Tag Archives: life


Japan 2019

This gallery contains 12 photos.

When I went to Japan in 2016, I wanted to go back at some point. Little did I know that I’ll have the change only three years later, for a business trip. The life situation was so crazy different. Finishing … Continue reading

Hiking Laugavegur , Iceland

Hiking Laugavegur seem to be the hype since National Geographic published the top hikes one can do in the world and included Laugavegur. The hike is gorgeous and when you look at the distance – 55km- it doesn’t seem too strenuous. The hike can be completed in 2-4 days + an extra day if you decide to do the Fimmvörðuháls pass hike. I did the  Fimmvörðuháls pass in 2015 (from Skógar to Thorsmork) and decided that I wanted to do the rest on the way to see the solar eclipse in US. So what’s the trick? Is it hard? Well… it’s Iceland.

The distance or the elevation gain is not a major factor in this hike, the weather is. As long as you know this, you’re fine. And yes, albeit the hike is done in summer, that doesn’t mean it won’t snow. We found ourself in snowy conditions in day 2. Just prepare for it. Also for the fact that the temperatures will near 0 celsius at night.

How is the hike then?

Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker: 12 km

Lamndmannalaugar can be reached from Reykjavik via bus with no issues, we arrived early yet too late to go on the hike right away, so we spent the night. The campsite is quite popular for day hikes as well, so prepare for a big daily hikers crowd in the bathrooms. Yes it’s crowded. The ground itself, well when rainy, super muddy. We were lucky though and had little to no rain during our stay in Landmannalaugar. There’s plenty of options for day hikes and the surrounding rainbow colored rhyolite mountains.

Laugavegur, Iceland

Laugavegur, Iceland

Naturally we didn’t book the hut as ~70 euros per night on a bunk bet is just crazy. The campsite itself is busy and, but has some decent facilities like showers and plenty of toilets. No wind protected kitchen area though. Keep that in mind.

The hike to  Hrafntinnusker is mostly easy, gaining elevation very softly. Keep in mind though that Hrafntinnusker is the highest point of the trail, it gets snowy and orientation in snow could be tricky. The small memorial plate 1km from Hrafntinnusker, of a hiker who simply lost his track and froze to death so close to the hut, is a good reminder of that. The path is beaten by now. Unless there’s fresh snow, you should have no problem.

Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn: 12km

Hrafntinnusker is a very basic campsite, 12 km from Landmannalaugar,  and even in the middle of July we camped in the snow fields. No showers and make sure to come early to get one of  the small walls to shade your tent agains the wind. As it’s rather short distance to Alftavatn, a lot of peoople make it one stretch. I found the evening here beautiful though. Even thouigh it was snowing and raining. The campsite is much calmer than Landmannalaugar, naturally. Make sure to check the ice caves and thermal features nearby.  Keep in mind the temperatures here drop to zero in the middle of summer easily.

Laugavegur, Iceland

Laugavegur, Iceland

Alftavatn is 12 km from Hrafntinnusker and the navigation is very easy and the route well market.

Alftavatn to Emstrur: 15 km

Alftavatn is fairly well equiped campsite, including a restaurant! It’s a new thing, so we didn’t eat there as we didn’t know it existed. Most importantly though, there is a small common room, where you can escape the elements. It might seem silly, but as we arrived to the campsite, it got extremely windy and rainy. Escape to the indoor warmth was very welcome. Keep in mind there’s scarcity of rocks along the lake you’ll be camping at, hence no wind-breaks and all the stones you can find are used to secure the tents. Come early and you get the stones, come late… well your loss. Oh there’s a guitar on the wall, we ended up making friends with random people just playing and singing as that’s the best way to pass the bad weather. There are showers and no wind shade for cooking.

From Alftavatn onwards, there are river crossings. It sure depends on the weather, but we found most of the crossings okay. There are tips on where to cross the deeper of the rivers, shared in the hut. If in doubt, just ask, they will give you recent info. In our case, we had to remove pants as the water reached mid tight. The current wasn’t very strong.

Emstrur to Thorsmork: 16 km

Emstrur is a tricky place to camp at  as the hit is set on a hill. Make sure to arrive early to sleep on a flat surface. There are really beautiful hikes around. Should the weather permit, make sure to check the canyon! The campsite has showers which are insanely busy, so prepare for long queues. It took me an hour to get into the shower. Well people should realize they don’t need to smell like pristine flowers…

Laugavegur, Iceland

Laugavegur, Iceland

The hike tho Thosrsmork is mostly really easy terrain, though upon arriving to Thorsmork, there’s a little trick… pass the Volcano huts campsite, which is pricy all the way to Botnar. Bus goes from there as well, the campsite is less crowded, offers fantastic common room to cook in and is less expensive. All wins! No long waits for the shower and crowd is behind in the Volcano hut campsite! Oh and if you have time, just spend time in the valley. It’s gorgeous!

Gear for Laugavegur

I try to go as light possible while hiking as I cary a heavy camera. That being said, I was quite unsure if my setting will be good enough for Laugavegur. Well it worked well! So in case you wonder what essentials I pack…

Tarptent single rainbow … now that was the biggest unknown as I wasn’t sure if one layer tent will do the job. It worked. Make sure to position is along the wind smartly. It withstood conditions some of the normal tents had trouble with!

Warmpeace Viking 600 sleeping bag … czech site, sorry. Incredibly warm three season light backpack. I was never cold in it, despite the snow outside.

Thermarest NeoAir Xlite  super light, perhaps the best sleeping mattress I ever owned.

Pinnacle Soloist GSI just enough food for myself. Two people would struggle.

Var2 stove which can use Coleman gas cartridges, available in Reykjavik (you can get the click Campingaz there as well). Light and does the job.

Hiking poles: anything goes. Got mine at Decathlon.

Rain gear: Hardshell jacket, rain pants & gloves as well as backpack cover. And I don’t believe in ponchos. I simply don’t think they work.

Long underwear completely from Merino. Icebreaker is my go to brand. Just really stock yourself on Merino.

Most importantly: leave anything cotton home!

Everything depends on your personal preference, but I managed to stuff everything into 45+10l backpack which I purchased at a waterfowl hunting backpack for sale site. Weight ~20kg including water daily.

Happy Laugavegur hiking!


Backpacking on Cabo Verde

I must admit, when I bought the flying ticket to Praia, Santiago, I didn’t think very deeply about it. I knew I wanted to get to Fogo island, as there’s a volcano, not too different from Teide. After I got the flying ticket, I started to search for information and realized, there is little if some. Which is actually the reason I’m writing this down. Maybe it’ll help somebody who has decided to do similar trip.

First of all, Cabo Verde is a tourist destination, but majority of the tourists will go to Sal or Boa Vista, if they feel adventurous, they’ll go to Santo Antao. If you decide to go to Santiago, you’re pretty much out of tourist buzz. That brings good things and bad things. You certainly get some authenticity, but you don’t get by using other language than Portuguese or Creole. Forget about English.

One of the first things you might notice is the lack of tourist guides and maps. There’s only one chapter of the Lonely planet guide to West Africa. Luckily enough they sell pdfs of the sole chapters individually, so one doesn’t have to spend unnecessary money on the whole book. The chapter has 30 pages and it’s nearly not enough. Though, you’ll get some tips out of there, considering what to see etc.

Transport between the islands

Most of the islands have airport, exception being Brava and Santo Antao. Santiago and Sal have international ones, so that might be your entry point to the country. Both of them issue visa on arrival. If you want to do little bit of island jumping, there are two options: boat and plane. I met quite a few people who went by boat to Fogo, all of them claiming that they go back by plane. Plane is not that much more expensive, if you book directly on TACV website. If you book in advance, you end up with something like 100 euro for a return trip Santiago – Fogo. According to locals, not a bad price. Boat was 70 euro. Some travel Cabo Verde pages will claim that you might have troubles with booking and offer to book for you for 10 euros. Skip that, at least with Safari and paying online by Visa, I had no problem.


I had trouble getting maps for any place in Cabo Verde.  You can get decent hiking maps for Santiago in a souvenir store in Plateau in Praia (close to the end of the main pedestrian road, the end with lyceum), for Fogo, the maps are available in Zebra travel in Sao Felipe . The towns… well, people rarely use street names there, city maps won’t get you anywhere. Deal with it, it’s hard only during the first day.


Santiago is not prepared for tourists. Yes they do have quite a few fancy hotels, occupied mostly during volcanologists conferences, but the budget options are scarce and probably will be.  I found my accommodation in Praia through AirBnB, Brothers & Barros Hostel, newly opened hostel with nicely clean rooms for 20 euro/night. If you happen to get the tip from here, say hi to Danilson, the owner, from Jana from Czech republic. The hostel is not located on Plateau, but you can get there easily by public bus (they have quite convenient system of buses in Praia, once you figure which number goes where).  Plus, you cannot get more authentic than this. Don’t forget to get a fish on a street corner grill. It’s the best one I had, and costs only 2 euros.

The situation on Fogo is slightly better, still there are not many places to choose from. I went for Pensao Las Vegas as it was the cheapest option (20 euro/night), but if the next time, I’d go for Casa Beiramar, slighly more pricey, but worth it (read further). Both are located in the old town, so you’re pretty much in the center of everything, close to the markets etc.

Hiking and sightseeing on Santiago

If you decide to hike on Santiago, you’ll likely be the only hiker on the path. There are two hiking areas, national park Serra Malagueta and Rui Vaz, above Sao Domingues. In Serra Malagueta, you can even pick up very non- accurate map, but the guys from the local visitor’s center will show you the way and let you pay couple of ECV for the entrance. Not a big deal, but you’ll have to guess big part of the hike. Luckily enough, it’s circular. But the surroundings are stunning. Area around Rui Vaz is also really nice. You can just get of the bus in Sao Domingues, hike up to Rui Vaz (road) and from there, go to Sao Jorge, where is a small botanical garden. It’s a stunning hike amongst beautiful rock formation, but check out WikiLoc (I marked the path there). There are few path markers, but don’t rely on them. The botanical garden is free.  You’ll be able to catch a bus in Sao Lorenzo, on the main road, otherwise taxi it is. Buses from praia cost about 3.5/4.5 euro one way.

Serra Malagueta, Santiago

Serra Malagueta, Santiago

There’s also a nice walk from Cidade Velha to Fortaleza above the city. All in all, Cidade Velha is worth visiting, it takes just 15 minutes from Praia to get there. But bear in mind, the bus doesn’t go from the main ‘bus station’ in Sucupira market, but from Terra Branca. The bus costs approximately 1 euro.

Hiking around Fogo

Fogo is easily a hikers paradise. But, there’s but… In November 2014, the volcano exploded and buried two villages, which served often as a base camp for hikers, under the lava. Sad for locals, sad for hikers. The prices for a simple hike therefore rocketed up because of the cost of transport. You sure can rent a car there, but at 80 euros/day you just don’t want too. Hiring a driver for the whole day will cost you the same. Besides he know where to go and knows  how to drive on those stony roads. If you want to arrange a trip, your bet is Casa Beiramar, Mustafa, the owner is a climber/mountainer and loves Fogo. He can help you arrange a hike or climb anywhere on the island. He’s got some accomodation up in Cha de Caildeiras… well, rebuilding now, so even the trip to the peak will be doable with him again. He arranged a drive around the island for me, with a stop  for a hike amongst the coffee plantations in Moisteros, 80 euros for the whole day. Transport to Caldeiras, without the facilities can be also arranged there. Without guide, 50 euros.

Sulphur, Fogo

Sulphur, Fogo

Needless to say, it’s not cheap, but if you don’t know your way around (you most likely don’t as the inaccuracies are big), it might easily be an only option. I did the hike above the new explosion, which was memorable, but little bit short. A recommendable hike might be Bandeiras, hiking along the rim of the big caldera.  Sadly at the current prices, it’s 140 euros, which for me alone was way over my budget.


It’s sub-saharian Africa and you should act accordingly. While on Fogo, every crime rises attention, in Praia, petty crime is arising. I wouldn’t go around alone at night, but otherwise the country felt reasonably safe.


All in all the general cost of things

  • flight between the islands 100 euros
  • Accomodation 20 euro/night cheapest
  • taxi praia intl – city center 10 eur
  • public transport in Praia 40 cents/ride
  • Local transport half the Santiago island for 5 euros
  • moderate restaurant 6 euro/dinner
  • cup of coffee around 1 euro



Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan, July 2014

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Saying that you’re spending your holidays traveling through Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan usually raises one question: ‘Why?’ Let this gallery be a perfect answer to it. You go to Kyrgyzstan for the gorgeous mountains and to Uzbekistan to see beautiful ancient … Continue reading

How to travel to Maldives backpack style

Okay, Maldives are considered as a super posh and expensive location and I cannot disagree. But getting there is actually not impossible, since from 2011, locals got opportunity to build also ‘low-cost’ hostels on islands inhabited by them. That comes with couple of pros and cons. Pro is: a night in the hotel, including breakfast is around 60$. Cheap for Maldivian standards, where the price per night in the cheapest resort usually starts at 150$. Cons: well, for once, if you want to have beautiful reef of pristine beach nearby, the Maafushi island (pretty much only one with hostels) is not perfect, so you’re spending money on trips anyway (approx. 50$ per trip per person).

There is also one more thing to consider. If you’re traveling to Maafushi, have in mind that locals are Muslims. They’re very tolerant and won’t tell you anything bad, but you shouldn’t run around in bikini. If you go to the beach, cover yourself and undress at the beach. I’ve seen people (unfortunately also czech) who were waaay out of line in terms of clothes. Nobody told them anything, but the amount of skin and everything else visible was just okay maybe for the nudist beach. This also means that you won’t get alcohol anywhere on the islands.

How we did it and how much it cost?? 
We have already been on Sri Lanka, so we decided to buy flying ticket to Maldives there. Return costs around 100 euro, which is fairly okay price. We (czechs) don’t need visa, so no additional cost there. The fun thing is: you get to Male, but from there, it’s an hour to get to Maafushi. You can either play rich and pay for speed boat ($100 per ride) or you can take local ferry ($1 per person per ride). Ferry goes once per day, so it might mean quite an overlay in Male. Which is the funniest capital every – you can go around in 30 minutes.

We stayed for three nights and paid for two trips – one to sand bank, which we had literally to ourselves and one to the picnic island Maadhoo. Maadhoo had the downside of many tourists from resorts going there for picnic, but once you walk little bit away from the elderly couples, you’re okay. Sand bank cost $50 and picnic island, including the lunch around  $95. Taking into account all the souvenirs and dinners we had, the total cost of our tree day trip to Maldivas was approx. 300 euro. So if you happen to be around, it pays of to stop by, just for the experience…

Traveling around Sri Lanka

I’ve spent two amazing weeks on Sri Lanka, visiting as many places as possible and I just want to write little feedback on the places… for the future reference I guess. Overall impression was really cool. It’s the kind of place you have to like. It reminded me of India, but of the good things from India – like good food and ridiculous ways to get around. On the other hand, people are not so pushy as in India and usually it took only one ‘no thanks’ to the tuk-tuk driver to go away. The whole island provides an unique opportunity to jump from jungle to highlands and to dry tropics in the next moment. And I loved that diversity. We also tried very diverse attractions, so if you’re interested, read ahead…

Kandy is essentially a gate to the region called in tourist guides as the Hill country. The city itself is quite big, easily reachable from pretty much everywhere by bus (one arrives on rather chaotic bus station) or train (from Colombo or from other towns in Hill country). The lake itself is nice and the Temple of Tooth is well… I wasn’t very excited about that, since in my opinion I saw much more beautiful buddhist temples (for free) and this was simply overpriced tourist attraction (1000Rs). Plus you don’t get to see the relic anyway. Much more interesting was Peradeniya botanical garden. Lots of flowers, trees and fruit bats. Walking through there is like walking through the calm oasis, totally cut out from the world outside. But one has to take the bus there from Kandy, it’d be rather long walk along the main road, which is with local drivers skills really risky.

Also called Lion’s rock. The signature place of Sri Lanka, protected by UNESCO with entrance priced accordingly. $35!!! It’s worth going in the afternoon, since by the evening, you see all the amazing colors the Sun draws on the rock. If you’re aiming for the stunning ancient ruins, you might be disappointed. The murals are very impressive though. The rock ascent is not hard, but the vertigo can be annoying. The views are simply stunning. All in all I still think it’s little bit pricey for what you see, but a place not to miss.

Here goes the place for impressive ruins. The old city is hidden in the forest, which makes it a nice walk, I kind of don’t understand why both Rough guide and Lonely Planet suggest renting a bike. With bike you’ll have hard time access some of the cool but more hidden places. And some of the nicest views. I was deeply impressed by Gal Vihara, statues of Buddha carved into the big rock. Especially the reclining Buddha has a very serene face… and all the texture of the rocks. Simply breathtaking. Also the dagobas were impressive, mostly in size. I really liked the snow white appearnce of Kiri Vihara. While the entrance to the ruins is also quite pricey ($30), it’s totally worth it. Also, don’t forget the ruins by the lake. They’re for free and very nice too.

Adam’s peak – Sri Pada 
One advice here – don’t go out of the season. While the weather in most parts of Sri Lanka might work even out of the season, this is not the place to be during the monsoon.  When it rains, it pours. That pretty much ruined our chance of night ascent. And unfortunately we didn’t have extra day for another try and the guest house (White house) was a nightmare to stay in (don’t go there unless you’re mold lover). I hiked one third up in the morning, but the humidity was killing me. So yeah, next time in the season.

Lake on the way from Dalhouse to Hatton

Horton Plains
National park, hence the entrance is annoyingly expensive. Including the tuk-tuk ride from Haputale, we paid 4500Rs for the whole trip, per person. Be sure to go very early in the morning, since the weather sucks in the afternoon. The main attraction is 9 km hike, mostly on flat surface with an easily visible trail. There you encounter Baker’s falls – quite nice waterfalls, and two major viewpoints – Poor Man’s World’s End and World’s End. One smaller and one bigger. Both of them are pretty impressive. Prepare for the chilly weather and mist. The guide book said it’s a cool place for bird watching, but honestly, we were glad that the mist was not much thicker 😉 In general, very nice place which I’d recommend.

Haputale – Lipton’s seat
Essentialy a viewpoint which is not that easy to reach. You can walk, but the asphalt road is just not ‘the’ hiking surface. One can also go by tuk-tuk, I have no idea about the price, since for us, it was included in the Horton Plains trip. The views are incredible. Tea is stretching everywhere and in the distance, one can see Udawalawe lake. There’s also a small tea shop on the top. The place itself is for free, which is nice.

Haputale – Dambatenne Tea Factory
Only tea factory opened for tourists. If you go too early in the morning, you won’t see anything, if you go to late, same story… The entrance fee is moderate, 250Rs and officially one can’t take pictures inside. Well, officially. It’s really cool to see how the cup of tea I drink every morning, is made. It takes surprisingly long time. But don’t buy local tea there, buy it anywhere else, here it’s ridiculously overpriced – around 1000Rs for the same stuff which costs 100Rs in Haputale.

Bambarakanda Falls
Well, we stopped here on the way from Haputale to Udawalawe. I don’t think it’s worth the trip solely on purpose of seeing this waterfall. I mean, it’s nice and tall. You can ‘swim’ there, in the tiny lake for a moment and you can take a picture of you standing under the waterfall. And that’s it. Also they apparently started to build some stairs there which might mean that at some point, there’s gonna be an entrance fee.

Udawalawe National Park safari
Prepare to spend a lot of money here. Jeep safari costs around 6000Rs per person (all taxes included) and you can’t go in without the jeep. For a good reason – there are wild animals running around. There are a lots of elephants, so those are sure thing when you go there. Also herds of water buffalos. But don’t rise your hopes for leopard. They’re in Yala. Here in Udawalawe, there are some, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see them. But there’s a lot of bird species and crocodiles, monitor lizards… And no matter what, hire a guide. They can point out animals you would miss in a blink of an eye. I think this safari was worth the price.

Rekawa is ‘the place’ for turtle watching. Well, people are usually staying in Tangalla and then pay like 2000Rs per person to go to Rekawa to watch turtles lay eggs. The deal is, if you go to Rekawa on your own, the beach is public, so are the turtles… and it’s not very hard to find them, since they’re surrounded by tourists paying to get there with the agency. The problem is, for whatever reason, the agency wants to charge you, if you just walk around. Strange huh? And from what we saw, people in big group waiting for turtle and taking pictures. Well I’d say I pass.

The Fort is the major tourist attraction in Galle. Tourists concentrate there which means high prices of everything. Though the accommodation is doable on a budget. If you aim for souvenirs, just go outside the Fort and there is Lakana (or what’s the name) store, which essentially provides goods to the stores in Fort. They have bargain prices. If you’re into shopping, one of the builings in Fort harbors factory outlet. You can get Gap, Tommy Hilfiger etc. on ridiculous prices (10 euros per pants and remember, the outlet still makes money!!!). But the outfits for chicks are scarce, guys are more likely to be lucky there. The tags on the clothes are simply cut, co nobody can really resell it in a brand store. In Galle, we found an amazing restaurant called Crepeology. We paid 4000Rs for two people, including the desert, but the place was superb. I wouldn’t stay in Galle for more than a day, since it seemed little bit boring.

And that’s it. Anybody interested in the accommodation rating from me, check Trip Advisor. Also a good advice. While moving around he coast etc, buses are nice cheap alternatives for everything. But once you go to hill country, getting from one spot to another might take the whole day, so think about renting a tuk-tuk. We got one for 7000Rs (40 euro) for two days and if you think about that, it’s not a lot of money. And you got the freedom of stopping anywhere you want…

My first Mexican impressions

Okay, I don’t want to write about how you should walk around in Coyoacan in the evening or visit Teotihuacan. I just want to express my first  impressions of Mexico city and those little things that made me stop and think for a moment.

First thing you realize: the place is crowded. Let’s put it this way, my whole life, I was living in cities with less than 1,000,000 inhabitants… my country of origin has 10 milion people and here? There’s almost thrice as much on an area comparable to Tenerife. That’s a huge crowd. It’s actually little bit scary. Especially the area around Museo de la bellas artes and Zocalo. Geez, so many people everywhere. It feels overwhelming. On the other hand, I’m staying in Coyoacan, really nice residential area which feels surprisingly safe. There is not that many people and they just hang around, sit on the benches and enjoy living.

With a lot of people comes the need to transport them. I admit, I didn’t get the buses, meaning the local ones, the big ones going outside of the city are pretty obvious. Metro, or underground if you want, seems to be pretty convenient way of transportation here. It can get awfully crowded (really like the human equivalent of sardines can), but it’s nicely cheap (3 pesos… which is like 20 cents, and with that you can cross the whole city if you have the time :D). One peculiar thing about the metro are the sellers . They sell everything from sweets to USB sticks. Usually up to 10 pesos. The best ones are with huge speakers, playing some kind of music and selling the CDs. The sellers get on the train at one stop and get out on the following one.  It’s quite fun to observe the stuff they sell.

Quite unusual for me is the way to get food. Supermarkets are simply not that common here, therefore you just buy water and drinks on the street and other stuff somewhere on the market. It seemed strange to me at first, but one can easily get used to it. The other thing is just getting lunch on the street. I guess there might be certain health risk, but if I’ve survived India, I can survive this. Tacos or quesadillas cost like 15 pesos (1 euro) and one is good enough for me as a lunch. And it’s sinfully good.

Well… more to come, stay tuned and enjoy my picture of Pyramide del Sol in Teotihuacan, just before the rain started…

Pyramide del Sol



100+1 reasons to dislike Iberia

Okay, to be fair, I don’t have 100+1 reasons, but I have couple of very good reasons. And it piled up a lot from the beginning of the year.

Strikes!!! yes, everybody has the right to strike, cool. But I have a very strong opinion, when airlines go on strikes and practically use their customers as hostages. I mean, okay, you go and cancel you’r domestic flights, fair enough, people still have trains etc. But if you cancel long haul flight, you might cause serious troubles. But whatever… I was flying on the day of strike, and till the last moment, I had no idea if my flight is cancelled or not. And when I called the customer service, the lady practically laughed saying that she has no clue. For god’s sake, if Lufthansa is on strike, they immediately start rebooking people on different flights, Iberia is just on holidays and customer service is useless. And honestly, if you take your work so lightly, I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of people in Spain, who would take your job and would not go on strike!

Cancellations… in March, I’ve learned, that my flight to Tenerife Norte was cancelled. Well not only my flight, they just decided to cut that line on work days. Instead they offered my flight to Tenerife Sur. Not a big deal if you’re living on the island? Oh it is, if you arrive at 11 p.m. to airport 80km from your home and there’s no decent transportation… you’re screwed. And guess what, Iberia is unable to pay for your transport. When I asked if they can pay for my taxi, they declined, saying that I agreed with the change. What the hell I was supposed to do? I asked if they would pay for my hotel in Madrid, if I was waiting for the flight to Tenerife Norte next day. No they wouldn’t. This has no excuse whatsoever.

Poor inflight service here’s the fun comparison. Flight between Munich and Madrid takes 2:05 hours, Flight between Madrid and Tenerife Norte takes 2:50 hours. From Munich, I fly Lufthansa and I got full warm meal, selection of drinks including wine and beer and smiling staff. From Madrid, I fly Iberia, I got nothing, if I manage to catch the flight attendant during the flight, I can ask for a glass of water, but I have to be specific, glass, not just water, since just water, you get a bottle, which you have to pay.  On top of that, the flight attendants are often acting as they’re not there, which is really charming in the case when the plane is full of some school trip full of yelling kids, while the rest of plane somewhat feels like sleeping. I’m not saying they should be giving full meals, but for Gods sake, something to drink, or even active offering of the water would not hurt the company!!! And okay, i.e. Air Europa doesn’t give you meal or drinks either, but their approach is much nicer.

Customer service… I’m honestly suspecting that they know how bad they are, hence they don’t have any contact e-mail on the web page. Or it is so hidden that I haven’t discovered it. You have to call. If you call, it takes them a while to catch somebody who speaks English (how the hell is that possible, if you can sort of guess you might have international clientele) and then, the person is usually completely unable to solve you’r problem. Fun right? So far, I’ve needed to deal only with customer services of Iberia, Lufthansa, British Airways and KLM. Guess which one is the winner of the ‘most useless’ trophy.

And I’m pretty sure that there are people who have flown with Iberia on long haul flights who would have a lots of comments on how bad they are.

Here’s the thing, I don’t care only about getting from point A to point B. I travel a lot, so I also want to be treated nicely. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like low-costs. But with Iberia, I feel like I’m getting really shitty value for a lot of money. I guess, yesterday’s flight was the last one on their board (if I can help it). And so far, I have at least three trips ahead of me, none of them will be with Iberia, which makes me feel good. And yes, I’m biased towards Lufthansa… but considering I’ve tried (almost, just to be on a safe side) every major european airline, I think my preference is based on some significant experience. KLM is right behind them, though they’re funny with the new charged for check-in luggage. So if you fly frequently… just avoid Iberia.


Teide hike for sunrise

Okay, here is the deal. I love mountains. The older I get the more I like them. I’m not sure when did this transition happen but it did. I’m lucky enough to live close to 3.718 m peak – Pico del Teide, which is one of the bigest volcanos on the Earth (third after Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea). I finally managed to climb it with couple of friends at the beginning of April. We decided to star overnight in Refugio Altavista and hike up early in the morning to see the sunrise.

As for the hike, it’s easier than I thought it’d be. The road to Montaña Blanca is easy and from there to Refugio, it’s just little bit steeper, and the altitude eventually starts to call for your attention, but we’re reached Refugio surprisingly quickly. The only downfall of Refugio is that the water is not good for drinking and the beds are singing their annoying song through the whole night. The second part of the hike is not bad either. We had full moon so no need for flashlights, except for couple of parts in shade. We even had snow, which is quite impressive here.  If you keep slow and continuous pace, it takes an hour and half to get on top.

And then… you’re there. On the highest peak around and all you see is wonderfully colored sky and islands peeking from the clouds. The new day is born in a blink of an eye and everything is suddenly colored in the warm tones of orange. And you stand there, overlooking the world and feeling free. Feels like you can just spread your arms and fly… yes maybe that’s why I like mountains.

The spine of Tenerife just moments before the sunrise

Shadow of Teide, cast on the ocean

Shadow of Teide, cast on the ocean

Deviously artistic

Okay, here’s the deal. It’s not that I can’t pick a page where to keep my photos, it’s just complicated :) Here, I tend to upload galleries from the trips I made. I want to document the places a little bit, selecting the best shots, but sometimes keeping ones just for ‘informative values’. The single shots are fun thing, since those I usually play with a little more, but I fail to keep them in some organized gallery. So thinking about this for quite same time, I remembered that a while ago, I created an account on deviantArt. Turns out, this is the perfect thing. So feel free to visit my profile http://janapka.deviantart.com/ to check out my gallery, which consist of the shots I’m particularly proud of :) It’s mostly landscape photographies since it’s my favorite. Feel free to comment, criticize etc.