Posts tagged ‘mountains’

Lebanon

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

About a month ago I was in Lebanon but because of travels I did not have time to update the web site. I really enjoyed the country and it’s people, although it was a bit football-crazy at the moment. On all street you could see gigantic German flags, as well as on a lot of the cars.

Besides the coastal line of Beirut my favorite places in Lebanon was the city of Tripoli and the mountains to the east. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Lebanon Beirut mosque

Lebanon Beirut fishermen

Lebanon Beirut coast

Lebanon Beirut waterpipe

Lebanon Beirut coast

Lebanon Beirut drink

Lebanon Beirut coast

Lebanon Beirut beach

Lebanon German flag

Lebanon Beirut outdoor market

Lebanon Tripoli Island

Lebanon Tripoli beach

Lebanon Tripoli boat

Lebanon Tripoli city view

Lebanon Tripoli

Lebanon

Lebanon mountain gorge

Lebanon cedar tree
Cedar tree, the national tree of Lebanon which is also on the flag

Lebanon church

Lebanon food

Abandoned hotel in Spitak, Armenia

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

About a week ago I was passing by Spitak in Armenia while hitchhiking. Spitak is a small town surrounded by beautiful mountains. One hour outside of town, in the foot of the mountains, there is also an old abandoned Russian hotel. This old hotel complex is huge and include a bar, swimming pool and bowling hall.

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Part of the hotel complex

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Indoor swimming pool and bowling hall

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Animal cages

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Bar area with ice stalactites and an unknown big bird

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Independent luxery villas

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From above

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The hotel is perfectly located to continue into a mountain trek after exploring it

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Still in some areas the houses are ruined or replaced with metal houses after the 1988 earthquake, with no support in sight.

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Superb live fish dinner after a nice walk

Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

In early August while trekking in the Pirin Mountains I was taking these pictures which I later on forgot to post, so here they are. Pirin Mountains are located around 2 hours drive away from Sofia with the highest peak at 2914 meter. There are several huts in this Bulgarian mountain range but camping is also possible as always. If you camp be prepared with warm clothes as the nights are getting really cold even in the summer.

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains river

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains lake

Pirin Mountains lake

Pirin Mountains coffee

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains flower

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains

Pirin Mountains cow

Pirin Mountains calf

Pirin Mountains tree shadow

Pirin Mountains empty hotel
Abandoned construction sites can make a good last-minute sleeping place inside a city, for example when hitchhiking and getting stuck.

Trekking to the 2468 meter peak of Gjallica, Kukes

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I wake up slightly earlier than the alarm clock that I put on 5:40, but there is already some light outside here in Kukes, Albania. A quick shower followed by a walk to the petrol station from yesterday to tell the people there that I am walking to the mountain top. It is always good to tell someone if you are doing something like this, not that it probably will help in case of an accident. I have even told them earlier which hotel I am staying in, well, explaining its location as I do not know the name of it. The old man looks worried and double checks that I have everything: water, warm clothes, good shoes and so on. Then I start walking.

Albania Kukes Gjallica Fierza lake

It is about 1-1½ hours walk to get to the start of the mountain, and there is no distinct road or path so I walk partly on car road, partly on fields and finally inside a small village. On the way the sunrise is giving me a beautiful welcome to the mountain. There are people around but they look at me a bit strange and no-one of them speaks English. I ask them where the trail up the mountain starts and they point towards the mountain instead. Online I read something the previous night about a trail starting from behind a closed copper mine, but there is nothing like that around so I just start walking up the mountain on one of the shepherd trails from behind a private house.

Albania Kukes Gjallica fields

Albania Kukes Gjallica sunrise
The sun looking up from a lower mountain

Albania Kukes Gjallica mountain clouds
The 2468 meter peak which I will try to mount, covered in clouds

Albania Kukes Gjallica spring water

Shortly after my start I find a non marked trail which I blindly follow, but after 1 hours walk the path still looks the same. At least the sun is on the other side of the mountain, giving me shadow instead of the intense heat that I had expected. Still it is very hot just walking upwards so I change clothes. “One hour done, maybe two more before the top, and then 3 more down plus one back to Kukes” I think, calculating how many sun hours I still have left of the day. About 13, so as long as there are no problems on the way and if the path is correct, I should have more than enough time. One hour later I see what looks like the top near me, but at the same time I know it’s to early and from the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and villages I estimate that I am still on low altitude.

Albania Kukes Gjallica low view
View on the shepherd’s path from behind the house

Albania Kukes Gjallica trail

About 1 hour later I reach a small green flat space with a water spring and some very simple huts. I find an old super lady, maybe in her 80s but extracting an energy like a young girl, and ask her how long time she estimates it is to the peak of the mountain. She tells me that it is 2 more hours, pointing out the path for me and asking me why I want to go there (I think at least, we do not speak the same language). Ok time to calculate sun hours again, two more hours means 5 hours in total up, 5 hours down and one hour to Kukes. This gives me little marginal for errors but is still good news, despite the fact that I am pretty tired in the legs and have to walk 2 more hours upwards before I can even start to walk back.

Albania Kukes Gjallica mountain spring

Albania Kukes Gjallica plateau

I start walking in the direction where the lady pointed, but after a while I make a turn in the opposite direction as supposed because the path seems to go very long in the wrong direction. I walk along a small trail that after a while just disappears into thin air, well, into semi thick forest. I start walking through the forest, knowing it is not smart to walk without a trail to follow back but as I have a gorge on the left side I know I can find my way back again. I walk upwards through the forest for about an hour or more until the forest gets less dense and a beautiful field opens up in front of me.

Albania Kukes Gjallica forest

Albania Kukes Gjallica high plain

On the field there is a big group of sheep walking around, with some of them drinking from a water spring. Now I can see what could be the top, but I know through experience that the peak is usually not as near as it looks, just hidden behind another hill. Suddenly I see two guys sitting down near the water spring. We meet middle way and greet each others. They tell me to refill my bottle which I do, although it is almost still full because the weather at this height is now more cold, making me drink less. We talk for a while, in different languages as usual, and the younger of them who is 15 years old joins my walk for a few minutes before turning to another group of sheep, just after inviting me for dinner or something like that after my peak ascent.

Albania Kukes Gjallica tableland

Albania Kukes Gjallica shepherds

Albania Kukes Gjallica shepherd boy

I continue to walk and after 2-3 more times of thinking that I have almost reached the peak, and about one more hour, I am standing on the actual peak of Gjallica, about 2200 meters higher than where I started walking (the valley below is on 250 meters elevation). Here, the wind is strong and new clouds are constantly created and pumping in from below. I change clothes and walk around for a while to explore the top, finding the last snow patch of the season, about 10 meters long. Keep in mind that this is on the 31st of July and that the heat below the mountain peak is intense. I linger around for about 10-15 minutes and then start to walk down again, now along a trail which I found a bit below where I was walking up.

Albania Kukes Gjallica near peak

Albania Kukes Gjallica mountain peak

Albania Kukes Gjallica peaks

Albania Kukes Gjallica July snow

Albania Kukes Gjallica peak view

Albania Kukes Gjallica path down

When I return to the shepherds, which to one more shepherd now have joined, we sit down in this idyllic surrounding and talk, enjoying some snacks I have brought with me on my trek. The sun is now very strong and the weather is perfect. After about 30 minutes I feel that I should get going, not knowing which path I will take down. The shepherds recommends the non existing path through the forest from where I came, but I want to walk on an actual path this time and they tell me where there is supposed to be one, probably the same as the old lady recommended for me.

Albania Kukes Gjallica shepherd friends

Albania Kukes Gjallica shepherd musician

I start walking and even though the path disappears several times I find my way down again to the field with the lady’s house. This time she seems not to be at home, but on the other side of the field I see some cows and people. We start talking and the younger girl who speaks good English tells me that she and her family from the village below have just walked up here with their cows, a donkey and some food to live here for a month during the summer. Around once a week they (or was it only the grandfather?) walks down for more provision. We talk some more and then its really time for me to get going after hearing that the time is now 5:30 PM.

Albania Kukes Gjallica caterpillar

Albania Kukes Gjallica dead forest

Albania Kukes Gjallica houses

Albania Kukes Gjallica house

Albania Kukes Gjallica mountain

Albania Kukes Gjallica village family

I hurry on my walk down and this time the path feels much longer than when I walked up. I am tempted to take some shortcuts I see but because I do not know where they end up I do not risk it this time. The sun is burning my skin and I do everything to try to hide from it, also putting on my final sun protection cream. Finally I get down some 2 hours later, still in strong sunlight and realizing that the time they told me must have been wrong.

Albania Kukes Gjallica city view

I start walking to Kukes but a minibus picks me up and drives me to the city for free. When I arrive I jump out at the gas station a bit outside the town to tell the people about my success and for them not to worry anymore. Then I walk into town to find the first possible place to sit down for a coffee and some food. Looking at my clock I realize I actually had more time to walk down if I wanted, but I feel happy being back in town without it being so late. After I finish the food I buy a beer and goes back to the room, turning on the TV and forgetting all about the beer in my tiredness, but still managing to repack half of my bag for tomorrows hitchhiking before crashing into bed.

Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Here comes some pictures from about a month ago that I meant to put here earlier. Prachuap Khiri Khan city has two main attractions which are a hill respectively a mountain. The hill has a small temple on the top and some semi-aggressive monkeys, while the mountain of 800 meters is a more demanding and interesting trek with friendly monkeys as a bonus. To get to the mountain you need to pass a military area but this only requires a registration at the entrance. On the other side of the military area is also a beach if you feel like chilling out after the trek. Just take care not to miss the closing time of the military area.

Prachuap Khiri Khan squid lady

Prachuap Khiri Khan food

Prachuap Khiri Khan temple monkey

Prachuap Khiri Khan hill temple

Prachuap Khiri Khan monkey jumping

Prachuap Khiri Khan temple

Prachuap Khiri Khan temple painter

Prachuap Khiri Khan bird eggs for food

Prachuap Khiri Khan eating insects

Prachuap Khiri Khan squids drying in sun

Prachuap Khiri Khan islands

Prachuap Khiri Khan mountain temple

Prachuap Khiri Khan mountain top

Prachuap Khiri Khan Alice in Wonderland

Prachuap Khiri Khan beach shells

Prachuap Khiri Khan beach and mountain

Prachuap Khiri Khan noodles

Prachuap Khiri Khan King sweating working hard

Prachuap Khiri Khan monkey

Manila, Philippines

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

To prolong my Thai visa with a month I had to go out of the country and then fly in again, because by land the visa extension is limited to 2 weeks. This was lucky because even though I always wanted to visit Philippines I didn’t have any plans to go there during this Asia trip. But now I found a cheap return ticket (one way is not allowed anyway) and the next day I found myself being in Manila, the capital of Philippines.

Arriving at 4 am in the beginning of the week I was surprised to see that the city was still alive and moving. There are no public transport at this time besides taxi and the area I arrived to is a bit expensive, so I get a cheap taxi to another area which some helpful local recommended to me 5 minutes earlier. The area I arrive to is the party area of Manila. Everywhere lady-boys and taxi-men are yelling after me, dark alleys with people hanging around and strip clubs (“Gentlemen clubs”). But people are really helpful and about half an hour later (around 5 am) I am checked into a hotel and laying in my bed, starting to realize that I am in the Philippines.

The next morning I force myself up at 9 am to get the complementary double breakfast. Double because I have a double room, although its pretty small. Next to me for breakfast sits one foreigner and his lady-boy. They are really friendly people and when the lady-boy leaves the guy tells me his wife is luckily coming firstly next week.

Back in my bed, which covers almost the whole room, I am thinking I can not wait to explore Manila. Just one more hour of sleep…

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Philippines, Manila - barrio

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An enormous amount of homeless people in Manila

Philippines, Manila - apartment spider
Huge harmless apartment spider

Philippines, Manila - happy people

Philippines, Manila - jeepney bus
Local buses are called “Jeepneys” and cost about 20 cent USD

Philippines, Manila - chicken legs
Chicken legs

Philippines, Manila - one day chicken food
One day chicken and chicken balls

Philippines, Manila - dog for sale
Buy me

Philippines, Manila - chinatown street sellers

Philippines, Manila - Chinese water snake NYE
Chinese New Year (year of the Water Snake)

Philippines, Manila - la vida room
La Vida Room for 3 hour “naps”

Philippines, Manila - maintenance
Manila maintenance

Philippines, Manila - naked girls sells newspaper
We all know that naked girls sell magazines, and now also newspapers

Philippines, Manila - mountain
 Beautiful mountain Batulao (only 800 meters) with it’s 10 peaks

Philippines, Manila - trekking
Looking back half way

Philippines, Manila - mountain guide
Mountain guide who should have been in school instead

Philippines, Manila - mt Batulao camp
Mt Batulao camp “Don’t change the mountain, let the mountain change you”

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight planning
Chicken fight – trying to decide which chickens will fight each others depending on their size

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight planning
More chicken owners coming into the ring of smiling discussion

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight preparing
Preparing the chickens. The fight is until death.

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight starting

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight
The fight is going to start

Philippines, Manila - chicken fight end
And about 2 minutes later it’s over

Philippines, Manila - refreshing drink
Sweet drink

Philippines, Manila - night buses

Philippines, Manila - electrician

Philippines, Manila - penthouse

Philippines, Manila - people

Philippines, Manila - smiley

Philippines, Manila - street art

Philippines, Manila - Tagaytay
Tagaytay view over Taal Volcano Island

Philippines, Manila - taxi driver asleep
Taxi driver asleep

Philippines, Manila - traffic
Pollution

Philippines, Manila - karaoke
Last night in Manila with new friends and karaoke

Climbing in Hungary

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The last weekend I finally started my climbing season for this year. Together with some new friends from Hungary I went to Csókakő in the Vértes mountains, which is about 1½ hour with car from Budapest. The rocks here are limestone and the routes are around 20 meters with fixed bolts rather far apart from each other in some cases. Difficulty levels vary but most of the routes that have grade VII to VIII also have overhangs, which suits strong climbers.

The mountains here are not so tall, around 350 meters, but the scenery is still rather beautiful with the Csókakő Castle just next to the climbing area; but without climbers and tourists walking the same paths.

Csókakő Castle in Hungary

Vértes Mountains in Hungary

Csókakő climbing

Vértes mountains with full moon

Cyprus pictures

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I recently rented a car here on Cyprus and did a road trip with a friend to explore the island. Cyprus is very small and it takes about 4 hours to cross the island with a car, so during the 3 days we were on the road we saw most of the country. The views here are very varied with coastline, mountains, small villages, medieval ruins and big national parks. Here are some of the pictures of Cyprus from this trip:

Cyprus tractor
Somewhere in the mountains on a random detour

Cyprus peninsula
Peninsula near Polis & Venus bath

Polis Cyprus
Again near Polis

Cyprus food
Plate with mixed seafood

Cyprus shoes
Lonely shoe on a beach near Polis

Cyprus harbor
Polis harbor in sunrise after waking up in the car nearby

Cyprus fish boats

Cyprus sailboats

Cyprus road
Finally up in the mountains again

Cyprus mountains
Near an UN area up in the mountains

Troodos mountains

Bulgarian Martenitsa in Cyprus
Perfect place on a 1170 meter mountain peak to leave a Bulgarian martenitsa

Mount Olympus
Part of Mount Olympus

Priest

TRNC mosque
Mosque in TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus)

Turkish northern Cyprus
Near the border of the Turkish northern Cyprus (TRNC)

Occupy buffer zone
Occupy buffer zone, near border of TRNC

TRNC Cyprus
Again in TRNC

Car map
Car travel map with car keys and coffee

Potamia ruin
Medieval ruins in Potamia, near Polis

TRNC flag
TRNC flag on a hill in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Caterpillar Cyprus
Hill in Potania with thousands of caterpillars

Potamia Cyprus
Again Potamia

Stavravouni monastery view
Stavravouni monastery view, near Larnaca

Cape greko
Arriving to Cape Greko in perfect timing for the sunset

Cape Greco Cyprus
Again Cape Greko (or Cavo Greco) near Ayia Napa

Map Cyprus
Trying to understand where we have been, only managing to pinpoint about half of the places

Climbing Lakatnik again (Alpine Meadow)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Below are some pictures from yesterdays climbing, this time again in Lakatnik but climbing site Alpine Meadow.

Alpine Meadow river

Alpine Meadow walley

Alpine Meadow - cavers training

Alpine Meadow hut

Alpine Meadow in autumn colors

Alpine Meadow - autumn

Alpine Meadow hanging hut seen from below

Alpine Meadow river and trees

Alpine Meadow with village in the mist

Vitosha peak

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Yesterday I spend the day with some friends walking up to the peak of Vitosha mountain, just outside of Sofia. The weather was perfect and during the day we experienced everything from walking in t-shirt to light freezing with several layers of clothes. Although the weather was great there was not so many people up in the mountain, and because there are several trails up to the peak of Vitosha we mostly met people at the top. There, at 2290 meters elevation, we got warm lunch (lentil soup and kofta with lutenitsa) from a hut while enjoying the beautiful view of Bulgaria’s mountains around us.

Vitosha mountain

Vitosha

Mountains in clouds

The white mountains

Vitosha peak

Naked guy

Snowy peaks

Mountain in the clouds

Cloud mountain

Mountain forest

Foggy mountain

Mount vitosha

Lonely tree

Mountain trees

Mountain village