Posts tagged ‘travel’

The difference between “Travel” and “Travel”

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

There are so many different ways to travel and every traveler have their own preferences and travel style. During the last years I have mainly traveled in two different ways:

Living like a local

This is what I do most of the time. I move to a city, find an apartment or room and live for several months in that city like a local. Now and then I set out on road trips to explore the country further.

Usually I get local friends which become my “base” group of people I hang out with. I meet new people now and then but the base group is important to build a relationship and a “normal” life, as well as getting past the standard subjects of discussion. These people are much more difficult to leave than the ones you meet while being on the road.

The “living like a local” approach is really convenient because this allows me to have a place to store my things and to relax between the explorations. At the same time I have the time and the possibilities to really get a feeling of the culture and every day life of the city, something that is difficult on short travels or while carrying a backpack.

Some examples of these “micro lives” I have lived are:

Party life in Berlin
Working with scuba diving in Egypt
Surfing in Gran Canaria
Outdoor sports in Bulgaria

Being on the road

Whenever I have a vacation I like to be on the road. This should ideally be in a period where I don’t need to check my mail or answer the phone. The trip usually starts with a vague plan: either just a starting point or an idea of a goal point, but with no guarantee or requirement to reach it. This is total freedom for me, just going with the flow and improvising depending on the events that happen on the way, from moment to moment. A perfect way to do it is to hitch hike, making it impossible to know your next destination or who will be the next person you will meet. When you don’t plan, you meet amazing people and open your eyes even wider to new small realities hiding in this big world.

One negative thing with being on the road is that you need to carry all your belongings with you at all time. Because I am traveling with everything I own in my backpack this can be inconvenient and take away a bit of the feeling of freedom that this travel style is otherwise giving. Whenever possible I try to leave the things that I don’t need at a friends place if I know I will return to the same country after being on the road, or if I know I don’t need the things in my near future. When being on the road the ideal is to only carry clothes for the current weather in the area/s where you are passing by. Also there is no need for a lot of the things that you use in your every day life living like a local. The amount of packing should be connected with how far you will travel, and how. If you travel short distances from time to time and with no plan to cover a big distance, then that hammock can be worth packing. But if you are moving on every day with the idea just to see how far you can get then only pack the most life saving things and put away your comfort zone for a while.

Another big difference between living like a local and being on the road is that on the road you meet new people all the time. This is exciting for a period of time but tiring in the long run. If you travel together with somebody the situation is more easy as you have the option from day to day to either spend time together or to meet new people, as well as taking a timeout from each other. When you travel with somebody you have the opportunity to share all the experiences  as well as having a person that will understand what you have been through after the trip is finished. If you instead travel alone you can enjoy making all the decisions by yourself and being totally self dependent with unlimited possibilities to improvisation. I try to mix them to have a nice balance.

Examples of excellent “road trips” were:

Living and traveling in Greece
Road trip to Swaziland
Road trip through Israel, Palestine & Jordan

So what is your travel profile?

Travel style: living like a local (well, penthouse local in this case)

Travel style: being on the road (sleeping in hammock)

Alexandria pictures

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

After Cairo I decided to see Alexandria which many Egyptians had recommended to me. Alexandria is a big city, like Cairo, but situated next to the sea. What I liked most about this city was the local market and the incredibly fresh and tasty market food.

Again, more Egypt pictures, this time from Alexandria:

Alexandria beach

Alexandria harbor

Alexandria boat

Alexandria fish market
Fish market in Alexandria

Boat building
Boat building

Alexandria barber

Alexandria car

Alexandria festival

Alexandria market

Alexandria fish

Alexandria food

Sugar factory Egypt
Fun map over Alexandria

Alexandria library
Alexandria’s new library with a lot of interesting museums inside

Egypt revolution pictures
Photographic exhibition with pictures of the Egyptian revolution

Egypt police

Alexandria cafe

Egypt to Jordan (Dahab to Petra)

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A lot of people continue east after Egypt/Dahab and most of them go to Petra. There are one-day-tours from Dahab for example for the people who want to do it the easy way. These cost a bit more then 200 euro and will let you stay in Petra a total of 3 (!) hours. Instead of this I recommend you to stay in Petra for a few days, and here is how to do it:


Egypt to Jordan

To travel to Jordan from Egypt is most easy done with the ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aqaba in Jordan. There are two ferries with departures every day:

Fast ferry (1 hour), price 70 USD.
Slow ferry (3 hours), price 60 USD.

In Nuweiba you can only pay your ferry tickets in USD while in Aqaba you can use both USD and JOD. If you plan to go back the same way you will save money buying a return ticket at the same time.

On top of the ferry price you have to pay around 5 euro in departure tax. As with all transportation in Egypt, count with delays.

To go to Nuweiba, take the bus from Dahab which costs 1½ euro. From Cairo, the cost of the bus to Nuweiba should be around 10 euro.


Entry visa for Jordan

A normal entry visa for Jordan cost 30 USD but if you enter through Aqaba (with the ferry like described above) you get a free visa to Jordan. Get the visa on board the ferry. In other case you only have 48 hours to register with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority visa office after arriving, to get the free visa.


Aqaba to Petra

After arrival to Aqaba the best thing is to stay there overnight (around 9 euro for a hostel) and wait for the bus, which costs 8 euro. If you decide to go to Petra directly by taxi instead, this will set you back around 30 euro.


Petra entrance fee

To get into Petra you need to buy an entrance ticket. The price of the ticket is 50 euro for one day, 55 euro for two days and 60 euro for three days.


Hostels in Petra

For a roof over your head in Petra, count with around 6-7 euro per night. It can be a good idea to book a hostel in advance to guarantee a place when you arrive.


Total price for Petra trip from Egypt

An estimated total price one way travel from Dahab to Petra including a 3 day ticket and hostel for three nights: 145 euro

Airline hubs

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

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Egypt needs your money

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Everybody here in Egypt are hoping for the tourists to come back. The locals are trying to spread the message that Egypt are now safe to be in, but everywhere you hear the same story: that people are afraid of traveling to Egypt. The economic crisis is a fact, specially in the cities that are entirely built up from tourism and totally dependent of it.

It is now 4 months since the Egyptian revolution took place. In Dahab, like the rest of Egypt, there is no trace of unsecureness or problems. Not even when the events were at their peak in Cairo were it visible in the other Egyptian cities, where life continued as usual. Still, people outside Egypt have got the impression from media that Egypt is unsafe to travel to right now. Not even after that the foreign governments took away their warnings not to visit Egypt the tourists returned.

This, together with the earlier freak accident with the shark attacks here, have taken Egypt to a really deep economic crisis. Only you, the tourists, can help them back on track.

Revolution in Egypt

Egyptian visas

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Two days ago I went to El-Tor to extend my Egyptian visa. This was even easier and cheaper then I thought. To start with, if you are in Sinai, take the bus from Sharm El-Sheikh to El Tor, which will take about one hour and cost around 1 euro. Then, take a taxi for less then one euro or walk 15 minutes to arrive at the place for all passport enquiries. Not so many people in this town speak English, so if you need to ask for directions you can show the note with text that I will put further down on this page (later).

At the passport office, fill in the English form which you can also find below, and leave together with a copy of your passport (the page with your photo + the page with your current visa). These copies you have to make before you arrive here, for example at the post office 500 meters away (costs 10 cent). The whole procedure at the government should take about 30 minutes and cost you 1 euro for a 1 or 3 month longer stay in Egypt. If you want to stay longer, it will cost less then 10 euro for up to a one year period.

The office is open 8 am to 3 pm every day except Fridays. When in El-Tor, take a random walking tour in this nice town. People here are incredibly friendly and the town reminds me visually more of India then Egypt.

Be aware that there are rumours in Egypt that after the new government, about a year from now, it will be more difficult to get a prolonged Egyptian visa. Also, it is possible you only will be allowed to stay for 1-3 months total within a one year period, depending on where you are from.

Things to take with you:  Passport and money (maximum 5 euro in EGP currency needed)

Egyptian visa application

Bus station Sharm El-Sheikh

Egyptian tea

Bus Sharm El-Sheikh to El-Tor

Egyptian street

Egyptian chair

Egyptian goats

Egyptian graffiti

Egyptian soda

Egyptian fruit

Egyptian clothing

Egyptian furniture

Egyptian market

Dasani

 

Egyptian women

Posters El-Tor Egypt

Aquafina

Dahab festival

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Yesterday was the last day of the Dahab Festival. This is a one week event with two festivals taking place at the same time, the Dahab International Festival of Water Sports, Culture and Desert Adventure and the Dahab Bedouin Festival. The idea of them both are to make the tourists come back to Sinai/Dahab, but instead of cooperating there is a small clash between the two festivals. The first one is organized by the Egyptian business owners and the second one by the local Bedouins, who actually were here first but now gets more and more pushed away. Still, they have the right to claim land wherever it’s possible to own for them self, which is the same pattern I saw also in Mozambique.

The pictures below are from the Homemade boat race, the Bedouin Festival, the Bedouin camel race and finally the [end of the] Bedouin Full moon party.

Dahab festival

Dahab snorkeling

Dahab scuba diving

Egypt pirates

Egypt festival

Dahab surfing

Bedouin Festival

Bedouin tea

Egyptian Bedouin

Nescafé Egypt - Bedouin style

Camels in desert

Dahab photos

Camels photo

Camel racing

Camel race

Egyptian flag

Egypt sunset

Dahab sunset

Bedouin bread

Meeting & leaving friends

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I meet people almost every week that I fall in love with. It can be very chilled out relaxed people, or people with interesting life goals and missions, or just very individual people that are fun to be around.

At the same time as I am very greatful for the chance to meet all these people, it gets very tiring to keep saying goodbye to them, knowing it will probably take years, if ever, to see them again.

I could choose to stay in one place, or to only travel between the countries where I have friends who I should visit, but if I do this I know I lack out of so many future friends from different cultures and backgrounds. The choice is mine and already taken, but it’s not always an easy choice.

In a near future I will probably choose one or two “base” cities in the world where I can come back more often between my travels, and where I can take care of long lasting relationships.

“Nice one mate” – Sam

Sharm El Sheikh to Dahab

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Sharm el Sheikh to Dahab

When travelling in some Arabic cities (and other places also of course) you need to be well informed or to be awake all the time, not to get tricked. This is sadly also the case in Sharm El Sheikh when you want to go to Dahab. It starts when you arrive at the airport (if you fly there) and the taxi drivers try to rip you off with high tourist prices. Also for me they tried to tell me that there is no bus to Dahab before 7 o’clock in the next morning and want to drive you all the way to Dahab instead (which will cost you about 150 EGP = 18 euro if you are good at bargaining). Later, when you arrive to the bus station in Sharm El Sheikh there are also what looks like official guards outside the station, because of how they are dressed. These people will ask you if you are on your way to Dahab, and then again tell you that there is no more bus for today and try to take you to their taxi friends instead. Most of the economics here (and way of thinking) is based on bringing people and favors to each other, which I will tell more about in a later post.

Here are some prices and information to help you on your way from Sharm El Sheikh to Dahab:

  • Taxi from airport to Sharm El Sheikh bus station:  45 EGP = 4,5 euro (for the whole taxi)
  • Bus from Sharm El Sheikh to Dahab:  15-20 EGP = 2 euro (per person)
  • Minitaxi (back of a pickup truck) from Dahab bus station to central Dahab:  5 EGP = 70 cent (per destination)

Travel time:  taxi about 20 minutes, bus 1 hour, minitaxi 5-10 minutes

Bus schedule / timetable for Sharm El Sheikh to Dahab:
6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 14:30, 17:00, 20:30

The bus can be delayed about one hour and you can only buy the ticket from the ticket office at the bus station when the bus have arrived. Be aware of pick pockets, specially when in “cue” to buy the ticket!

The pickup truck minitaxi you can also use when staying in Dahab. To do this, you can stop almost any pickup truck you see on the street and ask them to drive you to your destination. ONLY pay 5 EGP (or more if you want to give a tip) regardless of destination and wait with the payment until you arrive at your goal.

4 days in Brussels, Belgium

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

A lot of times I fall in love with a city within the first days. So was also the case with Belgium and its capital Brussels. This city is really multi cultural and hosts a lot of interesting and individual people. Also it’s very green, both with some beautiful parks and a lot of planted trees in the streets.

One funny surprise for me was the Balkan music trend that is big in Brussels right now, with festivals and private parties playing balkan music and people trying to imitate some of the dancing styles of the Balkan countries.

All in all what was supposed to be a long transfer just to learn a bit about Belgium turned out to really give me a wish for more!

Porte de Hal | Hallepoort

Place du Jeu de Balle

Everard t Serclaes

Belgian comics (mural street art)

Manneken pis

Window graffiti, Brussels

Brussels megaphone speech place

Beautiful lantern in pub

Jef Aerosol (Brussels)

Graffiti stairs

Beautiful houses, Brussels

Auberge - Brussels

Brussels graffiti

Graffiti Belgium

Brussels spring

Tee shop, Brussels

Graffiti Brussels

Brussels park

La Grand Place | Brussels plant market

Wall mural painting, Brussels

BBQ party on roof top