Girona

Our practice trip to Girona, Spain June 2017

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hua Hin

Just like Craig’s colleague described in China!(but then on a multi lane highway..).The tree marks a hazard on the road. 

The highlight was definitely visiting with my childhood friends Bimba and Timppa!! They were the main reason we came here, and am so glad they wrote us about their trip, just in time for us to combine our Laos flights with a visit to Hua Hin.
It had been a few years since we saw each other last, probably in Ashford - we can’t quite remember... as I don’t know when I was in Finland last.

Link to mostly Hua Hin

Videos from Laos & Thailand



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Muang Ngoi, a cultural experience, and leeches..



A cultural experience, more than an active one due to rain.

What we learned about
the WEATHER: it can rain when it is not supposed to, indoors and outside. It can be very cold in tropical Laos, in the jungle (which Craig said is a derogatory term), also at lower altitudes, that rain here causes muddy conditions, that mud can clump under your boots just like wet snow can. And that we lucked out twice, when the forecast rain held off despite dark clouds. But we were old and smart enough to change our 3-day trekking plan into the mountains, and instead did 2 one-day outings in the valleys with a guide, and came back to Luang Prabang a day early. That wet conditions bring out leeches, and that Craig was happy not to have seen the one he went to sleep with. It left a bloody mark on his arm, and on the sheet, but was gone in the morning.

Link to Muang Ngoi, Laos


Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year's and Luang Prabang, Laos



We spent New Year's Eve as usual, which means we were in bed way before one is supposed to enjoy a toast. We missed being with our friends in NH, or VT, but had a nice chat, over a glass of wine, with Sprite, a young Thai man who works at Eagle House. Wine is not part of Thai culture.
The highlight was to unexpectedly get to see hundreds of lit up paper lanterns when they flew over Eagle House, potentially launched by Chinese people. Muffy told us later, that the Thai use these types of lanterns for another big holiday in April, instead.
Craig happened upon one man launching one, and took the close up picture.

We took a cooking class at Eagle House, and anyone reading this, is welcome to invite themselves for dinner! Muffy tells us we can find fresh Kafir lime leaves in Boston, we bought some Chiang Mai curry powder, and the cook book we got, includes a recipe for making more. So we will definitely practice when back home, as our dishes were delicious!

Link to New Year’s and Luang Prabang

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

NE rural Thailand

How one dresses to enter a temple...

My New Year's resolution, our current Government being the exception


Am finishing this post on the bus back to Chiang Mai after our ~12- day-excursion north and east of there. The countryside is lush and green, and the forest looks like a rainforest. Tree covered rolling hills, and mountains.  No way I would want to be here in another few weeks when apparently the farmers burn brush everywhere - we have smelled this several times, and am afraid of the fumes, as I also saw someone burn garbage.
Have climbed 8-12%  grades a few times per road signs, but also steeper grades per Craig. The small towns now look somewhat familiar, with lots of temples, the school buildings prominently marked, often with the name also in English; homes of varying sizes, mostly with wide, open doors; lots of villages and small farms outside the towns; lots of chickens and dogs everywhere, but only one dog bothered us; everyone has been very friendly, but communication has been a challenge; we are eagerly looking forward to the food in Chiang Mai, and will probably not want to see another 7-11, or (chocolate) wafers for a long time. Have not dared eat the interesting looking dried fruit we see manually packaged locally...But had delicious packaged baked banana strips yesterday - similar to what we had on Maui.
Only today found out dengue fever is not present in Pua, so am happy as I got bitten yesterday. We have been super careful to avoid mosquitoes both due to this fear, and fear of malaria. But have not needed the Mosinet I again brought along. Craig did see a Government poster with warnings of mosquitoes.

Link to rural NE Thailand

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Chiang Mai 2 and more rural areas




Am starting this post at the bus station in Chiang Mai. Another 'learning experience' this morning, when we proudly hailed a Song Thaew ( Craig did!), who took us here despite us rolling the bikes, and carrying the backpacks.  Then we found out the first several morning buses were sold out. We have tickets for the next one, and are following the advice given at a Thai bicycling web site, and can only hope we can charm, (and maybe bribe?), the driver's assistant, to accept our bikes in the luggage area. We will still have to find another local bus once we arrive in Chiang Rai, to take us closer to tonight's stay in Thoeng. Am determined not to take the guest house host up on his/her offer of picking us up in Chiang Rai, because we were given a rip off price quote for this service, when I had asked about info on the local buses.

Link to Chiang Mai 2+

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Chiang Mai 1






I am sorry, but believe the pictures in the link might be even more out of order than in the past. Have not had a chance to try to figure this out.

Chiang Mai is definitely more manageable than Bangkok, but we haven't biked yet after a week here. Instead, we have taken advantage of our friend Muffy's kindness, and she has been our tour guide. She knows people everywhere here, and it's great to get first hand info, and to benefit from her knowledge of wonderful restaurants & cafes, laundry options, local transport systems etc.
The city is big, busy, and dusty enough, that we probably won't try to ride from the guest house, despite my initial plans. LOTS of traffic, of every type, and everyone regularly weaves in, out, and around each other.

Link to Chiang Mai 1

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bangkok



We have spent 1 full day, and 2 half days in central Bangkok. The city is huge, some 8.3 million people. We have walked in some poor areas, very close to tourist sights, and these areas remind me of Kathmandu 20+ years ago, more than any other place I have been. But no roaming animals, except dogs, cats, and pigeons, which look identical to ours at home.

Link to Bangkok

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tasmania 3



After 6 or 7 days with 10/10 weather, it finally rained. The fields look like they need it, and we were happy to hang out at the house, run errands, walk around Hobart some more (and literally smell the roses!), and to visit especially MONA.

The Museum of Old and New Art is relatively new, and was highly recommended by Heather's friends in Brisbane. Craig read tourism has increased in Hobart since it opened. We very much enjoyed it. The grounds, and the building itself are interesting; I loved the beautiful sandstone walls inside one part of the museum, much of the art was a bit too far out there for us, but there were many interesting pieces to look at, and definitely worth a visit. It was founded by a wealthy & quirky man, but did not seem as dark as some of the descriptions we saw, and there certainly is a lot to look at.
We again lucked out weather-wise on our last full day in Hobart. We drove to the Tasman peninsula, south east of Hobart, in drizzle, but this stopped. We did a very nice walk out to Cape Hauy, and back. We only did 4.4km x 2, but can see the attraction of a 4-day event our friend Tim participated in a few weeks ago in this same area, called The 3 Capes Walk. They hiked 46km I believe. The Park Service limits hiking in certain areas here, at least partly due to fear of further spread of some fungus which is damaging the plants.
The trail we were on, is easy to follow, and super well maintained. Lots of steps, made with rocks; board walks, and sand laid down in other places. Saw quite a few people out hiking on a Tuesday - mostly retirement age, but several in their 20s, and 30s; no little kids.
Crunchy, our charge at the house, was a very personable, and also spoilt cat. He made it clear he did not like us to be distracted by e.g. reading while petting him. He loved hanging out on Craig's chest, when Craig was stretched out on the couch, and also accepted me - potentially on the days I had fed him... He and Purrcy get the prize for the most fun cats I have met!

Link to Tasmania 3

Link to Craig's Echidna video

Link to sculptures in Deloraine