Read more about the article Tenerife – Spain
Tenerife - Spain

Tenerife – Spain

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The Island of Eternal Spring

A second time in this beautiful island, or should I say “small continent”. While back in 2013 we came here for a little longer than this time, on this occasion we spent the time to see what we did not visit the last time, which was pretty much along the west coast of the island and the northern tip Anaga Natural Park. The weather could not be better, but you need to think before coming to Tenerife if what you want is sightseeing or relaxing at the resorts and beaches. If the first, then it’s totally OK to get here for just a weekend as you can tour the entire island within the time, but if the later, then consider getting a week minimum.

In our case and as you already know by now, the first option applies. And since the island is not so big (still, it is the largest in the Canary Islands), the best and most relaxing way to explore every corner is by renting a car. If you don’t want to drive or hold a driving license, don’t worry, frequent buses take tourists to the Teide National Park and Volcano base which is the most important sight and likely to be one of the main reasons why to came to the island other than for its great weather all year round.

Santa Cruz itself is not too impressive compared to neighbouring San Cristobal de la Laguna; still, you will find very beautiful and traditional streets, old churches or the main square, Plaza de Espana, with it’s large fountain pools. For such a small city it is surprising to find out how many projects have been carried out by top class architects, being the latest its new waterfront and the ongoing construction of new apartment towers. (more…)

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Read more about the article Pacaya Volcano – Guatemala
Pacaya Volcano - Guatemala

Pacaya Volcano – Guatemala

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One of the most active volcano in Guatemala

Once again, at the beginning of another tour. 3 weeks holidays through 5 countries in Central America. While we arrived into Guatemala City the day before, the reason for returning to Guatemala was not just by coincidence but on purpose. The last time we were here was 2 years ago and we wanted to visit the Pacaya Volcano. Said to be the most active in the country. But due to time constraints we could not manage to get any spare time to do so. Of course in any case, just a volcano is not major reason to decide by all means having to arrive here. The second reason, and major one, was to be able to get to the Maya city of Copan just across the border from Guatemala to Honduras. Since flying into Honduras was not optional at all, Guatemala City was the best choice for the reasons above and for the great air fare deal with Iberia.

Only a quick note here as I will further expand in the next travelguide, Copan was one of the four Maya capitals, being the others Tikal (in Guatemala), Palenque and Calakmul (in Mexico). Having been already in Tikal, and Copan on this trip, the remaining 2 as of today are highly on the scope to be the next candidates soon.

Somehow in the other hand, putting aside how many sights Guatemala has across its land, it is one of the countries I feel quite confident and good. The people, the food, the beauty. All adds up even though it is not one of the safest place to be. At least Guatemala City is not somewhere you can stroll as you would do anywhere in Europe without worry, nor you would once it gets dark. Yet in any case comparing the latest visit with the one 2 years back, the improvements in every sense are very obvious. Better infrastructure, ongoing construction and overall increase in wealth. (more…)

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Read more about the article Mount Ijen – Indonesia
Mount Ijen - Indonesia

Mount Ijen – Indonesia

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The blue lava volcano

The most unexpected trip we could ever have imagined we would be doing. And all it happened while having a chat with out driver we got to show us everywhere in Bali island, where the subject of blue lava came as a thread. I must be honest in saying I’ve never ever heard about this to be real or that any place in the world would exist with this but hey! The surprise kept us on a high knowing we were in fact not that far from one of the only 2 places in the world with blue lava! Yet things get even more thrilling after learning Mount Ijen is in fact, the only accessible of them 2. Merely for information, the other such volcano is in Iceland and it is inaccessible.

Giving up the splendid beach and pool at the resort we stayed in Bali was hard and kept us thinking if we should go ahead in doing this trip or not. Once I keep telling you then you will know why. This was not just getting there at any time and that’s all, but instead it required travelling in the night, and spend the entire night awake, hiking at terribly unsocial odd hours in the middle of the pitch black night. Then after sunrise, thinking on the same way back with a much longer driving time due to the heavier traffic. It took almost 24 hours since we were picked at the hotel and until we were dropped off.

Now if you ask me if the terrible tiredness, and extreme danger we were constantly when hiking up and down to the caldera of the volcano, I can tell you YES! Do it. Never think twice or you will regret not doing this. It is something so unique you might never have another chance in your lifetime, unless you travel back here on purpose. (more…)

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Read more about the article Bromo Tengger Semeru – Indonesia
Bromo Tengger Semeru - Indonesia

Bromo Tengger Semeru – Indonesia

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The most active volcano in Indonesia

Here we are on the last stop while in Java before leaving to the island of Bali, visiting this spectacular national park. Never before we’ve come across a place where to see such impressive volcanoes and so many on a birds eye view, with 2 of them active. Not even in Central America we’ve seen it this way, only coming close Guatemala with Lake Atitlan with the view of 3 at once. The most active in the whole of Indonesia, Mount Semeru, meaning Great Mountain, is like a Swiss clock and every 20 minutes or so it releases a cloud of steam and smoke. Mount Bromo, in the other hand, is constantly releasing a white cloud of smoke. Just for the fact of having such incredible view in front of you is quite unique hence why such a great tourist attraction not only in the region but the entire country with so many national and foreign tourists coming to admire.

Basically, take any Indonesia travel brochure and you will see a picture of this place. Another of the must do in the “list of places to visit before you die”. No wonder why. It really paid off all the hassle we experienced to get here to the point I would not mind in doing it all again to see it one more time.

Unfortunately getting here from Surabaya is not an easy nor fast task. If you decide to go on the cheap, then your only option is by bus and will set you up to at least 4 hours per way. In the other hand, the best you can do is to rent a car with a driver. This is what we did and worked perfectly! Not only that saved us plenty of time, we also arrived in great comfort and secured, while the driver waited for us as much time as we needed there. Please ask me if you need the contact of the driver who took us there or drop me a comment in this post and will provide the details to you; he is more than happy to have as many recommendations as possible since after all, this is his job.

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Read more about the article Taal Volcano – Philippines
Taal Volcano - Philippines

Taal Volcano – Philippines

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The Smallest Active Volcano in the World

At just 7 hours after returning from Taipei back into Manila, our last day in the Philippines would become a special surprise thanks to our Philippine friends who planned this day on our backs and told us just once we were about to take the plane into Manila the night before. The magnificent Taal Volcano National Park. What best way to end this great trip than spending the last day with them and enjoying these marvellous landscapes and nature merely 2 hours south of Manila.

The heat again played against us, although I keep saying that I totally don’t mind the heat, but mind the cold. We were anyway lucky towards the afternoon, with the refreshing thunderstorm out of the sudden. Quite unexpected, but kept the rest of the day under clouds and fresh air. This is part of the magic in here, the unexpected. And not precisely talking about rain, but how about a volcanic eruption? Mind that this is one of the most active in the world, and as recent as early 2020 it has put the area on a stand-still once again.

Reaching this place is really straightforward and comfortable. For at least half of the way there is a good motorway where you need to pay several times for tolls along the way, while for the remaining of the journey this will be a single lane road in each direction. With just some traffic near one mall you will pass along the way, there seems to be no complication at all. (more…)

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Read more about the article Ercolano – Italy
Ercolano - Italy

Ercolano – Italy

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Named after the Greek Hero Hercules

On our second part of this trip and in the same day after the Roman villas of Stabiae and Oplontis, we visit the major highlight, the ancient city of Ercolano. Second in size after Pompeii, but way different to this in the sense of how incredibly well preserved everything stood after the 79AD Mount Vesuvius eruption. Unfortunately only 1/4 of the total city has been excavated, while the remaining of the city might never been uncovered. The new city of Herculaneum was built on top of the ancient. Back then they even did not even know what was below ground, but the over construction covered most of the former city limits which lie well below the current street level.

I cannot say that I like one or the other more. Both compliment each other. While in Pompeii you do not have such great paintings and large villas, or so incredibly well preserved thermaes; you have in the other hand the complete area of the forum, theatre and coliseum, something that is completely buried under the new city in Herculaneum.

What is best on this place, the lack of mass tourism. In Pompeii expect hordes of tourists, but here in Ercolano you will be happy to enjoy the city mostly to yourself, but of course, mind that during the high season months there will be lots of people but nothing to compare with overcrowded Pompeii.


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Read more about the article Panajachel and Lake Atitlan – Guatemala
Panajachel and Lake Atitlan - Guatemala

Panajachel and Lake Atitlan – Guatemala

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The Deepest Lake in Central America

Our last day in Guatemala would also be a very busy one. Visiting this beautiful region of Lake Atitlan and Panajachel, west of Guatemala City and Antigua, not only for the landscapes, countless volcanoes and jungle vegetation all around, but for what has been described as the most beautiful lake in the world. It is already an astonishing sight is to see a huge volcano; but having the chance to see three at once at the same time and the crystalline waters of the lake on the foreground and reflection is quite unique.

Surprisingly the whole area around the lake is very popular with hippy and backpacker tourism in search of tranquility and meditation. We did not expect this at all; this is not a cheap place if compared to elsewhere in Guatemala, but yes, after visiting few villages we came to the same conclusion, this is not the sort of place we would consider at all to stay longer than for a day visit.

Prices and quality of everything is nonsense, quite a rip off. Unfortunately the majority of tourists were Americans and they tend not to bargain at all and pay for the prices they get quoted at first, spoiling the right way of doing things hence locals expect from every tourist the same. Well not with us, believe me; fortunately me, speaking Spanish, could solve this by lowering to more acceptable prices, and even better quality. Speaking Spanish is always a great plus anywhere in Latin America. (more…)

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Read more about the article Pompeii – Italy
Pompeii - Italy

Pompeii – Italy

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Frozen in time and forever since 79 AD

Visiting Naples for the first time? Then chances you will be coming to Pompeii are high. This was our actual case, not only was the first time travelling to Naples (which nowadays we can count at least 5 more), but the entire trip had to be planned to include this stunning archaeological site. And to know that there are so many other Roman cities, islands such as Capri, the amazing Amalfi and Sorrentine Coasts or the impressive sites of ancient Magna Graecia at Paestum and countless more, then it is certain hard to even get tired of visiting what is to my taste, one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Italy, Naples.

It is hard to even say something about Pompeii, where time simply stood still for 2000 years. After having visited some other ancient civilizations masterpieces such as Petra in Jordan, Athens Acropolis in Greece or Rome, the capital of the vast empire than once was; coming here was as exciting as for any of the others with the difference that this time we knew we would get to see how a Roman city really was, with all the infrastructure almost in perfect condition; palaces, temples, houses, baths, bars, shops, brothels; including original graffiti on the walls from that era; all there frozen in time after Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD.

Although Pompeii was not the only city to be buried. It was certainly the most affected in the sense that the amount of super heated pyroclastics felt too abruptly destroying the roofs and upper levels of almost every house in the fraction of few second; but this did not happen at nearby Ercolano and Stabiae, hence why you get to see almost complete houses and palaces with great paintings still decorating every wall at the others but very little of that here in Pompeii even though it was the largest city in the area. Everything completely disappeared after the eruption until its rediscovery and excavation, which it is still ongoing and will last for decades to come.


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