Daytrip from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

While I only had a short stay in Guatemala’s city of Antigua which is a touristic place I wanted to do a trip not so far away. The capital Guatemala city didn’t really interest me that much, however Lake Atitlan with its tiny towns around the lake and its surrounding volcano’s was worth a visit.
A shuttle picked me up at Adra Hostel and took me to Panajachel which is the most important town at Lake Atitlan cause it’s from here you can take boats to the other towns around Lake Atitlan, also here you can get the better deals to do activities around the Lake cause there are many little tour agencies and besides that a lot of shops where you can buy cheap food and any other stuff you might need on your trips and tours.
I have been to many Lakes already in my life, I don’t get easily impressed. I’ve been at Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia, Iskanderkul in Tajikistan, Lake Powell in the US and for me the Lake of the Lakes, Lake Titicaca. Lake Atitlan is not going to top Lake Titicaca for me but I can understand why some flip-flop backpackers like to stay in one of these villages for several days, weeks and those who have a lot of time on their hands months.
I would not want to stay there longer than a day in each village just because I do think they all look pretty much the same. They are nice each in their own way, but all of them have coffee shops, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, tour agencies. The difference between them is that some of the towns have nicer streets with nicer colors. The Lake itself and the volcanos that’s what makes it so nice. The nature that should be the reason to see Lake Atitlan. The small Villages of San Marcos, San Juan and San Pedro (referred as the party town) and Santiago was a nice bonus.
It’s also something different to go from one village to another by boat instead of a bus, which is the most common transportation used in Central America. I enjoyed my day trip and I understand the people who want to spend more days at the Lake and take their time to hang around in each village but also those who go there on a daytrip (me for example) and make a quick stop in a few villages on the lake just to walk around a bit to see what it’s like, experience the vibe and call it a day.
If you would like to hike the Volcano or do water activities your best option would be to stay a few days in the hostels or hotels at one of these towns around the Lake.
After I visited the towns that I mentioned above, the boat dropped me off from where I started in Panajachel from there a minibus picked me up at the agency of Adrenalina tours (the touragency I booked my tour with) in the calle Santander which is the main street in Panajachel with all the shops, restaurants, bars etc,…

Panajachel

Lake Atitlan

 

San Marcos

Arriving in San Marcos at Lake Atitlan the first village

Church in San Marcos

small streets of San Marcos

The local people

streets in San Marcos

fresh fish from the Lake

 

San Juan

San Juan 2nd Village

steep streets of San Juan

One of the Many Art Galleries in San Juan

 

San Pedro

3rd Village San Pedro

The most bussy town at Lake Atitlan

St. Peter in San Pedro

Church of San Pedro

Street Art

Coffeehouse of Guatemalan Coffee

 

Santiago

Spanish Plaza in Santiago with Spanish flags in the back

Church Spanish Plaza in Santiago

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Daytrip from Sliema to Gozo & Comino Islands

Just a cross the street of my hotel “The Sliema Marina” where I was staying I saw these boats leaving everyday with tourists to Valletta or to Gozo and Comino Island bringing them back in the evening when it was already dark. Around 6 or 7 pm. Since I have been in Malta in november this means it’s already dark around 5 pm in this time of the year. To complete my Malta trip I had to visit those Islands even if it would be for a short time and just to go out there and see something. Continue reading

Day Trip to Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park

Going on a Day trip from a big city in to the nature, it’s a huge difference and sometimes a welcoming getaway to see and do something else. To admire nature or wildlife and go on hiking for example in the Blue Mountains. It’s a perfect day trip when you are in Sydney. Most people who spend a few days in Sydney or in the area will do a trip to the Blue Mountains. The most famous landmark of the Blue Mountains national park are the “Three Sisters” see picture below :

three Sisters

Before my visit to the Blue Mountains national park, there was a stop at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, most of the animals here I also got to see at the Lone Pine Sanctuary park in Brisbane, except for a few species like the little blue Penguins. I have been to Antarctica and I know there are many different Penguin species in the world but this Blue Penguins are really tiny ones and their habitat is in Australia and parts of New Zealand. Other animals I saw at the park were Wombats,Walibi’s,Dingo’s,Kangaroo’s, Koala’s,Pelicans,Varans, Salt water Crocodile etc,…

Sign with the map showing were exactly they live

Little Blue Penguins

Penguin behind bars

D I N G O’s one of my favourite animals

Dingo’s observing

Wandering Walibi

After leaving the park, there was time for a quick lunch which was included in the day tour. Once the stomach was filled up, it was time to do some hiking in the blue mountains, but first a stop at the Echo viewpoint to take a picture of Jamison valley and the Three Sisters. You can see a blue spectrum over the green eucalyptus trees, when temperature rises the evaporation of the eucalyptus trees gives this blue color in the valley and that’s why it’s called the Blue mountains.
Eucalyptus trees are everywhere in Australia and the leaves are the Koala’s favourite meal.
You can take a cable car or you can hike down and climb up all by yourself, by following the different paths. Another nice spot was the Waterfall “Witches leap” with the rock formation of a human face. I enjoyed this trip and definitely recommend it if you are in Sydney to take a day trip to this place.

me at Echo Point with view on the Three Sisters

Blue spectrum in the distance over the mountains

It can be chilly in the mountains, so take a good jacket like I did

Human Face rock formation (waterfall Witches leap)

Cable car over the valley

Statue of the road builders, thanks to them you can hike in the blue mountains along the paths they made

 

 

Ta Prohm

Another Temple that I visited in the Angkor complex was Ta Prohm with its huge trees overgrowing big parts of the temple. The trees are in unique shapes and I also saw the most famous tree of them all, the one that got featured in the Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie. Some people call it “The Tomb Raider Temple”.
The Bayon temple is known for its faces this one for its big Banyan trees. So many different temples to visit and each one is different like Beantey Srei with its Monkey statues is in a well-preserved state. Less tourist here but surrounded by the jungle its a must see and well worth to take your time and have a look.

Ta Prohm entrance

Ta Prohm entrance

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Tree overgrowing the temple walls

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This is the famous tree from the Tomb Raider movie scene with Angelina Jolie

This is the famous tree from the Tomb Raider movie scene with Angelina Jolie

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GOING TO THE NEXT TEMPLE BANTEAY SREI

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Monkey carvings

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Entrance Banteay Srei

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This is a zebra caterpillar I guess 🙂

Daytrip from Lisbon Sintra Cascais

While in Lisbon I did a daytrip to Pena, Sintra and Cascais, you can book this trip from any hotel or hostel as a half day trip or a full day trip. I took the half day trip but the trick is that it can save you money. Most people they go for the full day trip, so when a minivan arrived at my hotel to pick me up, the driver told me that since I was the only one who booked the half day tour, he will let me do the full day trip with the rest of the people on this tour at no extra charge. So I payed for half day excursion and got the full day, great deal for me and at the end of the trip I gave the driver some extra tip. Don’t know if this always works but I think it would be crazy for him to drive back to Lisbon to drop me off and then go back to do the rest of the tour with all the others.
The first visit in the cloudy and foggy morning was the Pena Palace. The colors and architecture of this palace which is situated in the middle of a park up hill makes this place look like it comes out of children’s fairy tale book.

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Palacio da Pena – try to find me 🙂

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incredibly detailed

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View from the Palace

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In the town of Sintra, I visited the Sintra National Palace with its big twin chimney’s and walked around the main square, had a lunch there and checked out the many souvenir shops in the narrow steeply streets.

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The Sintra National Palace

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Main square in Sintra

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The steeply streets with restaurants and souvenir shops

In the afternoon the sun came out and the fog and clouds disappeared, great moment to go to Cascais and visit Cabo da Roca and Boca do Inferno on our way.

Cabo da Roca is the most Western point of the European continent.

Cabo da Roca monument

Cabo da Roca monument

Monument that says it's the most Western point of Portugal and Europe

Monument that says it’s the most Western point of Portugal and Europe

Cliffs at Cabo da Roca

Cliffs at Cabo da Roca

Near Cascais is Boca do Inferno (Hell’s mouth). The Seawater slams into the rocky caves, it’s a popular place that attracts many visitors.

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Boca do Inferno

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Finally I arrived in the city of Cascais to enjoy the beach, watch the fisherman bringing in their catch of the day. Portugal is the place to be if you want to eat good fish, it’s what I’ve heard but then again I’m not a big fish eater so what do I know. To know you have to try it for yourself here in Cascais.

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many people at the beach on this beautiful day in Cascais

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Cascais

Cascais

Fishermen arriving in the port of Cascais

Fishermen arriving in the port of Cascais

nice catch ! From the sea to the restaurant :)

nice catch ! From the sea to the restaurant 🙂

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The port of Cascais

 

Helsinki to Tallinn Daytrip

I took the ferry to cross the Baltic Sea from Helsinki the capital of Finland to Tallinn the capital of Estonia. It was about 2 hours and it was a trip I always wanted to do if I would be in Helsinki cause it’s easy to put another country and City off the bucket list.
I visited the old medieval Tallinn with its city walls and the old town square and city hall. It’s all situated in the lower town. The upper town of Tallinn is where you find the Russian Alexandre Nevski Cathedral on a hill. There is also a nice panoramic viewpoint over the old town and the new modern Tallinn in the distance.

Old Citywalls Tallinn

Old City walls Tallinn

Me in Tallinn Estonia

Me in Tallinn Estonia

Town Hall

Town Hall

Old Town

Old Town

Alexandre Nevski Cathedral

Alexandre Nevski Cathedral