4 days in Big Island – Hawaii

I love Hawaii and I don’t miss an opportunity to go back there because I consider these islands my “home”. This year I was lucky enough to visit Big Island for the first time, the largest and youngest of the islands. What to visit if you only have 4 days available?

Waipio Valley – “The Sacred Door” – Luca Oliveri

Big Island

You can travel through many of the world’s different climate zones here, ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra and to Desert, a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa.

The nature is beautiful and there are many cool activities and it is almost impossible to fit everything in your vacation. Big Island is a very special and very relaxing island. Here are the stops that I recommend if you only have a few days to visit the island.

DAY 1 and DAY 2 – WAIPIO VALLEY and BLACK SAND BEACH

WAIPIO VALLEY

Waipio Valley – Luca Oliveri

Waipio Valley is of awe-inspiring beauty, mostly wilderness interspersed with taro fields (Taro is a traditional Hawaiian staple food) and a couple of dozens of inhabitants. It was home to old Hawaiian kings. Waipio Valley is named after the river that runs through the valley (wai-piʻo means curved water in the Hawaiian language). The valley meets the ocean towards the north with a beautiful black sand beach that is cut in two by the river.

Some curiosities about the Valley:

  • A legend says that the Waipio Valley is the gateway to an otherworldly realm and is considered to be one of the holiest places in all of Hawaiian islands.
  • Off the coast of Waipio Valley, Kamehameha the Great fought the first Hawaiian naval battle
  • The Waipio Valley is an alleged site of the Night Marchers. They appear and march to the sound of an invisible drum beat. Many believe that they are the ghosts of warriors still on the way to do battle.
  • Captain Cook loved this place

In this place parts of the movie “WATERWORLD” with ‘Kevin Costner’ was filmed

Hiking tips:

  • The Hike down into Waipi‘o Valley will take you from the overlook into the valley, to the black sand beach, and back up. The total length of this hike is 6.5 miles including lots of vertical meters and is not for the faint of heart. It’s strenous.
  • The Muliwai Trail until the Waimanu Valley. The complete trail is an extremely difficult 2-day hike. The first part of the hike (up the valley wall) is also strenuous but not that long and very rewarding. You will get a unique view in the valley that is especially spectacular with the setting sun.
  • Hi‘ilawe Falls: this hike is in the back of the valley and is not possible without crossing over private property. Don’t attempt without the landowners’ permission.

BLACK SAND BEACH

Black Sand Beach – Luca Oliveri

The beach is split in two by the river coming out of the Waipio Valley, and depending on the amount of water it can be difficult to cross. It’s a dangerous place to go swimming especially during the winter months. I suggest you to spend lots of time here, this is an energetic beach.

DAY 3 – KILAUEA VOLCANO

Located along the southeastern shore of the island, the volcano is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old. Its’ the youngest and most active volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi, with a consistently active summit caldera that frequently hosts lava lake-style eruptions. According to Native Hawaiian tradition, Halemaʻumaʻu crater is the home of the volcanic deity Pele.

In the park, there are many trails that you can follow to admire the landscapes. I recommend that you dedicate at least a full day to this area. And in the evening, when the light goes down, the spectacle of the lava and of the fire in the crater is fascinating.

DAY 4 – Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden and RELAX AT MAKALAWENA BEACH

Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden

It’s a nonprofit botanical garden and nature preserve located on the 4 mile scenic route off of the Old Māmalahoa Highway. Their mission is to inspire and educate people to live in unison with our planet through inclusive education focused on diverse ecosystems.

These gardens are a spectacle of nature. I admit I was skeptical at first because I feared they might be too touristy and not very glamorous. I quickly changed my mind as soon as I entered. You’re immediately projected into a tropical paradise and the visit proceeds pleasantly in an environment of great magnificence. If you are in the area I highly recommend them. I am sure you will be fascinated by it.

MAKALAWENA BEACH

Probably the best beach in Big Island, and not accessible by road. There are several bays dug out from the Kona coast with beautiful white sand beaches and plenty of shade from palm trees. The hike to Makalawena Beach keeps the crowds away, especially on weekdays. It’s hard to find a more perfect beach anywhere in the Hawaiian island chain. Swimming is generally quite safe when the water is still.

This is the Kekaha Kai State Park, formerly known as Kona Coast State Park. The name Kekaha Kai comes from the Hawaiian phrase ke kaha kai, meaning “the shore line.”

TRAVELLING DURING CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

What will you do during the Christmas holidays? Have you decided to go on a trip somewhere in the world? Here are the 3 best experiences you could have.

Times Square – Luca Oliveri

Lapland

Lapland is a wildland, even more during the winter, when the landscape is transformed into the land of Santa Claus.

Haven’t you ever dreamed as a child of spending a few days playing completely immersed in the snow?

Would you like to meet the sweet and cuddly huskies or the impassive and funny reindeer?

And if on your bucket list, there’s sleeping in a glass igloo admiring the Northern Lights in the dark sky of the Arctic night, from the warmth of your bed, Lapland is the destination you absolutely must choose for your next trip.

I suggest you consider the Swedish Lapland, most of all if you prefer an exclusive trip with fewer tourists, where you can meet authentic people who will accompany you on your excursions with competence.

Swedish Lapland – Luca Oliveri

Where to sleep?

Aurora Igloo Hotel (now Peace and Quite Hotel)

Think about this: A solitary place in the middle of a frozen lake during the Lappish winter, plus 21 degrees celsius inside that let you stay lazy in your glass igloo, minus 26 degrees celsius outside, a spectacular view from your bed of the wild nature just some meters from you. And when the polar night comes the Northern Lights spectacle begins just in front of you. At least this was my hope.

Lapland Guesthouse

There is a place far, far away, beyond the polar circle where you could meet the genuine Lappish Experience. They have several different types of accommodations: unique single and double rooms, cabins and even standalone secluded housing like my loft-looking room with a comfortable double bed and a fantastic wood stove or the nice “Viking room” more suitable for a family.

Lapland Glass Igloo- Luca Oliveri

NEW YORK

Also known as  “the big apple” or “the city of dreams” New York is one of the most desired cities in the world, one of the metropolises where every dream can come true, especially after the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

The possible activities in New York are endless. Your trip, even if only for a few days, cannot miss the Brooklyn Bridge and a photo in front of the Manhattan Bridge, enjoying the magnificent view of the city skyline. I would then spend a day walking around Times Square and Central Park.

At sunset, it’s a must to go up the Rockefeller Center at Top of the Rock to enjoy a fantastic view of the city and the Empire State Building.

There are also many museums in New York: don’t miss the MET, the MOMA and the New Museum. And, after a day of shopping, why not attend an evening musical on Broadway?

New York reel – Luca Oliveri

WHERE TO SLEEP?

There are fantastic hotels of every level in New York. One of the prerogatives of the city is obviously the feeling of being inside a concrete jungle. Why not choose a room with a great view of New York? I recommend the Arlo Nomad hotel. Upon your arrival, ask for one of the King Sky rooms on the higher floors to enjoy a splendid view of the city from the glass window. It is one of the 10 best room view hotels in New York.

Arlo Nomad Hotel – Luca Oliveri

HAWAII

It is impossible to not love these islands. Mythology, Pacific Ocean, the most fascinating treks in the world. Waikiki, Honolulu. The Aloha spirit. Do you need anything else to start dreaming?

Do volcanic islands have an energetic imprint? At the summit of Haleakalā it’s easy to forget where you came from as you look out onto what feels like another world. At dawn, I was suspended in a soft sea of clouds in one of the most magical moments of my life, full of freedom and peace.

It is the intimate contact with nature or, sometimes, with ourselves, the protagonist of the travel.

For example, I had my most intense experience climbing the 3922 steps of the Haiku Stairs, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. There I found that I did not climb the ridge to the summit just to enjoy the magnificent scenery, but gradually I saw myself reflected into nature and I experienced a great feeling of well-being.

Have you ever heard about the Kalalau Trail? It’s a truly life experience along the Nā Pali Coast of Kauai. The trail runs approximately 11 miles (18 km) along the island’s north shore from Keʻe Beach to the Kalalau Valley and then to the Kalalau Beach. It’s one of the most beautiful, and dangerous, hikes in the world.

Oahu – Luca Oliveri

Where to sleep?

The Waikiki area is full of fantastic resorts. Just out of Honolulu, you can find many accommodations surrounded by nature or cottages directly on the beach. Why not? Have you ever thought of sleeping in a tent in the middle of the Hawaiian forest or along a beautiful trail?

Maui – Red Beach – Luca Oliveri

NORWAY IN OCTOBER

In autumn the days become shorter, the air is fresher, the food is richer, and the colors are more dazzling.

Is October an ideal time to enjoy Norway’s colorful fall scenery?

Is October an ideal time to enjoy Norway’s colorful fall scenery?

I’ve spent 1 week traveling along the West Coast and Fjords at the end of October, and I’m going to tell you the pros and cons of traveling there in this period of the year.

A land with impressive fjords

Norway is a magnificent land with impressive fjords, and its coastline blends with the sea like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps the best way to see all this beauty is to drive your car or your camper van.

Bergen and the weather in Norway

I arrived at Bergen airport, the gateway to the West Coast and the fjords’ area.

Bergen is famous for its pier, the “Bergen Bryggen”, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, I was unlucky and on the Sunday of my arrival the weather was not at all mild. Rain and wind did not allow me to take advantage of that afternoon that I had reserved for visiting the city.

October rolls around with crisp, cool air, and shorter daylight hours.

In the West Coast and fjords area, it often rains! And this is a fact, perhaps, here, it rains more than in any other part of ​​Norway.

This is because of the mountains that hold back the rain that pours into this abundant and frequent area. During my stay in Norway, it rained every day!

Fortunately, there was no lack of sun that, with ray of lights, illuminated the splendid nature, set the plants on fire with red, yellow and orange colors.

Well, you need to be ready to face both the colorful autumn and the cold winter, from the sun to the snow, on the same day.

Crowds and Driving

Travelers looking for good deals and fewer crowds should consider October: this is likely the quietest and cheapest month to visit Norway.

Driving in Norway is simple. The roads are usually one lane and the speed limit is 80 km / h. In fact, driving faster wouldn’t be very easy anyway because the roads wind in twists and turn up and down across mountains and fjords. The landscape, which at times resembles Scotland and at times Iceland, makes the journey from one point to another very pleasant. In October, you often travel long stretches of road without crossing anyone for kilometers. Even in the most famous areas or viewpoints you are always alone.

Atlantic Ocean Road – Luca Oliveri

What to Do

It’s always very difficult to answer such a question, because each of us has his own particular needs when traveling. In general, October is a month when the days are still not too cold, where it’s still possible to go hiking (even if some routes are already closed), where you can still enjoy the beautiful landscape in the coastal area.

From Bergen to the Atlantic Ocean Road

My itinerary, which started from Bergen, included several stops heading north, crossing the Sognefjord, the Geirangerfjord and covering the entire length of the Nordfjord, to get to the splendid Atlantic Ocean Road, the famous road set of the James Bond movie ” No time to die “. I suggest you to spend your night in one of the several cabins you can find fully immersed into the nature. I chose the Jolstraholmen and its “river suite” and the Juvet Landscape Hotel where I spent 2 nights each. These places are perfect for exploring the surrounding and the quality of your stay is unbelievable.

Cabin porn

Think of finding yourself in first row in the warmth of your cabin admiring the landscape in front of you from an immense glass: alone or with the person you love, when slowly the light of the day gives way to the colors of the evening and then to the glow of the moon and the stars in the night. And when you go to sleep it will be the background of the water of the stream a few meters from you to induce sleep, gently.

There you are able to reach waterfalls (don’t miss Huldefossen!), and other natural landscapes like the Gaularfjellet point of view. For those willing to leave tried and tested tourist routes, Gaularfjellet is one of Norway’s most kept secrets. The road winds through Gaular up to Utsikten for incredible panoramic views of the entire area.

Jolstraholmen River Suite

The Geiranger Fjord

Between Jolstraholmen Camping and Juvet Landscape Hotel I suggest you go hiking in the Geirangerfjord area and maybe to spend your night in one of the cottages or hotels of that area. There is a nice small village you can reach by rib boat or by hiking: Skagefla and Homlongsetra. It depends if you travel in the first part of October when the rib boat services are still available or in the second part, as I did, when it’s difficult to reach the beginning of the hike with the boat and you should hike all the way from Geiranger. The hike is easy/moderate and will take approximately 1 hour and a half to 2 hours to reach the highest viewpoint of Hamlongsetra (7 km out and back) from where in 30 minutes more you can go down to Skagefla. So you should plan about 5-6 hours to hike all the way from Geiranger and 8-9 kilometers with 600 meters of gain. You will be rewarded with outstanding views of the fjord and of the “Seven sisters waterfalls”.

Refviksanden

The day after visiting the magnificent Geirangerfjord I headed east towards the coast and the white beach of Refviksanden. Thanks to the sun that appeared just at that moment, on the beach, the water of the sea was turquoise, but to fully enjoy the fantastic landscape the best way is to hike a trail that climbs steeply up the mountain for about 30 minutes and admire the beach from there. Unfortunately, that trail does not have a name, but you can easily find it on the right by driving along the Kvalheimsvegen just near the first rest area on the left. The advice is, obviously, to go up for the sunset.

Is October an ideal time to enjoy Norway’s fjords AND WEST COAST AREA?

Yes, I think October is an ideal time of year to enjoy Norway’s colorful fall scenery in peace and quiet, as travelers are few and far between. Life is less expensive because October is considered low season, is simple to find accommodations, you can enjoy the autumn landscapes as well winter ones. Temperatures are still good and the overall moody even if, at times a bit melancholy, it represents well the majesty and drama of the landscape.

Luca Oliveri – Gaularfjellet

The 3 most fascinating places in Lanzarote

Is it too simplistic to make a ranking that contains only the 3 most magical places on the island? Which are the places you can’t miss if you have only 3 days?

Volcan el Cuervo

Lanzarote is the northernmost and easternmost island of the Canary Islands and has a volcanic origin. There are more than 300 dormant volcanoes scattered across the island.

We are a hundred kilometers from the coast of Morocco. The landscape is lunar and so fascinating that it requires a great effort not to travel uninterruptedly its streets, even without a specific destination but just for the satisfying pleasure of experiencing the island in its majesty.

The island is almost entirely covered with solidified lava, which, depending on the sunlight, takes on various colors: from black to pink, from purple to ocher.

Which are the 3 most fascinating places on the island?

Perhaps, it is too simplistic to make a ranking that contains only the 3 most magical places on the island. There are undoubtedly many ideas where to experience the magnetic energy of volcanoes and many picturesque beaches where you can relax in the sun. But if we only have a few days available, here are my tips to ensure you to get the best of the island’s energy: the surfers’ beach, the volcanoes road, trekking in the Risco de Famara area.

Are you more of an adventurous person who loves hiking or a beach person?

If you are more of a beach type, then you will love “Playa de Famara” because it is incredibly wild, big, with constant waves making it the ideal beach for surfers. The surrounding mountains embrace it and guard it as in a temple. This is the place where I felt most the Hawaiian beaches sensation.

It’s a pale golden sand beach that stretches out for over five kilometers located within the Natural Park of the Chinijo Archipelago, between the fishing village of La Caleta de Famara and the base of the impressive cliffs of Famara. The best moment to enjoy it is when the water forms a thin film on the sand, reflecting the sky and the cliffs like a gigantic mirror.

There I spent some time on the sand relaxing, I witnessed the sunset light that colored everything, even if that day the sky was overcast, I took pictures of the dunes that fall on the beach and then into the roaring sea.

Playa de Famara

If, on the other hand, you are more of a hiking type…

…then you can’t miss the “Cueva de las Cabras” and the “Risco de Famara”.

The cliff is impressive, the view from that incredible height of 672mt is both on the sea and beach, and on the surrounding volcanoes and, if the sky is clear enough, you can clearly see the Timanfaya National Park with its volcanoes.

“Cueva de las Cabras” is a little bit dangerous short hike that leads you into this cave from where the view is spectacular. And if you’re brave enough, you can try to climb the rock that guards the cave, like in my photo, and enjoy the majestic scenery under your feet.

Cueva de las Cabras

The most magical place in Lanzarote is undoubtedly the road of the volcanoes

In a primordial world, life is born from the lava of volcanoes. We are born from the ground, we are molded land. I find myself in the contemplation of the ancient breath of creation.

Timanfaya – volcanoes road

And if photography is to wait for the perfect light and then paint with it the picture, this road is undoubtedly the ideal spot where the light is simply astonishing. Here I was captured, barefoot, at sunset, while I was trying to take away that stunning magnetic moment with me.

Timanfaya – volcanoes road

I felt like I had landed on the moon amid the color of the sunset and the black of the lava.

I felt tiny in front of such an extraordinary landscape.

I felt the need to return several times, simply to cross this road, attracted by an energy born from the ground and feeling absolutely connected with that place. The experience was the most wonderful lived in Lanzarote.

Vang Vieng – The best hiking trails

Vang Vieng is a little town in the middle of nowhere in Laos, once a crazy town dominated by wild backpackers, now an eco-adventure destination, attracting the usual backpackers and adventurers and thrill-seekers alike.

This place has never been more attractive than now, with boutique hotels and high-end restaurants replacing some of the party-laden backpacker bars that used to pack the waterfront. It’s now a calm oasis for enjoying nature, jungle hikes, and lazy days cooling off in the river.

Luca Oliveri in the Nam Xay Viewpoint

How to get to Vang Vieng

The best way to get here is to fly into Vientiane, where you can buy a bus ticket at any travel agency or guesthouses and they will pick you up at the place you are staying at a specified time. It will take you around 4 – 6 hrs to get to Vang Vieng, depending on the road condition.

The trip is challenging, the road condition is usually bad with so many holes and I’m pretty sure you will end the journey with a bothersome back pain.

But it’s worth it!

How to Get Around Vang Vieng

The best way to get around in Vang Vieng and have the opportunity to explore the city center and the majestic landscape beauties of the area is to rent a motorbike. Comfortable, easy to drive, economical: it will take you anywhere.

Luca Oliveri walking around Vang Vieng

Where to sleep in Vang Vieng

I absolutely suggest you to stay at Villa Tara in Vang Vieng. This place is stunning. Set among rice fields and overlooking the Nam Song River, your villa will have views of the rice fields and the river. This place is famous for its rice fields and the walkway photographed in many ways that run through them. The idyllic picture is completed by mountains and a blue sky in pastel shades.

The villas are rustic, so don’t expect 5 stars luxury. The restaurant has traditional but straightforward receipts. The staff is welcoming. The atmosphere is sublime, the sunrise and the sunsets are something extraordinary and living those moments from the patio of your villa in the mid of the rice fields is something special you will remember for a long time.

Luca Oliveri at Villa Tara – Vang Vieng

Best hiking trails

You can walk in the rice fields and enjoy nature, you can go in the country for a bike tour and you will be surrounded by those cliffs and palms and reach the natural pools. And these are the best ways for chilling and enjoy nature during a calm day if you want just to relax. But…

Hiking in Vang Vieng is impressive, as the surrounding scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I love hiking, being outside all day to enjoy nature beats.

For example, both the Pha Ngern Viewpoint and the Nam Xay Viewpoint are hikes that offer fantastic vistas at the top. But you have to work hard for that reward; both trails are incredibly steep and the hikes are challenging and made even more complex by the heat in the middle of the day.

Pha Ngern Viewpoint 

This is not an easy hike, but you can definitely manage it with good shoes, and most of the time, there are wooden handrails to help you climb up. The view from the top is great.

If you are unfit or a little worried about rock climbing or not suitable for steep hikes, then this is not for you.

It is pretty well maintained with ropes, handrails and “stairs” until the first viewpoint and a little less to the second and higher one. Ther is small “shop” at the first viewpoint where you can buy something to drink and sit on the wooden bench.

The whole route took me about 4 hours with some rest and descent.

Nam Xay Viewpoint 

It’s the best spot for one of Laos’s most breathtaking views. You will get unbeatable views of jagged limestone cliffs, lush forests, and rice fields from the top.

Up there peace and quiet are almost guaranteed because you won’t find lots of people. This hike is famous most of all for its amazing photo opportunity with a motorbike, which was mysteriously placed there by the locals.

The best time to visit Pha Ngern Viewpointand Nam Xay Viewpoint is an hour or two before sunset. The heat isn’t as intense anymore and you will see beautiful colors from the top.

Make sure you don’t stay after the sun goes down though the hike down is scarier and more dangerous in the dark.

The whole route took me about 3 hours with enough time to take pictures with the motorbike and a drone video.

Pha Poak climb and Lusi cave

This is more a climb than a hike and is not for the faint-hearted. It’s more an adventure with a good reward on the top.

It is a dangerous climb with old ladders and sharp rocks to climb onto most of the way up.


If you plan on visiting, please be careful. There is no path and it is very easy to fall at any point if you’re not confident in climbing up or down steep rocks. And make sure you stick to the path, not that there really is one.

While a little challenging, the views from the top are definitely worthwhile, with a 360° degrees view of the surrounding, feeling to be so small in the middle of those fantastic limestone cliffs.

Pha Poak climb

The Wanderlust Syndrome

Ever heard about the Wanderlust Syndrome?

It’s a strong impulse to self-development through experiencing the unknown, facing unforeseen challenges, understanding different cultures, lifestyles and behaviors.

Wanderlust syndrome is much more than just wanting to go on vacation, though. We all have that. It’s more that desire that comes from a “need” to go beyond our comfort zone, a strong passion for discovery and travel.

The word “wanderlust” comes from the German words wandern (to hike) and lust (a strong desire).

These hardened travelers spend most of their time reading travel guides and looking for flights and hotels on the internet. They love watching documentaries about exotic or unknown places and spend a lot of their money on travel.

Haleakala – Maui – Luca Oliveri

Is Wanderlust Syndrome about genetics?

According to some experts, this adventurous spirit isn’t just a trend. It is said that it’s actually in our genes. Scientists have even pinned down a specific one: DRD4-7r, a receptor for dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Here it is: “the travel gene.”

David Dobbs, a researcher for National Geographic, thinks that this gene “makes people more likely to take risks, explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships; and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure.”

In addition to the frequent need to travel, people with this gene are also bold and creative. They are the kind of people who try to understand other cultures and lifestyles. They can do almost anything conducive to personal growth.

There’s a whole world waiting to be explored

We know what’s out there waiting to be discovered. We’ve read all the travel blogs, watched the nature shows, drooled over Instagram photos. The worst thing is to understand and to know that there is something out there we haven’t seen yet and not being able to explore it.

Stairway to Heaven – Oahu

Traveling is a necessary part of life

Traveling is a necessary part of life, and it is the best way to relax after a long day. It all comes down to having a diverse range of life experiences. Traveling is an excellent way to alleviate tiredness, anxiety, and depression. It also positively impacts one’s mental and physical health, most of all in this post covid period.

We don’t have a house full of things; instead, we have a passport to fill with stamps. Let’s use this to build memories all over the world

What’s Wanderlust Syndrome for me?

It’s the feeling of being alive. It’s to explore unique places near and far. I can’t stop searching for these magical, even unknown places around the world. Sometimes I have the eyes of a five-year-old kid, and this is impressive.

I’m inspired to travel by “a compromise”. What I mean is that we live frenetic lives with frantic schedules most of the time. This is a significant source of anxiety for me! So everyone should find a way to lower the bar and break the monotony: I discovered my way through travel.

Hunting of emotions

Traveling entails attempting to get ourselves outside of our comfort zones!

Think about spending seven days without the internet in the middle of the wilderness, facing such a narrow and dangerous road, only to arrive at the most beautiful beach on the planet, to spend New Year’s Eve around a fire with old and new friends.

Think about a trail of 3922 steps rising on the ridge of a mountain in the wilderness of Hawaiian mountains.

Think about being on a small island on a small lake in the middle of nowhere for 48 hours and living the essential moments of your life.

Think about the Namib desert and the chance to sleep there under a sky full of stars.

Think about the opportunity to live your own holiday, spending your time at your own pace.

These beautiful feelings should inspire us not to be fearful of new opportunities while also assisting us in finding a commitment that will undoubtedly surprise us in learning something new and unique about ourselves.

Travel Bucket list for summer 2021

There is no cure for wanderlust. However, no matter how many places you explore, there are always some experiences waiting for you.

Will the way of traveling change in the post-covid period?

The restrictions caused by the pandemic have created new expectations in people for summer 2021. Therefore, we will look for something out of the ordinary to face personal challenges and, also, to avoid crowds and to live life experiences. So which will be the bucket list for this summer?

Here’s my top 5 Summer 2021 travel bucket list

You don’t have to travel across the globe to experience a magical adventure. So now is the time to let loose and make sure you work on the little things that keep yourself happy.

1. Go on a road trip

From the safety and comfort of your own ride, you can see so many incredible places and experience your road trip at your own pace.

Whether you decide to take a trip across the United States by car, stopping in a motel stage by stage, or you prefer to drive a campervan and stop for the night only where your instincts tell you, a road trip will undoubtedly take you through incredible adventures.

I drove my vintage Volkswagen campervan out of the ordinary and found my personal gateway on the Algarve coast for one of the most romantic sunsets. And, at the end of your journey and discovery, it changes you!

Algarve – Vintage Camper – Siesta Campers

2. Go camping

Planning a camping trip begins with the desire to get outdoors. Pick a date, find the right place, prepare your gear and head out.

We’re more connected through the power of social networks than ever, also in this post pandemic period. No matter where you are, you can make a difference. Have you ever spent one or more days entirely in touch with Nature listening to its sounds? You should try this experience camping into the wilderness, enjoying life and its simple moments like building a tent spending the night under a sky full of stars.

Spitzkoppe – Namibia

3. Go hiking

Which has been your fearless challenge?

Hardergrat trail is not just a trail, it’s a thrilling journey where you will have mental ups and downs, especially when you see all that stretches out ahead of you. It looks impossible, but it’s not, it’s just very, very long. There, at first stop on the ridge, I rested with that amazing view over the mirror lake. Is there a better way to experience life in the post covid period?

Hiking is freedom, effort, conquest. Summer is undoubtedly the best time to enjoy the spectacle of nature by climbing mountain ridges, in the green, in the silence.

Hardergrat Trail

4. Sleep on the summit of a volcano

Do volcanic islands have an energetic imprint? At the summit of Haleakalā it’s easy to forget where you came from as you look out onto what feels like another world. At dawn, I was suspended in a soft sea of clouds in one of the most magical moments of my life, full of freedom and peace.

Sleeping on top of a volcano is not easy because it is freezing at night. I remember I was wearing 3 sweaters. But I also remember that the sky was flooded with glittering stars and the Milky Way gave meaning to the word “magic”.

Haleakala volcano – Maui

5. Freeze your time and go to experience a 48hours ”detox” on a private island

A small cabin on a small island in the middle of nowhere. Here is good to be alone and contemplate things and have time to think about life, choices and what you’re here for. It’s where the time is longer and life is deeper.

Think about being in the middle of nowhere with someone so precious for you. All this is so special and unforgettable! I experienced one of the best things of my life just here, in Sweden, and I miss these moments so much now. Freedom, Beauty, the Craziness of being alone in the wilderness…This is why I love life!

Kabin Sweden – 48 hours detox

One of the best and wildest Spanish road

Among the thousands and thousands of Spanish roads, one of the most beautiful and wildest stretches is probably found in Tenerife.

Teide National Park

The road is in the middle of the national park

Starting from the tourist area of ​​the Costa Adeje, it took me about 1 hour to get close to the Teide volcano, the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic.

Two main aspects have made the island road reach the top of the ranking.

First of all, the road in the middle of the national park, showing on both sides the landscape of volcanic lava flows, the endemic vegetation and the view of different geographical layers that are a sight to behold.

On the other hand, the imposing aspect of Teide itself, the Volcano that crowns the road with its 3,715 meters in height, generates even more impact and arouses reverence among visitors.

Lava rocks

What Teide means? The legend of the Guanches

The word “Teide” derives from “Echeyde” which meant hell in the language of the Guanches, an ancient people living in the area.

According to a legend, Guayota, god of evil, kidnapped Magec, god of the sun and light, taking him inside the great mountain and, after the prayers of the Guanches to the supreme god Achaman, he was freed and the Volcano was covered with sugar loaf, trapping the devil inside.

It is the only road in the Canaries that has managed to enter the ranking and in the first place!

The shortest and most suggestive way to reach the top of Teide is through the cities of Arona and Villaflor. However, be careful, especially before the highest point, as there are many hairpin bends and the road narrows.

On the way to the highest point on the island of Tenerife, you will see the landscape change considerably. There are several points of interest and mirador.

Then, the landscape will become more and more lunar until you reach the entrance to the Teide National Park and it’s at that point that the show begins

Haiku Stairs

Stairway to Heaven – the most magical place on Earth

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 1 – OCTOBER 2017

We arrived in front of the main gate.

Closed! Bolts and padlocks. Peremptory prohibition messages: ‘Private property. Government property. Don’t cross. Violators will be punished according to the law.’

Disappointed, we couldn’t understand.

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 2

A gentleman in his seventies was watching us from afar. He parked slowly as if he wanted to slow down the time. He got out and approached with a stentorian step disguising his previous, apparent, clumsiness. He asked us what we were doing there.

The story of the Haiku Stairs began at that moment.

He didn’t know the real reason for the prohibitions. He only knew that it’s impossible to go through that gate. Nobody could go any further! Someone ignored the prohibitions and went on anyway. Someone else desisted. He couldn’t tell us if there was another way to overcome the ban. It was vague but, in our opinion, he knew it.

We walked back to the gate.

‘What do we do?’ The temptation was strong. After all, it’s only a trek. Why not to get past the gate? Someone does it. ‘

The temptation was strong, the temptation was very strong.

It was three o’clock in the afternoon and, all in all, we were still on time.

If it had taken two hours to reach the summit, we would have been at the top for sunset. The sky was clear and the light fantastic. No clouds in the Sky.

The sunset was surely beautiful up there.

Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 3

Sometimes, a myth born by chance, without having looked for it.

That first time, we went back to the hotel in silence, dazed. What was previously a stage of the journey, a tourist attraction, had now suddenly become the meaning of the whole journey.

The Haiku Stairs was the archetype of existence. Perhaps, in the world, there were other places that meant the same thing, the archetype of existence, to other people.

Haiku Stairs with Matt Kievlan

CHAPTER 4 – MAY 2018

“When I go, I am respectful and full of peace, completely immersed in the experience, perhaps because you are in it for 3922 times. The activity confuses the senses and opens the spirit. We rise from civilization to magic. At the top you can savor hot food and you can calmly reflect, letting all this become part of the memories before civilization erases the traces of this lived magic and makes us plunge back into the harsh reality. People think they go there for the epic view but, along the way, they recognize themselves reflected into Nature. They share a majestic energetic imprint with the Earth and appreciate it through their soul. They discover that they have climbed a mountain to discover themselves in a new light and the new dawn becomes the best part of their day. They always say ‘I didn’t think it was so beautiful’, sometimes smiling, other times in tears. Every time I walk along it I lose myself in him “

We thought these words were perfect.

Matt Kievlan

We met Matt one morning in early May. At that moment we didn’t know anything about him, but his words about Haiku Stairs, recorded in a travel blog, reflected our most intimate feelings. His description was vivid and full of color and sounds.

Again, a shock seemed to paralyze our bodies. There was someone in the world who had managed to climb the stairs.

We wrote him and, a few days later, we were friends. Being able to share our emotions made everything more real. Haiku really existed and Matt knew it well. It would help us make our dream come true.

Haiku Stairs by Luca Oliveri

CHAPTER 5 – AUGUST 2018

We skirt the road, ready to flee into the woods if Matt would have told us to do. Then, as we begin to climb up, Matt tells us to go into the forest and go up from there.

The ground is wet and slippery, we help ourselves with the bamboo and with the roots of the damp and viscous plants. Above us, the cars whiz by on the H3.

A few moments later we go around the fence.

Nature has ingenious methods for finding our weak spots when it forces us to live in the center of our magical Universe.

Suddenly it is as if we were naked and with the heart of a child walking the path of our life. We are happy.

The climb begins on the first of the 3922 steps that we will not count.

Matt understood that we feel what he himself has tried for more than two hundred and eighty times, so many times he has climbed. And he knows that we can no longer live without the stairs, like him.

Radio station on Haiku Stairs

CHAPTER 6

Shortly after, going up, we have emerged from the impalpable haze of the clouds and now we can see everything around us. It’s like getting rid of a burden and the show, even from here, is magnificent. Fatigue gives way to vigor.

At times the sky is leaden, at times is blue disappearing into the sea. You can hear the cackles of some birds and the Amakihi of Hawaii, and then nothing else except of us gasping with increasing fatigue when, again, the mountain rests.

When we are about to reach the top, we slow down. A few more meters and we will see the radio station which, in a few minutes, was shrouded in clouds, perhaps to move us away one last time, perhaps as a last, extreme attempt for protection.

We are close. We slow down again, in our hearts we would not want our climb to end so quickly. Without realizing it, the legs tremble, for the pain and for the fear of finding out what awaits us up there, the eyes turn and, closing, sigh. The neck’s muscles, tense, screech like ropes when the wind hits them. The chest also contracts just after inhaling, exhaling with the restlessness of repeated frictions the breathlessness loaded with fatigue. The light is now palpable and at times, however, rarefied.

Four hours are too few and at the same time interminable to finish everything.

We are on the verge of unreasonableness, so high up.

Radio Station on Stairway to Heaven

CHAPTER 7

We are at the horizontal walkway that precedes the radio station, here the iron boards are well positioned and well preserved by the nature of the mountain that has made them his own, as a part of himself that it can no longer do without. Here, we feel the strong call of God, free from everything. We see neither Kaneohe nor the horizon. We perceive with our senses every truth that surrounds us. The gods of Hawaii are everywhere.

Mana, the vital energy.

The stairs no longer belong to man, but, now, they are the mountain’s son.

For a moment, the Haiku Stairs is there only for us. Now, I understand why 300 days ago, in October, we went back to the hotel and desperately threw the backpack on the carpet. I understand everything now, and my eyesight is sharper than ever. Now, memories can finally merge and find peace. I will never be able to go home, ever again.

Mana, the life energy is everywhere and makes the heart explode with joy.

Aurora Igloo

Northern Lights

A solitary glass igloo in the middle of the lake

Think about this: A solitary place in the middle of a frozen lake during the Lappish winter, plus 21 degrees celsius inside that let you stay lazy in your glass igloo, minus 26 degrees celsius outside, a spectacular view from your bed of the wild nature just some meters from you. And when the polar night comes the Northern Lights spectacle begins just in front of you. At least this was my hope.

Driving through Lapland, the first day

In February I spent 2 nights at the Aurora Igloo Hotel in Jokkmokk.

From Lulea airport it’s about a 200kms drive in a snowy and peaceful landscape. Jokkmokk is the crossroads between the airport and Kiruna, a famous Swedish place for winter holidays.

I met Bjorn, the Aurora Igloo host, some minutes after midday on monday and shortly after the presentations he brings me to the private parking lot. The igloo is nearby after a short walk through the frozen forest. This short walk is amazing, cold, dreamy.

Then the igloo appears: around only the icy lake, the white forest trees, the coldest temperature I’ve ever lived, the crackling of my feet on the snow and the sparkling frosty air trough the nose and the mouth. I closed my eyes and I felt a sense of freedom and serenity that I thought I had left somewhere.

Probably you can feel to be in the space or in a different planet because everything is white. Snow snow snow like you had never seen. I loved it.

the glass igloo

Intimate moments inside the igloo, a life experience

Inside there’s a kitchen, a toilet and the main room with a double comfortable bed. And on the bed a complimentary basket with Chardonnay Wine and a spiced one.

“Drink this hot, you’ll love it” said Bjorn

We tried hot that evening and it seemed like the italian “Vin Brulé”. So good!

May you imagine the beauty you can see from the room?

It’s extraordinary better than each other Lappish Igloo hotel I’ve ever seen because, there, you are alone and you don’t have to share your Northern Lights emotions with other guests. Your Aurora polar experience will be exclusive. The lake in front of your eyes is only for you and your dreaming soul.

I lighted a campfire, I have been sit down on the snow, I spent the late afternoon there waiting for the sun falling behind the horizon with the roaring sparks of the flames jumping on the icy snow.

Can you ever imagine about a better intimate moment?

a campfire on the snow

Northern Lights SHOW at Aurora Igloo

When the night came the Northern Lights appears in the clear sky.

It’s Mother Nature’s greatest spectacle, a mesmerizing and spellbinding light show upon you eyes into the infinte night sky.

This lightshow originates 93 million miles away on the surface of the Sun and travels across the frozen wastes of spaces.

There are lots of myths about Norther Lights: cultures across the north understood them through imagery that ranges from poetic to somber to horrifying; for the Sámi people, for example, the lights were energy from the souls of deceased ancestors. When the lights appeared, people were to behave solemnly. Disrespecting them could result in sickness or even death.

What I did, it was simply to lay down on the icy snow looking at the sky when the lights appears strong in a way I had never seen, neither in Finland nor in Iceland. My heart was trembling when the green Aurora Borealis lights were dancing above my head. It has been the first time I could see its waves clear with the naked eye. Exciting and unforgivable.

aurora borealis

During the day you can take part at some activities like snowmobile tour in the surroundings or icebath in the frozen lake in front of your igloo. I took part at both activities but the icebath is something special: you will take your body out of its normal state of equilibrium and it feels regenerating! After the initial fear I loved that moment.

cryotherapy

One night at the Aurora Igloo Hotel is ok but if you want to enjoy completely the adventure I suggest you to spend  at least 2 nights. Your time, there, will be rewarded with an exclusive personal and intimate experience.

snowmobile