Monday, September 7, 2015

Kuang Si waterfalls, the treasure of Luang Prabang

If you're one of those people who are planning a trip to the far East, backpacking through South-East Asia - Laos is definetely a country you should not miss. It is a country that is still pure and mostly untouched by tourism. It is a wonderful example of authentic Asian village life, hidden away in the rainforest and only reachable by hiking.

Laos is green, Laos is pure, Laos breathes peace.

Mekong river - Luang Prabang, Laos

In this country, I loved amazing moments: playing with kids in the river, volunteering as an English teacher, cruising through the breathtaking ricefields on a scooter, trekking through a rainforest full of leeches to then share a bungalow with giant spiders for a night (don't even ask how I survived...) and so much more. But the most indelible impression I have of this country is definetely standing by the foot of the Kuang Si waterfalls, and feeling the smallest I've ever felt facing the force of nature.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nice, the pearl of the Côte d'Azur

The Côte d'Azur has always been a favourite destination of many tourists world wide.
It is famous for being one of the most luxurious places in France, crowded by tourists and the French bourgeosie - so at first sight, this was definetely not one of my most wanted destinations, but boy, was I wrong.

There is so much more about Nice - this gorgeous mix of Mediterranean food, the talkative locals with their "Nissard" dialect of French, the winding alleys with houses painted in heartwarming colours are only the first few things that pop up on my mind.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nature Retreat - Sant Ponç, Catalonia

I had a free weekend without any particular plans, and was yarning for some stillness and nature, and this is where I ended up...

Actually, it was pure luck that I found this place, just looking around on the map of Catalonia for interesting places that aren't too far away and therefore ideal for a weekend getaway. And suddenly, this blue waters caught my eye, even on Google Maps the colour of the water was different from the other lakes. Looking more into it, I discovered this place was hikeable from a closeby village, and - lucky carless me! - the village was accessibly by bus. The lake - or reservoir, to be more precise -  is actually the result of a dam that has been placed on the Cardener river in 1954. If you're wondering why the water here is such a dazzling blue - this is the result of a predominant clay soil in the valley.

So here we go... take a look at the beautiful lake of Sant Ponç!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sardinian Blue - Porto San Paolo

Sardinia - or Sardegna, in Italian - is an island that has a thousand different faces and landscapes. You can find picturesque villages, turquoise beaches, natural reserves and so much more. This is the island where you can find a little baby boar crossing your road, where you will learn that Sardegna is NOT Italy, and it's a place where you can keep coming back to, and discover something new - depending on the region you visit.

About that boar story... I am not kidding! Walking to the village beach, I first tried to blame it on the ice cream overdose that I was seeing a little, dark, hairy piggy crossing the road... Until I realised the piggy wasn't a piggy, but an adorable little baby boar, waggling her tail like a puppy! Apparently, some dogs found her in the fields with a wounded paw, and a family took her in to heal the wound. Obviously, due to the overdose of cuteness they will be keeping her as a ... guard boar!

I have only been so lucky to spend a couple of days in the North of this island, but I certainly would not let a chance to visit this island again pass by. There is so much more to discover, and I surely would want to rent a car next time to be able to discover even more hidden beaches.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Secrets of the Costa Brava - Begur

Many people know Costa Brava as the place of mass tourism, crowded beaches and "All-In" hotels with food of mediocre quality. To be honest - this was also the image I had until about 5 years ago, when I first came to Barcelona to study. Luckily, the only friends I had here lived in a precious little village in the Costa Brava, called Peratallada, and even if I didn't visit their village right away - when I came back to Barcelona to live, I slowly started exploring this beautiful area.

One of the most beautiful locations is surely Begur - a village that is not yet so known by tourists, and mostly visited by Catalan people. Begur overlooks the beautiful coast from the hill it's located on, with breathtaking views of the Costa Brava on one side, and the Pyrenees mountains on the other side.

How to get there?

Begur is easily reachable by bus from Barcelona or Girona (and therefore also from the airports in both cities). The trip from Barcelona by bus takes a bit more than 2 hours, and costs 20 Euro one-way - but believe me, the turquoise beaches are more than worth it! You can also take the train to Girona and then take the bus from there. From Girona it's only 1h15 and 8 Euro for a one-way ticket.

Where to sleep?

Begur doesn't have a lot of cheap options unfortunately - the authenticity has its price. A double room costs around 60 Euro, one of the recommended hotels is Sa Barraca - a family-run little hotel on the road from the village of Begur to the beaches, with seaview. Obviously, this is also a place where you could try to camp in the wild on a beach, as long as you find a hidden place, and don't show your tent any daylight. I have camped in the wild in Menorca, and it was honestly one of the most amazing things I ever experienced!