21-28 August Mickey and I visited the Greek island Limnos (Lemnos). The island is the 8th biggest in Greece, located in the center of the Northern Aegean sea.
We travelled with Apollo and stayed at Porto Myrina, Powered by Playitas. The hotel had a lot of different sport activities included in the price. At some activities you could just up show at the set time, others you should sign up for. We tried Yoga, Padel, Scuba diving, kajak, SUP and did a lot of laps in the pool.
Tuesday we did a 12 km hike to the “Antenna hill”. Beautiful 360 degree view over the landscape from the top:
Wednesday we experience “extreme weather conditions” where there came a SMS warning!
Spent the day playing backgammon and visit the fitness center:
Thursday we hiked up and around the Castle of Myrina, that could be considered as one of the most resistant and best fortresses in Greece:
Friday we rented a car (“jeep”) and drove around the island to see some of the sights – A dessert. Sand dunes (and a tank) at Gomati beach.
Extraordinary lava formations at Falacro and drove on some dirt roads – great fun! and might be the best sight of the day. A salt lake at Aliki, that was not white but muddy due to the rain storm.
Had lunch at the surf beach Keros. Should see some windmills at Kontias but probably also due to the storm, the path up to the windmills was closed. Many of the roads was very narrow, especially through the villages:
Saturday we did a 14 km hike to “The Church without roof” (Church of Panagia Kakaviotissa). This Greek Orthodox Church was built by refugee monks who fled to the mountain as early as around 1,416 AD and is one of its kind in the world.
The track towards the church we choose an alternative route that Google maps marked as a path. In reality there was not much of a path, only the ones the sheep and goats had made. We used Google maps as a compass to help us keep on the right track. An exciting adventure.
Hiking back from the church, it was more or less roads and “the beaten track” all the way back to the hotel.
Myrina is the capital and main port of Lemnos and counts on 4500 inhabitants. The settlement stretches around two beautiful bays and between stands the imposing Venetian castle surrounded by massive formations of volcanic rock.
Visitors are charmed by the old neoclassical mansions, Ottoman buildings and fountains, traditional houses, narrow streets and modern constructions that compose the setting of Myrina. Along the waterfront lie plenty of restaurants and traditional taverns.
22-26 January 13 present and former colleagues from NNE spent at Saalbach-Hinterglem, Austria, for some days of skiing. The trip was planned for taking place last year but cancelled due to a virus. We were all looking forward to the trip but there was some uncertainty and anxiety up to the days before departure. The Danes needed a negative PCR-test (max 42 hours old). It was enough with a third booster shoot for the Swede but needed proof, train ticket, that I just arrived from Malmö the same day.
We travelled with Northlander and stayed at Skinetworks Hotel Pinzgauerhof in Hinterglem. Perfectly located close to the lift Reiterkogelbahn, ski rent Heil’s and after ski Goaßstall.
Friday and Saturday before arrival it was snowing. Sunday it was a little bit cloudy, Monday-Wednesday it was Kaiserwetter!!
14-21 of October, Mickey and I visited the small beach resort Agia Marina, Crete, not far from Chania. We travelled with TUI and stayed at Atlantica Caldera Village, room no. 212 with a great view from the balcony, overlooking the village, sea and the island Agioi Theodoroi, a nature reserve inhabited by the Kri-Kri goat.
Here follow some stories and pictures of what we did during our stay, enjoy.
Beach walk Agia Marina – Palatinas, 8 km.
Hill walk Agia Marina – Cave Nerospilia, 8 km. (the cave was closed)
Beach walk Agia Marina – Chania, 11 km.
Chania is the capital of the Chania regional unit. It lies along the north west coast and consists of the city itself and several nearby villages.
On the way we had a break at Iguana Beach and passed Abandoned Graffiti House,
In Chania we walked along the Venetian Port, where we had lunch. We took the bus back to Agia Marina.
Bus day to Elafonisi:
Monday we went on a bus trip to the beach Elafonisi. The trip went via the gorge Topolia and a stop at Cave Agia Sofia (Wisdom of God) before we reached Elefonisi.
Here we spent a couple of hours walking around, swimming and relax on the beach. Elafonisi is an island when the tide is high and famous for it’s pink “sand”, that actually is seashells. Since many tourists have taken the sand with them home, there isn’t much left. The authorities have strengthen the rules and set high penalty for removing the sand.
Many thanks to our guide Joanna, who told many good stories about the culture of Crete and the scenery we passed through.
Beach walk at Elafonisi, 2 km.
Wednesday we rented a VW Up from a local travel agency, Beyond Travel, on the main street in Agia Marina.
The journey: Agia Mariana – Gorge of Imbros – Hora Sfakion – Frangokastello – Giorgioupoli – Kourna Lake – Agia Marina.
The gorge of Imbros is the second most popular gorge, after Samaria. for walkers on Crete. The gorge of Imbros was the main route through which Allied Forces evacuated Crete in late May 1941 after losing the Battle of Crete. Close to 20.000 troops (mainly New Zealanders, Australians and Brits) headed from the North of the island through the gorge of Imbros to Komitades and Hora Sfakion where they were due to be picked up by ships and taken to Egypt. About 13.000 made it onto ships. The rest were made prisoners by the Germans or escaped to the hills. There is a monument in Hora Sfakion commemorating these events.
Hora Sfakion is a small village with a main harbour front of tavernas, two minimarkets, a butcher, and a bakery. There is a quiet local beach immediately west of the village, and several pebbly beaches nearby. Hóra Sfakíon has a variety of tourist accommodations: rooms, studios, and apartments. The local economy is based on tourism, fishing, olive-oil production, and sheep and goat herding.
28 May – 1 June, 1941, British and Australian forces was evacuated from this bay after passing the the gorge of Imbros.
Frangokastello is a castle and scattered settlement on the south coast of Crete. The castle was built by the Venetians in 1371–1374 as a garrison to impose order on the rebellious Sfakia region, to deter pirates, and to protect Venetian nobles and their properties.
Returning to the north coast, Mickey found an alternative way on Google Maps. A small winding road with around 25 hairpin turns. I admit I was little nervous driving up this road. Very steep, narrow, no crash barrier, parts of the road broken and fallen off on one side, stones and rocks fallen on to the road on the other. Glad we didn’t meet any cars…
Due to the narrow road and suffering from a little bit anxiety, I “forgot” to take photos of the beautiful scenery. Found this picture on Google Maps.
Credit: Wolfgang Johannes
Formerly a small fishing village, Georgioupolis is more of tourist town now. The town square is surrounded by outdoor seating. The 9 km beach is the main attraction of the area with the church of Agios Nikolaos on the islet with the same name. Here you also find a small harbor at Turtle River, where you can rent different kind of boats to go up the river or out on the sea.
Nearby Kourna Lake is a popular excursion.
Kourna Lake is the only natural freshwater lake on Crete. It covers an area of 579 acres and maximum depth reaches 22 meters. The lake is a protected area as an important wetland with many species like moorhens, ducks, eels, snakes and a rare two-color turtle and occasionally herons.
A day spent at Gorgona Beach Club with sun, backgammon and bodysurfing in the quite big waves. Thanks to Director Alex and staff, for friendly and good service (and for use of your backgammon).
Restaurants Agia Marina:
These are the restaurants we tried. Dessert and raki served was the custom when paying the bill. “Raki is like Ouzo, but worse” – statement from a waitress.
Botonis – Grilled pork chops. The wood fired “globe grill” was standing in the restaurant
Neraida – Mixed grill, more than enough for two (got doggie bag for lunch next day)
Nostos – Ingo: Moussaka, Mickey: chicken gyros
Olivi – Both had very nice beef steaks with great “potato salad” (potato mixed with garlic, lemon and parsley)
Flight CPH – Madrid with a friend of Norwegian. Limited service on board. Good we bought a Joe and the Juice spicy tuna sandwich to go as “on-flight-meal”.
Metro #10 from airport, change to #8 to Tribunal.
Checked in at Rentalis Gran Via Fuencarral, an Airbnb flat (didn’t know booking.com have airbnb). Small, nice and clean with fantastic location. It was a challenge finding the entrance since the notification from Booking.com didn’t have a street number. Called the host, José, that guided and greeted us. José liked Madrid very much and he wanted the guests to do the same :-). He explained and marked all the sights in Madrid on a map.
It was raining so limited walkabout. Dinner at the local Delisko.
Monday – walkabout theme “Getting High”, 16 km
Sunny and chilly. 4-8 degrees in the early morning! Mickey comment, “like being at a ski resort – clear blue sky, sun and cold”.
The host José marked some viewpoints on the map.
Started with Mimosa (Cava + orange juice) brunch at Brunch club – great brunch salad, Mickey Slamon wrap
First viewpoint – El Cortes Ingles – view to Schweppes building
Second viewpoint Endifico Espana – 360 Rooftop bar where Stephani served us rosado, birthday version :-).
Passing Templo de Debod on the way to third viewpoint, Teleferico de Madrid
Walked through Parque del Teleferico and passing Lago Casa de Campo on the way to Palacio Real and Catedral de la Almudena for viewpoint #four. Arrived too late, It closed at 14:30.
Dinner at restaurant La Cabana Argentina Mickey’s birthday gift to me 🙂
Mickey invited to cocktail bar – 1862 Dry Bar
28 August 2016 I had the pleasure of hiking The Caminito del Rey together with Mar, Andreea, Renny and Peter.
Caminito del Rey is located approx. one hour drive from Malaga.
After the drive from Benalamadena, we had a very nice lunch at El Mirador. The restaurant has a fantastic view over the lake. Bring swimming clothes for a dip in the lake, before or/and after the walk.
The total length of El Caminito del Rey is 7.7 km. It’s divided into a 4.8 km long access way and a 2.9 km long walkway that you need a ticket to visit.
The walkway of Caminito del Rey, called El Hoyo, is of spectacular natural beauty, breathtaking and fantastic. The path is more than just a walk in the hills. Parts of the walkway is a hanging footbridge that rises over 100 metres above the river below with steep walls, that can make you feel dizzy. The path is “hazardous” because of the heights and its narrow parts. It was rebuilt so it could be used for active tourism in the natural surroundings. It requires certain level of physical effort and skilfulness. You are not risking your life at all, but be aware of the strong impressions this place might have on you. That’s why this path is so spectacular.
It’s a good idea to book in advance to access the walkway. They let in 50 persons every ½ hour.
Note!The Caminito del Rey is linear, not circular. You need to make sure to come back to the start on your own. There are coaches between the northern access (Ardales) and the southern one (El Chorro), which go in both directions.
The walkway was originally built to provide workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls with a means to cross between them, to provide for transport of materials, and to facilitate inspection and maintenance of the channel.
The construction began in 1901 and was finished in 1905. The original path was constructed of concrete and rested on steel rails supported by stanchions built at around 45 degrees into the rock face. An extra benefit with the path was that it created great joy for the locals that experienced easier access between the neighboring villages.
According to a local guide (that also was in the construction team for the new version) told us that approx. 200 persons died during the construction of the original walkway (the number of casualties was zero, building the new one).
King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and it became known by its present name – “The Kings Pathway“.
The old walkway deteriorated over the years and there were numerous sections where parts or all of the concrete top had collapsed. The result was large gaps bridged only by narrow steel beams or other supports. Few of the original handrails existed although a safety wire ran along the path. Several people lost their lives on the walkway and after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances. Even so, in the 4 years to 2013, four people died attempting to climb the gorge. It was known as the “The most dangerous walkway in the world”.
In March 2014, the cornerstone of the rehabilitation project was laid by specialized alpinists. The new walkway reopened on 29 March 2015.
A windy and cold Sunday in Januar, my colleague Carl visited Malmö together with his wife. I used the earlier post with sightseeing in Malmö as “template”. This is an updated version with Sibbarp Beach (9), Ribban Kallbadhus (12) and Malmö Central Station (16). You are welcome to use it for inspiration when visiting Malmö.
Point Hyllie– a new developed site close to Malmö City and Kastrup Airport. It consists of four main buildings comprising approximately 45,000 square metres. They are allocated for housing, offices and shops. The tallest building is about 95 metres high.
Malmö Arena– the latest addition to northern Europe’s growing number of modern multi-purpose concert and event venues. Malmö Arena is a premier venue in the Öresund Region for world-class sporting events, concerts, family shows, full-scale conferences and smaller meetings, wining and dining or a quick snack. It can seat a maximum of 15.000 guests. It measure 22.5 m. up to the inner ceiling.
Hyllie water tower is white and has the form as mushroom (at the moment getting some make up due to the Euro vision song contest and coz its need it). The light on the tower changes on different occasions. At Christmas it’s red and when there isn’t a special event the light is blue. It’s 62 m tall and contains 10 200 cubic meter water. It was ready 1973. Architect was Kjessler & Mannerstråle through Karl Ivar Stål. A water park is being built close to the tower.
Emporia is one of the biggest shopping center in Scandinavia with a total size of 93 000 m2 for shopping, food, culture and pleasure in approx. 200 shops, restaurants and cafés on 3 stories and a unique roof park. The two main entrances are spectacular, one is amber theme that symbolized in the logo type. The other is water theme.
The Glass House– “House of brands for good living”. A shop with exclusive scandinavian interior design.
Ikea has built a 44 000 square meter store at Svågertorp. It’s the second largest in the world and was inaugurated 20 October 2009.
Limhamns Kalkbrott is approximately 1.300 meters long, 800 meters wide and 65 meters deep. The walk around the quarry is 4 km.
The mining of the began in 1866 and lasted until 1994. The last explosion was in the late 1980’s. The explosives have shaped the quarry, so it consists of plateaus, called pallets, about 20 meters high and vertical walls. At every blasting, a ton of dynamite was used. There was a loud bang as many locals felt.
The lime in Limhamns quarry has been formed in a warm sea of between 65-55 million years ago (during the early Tertiary). It consists mainly of deposits from microscopic cuisine liters (algae), bryozoans (moss animals) and corals. In some limestone layers there are plenty of shark teeth. A remnant from a relative of the great white shark, which for millions of years swimming around here along with other now extinct species. Fossils of two crocodiles have also been found in the quarry.
There are over 1.400 different animals and plants in the limestone quarry. Several species are rare or special in some way. Most notable is the presence of the endangered green spotted toad and “Kalkkrassingen”.
Öresund bridge was inaugurated on 1 July 2000. The link between Denmark and Sweden is 15.4 km long and consists of the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge for both rail and motor vehicle traffic, at nearly 8 km. The main span is suspended from four pylons that measure 204 m above the sea level. The best viewing point over the Öresund Bridge is from Lernacken at the Luftkastellet restaurant.
The Øresund Bridge offers a 4-lane road carrying more than 60,000 travelers daily, 6 million vehicles per year, and two train tracks (another 8 million people each year) e carries . Building the Øresund bridge included construction of a bridge, a tunnel 4 km and a new island where travelers go from tunnel-level (on the Danish side) to the level of the bridge.
Sibbarp beach is popular diverse recreational area with beach, camping with snack bar, mini golf, barbecue stones, open-air swimming bath with sauna. There are also large grassed areas with several jetties from which you can jump in the sea. Not far from Sibbarp’s beach is a small skatepark. From here you have a brilliant view of the Öresund Bridge.
Ön (The Island) is situated in Limhamn-Bunkeflo in the southwestern municipality of Malmö. Today there is a land connection between the island and Limhamn, so technically the island is today a peninsula. It used to a harbour for the ferry connection with Dragør in Denmark.
While limestone mined for cement production in Limhamn’s Kalkbrott (Limestone quarry) the area was used for dumping of waste products, and thereby laid the foundation for an artificial island.
In the first half of the 1900’s, various industrial activities has been carried out here: Shipyard and aircraft production. Two of the office buildings and a factory building still stands today and house the school on the island, a convenience store and an aerobics (Friskis & Svettis).
The island is divided into a northern and a southern part by Övägen. The northern part of the island began to plot in the early 1990’s, with apartment buildings and construction is still in progress. The southern part was settled in the late 1990’s.
Ribbersborg Kallbadhus (“Open-air-bath”) also known as Ribban by the older and Kallis by the younger generation, is an open-air public bath on the Ribersborg beach . The bathhouse is open for a skinny dip all the year around and has separate areas for men and women and each area is equipped with two saunas. There is also one mixed sauna between the ladies and gentlemen’s area. There is a cafe and a restaurant. The bath was inaugurated in June 1898 with initiative by C.A. Richter, who bought the old bathhouse at Nyhamn port, which was being sold because of the port’s expansion. Four years later a storm damaged the new bath during Christmas and it was rebuilt. During the refurbishment a diving tower was added to the men’s department, with a view of the strait and the women’s department. During the 1930s it was modernised with nude bathing and confidentiality was added between the departments. In 1966, the City of Malmö purchased the baths. It was again damaged by a storm in 1988 and in 1995 it was declared a historic building.
Västra Hamnen (Western Harbour) is Malmö’s new city district attracts people with its exciting architecture, lovely beach promenades and green spaces and a fabulous view over Öresund. An award-winning ecological housing area finished in 2001 for the major European Housing Expo Bo01 is found here. The buildings were designed by several internationally renowned architects including Gert Wingårdh, Ralph Erskine and Mario Campi.
The neighbourhood is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Water is also a vital element of the environment, expressed in canals, ponds, small craft marinas and swimming beaches.
The Western Harbour was once an industrial area where Kockum’s world-famous shipyard operated, now replaced by Malmö University and companies in the IT and telecommunications industries. The dance company Skånes Dansteater is based in one of the vaulted halls, Båghallarna, and an exciting, specially designed concrete skateboarding arena, Stapelbäddsparken has been constructed around one of the old ship ramps.
Turning Torso. Architect Santiago Calatrava’s spectacular apartment building in the Western Harbour. At 190 metres, Turning Torso is the tallest building in Sweden. The building was inspired by a sculpture “Turning Torso” by Calatrava himself. Turning Torso consists of nine cubes with a total of 54 stories, with a 90° twist from base to top. The top two floors boast the exclusive meeting rooms of Turning Torso Meetings.
Stapelbäddsparken is one of Europe’s largest outdoor skate parks with a surface of 2.000 m2 and is located at Kockums shipyard’s old factory area in the Western Harbour. The old slipway was transformed in 2006 into a modern and important meeting place open to all skateboarding enthusiasts and everyone else too. Here takes the prestigious international skateboarding competitions like The Quicksilver Bowlriders place periodically.
The park is open 24/7, 365 days a year and it costs nothing to visit or use it. All activity in and around the skate park is operated by Bryggeriet which is also responsible for the cafe in the park.
Malmö Central Station opened in 1876. It serves approximately 17 million passengers per year, making it the third busiest in Sweden behind Stockholm Central Station and Gothenburg Central Station. The opening of the City Tunnel in December 2010 made it possible for passenger trains to travel through the station, which had previously been a terminus, and most traffic shifted to the new lower level. All passenger traffic to Denmark now uses the tunnel, and most local trains continue to the new Triangeln and Hyllie stations even if they are not going beyond Malmö.
Malmö St. Petri Church was founded in the early 1300’s. When the church first mentioned in writing in 1346, it had already been consecrated for worship-service. Tradition says that the high altar was consecrated 1319. The church is dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul.
Stortorget (Big square) The equestrian statue of King Karl X Gustav, who took Skåne from the Danes through the Roskilde Treaty of 1658, stands in the midst of the largest square in Malmö. Stortorget was built in 1536 at the initiative of Jörgen Kock, Malmö’s powerful mayor and master of the mint. Stortorget became Malmö’s new marketplace and was the largest city square in Northern Europe for a very long time. The city well was located in Stortorget, with the site now marked by a bronze water sculpture. Jörgen Kock built a new and stately city hall as well as a home for himself, Kockska huset next to Stortorget.
Lilla torg (Little Square) Malmö’s most charming square and one of the most popular meeting places in the city was built in 1592 as a market square. There are several interesting buildings dating from the 16th century and later around Lilla Torg. Hedmanska Gården is an enclosed courtyard where the oldest half-timbered house dates from the 16th century and the youngest building, a warehouse, is from the late 19th century and is now home to Form/Design Centre, which mounts exhibitions related to design and architecture. Outdoor concerts are held at Hedmanska Gården in July. From March to October Lilla Torg is filled with outdoor restaurants and cafés and the atmosphere is enchanting.
Kungsparken (Kings Park) was created 1869-1870 and is Malmö’s oldest park. It was built on land that was formerly part of Malmöhus Castle fortification and was designed by the Danish landscape architect Ove Høegh Hansen. When it opened 1872 the park was originally called Slotsparken (Castle Park).
The park has a romantic character with examples from the continent’s parks. Here you can enjoy leisure walks, beautiful artwork and exotic trees. The heart of the the park is a cast iron fountain built in 1882.
Stadsbiblioteket (Town Library) Sweden’s largest town library, has over 1 million different media, about 1,500 different journals, approximately 10,000 DVD and 33,500 music CDs and was Sweden’s first library to lend video games.
It’s one of the most intriguing buildings in Malmö situated in Slottsparken. The library consists of two buildings, one older and one newer, that are linked to each other. The new part, which is called the “Calendar of Light” was designed by the notable Danish architect Henning Larsen and opened in 1997. The older section of the library dates from 1899 and was designed by architects John Smedberg and Fredrik Sundbärg.
Slottsparken (Castle Park) This wonderful organic garden is situated just behind Malmöhus Castle adjacent to Kungsparken. Fresh-picked vegetables and flowers and exciting plants are available for purchase – and you may get a bit of wise advice from the head gardener. One of Malmö’s smallest and most charming cafés is also found here. The garden and the café are open year round. Concerts, film evenings and other events are held in the summer.
A “Dutch Mill” from 1851 – is situated next to Slottsträdgården. The area also features a well-preserved miller’s house and garden. This site is a popular place for outdoor concerts and other summertime events.
Malmöhus Castle was originally a minor citadel whose construction was ordered in 1434 by Erik of Pomerania, king of the Kalmar Union which brought Norway, Sweden and Denmark together under a single monarch.
In the 16th century King Christian III of Denmark and Norway rebuilt the citadel to create a modern defensive fortress, an imposing castle and the home of the Governors of Malmöhus County.
This is where Denmark´s money was coined in the Middle Ages, where Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark held wild parties in the 16th century and where prisoners were decapitated in the castle courtyard during the 19th century when the castle served as a prison. Today Malmöhus has been restored in the spirit of the 16th century and forms part of Malmö Museer. The castle is part of Sweden´s cultural heritage and is managed by the National Property Board.
The castle presents historical exhibitions. By Order of the King is an exhibition about the 17th-century wars over Skåne and how Skåne became Swedish in 1658. Power over People depicts the history of Malmöhus Castle over the past 300 years.
Easyjet from Kastrup to Gatwick. Hold luggage only, no check in. One hold luggage really means ONE, no camera or “man purse” on the side. I had booked the tickets with Ingo Johansson and that what it said on the boarding pass. It says Ingvar Johansson in the passport, not smart. It cost normally DKK 720 to change it but the assistant was very nice and changed free of charge, thanks a lot for that!
Took the regular train, Southern, from Gatwick to Victoria Station (when we finally found the right platform and train). Takes little longer than the Express but is half price. Buy a train ticket that include day pass on the tube. Approx £15/pers. Continued with the underground from Victoria to Oxford Circus and then it was only a few minutes walk to the flat at Dufours Place (had problems finding that too, tip: get a proper map from the start ;-).
Booked the flat via airbnb.com. It had two bedroom, two toilets, a large living room area incl. kitchen and a balcony. Prime location:
1 min. walk to Carnaby Street
2 min. walk to Oxford Street
5 min. walk to Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and China Town
10 min. walk to Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery
15 min. walk to Buckingham Palace
20 min. walk to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye
Easter week (23-30 march) we spent skiing in Cervinia, Italy, together with a colleague of mine, Bo, and his family and friends. Bo arranged accommodation and taxi from Milano airport to Cervinia. All we had to do was to buy flight tickets – thanks a lot Bo 🙂
The correct name is Breuil-Cervinia and has together with Valtournenche and Zermatt (Switzerland) over 350 km of slopes. The majestic “Toblerone” mountain Matterhorn (4.478 m), called Il Cervino in Italian, is the focal point from more or less where ever you are. An other focal point is the Plateau Rosa (3.480 m). From here you can start the 22 km slope down to Valtournenche (1.524 m). It should be the longest slope in the world but that include a very short ride in a chair lift.
On the map below it’s only the Italian side of the ski area, “Local” ski pass. We had plenty to do on this side and didn’t try the Swiss side (Zermatt). Get the skirama as PDF
1. The apartments had prime position next to the piste (see it on Google piste view) – really Ski out – Ski in. Fantastic view over the village and Matterhorn.
2. Across the piste was the After ski bar.
3. The first day, Sunday, was very foggy and the visability was at a minimum. First run Mickey turned left at #13 and I didn’t see him and the rest of us turned right at #7. Waited long time at the bottom but no Mickey – NERVOUS!! Guess he didn’t bring the phone since he didn’t answer… Went up again took #13. – no Mickey – VERY NERVOUS!! Went to the ticket office. They were VERY kind and helpful and tracked Mickey via the ski pass and he checked in at the Plateau Rosa ski lift…I waited… and waited. Mickey had apparently decided to go from the very top station all the way down. WAS I GLAD TO SEE HIM AGAIN !!
4. Cervinia have many very nice slopes. One morning after a night of snowing, #6 was fantastic for carving.
5. Last part of Thursday afternoon was spent on #22. Lots of snow and secluded – FANTASTIC!!
6. Last supper at Hotel Astoria (next to the ticket office and lift station). Our host Angelo served a delicious menu. If you are in the neighbour hood, try the lunch here as well.
The resort doesn’t have a “normal” beach. It has a couple of jetties sticking out over the coral reef and end at the reef wall. A stair leads down to a fantastic underwater world.
The “beach” area is built up in levels with beach beds and umbrellas. It’s a rustique, marine like style that I found suited the area well.High heels and other walking obsticales could be a challenge with many stairs, sand and cobble stone.
I was surprised that even since the hotel was from ’97 the reef was ok “healthy” with lots of colorful fish and coral. A life guard on each jetty was also efficient to whistle when people didn’t behave and went outside marked area etc.
The pool area was big with a “lazy river”, a 300 m long “river” that was “running” in a circle around the pool area.
We took the hotel shuttle bus to Naama Bay one afternoon and walked around the main street and board walk.Very loud and busy with the different bars competing who could play the worst music as loud as possible. The Egyptian sales men are VERY eager and like glue to you. Learned that you shouldn’t even say “no thank you” insted totally ignore them…Had dinner at restaurant Dannaneer, that was recommended by the guide. Nice and cheap steaks.
Tuesday was Jeep safari. Offroad through the dessert with an exciting driver that preffered the off offroad.First stop was a Bedouin graveyard where the guide, Rasmus, told some stories. For instance how marriage works: From when the daughter is 13 years old, the father puts a green flag on the door. Interested men visit the home. The daughter make and serve tea to the man. If the tea is sweet he is approved, if the tea is bitter and strong it’s a “no go”…
Second stop was Dahab where we should pick up snorkeling gear to the ones that didn’t had any.These houses the government built for the Bedouins some 4 years ago. Many of the Bedouins prefer to live their own life in tents and home made sheds like they always had. Half of the houses are empty and the area is not finished and looks like some sort of ghost town.
Third stop was a camel ride to the Blue Hole.One of the myths about camels is that the camel stores water in its hump. The truth is the hump is a fatty deposit that provides energy when food is scarce.The camel stores water in its blood stream. It’s capable of losing forty percent of its body’s weight before becoming distressed and is able to go five to seven days before having to drink. The amount it drinks can add up to 80 l. in about 10 minutes.The camel’s mouth is tough and rubbery so that thorns and branches won’t damage it. The thirty-four sharp teeth allow it to bite off tough bites of almost anything, and when forage is short a camel can subsist on meats, skin and bones. Camels have three stomachs. They don’t chew their food but eat by swallowing their food whole and allowing it to be partially digested by the stomachs before being chewed as a cud later.
The Blue Hole is a very special place. I thought it was out in the sea but no, it’s just a couple of meters off the beach. A coral reef formed as a circle with a 120 meter hole in the middle.In the middle there is a rope across where free divers train and try to get as deep as possible. Some succed some doesn’t. On the cliff wall there are signs with the names of the ones that didn’t come up again and is still lying on the bottom of the hole. It’s has the nickname “Diver’s Cemetery”.We passed the signs and walked around the cliff on the image. There we started the snorkel tour. Ended with circle the Blue Hole and on the right side there is a underwater plateau that was beautiful.
Last stop on this adventures day was The 3 Pools just out side Dahab. also here the reef was just of the beach. One of our favorites was the “tower corals”. Highrise coral reef sticking up from the bottom. Lots of activity and fantastic colors.
Thursday we went on a snorkel/diving boat trip with Colona Divers. Leaving early in the morning to Sharks Bay were we entered the boat that should take us out to 3 different reefs in the Tiran straight.This image is from Gordon reef where this russian ship collided with the reef some 11 years ago coz the captain had too much vodka.We also visited Jackson reef and Raz Gamilla. At the last one we had a drift snorkel tour that was a fantastic experience. We jumped from the boat at one end of the reef while the boat still was drifting. The current took us floating along the reef for an hour and all we had to do was to “steer” so we didn’t hit the reef. We saw Barracuda, free swimming Moray eel (apparently very unusual), giant Puffer fish and lots of other fish.