Category: Destinations

Gili Meno – Lombok’s paradise island, Gili Islands, Indonesia

Gili Meno

Gili Meno – the paradise on Earth

Gili Meno is the smallest of Gili Islands archipelago located just of the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The archipelago consist of three small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air from which Gili Meno, located in the middle, is the smallest. Only about 500 people live permanently on the island. The main income comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. It is the most peaceful island from the three of them.

Gili Meno

How to reach Gili Meno ?
The island can is reachable from the main land only by boat. Several boat services are operating between Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air and Lombok. Links to several websites can be found at the bottom of this post.
Depending on the weather, the fast boat journey to the island may be quite unpleasant. So be prepared and keep a plastic bag handy (especially when travelling with kids). You may not get a chance to visit the toilet. They seem to be occupied all the time…

Why Gili Meno ?
Because time really runs slower here. If you are looking for an secluded island experience, no crowds and places on the beach with Bob Marley music –
this is the place. Gili Meno is the perfect place for people who wish to recharge the batteries or for those who are searching for peaceful time in their hectic life – perfect getaway holiday. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited – no wonder why it`s Honeymoon favourite destination. The island is beautiful on ground- many local restaurants with amazing variety of fish with extremely relaxing ambiance – but also underwater – with colourful coral reefs, turtles and other unique marine animals.
Fortunately all three Gili Islands do not permit any motorised transport on them. Cidomos (small horse-drawn carriages) can be rented if you need transport on island. The island is tiny so if you stay few days you can explore the whole territory and enjoy untouched by human existence flora and fauna.

Main Attractions

Gili Islands is paradise for divers and snorkelers. There are plenty of famous diving sites around the island such as “Gili Meno walls” where turtles can be seen during the day swimming freely and at night Morays Eels. Clean water full of fish, clear blue crystal see, colorful coral reefs and endless beaches with white sand. Best way to explore the underworld is to hire a local guide with a boat and do a full day snorkeling trip around the island. Because Gillis are often called the turtle capital of the world the chance of seeing a turtle is so high that the local guides sometimes say: If you do not see a turtle today, you will get your money back.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno

It is an interesting place which plays an important role in protecting and hatching baby turtle for release to Gilli waters. Gillis island are ” turtle capital of the world”! It is fun to watch small babies turtle in different stages of their development – in different ” swimming pools under one roof “ you can observe how they grow. This sanctuary is a good example how one person can make a difference as this place is run by one person Pak Boulong – who dedicated his life to take care of turtles – which are protected on all Gili islands.

Gili Meno

The lake is located near the mid-western half of the island. It is a place to visit when you get bored of the gorgeous beaches and need shelter from the sun.
A place for nature-lovers offering the possibility to watch birds and variety of other species in their natural habitat.

The remaining islands: Gili Trawangan and Gili Air are located very close to Gili Meno and are certainly worth a day trip. Another option is to get a boat to Palau Lombok which is almost as big as Bali and has lots to offer. One of the most interesting destination in the area is Nusa Penida island where we did Volunteering Work for FNPF.

We stayed in “Meno Dream Resort” and would recommend it to everyone! Relaxing ambience, beautiful garden, friendly service, clean rooms and delicious breakfast – and all that 300m from the see! You can rent the bike here for free – and explore different parts of the island. We loved the place so much that we stayed extra longer and would love to go back in the future!! Again do not expect luxury hotels rooms with air conditioning and Wi-Fi and ATM machines on each corner. After all if you want a remote quite place, expect simple conditions – I mean simple conditions.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno

Best undisputed no.1 place to chill out on Gili Meno is Bar Diana. This is the place where Bob Marley music sounds like in Jamaica. With the Meno Wall in front and Turtle Heaven on the right it is also a great place to go snorkeling and enjoy a cold beer afterwards. Other places to spend lazy hours would be Karma Beach and Escobar 2. Karma Beach is located on the Lombok side and offers good view on the active volcano Mount Rinjani.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno


LINKS – Paradise Islands Travel website – Meno Dream Resort website – Gili Island travel guide by Nomadicmatt – Info about Gilii Meno – non-profit organisation established to protect Gili Islands – Health Information for Travelers to Indonesia – Gili dive sites map with description

FERRIES – Ferry bookings – Ticket to Gili Islands – Scootcruise website – Gili Sea Express website

One Day in Amman, Capital City of Jordan

I have arrived in Amman on the same day as Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The next day I went to the city and the first thing I saw were military armored vehicles and hundreds of policemen guarding the demonstration against the US president’s decision. My boys would love it ! The situation looked pretty serious. Thousands of people went on the streets. A march from Palestinian refuge camp of Al-Buqaa to the capital took place.
The official number of Palestinians living in Jordan is unknown but in 2008, Minority Rights Group International estimated that about 3 million people residing in Jordan have Palestinian origin. The majority of them live in the northern part of Jordan, mainly around Amman. No wonder the protest was so heavy. There was a huge poster hanging from a balcony with a swastika on Donald Trump face and words: “Trump. Extremist Maker in the World.”. READ MORE !!!

Winter hiking to Capanna Leit and Pizzo delle Löite, Lepontine Alps, Switzerland

Trip Summary
Duration: 2 days (11-12 October 2017)
Route: Dalpe – Passo Venett – Capanna Leit – Pizzo delle Löite – Capanna Leit – Passo Venett – Dalpe
Distance: 22.1 km
Ascent: 1380 m / Descent: 1380 m
Total number of hikers met along the way: 0

Pizzo Campolungo is a mountain of the Lepontine Alps, overlooking Prato and Dalpe in the Leventina valley of the canton of Ticino. It lies just south of the Campolungo Pass.
The plan for the weekend was a 2 days circular hike around Pizzo Campo Lungo starting in Dalpe, with an overnight at Capanna Campo Tencia. We have chosen this route through Passo Venett with Capanna Leit on the way in case the conditions/time would not allow us to reach Capanna Campo Tencia. It was November and there was already snow in the mountains but we didn’t know exactly how much snow is over there…

Duration: 7h 10min
8:10 Dalpe parking 1192m
8:55 Boscobello 1345m
10:00 Scontra 1670m
10:20 Alpe Cadonighino 1750m
11:00 Stüéi
12:20 Passo Venett 2138m
15:20 Capanna Leit 2257m

We started our hike in Dalpe at 8:10 AM from small parking located in front of a small supermarket (Address: Botea da Dalp, Nucleo Dalpe 17, 6774 Dalpe) and headed toward Boscobello. It was a beautuful, sunny, autumn day. The sky was blue and views over Dalpe and rourrounding mountains were magical. The snow started already in Scontra at an altitude ca 1600m. This is where we met 2 hunters looking for prey which turned out to be the last human beings we have encountered before coming back to Dalpe the next day.

The 1000m ascent to Passo Venett was quite challenging but the trail was visible and straightforward without any major obstacles. It was just hard work. We reached the highest point of Passo Venett after 4 hours. Only 35 min behind the time indicated on a signpost in Dalpe. So far, so good but from this point the hike got tough. There is a straight route to Capanna Leit from here, running south-west along the mountainside and the signpost indicated only 25min to the hut. The snow cover was arround 50 cm and we could not identify this route when we looked at the mountain in front of us. Even if the trail was somwhere there, it seemed quite dangerous to climb that route in these conditions. We decided to make a detour and take the route down to Alpe Campolunge. It took us 3 long hours before we finally saw the roof of Capanna Leit. The time was 15:20, much too late to continue towards Capanna Campo Tencia so we set up fire in the oven, put some bacon on frying pan, poured some strong beverages in our cups and relaxed after 7 hours climb in deep snow. It was one of these nights you never forget. No electricity, no network coverage, 1 hour light only from solar batteries, no water (snow can be easily converted to water), quietness and beutiful snowy landscape outside.

Duration: 9h 15min
8:45 Capanna Leit 2257m
9:15 – 11:35 Passo Leit / Bocchette Passo Leìt
11:35 Pizzo delle Löite ca. 2420m
12:35 Capanna Leit 2257m
14:45 Alpe Campolungo
15:05 Passo Venett 2138m
16:00 Alpe Cadonighino 1750m
16:30 Scontra 1670m
18:00 Dalpe 1192m

The next day we tried to continue towards Campo Tencia. After passing an easy, flat section running along Laghetto Campolungo, there was a tricky climb through Passo Leit which led to the highest point along the route at an altitude ca. 2420 m called Bocchette Passo Leìt, lying at the foot of Pizzo delle Löite mountain. Getting here took us 3 hours. It was a long, difficult and quite dangerous route. Taking into consideration the time required to cross this short part of the route and the fact that the next section of the trail doesn’t seem to be easy at all, we decided to come back to Dalpe the same way as we got up.
First we descended back to Capanna Leit where we cooked quick dinner and then continued towards Passo Venett. We followed our trail from the previous day which saved us lots of time and energy. We reached Dalpe at 6pm crossing last section of the trail in darkness with headlamps on.


LINKS – Topographic map of Switzerland – The Leìt Hut (Capanna Leit) – Capanna Campo Tencia – Traversata Leit-Tencia – Weather forcast for Capanna Leit – Federazione Alpinistica Ticinese

3 days in Muscat, capital city of Oman

Muscat is an amazing city! It is Middle East’s best-kept secret. It is located on the Oman Gulf at the Arabian Sea and surrounded by the rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains. A city which will become the top travel destination soon (or maybe it already is…) What makes it so special ? Muscat is considered as one of the smallest capitals in the world, but this relatively small city has a lot to offer. The Omani culture and history, architecture, beautiful sandy beaches along the Arabian Sea, mountains, delicious food, local markets, amazing people (some even claim that the Omanis are the most hospitable people on earth !). There is so much to see there. Oman advertises its natural beauty with the following campaign: ‘Beauty has an address – Oman’. READ MORE !!!

The 15 Best Snorkeling Destinations in Europe

best snorkeling 002

There are amazing snorkeling places around the globe. I am aware of this. I have seen lots of them on TV. But not everyone can afford a trip to Belize, Maldives, Palau, Virgin Islands and the like. The old continent offers also great snorkeling places where the natural beauty, marine life and crystal clear water is comparable to world’s top snorkeling destinations.
Here is a guide for travelers to the best places for snorkeling in Europe. I am a snorkeling freak and have explored myself the majority of snorkeling spots included in this list. Feel free to comment on this post and include your own suggestions.

Medes Islands, Costa Brava, Spain

Medes Islands
Description: Small group of seven islets in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea located just 1 km from L’Estartit (spain). The Medes Islands archipelago is part of the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Nature Park. It is one of the most important marine flora and fauna reserves in the western Mediterranean.
Nearest airport: Girona (GRO) or Barcelona (BCN)
Access: By boat from L’Estartit
Website: Medes Islands

Area Marina Protetta Capo Carbonara, Sardegna, Italy

Capo Carbonara
Description: The protected Marine Area of Capo Carbonara together with two islands of Cavoli and Serpentara form a natural park in the south-east Sardinia near Villasimius (Italy).
Nearest airport: Cagliari (CAG)
Access: Direct access from shore excluding islands which can be reached by boat
Website: Area Marina Protetta Capo Carbonara

Lobos, Canary Islands, Spain

Description: Lobos Island (Isla de Lobos) is a small island of the Canary Islands (Spain) located just 2 kilometres north of the island of Fuerteventura. It is now a protected area: Parque Natural del Islote de Lobos
Nearest airport: Fuerteventura (FUE) or Lanzarote (ACE)
Access: By boat from Corralejo (Fuerteventura) or from Lanzarote
Website: Lobos, Canary Islands

Elafonisi beach, Crete, Greece

Elafonissi snorkeling
Description: Elafonisi is an island located close to the southwestern corner of the Mediterranean island of Crete (Greece). The island is a protected nature reserve.
Nearest airport: Chania (CHQ)
Access: Directly from the shore. It is possible to walk to the island through the shallow water.
Website: Elafonisi beach

Ustica, Sicily, Italy

Description: Ustica is a small island, about 9 kilometres across, situated about 50 km north of Riserva Naturale Orientata Di Capo Gallo, Sicily (Italy) in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Nearest airport: Palermo (PMO)
Access: By boat from Palermo
Website: Ustica, Sicily

Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro, Sicily, Italy

Zingaro snorkeling
Description: Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro (Zingaro Nature Reserve) is a natural reserve stretching along the unspoilt coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare, north-west Sicily (Italy).
Nearest airport: Palermo (PMO)
Access: Directly from the shore. Walk through the nature reserve and explore all hidden bays.
Website: Zingaro Nature Reserve

Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy

Description: Pantelleria it is the largest volcanic satellite island of Sicily (Italy) in the Mediterranean Sea located 100 km from the Sicily mainland and ca. 40 km from Tunisian coast.
Nearest airport: Pantelleria Airport (PNL) or Palermo (PMO)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: Pantelleria, Sicily

Mar Menuda, Costa Brava, Spain

Mar Menuda
Description: The Platja de la Mar Menuda or Playa de Mar Menuda (in Castilian) is a beach in Tossa de Mar, Catalunya (Spain). It is a point of departure for divers and diving schools in Tossa de Mar. The marine life starts immediately off the shore here.
Nearest airport: Girona (GRO) or Barcelona (BCN)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: The Platja de la Mar Menuda

Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardegna, Italy

Maddalena Archipelago 001
Description: Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago di La Maddalena (Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park) is a geomarine national park at the north-east coast of Sardinia. It includes region all islands and islets within the territory of the Municipality of La Maddalena, Italy.
Nearest airport: Olbia (OLB)
Access: Directly from the shore (if staying at Isola Maddalena) or by boat from Sardegna mainland
Website: Maddalena Archipelago National Park

Asinara National Park, Sardegna, Italy

Asinara 001
Description: Parco Nazionale dell’Asinara (Asinara National Park) is the second largest island of Sardegna (Italy), located about 40 km north from Alghero.
Nearest airport: Alghero (AHO)
Access: By boat from Sardegna mainland
Website: Asinara National Park

Spiaggia di Tuerredda, Sardegna, Italy

Description: Tuerredda beach (Spiaggia di Tuerredda) is located on the south coast of Sardegna (Italy) between Capo Malfatano and Perda Longa, about 60 km drive from Cagliari.
Nearest airport: Cagliari (CAG)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: Spiaggia di Tuerredda

Cephalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece

cephalonia 001
Description: Cephalonia (Kefalonia) is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. The island has a rich biodiversity, with a substantial number of endemic and rare species.
Nearest airport: Kefalonia (EFL)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: Cephalonia

Reserva Natural das Berlengas, Portugal

Description: Reserva Natural das Berlengas is formed by Berlengas archipelago which is a a group of small islands west off the Portuguese coast, about 10 km by boat from Peniche town.
Nearest airport: Lisbon (LIS)
Access: By boat from Peniche or Lisbon
Website: Reserva Natural das Berlengas

Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, Andalucia, Spain

Cabo de Gata-Nijar
Description: Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park (Parque natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar) is located in the southeastern corner of Spain about 45 km drive from Almeria (Spain). It is the largest coastal protected area in Andalucia.
Nearest airport: Almería (LEI)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park

Makarska Riviera, Croatia

Description: The Makarska Riviera is a region on the west Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, about 60 kilometers long and only several kilometers wide, at the foot of the Biokovo Mountain.
Nearest airport: Split (SPU)
Access: Directly from the shore
Website: Makarska, Croatia

SNORKELING LINKS – Protected Marine areas in Italy – Protected areas in Sardegna – Map of Marine Protected Area by Marine Conservation Institute – Best snorkeling spots in the world – Database of snorkeling destinations – World’s best places to snorkel – World’s best islands to snorkel – World’s best places to snorkel – Best snorkeling destinations in Europe – Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardegna, Italy – Asinara National Park, Sardegna, Italy – Snorkeling in Croatia – Ustica Diving – Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardegna, Italy – Asinara National Park, Sardegna, Italy – Snorkeling beaches in Europe

Santa and Reindeer on holidays, France

Calonge 001
Where does Santa Claus and his reindeer spend holiday after the busy Christmas time before hitting the road again? Some would say in his residence (Santa Claus Village) at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland, some would say at the North Pole… It may be true of course but we found Santa Claus in France. READ MORE !

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Why visit Saint Petersburg (Leningrad) ?
First of all: it is in Russia which already makes the trip interesting. The city gained also some interesting Nicknames such as “The City on 101 Islands”,“The Northern Capital of Russia”, “The Venice of the North” or “The Palmyra of the North”.
It is the most Northern city in the world with a population over 1 million. It has one of the biggest museums in the world: The Hermitage Museum. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg is the second biggest UNSECO World Heritage Site (after Venice). With it’s amazing churches and cathedrals, museums, parks, imperial buildings, historical sights, houndreds of canals, vicinity of Lake Ladoga and Finland it is certainly one of the most interesting city to visit in Europe. READ MORE !

Solo hike in the Lepontine Alps, Ticino/Piedmont, Switzerland/Italy

Calonge 001

Late autumn is the perfect time for hikers who wants to get some “Into the Wild” feeling. The snow has already covered the higher parts of Alps, most of the mountain huts are closed, days are short and temperatures during the night are around zero or less. Only very little hikers decide to go into the higher parts of the Alps which makes it almost a wilderness area. The landscape during the spring is fairy-tale-like and colours almost unreal. With a great weather forecast for the next few days, it was a perfect time for a nature-lover adventure. I packed my backpack with everything I need for 4 days and went to swiss canton of Ticino in the Lepontine Alps region. READ MORE !

Calonge, Costa Brava, Spain

Calonge 001

Once you have a family tent in the basement, there is nothing stopping you from opening the car’s trunk, throw inside everything what is needed for 1 week camping, fill up the tank with gasoline and hit the road. It doesn’t take much time if you have done this many times before and you know exactly what you need. No need to make any bookings, not many people decide to go camping in October. The only which is needed is a couple of addresses of campsites which are open at this time of the year. So we hit the road and arrived at Camping Internacional de Calonge in Calonge, Costa Brava. READ MORE !

Canoe Trip Kolovesi-Joutenvesi-Linnansaari (64km), Finland

Kolovesi 001The Finnish Lakeland (Finnish: Järvi-Suomi) is the largest lake district in Europe. Nature-made labyrinth of 168’000 crystal-clear lakes and countless number of islands covered by unspoiled forest.
The fabulous landscapes of National Parks Linnansaari, Kolovesi and Nature Reserve Joutenvesi offer a paradise for paddlers. There is only one way to explore this area the right way – by kayak or canoe. Finnish Lakeland is also a home to the endangered freshwater Saimaa ringed seal. It is the only place in the world where they live. READ MORE !

50km family hike in the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park, France

Northern Vosges 001Grande Traversée des Vosges(Vosges Grand Trail) is a 17 days hike through the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park and Ballons des Vosges Nature Park. The 298km long trail follows the long distance footpaths (Grande Randonnées) GR 53-5, GR 531 and GR 532. Having 4 days free we decided to hike from Wissembourg to Obersteinbach, which is stage 2,3,4 of the Vosges Grand Trail. READ MORE !

Ski Holiday Meiringen-Hasliberg, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Meiringen-Hasliberg 001
This winter we have visited the Meiringen-Haslital ski resort again and booked accommodation in Brienz as last year. On the first day we took the cable car from Mägisalp to Alpentower where we could observe the uncommon phenomena called “sea of clouds” formed by the uniform layer of clouds below. It is often compared to an open sea with the mountain peaks rising above the clouds looking like small island on the horizon. Standing there, looking at the clouds below and the surrounding mountains, it was really hard to believe that it is only about 2245m above the sea level and there are mountains on our planet which are almost 4 times higher than this one… READ MORE !

Giverola, Costa Brava, Spain

Giverola 001

It was the autumn holiday again and this time we decided to fly to Girona and spend a week at the coast of Costa Brava. Girona airport is located only about 30km from the coastal line and the nearest cities such as Lloret de Mar or Tossa de Mar can be reached by a shuttle bus in 30 minutes.
We wanted to stay away from cities like Lloret de Mar and spend our free time closer to the nature. One of our choices was Camping Cala Llevadó but at the end we decided to book an apartment at Giverola Resort. READ MORE !

Kayaking on the Ruda River, Poland

Ruda River 001

Poland is one of the best kayaking destinations in Europe. There is Mazury (Masurian Lake District) in the north, also known as The Land of a Thousand Lakes, with endless kayaking routes where you can paddle for days or even weeks and also many, many great rivers for paddling.
Some of the river kayaking routes in Poland are considered as the most beautiful in Europe. The most popular routes are: Krutynia River, Biebrza River, Czarna Hańcza River and the Augustow Canal.
I was not aware that the Ruda River, which is located about 25km from my hometown, is one of the most interesting kayaking rivers in the south of Poland… READ MORE !

Climbing Barrhorn (3610m) in 1 day, Switzerland

Barrhorn 001Highest Mountain Hike in Europe or Highest “snow-free” Mountain in Europe.
This is how the Barrhorn summit is often described. What does it really mean ?
Barrhorn summit claims to be the highest mountain in Europe which is “snow-free” during summer and can be ascended via the normal route by an experienced hiker without any climbing gear. I have came across this mountain while searching the web for a summit over 3000 which can be ascended in 1 day without previous mountaineering experience and without crossing any ice/glacier. READ MORE !

Marrakech & Sahara Desert Tour, Morocco

Sahara 001Spending a night on the desert was one of many things I wanted to do before they put me in the coffin. Visiting south Morocco and Sahara Desert has been on my mind for at least 3 years but I was never sure whether it is a good idea to do such trip with kids… Now I know. The idea was great and it was fun for everybody including kids.
Normally we plan our holiday ourself but this time we decided to spend the first and second night in Marrakech and book Sahara Desert Tour from Marrakech. This saved us a lot of time, hustle and allowed us to enjoy the trip fully having more time for our kids and everything else.
Finding a good tour provider which also had reasonably prices was not easy. My main criteria was that it had to be a local Moroccan company so the money goes to local community rather then to some foreign fat cats… READ MORE !