Liebeserklärung an Koh Jum

Das Paradies - auf einer der ruhigsten Inseln Thailands

Buntes Barbados

Party ohne Ende beim Crop Over Festival

Segeln auf Malta

Ruhe und Entspannung in blauen Buchten

Winterliches Illinois

Am Tag als ich Rudolph in Champaign traf

Weihnachtszeit auf den Malediven

Von Traumstränden, jungen Einhörnern und viel Zucker, Zimt und Liebe

Die schönsten Weihnachtsmärkte im Harz

Ein märchenhafter Besuch in Quedlinburg und Goslar

Endlich wieder Kanada

Kurz und knackig: Toronto und Ontario

Mein Niedersachsen

Unterwegs in meiner Heimat

Italien Wochen!

Mailand, die Lombardei und Emilia Romagna

Sommer in London

Sonniger, günstiger und schöner als gedacht

Mein Neuseeland

Meine Abenteuer am schönsten Ende der Welt

New York: Die besten Tipps von Locals

Schön, wenn man Freunde hat, die sich auskennen

Soulfood, Baby!

Herzhaft, bodenständig und saulecker: das Essen in den Südstaaten der USA

Soulfood, Baby!

Herzhaft, bodenständig und saulecker: das Essen in den Südstaaten der USA

Die coolste Kleinstadt Amerikas

Berlin in Maryland

Zum Meer, zum Meer ....

Auf dem zur Küste von Virginia

4,3,2,1... mein Geburtstag im Camper

Party auf vier Rädern, durch drei US-Staaten, mit zwei Freunden und einer Erkenntnis

Sweet home Alabama?

Abseits von Bluebell - kein Hart of Dixie

Buntes Mississippi

Roadtrip Südstaaten - auf den Spuren der Natchez Indianer

Das schwere Erbe der Südstaaten

Erste Einblicke hinter die schönen Kulissen

Mein Amerikanischer Traum

Roadtrip durch die Südstaaten der USA

Das Essen auf den Philippinen

Eine kulinarische Rundreise mit Reisefreunde

Von Delfing-Babies und Zicklein

Meine Tour ins Paradies nach Pamilacan

Ein perfekter Tag auf Bohol

Meine Lieblingsinsel auf den Philippinen

Warum ich auf Palawan im Knast gelandet bin

Und was PSY damit zu tun hat

Banaue: Der Schatz von Tan An

Reisen macht glücklich

"Don't be instant tourists"

Meine magische Begegnung mit Virginia, einer Reisbäuerin in den Philippinen

Betrübt nach Banaue

Unglück und Glück liegen manchmal nah beieinander

Sagada - wo die Särge hängen

Beste Aussicht für freie Seelen

Vigan, alte Stadt mit jundem Herz

Der Ort, an dem die Menschen mein Herz im Sturm eroberten

Die Philippinen - endlich!!!

Erster Stop: Tanz auf dem Vulkan Pinatubo

Reise durch Jordanien

Am Toten Meer und durch die Ruinen von Petra

Shanghai - eine erste Annäherung

Auf der Suche nach dem alten Shanghai

Inselhopping auf den Malediven

Und warum in meinem neuen Domizil ein Sofa im Sand steht

Kapstadt: Unterwegs mit der Condor Crew

Ihre besten Tipps für die Metropole Südafrikas

Mein Tag als Flugbegleiterin bei Condor

Nenn mich bloß nicht Saftschubse

Curacao: Ich mach dann mal blau

Auftakt zu einer bunten Reise

Mein Wochenende in Brügge

Eine überraschend schöne und ruhige Stadt

Unendliche Weiten

Mein Bilderbuch Amerika - aus der Windschutzscheibe

Hit the road, Gigi

Zum ersten Mal in meinem USA Road Trip Wohnmobil

Heartland USA: Start ins Abenteuer

Und am liebsten gleich alles nochmal...

Singapur - im Streetfood Himmel

Einen ganzen Tag lang nichts als bestes Essen...

Schatzsuche im Bretonischen Meer

Und man denkt, man ist in einem Film gelandet

Ein Sommer-Wochenende in Glasgow

Das coolste Hotel und die besten Locations in der schottischen Metropole

A secret truffle weekend in Tuscany

Jenke didn’t have the faintest idea ... he only knew that we would fly somewhere for his birthday. Even at the airport he was a good boy, his eyes stuck to the floor, blocking his ears every time an announcements was made. The other passengers were slightly puzzled by watching him - but we didn’t care. After touchdown I could already see the name of the airport in big glowing letters above the terminal building, Jenke kept his eyes to on the floor. Of course I could not stand it at some point and told him in the arrivals area in which city we were and I still think he must have already guessed it. (After all, everyone spoke to us only ONE language - Italian). We had landed in Pisa.
True to style, I had rented a Fiat 500 which took us for about 40 minutes further east right into the Tuscan hills. Where the landscape, the houses, the people, the food really without exception all look like from an image campaign. Finally arrives in San Miniato, the heart of the white truffle - for a truffle weekend. The French philosopher Brillat Savarin once wrote: "The truffle makes women more tender and men more amiable." Well, let’s see. San Miniato itself is very small, medieval houses line the streets and an old castle is perched on the highest point. San Minitao joined Cittaslow - a movement to decelerate for improving life quality. But the people here don’t even need the Marketing signs we saw: naturally everything here is slower, calmer, more relaxed.
We arrived quite late in our hostel: the Agritourismo Marrucola. Enzo, the owner, an Italian with Ethiopian roots, greeted us warmly - with little English, but with plenty of charm. The rooms were functional and simply furnished, but very spacious on two floors. Enzo also produces excellent organic wine. The Marrucola has a large pool, twith a real view to kill: the beautiful, nearly surreal Tuscan hills, covered with forests, vineyards, fields, and the obligatory cypress tree, just like a cliché. Normally guests have dinner here at night with Enzo and the other guests. However, I have been planning for something special and so we went to the heart of San Miniato.
The restaurant Pepenero was our first stop; Jenke still didn’t what I have been planning. From the outside you can miss the entrance; it goes down a flight of stairs – where you find yourself in very stylish, bright and modern cellars. Pepenero is offering a couple of different three of four course dinners. As we arrived quite late, our appetite wasn’t big enough so we opted for some "à la carte" dishes. We started with a tender Angus Carpaccio with white truffles. It turned out to be the best we ever had:  Fine and elegant taste and texture, deliciously gorgeous. Then there was home-made pasta, of course also with white truffles. Like a perfect dream. Actually, we were already stuffed, but the Fagioli, the specialty of the region, white beans, served with truffles, of course had made us curious. So we had that too. Shortly before midnight, the nice waiter messed up the surprise and brought out the birthday cake. Stupido. Well it was of course quite funny too. Happy early birthday Jenke! The Vin Santo, the holy sweet dessert wine of the region made us happy again. Auguri!
The breakfast on the next morning was rather tiny and unspectacular so we decided to look for a Cornetto and an Espresso in the village.  Then the next surprise for Jenke: Christina arrived, the friendly staff of Entroterra where I had booked the whole trip. Jenke still had no idea how it should go further. He was shocked when suddenly a scooter and two helmets appeared. Grinning, speechless he hopped on the Vespa, a small road book on a clipboard showed us the way, I sat behind him. And off we went. Jenke smiled like a child. We rattled through the streets and were happy. We came to a stop right behind the last house of San Miniato, a few minutes later met a man with a dog, an finally Jenke knew what we were up to: we were to go on a truffle hunt. His permanent smile was worth the effort! Once in the oak forest, we learned: the season was too dry – too dry for truffles. But the truffle hunter and his dog were born men of action and showed us a perfect demonstration. He had prepared those little yellow Kinder Surprise eggs with truffles, he told the dog to sit and wait while he hid them in the woods After being told so the dog ran like wild into the bushes and found them all. Very funny. The white truffle of San Miniato is world renowned. The largest truffle, which was ever found here weighed 2520 grams. Our proud truffle hunter, who is a psychologist during daytime could find a total of only 350 grams this year. But although we didn’t find any truffle, we had fun and that permanent smile on Jenke’s face remained. Auguri!
The sun was shining, the scenery around us was feudal and slowly our stomachs growled. There was already a reservation for us at Il Convio, a pretty restaurant tucked away in the green valley close to San Miniato. At first we thought we might have landed in tourist trap: but soon the place filled with local families and soon it was clear we were the only tourists here. The starter – a variation of local antipasti pickled vegetables, crispy bruschetta, ham, sausage, mushrooms and truffle cream- was to die for. After that, we could not help it (what can you do?) and again had a truffle pasta. You only live once, auguri!
We had heard that the tiny mountain village of Balconovese was holding a truffle festival on that weekend. The entrance to the village was already blocked off for cars, but luckily our scooter was allowed to go up. The sight that caught our eyes when coming closer was like in Italian movies: in a tiny village square a few tents and a small stage have been set up. A sound check was on. A bunch of really old men and two not so young women played and sang awfully wrong but they had lots of fun and the ladies gallantly swung their hips as once Anni-Frida and Agnetha of ABBAa. It was eerily beautiful. On the only and short street of the village,  a few Italian mamas sold what came out of the ovens in the backyards, and small village children loitered macho cool on the bench at the playground. Auguri!
In the evening we were finally supposed to have dinner at our hostel Marrucola. However, when entering the dinner room the entire place (except one table) was brightly decorated and quickly invaded by a few very loud teenagers. This obviously was the 18-year-old birthday bash of a girl from San Miniato. When the Congratulator arrived, loud music started and we have to confess:  we lost patience. This wasn’t what Jenke’s birthday should be like. Fair enough, Enzo understood the plight and was the perfect host. He took us quickly into the village to a (or his, we have not quite understood) Ristorante, the Ristorante Accademia da Michele. Admittedly, at first we were skeptical, but Michele, the landlord and his tea reconciled us with the following: Fiori di zucca fritti first, then for Madame homemade pasta, for Jenke a tender Bistecca tagliata. And because it was so cute and so delicious, we could still persuade our minds to a dessert. The juicy, very rich, too good to be true cake from was really excellent.  As it turned out later, Michele did not speak the language of food but also a decent German. Because he  - we couldn’t believe our ears - once had a love affair in Cologne. The world is a village. The world is San Miniato. What a beautiful evening. Brillat-Savarin was right! Auguri!
The next day we would actually have had a wine tasting. But in the firm belief, that we have already got the best wine in the village from Enzo, we checked out and drove the half hour to Florence. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the Fiat 500 wanted to be driven. From Florence we both knew little. I was briefly on a business trip there, but it had only managed to eat some ice cream before I had to return to the airport. Florence, as far as we know now, is packed. And without any preparation the city is hardly bearable. Tourists everywhere, long waiting lines in front of the interesting highlights of the city; the Ponte Vecchio is like a Sunday in Disneyland. We should have known better. Next time, we will be smarter and do some research.