this is the archive for the ‘traveling’ category:


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!

algar do carvão

and speaking of volcanoes, we went inside of one! well, sort of — it’s more like a “lava tube”, which is what happens when lava tries to escape not from the top of the volcano but from a lateral vent. the entrance through a low-ceiling tunnel was a bit claustrophobic for me… but well worth the discomfort as the interior was interesting!

you go down through a series of steps, marveling at the vegetation dripping with all the humidity of the overhead fogs…

deep down, a lake was formed with all the rainwater, which also creates white silica-rich stalactites. my photos are crap, but the boy shot this video which does a better job of showing the place:

and in the end, someone in our group even bought the cup:

i’ve been inside a volcano, it says — true story! :D