Posts Tagged ‘Backpackers’

  • Augsburg and the german fall

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    The only way we found to forget about having spent eleven hours in an almost full plane, during the day, with a short legroom and with really bad movies on the screen, was by drinking a couple of those tasteful “helles beer” –hell here means light colour, not the hell- that make Germany so well known.

                             centro-augsburg.JPGSeriously, a pain in the arse would have feel better than this plane. Imagine ourselves realising we were on our way back home – great!- but at the same time leaving Asia and some of our dreams behind –horrible!-. The flight took edges and we weren’t able to sleep any minute. At least the price was cheap –if any one wants to fly cheap to Bangkok, check with airberlin starting from Germany-.                canal-augsburg.JPG

    At the airport, we had people and of course some beers welcoming us and thus we forgot easily about the contradictory feelings on the plane. We were back in Europe again, in the middle of October and at 18 degrres Celsius, such a luxury for a german fall.

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     Augsburg is a nice small city, great for long walks in the surrounding forests which at this time of the year looked really, really pretty. We spent hours hiking on sunny days, admiring the gorgeous reddish colour of the trees and the silence of the german forests and small towns around Augsburg. Back in the city we visited the oldtown and spent some time in a couple of cool bars drinking bayerish beer –not only a drink, but almost a meal!- and complete our time there by chatting about world politics and the way to save the world with our friends –who does not have this kind of conversations with friends after liters and liters of beers?                

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    We finally left Augsburg behind and catched a low cost airline plane to Valencia. The trip is over now, well, let’s say it’s on the half time. We have many plans for the next months in Valencia and one of them is to travel around the city in order to know it better than we actually do.

  • Is the adventure over?

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    Adventure of life is never over until death meets us, so this travel adventure will never be over until the lady of the scythe comes to pick us. We don’t need to travel far away from home to learn about life and we will continue experimenting with new trips, from local to international destinations.  It seems we will be partially spending our closest future making an insight of our lovely city, Valencia, and its surroundings but we will always keep on doing and carrying out new plans like the one that took us to Asia one year ago. When you hit the road once and like it, you never stop liking it… Either by plane, boat, road or foot we will move around the world forever. Either catching free rides or paying for them we will visit every corner in the planet and grow with every experience we make. So, who knows what is going to be our next destination on the map after we visit Augsburg (Germany) and arrive in Valencia by the end of October.

  • See you soon Asia

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    Time goes fast if you don’t think about it. We haven’t thought much about it and without realising, it is almost one year since we started our trip in Asia. So far we have been travelling in India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and there are still loads of places to visit. Our dream of travelling in Asia is still alive and somehow we feel, it will never ever be over. We love this continent and its people. We love the whole planet and will never stop discovering it. It will take us long, aproximately a life time, but we will cover the world from one side to the other. Promise!

    The past months have been very intense and rewardful. We have learnt and experienced a lot of things and have had a lot of fun doing it, but now we feel like having a pause for a while, returning to a more boring life and recharging batteries and money supplies for new future adventures. This means we feel like going back home, to Valencia.

    Once having decided that, we are catching a flight back in October, spending some time in Germany first to visit some friends before arriving in Valencia. We feel strong and adventorous. Be aware Valencia, we will be back soon!! And bye bye Asia, we let you rest for a while!!

  • Me and the hammock

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    Since we arrived in Koh Tao and found “Homer”, the way we have to refer to our beautiful wooden house in the island, I’m experimenting a great feeling of peace and joy through spending long hours in the hammock. It is something I had already learnt from this trip and anothers before. Since our visit in India I have tried, rounding up, around fifty different hammocks and other balancing sits. It has always been recomfortating and nice to let myself flow with the movement from side to side. But it is being this time, in our wooden house in Koh Tao, that I am really getting addicted to it. I have breakfast on the hammock; write, read and smoke on the hammock. I even eat on the hammock and spend the time I’m at home laying on the hammock. When I have left the house and come back, I come back to the hammock. When we go to a bar, I always look for a bar with a hammock. I also sleep on the hammock sometimes.

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    I have realized it is starting to be too much but I can only wish there is a hammock free for me wherever I go. Am I getting even lazier in Koh Tao? Is it because I feel like inside the belly of my mom again? I’m starting to be concerned about that and I think is time to quit this bad habit of only thinking about my hammock. Should I really be worried about or should I only let it be? Is there any way to avoid it? Is there any detox theraphy I could do? Well, I will try to find an answer to all that questions inside my head. While I look for the answer, I will only lay on the hammock again, watch the time pass by and enjoy life from the sight of my hammock!

  • Run Visa, run

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    The day in which we had to renew our Thai visa arrived and we did it fast and easy, although very tiring. After spending long hours discussing which way would it be the best for us to extend our stay in Thailand and whether to cross to Myanmar or to Malaysia, we decided to do it through one of the travel agencies offering the “Visa Run” service in Koh Tao. We paid them money and they arranged everything, such an strange feeling for us.

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    We contemplated the possibility of doing it by ourselves but were a little discouraged when we realised, after doing numbers, that we would end up paying almost the same and maybe having to stay overnight in the main land, thus extending the time to 2 whole days. Doing it with everything organised was faster, so we surrended this time to a travel agency (sigh!). So we bought the pack: night ferry boat + minivan from Chunporn pier to Rangon + boat to the Myanmar border + return to Chumpon pier + fast catamaran back to Koh Tao. Easy, fast, comfortable and safe.

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    The night was clear and the sea was calmed so we didn’t experience much movement in the boat, although it was very noisy and we didn’t sleep much. We arrived to main land at around five in the morning. The minivan was pretty new and had enough room for long legs like Hector’s, it picked us up from the ferry pier and drop us at the inmigration office. We got our exit stamp, jump on the boat to Myanmar, got the Myanamar stamps too and back to Thailand for another 30 minutes boat trip, including a stop to search through our bags and belongings. The officials at the border weren’t friendly but they were brave enough to stamp our passport with another visa on arrival, 25 days this time. We arrived back in Koh Tao that afternoon, tired but happy for having finished with all that disgusting burocracy for now and to be able to enjoy another “month” of peace and relax without having a look to the calendar or to our passport again. That day we spent the whole afternoon watching movies and sleeping. Only some beers could help us sleep again at night!

     

  • Our wooden house in Koh Tao

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    We started to feel kind of sick of nonstop travelling a couple of weeks ago. It is a pretty confusing feeling because we really love to travel and want to go on with our trip, but at the same time we feel tired of visiting new places everyday and never get to know them well. We have the feeling that we need some holidays from our trip again, something like a stop over to settle and rest for a while. For a couple of weeks, maybe for a month… This is why we decided to look for a house for rent in the island.

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    Surrounded by green and coconut trees, amid the jungle in a quiet valley we found our place that morning, right on the deadline point we had fixed to find a house or leave the island. The house hunting was exhausting due to the strong sun these days. We had checked different houses for rent, but they were not what we were looking for. It was on our way back to the hotel room when we found Gong Valley, just a 50 metres detour off an important road, and a 5 minutes walk to the main pier in Koh Tao, so kind of isolated but well comunicated.

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    The house is made of wood and bamboo, it’s pretty basic and has a lot of charm. From the beginning we liked the good vibes of the owner and his place. He showed us around the valley and the 6 different houses he made himself. All of them have a bedroom, a toilet and a basic kitchen (gas fire, small fridge and a wooden bench, that’s all). Exactly what we were looking for! Outside the house, big front terraces where to admire the view over the valley from your hammock, some hundreds of metres from the sea.

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    We directly felt in love with the place and decided to rent one of the houses for 15 days, later we would see if we were staying longer or not. At the moment, that half month is not over yet and we feel so good here, that we are thinking to stay even longer. That would mean to have to extend our visa and change plans again but, who cares, we are on holidays now and can do whatever we want!

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    We have found also our way to go to the beaches that are far by hitch-hiking. It worked out well in the north of the country and it seems pretty easy in the south too. You just need to stand by the side of the road and stop any car driving in your direction. That’s all. Life here is easy and good. Wake up, have some breakfast and see what you feel like. Later put some sunscreen on and go to the beach with mask and snorkel to see the amazing underwater world. When you feel tired, get some lunch and have some rest. Late in the afternoon it depends, watching a movie, surfing the internet or going out for a drink. What else could we ask for? We are starting to call Koh Tao home…

  • Diving in Koh Tao

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    We knew from the beginning of our trip that we wanted to do a diving course in the south of Thailand. We had heard that Koh Tao was the cheapest and also one of the best options to spot different fish species in all Southeast Asia. That’s why we decided, without knowing the island yet, that we wanted to have our first ever diving experiencie in Koh Tao. We booked our 4 day course from Bangkok so we didn’t do any research when we arrived. There are plenty of diving schools here and all them offer more or less the same. The company we chose, Planet Scuba, is a small school with less students, which makes groups smaller and the classes more personal.

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    The course starts with some clashroom time in which you learn basic things about scuba diving, the underwater world and diving technics. After having passed your test reviews –they are quite easy- arrives your first contact with the diving gear –mask, wetsuit, airtank…- in shallow water. The feeling, when you breath from your tank for the first time, is quite relaxing. At least it was to us. We were very excited about how strange it would feel. Once under water you just need to continue breathing and be calmed. Easy!

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    We learned some necessary skills for diving safe and know the do’s and dont’s under water. Each 45 minutes dive appeared very short in time when we were finished. We would have spent hours there, getting used to the bottled air, the “absence” of gravity, our new friends the fishes, etc. But we had to wait until the next day’s dives.

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    When you have tried it once and know you like it, it is like a kind of drug. I mean, you want more and want it now!! It is tyring to be under water but the excitement gives you strength to continue. When you go out of the water, you realise how tired you are and you start to proccess all the beatiful things you have seen there. The rest of the dives in the course were deeper –up to 18 metres- and even better. We saw many fishes that we had never have pictured in our head before and others –like in the film Nemo- that we had always dreamed about. We haven’t learned much since diving is a thing about experience and time, but we know now that we love it and we are certified to do it everywhere!! It won’t be the last time!!

  • Back in Thailand

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    Four months are over now since our last pit stop in Valencia and we have had the opportunity to visit the north of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The trip has been mainly inland and in hill areas and we could hear the call of the sea in our souls. We come from a coastal town and need to feel the sea breeze in the face much often. So, the next move was going to be to get closer to the sea, heading to the south beaches and islands of Thailand.

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    Once in Bangkok we did some research again and booked an Open Water diving course with free transport from Bangkok and free accommodation in Koh Tao -it was a very good deal, around half the price of what it would have cost back home. Off we go! This part of the trip seemed to be different and more relaxed, and we were getting so excited of the idea of settle down for few days in the same place. Not only we were coming closer to the sea, but to a turquoise water one with loads of colourful animals to observe. We coul not wait any longer.

  • Conclusion of Vietnam

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    We entered the country thinking about a past war, rice fields and conical huts. We exit the country now thinking about many other things, much more interesting and appealing. Vietnam has so much to offer, and we have enjoyed it so much that we have promised ourselves to come back again sometime soon.

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    In short we could summarize:

    – People: big smiles and huge temperament -they always seemed to be arguying.
    – Landscapes: beutiful and colourful. It’s a shame that the sides of the road are built up to the extreme and towns and villages are spread in kilometres by the road.

    – Transport: easy and relatively good. The open bus ticket connects all the touristic places covering the whole length (more than 1700 km) of the country.
    – Food: amazing! One of the highlights for us. Everyone should try their “looks like meat/fish/seafood but it is not” Com Chai restaurants (pure vegetarian).
    – Culture: an interesting mix of religions, rituals, traditions and foreign influences resulting in a blend of colours, behaviours and human ideals.

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    It could have been the food what made us fall in love with the country, or maybe the smiles of the people, or maybe the nature. It could have been many things but it is for sure the great experiences we have had what has made us crazy about Vietnam.

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    We would recommend any traveller to start his trip from the south, where people are fun and friendly and not as much into taking your money as they are in the north. Mainly we would recommend the Mekhong Delta with its floating markets, cannals and fruit orchards, Mui Ne with its beautiful coastline and the sand dunes, the charming Hoi An with its peaceful atmosphere and great architecture and Halong Bay, one of the World’s wonder under our point of view. We are sure we have missed much of Vietnam but those have been the highlights of our one month trip there. Next time we will scape the tourist routes and avoid as much as possible the open bus tickets to come closer to the real life in Vietnam.

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    To end this post and as a way to make a little joke –with our full respect to the vietnamese culture and traditions- we would like to share our thoughts about the similarities between north vietnamese -concretely Hanoi- and valencian people. While we have “Las Fallas” festival in our city, which means fire and noise everywhere, the streets in Hanoi are extremely noisy and people burn paper made representations of material objects -cars, motorbikes, clothes, watches, jewlery and money, USD being the most popular- in the streets every evening. These are offerings for their ancestors to have in “the other life”and have become one of the most succesful business in the city, as it happens in Valencia… Who is copying who?

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  • Change of plans, our first flight within Asia

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    A couple of days before our vietnamese tourist visa expired we had to face a difficult decission which would affect the philosophy of our trip and consecuently our trip itself. We had two options: whether cross the north of Laos in order to come back to Thailand again by land, or take a plain and make the whole thing easier for one time. The first option was our starting plan. We always had thought of keeping our feet close to the earth, so that we are able to diggest the differences between countries, cultures and landscapes. We have always had enough time to do it this way too. The second option, the one with a plane involved, had been a temptation before since one can travel fast and easy between two points in a matter of hours, not weeks. We did the usual research –internet, travel agencies, other travellers…- and finally decided that we were flying this time.

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    On one side of the balance was our desire to come back to Laos and visit the north of the country, which we were not able to visit on our prior trip because of our camera problem. Crossing the border by land would have been paying 60 USD for a 30 days visa plus the usual problems and delays of any trip in Laos. On the other side of the balance was our desire to finally visit the south of Thailand, the beaches, the islands… and their laid back atmosphere, all this for just a mouse click and 70 USD. So, it was difficult, but we finally took a decission. We booked our flight from Hanoi to Bangkok with Air Asia –a low fare airline- and it only took us 2 hours to be back in our preferred asian metropole, nice and easy!

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