Among the thousands and thousands of Spanish roads, one of the most beautiful and wildest stretches is probably found in Tenerife.
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.
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
The restrictions caused by the pandemic have created new expectations and new priorities in people for 2021. What does not change is the desire for holidays, for travel. The desire to leave never sets!
How we will travel
But will the way of traveling change?
Will we be looking for something more intimate and less crowded?
In this period of recovery, in the post covid, by booking their first vacation, people want something out of the ordinary to face personal challenges and, also, to avoid crowds and to live life experiences.
Here are the destinations to live unforgettable experiences
It’s not only luxury hotels or trips of a thousand and one nights.
These types of “life experiences” I’m talking about are those that will be experienced once in a lifetime.
They will leave unforgettable moments and memories, though sometimes we need a little bit of spirit of adaptation.
We are talking about experiences that offer alternative tourism, such as living 48 hours with your partner in a cabin on a small otherwise deserted island in the middle of a lake in Sweden. Or sleeping in a tent under the starry sky of the Namibian desert or of the summit of Haleakala volcano on the island of Maui.
Or, again, face a dangerous multi-day trek in the virgin Kauai, to reach one of the wildest and most fascinating beaches in the world
Post covid holidays: when the tourist becomes the protagonist of the trip
It no longer matters to choose a famous destination.
These experiences can be found everywhere, you just need to live them with your heart.
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.
Traveling to rediscover yourself
A compromise inspires me to travel; 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! Every one should find a way to lower the bar and break the monotony: I discovered my personal way through travel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What would you do if you had only 3 days to spend in Maui?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lake Iseo, also known as Sebino, is the fourth largest lake in the north of Italy, fed by the Oglio river. Lake Iseo retains its natural beauty, with its lush green mountains surrounding the crystal clear lake. Several medieval towns around the lake could be charming to visit and reachable by car or, if you want a particular experience, by a self-drive boat ride or with a regular ferry service.
In the middle of the lake there are Montisola island (the biggest European lakeside island) and the two private island of Loreto and San Paolo
From where I live, in the north of Italy near Milan, it’s only 1 hour and a half drive, most of all on the highway and only the last but suggestive part on a provincial road: “The Franciacorta Wine Road”.
I left my home quite early in the morning and reach my hotel on the lake almost at midday. The check-in at the Rivalago Hotel has been fast and, also, each operation concerned with the Covid Security has been quick and straightforward. Don’t forget your mask: you will wear it only in the common part of the hotel if you can’t attend 1 meter of distance between you and the other guests. There are also sanitizing gels everywhere in the hotel and the staff is very attentive at your security.
The overall experience at the Rivalago Hotel is fantastic. The atmosphere is delightful, the room is spacious and the view from your junior suite terrace is impressive. And what about drinking at sunset a glass of Franciacorta wine?
In this region you can enjoy a lot of experiences, hiking, sunbathing, swimming…I choose to drive a boat for 2 days to explore the lake: on Sunday there were lots of people but on Monday, yes I decided to retake the boat, we had almost all the lake for us. I took some pictures and drone videos in front of the island of Loreto during the golden hour. So fabulous there, almost alone, fully immersed into the nature, the fresh water, the gentle breeze, the warm sun. This spot was perfect to feel inside the power of the weekend.
It’s a mental journey, it should be on your bucket list
It’s 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 the first stop on the ridge, I rested with that extreme view over the mirror lake. Amazing.
The trail starts quickly to be narrow and scary and the fatigue rises. It’s only at the end, when it’s over, that you will feel the best sensations of freedom and immensity. This is something that will stay with you forever.
The HARDERGRAT trail is mostly on a sharply ridge
It’s 25km long, about 18km are spent on a sharply outlined grassy ridge, with prominent drops on both sides. It’s not for those afraid of exposure, and should never be attempted when wet.
The route is not an official trail, but the path stays on the ridge the entire length. However, the steepest section is unprotected and is a downclimb if you are going west to east.
Don’t underestimate this route! An early start is required from Interlaken to make the Brienzer Rothorn’s last train down to Brienz.
The trail is very long and people can take up to 10 or more hours to finish.
Take enough water with you. There isn’t any on the ridge from the Harderkulm station to the Brienzer Rothorn and during summer time it could be scorching when you are hiking the steepest part of the trail.
At first I attempted the Hardergrat Trail as a traning for the MoanaLua trail on Oahu
Do you want to know the story that stays behind my personal experience on the Hardergrat trail? Let’s go on reading…
In 2017 I was in Hawaii for the Honeymoon. In those mountains, I found one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. I was not ready to attempt it but it became an obsession! I promised myself that I would have hiked the Moanalua when I would have been prepared for it. So I came back and started studying for any hike that looked similar to the Moanalua and found the Hardergrat trail. I couldn’t wait to attempt it. I was so excited. I planned my three days trip to Interlaken almost one year later. It was July 2018 when I hiked the Hardergrat the first time. I started at 4:30 am to hike the first section from Interlaken to the Harder Kulm. I started the real trail at 7:30 from the Harder Kulm station to the Augstmatthorn and ended it at 8 pm when I throw the backpack on my room’s moquette so enthusiast for my effort and leave me to rest on the sofa, notably tired but very happy. It has been a weird experience. I did it again in 2019. It so magical up there when the wind blows, hitting your face and moving your hair in that immense place full of freedom.
The Photographer Luca Oliveri shared with his followers a clip about this abandoned hotel in Switzerland «This hotel was built in 1882 and is now abandoned. Its charm scares me and seduces me at the same time. Would you spend a night here alone?
The hotel in question is the Belvédère Hotel and is located in the Furka Pass. Here has been shot the famous scene of 007 – Goldfinger, with James Bond (Sean Connery) on a secret mission in these enchanted places …
Since the end of the 19th century, when the Furka Pass road was built, tourists have flocked to the hotel for its panoramic views over the icy landscape. The glacier was once only a 600-foot walk from the hotel and a 300-foot long grotto carved into the glacier allowed guests to journey inside.
As the glacier moves farther away from the pass, fewer people visit and the hotel closed indefinitely. Drivers still stop to take pictures of the building and its mountainous backdrop. The building now sits with its doors and windows boarded up, a testament to the passage of time and climate change.
Laos is an enigmatic and vivid experience for the adventurous. It is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region, reflecting its geographic location as a crossroads of Asia.
Dark and dreamy jungle, bright rice fields and tea leaves that cover the mountains: the landscape romantically changes shades of green.
When it comes to ecotourism, Laos is leading the way. Protected areas are in many of the more remote zones of the country, and community-based trekking initiatives combine these thrilling natural attractions with the chance to encounter the ‘real Laos’ with a village homestay, helping in this way to contribute to the local community and preserve the environment.
Do you know what ”mahout” means? 👨🏽🌾🐘 They are who works with elephants. It’s a truly symbiotic life because it’s a work that usually is passed down from father to son and because this boy is accompanied to his elephant since both are adolescents, to grow up together.
During my stay in Laos I visited a farm where I met 13 elephants, all rescued from an exhausting life in logging or other kind of illegal works. The visit contributes to the socialization and reproduction programmes focusing on elephants welfare and interaction. I learned the story, the behavior and relationships with other elephants of Makun🐘 a 45 yo male elephant I played and took pictures with during a nice walk into the laotian jungle.
I thought that this was a good way to support the project and make responsible tourism.
For wild elephants, instead, the main problem is logging because elephants are nomads and they need forest to eat and stay together. Logging transform a big forest into some small distant forest where elephants are confined with lack of food and where they can’t mate if not only into their own family with resulting genetic problems. Please let’s travel all over the world but trying to make a ethical and conscious tourism 🙏🏻❤️
”Oi kau ka lau, E hana I ola Honua” Live your life while the sun is still shining: the wind behind, the ocean beyond, sometimes the rainbows above and mountains and cliffs and Nature next to you. Thank you for making me feel tiny, humble and inspired all at once.
The Kalalau Trail is a truly life experience along Nā Pali Coast of the hawaian island 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.
The first section of the trail is a two-mile (3 km) stretch from Keʻe Beach to Hanakapiai stream and beach. Here is where everything begins and from where you need to obtain a camping permit from the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. The next section connects Hanakapiai stream to Hanakoa Valley, untile mile six (9 km) and then continues on to Kalalau Valley, a large, flat-bottomed valley almost a mile across. After hiking down Red Hill, it is about a half mile to Kalalau Beach. That last part is amazing, it’s like the most perfect part of the Earth. Plants, flowers, sounds, sea, wind, everything…that last part to the beach it’s the “Garden of Eden”
The narrow trail, three major stream crossings that can rapidly rise when raining, and falling rocks…this is why it’s so dangerous.
But curiosity spurs us to venture further and further and go deep into the wild. And it’s not only a trail, it’s a journey and you need so much time, also after you came back, to understand what you had lived.
When you go after the last part and you “dive” into the Kalalau Beach, you find a surreal world. Many travelers believe that a place can leave an everlasting mark on your heart and soul. Like this beach does! Here is where the spectrum of emotions you’ll go through, when experiencing one more amazing sunset, makes you understand that once you’ve had it, you’ll always want it. Wait for it! You will discover, I hope, the most beautiful thing that my eyes have ever seen on Earth. The most peaceful, energetic, exciting place.
The perfection of the Planet explodes while I am amazed to admire this immense, surreal beauty.
I felt lost in a land where there is neither space nor time as we know it, but that wraps the continuous evolving of things with a magic bubble.
It’s like living in the time machine, you go back to the past and relive it with the awareness of the present, you return to the present in a temporal connection with the past to live it with enthusiasm and love. You have no mental or human boundaries over there. You feel inside this magic bubble or inside another unreal planet. Laws, physics, human beings are different when you find the fairness of the Eden.
Overwhelmed by the perfection of this beach, embedded in an ancient casket, bordered by sacred peaks. The glow of the sun’s rays, shortly after dawn, gradually affects the color on the sharpest ridges, setting them on fire with green, brown, orange, yellow and perfumes that, like gold, inebriate the senses. And the chirping of birds everywhere. And the ocean waves at least three meters high. The waterfall, the palm trees, the campfire. The human smile of unknown friends.
And then just the chills down my spine for something I can’t forget.