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Dr. Stefan Stadtherr Wolter mit einer Auswahl seiner Fabelhaft-Reihe, Bild: Dr. Stefan Stadtherr Wolter

Fabulous: Mauritius, Seychelles, La Réunion and the Far East

With his book series “Fabulous” (available here at Books on Demand), Dr. Stefan Stadtherr Wolter regularly takes us on trips to the most beautiful places on earth. We talked to him about his cruise around Mauritius, Seychelles, La Réunion and the Far East:

In your Fabulous series, readers travel with you to many dreamlike travel destinations in currently six different volumes. Gladly also by cruise ship. What is the appeal of the cruise for you?

First of all, I think of the security that many people feel in a “ship’s belly”. Primal feelings have to play a role. Many report that they actually sleep particularly well on the ship – like in a cradle. I can’t quite confirm that, I’m probably too much on the go for that to not miss anything. After travelling through the jungle and steppe, such as a tent safari through Namibia or Uganda, it is comparatively pleasant to get into your comfort zone after the day trips. And there is never a shortage of food. Hardly having to worry about anything, because almost everything can be organized in advance, has a recreational value that should not be underestimated. For me, however, accessibility also plays a role on a cruise. Flying to the Lesser Antilles individually would make no economic or ecological sense. This also applies to the countries and cities we have visited in the Far East. Like pearls on a string, our AIDAbella headed for Shanghai, Ishigaki, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. Breathtaking impressions in a short time.

In the issue “Cruise around Mauritius, Seychelles, La Réunion and the Far East” you describe how you explored the two Seychelles islands of Praslin and La Digue in just one day (including a turbulent journey with the Cat Coco). Do you sometimes regret getting to know many places on a cruise only superficially?

Praslin, Anse Lazio
The wonderful beach Anse Lazio on Praslin, Image: Micha Rosenwirth / shutterstock

Yes, this is definitely a topic that should be dealt with. All too quickly such a shore leave is over and in fact I asked myself on the way and afterwards in the book the question of what actually goes beyond leafing through a catalogue. In any case, there are moods and smells and various human encounters. These are not so easy to convey through the media. Even on our group trips through many countries, I often regretted being able to stay in a certain place for only a few hours. In order to really get something out of it, in terms of sustainability, the follow-up of a trip is very important. This is where it starts to get exhausting, but in the long run, you have incredible added value. After all, books don’t have to come out of it right away.

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On the trip, you will have visited many paradisiacal islands in the Indian Ocean. Which of the islands is your favorite and why?

Our journey began in Mauritius and led to La Réunion and the Seychelles. All islands are definitely worth a trip. We got to know Mauritius quite well within 10 days. On La Réunion, the wild nature in combination with European infrastructure is impressive. It is an overseas department of France. But even there we think we got an impression over two days. If you are more into beach paradise, then you should go to the Seychelles again. There seems to me to be an even more harmonious way to relax. The areas damaged by sugar cane cultivation, such as in Mauritius, and the wild landscape on La Réunion are missing. It is possible that it will go back there again.

Talking shop window in Büdingen
The talking shop window of the Ripke bakery in Büdingen: Objects from all over the world are presented here that Dr. Stefan Stadtherr Wolter and Michael Stadtherr have discovered on their travels, Picture: Dr. Stefan Stadtherr Wolter

The calm before the storm: In 2019, it went a little further east. Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong & Taiwan. If you had actually made this trip directly afterwards, it would have been a culture shock. What impressions did you gain on this trip?

It was my great wish to see world metropolises or countries that embody many things that go beyond our horizons of thought and experience. I am particularly interested in the construction of the future – that is, green high-rise buildings, artificially created biotopes. We were also able to experience the more liberal Hong Kong . It was impressive how the letters “Facebook” shone on one of the towers, which is forbidden in China . All these large cities can be explored wonderfully independently, for example with the BigBus.

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Her travel books are very entertaining. Sometimes the neighbors are also scrutinized more closely. You can tell how much you enjoy writing. Is the seventh edition of the Fabulous series already being planned – and if so, where will the journey take us this time?

Actually, I wanted to start with 6 books of the “Fabulous series”. But then I underestimated the art of writing. It’s hard work and you never really finish. There are so many sensitivities these days, be it the mention of skin color, be it the description of a lady with sex appeal. And then there is always the question of how many historical backgrounds can there be before it gets boring. So I quickly came to the realization that the situation of experience is the most suitable form of reproduction. In other words, the colloquial explanation of the content by the tour guides while at the same time describing the sensitivities of the listeners, who are sometimes distracted by their surroundings. Nevertheless, I made competent classifications beyond what I had experienced on site.

Now we have to deliver our exciting journey through Myanmar – up to the self-sufficient mountain tribes. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life, along with the visit of the Karamojong in Uganda (Vol. 2).

One final question: Where will your next trip take you?

If everything goes according to plan, it will be a Central America cruise, this time with “Mein Schiff”. Here I am curious about the difference to the AIDA – and of course about the Mayan sites in Mexico, the Belize Barrier Reef (the second largest reef system in the world) and a train ride along the Panama Canal. We will also head for Colombia and Jamaica . And of course I’ll want to write everything down again, I can’t help it. So there will be a continuation of the “Fabulous series”.