Posts Tagged With: Food

Preikestolen, Norway

After the long and difficult trek to the Kjerag Bolten, we have had two lay days to recover and regain strength for our next adventure: The Preikestolen!

During those two days we have been enjoying beautiful views at the Lysefjord and tried some more fishing. Since I’m never lucky fishing, Logan of course caught four(!) Mackerels during the first 30 minutes, when I wasn’t there yet. The next hour of fishing with me present is unsuccessful – I’m not surprised anymore. Instead we catch a jellyfish and I upset some kind of marten when reeling in the fishing line and accidentally smacking him with the bait. Oops. He’s hissing at us a few times and then tries to charge us up the rock but then disappears.

Four Mackerels should really be enough for the two of us anyway, so we get the fire going and prepare the fish to be cooked.

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Oh and we are not professionals in preparing fish, so we just cut it apart and take out the bones once it’s cooked. That works well enough for us.

On the second lay day we stop in Forsand to go shopping for some basic groceries before driving on to Preikestolen.
Our plan is to camp nearby so we can start the walk early in the morning. Unfortunately there seem to be so many tourists coming here, that wild camping is not allowed nearby, so we have to drive back to the main road and stay there.

Hiking to Preikestolen

Even though the weather forecast has been predicting sun, we wake up to a thick layer of grey clouds.

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That’s demotivating as obviously you need to have good weather for the best views from the Preikestolen or “Preacher’s stool”. We don’t want to waste any more time though and make our way back up to the car park: 100NOK. Wow! This is not even the main car park near the restaurant, since that one is full, they opened another car park another couple of km down the road. To still ask for 100NOK is a bit much. We turn around and park up a little further down the road and get the bicycles out – cheeky I know.
We ride down to the restaurant and main car park and lock up our bicycles here.

There is a sign describing the walk, the length, difficulty and what you shouldn’t wear: sandals or high heels. When proper shoes are recommended in Norway, you better follow that guideline as they mean it! (I still saw a couple with sandals and even a woman with pumps!! She must have broken her foot soon after that or I would be very surprised!)
The trek immediately starts off with a rocky path, turning into boulders and holding on to trees or rocks with hands is necessary in parts. We cross several streams, grasslands and steep walls on the way.

While the trek to Preikestolen is still a lot easier than the one to Kjerag Bolten, it’s not an afternoon stroll and takes about 2 hours up and a little less back down. (This is if you don’t stop too many times)
I’m surprised to see a lot of children on this track, partly climbing themselves and partly sitting in a backpack on daddy’s back. A lot of people also take their dogs and it amazes me how they manage the steep climbs and balancing on boulders.

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After about two hours of hiking the skies have turned into a crystal blue and we finally arrive at the Preikestolen – I haven’t seen so many tourists in one spot in a while! Wow! Logan and I look at each other with big eyes and have the same thought: would the Preikestolen break off under the weight of all these tourists?? There’s already a large crack through it, especially visible from above.

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We first try to take in the incredible views over the fjord and at the Preikestolen before actually making our way through the people chaos on the platform. We get a few shots and have lunch, sitting on the edge, overlooking the Lysefjord.

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Then we climb up even higher, so we can see the Preikestolen and the Lysefjord from above. It’s such an amazing view!

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Then it’s time to make our way back. 1.5 hours of walking downhill and jumping from rock to rock are ahead of us before finally reaching the car park. I brought shampoo and fresh clothes and clean myself in the bathrooms while Logan is getting the Globetrotter van to pick me up. He then also has a clean and we make our way north. At the Preikestolen bus stop we see a young couple holding their thumbs out. “Where do you guys need to go?” I ask. “To Tau. Our ferry leaves from there!” she says. Turns out there hasn’t been any buses coming in a while and they were already a bit late. We give them a lift to Tau and then make our way towards Hjelmeland, spending the night at a nice spot on the side of the road. There are stone tables and chairs here, so we enjoy beautiful views over the valley while having dinner and then playing a game of chess.

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Dolomites, Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)


After a nutritious breakfast…

… we leave beautiful Villanders to drive further into the Dolomites, hoping to start a 5 day trek.

Here’s a photo of where about the Dolomites are (the lower white end in Northern Italy).

And our Camping spot with beautiful views over the Dolomites…

On our discovery route, we drive through Kastelruth (or Castelrotto) and get to enjoy fantastic views at the Alpe di Siusi (or Seiser Alm). Kastelruth is a lovely Tyrollean village with mural art on the buildings. During winter this is a snow resort town and during summer the gateway to an adventure land full of activities like mountain climbing, hiking, running or cycling.

  

Driving up to the Seiser Alm, an amazing plateau, we have to discover that there is no way we can possibly spend the night here. Cars are only allowed to a certain point and there is only one car park which is monitored by rangers regularly. We return to the village “Seis” at the bottom of the Seiser Alm and try to gather some information on possible hiking trails for the next days. Here we find out that the refuge huts are still closed and that there is still snow in the higher parts of the hiking trails. Our planned 5-Day walking track will not happen but we are still quite happy to go for a day-trek tomorrow.

For today we decide to just go for a walk from our campsite in Seis to a lake we found on the map.
It is a rather cool but sunny day (with clouds) and I’m struggling with a light headache caused by the cold winds, so I end up wearing a beanie.
We first walk through dense forest and just when I’m reminded of my childhood stories of witches and dwarfs, I discover a large rock in the middle of the woods with a sign telling a myth about a pastor who was once killed here by witches. Soon after, we come to an open alpine pasture with dozens of cows and bulls roaming freely. The cow bells are ringing everywhere and one cow curiously walks right up to me, smelling me and my hand. I think I have never been so close and vulnerable to a cow before but even though we were both slightly afraid of each other, I felt very close to this lovely creature. The soft nose touched my hand and the big eyes looked at me with curiosity. I think I really fell in love with cows and I’m glad that these ones here have such a wonderful live. They all were very active, running around, jumping and moo-ing loudly.

Not far and we arrive at a lake surrounded by forest. We walk around it once and then return to Seis via a different route.

  

     

  

This different route leads us past a restaurant and we can’t resist but follow our noses…

    

So after having filled our stomachs with Schnitzel and fries, Logan got stylish for his run.
Here, a photo of the 2012 sport’s outfit:

Logan actually ended up running all the way up to the Seiser Alm and back, he’s just that crazy guy from Down Under who can’t get enough!

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Gfrill, a German hill-top village in Italy

Having done a lot of sightseeing, Logan and I want to return to the mountains and do some hiking in the picturesque Dolomite Mountains.

  

Once we drove past the Garda lake (lago di Garda) I look up camping sites in the Dolomites in my Bordatlas.  The only free one nearby is in Gfrill. Well it is free when you have dinner in the restaurant of the “Fichtenhof” and since we feel like a good South-Tyrolean meal, we are glad to have an excuse. I have never heard of Gfrill before and upon arrival I realise why! Only about 40 people live here and it is quite hidden up high on a hill. The drive is rather exciting with our Campervan, but it is do-able.

  

The owner of the Fichtenhof tells us where we can park for the night and supplies us with electricity from the wooden shed. Since the temperature still drops down to zero degrees at night, I’m relieved we are able to heat!

The restaurant is furnished in typical Austrian style and everyone speaks German, even though we are still in Italy. German seems to be the main language here and after some research we find out, that the borders had been moved years ago after the war. Even the town and street names are in German, I’m feeling quite at home here!

     

Our meals are just delicious and while feasting we are enjoying a stunning view down the valley from the restaurant window.

I just finished my meal as suddenly I hear my name: Frau Koennecke!? I’m thinking, there’s gotta be someone else here named Koennecke, how would she know my name?? She is looking at me and says: “Telefon! Ihre Mama ist am Telefon!” …My mum is on the phone? I had just sent them a message letting them know we had safely arrived in Gfrill. How would they know that we’re sitting in the Fichtenhof?? I guess I just have smart parents.

After a nice chat to my mum, Logan and I are about to leave the restaurant to return to our Globetrotter van when one of the friendly staff is starting to talk to us, questioning especially Logan about Australia. Then the owner comes back with some photos of himself in Australia a few years ago. Very nice and welcoming people here in Gfrill!
Finally we are off to our van and after a game of chess we are falling asleep in a warm and cosy campervan.


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Naples, city of chaos

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Traffic noise, sirens and beeping horns have accompanied our sleep. The heat in the morning is responsible for a quick breakfast as our van is turning into an oven. Getting the bicycles down, Logan wants to pump up his back tire a little more but instead of pumping air in, it’s coming out. Finally it is completely flat and we can’t ride into town anymore. This is really great timing as it’s not only very hot today but we are about an hours walk away from the city centre.

“Okay we are walking!” I say. Logan gives me a surprised look but then we start walking. I feel like jumping into the dirty sea, that’s how hot it is. An hour later we are in the city centre, gazing at a shopping centre from the inside and various sights throughout the city. It is here where we first have Italian ice cream and now we’re hooked! Nowhere in the world will you get ice cream with SUCH a delicious taste! If fruit flavour, nut, panna cotta, yoghurt, alcoholic ice cream, ANYthing you could wish for: You’ll find it in Italy! And oh so creamy!

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Anyway, we pick up a tourist map and make sure we’ve seen the most important sights and streets but soon come to our end. The heat is unbearable and my feet hurt because my shoes have rubbed off the skin between my toes. Ouch. We decide on catching a bus back: What an experience! We find ourselves jammed in with other passengers, sweat, smell, heat, traffic jam, no movement! This is worse than walking! We’re getting off again. A few hundred meters later we are getting onto the same bus again… and… miss our station. Instead we are going through a loooong tunnel. Logan wants to walk back, but I can see another bus coming in the opposite direction so we hop back on. Finally we only need to walk another 400 meters and we are back at our Globetrotter home.

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Scanno and the 700,000 year old site of Isernia

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After a very eventful day, we are exploring Scanno by foot today before heading to the Palaeo-Museum in Isernia.

Scanno is a beautiful small mountain village with small alleyways and old hilltop houses. There is a clock tower hidden within and a couple of small piazzas. It is the only village in Italy where some women still wear traditional clothing.

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Toni showed us a book yesterday with his grandmother on the cover. He explained that they are women with Albanian background and I realised why he looks different from Italians in other towns, even different from Guido.

While browsing through Scanno, we also find a “mechanic” and Logan discovers a welding machine outside of the small garage. That’s it, we should come back here and get our waste water pipe welded back on! We keep walking through Scanno and buy a few supplies in a small local shop. Instead of 300grams of ham, we get 3 slices. This is what happens, when there is a language barrier. Let’s hope we won’t have the same problem when asking the mechanic to weld our pipe back on! Back at the van we take it down to the mechanic and Logan shows him the pipe and points at the welding machine and then at where the pipe used to hang off the van. He asks: Is that possible? The mechanic smiles and says: Yes, possible! Within 10 minutes the pipe is back in place and we pay him 20 Euros for his spontaneous help.

Windy roads around Scanno:                                                          Lago di Barrea:

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In the Lonely Planet I read about Isernia and Europe’s oldest excavation site Once in Isernia, it is quite hard to actually find the site and museum and we soon find out why: They are still busy digging and the museum is also still being built. We are the only visitors and aren’t even sure, if we are allowed in?! We bravely walk into the building and a nice lady there, speaking English, takes us into the museum and gives us a FREE personal guided tour of the site and findings. I’m amazed. Amazed about the friendliness and amazed about 700,000 years of history lying in front of us. So far 80,000 pieces of animal bones and tools have been found and 5000 are visible to us in the small museum.

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There are three 4 stratigraphic layers and these bones where found in layer 3A, covered by volcanic ashes. A multimedia computer with a touch screen is placed in front of the findings. The lady goes through the menu with us, picking different animals and then a certain body part, let’s say the elephant’s tusks, and they are then highlighted in different colours on the screen and you can find them within the real bones displayed.

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I always wondered how palaeontologists know which bone piece belongs to which animal? Do they extract the DNA? No, she said. The bones are too old; there is no DNA to be extracted anymore. They simply compare bones and fragments to earlier findings. The bones found are all from animals like rhinos, elephants, deer or wild boar. They have been found accumulated in an area of 65 square meters, together with stone tools. So far there have been no human bones found and chances are 50/50 that they will. It may have been possible that those early humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers and after they had exploited the area, moved on to another place. Two young Italians then guide us down to the actual excavation site.

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I’m surprised how small the area only is, how close to the surface these bones actually are and how many bones are sticking out. Impressed we leave Isernia and make our way towards the east coast. On the way we stop at a gas petrol station asking the attendant whether it is possible to fill up our gas bottle with the same gas. He doesn’t speak one word English but nods the head and lets us wait about 10minutes. Then we move the van towards the gas station but then looking at our gas bottle, he shakes his head, pointing at the different adapters. Great. So we can’t refill our gas bottle in Italy without the right adapter. Let’s hope we’ll be able to buy one in Rome!

The day ends like so often: We can’t find the campsite. It is dark and we are getting tired, so we end up just parking on a farmer’s field.

 

 

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First day in Italy

Day 5 (by Francy)

With the crossing of the border to Italy the architecture changes. I can tell we are in Italy, also by people’s driving habits. Just as I warn Logan that Italian’s are rather loud and aggressive people, we are being overtaken in a very illegal and cheeky way. Shortly after a car drives into a roundabout and when he realised he couldn’t make it, he just stopped in our lane, with Logan having to swerve around him and another car left/behind us then having to swerve around us. I guess my heart just skipped a beat! Not to mention cars beeping horns at us because we are too slow for them or the dangerous overtaking actions of those crazy Italians. How many times did I think they would hit the coming car.

We are driving along the coastline through Trieste, a city with a pretty centre and a big ugly industrial area and port. In the Board Atlas I chose a campsite in Jesolo, near Venice. It is supposed to be cheap, has electricity, toilets, showers and even wi-fi! Sounds great! I must have forgotten we are in Italy! Upon arrival I want to use the toilets and the receptionist tells me they are still being built. Awesome. We kind of wanted to avoid having to use our board toilet and now we just paid for a campsite without toilets. It is very hard in Italy to find public toilets. There seem to be no shopping centres like we know them from Germany and Australia. Petrol stations have no toilets and if they do, they are those dirty squatting down ones. I’m looking forward to the wi-fi connection, as I really would like to upload some photos. I don’t know what I was expecting but the wi-fi isn’t working either. It sometimes connects and I can just open an Internet page but then disconnects straight away. Arrrgh!

At least electricity works but wait.. we haven’t got the right adapter. Italy has got it’s own connections, so Logan has to go and buy another adapter for 18Euros.
We grab our pushbikes and ride through town to get a few supplies from a small supermarket. Most shops are already closed, I assume it’s because tomorrow is Easter Friday. With bread and milk in the bag, we ride back on the beach promenade. The sand is a browny colour and we both don’t think it’s overly pretty. Maybe we are simply spoilt from the beaches at home in Australia.

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Paragliding the Alps

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Dann das Video runter laden. Voila.

 

26/01/12

Australia Day!
This morning the valley is covered in thick fog but the top of the mountains are clear and blue. The forecast for tomorrow, Logan’s birthday, is cloudy with snow so someone might get his birthday present a day early. Well technically Logan will glide into his birthday since Australia is 8 hours ahead. Explanation following!

So we start off our day at St. Johann skiing/snowboarding and Logan has got no idea of my little birthday surprise. After 3 hours racing on blue, red and even black ski tracks, I tell Logan, we should go down to get the camera. At the car I tell him, I got bad news. We can’t go snowboarding anymore. And the second bad news: Tomorrow is bad weather. Logi looks at me all shocked and shakes his head: “No no no no! We are going back boarding now!!” “No we are not, because you will be paragliding in one hour!” “No!?!”  I smile and say “Yes” Logan: “No?!? Really??” “Yes!!” Now someone is happy and excited but first we need to make sure to fill our tummies with some food. At 2pm we are meeting Hervé from the Mountain High Adventure Centre at the Max Pub. There are country flags at the end of the ski track and we spot the Australian flag and behind it a house with a roof full of snow. An interesting image!
The conditions are perfect, the sun is out and there is no wind. Hervé gives Logan a big bag while he carries one himself and they make their way to the St. Johann gondola.
I’m waiting for them down the bottom and after about half an hour I see them gliding down the mountain. When they come closer I can hear Logan cheering while they are doing aero acrobatics and just a few minutes later two happy faces are landing in the deep puffy snow.

We are going back to the car and make our way back to the Mountain High Chalet to look at the footage and rest before going down for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

27/01/12

Since Logan has already received his birthday present yesterday and our ski passes have run out, we start the day slowly with some work on our footage before we head out to Kirchberg and Kitzbühel around noon.
We have a browse through the towns and meet my great cousin at a pub in Kitzbühel. We actually have never met before and two years ago I didn’t even know she would exist, so it was really nice to meet her!

Kitzbühel is an interesting town. The high society is here and as we found out, Arnold Schwarzenegger was here only two days ago. We see women with expensive fur coats, Botox in their skin, fake lips and other body parts; most of them being over 50 and trying to look like 20. Then there is the rich youth scene and the gold-necklace men scene. Not worth going into detail but it is quite funny to watch.
After 4 hours of après skiing, we went back to our chalet, having missed out on our nice three-course meal and Logan clearly still in drinking mood. You only turn 33 once, don’t ya?! After another hour I went to bed and didn’t find Logan next to me until 4am.  God knows whom he was talking to or what he was talking about, we will never find out. Meister Jäger made sure he lost all his memories.

New year, new start!

 

28/01/12

Unfortunately it’s time to check out of our much loved Mountain High chalet and we would like to officially thank our hosts Hervé and Stephanie, the barmaid and the chef for looking after us so well and answering any questions we had. Also thanks to Hervé as the pilot of “Mountain High airlines” for giving Logan a once in a lifetime experience of paragliding over the Alpes.

Logan and I would have liked to extend our stay in Kirchdorf or anywhere else around the area but since holidays are about to start, every guesthouse seems to be booked out.
We are happy and grateful for this awesome week of powder fun and make our way back home to Magdeburg just to find out that the rest of Germany is also covered in snow. Yeeeeewww!!!

 

www.mountain-high.at

 

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Austria – Kirchdorf, Tirol

The alarm rings but we ignore it. It’s just not a good start for a holiday, so we add another two hours of sleep before finally getting up. Our bags are full of winter clothes and the skiing gear is already waiting for us in the car.

Logan forgot his ski pants in Robert’s car when they climbed the Brocken over a week ago, so we have to go to his place to pick them up. Then we have about 6.5 hours drive ahead.
Behind Munich, the picturesque scene on the horizon is beautiful. When the big wall of mountains appears, the sun is just about to set behind them. It looks like you couldn’t get through the mountainous landscape, just when you find out that the highway is bending and leading right into the majestic Alps.
Upon arrival in Kirchberg we have to learn that our Chalet is in Kirchdorf. Panic sets in: Hopefully Kirchdorf is not too far away?! Lucky, 20 minutes later we are in Kirchdorf at the Mountain High Chalet right near a creek. The snow is over a meter high but unfortunately it is raining.
Slightly exhausted we sit down to have a three-course meal, which is part of our booking each night (apart from Tuesday) for this week. Vegetable soup, Wiener Schnitzel with fries and cake: my goodness that was delicious and filling.

The chalet owner tells us he is French and his wife a Kiwi. Then he tells us, the ski hut down the road is owned by an Australian woman. The Alpenrider in Kirchberg is also owned by an Australian. Seems there are a few around from Down Under. Logan smirks.

Beep beep, beep beep. Great, again the alarm waking us up! This time we actually have to get up because breakfast is only between 8-9:30am. While I almost want to complain, thoughts of white powdery snow are shooting through my head. We are going skiing today!
The look out of the window makes me want to jump right back into bed: it is still raining and the snow is wet!!

I convince myself that it’s all going to be ok and jump under the shower: next dilemma! I forgot my hairdryer at home.

After breakfast we are asking our host whether he thinks it’s worth trying to ski up the top of the mountains. He checks the weather forecast for us and recommends the Steinplatte (stone plateau), a mountain at around 1800m.

Logan and I walk across the street to get him fitted with a snowboard, boots and helmet. Not an easy task when you have shoe size 49 (14)! Bloody hell Logan, your index toe is a weird one! There is still a very big blister on top of that same toe from his Malerweg trekking adventure; only because it’s too long for every shoe and bends up in a funny way.

With a board as big as a raft and boots one size too small (it was the biggest size they had) we are now off to the Steinplatte, only a few km down the road.
From down the bottom we can visibly see the snowline. The trees suddenly go white from a certain altitude; that’s a great sign! The gondola takes us up past the snow line, and up… and up… and then even further up!!! You can only see about a quarter of the length of the gondola from the bottom, so we were quite surprised at how high we were taken. At the top of the Steinplatte there was so much snow, we couldn’t believe our eyes; and then we realised our eyes couldn’t make much sense of all the white anyway. Snow on the ground, white sky and falling snow resulted in one white image. It was incredibly hard to see how steep a hill was or whether there were any bumps on the track. My goggles helped to take the glare away but I still couldn’t quite see. Poor Logan didn’t have proper ski-goggles, only his sunnies that were a bit too dark and would fog up.

And off we went, howling down like the wind, as if we never did anything else. Ok, Logan fell over a few times and I did once, but let’s call it “tricks”. Yeah, we did some tricks!
Four hours went past like one and we only stopped because my muscles started to burn. What great fun, good we got a few more days to go!

Back at the “Mountain High” Chalet we checked out our footage and Logan even fell asleep for a few minutes. At 6pm we went down for our three-course meal: Soup, Goulash with Spätzle and Banana Split. Mmmmmmhhh! I’m about to explode and Logan isn’t moving either, right Logan? … Logan?? Oh, he’s asleep again!

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Malapacao 23/11/11

“Happy birthday” says Logan. It’s still dark outside and a few minutes later Leeann is calling out for us. We told her yesterday we wanted to do an island hopping trip today. We paid for 5 nights, including two half day island hopping trips, so we thought we better do it soon before we need to leave the island due to hunger.

Logan and I were dearly hoping that the crazy woman wouldn’t come on the trip but for some reason, she decided to join us – in her see-through crochet bathing suit that rather looked like lingerie. We are making our way to the big lagoon. The way through to the lagoon is so shallow, we need to get off the boat and push it. The Philippino captain is maneuvering around big rocks, one of them skimming the outrigger of the banka. We drive in, turn around  and leave the lagoon already. Quick visit! The small lagoon is right next to the big one. This time we have to anchor the boat outside and swim through an entrance into the small lagoon. There is lots of coral and fish in there but unfortunately the water visibility is not the best today. It is still impressing with the steep limestone cliffs surrounding the lagoon and holding it like a treasure. We swim into two caves, one is very narrow and I’m trying my best not to hurt any coral. During our swim, Leeann collects some leaves off the cliff walls and Logan jokingly says: That’s our lunch. Unfortunately we knew it was the truth!!

We are swimming back to the banka but I feel there is a strange mood in the air. I’m asking Leeann where we are going next and she says: “Home!” Home? I thought this was supposed to be a half-day trip, not a 1hr trip? I’m totally disappointed and tell Logan that I want to leave the island today. I’m hungry, not happy and this is my birthday. All I have been thinking off the last two and a half days was normal food.

On the way back, we drop Logan off at Inabuyatan island, so he can swim back. It’s a 1.7km swim and takes about 45 minutes. (on the map you can find Malapacao and Inabuyatan in Tour B) While Logan is swimming, I’m washing some clothes in a bucket with soap, so they can dry before we are leaving.

Back at the hut, Logan and I discuss how we are going to tell Leeann about our decision to leave. We walk over to her hut and tell her that we decided to leave today as we would like to go exploring a bit more around El Nido. She asks where we’d like to go, so Logan says, we’d like to hire a motorbike and go for a ride. She responds: The roads are too bad, I hurt myself once falling off a bike. So I say: and we’d like to see the waterfalls. “The waterfalls are not good at all, they don’t carry water this time of the year.” She also says: “Is it the food? Do you want some rice?” I’m thinking, oh yes and I want a lot more than that. She says: “Well we can take you to El Nido and pick you up again!?” Logan and I don’t know what else to say. We really would just like to leave and not be impolite or make this a big drama. So Logan says: “We don’t really know where we will go, so we’ll leave this afternoon please.” She finally accepts. Thank god!

We are impatiently awaiting the afternoon with a very hungry tummy. Finally back on the banka I feed relieved. We go straight back to the Sands Inn, throw our bags in the room and quickly walk to the Art Cafe. I order Spaghetti Carbonara and Logan has a large pizza. FINALLY! I’m happy and can enjoy my birthday.

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