Hiking the Jordan Trail – Rasoun to Ajloun Castle

After spending one day in Amman (read my post One Day In Amman, Capital City Of Jordan) and having only one day left in Jordan, I have decided to explore a small part of the famous JORDAN TRAIL.
Jordan Trail is a long distance hiking trail in Jordan connecting the length of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. This amazing trail is more than 650 kilometers long and takes ca. 40 days. It passes through over 50 villages and towns on its way. The landscape on the way is impressive and very diverse: wooded hills of the north, rugged wadis and cliffs overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley, rose rocks of Petra, sands and towering mountains in Wadi Rum and crystal waters of the Red Sea.
For thousands of years, ancient paths and trade routes have cut across the lands of today’s Jordan. Jordan was the centre of the King’s Highway, a trade route stretching from Egypt to Aqaba, and then north to Damascus. During the first centuries B.C. the Nabatean merchants extended the route further to Asia and southern Arabia making Jordan a centre of their empire, with Petra being a very important point on the route.

JORDAN TRAIL – Rasoun to Ajloun Castle
This stage of the Jordan Trail is about 17 km long. I started my hike in at a Mosque in a very small village Rasoun. This place is not easy to find ! Use gps coordinates to locate this place Rasoun. My favorite application is maps.me which works also offline after downloading corresponding maps. The trail leads through beautiful landscape. It passes through villages Orjan and Baoun, Listib Mosque, Mar Elias church ruins and ends at Ajloun Castle.


– Locals may invite you for arabic coffee (arabic: kahwa). Do not refuse ! I was invited by a young man in Baoun for a coffee and we were chatting about football although he only knew couple of english words.
– Visit Ajloun Forest Reserve.
– Spend the night at Rasoun Tourist Camp. I didn’t know about this camp when I was in Jordan. Seems a great place to stay for a night.
– Beware of shepherd dogs which you will encounter on the way. They could be quite aggressive. I was once saved by a shepherd when two of hist dogs attacked me. They often just throw stones to scary them. I always had one big stone in my pocket. It is probably a better option then killing shepherd dog with a knife. I imagine that the local would get quite angry when his dog gets killed by a hiker…
– Do not give money to local kids. I bought some fruits from small kids and 5 minutes later I had a bunch of kids on my back.







Ajloun Castle


www.jordantrail.org – The Jordan Trail Official Website
www.jordantrail.org – Rasoun to Ajloun Castle
www.visitjordan.com – Official Website of The Jordan Tourism Board

Journeys to Saudi Arabia: Tasting Raw Camel Milk

How does the raw camel milk taste ? Is it really the best milk on this planet ? What makes it so different from other types of milk ?
These questions crossed my mind whenever I saw these beautiful animals during my travels. I was not able to find the definite answers to all these questions but I did not hesitate when a chance of tasting it appeared. A bowl of fresh, warm camel milk with foam on top. How could I refuse ?

Saudi Arabia

Camel milk is often described as ‘liquid gold’ or ‘elixir of the desert’. There are many benefits of drinking camel milk. Some studies even show that it can kill cancer cells …

Camel milk: facts and health benefits:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Stimulates blood circulation any is good for your heart
  • It is nutritious. Important source of energy, protein, calcium, riboflavin, B12, and other essential nutrients
  • Compared to human milk, it contains more fat, protein, ash, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and copper, and less whey protein, lactose and zinc
  • It does not contain proteins responsible for allergic reactions and therefore is easily digested by lactose-intolerant individuals
  • Helps in proper growth and development of bones and organ systems

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

On the highway 65 from Riyadh to Al Kharj there are several camel farms where the camel milk can be purchased. Several are located just beside the main road. Some parts of the highway 65 are running literally through the desert. The road is surrounded by beautifully formed dunes on both sides where groups of camels or caravan of the camels can be seen.
When you stop at a camel farm and ask for camel milk, the local Bedouin will milk one of his camels and offer you a bowl of fresh milk. Tasting the camel milk for the first time in your life is quite an interesting experience.
The sweet taste of warm camel milk … unforgettable …

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

www.blueabaya.com – Good post about camel milk
www.naturallivingideas.com – 10 reasons to drink camel milk
www.camelmilkassociation.org – Info about camel milk
www.livescience.com – camel milk nutrition facts, risks & benefits
www.organicfacts.net – camel milk organic facts
www.wellnessmama.com – camel milk info

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


www.gili-paradise.com – Paradise Islands Travel website
www.gilimenobungalows.com – Meno Dream Resort website
www.nomadicmatt.com – Gili Island travel guide by Nomadicmatt
www.indonesia.travel – Info about Gilii Meno
www.giliecotrust.com – non-profit organisation established to protect Gili Islands
www.nc.cdc.gov – Health Information for Travelers to Indonesia
www.bigbubblediving.com – Gili dive sites map with description

www.gilibookings.com – Ferry bookings
www.gilitickets.com – Ticket to Gili Islands
www.scootcruise.com – Scootcruise website
www.gili-sea-express.com – Gili Sea Express website

Faulhorn-Grindelwald. The longest toboggan run in Europe.

Faulhorn toboggan run

Where is the longest toboggan run in Europe ? The Jungfrau Region claims to be home to the Europe’s longest (or even World’s longest) toboggan run called Big Pintenfritz. This crazy, high-speed toboggan, 15 km long run leads from the Faulhorn 2681 m via Bussalp down to Grindelwald. Faulhorn/First/Bussalp region is a top destination for sled riders. There are several sledge runs here: 8 km classic ‘City Run’, ‘Family Run’ and ‘Bussalp Run’ but the highlight is of course the 15 km long Big Pintenfritz. The longest sledging run in Europe with panorama view over the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The curious name of Big Pintenfritz (Big Pub Fritz) refers to a village innkeeper who supposedly inaugurated the run after a bet. The starting point of the run can only be reached on foot but once on the Faulhorn (2681 m) you will be rewarded for your efforts with a unique panoramic view over the Swiss Alps.


Starting point: Faulhorn (2681 m)
End point: Grindelwald (1034 m)
Vertical drop: ca. 1600 m
Maps and Info: Sledging in Grindelwald
How to get there: There is no direct connection to Faulhorn. Some hiking is required. From Grindelwald: gondola lift Grindelwald-Schreckfeld-First and then ca. 1.5 h – 2 h walk to Faulhorn (elevation gain 513 m). From Bussalp: 2.5 h walk to Faulhorn (elevation gain 881 m).
Speed: Up to 40 km/h. Be cautious! 10’000 accidents every year. Fatal accidents also happens. Read this: www.swissinfo.ch
Sledge renting: Cost ca. 35 CHF (adults), 25 CHF (teenagares), 20 CHF (kids).
Restaurants: Having a tasty fondue is a must ! Restaurants are available in First, Bussalp and Grindelwald. Berghotel Faulhorn may be closed for winter. Check website.
Accommodation: Hotels in Grindelwald. My favourite: Berggasthaus First.
Not to be missed: First Cliff Walk – panorama platform at 2200 m at Berggasthaus First.

Faulhorn toboggan run

Map of Winter Trails in Faulhorn/First/Bussalp region

Faulhorn toboggan run

On the winter footpath to the summit of Faulhorn (2681m)

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn summit 2681m, View over the Bernese Oberland

Faulhorn toboggan run

Faulhorn toboggan run

First Cliff Walk – Panorama Platform at 2200 m

www.myswitzerland.com – The longest toboggan run in Europe
www.grindelwaldbus.ch – Sledging in Grindelwald, Bussalp
www.jungfrau.ch – Tourist info about Jungfrau region
www.jungfrau.ch – Info about Fritz Bohren, aka “Pintenfritz”
www.swissinfo.ch – Alert over sledging accidents
www.tempo-world.com – Other crazy sleding runs
www.jungfrau.ch – First Cliff Walk

www.berggasthausfirst.ch – Berggasthaus First
www.faulhorn.ch – Faulhorn and Berghotel Faulhorn. Official 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.



www.map.geo.admin.ch – Topographic map of Switzerland
www.capanna-leit.ch – The Leìt Hut (Capanna Leit)
www.campotencia.ch – Capanna Campo Tencia
http://www.schweizmobil.ch – Traversata Leit-Tencia
www.wetterspiegel.de – Weather forcast for Capanna Leit
www.fat-ti.ch – Federazione Alpinistica Ticinese

Mountain Biking Trail No.4 ‘Um den Homberg’, Baselland, Switzerland

Mountain Biking Trail No.4 ‘Um den Homberg’
Starting point: Grellingen Railway Station
Distance: 22.70 km
Elevation gain: 497 m
Highest point: 759 m
Time required: ca. 3h
End point: Grellingen Railway Station

Map of trail No.4 ‘Um den Homberg’ (Hallwag Mountain Bike Map)

This circular tour starts and ends at the Grellingen train station and leads first along the Birs to Chessiloch, a historical site from the 1st World War – now a popular picnic area (Feuerstelle). During the first World War troops were stationed at Chessiloch. Since the Jura railway line was one of the important connections to the border troops, this railway line, as well as the Chessiloch bridge, was strictly guarded. Members of the various units have left coats of arms and symbolic figures on the rock walls.
The ascent through the Chaltbrunnen valley is not very steep an follows a designated hiking trail so (mind the walkers and hikers at this part of the trail!). After Chessiloch the trail turns left into beautiful Chaltbrunnen Valley (Chaltbrunnental) with towns Meltigen, Zullwil, Nunningen, Bretzwil and Seewen. Here the trail enters so-called ‘Schwarzbubenland’. After rounding the Homberg, the trail returns to the starting point Grellingen, crossing the main road Seewen – Grellingen and continuing downhill on the flank of the Eichenberg. READ MORE !!!

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 !!!

Volunteering for FNPF Nusa Penida, Indonesia

“If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
. . . I’m starting with the man in the mirror”

We took those words seriously and decided that next family holiday will be the one to ” give back” a bit of what we have and make a difference.
This year vacation was not only fun but a bit of “work” as well. Thanks to FNPF (Friends Of The National Parks Foundation) this experience was amazing and unforgettable. Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF) is an Indonesian conservation not-profit organization working to protect wildlife and its habitat, at supporting local communities.
FNPF’s primary wildlife focus on Nusa Penida is protection and rebuilding wild populations of endangered Indonesian birds such as Bali Starling (Bali’s emblem bird),Java Sparrow and Cockatoo. Bali Starling is (or maybe was) listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. It is one of the rarest living bird’s in the world ! READ MORE !!!

Hiking in the Graian Alps, Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, Aosta, Italy

Gran Paradiso National Park (Italian: Parco nazionale del Gran Paradiso) is located in northern Italy, between Aosta Valley and Piedmont region, at the border with France. It was the first national park established in Italy. A land of beautiful mountains, endless woodlands and rich wildlife. It is named after Gran Paradiso mountain (4061m) located in the middle of the park.
This destination was always on my bucket list but I didn’t know that the mountain range where the park is located is called Graian Alps. Even Mount Blanc belongs to this mountain range… A significant gap in my knowledge about the Alps.

As a base we have chosen La Maison du Guide located in a small village Rhemes-Saint-Georges. It is more like a Bed & Breakfast with several apartments to rent. Beautiful place. Really worth visiting. Located only 10 km from Thumel parking lot where the Thumel-Benevolo trail starts. The city of Aosta is only 25 km drive from Rhemes-Saint-Georges.

La Maison du Guide


Our plan was to hike the Thumel-Benevolo trail up to the Rifugio Benevolo (2287 m) and then see if we can reach one of the lakes located higher in the mountains: Lago di Goletta, Lago Granta Parei or Lago di Tsanteleina. It was the end of May with lots of snow still covering the peaks and we knew that we may not get there.
We started our hike at Thumel parking lot (4km after Bruil village) where we followed trail no.13 to Rifugio Benevolo. It takes normally about 1h30min to get to Benevolo. We hikes with kids and the trail was covered/blocked my snow in some places so it took us little bit longer.
What makes this trail special is no only the beautiful surrounding but also the wildlife around you. And in particular the undisputed rulers of this trail: Marmot (Marmota). They are everywhere ! Some of them are very shy and would hide just after you spot them and some would just sit near their holes/pits and pose for pictures. I have never seen so many of them before in one place. They really make this trail enjoyable, specially for the kids. There also lots other animals such as Steinbock (Ibex) or Chamois (AlpenGämse).

Marmot (Marmota) – large squirrels living in Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso

On this photo I caught 2 couples of different species in 1 shot. Front left is a couple of marmots and 2 Steinbocks further up.

Last section of the trail to Rifugio Benevolo was fully covered by snow

After a short break at Rifugio Benevolo (it was still closed and the summer season has not yet begun) we split into 2 groups from which one went back to the parking lot and the other continued the hike. After Benevolo trails was fully covered with snow and it was difficult to follow the proper path. We were fighting our way through the snow, trying various paths leading up. At the end we didn’t reach any of the lakes but hiked up to the foot of Roc du Fond and had lots of fun in the snow :). Have to come back here in the summer and do a multiple hike like I did in Lepontine Alps.

Rifugio Benevolo in the background

Stinbock (Ibex) at slopes of Rhêmes Valley


www.pngp.it – Gran Paradiso National Park official website
www.pngp.it – Hiking Trail Thumel – Benevolo
www.parks.it – Gran Paradiso National Park
www.cai.it – Club Alpino Italiano
www.summitpost.org – Truc Saint Hélène and Tsantèleina Lake

www.rifugiobenevolo.com – Refuge Benevolo
www.caipiemonte.it – Mountain huts in Valle d’Aosta
www.booking.com – Hotel La Maison du Guide

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


wikipedia.org – Protected Marine areas in Italy
www.sardegnamareprotetto.it – Protected areas in Sardegna
www.mpatlas.org – Map of Marine Protected Area by Marine Conservation Institute
snorkelstore.net – Best snorkeling spots in the world
www.snorkelingdives.com – Database of snorkeling destinations
blog.edreams.com – World’s best places to snorkel
www.islands.com – World’s best islands to snorkel
edition.cnn.com – World’s best places to snorkel
www.minube.net – Best snorkeling destinations in Europe
www.parks.it – Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardegna, Italy
www.parks.it – Asinara National Park, Sardegna, Italy
www.frankaboutcroatia.com – Snorkeling in Croatia
www.ustica-diving.it – Ustica Diving
www.lamaddalenapark.it – Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardegna, Italy
www.parcoasinara.org – Asinara National Park, Sardegna, Italy
traveltamed.com – Snorkeling beaches in Europe

Discovering Sicily. From Catania to Palermo.


Sicily (Italian: Sicilia) is the largest and the most attractive island in the Mediterranean Sea. This beautiful island is a mixture of natural beauty, history, amazing islands, top beaches, lovely towns, tradition and delicious gastronomy.
If you are looking for a place for an active honeymoon then Sicily should be your choice and if you want to do it with style just look for villa rentals in Sicily and let the time pass very slow… READ MORE !!!

Ski Holiday Hasliberg, Reka Holiday Village, Switzerland

Ski Resort Meiringen-Hasliberg is one of the best and most family friendly ski resorts in the Bernese Oberland. It is located 50km from Luzern and 80km from the capital Bern. With 60km ski slopes, 13 lifts, 2 toboggan runs, 15km classic cross-country ski-runs, 25km winter hiking trails and several child lift it is a great winter destination for everyone. Detailed info about the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski resort can be found HERE


We stayed 7 days at Hasliberg Reka Holiday Village (Reka-Feriendorf Hasliberg). It is situated at about 1100m in Wasserwendi – one of the 4 villages of the Hasliberg municipality on a south-west facing terrace above the valley of the river Aare. Hasliberg can be reached by car or PostBus from Brünig pass or by train from Brünig-Hasliberg station.
Hasliberg Reka Holiday Village is a great destination for families with small kids. Rooms are spacious and equipped with things like additional table for kids, cot (toddler bed), set of board games, books etc. There was also fully equipped kitchen which can significantly reduce the overall travel expenses. The Grocery store (Dorfladen Wasserwendi) with many delicious local products is located only 200m from holiday houses. One thing you have to try are local yogurt and ice creams !



There was heavy snowfall during the second night and we woke up in Winter-Wonderland. Everything was covered with the white powder and the views from our terrace were spectacular. It continued to snow during the day and by the time we came back from skiing there was enough material to build an igloo. We used a plastic shopping basket for that purpose which we found in our room. It is a perfect tool for producing snow blocks which we than placed in a circular rings creating walls of the igloo. The next day our igloo became a highlight and a small tourist attraction. People were taking photos, kids were having lots of fun, even the management of the Hasliberg Village were impressed and placed some photos on their Facebook Page.



There were several activities/events organized by Reka Holiday Village. These were mainly for kids but for adults as well. One not to be missed was the Apéro followed by the Thai Evening. First delicious mulled wine (Glühwein) was served outside at the fireplace and then we took part in the Thai Evening where the guest could choose from variety of Thai dishes prepared on the spot by a Thai cook. Separate kids menus were also available since not all kids would enjoy the spicy Thai kitchen… There was an extra charge for the Thai Evening but it was really worth taking part in this event.



The nearest ski resort is the Ski Resort Meiringen-Hasliberg. During the winter season there are small buses/vans called Häsli-Taxi which stops directly in front of Reka Holiday Village and go to Bidmi. Our car stayed the whole week in the underground car park. We just put our skiing shoes on , took our gear and drove with Häsli-Taxi to Bidmi where we had our “base camp”. Bidmi is the place where all skiing courses start and all the main facilities are located. Another option to get to the slopes would be to walk/drive down to Twing and get the cable car to Käserstatt.
There are about 60km slopes within this ski resort. The highest points are Glogghüs 2433m and Alpen Tower 2250m. When I visited Alpentower/Planplatten in 2016 there was an unforgettable sea of clouds around the Panorama Restaurant Alpen Tower.



There are 25km winter hiking trails within this ski resort. They are marked with pink signposts and post along the route. One of the trails starts in Hasliberg Wasserwendi just beside the Holiday Village. Our preferred trail is the circular trail starting and ending at Bidmi.

Following marked winter hiking trails are available:

Circular Trail: Bidmi-Mägisalp-Käserstatt-Balisalp-Bidmi Duration: ca.5h Starting point: Bidmi
Panorama Hiking Trail: Brünig-Hohfluh-Wasserwendi-Reuti Duration: ca.3h Starting point: Brünig
Käserstatt-Mägisalp (Murmeliweg) Duration: ca.1h Starting point: top station of Twing – Käserstatt lift
Käserstatt-Balisalp-Lischen Duration: ca.1h Starting point: Käserstatt mountain restaurant
Lischen-Wasserwendi Duration: ca.45min Starting point: Lischen mid-station
Lischen-Bidmi Duration: ca.45min Starting point: Lischen mid-station
Bidmi-Mägisalp Duration: ca.1h 20min Starting point: Bidmi
Bidmi-Reuti Duration: ca.1h 40min Starting point: Bidmi
Bidmi-Twing Duration: ca.45min Starting point: Bidmi

All trail can be done the other way around or combined but the duration should be adjusted accordingly.
Interactive map: Interactive Map Hasliberg-Meiringen
More information: Winter Hiking Hasliberg




www.reka.ch – Hasliberg Reka Holiday Village
www.myswitzerland.com – Hasliberg Reka Holiday Village
www.meiringen-hasliberg.ch – Ski Resort official website
www.bergfex.com – Ski Information Meiringen – Hasliberg
www.snow-online.com – Ski Information Meiringen – Hasliberg
www.meiringen-hasliberg.ch – Brochure Winter Hiking Hasliberg
www.haslital.ch – Information about the Haslital region
www.haesli-taxi.ch – Transport from Hasliberg to Bidmi
www.myswitzerland.com – Information about Alpen Tower Planplatten

The Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Hip Hip Hooray ! Meczek Travel Blog received the Liebster Award !

What is the Liebster Award ? The Liebster Award is an international award by bloggers for bloggers. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued. It is about reaching out to other bloggers, creating an opportunity to be more involved in the community, discover new blogs and connect with them.

Meczek Travel Blog got nominated by Chris (www.wildkiwi.org).
Thank you for your nomination !
Chris is an adventure traveler who visited over 50 countries on 6 continents. He has gone from the icebergs of Antarctica to the sand dunes of the Sahara and crazy streets of Asia. He took part in 30 day expedition that crosses the Southern Ocean and spent 9 days in the Ross Sea with landings on the Antarctic continent. Check out his great blog for more !


Here are the 11 questions Chris had for me:

1. Describe what made you start travelling ?

This is really hard to tell… It must be in my blood. As a kid I spent a lot of time outdoor chasing hares and pheasants on the fields nearby my house or went fishing with my dad. When I grew up, I was constantly looking for new places, new experiences. I rarely come back to the same place twice. There is so much to see on this beautiful planet ! The quote by Saint Augustine gets to the point quite accurately. I would like to read as many pages as possible. I don’t want to collect “things” in my life, I just want to go outside and collect memories.

Why I travel - Meczek Travel Blog

2. Describe the emotions that you feel in the first day of a new trip.

Relief and excitement !
Relief: Because finally after weeks or sometimes months of planning the moment has arrived when I close the door and hit the road. No more daydreaming and sleepless nights with visions of the unknown, no more staring at the computer screen. Now it is time for the REAL adventure.
Excitement: This is obvious ! New places waiting to be explored !

3. Show us the best photo you have ever taken on your travels.

I don’t really have my absolute #1 photo but I took a lot of great photos during my Solo Hike In The Lepontine Alps in 2016. The one I am showing here is taken from Cristallina Hut located at an altitude 2575m. I was the only human being in the hut and the sunset was fantastic!

Meczek Capanna Cristallina

4. What is the most interesting/scary/exciting experience you have ever had?

The most interesting: Marrakesh! When I visited Marrakesh for the first time I was so stunned by its beauty, colors, variety and culture that I had to go back again. Which I of course did! It is a crazy city. Jemaa el-Fnaa square and medina quarter is like a time travel journey.

The most scary: It was during our Family Canoe Trip in Finland. While paddling to Linnansaari National Park from Oravi the waves have suddenly become almost 1 meter high and we were really struggling to prevent the canoe from capsizing. It wouldn’t be so bad if we were alone but we had our 2 boys age 5 and 9 on board and we were far from the shore. Fortunately with the help of invisible forces and our muscles we managed to get safely to the dry land…

The most exciting: This would be again Solo Hike In The Lepontine Alps. It is the most exciting trip I have done so far. During 4 days I have seen only about 10 human beings, I slept alone in mountain huts (being the only person in a mountain hut at 2500m altitude is an incredible experience !), I hiked up in darkness under a sky full of stars accompanied by wild animals hidden in the forest with their green eyes reflecting the light of my headlamp. The whole trip was a REAL adventure !
Meczek 3 experiences

5. What do you regret the most about travelling?

I regret that the majority of people who we see and meet during our travels cannot afford to go on vacations themself.
There is also one thing which making me upset. The travel industry should promote more the sustainable travel / eco travel and not luxury / posh travel style.

6. What’s the one thing you always have to do when travelling?

People: blend with the locals, chat with them, get to know them and their culture.
Food: Try local specialities in traditional restaurants owned by the locals. I never go chain restaurants where the same food is served regardless on which continents you are !
Activities: Snorkeling and hiking

7. Who is the most interesting person you have met on the road?

There hasn’t been anybody whom I would put as #1. I have met many interesting people. They were different nationalities, race and culture. I am glad that our paths have crossed and these encounters changed my life in one way or another.

8. Why did you start your travel blog?

I started my blog in order to keep track of my travels. My memory is not perfect (and it will probably not improve !) so I decided to keep a record of all the places I have visited with some useful links at the bottom of each post. Every time somebody ask me a question like: “Where did you stay in Rome ?” I would just tell him to have a look in my blog …

9. Who is your favorite blogger?

There are many inspiring blogs out there. I am following many bloggers and adventurers. Mainly these who write about outdoor adventures, hiking, paddling and camping in the wild.

10. What is your favorite travelling quote and tell us why??

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
Why ? Because it explain in a very simple way why we should not waste our life sitting in front of the TV screen !

11. What would you say to someone who is hesitant about starting travelling?

I would scare them with a short vision of their future: One day you will be old and cancer or some other sophisticated, incurable bacteria will be eating you from inside. Assuming that your mind will still be functioning well, you will have plenty of time to think and re-visit your whole life which comes to an end. There will be many things you will regret, but one thing you will regret for sure: Not traveling enough. So make it happen NOW ! Tomorrow will be too late.
Sardegna people

Now lets nominate some more travel bloggers for the Liebster Award.
My Nominations are:

mit-sack-und-packraft.de – Family adventure blog. Juliane and her family undertake incredible paddling and hiking trips with their kids. I am following their blog for a while and it was an inspiration for some of my travels with kids.

pamthevan.com – The Girl. The Dog. The Van. Marina converted an old, smelly van into a comfy moving home and hit the road to explore the world.
Sardegna people

backpackadventures.org – Ellis is female solo backpacker. She took part in many volunteering projects in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Now she is travelling the world and supports local communities on her way. With her blog she hopes to inspire people to get over their fears, grab a backpack and go abroad no matter of their age or gender.

footloosetomcat.wordpress.com – Migz has always had itchy feet and has always loved to write. The most logical thing to do next was to start a travel blog.

irene-travelogue.com – Irene’s Travel Blog is one of the leading travel website in Singapore and has won multiple accolades through the years. The writer has a keen interest in sharing her travel experiences about the countries and cities that she travels to.

georgilovesworld.wordpress.com – Georgi after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro on her 18th birthday caught the travel bug and since then her goal is “to explore the best that this BEAUTIFUL planet has to offer us, ideally without bankrupting myself.”

travellingtip.com – Andreea is ex-flight attendant sharing her travelling experiences. She has visited 90 cities in 65 countries so far. For each visited country she provides 10 easy travel tips.

ellawho.com – Travel blog by Ella. Her favorite phrase comes from Kung-Fu Panda: “Yesterday is HISTORY, tomorrow is a MYSTERY, but today is a GIFT. That is why it is called PRESENT.”

kashifchicophotography.wordpress.com – Kashif is an amateur wildlife photographer from Zimbabwe. Every Pixel..A story!

And here are my 11 questions to the nominees!

1. What made you become a travel blogger ?
2. Which of your trips/travels would you repeat again without hesitation and which would you never do again ?
3. Sometimes during our travels we land in a secluded place where we feel very close to the mother earth. What was your best moment with mother earth ?
4. What destinations have most exceeded/failed your expectations ?
5. What is the best snorkeling spot you have been so far ?
6. Most exciting animal encounter during your travel ?
7. Have you ever been in real troubles or danger during your travels ?
8. Try to associate these 3 expressions with some of your travels/adventures: kindness, silence, happy people
9. Which travel books or movies would you buy someone to inspire him to travel ?
10. Name 3 destinations from your bucket list and explain why do you want to visit them.
11. What’s your next travel destination ? Why did you choose this particular one ?


If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including/displaying it in your post. The best way to do this is to save the image to your PC and then upload it to your blog post. There is plenty of Liebster Award pictures on the internet.
3. Answer the 10 questions about yourself that your nominating blogger chooses for you.
4. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award. These must be rather new bloggers. The definition of “new bloggers” is not really clear. I would suggest to nominate these with less than 3000 followers. I also strongly recommend to contact all bloggers which you have nominated and ask then if they accept the award. Be aware that not all bloggers want to play this game and some may refuse your nomination.
5. Create a list of questions for your nominated bloggers to answer.
6. Explain rules of The Liebster Award in your post.
7. Once you have written and published your post inform the people/blogs that you nominated that your post is finished so they can continue the chain and nominate next bloggers.
8. Very important ! Enjoy winning an award and pass this great feeling to your nominees!


Romuald Koperski – Solo Rowing Journey Across the Atlantic in 77 days

Polish adventurer Romuald Koperski completed his solo rowing journey across the Atlantic Ocean. After setting off from Las Galletas (Canary Islands, Spain) on 31st October in his one-man rowing boat Pianista (Pianist) he arrived on 16th January at Scarborough harbour in Tobago, an autonomous island within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
This route followed the historical trail of medieval sailing ships that were travelling from Europe to America in the past.
According to The Ocean Rowing Society he became 121st person ever to complete a solo rowing journey across the Atlantic from East to West. He is also the first Polish adventurer to row any ocean and the second Polish to complete a solo trip across any ocean. First Polish adventurer who completed solo journey across the Atlantic Ocean was kayaker Aleksander Doba who did it twice (2010 and 2013) and was named in 2014 Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. READ MORE !

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 !