Reached easily from Central Gothenburg via Angered Centrum, Vättlefjälls Naturreservat is one of the largest nature reserves in the area and a lovely place to spend a weekend camping and hiking.
Brunnsparken often has Palestinian protestors bringing attention to the ongoing situation between Israel and Palestine. Today, the protestors are bringing the protest to the city, driving in a convoy of cars, flags waving despite the heavy rain as more and more international attention focuses on what is happening.
It has been a very long time since I've eaten Jollof Rice. About twenty years ago I lived in Lagos and Jollof Rice was a staple of my meals. I followed Chef Lola's Kitchen's recipe to make this, though I was not able to find the authentic Scotch Bonnet peppers and so substituted Habenero, which gave it a smokier flavour than the almost fruity (and very spicy) West African traditional choice.
A nation as huge and varied as the USA offers a wide array of cuisine, but if you're looking for the quintessential main meal, to eat with an Apple Pie chaser, you can look no further than the Hamburger.
A traditional Latvian side dish for Christmas, it also formed a key part of my Christmas meal this year. Eating alone due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, I went all out creating a traditional Christmas meal.
Much like my wander on Christmas Eve, I took an hours break from obsessively scheduled cooking to get some air and sunlight in the nearby Slottskogen Park. Winter sun is a tricky thing, it can be very bright, but its so low in the sky that you get long shadows or it is easily hidden behind low hills or high buildings, plunging your photos into the gloom.
Not one for staying indoors all day, I headed out to the nearby Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård, walking through Slottskogen park to get there. Even at 1 pm, the sun was low in the sky as we are only two days past the Solstice, when the night is longest and daylight a brief golden splash of a few hours.
Still waiting for my replacement tripod to arrive, I once again decided to do some hand held shots of the moon. Getting the crystal clear sharpness is incredibly tough hand held, and I'm still not that happy with the results.
Today I discovered that my new apartment's lounge windows offer a great viewing spot for the moon on those rare days when it is not covered by Gothenburg's near-permanent grey clouds. Having missed the once-in-four-hundred-years alignment of Jupiter and Saturn yesterday due to cloud cover, I thought I would at least shoot the moon when she' broke through the clouds.
Every year, the Oscar Fredriks Kammarkör, the church choir for Oscar Fredrik's Church in Linne sings at my new building.
Sometimes you just chance on strange things. Outside my window, a stream of motorcycles, all dressed as Santa passed along Linnégatan. Beeping their horns and revving their engines they gathered a surprised audience.
Germany's national dish of Sauerbraten is a sweet and sour beef slow marinated and cooked in what becomes a think gravy. Done right, the meat is tender and succulent with a unique flavour.
My random number-driven tour of the world landed me in my neighboring country of Denmark. The national dish of Denmark is the simple, and delicious, Stegt Flæsk. A crispy pork dish with parsley sauce.
Italy has a vast number of dishes that define their cuisine, different regions will give you different answers, but for my Italian stop on Tog's Tuck, I chose to cook a Lasagne from scratch using the recipe from Walks of Italy
My culinary tour (and random number generator) took me to Bulgaria, where the national dish is Bob Chorba, a bean soup made for centuries (if not longer) in monasteries, as well as Patatnik, a potato pancake made with egg and mint.
Bohusleden's hikes run from Lindome to Strömstad and are broken up into twenty-seven sections of an average length of 12.6km giving a total of 340 kilometres. Over time, I have been exploring sections in one or multi-day hikes.
Despite the Corona virus, more than four hundred cities around the world have marched in protest of George Floyd death and the lack of accountability for the detaining officers. Gothenburg's march brought thousands out in peaceful protest. Starting at Heden and travelling in a large circle around the city past Vasa, past Domkyrkan and past the stadium.
Recently, the Elk (or Moose if you are American as the North American Elk is a different species) in Slotskogen park have given birth to two calves (or Mooselings). These babies have caused much excitement and many visitors.
Fårikål is Norway's national dish, and its position was reaffirmed recently in a national vote. It is a deeply simple meal with only six ingredients assuming you count water as an ingredient.
Something of a taste from my childhood, Nasi Goreng is a staple of Indonesian (and Malaysian and Singaporean) cuisine, spicy fried rice with omelette pieces its a filling dish.
An early start landed us on Neko Harbour, discovered by Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache, and named for a Scotting whaling boat, the Harbour is the site of a Gentoo penguin colony and a viewpoint over the waters.
Fish Islands are a group of small islands lying in the northern part of the entrance to Holtedahl Bay. They are home to breeding colonies of Adelie penguins as well as Imperial Shags. The Fish Islands.
Another Antarctic island discovered by Jean-Baptiste Charcot of the French Antarctic Expedition (1908-1910), Pourquoi Pas was named for Charcot's ship in the 1930s by the British Graham Land Expedition who first charted the island.
A short distance from the Lemaire Channel, Petermann island is a common destination for tourists as it offers a landing, historic importance and a great number of Penguins.
The Lemaire Channel is one of the top tourist destinations in Antarctica, comparatively protected the waters are often still, though its location means it is equally often impassable due to the icebergs that accumulate in the Passage and remain for weeks or months due to the calm waters and narrow width.
Sunday evening was a cold clear night and a half moon over Gothenburg. I got out my 1D MkIII, 100-400mm Zoom and 2x extender and took it out into the cold of my garden. Learning from my previous session, I plugged in my laptop to do remote shooting rather than shooting from the back of the camera.
An Australian friend of mine was horrified that I'd never heard of, let alone tasted Tomato Relish, a key staple of the Australian diet. Shortly after Christmas (thanks to international postage and general Swedish post delays) I received a Christmas present of two jars of Relish, with some instructions on how best to use them.
A large village in the new forest, heavily aimed at tourists and offering various crafts, knick-knacks and speciality foods and drinks. Cafes and cosy pubs are easy to find and numerous stores for unique (for a certain value of unique) gifts can be found.
A large castle, heavily used as a part of the United Kingdom's sea defences in World War I, the originally Tudor castle of Hurst sits on a split of land in Lymington. Reached either by a regular ferry or by a reasonably long walk along the single strand connecting it to the mainland it is a fascinating place for an afternoon.
A manor house, built in the 18th Century (though significantly remodelled in the 19th) and set in sprawling, well maintained grounds, Hinton Ampner House is a Grade II listed building, maintained by the National Trust.
Trakai was previously the capital of Lithuania, and the Grand Duke used the heavily fortified castle as his base of operations. After the capital moved to Vilnius, the castle fell to ruins and was renovated, though not unobviously.
Working from 192 Flavours, I cooked a lamb Tagine with Couscous for my Tunisian international meal.
Due to speaking at Agile Lithuania, I returned to Vilnius, one of the cities I'd visited as part of my 12 Cities in 12 Months tour. I took the time to visit some of the places I had not seen on my last visit to this beautiful Balkan city.
Using the recipe at The Spruce Eats I made Finnish Karjalanpaisti, a traditional meat stew. Listening to the comments, I added much more seasoning, which helped, but the stew was a fairly thin mix of watery sauce and meats, rather than the thicker red shown in the illustrations.
At the end of the season, a friend and I headed out to the forests east of Gothenburg for a short weekend hike. It was the first evening that the temperature dipped to -4 degrees and so we had a very cold evening.
Its been quite some time since I did any astrophotography, but my new 100-400 lens has been waiting for the nights to get dark enough to start trying to catch the moon again. The ongoing issue of the weight of the lens, extender and body on my travel tripod makes maintaining sharp focus a challenge, and next time I'll be plugging my laptop instead of using the rear viewer for focusing and getting the shot centred. I may also borrow the heavy duty tripod from the office for a weekend.
Helsingør, also known as Elsinore, is a port city in eastern Denmark. Overlooking the Øresund strait, the 15th-century Kronborg Castle provided the setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Nearby, the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark illustrates 600 years of Danish seafaring history. The glass-walled Culture Yard in the old shipyard organizes cultural events. On the pier is “Han,” a polished steel sculpture of a man.
Santa Cruz is perhaps the second largest of the Galapagos islands, and is heavily wilderness, with the Parque Nacional Galápagos taking up much of the island.
Isabela Island is shaped somewhat like the United Kingdom with Ferdinanda it's own Ireland. It is one of the larger islands in the Galapagos archipelago, and has some of the more iconic experiences.
Floriana Island is a small place with approximately a hundred and fifty inhabitants, it is a common stopping point on the way to Isla Isabela.
Isla de San Cristobal has a relaxed casual atmosphere to it, almost Caribbean in its vibe. The main strip of the shops and restaurants runs along the beach, and is cluttered with sea lions, how have made themselves at home amongst the human constructions in the Galapagos. A particular favourite for the sea lions are benches near the sea. A typical 'park' bench is just the right length and width for a sea lion to really stretch out and relax.
A small town between Tulcan and Quito, Otavalo is famous for its local market offering various tourist souvenirs as well as more practical local goods.
A strange place.
A small village has sprung up around the church, mostly offering snacks, drinks and souvenirs. During the season I was there it was fairly quiet, but during the busy periods, you could tell the location would turn into a market square, with shouting and haggling going on in all corners.
The main attraction of the town of Biblián, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Rock is carved into the mountain face.
The second best place in the world, after Machu Pichu to see Incan ruins, this shows more how completely the Spanish conquest impacted the indigenous cultures.
Cuenca is laid out in a grid pattern, reminiscent of American cities and a reminder that it is a relatively new city. It is a mixture of very new buildings and some beautiful old ones, with a handful of Incan ruins scattered through the city as well.
The capital city of Ecuador, though in the shadow of the Galapagos islands as Ecuadors most famous location, the city sits amongst volcanic hills, that rise up around it. Turbulence from the strange layered landscape buffets every plane to fly into the airport.
Ladonia is a micronation, proclaimed in 1996 as the result of a years-long court battle between artist Lars Vilks and local authorities over two sculptures. The claimed territory is part of the natural reserve of Kullaberg in southern Sweden.
The next stop on my culinary world tour is Spanish Paella. As I'm not a seafood fan, I picked a chicken and chorizo recipe from Epicurious.
The sixth meal in my international tour was Romania's Mititei. A Sausage like dish, made with minced lamb, chicken and beef and flavoured with cumin, coriander and thyme, it's a perfect BBQ dish. It needs preparing the evening before but requires little in the way of unusual ingredients.
Some friends and I went hiking in Bottenstugan i Svartedalen, an area of natural beauty north of Gothenburg. The trails connect to Bohusleden, meaning you can trek back the 50 or so kilometers to Gothenburg, something a few of us plan to do.
Goulash is Hungary's national dish, a hearty heavy beef and tomato stew, served with rice and sometimes sour cream it is a great meal in poor weather. It's a favourite of mine when I'm snowboarding.
If Camden was on the beach in the late '90's it would be Venice Beach now. Legalisation of marijuana has made the substance ubiquitous along the beachfront, the smell is almost overpowering and no doubt helps generate a roaring trade at the various snack shops along the promenade.
Playa Vista is a newly constructed town near to Santa Monica and loosely centred around the hanger where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose. Part of the Silicone Beach area, it is home to wealthy young professionals and retirees.
As much artists space as it is museum, the Hammer Museum, is not huge like the Getty, but is in central Westwood. Colourful hair, vibrant glasses and a boho hippy vibe are given off by the visitors. workshops, interactive pieces and musical performances are run regularly.
The Getty Museum is huge, sprawling on the top of a hill, covering a number of modern looking buildings that could have stepped out of any utopian sci-fi show.
DTLA is full of fantastic architecture, from soaring skyscrapers to bas relief buildings. The most memorable is of course Gehry's, the chrome matching his work in Dusseldorf but the Broad has a mesmerising flowing outer facia, and the interior of the Bradbury building brings tourists from around the world.
On a hill facing the Hollywood sign and at the summit of the Firebreak Trail sits the Griffith Observatory. Constructed in 1933 and opened to the public two years later the observatory has a number of exhibits like the Foucault pendulum in the lobby and the camera obscura giving views of downtown.
One of the most enjoyable ways up to the Observatory is to park at the bottom and hike up the trail. The shortest route is about a mile, with other trails taking you on longer routes, mostly to the Hollywood sign.
Already a huge museum space, the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA) is extending significantly over the next few years with the impressive globe already part finished and the other winding sinuous shaped building in the planning stages.
The LA Farmers Market, and the land on which it sits, has been owned by the Gilmore Family since the late 1800s and continues to be owned and operated by the Family, now in its sixth-generation.
Famous, and famously strange, in central Los Angeles stands the La Brea Tar Pits. A series of dirty pools of asphalt in the ground, bubbling up and smelling unpleasant as they have for over 50,000 years.
Visiting family in Los Angeles, we spent the day with friends on Zuma Beach in Malibu. Surprisingly quiet considering it was a sunny weekend thanks to Coachella being on, we were lucky enough to see Dolphins out in the ocean.
I've not eaten, or even thought about Stamppot for years, not since I lived in the Netherlands. Its a customised mashed potatoes featuring mustard, bacon, onions and kale (Ideally andijvie, but that can be tough to get outside of the Netherlands.
Irish Stew is a deeply comforting and hearty meal, with no formally agreed recipe. Most commonly created with lamb or mutton, slow cooked. Almost always with potatoes, carrots and onions, other ingredients are also found.
The United Kingdom has a few national dishes, Fish and Chips, a Sunday Roast, a Full English Breakfast, but perhaps the most interesting is Chicken Tikka Masala, an Indian inspired meal that is uniquely and quintessentially British.
Bigos is the national dish of Poland. it is a hearty winter stew of cabbage, saurkraut, pork, bacon and sausage.
The Stockholm National Museum is situated at the point where one island ends and the bridge to the next would take you to the Modern Art Museum. The building itself is old and imposing.
The Fotografiska Museum is on the banks of one of the many rivers that divides Stockholm. A long building, likely a warehouse in the past, of dark brick with a bronze fruit outside.
Stockholm is a city on the water, looking into the Baltic, passed its many islands, the city itself forms a crosshatch pattern of islands connected by bridges over the inlets and rivers. In the winter many of these rivers freeze, and its common to see the locals skating across them.
The city was first mentioned in 1350 BCE and has been, in one state or another in constant use since. and Palestine, with Bethlehem in particular has a wide range of tourists and is highly dependant on the income. Most tourists come for a few hours for for a day trip, a much smaller number stay in one of the thirty hotels.
When people talk about Jerusalem they are really talking about the old city, the town first settled in the 4th century BCE, which has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and attacked 52 times. Jerusalem itself has grown well past that point, but the old city is still a major part of the town and is not just a site of ancient wonders, but of shops, homes and restaurants.
On both banks of the river Jordan stand locations claiming to be the site of Jesus Christ's baptism by John. Separated by a dozen feet of water, the faithful, the interested and the border police stand on either side.
The Dead Sea is slowly dying. Climate change is having a dramatic effect on the region and the water from the River Jordan, which previously kept the sea level is drying up.
People often compare Wadi Rum desert to Arizona. Whilst both are desolate landscapes dominated by rocky outcroppings, the similarity really stops there. Wadi Rum does not have the dramatic striation that defines Arizona, but instead has an almost melted look on its rock outcroppings due to the soft sandstone and limestone of the region.
Petra is an ancient Nabatean city and has some of the most incredible, memorable and breathtaking architecture you will see in you life. In the middle of the desert, the sun bakes down, but over the centuries the rare rain has slowly been eroding the carvings, despite the overhangs and rain gutters the Nabatean's caved and the local archeological teams keep in working order.
The town of Madaba is small, but busy, with vendors selling on the streets and a number of high end local shops selling locally made designer clothes. The town dates from the middle bronze age and is referenced in the Bible.
Mt Nebo is reputed to be where Moses stood when he saw the holy land after leaving Egypt. Hardly a mountain by most standards, it is still much taller then the flat planes all around it.
Little Petra is also known as Siq al-Barid and is a few miles north of the more famous Petra. It is free entrance, unlike Petra and is usually much less crowded, though it still has a number of Bedouins selling souvenirs and local children following you around looking for money.
Much like Rome herself, Philadelphia was built on seven hills. The Citadel ruins are on one of them looking over the Roman Theatre and Hashemite plaza in the basin.
About an hour outside of Amman is the ancient city of Gerasa (now called Jerash), the largest Roman city remaining outside of Italy. Much of it is still undiscovered, and the modern city spills over a large piece of the underground ruins preventing their excavation.
Downtown Amman is hectic, shops spill out into the streets and street vendors setup tables anywhere there is space.
Amman is a large city, with a bustling center, heavily gridlocked at many hours of the day. Owing to this, more and more commerce and leisure options are appearing in the suburbs.
I took the weekend to see the parts of Edinburgh that I've not seen before as all my previous trips have been during the Fringe.
A sculpture park created by architect and sculptor Carl Milles in the grounds of his home in Stockholm, the statues are primarily set on tall columns to frame them against the sky and the sun.
Six of our headed out on Saturday morning for Brännö island, off the coast of Gothenburg. Part of the Archipelago that is easily accessible by the many ferries.
Kiev has a strange below ground collection of shops. Certain subways are populated by a variety of shops and cafes, never seeing the light of day. There is a strong presence of sex tourism in Kiev, more than I have seen anywhere else. Strip clubs are common and Tinder was extremely active. It doesn’t feel sleazy so much as that there is a deep power imbalance between the Ukraine and the outside world.
Reykjavik is a surprisingly busy city on the west coast of Iceland. Surrounded by black volcanic stone and yellow grass the city is striking. Arctic winds blow in from the coast, and Iceland is the third windiest place in the world. Houses are generally low with sloped roofs to avoid the ever present wind.
Belgrade, as it is not served by any low cost airlines, is spared the stag dos and hen dos that fill other eastern European cities. As such, it's tourism is lower volume and less crass. The city is served by a good network of Trams, which are surprisingly thiner than the average tram in other cities.
We had the fun of navigating through Munich’s fairly awful one way systems, and as its a german city is was full of BMW and Mercedes drivers...
It was about a ten minute walk to the start of Burg zu Burghausen, which is a kilometre long, on the hill above old town. at the start it barely seems like castle...
We walked around a fair bit in old town and saw Mozarts Geburtshaus, his birthplace, though we didn’t go in as the crowds were thick outside the building.
We saw quite a few castles on our drive, but it was only on the same exit as for our hotel that we saw the signs for the ice caves and the castle that had encouraged us to come out to Werfen.
We had decided the evening before that we would go straight to the Alpen Zoo in Innsbruck, which is slightly out of town and had its own parking.
There is no ceremony when you enter the Principality of Lichtenstein; there is a flag and that is about it. It is only later if you explore Lichtenstein you learn the importance of their flag.
Whilst eating, i happened to stumble on the fact that the Cabaret Voltaire was 2 minutes walk away, the home of Dadaism, and should be open and serving including Absinthe.
We could tell just from walking to the hotel that Fribourg was even more hilly than Lausanne had been and we’d be getting a lot of cardio on our explorations.
We attempted to take the more scenic route, despite the torrential rain, but the sat nav seemed to bring us along with a more indirect course, away from the water's edge that we had intended to follow around the coast.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.Our original plan was do do a sunset cruise on the lake.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich. Aosta is a much bigger town than we were expecting where we had booked a hotel for the evening.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.The road was actually a highway all the way up to Fenis but it cut through beautiful landscapes.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich. In a relatively small town like Turin many places are still shut on Sundays.
I happened to be in Cuneo for the final day of Illuminata, (Festival of Lights).
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich. Whilst we had a drink in Monaco, we figured out our next stop, we wanted to be in Turin the following evening and didn’t want a long drive that afternoon.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich.. Monaco is only 9 kilometres from Nice but they are a windy, slow kind of kilometre. They run along the coast road and give some great views of the incredibly wealthy,.
A two week driving tour of the Alps, touring different cities, towns and villages. The trip started in Nice and ended in Munich. We got up early on the morning of our day in Nice to check-out and collect the car; an Alfa-Romeo Giulia.
I was fortunate enough to be in Croatia, in the town of Split for the 2018 World Cup final where Croatia had broken all their records to qualify to play France.
Tiny winding streets with old buildings, hugely driven by city break tourism rather than the more sedate options are part of the character of Split. The small tight streets in the old town have lead to the adoption of motorised cards, like you may see in a warehouse for moving goods around.
Days are identified by Roman numerals. The city has a strong resonance with Rom, the history of repeated attempts to align with the Hapsbergs and the Pope have given Vilnius an affinity from Italy as well as this there is a stronger Russian influence than I have seen in the other Baltic states, they have a soviet influence, but less of the historic Russian.
Friends of mine were in Copenhagen and suggested we meet for the day in Malmö.
On Swedish National Day, I decided to dust off my bike, which had sat unused through the winter and spring to cycle down to Lerkil
A beautiful city with some stunning architecture, sprawling does not do this city justice, it is in fact two cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube, facing each other over the river.
A few of us got up early Saturday morning and hiked the route from Angereds Kyrka to Kåsjön.
“Quaint” it is both quite small and very old, storybook streets of cobblestones and brightly painted houses. Tall towers of stone topped with red tiles. The old town is a lot like the outdoor museum in Oslo, a place of history. Toompea is this even more distilled.
Sprawling across islands, inlets, it is a big place. Architecture has a lot in common with Sweden. Moomins are everywhere, they are a prized cultural thing here. There is a level of indifference to the snow and Ice that Gothenburg cannot match.
Architecture is varied, but there is not much of the extremely modern glass around. Brickwork dominates and it feels that even new buildings are trying to fit in. The main exception is the area around the Rhine Towner, a needle standing tall and alone on the riverside and the various modernist buildings nearby.
There is a huge amount of new building work complete, or ongoing in Oslo, so the city is losing some of its charm and certain areas like the ferry terminal are very ‘Canary Wharf’ in the impression.
Rome has the strong distinction of being home to two of the worlds most dominant religions/cultures; the Ancient Romans and the Catholics. Much of its beauty comes from the fact that for once the Christians repurposed rather than destroyed the architecture of the ‘pagans’.
Gaudi’s influence can be felt throughout the city, even though there are in truth only a small number of his buildings in a large sprawling city the influence of colour and shape make Barcelona an interesting city. Whilst it has many of the dull square buildings that infest major cities, it also has old churches in immaculate repair and colourful shapes and sculptures scattered through the city.
I was recently in Amersfoort for a weekend, its a small town, but old...
In Gothenburg this weekend, a group of Neo-Nazi's decided to hold a march through the city.
I spent an evening in Dallas thanks to delays in taking off from Costa Rica, leading to a ten hour wait in Heathrow, before turning around in Gothenburg and flying to Riga.
We then headed 10k north to Punta Uva a lovely white sand beach to relax a bit.
It had rained all night, so the start of the surfing lesson was pushed back a half hour due to the weather. When we got there we were loaned a rash guard (long sleeved t-shirt) given a lot of instructions on safely and then split into small groups, each with an instructor and taken out into the surf.
We then reached the Bribri village and did the chocolate and medicinal herbs tour. We were shown various plants used for natural lipsticks, glue, mosquito solution and other things. Highlighting just how practical indigenous people have been with their environment. Nothing is wasted because waste cannot be afforded.
Once we were changed and had snorkels on, we took a small, somewhat overloaded, boat out to ‘the point’ to swim around the coral reefs. The water was very shallow, most of us got a scrape or two from the rocks but visibility was excellent and we saw some great fish, the highlight being a manta ray.
We then had a 3 hour drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where we checked into rooms with mosquito netting on the beds before all meeting at an open bar space with wood tables by the small pool.
We were not expecting much from the lodge as it was in the middle of the jungle; we were told there was no fresh drinkable water, limited bar, meals made by the guides and generally had our expectations set low. However it was incredible...
The alarm at 4:30am signalled the start of one of the main adventure elements of the trip. We would white water raft down the river to a lodge in the middle of the jungles of Costa Rica. We would then spend some time hiking and doing various other activities on the second day and then do some grade 3 and 4 rapids on the final day.
This was a longer transfer down some rough roads but we arrived at an old farmstead and stables. We were quickly geared up and paired with on horses. Mine was a mare called Tarzan.
The mountain bike tour started when we had disembarked from the boat.We started with a tough uphill journey, which was hard work and showed I do not cycle nearly enough. It was about 20k all on gravel roads.
“The experience was adrenaline fuelled, by the end we were all twitching with nervous energy.”
We climbed aboard a flat bottomed boat and sailed along the lake toward La Fortuna and the volcano. The lake is dammed at one end and used as a hydroelectric plant which provide 50% of Cost Rica’s power.
It was a short low ride to 100% adventure, home of Central America’s longest zip line, or at least so the tag line to the venue said.
After we’d finished the walk, and had a beer, we moved on to the night walk/ Starting few miles out of town, a smallish hut marks the beginning of the night walk. Assigned a guide we follow a trail into the forest after a brief induction to what would occur.
Walking across the eight bridges of the cloud forest was a bit of a disappointment from what we were expecting. Advertised as a solid two hour walk we were done in 55 minutes; including time to take photos, and I take a lot of photos. To be fair to the guide, we were the ‘active adventure’ group and so would take a walk like this more briskly.
After refreshments, it was direct to Montverde, through some incredible terrain, Costa Rica is stunningly verdant and even at higher altitudes there are tall trees and lush grass. The town of Monteverde itself is quite small but well served by shops and restaurants aimed at tourists.
Sunday was an early start though easy to manage as we had all had and early night the night before. Breakfast was very local, and something we all later found out we’d need to get very used to, Gallo Pinto, Costa Rican Rice & Beans, a stable of breakfast and several other meals. Once we were full of rice and beans it was then on to the bus for the 4.5h drive to Montverde.
The flight Miami to Costa Rica had some lovely views as we traveled south, although we were nearly redirected to Liberia due to bad weather which would have been a bad start to the trip. They made it down on the second attempt; to the wild cheering and applause of the Americans who get very excited by ‘airplanes’.
I hiked and camped in the wilderness near Gothenburg.
A few images from my snowboarding holiday in Les Arc 2000
Whilst in Devon, we travelled further west and headed to the Eden Project.
Later on the same afternoon we saw Okehampton castle, we headed across to Castle Drogo.
About half an hours drive from our cottage was Okehampton Castle
I spent new years in Devon with some friends, and our nearest town was Chagford.
It had been many years since I went to Stonehenge...