Dark Tourist or Bright Traveler ?

Western Propaganda2

Welcome … to the other side !
(Foto above taken in Bhutan, the gross happiness dictatorship)


“Dark Tourist” is a deliberate propaganda word, to discredit those brighter travelers who refuse to be programmed by television and take an effort to see reality for themselves.

“Dark Tourists” go to Miami, Mallorca, or the Military. Bright tourists travel everywhere.

“We live in the age of the digitally dumbed-down masses” Peter Scholl-Latour commenting on Western propaganda 2014

“The world is too small for hearsay. Go out and have a look for yourself!” Peter Scholl-Latour


Prepare for some really special places …
(Here: Bosaso, the pirate headquarter in Puntland, Somalia, 2017)


… places with a unique history …
(Here: El Oso, ex-FARC Republic of Marquetalia, Colombia, 2020)


… requiring constant reality checks …
(here: Magadan, Russia)

… from completely different viewpoints …
(here: Checkpoint Charlie, occupied Berlin – and free view from Ilyushin cockpit en route to Antarctica)


… especially concerning current affairs – and the continuous psy-ops …
(here: Kobane refugee camps, Suruc, Turkish-Syrian border)


… all the typical textbook divide-and-rule tactics …

(here: Louroujina Pocket, Northern Cyprus)


… which means that the reality on the ground is usually the direct opposite of the narrative we hear in the mainstream news.
(here: Mleeta – Hezbollah War Memorial)


Starting at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London with a particular history from World War I to James Bond location.

“The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.” Anatole France


At the Donbass Palace during constant mortar attacks onto Donezk (July 2015)

Sp Kazakov

… and at the Separatist Café Donezk (August 2018), with the Speaker of the Donezk Peoples Republic, Alexander Kazakov, shortly before the fatal bomb attack on his President Alexander Sacharchenko.

“If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible. . . .” Later US-President Harry S. Truman in 1941 (New York Times)

Featured as BBC Travel Pioneer

and in the “Hall of Fame” of Most Traveled People

and on the Masterlist of Nomad Mania

and – with hotel reviews in more countries than anyone else – as TripAdvisor Nr. 1 Explorer

in Jorge Sanchez’ book “Meetings with Remarkable Travelers” and

in Ryan Trapp’s “Chasing 193”

51K3GuehHLL._SL500_AA266_PIkin3,BottomRight,-15,34_AA300_SH20_OU03_.jpg 193.jpg

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs

Nation states cover the planet’s entire land surface, except for the Terra Nullius parts of Antarctica and the unclaimed area of Bir Tawil between Egypt and Sudan.*

My goal was to visit all 193 countries on the (highly politically biased) United Nations member list www.un.org/en/members/

and all 206 states on the List of Sovereign States www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states (done!)

then most of the 320 places listed by the Traveler’s Century Club www.TravelersCenturyClub.org,

and the 872 items on Charles Veley’s list www.MostTraveledPeople.com

and the 1281 regions on Harry Mitsidis’ list www.NomadMania.com.


With the World’s Most Traveled People Kari-Matti Valtari (Finland), Don Parrish (USA) and Charles Veley (USA) at our Extreme Traveler International Congress (ETIC) in Grozny.


With the presidents of the 3 systematic travel clubs Harry Mitsidis (NomadMania), Charles Veley (Most Traveled People), JoAnn Schwartz (Travelers Century Club), flanked by Per Besson (left) and myself (right) as organisers of the ETIC Marquetalia, Colombia.

I always travel in style, even in rough places, but with minimum (hand-) luggage only.

Seeing reality beyond TV and meeting people with powerful stories drives me forward.

On the way, I collect my trophies: the world’s most charismatic hotels.

“To understand reality, to make the right decisions, to become your own sovereign, you require access, contacts and exposure. The key to most doors is your habitus.”


In the Footsteps of Treasure Hunter Howard Carter at the Winter Palace in Luxor, Egypt


A different winter palace near the Nordkapp at Igloo Hotel Sorrisniva, Alta, Norway

Early on, I learned to enjoy the history and social magnetism of “Grande Dame” hotels in major capitals.

Then I started loving the aesthetic experience of Ian Schrager Hotels, Hip Hotels and Designhotels.

The serenity and service of the Amanhotels in Bali addicted me to become an “Amanjunkie”.

Adventure lust took me further to Wilderness Safaris, Explora, Oberoi, Taj, CC Africa & Beyond.


A Hideaway from Drug Cartels and Active Volcanoes at (former Amanhotel) Hacienda San Antonio, Colima, Mexico


My ultimate joy, however, became reaching the refuge, social intensity and relative luxury of hideouts in conflict zones (here at the Shabha Hotel in Aleppo, Syria).

As collector of hospitality experiences and connoisseur of “les émotions fortes” all over the planet, please see my

“Spy – War – Dangerzone Hotels”

“Trophy Hotels”

“Formula 1 Hotels”

“James Bond Hotels”


At the Grozny City Hotel, a skyscraper with 33 floors, in Chechnya


At the Koryo Hotel, a similar skyscraper in Pyöngyang, North Korea


In front of the Coral Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq

It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln


With Libyan “Freedom” Fighters in front of the Tibesti Hotel in Benghazi (Arab Spring, May 2011)

“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Henry Kissinger (your Kissinger, not mine)


Room with a view at a “top address”: Atlantis Beach Hotel, United Nations Drive, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia


Heavy (!) Security at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria Qasr al-Sharq in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia (Note: me in WHITE shirt 😉


At war-famous Holiday Inn Sarajevo, Respublika Srpska, Bosnia-Hercegovina (built for the 1984 Winter Olympics) with America’s most dangerous man (for the girls) Craig


Check-In at Hotel Renaissance (formerly Royal Oak) in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan


With FARC leaders in front of Lancaster House, Bogota, Colombia


No ride with the hotel Rolls Royce, but with Donald Rumsfeld in the elevator of the Sheraton Batumi, Adjaria. Without bodyguards he glanced at me like a “known unknown”, certainly not like “irrelevant Old Europe”.


New countries, new hotels … here in Juba, capital of South Sudan (2011) … a Grand Hotel made from containers.


Old systems, cold hotels: the largest building above the Polar Circle … Hotel Arctic in Murmansk, Russia. A closed city during the Cold War.


Some hotels are magnets for the grand realities of life. A former art installation at the unique 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Safir Hotel, high on a mountain rock above Malloula, Syria, was the Al-Qaeda stronghold during the Malloula Massacre against the local Aramaic population.


At the Ramada Donezk. Aren’t we all someone’s kids?


LOVE signals intelligence at the W Hongkong


The location and name-patron of the first Bilderberger Conference (in 1954) in Oosterbeek near Arnhem, Holland

“In war, truth is the first casualty.” Aeschylus

“History is a set of lies agreed upon … by the winners.” Napoleon Bonaparte


My personal Watergate (Washington, 2012). A hotel photo that couldn’t be missing on this blog …


Probably my worldwide favourite: the Airways Hotel, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Great Hotel Groups:

Liebherr Hotels

Oetker Collection

Red Carnation Hotels
Dorchester Collection

Sofitel Legends
Orient-Express Hotels (now Belmond)

Sol Kerzner and his former Sun Int. Hotels
Michel Reybier Hotels

Serena Hotels (Africa & Central Asia)
Operation Loango (Africa)

Amanhotels (Asia-Pacific only)
Victoria Hotels (South-East Asia)

Constantinou’s Lamana Hotel Group (PNG & South Pacific)
Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost Hotels (Jamaica)

Real Hotels and Resorts (Central America)
Grupo Habita (Mexico)

“Wherever you go, try to stay at the most famous hotel!” Aristoteles Onassis


Enjoying the taste of revolution at the Habanos cigar shop in Cuba’s flagship Hotel Nacional

Sitting in the lobby of the local Grande Dame hotel with a “Romeo & Julieta” cigar,

I like to meet people with powerful stories, learn from their first-hand accounts

and to capture the spirit of places …

In particular, I want to get my own view on cultures, countries and conflicts without any distortions.


Voodoo valet service at the most charismatic of all dangerzone hotels, the Oloffson in Haiti

One of the benefits of MTP “country collecting” is to learn about the existence of “unrecognized” territories, like

Transnistria, Gagauzia, Adjaria, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhcevan, Karakalpakastan, Gorno-Badakhshan, Aksay Chin, Azawad, Sahrawi, Ambazonia, Somaliland, Puntland, Cabinda, …


Palestine – not to forget …
(here at the Bethlehem border “fence”)

… and to test the accuracy of Western media reports or official travel warnings about so-called “dangerous places.-

Good article by Jonny Bealby in “The Telegraph” (please click): Some travelers are “sceptical of media reporting and need to see things for themselves. “

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you ‘re un-informed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.” Mark Twain


Putting things in perspective: all maps are political statements and usually paint Europe much too big – and in the center – whereas the Southern Hemisphere – in particular Africa – looks too small. Well, what should we have expected from 16th century Dutchman Gerard de Kremer, a.k.a. Mercator, whose “nationalistic” map projection was gladly reproduced by the British Empire and is still the most common view of the world today. The Peter’s Map (above) from 1974 is not perfect either, but the sizes – not shapes – of countries are certainly much closer to reality.


The Ebstorf mappa mundi from the 13th century was still ORIENTed with east at the top, Jerusalem in the center, the body of Christ shaping the O-T form, and all sorts of snakes, monsters, unicorns, in particular the maneaters and bloodsuckers of Gog and Magog behind the Caspian Sea (early versions of the strategy of tension, ordo ab chaos, and state terror). An important part is missing (top right) … most likely censorship from the powers-to-be, who also control our official narrative of history, the daily mainstream propaganda, and political correctness.


The concept of a country is not as clear as we sometimes think …
(Source / Foto: Geopolitical Anomalities)

Dahala Khagrabari, is the world’s only third-order enclave. It is a piece of India within Bangladesh, within India, within Bangladesh.


… and the concept of a continent neither.
(here at the European-Asian borderline high up in the Ural Mountains, close to Manpupuner)

P_20191012_141505 b

But it takes a lot of courage, research and field search to understand the real world.                   (here: in Ernst Jünger’s private library in Wilflingen, Swabia)

“Foreign aid is a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.” Douglas Casey


Travel Warning: The Foreign Office advises against overland drives, in particular at night …
(here at a roadblock near the Zambia – Zaire border)


… or in rather shady neighbourhoods …
(here in Central Angola)


… (here in the FARC mountains, Planadas, Tolima, Colombia)


… or through the red light districts …
(here Western Sahara)


… even if you … and your car … are experienced travelers.
(here in Malawi)


Stay alive. Don’t drink and drive !
(here a “Vodka Kalashnikov” in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Russian Caucasus)


And consume distances with moderation …
(here in Central Siberia)


… or you reach the end of the road too quickly.
(here in Yuryung-Khaya, Yakutia, at the finish line of the “Road to Anabar“, world’s northernmost dead-end at 72°49′ North)


Traveler advice: Keep your doors locked at all times …
(here with German 007 friend Gundolf in the Caprivi-Strip)


… especially at drive-thru restaurants …
(here in the Okavango Delta) see 2nd foto with crocs on the right


… or other predator feeding grounds …
(here near Johannesburg)


… and avoid picking someone up at the roadside.
(here: South Sudan) 2 own fotos

“If you come to the poker table, and in 10 minutes don’t know who is the sucker, it’s probably you”

“If you are not at the table you will be part of the menu” … two of my favourite sayings


Official announcement: Do not leave your luggage unattended !
(here in Guinea-Bissau)


Store your valuables in a safe place …
(here in Fort Knox, Kentucky)


… and always obey the law …
(here between Laredo and Monterrey in Northern Mexico)


… and its various enforcement agencies …
(here between Grozny and Gudermes in the Northern Caucasus)


… unless you are a Superhero yourself.
(… in Superman’s hometown Metropolis in Illinois)

“If you wonder who is in power, ask yourself who you must not criticise.” Confucius


Please be aware that bambo or bastoolad are now absolutely forbidden. It’s the law !!!
(here in Mogadishu 2017)


Be vigilant: Don’t talk to strangers …
(here: Nagorno-Karabakh)


… don’t underestimate the power of stupid political ideas …
(here: the Mask of Sorrow at the end of the Kolyma Highway / “Road of Bones” in Russian Siberia)

“The state is the coldest of cold monsters” Friedrich Nietzsche


… especially avoid politically incorrect subjects like gendering, guns (spot the AK-47), length of spears or club membership.
(here in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia)

“Every group gets the antagonism they deserve” aka Suum cuique


Danger: Protect yourself from IEDs, RPGs, STDs, second hand smoke and sunburn …
(here in Beirut, source: lebanonmatters.com)


… and understand false flag operations.
(here on a Mossad vessel with a UNESCO World Heritage Site inspector in ancient Phoenician waters. Sic!)

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Prepare for medical emergencies …
(here in a Sofitel (!) shuttle bus in the USA … “Body Fluid Clean-Up Kit” … Hello Dominique Strauss-Kahn !)


… especially if you travel armed …
(here in Cu Chi, Cambodia)


… or if you receive an armed “welcome”.
(here at Presidente Nicolau Lobato Airport in Dili, Timor-Leste)

“I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!” William Shakespeare

“Only Neanderthals resort to violence. I prefer crushing one’s spirit, hope, or ego.” John Lefevre (@GSelevator)


Surgeon general warning: anti-smoking laws prevent the use of cigarettes as a reserve currency, if all other moneys go up in smoke. And they seriously endanger your quality of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

“The happy slaves are the most grim enemies of freedom !” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

“The best slave is the one who thinks he is free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Albert Camus


Security alert orange: these waters are treacherous. Don’t get caught waterboarding in a rogue wave off Guantanamo Beach.
(here however at the Dagahaley Refugee Camp, Kenya/Somalia)

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire


Better safe than sorry: Immediately report suspicious behaviour to the military-industrial-complex.
(here in Luxor)


Tread carefully: there’s wild animals flat out …
(here in the Brazilian Amazon)


… even in unexpected places …
(here with a resident lion in an oligarch’s office in Moscow)


… and even where idiots killed almost all of them …
(here with Bisons near Bialystok, North-Eastern Poland)


… but sometimes nature itself is the culprit …
(here with extinct Mammoth models at the Alrosa Polar Star Hotel, Yakutsk, Russia)


… not respecting the glory of life …
(here with a whale skeleton on Peninsula Valdez, Patagonia, Argentina)


… but don’t worry about punching above your weight … mosquitos are the most dangerous animals …
(here with Heavyweight Worldchampion Wladimir Klitschko and Sheikh Maktoum’s hunting falcon in a UAE desert camp)


… and most other beings are rather peaceful …
(here a sealion day-guest at the Hotel Solymar on the Galapagos Islands)


… or helpful …
(here with sled dogs in Spitzbergen)


… and they will be happy to show you the planet’s secrets …
(here at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt)


… so let big hoofs dance to your flute, not vice versa !
(here with “Mr. Boom Chop”, the resident white king buffalo at another favourite hotel, the
Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Golden Triangle, Thailand)

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will always be battlefields” Leo Tolstoy


Use common sense: try to blend in with the locals …
(here in Dakota … pardon me … Dagestan)


… always dress to the occasion …
(here in Colombia with a tailormade bulletproof vest)


… even if it’s -62 °C …
(here near the “Pole of Cold” in Oymyakon, Sakha Republic – Yakutia, Russia)


… or 90°North …
(here at the exact North Pole with a Russian helicopter)


… and – believe me – “global warming” is caused entirely by visual pollution – from badly dressed people.
(here my favourite road sign in Monaco)

“The secret of life lies in the search for beauty” Oscar Wilde

“L’enfer, c’est les autres” Jean-Paul Sartre


Government warning: Beware of barely roadworthy cars …
(here at the Uma Paro Hotel in Bhutan)


… and crazy local drivers.
(here: in Autobahnistan)


My favourite warning sign was in a German rent-a-car:
“Caution. Winter Tyres. Max. 240 km/h.”


Respect is always a good security concept …
(here: Somalia)


… especially when crossing propaganda faultlines.
(here at the Panmunyon border from South to North Korea in 2006)


(here from the North Korean side in 2018)


Being a lucky bastard is helpful too …
(here with my love in Marrakech)

… since life can be a fine line between victory and tragedy …
(here with Michael Schumacher in the Maldives – and Otto Prinz von Hessen in Munich)


(here in Berlin with Helmut Kohl – who really is larger than life, and Michail Gorbatschow – who didn’t know much about his former empire’s geography. On the far left: Senator Ralph Burkei who tragically died during the Mumbai terror attack at the Taj Mahal Hotel.)


… although I personally prefer preparation over stretching my luck …
(here at the Voodoo Fetish Market in Lomé, Togo)


… and flying too high …
(here in Bosaso, Puntland, Somalia, 2017)


… risks burning your wings.
(here at the Derveze Gas Crater in the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan, burning since 1971)


Think twice about travel insurance:
(here with legendary GSG 9 founder Ulrich Wegener, who rescued the hijacked Lufthansa jet in Mogadishu 1977)


… nothing beats good contacts …
(here with best friend Harald at President Kadyrov’s Palace in Chechnya)


… especially friends in the right places …
(here: MI6 Headquarters, London)


… with the right attitude …
(here: with “Chirurg” and his Night Wolves at Mount Gasforta, Sevastopol, Crimea)


… and charming charisma …
(here: with the Dutch “Lara Croft”, FARC-rebel leader Tanja Nijmeijer, and “Black Death” Sergeant Pascuas, in Marquetalia, Colombia)


… at the right moment in time …
(here with Charles Taylor’s former minister, ambassador and warlord “Col. Mao Mao” at the Liberia – Sierra Leone border)


… with the right stature …
(here with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in Istanbul)

“They tried to grab me by the balls, but their hands weren’t big enough!” Bernie Ecclestone


… but – remember – a smile remains your most valuable weapon.
(here with Adnan Kashoggi in Rome)


Full stop.
(here at the Dadaab Refugee Camps, Kenya/Somalia)


“Almost all people are fooled all of the time !”

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