Organic Alternatives to Glyphosate & Co. !?

With the ongoing discussion about the potentially carcinogenic non-selective weed killer glyphosate constantly on the local news, I can’t help but wonder, why this is even a serious topic of discussion, whether we want to use a product that is potentially highly dangerous for environment and humans, if there are so many great alternatives out there.

The unclear threat to biodiversity, human health and unstable results should give a hint that there has to be something seriously wrong with the product and it should also not be allowed to be used until not all objections are resolved.

Meanwhile, supporters of chemical fertilizers and weed control should maybe consider some of the great organic alternatives (which I have also mentioned in a previous article) and go green! Wouldn’t it be great if we could use organic fertilizers on a larger scale? If organic was the new norm? If chemical safety hazards did not have a massive lobby to fight their battle?

I know, I know … its naive to think we can implement a 180°- turn overnight, I know there are unsolved issues surrounding organic fertilizers as well, … But the mere fact that such a big lobby is fighting for a product that is clearly not beneficial for our health, environment or foods should be a wake up call to reconsider our stance towards organic fertilizers!

 
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Wolfgang Berends • Nach Durchsicht der Wolken

[As promised here a little abstract about the 100th book published in the Stadtlicher Press – my Dads publishing house. Just this once, the post is in German, as is the book – Enjoy!]

9783936271829Auf der Suche nach dem Wirklichen in der menschlichen Natur, nach den uns bewegenden Kräften, führt uns Wolfgang Berends die Rätselhaftigkeit von Begriffen und Zeichen vor Augen. Dabei erzeugt er durch die komprimierte Kompromißlosigkeit seiner Sprache eine Erkenntnis jenseits unserer Vernunftgrenzen. Seine Gedichte wirken, indem sie etwas hinterlassen, etwas, das nach Durchsicht der Wolken in uns verbleibt.

Wolfgang Berends, langjähriger Bibliotheksleiter der Stiftung Lyrik Kabinett, ist nicht nur als Lyriker, sondern auch als Übersetzer und Vermittler von Lyrik tätig. Nach dem Band Erdabstoßung (2010) erscheint mit Nach Durchsicht der Wolken sein zweiter Band in der Stadtlichter Presse. 
Die Grafikerin Heike Küster fertigte für diesen Band vier Illustrationen und übernahm die Einbandgestaltung.

Für die Freunde des bibliophilen Buches gibt es von Nach Durchsicht der Wolken eine Vorzugsausgabe, die von Autor und Grafikerin signiert wird. Sie ist limitiert auf 10 Exemplare, wird in Halbleinen gebunden und der Einband mit einem mehrfarbigen Originalholzschnitt von Heike Küster bezogen. Außerdem enthält jedes dieser Exemplare ein beigelegtes Blatt, gestaltet mit einem numerierten Originalholzschnitt von Heike Küster und einem handgeschriebenen Gedicht von Wolfgang Berends, ebenfalls von Illustratorin und Dichter signiert.
Klopfzeichen

Ein Dunkel, das dich umfängt:
Der ideale Weg braucht keine Lösung.
Vor dem Regen mal ich die Zeit.

Vogel, dein Leben geh’ in mich ein:

Ich hab’ mich nie begriffen, und
daß, als alles noch Wald gewesen war,
ich schon hier gelebt hatte.

Das Staunen ist
eine Eintagsfliege in der Ewigkeit. 

ISBN: 978-3-936271-82-9, Paperback, 91 Seiten, 16 Euro 
(Vorzugsausgabe: 90 Euro – sie ist erhältlich ab 3. Juli)
Stadtlichter Presse
Wennerstorfer Kirchweg 65
21279 Wenzendorf
Tel.: 0 41 65-8 11 69

Follow Your Dream, They Say …

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… and most of us nod along and say, ‘yes, one day I will, and it will be great!’ – but nevertheless, the mayority of us stuffs their dreams, the things they are passionate about in the top most drawer of a rusty closet and never take a second peak again. A peak at the  ‘what it would be like if…’s and ‘if only’s that never stood a chance. It’s is undeniable brave to follow your passion, despite any obstacle that might come your way – and I probably don’t know anyone who followed their dream as uncompromisingly as my Dad.

My Dad, who decided after severe illness, that he would spend the rest of his life not working 9  to 5 but doing things he loved and cared about deeply: Books. I guess my Dad has always been interested in literature; to the point that most furniture in his flats was usually organised around the books, not the other way around.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the publishing house that he launched in 1996 – and the year that his 100th book will be published. To this occassion, I wanted to honor his work – not only because he is my Dad, but also because he is, in my opinion, a great example of what it can look like if you set your heart on something and pursuit it with everything you’ve got. To my Dad, his love for books and the Stadtlichter Press!

Tomorrow I will share with you a little abstract from his 100th book – until then you can check out his work at Stadtlichter Presse.

PS.: … and while we’re at it, his wife, Heike Küster, is an amazing artist you should keep an eye on!

5 Podcasts You Should Check Out Right Now

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I first got hooked on podcasts after I had just moved to the Netherlands and commuted to Germany to see my boyfriend every other weekend – the drive was long and boring, and the Dutch radio programs (no offense!) simply didn’t keep me entertained for more than 2 blocks. A friend of mine had recommended Podcast Addict, an app which enables you to browse for all kinds of different podcasts, download them and listen to them from your phone, and I just got started by listening into some programs she had recommended.

Suddenly the drive could not be long enough – some shows really got me hooked and I started ‘binge-listening’ episode after episode – not only while driving, but also on the treadmill in the gym, while doing the dishes, etc. and now I actually find myself a tiny bit (ok, who am I kidding… a pretty large bit) addicted to my favorite shows, desperately waiting for new episodes to come out and telling everybody who listens about all the great things I learned from Radiolab.

If you haven’t heard of these shows, you should definitely give them a listen – at your own risk of slight podcast addiction, of course 😉

Here are my 5 favorite Podcasts

99% Invisible

99% Invisible is hosted by Roman Mars and explores the ‘invisible’ aspects of our everyday life, architecture and design that we don’t think about, like inflatables or revolving doors – sounds very geeky? It is! But it’s also highly entertaining and provides you with great fun facts for the next party small talk.

Death, Sex & Money

The title describes the podcastpodcast in a nutshell – Anna Sale interviews super interesting guest about the ‘topics we think about a lot and need to talk about more’. Super refreshing and honest conversations that make you feel like you are sitting across the room from them in a private living room and not on national radio.

Freakonomics Radio

The Freakonomics podcast is a lot like Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt’s books – only in smaller and (at least for me) more digestible chunks. Mai was ‘self-improvement month’ with a lot of super interesting episodes on how to get more grid or how to beat your friends and family at board games.

Radiolab

In my opinion, Radiolab is a lot like 99% invisible – in the best possible way, of course. They make episodes about topics you have never actively thought about, but after listening to their show, simply can’t get out of your head anymore.

TED Radio Hour

Every episode of the TED Radio Hour is sort of a compilation of different Ted Talks and interviews around a certain topic such as for example meaning of work, creativity or overcoming. To this date, there are approximately 150 hour-long episodes online, all hosted by Guy Raz.

Do you have a favorite podcast that is not in the list? Let me know in the comment section! I can’t wait to hear from you guys!

The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

travel

Good music is crucial for a road trip!  What kept me awake and sane on our 21-hour drive back home from Cassis, South of France, was, after all, playing our playlist over and over again until I could hum every song backwards – and I am still not sick of it. This is a list of my favorite tracks, roadtrippy songs, some summer tunes and a few evergreens – Enjoy and please feel free to comment your all-time favorite road trip songs!

Daylight – Matt & Kim

Roadtrippin’ – Daniel Cirera

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

I’m Going Down – Vampire Weekend

Kiss Kiss – Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs

manwithguitar

Into the Sun – Sons of the East

I Get Ideas –  M. Ward

Something Easy – Georgia Fair

Man Must Dance – Johnossi

Hit the Road Jack – Ray Charles

Makes Me Happy – Drake Bell

Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

Completely Not Me –  Jenny Lewis

Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Highway Star – Deep Purple

I couldn’t care less – Leslie Clio

Little Numbers – Boy

Jump Rope – Blue October

Rye Rye – Sunshine ft. MIA

The One You Say Good Night To – Kina Grannis

music girl

(Check out this list of other things that you should not forget to pack)

Travelling Germany – How to Get Around

Germany can not only be a beautiful, but also quite expensive holiday destination for backpackers. It is far from being easy to travel on a budget here with steep prices for accommodation, eating out and rental cars. There are, however, a lot of local travelling hacks that will make your life on the road a lot easier – and hopefully cheaper. Here I want to share with you a couple of tips for travelling Germany: How can you travel around and visit multiple cities during your time in Germany without spending all your hard earned travel money on trains or cars!

  1. Beat the train companies at their own game
    Travelling with the official German rail company, Deutsche Bahn, can be pretty expensive and definitely requires planning ahead – the more spontaneous you travel, the more expensive it gets, because the ‘Sparpreise’ (discounts) are limited for every route. If you were to travel from Hamburg to Berlin the same day, you could easily pay 80€ for a 2 hour train ride.

    If you are planning on staying in Germany for a longer period of time (say a year), and plan to travel a lot by train, it might be a good idea to check out their discount cards (Bahn Card) – they offer 25% and 50% off each purchase you make and there are also student discounts.

    If you are just in Germany for a couple of days and didn’t figure out your whole itinerary beforehand, there is a great website for spontaneous travelers (you can book these tickets up to 7 days prior to departure), too: LTUR offers last minute train tickets for 19€ with in Germany and 39€ all around Europe – check them out, sometimes they have really good deals!

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  1. Car pooling

Sharing rides with strangers you have met online might sound like a bit of a gamble, but it’s a big thing in Germany: on platforms like Blablacar anyone can offer a ride or search for one. Simply look for your route, drop an email to the driver and arrange when and where to meet. Most people should be able to answer your request in English and are happy to take you along. Prices vary, but usually you pay around 5€ for a 100km. It’s a like hitch hiking, except you don’t have to worry about not finding anybody to take you with them. If you are in doubt about security, check other peoples’ ratings and comments on their rides, that usually very helpful.

  1. (Long Distance) Busses

In recent years, travelling by bus has become super popular and there are still new bus companies popping up each day offering dumping prices for long distance routes through out Germany. It might take longer than taking the car or train and the bus might stop in a lot of places you will have trouble finding on a map, BUT IT IS SUPER CHEAP! The same journey that costs 80€ with a train, from Hamburg to Berlin, costs somewhere between 10 and 20€ if you go by bus! Especially on the popular routes, there are usually busses every half an hour and you can buy your ticket easily online.

Some of the most popular companies are:

  1. Compare Prices
    On this page, you can compare prices for different bus companies, trains and car sharing offers at the same time! Super handy to find the best value for money and compare travel time, price and transfers – it also searches the nearby area for offers.
    But be aware that this site does not compare all bus services available – if you want to make sure you got the best deal, it might be useful to check bus companies that were not listed in your results individually.
  2. HKX
    The route between Hamburg and Frankfurt via Cologne is now covered by a new railroad company called HKX – they are trying to compete with the monopolizing DB train company and are currently running once a day between Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main. Prices are usually around 30 to 40€ for Hamburg to Cologne.

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#10 Lysefjord, Norway

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Another destination on top of my personal bucketlist is the Lysefjord in Norway. There is this beautiful hiking trail around the fjord, you can either do the whole trail or just take a boat for one way. You can set camp pretty much anywhere around there or rent a cabin for a couple of days. There are quite cheap flights to Stavanger (next bigger city) and of course, to Oslo, if you would like to combine your hike with a little roadtrip through Norway.

This is how far my planning goes so far – I d be super thankful for any words of advice or recommendations!  Have you done this hike before and maybe got some tips? Let me know in the comments section!

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#9 Sardinia

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There are no words to describe how much Sardinia surprised me when we first visited – sure, I expected it to be beautiful, but like this? There is a reason why some of the beaches in Sardinia are called little Tahiti – cristal clear water and white sand, palm trees and endless sunshine! You can go hiking and explore little hidden bays, rent a scooter, eat Pizza and feel super italian – I d definelty recommend it 😉

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#8 Morocco

Morocco is absolutely trending! Think buzzing market places, tasty food and inspiring architecture. You can take adventurous trip to the Sahara or lie on the beach and drink coconut water, visit the beautiful seaside town Essaouira, the vibrant Metropolis Marrakesh or the more traditional Fez. Flights with in the country as well as from / to Europe are even offered by budget airlines like Ryanair and Germanwings!

#7 Cassis

IMG_20160330_142441_HDRThe south of France is magical! The beautiful Mediterranean Sea, steep cliffs, stunning beaches and amazing hikes. There is this little city called “Cassis”(yes, like the berries) somewhere in between Nice and Marseille at the heart of the Cote Azure, that you should definitely pay a visit someday. It has a great location for day trips to Monaco, Nice, Marseilles and several National Parks and azure blue water. You can go hiking in the nearby area of Calanques and explore the hidden rocky bays, either by foot or on a kayak tour.IMG_20160328_171141_HDR