Summer Fav :: Elbe Sandstone Mountains

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This year’s summer I had the chance to travel a lot and with a longer stay in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains (also known as Saxon Switzerland) a lifelong dream came true. I have been traveling the world but never made it to these beautiful mountains in my own state. Mostly because I am a bit picky with accommodation and food. But then I found out about an eco hotel in that area and decided to check this one out.

First of all, the hotel was very beautiful. We had a room on the riverside and enjoyed the best organic food and delicious dishes all day long including regional organic beer and cake. They also offered lunch bags filled with lovely prepared bread rolls, veggies and fruits for hikers, free tea in the afternoon as well as different activities by a healing practitioner. Hotel guests were also invited to use the sauna for free. The little village of Schmilka is right at the border to the Czech Public and it is practically an eco village. Most of the restaurants sell organic food and they brew their own organic beer and bake organic bread and cakes. We also met very kind and friendly people there and enjoyed the amazingly beautiful landscape and pretty cool hiking trails. I was so happy to find this please, I even got over my acrophobia, and since then I call hiking a new hobby.

So if you are looking for paradise, trust me, go to Schmilka, it’s pretty close. ;-)

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Summer Break II

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I hope you are having a great summer. Here is round two of my recommendations for things to do and places to go in case of a stay in lovely LE … today (or any day). ;-)

#foryoursoul: Ping Ping (for the best dim sum and bao burger in town)

#foryourears: Graue Musik (for fine electronica sounds)

#foryoureyes: Fockeberg (for a beautiful view)

#foryourmind: Abstract: The Art of Design (for tons of inspiration)

Check out Summer Break I in case you’ve missed it and are looking for more.

Summer Break I

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Recently a LEipzig visitor asked me about the in my opinion must-see places in town. Well, although this is a hard question and totally depends on your personal fields of interest, here is the first round of my top things to do and places to go during this summer in LE.

#foryoursoul: Café Cantona (just because) // Fleischerei (for the best cake in town) // La Chocolaterie (for the best chocolate in town) // Zierlich Manierlich (for the best organic food in the middle of nowhere)

#foryourears: Refugees Welcome Platz (for the sound mix of fountains and skaters) // Connewitz-Lindenau and the route between (for the annual Global Space Odyssey) // Pappelwäldchen (for the sound mix of wind and cotton wood trees) // Rosental (for the funny noises young grey herons make)

#foryoureyes: Markkleeberger See (for the glittery water) // G2 (for contemporary art, but I haven’t been there yet) // Kolle (for the new bookstore and some more) // Plagwitz (for a personal update)

#foryourmind: Lavendaire Lifestyle (for some uplifting notes) // CleverShuttle (for environmentally friendly travelling through town) // Urban Up (for cool street art) // My Indian Boyhood by Standing Bear (to learn more about Lakota culture)

Have a great summer, stay tuned for Summer Break II and see you around.

May Favorites :: a beautiful new place in town, a rhubarb cake challenge & a few more

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Lately, I keep hearing rumors that we are facing the last days of the blogosphere. Seems a bit like a conspiracy, but I have to say, I believe it somehow. I am reading blogs and watching vlogs for almost ten years now. I like that, just as I like to read a good magazine or book. Over the years I created a small collection of selected online media regarding the things I am interested in (minimalism and similar lifestyle topics). But even these “high end” blogs and vlogs kinda like have reached their limit already. To me it seems like the majority of the posts is written in a hurry and it’s not rare that I find recurring topics, only discussed from a different perspective. It’s all about followers and all about “getting things out there”, and all about money. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame any blogger who wants to make a living with his blog. But I am glad I decided not to a couple of years ago. I want topa to be unique and I want it exclusively to represent the things I explore, things I think that need to be mentioned because they are special and because they make the world (or starting with LEipzig) a better place – at least a little bit and at least in my opinion. So topa always was, still is and will be a non-profit outlet. It will never win any ranking or support some major company and their greed for profit. It’s for the small entrepreneurs in design and sustainability, for unknown or indie artists, and it’s here to support the Lakota people. So for the latter and in case you like the idea behind topa, enjoyed a single post and maybe want to give something back, topa is now open for donations that will used directly to support the Lakota people.

#foryoursoul: Since rhubarb season started a couple of weeks ago, Ro and I had rhubarb nearly consistently. Besides rhubarb lemonade and rhubarb pudding, Ro created a super delicious rhubarb seltzer cake with almonds (following a secret recipe – sorry, can’t share) and I made a meringue-covered rhubarb cake following my grandma’s apple pie recipe. If you call it a challenge – well, we both won. ;-)

#foryourears: This is Ro’s latest podcast for Adventurous Music called “Expecting Miracles”. It’s beautiful ambient music, the perfect sound for a chilly summer evening. I am always surprised where he finds cool music and his sets always are such a great inspiration and perfect to listen to while working on a script.

#foryoureyes: In case you are wondering where we got such beautiful pottery – well, we made them by ourselves! Well, not completely, but we chose the design and colors and painted the matching bowls – right in our neighborhood, at Lieblingswerk. Hands down, this is the most beautiful place I know of for handcrafted design in LEipzig. So if you are looking for some chilly and creative time (and some hot or cold drinks too), or a place to get a unique and special gift, this is the right one. You’re gonna be amazed. Ro and I had a great and fun time there and I am sure you will, too. Trust me! ;-)

#foryourmind: As you guys probably know, I am studying all things Lakota since like ever. Usually I am using old-school techniques. Like reading and watching movies and documentaries. But then the late starter in me discovered lessons on Lakota on YouTube. I mean real classroom-style lessons. My whole world changed (almost) and I was hooked. And then one of the teachers recommended this book by Luther Standing Bear “Land of the Spotted Eagle”. And here we go again, back to old-school studying. I’ve read this book in such a short time and I marked so many phrases and passages, I actually underlined almost the whole book. Until today, I haven’t read any book on Lakota culture that is as good as this one. I could quote and quote and find no end. It holds so much valuable information, not only interesting from a cultural point of view. It teaches a lot of meaningful things on how to respect each other and how to maintain a healthy environment that although it’s from 1933, it’s more relevant than ever today. I think everyone with big worries about the future should read and definitely learn from it.

Well, enjoy June and have a great time! :-)