During our travels we are very lucky with people! We were met in each country hospitably; people helped us in words and deeds. I write here about everyone who supported our project in this or that way. But my main rule is writing ONLY about those services and products which we tried ourselves and we loved them. And I am responsible for each my word!
Our thanks to:
We spent almost one month on the island of Bali and we drove it through the length and breadth with a motorbike. Let people talk what they want about Bali, but I love this island very much. Don’t be lazy, leave touristic places, then you will find enough secluded spots, authentic villages and untrodded pathways.
Our home in Ubud was beautiful “Gajah Biru” (“blue elephant” in translation). It was one of those places you don’t want to leave. We stayed at the cosiest bungalow with panoramic windows and a huge terrace. From the terrace I could see the roofs of traditional Bali houses and the pool where Anna was having fun. Surinder, the owner of the “Gajah Biru Bungalows and SPA”, is one of the most hospitable person I’ve ever met! And the most creative one! You can see it in every detail of the interior – every picture is unique, every statue in the garden is one and only! And what about the café where breakfast was served – it was a whole museum of original ideas and design solutions! And the breakfast itself – it was not only the feast for taste receptors, but pleasure for eyes and soul! Our photos>
Coconut Garden Beach Resort was one of our personal highlights on the Indonesian island Flores. We crossed the island from west to east, from Labuan Bajo to Maumere. Mostly by hitchhiking as the buses were very rare. Flores is beautiful, still quite far from mass tourism, and therefore not rich in infrastructure and hotels where you’d like to stay longer. There we were, tired, hungry and dusty, at last at Maumere and found ourselves in hidden paradise of Coconut Garden Beach Resort. Check yourself>
Anna and I kept a tradition throughout the journey – every month we held a jubilee („1 month on the way“, „2 months on the way“ and so on). The jubilee in honor of „8 months on the way“ caught us in the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia. I wanted to make a surprise for Anna and planned out a visit to a nearby LEGOLAND. (Truth to be told, the taxi driver blabbed my secret to Anna on the way there:).
It was an excellent jubilee! I must say that I don’t like this kind of entertainment and I went there only because of Anna. But in the process I must admit that I liked all those roller coasters, flights and the shaking! I skipped like a child from one to the other attraction and squealed just as well as the kids. It was a very cheerful and naughty jubilee! Our pictures here>
Chiang Mai, Thailand. Long before the sunrise I and Anna were riding our motobike among dark rice fields to the place of our first balloon flight! The preparation for the flight itself was quite exciting – bright flame in the predawn, balloon growing right before our eyes… and all those things with live jazz music.
This sunrise from a bird’s eye view will be in our memory for long time! After the flight there was a giant breakfast buffet, champagne and the solemn certificate given ceremony. I still remember my feelings when we returned from the flight: warm wind straight to our happy faces, sensation of happiness as we had done something special, cheerful chirrup of Anna behind my back… for a long time the main topic of her conversations was our balloon flight. See pictures>
This indonesian travel agency has organized for us a trip to Komodo dragons (the world’s largest living lizards, something like last dinosaurs) on the island of Rinca in Indonesia. These “pretty” creatures live exclusively on two Indonesian islands – Komodo and Rinca. We started at Labuan Bajo (the island of Flores), visited Rinca island and its inhabitants, then we were taken to the desert island à la Robinson Crusoe; there we were romping on the empty beach for the rest of the day. I must say that I can’t stand group tours (I can agree to a group tour only for the space flight;-), and this magnificent trip was organized only for two of us! Our pictures>
In a small Thai village not far from Chiang Mai lives Da with his family. They have a nice garden where, in my opinion, there is every possible plant which grows at Thailand. Da teaches a course of Thai cuisine, in which Anna and I have taken part. Before the lesson we picked all the ingredients in the garden, then by combined efforts we processed them into a gorgeous Thai dinner of several dishes! I must confess that cooking has never been my strong point. However, after Da’s culinary experiments, I felt interested in cooking (at last!) and my cooking skills improved a lot!
Look, what great dishes we have done with Anna! Nice and delicious (I love this combination). Pictures>
While travelling we willingly tried and learned new things. Especially we were attracted by the Fine Arts (we visited a wide variety of big and small museums and galleries on our way). It was time to create something with our hands and we went to a small village Keliki near Ubud on Bali. There artist Wayan gave lessons in traditional for this region type of drawing. Anna drew the goddess Saraswati, I drew Ganesha. It wasn’t easy for us – impatient Europeans – to trace thin lines and draw in detail… but finally we’ve done rather well! Again we had a worthy occasion to be proud of our achievements! Moreover, that day we were lucky to join the spouse of the artist for the traditional Bali ceremony. We learned a lot that day and learned first-hand. Some pictures and our masterpieces are here>
We move quite often. But I’m no longer frightened by packing things as this process is quite set up.
The procedure is follows:
- I write to “Box at Work” and order the delivery of such familiar green boxes for a particular date;
- The boxes are arrived and I start packing our treasures. I like this part as I can get rid of useless stuff– sell, give as presents, take it to a landfill… after I feel lightness in my body and mind;
- Boxes are picked up at fixed date and time and go to the storage;
- I say good-bye to our home…
- Time goes… сontinuation >
Island Phu Quoc, Vietnam. After several very intensive weeks on the road we longed for peace and solitude to digest impressions and get new energy. We went to a comparatively non-touristic north-west part of the Phu Quoc Island and settled in one of Gold Sand Beach Bungalows. Just near the sea. Peace and quiet.Only the noise of the sea… and (sometimes) of Anna 🙂 We got up at dawn to see the Sun and celebrate a new day start with a cup of tea at the beach. These dawns were unforgettable! And I won’t forget Son – the owner of Gold Sand Beach Bungalow! Not every day one can meet a Vietnamese man who speaks Russian fluently, got education at St. Petersburgh University and spent his holidays at students’ construction team at the far north of Russia! And then many years later he built a nice bungalow at the sand beach of Phu Quoc and every day he himself and his family work for us – tourists – to make us happy! Our pictures>
We stayed at Bangkok several times, and each time our stay was so different: from colorful Chinese and Indian quarters to a very quiet and unhurried life among Thai people in one of the bedroom suburbs of Bangkok. We have our favorites – places where we felt especially well! One of our favorite hotels in Bangkok is U-Tiny Boutique Home. It’s located in a quiet and green area of the city, not far from the international airport Suvarnabhumi. Tastefully furnished rooms, perfect state of cleanliness, great swimming pool and a beautiful garden – it is all about them! But most of all I was impressed by the warm welcome of the team. The staff of U-Tiny Boutique Home is definitely one of the best examples of Thai hospitality, politeness and benevolence! During our stay we didn’t see a single frown face, only cordial smiles and sincere kindness. Thank you, dear U-Tiny team, for such a warm welcome! We had a great rest and now we are ready for new adventures! Our pictures >
In the centre of ancient city Ayutthaya (a UNESCO world heritage site) there is Kamalar Palace. This is a settlement of 21 villas with a private road between them. There aren’t any external vehicles and thus no traffic noise. Only birds are singing and banana trees rustling in the wind. Mr. Kamalar hospitably offered us a villa of 200 m2. Two floors, three bedrooms, a balcony, a huge hall and a patio with fruit trees – all these at our disposal! It was quite inappropriate to stagger through the magnificent hall into villa. So we straightened our shoulders and unbent our backs (arched slightly due to the heavy rucksacks) ….and proudly stepped inside… continuation and our pictures >
In ancient Auytthaya we opened something new for us – elephant handling! This opportunity was provided by Elephantstay – non profit organization that takes care about retired old working elephants! Early in the morning we arrived at Elephantstay. It is located just a couple of kilometers from the center of Auytthaya that is why we decided to walk there. Our way was through authentic areas and colorful local markets… They were so attractive that we were almost late for our first lesson.
Elephantstay team greeted us warmly, offered tea and coffee and provided a short induction course into elephant handling. For that single hour I learnt about elephants and related to them traditions and history more than I knew in a lifetime. After a thorough safety instruction we were shown to “our” elephant lady… continuation and pictures >
We are very happy when we are in Bangkok. Amazing city! I always try to find accommodation at different areas and hotels to expand my vision so to say. We have some favorites – places which we didn’t want to leave. One of them is Adagio Bangkok. One of the best location in the city. Central part of Bangkok, 2 minutes walk from BTS Phrom Phong station, 3 minutes walk from huge shopping centers – Emporium and EmQuartier, 100 m from the famous Sukhumvit street with all the restaurants and many other attractions for any taste. Admirers of local non-tourist activities have an opportunity to dance with locals in the nearby park (Benchasiri Park). Everyday at 6 p.m. there’re sport dance lessons. Sometimes we have hotels which we would like to leave as soon as possible. Our hands are packing our backpacks in few minutes, our legs are walking straight to the exit… But it was absolutely different with Adagio Bangkok – we didn’t want to go anywhere, it was so cozy and comfortable! Our only desire was to sit there with a book and a cup of tea… a lovely lazy sunday morning feeling… all day long. Our deepest thanks to the great Adagio team for the warm welcome and the great days in Bangkok! Our pictures >
We’ve reached Australia. It’s a completely new country, new continent and new stage for us. We’ve landed at Darwin at sunrise. It was magnificent and in spite of a sleepless night at the plane we were delighted. The delight of new discoveries! We also were happy to have an invitation from Palms City Resort and we knew we were expected there. At 6 a.m. we were warmly greeted at the hotel and moved in one of the houses. Can you imagine: a cozy, fully equipped house under the palm leaves with terrace, kitchen, barbeque and … with our own whirlpool surrounded by tropical plants! Wow! At 6.30 a.m we were happily hopping… continuation and our pictures >
2017 was an excellent year! It deserved a decent seeing out! What a great send-off we had! We rounded beautiful Magnetic Island (Townsville, Australia) on the board of the most beautiful yacht the Big Mama.
The team of the Big Mama is a family of Lisa, Stu and Fletcher. How well and smoothly they worked! And how positive and happy they were! We jumped from the board of the Big Mama into the blue water, examined some coral reefs near Magnetic, did some kayaking, toppled from SUP – boards, ate delicious food, jumped into the ocean again and laughed a lot… continuation and our pictures >
After a long march along the northern part of Australia and several nights at our car among wild landscapes and kangaroos, we reached Townsville on the eastern part of Australia. We were dusty, tired but full of various impressions. We longed for the forthcoming rest and a couple of weeks of “normal life” to digest the impressions and plan where and how we go further and the most important how to celebrate the Christmas and Happy New 2018 Year! We wanted to meet it in comport and at home atmosphere! I organized all that continuation and our pictures >
We are trying something new – parasailing! I’m anxious, but Anna is as calm as possible. A desperate shriekon start – and we are in the sky! We’re floating above the Bay of Islands in New Zealand – a kind of huge parachute is above us, below us is a blue ocean and plenty of small islands. A long rope connects us and a tiny boat of Bay of Islands Parasail team. A dazzling blue sky on the right, Anna’s excited eyes and her broad smile on the left. I’m smiling from ear to ear too. We’re flying and smiling. A very special moment.
“Anna, you won’t forget our flying, will you? Even if we quarrel badly, please remember what we have experienced together…” I ask her. Continuation and our pictures >
We joined two tours with Dolphin Seafaris in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Our first trip was in New Zealand summer, in february – perfect time for encountering dolphins! We started in the port of Tauranga city, rounded the picturesque and very important for Maori mountain Maunganui – and there they were a group of dolphins near the boat! For the first time we saw wild dolphins so close – such beautiful creatures! They followed the boat for many kilometers – a fascinating spectacle! In wetsuits and masks we jumped into the water in small groups and touching the swim bars of the boat that slowly pulled us along the waves – we went underwater looking for dolphins. Read more and to the pictures >
I was absolutely convinced that surfing was not for me. My arguments:
1) I should be in perfect physical condition;
2) I should practice for months just to catch at least one wave;
3) I should constantly fall face down into the cold salt water… oh, that must be very unpleasant;
4) Surfers are often eaten by sharks as they look like big yummy fishes from sharks’ point of view…
But Anna was not persuaded by my arguments and she often asked me when we would go surfing…
Anna: ”Look, how many people are surfing! Perhaps it is not so difficult! We are not worse than the others!” The last argument hurt my ambition. Continuation and our pictures >
We spent two great weeks in the Mexican town of San Sebastián del Oeste. It is a small settlement in the mountains at analtitude of 1480 meters above the sea level. Cobbled streets, old buildings, a beautiful church on a pretty plaza, tiny shops, colorful restaurants – San Sebastián del Oeste definitely has its own charm!
For us it was a kind of retreat in nature! The house we lived in was unique and absolutely amazing! Surrounded by a garden full of tropical plants and fruit trees – mountain views, and a natural pool with the purest cool water. This is the house of our dreams. We decided that if we were going to settle down somewhere one day – we would build this type of house – from natural materials, made of wood, stone and clay, with huge panoramic windows and greenery around, bright and sunny. Continuation and our pictures >
In the city of Puerto-Vallarta (Mexico, the Pacific coast) there is a chocolate museum – Choco Museo Puerto Vallarta. It goes without saying, we couldn’t help passing by and we even participated in the workshop “From bean to bar”. We learnt plenty of new information about the history of cocoa and the “chocolate” traditions of the indigenous people of Mexico! After the short introduction into the history of chocolate and familiarization with the traditional tools, we got started – we roasted cocoa beans, grinded them into powder, boiled them and immediately tasted delicious exotic drinks based on Maya recipes! Continuation and our pictures >
A few kilometers away from the international airport of Puerto Vallarta in the city of Nuevo Vallarta (Mexico, the Pacific coast) we settled in a wonderful place – Villas Parota. Villas Parota has several accommodation options and Villa la Ceiba became our home. When we stepped into the villa, we stopped in amazement … and were amazed the whole week that we spent there. The furnishings of the villa were extraordinarily beautiful – highest ceilings with almost royal chandeliers, spacious rooms, amazing furniture and paintings! A superb bathroom! Every woman’s dream! Continuation and our pictures >
Our next dream has come true! We can hardly believe it, but we already are in the huge colourful hot-air balloon of Flying Pictures high in the sky. It is an early morning: the settlements and forests are misty, the air is fresh and cool; we are basking in the rays of the rising sun and near the open flame that heats the air of our balloon. We are rising higher and higher until we are floating above the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan – the huge pyramid of the Sun, next the pyramid of the Moon… we are looking at these eternal constructions from above, and our faces are shining with joy! And not only ours – all the passengers in the balloon are radiant with delight and can’t stop clicking their cameras! Continuation and our pictures >
Aparthotel Anah Suites Playa del Carmen (Carribean coast of Mexico) is ideally located – just a few minutes’ walk to the main street and to the beach, but at the same time away from the touristy part of the city. That was very important to me, because I really appreciate silence and privacy. It was very quiet at night, no one and nothing disturbed our sleep. The ferry station to the Cozumel Island is a 15-minute walk away. And just within 3 minutes of walking there is a huge supermarket. In this part of the world we traveled by car that is why a reliable parking was important for me. Anah Suites has a private underground garage which guests can use without any additional charge and there is no need to reserve it in advance.
The building is modern and everything is new. We lived in a huge 3 level apartment, with two bedrooms, a terrace surrounded by greenery, a fully equipped kitchen and a hydromassage bath… Continuation and our pictures >