Trongsa, BhutanTrongsa, BhutanNew

Trongsa – travelling back in time into a valley going crazy

I saw excitement, sparkling eyes and at the same time a reverent expression in the face of our guide Tenzin, when he spoke to a local monk in a monastery at the entry of the Trongsa Valley. It was joy, but not just joy. Maybe a little similar to a small boy waiting at Christmas Eve to be allowed to see the tree with all the candles and the strong believe that Santa is about to bring some presentsโ€ฆ

The big excitement: the blessing

So what was this all about? โ€œA blessing is being held at the Dzong tomorrow.โ€ was the explanation. โ€œIs this blessing something special to the people?โ€ I wanted to know. โ€œYes, very special! The monk is very famous. There will be a lot of people. It will be difficult to park the car.โ€ Difficulties to park the car seems to be a global topic, even in a remote valley in Bhutan. โ€œNo problem at all to walk. Will it still be possible to visit the Dzong then?โ€. Since the Bhutanese people are very open to visitors, it did not seem to be any problem at all. So we were curious.

The next morning, the atmosphere was somehow busy but at the same time very calm and patient.

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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 โ€“ the country, not the gas *smiley smiling* . But where exactly is it? And wasnโ€™t it a country which does not let travelers in, or only a limited number? How can you communicate there โ€“ 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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Galapagos, EcuadorGalapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos – two more nights in nature’s paradise and what to take away

We are leaving the boat after 5 packed days. So many impressions of the landscape, the wild animals above and below water.

Our heads are still circling around what we had the chance to see on the Galapagos islands. And we might still need a few days more to fully grasp, what made it so special to us. We just arrived on island of Santa Cruz. There is a small village and it does not belong to the National Park area. We stay another 2 nights here, walking to nearby beaches and looking at the local market. The first time on this trip we have the freedom to just while away a day.

Walking to a local coffee place, we pass by the really small fish market of the town. 6 stalls in a small U-shape directly at the waterfront. More or less stone tables, painted in blue. Locals debating about the prices for the catch of the day.

Behind some stalls on the walls sit a few pelicans. They keep a close eye on the scenery. Sometimes even make an attempt to jump over to the fish tables. But get chased away quickly by the local sellers.

While everybody focuses on the Pelicans, it happens…

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Galapagos, EcuadorGalapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos – sea lions, blue-footed boobies, flamingos and much more wildlife up close

Sometimes it’s hard to put experiences into words. Galapagos put’s up this challenge. And it’s not about finding the “right” words, but to find words at all.

We are no biologists. Otherwise we would have cared more for the details. The differences Darwin discovered between some birds on the various islands. Tiny differences in their wings and bill.

We pay more attention to the broader scale…

How different wild animals react when being well protected. Not running, swimming or flying away. No fear. But rather curiosity. Unfortunately they can’t talk. Or at least we can’t understand them.

From their looks we read questions “What are you?”, “Why are you here?”. And sometimes even commands to “Play with me!”.

I jump into the water for snorkeling. Ice cold, thanks to the Humboldt stream.

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