Top 10 unforgettable places (by Elsa)

Now that the dust starts to settle, I start to see more clearly the places that have marked me the most. When it comes to the order of them I ranked the list the first time on the plane back to Stavanger but since then whenever I rank them again they switch places sometimes. But I still include the same ones in my top 10 and they have one thing in common: given the chance I would definitely go back in an instant.

Cape Town – definitely a wonderful surprise. From the mountains, to the white sand and blue water beaches, to the wine farms and delicious tastings, this was an amazing place to be. Add the chance to be at the most southern point in Africa (part of the old glory days from Portugal), the view from the Table Mountain, the V&A waterfont and the beautiful African penguins and this is a difficult combination to beat!

San Francisco – I always thought I would like SF and it did not disappoint. The European feel of the city, the outgoing people, the great weather and the views around the bay are the things I miss the most, together with the cute sea lions 🙂 Continue reading

Kyoto – Culture and Traditions

For long I wanted to witness firsthand the Japanese culture, especially the old one when Samurais were part of their society. In the Japanese culture everything is done with a meaning and it’s easy to understand this just by walking around in Kyoto. People bow to say “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” even if they do not know the person. Several times I looked directly to people and they smiled and made a bow, and I, embracing their culture, did the same.

Before we came to Kyoto we stayed 1 night in Tokyo and we noticed the culture there, but in Kyoto it seems that the older or more traditional aspects of the Japanese culture are more present everywhere.

We planned to stay the first night in a Capsule Hotel, the “9 Hours”, but when we got there we found out that the luggage was going to stay in the hotel lobby without any locks or any kind of security. Don’t get me wrong, we think that Japan, or at least Kyoto and Tokyo are very safe. But our luggage is the only thing we have on this trip so we could not risk it, we decided to stay in a normal (Japanese normal) hotel, so no capsule experience unfortunately. But one of the Japanese normal hotels was a ryokan.

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Tokyo – urban glamour and neon lights

Arriving in Tokyo was a true cultural shock. The language barrier is huge since so few people speak English and it really is very different of everything we have experienced until now. But we loved it!

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Just understanding the public transportation system was a challenge but using the subway app solved it right away! It is definitely the most organized country we have seen so far. There is a lot to learn from the Japanese with regards to organization. There is a system for everything and everything is well marked, we just might not understand it since we cannot read most signs. Even which side of the stairs to walk on is marked and since they drive on the left it was confusing at first. We can see who the outsiders are 🙂 Continue reading

OMG! We are at the wrong airport!

Ok, so this is the face you make when you realise you are at the wrong airport in Tokyo! 

  
We checked in at our hotel at Narita airport and then while I was checking in for our Hong Kong flight I realise it’s from Haneda, around 100km away. I go down to the reception and they inform us the last train back to Tokyo is in half an hour and it’s too late for the direct train to Haneda. And our flight was too early to take the next morning train. Panic mode!!! I race back to tell Nuno and we francticly pack our bags to walk to the airport train station, buy tickets and head back to Tokyo, all in 30 minutes.
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