Archive | July, 2012

Capture the Color Contest – Colors of Nature

The Capture the Color Contest is organized by Travel Supermarket and requires each blogger to choose 5 photos representing each color. The winner of each color category will win an iPad, and the overall winner will take home 2,000 GBP.

Photographs have the ability not only to evoke lost memories but also to lit up new emotions in those who admire them. This is achieved by using different techniques, ranging from the angle to the positioning of the light and shadows. However, one of the simplest but very effective ways to raise a certain emotion in the spectator is by using a dominant color.

Green

Hiking in Ingmarsö, Sweden

As we hiked in rainy Ingmarsö, Sweden, all I could think about is how incredibly green this little forrest was. By simply looking at this photograph, I can almost feel the cold and humidity. I remember walking and admiring the landscape, with no other sound than our boots sinking in mud and rain dripping on the trees’ leaves.

Blue

Glaciers in Argentina

Glaciers are one of my favorite natural phenomenas. So ancient and seemingly static – and still so alive. When traveling through Patagonia, I learned that the intensity of the blue depends on how compact the ice is. When the ice is very compact, it will absorb all light colors except for the blue, which is the color that is transmitted instead. The photograph reminds me of how my heart starts racing each time I hear a crack.

Yellow

Yellow Sunset in Thailand

Yellow was the most difficult category to choose for – it seems like I love taking yellow-colored pictures anywhere I go. I chose to go for the sunset in Thailand because, for me, it evokes the warmth and beauty of the country. That evening, I took over 50 shots – each of them reflecting an even darker and more dramatic shade.

White

Sweet Chirimoya in Cuba

When thinking of white, and mountain covered with snow is the first thing that popped into my mind. However, while browsing through my pictures, I came across this fruity shot I took last year in Cuba. I had been invited by work colleagues to celebrate the country’s richness in colors and tastes and immediately got captured by the sweetness of the chirimoya - A fruit that is said to taste like a combination of all tropical fruits in one and used to be reserved for royalty.

Red

The beauty of tulips is that they come in so many shapes and colors – there’s practically a tulip specie for every person. The Tulip Festival in Morges exposed more than 300 species, out of which these fire tulips were among my favorites. While flowers are usually associated with purity and romance, this species is rebellious, naughty and passionate. If you ever wonder what gift you should give me – these tulips are the answer.

How to Enter the Contest

Choose your best travel pictures for any (or all) of the five color categories (green, blue, red, white and yellow) and post them on your blog, linking to the contest details and nominate 5 other bloggers to participate at the end of your post. Don’t forget to let Travel Supermarket know you’ve entered the competition via Twitter, Facebook or E-Mail.

The deadline is the 29th of August!

Here are my five nominees:

Picture This: The Olympic Torch

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been very excited about the Olympics taking place in London. For me, the Games meant lots of traffic traffic, unpredictable tourists, a packed and sweaty underground, noise and even longer commuting… for a whole month.

I’m a person of wide open spaces, clean air and walking distances, you know.

This was until yesterday. Something changed. I’m not sure whether it was the beautiful sunny weather, the cheerful people waving their nations’ flags or my overall excitement of changing my career… but suddenly, I really feel like taking part of this mega event. I give myself in.

The Olympic Torch, London 2012

Not the best capture of the torch, but you can sort of guess it, right?

Starting with following the crowds to watch the torch relay cross my new neighborhood and continuing with not one but two tickets to the games, volleyball and boxing – I’m now an olympic convert.

PS: Did you notice that fancy subscription widget on the top right? You can now start receiving my blog updates right into your mailbox!

My First Video Clip: Waddling Penguins in Chile

Today has been a tough day, but I’ve learned a lesson: Never expect too much from me before 9am – I’m simply not a morning person, and if faced with important tasks at unbearable hours, chances are, I will get it all wrong. I’m pretty sure I’ve been sleep walking in the airport this morning. At least this could explain why I thought I had read North Terminal where it actually said South Terminal and why I was pretty sure my ticket stated 7:15am check in closure and not 7:00am (not that those 15 minutes would have made any difference, given that I was queuing at the wrong terminal).

Whenever I have a day like this, I like to go through my collection of best travel memories to lift up my mood (it really works!). One of the moments that always brings a smile to my face was the hour I spent surrounded by penguins in Isla Margarita (Chile). Besides for the over 100 pictures I took in that short time, I shot a few videos. I never really had figured out how to use iMovie to create a clip before, but hey, I proclaimed 2012 the year of first times, so why not add creating videos to the list Enjoy!

Click here to watch it on Youtube.

What do you do to lift up your mood?

Hiking In Ingmarsö (Sweden)

Hiking in the rain, Igmarsö (Sweden)

There are many ways in which travel can go wrong.

You may realize you’ve left your passport at home only when arriving at the airport. The accommodation you’ve booked is nothing similar to what you had expected. You got food poisoned the day before an 8 hour car ride across sunny Mexico. Maybe you were confident that your skin could do with sunshine in Buenos Aires… and yet you got seriously sun burned on your first day in the city. Or maybe your summer festival gets partly cancelled due to extreme wind conditions and a threatening fire.

True stories.

However, it might as well have been something much simpler: an unexpectedly long lasting rain shower in the middle of a full day hiking adventure.

Hiking in the rain in Igmarsö, Sweden

That was the case of our hiking trip in Igmarsö.

We were warned a few days in advance. Even 5 days before the trip, my mobile weather widget announced showers on saturday afternoon.

Showers. – I thought – We’ll be hiking in fields and forests. I’m sure we can find shelter for those few rain drops.

After a two and a half hours boat ride, passing hundreds of islands, we reached Ingmarsö – one of the comparatively larger islands in the Stockholm archipelago. We were warmly greeted by our local guide, who patiently waited at the dock and offered us two very convenient rain jackets.

As we began our walk our walk, we quickly understood that we weren’t at an ordinary place – Ingmarsö, which is 10 kms long and only 1 km wide, is populated by not more than 150 people all year round. There is one grocery store, conveniently located at the docks. Locals walk or ride small 4×4 carts to get around and rarely take the ferry to Stockholm – our guide hadn’t been back for over a year’s time. It was clear to me that living in the Archipelago is something a few heart, independent and very hard-knocking souls can do.

It started raining more violently – so our guide kindly invited us to have lunch at her home, which wasn’t that far away from where we were.

A Swedish house in Igmarsö, Sweden

When I think of the Stockholm Archipelago, I think of red-burgundy wood houses surrounded by high contrast green. As we approached our guide’s home, I couldn’t believe the authenticity of what we had in front of us. It was all I had imagined… and more. Piles of wood were stocked next to the house for the cold days (which were plenty). And from the porch, a plain view over the water and neighbor islands. From inside the house, emerged a man (our guide’s brother) who was kindly preparing an abundant hot lunch.

We chatted over food, coffees and deserts. About Sweden, Latin America, life choices and learning to listen to one’s heart. Our guide was, during the rest of her time, a life coach that helps people find their vocation. Who would have thought that our rainy hike through Ingmarsö would teach us such great life lessons!

Me at our guide's swedish hut in Igmarsö, Sweden

After the lunch break, we continued our way east to reach the point in which we would have to row to Finnhamn. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all about adventure. But rowing in heavy rain was probably a bit too much. We arrived at the next island soaked wet and cold, and still had more than an hour walk until we reached the island’s hotel. I couldn’t be more thankful for that cup of hot tea.

It might have not been the most convenient time to hike weather wise (I do wonder how Igmarsö looks like with a shiny sun and people jumping in the sea) – but it was a great insight into rural life in the Archipelago. Plus, I’m quite sure I’m now one step closer to not noticing the rain any more, british style!

Practical Information

Route: Ingmarsö and Finnhamn (Sweden). I wish I knew the route, but it was partly trail-less!
Elevation gain uphill: practically none
Elevation gain downhill: practically none
Length: around 7 km
Duration: 2 hrs (a bit more if you count in the rowing!)
Difficulty: Super Easy, like – there’s no excuse, really.
Tour guide: Stockholm Adventures

Have you ever had a weather catastrophe during your travel plans? How did you get over it?

Picture This: Stockholm At Dusk

Stockholm at Dusk, Sweden

Does it ever get dark in this city? - I wondered while I looking over the city from the Gondolen Restaurant in Södermalm.

This time of the year, the night usually starts to fall at 10pm and the days begin again at 3am – my friend answered.

Isn’t it fantastic, to have 19 hours a day to explore a city that has that has so much to offer? It really gives you time and flexibility to structure your day the way you like – starting early to avoid the crowds, sleeping in late to rest from a big night in the city or even having an afternoon nap to recover in between sights. On the saturday night, instead of going out partying (which isn’t a budget friendly alternative in Stockholm), we went out sightseeing. We walked the streets and squares of Södermalm, Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen and Östermalm. After all, when you’ve got a city like Stockholm – add a dusky sky and romantic street lights and you’re in Wonderland.