Open Mat is a gathering of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners that happens every 1-2 months in Switzerland. If you don’t have a clue what BJJ is – like most people in Switzerland – Wikipedia, Youtube and other resources may provide some helpful and insightful information. Basically, it looks like a bunch of grossly sweaty guys and girls hugging each other and rolling around on the floor in weird pajamas. In reality, they actually try to choke each other out and break each other’s arms and legs. Anyways, go check it out yourself.
I’ve sent another eight rolls of film to Spain for developing and scanning, but before we’re moving on to spring and summer, I’ve got one more winter post for you. It’s basically just a selection of photos that I have taken in Bern this past winter and wanted to share. The first six photos were shot on Gurten, the city’s local mountain (or more like a hill). It’s a wonderful hill with a nice view over the city.
The Matterhorn is one of the most famous and best marketed mountains of the Alps. A good place to see it is usually the Gornergrat summit, 3135 masl, reachable by Europe’s highest open-air railway (and second highest railway in Europe after the Jungfrau). The Matterhorn is usually the star and steals all the other mountains in the area the show. But what if it hides behind a wall of clouds?
For the turn of the year, Seraina’s family and I flew to Sarajevo to visit her grandfather. I hadn’t been to Bosnia before so I was very curious. Many things were very much the way I expected them to be, having heard and read quite a bit about the country, though in general it was a bit nicer and more modern, actually. I enjoyed seeing a new city and enjoyed the food. The Bosnian (or Balkan) kitchen isn’t all that popular internationally, nor did it seem extremely rich in variety. But there were a few highlights.
What an amazing city! We got to spend almost a week in Tokyo and we loved every second of it. The city is so incredibly diverse, it has so many different faces. It felt safer and cleaner and more organized than any other megapolis I’ve ever been to. Getting around and finding things was super easy despite the language barrier. People were charming and always very helpful. The food was absolutely delicious.
I arrived in Seoul in mid-November to visit my older brother Dennys, whom I hadn’t seen in months. A few days later, Seraina arrived, whom I hadn’t seen in five weeks. My brother showed us around on some days, on others we discovered the city on ourselves by subway and by foot, walking around the numerous neighborhoods, all of them so different from each other. On our way to the famous Bukchon Hanok Village, we found a lovely tiny bookstore called Veranda Books.
After five weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii, it was time to say goodbye. Before flying all the way to South Korea, though, I squeezed in a few days on Oahu, another Hawaiian island, since my flight connection went through Honolulu anyways. I was quite active during these 5 days: went all the way up to the North Shore, took the bus that goes along the coast around half the island to get back to Honolulu. I walked up Diamond Head, went swimming on Waikiki Beach, explored downtown Honolulu and some less touristy spots than Waikiki, and had coffee at pretty much every specialty coffee shop in town.
Last October, I went on a five-week trip to Hawaii to visit my uncle and his wife, who moved there a few years ago and started a farm. Besides growing all sorts of delicious fruits and vegetables, they grow coffee, which was the primary reason for my visit. I made a few short videos about coffee processing and about their farm and a website for their coffee business. What’s more, I got to experience the whole process from tree to cup and learned a whole lot about the wonderful plant. They live in Kailua-Kona, on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island.
Just like that, the new year has begun. Reason enough to look back on some of 2016’s highlights. A lot of travels, a lot of work, a very busy year. Yet, it was filled with great moments and produced good memories. So many things have happened and changed in my life and around it.
In September, Seraina and I went to New York City. It was my first trip there in a while and the first ever trip for Seraina, so I was super excited to take her to all the beautiful places and show her everything I love about this city. Or at least as much as we could fit in two weeks, which was quite a bit. And of course, we had to go and see Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Lady Liberty and all the other famous sights as well.