Former short-track professional and J-Athlete Matthias Stelzmüller travels the world on his inline skates with his project Skate the World. Skate the World is about experiencing cities and countries from many perspectives, getting to know other cultures better and combining the whole thing with sport. Today the Viennese globetrotter presents five destinations that he particularly liked on inline skates. One or the other would probably not be expected, but especially exotic and adventurous cities are very popular for him.
Only when you travel slowly, the soul can travel with you. The Native Americans already knew this. If they were thinking of a Viennese on inline skates is questionable.
Nevertheless: Only a good story can come out of it.
Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi - Vietnam
Hardly any other country was more fun on skates than Vietnam. In particular, the contrast between the communist north and the western south has never let go of me. It feels like there is no place on the streets without crazy motorcycles driving around. Traffic lights are a decoration, but traffic still flows because you take each other into consideration. In no other city have I been asked so often to just hang on to the motorcycle and let myself be pulled along!
You should only keep your hands off the coffee with egg ... the curiosity of trying everything put me out of action for two days in this case.
Spitting chewing gum on the street or dropping garbage is punished severely. Before I got to Singapore, I wasn't even sure if inline skates were allowed in the city. I was proved wrong: I came across a group of people who met once a week to skate through the city through an internet forum where people could find activities in Singapore. Unfortunately, I was only there for two days, just posted in the forum and three enthusiastic inline skaters got in touch with me immediately to show me Singapore through their eyes. 40 kilometers and a few hours later I skated in places I never thought possible. For example at midnight through the university where theater and sports groups were rehearsing in the corridors.
Riga - Latvia
I have special memories of Latvia because I lived there for about a year to train with the Latvian short-track national team. Riga is an incredibly beautiful city that is best explored on skates. Except for a couple of cobblestone streets in the center, you have no trouble getting around here. The Soviet architecture in particular has always impressed me. The old Academy of Sciences and the Soviet Victory Monument are definitely not to be missed, and for aviation freaks like me, a visit to the aviation museum near the airport is a must.
“You have only really been where you have been by foot.” - Johann Wolfgang v. G.
Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
Twice I had the honor of exploring the capital Addis Ababa on behalf of Ethiopian Airlines and the Traveler! It feels like a new adventure is waiting around every corner. The roads are at least good enough in most parts of the city and the traffic is tough, which is usually an advantage for me to smuggle my way through traffic jams. Near the Menelik Palace there is a wide and wonderfully sloping street that you can skate downhill-style. It's fun, but in my case it led to an incident with the military. Long story short: When soldiers with AK47s run towards you in Africa, just keep calm and stand still. The long story about this will come another time. ;)
I would love to have the chance to fly to Berlin-Tegel again. This time only with my skates, because hardly any other city could be explored as well directly from the airport as Berlin! With enough endurance, one would easily manage the most famous sights with a one-day trip. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible from the new airport, but Berlin is still absolutely worth a trip on skates. In principle, everything is quite close together and the streets are more than skate-friendly. A trip to the runway at the former central airport should not be missed.
My goal with "Skate the world" is to get to know the most beautiful or sometimes not so beautiful places, to get in touch with other cultures and people, to make friends and to exercise at the same time; and if that's not enough, it's simply because it makes me happier than anything else. To skate somewhere where hardly anyone would have thought of it and where it is 35 degrees and you can sweat out all your worries!
No matter where in the world I've skated, but especially in Asia and Africa: I was always honked. As far as I can tell - and the thumbs up is not profanity in these countries I've been to - the honking was always a sign of approval, even if most of them couldn't guess what it was about. The positive spirit was always there. So far I have had almost exclusively positive experiences. Above all, I am happy to have seen through traveling what life is like in other countries and how other people cope with their lives in order to be able to appreciate much more what we take for granted here in Austria. We have to be very careful with the privileges we have here. I think they are disappearing faster than we would like to as a well-being society.
Do I believe that “Skate the World” can change the world? I have no idea, but it changes my world, and I also believe in changes a little the world of those I meet and I interact with. The most important thing I have learned through sport: Go through the world with open eyes. Be polite but critical, because respect must always be earned first. Give all you have to achieve your goals and always question the meaning of them. Sport has the power to change the world. I believe in that.