My experience climbing Everest (3/3): The Western Cwm, Camp 2 and the way back

[Comes from previous post] Around 9am, and after a minimal breakfast, the other climber, the remaining sherpa and I set out to Camp 2. I couldn’t fathom the idea of another long day, so I started at a decent pace, and soon found myself well ahead of them. I was on the Western Cwm, a massive ice valley, with possibly the most spectacular views in the world: Everest on the left, the Lhotse face in the middle, Nuptse very close to your right, and a whole range of beautiful mountains behind you, among other, Pumori and Cho Oyu.

Continue reading “My experience climbing Everest (3/3): The Western Cwm, Camp 2 and the way back”

My experience climbing Everest (2/3): The Khumbu Icefall and Camp 1

[Comes from previous post] So after another uneventful rest day, and a short night dominated by nerves, we got up at 5am, gobbled some breakfast and grabbed all our gear. It was dark and extremely cold when we set foot on the icefall, and I struggled to get my stride. My hands were freezing, and one of the two sherpas that were accompanying us had to help me put my crampons on, and even clip and un-clip to the fixed rope a couple of times. When the sun finally hit us, I felt much better and picked up the pace. And I also allowed myself to enjoy the moment for the first time. Wow, after so many books and movies, I was on the mystical Khumbu Icefall, and what a sight it was.

Continue reading “My experience climbing Everest (2/3): The Khumbu Icefall and Camp 1”

My experience climbing Everest (1/3): Base Camp

Let’s get the #1 question out of the way: no, I did not summit Everest. I did, however, hike to Base Camp, spend a fair amount of time there, climb up to Camp 1 and Camp 2, and share the whole experience with true mountaineers and aficionados alike… in one of the deadliest seasons in Everest history. The experience, in fact, left me so raw, it’s taking me over a month to sit down and write this post.

Continue reading “My experience climbing Everest (1/3): Base Camp”

The perfect 1-week Seychelles itinerary (2/2)

After five days in Mahe, we took the ferry to La Digue. This island is fairly different from the main one, much smaller and with a limited number of cars, everyone moves around in bicycles. And although there are hotels, most people stay in so-called self-catering rentals, which you can easily find on Airbnb. These were the spots we visited over a little under three days:

Continue reading “The perfect 1-week Seychelles itinerary (2/2)”

The perfect 1-week Seychelles itinerary (1/2)

The archipelago of Seychelles was up there on my list, together with French Polynesia and the Maldives, in terms of idyllic beaches to visit. After spending a bit over a week exploring it, I have to say Seychelles didn’t disappoint; if anything, it exceeding my high expectations. The landscapes are absolutely gorgeous, the people extremely nice, the whole country surprisingly well developed, and the cost is rather reasonable. Seychelles is not a backpackers’ destination (if fact, they really check that you have legit accommodation booked for all the days you are there before letting you go through immigration), but mixing up hotels with Airbnb, renting cars and bikes to move around, and buying some meals at supermarkets, you can get a fantastic experience without an expensive package.

Continue reading “The perfect 1-week Seychelles itinerary (1/2)”

Destination guide – Jordan

MUST DO:

  • Hiking all of Petra… and marveling at the Treasury at night

NICE TO HAVE:

  • Bedouin camp in the Wadi Rum desert
  • Floating in the Dead Sea

PENDING:

  • The Roman ruins of Jerash
  • The Crusader Kerak Castle

MIN TIME:

  • 5 days

GETTING AROUND:

  • Ferry from Sharm el Sheikk (Egypt)
  • Buses / public shuttles if you can make the schedule work…
  • … Otherwise private drivers / taxi for Aqaba – Wadi Rum, Wadi Rum – Wadi Musa (Petra), Wadi Musa – Dead Sea, Dead Sea – Amman (airport)
  • Organized tour in Wadi Rum
  • Hiking on your own in Petra

DIARIES:

  1. Freezing in Wadi Rum
  2. Exploring the hidden city of Petra

COMBINED WITH:

Freezing in Wadi Rum

Maybe we should have done a bit of research before deciding to go to Jordan over Christmas. Or at least think about it for a minute, and we would have realized that the desert in the middle of the winter is bitter cold. But maybe it was blissful ignorance, because a couple of days later I’ve pretty much forgotten how cold we were, and we still managed to do everything we intended to 😉

Continue reading “Freezing in Wadi Rum”

Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga – EPIC!

3 years ago, I went to Tonga for one of the most epic experiences of my travel life – swimming with humpback whales – and I ended up suffering my biggest disappointment – there were no whales to be seen. I still had an amazing time in Tonga, exploring its gorgeous landscapes and unique culture, and I promised myself I would come back one day. A couple of weeks ago, when I saw that the whale swimming season was in full blow, I didn’t think it twice, and I booked a flight to Vava’u over Labor Day weekend. As I fly back home, I can’t erase the smile from my face, it’s been such a dream come true.

Continue reading “Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga – EPIC!”

Destination guide – New Zealand

 

MUST DO:

  • Waitomo glowworms
  • Tongariro Crossing hike
  • Abel Tasman beaches and hike
  • Cook National Park hike and the views from Lake Pukaki
  • Road trip, and stop in so many great spots: lush hills in the North Island, Huka Falls, Punakaiki pancake rocks, Blue Pools, Lake Tekapo, etc.

Continue reading “Destination guide – New Zealand”

Best things to do in and around Queenstown

At the end of our 2 week road trip around New Zealand, we spent 3 days in Queenstown. To be honest, it was one of the least impressive parts of the trip, it just couldn’t compete with the natural wonders of Tongariro, Abel Tasman or Mt. Cook. But it was a good point of entry/exit, and there was enough to do to keep us entertained, so sharing our favorites here:

Continue reading “Best things to do in and around Queenstown”