Gangtey valley, BhutanGangtey valley, Bhutan

Gangtey valley, farmhouses and a special walk to another festival

The city of Thimphu faded away behind us. We set off to explore the countryside of Bhutan.

Roads are always spectacular in this mountainous country. But today leads us above the Dolchua pass. 108 stupas in the front. The horizon dotted with several 7000+ meter high snow-capped mountains.

Arriving at the highest point of the road, we see the stupas. But where are the mountains?

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BhutanBhutan

Happiness – one-word description of peoples attitude in Bhutan

While many other cultures are steered along the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as an indicator for the development of the country, Bhutan takes a little bit a different approach.

Of course people in Bhutan are also motivated by and keep an eye on their financial situation, but overall many more factors are taken into account. Both on small scale by everybody individually as well as by the government.

First of all you can really see a feeling of belonging together between people on the streets, much more than in our western cultures. There is only a small number of people in the world speaking Zhongka (the local laguage) making conversations between each other a little different and makes them “special”, but its not only that…

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Thimphu FestivalThimphu Festival

Bhutanese festivals – THE yearly event for everyone in the valley

A buzzing atmosphere full of colors, smiling people, excitement to meet others, almost endless dances and music full of mystical aspects.

We were lucky to be in town while the Thimphu festival – one of the biggest in Bhutan – was on. Apparently the Tshechu is like Christmas, Easter and a city festival together for the Bhutanese living in the Thimphu valley. Months in advance people plan what they are going to wear. New clothes are being made. On the day itself, kids are often sent in the very early morning to reserve a place for the family, because literally EVERYBODY will go there, watch, meet and enjoy.

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Arrival in BhutanArrival in Bhutan

Bhutan – First Glimpse and the reason why we decided to go

Bhutan – the country, not the gas *smiley smiling* . But where exactly is it? And wasn’t it a country which does not let travelers in, or only a limited number? How can you communicate there – the national language is Dzongkha. Only 237 000 people (less than the population of Bonn) speak it and there are at least 18 other languages used in Bhutan. Will it be like traveling in China 20 years ago when speaking with hands and feet really became real for me. Or maybe completely different?

Well, join us on our adventure through the little kingdom in the Himalaya and you will find out on all the questions above and be amazed as we were how different this world is over there…

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Vision 2019+Vision 2019+

Vision 2019+

Time to refresh our Vision 2009 which got it all started about 10 years ago, when we planned our 6 months travel around the world.

Despite other rumors from people we know, there is still no risk of running out of ideas and motivation to travel. You can rather think about a time constraint we faced over the last years, but we have a mitigation idea…

Let us take you along, inspire you and bring the world out there a little closer to your home *smiley cool*

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Easter Island, ChileEaster Island, Chile

Rapa Nui by scooter – continued

Day 3

5:00am! We will definitely beat the crowds visiting the Moai at sunrise!

Unfortunately the sunrise is on the other side of the island, its pitch dark (no street lamps), the road has quite some pot holes, we have a scooter… and it is raining *smiley annoyed* Don’t ask how, but we made it well before any sun light was hitting the horizon and enjoyed a dramatic looking scenery

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Easter Island, ChileEaster Island, Chile

Rapa Nui by scooter

Time to say goodbye to the South American Continent…

After almost 6 flight hours (Boing 767, no small what so ever bird…*smiley winking* there was:

One thing to clarify, as we Germans tend to speak about “die Osterinseln” and some English speaking people “the Easter Islands”: It’s only one island – and some two or three very tiny islets – so singular it should be!

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Quito, EcuadorQuito, Ecuador

Up and down in Quito

Yes, we finally made it to Ecuador *smiley smiling*

On 2850 meters above sea level, Quito is already quite high. The altitude makes you feel old(er) when walking around or taking the stairs. The later one you will do a lot in Quito, as the city stretches well into the hills around.

We opted to stay in a nice double room in a hostel nearby the Old Town*. From there many sights are in walk-able distance and we immediately started to make use of this.

Spanish influence and language

Exploring the colonial center, you feel the strong Spanish influence. It is still present today in buildings, habits of people and of course the language.

Oh, talking about “language”: We now realize that not really learning at least some basic Spanish* before visiting Ecuador was not the best idea. You can make your way around using gestures and some English words. But we definitely put learning a proper level of Spanish on our list *smiley worried*

After strolling through the old colonial Quito we climbed even higher to earn our evening beer. Walking a lot of stairs in thin air and reveals breathtaking views over Quito after sunset…

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Germany, FrankfurtGermany, Frankfurt

Stuck in Heathrow…

Ironically after all the planning and preparation, we did not make it further than to London Heathrow on the first day. Ending up in on of the many nameless and similar hotels lined up there, both of us had seen during consulting projects in the last years.

What on earth had happened?

The flight from London to Madrid, from where we had a directly connecting flight to Quito was so much delayed, that it was clear we will miss the second one in Madrid. Initially we were very relaxed with 6 months free time ahead of us and already saw us sitting in a nice hotel in Madrid with a good glass of red wine – all paid for by British Airways – and taking the onward flight one day later.

Madrid or London for a night?

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Round the World, FarewellRound the World, Farewell

Farewell from friends, family and colleagues

With all the planning we wanted to do: done, our todo list getting shorter and our preparation as much completed as possible, we had to start the sad part…saying good bye to many friends, our families and colleagues at work, which we wouldn’t see for the next 6 months to come *smiley crying*

We don’t want to bother you with too many pictures of us over and over again with different people, but it was very good to feel so many people wanting to say “good bye” personally, making it much easier for us to leave and be sure not to be forgotten *smiley winking*

But not everybody could make it to our big(ger) farewell party…

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