A Rough Guide to Kölner Karneval

After last year missing out on Kölner Karneval (Carnival in Cologne) because I was sick, 2015 was definitely the year to take on this colourful Rhineland tradition. So, without further ado, here's your rough guide to Karneval in Köln, based on the hard-earned experience of the fortnight previous. Karneval in Köln, Jeck Here! We'll start

A Frosty Intermission

Chasing the weather near Berlin Brr. Yesterday's spontaneous day at the ski resort of Oberwiesenthal was rather wild, so I think the follow-up to last week's Raglan/NZ New Years post shall have to be postponed in favour of portraying the faces of this frosty trip out east. Starting at 5.30am, ending at 10.30pm, plenty

2014 at a glance

  While I'm sitting in plane over the Tasman Sea, next to a German fellow who just cycled around NZ for four weeks on a fold-up commuter bike, I'd like to take the opportunity to say "happy new year"! My entry into 2015 was more or less the same as that of the German gent,

Home Again

I still haven't quite come to terms with the fact that almost 31 months after leaving New Zealand as a decidedly unbearded youngster, I'll finally be back later this week. [Edit: One of the border staff members in Taiwan seemed a bit suspicious about the beard, too.] I'd be inclined to ponder the marvel that,

Christkindlesmarkt: An expat pilgrimage

Tourists spilling out from the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt It was inevitable that eventually, like a moth to the Feuerzangenbowle flame,  this expat would be unable to resist the temptations of the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. And why would I? As one of the biggest and most tradition-steeped Christmas markets in Germany, if not the world, the Christkindlesmarkt is


The Lichtgrenze If there was any place I expected to experience an emotional connection to the long-distant confusion and euphoria of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it  was definitely not Checkpoint Charlie. Yet, last weekend I stood at the intersection of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, wiping away an unexpected tear of awe and

Weekend escape artists

2014 shall be known as the year (to few but myself) when I became an escape artist. I was always a connessieur and ardent admirer of the weekend, in all its forms, and with all of my holiday time this year being saved up for New Zealand in December, by necessity I had to adapt