Paradise in Panama – Part II

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Isla Tubasenika – San Blas.

Ah, Panama. Whenever I go to a country, I always love it. I try to explore, try to breathe in all the scents and colors as humanly possible and indulge myself in local delicacies. I promise myself to go back, as fast as I can, but often find myself scrolling through a maze of cheap flight tickets, each and every one of them screaming harder and harder for my attention. Most of the times I listen and give in. Another country, another culture, another adventure. Not with Panama. Somehow, someway, this country found a little spot in the back of my mind, nestled itself warmly in a corner and waited. And waited. – and bombed me from time to time with vivid memories of my adventures in the country –  The moment I saw the chance to go, my ticket was already booked. I was going back to Panama. Continue reading

Snapshots of Montenegro.

After five-and-a-half months in Montenegro, my iPhone told me to stop. taking. pictures. He couldn’t handle it anymore…time for me to look back – whut, it has only been three weeks? – and pick my 5 favorite iPhone-shots to share. Whoever follows me on instagram, maybe you’ve seen some of these before… if not all of them.

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Sunset over Budva.

This is one of my favorite views of Budva. I was living in Bečići for the time being, which meant I had to walk along this beauty of a coastal promenade every single time I wanted to visit/party in the city. While the view is not less stunning in the daytime, the minutes before dusk sets in are simply beautiful. Normally I’m not a fan of posting pictures of sunsets – they’re way better when you’re present to enjoy them –, but here I couldn’t resist the urge to snap a picture. The lights and the pinkish glow over the water give the city an almost magical atmosphere, while swimmers enjoy the last rays of sunlight before the evening falls.

 

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Empty beaches.

Rafailovići in spring, before the beaches were packed with colourful umbrellas and barely clad bodies baking in the sun. One of my first strolls in my ‘new’ environment, when the beaches were still deliciously empty. No bright coloured souvenir stands along the promenade or tons of voices in foreign languages, just silence and emptiness. Wonderful.

 

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La la love Lovcen.

One of my all time favorites. – in Montenegro at least – How many times I’ve been hopping into my car, driving all the way up here to admire the view over mountains, lakes and cities? Somehow I always ended up here, the viewing point with the second-to-best panorama in the whole country. – the best is seen from the top of one of those mountains, overlooking the Bay of Kotor and you have to be careful not being hit by cars, sooo… give me Lovcen, please. – How I enjoyed the utter peace and silence on this mountain. When I wasn’t being attacked by flying ants or other bugs, of course.

 

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Black Lake.

Sunshine after rain. And a bunch of people crawling out of their hiding holes, like tiny little ants. I was quick enough to snap this picture, before the sunlight faded away again. Definitely one of my favorite pictures of Montenegro, which was taken at the border of one of my favorite lakes. I was there before on another bright and sunny day, but to me the memory of this specific picture stands, taken after a walk around Black Lake in the pouring rain, when the sun decided to shine after all.

 

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Lovcen, again.

Another picture of Lovcen, this time in the fog. First time visiting the National Park, driving on roads winding all the way up the mountain… to see absolutely nothing. Quite the experience and very creepy, because you can’t see how deep you can fall when you take a step in the wrong direction. Luckily, I made it back alive.

How to visit Skadar, the biggest lake of the Balkans.

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I’m on a boat.

When you land in the airport of Podgorica and you’re heading to the Montenegrin coast, you probably don’t realize you’re about to pass through the biggest National Park in Montenegro, a.k.a. the biggest lake on the whole Balkan peninsula. Bigger isn’t always better, but in this case, big also means covered in the prettiest waterlilies and home to more than 270 different species of birds. Oh yeah, the whole shebang is surrounded by mountains, as far as the eye can reach. – all the way into Albania in this case – Nothing beats the feeling of taking a leap and jumping into the cool waters of the lake on a lazy hot summer day, hereby escaping the hordes of sun lovers on the already packed beaches of the Adriatic coast. Continue reading

Rafting the Tara river.

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You could see black fish in the depths of the lake. Not on picture.

When I first started doing some research on Montenegro, one of the first things that popped up, was rafting the Tara river. Awesome. Even though in the past I haven’t always been crazy about fast currents, tiny boats and especially jumping off things – not that you’re able to jump off things with a boat, but you know, the boat splashes down pretty hardly from time to time –, I changed my mind after a rafting trip in Costa Rica. White water rafting is awesome. Paddling in the middle of nowhere, only surrounded by thick bushes and listening to monkey sounds in the distance. The gushes of adrenaline flashing through your stomach the moment you ‘survived’ another rapid. Getting soaking wet wave after wave after wave and still smile. Yes, you can say that after the first time white water rafting, I was hooked. Not that I have so many chances to raft in the peacefully gurgling Schelde river near my hometown, but the moment I read ‘rafting the Tara river’ in the top-10-things-to-do-in-Montenegro, I knew who would be sitting in a raft sooner or later. Continue reading

End of summer – 2016.

Pebble beaches in front of Rafailovici.

With the seasons come new ends and new beginnings. For me, the end of summer means also the end of my life and work in Montenegro. A country packed with all kinds of natural wonders, from mountaintops shredded in clouds offering stunning views on mediterranean lakes to sun-drenched pebble beaches soaked in Balkan beats. A country being my home-away-from-home for a little while. With one week of work left, time is there to say my goodbyes – always a heartbreaking experience for me – and sadly, I will leave a whole bunch of wonderful people behind. Continue reading

Travel of the mind – Part I: Roberto Barrios.

Sometimes travel memories aren’t big thrills. No adrenaline rush, you don’t hear the gushing of blood pumping through your veins. Sometimes, those memories are just about being at the right place with the right people. No ticking off those precious ‘must-sees’ of that bucket list of yours, nor taking pictures every 5 seconds to be sure you’re capturing the moment. You aren’t. Those won’t be the best memories. Although you’d wish you had pictures. A lot of my travel memories only exist in my head and sometimes, the flashbacks are bright because of a sudden smell or a similar landscape that triggers the remembrance of those souvenirs of time. What I will share here, are some of those memories. I won’t always define time and place, nor  the people I share this moments with. – I never do anyway, the people who were there will know, that’s the most important – Some of those memories are very personal stories which nobody of the people who know me have ever heard, while others can be very happy/stupid/hilarious and told already plenty of times, maybe even some will be painful and sad. Traveling is not only fun and laughter all the time, it can be heartbreaking. All the memories I’ll write about, are the ones who left a big impression on me, being incredibly sad or blissfully happy. Memories I’ll try to remember a year, ten years, a lifetime from now. Memories that leave my fingers aching to write them down, to turn the blurry images inside my brain into full sentences.

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The art of doing nothing while traveling

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Beach in San Juan Del Sur.

Traveling is exhausting. Your brain is buzzing from the gazillion things it has to do and remember to keep you alive during your time on the road. Where am I going next? How am I going to get there? How do I buy a ticket in a language I barely understand? Imagine all those questions combined with all the different smells and colors, works of art and stunning landscapes you’re discovering every single day. No routine, besides the fact that everything is new to you. I remember days strolling through unknown cities, absorbing as much of the tastes and impressions as possible. Always searching for something. A place to sleep. A restaurant. Nice bars. An english bookshop. An ATM. The postoffice. The supermarket. People to hang out with.  Continue reading