September 9, 2017

Hiking in the Romanian mountains

It was a while back since I updated the blog, not really been out photographing. Although, now I have bought a smaller and easier camera and I feel motivated again to get out.
Now I also have two new interests - MTB which is really fun and the other is making knives. Besides that, I have been out fishing more and everything else too :) Well, never enough time for all the fun!

Anyhow, back to this post which is about Romania hike we did couple a weeks back.
12 good friends and two guides, one Swedish and one local. It was the first time we had guides and it was really nice as they would tell us about the area and its history. We would probably have managed without guides too - we have great map readers in the group - but Romania is a bit special as there are plenty of bears, wolfs and lynx in the area, and even angry protective sheepdogs so it's safe to have guides (they would sacrifice themselves?? )
The walks were quite demanding with up to 1200m up and then same down, ending up at peaks of 2200m. The weather was really on our side - sun every day, temperatures between 25 and 30C which of course was tough too. Loads of water is needed but there are water sources up on the mountains and it tasted good.

The first two days were hardest, with long walks of just below 20km and at high altitudes. We would be up at 8 in the morning for awesome breakfasts consisting of local vegetables, sausages/meats, fruits and loads of eggs. Coming back late in the evening with sore legs to a prepared dinner was super! The families we stayed at would make us local food - best!!
Final night we slept on the other side of the valley with only a shorter walk for 2 hours before heading back home (14h trip!! Not great)
Must be honest - I had sore legs after those three days.

Not a single trace of any predators that we so feared, which was a bit of a disappointment but on the other hand we saw the sheepdogs who were right near us at several occasions sniffing around and looking angry :) Will need to get back.

Go hiking in Romania! Lovely old forests and once up on the mountains - what views!!


Sheep dog

Draculas castle

March 12, 2017

India, Alappuzha backwaters

Its taken few weeks to get back here, but here we go :)
Our last days in India were spend at Kondai lip backwater resort - A fantastic place surrounded by lakes and canals. The birdlife was incredible, bird where ever you look and best of all  - many different kinds of kingfishers - My favorit. Unfortunately I only had my normal zoom with me which also mean no good pics of birds. As a part of the package, the first evening we went on a bout trip through the canals all the way to the Arabian Sea, or actually we had walk the last couple of hundreds meter over the sand banks but it was worth it :) 
The water was surprisingly warm, although unprepared as we were there were no swimming. Not sure its even 'possible' due to the strong currents.
Following morning we went out by ourselves in a small paddle boat for some fishing and bird watching - we saw a lots of birds but didn't catch a single fish.
Around lunch we got collected by our driver that took us to the last place we would be visit in India this time - Alappuzha. A harbour filled with hundreds of houseboating, also called rice boats.
We had the whole boat to ourselves till the next day, including a chef that cooked and served us all the food and the refreshments while we were cruising the canals and lakes. By the time it was dark and bedtime we were back to the harbour. Following morning, during breakfast the course was shorter as were had to be back by lunch to head back to the airport.
Time flies by when having fun, it was time for us to get back to Sweden.

January 29, 2017

India, Kochi and Munnar

So.. back to the India trip..
From Delhi we flew down to the state called Kerala, an its capital the city of Kochi. Did you know that the airport of Kochi is the first one in the world to only run on solar power? That is so cool!
From here we had an 5day fully organized tour of the area with our own car and driver. To be honest, this was quite sweet :) To be taken the different places, with the local guide showing us the best parts. 
First night was spent in Kochi, walking around the city and its alleys, taking a sunset boat tour. The following days we saw the 400 years old traditional Chinese fishing nets, first Portuguese churches and their museums, Jewish quarter, sea side and so much more.
Another 'city' we visited was Munnar which has some of the world's highest tea plantations. You can imagine the surroundings - quite spectacular. Trimmed tea bushes that are planted in straight lines cover the steep hills, breath-taking. This, together with the fog rolling in makes it to a fairytale landscape.
Munnar itself is quite small with only around 2,000 people living there. Even though the city is so small there is both a Catholic church, a mosque and a Hindu temple. Well, there was never a silent moment :)  
But being woken up by a bird choir and the river flow is not a bad way to start a morning, even when it's accompanied by a never ending call for pray by all or one of the religions above :))
Colorful houses in Munnar

Yummy coconut

Kathakali indian classical dance drama

This is a world
famous, ancient,
traditional Marital Art
form of Kerala

Cute monkey

Jewish quarter in Kochi


Chinese fishing nets

tea plantation, Munnar

tea plantation, Munnar

tea plantation, Munnar

January 22, 2017

Impressions of India

Couple of weeks before Christmas we were off to India to join couple of friends (from UK but with origin in India) for loads of sightseeing.
Priyanka and Prashant have arranged with the route - suggested the sights, booked the hotels, boats, trains and airplanes - well, everything to be fair. BEST! Thank U guys so much!

The trip started with four of us meeting up in Mumbai where we spent few days visiting temples, the beach, Gateway of India and loads more. The impression - it is as chaotic as you have seen/heard :)
Especially the traffic, it goes in all directions at the same time filling up every little space with rickshaws (motor and bike), taxis, trucks, bikes, etc etc.. All the honking.. That was an experience where there was no time for hesitation, just Go :) 

After leaving Mumbai we flew to the capital Delhi where the traffic was more 'aggressive', the people more loud, the colours darker and the air much more polluted (heavy thick smog). Despite all of that, the sights were amazing - the Lotus Temple, Qutab Minar, Humayuns Mosque and Tumbes, India Gate..
2h by train south east of Delhi is Agra, mainly famous for the Taj Mahal Temple, but even there so many more sights are breath-taking.
The experience of taking train was 'interesting' too, as we were in the 1st class the trip was probably completely different compared to other options. We got a rose and they just kept feeding us during those 2 h. Much appreciated :)
In Agra beside visiting Taj Mahal  (A must) we also saw the Red Fort with its beautiful red sandstone walls located just a few kilometers from Taj Mahal. There is so much history there that I would love to tell you about, but I'm rather sure I would end up writing a whole book :)

Anyhow, from here we were off to Kerala by airplane and all about that in the next post :)
Global Vipassana Pagoda

A family on a scooter

Taj Mahal

Red forth

Red forth

Busy hotel street in New Delhi

Qutab minor

Qutab minor

Lotus temple

Lotus temple

humayuns tomb

Humayuns tomb

another family ;)