance something between snake and dragon, is today the heraldic animal of the state capital Klagenfurt am Wörthersee as well as that of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Klagenfurt has been known as the venue for the “Days of German-Language Literature” since 1976, during which the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is awarded.

Slovenian, Italian and Carinthian producers sell their products at the city’s Benedictine market six days a week. In terms of tourism, the emphatically traditional Carinthia is particularly popular with Germans, who represent the largest group of visitors to the state, ahead of Austrians and Dutch. According to a survey, the Styrian dialect is considered to be the most popular in the country, followed by the Tyrolean and Upper Austrian dialects.

Carinthia in Austria

Source: WORLD infographic

Unique view from the Pyramidenkogel

On the Pyramidenkogel, a mountain 850 meters above sea level in the municipality of Keutschach am See, there is an elegantly curved radio and observation tower made of steel and wood. The construction is 100 meters high and has eleven levels with six viewing platforms and the longest building slide in Europe.

The structure was erected in 2013 at a location where two smaller observation towers had previously stood. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Carinthia, as it offers a panoramic view of the green, blue and white of the landscape.

Carinthia (Austria): observation tower on the Pyramidenkogel

The observation tower on the Pyramidenkogel was planned by the architects Markus Klaura and Dietmar Kaden from Klagenfurt

Source: Kärnten Werbung, Tine Steinthaler

Sweet cake to go with the church soup

The Carinthian Kirchtagssuppe, which has been known since at least the 17th century, is made from different types of meat, soup vegetables, cream and saffron. It is consumed as a main course, with it – and not afterwards – you traditionally eat Reindling, a sweet bowl cake with raisins.

The Carinthian original trout

It was already almost extinct, then in the early 2000s a couple of fish of an old type were discovered in the waters of a resident of the mountain settlement Althofen. The Carinthian primeval trout has been native to the area since the end of the most recent Ice Age, i.e. for around 10,000 years, but it was threatened with extinction due to more robust trout strains. Now that the primeval trout has been successfully bred and is mainly found in the Görtschitztal, it must be protected from the otter.

Threatened with extinction: the Carinthian primeval trout

Threatened with extinction: the Carinthian primeval trout

Quelle: picture alliance / WILDLIFE; Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images/

One of the largest folk festivals in Austria

The Sankt Veiter Wiesenmarkt is 658 years old. It has been held in the municipality of Sankt Veit an der Glan since 1362. While the rural population used to shop here for their annual need for horses, clothing and household goods, the market is now one of Austria’s largest folk festivals and also attracts visitors from neighboring countries.

The lake district on the south side of the Alps

Unlike the typical Austrian winter sports regions, Carinthia on the south side of the Alps really unfolds its scenic magic in summer, when the 1270 lakes in the region glisten in the sun, and in autumn, when the light is golden.

Lake Millstatt is particularly beautiful, at 141 meters the deepest and after the Wörthersee the second largest lake in Carinthia. Due to an updraft, there is an above-average amount of sunshine on its banks, in summer the water is up to 28 degrees warm in places.

Austria: The Wörthersee is the largest lake in Carinthia

The Wörthersee is the largest lake in Carinthia

Source: Getty Images / Westend61

The quote

“Two Carinthians, one Xangsverein”

According to this proverb, the singing tradition is particularly cultivated in Carinthia. While the Verband Österreichisches Volksliedwerk takes care of “preserving and bringing to life” the cultural heritage throughout the country, the caretaker’s songs are sung in the regional choral societies: polyphonic, without instruments, mostly melancholy. Often it is about love, like in the hit “I have di love”.

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A fisherman stands on the Krimmler Ache in the Hohe Tauern National Park

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

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

WELT AM SONNTAG from September 22, 2019


This article was first published on October 14, 2019.


Andamans: China values ​​bird nests as a sexual enhancer

The Andaman Island Chain

Sor since August 1st, the Andaman island chain has been back to what it was for many millennia – largely isolated. Because the authorities imposed a lockdown on the 204 islands of the Indian Union territory, to which the Nicobar Islands also belong.

So far, not even 400 of the approximately 400,000 islanders have tested positive for Covid-19. But the complete shutdown of public life is also taking into account the indigenous population, which numbered only a few hundred people: When the Andamans became part of India in 1947, one of five tribes was extinct, and a second only consisted of a few women.

Introduced epidemics had decimated the indigenous peoples, and in less than 100 years since the British occupation began. The Jarawa, Onge, and Sentinelese survived, but only because they avoided Port Blair and the surrounding islands. There, in the south of the Andaman Islands, the colonial rulers founded a penal colony for insurgents from India in 1858.

The Indian government, which has declared some islands and forest areas to be reserves, has now accepted that peace and seclusion are the best protection for indigenous people. Tourism experts like to describe the Andamans as “the last white spots on the world map”.

That’s right about the indigenous areas. For example, it is forbidden to approach North Sentinel Island within three miles. This even applies to scientists, which is why almost nothing is known about the Sentinelese to this day.

Native Americans kill US citizens

He entered their island to convert them to Christianity. A US citizen wanted to convert a so-called uncontacted people, the Sentinelese, and was killed by them. Now the indigenous people are under observation.

Source: WORLD / Alina Quast

The three main Andaman islands, however, are no longer untouched. The influx of tens of thousands of Indians has changed the Andaman Islands, which are located in the Bay of Bengal about 1000 kilometers from the motherland. New villages and fields emerged, and recently more and more hotel complexes, which shrank the tropical rainforest by a third.

The underwater world, however, is as rich in species as it has been since the beginning of time – because of it, more and more Indians from the subcontinent are now coming to the Andamans as tourists, they want to watch fish on the seawalk: with an air hose on their helmets they run over the seabed at a depth of eight meters. Nobody needs a diving license. And German tourists? They are mostly backpackers and enjoy the sunsets.

Source: Infographic Die Welt

Soup with bird nests from India

They are considered white gold on the Andamans: the nests of the salangans. It takes a pair of birds more than a month to produce a web of spit that is only a few grams light and yet surprisingly strong.

Many Chinese appreciate the crescent-shaped saliva bowls, which harden quickly in the air, as a soup base. The fact that they are willing to pay thousands of euros per kilo for this is due to the belief that the protein bombs could fuel the libido. If you want to try the bird’s nest soup: Chinese restaurants in Port Blair offer it.

White nestsalangans with nest on the Andamans (India)

Salangan nests consist only of saliva, but are astonishingly robust

Quelle: pa / imageBROKER / Wothe, K.

Vacationers do “photo hunt” for indigenous people

In 2013 the patience of Survival International was over: the human rights organization, which works for indigenous peoples, called for a boycott of tourism on the Andaman Trunk Road worldwide. The trunk road connects hundreds of villages between Port Blair and Diglipur. Because it crosses the Jarawa reserve, a kind of street safari developed on the route in which tourists “photo hunt” the indigenous people.

But the call was hardly successful – tourists are still driving the jungle road. In the meantime, however, local authorities are also appealing to travelers to take the “pleasant sea route north”. The reason: Young Jarawas have got used to alms from tourists and demand it, sometimes with threatening gestures, as a “road toll”.

Have adapted to the tourists: Jarawa in the Andamans (India)

Have adapted to the tourists: Jarawa in the Andaman Islands

Source: LightRocket via Getty Images / Thierry Falise

A unique place for turtles

Three rare species of turtles use the same beach, 17 kilometers east of Diglipur on North Andaman, for brood care: Kalipur Beach is the only place in the world where leatherback turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and olive ridged turtles lay their eggs between December and March.

The animals enjoy special protection under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The turtle eggs are collected and placed in guarded clutches to protect them from nest predators. Volunteers can help with this and with releasing the hatched turtles into the sea.

Elephants as a taxi in the sea

Pachyderms are excellent swimming, and indeed there are elephants on the Andaman Islands who act as animal taxi boats to carry locals through the straits. They are the last of those working elephants who once had to help clear the forests by swimming from island to island.

Logging has been banned in the archipelago since 2001, and most of the elephants started their way home to mainland India. Those who stayed became a temple servant or a tourist attraction, like the elephant bull Rajan, who accompanied the guests of the resort “The Barefoot” on Havelock Island to snorkel. In 2016 he died of old age.

India: An elephant swimming off the Andaman coast

An elephant swimming off the Andaman coast

Quelle: Getty Images

Fought against the British with Mahatma Ghandi

He fought at Gandhi’s side against the British and in 1943 proclaimed the government-in-exile Free India in the Andaman Islands: Subhas Chandra Bose (1897–1945). The fact that he was supported by Nazi Germany and Japan is still controversial in India today. Nevertheless, Ross Island, once the administrative seat of the British, was given Bose’s name in 2018.

A dreamy beach with pitfalls

Around 500,000 tourists traveled to the Andaman Islands in 2019, and the majority of them visited Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island. Its reputation as “Asia’s Best Beach” goes back to a report by “Time” magazine from 2004 and found new nourishment with the hotel “Taj Exotica”, which opened in 2018.

But the dream beach also has its pitfalls. Thanks to various protective measures, the number of saltwater crocodiles on the Andaman Islands rose from around 30 in the 1970s to around 500 today. There are more and more attacks on people, some of them are fatal. One of the victims was a tourist who died on Havelock Island.

Andaman Islands (India): Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island

Looks idyllic, but is not entirely harmless: Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island

Quelle: Getty Images

The quote

“His wild expression could bring a man to sleep”

Sir Conan Doyle characterized in the Sherlock Holmes novel “The Sign of the Four” (1890) the natives of the Andaman as cannibal villains. Doyle was never on the islands and didn’t know any native.

The same was true of Marco Polo; 500 years before Doyle, the world traveler was the first European to report what he knew from hearsay about the archipelago – and that sounded consistently daunting. Perhaps it was such “negative headlines” that saved the Andamans from conquerors until the 19th century.

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

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

WELT AM SONNTAG from August 16, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag