Back to the jungle!

Since the trip to Spain back in february I wasn’t fishing at all. Swiss winters are cold, gloomy and make me kinda unmotivated to do anything at all. So this upcoming Amazon trip with my buddy Daniel, our second adventure like this, came just in the right time to heal my wintertime sadness.

We knew that the chosen date wasn’t perfect, on the beginning of march the peacock season is almost over, the rain season is coming and the jungle will be flooded soon. The main reason we booked this trip was to not lose our money we already paid, back in september for our first peacock week in november 2014. But then our organisator cancelled our expedition one week before departure. With luck we were able to get two spaces in another camp on the same date. But the first organisator didn’t want to refund our money, we could only book another trip. It turned out that the only available trip in the near future was the one we went on, so our options were kind of limited.

But enough of these unimportant background details. This is a fishing report and no explanation why and how I got all the way from Switzerland to the Brazilian Amazon twice in just a few months.

On march 5 around lunchtime we arrived at the airport in Manaus, after tackle shopping and good food we were definitely ready for some serious peacock bass fishing! The next day we made our way to a local airport from where we flew to Barcelos. The houseboat there was ready to go and so were we! We soon realized that the peacock season was almost over, we were the last group on our boat. The rest of the over 60 boats starting from Barcelos already prepared for the coming winter season.

The water levels still seemed ok so we set off with heightened anticipation. But the first few days turned out more than meager. Apart a 15lb peacock for Daniel, he and myself didn’t get much fish. A few smaller ones and other species but the peacocks didn’t seem in the right mood to feed. Often the fish tried more to chase our lures out their territory instead of really eating it. Sometimes we casted for hours without any bite or other action.

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rare view – Daniel fighting a big fish, our guide is ready to land

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nice first fish

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we mostly caught smaller Borbolettas (Butterfly Peacocks)

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spots for days but no fish…

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dead trees

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We gave our best and fished all day long, even when our guide had to take a sh*t we didn’t stop throwing lures.

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amazing view

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I paid attention to leave nothing but footprints behind us…

What can you do if the fish don’t bite? Right, post a picture of the sunset instead^^

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…one more? Why not!

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By the way, that was our cool houseboat, the “Tayacu”.

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We tried new spots, day after day…

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…still no fish, sorry!

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If there’s a will, there will be a way!

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Fish on but wrong species…

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…with nasty teeth.

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empty peacock nests

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…and another Traira.

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Rainbow in the sky

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new spots, no fish…

…so how about some more nature?

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The other two groups also couldn’t really find a way to impress our fishy friends. So the frustration grew and finally the crew decided to change direction and drive down to the Rio Negro.

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impressive size of the river…

Down there, the water level also started to rise and the fishing stayed hard. We couldn’t really improve the quantity of catches, best day brought us both together 15 peacocks. At least we found some big fish too and so in the end it came it not too bad for us two, still we excepted more. “But that’s why you call it fishing and not catching”, a saying I heard multiple times during this week. In the end I broke my old personal best peacock of 9.5lb four times! Daniel caught some nice ones as well, with his biggest 2lb heavier than my new PB.

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Finally! My first good fish of the trip with 13lb.

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We discovered cool new lakes…

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We always had a great and funny lunchtime^^ Otherwise we usually had a blast while fishing even though the fish didn’t want to bite. Our guide tried his best to bring us to some big fish and kept up the positive vibes.

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My 14 pounder!

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…safely released.

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pretty Paca on the chopper.

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Arawana for surprise

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11 pounder that fought like there would be no tomorrow, we all excepted a bigger fish but hey, I take that too!

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Our amount of tackle, yes we only brought what’s really necessary.^^ We still had more stuff than the other 4 anglers together…

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…and that’s a tree, right! I haven’t posted a nature pic in while, or did I?

The last day I went out alone with our guide because another client on the boat was so pissed about the modest outcome and the communication difficulties with his guide and our host, so we offered that Daniel goes fishing with him and helps communicating with the guide.

It turned out to be the “worst” day for me, looking at the fishing. I caught a total of two peacocks and one Cara. Still, thanks to the guide, I had a great day full of jokes and laughter. Despite my missing portuguese skills, I just used some simple words I picked up during the week and we were laughing all day long.

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at least one of the two was good sized.

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first time I saw and caught a Cara.

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Out of nothing the guide landed this pretty fish on my High Roller.

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the non-fishing highlight of the day was this cool monkey we could observe for some minutes before it disappeared back into the jungle.

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And then we found ourself back in Barcelos, the trip was over and the following two days were spent traveling back to Switzerland. We didn’t catch lots of fish but we caught some really nice ones. I personally had to admit that I rather catch a few good sized fish than a lot of small Borbolettas. Sure, I wouldn’t have been mad if we caught some more but in the end I am happy with the result of this week. Just to be in the Amazon and to see all these amazing plants and animals is an honor to me and I’m really thankful for that. I hope to will be able to fish the amazon in the coming season as well. A few things are already in planning, so stay tuned!

Oh, hold on! I almost forgot my new personal best Tucunaré…

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15 amazing pounds! Caught on a Jig from Ultimate Peacock Bass Jigs, like all other big ones I caught this week. Great jigs with strong hooks, I haven’t found any better ones till now! Also friendly and courteous customer service! Check them out! http://www.ultimatepeacockbassjigs.com

That is my report about another great week of peacock bass fishing in the amazon, may more trips like this happen!

Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoyed it!

Please check out my facebook and instagram account for updates and for more, high quality pictures visit my flickr stream.

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Stay tuned for more! PEACE!

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adventure amazon – part 2

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nothing beats waking up to this sight – beautiful!

after a first day of practice, our 6 days trip started early in the morning and after a rich breakfest we were already in the boat.

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With a raising water level the fish stayed deep in the cover and the bite was low at times. despite these uneasy conditios we surely had a great time. through the week I learned a lot about the amazing peacock fishery. we fought heavy jungle, survived scary thunder storms, almost stepped on stingrays and got grilled by the hot sun. but never stopped we laughing, about ramdom nonsense or the latest catch.

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every day was a completely new adventure and fishing, unknown spots were explored and working techniques had to get figuered out. after some time we started recognizing certain key spots and several lures that seemed to work.

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paca on a Gan Craft DEAD SLOW…

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…and another one on a brazilian lure, Borboleta Woodstock.

Every new cognition brought us closer to the big fish, for which we came down here, or at least we thought so… Anyway, on the third day, early in the morning we were fishing a spot we discovered the evening before. Already a few fishes caught I get a hard bite on my subsurface lure. The fish swam directly out into the river, so powerful that it dragged our whole boat around, I never before fought such a powerful fish and just wanted to net that beast. Unexperienced as I was I forced the fish to much but this monster didn’t allow any failure, so it took the chance and got rid off the hooks in its mouth. DAMN! Later on our guide told me that he valued the fish around 18lb – holy crap!

The only way to recover from this shock was to continue fishing of course. A few casts later something hit my lure again but this time I won the battle! The fish fought hard and it wasn’t easy to keep it out of the trees underwater till it finally landed in the net.

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9lb – my biggest peacock till that moment! Unfortunately I have to add that this fish was eaten by a dolphin that appeared out of nowhere from under the boat, just a few moments after I released it.

Not even half an hour later our guide untangled another fat tucunaré out of a sunken tree for me.

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Each day was different and held new surprises but one thing stood the same: the stunning sunset just in time for the return to the camp…

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… a beautiful view on the moon in the evening…

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…and a motivating sunrise for breakfest.

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The same lovely scenario every day and yet unique. Same with the fish I caught, every catch another beauty but different.

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Popoca

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Borboleta

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Paca

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Assu

Following some more fish pictures – no words needed, enjoy!

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Peacocks were not the only thing we were fighting with.

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I never experienced rain this heavy before!

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the camera had its troubles too…

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I guess this place isn’t called “rainforest” for no reason…

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Getting to the spots wasn’t always easy, some creeks were so shallow we had to push the boat through.

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first swiss to stand at exactly this point? ^^

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Paying attention became even more important when out of the boat regarding all the possibilities to step on. Spiny palm barks…

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or these pretty rays with a sting “worse than any other pain”, how our guide told us.

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palms covered in spikes…

Despite the fact that we almost got hit by lightning and some thorns in the feet we survived and returned every evening exhausted but happy to our camp.

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The delicious food gave us energy for the coming day…

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…and these fine cookies provided us enough sugar. Best cookies I’ve eaten!

The lunchbreak we enjoyed on the boat, the small fish at the shore seemed to share our taste.

Strengthened from the food, the fishing continued…

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9lb on a High Roller – I never would have thought that fishing choppers can be so exhausting. The first time I tried to fool a peacock on the Chopper, ripped through the surface, my arm became sore within an hour and I had to change to something lighter. Nevertheless, from the moment of the first topwater hit of a peacock I tried harder and longer every new day. In the end I caught a few decent fish on these giant ripbaits, lost even more and survived a few heartattack-like shocks caused by fish blowing up but missing the lure. A great fishery but highly addictive!

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So close to the double digit – 9.5lb on a High Roller

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Respect the fish and release them safely!

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This week in the jungle just flew by and way too soon it was already time to say goodbye again… Even though I was sad to leave, I was happy that I did this amazing trip and thankful for all the great experiences we went through during these seven unforgettable days. I appreciate the situation that allows me to do such a trip in my young age and that we both returned healthy. A big thanks also to our guide who did his best to get us on some fish, to the host of our camp who is a really good person and worked hard all week long to make our trip even better, to the whole camp crew that served always great food and maintained our cabin perfectly, to my friend Daniel who organized most of this trip for me and always ensured great entertainment ^^ and to all others that are in some way responsible that my first trip to brazil and the amazon was a complete success! Obrigado!

Summarized, peacock fishing is awesome, I’m addicted and hope to get back there as soon as possible!

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Thanks for reading&stay tuned for more!
If you like what you read also feel free to share it with others. Thank u!

 

Peace!

adventure amazon – part 1

It’s been a long time since I wrote the last post here. Not that I wasn’t fishing but as the word says, I was fishing and not catching… So in early fall, after a fishless day somewhere in italy, a fishing buddy of mine showed me an offer to fish for Peacock Bass. First of course I was enthusiastic, this sounded way better than any fishery we have here around. Then I started thinking about all the costs and requirements necessary for such a trip. I briefly decided that I can’t go and comforted my with the thought that I will catch up on this experience later. On the drive back home I couldn’t forget the opportunity I just gave away. So after discussing with my buddy and parents I took the chance, called my friend and booked my first trip to the amazon. With only a few weeks till the departure and a limited budget I started my preparation.

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On the end of october my friend Daniel and I finally headed out to the airport in Milan from where we flew via Sao Paolo to Manaus. After some local tackle shopping and a night in the hotel “Tropical” we were brought to a local airport early in the morning.

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crew is ready

Shortly after leaving Manaus we were flying directly above the rainforest. What I used to watch in the television or books I saw now for the first time for real, what an impressing experience! From there I knew it was worth doing this trip. Even if several sources warned us of the poor conditions, waterlevels were still rising, and the possibility that we won’t catch a single fish I knew that we would have a great time.

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A hard landing later we were already gliding over the water towards our camp where our host and the whole staff warmly welcomed us.

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lots of comfort deep in the amazon.

Our tackle was prepared in record time but with a little accident. My newly bought YAD Cleveland Jerkrod already broke with the first test cast. Fortunately our camphost lent me without hesitating one of his rods and so our boat was ready to catch some fish. Another quick boat ride and I found myself within the amazing rainforest casting lures. An hour passed without getting one single bait, I couldn’t believe that I was fishing the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen and no hungry fish seemed to be around. Nevertheless I continued making cast after cast till something hit my jig hard. I set the hook and immediately felt the impressing power of my first peacock bass ever! The fish turned out way smaller than I excepted due the hard fight but I was one lucky man!

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From this moment on I was totally hooked! Since I first saw the movie of Imakatsu boss, Imae, fishing the amazon  I knew I had to experience this too.

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second fish for me!

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Daniel and me ended up with around 20 fish caught during this hot, first day in this green paradise. Our host looked concerned as we returned with such a result,  blaming the bad water level. For me there was no reason to be sad, used to fishing all day long without catching anything, I explained him that I’m completely happy anyway.

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My first dinner in the amazon turned out to be delicious and observing the raising moon before going to bed was better than any TV program.

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Tired but full of excitement for the coming days I was lying on my bed and a short tackle talk later I was gone into the land of dreams…

too be continued soon!

short comeback!

As I wrote in my last post I lately spent two weeks back in Cali. Of course I wanted to go fishing as much as possible but you might know yourself that it’s not always that easy when traveling with other people who aren’t interested in fishing.

So the first week I wasn’t able to fish at all. We passed some good looking waters but I couldn’t bring my buddy to stop for a few casts. So the second week which we spent on campus and not always driving around I finally got some time for fishing.

Unfortunately my friend I was fishing with last year moved to Oregon and another was on vacation during the time I was in San Diego. Because our car was just rented on my friends name I wasn’ really able to visit lakes far away from campus. I wanted to see Hodges but exactly on Wednesday, when the lake is open, I already made plans. So the easiest option was Lake Miramar which I then fished a few times. If you know Miramar you also know about the difficult shore fishing due the heavy vegetation. Fortunately they took up the boat rental again so one morning I rented one of their boats for a couple hours before I had to be back on campus.

This day I started fishing as I learned last year. Weightless worms, drop-shot and even a smaller swimbait. I fished a few hours without any action. A little disappointed I made my way back to the dock to return my boat. I decided to make a last stop and casted my rig toward the shore. All of a sudden I felt something slightly hitting my bait. I set the hook and a few moments later i landed my first bass since a way too long time. Mission complete!

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Even it’s not that big I was happy again and felt pure joy! Thank u Miramar!

Despite further attempts this should be my only bass for these two weeks.

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I already miss bass fishing again and hope I will be able to fish for these cool guys again soon!

thanks for reading&stay tuned for more!

Peace!

two weeks back “home”

November 2013 I returned back to Switzerland from 11 month in my californian paradise. Since the first day back I’m missin these times there, the people, the campus, the fishing, the freedom and all the experiences I made there. From time to time I felt really bad and just wanted to go back so bad. Of course that wasn’t possible at the moment, I had to work and got back to a normal, kinda boring life. The winter here was cold and dark what didn’t make it easier for me to accept being back. Actually the summer arrived even in Switzerland what makes it more comfortable for me to find back to a life in switzerland.

But I still miss my californian dream and think back every single day…

So since I’m back at work and make my own money I decided it’s time to take a break after six months of work. I had to go back to San Diego, that was clear! Finally, one morning around the end of may I found myself at the airport in Zurich and shortly after I was up in the sky direction California. Arriving at the airport in SD I felt like coming home. I just felt happy to be there!

There I met some good friends I know from last year who picked me up at the airport and an hour later we were already doing BBQ. The next days I spent with Marco, a swiss guy who just finished his academic year, like I did last year. After a quick visit on campus and in the EF school we started our trip driving directly up to San Francisco. There we stayed two days before driving down along the west coast on Highway Nr. 1, my favorite route so far.

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Every day we drove a few hours down, always on the look for the next outlet mall. Marco just couldn’t get enough of the shopping there. Day for day we were enjoying the beauty of the west coast and looking for something new to wear. We ended up staying in San Francisco – Monterey – Santa Barbara – Long Beach and some shopping malls on the route.

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Due to some exams Marco had to be back in San Diego the second week. After some negotiating we were even allowed to stay on campus for the rest of the week. Best thing that could happen to me! Even if the campus accommodation isn’t the best I really missed to live there. To stay there another week made this vacation even better. I spent the week meeting old friends, relaxing and enjoying the campus life. Of course I was fishing too, more about how this went in the next post.

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After two intensive weeks it was already time for me to leave again. At least Marco had to go back too and so we both hadn’t to fly alone.

I just can say that I enjoyed California once again and surely it won’t be the last time I was there. It has to be the positive californian vibes that caught me and now won’t let me go again. I felt happy through these two weeks and appreciate every single day I spent there. A big thanks to all my friends that were still there and made so much for me. I also gotta thank EF for letting me stay on campus! The biggest thanks goes out to my parents that have to endure my bad moods just because I miss California and still support me!

California Love!

More pictures of this trip can you find on my facebook or flickr page. The links you find on top.

Thanks for reading&stay tuned for more!

LA tour addresses

People asked me multiple times where I took all the pictures from Los Angeles.

To count out every single location is impossible but I can give you the addresses I used to put in my GPS.

Like this it might be helpful for people like me that can’t find the closest supermarket without even after half a year living at the same place. :P

Here the addresses which I used…

Hollywood Sign: 3204 Canyon Lake Dr., Hollywood

Walk of Fame: 7018 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles

Famous Sunset Boulevard: Sunset Blvd & Crescent Heights, Los Angeles

Diamond Supply Co. Store (there are several other street brands in this street like OF, Pink Dolphin or Dope): 451 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles

Amoeba (largest used CD and other stuff shop): 6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Venice Beach: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice

These information should be enough for your GPS to bring you to each destination.

Have fun and enjoy California!

 

thank you California!

time to say goodbye…

after over 10 months in beautiful California I had to say definitely goodbye this monday. A really strange feeling for me to leave what I called my home for almost a whole year and where I felt happy every single day just for being there.

Monday early in the morning I flew from San Diego to Philadelphia where the plan was to change the plane and continue directly to Zurich, Switzerland. But US Airways, my plane company for this trip, delayed the flight to times for about an hour before they cancelled the flight completely. After I made my way through a group of upset and confused swiss travelers the guys at the information finally rebooked my flight over London to Zurich. So I waited again over two hours for the plane to London but after waiting another hour IN the plane everybody had to go out again because the staff was not able to close one of the plane’s doors. This costed another two hours waiting in front of the gate till they reloaded the new plane. Because it was already after 11pm no more shops were open to buy any food or drinks but US Airways didn’t help us with this in any way. We all waited for such a long time without any offers from US Airways such as a bottle of water or some snacks. Great service! Somewhen after midnight the flight to London finally took off and after a short and hectic stay at Heathrow I was already flying to Zurich. There I landed Tuesday evening instead in the morning as planned. Thanks again US Airways.

I was shocked by the cold weather here in switzerland after almost 11 months sunshine. I really miss the sun and the warmth and the whole californian feeling soo bad. It is kind of hard for me to come back to the normal life but I will try my best to do something good. I want to work to make some money and then travel again to visit the friends I made all over the world.

I can say I had the time of my life and that I learned a lot, not just english but a lot of lessons for life. I met beautiful (on the inside and/or outside) people which who I spent awesome moments for which I am more than thankful!

A gigantic Thank You to all these people and to California itself for being such a nice and beautiful place!

The following pictures reflect some moments from the past months…

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first time at the beach

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visit the Grand Canyon, first and only time I saw snow

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my first californian BASS!

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Barret Reservoir Opening

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first time in Mexico

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first time at Venice Beach <3 one love <3

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one week roadtrip with good people! thank you guys!

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introducing friends to fishing

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Wiz Khalifa Concert

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finally a bigger BASS!

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from time to time I had to say goodbye to nice people :(

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3 weeks in Hawaii

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my new friend :)

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Halloween

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just in time! double digit bass and new PB!

…and then was already time to say goodbye :(

Thanks again to everybody that was with me on this trip! Memories for life…

A big thanks also to all my readers of this blog here! I will do my best to keep this blog alive till my next bigger adventure. I will try to present some swiss fish, which I have to catch first :P, and other stories about my life here!

Thanks for reading&stay tuned for more!

mr. bassthumb