There and back again!

… a travel journal …

There are some aspects of life which almost make me a Hobbit. Not my size, though! I love my food, second breakfasts sound just right. I am not too fond of traveling any more, but I brave trips in a good mood if I must go. I enjoy meeting up with family and friends, preferably at a good meal. And I love some good entertainment, if I can get it. And last but not least I never leave the house without a freshly laundered handkerchief 😊

As promised this is a short picture report of my recent trip to Europe to celebrate my mum’s 83rd birthday and to spend time with family and friends.

I would have loved to visit more of my friends in Switzerland, but there was just not enough time.

Enjoy the picture journey (with a lot of food pics, as to be expected).

24 April | Departure into night from Johannesburg. Ten and a half hours flight across Africa in front of me!

25 April | A traditional breakfast dish after arrival in ZĂŒrich, Switzerland: A BirchermĂŒsli. I enjoyed it it very much as long as I did not think about the Rand/Swiss Franc exchange rate!

26 April | My mum’s 83rd birthday. She, and all of us (husband, sons, granddaughters, grandsons, and their friends) , had a great day with a delicious lunch at Villa Martino. [My meal: Beef carpaccio, fresh salad, mushroom risotto, and crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e] PS: My mum enjoyed her birthday roses very much.

27 April | A beautiful spring day in my old school town, Bad SĂ€ckingen. I went with my older brother for a light and very tasty lunch at a new restaurant called

28 April | My older nephew and I indulged in a culinary delight. We had the world’s best Schnitzel (in our opinion!) at the Old Swiss House in Lucerne, Switzerland. [My meal: beef carpaccio, veal schnitzel with nudels, and home made chocolate mousse with whipped cream]

29 April | After a very pleasant lunch with my parents I was off to see one of my favorite operas: Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Stadttheater Basel. I introduced my nephew and his girlfriend to their first opera. They loved it, and so did I!

30 April | Sunday family lunch at a nearby restaurant and then I tried my luck at cards (a German game called Skat) with my younger brother, my nieces and nephews and their boy/girl friends. I lost big time, but I had fun! The video of the day: Swiss cow bell sounds!

1 May | Labor day holiday in Germany. I was invited for another superb lunch to a friends’ house. [The menu: White and green asparagus salad with home-backed bread, veal steak and saffron risotto, and my favorite cake a Linzertorte]

2 May | In the evening my two brothers and I had (our traditional) dinner together in one of our favorite places in Bad SÀckingen, called the Fuchshöhle [My meal: Asparagus cream soup, another nice schnitzel, and some sour-cream-ice-cream of desert]

3 May | If you wondered what I did during the days (when I was not eating 😊) I took good photographs of my model train items which my younger brother and I are busy selling on Ebay (with quite a lot of success). In the evening I had dinner with a good friend.

4 May | What a day. I owned a 18 liter bottle of an excellent Italian wine for the last 21 years. It lay in the cellar of the restaurant where I had my – rather elaborate – 40th birthday party where my 140 guests enjoyed another one of these huge bottles (and more …). I had lunch at the Hirschen, Obererlinsbach [My meal: Asparagus soup, steak tartare, and lime ice cream] before loading the bottle into my car. And as luck had it, I sold the bottle to a very good friend a few hours later!

4 May | A former colleague and his wife, very good friends of mine, invited me to another dinner. Meals at their place are always one of the highlights for my trip. And I was not disappointed this time either. The conversation, the company, and the meal were excellent. [The dinner: Pea cream soup, home-made pasta with mushrooms, beef roast with green asparagus and sauce béarnaise, rhubarb bake and sour-cream-ice-cream (my favorite), followed by LÀuderach chocolates]

5 May | My younger nephew, my younger brother, and I went to the ZĂŒrich Zoo. I love the African wilderness but I also understand the important role of good zoos. And the ZĂŒrich Zoo is one of the best in the world. We had a great day. And in the evening I met up with very good friends in Germany for another dinner.

6 May | Coronation day! I watched it all (while photographing model train stuff) only interrupted by a family light lunch. And another dinner with good friends in the evening. Check out my light desert (Meringue glacé with whipped cream)!

7 May | My last full day in Europe and we had family lunch at an excellent Chinese restaurant (with roasted duck!). A bit of a tradition by now! The picture of the day: Spring flowers.

8 May | Time to say goodbye until my return in December. I upgraded to ‘Premium Economy’ for the first time and I must say it was worth it (especially for my size).

Well, I am back!

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 10

That’s it. After a 10.5 hour flight I am back in South Africa. I will spend a few days in Pretoria and Durban and I will be back at Thanda Safari next Monday: Back to Wildlife Photography.

I hope you have enjoyed this travel (food 😊) journal.

Today’s picture was take from the plane just before landing in Johannesburg..

If you would like to read the complete travel journal with all pictures go to (profile link)

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Picture data: iPhone 12 Pro Max

Underground cable car at Zurich airport.
Swiss Airbus A340 to Johannesburg
I almost bought a cuckoo clock
Zurich airport art
Departing Switzerland
On the plane – I was lucky with an empty seat beside me 😊
On approach …

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 9

My visit is almost at an end but this weekend I spent some more time with friends and family in Germany.

I enjoyed two more excellent lunches at ‘The Fuchshöhle’ and at the ‘Villa Martini’ in Bad SĂ€ckingen.

Tomorrow I will get a COVID-19 PCR test at the ZĂŒrich Airport and if everything goes well then I will be on a plane back to South Africa tomorrow night.

If you read all my travel post and looked at all the posted pictures then this trip looks a bit like a food tour. But I think that there are few better ways to spend quality time with family and friends then over a good meal.

I had a very enjoyable visit and I am looking forward to be back in April 2022.

Today’s picture is of tall trees in the Black Forest, Southern Germany.

Picture data: iPhone 12 Pro Max

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

My niece and her boyfriend were ready for their Halloween party 🎉 (posing as Patrick Bateman and The Black Mamba 🎃)
My mum loved the Proteas, the South African national flower, which I found in a German flower shop.
A very tasty pumpkin risotto!
I love sour-cream ice cream!
An excellent Italian lunch!

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 8

I had very busy and very enjoyable three days with lunches and dinners, catching up with many more friends in Switzerland and Germany.

And today good friends, who live in Lucerne, took me on a boat ride onto Lake Lucerne ‘VierwaldstĂ€ttersee’. They own a beautiful wooden speed boat and we spent a pleasant autumn afternoon on the water. The day ended with a superb dinner at the Hotel Montana in Lucerne which features an incredible view of the city.

Today’s picture is of misty mountains ‘in blue light’ around Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.

Picture Data: Canon EOS R6 with RF 24-240mm lens.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

A Linzer Torte was the desert to an exceptional dinner with friends in Aarwangen, Switzerland
Switzerland is providing fast charging stations for e-cars at most rest places along the motorways (Autobahns)!
A beef carpaccio is one of my favorite starters. This one I ate at the Fuchshöhle in Bad SÀckingen, Germany.
Sunrise from the ClubGolf restaurant above Sempach before my dinner with friends.
Swiss mountains.
On the speed boat.
Famous German composer Richard Wagner’s house on Lake Lucerne.
Mist and pastel colors.
Dinner at the Montana.
Lucerne at sunset.
Lucerne panorama from the lake.
Ship on Lake Lucerne (VierwaldstÀttersee = Lake on four cantons (~states) with forests)
A ‘must have app’ when visiting Switzerland called PeakFinder (to identify the names of the mountains around you)!

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 7

Panther Chameleon at the Zurich Zoo

The new ‘Lewa Savanna’ at the ZĂŒrich Zoo is definitely worth a visit. I had a good look at this new exhibit and got a complete tour by the responsible curator.

Seven species (White Rhino, Reticulated Giraffes, Grevy’s Zebras, Scimitar Oryx, Impala, Ostrich and Helmeted Guineafowls) share the large savanna, which is dominated by five large Baobab trees. Spotted Hyenas, African Brush-tailed Porcupines and Meerkats are featured in exhibits around the Savanna. And as always when I visit the Zurich Zoo I spent a bit of time in the Masoala hall (a unique indoor rain forest).

I had a few more great meals with friends and with one of my brothers. I have a feeling that I will be able to count all these excellent lunches and dinners by looking at a scale!

After a visit to good friends at Lake ZĂŒrich I stopped by the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland. It has a most impressive church. Unfortunately I had not enough time to stay for one of the services to listen to the monk’s Gregorian chanting.

Before I returned to my parents home in Germany last night My route to took me to my old ‘home town’ called Zofingen in Switzerland. I lived their from 2000 to 2008. Another delicious lunch with friends!

Today’s picture is of a Panther Chameleon at the Masoala Rainforest Exhibit, ZĂŒrich Zoo, Switzerland.

Picture Data: Canon EOS R6 with RF 24-240mm lens.

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Entrance to the new Lewa Savanna exhibit at the Zurich Zoo
Lewa Savanna
Giraffe at Lewa Savanna
Asian Elephants at the Zurich Zoo
Close-up of a Black Stork at the Zurich Zoo (shot with the iPhone portrait mode)
A Chameleon’s eye
Einsiedeln Abbey
The Abbey Church
A traditional ‘Creme Schnittli’ – delicious 😊
I love this sign of an Italian restaurant where I had dinner with my older brother

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 6

Another two enjoyable days with lots of excellent food!

A good friend of mine, who I met first over two decades ago, invited me to his 80th birthday party. I had a great time and I stayed up until three in the morning, eating and talking a lot. The venue for this was one of my favorite restaurants/hotels in Switzerland: The ‘Hirschen’ in Obererlinsbach.

Herzlich Willkommen!

Today I had a very good roasted duck lunch at a local Chinese eatery; with my parents, brothers, nephew, nieces and their boyfriends. Only my oldest nephew and his girlfriend are currently in North America and could not join us for this feast.

And I finished off this afternoon with one of my favorite deserts ‘Vermicelle Meringue Glace’ (=Chestnut mouse spaghetti with meringue from the Swiss Emmental, topped with unsweetened, freshly whipped cream).

Today’s picture is of sunflowers on a small field on the edge of the Black Forest, Germany.

Picture Data: Canon EOS R6 with RF 24-240mm lens.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

An incredible birthday dinner!
Driving through the Black Forest.
The Bond Suite at the Hirschen.
The Wine Cellar Suite at the Hirschen.
A Crow on a field.
A Chinese roast duck lunch .

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 5

Today was a culture day. I went to one of my favorite museums, the Foundation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland. They featured a very interesting exhibition of the Spanish painter Francisco José de Goya (1746-1824)

In the evening I had a exquisite dinner at a small restaurant in Germany, called the ‘Voderhus’ (= front house), together with a very good friend of mine, who was my first business partner and colleague. We worked together from the mid 1980s until I moved out of IT in 2008.

Today’s picture is of the front of an old town building (from around 1600) in the town of Bad Saeckingen. It is the entrance to a delicatessen store owned by friends of mine and to a restaurant called ‘The Fuchshöhle’ (the fox hole).

Picture data: iPhone 12 Pro Max

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Der Fuchsladen
GOYA exhibition at the Foundation Beyeler.
Some Goya’s paintings.
A Swiss tradition (for lunch): Servelasalat (sausage salad).

A seasonal salad at the restaurant ‘Voderhus’.

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 4

The last two days I have spent with my family in the village in which I grew up and around the town where I went to school.

Yesterday evening my brothers and I had an excellent dinner at one of my favorite restaurants called ‘Die Fuchshöhle’ (the fox hole).

Today I went for a walk around a small lake near town. This was a great opportunity to capture the beautiful autumn color and some local wildlife.

And this evening my brothers, a niece, a nephew and I enjoyed visiting a small local fairground (which is called ‘Chilbi’ in Southern Germany). Great fun, especially for the ‘young ones’!

Today’s picture was taken at the ‘Bergsee’ (= lake in the hill) near the town of Bad SĂ€ckingen, Germany.

Picture data: Canon EOS R6 with RF 24-240mm lens.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

An excellent dinner at The Fuchshöhle!
A new fountain in front of my Grammar school.
Bike racks and bike garages at the Bad SĂ€ckingen train station … a great idea!
A walk around the Bergsee.
Autumn …
… colors!
Local wildlife …
My niece and nephew having fun at the fairground!

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 3

I took a plane from Zurich to Amsterdam to visit a good friend to help him set up his new Canon camera equipment. I configured two Canon EOS R6 with five new lenses from 15mm to 800mm and a lot of accessories.

In the evening we had a superb dinner at a small restaurant called ‘De Lage Vuursche’ near Utrecht with a few other most interesting dinner guests. I had a delicious beef carpaccio and an very tasty roasted duck main course. The restaurant was just next to Drakestein, the residence of Princess Beatrix, the former Queen of The Netherlands.

I stayed overnight at my friends’ house, which is a most beautiful place decorated in Art Deco, filled with incredible artwork including an original Rembrandt, Picassos and a golden clock from the Louis XV period.

And now I am on the way back to Switzerland …

Today’s picture is of a mint tea, as it was presented at ‘De Lage Vuursche’ restaurant.

Picture data: iPhone 12 Pro Max

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Flight to the Netherlands
Wind power farm from the air
What a dinner!
I stayed a this beautiful Art Deco home!
The gate to castle Drakestein
… and my favorite Swiss chocolatier called SprĂŒngli in the duty free area at ZĂŒrich airport

European Travel Journal 2021 – Post 2

My first full day in Germany was a very quiet one. I spent the day with my parents, brothers, nieces, nephew and their friends. We had a ‘local cuisine’ lunch with excellent ‘SpĂ€tzle’ and for supper I had my mum’s German sausage salad.

In the afternoon I took a walk with one of brothers through Bad SĂ€ckingen, the town in which I spent all my high school time.

Today’s picture is of the small local castle with the famous trumpeter statue in front (the trumpeter was the hero from a well known German novel – Der Trompeter von SĂ€ckingen by Victor von Scheffel).

I love the autumn flowers planted in the foreground. It was again a very beautiful sunny autumn day!

Picture data: Canon EOS R6 with RF 24-240mm.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Trumpeter statues all over the town.
The catholic church in Bad SĂ€ckingen.
Autumn colors everywhere.
My favorite sweets ‘Mozart Kugeln’ we’re a welcome present from one of nieces and her boyfriend.