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Porto surprising the senses

Porto. . And not a port with adjectives. The port of navigators or… well… one of them, anyway.

Portuguese. The genuine. Genuine like its wine, the one of the kind, mixed with brandy from the vineyards of the Douro Valley, to captivate the palates. The one carried in oak barrels, loaded on the characteristic caravels that you stare from the river bank. And behind them, the two-storey and three-storey houses, narrow, very old, those of the opposite bank. This is the favorite view you want to watch when you go there.

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August in Nisyros

The island of Nisyros is located in the Southern East side of Greece and is part of the complex of islands of Dodekanisos. It is a small volcanic island containing active craters on its surface. The island does not have an airport thus access is limited to boats. This makes the island less attractive to mass tourism and allows it maintain its unique traditional identity.

Residing in a Western European country for the past four years it was quite a difference to travel from a multicultural and urban environment to an original, one culture place.

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5 reasons why you should visit the Baltics

Estonia and Latvia might not be on top of your list when you think about a summer holiday destination. But think again. Those two Baltic countries are probably more digital, cheaper and more modern then you would have thought. Here’s why you should consider a trip to the very north-east of Europe.

  1.       It’s digital

I know – being on holiday is not the time to check your phone all the time. You’d actually need some time to ‘de-connect’ from everyday office life.

But: we all know that at least having access to the outside world can be very convenient. Remember all those times that you wanted to find that nice shop, the name of a restaurant that a friend recommended or simply just checking on GPS if you’re heading in the right direction. The Baltics are the place to go if you want to have 24/7 Wi-Fi access.

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4 small Berlin gems

There are a few cities that never bore you, no matter how often you’ve been there or in which time of the year you visit it. It always feels great to be back. Berlin is definitely one of those. Strolling around the streets, having a beer or coffee in one of the many nice bars or visiting the historical sights; even if you have been there quite a lot of times, there is always something new to discover.

The ‘obvious’ highlights (Alexanderplatz, Brandenburger Tor) are worth a visit, but these are some spots that you have to include in your next trip to Berlin as well, to see the Berlin I really love:

1. Prater Garten Berlin. Serving beer since 1837, right in Prenzlauerberg. Although the garden itself seems a bit hidden (it can not be seen from the street) the entrance of the beer garten at Kastanienallee is easily spotted. It has a nice atmosphere, with both tourists and locals enjoying the beer and the snacks. It has a restaurant too. That one servers more meals.

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Night plane to Lisbon

Wandering and exploring a small part of Portugal on my birthday. There are so many reasons to love the country, but to name a few: Lisbon, fado, pastéis de nata, miradouros, azulejos, Sintra, Cascais, trams, the Atlantic Ocean, Vasco da Gama and castles.

I knew I want to visit Lisbon after I saw the movie Night train to Lisbon. Since I found the movie fascinating, I started reading about Portugal and Lisbon, in particular. I discovered Fernando Pessoa and its inspiring poems. Pessoa, the famous Portuguese poet and writer, said that “Life is what we make of it. Travel is the traveller. What we see isn’t what we see but what we are.”

One day I was in the English bookstore in the centre of Brussels to buy the book by Pascal Mercier, on which the movie is based, and I saw the book next to the sign “Like all travellers, I have seen more than I remember and remember more than I have seen”. I bought the book and my plane ticket the next day. If this is not a sign, I don’t know what is!

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Deep in the Australian desert – an adventurous Camel Trek Expedition (Part 2)

 
               

            138 Gnallan-a-gea Expedition – Simpson Desert, Australia 

 

picture1After an hour, we keep walking, stopping here and there depending on our findings, an unusual flower, animal tracks or a specific stone, until we find the right spot where we will set up camp. Again, quality and quantity of the available food for the camels is of paramount importance… even if it means that humans will sleep in a field of spinifex…

We unload the camels, leaving everything at its own place, to ease the loading in the next morning… then we set up our swag creating our own little world for the next 15 hours…picture2

I love it when I can sleep on top of a dune… alone… I can be far away and still find my way easily in the dark as I can see the shadow of my swag in the moonlight, or just remember to get up the 2nd dune to the left of the campfire… Sometimes I wish I had brought a GPS, to be less dependent on my co-travelers and to avoid getting lost while trying to find my swag in the dark after a toilet break…

It is nicely warm in the afternoon… I enjoy those moments, reload my camera with my solar charger, go for another short walk, read, or lie in the sun… just being… just feeling… happy

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Deep in the Australian desert – an adventurous Camel Trek Expedition (Part 1)

                     138 Gnallan-a-gea Expedition – Simpson Desert, Australia (Part 1)

 

Tracks… The inspiring story of Robyn Davidson who crossed the Australian desert in the late 70’s… I would love to follow her steps, sleep under the stars, be alone in the desert, just me, the sky, the sand, the sun and the silence… and walk for hours…       Picture2

But I am not brave enough to do this on my own, know nothing about camels (neither did she), have no idea how I could organize all this and don’t know anybody who could give me the necessary logistic support…

Brisbane airport, one year later… I am waiting for my delayed flight to Bedourie, ready to join a 20 days camel trek & scientific survey in the Simpson desert…

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The myth of “Giant’ Causeway” Finn McCool!

Similar volcanic formations like the ones on Antrim coast known as Giant’s Causeway can also be found at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa.

According to the myth, the giant Finn McCool lived happily on the Antrim coast in Ireland with his wife Oonagh until he discovered that he had a rival on the other side of the sea in Scotland, known as Benadonner.

Finn was frequently taunted by Benandonner from afar and on one occasion Finn scooped up a clod of earth and hurled it across the sea at him, but he missed. The huge clod of earth landed in the middle of the Irish Sea making the Isle of Man and the depression formed from scooping up the earth filled up with water become Lough Neagh.

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Christmas Light!

When Diana sent me the invitation to join her on her “Travel Capsule” trip to the most northern part of Finland for Christmas and to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), I agreed immediately.

Even though I was feeling suffocated in a new life without Bob, I did not want to think about whether I could physically and psychologically handle it.

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Paradise on Earth

Since Bob passed away, I was having it more difficult. Crying daily, thoughts memories, images. Everything in and around the house connected me with the pain of losing him …… The time came I felt no joy in life anymore, everything had become colorless.

As if my life had come to an end. I walked aimlessly in our house, smelling his clothes, in the grip of piercing pain and realize never to be able to touch him anymore … .I avoided people, even talking to friends was too much much. Not knowing what to do with myself, not seeking nor finding any inspiration, I had fallen into the deepest darker state …… Part of me wanted to help me up, but I had lost my direction.

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