Mountain Biking in Südtirol

We had wanted to have a joint vacation this summer where we would travel through Bavaria, Südtirol (the northern region of Italy), and Austria. However, since Jessie got a new job, she isn’t able to take time off just yet. I have to take my vacation days in the summer, though, and in order to at least get some time outside of the house, I chose to go to Südtirol regardless. »


This week, a business trip gave me the opportunity to visit Asia for the first time. I added a personal day to the trip to be able to walk around the city and take pictures. My first encounter with the cultural differences was the crossing of the large intersection right next to the hotel on the way from the airport. It seemed like a green light for pedestrians only slightly reduced the probability of getting run over by a vehicle compared to when it was red. »

A Light Control Pattern Using Home Assistant

I’ve been using Home Assistant as our home automation platform for quite a while now. The aspect of it that we experience most is probably the light control. Our apartment is equipped with IKEA Trådfri lights which are connected to the network gateway. Besides being cheap, one of the main advantages of the system is that the functionality works without internet access and integrates nicely with Home Assistant. Over the last two years, I’ve tried to constantly improve the automations that control the lights with the goal of avoiding user interactions as much as possible by trying to guess what lighting is required at every point in time. »

Hiking the Goethe-Trail

It’s been quite a while since my last post here. I don’t really know why that happened but - anyway - here are some pictures from the hike to the top of the Brocken that Jessie and I did last weekend. Wolfsburg didn’t really get much snow yet, but the Harz is only an hour away and has a much colder climate. The Brocken is located right next to the former German border and so far, I’ve only hiked up the mountain from Schierke, which is on the east-side. »

Cycling Along the Rhine

For our summer vacation, Jessie and I went on a five day cycling trip along the river Rhine. I met Jessie, who had just taken the train back from her language course in Vienna, in Cologne. From there, we took a train ride to Mainz to then make our way back by bike. We only had one evening in Mainz but I was surprised by the laid-back atmosphere and the nice boardwalk along the river. »

Mountain biking at the Rappbodetalsperre

I still have a few days left before Jessie and I go on our biking vacation. I’ve used the time at home for some road bike trips but I also had on my list to check out some mountain bike trails in the Harz. Yesterday, it was finally time to try out one of the tours that I found on komoot. It was supposed to be a scenic trip around the Rappbodetalsperre with a few hills along the way. »


In May, Jessie and I went on a weekend trip to Leipzig. I’m way behind on my blogging so Jessie already posted her summary and great pictures. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations and thought this was going to be a visit to your average German city. When we arrived, I was immediately deeply impressed. We found an amazing city center that was very clean and had many historic buildings. »

Bluetooth TTS with HomeAssistant

I have been running HomeAssistant in our apartment for quite a while now. It is pretty well integrated and can adjust the lights, detect presence in all rooms and monitors temperature and humidity. One feature that I’ve been meaning to add for quite a while now is voice feedback using Text To Speech. HomeAssistant is running on my server in the livingroom that doesn’t have any speakers nearby. Ideally, the sound output should go through the Echo Dot but the API currently doesn’t support output besides what the Alexa Skills provide. »

Blackbirds Season Opening

Who would’ve thought that my first baseball game would be in Germany and not in the U.S.? On Sunday, the Wolfsburg Blackbirds were playing their season opening game(s) against teams from Potsdam and Magdeburg. Actually, this was their very first competitive game since the team was founded a little more than a year ago by a group of baseball enthusiasts in Wolfsburg. Our friend Björn is one of them and he and his teammates had been building up their own baseball field on top of a soccer field. »