Aug 172017
 

At the moment of writing I'm sitting in the hotel lobby in a 5 star hotel in Sharm El sheik, and smoking hookah(shisha) While enjoying the atmosphere of the place. there is a deliciously cool wind from the aircondition, While outside there is 33C and sunny in the deserts outside. This is my 7 th time in Egypt, so I feel like a pretty experienced tourist in this place! , and thought i should share some important information.

Why go to Egypt ?
Egypt has everything one can wish for; just relaxing in the Sun for a week or two, or have an adventure holiday, or indulge in culture and history. Egypt can even be a place to party for young adults, but this only works in the Red Sea towns of Hurghada or Sharm el Sheik.

Diving in the Red Sea

The alternative to Egypt for most will be different destinations in Greece, Italy, Spain, and the Islands outside of Spain – Mallorca,Tenerife and Lanzarote.
What Egypt can offer as these do not have is;
– a significantly lower price level on most of the food,drinks and sightseeing.
– The Red Sea with its beautiful coral reefs and amazing colourful fish,Turtles and sharks(nice ones)

– Warmer temperatures all year round, more sunny days, and more stable weather in General. The most popular destinations is Sharm and Hurghada, and these towns are in the middle of a desert, so it's almost always sunny. Sometimes a bit windy, but never storms/Hurricanes.

hit the Bedouins!


– a completely different culture; different food,traditions,architecture,water pipe/Arabic coffee history. Leave Europe/US for a completely different experience!.
– Ancient history – In Egypt, one has the opportunity to visit the wonderful pyramids, see the mummies and the sarcophagi in the large Museum in Cairo, and take a cruise along the Nile and visit the Valley of Kings and Queens in Luxor and Aswan.

 

When is the best time to go to Egypt ?
Best time is in the spring or fall. The summer is also good, but may be too hot FOR most people, and in addition most countries in Europe have nice weather in the summer, so no need to escape to warmer places. November to February can be a little colder, but mostly temperatures are around 20 C . December has a lot of rain, so it's probably the worst month to go. July to November has the highest sea temperatures (26-29 C ) so is good for scubadivers. I dived without a wetsuit in september 2016, but in April 2017 It was approximately 5 C lower temperature in the water at that time.

 

How to get to Egypt ?

From Norway there is only one operator that organizes trips from Oslo Gardermoen – Amisol travels. They usually charter aircraft from Air Cairo. This company is very unreliable. The last 4 Amisol planes I have taken have all been delayed by +/- 2 hours. As long as you know that delays are to be expected it is`nt quite as bad, you just have to plan accordingly.
You can get last minute tickets very cheap; You can get both flight and a perfectly OK hotel for about 2000kroner(200€). . 3-4000 one can usually find 5 star hotel with all-inclusive.
Is there any point in paying extra for All-inclusive? – NO. Most people will be away from the hotel during the daytime, and even if you are just hanging out in the hotel all day you can get a good meal for 30-50 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", and a beer for about 20kroner.

It is also possible to book a flight to Cairo or Sharm from Oslo with Air Cairo, but this will usually cost more than what you pay for a charter journey that include hotel.

Activities:

Diving/snorkeling and water sports

The reason why I've travelled so much to Egypt is that I'm a scubadiving fanatic. Since the first time I popped my head under water in the Red Sea in 2003 I've just kept going back. Egypt is the closest place to Europe where you can dive in tropical waters. 5 hours flight is much better than 14-15 hours to get to Asia or the Caribbean, or 20 hours to Australia.

goldfish on coral

The best places to stay by the Red Sea is Dahab, Sharm El Sheik, or Hurghada (or El Gouna). Dahab is more for the younger travellers/backpackers and bohemians, While the other places are mostly for package tourists.
Egypt is currently the cheapest place in the world to scubadive. For about 200-250 kroner(40$), you get a full day on the boat with 2-3 dives included. snorkeling is about the same price since you go with the same boats and get the same food.
I am shocked to see how much of the coral reef that hasdied/disappeared only in the last 5-10 years, but it's still amazingly nice, with lots of marine life. One can see turtles, sharks(White tip and hammerhead), rays and mantas, tuna and napoleonsfisk, and much more fun.

the turtle

Other water sports on offer is water skiing, bananaboat, glass-bottom boats, stupid tourist vikingship with technomusic, Parasailing etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Culture

The Valley of the kings

From Hurghada you can easily arrange a trip to the Nile – Luxor and Aswan. I would highly recommended it. Valley of the Kings is a wonderful place where you can get a great impression of the ancient Egyptian civilization. There, one can see the characteristic wall paintings, mummies, and lots of nice ruins.

It is also very fun to rent a sailboat on the Nile. There is some very distinctive boats called Faluka. I hired my own captain to sail me around for very low price.

The pyramids: From both Hurghada and Sharm you can take on the org

Sphinx

aniserte tours to see the pyramids in Cairo. It is quite a long distance to travel by bus (8-10 hours) , so it is easier to fly. It is much more expensive, but is worth it to see one of the world's seven wonders. You should check the security situation before you travel, as Giza and Cairo, at times, may be unstable.

 

 

 

 

Other:

There are a ton of other activities in these areas, but most noteworthy are the quadbike excursions, visit to Bedouin families, and desert safaris. Many also offers camel riding; that can be fun for those who have not done it before.

tourist camel

The Sinai Peninsula is in general not safe, but Sharm is safe. Some of these excursions go to the desert around Sharm, so may be a good idea to check with the operator first, that it is safe.

 

Partying

Naama Bay in sharm is “Neon heaven”. It is a chaotic scene; Typical Arab Coffee store on one side of the street, and massive discos and clubs on the other side. Loud music, dancing in the streets, Egyptians coming at you from all sides to sell drugs,or trying to convince you to enter their club.

Naama bay nightlife


Hurghada is much the same, but not quite as crowded. Dahab is more chillout, a lot of young independent travellers, a lot of weed. And a handful of clubs with high partyfactor.
There are all types of alcohol, all of them inexpensive. You can get pretty drunk for 100 Norwegian kroner(14$) ".
The night I went out to party in Naama Bay i experienced that there was about 20 men per 1 Lady, most of them locals. I don`t know how Egypt is for female travelers, but I imagine they might get more attention than desirable, especially if the locals are as intense with their sexual advances as they are when trying to sell stuff. I was there once with a girlfriend, and the second I left her 5 minutes to go to the bathroom, several egyptians tried hitting her up, even though they knew we were together. Luckily I came back before she joined them(unfaithful woman).

Security

Many people in Norway feel it is unsafe about going to Egypt. There used to be many Norwegian tourists, but now there is mostly just Russians there. There is a Norwegian aircraft once weekly(Amisol) with a capacity of 145 tourists, but is usually only around 100 people on this. As long as you take precautions, pay attention to the updated political situation, and check the recent travel advice for Egypt then you should be safe . You have to expect to be cheated. Here's more about security

 

Egypt in a nutshell: Hot, beautiful underwater life, generally friendly people, cheap, and safe

 Posted by at 11:39 in the morning
Jan 162017
 

After the revolution in 2012 the tourism in Egypt has never quite picked up again. There has been, and there still is much unrest in parts of Egypt. But the vast majority of Egyptians are quiet and friendly people, who welcomes tourists and the dollars they bring. Almost 900 000 britter visited Egypt in 2015, all without any bigger problems.

I went from Oslo to Egypt with a charter company in september 2016, and again now in April 2017. In september got me and a buddy flights and a week at the hotel for a little over 2000 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", While in April I paid 3000, but then got a much nicer hotel (5 stars). This had probably not been possible on demand on travelling to Egypt had been a bit higher. The plane was not even half-full, so both me and buddy could stay on top of 3 seats to sleep, and I experienced the exact same thing in april 2017.

Hurghada streets

Hurghada streets

We stayed at a hotel right in the Centre of Hurghada. Here we wandered around as we would without that we at no time feared for safety. Even on the evening/night so it was well lit, and the only ones who contacted us were Egyptians who tried to sell various it's plastic. There will always be lots of people crying out for you on the street, which can be annoying, but absolutely no security problem.
We saw very few other Western tourists, but all the hotels were full of Egyptian tourists.
There are other parts of Hurghada where there are more large hotels, and all-inclusive resorts. That's where most Western tourists live, But if you choose the cheapest hotels, so is the more spread.
The next trip to Egypt was Sharm El Sheik, There was some more tourists, but mostly just Russians and Ukrainians.

The Sinai Peninsula is generally regarded as unsafe. It is because there are many Muslim terrorist groups where. In October 2015 It was a flight from Sharm El Sheik that crashed. Authorities concluded that it was terror. After that so it has been very limited with the aircraft that go to Sharm. Many of the charter companies stopped the offer thereof.
vlcsnap-2017-04-22-13h15m36s805
Travel advice from the British Government warned the e period against flying to Sharm, but said that it was perfectly fine to go there. Update now in 2017 is that it is no problem to fly there anymore. Another option is to fly to Hurghada and take the boat over the fjord. I have even made, and it went very smoothly. There is a lot of security around and in Sharm. . 3 months ago (January 2017) was the airport at Sharm recommenced for tourists. I was instantly to buy ticket. This is a great time to travel on; both aircraft,Hotel and scuba diving are bunnpris. I got day trips on the ocean with 2 dives and all food including, for 200 dollars the day!

cheap diving

cheap diving


The travel advice also warns against to go to all of Western Egypt, that is, everything that is to the West of the Nile. It is not very much to see there anyway. The tourist area around the Nile, that includes the cities of Luxor and Aswan, is not dangerous to go to. Where have you very much nice ruins, pyramids, sarcophagi and amazing archaeological wonders. The Valley of the King and the valley of the queens are worth to get with them.
Water pipe and hummus !

Water pipe and hummus !


It is also worth to take a sailing on the Nile, It is a very nice experience.
This can actually be organized from Hurghada for a very cheap price. The bus ride is about 4-5 hours.
Luxury on sale

Luxury on sale

There is no specific travel advice against Cairo. As a tourist is the only reason to travel there to see nasjonalmuseumet and the pyramids. This can also be done organized from Hurghada. Cairo is a city with over 20 million people, so one must of course take precautions when visiting such a metropolis. There are many areas one should not move around in at night.

There is a lot of political protests in Egypt. By all means avoid large crowds like this. Many criminals see this as an opportunity to Rob/attack/rape of tourists.

 Posted by at 11:54 in the morning
Apr 202016
 

Now that the weather is getting brighter, and hotter our moods also start improving. Here are some videos that will give you the proper “feelgood sensation”, and that gives the urge to enjoy happy summer days, to travel, or simply to break out of the everyday grind. Here is a selection of some of the songs and video that provides that good feeling!!

Remember to enable HD for good quality

10. Klingande – jublande
very chill song. A beautiful and pleasant voice, and a video that gives the good summer feeling. Lots of pretty people climbing trees and such; What's not to like about this!!

 

9.Groove armada my friend
This is the classic theme which many certainly recognize themselves in; Back in the Office after a tropical holiday of partying and fun; a real anticlimax, but this song is not anticlimax!

8.Eric Prydz – Call on me
This is an immortal classic. Both the song and the video will make it impossible for you not to feel good. The facial expressions of the ladies is reason enough in itself to see this video. Also, check out Eric Prydz- Pjano – one of the best songs ever made, in my opinion.

7. SUPERSTITION – STEVIE WONDER
A classic song accompanied with a video from the 70 's soul train. Look at those guys dance!! Impossible not to be happy after watching this video.

 

6.Michael Gray – The Weekend
Yet another office-related video. Lots of pretty Office ladies dancing around a copy machine while they wait for the weekend. We can probably all relate to that scenario.

 

5.Robin Schulz – Sugar
A brilliant song by a brilliant video! Police officer who is bored at work, and decides to to break out of the everyday stress and bustle by showering a bit in the car wash and trash his car.

 

4.Sigala – Sweet Lovin’
Both the song and video get 10 of 10 for the feelgood factor. Very suitable summer song. I never get tired of the scene with the blonde lady walking 360 degrees around her head that is on the ground….bloody hell!

 

3.Avicii – Levels
A song that never gets old. Here we have a proper Office-rat who suddenly get a rush of extreme rhythm that infects the rest of the business landscape and the hospital staff.

 

2. Duke Dumont – I Got U
This video gives a glimpse of the future; instead of just dreaming away inside your mind you`ll put on some VR goggles, and go off to Thailand to ride elephants(not recommended!), swimming on coral reefs and making out with cute, young ladies. Lucky nerd.

 

1. Avicii vs Nicky Romero – I Could Be The One
Another person dreaming her way out of the Office. This chick goes mad!. Amazing video, and awesome song!

 

1.Sigma – Nobody To Love
This is a video that really makes you wanna go on a roadtrip, preferably 2 gorgeous bikinimodels rolling in the sand. Recorded in beautiful South Africa, where I went on a roadtrip a few years ago myself. Lovely song.

 

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Dec 202015
 

Along with my new Salvadoran friend Julio, and the American girls, I had made lots of plans to drive around the rest of El Salvador to see various beautiful places, but it fell slightly apart as Julio had some problems with the car.. We were sitting for half the day at the hostel in San Salvador before Julio came along with another car that he had borrowed. So then we were ready for our El Salvadorian roadtrip !

Salvadorian breakfast

Salvadorian breakfast

It was so late in the afternoon,and since it gets dark at five, we just had to drive right down to the coast to a surf beach called El Tunco. El Tunco was another night of partying with hipster-surfers.

ME and my new friends

ME and my new friends

The morning after we finally got on the road. We went to a volcanic crater lake called Lago Coatapeque.

by a nice volcanic lake

by a nice volcanic lake

When we finally got down to the lake(after almost wrecking the car on the terrible road) we rented a boat with skipper to take us round on the lake. It was very beautiful there, and the water kept a steady 30 degrees.

On the road to the Lake

On the road to the Lake

After that we wanted to see a place called 'ruta de flores " – The flower road - one of the nicest areas in the country. It is a series of small villages high up in the mountains, surrounded by volcanoes on all sides,and coffee plantations, and of course a lot of flowers.

 roadtrip(I`m Mr.crazy)

roadtrip(I`m Mr.crazy)

We came there just as darkness began to creep in, so did not get to see much of the area. We came to a small town called Jujaya. Jujaya has a very nice local food market on weekends with many Salvadoran favorites. We ate at a very famous(locally) steak restaurant. Since we were in the coffee district I could not help myself when I found sirloin with coffee sauce on the menu. It tasted amazing,as good as any sirloin I ever had.!

Coffee steak

Coffee steak

When we sat there the electricity went out, and everything became dark. We heard various fearful screams from the street. I was thinking that now there is surely full anarchy with robbers and other villains sneaking around in the dark. When traveling in El Salvador you constantly have safety in your mind, since it is rated as one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
The light eventually came back, and I reckon that that screaming were just kids playing around.
It was very cold up there in the mountains, and I was, in my usual spirit of poor planning, Only wearing a tiny singlet and shorts. Despite this, I took a spontaneous decision to find a place to stay for the night so that I could see more of Ruta de Flores the next day.
My luggage and all my stuff was left in El Tunco, and my friends went back to San Salvador. So there I was in a strange village in the mountains, naked(almost) and alone.

In Ataco along with Canader

In Ataco along with Canader

Next day I took the local buses between the different small villages, and visited a local coffee plantation and distillery.

Coffee my guide!

Coffee my guide!

There I had a private guide who took me through all the steps in the refining of coffee beans, and I got to sample some of the wonderful freshly brewed coffees, everything to the price of 40 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", about the same as you would pay for a cup of coffee in Norway.

The villages were very beautiful, sleepy little places inbetween mountains, each with its own charm.
When I got back to my own village I had planned to go check out some nice waterfalls that were in the woods outside of the village. I found that I had no time for that since I had to catch a bus to the beaches.

Sinnatagg on Ruta Flores

Sinnatagg on Ruta Flores

It worked out for the best,really. My new Canadian friend told me later that 2 other tourists from the same hostel had gone there at the same time, and they were robbed by a nervous guy with a big machete. I was actually constantly mentally prepared to be robbed, but I think it was nice that I avoided it that day.

My journey towards the beach was probably even more dangerous than it had been to get robbed. The driver of the ancient schoolbus speed up downhill as if there was no tomorrow. There was no question of slowing down when approaching a turn, then it was full on pedal to the metal. Had there been any cars around the corner, we had been pretty fucked. Ironically, he had more than enough time when he stopped in villages along the way, Then he would talk as long as possible with various buddies, even stopping for some food here and there.
I got safely(but not comfortably) to the beach after 5 hours in purgatory. I was stupid enough to buy a newspaper the next day. There I found out that another bus had crashed in the same area the same day.

The default transport El Salvador

The default transport El Salvador

In total 8 people died. I also read that there had been a massacre of 4 youths in the city which was located right next to the beach where I lived. It is not an unusual event in a country where there are over 50 murders daily, but I never felt unsafe. Most of these murders are gang members, or business owners who do not pay "tax" to the gangs.

El Tunco was a decent and safe place to stay. There was a blissful mix of Salvadorians and backpackers. Most of the backpackers there were classic surfbums from Australia and USA.
Of course I had to surf a bit when I was there. From past experience I know that I'm not just some crackerjack, so I decided to take some lessons.
The lessons were not much to brag about. I went to 3 different surf shops where I specifically asked for an instructor that spoke English. I ended up with one that could say "hello" and "goodbye".
But it was fine, as the lesson did not involve much chatter. It was just me on the board, and him pushing me into various waves.
It was not very good, I was unable to catch a single wave, or stand upright. The problem was really that one has to jump up on the board in a jerking motion, without using the knees for support. This was a problem for me since the jerking movements felt painful in the lower back.. Maybe I'm too old for this, most people there were 10 years younger than me!

I rented the board the following day as well, but was having the same problem.

Browsing(1 1seconds)

Browsing(1 1seconds)

In addition, as the waves of El Tunco are very unpredictable. One moment there is hardly movement on the surface, next moment there is a 3 meter high wave coming straight towards me. It was actually quite scary at times . It happened that I saw that a wave was coming, but it was too late to swim against it, and too late to swim away from it, so I was just sitting there waiting to get a hefty beating. I was actually mostly afraid that I would loose my gopro camera, it cost a fortune!.

This video led to this article; http://latincorrespondent.com/2016/01/salvadoran-media-mistakes-English-traveler-for-jason-statham/

When I returned the board they claimed that I had made some dents in it, and wanted $ 30, an average weekly wage, to fix it. I'm pretty sure I was careful with the board, but I just had to pay. Recommendation; Take a picture, and video of the board before you rent !

Post-surf chill

Post-surf chill

The next day I was just sitting eating puposaes and drinking beer by the pool, which is also a pretty rewarding activity when it's nice and sunny.

Puposa is the closest thing to national food in El Salvador. It is very easy, just a tortilla that is embedded with frijoles(beans) and cheese, and may also contain chicken, garlic, mushroom, fish, etc. It is very good and cheap. They sell it everywhere along the street,and the so-called "puposerias».

Ladies who make pupusaer

Ladies who make pupusaer

After a few days I had to move on because I had other places to see. I had to take the bus at 04.40 O`clock to San Salvador, then a new bus until San Pedro Sula In Honduras, and then another bus for the last stretch towards La Ceiba where I planned to take a boat to the islands Utila or Roatan.
It was a little scary to walk around with all my things in the middle of the night, especially since I had heard some loud bangs just before I left the hotel.
I met a solitary policeman on the street. He had a loaded gun in his hand. He assured me that there were no villains nearby, so I strolled further.
17 Hours and a border crossing later, I found myself in a dirty and ugly port city by the name of "La Ceiba".

 Posted by at 12:38 in the morning
Apr 272015
 

I have traveled extensively around the world, and as a tourist there are always hordes of local merchants trying to sell you everything between heaven and earth. Many of my journeys have been long-term travels, where it was not feasible to drag along souvenirs from every town, but in many countries they haggle on even the most elementary necessities.
The more popular tourist destinations, the more vendors(and scammers). Turkey,Egypt and VietNam are among the worst in the world when it comes to haggling.
These guys are experts, it is not possible to win when you haggle with people who work 14 hours a day throughout their lives only to haggle with tourists. It's just a matter of how much you are losing.
But haggling is not just something you do with desperate sellers in tropical countries, it works just as well in Norway, or other western countries. It`s much less common as people there usually have enough money,and are willing to pay what the asking price, but for those who are willing to take a chance there are bargains to be made!.
I don`t buy many things in general,but the 4 last things I bought, I haggled down in price all of them. I bought a diving suit for 7000, when it actually cost 8000, a mobile for 2000, which actually cost 2500, and recently I haggled on a brand new bike model in the beginning of the biking season from 8500 to 8000. This was a bike that had a queue of people who wanted to buy it, but I was the first, and despite all logics they agreed to giving me a discount.
There are some simple rules for negotiating that are easy to follow. ;

Haggling is not only an activity for the Bazaar

Haggling is not only an activity for the Bazaar

 

Have in-debth knowledge of the product, and similar products that you can choose alternatively. Find out what your product,or similar products, costs in other shops in the area. It is clear that if the product is cheaper in another store, you could just buy it in the second store, but sometimes it is not the most practical solution. It can be an online store, or a store located in another city / another part of the country. If there is a similar product in another shop at the same price then you can use that fact as you`re negotiating the price; It has similar specifications, so you would rather go there and buy that product unless you can get a “good deal”.
Be prepared to have to go home without the product, have an idea about how much you are willing to pay,and if there is an option to pay the full price if the negotiations do not lead forward.

 

“Package price”; If you are going to buy more than one thing in the same store then it will very often pay off to ask for a package price. For example, if you are in the electrics shop looking for a new pc, but in addition would like a printer and a modem for your home office. Then you could ask to get it rounded down to the nearest whole sum, like ", 8439 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", What about 8000 Norwegian kroner(14$) "?
Although it looks pretty corny it might actually help to have 8000 in cash and wave them around a bit and say that “We thought the price would be less than 8000, so that's all we brought today”.
I bought recently a bicycle that cost 8000, and after a little haggling I convinced them to include the storage tray,support beam,and mud guards in the price, even though it would cost 5-600 kroner more.

 

Products on exhibition: Many stores sell out exhibition items with significant discounts, just because they have been displayed in the store. These items are usually completely injury-free,but with good prices. As a rule, it's the store that takes initativ to sell these items,but as consumers we can ask to buy the exhibition item at a reduced price, and see if they go along with it. For example; a fancy Flat-screen TV that's on display playing demo-videos. Tell the salesperson that you want to buy just this Tv, but do not have 20000 norwegian kroner today, What if you could get this “weary” display model for 15000 ?? *Twinkle * Twinkle *

It helps to be smart!

It helps to be smart!

 

Do not be arrogant,or expect to get a reduction in price. It helps to “have a twinkle in your eye” and only give a hint like; “is there room for haggling here * * wink wink* *.
If they say no, then it is okay to have a few arguments ready. example; “I have a friend who knows someone who works at the sports shop. He was buying a bike that actually costs 8000 kroners (1100$) for 5500 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", so then it must be possible for me to get it for 7000 Norwegian kroner(14$) " !??”
The store employees in Norway(and other western countries) do not get Commission according to how much they sell,so they usually have no personal gain in "making the deal happen",even if the logic dictates that it is better to sell something at a little reduced price,than for the customer not to purchase the product at all. But even if they do not earn anything on selling stuff, they do have a certain professional pride, and might feel like they are doing a good job if they can convince customers to buy their products.
You will quickly find out how flexible they are to this process. If they reject you flatly without any discussion then it would take a lot to persuade them any further. I was at a game store that sold second-hand games . There they sold a used copy of a game I wanted for 550 Norwegian kroner(14$) ". I pointed out to the people who worked there that this was a ridiculous price,as this game can be purchased for 490 kroner brand new in other stores. I suggested a price of 450 Norwegian kroner(14$) ", which is still too high a price,but at least a little bit cheaper than new. she would`nt even discuss the matter, so I bought it in a different shop brand new,and the store missed out on a good deal on a second-hand game. The game is going to be standing in the store forever because of a ridiculous pricing.

 

The more the thing you buy costs, the more barganing power. When purchasing a car we are in a particularly good position to haggle since many car salesmen get Commission, or bonus, based on the sales figures.In addition,as a rule these guys are “hardcore-salesmen” by nature, and takes pride in the sales figures,so they really want to sell. You can save quite a few thousand dollars by haggling on the price of the new car. Then it helps to have nerves of steel and pretend to be disinterested, no matter how many fancy features the car has, and perhaps also mention that you have seen a car with another car dealership at a lower price,but with many of the same properties. In this case it is important to have done a bit of research before going to the shop, so that you know the selling arguments before you have even seen the car. Knowledge of the product is alpha omega when planning to haggle.
It's a good idea to have a list of current resellers,and ccars that fit your wish-list, so that if there is a seller who is not interested in lowering the price, you always have options.

haggling can save you money!

haggling can save you money!

 

Another area where it really pays off to bargain is with the banks. The banks are thinking only of money, and they have enough financial sense to negotiate with the few customers who dare to try it. Do a search on recent consumer tests that has been done on the loan or deposit interest rate of different banks. If you are going to get a loan with the Bank, then you could tell them that since other banks offer better interest rate conditions you are considering using the other bank,unless the can provide a “good deal”. The same can be done with interest on your deposits. If you have a lot of money in a savings account it is obviously desirable to get Max interest rate. If you already have an account in the Bank that provides the best rate of return, then you don`t have many arguments to mak in a negotiation.. I have my accounts in the Norwegian bank, an dannot bargain as I get the best interest rates ....

Have you ever bargained on something in the industrialized world ??

 Posted by at 7:14 pm
Mar 152015
 

Exploring the elements; a competition for photo bloggers from Thomas Cook.
They want pictures that represent the four elements Fire,water,Earth and air. I have been rummaging through the photo collection from my travels and found these images that fit the descriptions, so here it goes;

Fire – “ Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit

Fire !

Fire !

This picture was taken during a festival on St.Croix where we saw a flame show featuring some American-Caribbean bikini girls. Read more about the experience here

 

 

Earth – “Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity”

Ground

Ground

This is a picture taken in Salento in Colombia. This is the only place where there are some special trees called Wax palms , seen in the background of the image. Read about the experience here

 

. Air:Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom

Air

Air

This picture is from Otavalo in Ecuador. We were at an information center about local birds. I noticed this guy coming towards us.There was also a group of indian children there(see pics later in article). Read more here

 

 

Water – ” Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism”

Water

Water


This is from diving in Koh Lanta,Thailand. See later in article for amazing manta picture.. . !

Thank you Ross from Free your mind travels for nominating me, here are my nominees;

I nominate ;

1. Ingeborg from Hamaca reiseblogg

2. Renate fra Renates reiser

3. Etta from Coffe in a cup>

4. May liss from Malivas world

5. Hanne Marit from sackcloth and sandals

 

 

Here are some of the images that I also wanted to post for this contest;

 

Air;

P1060729

Cable car in Medellin

Cable car in Medellin

 

 

Water:

Water

hot springs in Dominica

Water

Manta i Koh Lanta,Thailand

Water

Hot springs in Roturua,New Zealand

 

 

Ground:

Ku in Martinborough

Ku in Martinborough

Tree in Auckland

Tree in Auckland

Hot springs in Bolivia

Thermal-soil in Bolivia

 

 

Fire;

Sunset in taganga

Sunset in taganga

Bush fire in Colombia

 Posted by at 6:58 pm
Dec 312014
 

Chance would have it that we ended up in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.This was on New Year's Eve in the year that we were travelling the world. We were very careful to keep informed about where in the city is was safe to be. The day was spent walking around the centre of Port of Spain, a not-so-overly-impressive Caribbean “city”. It's a strange culture in that it is a mix between the typical Caribs and Indians. The indians were imported as cheap labor after slavery was banned. The favorite local food in Port of Spain is Indian Roti – a kind of tortilla containing sauce, meat and potatoes.

New Years meal

New Years meal


Torunn enjoying luxury dinner

Torunn enjoying luxury dinner

It was actually our New Years meal – one Roti on the street. It was a totally slightly-below average meal until I actually found pieces of raw chicken inside the tortilla, then it was suddenly a far-below-average meal.

On the evening of New Year's Eve we did`nt really have many plans, but did have the desire to go out and take part in the Trinidadian party scene. We had a litre of Swedish vodka (which cost considerably less than in Sweden), and after some fruity drinks in our room, the party mood came over us. This was a small rebellion after 4 months with only rum and coke.

Carnival ladies in Trinidad

Carnival ladies in Trinidad


Trinidad is generally a dangerous place to be, so we were not really sure if we wanted to walk around in the streets after dark. The guys at the guest house marked some places on the map in the neighbourhood where they told us to stay away from. There was a nearby grave yard where crooks liked to hang out. I said nothing,but thought that we certainly are`nt going to be visiting any graveyards after dark on new years eve anyways...
We did not notice any bad people , even though we walked around the city, even late at night. It is like most cities; one must know where to go, and where it is best to stay away. I think we would have had more trouble if we had gone to the east side of town where the gangs keep shooting at each other.
They do not have much interest shooting at tourists anyway, because we are pretty neutral to their gangs.
We stayed at a pretty good small guesthouse in a quiet section of a township called St.James.

We went out to a party street in Port of Spain and found a crowd in which we subtly blended in.. There was a small pub which had organized a small party. On the way there we were about to go into a different place, but turned back when we found out that it cost money to get in. That was for the best, since we later found out that it was a gay bar.

Fireworks

Fireworks


We continued down the street party, and remained in a fun little bar that was chock full of welldressed locals.
We stood on the curb and partied with the Trinidadians when we noticed that we were standing right next to a cooler with ice, mixer and a bottle of vodka. Some of the locals had brought their own alcohol to avoid having to buy the expensive drinks at the bar. The owner suddenly came over and poured us some drinks, which we took as a sign that maybe he wanted to socialize with us, but he did not seem interested in that either. He just wanted to give some free drinks to strangers. Its not easy to understand the Trinidadians.
At the pub in Port of Spain

At the pub in Port of Spain


So there we stood ,maybe half an hour, and was given drink after drink by a friendly Carib with his own cooler. Had it been legal to bring a cooler with booze to nightclubs in Norway there would have been some seriously wasted people around.

The advantage of spending New Years in the Caribbean is of course that it is always lovely and warm,and if we had been anywhere else than Port of Spai we could have been drinking rum on the beach,as we did on Christmas Eve. Next time we are going to Trinidad and Tobago we will drop Port of spain ,and go straight to the fine beaches in Tobago. Maybe not as much fireworks there, but it actually means nothing to me if I never see another rocket in my life. There are better,and more environmentally friendly, ways to celebrate .

Here's the video from our time in Trinidad and Tobago;

 Posted by at 1:02 pm
Dec 162014
 
MArked og attraksjoner

MArked og attraksjoner

In this period before Christmas I took a trip to London to enjoy this metropol., and then a visit to the Christmas market in Hyde Park mandatory. I've been there a few times in previous years, and have the impression that there has been growing steadily and evenly, and now covers a very large area in central Hyde park.

luxury chocolates

luxury chocolates

The Christmas market is very popular, Thousands of people crowded the streets between all the stalls. There are hundreds of stalls where they sell all sorts of weird stuff, very many homemade and unique things, mostly made by British artists / artists/ artisans.
We ended up buying local cheddar cheese from different regions of England. These were luxurious and expensive cheeses that you won`t find at any store in England, and they tasted wonderful. It was the sort of cheese that one can continue to snack on until you burst.

The Christmas market is also a little mecca for food,but most of what is found there is of the tasty,but unhealthy type. The entire market is set up to mimic the German Christmas markets, in both food,drinks and entertainment.
Bratwurst, people in lederhosen ,and yodeling in the speakers is all a part in establishing this as a Bavarian-inspired event!

the entry to Wonderland

the entry to Wonderland

Another good reason to visit this market is all the places serving beer !. And then I am talking about proper big german-style beers !, none of the 0,4 litre-nonsense that they serve in Norway. They also serve hot drinks,with alcohol,and without. Mulled wine is a common favorite on cold winter days. It's almost the same as the norwegian drink "Gløgg", only with more focus on wine,spices and raisins, and less sugary than "gløgg". All the pubs are obviously German, with associated oompah-Lompa music.

Christmas market just opening for the public!

Christmas market just opening for the public!

This year it has been unusually warm in London throughout November /December. This is obviously true for all countries of the world, as the global warming finally is revealing its ugly face to those who doubt it..

In any case , we did`nt get as much Christmas feeling this year compared to previous years when we've been there. Gray weather and heavy rain simply does`nt give the same christmas-feeling as frost and snow, Like there has been all previous years that I visited this market. The market is called “Winter wonderland !” !

The market in Hyde park is more than just a market, it is an amusement park as well !

walking through Hyde park

walking through Hyde park

it was quite impressive to see how many different attractions there is here, everything from teacups and Ferris wheels to the pirate cave and a tower that shoots you 100 metres into the air and back. They also have an ice rink, and acrobatics show.

Here is the official webpage; Winter wonderland

 Posted by at 7:30 pm
Oct 272014
 

Sometimes when traveling around the world you come across a building that is just so immensely ugly that you can`t even take your eyes of it.. There`s only been a handful of times where I've seen buildings that were so ugly that I just HAD to take a picture of them.
In the former communist states there are plenty of sad and depressive building, mostly made of concrete, but the buildings presented here have that extra little x-factor ugliness. Something special,you can belive it. It is usually a combination of misguided architecture together with decay after the ravages of time.
There is only one building that stands out as exceptional,indescribably ugly, and it has also taken a well-deserved first place. The rest of the list is more arbitrary as the ugliness in its truest form can be difficult to judge objectively.

 

 

 

10. Bangkok elephant building, Thailand

Elefantbygg

Elefantbygg

Orginalt concept…but relatively poorly executed

 

 

9. Ho chi minh government building

Government buildings in Ho Chi Minh

Government buildings in Ho Chi Minh

Communism has produced more ugly brick buildings than any other ideology !

 

 

8. Parliament of Romania

Buchuresti palace

Buchuresti palace

This reinforces my previous point. World`s second biggest building after the Pentagon.

 

 

7. first skyscraper in Milan
P1090311
This has a certain historical value, but does`nt exactly do anything for improving the skyline,....

 

6. church in Puerto Limon Costa Rica

Ugly Church

Ugly Church

I have seen many ugly churches, but this one really takes the cake an eats it too

 

5. ugly concrete building Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Port of Spain square house

Port of Spain square house

probalbly one of the ugliest pieces of concrete ever made

 

4. Residential buildings in Vilnius, Lithuania

living habitat in Vilnius

living habitat in Vilnius

I had the dubious honour of staying one night in this house, and can report that the inside is actually worse than the outside.

 

 

3. Random house in northern Montenegro

Montenegro building of sorts

Montenegro building of sorts

Wecame across this on a roadtrip in northern Montenegro. Montenegro is possibly the country in the world where I have seen most ugly buildings.

 

 

2. Ugly building in San Jose,Costa Rica

concrete cube in San Jose

concrete cube in San Jose

I have seen many square brick buildings, But what separates this from the masses of concrete buildings is that ALL the windows are behind bars, and there are NO windows on the side of the building. Must be the world's darkest and most depressing place to work, but I think it is a court/legal building,so those Lawyers and parasites probably embrace the darkness..

concrete cube in San Jose 2

concrete cube in San Jose 2

 

 

 

1. The Pyramid in Tirana,Albania

World's Ugliest pyramid

World's Ugliest pyramid

World's Ugliest pyramide2

World's Ugliest pyramide2



This was so bad that it actually inspired this article. It is so ugly that it's almost magical. It was fortunately a little fun and interactive, it was in fact possible to climb this thing(at your own risk). It was built by the daughter of the dictator Enver Hoxha for whatever reason.

 Posted by at 11:05 in the morning
Aug 142014
 

 

After 10 years as expat and traveler in various countries around the world, I have now started on a new journey – The journey towards reintegration into the country where I was born. I lived for 5 years in Budapest,Hungary where I studied to be a veterinarian,I then lived 4 years at various places in Southern England, but the last 1,5 year I have just been travelling constantly. Everything that has happened in good`ol Norway,Norway, has largely passed me by. All the reality shows, all the new celebrities(including Tone Damli Aberge) I have not experienced. Fair enough, I've kept track on some current events through online newspapers, but I have not cried any tears for all those who had to leave “dancing with celebrities”, nor have I laughed jovially of those cute little girls exhibiting their magic tricks on Norwegian X-Factor.

But now I have for the first time in my 31 year old life started living in an apartment in Norway. Now I actually have to pay for rent as well as for,energy and food costs.  I even have a job,like normal people. I eat brown cheese almost daily.

Luncheon

Luncheon

The thought of boiled eggs without caviar makes me feel a little unwell. I am eating bread for breakfast, and bring packed bread for lunch every day. Grandiosa reminds me of childhood birthday parties. Every time the sun shines I feel an intense urge to go outside to soak up whatever rays of D-vitamin that I can absorb, no matter how cold the air might be. Beer is no longer a drink for Casual enjoyment after work, only for special occasions, and Saturday evenings,otherwise life becomes too expensive. This is the reason why I learned to brew beer as soon as I came back to Norway. I always drink lots of alcohol at home before going out on the town.

17.MORE !

17.MORE !

I celebrated my first 17th of May(important national day) in Norway for very many years in 2014. It was just like I remembered it – lots of people in the streets,russ, costumes, icecream, balloons,russ,bands and parades. It felt quite like the old times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the weekend I go to the cabin with my chick.

hyttekos

hyttekos

There we enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like boardgames,yatzzi and NRK on a small TV with an analog antenna. The water we collect from the bog, and electricity comes from solar panels. We say casually greet our cabin neighbors, and talk about platonic things like weather and water temperatures. We are 2 Norwegians spending time in the woods, where we thrive . It's the weekend and we are charging our batteries for the working week, increasing the morale, all thanks to times spent in nature. We like to go on walks everywhere.We are Norwegian,and we like to go on walks. I am not born with skis(like the rumour about norwegians), but I grew up in a culture where I had to go to cabins in the mountains,cross country skiing, every easter for the first 15 years of my life.

Norwegians like to spend time in nature.  Oslo is probably the capital city in Europe, which has the easiest access to natural areas. Just a quick subway ride and the locals find themselves in Nordmarka, where they can enjoy themselves between pine-forests and small lakes with trout.

Ut på tur!

Ut på tur!

It is the same situation in Norway's second largest city, but first most beautiful city - – Bergen. No matter which district you live in it will not take much effort to to get out in the woods. Even the people living in the centre can get easy access to nature, just visiting Ulrikken or one of the other 5 mountains that surround the city, without too much effort. All cities in Norway are like that. This is an advantage of living in a relatively large country that is relatively sparsely populated. We have considerably more space to enjoy than Great Britain ( 385,178 kmVS 243610 km ) , while we are considerably fewer people (5,1 millions Vs 64 million).

I lived for 4 years in England and I always missed having the closeness to natural scenery that we have in Norway.

The pub in England

The pub in England

There were obviously some nice walks to be had there, but it was always close to, or through, neighbourhoods and populated areas in general.  It took a lot of effort to escape from cars and the civilized world. My favorite part about living in England was the Pub culture. No matter how small the village is, there is always a pub there, and always at affordable beer prices. Now is the time to discover more of my own country! Now is the time for camping trips, bike rides and hikes in the mountains and along the coast.  It is best to enjoy the Norwegian nature before extreme weather and climate change destroy it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 Posted by at 9:09 pm
Jun 172014
 

]On our last trip around the earth we decided to take a picture of what was most important to us-Beer- along with a local motif. In each country we found what we recognize as the most popular beer in the country, and took pictures together with a monument

beer AND CITZEN Itza,Yucatan,Mexico

beer AND CITZEN Itza,Yucatan,Mexico

bEER ON THE BEACH IN Cancun,Mexico

bEER ON THE BEACH IN Cancun,Mexico

Beer in Caye Caulker, Belize

Beer in Caye Caulker, Belize

Budweiser on Miami Beach,USA

Budweiser on Miami Beach,USA

Beer and Jerk Chicken in Negril, Jamaica

Beer and Jerk Chicken in Negril, Jamaica

Beer in Christiansted,St.Croix

Beer in Christiansted,St.Croix

Beer in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beer in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Skol beer at Brimstone Hill Fortress ,St.Kitts

Skol beer at Brimstone Hill Fortress ,St.Kitts

Carib beer in St Kitts and Nevis

Carib beer in St Kitts and Nevis

Øl on the Scaramouche, Carricaou,Grenada

Øl on the Scaramouche, Carricaou,Grenada

Beer in Sosua, the Dominican Republic

Beer in Sosua, the Dominican Republic

Beer at Trafalgar Falls,Dominica

Beer at Trafalgar Falls,Dominica

Beer on a lovely beach in Bequia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines

Beer on a lovely beach in Bequia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines

Beer in Willemstad på Curacao

Beer in Willemstad på Curacao

Beer at carnival in Barranquilla,Colombia

Beer at carnival in Barranquilla,Colombia

Beer in Otavalo, Ecuador

Beer in Otavalo, Ecuador

Beer in Huacachina,Peru

Beer in Huacachina,Peru

Beer in the Atacama desert in Chile

Beer in the Atacama desert in Chile

Beer in San Pedro de Atacama,Chile

Beer in San Pedro de Atacama,Chile

Beer in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Beer in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Beer and Jesus in Rio De Janeiro,Brazil

Beer and Jesus in Rio De Janeiro,Brazil

Beer on Ipanema beach, Rio

Beer on Ipanema beach, Rio[/.

[caption id="attachment_4636" align="aligncenter" width="765"]Torunn resting on a large beer bottle,salt flats, Bolivia Torunn resting on a large beer bottle,salt flats, Bolivia

 

Stig and a Coca-leaf beer in Bolivia

Stig and a Coca-leaf beer in Bolivia

Torunn plunges into beer, Bolivia

Torunn plunges into beer, Bolivia

Torunn lifting a big  beer, Bolivia

Torunn lifting a big beer, Bolivia

Beer on Santa Monica beach, USA

Beer on Santa Monica beach, USA

Local beer on Rarotonga, Cook island

Local beer on Rarotonga, Cook island

Beer ini New Plymouth, New Zealand

Beer ini New Plymouth, New Zealand

Beer in Sydney,Australia

Beer in Sydney,Australia

Beer in Sydney,Australia

Beer in Sydney,Australia

Beer in singapore by Bay harbour marina hotell

Beer in singapore by Bay harbour marina hotell

Beer in Halong bay,Vietnam

Beer in Halong bay,Vietnam

Beer by the great stupa Vientiane, Laos

Beer by the great stupa Vientiane, Laos

Beer outside Ho chi minh,Vietnam

Beer outside Ho chi minh,Vietnam

Beer and Buddha in Thailand

Beer and Buddha in Thailand

Water bottle in Brunei (they do not sell beer there!)

Water bottle in Brunei (they do not sell beer there!)

Beer in Malapascua,filipinene , Tresher shark in the background!

Beer in Malapascua,filipinene , Tresher shark in the background!

Beer In Laos by the Mekong river

Beer In Laos by the Mekong river

Beer in Helsinki,Finland by the Cathedral

Beer in Helsinki,Finland by the Cathedral

Beer by the river in Riga,Latvia

Beer by the river in Riga,Latvia

Beer in Tallinn,Estonia

Beer in Tallinn,Estonia

This is a map of the journey and all the articles from all these beer-drinking countries !

 

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Mar 152014
 

How to travel independently in the Caribbean – Making the impossible possible!

I'm a big fan of the Caribbean. We spent quite a bit of time there, and recently did a 5 5 months island-hopping trip where we visited 22 different islands and 13 Caribbean countries. It is obviously impossible to visit all the islands in the Caribbean as there are more than 7000 islands, but with a little planning it should be possible to visit all the countries in the Caribbean (27) in one trip. For those people who have an unlimited amount of money it is very easy - just fly everywhere and stay in nice hotels, but for those of us on a budget it becomes more challenging. Obviously, this is not an article about package-holidays to the Caribbean as they normally tend do be straight forward, and they do not necessarily have to cost that much. This is advice for people who want to do a trip out of the ordinary. Backpackers(independent travellers) are more or less non-existent in the Caribbean. During 5 months in the Caribbean, we did not meet any other travelers (but we only stayed in a hostel 2 times) other than package tourists and cruise tourists.

All of the Caribbean

All of the Caribbean

How to travel from Europe to the Caribbean? Of course it depends where in the Caribbean you want to begin your trip. The airlines in the Caribbean have 3 main airports which they fly to the islands in the Caribbean from: Miami, San Jose in Puerto Rico and Barbados. If your plan is to go to Cuba it is better to fly there direct, or to fly to Cancun, Mexico and then take a cheap flight to Havana from there.

Fly to the Sun :)

Fly til solen 🙂

Several of the islands in the Caribbean have well-developed charter flight that independent travelers also can use. Search for last minute charter flights, meaning only the flight without the hotel. Do not focus only on Norway (or the country you live in). Search for charter flights to the Caribbean from all over Europe. Flights between countries in Europe are cheap. First find a flight from any country in Europe to Miami or an island in the Caribbean, and then look for cheap tickets to that European country. Check from London. Thomson and First Choice are well-established charter companies that have cheap flights to the Dominican Republic and Cuba and several other islands.

Fly cheap from London to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Aruba, or Mexico:

http://flights.thomson.co.uk/en/destination.html Even if it's only charter travel you are looking for in the first place there can be a lot of potential to save money by traveling from England. The British LOVE charter trips and all-inclusive. Check the website www.onthebeach.com and http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/ for cheap charter flights. We travelled to Cancun via Cuba for around 1600 Norwegian kroner(14$) ". I searched all over Europe and found a plane from Brussels with Jetairfly – https://www.jetairfly.com. They fly to Mexico and Miami. The plane and the service was horrible, but if you are willing to sacrifice comfort for cheap prices then you should be prepared for that. The most affordable planes with regular scheduled flights from Norway fly to Miami where it is possible to find a flight for around 2-3000 Norwegian kroner(14$) ".

How to get between islands in the Caribbean on a Budget?

There are in principle 5 ways to travel between the Caribbean island - scheduled flights, ferries, cruise ships, hitchhiking with sailboats (or commercial boats), or swim (not recommended due to strong currents, sharks, high chance of death and inconvenience with luggage).

.

There are a limited number of airlines operating between the Caribbean islands.

"privatflyet" inside !

“Our private "jet"” inside !

There is little demand from the locals to travel between the islands, and there are very few tourists who are not on a cruise ship or have their own sailboat. If you are doing a round-the-world trip and buy a round-the-world ticket then flights between islands in the Caribbean are not included. Traveling in the Caribbean is something you have to organize yourself. The prices have gone up a lot in recent years. According to the airlines this is due to gasoline prices. The biggest airline in the Caribbean is LIAT (http://www.liatairline.com) . They operate throughout the Caribbean. Previously they offered an option where you could buy a multi-travel ticket that included a certain number of flights, or was valid in a certain time period, but they have stopped doing that. There are often various offers on their website which is worth noting if you are flexible and willing to take "last minute" tickets. In the Eastern Caribbean, there is also a company called East Caribbean airlines which usually is cheaper than Liat in this area. From Trinidad and Tobago, and from the Netherlands Antilles there are various other smaller airlines flying between the islands and South America.

Here's the best overview of all the small airlines around the Caribbean; http://www.caribbeanjet.com/en/airlines/airlines.php

This list does not cover all the companies. Within the Caribbean, it is possible to find smaller airlines with very limited departures and routes. Several of these do not even have websites or updated contact details.

Copilot i Karibien

Co-pilot in the Caribbean

When we were in St.Croix we had a problem finding transport to St.Kitts and Nevis, and on to Dominica because Liat was too expensive, but apparently the only option. I talked to local people in St.Croix and heard about a company called "Coastal air». It consisted of a man named Mike and his ancient 70's Cessna plane. I did not find any website or email-address, only a phone number. I called him 10 twice daily for 4 days, desperate for a ticket. There was no response, only an answering machine. When I had almost given up trying to contact Mike, he called back and asked if "we wanted to join him on a little flight». I ended up organising a special agreement with him where he dropped us off at Nevis and came back to pick us up 4 days later and took us to Dominica. It is the first time a plane has landed at an airport just to pick us up, and it was cheaper than doing the same journey with Liat. I even got to be co-pilot on one of the trips. It was a pretty fun experience, and a typical example of how flexible you have to be to be able to island-hop in the Caribbean.

The best way to get to South America without flying is from Trinidad to Venezuela by boat.

Ferries

The Western Caribbean islands: There are no ferries between the countries (except the boat from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico). It may be an option to try to find fishing boats or commercial boats/mail boats for transport between the individual islands, but it is very difficult and impractical to organize. We went to Jamaica with plans to go to the pier in Montego Bay to find a boat to Haiti. There is sporadic information about boats that go to Haiti and Cuba from Jamaica, but it can not be arranged on the web. The problem that then arose was that customs officials in Jamaica requires seeing a flight out of the country to let you into the country. Of course you can easily make a fake e-ticket, or buy an expensive flexible ticket which you then cancel and get all your money back, but that requires some extra work. It is also very uncertain whether you actually manage to find a boat at the right time. There can be weeks between each time a boat goes in the right direction. Another thing to consider is your gender. If you are female it's generally not a good idea to isolate yourself on a boat with a bunch of dubious Caribbean sailors. See the next section for hitchhiking with sailboats, which is a little more convenient way to travel. It is possible to take an overnight ferry from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, but I found out that the plane (Iberia Air) was both cheaper and easier. It is also possible to take ferries between the islands of Puerto Rico. They go from the main island to Vieques and Cunto. From Vieques there are small planes on to St Croix (Cape air – cheap).

East-Caribbean: There are more options of transport between countries here, and between islands within each country. There is a ferry company operating between Guadeloupe, Martinique og Dominica – http://www.express-des-iles.com/index.cfm?lng=en . There are no ferries between Dominica and St.Lucia and St.Vincent, which can create problems for onward travel. We chose to skip St.Lucia and travel straight to St.Vincent and the Grenadines, but we still had to make a transit in Barbados for a stopover. From St.Vincent the rest of the journey is fairly straight forward!

Ferry from St.Vincent

Ferry from St.Vincent

I definitely recommend island hopping in the grenadines. They are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, and except the yacht/sailboat-owners they are almost totally devoid of tourists. The only downside is that it is relatively expensive to stay there, and the people there are some of the grumpiest people we met on the entire trip around the world. There are scheduled ferries between Kingstown-Bequia-Canouan Mayreau-Union-island and all the way south to Carriacou (another country) and on to Grenada. From Grenada it is relatively cheap to fly to Trinidad and Tobago. There is of course a ferry between Trinidad and Tobago (https://ttitferry.com/), but if you have limited time I recommend booking flights directly to Tobago and skip Trinidad. The flights cost about the same as the ferry, and is definitely the best option if you already know you're going to be at the airport in Trinidad. Trinidad has very little charm, and Port of Spain has a reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Tobago is more like a typical Caribbean tropical paradise, however, they have their problems too.

Hitchhike with sailboat This is definitely one of the more exciting and adventurous options. It is not necessarily the easiest option, but could potentially be the cheapest, most social and most convenient way to travel. If you find a sailboat that can take you, you become part of the crew. That means you need to help where you can. If you only want to pay for someone to take you from A to B then it is probably cheaper to fly. The advantage of being part of a crew is that the boat serves as transport between the islands, as a hotel and a restaurant - all-in-one !

Sailing in the Caribbean :)

Seiling i Karibien 🙂

To do this you must necessarily be a social and outgoing person, be flexible and willing to sleep a little cramped and rough and be open to new experiences. There is 3 ways to organize such an experience; check the internet for sailboat-owners looking for crew to share costs and work with, go to a popular sailboat-port and get to know people on the street, the pub and sailboat-club (requires you to use your social skills) or hang up notes in various harbors and pubs in the hope that a captain will contact you. If you hang up notes you should be prepared to wait 1-2 weeks at the same location. Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is definitely the biggest sailboat harbor in the Caribbean, and the place with the best chance to find someone. St.Croix is ​​also a good place. In Eastern Caribbean, Bequia is quite popular among sailboat fanatics.

Sailing

Sailing

Secret option number 4 is to simply buy your own sailboat. If you are comfortable sailing you can gather up 4 friends (or search for crew on the web) and go to Miami and buy a boat. It's amazing how cheap sailboats are in Florida. I heard about large sailboats with 6 beds for less than 25 000 dollars. After you finish your Caribbean-journey you can probably sell it for close to the same price (unless you crash the boat). If you choose this option then please contact me, I already volunteer as crew, your guide to the Caribbean and robotdancer (as required). Here are some websites that are good to look for vessels that require "crew"; https://www.findacrew.net/ , https://www.crewseekers.net/ , http://www.crewbay.com/find-crew . There are also many other resources to find sailboats.

Cruise If you are considering this option there is no reason to read this article,Cruise i Karibien

as it is for independent travelers who do not appreciate the sheep-herd way of travelling. Most cruise ships leave from Miami and take a little trip to a few of the islands. On each island, you are guaranteed to be greeted by hundreds of locals who make their living selling stuff and crap to cruiseship tourists. Throughout my journey in the Caribbean, I did my best to avoid the cities and ports where the cruiseships docked.. Once in Dominica, I found myself in the middle of the spill from one of the cruiseships. It was not a pretty sight. Hundreds of American senior citizens with small pink sun-hats invaded my little tourist-free paradise. I can understand that even independent backpackers need to relax once in a while, so cruiseships can be an option as a little vacation from your vacation, a small travel-break to relax on a cruiseship.

Swimming This is not an option I would recommend, as previously mentioned. It is very inconvenient with respect to luggage, and there are relatively many dangers associated with swimming in the Caribbean. If a shark does not eat you, there are strong currents and bad weather in the Caribbean that can kill you. I can understand the temptation because you can sometimes see the next island, but still have to pay $300 to fly there, and you sometimes have to fly through 3 other islands first. If you are considering this option I would recommend Full immersion courses, and many training classes in a pool and in safe seas. http://totalimmersion.net/

Swimming after a boat

Swimming after a boat

 

How to arrange cheap accommodation in the Caribbean?

It depends very much on which island and which country you are in. I Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and to a certain extent Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada, it is possible to find reasonably affordable guesthouses, especially if you are 2 traveling together. A single room and a double room usually costs exactly the same. Somewhat reasonable on these islands is something like 30-50$ per night for one room. Sometimes you can be lucky and find guesthouses on hostelbookers, hostelworld or hotels.com , but many of the cheapest places have no website. You may be lucky and find useful information by searching on google, and see what guesthouses people on various forums have found. Before we were going to Roseau in Dominica, I found nothing better than 60-70$ for a room. I checked on google earth and found a few names of guesthouses that were not listed elsewhere. We went there without a reservation and were lucky enough to find a rasta-nest/guesthouse at 30$. It is one of the saddest rooms I've ever seen, but it was cheap. Often the only way to find a cheap room is to actually go to the island. Sometimes when people see you on the street they invite you to stay with them for a small sum of money, a kind of homestay. We did that a couple of places in the Grenadines as most of the options there are horribly expensive. If you're looking for someone who does homestay the best way is to ask random locals on the street. These islands are so small that everyone knows everyone, and any random person can probably steer you in the right direction. We arrived to a very small island called Mayreau, and I found a place to live before I had gotten off the boat. The boatman's sister coincidentally had a reasonable ground-floor flat!

Our trip through the Caribbean would have been very difficult to complete without couchsurfing – http://www.couchsurfing.org/ Many times we planned the whole trip around the country and the island where we could find people who could host us. The two economic factors that governed the journey were; where can we find fairly inexpensive flights, and do we have anyone to stay with?

Couchsurfing i Grenada

Couchsurfing i Grenada

In St.Croix, St.Kitts and Carriacou the cheapest hotels were very expensive (150$), and not even an option. They were amazing islands, and I'm happy we went there, but could not have done it without couchsurfing. If this is your plan, it helps to host people in Norway (or your home country) first so that you can create a good profile with many references.

Camping - Some of the islands in the Caribbean have campsites where you can pitch your tent, and have access to showers and electricity. They can be relatively expensive, up to $30 per night, but it depends on where you are. Few of the islands in the Caribbean allows pitching a tent on a random beach. It is a possibility, but may result in penalties.

Hotels – Usually quite expensive in the Caribbean.

 Posted by at 4:17 pm
Mar 052014
 

 

Best wildlife experiences on the journey

This is an article dedicated to the best animal photos and experiences we had on our journey around the planet. All experiences and pictures are from animals we have seen in their natural habitats(including animals we have treated in clinics).
Both me and torunn are veterinarians and we always make an extra effort to see animals in their natural habitat. The 3 priorities we have when we travel to new countries; meet the local people, eating local mat, and seeing unique animals from each country.
Here are some of the best wildlife watching from the journey;

1. Close-up meeting with nursesharks,Caribbean Reef sharks,turtles and manatees in Belize. We met a lot of different fish and corals in Belize, but these 3 made the greatest impression. The nurse sharks and Reef sharks we met on a snorkeling trip, but the carribean sharks we saw while diving in the blue hole.

touching nurse-shark

touching nurse-shark

Stig and manatee

Stig and manatee

2 Iguanas in Mexico,Curacao and other places. we saw Iguanas and other lizards in many different countries on the journey, but they made the most impression in these 2 countries. In Cancun you could`nt walk 10 meters along the sidewalk without almost stepping on a sun-licking iguana. In Curacao, we met a group of iguanas that were more or less accustomed to humans. In a small café I had 5 of them climbing up my leg, looking for french fries!

swimming lizard in Colombia

swimming lizard in Colombia

Stig and Iguana

Stig and Iguana

Torunn and lizard

Torunn and lizard

3. duckbil platypusses in the Eugunella park in Australia. We were looking for platypus in many different places on our australian roadtrip. Every time I saw a stream I stopped the car and jumped into the water in search of this peculiar mammal. When we finally found them it was in a park that is known as one of the places with the highest probability of finding them. They have even platypus signs there!

platypus!

platypus!

4. Alligatora in Miami, and Cayman crocodiles in Ecuador. In Miami we went on the air boat ride through the Everglades swamp. This place was crawling with alligators, so it did`nt disappoint us. In Ecuador we travelled to Cuyabeno Park and tried to find crocodiles by Night. We only saw 2 giant eyes that peered back at us. the craziest thing was that the crocodile we found was 200 meters from where we had been swimming the previous evening(the same thing with the piranha we fished)

Stig,crocodile and alligator-man

Stig,crocodile and alligator-man

Crocodile

Crocodile

5. Dwarf Monkeys in Brazil. These were definitely the cutest, and smallest monkeys I have ever seen! . When we walked up the path to Sugar-loaf Mountain these little guys were everywhere. I even had one hold my finger!. I have seen a lot of monkeys in my time, but these were the coolest ones.

Mini-Brazilian Ape

Mini-Brazilian Ape

Contact with Ape

Contact with Ape

6. Condors and eagles in Peru. We saw condors at the Salkantay mountain, on the way to Macchu Picchu. There are other places where you can see condors more frequently, for example. the Coca valley in south Peru, but we chose not to go there due to unreasonable price level.

condor

condor

flying condor

flying condor

7. Sloths in Ecuador. I have always had a fascination with sloths(maybe because I'm a little bit of a sloth myself) so I was very happy when we found one in the National Park in Ecuador. I have previously had close contact with sloths at a rescue center in Costa Rica.

Sloth in Ecuador

Sloth in Ecuador

8. Orangutans in Borneo. This was a natural highlight when visiting Borneo. Most of Borneo was covered withpalm oil plantations, and it was a really sad sight. It was nice to see that there were some happy orangutans in this small protected rainforest that has been set aside for them.

Orangutans in Borneo

Orangutans in Borneo

9. Nose Monkeys in Borneo - These have a fantastically comical face that always look like they are feeling a bit scorned. They are found only in Borneo, and are quite shy. We were fortunate to get to see them in 2 different national parks on different locations in Borneo. there was also some very cheeky macaques in Borneo, but these are everywhere, and not very interesting.

Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey

10. Koalabear in Australia - On the journey from Sydney to Cairns we were looking for Koalas in any forest where they was supposed to exist,unsuccessfully. When we finally found one it happened on Magnetic Island, just off Townsville. They sleep 22 hours a day and can be very difficult to find. We found one that was rolled up like a ball, far up on a branch. Just finding this elusive creature was a dream come true!. the koala was very cute.

Koala Bears

Koala Bears

11. Parrots of Dominica - We saw different parrots in many countries(especially Australia) , but these green Dominica birds made the greatest impression. They are very rare, and difficult to locate. we were all alone in the jungle and followed their demented screams to find them. We followed the screams, and finally we were standing right under them!

Dominica parrot

Dominica parrot

12. Marsupials on Magnetic island - This was,to say it the least, one Quite surreal experience. We slept in tents on the island and were awakened at night by 2 pair of big,luminous eyes that were sneaking around in our outer tent and tried to dig their way into the inner tent. Our mistake was that we had a bag of food in our tent. We saw one that had strayed out during the daytime. it looked quite strange.

possum

possum

13. Ouzo bear on mountain trip Salento,Colombia. This weird guy we met at a little farm far at the top of a mountain in the cloud forest. I'm was minding my own business(which was finding out what chocolate-milk with cheese in it tasted like) When I saw this long-snouted bear fighting with a rooster over a crust of bread.

Colombian animal

Colombian animal

The animal and a rooster

The animal and a rooster

14. Scorpion in the shower at Lago Bacalar Mexico. No one was hurt, luckily!

Scorpion

Scorpion

18. Cookaburra birds in Euganella. These birds are strange, to put it mildly. They seemed cute at first, until I was about to eat a delicious slice of chocolate-bread, and one of the birds tore it out of my hand from the air. After that we were under constant attack, and when I tried to chase them away they just laughed at me. Evil,evil birds!

Cookaburraer ... dangerous. ...

Cookaburras…dangerous things!…

Stig and crazy bird

Stig and crazy bird

19. Snake on our bathroom on Koh Lanta,Thailand. We stayed in a bungalow which was very "open-plan" on Koh lanta. There was a big hole in bamboo-wall where cats,frogs and lizards came to visit us. One morning when I went to the bathroom there was a striped red snake entering. I asked it to go away, and he did just that. Polite little guy.

snake

snake

20.Kangarooes in Australia - It's hard to stop staring at these elegant marsupials when they appear around sunset. I was just fascinated every time I saw one of them jumping around isearching for good grass.

kangarooes in the bush

kangarooes in the bush

Kangaroo with baby

Kangaroo with baby

21. Meeting giant Hawksbill turtle on the Great Barrier Reef.
P1050191

22. Scrubbing elephants in Kambodsja

Torunn washing elephant

Torunn washing elephant

Bonus experience;

23. Meeting with Mantaer in Thailand! Let the video speak for itself!

 Posted by at 8:19 pm
Feb 282014
 

20 best experiences on a trip around the world:

1. Grottedykking i Mexicthe this was an indescribably fun and special experience. I have done over 700 dives, but never dived inside a cave system before. We did not go far into the cave as you would need a more advanced certificate for that, but we got a pretty good idea of ​​it.

Torunn going on cave dives

Torunn going on cave dives

There are few things more wonderful than sinking slowly down to the depths of the crystal clear rainwater. It was the closest anyone could ever get to flying. At one point we approached a cloud formed by substances from decaying plant material. Dead trees sticking out of the cloud, just like a magical forest in a fairy tale. We fell through the cloud and erupted on the other side at 40 meters depth. From there we followed the cavern wall in circles until we reached the top. 30 meters above us we could see the other divers on the way down. We were even lucky enough to meet an occasional cave-fish, and various Mayan jars from sacrifices. It was a very special experience.

On the way into the cave

On the way into the cave

Swimming among stalactites

Swimming among stalactites

2. Ziplining in the mountains of Ecuador We felt anything but safe when we saw how the people before us in the queue was fixed on steel wire. It was simply a small rope from the body harness, wrapped a few times around a metal gadget that rolled on the wire. The slightest movement of the body could have loosened up this contraption….So when it was our turn we were careful to stay rigidly in the "superman position".
We flew high above a valley and over a waterfall, and looked at the birds of prey hunting far below us. It was great fun, it all cost about 50 Norwegian kroner(14$) ".

Torunn Ziplining

Torunn Ziplining

3. Junglesafari in Ecuador We went on a 5 day journey into the Cuyabeno reservere in the heart of Ecuador. There we stayed in a very rustique cabin along with millions of insects and small reptiles. We had a guide who kept us going all day long with various activities. Muich of the time was spent sitting in the river boat, looking for wildlife, but we also did several treks through the jungle, Fishing for Piranha, swimming in lakes, and night walks in the woods. We saw 4 different species of monkeys, sloths, jungle-turkeys, toucans, parrots, Crocodiles, piranhas, anacondas, massive eagles, tarantulas and various creepy crawlies.

river-cruise Ecuador

river-cruise Ecuador

us and Shaman

us and Shaman

rivercruise in jungle!

rivercruise in jungle!

 

4.Rafting in Ecuador. This was a very fun experience for us who had never before experienced white-water rafting. The rapids were 3+, which is quite powerful, and the water was freezing. We got through it in one piece,barely, but a little shaken and stirred.

Rafting gang

Rafting gang

Out in the rapids

Out in the rapids

Here it goes to hell.

Here it goes to hell.

5. 3 day Live Aboard on the Great Barrier Reef- an amazing experience where we got to do 11 dives. We were lucky in getting the best cabin with large windows overlooking the blue water as far as the mind could perceive. The food was extraordinarily tasty, and people we met were bitchin`.
On the dives we saw all of the marinelife we ​​hoped to see (except for whale and dolphin) and more. Some of the reefs were the most beautiful I have ever seen, just like floating in a dream spurred by hallucinogenics.P1040401

healthy coral

healthy coral

Stig and the turtle

Stig and the turtle

Beautiful turtle

Beautiful turtle

6. Looking for hot springs in Roturua, New Zealand – Hot springs were everywhere int this place, but most of them were full of tourists and you had to pay entrance fees . Luckily we stayed with a local guy who gave us directions to find hot springs unknown to other travelers. . It was perfect! We found a stream deep in the woods which we had all to ourselves. There we could enjoy the hot, healing waters in peace. Roturua was full of bubbling volcanic mud-pits, lakes and geysers. We even got to see a volcanic Maori village.
Geysers and hot water

Stig and Torunn in hot springs

Stig and Torunn in hot springs

VERY warm lake

VERY warm lake

7 - camping on Magnetic island - In Townsville we bought a tent that we used on Magnetic island. We took the time to explore the small island and found a very rich wildlife. We got to play with rock-wallabies (a type of small kangaroo), parrots and other birds, marsupials invaded our tent, koala bear that we found in the jungle, and sharks that surrounded me when I was standing on a small rock in the water.
It was also a place where we had what I consider to be a perfect day - lazying by the pool with my lady, drinking pitcher after pitcher of delicious ice cold beer. Nothing beats that feeling.

sunrise on Magnetic Island

sunrise on Magnetic Island

our Brazilian tent

our Brazilian tent

Stig and hungry little kangaroo

Stig and hungry little kangaroo

Torunn,pool and beer!

Torunn, pool and beer!

8. 2 weeks in a cottage in the middle of nowhere in Bolivia - A brilliant experience. We rented our own little cottage, and were free to do whatever we pleased. We had no TV or internet, but we had a blender to make juice . So every morning we went to the vegetable market in the village and bought oranges, pineapples, apples, avacado, chilli, and various other fruits that we made into deliciously fresh juices for breakfast each morning. We sat in a cozy little wooden room with a large window overlooking the Bolivian highlands while drinking freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly brewed locally grown coffee and fruit. Best breakfast experience on the trip!!

The view from our cottage

The view from our cottage

immersing myself with local wildlife

immersing myself with local wildlife

9. Macchu Picchu ! We wandered for 5 days on the Salkantay mountain range together with a group of 13 other flamboyant people (who were all younger than us)
Amazing Nature, good excercise and (surprisingly ) lots of beer!. The trip itself was a highlight before we even saw the amazing Inca ruins.
The morning we walked the last bit toward the ruin, me and Torunn managed to get ahead of everyone; 3000 other tourists, all trying to be the first ones to enter the ruins. . 5 minutes we had the ruins all to ourselves, with only an occasional llama grazing around us.

The gang on tour

The gang on tour

Torunn and Stig with fine ruins

Torunn and Stig with fine ruins

Macchu Picchu

Macchu Picchu

10. The encounter with orangutans in Borneo This was something we thought we really ought to do on the trip. If we were to wait any longer then thy would most likely already be destroyed by, greedy, Chinese capitalists who continue to chop down rainforests for palm oil.

Hominids spiser banana

Hominids spiser banana

Orangutangs hanging

Orangutangs hanging

Stig,Torunn and endangered primates!

Stig, Torunn and endangered primates!

11. Couchsurfing n over 25 different countries and meeting with people we will never forget.

Us with Gordon in Borneo

Us with Gordon in Borneo

With Rastamann in Puerto Rico

With Rastamann in Puerto Rico

St.Croix with Celena and jump-up festival

St.Croix with Celena and jump-up festival

In Los Angeles with Sam

In Los Angeles with Sam

12. Dominica - Trip to Boiling Lake, driving around the island on abandoned roads, picking avocados and 100 other fruits along the way, pursuit of rare birds, staying at an eco-cabin way out in the jungle, snorkeling at Champagne reef!

Hot springs on the volcano island

Hot springs on the volcano island

Scots head Dominica

Scots head Dominica

Valley of desolation

Valley of desolation

13 The hollywood experience from a local person's perspective, visiting Universal studios and celebrating the 4th of July with a movie producer in downtown Los Angeles.

Stig goes to Hollywood

Stig goes to Hollywood

Typical Americans

Typical Americans

4.July celebration

4.July celebration

14 - Parang festival on Carricaou! The craziest festival I've ever been to!. Just try to imagine 8 boy-bands consisting of a bunch of Caribbean People dressed up in thight-fitting elf costumes, with torches in their hats ,while singing "Jesus is born" in stong Caribbean-English - Priceless!
The essence of this festival is that they collect all the gossip about the inhabitants of the island, and then make songs out of it, so everyone can laugh at those who have been unfaithful etc. We understood almost nothing of what they were singing, but it was fun anyway.

Here is a video showing Parang. Parang starts 6.20

Perang festival

Parang Festival

Green elfs,winner!

Green elfs,winner!

15 - Iguazo waterfalls. The most spectacular waterfall in the world. No waterfall will ever be the same again!. It's not just a waterfall, there are hundreds of waterfalls coming together in several places, forming a spectacular sight. I would recommend watching them from Argentina, as it was much better than from Brazil.
The sun shines through water droplets that are always in the air, which forms a constant rainbow effect. Very cool!. There are also some very whimsical little bears there that many tourists underestimate. Give them a chance and they will steal your bag, regardless of what`s in it.

Stig in the craziness

Stig in the craziness

The world's largest waterfall

The world's largest waterfall

16 - Celebration of 30th birthday on St. Croix. Scuba diving on coral reef with turtles, partying with couch surfers and speeches by flamboyant homosexuals , singing waiter serving us drinks on the paradise beach, Jump-up festival with Mocko-jumbees (google it!), what more could you want?

St. croix ... good times!

St.croix…good times!

The chics dig Stig!

The chics dig Stig!

30-th.birthday under the sea :)

30-årsdag under vann 🙂

17 – Meeting elephants in Cambodia. We followed the elephants around in the jungle where we kept their pace while they were eating, bathing,and spraying themselves with mud as they wish. After a hearthy lunch and a little nap in the hammock, and then we had the job of scrubbing and feeding the elephants. They looked like they were enjoying themselves .

Elephant keepers in Cambodia

Elephant keepers in Cambodia

Washing a dirty elephant

Washing a dirty elephant

Torunn washing the elephant

Torunn washing the elephant

18. -3 weeks of lazy-living on Koh Lanta. We had many lazy days where we just slept in the hammock. drank beer and rum. Much of the time there was rainy weather, but somehow it did`nt bother me to much as we had the aforementioned pleasures. We also met those who turned out to be the best friends we met on the trip - Ross and Alyse, a married couple from Canada with many of the same priorities and interests as us.

Stig at Bungalow

Stig at Bungalow

Birthday Dinner

Birthday Dinner

drinkin at sunset

drinkin at sunset

19 street party in Rio de Janeiro. Infinite QUANTITIES of cheap vodka and Latino dancers in the streets. It was easy to get carried away.

coconut milk on Ipanema!

coconut milk on Ipanema!

Top of Rio!

Top of Rio!

Torunn meets with Jesus

Torunn meets with Jesus

20 – diving with the great big mantas on the thai coral reefs! – Let the video speak for itself;

 Posted by at 9:25 pm