Land of the volcanoes

Volcán, Masaya

Nicaragua is a country that many people can’t point to correctly on a world map. It is a rather small country in Latin America located between the Caribbean sea and the Pacific ocean, between Honduras and Costa Rica. It was inhabited in pre-Columbian times by indigenous people that left their traces, but many things we can observe today root in colonialization: Nicaragua was part of the so-called New Spain, became a region of Central America and achieved independence in 1838. Its unique highlight are the volcanoes spread throughout the country; you can see lava bubbling, skate downhill or swim in craters.

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Córdoba Oro and USD

Dinero en efectivo, El Guayabo

A trip to Nicaragua means that you’ll have different currencies in your pocket. Official one is the Córdoba Oro (NIO), divided into 100 Centavos. It was introduced in 1912 and replaced the formerly used Peso. It is named after Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the founder of the country. Due to inflation the currency had to be re-issued in 1988 and 1990. As often in Latin America, there is a secondary currency that is widely accepted. In Nicaragua this is the US-Dollar (USD) that you can withdraw at ATMs next to Córdobas and which you can use nearly everywhere.

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Chickenbus experience

Chicken Bus, Léon (Nicaragua)

What happens to old US school busses? They get sold and receive a second life in Latin America. There they are repainted and receive a religious statement as an inscription in the front. From now on they tour through countries like Nicaragua on fixed routes, but without determined stops and vaguely known schedules. Every now and then people enter to sell food and drinks, beauty products or even livestock – maybe that is the reason for the local name: chicken bus.

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Public transport hell

Metro, Ciudad de México

I’m an absolute fan of public transport. I’m happy not to own a car and glad to be able to get nearly everywhere in Germany by trains and busses. When I’m on the go I always need to check out the local means of transport; whether its trolley busses, tramways, subways or cable cars. Ciudad de México was the first city in the world that made me search for a taxi or order an Uber car instead.

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Fighting fascism

Conny-Wessmann-Denkmal, Göttingen

To engage in politics belongs to the DNA of Göttingen, Germany. Every week you’ll see rallies and demonstrations on local, national and international topics. The city has today a strong left scene which is because of the importance of the university (of the 120,000 inhabitants 30,000 are students), but also as a reaction to the fact that the city during Nazi times embraced the NSDAP fast. Already in 1930 the Nazi party received 37.8 % of the local votes.

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Why I will never book a flight via again is a large international travel agency located at Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It provides access to a vast amount of accommodations, but also offers flights and car rentals. I had booked a lot of hotels via and never had problems. They claim their mission to be ‘to make it easier for everyone to experience the world‘. The reality looks totally different.

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Cities with new names

Stettiner Straße, Danziger Straße, Breslauer Straße; Göttingen; Map by OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

When exploring the south of Göttingen you will find a lot of streets named after former German cities. Cities that you can still find on maps but that have new names. Cities that Germany lost after World War II. And these streets are all lined-up along an axis that begins with the street Stettiner Straße (Szczecin) that becomes the Danziger Straße (Gdańsk) and later turns into the Breslauer Straße (Wrocław).

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Sheddachhalle, Sartorius-Quartier, Göttingen

I was growing up in the northern part of Göttingen. Close to the home of my parents was the factory building of Sartorius, producing pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment. And this area was for sure closed, you couldn’t look behind the walls surrounding it. With the extension of the company and the continuous move to the industrial area in the city quarter Grone the former company area (now called Sartorius-Quartier) was opened up. It now contains a restaurant with a rooftop bar, a life science innovation hub, a hotel, shops, numerous flats and a new event location, the Sheddach-Halle.

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Méliès, Göttingen

Did you ever watch a movie in a church? If not, the Méliès at Göttingen gives you the option to do so. It is a small cinema located in a former Baptist church close to the Bürgerstraße, the ring surrounding the city center. The old church dates back to the year 1903 and was standing empty for about 35 years until a new usage and an investor had been found. Now it houses a special cinema, the former altar is now stage and screen and the gallery of the church has been preserved so that the former character of the building remains.

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