Let Nature be Nature: Sustainable Lodging in Eifel National Park

Imran Mehr, Maryann IJeoma Egbujor, So Min Kim

Climate change is on move. The extinction of global species is proceeding unabated. Both the natural landscapes as well as its flora and fauna are threatened in many cases. It has serious consequences, especially for tourism regions and their service providers. The tourism sector is a victim but at the same time contributor to this unsustainable development.

This is where the concept ‘Viabono’ (sustainable lodging facilities) emerged. Viabono is a landmark, a kind of beacon to facilitate the guest ‘s decision for sustainable travel products without ruining the fun, neither by the host nor the guest himself. The core objectives of Viabono are to promote credible environmentally and climate-friendly but at the same time to certify a modern tourism in Germany also.

The Eifel National Park is the cooperation partner of Viabono. This park is situated around 65 kilometres southwest of Cologne. It is spread over an area of 110 square kilometres. Nature has been left once more to its own eternal cycle of growth and decay. It is set in a dramatic landscape of trees interspersed with water, which allow you to experience the fascinating natural diversity of a wilderness at first hand.

Can local people actually take benefit of growing market of tourism? Are we enjoying tourism at the expense of nature? The reflection on these two questions brought an idea of `responsible and sustainable’ tourism for our video-production project. Along with my fellows, Maryann, So Min Kim, and I visited the Eifel National Park last week to trace the answers of above questions.

Bonn – Istanbul – Ankara – Bonn

“Am I eligible to participate in a congress?”, was my first E-mail to the organizers in October last year whether I could participate in the congress. It was a ‘Call of Papers’ for undergraduate students to submit their research work under the congress title, “Youth, Media and their Future” at Maltepe University in Istanbul from 27-29 March, 2013.

I received a reply to submit my abstract. After couple of days, got to know that it was only for undergraduate students who could submit their work. Ah! I had to accept it with no choice. Then months later in the February this year, the organizers had a swift change in their organization and now it was the open call for graduate students as well. So, as I was already writing my term paper and in the final phase of the paper, thought of sending my abstract. Luckily, it got accepted and I was offered a place as presenter in the congress.

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On March 27, 2013, I flown to Istanbul from Düsseldorf Airport. I reached to the airport in the evening. It took me around couple of hours to complete all the immigration formalities and rushed outside the airport because the staff members were waiting for me. The weather was so cool, bit rainy, reached to Marma Congress Center in approx. 30-minute drive. There I met with the speakers and the organizing staff. I had a nice Turkish dinner followed by a watch to nice traditional Turkish movie in the mini-cinema hall inside the congress center.

The next day was full of presentations, the conference hall was full of students and guests. The Vice-President of the University gave welcome speeh followed by the introductory presentation by Asst. Prof. Dr. Salvatore Scifo. I anxiously waited for my turn. And them, at last, at 4 p.m. I appeard on dice and started my presentation with some Turkish words. It was a great moment I enjoyed much. The hall filled with sound of clapping, whistling, and it was an interesting situation. The title of my presentation was “Social Media as Tool for Journalists and Ethics of Journalism”. After the speech I had a nice Q&A session I tried my best to deal with the questions.

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The next day was scheduled for an excursion trip. We all gathered after the breakfast and started our journey from the Asian side of Istanbul to the European side. The guys had fun in the bus by singing and dancing on Turkish songs. We went straight ahead to the city centre. We were split into three different groups.

The first one went to the Grand Bazaar StreeIt was Friday, second went to the famous Istiklal square and the third we, in which I was in the group, preferred to stay at Sultanahmet (Blue mosque), where we did perform the Friday (Jumma) prayer and then sat on the benches outside the mosque to have some sun bath. After couple of hours we then gathered and went straight to the nearby restaurant to grab our lunch. We did enjoy the famous dish, “Köfte” and then started going back to our accommodation place. At night, we had a ‘gala dinner’. It was so fun there. I will keep those beautiful memories in my memoir in the days to come. We danced, sang, did karaoke, all in all, was a complete fun night.

March 29, was the final day for many of us to go back to our home. I took maximum benefit of that tour, thought of better visiting Anakara to see my frie ds. In the of 30th March, I started 6-hour long bus journey for Ankara. It was one of the best bus tours I had in my life. I was amazed by the facilities provided by the Ulusoy transport company with Wi-fi connectivity, 12 TV channel, and last but not the least, a hot traditional Turkish ‘Chaey’. I will simply say, super!

I stayed in Ankara for couple of days, visited different touristic attractions. I had a chance to visit Turkish Radio Television Corporation headquarters and met with senior officials from Voice of Turkey Radio. It was my third visit to Turkey. I must appreciate the nice hospitality given by my Turkish hosts. It will remain in my memoirs in the the years to come.

Gingerbread on Christmas eve

By Sandra Sebastian and Imran Mehr

Our student media project on Christmas eve! We had been to Weihnachtsmarkt Bonn (christmas market) and asked the retailers and visitors about their viewpoints on ‘gingerbread’ in Christmas. It was quite interesting to know a bit of the history and some interesting information. So, one little bit or two of a gingerbread would add some good mood on your special celebration !!!!

I’m ready to go @ photokina

Yeyy ! Finally, the day approached, for which, I was waiting anxiously since last six weeks! On 18th september, 2012, my day began with the velocity of a bullet. I was busy preparing and checking my journalistic stuff (digital camera, batteries, cables, etc.) and rushed towards Bonn railway station (called in German ‘Hauptbahnhof’) to catch my train for Cologne. Just a minute left from the  departure,  I met my Tandem partner, Vicky, we quickly jump into the train and our heart-beat’s speed was like a flying jet plane because of running too fast to catch the tain.

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As a young journalist, we were so excited as we were going to participate in the world’s leading imaging fair. We reached to Cologne in half-an-hour time and proceeded towards our accommodation nearby to the main railway station. Right after stepping out from the station, I saw the famous ‘Kölner Dom’, it was so mesmerising that I was kept on looking on its tremendous architectural design for a long time, wow! Well, reaching there in the ‘backpackers’ hostel we met with our DAAD coordinator, Ms Maria, she welcomed us with a smile on her face. After refreshing ourselves, we, the all ten DAAD Reporters gathered in a meeting hall for a general introduction session. We were given away such a nice gift of beautiful bags as our ‘Press Toolkit’; and then we individually discussed our project ideas. Afterwards, in the evening, we proceeded towards the Cologne exhibition arena for having the general overview about the ‘photokina’ fair. There were dozens of journalists from different nationalities busy working on their assignments. We picked up some brochures and booklets for the information and then planned to explore the city.

The next day, we reached to the fair and saw hundreds of people keep walking along their desired companies’ booth. The cologne Exhibition Centre (Köln Messe) is so big that it has total 11 huge halls. I had walked through from one corner to another and it really took me around 2o minutes to reach at my destination. The main entrance has become centre of attraction for all that one of the digital camera has displayed a giant TV screen, people can have the photos alongwith their loved ones with such a nice background of Cologne Dom and can take the print outs from the respective booth. So, I am feeling so glad by participating in world’s leading ‘photokina’ imaging fair. I am writing these lines as one of DAAD Tandem Reporter from the Press Center of Köln Messe. Aha! this fair is really big and the Köln is gigantic enough..  I am verz excited to upload some interesting photos and videos !