HAKONE OPEN AIR MUSEUM - at the height of beauty

Mount Fuji is certainly one of Japan's most mesmerizing and iconic sights: A perfectly shaped cone, its top coated by a hood of snow - no wonder this sacred mountain is on top of every visitor's list.

Sunnyside up: At Hakone's outdoor gallery, visitors are invited to become one with the art - literally.

Although on clear days, you can be lucky to spot it all the way from Tokyo, most people take a day trip either to the Fujigoko Fuji Five Lake region at the northern foot of the mountain or to Hakone, a hot spring region with many grand places to experience....like the Hakone Open Air Museum, an outdoor gallery at the height of beauty.

TOKYO - introduction to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods

Tokyo - my first encounter with Japanese everyday life and culture - left a good impression and prepared me for more to come.

Students at Tokyo in Japan
A warm and fun welcome to Tokyo by these sweet ambassadors.

Tokyo - the first cut is the deepest, but this one didn't hurt at all - so let me introduce you to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods.


I'm a busy body with a chronic case of FOMO and Belgium got the cure: Belgium is relatively small, actually, the fifth smallest country of the European Union. It slumbers there nestled between Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Luxemburg pretty much undisturbed in the middle of the continent, not bragging with its beauty. And beauties it has all right!

Bruges - Historium
Dreaming of being a princess? Well, I go all the way and become king!

During my stay in Brussels, Belgium's and secretly also Europe's capital, I actually managed to visit three other beautiful cities, one more intriguing than the other so that I list them here fair and square in alphabetic order: Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent.

BRUSSELS is for everyone. A Guide.

(Updated October 2019)

If it hadn't been for my daughter studying in Brussels, it probably wouldn't have come to my mind to visit Belgium's capital - or Belgium at all, for that matter.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Chocolaterie Manneken Pis
Different strokes for different folks: World's most famous wee-er made of chocolate. Bon appetit.

But Christmas came and families and loved ones were expected to get together, so I packed a couple of warm sweaters, threw in some fun presents and hopped on the late flight to Brussels' airport.
Just to find out that this European capital with all its old architecture and new street art, its pralines and beers, surrealist art and political reality is not only for me, but for everyone.

24 hours in...ZURICH

(Re-edited and Updated in September 2019)

In this article that was the third issue of the 24 hours in...-category on my blog, I'm taking you to Zurich, with almost 400,000 inhabitants actually Switzerland's largest city.

Zurich lake. bye:myself
Look back at...Zurich.
Photo: Zürich Tourism / Martin Rütschi

I started this series since I'm always keen to get the cheapest flight which often includes at least one layover. I'd like to prove to you that this halt doesn't have to be a bummer but can be easily transformed into a short extra-vacation. Whereby, my itineraries - one for a sunny and an alternative for a rainy day - are not only great for layovers but should be an inspiration for any kind of day tripping.

24 hours in...DÜSSELDORF

It was not really surprising that on my way to Japan, I had a stopover in Düsseldorf. After all, it's Germany's third-largest airport - after Frankfurt and Munich. Also, Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese community in all of Germany.

The Greek god Triton at the northern end of the city moat. The sculpture was made in 1902 by Friedrich Coubillier.

The international airport is located only about 9 kilometers respectively 6 miles from the city center, so that it can be easily reached by public transport.

TALLINN - between the poles of history and creativity

Estonia's capital Tallinn cannot be described with a handful of corny attributes and some stock catchphrases.

Tallinn - Estonia: St. Michaels Church
Besides many lovely and alluring things, there is also a bit of creepy to see in Tallinn - which makes the city even more intriguing.

For the standard categories, this city is too diverse, its past too changeful, its faith too inconsistent, its present too dynamic, and its future too promising: A hub between the poles of history and creativity.