Posts tagged travel
How to See the Jostedal Glacier - Even If You Are Not a Hiker!

Jostedalsbreen Glacier is the biggest glacier in continental Europe. It might seem that the only way to see it must be some strenuous and technical trek. The good news is, you can see some of it even if you are not a hiker. You can drive to parking near one of its arms and either walk a pretty wide path or if that's too much - get a ride with an electric car.

Last summer I spent in Norway. Most of it I hiked, and wild camped solo and had the time of my life. But I am not a hiker ready to cross a glacier. You need appropriate gear, skills, and experience to move anywhere close to such area.

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Urban Hiking in Bergen, Norway: Mt. Ulriken and Mt. Fløyen

Bergen, in addition to the historic heritage and adorable wooden houses, offers also hiking experience without leaving the town. Even the biggest Norwegian cities are very close to nature, and it often takes a long walk, a bus ride or a few stops by a train to arrive in a pure and stunning natural area.

Bergen, the second-biggest city of Norway, lies at the western coast of the country. Its houses were often built on rocks and steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. If you have a chance to fly into Bergen, you can see the jaw-dropping setting for this city, with the many mountain peaks, lakes, fjords, and islands.

As part of the Bergen experience, one must go up at least one of the famous Seven Mountains surrounding the city: Mt. Fløyen. Easily accessible by the cute Fløibanen funicular can be reached by everyone. Although it's far from very high: it's 400 m above the sea level, it provides incredible views to the whole area.

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Must-see in Málaga: Alcazaba and Gibralfaro

Recently I visited Málaga again. My first time was some five years ago as a chaperone to a group of teenagers. Not exactly the perfect conditions for slow travel. This year I went with my Mom for a week, starting with the Great Friday. We had the freedom to do whatever we wanted and spend as much time as we needed in every place we visited. 

I was lucky to witness the Semana Santa celebrations and processions but I also had a chance to revisit Alcazaba. Five years ago we had to go pretty quickly through it (and with my eyes all around my head to see if kids were behaving) and we skipped the Gibralfaro. This time, we took our time and made sure to walk also to Gibralfaro.

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Experiencing Semana Santa in Málaga, Spain

I am not a Christian but I grew up in a Catholic country so I am pretty well versed in the basics of Easter celebrations. But nothing like Semana Santa happens anywhere in the world. The famous processions are unique to Spain and their history reaches centuries-old traditions.

What exactly is Semana Santa?

During the Holy Week, a number of brotherhoods and fraternities perform processions on the streets of major Spanish cities. The processions are religious and their nature is penance for sins in spiritual preparation for the upcoming holiday. In some places, the celebrations have been taken place for over five hundred years!

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The Vatican: Beauty, Crowds, and the Dark History

Visiting the Vatican is a must-do thingon most Rome visitors' itineraries, and so it was on ours..

A few weeks ago I went with my Mom to Rome for our first ever visit. We were mostly trying to see the most famous structures and places… To me, it was mostly trying to rein in my anxiety over the constant flood of the human form whenever we went.

Beyond the looks: the Vatican's heavy history

But the Vatican was high also on my list. Not only for the pure visual artistry have I known I would find there. I wanted to go and see with my own eyes the place that has been the most important source of pain, terror and progress inhibition in the history of the Western World

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Colosseum: Up Close & Personal with the Ancient Giant

Colosseum is the obvious stop on any trip to Rome. And so it was on ours.

I do not feel guilty for the lack of originality – when you go to a place for the first time, it’s natural to first go and see the big things, later on you might try to be a bit more adventurous.

Anyway, I really wanted to see it. To confirm with my own eyes it was real. Touch it even, if possible.

It’s one of those things you see in movies as the must-be symbol of a city. If an American movie takes place in Rome, there must be at least one scene with car chase going close by the Colosseum.

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Battling Crowds during a Mother-Daughter Long Weekend in Rome

Back in August, when I just came back from my fabulous travels to Quebec in Iceland, I was telling my Mom about the great time I had.

She listened and then told me, You go, my dear daughter, go and travel – for me, it’s too late, but you go!

That shocked me.

What did she mean it was too late for her? Did she really think there would be nothing of that kind in her life ever anymore?

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The Dohany Great Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary. Simply Marvelous!

I am really happy that sometimes my full-time job sends me to awesome places. A while ago I took part in a conference for teachers run by Centropa. It took place in Budapest where I had never been before. Together with my fellow colleague sharing the trip, we went a day early to wander through the fascinating streets of Hungary’s capital. I was in awe of the architectural beauty of the city. But the best came from the guided tour of the Jewish district. The main point of this tour was a visit to the Dohany Great Synagogue – the biggest synagogue in Europe and second biggest in the world.

Now, I’ve seen many synagogues in my life. I’ve been to old and new ones, prayed in some tiny shuls and huge American temples. But this one… this one is something else! Its uniqueness lies not only in its size but some unprecedented architectural choices. You can learn a lot about the local Jewish community by observing its praying houses – you can see their wealth (or lack thereof), affiliation, praying styles or influences of the local culture.

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El Puig de la Balma Catalonia: a Unique Rock Hotel!

Just imagine a place remembering the times of crusades built directly into a rock. When I heard about this place from a Park Ranger I had a very vague idea as what to expect. El Puig de la Balma, Catalonia, was supposed to be a set of buildings from the 12th century with additions built at various moments in medieval times, mainly in the 17th century. Some historians suggest that people started settling in this place already around the 10th c. What is fascinating, the current owners are the 26th generations of people living here!

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Fabulous Budget Christmas Gift Ideas for Hikers, Campers, and Travelers

Are you on a quest to find the perfect Christmas gift for your hiking/camping/traveling loved ones that doesn't drain your bank account? You are in the right place! Below you will find budget Christmas gift ideas for all the outdoorsy types! 

It might feel a bit intimidating at first to pick something from the thousands of possible items, especially if you are not a hiker yourself. But don't worry! Hikers and travelers love practical things to add to their (probably already big) gear collection.

Believe me, there is no such a thing as too much gear! Most of the items below can work also as the perfect Christmas stocking stuffers or the daily Hanukkah "gelt" gifts! Rejoice!

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