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La Notte Rosa

Tonight is the night when the entire Adriatic Coast turns into one huge pink party. Emilia Romagna is celebrating “La Notte Rosa” (this year from 3. till 5. of July) and everything – I mean everything – is covered in pink: streets, fountains, food, clothes, fireworks. The best party takes place in Rimini, the poshest one in the Grand Hotel Rimini where Federico Fellini once loved to stay. Check out the pictures from my last visit. This could be you next year! P1080175P1080251P1080247P1080254P1080324P1080307P1070965Even the toughest guys like Bagnino Gabriele take Notte Rosa seriously. He decorates his part of the beach in pink, puts some color into the whirlpools and even dresses up. P1070975In between he still manages to save some women’s lives.P1070977And to welcome some of his fans.P1070982Even I turned into a fan after a couple of minutes.P1070997So did Elisabetta Canalis.P1080001Give it up for Gabriele! THIS was his most famous outfit, even featured in a local newspaper. P1080129P1080053P1080054Later in the evening you start seeing more of pink in the streets of Rimini. There are over 300 parties, concerts and fashion shows, but everybody wants to be at the famous Grand Hotel Party. The funny fact about Notte Rosa is that it was founded 10 years ago because the first weekend of July was so badly booked. Now it turned into the most booked one with more than one million visitors per year.P1080332P1080367The dresscode has been… well, I don’t need to say. The decoration and the desserts – everything pink!P1080377P1080333If it was still not enough, you could put the pink glasses on.P1080426P1080420With the tallest Italian girls I’ve ever met.P1080429P1080395P1080441P1080466P1080446P1080483P1080493P1080581palazzo3After “La Notte Rosa” you do need some serious relaxing. Try the Palazzo Viviani in Montegridolfo 40 km away from Rimini (thanks to the hotel for the amazing picture above). The castle maintains several hotels, restaurants and even a swimming pool. And they gave me the master key. For one night.P1080801palazzo1P1080822P1080836P1080876palazzo2P1080819P1080842P1080849P1080858The color of pink was pursuing me even in the mountains: Look at this sunset!

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Hayman Island, my One&Only!

Unfortunately, I belong to this kind of people who never relax. I just don’t know how to do it. So if you see pictures of me relaxing, it’s probably just for a picture and only took a couple of seconds. Today I would like to share with you some of my best fake relaxation pictures in an especially beautiful setting: One&Only Hayman Island, Australasia’s most awarded luxury nature-resort located on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. After an 80 million dollar refurb it opened it’s iconic doors a year ago and it seems to be like some sort of The Great Gatsby to me. Everybody is talking about it, but nobody really got to know it (yet). I was lucky enough to spend 12 hours at the resort, 8 of which were during the night and 3 of which contained sleeping. I just had to walk around all the time taking pictures of all these beautiful corners. And I even went hiking! At the end of my short stay I decided that if one day I would learn how to relax I will definitely come back to this place and enjoy it again. And I will leave my cam at home, that’s for sure!P1180718P1180788P1180785P1180801P1180796P1180811P1190216
I stayed at a suite of the Pool Wing and I could literally jump from my room to the largest swimming pool in the Southern Hemisphere. Or just go down the stairs. The only guys watching were the cockatoos.  P1190020P1190199P1190197There are six restaurants (my favorite food will stay pool burgers anyway) and four different room/villa wings at the resort. Check out some of them:P1180905P1180912P1180917P1180963P1180952The One&Only Hayman Penthouses are located on the top floor of the One&Only Hayman Wing and are all individually designed and furnished, with a great view of the entire resort, the Coral Sea and the Whitsundays. P1180969P1180865P1190026P1190008The villas of the One&Only Beach Wing seem to be transparent, but they are still really private. You have a swimming pool on one side and the beach on the other. Tough decision haha!P1190030P1190051P1190138P1190107And these were my favorite “rooms”: Beach and pool cabañas, where you could stay during the day.P1190094P1190117P1190146P1190160Their signature restaurant Fire offers unbelievably tender Wagyu, but especially good for a picture were the starters (mine looked like a vegetable garden) and the desserts! P1190168P1190180P1190249P1190252P1190432P1190281P1190261In the very early morning on the next day I made sure to make one of these pictures I was always dreaming about: Infinity Pool and just me “relaxing”. After that I had 2 hours for hiking to the Whitsunday Lookout, breakfast and packing my suitcase.P1190275P1190310P1190303P1190410P1190402P1190392On the way to the lookout I met my one and only wallaby in Australia and could admire the resort and some of the Whitsundays from above. And I got even higher just one hour later. When they picked me up by a seaplane!!! What a short stay full of “pinch me” moments!P1190412P1190416P1190421P1190428P1190446Airport.P1190448P1190487Airstrip.P1190527P1190503View of the Hayman Island, my One&Only! P1190510How to get to Queensland: There are flights with Cathay Pacific via Hongkong to Brisbane and Cairns (from Germany the prices start at 1125 euro).

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Fraser Island Fun

Fraser Island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world. First, this fact didn’t sound very exciting to me. As I grew up at the Baltic Sea literally surrounded by sand dunes I expected the first island I was visiting in Queensland/Australia to be a way more exotic. And I have to admit I was so wrong: Fraser Island (200 inhabitans, 124 kilometres long) is everything but boring and probably the place you will have the most fun at during your whole trip! First of all: It’s not just sand. Fraser Island is the only sand island in the world with a rain forest growing on it. During the season you can watch huge humpback whales jump out of the water on the east coast. And there are nearly 200 fresh water lakes all over Fraser Island where you can have a quick dip. And they even have a highway on the beach – with two traffic police officers and a speed limit of 80 km/h . The 75 mile beach is also used as a landing strip for planes. Highway rules state that vehicles must give way to aircraft if they are oncoming haha. Unfortunately, I only had one day to explore Fraser Island. Try to stay at least for two days if you can. And see below some ideas about how you could spend your time:

WHERE TO STAY:P1160585I stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort (from 98 euros/night) – it was located in the middle of the jungle but still at just 5 minutes walking distance from the beach.P1160634P1160598P1160654Dingoes are the most famous inhabitans of the island. Even though some of them look like domestic dogs, they are still wild! So don’t feed them, don’t pet them, don’t run away from them. Everything running is always something eatable! P1160673Coconut lorikeets love having their dinner upside down as I learned.P1160744What a great feeling it was to finally take my shoes off after two days of traveling from Europe to Australia! P1160695P1160747P1160768P1160783Our resort was located near the bridge where the ferries arrive. And they had a bar on the top of the bridge with really cold cider – which is probably my favorite sunset drink (well, everything is my favorite sunset drink to be honest). P1160802P1160840P1160850P1160855THE HIGHWAY, WHICH IS ACTUALLY A BEACH: P1160900P1160938Beach walks can get really dangerous on Fraser Island. There are wales and sharks in the water and the waves would be too strong for a swim anyway. And outside the water there are cars speeding on your left and your right all the time. It takes time till you realize that you are actually standing on a highway! P1160965P1160952So the safest place of the 75 mile beach would probably be slightly in the water or on a rock! P1160920NATURAL WATER SLIDE:P1160969Eli Creek is the largest creek on the east coast of the island (with a flow of 80 million litres per day) acting as some kind of a natural water ride. I am a lazy person, so it was just a perfect place for me: sitting in a rubber ring sliding down with the urrent. After some attempts I even learned some tricks how to overake others. P1160984P1170027P1170036P1170024The photo pose!P1170013The reality! There were some cookies waiting at the end of the slide, which also made me happy.P1170050THE MOST FAMOUS METAL RUBBISH OF AUSTRALIA:P1170111The ocean liner’s Maheno wreck has been here since 1935 and turned out to be one of the favorite photo stops of the island. So it’s allowed to stay.P1170086I take danger signs really seriously, as you can see…P1170088What’s in there that you are not allowed to see?P1170097P1170087P1170079P1170125THE SAND DUNES:P1170138P1170168P1170154The sand dunes in the middle of the island are really worth seeing them! And you can even sandboard on them. The highest is Mount Bowarrady with 240 meters.P1170332THE AIRPORT:P1170186Guess what! The airport is also the beach! Book a scenic flight to get a better overview of the island, it’s just 50 euros per person. And it’s such an unique experience to take off and land on a beach. We probably had the shiest pilot I’ve ever met.P1170192P1170320P1170197P1170325P1170215P1170255THE “CARIBBEAN” LAKE:P1170418Lake McKenzie is the most popular of the nearly 200 fresh water lakes located all over the island. It has an area of 150 hectares and is just over 5 metres in depth, but look at it’s color! It could be the Caribbean.P1170373P1170424P1170440RAINFOREST GROWING ON THE SAND:P1170458P1170598A huge thanks to our superstar guide Peter Meyer for taking us around his island. See his amazing photographic work of Fraser Island on his website. One of his favorite places to take pictures at is certainly the rain forest. And he showed me the funniest parts of it.P1170462P1170583The candlestick tree.P1170491The bridge tree (the “Dirty Dancing” tree for me).P1170590P1170573The wrapped tree.P1170569My twin tree.P1170506On the picture below you can see the road conditions in the middle of the island. It’s really hard to drive and you get stuck in the sand all the time, so consider booking a guided tour instead of renting a car and going by yourself (which is certainly much more fun but maybe too much fun). P1170607FOOD FROM THE BUSH:P1170622You can book a “Bush Tucker Talk and Taste” at Kingfisher Bay Resort (10 euro per Person) and taste traditional Australian berries, nuts and spicies directly from the bush. That’s a funky experience, many of them tasted copmletely new to me and the cook kept saying : “Oh, please don’t take too much of that one!” To give you some examples of what we had: They a using lillypilly for sauces or marmelades, lemon myrtle for fish or meat marinade and quandong for the cocktails.P1170630During the tasting they also give serve xou some emu, roo and crocodile meat. The interesting thing about crocodile (the white meat on the right) is the fact, that its changing the taste depending on what it eats. So it can taste like chicken or fish and if you didn’t like it once, doesn’t mean you don’t like it in general. P1170637How to get to Queensland: There are flights with Cathay Pacific via Hongkong to Brisbane and Cairns (from Germany the prices start at 1125 euro).

How to get to Fraser Island: Ferries are departing from Hervey Bay.

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Dubai in Two Days

Before I went to Dubai, friends kept telling me I would probably not gonna like it. It was like a Disneyland for grown up guys, they said. Well, I love Disneyland. And I love grown up guys. So it was more than obvious that I also loved Dubai. Unfortunately I could only stay for two days. Get some ideas through this post how to make the most of a short stay:

WHERE TO STAYP1250600I was staying at the recently opened Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. As an only resort located in the residential part of Jumeirah it has a unique private beach. And you could nearly jump in from the pool. P1250650P1240307P1240288P1240153I loved the huge rooms and the bathtub in the middle of the bathroom. I never get into bathtubes in hotels though, because I am always afraid to fall asleep and miss out some meals. P1240165P1240158P1240190P1250611P1250622P1250653P1250632P1240317BEACHESP1240390Kite beach is my favorite in Dubai. It looks more like Ibiza or Miami and is full of havaianas, hotpants and of course some good looking kite surfers. P1240389P1240366P1240373P1240399P1240467To see the longest beach in Dubai, go to the Dubai Marina. It has skyscrapers and restaurants on one side  and beach bars and the sea on the other. And at the end there is even a little park and a farmer’s market.P1240434P1240466P1240479P1240507DURING THE DAY
P1250028For the highest view you can currently get outside a plane, head to Burj Khalifa – with 829 meters it is the highest building in the world. It is crazy to see how tiny all the other scyscrapers look beside it. Make sure to pre-book your ticket on the website and don’t miss your slot! They are strict.P1250027P1250003P1240982P1240932So this is the view! Try to get there between 12 and 3 p.m. when the sun is high and there is no reflection at the window. I went a way too early and couldn’t really take the perfect picture…P1240918P1250144The entrance to Burj Khalifa is also the Dubai Mall entrance and it’s huuuge (350.000 qm). I nearly got lost between all the shoe stores, sweets and dino skeletons!P1250042P1250058P1250037P1250110innahaiMy favorite place in the mall remained the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. A funky experience to see the belly of sharks and rays while walking the tunnel up and down. The second floor was disappointing though… P1250100P1250182P1250213I also loved the Graffiti-Foodtrucks with Hotdogs and Tacos they put on the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard during the Food Festival, which takes place every year in February.P1250233P1250247Also make sure to visit Deira, the oldest part of Dubai, and have a lunch in one of their new cafés (like Creekside) before you hop on a boat or spend all your money in the gold souk. Therefore my advice: go the the spice sook instead and save the money for the night!P1240544P1240591P1250287 It can become a real challenge in Dubai to see the famous palm. It’s simply too huge and the fronds look like regular streets when you are on them. One option is to go with Palm Monorail, a train which operates on a higher level. Another (superhigh and superadventurous) option is Skydiving, which became so popular in Dubai during the last year. And, of course, there is still a helicopter option for those who don’t dare to jump.P1250326Another place I would highly recommend is Madinat Jumeirah, an artificial lagoon city, where abras (watertaxis) bring you to one of the 45 restaurants. A Pacha Ibiza Dubai just opened it’s doors there – another good reason to visit.P1250377P1250318P1250393P1250366DURING THE NIGHTP1250400P1250405P1250420P1250446Go back to Burj Khalifa in the evening to watch the fountain show (from 6 p.m. every half an hour). It’s short but impressive.P1240876P1240887P1240259P1240268For a nice bar I didn’t even had to leave my hotel (lobby on the pictures above). Just went to the rooftop…P1250587The new Mercury Lounge overviews the skyline on the one side and the sea on the other (it was too dark to capture it). And they have a bar looking like a huge silver ball in the middle of the place.P1250550Also the drinks are creative: served in baby bottles or covered with a slice of pineapple. Accompanied by my favorite food: FRIES! Truffle fries, sweet potato fries, herbs fries…P1250565P1250522P1250568This was favorite: a destructed Bloody Mary haha!P1240609If you are only staying one night in Dubai and want to check out several locations, book one of the food tours the agency Lime & Tonic offers (starting from 100 euros with food and drinks). I had the mystery tour, which brought me to 4 different restaurants with two courses each. What a life!P1240683P1240669The first place to go was Table 9, Dubai’s restaurant of the year. The Chef used to work with Gordon Ramsay in London and the food was fantastic but no view. So this place is more for your tongue than for your eyes…P1240697P1240704Then we went to Mint Leaf (Indian kitchen), which would be a perfect place to impress a girl. Look at this view!  P1240734P1240737P1240749After that we tried Hakkasan (Chinese kitchen) with a nice garden area…P1240794P1240785…the longest bar I’ve ever seen (it didn’t even fit in my picture)…P1240760P1240831P1240823P1240845…and of course some yummy dim sum and a Peking duck. Concerning food, this place was my number 1!P1240751Flying with Emirates is the most convenient way to get to Dubai. Get general Dubai information at www.dubaitourism.ae !

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Ilha Grande: Jungle Jail

Ilha Grande is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to. When you arrive to this 150 km long island between Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo, you first keep wondering how they managed to preserve it so wild and untouched. There are no streets, no cars and no cash machines on the entire island. Well, the reason lies in it´s dark history. For almost a century Ilha Grande was closed by the Brazilian goverment because it housed a leper colony and after a top-security jail with some of the most dangerous prisoners within the Brazilian penal system. The jail was closed in 1994 but the island still looks like an unexplored piece of jungle – except the main village Vila do Abraão (approximately 1900 inhabitants), where you can find some bars, shops and affordable places to spend a night. Ironically, everything was booked out in the village at the time we were travelling. We still wanted to stay some days on the island, so we picked the last remaining pousada for nearly 300 euros/per night. First pretty grumpy about the price, by arrival we realized that it was probably the best forced decision ever.
P1210629P1210669How to arrive? There is a bus departing every two hours from Rio de Janeiro to Angra dos Reis (160 km, ticket aprox. 15 euros), then you take a ferry to Ilha Grande (1h, ticket aprox. 5 euros). Make sure to check the ferry hours before you go, it’s only operating in the mornings and in the evenings. P1220417P1210844We arrived in the main village where we were picked up by a smaller boat and it took us another half an hour to come to our pousada Atlantica Jungle Lodge. As we were approaching it, I could barely believe my eyes. A house in the middle of the jungle with only 3 rooms, a private beach and a lady preparing the catch of the day just for us. The rooms were beautiful but simple and I loved the smell of the sheets (I am crazy about fresh white sheets).P1210802P1210699P1210812 KopieP1210714P1210709P1210737P1210742P1210738We were having grilled fish and an octopus with a view to a floating bar, which also belonged to the pousada. You had to either swim or puddle to have a drink over there but it was not an option for me after finishing all these beans alone…P1220332P1220405P1220366In case you are asking yourself why I look so weird: This picture has a special story. Before my trip to Brazil friends kept telling me not to take jewellery and nice clothes with me – just some pants and old tshirts. Girls, now I will tell you one thing: It’s a trap! When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, you really could tell I was a tourist, because all the Brazilian ladies were so dressed up – even at the beach. So I told my boyfriend I was not leaving the hotel room untill we went shopping. On Ilha Grande I finally had the right outfit on, but unfortunately nobody was there watching. Well, at least we took this picture haha.P1220413P1220300From our pousada you could hike to the famous Lopes Mendes beach (picture above), which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. I liked our little private beach so much more to be honest, but still: It’s a nice hike through the jungle and you meet some apes and some bats on your way. P1220255P1210771P1220240P1210848If you are staying on the island just for a short period time a full day boat trip (aprox. 50 euros/per person) would be a perfect way to explore the most beautiful beaches of Ilha Grande. We shared our boat with a group of Columbian guys who brought some Pisco – so you can imagine the fun we had! P1210877P1210866P1220010 KopieP1220150P1220027P1220140At some point we ran out of Pisco. We were lucky the whole island was surrounded by floating bars though. P1220177P1220211P1220182P1220217P1220076P1220104P1220063This is the most famous palm tree of Ilha Grande and the pefect proof that it’s never too late to change your mind and go up! I would have loved to stay at least one week longer…P1220125P1220113 KopieP1220425

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Love me, Rio!

When I was seeing my friends’ carnival pictures from Brasil this week, I could’t help myself but open my old folder and browse through all these photos. Rio de Janeiro seems like a rapper to me: love it or hate it. And I love it. So in this post I would love to share with you my favorite places in the sexiest city on this planet:

1. COPACABANAP1170197P1170171This world famous beach doesn’t have a good fame at all in Rio. Cariocas (Rio’s inhabitans) say it’s for old people. Are you kidding? I wished our beaches for old people would look like that. What they actually want to say: Not all of the girls are wearing string bikinis. Which is an absolut no go on the beaches of Rio.P1170193So I guess this is before marriage…P1170203…and this afterP1170226 2I did it all wrong. Had my tiniest bikini on and still looked like a scuba diver compared to the other girls. On the picture above with my beloved Guaraná lemonade at least.P1170228P1170204How do you know you are in Copacabana? There are two landmarks: Copacabana Palace, the most expensive hotel of Rio, and the Copacabana beach sidewalk designed with black and white basalt and limestone. P1170251P11702482. ESCADARIA SELARÓN P1200466You will probably recognize these colorful steps from the “Beautiful” video, where Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dog were sitting on them singing “Beautiful, I just want you to know you’re my favorite girl”. There is a sad story behind these steps though: The Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón started putting tiles on them when he was unhappily in love. He was waiting there for years and tourists from all over the world brought him new tiles – so the 215 stairs finally enden up covered by more than 2000 tiles from 60 different countries. Two years ago Jorge Selarón was found dead on his stairs. Today it’s a place where musicians meet but nobody brings tiles any more.P1200489P12005353. LAPA P1170258P1170268Lapa is a neighborhood in the centre of Rio, famous for it’s impressive aqueduct (Arcos da Lapa) from the the mid-18th century but most of all for it’s nightlife. Some people say it’s dangerous but did you ever have an epic party in a save place? P11702714. FAVELA ROCINHAP1200745P1200655P1200721P1200666P1200767Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil built on a steep hillside overlooking Rio de Janeiro. So people who live here actually have the best view. What surprised me the most: Villas of rich people were built side to side to the houses of the favela which is nothing usual in South America. And there were even schools located so close on the both sides, that children had a common play yard. P1200758P1200774P1200769P12008065. IPANEMAP1190164P1190183Ipanema is the sexiest beach in Rio de Janeiro with a perfect view to some beautiful hills haha. For us, it was a perfect place to have a rest before the carnival parades at Sambódromo started. You can watch the Brazilians here playing soccer, eating shrimps or just looking good for hours. Not too many swimmers though, 80 percent of people living here can’t swim.P1190190P1190196P1190228P1190201P1190207P1190211P1190212P1190248P1190253P1190260P11902616. SUGARLOAF MOUNTAINP1200963P1200908Rising 396 meters above the harbor, Pão de Açúcar is a perfect place to watch the sunset which covers the entire bay in a shiny gold.P1200995P12009397. CORCOVADOP1170625P1170660Well, what shall I say about this most visited place in Rio? Corcovado is stunning, no doubt, but it’s even more stunning if you go up in a little train. Therefore you have to arrive really early. Otherwise there are only tickets left for busses with no stunning views at all on their way up. P1170764P1170635rioP11707678. BOTANICAL GARDENP1180049140 hectare of peace, palm trees and waterfalls. The Botanical Garden could be such a rehab place, if we wouldn’t find all kinds of caipirinhas everywhere in the neighborhood.P1180096P1180008P1180104P11709639. SAMBÓDROMOP1170524P1170531On the friday before the first league parades start at Sambódromo there is a super cute kids parade. The whole family comes together to support these young ladies on their way to the big samba careers.P117050610. LEBLONP1170800If you didn’t get a ticket for Sambódromo so called blocos (street parties with music and drinks) in Ipanema and Leblon are the best alternative to celebrate carnival. Just put some glitter, feathers or ears on and your costume is ready. The Brazilians are not so strict in this aspect. They look good anyway.P1170819P1170830P1170794P1170847P1170791P1170880P1170904P1170919P1170887P117092711. CHURRASCARIAP1170947P1170944Everybody who knows me will understand why THIS is my favorite place in Rio de Janeiro. The Churrascaria Porcão is the most famous grill restaurant in town and they even let me take a picture in the kitchen (no women allowed normally). Other food I loved in Rio: Grilled octopus with veggetables and of course Feijoada, a traditional sunday dish with beans and again lots of meat.P123018312. HOTELP1230120Let’s be honest: More expensive than hotels in Rio are only hotels in Rio during the carnival. After we stayed five days in a tiny room without proper windows for nearly 200 euros a night, for the last night we moved to a suite at  Othon Palace, a first row hotel at Copacabana. It only cost us 70 euros more but what a difference! Almost stayed for the whole evening on our terrace staring at the sea. And the mountains. And the lighs.P1230111P1230141P1230154P1230151P1230172There are flights to Rio de Janeiro with Air France via Paris and with KLM via Amsterdam.

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Hasta la Playa Siempre

Ironically, the best all inclusive advice I’ve ever been given came from some backpackers. They told me they were using their all-inclusive hotel as a homebase, travelling around and coming back from time to time to change their clothes, spend some days on the beach and to get lots of food. We found out (it was in Yucatán, Mexico) they have paid for their hotel and flight combo only 100 euros more than me just for the flight. This trick certainly doesn’t work in countries with long distances between the places you want to visit. But if you are staying on an island it’s always a good idea to check the package price instead of just the flight. So my parents and I did during our vacation in Cuba. We stayed 3 days at Iberostar Varadero, travelled around the island for 6 days, came backt to pick up some new stuff, left for another island trip and finally came back to take the flight home. Why I’m telling you all this? Well, this post is full of showing off pictures from these 3 first days in Varadero. So I thought with a travel trick in it, it would make a bit more sense…
DSC_0949DSC_0963P1400389DSC_0932DSC_1057DSC_1041DSC_1008P1340247P1350097P1340931P1340933P1340934P1340402P1340380P1340964OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP1340425DSC_9062DSC_1235DSC_9057 - Arbeitskopie 2P1340201P1340120P1340204P1390580P1400413P1350106P1340278P1340309P1390534DSC_9077DSC_9147DSC_9111OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP1340671P1340097DSC_9311DSC_9229DSC_9216P1340668P1340634P1340651

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Turquoise

There are a lot of reasons why Dads rock this world. One of them is their patience. Don’t believe me? Ask them to take some bikini pictures and you will get the best prove. During your boyfriend will probably cut your face off (because he just wants to focuse on “really important stuff”) and your girlfriends will use the wide lens (you know why), your proud Dad will capture you in the perfect angle over in over again. The only problem: To pick the picture you want to use because you will like all of them. Like I did during our last vacation in Cuba, when my Dad had a new camera and I had a new bikini and we both had this beautiful beach in front of our bungalow. So see tons of our turqouise-on-turqouise pictures with some pelican models joining the shooting! DSC_1133kuba1DSC_9363DSC_9418DSC_1129OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_9484DSC_9411DSC_8978P1340904DSC_9466OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP1340841P1340308DSC_9455DSC_9150DSC_1138OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_9499DSC_9515DSC_9496P1340849P1340866P1340822P1340905

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Ten Things to Do in Iceland in Winter

If you have ever been to Iceland in summer, you won’t recognize it if you go in winter. It’s not better or worse, it’s just like visiting a completely different country. And if you think Iceland looks grey, dark and uncozy during the wintertime, you gonna be really surprised how many colours can show up during one single trip. You will see the sunrise and the sunset every day, even if you are a lazy tourist and love to sleep, because the sun rises at 11 a.m. and goes down at 3 p.m. There is one colour you should be careful with though: the green of the nordic lights. The Japanese believe it brings a lot of babys… So here are my ten favorite things to do in Iceland in winter, I´ve experienced on my last trip with WOW Air, Iceland’s only low cost airline:

1. VÍK, THE BLACK BEACHP1870341P1870606P1870667P1870359P1870489P1870544The black sand beach of Vík in South Iceland (180 km away from Reykjavik) is counted as one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches on earth. In winter it’s all covered by snow, but you can still recognize the black colour on the rock formation Reynisdrangar in the middle of the sea (picture below) and on the tiny space between water and snow the waves leave everytime they go back (picture above).P1870714P1870717Plenty of space in Iceland: on the streets and in the nose…P18707332. WATERFALLSP1880142P1880461During a trip in the Golden Circle, the most famous route in South Iceland, you usually get to see 3 waterfalls: Skógarfoss (first picture), Gullfoss (second picture) und Seljalandsfoss (picture below). All of them are beautiful in a different way: Skógarfoss has a nice setting, Gullfoss is incredibly big, but Seljalandsfoss always used to be my favorite one. You can walk behind it (but watch your step on the icy stairs!) and search for a treasure. P1880219P18802633. FOODP1890815Pretty sure everybody will like the first dish: icelandic lobster in the traditional Fjorubordid-Restaurant. After that on the pictures below: smoked puffin (yes, the cute bird) in Hotel Rangá, horse meat carpaccio with parmigiano in Cava-Restaurant and Hákarl (rotten shark) from a local supermarket.P1880318P1890165P18903414. GEYSERSP1880387Big plans need big cars. But seriously: in Iceland this size of wheels really makes sence. Like on our way to the geysers of the Haukadalur valley. Strokkur (the geyser on the picture below) erupts every 10 minutes up to 35 meters high. Can you spot the two tiny tourists right to it? There are more than 40 other little hot springs in the area but you are not allowed to touch them because the water can get up to 90 degrees hot. When we were standing in front of Stokkur the sun started to rise and it has been such a magical moment when all the steam got colloured in purple, yellow and finally red. P1880644P1880781P18807685. HOT POTSP1890923OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADue to the geothermal activity there are a lot of hot springs all over the country. Some of them are boiling but some have just the right temperature to bath in. These natural jacuzzis – the so called hot pots – are a very important part of the icelandic culture. It’s not just about having a bath. It’s about meeting your friends and family, having a drink, discussing things. The most famous and most touristic hot pot of Iceland is probably the Blue Lagoon (pictures above, tickets for 35 euros – at least the beauty mask is for free) near the airport. But every town bath also has a couple of hot pots outside (tickets for aprox. 5 euros). See the beauty essentials we brought with us on the picture below hahaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP1880363Another way to try out a hot pot would be booking a hotel with a hot pot, such as Rangá Hotel. The only obstacle: The hot pots were outside and we had to walk through the snow to get there. With a couple of local beers before no problem…P1890026P1870303After two beers we even started talking to the bear in the lobby.P1870320P1880298Still don’t know if it was a good idea to put my Havaianas on for the way to the hot pot. We had minus 17 degrees on that day, if you want to know…P1880273Before I left for this trip I promised my Mom always to wear my hat. I kept my promise, Mom!P18802946. WALKING ON THE GLACIERP1880050P1870895P1870972Walking on the Sólheimajökull glacier with spikes under your shoes and a piolet in your hand during the sunset is one of the most breathtaking experiences in Iceland. This glacier is melting away due to the climate change and will disappear completely approximately in 100 years.P1870922P1870870P1870992P18709377. SHOPPINGP1870739Never say “Norwegian sweater” in Iceland! It’s Icelandic, even if they look completely the same to us. The Icelandic ones are supposed to keep you warmer though, because they are made from the wool of a special sheep. Anyway, both look nice.P1890314The local outdoor label is called 66°NORTH (I had enough money for a hat haha). If you are looking for some hip clothes, you better go to one of the numerous second hand shops in Reykjavik, like Spúútnik on the pictures below. The best thing about shopping in Iceland: it’s duty free when you shop over 25 euros. Just get your taxes (15 percent) back at the airport! P1890887P18908778. LAVA TUBE CAVESP1890527If you think the Blue Mountains are beautiful (25 minutes drive from Reykjavik), wait to explore the hidden world underneath them. All over Iceland lava tubes from the volcanoes have created a huge cave system. The Leiðarendi cave (3000 years old, means “the dead end”) we climbed down into, looked like a castle made of icicles and lava. And from time to time I even had to crawl on my belly from one “room” to another. P1890537P1890552P1890673P18905719. SNORKELING BETWEEN THE CONTINENTSP1880975Yeah! It´s minus 19 outside and we go snorkeling! Sounds weird, but the Silfra fissure in the Pinvellir National Park got voted under the top ten dive and snorkeling sites in the world. So we just had to try it! The Silfra fissure is actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, which drift apart about 2 cm per year. So you basically snorkel between Europe and America! There are even places where you can touch both continents at the same time. The second reason the Silfra fissure is so special: The visibility is over 100 meters and I´ve never seen so many different shades of green and blue in my life. The water (about 3 degrees) comes from the nearby Langjökull glacier and needs up to 100 years until it reaches the Silfra fissure – this works like a perfect natural filter. P1880972P1880976The dry suit will not let the water run inside, they told me. Well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…P1880990P1880993The Silfra fissure doesn’t look special at all from outside, but wait until you jump in!P1880997Silfra3So this is how snorkeling between America and Europe looks like (the picture above is by Arctic Adventures). My underwater camera was dead from the first second it touched the icy water. We stayed inside for about 40 minutes and when we walked out, the boys had icicles in their beards and I had icicles on my lashes. But we felt pretty cool to be honest…P188099810. REYKJAVIKP1890041Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital but I promise you will not feel cold at all. Why? To get from one bar to another you just have to cross the Laugavegur street (well, the good looking guys are also a reason). And there are a lot of nice places to have a drink at . My suggestions: Cava (pictures below) is a bar upstairs and a restaurant downstairs, Kaffibarrinn is famous for it’s famous people hanging around there, Micro Bar has it’s own brewery, Kaldi Bar spreads some kind of industrial charme and you can do you laundry and have a brunch at the Laundromat Cafe. Try Reykavik’s most famous hotdog at Beajarins Beztu Pylsur!P1890089P1890131P1890191P1890226P1890103P1890189P1890178P1890447 The super modern concert hall Harpa has become a landmark of the city. Another special thing to visit: Phallusmuseum where you can find over 280 animal penises. P1890338You can book all these tours with Arctic Adventures! Lava caving and snorkeling are available from 189 euros per person as a combo, a Golden Circle safari from 300 euros, glacier hiking & ice climbing from 131 euros. Fly to Iceland with WOW air starting from 59 euros per ticket!

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Hidden Beach in Deià

When in Deià (Mallorca) make sure that you take 15 minutes to walk down to the beach of Cala de Deià. It´s a bit hidden and mostly used by the boats for a short lunch stopover (don´t go there by car, the parking area is always full and expensive). But once you get there and see the bay from above, you will be totally convinced that it is one of the most beautiful places to jump in on the island. For more attention please use the stone in the middle of the water. For a better view please use the restaurant above the bay. Enjoy!P1710474P1710683P1700055P1710629P1710753P1710760P1710688P1710647 - Arbeitskopie 2P1710135P1710762Dont´t expect a bright sandy beach, it´s all rocks and stones. But I liked it´s “Flinstone”-charm and the fact that people were putting their towels on the boat stairs or climbing to the bar directly from the water.P1710778P1710830P1710808P1710821