this is the archive for the ‘traveling’ category:


riding a scooter

“seriously ana… did you do nothing but eat in thailand?!”

pretty much — but let’s give it a break and talk about something else for a change. in between meals, temple-hopping and other shenanigans, i discovered my love for riding on the back of a scooter!

these were practically the only way to cheaply move around the island (€5/day, gas not included), so we decided to give a try, and lo and behold, it was a blast. the first rides were scary, sure, holding onto the boy for dear life… but the strangeness of it quickly gave way to delight as we zoomed around with our friends. after a few rides, i could already navigate with one hand while taking pictures with the other! :D here’s a 10 second clip from the gopro:

the village roads are chaotic, with people and traffic coming in from all sides, but my favourites were the small roads between the coconut plantations, where water buffaloes grazed and birds did their thing.

the videos do a poor work of showing the pure joy that was riding then, and we found ourselves making excuses to ride just a bit more each day. i even (briefly) considered getting an electric vespa for our trips to the butcher or into town back home… but the traffic on the 125 is still way too scary for me to venture out like that. well, who knows — maybe someday! :)

jetlag

i don’t remember the last time we did a trip far away enough to justify having jetlag, but i definitely has it. luckily, tim hortons is here to help…

…because we’re in canada! :D it’s been over 10 years since the last time we were in north america, but things still have the same familiar feel. like walking down a movie set, we recognize their cemented driveways and big houses, the restaurant chains and the easy greetings of the people that we meet. i can’t wait to get out and explore… but first, coffee.

walking on history XVI: expo 92

same, same… but different.

swapping homes

have you ever seen the movie “the holiday“? in it, two women swap their houses in LA and the UK during the christmas holiday… and naturally end up getting into lots of adventures.

for me, the movie nothing short of a revelation. i liked the idea of home-swapping so much that we quickly signed up for one of the websites and have not looked back since! :) i love traveling and experiencing cultures from within, and having a fully-equipped house in the destination is the best way to experience life without the sterility of an hotel room.

as much as we love traveling, we would not be able to afford all these extended trips without house swaps. if the biggest expenses in a trip are usually accommodation and eating, the first is taken care of when you swap your home for someone else’s, and the second gets easier with a kitchen available — especially when you’re traveling on a budget. we can cook at “home” now and then, work and relax without worrying about keeping our stuff in a safe or getting kicked out by the cleaning service.

sometimes people ask us whether we feel ok letting strangers into our house… and after a few times, it’s actually not as scary as you’d think. we don’t have fancy china or designer couches — it’s all straight from ikea, and thus easily washable and replaceable. in 11 swaps, we’ve lost the lid of a coffee grinder.

one of the unexpectedly nice parts about it is definitely the books! you get to peruse someone else’s bookshelves, maybe even pick up a few books to read — it’s wonderful. in the pictures, you can see three different bookshelves from three different homes we stayed in, all stocked with interesting reads.

it’s not something for everyone, but i can’t recommend it heartily enough!

volcanic pools!

are you tired of volcanic stuff yet? i promise, this is the last one for a while! :)

these are the natural pools in biscoitos, a funny-named town on the north side of terceira island. they’re volcanic in origin, but not heated by volcanic activity like hot pots. pools were formed as old lava flows cooled off when hitting the sea, the spaces between the rocks getting filled with seawater. add a few platforms and stairs, and now you can swim or sunbathe here.

the basalt rocks absorb a lot of heat actually, so standing next to them becomes hard on a sunny day, gently nudging you to take a dip. surprisingly, the ocean in azores is not that cold either, because of the north atlantic drift bringing all that tropical water north… so of course we had to dip our toes in it. it felt wonderful after all that hiking.

when your feet are fresh enough, grab a donete from a nearby stall and you’re all set for the next hike!