Whale watching

11 Dec

Before going to Patagonia she said that she wanted to see whales and he wanted to see glaciers.

So here we were boarding a whale watching boat in El Pyramides, a small town that mainly exists because of whale watching. The whales come up to this area from the Arctic in July to give birth. During birth giving in August whales can be seen from the shore but in December they are off the coast and you have to take a small boat to go and see them.

The boat took us out of the bay and after about 10min we spotted the first school of about 8 whales. The captain took the boat in the middle of the school, switched off the electric engine and waited what would happen. The boats normally do not go close to the whales, but just stop near a school and see if there is any curious whale coming close.

About 25 years ago, fishermen would say it is impossible to get close to a whale with a baby. The mothers would protect their babys from the fishermen. The experience whales had with humans were not the best.

We were very, very lucky. A mother with her baby came close to the boat. She was not at all scared of humans. On the contrary, we had the feeling that we were a welcomed entertainment for her. Mother and baby were swimming around out small boat, almost posing for pictures.

The baby was going up and down moving all the time and the mother came so close that you could almost touch her. It was an amazing experience to see this animal of almost 20m length and more than 30t swimming so peacefully and gracious around our boat of 12 m length. For her we were nothing than a small toy. Even the crew were amazed and did not want to go back.

Apparently it is rare that a whale comes so close to the boat and stays for the whole trip of one hour so close. When we left we had the feeling she was sad to be alone again.

The captain explained us that she was apparently born in the bay and therefore must have had very good experience with humans. Whale watching in the area started about 25 years ago. It is not clear how old whales can become, but some of them have been spotted coming back every year to this bay since more then 40 years.

It was an amazing experience for both of us. So far the most breathtaking of our whole trip.

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In Patagonia

6 Dec

It took us no less than 5 hours of train, 14 hours of flight, and 22 hours of bus to arrive to the end of the world.

Oh, certainly we were not the first ones to fancy the idea of such a trip… It’s been long that travellers of all kinds decided to follow the spur of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. You could see them sitting in lonesome cafés, absorbed in the reading of Bruce Chatwin or Luis Sepulveda…

It is not easy to describe how it feels to have for the first time both feet on the mythical soil of Patagonia. Is it that there is something special in the air? Is it that very particular austral light, soft and blinding at the same time? Or even the absolute immensity of the landscape? Or is it just that feeling that you are far, very, very far away from everything…

The road trip on the bus was the best introduction we could have wished for.  The long, almost perfectly straight Ruta Nacional 3 was impossibly monotonous. From time to time, we would pass by minimalist villages or truckers’ stops. You could see huge pieces of meat being grilled directly on an open fire.

When the landscape reached its most minimalistic look, and the sun stood at its brightest, we knew we had reached the first milestone of our Patagonian trip.

Danish winter magic

3 Dec

It was a bright sunny day on the island of Lolland.

In the night, the first snow of the year had fallen. The fields were white as far as you could see, the air was fresh and clean, and the sky intensely blue.

Ulla and me, we had planned to pay a visit to a nearby organic farm, the official reason being that we wanted to buy some of their delicious goat and sheep cheeses. With their cheeses the farm had won many prizes!

Oh, but their was much more to it… Get to taste many kinds of cheeses in the farm shop, try the newly opened café (hoping they would have very nice cakes), walk around the farm and pay a visit to the goats and sheeps,…

And of course, of course, take a stroll in the woods around the farm and enjoy the sight of the Danish countryside in winter…

Knuthenlund, island of Lolland, Danemark.

PS: we arrived in Argentina :). This afternoon: off to Patagonia!

Balinese design and architecture

1 Dec

Ah… It’s been some days now we have left the island and all its sweet enchantments…

From the time spent there, we keep a few spices carefully placed in the kitchen cupboard, shiny batik scarves to decorate the walls of a hypothetic home and many, many, many pictures.

Here is a set of pictures showing more of Bali’s architecture and design:

Séparé” at the dining place of a famous Balinese musician.

Floating living room.

A water palace.

Garden decoration at the Chedi.

Detail of a restaurant.

In the rice fields ( Sari Organic).

at Dirty Duck.

Casa Luna.

Casa Luna.

Casa Luna.

Lounge in Indus.

Lalla Lilies.

Sari Organic.

Stairs lit up for the dance.

The perfect hide-away

14 Nov

It had been almost two months. The travel through Asia was about to take an end. And they didn’t want it to be sad. They didn’t want it to be stressful. They had imagined to spend the last few days in the most relaxed, the most simple, yes the most happy way possible.

This is how they arrived at the door of the small wooden bungalow, on the white, shiny beach of a peaceful island. Oh, there was not much. Everything was reduced to the most simple minimum. But perhaps really this is happiness, when you feel that there is not much you really need indeed to enjoy a perfect moment with the one you love…

Our little bungalow on the beach.

A hammock on the balcony for nice afternoon naps.

The vegetation around gave nice shade.

The “restaurant”.

Dreamy view from the “restaurant”.

Perfect place to hang out.

A little bit arty, a little bit bohemian.

A little bit adventurous, a little bit childish.

Calling for more dream.

Sunset.

Sunset.

PS: we are back in Europe, plotting our next trip…

Impressions of Bali

9 Nov

Red basil signature drink at the Chedi

River by the water temple

Indus atmosphere

Variations of green

Casa luna

Also…

Dancers

Fisherman’s sunset

PS: we have left Bali and are spending peaceful days on the island of Koh Chang, Thailand

The Death of a King

6 Nov

In August the king of Peliatan died. Peliatan is the neighbouring community to Ubud. As Bali is a hinduistic society, deads are burnt and not buried. However, you cannot just burn a person once he/she died. First of all you have to ask the priest when it is a good day to burn the corpse. And if you are unlucky you have to wait a month. On top of this burning people is expensive with all the ceremonies and offerings. So ordinary people often burry their dead family members and wait until they have the money to burn them or until they can join in a group burning. This can take years.

The king of Peliatan died in August and he was buried in November. This was not a question of not having money, but of preparing a royal funeral. So the king was buried for a few weeks. A cow was build that will contain the sarcophagus while being burned.

Then a dragon was built that will carry the nobleman during the ceremony (A gift from the king of Ubud). And then a tower of 28 meters height that will be used to transport the corpse of the king. It is said that the tower alone cost 250.000$.

On the day of the funeral all Peliatan and Ubud were on the street to see the parade. It was burning hot and we waited two hours in the shade at the side of the street. Already this was an event on its own. People from all nations were mixing and making a party out of the waiting.

After 12 o’clock the corpse was carried via a ramp into the tower. Then all three things were carried by men the 2,5km road to the burning ground. All together it was said that more then 6000 men participated in carrying as the teams needed to be changed every few hundred meters. The streets along the parade were full of people it was the event of the year.

A picture of the late king was carried at the front of the parade followed, by musicians, then the princesses followed on chairs being carried, noble man, etc. All in all the parade was almost 1km long.

At the end came the cow, the dragon and the tower. It was so difficult to carry the tower that it crashed two times into the crowd. Some people we know got badly hurt, but luckily nobody died like in previous processions.

At the end the procession reached the burry ground sound and save and the king was burned later in the day.

It was an amazing event. Like in a time machine. The princesses, the musicians, the nobleman and priest on the dragon.  We were lucky to be around.