His story first came into the nation’s attention when the social media savvy Tourism Minister Dr. Abdullah Mausoom tweeted about it earlier this month. The Minister’s tweet shed light on a remarkable love story between a man from Germany and the travel destination dubbed the ‘Sunny Side of Life’, the Maldives. How one man who traveled thousands of kilometers each year to spend his vacation here in the Maldives and how despite the imminent dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic he had made his annual trip to the island nation, his 27th visit.
His name is Andreas Rodenberg aka Andy and he was kind enough to sit down with ‘The Press’ and share his remarkable attachment to the Maldives.
Andy said he first came to the Maldives in 1988 and that it was love at first sight.
He said the breathtaking beauty of the country and the captivating personalities of its people totally and utterly hooked him.
Andy works in the railway industry back in German and remains unmarried nearing his sixties.
Andy described that most of his year centers around planning his annual holiday trip to the Maldives. He said that once he is there, he is already planning his next trip to the country in the following year.
Andy added that he gets his close friend Kumaara, who runs a travel agency, to book his ticket to the Maldives and set his itinerary the way he wants.
Andy said that out of the 27 times he had holidayed in the country, he had stayed in Fihalhohi resort in Kaafu Atoll except for once back in 2000. He said that time he had spent his vacation at Bathalaa in Raa Atoll.
Having spent 26 vacations at Fihaholhi, Andy has now become a household name at the resort. He is familiar with all the staff and top management who treat him like family.
Andy described his vacation as a series of relaxing activities including sleeping, maybe taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or doing karaoke once in a while.
Andy said that he did try a Caribbean destination for a vacation but that it had failed to live up to the level of relaxation he had been accustomed to in the Maldives.
“If the Maldives issued a Resident Visa, I would gladly live in Fihaholhi”, said Andy reaffirming his love for the resort.
His love for the resort does not end with him just spending his much-earned vacations at the resort.
He goes the extra mile. He calls up his friends and promotes the resort and its facilities to them so much that several had spent their vacations at Fihalhohi with Andy.
And he doesn’t stop there. Andy has taken pictures of the resort, printed those pictures on T-Shirts, and had worn such a T-Shirt to a TV Show in Germany back in 2018. During that show, Andy had shared his love for the resort and the Maldives with the studio audience and the viewers at home.
Andy said that there are several of his friends who join him for his annual trip to Fihalhohi and that they hail from Germany and Switzerland. Andy added that his friends weren’t able to join him this year because of the global pandemic COVID-19 but said that he always keeps in contact with them via phone.
Andy promised that if he remained healthy and well, he would continue making his yearly trip to Fihaholhi.
“These days, the cost of a 4-week-vacation is at sky-high. But if I am well and healthy, I will keep on coming back here,” said Andy, his eyes brimming with the love he had for the island and the country.
He added that the 4-week holiday is a total relaxation away from stress at his work.
We at ‘The Press’ wish that Andy has a fulfilling and enjoyable vacation here in the Maldives.