Travel Diaries

Travel Diaries

Samothraki Island - pebbled beaches, goat dishes, and bouzouki music

Hora - the capital of Samothraki Island: typical housesWhen I turned back from Lemnos Island, I reached the port of Kavala late at night. As I wanted to take the morning ferry to Samothraki Island, I decided to drive 120 kilometers on the highway to reach my intermediary destination, the town of Alexandroupolis. I went to the municipal campground of Alexandroupolis where I was charged the price of a camper-van again because I was sleeping in the car. The following day, I paid a bigger price for the same reason when I boarded with my car on the ferry for Samothraki Island. The first day on Samothraki Island Short Description: I Read More...

Lemnos Island - secluded beaches, whitewashed chapels, and fried octopus

Gomati bayAfter I turned back from Thassos Island, I rested in Batix Multiplex Camping site from Kavala for one day. I ate mussels saganaki with tomato sauce and feta cheese. Besides, I had my own pitch surrounded by a green fence, sun beds, clear and warm water, and straw umbrellas at choice. I felt good in that camping site, but I had to move on and go to Lemnos Island, my next destination. The first day on Lemnos Island Short description: I took the morning ferry from Kavala Port to Myrina, on Lemnos Island. I went directly to the unofficial camping site near Read More...

Thassos Island – pristine waters, marble beaches, and authentic villages

Thassos TownGreek Islands - Thassos Island At the beginning of July, I went to some Greek Islands from the northern Aegean Sea for three weeks. For the first day, I stopped overnight at Calafat (at the border between Romania and Bulgaria). The following day, I crossed Bulgaria (passing by Sofia) and entered Greece in Kulata. I went directly to the Camping Batis Multiplex in Kavala. At the camping site, I arranged a bed in the back of my car and asked information about the ferries to Thassos Island. In the evening, I heard small bugs singing in the trees and the mosquito swarms inevitably showed up. The first Read More...

From Pokhara to Kathmandu

Pokhara to Kathmandu - Gorkha: Mahadev TempleFrom Pokhara to Kathmandu After five trekking days in the Annapurna Area, I had to relax and recover in Pokhara for one day. I had no idea where I was going to stay until my departure from Nepal. In this case, I took advantage of the luxury from Pokhara’s Lakeside for the rest of the day. I ate at my favorite Tibetan restaurant, lay on a sun bed among flowers on the lakeshore, and bought a few traditional souvenirs. I had a great victory when I managed to withdraw cash from the only bank machine that accepted my Romanian card. For lunch, Read More...

The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part II)

Ghorepani Trek: going up from Ghorepani to Deurali Pass (the Dhaulagiri Himalayan Range in the background)Ghorepani Trek – Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal This is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Annapurna Conservation Area. My first post can be found at the following link The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part I). Ghorepani Trek, the third trekking day Short description: We climbed from Upper Ghorepani to Deurali Pass, and then we descended to Ban Thanti. We abruptly continued the downhill to a tributary stream of the Bhurunngdi Khola Valley, from where we constantly hiked up to Tadapani. Further on, we walked along a contour line to Ghandruk, where we stayed overnight. Long description During the night, Read More...

The Extended Ghorepani Trek, Annapurna Conservation Area (part I)

Ghorepani Trek: the entrance gate to Ghorepani Poon HillGhorepani Trek – Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal Ghorepani Trek is a popular trek in Nepal and includes the ascent on the renowned Poon Hill. As famous as the Annapurna Circuit and the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Ghorepani Trek is, in fact, a loop that stretches between the last two treks, but it’s much shorter. The trek lasts three to five days if an optional visit to the Hot Springs of Chinu is included. The trail passes through Gurung villages where Tibetan refugees live, too. Along the trek, the villages are still very alive due to the flow of tourists, especially in Read More...

From Lumbini to Pokhara passing through Tansen

Pokhara - Going up to Sarangkot: the view of the Annapurna RangeFrom Lumbini to Pokhara The road to Lumbini Before reaching Pokhara. Typical for Nepal, the road from Sauraha to Lumbini took me almost one day. Nevertheless, there were less than 200 kilometers between the two locations. In the morning, the Nepali man from the travel company gave me a ride to the bus stand, located in the middle of the field. He patiently waited next to me. Finally, the bus for Lumbini appeared in the so-called ‘bus station,’ leaving behind a smothery cloud of dust. After a long wait, we finally left Sauraha. The bus gradually filled up with people, luggage, and Read More...

Explore Chitwan Jungle around Sauraha

Chitwan - Sauraha: Cycling through Tharu Villages around SaurahaExplore the Chitwan Jungle around Sauraha How did I decide to head to Chitwan? I had been thinking to go from Patan directly into the mountains, to Pokhara, to enjoy the Himalayas. However, the monsoon season wasn’t over yet, so I had to change my priorities. I decided to go to the jungle first and afterward head toward the mountains. The first day trip to Chitwan Short description: I caught the bus going to Sauraha in the last moment and spent most of the day on the road. In the evening, I analyzed the jungle activities of the travel companies spread along the main street in Read More...

Kathmandu Valley – exploring towns, villages, and local families (part II)

Kathmandu Valley - Bhaktapur - Taumadhi Tole - Nyatapola TempleContinuing around Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley – exploring towns, villages, and local families (part II) is the continuation of my diary about the Kathmandu Valley. My first post can be found at the following link Kathmandu Valley - towns, villages, and local families (part I). The medieval town of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley I left a part of my luggage at Durbar Guesthouse in Patan and planned a one-week trip through the towns and villages situated in the eastern part of Kathmandu. I bargained with a taxi driver to give me a ride to the bus station. There, I asked a few people which bus went to Read More...

Kathmandu Valley - exploring towns, villages, and local families (part I)

Patan - Durbar SquareKathmandu Valley nearby, Patan (Lalitpur) Around Kathmandu Valley. In the morning, I admired a cortege of women who walked in a line along the main street of Patan. They wore red dresses and carried small baskets with offerings. A Nepali attending the procession, Basaldun, saw me when I took photos of the women and insisted on going with them. I listened to my intuition, felt safe, and eventually joined the group. The cortege went to a Buddhist monastery - Itiraz Mahavihar-n, just rebuilt on the ruins of a medieval one. However, the ruins of the old monastery had nothing to do with Read More...

Tamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part II)

Tamang Heritage Trail - Day 6: Briddhim village - a local old woman I met on the roadTamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part II) This is the continuation of my first diary about trekking in the Langtang National Park. My first post can be found at the following link Tamang Heritage Trail (I). Tamang Heritage Trail, the fourth day of the trek We stayed in Nagthali Ghyang. Thick clouds covered the mountains across the valley in front of us, but it was sunny above our heads. I wanted to stay there for another day and hoped to see the view of the Langtang Range. Suddenly, Rishi had another trek planned in two days, and I was supposed to end my trek Read More...

Tamang Heritage Trail, Langtang National Park (part I)

Tamang Heritage Trail - Day 3: Brimdang hamlet - local woman cooking nettle sauce for dhal bhatTamang Heritage Trail, Langtang (part I)  Starting the Tamang Heritage Trail. My mountain guide-cum-porter, Rishi, accompanied me from the luxury of the Kopan Monastery to Matribhimi Hotel (his uncle’s hotel). The hotel was a dirty and ugly place but close to the Gongabu Bus Station (on the Kathmandu’s Ring Road). From there, we would leave the following day toward the town of Syabru Besi, situated high in the mountains. We had lunch at an eatery nearby, where I paid, and Rishi was surprised to see my boyfriend’s photo on my phone. In the evening, I sat in the hotel’s dining room and Read More...

Kopan Monastery - Introductory Buddhism Course

Kopan Monastery: puja ceremonyKopan Monastery - Introductory Buddhism Course Some time ago, I read an article on the Internet about the Introductory Buddhism Course from the Kopan Monastery. I immediately searched for details about the course on their website, filled out the application form, and reserved a spot for myself. I was eager to learn about Buddhism within an authentic environment. The Tibetan landscapes with Buddhist monasteries lost in the high, snowy mountains always attracted me. I wanted to experience the lifestyle of a Buddhist monastery. The Kopan Monastery wasn’t located in the mountains with huge rocks and bald eagles, as I would have liked, but Read More...

Exploring Kathmandu in one week – sites, villages, and local people (part II)

Gokarna Mahadev Temple (around Kathmandu)Kathmandu is a chaotic town but it has some of the most famous heritage sites of Nepal. Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas are a must see for visitors. Read More...

Exploring Kathmandu in one week – sites, villages, and local people (part I)

Kathmandu - Kathesimbhu Stupa near Thahiti ToleKathmandu is a chaotic town but it has some of the most famous heritage sites of Nepal. Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas are among the most interesting ones. Read More...

Kopan Monastery: an authentic insight - Nepal 2016

During the discussion group within the Introductory Buddhism Course from Kopan Monastery, I concluded some interesting ideas that I hadn’t thought so deeply before. The discussion group was one of the best parts of my stay at Kopan Monastery as we were totally strangers when we had come here, but some of us left as friends. Even if some of my conclusions were opposite to the Buddhism point of view, among the enlightenment I had these days I would emphasize a few: - “I am ok how and where I am now. I don’t want, and especially, I don’t have to Read More...

Returning to Morocco

When I left Morocco in autumn, I thought I’ll never go back again. At least, I didn’t intend that. I had no reason to do it. I had explored the most authentic and interesting parts of it for over six weeks. I made friends, I met locals, I understood their culture. I was satisfied. I discovered more than I would have done in a quick 2 weeks ‘the best of ....’. I even have thrown away my Moroccan sim card when I came back to Romania. Now I won’t have a sim card when I’ll go back in 2 weeks. When Read More...

Aurora Borealis - Norway

Aurora Borealis: Kattfjord – Kvaloya IslandAurora Borealis Aurora Borealis was a continuous learning lesson until I saw it, and even after. I learned that going too close to the North Pole is not a condition to see it; the best locations are inside the Arctic Circle (called the Auroral Oval or the Auroral Zone). Aurora Borealis is visible only at night, in dark places with a clear sky (or very few clouds), and not affected by light pollution; the best period to see it is in winter when the sun is mostly absent and nights are longer. The Aurora forecasts can predict the chance to see Read More...

Dar Kamal Chaoui - Bhalil

Dar Kamal Chaoui - rooftop terrace with the sitting areaDar Kamal Chaoui. Bhalil is apparently a simple Moroccan village, located on the sunny slopes of some hills full of olive orchards and ancient caverns. Even though it is overshadowed by Fez's attraction (one of the tourist, cultural, and spiritual centers most important of Morocco), Bhalil is amazing both by the uniqueness of the troglodyte houses and by the tradition of the 1,000 women who crochet buttons for djellabas (the traditional clothing) right into the street. It is unique also for its production of olive oil, the tradition of baking bread in earth ovens, the local ceramic, and the unspoiled Read More...

Tromsø: preparation for Northern Lights - Norway

Tromsø: houses in the city centerTromsø was a minor religious center in the medieval times. People from a vast area congregated regularly in the small town to go to the only church in the region. Hindered by the Napoleonic wars, the city still developed into a trade center with connections from Arkhangelsk to Central Europe. Ever since the mid 19th century, the town has been the starting point for Arctic hunting and polar expeditions. It's about the well-known drift of the Fram expedition when the explorers Nansen and Johansen almost reached the North Pole with dog sledding. Called the 'Paris of the North', Tromsø is a Read More...

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