Namaste Nepal!

They say you go to Nepal for the mountains, but come back for the people. I agree. My first trip to Nepal was a couple of weeks ago. Such a beautifull, interesting and exotic country. The trekking was really beautiful, but what will really stick with me for ever is the people. All the namaste's when meeting people up in the mountains, the smiles, the attitude. 

I spent two weeks in Nepal, an organized trip with Norwegian Ethical Travel Portal and Nepal based Socialtours. It was a combined yoga and hiking trip with some extra time in Kathmandu. I attended the first ever Yoga in the Mountains Festival in Kathmandu and then did yoga outdoors twice a day during the trek - perfect combination!

Swoyambhu

Swoyambhu

 

Here is a summary of my Nepal trip:

Kathmandu and Pokhara

All together I spent about three days in the city of Kathmandu. A very interesting, vibrating and dusty.... city. So much colors, people everywhere, bicycling around with their fruit to sell or whatever big boxes of other stuff to deliver. And off course all the stuff you can buy. From very much fake North Face and trekking guides on every corner to some pretty nice stuff. And the sellers aren't very pushy, that's a good thing about Nepal!

The dust and the traffic was the down side. One full day in the busy district of Thamel was enough, there is so much dust and so much traffic to look out for that you really feel for some calm afterwards. But there is definitely stuff to like around Kathamndu. Like The Garden of Dreams. A quiet  beautiful park just a door step away from the busy shoppings streets of Thamel. And Karma coffee and the yoga studio Pranayama in the same very cool building. And off course Swoyambhu - or the Monkey Temple. Beautiful views over the city and an interesting spot!

I also spent half a day in Pokhara. Wouldn't mind spending more! A beautiful little city by the riverside. Nice shops, less fake stuff and a very festive feeling to it all. This is the backpacker spot, where most trekkers go by and it shows. 

Pokhara

Pokhara

 

The trek

We did a six day trek in the area of Annapurna, but we did not trek the circuit as many do. Our trail was a eco trail, very quiet and nice. Actually we only met a handful of other trekkers on our way. Our goal was Mohare Danda 3320 masl. We started in Galeswhor and hiked to Bas Kharka the first day, where we stayed at a beautiful home stay. The next day we hiked to Nagi and the third day we hiked from Nagi to Mohare Danda, surprised by a very nice noudle soup lunch in the middle of nowhere. 

As Mohare Danda was our goal, a beautiful mountain!, we stayed there for a day. But eager trekkers as our group was, we spent 4 hour of our 'day off' to hike over to the more known Poon Hill. Also a very nice place! The next two days we went down, first from Mohare Danda to the very beautiful village Shikha. And then on the last day to Tatopani, a place with the most beautiful mountain view!

Shikha

Shikha

 

What I liked most about our trek was meeting the people who lived up there in the mountains on our way, so friendly and so interesting to see how they lived. And a bit sad, many people are poor and you can see it. But yet they seem happy. And they had wifi! I like the way they live up there, like in another century, but they still watch the same stuff as us on Youtube and connect with the world. 

The whole sherpa culture was also very interesting. Our sherpas was local young boys who did this as a summer job. Together with our guides they was like a second hand to the people who ran the places we slept or where we stopped for lunch. They helped out making the food and they served us the food. It was a good experience with people happy to have this job. 

Mohare Danda

Mohare Danda

 

I really liked hiking in Nepal, but because of the weather, a bit foggy and cloudy we didn't see as much of the impressive mountains as we hoped for. It didn't bother me that much, but to be on the safer side for the mountain views, autumn is a better timing. But it comes with more people off course. Being able to trek almost on our own was something I really appreciated!

 

Namaste Nepal - thank you for showing me your country, your mountains and all your friendly people! Thank you for all the nice talks and the company Katja, Arne, Betina, Silje, Stein Michael, Hildegunn and Anette. Thank you Linda, Ray, Jangbu (and team) for showing us Nepal! And thank you Camilla for beautiful yoga sessions - under the sky (not the roof) and in a sky!

Poon Hill

Poon Hill

 

 

 

A scenic road trip in Western Norway: Fjords and mountains all the way

The road trip we had last weekend was like a long beautiful dream with fjords and mountains playing the lead roles. Even though I live here and have traveled around a lot, this exact road trip was one of the most scenic I've done ever. One for the bucket list!

We started our trip in Hemsedal (since this was our base for the weekend) and including many photo stops, lunch and more it took us about 12 hours. So starting there it is a nice day trip, but it's a perfect weekend trip if you start in Oslo (spend a night in Gudvangen or Aurdal). 

This was our route:

Hemsedal - Lærdal (via the historic route Kongevegen)
We started by driving over Hemsedalsfjellet (wishing we had a cabin there), great mountain scenery, still in Eastern Norway. A while after passing the county limit to Western Norway (Sogn og Fjordane) we left the main road to drive the old Kongevegen (Kings road) - a historic route where we stopped at Borgund Stave Church (you should too). The road is narrow and very cool, passing waterfalls and steep mountains.

Lærdal - Kaupanger - ferry to Gudvangen
Our next goal was Kaupanger. To get to Kaupanger from Lærdal you need to take a 15 min long ferry from Fodnes to Manhellar. Make sure you buy Svele with smørkrem on board. In Kaupanger we had a a look at Kaupanger Stave Church before heading to the main goal of the trip - the ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen. Make sure you buy your ticket ahead (here). The ferry takes almost three hours and starts in Sognefjorden and ends in the famous Nærøyfjorden, a fjord on UNESCOs World Heritage List. Charge your camera, bring your Goretex jacket and enjo!y

Gudvangen - Stalheim - Flåm
Leaving the ferry we drove straight towards Stalheim Hotel (but you should stop and look around Gudvangen as well). Stalheim Hotel is a historic hotel, unfortunately not in it's prime shape any more, but the lunch was pretty good and the view you get for desert is almost worth the whole trip! Drive down from the hotel through Stalheimskleiva if you have the nerves. One of Europe's steepest roads. Our next goal was Flåm. Unfortunately Flåm is mostly a harbor for cruise ships these days and suffers a bit from that. But Flåmsbanen - one of the worlds most beautiful train journeys is worth considering.

Flåm - Aurland - Stegastein  
Our next goal was Stegastein viewpoint. We drove from Flåm to Aurland and then followed another narrow road with hairpin turns (one of Norways national tourist roads) up to Stegastein. The Stegastein viewpoint juts 30 meters out from the side of the mountain, 650 meters above the Aurland fjord. The panoramic view of the fjord is unsurpassed and was breathtaking!

Stegastein - Aurland mountain road - Lærdal - Hemsedal
From Stegastein we stayed on the same national road (also called the Snow road) over the mountain of Aurland and down back to Lærdal. Another road with amazing views all the way. From Lærdal we drove back to Hemsedal.

 

This road trip really gives you something else! Very worth it, but you should be used to driving narrow steep roads. The reward is amongst very few!

Kongevegen

Kongevegen

Borgund Stave Church 

Borgund Stave Church 

The ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen 

The ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen 

Waterfalls all the way 

Waterfalls all the way 

Nærøyfjorden 

Nærøyfjorden 

The view from Stalheim hotel 

The view from Stalheim hotel 

The view from Stegastein 

The view from Stegastein 

On the road in Norway 

On the road in Norway 

Copenhagen - urban and friendly city for foodies

My trip to Copenhagen last week was much about good food experiences. Copenhagen has been known for great food for a while, Noma being the star. But Copenhagen is also a food city if you don't have the Noma kind of budget. Add friendly atmosphere, cozy areas and an urban feeling (+ great craft beer) - Copenhagen should very much be in your list of city escapes in Europe.

Having one day in the city my visit was mostly about strolling around, enjoying the vibe, doing some shopping and eating great food. This is what I recommend:

  • Go to Nørrebro - this part of the city is multicultural and you find some of the hippest streets here (Elmegade and Jægersborggade). Shopping is great with unique design stores. Colorful buildings and street art makes walking around a pleasure. 
  • Strøget - the main shopping street is very crowded, but worth a visit as an important part of this city. And step by the Round Tower for a great view over the city.
  • Vesterbro - another trendy but relaxed part of the city, and most important (in my opinion) home of Kødbyen - Copenhagen's Meatpacking District. Very cool atmosphere with restaurants placed in old butcher stores and fish halls. Loved it! 

Where to eat, drink and relax with your book? These are the places I loved:

  • Fleich - butcher and eatery. Dinner and lunch.
  • Risteriet - great coffee and breakfast.
  • RETRO Nørrebro - cool cafe with a very chilled atmosphere.
  • Mirabelle bakery - great for breakfast or lunch. They make their own pasta.
  • Cafe Mandela - chilled cafe/eatery with the coolest map covered bar area.
  • Kødbyens Fiskebar - do fish for dinner. Or muslings. Fish and chips was great.

If you are on a budget - the Urban House is the best place to stay. It's been some years since my last hostel stay, but this was a very good experience! 

Thank you for the great food Copenhagen!

upload.jpg

Hiking Besseggen, Norway - a unique scenery

This weekends escape was to the area of Jotunheimen, to hike over Besseggen ridge. The scenery is unique and hard to compare with other mountain hikes I have done. The views are amazing. I loved it.

Besseggen ridge is also one of Norways most popular mountain hikes, so you won't stroll on your own. But I didn't mind, it was still worth it and more! The night before our hike we camped by lake Gjende, also very recommended if you are in the area.

Worth knowing before hiking Besseggen

  • You need to be fit. The hike takes about 6-8 hours + breaks with net 900 meters elevation gain/loss. And you should have some hiking experience. Parts of the hike is rough, you need to use your hands and shouldn't be too afraid of hights. But it's not an extremely hard walk, so if you are normally fit and have done some hiking earlier - go for it. 
  • Start early, I recommend to start from Memburu and walk to Gjendesheim. That way you walk up the steepest part with plenty of air on both sides. It's way less scary than walking down. You can stay at Memburu lodge or camp. If you camp you can send your luggage with the boat to Gjendesheim and pick it up when you get there. Or you can stay at Gjendesheim lodge or camp by Gjende llke we did. Then you take the boat to Memburu the day of your hike. Make sure you catch one of the earlier boats and take your place in the line about 30 minutes before departure to secure your place.
  • Pack good clothing and enough food and water. We had all kinds of weather from sun to heavy wind and sideways rain in the middle of July.
  • Bring you camera and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy the views!

Some picture from our camp/hike. 

The famous view

The famous view

My man taking photos 

My man taking photos 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Met Rudolf

Met Rudolf

Our camp

Our camp

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

The beautiful city of Split, Croatia

Split in Croatia is my kind of city. It has narrow streets, it's a walkable size, the architecture is beautiful, the food is great and it's by the sea. My hotel was actually inside the ruins of the Diocletian's Palace, so was many other hotels, restaurants, shops, a church and more. It's like a city in a city. Very cool!

I spent about a day and a half in Split. And even though it's a beautiful city that is pretty much what you need to see what's worth seeing in the city center. And especially when the temperature is way beyond 30 degrees celsius like when I was there. But there are beaches just outside of the city and many boats departs from Split to the islands.

This is what I did see and recommend:

  • The Diocletian's Palace - off course. Take your time walking the streets, have an Espresso or a glass of great Croatian white wine in one of the many cafes (the best ones are hidden in the corner of a street). It's touristy yes - but nice!
  • Substructions of the Diocletian's Palace. Not really much to see, it's empty. But it's cool. And it's where Daenery's kept her dragons in Game of Thrones!
  • The Bell Tower at the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. Climb to the top for a great view (not if you are claustrophobic or afraid of hights). 
  • Check out the shops, Split has low prices and some very nice shops.
  • Take a seat at one of the many benches facing the sea and just watch it.
  • The fish marked by the shopping street - fun to watch.

Eat, drink and sleep:

  • Sleep at Villa Split Luxury rooms if you can. Amazing staff, beautiful rooms, great breakfast! 
  • Bepa, Mazzgoon and Corto Maltese are great places for food and drinks inside of the palace walls.

If you are based in Europe, Split is a great city for a weekend escape, but it's mostly city to start or end you vacation in Croatia, that off course also includes some of the islands and Dubrovnik. <3 Croatia.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

One day in Dubrovnik and a "How to "survive" the tourist crowd guide"

Dubrovnik has sceneries that goes straight to my top 5 list of great travel experiences. The wall of the Old City of Dubrovnik is 2 kilometers of them. And if you are a Game of Thrones fan - needless to say. You will love it. It's the Kings Landing! 

Dubrovnik smells of fish, the ocean and Lavender. The food and the wine is great. The sights are many. But Dubrovnik is also filled with cruise tourists and you have to watch out if you don't want to walk down an iPad photographing Japanese or pump into a selfie stick. More about that later.

My hotel was in Babin Kuk, it was nice to stay outside of the city, it was only a 10 minute bussride and to relax with a see view with dinner was a nice way to unwind from the busy city. During my day in Dubrovnik I walked the city wall, I walked through the old town and I had a great lunch at the great traditional fish restaurant Proto. Enough for one day and as I see it what you have to see and do. I wanted to take a ride with the cable car as well but it was closed.

Dubrovnik is really one of the most beautiful cities I have been too. But it's also the one filled with most tourist. I really had to dig deep into my own calmness to enjoy the day rather than let it frustrate me. So I made my self a set of rules to make it work. I think these will work for most people. It worked very well for me!

1. Practice a really slow way of walking. Imagine you have a curious child by your side. This way you can enjoy even more of the scenery and you don't feel the need to pass everyone stopping to take photos ahead of you. 

2. Don't stop to take photos on the spot where everyone else does. There is a pretty good chanche that the sight is even better if you walk a few more meters ahead. 

3. Be happy that you don't come back home with hundreds of selfies or pictures of your friend/boyfriend/wife. After all, that's not what you went to this place to see:) 

4. Step to the side when you want to take a photo. Cause you do want to take them as well. But it's possible to do it without standing in the way of others. 

5. Take a deep breath. It always hjelps. So does a break with a glass of wine:) 

 

And you should go to Dubrovnik! The views from the city wall is worth it!  

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Jordan – friendly and beautiful

- Wanna ride my Ferrari (donkey) lady? I give you fan and Shakira.
Even the sellers are funny and friendly in Jordan. This was said by a guy I met in amazing Petra. He sold donkey rides. There is something different about Jordan, the people living there also see them selves as different from the people in neighbouring countries. We are more friendly to each other they say. And I really think they are.

Jordan is not only friendly, but beautiful and interesting! You drive through the wildest of landscapes, Petra is a sight amongst very few, the desert is fascinating and The Dead Sea is one of those bucket list experiences. 

But sadly Jordan is taking it’s fall because of the conflicts in the area around. People are scared to travel there (even though it is safe) and it’s very visible – the tourism has gone down drastically since the Arab spring. I hope this will change because Jordan is very worth visiting and I never felt unsafe in any way.

Me and mye friend Kathe was lucky to have our own driver on the 4 day visit to Jordan. This is what we experienced:

Amman
The day in Amman was short and also the only day with rain so I’m pretty sure I could have seen the city from a much better side. But the visit to Citadel Amman was really something, beautiful views framed by old ruins. Probably the highlight of Amman. We also visited the Roman Theatre, nice but didn’t take that long.

The Dead Sea
To visit the Dead Sea, most people stay at resorts. So did we. The first day was windy and rainy so we didn’t even get to try the famous water. And there’s not much else to do around the resorts so an evening at the hotel spa was a good choice. But the next day the sun came out. We took the morning bath (it’s actually impossible to swim) in the sea. A very strange and fun experience, it’s kind of like taking an oil bath. A bucket list thing to do there!


The rest of the day was spent in the car, driving through the most wonderful scenery, up on mountains and through small villages. A really good way to see the country. A small hillside cafe with an amazing view and coffee cooked on the stove was a highlight. So was the fresh bread and yoghurt lunch bought by our driver in a local shop along the way.

Petra
Ready for the day in Petra, the place most known in Jordan. The ancient city of Petra is one of the world wonders, hidden and forgotten for centuries, only known to the Beduins who lived there, then found by a Swizz explorer in 1812.

We were among the first guests entering that morning. A smart move as we walked through it with vey few people getting in way of our massive photo action:) Later on the way back it was way more crowded.

What to say about Petra, it’s fascinating and beautiful, the colors, the lights, the histories! Even though they very often don’t know the real story. Maybe it happened like this, maybe not, our guide kept saying. It is really a must see, charge your camera batteries, bring good shoes and water, spend the day. And start early.

Wadi Rum Desert
This experience got it’s own blog post.

Aqaba
One day at a resort in Aqaba was our last stop before returning to Amman flying home. Aqaba is the nice place to rest for a day or more after the sandy desert experience. It’s beach time!


Thank you Jordan for a friendly experience filled with beauty and wonders!

My trip around Jordan was sponsored by Sherazade Travel. But my opinions are off course my own.

Some pictures below, more here.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

My first desert experience – Wadi Rum, Jordan

And what an experience! Born and raised between steep mountains and deep fjords, the desert was something I only saw in movies. In Wadi Rum I got to both see it from the back of a camel riding into the sunset, on a jeep ride and I slept there.

Most deserts are flat and can feel endless. Wadi Rum is different with mountain formations changing all the time.

We arrived the Wadi Rum desert late afternoon ready for our desert experience. Our driver parked the car and a jeep driver from Rahayeb Camp drove us to the camp, my first glimpse of the desert, I loved it from the first moment. Arriving the camp tea was served (lots of tea time in the desert) and we found our VIP tent (it had showers and all). Then it was time for our camel ride.

My fascination for camels was really big at this point (they are so funny!) and it was mye first ride on one. I simply loved riding through the desert! We arrived our goal, a small hill to watch the sunset from. Everybody else arrived in jeeps, only us on camels. Fun! And a beautiful sunset!

The rest of the evening in the camp wasn’t all that. Food was good, cooked in the ground, but then it all went quiet pretty fast. But we slept very well. The next day the jeep ride was the really big treat. Just cruising through the desert for three hours on the back of a jeep, wind in the hair, different mountain formations passing through all the time. And off course the driver stopped for amazing photo spots all the time. If I just subtract the two times we stopped at touristy spots to be served tea and ”entertainment” (men smoking water pipe) with goods for sale, it was pretty perfect!

Yes, I loved the desert experience! Sleeping there was no big deal, but I wouldn’t mind cruising around even more. Maybe on a horse next time.

My trip around Jordan was sponsored by Sherazade Travel. But my opinions are off course my own.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Powder paradise at Strandafjellet, western Norway

At Strandafjellet ski resort you get some of the best off piste possibilities in Scandinavia and the best fjord view. With 7 lifts and 17 downhill slopes and ski touring options all around, Strandafjellet is one of the most magnificent skiing resorts in Norway and Scandinavia. You actually ski in the Norwegian alps - Sunnmørsalpane.

I visited one day during this easter and even though I wasn't that early there where plenty of untouched powder areas to be the first one down. And make sure you eat your lunch there, this is the view you get: 

upload.jpg

Yoga everywhere

I think travelling and yoga are my two favorite things in the world. And luckily they combine very well. After all, yoga is like a travel in itself, a way to experience and explore. 

Like the beautiful yoga retreat I went to in Italy last summer where I also combined it with a few days in Naples. That was the yoga retreat where I found my own yoga way. Or the yoga and surf retreat I went to in Portugal, amazing place, loads of fun. I'm a big fan of Ashtanga yoga, a passion I found when I went to Goa in India a few years ago. And you don't have to go to a yoga retreat to do yoga when travelling. Yoga can be done everywhere. Like at sunset on the beautiful beaches of Bali. Or you can just bring your yoga math (by one for travelling) and do it at any hotel or floor you find. 

Just do it, do yoga everywhere! 

Inhale the future, exhale the past.


upload.jpg

Istanbul: Tradition meets modern hipster

Up and down the streets in and around the Grand Bazaar you see people drinking tea and men running around with treys filled with tea glasses and one sugar cube for each. In the more hipsterish area, Karakoy, you find a more modern form, my mint tea came in a big cup filled with fresh mint leaves and fruit. They take their tea and their tea time seriously in Istanbul.

I love cities where traditions and the modern life blends together. Where you can see the everyday life of the people living there out on the streets, where they manage to be them selves even if the tourists run around and new trends find their way. I loved Istanbul, so vibrant, so much to see! Beautiful mosques and towers, great culture and food coffee and tea. I only had three days, it's not really enough, but this is what I recommend from my days there:

Galata Bridge
Walking over Galata Bridge the fishers live their lives, many stay there all day long, fishing and chatting with each other, the tea breaks are many. Under the bridge you find all the restaurants no one goes to, but they work very hard getting you in there. Instead people eat their fish sandwich by the Bosphorus river. The view walking over the bridge is great!

Bosphorus river cruise
It is really nice to see all the mosques and the beautiful city from the seaside. Take the short two hour cruise, they run from the riverside by Galata Bridge.

Galata Tower
They say it's expensive, maybe not worth it, but I say it is. The 360 degree view is amazing! This is where you get the really great view photos. By accident I was up there just when the Friday prayer was done, listening to the sound of many many mosques at the same time was really something. 

Sultanahmet
The area of Sultanahmet has a beautiful park, many mosques and museums and much more. I didn't have that much time so I prioritized to see Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque, both worth seeing!

Karakoy and Hotel Sub Karakoy
I stayed at the hotel Sub Karakoy in Karakoy. A very nice and central area (I could walk everywhere) and so many many cool and good restaurants, coffee shops and bars. This is where the hipsters hang out. And Sub Karakoy is one of the very best hotels I have stayed at EVER. The design was really beautiful, the service was perfect, the roof top bar super cool, the breakfast yummy (every day served with todays traditional dessert) and they even gave me a present when I left and a gift on New Years eve (I was there then). I highly recommend it both for the location and everything else.

The Grand Bazaar, the spice marked and the streets in between
The Grand Bazaar is a must see. A really big old marked where they sell just about everything. I didn't buy anything though, I'm not a big fan of bargaining and too much of the stuff is fake. But, go there early in the day while the sellers have their tea break and chat with each other rather then pushing things on you, just observe! And sit down at one of the cafes and have a tea yourself. Afterwards, walk the narrow streets down to the spice market. In these streets the locals shop just about everything they need. Walking here you can observe much of the culture of Istanbul. And step by the Spice market to. 

Istiklal Caddesi and Taksim Square
Istlklal Caddesi is a long shopping street with no traffic and a old tram passing by now and then in between the street boots selling what food is right for the season. Not exactly shopping like New York, but there are some nice shops. The street ends up in Taksim Square, also worth seeing.


This is what I had the time to do, but there is so much more. I don't think anyone will regret going to Istanbul, it's a lovely city! Bring good shoes and walk, that's when you see the real life of the city.

 

the view from Galata tower&nbsp;

the view from Galata tower 

At the Spice marked

At the Spice marked

upload.jpg
Galata bridge

Galata bridge

At the Grand Bazaar&nbsp;

At the Grand Bazaar 

Hagia Sofia&nbsp;

Hagia Sofia 

Inside the Blue Mosque&nbsp;

Inside the Blue Mosque 

Happy New Year from Istanbul - be friendly, smile and bounce

To celebrate new years abroad is a nice reminder of the world we live in, it is so much more then what we see in our every day life.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand eachother, we may even become friends.
— Maya Angelou

I feel lucky and blessed to be able to travel as much as I do, it gives me other perspectives on the world along with great experiences and adventures. Beeing in Turkey today means that I have just visited my 37th country and I'm 37 years old. And its the fourth year I'm spending new years eve abroad:

2012/2013: Smiling and bouncing together with newly made American/Canadian friends and thousands of Vietnamese people in Saigon. The countdown was very special with so many people.
2013/2014: Salsa party in Tokyo! Danced my way into the new year with people from all over the world. And followed the Japanese tradition by going to the Shrine on new years day to pray for the year to come.
2014/2015: Dancing and drinking in San Jose with friends from America, Canada, Australia, England and Kroatia. The last day of our two week long and amazing travel around Costa Rica.
2015/2016: In Istanbul, at a rooftop bar with a beautiful view and beautiful people.

I wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope it will bring you to new adventures and that the world will be filled with more peace and understanding. Be friendly, smile and bounce!

upload.jpg

My beautiful week in Bali

The resorts rooster wakes me up in the morning and I step outside my door into the garden path, roses hanging over me. I walk through the organic garden filled with spices and vegetables before another path feeling like it’s in the jungle takes me down to the beach. I do my yoga watching the sun rise and the surfers tackling the waves.

So friendly people, so much beauty, blissful and fun. That is Bali to me. Only one week in Bali!? they said. Yes, and I understand why, but even though I would love to stay longer, one week showed me both different sides of Bali and gave me a really nice week in the sun.

This is what I did and easely recommend to anyone who wants to go to Bali.

Sanur beach

Slow life and really nice water is what best describes the beach in Sanur. I spent a day there, mostly in the water, some time in a sun chair.  Sanur is a nice beach where you can do water sports or just relax. The beachfront walk is nice, just do your best to ignore all the ladies who wants you to visit their booth at the marked.  Eat you lunch at Sand Beach Club.

Ubud

Make sure you pay attention on your way there. You drive on narrow roads and get to see a lot of people doing their daily chores along the way. The shops in Ubud mostly have tourist stuff and yoga stuff, but take a stroll anyway. I had lunch at the Dirty Duck Diner, It was nice.

And do visit the monkey forest! It was way more facinating then I imagened and a really nice walk (takes about one hour to walk the whole round) in the shadow of threes. And the monkeys are everywhere and very close to you. Photo opportunities, oh yeah! But watch you camera (and other stuff) they like to steal these monkeys. There are many stories about people being attacked by the monkeys, but as long as you are nice, they are nice and there are many friendly guards on your way.

What I didn’t see in Ubud was the rice terraces. My friendly driver wasn’t very good at speaking English and spent time trying to drop me off at typical tourist traps rather then actually taking me to the rice terraces as I asked him to… But I found my peace anyway.

Seminyak

Oh, Seminyak! The day there took me by surprise, so different from the busy cheep marked in Sanur. Many many beautiful shops with real stuff you would actually wear at home and souvenirs that would find it’s place in your clean Scandinavian designed livingroom.

Speaking about design – the restaurants, cafes and bars in Seminyak was so beautiful, so many great concepts, reminded me very much about Williamsburg, Brooklyn actually. Every place had a concept. For more tips on where to eat and so on in Seminyak, head over to the blog by Nordictwinkle.

I also went to the beach in Seminyak, about a 15 minute walk from Seminyak Square. This is my kind of beach! Very wide and you could walk along it for miles. I think I will stay in Seminyak the next time I go to Bali.

Komune resort and beach club

This is where I stayed the whole week, located at Keramas beach where I watched the sunrise in the mornings and the evening entertainment at the beach faced bar/restaurant was night surfing. Komune is both a beach club and a resort, it also has a health club with equipment and both fitness classes and yoga classes. 

Everything at Komune was so made so beautiful. The place had two pools, one at the beach club with a busy (but not to busy) party like vibe and such a cool pool, it felt like it was a part of the beach just in front of it. Watching the surfers was great entertainment from the sunbed;) The other pool was part of the health club and had a very different vibe, with children not allowed and surrounded by palms it was the most relaxing place to be!

Komune also had great food and a really good spa with great treatments. The beach was mostly for surfing and had black sand so the pools was to prefere. But good beach for running and yoga. 

The area around Komune wasn't much and you needed some kind of transport to go anywhere (Sanure 30 minutes away, Ubud and Seminyak about 60 minutes). That was the only downside to the place. If I go back to Bali I think I will stay there for a few days and then somewhere else (like Seminyak or visit some of the islands). Komune is a perfect place to unwind and relax, but not see Bali. 

Thank you Bali for a great week, I loved you and all your friendly people!

Komune&nbsp;

Komune 

Find your inner peace when traveling

Tourists visit, travelers explore they say. How about just being at and feeling the place you visit. That's the kind of traveler I am. I don't feel the urgent need to see anything and I don't really have to explore all the time. But I do need to find my inner peace, to not stress around, to see the place with a relaxed mind.

Because, let's face it, traveling isn't always a romantic and enlightening meeting with a new place, it's very often combined with stress. Delayed flights, missed luggage, mosquito bites, to hot, to busy, getting lost (not in the good way), jetlag etc. etc. When you think back, most of your travels have some kind of feeling like that. Mine to. But most of the time you still you look back at it with happy thoughts, it was your time off, it was a meeting with new people, and another culture, happy times with friends or family.

That's because you probably got over it, you found your peace, you managed away from the stress. My way of traveling is to do my best to not feel those not so good things. I have found a way to love airports and I can really feel a place when I arrive, like when I came to Berlin. I can easily go to a new place and not think that I missed out even though I didn't see any of the tourist sights. Because I still felt the vibrant city, I observed people on my way just sitting at a cafe or walking the streets. I try to get to know the place from it's inside, not just observing it. 

To be able to do that I have to understand how I find that peace. It helps to think about a good moment. Like today (I'm in Bali), the day started out with breakfast at sunrise accompanied by the sound of waves. Followed by a great yoga class. The plan for the day was to go to Ubud, about 45 minutes to drive from where I stay. Those stressful moments kept coming. The driver didn't understand English that well and tried to drop me off at typical tourist traps. Arriving in Ubud I was angry and hungry and it was very hot. But I reminded my self about the peace I felt that same morning, I regained that feeling, slowed down with a nice long lunch and a visit to the amazing Monkey Forest. And on my way back I managed to see all the beauty we drove by, to see the life behind, to imagine the life of the people I saw. 

Tomorrow I will try to find back to those moments, I will not stress to see or explore. I will start the day drinking my coffee while watching the waves and from that work out what a good day will be and do my best to find peace no matter what I do.

Peace, love and travel!



Shoreditch - my London hood

Shoreditch, east London, Hackney. It's rough around the edges, more street art and construction sites than parks and cozy streets. But loads of hip cafes, random art galleries, all kinds of restaurants and good shopping. An interesting area, mye favourite London place to be.

Actually I've stayed in Shoreditch the last three times I have been to London (I have been in London around ten times). It's the mixture that intrigues me. Me like Shoreditch.

Here's a few places in Shoreditch I recommend:

Make sure you experience Shoreditch on your next London trip. 

Shoreditch streetart&nbsp;

Shoreditch streetart 

A travel and get lost experience in Martina Franca

Arriving Martina Franca in the middel of the siesta, hungry and tired after a 6 hour travel from Naples, I wasn't totally happy with the first experience of the place. 

Martina Franca in Puglia, Italy is one of those small cities where they take their siesta really serious. The area around the train station wasn't much to see and there was no taxi to find (they had siesta too). I found my self walking the two kilometres to the hotel in 35 degrees celcius and when I arrived there was no food to find (more siesta trouble).

I didn't do any research ahead of my visit to Martina Franca since I was only staying there for one night on mye way to Kaliyoga.  But a couple of hours after I arrived, finally fed,  I headed for the city center, no idea what I would find. 

What I did find was the most beautiful plaza and really really nice white narrow streets. I walked the streets for hours, getting lost all the time, just smiling and taking pictures. That is what I call a travel and get lost experience, not knowing what to expect, to just walk in random directions finding REAL beauty. Like this:

upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg

Kaliyoga Italy: a week of bliss, strength and beauty

Olive trees, hammocks, salt water pool. Amazing food, super nice people, blissful surroundings. 3,5 hours of yoga every day! I couldn't ask for a better week then at the yoga retreat at Kaliyoga in Italy. It gave me courage, it gave me peace and most of all it gave me the need to do more yoga in my every day life. 

Kaliyoga is pretty much everything you could ask for at a yoga retreat. And more. The beautiful surroundings, the trullo's, the smiling friendly staff, the food. It was all there to support the wonderful yoga teaching and made the whole experience very complete.

The yoga teacher Tashi was just wonderful in so many ways. I loved the way her goal was to give us the tools for our self practice. I've been doing yoga for years, but I probably learnt more during my week at Kaliyoga with Tashi then in all those years. 

Thank you Tashi, Nick, Alessandra, the volunteers and my fellow retreat participants. 

Considering going to a yoga retreat? Check out Kaliyoga! It is also on the list of Top 10 yoga retreats around the world

Kaliyoga in pictures:

upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg

Kayaking at Hjørundfjorden

Being on summer vacation in Urke by Hjørundfjorden (the village where I grew up), I did some very nice kayaking on this majestic fjord. 

Hjørundfjorden is one of the most distinctive and magnificent fjords of Norway. Among the wildest and most beautiful mountain areas in western Norway – Sunnmørsalpane - the fjord stretches 33 km in a straight line south-south-east from Storfjorden in the north to Bjørke  in the south. By Leknes the narrow Norangsfjorden go to the east towards Øye. (source Hjørundfjordportalen, more information about the fjord to be found there).

Hjørundfjorden is a great place for kayaking with many small villages to visit along the way. The fjord is surrounded by tall mountains on both sides which makes kayaking there into an exiting experience. Kayaks can be rented from Sagafjord Hotel at Sæbø and Hotel Union Øye (and probably other places as well). 

I mostly stayed in the part of Hjørundfjorden called Norangsfjorden where you have the view towards the majestic mountain Slogen. I also paddled towards Bjørke. The cafe Urke Kaihus and Hotel Union Øye are amongst stops you really should do if you are in the area. 

Kayaking is such a great way to do sightseeing and at Hjørundfjorden it's just perfect. Some pics from my days on the fjord. And imagine it all with a deep deep blue sky;)


upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg

Naples - rough Italy

I was told and had read so many different things about Naples before I went here, like:

  • it's filled with garbage, not nice at all
  • it's beautiful, real Italy  
  • best place in Italy (coming from Italian friend not from Naples) 
  • it's really scary 
  • you should not travel there solo as a woman  
  • and...: travelling solo as a woman is no problem, just stay away from the central station (stupid advice, as a traveller the central station is very much likely a place you have to visit)

So I had to find out for my self, what was true and what wasn't. I started of by choosing a hotel in a safe and central area because that travelling solo stuff mostly has to do with common sense. And even though Naples is a bit rougher then many of the romantic Italian cities, I never experienced anything scary (not the central station either).

So what about the garbage?  When I arrived I definitely did see more garbage on the streets than most other places. But moving in to the core parts of the city it was pretty much like any other city, not super clean, but ok. 

What I experienced in Naples was beautiful buildings, cozy narrow streets, authentic living, great food and friendly people. But Naples is a bit more rough around the edges than the average Italia city. 

This is stuff I recommend to see/do in Naples:

  • Go to see Castel dell'Ovo, the castle is pretty cool and the views from the area towards Naples also.
  • Piazzas! Oh, I love them. My favourite one was Piazza San Domenico Maggiore (have some wine and tapas at Jamon while you're there). 
  • Eat pizza! After all, it is supposed to have it's origin in Naples. And it is really amazing.
  • Stay at Hotel Piazza Bellini, a beautiful hotel in so many ways, and the garden! It is also located at another nice Piazza (Piazza Bellini). The restaurant next door La Stanza del Gusto is also worth a visit.
  • The main shopping street is Via Toledo with the normal kind of shops. A much more authentic shopping street is Via Benedetto Croce and also the streets around it.
  • Tour the narrow streets, that's when you see how people really live.
  • If it's not 35 degrees celcius, walk up to Castel Sant'Elmo for a nice view.
  • If it is 35 degrees celcius, take the boat to Capri for the day (takes 45 minutes). My pictures from Capri.
  • Enjoy the fact that the city is not over filled with other tourists ;) 

Some pics: 

 

upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg
upload.jpeg