Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania, South America ·
310 Days ·
109 Moments ·
5 November 2017
Last moments for ourselves..
Our gemütlich Journey has been going on for more than 280 days and I’ve been travelling for over 300 days. Michael will leave for Europe very soon and I prolonged my trip until Christmas.
I however want to cherish our last moments and have decided to end this virtual journi. I am amazed how many have decided to follow our adventures and would like to thank each and everyone of you ❤️!!
It was a little over ten years ago when I first decided to once go on a trip around the world. We have visited more than 15 countries some for weeks others only for a few days, but all have been exciting and I would love to go back to all of them. Of course we both have our favourites, but still every part of the world we were blessed to see is special!! If I could start again I would not change one thing and I think the same goes for Michael!!
We are now on a ferry to another Thai island and are already planning our next “Gemütlich Journey”!
Love Michael & Vanessa 🙏
4 November 2017
Back to where it (almost) begun..
We had already decided to flee Europe one last time before Michael has to go back to work when we were home with the kittens.
That’s why we are now back in Thailand to relax and also celebrate my birthday. Directly after our arrival in Bangkok we took a bus to Trat from where we shipped to Koh Chang. The island is Thailand third biggest and was, for us, a bit to touristy. We went on to Koh Maak, which turned out to be wonderful. It’s small with almost no cars, few people, crystal clear water and super laid back atmosphere.
After 5 days on the island we returned to Bangkok to take the night train to Chiang Mai. As our stay in Thailand turned out to be at the same time as the Loy Krathong ans Yee Peng festival. We visited the festivities on November 3rd and it was although very crowded amazing. Thousands of lanterns were sent into the sky and small flower floats lit up with candles over the river. A beautiful and memorable moment 😍.
19 October 2017
An unexpected ending
From the moment we had decided to change our route and visit Europe instead of Northern America we also had planned to surprise my grandfather on his birthday.
We were already on our way back home, but with a stop in Bavaria to attend a dear friends wedding, when problems with Danny occurred. To get out of Slovenia we had to drive over some pretty high passes and our little van obviously couldn’t take any more turns.
We had to contact our automobil club and they got in touch with the Italian automobil club, where we happen to be. After 45 minute our saviour arrived. We were happy to see him, still hopping it would be only a small damage, but it wasn’t like that. Danny had to be transported on the back of the tow truck. At the garage we were told that the clutch had to be exchanged.
We hadn’t expected to end our trip that abruptly and were of course sad not to be able to “celebrate” our last night on the road. However this was not the end of the journey..
15 October 2017
I feel SL💚VENIA
The Slovenian tourism board did a great job with that catch phrase, I really did feel Slovenia. The little country just south of what we call home is blessed with beauty.
A charming little capital, Ljubljana, where we had the pleasure to participate at the “Pivo & Burger Fest”, those of you who had followed our journey know how much we love burger 🤤.
Marvellous blue lakes which can be crossed with gondolas and are framed by mountains, topped by fortresses in Bled. Not to mention those autumn colours and golden sunlight.
Rivers, insanely blue, meandering through a lush valley AND fascinating gorge. It was such a delight that we couldn’t get enough of looking at. So we’ve spend a whole afternoon just sitting at it’s shore doing nothing but enjoying ourselves and watching trouts passing by.
Slovenia is also the place I got my unique Elan Mahalo. A snowboard produced for the Japanese market only, I rode it there, which they happen to have only once! In my size 😍.
9 October 2017
Transylvania & Transalpina
After our brief stop at home we returned to Romania. I still wanted to see Transylvania!!
This time we entered through the southern border with Hungary.
By accident we spend our first night at the beginning of the transalpina road. A scenic ride which proofed to be a real gem. Green softwood forests, blue lakes and at the top some snow, winter is coming 😉. We even passed one or two ski areas. Closed of course, but a good reason to come back.
In Transylvania we visited the charming towns of Brasov and Sighisoara. We liked the latter a bit more, maybe because of the remaining old town and the colourful houses or for the simple reason that we had found a beautiful spot to stay in the middle of marvellous old oak trees.
Of course we also visited Brans castle, famous for being Dracula’s magnificent mansion. Although he probably stayed here for no longer than a few nights. Anyway the place is just stunning and definitely worth a visit either way 🖤 🦇🦉⚰️⚔️
27 September 2017
A break called Salem & Lucky
It was my mums birthday. After having done some laundry and an extensive birthday call, Michael and I had decided to go for a walk. Vladimir the owner of our campsite had told us to go to the monastery on top of the mountain. An easy walk, he said and mentioned to be cautious because of the bears 🐻.
It took us about 5 hours there and back, and as we entered the village passing by a small creek we made a sad and shocking discovery. Two beautiful young cats had been put in a closed bag and thrown into the creek, which was freezing cold. Michael instantly jumped to save the poor ones and of course we had no other choice than to take them with us.
Salem & Lucky as we named them were already trembling like leafs, thank god our little Danny has an independent vehicle heater, which proofed to be crucial for their survival as temperature were dropping below zero at night. We were not eager to leave them back so returned to Austria where we had find a new home
26 September 2017
Maramures - walks and wooden churches
Finally, Romania. We have been looking forward to the land of the Danube, Dracula and bohemians for quite a while 😃. We entered the country at the northernmost border adjoining Hungary.
We’ve decided to visit the lesser known area Maramures, before heading to Transilvania. The northern region reminded us very much of what we know back home, harsh mountains covered mostly by fir trees, but the scenery did differ when it comes to architecture and modes of transport. It didn’t take long until we encountered the first horse carriage.
This remote area is known for its wooden churches. We visited some and also a monastery, most buildings date back to the 18th century. Those are very impressive pieces of craftsmanship, beautiful to look at!
22 September 2017
The last European “Urwald”
A very special place during our Euro trip was Bialowieza in Polen. We visited the small town close to the Belarusian bored to visit the last remaining “untouched” forest in Europe.
The restricted area within this National Park can only be visited with a guide. Which I would recommend anyway as it was very interesting to get to know the forest and its peculiarities. Our guide João, is actually from Portugal and has been living in this remote area for the last 7 years. One can sense that he is very proud of what is happening here.
This piece of land shows how the majority of the European continent use to look like. And although it is still pretty awesome, it would have been great to see this dense forest as well as the wast swamps for real. We learned a lot not only about the nature that surrounded us, but also the ethnic mix that is found all over the continent.
Unfortunately I do not have pictures of this wonderful walk, but will add some asap 😊.
18 September 2017
A brief stop at the hill of cross & the curonian Spit in Lithuania 🇱🇹
Due to storm-like weather conditions in Riga we decided to keep our visit to the art-deco city Riga to a minimum of 30 minutes and continue our journey to Lithuania.
After a quiet night at the sunny nights campsite we went on direction Curonian Spit. This land stretch is covered by beautiful pines as well as some of Europe’s finest sand dunes. We took a walk to the 52 m-high Parnidis Dune close to Nida. A small village that is famous for its artists colony, no wonder they gather here considering. the landscape.
Before visiting the spit we however briefly stoped at the Hill of crosses. The spot is full with crosses of all sizes and donated not only by locals but in the meantime from people from all over the world. The place is, as expected, fascinating but also kind of creepy.
We very much enjoyed our stay in Lithuania. We will definitely come back to the Baltic’s to see more of this beautiful European corner
17 September 2017
Cēsis & Sigulda - Romantic & fairytale like
Within the Gauja Nationalpark are two small, charming towns, Cēsis and Sigulda. The earlier is one of Latvias oldest towns and has a well preserved medieval castle which can be visited. It costs only a few euros, but is totally worth it. Besides the very impressive building we really liked the fact that one gets a candle as light source for the visit. So simple, but what an extraordinary experience.
After our visit of Cēsis, we drove to a small parking space close to the Amata river which served as our night camp. As it was still early we went for a short walk in the forrest. We were caught by a rather hard rain shower, still enjoyed the beauty of unspoiled nature.
Yesterday we drove to Sigulda. It is possible to visit different castles, also ruins from spots around town. We once more enjoyed the quietness of nature and wonderful views.
Gauja National park is a real gem! A place I deeply recommend 😍
15 September 2017
Tallinn 🖤 Mylord & Myladies
We've just arrived in Eastern Europe and couldn't be more astonished!
Tallinn is one of the most prettiest cities I've ever seen, I love that place. One feels like having travelled back in time. I really wish I would wear one of those beautiful medieval dresses, to immerse even more into the scenery.
The old town is full of colourful buildings and churches. It is still possible to see parts of the city wall. Actually a lot of them, including some very impressive defense towers.
We are now having a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants of "Rotermanni Kvartel". A former factory complex of old brick warehouses turned into a nice shopping and food area.
Tallinn has stolen my 🖤!
14 September 2017
Turku, the sea and Helsinki
The north is amazing, but rather expensive. Thats why we are not rushing, but passing through a bit faster.
We started our stay in Finland in Turku. A lovely little town with an old castle, dating back to the 13th century, a nice promenade along the river and a quite impressive church.
Although Turku and Helsinki are not very far from each other we stoped by the sea for a night. The weather turned from rain to sunshine. It was just beautiful and I even dared to plunge into the ice cold Nordic water for a second or two.
After another night in Fiskars village, known as the hometown of fiskars scissors and machines, we drove to Helsinki.
We both enjoyed the city which is once again a bit different to the previously visited Nordic capitals. The architecture is a mix of old and new (once again) and I somehow felt the proximity to Russia. Would totally recommend to come and visit!!
10 September 2017
Finland here we come!
We had some beautiful days in and around Stockholm with our friends Theresa & Christian, but it's time to move on.
We took the day time Viking ferry from Stockholm to Turku, because it was cheaper. In retrospect it would have been a shame to miss this gorgeous seascape. We were passing dozens of pretty small islands in Sweden. The sea was smooth as silk and the ferry more like, what I imagine a cruiser looks like, than an actual ferry.
It took us about 11 hours to reach Finland, but it was really a beautiful, actually relaxing and very cheap way to get from A to B.
8 September 2017
Stockholm & Sandhamn
About a year ago, when my old kindle decided to stop functioning, I bought a Swedish detective novel that is taking place in Sandhamn, one of many islands just a shore Stockholm. The book, part of a serie, became my favourite summer read AND Sandhamn a place I had to visit one day.
Well two days ago I finally put feet on Sandön, how the island is actually named and visited all the "famous" spots. We passed lovely Swedish huts and gorgeous houses on our way to beautiful Trouville beach. We took a walk in the small forest, with lots of blueberries and mushrooms and finally strolled through the charming harbour town. Well I'm in love with that place.
The day before our short trip we also visited Swedens capital. Stockholm is an enjoyable town. The small streets of Gamla Stan are quite appealing and Monteliusvägen is a good viewpoint, but I have to be honest.. I liked Copenhagen a bit more 🙈
Ps: the books I mentioned earlier are written by Viveca Sten.
6 September 2017
Hej Sverige 🇸🇪
From Copenhagen it is only a hop to Sweden. To be precise a drive over the very impressive Öresund bridge.
For our first night we had found a wild camping spot close to a beautiful lake. I don't know if you have ever thought about Sweden, but this place looked exactly how I had imagined Sweden all my life.
On our second day it was unfortunately raining, but hey what you gonna do. We had decided to drive all the way up to the Vätter see a huge lake where we had another chance to wild camp. The place was surrounded by a beautiful forest. A great opportunity for us to take a walk.
We were wandering through this fairytale woods for almost four hours. Passing two or three waterfalls, several creeks and thousands of different mushrooms of all colours and sizes. It is no wonder so many people fall in love with Northern Europe, I'm already a fan!!
1 September 2017
"New" continent, new adventure!
We've decided to see what the continent we live in has to offer and are now travelling with our camper van called Dani!
We are currently in Scandinavia, Copenhagen to be precise. The city is a gorgeous mix of old and new. The many waterways are used by locals and tourists alike to discover the beauty of this northern town.
Dani (the Vito) is a 19 year old Mercedes van and our home for the next few weeks. After having fixed some small problems we are now ready to hit the road and look very much forward to a great trip!!
28 August 2017
Within 48 hrs in Rio & Lisbon & Amsterdam
We are back in Europe and had the chance to visit three of the most beautiful cites of the world on our way.
We left South America from the ciudad maravillosa, were we had time to enjoy some sunshine at Copacabana and Ipanema. AND I could not leave without buying some Havaianas 💚.
Our flight included a 7.5 hrs stopover in Lisbon. Thanks to the metro, we had enough time for a quick stroll around town and some coffee with Portugals best pastry Pasteis de Nata 🤤!
In Zürich my brother picked us up with our new "team member", he will be introduced shortly, and we drove all the way up to beautiful A*dam.
It sounds crazy, but was totally worth it. We are happy to be back in Europe and look very much forward to our trip which will probably take us to Scandinavia, the Baltic and all the way down to the Balkans. We are still in Amsterdam preparing ourselves for the next stage of our gemütlich journey...
23 August 2017
Ilha Grande 💚Ahoy pirate 🌴
What an amazing place! Ilha Grande looks like a treasure island, the clouds wrapped around the hills did indeed enhance that feeling. The weather wasn't the best, we had lots of rain, but it was actually better to make the most of our time.
We went for a few treks and were delighted by what the place has to offer besides beaches. We saw beautiful waterfalls in the middle of the jungle, abandoned buildings like the prison in Dois Rios and a lazarette and lots of wild animals, even an armadillo.
The small port town Vila do Abraão is really nice with lots of different and good places to eat as well as Cafés to just enjoy oneself. Our lovely Pousada Canto Verde was very peaceful and had the best cakes ever for breakfast.
Of course the beaches a gorgeous. Small and secluded or stretched, name it you'll find it there. Yeah, we really liked it here and it is definitely on our come back list!
16 August 2017
Bus, bus, bus 🚌
South America is all about bus travel. During the last 8 weeks we've spent over 100 hours in busses. While Asia was mostly about train travel overland and a few low cost flights, in Latin America we took one train (Bolivia) and flew one time, but only because we feared the pass over the Andes. Which we already were not able to pass ones.
Most busses were very comfy and the service in some excellent. On our twenty something trip from Córdoba to Puerto Iguazu we even got a glass of champagne 🥂.
However travelling by bus isn't my favourite. In most cases we had delays (from one to five hours) and although drivers a restricted to a limit of 100 km/h, most tend to go faster. The majority of the roads were good, however you'll always feel bumps.
All in all interesting experiences and of course night buses are still a good bargain to get from a to b. However not in Argentina were prices are quite high..
13 August 2017
Our last stop in Argentina the Cataratas de Iguazu where also our personal highlight. After 21 hours on the bus we were welcomed by, rain. This however did not stop us from driving directly to the Brazilian side of the gigantic waterfalls. It is a 45-60 minutes journey directly to the national parks entrance. This side can be visited in 2-3 hours time and shows only a small part, but offers a first overview. It is nevertheless already very impressive.
On our second day we woke up early and feared that we would get very wet, as it rained massively. But by the time we arrived at the Argentinien park, the last drops fell from heaven and we had an amazing day. It took us almost 6 hours to walk along the different paths and to gaze at the different falls. We took a boat to Isla San Martin, which is included in the entry fee, and had a superb view on the highest part.
Our day ended with the highlight, the devils throat!! Iguazu is a remarkable place, just stunning!!
10 August 2017
8 August 2017
Santiago - a Place we'd like to stay
Let's face it, the city is not overly pretty, but it has nice places plus mountains and sea within two hours reach.
Now that I've finally recovered from a stomach malaise in La Serena we had the chance to taste all the international delicacies of the city.
For a soft start we chose a Japanese restaurant just around the corner of our lovely hostel (forestal). Izakaya yoko offers all sorts of sushi and ramen served in a bowl that could easily nourish a family. The taste was not as subtle as in Japan, but still very good!
After our long skiing day we decided that it was once again time for a burger. For that reason we went to nearby Bellavista and conquered a table at Uncle Fletch. The place serves super tasty burger accompanied by a range of international and national (craft) beers. Our meal ended with a death by chocolate experience named fudged brownie 🤤. Fletchs burger is definitely amongst our world trip burger top 3!
3 continents - 3 times ski- goal accomplished!!
While others decide to follow summer during a trip around the world, we have decided to go after winter and pursue the dream to ski once on every continent. With our ski day in Valle Nevado we at least have hit the slopes of every continent we visited during our trip.
It is very easy to get to ski resorts around Santiago. Many companies offer day trips including transfer, ticket and equipment. It may or may not be the cheapest option but definitely the most comfortable one, as everything is provided. The equipment was not the newest, but my snowboard was actually in good shape and fast 😎.
The snow conditions were not the best although the sun softened the quite icy underground. The weather however was perfect, blue sky and sunshine. The lifts have seen better days, but I was prepared for worse according what we've heard around here, so we were positively surprised.
All in all a great experience to ski the Andes, awesome day!!!
1 August 2017
Oasis surrounded by nothing
We were not ready to let the desert go, so we decided to visit de Atacama desert in Chile. After a rather unpleasant night in Uyuni, the place is nothing special and I am more than happy we didn't start our tour here, but in Tupiza, we took a 12 hours bus to get to San Pedro and I think we've spend almost three of them at the border. It was an exhausting, hot and bumpy drive but we were very much looking forward to arrive as we have spoiled ourselves with a nice accommodation.
The Atacama Loft is a bit outside of San Pedro and consist of a few big, white tents all equipped with comfortable beds and heating blankets, a blessing after the freezing desert nights. The best however was to meet other Austrians, the first ones after seven month of travelling!!
So this was our glamping experience and although we were overall quite satisfied, we thought there is a lot of room for improvement. After all beauty is only skin deep...
28 July 2017
A jeep, 6 passengers and the amazing Altiplano
The purpose of our stay in Tupiza was, of course, to start with a tour through southern Bolivia.
We've spent 4 days on the road and it never got boring, maybe a bit uncomfortable depending on the seat situation. We saw lagunas of all colours from white to black, uncountable lamas, vicunas, flamingos and chinchillas, volcanos and the desert in all its shades.
Our jeep took us as high as 4.960 meters above sea level and stoped at several miradors (viewpoints). We felt the warmth of the earth next to geysers and bubbling mud holes, but also how cold a night in such height can get. We looked down the anaconda canyon and up in the sky to gaze at millions of stars and the Milky Way.
It ended in a sea of salt, unbelievable "Salar de Uyuni". However all of this would have been less spectacular without the good company we had. Thanks to our fellow travellers Lune & Ida, as well as our guide Wilfredo and Dilma our great cocinera 🙏.
23 July 2017
Yeeha in Tupiza!!
Our lovely train ride ended in Tupiza, the other town that offers tours to the Salar the Uyuni, but which is supposed to be a bit more laidback. We'll have to assess that at the end of our trip 😜. But so far we like it a lot!
The small town is surrounded by red coloured mountains and divided by a creek.
To see a bit more of the area we've decided to test our cowboy skills 🤠. We booked a three hours tour at our hotel (Butch Cassidy). Our guide Gregori picked us up at 14:00 and of we went!
The tour leads through the beautiful landscape, passing some impressive rock formation, e.g. The Diablo or Macho stones!
One doesn't have to be skilled to go on such a ride. In the end though I was happy that I had experienced riding earlier as my horse decided to match against a car 🐎.
All in all we had a wonderful afternoon and short breaks did allow to take some pictures 👍.
22 July 2017
Slow & charming beginning in Bolivia
It was only a short bus ride from Humahuaca to La Quiaca and although the line seemed long we could enter Bolivia quite fast and without any problems.
After walking through almost complete Villazón we eventually reached the train station. We hadn't planed to arrive on Saturday, one of four train days, but lucky us, had the chance to at least queue in line to buy some tickets 🍀 . 2.5 hours after our arrival, third in line, we were the owners of two tickets for the salon compartment. This is the cheaper, but nevertheless comfortable class.
The train started its journey almost on time and off we went with an incredible speed of 30 to a maximum of 50 km/h. One does definitely not travel fast, but why would one want that. The landscape is just amazing! We couldn't stop glancing at the ever changing colours and fauna 🌵☀️🚂. We were in the middle of the desert, but it was so fascinating.
A great start of our a journey in Bolivia 🇧🇴.
21 July 2017
North Argentina a welcome change..
Before leaving Argentina for Bolivia we stopped at lovely Humahuaca. The town is small and you've seen it all within an hour, but it is charming and so different from what we've experienced in this country so far. One definitely sees and feels the proximity to Bolivia.
The region however is most famous for its fantastic nature spectacles. We already found our bus trip through the Quebrada de Humahuaca from Jujuy very impressive, but our excursion to the Hornocal was definitely a highlight.
We shared a taxi with two super likeable guys from Rosario. It took us about 45 minutes per route. The viewpoint is at 4.350 m. above sea level and the air very thin, but the view is dramatic and for sure a must see!!
For us coming to the north was a great idea and it is for sure one of the most genuine region in Argentina.
20 July 2017
18 July 2017
A walk around San Miguel de Tucumán
"The trail to the sky" just outside of town is a wonderful and easy. However getting there requires a bit of patience. There is only one bus and the departing times are quite rare.
Who despite that reaches the trek will be rewarded by beautiful lush vegetation and a spectacular view over town. The walk also passes the old funicular trail with its bridges, this is just a short but nice detour.
To get back in town one has to take bus #118 which leaves even rarer or so it seems. As we had nothing else to do we've decided to take the bus to its final destination and then return. What a great idea! The backcountry is beautiful and also the decent back to town offers some spectacular views!
San Miguel itself is a lovely town. It is mostly famous for being the hometown of Argentinas independence! All in all we had two wonderful days and so far it was a good idea to have changed our plans 👍
17 July 2017
16 July 2017
Malbec and "mal de tête" in Mendoza
I had a plan, but the weather god had others. We came to Mendoza to taste some glorious wine, what we did, and to take a first glance at the mountains we wanted to ride. This was also possible, glance not ride...
We stayed a little outside of town in Chacras de Coria with a lovely lady. Our host and her pet gang made us feel at home from the first moment on. She helped us rent some bicycles to tour around the wine fields, which was perfect on such a sunny day ☀️. And Mendoza itself is a lovely town and the Andes behind it make for a tremendous scenery!
However our plan to go to Santiago de Chile was not possible due to a blizzard 🌨. So we had to rethink our route and now we are off to...
12 July 2017
Friends, food & fabulous views in Córdoba
To Austrians Córdoba is that place where everything is possible. Why? Well because the national football team defeated Germany during the world championship back in the 70s. Yes, we still feed on that event 😒.
We've come to Córdoba and it's wonderful surroundings to visit my dear friend Juan, with whom I've been travelling in Southeast Asia ages ago. He and his lovely girlfriend were wonderful host and besides showing the beautiful country there living in, they also took good care of our stomachs.
In Villa del Gen. Belgrano we had a homely feeling as buildings look quite familiar and pastries try to taste as German/Austrians. At a food festival in Córdoba town we tried all sorts of new Argentinien dishes and back at there place we of course had Argentinien meat from the grill 🤤.
Córdoba itself is a nice town with a good balance between old and new. We especially enjoyed our stroll through the Güemes market!
5 July 2017
Sitting, waiting, wishing
Travelling is very often a trial of patience. You have to wait for a flight, a room to check in, at customs and safety control or as in our currant situation for the night bus to Córdoba.
We just came back to Argentina yesterday and took the longer and cheaper bus/ferry connection via Carmelo. Not because we've been missing the little town so much, or due to budget reasons, but because we have been told that the passage through de delta is really worth the "detour". I have to say, that was a good choice. Not so clever was the idea of staying in Tigre, a suburb of Buenos Aires for the night, as we are now stuck in the capital with slightly bad weather.
However we've decided to walk to Florida and to glance around Galeria Pacifico. With still a lot of hours on our hands we've made ourselves comfortable in the beautiful train station, which can easily compete with Grand Central. And now we are sitting, waiting, wishing for our bus to leave..
3 July 2017
Del rio al océano - Montevideo & Punta del Este
If Buenos Aires is too much for you, you might give Montevideo a try. The capital of Uruguay is surprisingly unpretentious and easy to walk around. You'll probably manage to cross the old town in a few minutes, but you could also with no doubt spend hours strolling along the Rambla, the promenade along Rio de la Plata. The same applies to Punta del Este, here however one can choose to look over the huge river or the Atlantic Ocean. The town is about a two hours bus ride east of Montevideo and is known as a celebs hotspots during the summer month. In winter however it is quite calm. It was nevertheless worth a visit especially considering the lovely weather!
28 June 2017
Colonia, Carmelo y Contrabandistas
It's about 2.00 pm when we arrive in Colonia del Sacramento. It's a sunny afternoon and we enjoy the last warm hours of the day in the very pretty garden of "Bocadesanto", eating delicious burgers and drinking craftbeer. Sadly for us our second day was a bit disappointing, but this only concerns the weather. The Barrio Histórico of Colonia apparently was an old Portuguese smugglers port. Remnants from that time are the houses in "Calle de los suspiros" and the city wall. The best overview offers however the faro, the lighthouse. A bit further north we've visited Carmelo. Today a getaway for many Porteños, the city used to be another contrabandist gate. Supplying the now visitors with all sorts of good, perfume for example. At least thats what our host "Gabriel" told us. The city is small and you've seen it all after about 20 minutes, but we probably would never have known as much about Uruguay without the unique "man of the house".
25 June 2017
South America kick off in Buenos Aires
Crossing the Pacific in 12 hours is great, well if one doesn't consider the major jetlag that won't let go. Still, we've arrived in Argentina *YEAH* and also back to 1996. Believe it or not but crop/belly shirts and platform shoes are having a big comeback here.
Our 4 days in the capital passed by so fast! Well, mostly because we have spent a lot of time sleeping. But on our precious awaken hours we've explored San Telmo, watching some Tango dancers and strolling through dozens of stalls at the Sunday fair. In Palermo we visited the botanic garden and P. viejo with lots of small shops and restaurants. Of course we passed by Plaza de 25 de Mayo and paid tribute to the dead at Recoleta cemetery.
We were overwhelmed by the culinary variety and indulged in all sorts of food. Probably gained back all the kilos lost in the course of the past few month.
Buenos Aires, we'll come back if you get rid of your 🐶 💩problem 😉.
21 June 2017
Goodbye Aotearoa 🇳🇿
First of all sorry for the long post pause. We've been on the road almost everyday and when not, we were discovering beautiful New Zealand.
5.753, that's the number of Kilometers we drove. 21, those where the campsites we stayed at and 54 the sandwiches we've eaten 🍞🥒🍅🧀🥓
If you want to know what else we've done during the last three weeks take a look at our (belated) posts below...
20 June 2017
They say the best things in life are free..
Well I think this is especially true for New Zealand. The most memorable moments were those we had contemplating the sheer beauty of nature.
We have spent hours looking at the sky wether by day or night 🌌. Watching the sun go up and down, gazing at billions of stars and the Milky Way. It was a great pleasure to fall asleep at the sound of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman sea and to see waves crashing at shore in the morning.
We walked through green lush vegetation full of palm trees, huge ferns and clear creeks. We hiked on volcanoes passing blue/green sulfid lakes and red craters. We drove across a mere of different landscapes from mountains to sea and back and it somehow never got boring...
18 June 2017
There and back again...
Since the early 2000 I've been dreaming of visiting New Zealand for one simple reason, I'm a huuuuge fan of The Lord of the Rings. I had to read "The Hobbit" back in school in France and at that time I wasn't all too fond of this whole fantasy thing. It was only, when I grew a little older and decided to read the trilogy by myself that I hoped one day to be able to visit Middle Earth.
It was Peter Jackson who brought the story on screen with New Zealand as perfect set. From the moment I saw the first movie I knew I had to visit the country deep down south.
In the course of our roadtrip we made several stops at set locations. We visited the elves in Rivendell, walked through Ithilien where Frodo, Sam and Gollum were hiding, passed by Rohan, walked through Mordor with spectacular "Mt. Doom" and of course visited Hobbiton. To me it felt like emerging in another world and boy was that great!!
16 June 2017
Autumn skiing @ Mt. Hutt
Like the Austrian pre season skiing, the one in New Zealand isn't the best. Having said that I must say that we still had a great day at Mt. Hutt. It was a wonderful sunny day with clear blue skies and not much going on on the slopes.
Compared to Austrian standards the resort is quite small and the gravel road is rather unusual, especial considering that Mt. Hutt has been voted New Zealand's favourite/best ski area. I also have to admit that it is pricey, but hey we have a bucket list to complete!
All in all it was once again very interesting to experience winter sports in another country and to finally be back in 🎿 and 🏂
6 June 2017
Marlborough sound & French pass
After a rather ruff sail over the cook strait we started our journey down south in the Marlborough region with a focus on the sound.
First we wanted to go for the Queen Charlotte Road, but then changed to the scenic drive to the "French Pass". The last 13 Kilometers are gravel road, but the view is spectacular and definitely worth the trip. This was definitely one of the most beautiful NZ experience.
As we had started our day quite early we then had enough time to enjoy a warm and sunny afternoon at the Elaine's Bay (D.O.C) campground. It was for sure the right time for a Kopi Luwak and while we were sitting at the dock of the bay watching a ray passing by and seals, at least that's what we think they were, playing and fishing 😉
1 June 2017
New Zealand camper beginners paradise 🚐
We are total newbies in camper world, but there is probably no better country to start than Neuseeland 🇳🇿
For those currently staying on the northern hemisphere, here down south it is already late autumn. Adding the fact that we will be touring this beautiful country for a month and also "working" our way down south (even colder), we thought it might be a good idea to spent a Dollar or two into a more comfortable vehicle. "Arnie" our Mercedes Sprinter (long version) is a converted, self-contained camper van. The magic word here is "self-contained", this means we can overnight at so called freedom camping spots. Yes, they are free.
So, Arnie does not only save us from cold walks to showers and/or toilets (his got it all), now we can actually save money. At least that's what I think, only the final bill of cost will show rather or not it was the best financial decision. In terms of comfort Arnie gets 10 out of 10 points 👍
27 May 2017
Stunning (NZ) Northland
We made it - finally New Zealand 🇳🇿
After a short and cool ❄️ hostel night it was time to pick up our home for the next 30 days. Haven't spend so many nights in the same bed for a very long time 😉
Rather spontaneous than planned we've decided to start our trip with a visit of the northern tip of New Zealand's northern island. What a great decision. The landscape is stunning and autumn colours just picture perfect in connection we that clear blue sky 🍁
We visited Cape Reigna, where Tasman sea and Pacific Ocean clash 🌊, then stayed a night and morning at beautiful Tokerau beach, of course after a short break at Ninety Mile Beach, and ended our journey wandering between majestic Kauri trees!
Needless to say that this was a great start for our trip. Great landscape and warm sunny weather, we couldn't ask for more!!
21 May 2017
Grand tour of Grande Terre
Ok, maybe our tour wasn't that big, but we spend a lot of hours in the small Clio we've rented and actually saw quite a bit of the southern province of New Caledonia's major island. Considering that everything is expensive around here we bought a small tent and went camping for three nights.
The main island isn't "blessed" with picture perfect white sandy beaches, but it has it's own charm and the backcountry is actually stunning. The landscape changes from wide prairie, to lush green forests, steppe with bright red soil and black beaches at the eastern coast.
Grand Terre is definitely worth a trip and we easily could have stayed here for another few days. Once again, I think we have to come back 😉
18 May 2017
"Ile des pins" better known as PARADISE
Pictures actually can't live up to the beauty of "Ile des pins", but neither do words. So I'd rather let our photos speak for themselves...
15 May 2017
Nouméa & Ile aux canard
We are back in Europe! No just kidding, but actually yes we are, although situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, New Caledonia belongs to France and thus "European". On our first day, a week ago, we toured through Nouméa - the capital. Similarly charming as Windhoek, meaning not extensively appealing, we ended our tour up high on Ouen Toro. Which was actually nice and the walk in the shade of the forest very relaxing. Before heading back to our accommodation/sailboat we stopped for a refreshing jump into the ocean at Anse Vata beach.
On our second day in Nouméa we first desperately tried to organise a car/scooter for our daytrip to Ile des pins and then went to small "ile aux canard" for relaxation and fabulous snorkelling 🐠🐟🦀
13 May 2017
Sydney Stopover - Touch down in Oceania
It's official we've left Asia, although it wasn't to easy. Due to bad weather conditions we missed our ongoing flight in KL and thus had a day less to visit Sydney.
First impression? Are we back in Europe?! Buildings look familiar and the climate surely feels a lot like home, especially compared to what we've just experienced in Thailand 😅.
As we were just to tired yesterday, we packed the "must dos" into a one day sightseeing triathlon. First stop, Royal Botanic Garden, watching birds and magnificent trees. Second Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge, now we knew for sure that we are in Sydney not London 😉. Third, coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach. The landscape is just beautiful and it was nice to see all those people enjoying this very sunny Saturday ☀️
Sydney is definitely a nice city, but boy the public transport could be a bit more visitor friendly 😓
9 May 2017
I was already counting the days, three, before we had to leave paradise. While I was having a nice talk with some other residents, I saw something familiar out of the corner of my eye. As my brain was still trying to process what I've seen a staff member whispered "mama"... There she was my mum ❤️.
All over sudden it made me realise how much I have missed her and I started to shed tears of joy 😂. It took her three flights, one ferry and a taxi ride over the islands bumpiest road to stay with us for three days!! This my friends must be real love!! To all my fellow travellers, call your mum, she probably misses you like hell!!
We are now back in Bangkok and I am still totally overwhelmed, sad and happy at the same time and actually can't believe what my mum did for me ❤️❤️❤️❤️
30 April 2017
Everyday Sunday 🌴
We have left the busyness of big cities and now address ourselves to "dolce far niente", the marvellous act of doing nothing.
Our days here in *** beach are quite similar. The only questions we have to answer are when to eat and to which of the four restaurants to go. Other than that we either make extensive use of our hammocks or we get kissed by the sun at the beach.
As we have reached the peak of low season we almost have the beach to ourselves and with every guest departing the Robinson Crusoe feeling is enhanced 🌴☀️😎🍹👙👒
26 April 2017
The long way down or how to get to THE island..
So, I wrote that two entries long post about travel possibilities to Thailands islands, those in the gulf of Siam respectively. I leaped to the conclusion, that the day train and an overnight in Chumporn are the best choice. Well, I may have changed my mind or let's put it that way, now we have two winners 🏆
Adding the factors time, money and comfort to decision-making, the latest trip definitely got two thumbs up. Starting once more at Bangkok Hualamphong, we took the express train 85 at 7:30 pm to Surat Thani. The berths, especially the lower ones (2nd class) are very comfortable, it is also possible to order dinner and/or breakfast. We ordered the latter and enjoyed it with a fantastic view of the sunrise 🌅
Then transfer to the raja ferry pier (both booked online). Four companies offer this service, Raja is probably the slowest but also the cheapest and we both like the pace of these boats - all in all 👍👍
24 April 2017
I ❤️ SH - 65 hours in Shanghai
Our friend Alex lives in Shanghai since September, this was the perfect opportunity to stop by. We both didn't know what to expect and were positively surprised. Actually how couldn't one fall in love with this town on a sunny spring day?!
Alex's place is in an old building downtown, surrounded by skyscrapers and overlooking a green courtyard. We just left our bags there and went off to the famous bund! The walk from people's square was just crazy - so many people! It was definitely worth it and lucky us was rewarded with an amazing view of the famous skyline 🌃
Today we strolled through the French concession. Hello Paris, is it you?? But arriving in Tian Zi Fang we knew that we were still in China. After a delicious noodle, soup and dumplings lunch we visited old town and then took the ferry to see the oriental pearl tower by day with a clear blue sky!
21 April 2017
Subway # 1 Tour
Seouls Subway System is very well developed and easy to navigate, especially with the "subway" app. The official visit Korea site is using this asset and has elaborate itineraries with sights along each subway line. We've decided to follow line # 1 and those were our stops:
• Medicine Market herbs for your health 🌿
• Dongmyo flea market
• Heunginjimun gate - the only with a wall
• Dongdaemun design plaza
• Gwangjang Market - s(e)oul food 🍜
• Cheonggyecheon Stream
• Jogyesa Temple
After our tour we took lines 3 and 2 to visit famous Gangnam square - whoop whoop 🕺
20 April 2017
Seoulicious days 😋
Relieved from our tight Japanese budget we had a lot of money left, which we thought might best be invested in food, boy did we eat a lot 🤤
Of course we filled our bellys with all kinds of Korean food. Korean BBQ with pork belly and lots of spicy veggies, at Gwangjang market we plunged our chopsticks into delicious noodle / dumpling soup and of course we tried the famous Bibimbab.
But we also had some bits on the side with international food, delicious burger at "Brooklyn the burger joint", yummy Vietnamese dinner and some very colourful and luscious macarons!
19 April 2017
Seoul - Down on Earth up in the sky
Day one of three led us straight into touristy Seoul. First stop was the Gwanghwamum square and Gyeongbokgung palace to watch the guards. Then we went directly to Bukchon Hanok village. This part of town is full of old traditional Korean houses and lots of shops and restaurants. We followed the proposed route of the free Bukchon map and had a great time exploring the area. We finally ended our walk with cappucino & tea in one of the many cafes.
The weather was so nice, therefore we used the opportunity to visit the N-Seoul tower. As there was still some time until sundown we walked through Namsan park. The entrance fee of (20.000 KWR) is actually quite reasonable and totally worth it. Especially at night when the city is covered in light the view is even more impressive. On our way down we walked along the ropeway, so if you don't want to walk you can just go by cable car.
18 April 2017
🌸 A final tribute to pink parade 🌸
16 April 2017
Last days in Japan - The end of our Japan Railpass trip 🇯🇵
63 trains, 2 ferry rides and 21 days after our first Shinkansen ride, we've travelled through three of Japan's major islands. Leaving Hokkaidos remoteness behind us, we visited mega cities such as Tokyo, visitors magnets like Kyoto and places completely off the beaten path as Tottori and the Ninchinan coast in Kyushu.
We almost flew over the country with the Shinkansen and chugged in small backcountry trains. The most memorable moments are those we made with the kind and warm-hearted Japanese people.
Travelling all over Japan with our JR pass was a great experience, go for it!!
15 April 2017
Nagasaki & Hiroshima
Two cities with a history so dark that I was almost afraid to visit them. But not to stop here would have been even worth!
We came to Nagasaki on a typical spring day partly shiny, then cloudy and left in the rain, matching our emotional state. The entrance of the A-bomb remembrance hall is placed only a few meters from ground zero, the peace museum is adjacent. Little did I know about the happenings of August 9th 1945, maybe because Nagasaki was "only" the second and fortunately also last city to be hit by the atomic bomb. The modern museum manages to connect remembrance with positiv future prospects, but also reminds us of the fragility of peace.
A few days later we visited Hiroshima "famous" as first city to be hit by an atomic bomb. The events of August 6th 1945 are ubiquitous, but the city has so much more to offer! Stil there is a clear commitment to educate visitors about atomic bombs past and present, but also to preserve peace ✌️
12 April 2017
Nichinan Coast - Hidden gem in southern Kyushu 🌴⛩🌴
Although I loved it here I find it hard to put my thoughts in words. Maybe it's because of the limited amount of signs given and the fact that it is surely not enough to express the beauty of this remote area. Let's give it a try 😄
Our trip was based in Aburatsu a former fisher village which is trying to renew itself through tourism. We stayed at the Fan Aburatsu hostel within a shopping arcade. Most shops and restaurant seemed to be rather new and the others were about to open soon.
We had the possibility to rent e-bikes for a few yen, so we were able to drive the coast up to the Udo-shrine. It was a gorgeous day full of sunshine and the drive along the Pacific was just scenic. Our tour also took us to the backcountry full of green rice paddies and pretty Japanese houses.
This part of Kyushu, Japan is just wonderful and absolutely worth a trip!!
9 April 2017
Tottori - the worlds end?
It may be due to the weather, but our trip to the Tottori prefecture felt like a journey to the worlds end. Don't get me wrong I liked it a lot here. This part of Japan is beautiful and definitely what one might call "off the beaten track". This impression was for sure enhanced by our accommodation, in a Japanese family home, once more only accessible with one of those small regional trains.
A visit to the Tottori sand dunes is a must. So off we went despite the ongoing rain, which was more of a very humid fog. For those amongst you who have visited dunes in other parts of our wonderful world, those here might not be as spectacular, but because of the proximity to the Japanese sea 🌊a strong contrast is created.
In the end I wished we had spend more time in this part of Japan, but the Journey must go on...
8 April 2017
Stopover in Himeji - 🏯& 🌸 = 💕
On our way from Yuasa to Tottori we made time for a brief stop in Himeji. The city is known for its beautiful White Castle. Himeji-jō is one of only a few original castles remaining in Japan.
We were lucky to have our stop during Hanami celebrations and to see the trees in full bloom 😍🌸🌸🌸😍
There were all sorts of food stalls, also a tea ceremony tent and Michaels favourite - Sake 😃
We had a wonderful time here!
7 April 2017
Kyoto - Nice, but...
.. trusting all the blogs, travel journals and fellow travellers we've made Kyoto to one of our priority destinations and must see in Japan. Boy was I disappointed 😔
Yes, I admit the Arashiyama bamboo grove looks nice, however nothing compared to the one we've seen in Sumatra and the gates at Fushimi-Inari Taisha are for sure photogenic, but the most incredible thing about those places are the crowds. I am well aware that it is one of the most visited time of the year. Yes, we also came for Sakura, but I wasn't prepared for that. Maybe because we had been to less visited places so far, which we almost had to our own. And oddly enough even Tokyo didn't feel so overpopulated 🤷♀️
To put it all in a nutshell, Kyoto is for sure a photogenic city and should be visited, but I am happy we did not pay for an overpriced hotel, but instead just came by on a day trip 👌
5 April 2017
Yuasa - the birthplace of soy sauce and where my phone went on its own journey...
Since we are in Japan our tight budget forces us to stay in places off the beaten track. So far we were very lucky to see places we would have never seen otherwise, get to know Japanese everyday life and met kind, warm-hearted persons.
Yuta our host in Yuasa, did everything possible to get my phone, which somehow didn't get off the train with us, back. The phone would probably still be lost without his help and we would never have come to know that it is in Shingu..
Another great example is Akiko, this wonderful lady, did everything she could to get me back on track when I got sick in Kokubunji / Tokyo. She brought fresh fruits, hot ginger tea and provided us with all sort of things.
Thanks to those people our Japan trip has become even more special, than it already was 🙏
4 April 2017
Nakasendo trail - Time travel in Japan
Our first attempt to wander the Nakasendo trail had failed due to health reasons, so we had to return to the area and give it another try. Glad we did that!! This time our base was Iida, where we stayed in a traditional Japanese house turned into an art atelier (Airbnb).
A bus took us to Magome, an old post town and one starting point of the approximately 8 km long trail. The village is full of charming old shop houses dating back to the Edo period. The trail in the Kiso valley was then used to connect Edo (Tokyo) with Kyoto.
It is an easy walk, especially when starting from Magome. The views are just spectacular and the forest is a place of peace and quietness 🌲🎋🍃
In our case the end of the trail was Tsumago, another Post village, just as idyllic as its sister town! We just loved the trail! That sunny day will for sure remain in our memory for a long time...
2 April 2017
Tokyo - Chasing cherry blossoms 🌸
Unforeseen circumstances have left us only one day to visit Tokyo. We previously had heard that this should be more than enough, but I have to say, I wish we would have had a little bit more time...
In order not to miss a thing and to make best use of our JR pass, we had planned our route through town beforehand with Stopps at the Harajuku park and shrine, the famous Shibuya crossing, a stroll along Meguro canal and a visit to Ueno park..
Although not all trees were in full bloom, it was great to visit all those places while locals were celebrating "Hanami" and to see all the pretty cherry blossoms 🌸
29 March 2017
Iwamuracho Tomida - Japans prettiest village?
We somehow accidentally based ourselves in that lovely village called Tomeda. For our visit of the Nagasenko trail we were desperately looking for an affordable place, when we found a good value for Money place close to Ena. We had no idea that in the end we would stay in a place voted as Japans most authentic rural landscape!
The village is settled within lots of paddy fields, which are for sure a lot greener in summer, but we were astonished by the beautiful traditional Japanese houses! To get there we had to take that cute little tiny tram and get off in Iibama, from where our host Keiko picked us up🚋
We instantly loved the place, maybe because it oddly enough, looks similar to home, but also so different with those wonderful Japanese houses! We liked it so much, that we skipped our trip to Matsumoto castle and instead went for an extend tour around the neighbouring villages and to the Iwamura castle ruins 🏯
27 March 2017
Time to say goodbye 😪
Not only is it our last day in Hokkaido, but also time for David to leave the country, still full of mysteries that need to be solved. He has decided to come back rather sooner, than later..
For Michael and I this also means the start of our three weeks Japan Railpass trip 🇯🇵 🚅🚂🚞
But before we jump on a Shinkansen down south we have a last day in Hakodate. The southern Hokkaido town, is known for its star shaped fort, a spectacular view over the port and its red brick house district. We've managed to visit two of those sights with our bicycles. Hakodate-Yama will have to wait for our next visit 😓
Highlight of the day anyway was the delicious food we got served in a small "fast food" restaurant. The ramen 🍜 was just perfect on that windy winter day - so yummy 😋
26 March 2017
Furarito alley - foodies paradise in Asahikawa 🍶
Like everything, our time in Hokkaido was over much too quick and for our last night together David has wished to go out for dinner. So we went to "Furarito alley", a tiny little street with 18 restaurants serving all kind of Japanese delicacies.
We opted for BBQ. The place had not more than five tables, where you more or less sit on the floor. The meat, which was just amazingly delicious is served raw and is grilled on a small charcoal grill placed in the middle of the table. Rice, veggies, a wonderful sauce and beer round out the yummy experience and a wonderful week in northern Hokkaido!
25 March 2017
Furano - the big resort ⛷
One day on the slopes was not enough, so we decided to drive to the next big ski resort - Furano! One and a half hours away from Pippu the ski area is slightly different to what we've experienced so far.
The slopes are still not nearly as crowded as in Austria, but you can see that it is surely well visited during high season. The town itself is bigger than what we've seen, expect Asahikawa and the facilities are, I don't want to say better, but let's say more convenient, at the rental, e.g. English was not a problem, there was even an Austrian employee. Small world!
The prices are of course higher, but the area is also a lot bigger than Kamui. We had another fun day here, nevertheless I always tend to be a fan of the underdog. Kamui, you're still my favourite 💙
24 March 2017
Mount Kuro-dake & Soukyo hot springs..
My brother David had joined us for our week in Hokkaido. As longtime and excellent snowboarder, Japan sounded like music to his ears. For Michael and I, more than one or two days on the mountains were not feasible due to budget reasons.
However David found himself a supposably small terrain at mount Kuro-dake. Small it was indeed, but after a quick research we found out that this is the place to be for a snowboard enthusiast like my brother! And it was to put it in his words: "Oh yeah, awesooome!!"
Meanwhile, Michael and I had decided to visit the nearby Soukyo hot springs. I had some concerns, as persons with tattoos are usually not allowed to public onsens and my back is more or less covered in colour. But lucky me, it was a very quiet day and as I was the only female visitor I was allowed to enjoy this very Japanese bath! As small snowflakes started to come down I was entirely in rapture ❄️
22 March 2017
Kamui ski links - the locals favorite 🎿
After a day of rest we were ready to hit Japanese slopes! Unfortunately the ski resort in Pippu had just closed on our arrival day, so we had to look for alternatives!
What we found was "Kamui ski links" about 30 minutes drive from our chalet. Luckily it just had snowed the night before, so the conditions were very good although it was already the end of march!
Only two lifts were running that day and the weather wasn't all to good, but this didn't bother us at all. Skiing here is so different from what we know back home and the snow was just so great that we had an amazing day and enjoyed every single descent 🏂
Kamui is a small area, similar in size to our favorite skiing place back home, but so different in height, landscape and vegetation. A place mostly used by locals only, what somehow enhanced the great experience! I just loved it here and really hope to come back one day 💕
21 March 2017
❤️ Love Snow Hokkaido ❄️
Previous to our trip we had already heard a lot about the famous champagne powder in Japan, but due to our timing we knew that we probably wouldn't be able to witness this superb snow conditions and were prepared to see Hokkaido in spring shape, with a bit of snow here and there. Well, we were completely wrong.
The island was still covered with lots of snow and the more we approached Pippu Cho in central Hokkaido, the more snow there was. We were even more surprised when it started to snow on our first day here and went on for the night, so that we woke up to a landscape covered with fresh snow!
20 March 2017
A "hut" in the wood 🌲
... is what we expected, but when we finally arrived in Pippu Cho, a small traditional Japanese house is what we found.
This accommodation was the first thing we booked for our world trip and that well in advance, before even having any flights. In the end we had to wait for more than six month, our expectations were growing with every single day.
Unbelievable but true, hopes were surpassed! We used the charcoal grill to keep us warm and to cook meals. Two rooms one for our clothes and the other with futon beds, a living room and a kitchen with more than enough space. Simple, but charming!
Outside the landscape was covered in snow, we had arrived in winter wonderland ❄️
This accommodation is another gem and our week there once again was out way to fast...
Japanese efficiency par excellence 🇯🇵
We got a bit nervous, but as everybody else seemed to be fine, we made no move and tried to act casual 😎
Deep inside I couldn't believe that we would make it on time. One by one the passengers from the preceding queues were able to drop their luggage. It was 07:10 when it was our turn, just a reminder 07:25 ETD and we still had to pass security.
Believe it or not, but I was sitting in that plane at 07:25. Of course take off was delayed, but we landed at 09:15 am sharp as planned! I am still very much impressed - well done Peach 🍑, well done 👌
Japanese efficiency par excellence 🇯🇵
Peach flight MM101 departing from Osaka airport terminal 2, not terminal 1 were we had our night rest, was estimated to depart (ETD) at 07:25am. Having realized that we are at the wrong terminal, we had to hurry up, in panic, to get to the right one. What took only about 10 minutes.
At the domestic departures we had to check ourselves in at one of the self check in automates, in Japanese! Air Asia had us already taught how to use the barcodes after online check in, but with Peach you get the code after booking. The automat instantly recognized that we were no native speaker and continued with English instructions 🤓.
A young lady then pointed at a few lines, each marked with another destination. New-Chintose was ours, so we queued up. Despite our delay caused by our terminal mistake we were quite upfront, but only a bit more than 30 minutes separated us from our estimated time of departure and we still had our luggage with us 😱
14 March 2017
Cars, motorcycles, buses and people in between.. Hot, humid and chaotic, Jakarta has not much charm, but it's vibrant, crazy and every time you think you can't take it anymore the Jakartans smile at you and greet you with a simple, but oh so effective "hello"!
The city is not pretty, although it has it's moments and nice corners, the old town... We didn't spend enough time here to get an appropriate overview, but leaving town, we both thought it may be a city worth giving a second chance..
Today we depart for a short stop in Bangkok, my ❤️, before heading to a new destination 🗾
Indonesia, we will definitely give our best to come back, a month is not nearly enough to discover all of your beauty 💚💙💛
10 March 2017
Thousand Islands - a proper alternative 🐠🦀☀️
A little bad weather won't keep us from a few days off. In depth research and discussions about the pros and cons of several possible destinations, finally brought us to "Thousand islands" just a hop off Jakarta.
What should I say, we definitely got rewarded for our less known choice. Sunshine, beautiful views above and underwater and Michaels personal fan base 😃
We've set our base at Pramuka island and departed for two snorkel trips🚤. The first and shorter one, to two nearby spots and the floating restaurant "Nusa" for approximately four hours. The second and nearly seven hours lasting excursion took us to Harapan, to fix our boat, the islands Bira for recreational time 🌴and Putri for exceptional snorkeling 🐠🐟🐚
We had four very relaxing days here and l can warmly recommend this area to all those who want to escape Jakarta, even for a day trip only 😎
8 March 2017
Karimunjawa - access denied 🙅♂️
Believe it or not, but traveling can be quite exhausting. Especially on a long trip like ours, where expenses need to be kept on a budget and following steps must be planned. I don't want to whine, I just wanted to express that it was time for a little relaxation 🌴
As we had already striked out Bali and the Gilis from our list, too busy - too far... We thought that the Karimunjawa islands off the shores of Java would be perfect.. well it sounded too good to be true..
There is a reason not to travel during the rainy season. The weather, can actually keep you from going to places like Karimunjawa ☔️🌊. Having said that, I must also say that I've visited places supposedly during the dry season and encountered massiv rainfalls 🤔
That's how we ended up in Jepara, for the series junkies amongst you, the area around our hotel, strongly reminded of a "the walking dead" setting and the rest of town wasn't inviting either. A plus though we made new frien
5 March 2017
Magical, majestical, Mount Bromo (I)
Only hardly am I able to put in words the majesty of Mount Bromo! It may be due to the fact that we didn't take part of a guided tour, and left the crowds behind us, but "worked" our way to that place on our own.
Start in Malang, 2:20 am, 2.5 hours drive under a star-spattered sky 🌌. Arrival at our designated view point 4:50 and we are not alone. There must have been a hundred jeeps, all transporting other visitors. That's the moment we realized we have to find the secret spot!! And we did, what a reward!! Such a magical moment, the sun just about to emerge from behind a few clouds and Mount Bromo in front of us with rising smoke 🌋
From our view point we watched the convey drive to the crater and after a while we decided to get down ourselves. Still crowded, we thought a breakfast might be a good idea. At the nearby village Cemoro Lawang we enjoyed our meal and then went back.
Magical, majestical, Mount Bromo (II)
It took us about 20 minutes to walk up to the crater. Shortly before arriving on top we could already smell the sulphur. To stand at the bubbling cauldron was just unbelievable. The smoke, the noise, the smell and the incredible landscape of the surrounding area, made this to an unforgettable moment!
But the day had another great experience left for us. For our way back we chose the route through the "sea of sand" and green valley, amazing! I still can't believe how beautiful all of this was. Also the changing scenery, from the sea of sand to a high altitude steppe back to the tropical rain forest.
That day will for sure remain a HIGHLIGHT on our gemuetlich journey!!
3 March 2017
Borobudur - Kopi & Bicycles
Even if our day had started very early, we were full of zest for action! After a quick breakfast we hit the back country roads around Borobudur village.
Not in the mood for more temples we drove around without set destination. We passed many small settlements always welcomed by tons of "hellos" and smiling faces. Young or old, everybody seemed to be amused by the two of us and we were happy to return all the greetings 😊
The scenery is just breathtaking, but cycling here is very exhausting, so we went for a short break at the Pawon. The place manufactures it's own Luwak coffee ☕️ Now you're wondering, were you've heard that before. Go on and ask google, I will only tell you this.. It really is delicious 😋
Borobudur - the temple
Although visiting Borobudur from Yogyakarta would have been very easy, considering all the tours offered, we have decided to stretch to a two nights stay.
From Jombor station we took the local bus (about 1 hour) with open doors and a smoking cashier - great fun! After a short walk we reached our hotel, where we were able to set all the arrangements for the next day!
Pick up at 04:15 - yawn 😴. A short and very refreshing motorcycle drive later we are ready to watch the sunrise over Borobudur. Punthuk Setumbu is a spot from which not only the temple can be seen but also the spectacular landscape 🌅 As Borobudur wouldn't come out of the fog, we could only contemplate the two mountains and decided to go on to visit the temple.
The huge edifice with hundred Buddhas and framed by hills covered of jungle is just impressing! But for some visitors we seemed to be the attraction - we must be on about a million of pictures. At least that's how it felt 😃
2 March 2017
Yogyakarta - Love Hate Love ❤
I still haven't figured out what my feelings for Yogyakarta are, for the moment it's love, hate, love...
Things we were looking forward to, like Kraton - the sultans palace or that famous restaurant "Mediterranean" left us with a mediocre impression and didn't in any kind fulfill our expectations. Other things we contemplated some sort of dismissive turned out to become places we really much appreciated and also loved?!
I have to admit, when we drove to the Prambanan temple (just a bit outside town), my thoughts were not really positive. I feared it would be "just another temple", but the visit was great, even magical. It left me speechless, when I first saw it! Michael and I both loved the place. Like we loved to walk through the small streets of town and that pizza place - Nanamia - with this lovely garden and delicious food, the garden (and pool) of our accommodation or the Bakso place 🤤
I think we'll have to come back, for a final conclusion 😋
22 February 2017
Samosir - Island in a lake (Toba) on an island (Sumatra)
If you still have problems to imagine how huge Sumatra is, think of the following. Samosir is an island (actually peninsula) the size of Singapore in a crater lake of 1.707 sq km! Sounds massive?! Now look how small the lake is compared to Sumatra 😏
As most tourist we've based our lake Toba visit in Tuk Tuk. Unfortunately the place has the charm of an outdated 70s vacation resort and most facilities are somehow sloppy. Our guest house was unfortunately no exception. On the plus side the food was great and we definitely felt young compared to the Europeans spending their pension money here 😆
The lake at 900 meters above sea level is a real gem, with crystal clear water and a cool breeze. We rented a motorbike to discover the surroundings. We were quite impressed by the beautiful Batak houses and moreover the often adjacent graves, made of colorful tiles.
All in all we had a few relaxing days and enjoyed the cooler weather
21 February 2017
Jungle trek, Jungle trek in Bukit Lawang! *sing*
Although my leg is still not a 100 percent fit I didn't want to miss the opportunity to go on a jungle trek to see the famous orangutans of Sumatra. After having discussed the matter with our guides Irwan and Anouar, I have decided to give it a try.
We startet at about 10:00 am and after a short walk already had the first animal encounter. A bunch of Thomas leaf monkeys 🐒 , which only exist in Sumatra, sort of welcomed us.
The beginning of the trek isn't too rough and for us mountain people easy to handle. Nevertheless Irwan was so kind to make me a walking stick out of bamboo, a great piece of help during the next hours.
We didn't have to walk to far to see the first orang utan lady with a baby. The first of eleven in total including a male, which are seen only seldom.
18 February 2017
Jungle trek, Jungle trek in Bukit Lawang! *sing*
In addition to the "Jungle people" (orang utan) we could also see some long tail and big tail macaques, more Thomas leaf monkeys some squirrels, a pfau and one or two insects 🐿🕷🐵🐜
We walked for about six hours and to be honest the final part of the path was quite challenging. An encounter with the aggressive orang utan Mina, made the whole trip even more adventurous. But our guides did a great job and led us safely to our resting place. A simple camp, close to a refreshing waterfall and surrounded by lush vegetation.
Assistants of our guide already awaited us, with all sorts of treats, tea, cookies and in the evening a delicious curry was served! Quite unbelievable what those guys managed with so little facilities!
The next day we were woken by the sound of the monkeys which were drinking and eating at the stream. That is were we had the chance to see some monitor lizards!
We went back by rafting tubes --> a great fun!
17 February 2017
Jungle hut Selang Pangeran (Bukit Lawang)
Only few places are magical, this is one of them. Our home for the last few days was a simple jungle hut in Selang Pangeran about 15 minutes from Bukit Lawang.
We found that wonderful place via Airbnb and didn't know what to expect. The pictures were quite promissing, but what we found overpassed all our expectations.
Let me be clear, the hut itself is not exceptional, although nice and clean. It's the whole experience... the river, being off the crowds and the serenity of the place!
Our host Irwan (a licensed jungle guide) and his fellow guide Anouar did everything possible to make our stay great! In addition he is a splendid chef - the BBQ he made was soooo yummy 😋
If you ever consider to visit Sumatra, try this place. You won't find a better one or more attentive hosts than Irwan & his wife Yaon, which helped us during the booking process.
Booking.com: Jungle Hut & trek Sumatra
Airbnb: Tranquil Jungle Hut (Bukit Lawang)
14 February 2017
We ❤ Ipoh
During our stopover in Malaysia we have decided to escape busy Kuala Lumpur and visit the small town of Ipoh - home to the famous white coffee.
We instantly fell in love with Ipohs old town! The mural art trail is a fun way to discover the place and see all the wonderful old buildings. This time I would like to let the pictures talk for themselves and hope you enjoy them!
Malaysia truly Asia ☀
Accommodation: Brick box hotel // MYR 107 per superior double room per night (valentines day treat) // nice room, great location! Opt for the sup. category, for the window 😏
Burps & Giggles: super place for snacks and coffee 😋☕️🥖🥐
13 February 2017
Stopover @ Surattani
After almost ten days full of sun, sand and sea with have left Koh Phangan to continue our journey further south. The slow, but comfortable Raja ferry took us to Donsak pier where a shuttle van already awaited us.
As our flight to Kuala Lumpur is leaving at noon and we didn't want to rush or feared to miss the plane due to any delays with the ferry we've decided to stay one night at the "A3 living" hotel. A very nice choice, close to several bars, restaurant and the hospital.
Which as a matter of fact I had to visit. A severe calf muscle pain forced me to visit the local medical institution. As it was not my first visit to a Thai hospital, I was not surprised at all that the service provided and the hygiene standards were as great as I've known from other hospitals here. Please don't worry everything is quiet fine, I'm just struggling with a very painful muscle cramping 😖
Costs in THB per person
Hotel 295 // Ferry + van 350 // Tuk Tuk 50 // hospital + med 870
8 February 2017
Not the one described by Alex Garland, but my personal "The beach" beach is located on the tiny island, some of you may know for its famous full moon party, Koh Phangan. I'm sorry, but at that point no further names will be mentioned. Almost ten years ago a dear friend brought me here and I will never forget the first time I set eyes on that emerald jewel framed by white powdery sand and lush vegetation (thank u for that). Friends keep asking me why I always return? To be honest I don't know, there are for sure other wonderful places and I've seen some, but I love it here! The sound of the waves wake you early in the morning, you leave your bed for the hammock of your front beach bungalow, the best part of the day. Part time residents have the beach for themselves, before daily visitors come. The second best time is watching the intruders take off, knowing that you can stay here and enjoy that little piece of paradise for another day or two...
5 February 2017
The long way down or how to get to THE island..
I've been traveling to Koh Phangan for over a decade now. The first time I flew to Samui and took my bag from the back of a pick up truck, well that has definitely changed. In fact only one year later the new airport with its charming hut style buildings welcomed me back again. But Koh Samui most of the time was only a stop on my way to Koh Phangan and as a matter of fact not really a cheap one. Over the years I've probably tried all ferries, buses and trains to come to my preferred area of recreation. This time however I had no intention to arrive completely exhausted from an overnighter, followed by a refreshing sail over the golf of Siam. No, I decided we have the time so why not spend an extra baht, plus night and take the long way down...
The long way down or how to get to THE island..
We took the morning train from Bangkok Hualamphong station at 08:05am and arrived almost to the minute in Chumphon. The town has nothing special to offer and I had already booked a room at Baan Talay guest house, just a two minutes walk from the Lomprayah ferry pier. It took us about 40 minutes by taxi to get to our accommodation. The rooms were big, nice and clean. Although I've already departed quite often from here, I've never realized how beautiful this beach actually is!!
After a good night sleep and a simple breakfast we caught the morning ferry (which was full, full, full) and arrived not on time but very relaxed and definitely not devastated as the rest of the passengers in Thong Sala..
I think, despite the cold I caught from the train AC, I found my preferred travel mode down south :)
Cost per person in THB:
500 train // 1000 ferry // 500 hotel // 250 taxi
3 February 2017
Getting around in Bangkok or as we say in German "den Drachen zähmen" ;-)
Bangkok offers an almost endless amount of transport possibilities, which may seem kind of intimidating to first timers.
The easiest way to get from A - B is definitely taking one of the many, many taxis driving around town. However considering the massive traffic this should not be your vehicle of choice in case of rush. Also be aware of unattended shopping trips and those drivers who prefer to set a rate in advance. Please always ask for the meter and otherwise just leave the car.
The fastest way to make your way around town, especially for relatively small distances are moto taxis. For most westerners a quite scaring experience, nevertheless also great fun and cheap. If you wanna go local, that's your ride of choice!
Getting around in Bangkok or as we say in German "den Drachen zähmen" ;-)
PART I I
Bangkok is called "Venice of Southeast Asia" for a good reason! You almost can't escape Chao Praya river and then there are those small canals called Khlong. Both offer very convenient and efficient ways to discover the city. Tourist as well as local boats carry passengers on Chao Praya river. Go for the local express boat (Orange flag) it's way cheaper and will get you wherever you want, at least close to main attractions (Grand palace/Wat pho) and Khao San road.
From your boat you can hop on to the BTS / Skytrain at Saphan Taksin. Two lines take you to different parts of the city such as the shopping malls of Siam. The third line connects the center to the airport. The Skytrain is also connected to the MRT/metro line, which ends at Hualomphong railway station.
Getting around in Bangkok or as we say in German "den Drachen zähmen" ;-)
For an extraordinary experience take a local bus. The prices are unbeatable (only walking is cheaper) and you'll probably get in touch with locals as you'll have to ask your way around.
Last but not least Bangkoks famous tuk tuks! This is definitely the priciest option and also not always without hassle (involuntary shopping tour). But it is so much fun! Go for a ride at night, when streets are empty and drivers race against each other :)
Now have fun getting lost in Bangkok!
2 February 2017
We ended our visit to Bangkok with it's must see:
1.) Grand Palace & the emerald Buddha
2.) Wat pho --> the reclining Buddha
3.) A stroll trough the "Old town" followed by boating on a Khlong
We also made time for Jim Thompsons house and a local beauty treatment :)
Finally we had a delicious (not so Thai) meal @ Mama Dolores! Love this place for it's atmosphere and great food!!
31 January 2017
Today we visited all the places that led to my love affair with Bangkok :)
In chronological order:
1. MBK // Shop until you drop, plus a little beauty treatment // @dave: our marathon was still longer though..
2. Khao San Road // some more shopping! Man so much has changed here over the last 10 years ;)
3. Sathorn City Tower // Back 2 school --> MUIC good times!
Breakfast @ Charita Café - what a lovely place to start our day in Bangkok!
30 January 2017
Maderla our home for the next days :)
Great place in a very special street..
Back to Bangkok
29 January 2017
20 January 2017
Kalahari // Nature Drive
18 January 2017
14 January 2017
Windhoek // Namibia
12 January 2017
Hellos & Goodbyes
Twelve days pass by so incredibly fast. At the beginning you think, you still have plenty of time and all over sudden you're at the airport. Usually this is the moment your vacation comes to an end and you have to go back home, this time I "just" had to say goodbye...
Happy about everything that lays ahead of me, but at the same time very sad as this means I will be apart from my family for quite a long time 😢
Luckily I had my dear friend Jessica here in Botswana. As we hadn't seen each other for a year, there was quite a bit to catch up on! Also we were about to had to another country. She and her Prince Charming were so terribly nice to take me to my next adventure...
Hello Namibia 🇳🇦
11 January 2017
The Okavango Delta - at ground level
Khwai, a village close to Moremi game reserve and about 3 bumpy hours away from Maun, is the last destination of our Africa family adventure. Our bones suffered quite much, but our eyes were once more rewarded with amazing animal sights. Amongst others, a cute giraffe and an elephant family crossing the road 🐘
We chose the lovely "Khwai Guest House" as accommodation and in the end regretted that we only stayed for two nights. The shortly renovated small huts were just charming and as meals were took jointly with all guests, a very familiar and comfortable atmosphere was created.
The staff was taking very good care and especially our guide Denis did a great job. Without his passionate work, we probably wouldn't have seen as much animals as we did 🦁🐒🐆
8 January 2017
The Okavango Delta from above!
Sunday morning in Maun! While David and I were still debating over our breakfast place, mum seems to have it all figured out. No wonder, she knew what was going to happen unlike us. The only thing she said was: "Put sturdy shoes on and bring your passport!" Said, done and gone..
What a surprise!!! I had talked to my friend Jessica about the possibility to go on a helicopter ride over the delta, but had then to admit that it would be a bit to pricey for us. Mum considered that having her oldest leave for a year was the best opportunity to do something like that!
I tell you, what an experience! Firstly because it is incredible, that this little thing is capable of flying and secondly and of course most importantly it is just amazing and incredibly beautiful. The landscape is breathtaking and to see the animals from up high is just overwhelming.
It is hard to express how great this experience was, but one thing is for sure, I have the greatest mum ❤️
6 January 2017
Lost in Bots - part ll
Meerkats, Baobabs & the Kalahari
A thing I could only hardly accustom to, are the very early wake ups for the game drives. But, knowing that another day full of new experiences is ahead of you made the whole thing a lot more easier!
To get to Maun, we took the long road through Kasane with a stop at "Planet Baoabab". The lodge is nestled in thousand years old Baobab trees. The accommodation is rustic, with small typical huts.
I was already very excited about this destination, as one of our activities included a morning at the Ntwetwe Pan and the visit of a Meerkat family! The small animals are accommodated to humans and therefore show no shyness.
A visit of the pans during the rainy season means that they cannot be drove on. But this did no harm to our excitement about that almost surreal landscape!!
Another great day in Africa, also thanks to our enthusiastic guide Bakos!!!
4 January 2017
Lost in Bots Part l
Chobe National Park
Even if Vic falls is packed with adventurous activities of all kind, I'd say that it was an African soft start. On day three of our trip it was time to move and discover a new country - Botswana 🇧🇼
Only a one and half hours drive and light lunch separated us from our first game drive. Or in our case boat cruise on Chobe river. I must be honest, I didn't know what to expect and couldn't really understand why everybody is so excited about safaris. Now I know..
We saw all kind of animals and the sheer beauty of the landscape just blew my mind! We took part in two more activities and it never got boring. In contrary it just got better and better 🐊🐘🐒🐗
2 January 2017
Victoria Falls - grandiose & adventurous
The mist that one already sees in town signalizes how massive the upcoming is going to be. We started our day at the Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe. The closer we went, the louder it got. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment I first set eye on the falls themselves. It left me speechless and the beauty simply touched me! It was great to experience that moment with my family!!
We went on to discover the path on this side and then left Zimbabwe, but before entering Zambia my brother had a little thing he wanted to do. There is myriad of activities for thrill seekers and David, as one of them, has decided to (bungee) jump down the Victoria bridge! He was amazed 😝
I personally preferred the Zambia side 🇿🇲.
The possibility to (easily) walk down the gorge and also our little detour to the angels pools, turned the trip to a quite adventurous afternoon. All in all it was an amazing day and unforgettable memories were made ❤
1 January 2017
Vic falls hotel & high tea
Fancy start of a trip around the globe!
We've left freezing Europe on New Year's Eve and landed in Africa approximately 15 hours, two flights and a year later. To be more accurate on the 01.01.2017 in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe 🇿🇼
Highlights of the day:
#1 The best, the most exciting one, my dear friend Jessica came to surprise us at the airport 😍 #2 we made it to Africa, how great is that! #3 stepping out of the lobby of the Vic Falls hotel onto the garden and seeing the bridge over the gorge of the Victoria Falls! With the mist and the fulminant sound of the falls in the background!!
Yes, if you need to know, high tea was also nice ☕️🍰🍮