Armenian’s road trip on a Lada Niva 4×4

Armenia is a fascinating and culturally rich country. Outside the classic itineraries proposed by tour operators there are splendid places of indescribable beauty. I traveled on a 4×4 Lada Niva which allowed me to reach all the stops that I had set for myself.

Luca Oliveri on Mount Khustup – Armenia

Lada Niva Legend

LADA 4х4 is a legendary vehicle which live with strong emotions. It stormed the North Pole and Everest, participated in rally Paris-Dakar, domesticated the Antarctic. It is known and loved by everyone who drive it. Its vocation is off-road conditions,and Armenia is its perfect landscape setting to enhance its nature.

In Armenia they say “You have a Lada Niva, you can go anywhere!”

It’s certainly original to undertake a journey through the Armenian roads, as a tourist, deciding to drive this type of car which, especially if engaged in the chaotic city traffic of the capital Yerevan, certainly does not turn out to be the most comfortable car: no air conditioning, no power steering, manual gearbox not even that simple to insert, spartan seats and instruments. All this, however, is amply rewarded by its indescribable off-road performance, its strongness and the feeling to be able to go everywhere.

To understand what it means to travel through Armenia on a Lada Niva imagine this: an extremely bumpy steep mountain road, with holes, stones, cobbles, slopes and the Niva that climbs that path without showing fatigue. In Armenia they say “You have a Lada Niva, you can go anywhere!”

Lada Niva

My Armenian 4 wheel drive trip

The flights to Yerevan from Europe arrive very early in the morning. We landed and, after completing the formalities and collecting the car, we headed towards the city center where we had booked the hotel. Although it was now almost 3 in the morning it was hot and the Lada Niva snorted heat from the engine that invaded the cabin.

The traffic in Yerevan is, at times, exhausting and the heat in the central hours of the day, in August, becomes unbearable. Cars overtake from every direction, intrude on your lane without warning, don’t care in the least about your presence. The chaotic concrete jungle, with the imposing constructions that recall the once dominant Russian architecture, slowly gives way to the suburbs and to much less busy, but also quite bumpy, streets and in some places unpaved roads. We have to get used to it, this is the road system in Armenia. You find yourself stuck in traffic and to travel 1 km it takes up to half an hour and, shortly after, you are arguing with the holes and stones in a peripheral road bouncing on the seat continuously.

Yerevan is definitely the perfect base for visiting the northern part of Armenia and its most popular and touristic attractions. We stayed there 5 nights, allowing ourselves the luxury of the splendid Alexander Hotel which is part of the renowned Luxury Hotels of the World chain.

Khor Virap monastery and the Ararat Mountain

Khor Virap is easily reached in 1 hour drive from Yerevan and it’s the Armenia’s most sacred monastery and with the breathtaking Mount Ararat backdrop is the most spiritual place in the country. You can only imagine my excitement when I rounded the corner and, then, this energetic landscape finally came into focus cuddled by the sunset light.

The Azat Reservoir

I suggest you to spend some time at the Azat Reservoir, a fantastic place where the unique and surreal formations of the mountains and hills are reflected in the water with pastel shades. There
you will live the beauty of being outdoors enjoying every moment of the day until the last when the light of the day, gently, gives way to the low darkness of the night, illuminated by the rising moon and, then, the mirror of the lake becomes more like alabaster.

Azat Reservoir

The Azhdahak Mountain

After visiting the canyon of Garni, its Greco-Roman temple and the nearby monastery of Geghard, if you are intrepid enough, the Gegham mountains region offers scenery of indescribable beauty. The Azhdahak mountain, the “dragon’s volcano”, is the symbol of the region. You can go on a multi-day trek or you can reach it in a day trip from Yerevan driving along the first part of the path with a Jeep or, as in our case, with the Lada Niva. The road that leads to the base of the Azhdahak volcano is really impervious and quite difficult and dangerous to travel, therefore recommended only for an experienced off-road driver. From there the climb to the summit of the volcano is 5 km one way, with 600 meters of gain and will take about 1h and half. From the summit the landscape is unbelivable.

Going to the South – The Mount Khustup

We have planned to climb Mount Khustup which lies to the south on the border with Nagorno Karabakh. To get there, from Yerevan, it takes at least 6 hours because, the route is mostly an ups and downs in the mountains. We arrived at 9 pm in Kapan, the city that stay at the base of the mountain. On the road we had a stop at the Tatev monastery, a must to see along the way. There, we took some photos at sunset before continuing to Kapan. To climb the Mount Khustup you need to plan at least 2 days because the trek is quite long, almost 30 kilometers with a gain of 2200 meters. We slept in a tent halfway under a sky full of stars in Navcha Base Camp and then set off for the summit the following morning at 4. Mount Khustup is a pilgrimage site and is considered sacred. If the day is clear, at the top, you can see 5 states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Nagorno Karabakh and Turkey

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.

Vintage Algarve Coast

An iconic road trip on a vw t2 Campervan

The VW T2 Camper is an iconic symbol of carefree rolling freedom. It has been dragging artists, surfers, family and adventurers since 1950. When you attempt to drive it, it’s always intrepid, so you have to relax, slow down and take your time.
Then, your holiday’s starting and you will feel a member of a community of explores. When you park your car, you will see some smiling people coming to talk to you, and you can be sure that they are keen to talk about their epic adventure, whether it’s the time they drive through Portugal and be engaged with their beloved one, they are part of the same community as you are and they still feel to be on the Woodstock elevator…

Everyone who travels on a VW T2 camper has a great story to tell

Everyone who travels on a VW T2 camper has a great story to tell: do you want to listen the mine?
We rented “Brasilia” by @siestacampers in Faro. Her name comes from “Brazil” where she has been manufactured at the factory in Sao Paulo. From 1953 to 2013, she was one of the last Volkswagen Kombis of this classic car produced by Volkswagen for a long time. Compared with earlier models, it has some major improvements, including a biofuel engine that reduces CO2 emissions. She comes with everything included for you to have an amazing retro campervan holiday around the Algarve coast.

Algarve Coast and “Brasilia”

As said, driving it has been a little bit hard at the beginning and you feel like you have to relearn to drive like you are going to get again your driving licence but after almost 30‑40 Km things get better and you feel safer. Maybe that’s it what lights up the moments spent with Brasilia with an irresistible charm.
Even if slowly, you will grind out many kilometers while the landscape out there flows frame by frame from the windows like in a movie.

Algarve road trip

At sunset the magic comes

We have been at the border between Praia da Zimbreirinha and Praia da Bordeira in 2017 for the sunset: “how great would it be to spend the night here in a camper?” we said to ourselves that time. And the idea to come back to that wild oceanic coast came to life. “We will be back again sooner or later!” we concluded.
This year it was time to make our promise come true, so the first evening we headed to Praia da Zimbreirinha and parked Brasilia on the cliff. Out of the ordinary we found our personal gateway on that cliff for one of the most romantic sunset.

Algarve coast

This has been one of the best moment we had during our recent road trip in the Algarve Coast. We had had dinner recently when the magic atmosphere appeared while the warm evening lights slowly gave the way to a sky full of stars.

waiting for… best life moments!

Are you a dreamer?

Imagine to be, suddenly, immersed under that sky full of stars and feel the connection with the atmosphere and the universe at large down there.
Look, then, to the sky to be inspired or to march towards your goals and dreams.

a sky full of stars

Maui and the Heart Chakra

What would you do if you had only 3 days to spend in Maui?

Secret Beach – @lucaoliveri90

ALOHA Mother Maui!

When I landed, it was the first time there and Mother Maui filled each part of my body and my soul, my heart and spirit, my lungs and fingers with her essence. The Beaches, the Winds, the Lush Trees and…something else that I couldn’t quite explain.

I think I read somewhere that the landing at Maui is a bumpy ride. But I guess I have been lucky, in my landing there I have not got a bumpy one. And from the initial descent to the final approach, you might have the opportunity to see 6 islands and a partially submerged volcanic cinder cone: Oahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe, The Big Island of Hawai’i, Maui, and the Molokini Crater!

Aloha!

Black Beach – @lucaoliveri90

Which are the best life experiences you could live there?

There’s something special when you land in one of the Hawaian islands and each of them has its own particularity: Maui is the island of the Haleakala Volcano where it is told to pass the vortex of the Heart Chakra, that is our center of love, connectedness, and forgiveness. When out of balance we feel closed to love and hold grudges, when in balance we see the good in everyone.

Matt, our Hawaian friend and our Guru, reached us at the airport and lead us first to the “Down to Earth” market where we had lunch and bought an unforgettable sticker “The answer is Love” for the rear window of our car and then to the “Big Beach”. We had an amazing swim there and played with waves and snorkeled. As I laid there I felt a deep sense of relief, something like how you feel when you finally sit after having a marathon day and your body thanks you.  My body and heart took in a tremendous amount of love and Healing. 

Think about this: wake up early in the morning for the flight from Honolulu, a day completely full and…the best part of the day have not came yet. I was so excited!

The Haleakala summit was waiting!

First, there is no food, gas, or water sold in the park, so be sure to take anything you may need with you.

Second, if you would camp on the park, get the permit for the night some days in advance.

At the summit 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 coulds in one of the most magical moment of my life, full of freedom and peace. Also if it sounds strange or foolish running out in the middle of the road and scream, for me it has been so liberating and rewarding.

My idea of the perfect experience included spending the night camping on the summit watching the stars twinkle, full immersed into the nature and, then, the day next, waiting for the sunrise over the Crater.

Sunset on the top – Haleakala summit

The night is full of stars and gives the most magnificent milky Way

I was not ready for the below-freezing temperatures but fortunately Matt had some sweaters for us.

The night gave us the most magnificent Milky Way I’ve ever seen. The magic was everywhere and the sunrise came soon at 5am.

I went up to highest point of Haleakala at 9740 ft (almost 3000 meters) over sea level. The view was 360 degree all around and most of all on the crater, as the sun rised and the rich colors of the mountain landscape took shape below me. All this beauty is the result of the spectacle that only millions of years of earth’s movement can provide. It is hard to describe in words.

After we had breakfast on the top we took the way down to the civilisation. On the the road back the feeling of deep freedom was everywhere and the energetic power of the volcano was blowing on the air. Another stunning moment.

Straight to Heaven

The road to Hana – explore, dream, discover

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in you sails and explore, dream, discover the world. This is what you will feel along the Road to Hana.

When driving the Hana Highway, the most attractive thing is the journey, not the destination. There are only few words to describe the beauty of this drive, because of its cliffs covered by green and lush valleys and because of its waterfalls. The curves embrace the coast and gaze at the ocean. Couple that with black, red, and white sand beaches, a multitude of trails, and beautiful gardens and you’ve discovered the highway to heaven itself.

You may find out that there are legendary stories associated with each spot where Gods have left their mark and historic battles have been fought.

One amazing spot is the “Black Beach”, also if the proper Hawaiian spelling is Wai’anapanapa which literally means “glistening water”. It’s nestled in a private cove where the pitch black granules glisten, dark and mysterious. It is not just a black beach, but also an important historical area for Hawaiians. Their heartbroken Queen once took refuge in a sea cave here, and the legend was born. Some would say that this is a sacred place.

“Would you like to have some adventure?” asked Matt

“Obviously!” we answered

You’ll enjoy the ride much more this way! So we suddenly turned left in a small unpaved road into the jungle and went so crazy and fast. Yes we had our adventure there and enjoyed so much the time we spent into the jungle. The Nature is so majestic in this place.

Black beach

The little cove inside a cinder cone of the “secret red beach” is great for swimming and cliff-jumping but has no official trail to reach it. Reaching the steep, slippery slope to the beach requires wandering through a field at the end of a road before finding a homemade sign pointing the way.

We arrived at sunset and the show of mother Nature was undescribable, pink and red colors everywhere and the crispy water on my feet.

“Maybe it happens, maybe the magic happens!”

Here it happened! It wasn’t supposed to spend the night at this beach but the beach captured us. Sleeping under the stars again, after the previous night under the Haleakala sky, and waking up and share the breakfast is one of the most inspiring life experiences, in the same world full of colors and emotions of the previous evening.

You will feel the energetic footprint of the Earth.

Secret Beach

Maui is Love and Sharing:

it’s a beautiful life out here and connected with nature we find its meaning and when we look at what’s around us we realize that this is so good and special.

When we get connected each other, as humans, we can appreciate the connection so deeply and understand that’s so special and the ecosystem of the universe around usi s so important.

When we drive into our consciousness and understand what truly means to Live, to Love and to Share, we can go deep and dive into what means to be togheter. Consider how our time together might affect the rest of life.

Spitzkoppe – The best Namibian night

Forget lush forests rife with birds songs…if you are a climber, a rock hound or a star gazer, Spitzkoppe is your Eden.

The Spitzkoppe is often referred to as “the Matterhorn of Namibia” which means “pointed dome“. It is a group of bald granite peaks or inselbergs located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert. The granite is more than 120 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1,728 metres (5,669 ft) above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains.

The nearest town is Usakos. From the B2, take D1918 to D3716. This is approximately 50 km from the town.

The Spitzkoppe area is managed by a women’s cooperative

The Spitzkoppe area is managed by a women’s cooperative who maintain campsites throughout the brilliantly colored rocks. At the entrance a fee is paid and camping can be arranged.

And here the best part of the trip comes: ever imagined to camp under the desert’s sky full of stars? The space is so ample that you will feel alone with your own private camping spot all the time.

I arrived in the camping area at evening after a long journey from the Etosha National Park, I found a sandy camping spot near an Acacia tree filled with delicate nests of the Masked weaver bird.

Rocks are the color of rust and ochre.

I put up the tent and enjoyed the gorgeous view watching the sunset drinking a glass of dry South African white wine.

The Spitzkoppe area is a camper’s dream

Campsites are located in a variety of interesting rock formations leading to trails. You can get to most campsites by a regular car, but a 4-wheel drive is better. Note: there is no water on the campsites and only some have toilets. But the scenery is absolutely spectacular!

“That’s life!” I thought. To enjoy life and its simple moments like building a tent in the desert.

Have you ever spent one or more days fully in touch with Nature listening to its sounds sitting by a beautiful fire under the night sky?

You should try this experience.

When I was there, I was afraid of wild animals and snakes but, fortunately, I met only a jackal looking for food: It was scared more than me and it ran away quickly when it saw me making some noise.

What “awesome” truly means

If the sunset was spectacular, only when the night felt I was reminded what the overused word “awesome” truly means.

The stars stretched from horizon to horizon, gleaming in the dry air, unfettered by light or air pollution.

I always thought the desert night was cold. Not in the Spitzkoppe desert. Only at around 4 in the morning the temperature inside the tent dropped suddenly down and I fell asleep without thinking of being into a sauna.

I woke up at sunrise and had breakfast on the rocks: well worth walking around and doing a bit of climbing to enjoy the best early morning sunlight of the desert when, minute by minute, the sky grows lighter and the air from fresh became warmer and warmer. Like the stars of the past night, It has been special too.

by @lucaoliveri90

Namibia – where dunes are mountains

If you liked this “awesome” experience, you can find the full video of my Namibian trip here: