The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Wadi Dragot, probably the most challenging and spectacular canyon in the Judean Desert

Away from a bustling and never sleeping Tel Aviv and from the prayers rising to the sky from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, deep in the Judean Desert, winding its way towards The Dead Sea, lies the most scenic and challenging canyon in Israel, Wadi Dragot or Wadi Darga. Nature was particularly generous with the deserts of Israel because for millennia was continuously carving deep hidden valleys, where rapid waterfalls were creating natural pools and high dry falls. Life was thriving in those places and even now a very rich flora and fauna can be found despite the dryness around.  Amazingly, this magnificent place is lesser known to travellers since most of Israel tourism is a religious one and not too many dare to search thoroughly the desert. Although lesser known to the foreign tourist seems to be popular among Israelis in search for some adrenaline rush because this particular trail is difficult and spectacular at the same time. I can’t say I knew about it either, but somehow, the choices I made during this trip took me right in the vicinity of this astonishing place.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Roque Nublo, The Clouded Rock of Gran Canaria

Roque Nublo, the pillar of heaven and the most iconic landmark of Gran Canaria

 

The tallest standing rock, 80m, Roque Nublo defies gravity, seeming that it needs just a push to fall in one of the steep valleys around it. Probably one day it will. But till then, it will continue to guard over the island. Same as its brother Roque Bentayga, it is a volcanic plug made of basalt, a reminiscence of Caldera de Tejeda. It is the world biggest natural crags of volcanic origin and it stands at 1813m altitude.  After its conception, the forces of nature were constantly shaping and chiselling it for millions of years. The volcanic activity that gave birth to Roque Nublo happened 4,5 million years ago. Durig this period it was carved out from the bulk of the Island by the skilled hands of forces of nature while it was looking at this brother in pain Pico del Teide on the neighbouring Tenerife Island.

Roque Nublo, The Clouded Rock of Gran Canaria

Roque Bentayga,Pillars of the Sky. Gran Canaria

Roque Bentayga, one of the most fascinating and mysterious Gran Canarian landmarks

There is no place in Gran Canaria more mysterious than Roque Bentayga. Its story begins million years back when Gran Canaria was rising from the oceans waters due to volcanic activity. Roque Bentayga is the result of millennia of constant erosion that started the moment this island was formed. It is a former volcanic plug, part of Caldera de Tejeda,  made out of basalt. Due to its solidity is still standing despite the fact that the surrounding softer materials were washed away by the rainfalls and rockslides. A stand alone rock which is indubitably the focal point of a huge erosion crater. This majestic rock that dominates the valley having its past shrouded in mystery did not reveal yet its secrets.

Roque Bentayga,Pillars of the Sky. Gran Canaria

Playa de Guigui, Gran Canaria`s Epic Trail

Hiking into the wild to reach the remote Playa de Guigui

Guigui is one of the secluded and hard-to-reach beaches of Gran Canaria and with this two attributes it became imperative to see it. At the beginning of my vacation, I thought that I will spend a certain amount of time on the beach but ironically, most of the time I was in the mountains, either hiking or driving from one place to another. I was not expecting the island to be so sensational, neither the beach in Maspalomas to be the wind`s playground. Since the Ocean was not playing nice I turned my eyes to the roughness and wilderness of the island and one day, Andra and I we decided to hike to Guigui, a remote beach on the hard-to-reach west coast of the island.

Playa de Guigui, Gran Canaria`s Epic Trail

Gran Canaria Island, probably one of the most spectacular Canary Islands

Another day, anther epic road on this stunning island

My second day on Gran Canaria Island begins early in the morning while sipping my coffee on the terrace. Our small casita rural was placed in Barranco Saint Bartolome the Tirajana 7 km from Maspalomas. It was rented with Airbnb and by far the best choice. I liked it more than a 4 stars hotel. Cosy and surrounded by silence gave me the perfect environment to enjoy my morning coffee. The air was crisp and I was drinking my coffee while Carlos Mendes the cat was still trying to jump on my lap. Since I did not want to accept downloading fleas from him I tried to ignore his cute glance that was following my moves. Somewhere, in the distance, a parrot was annoyingly trying to show that he can sing. I bet none told him that he should stick to his day job. Every sip of coffee was sending waves of heat through my body. I was waking up little by little. There was no wifi, therefore, I was disconnected from the rest of the world. The cup of coffee and I were sharing a moment…It was divine!

It was the second day and after doing the exploring in the first day we were thinking to hit the beach. The pleasures of the ocean were one of the reasons I came here in the middle of Winter after all.

The search for the less windy beach that day took us to the North of Gran Canaria Island, to Puerto de las Nieves.

Gran Canaria Island, probably one of the most spectacular Canary Islands

Gran Canaria, a marvel of the Atlantic Ocean

First Day. Driving on GC210 one of the most scenic and dangerous roads of Gran Canaria

It was few months since my last escape and I was beginning to become impatient. Being January and really not fond of Winter my eyes turned towards the Canary Islands once more. This time, Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria.…this name was haunting my adulthood since I was reading the book ``Gran Canaria“ by A. J. Cronin when I was a teenager. Life works in a mysterious way, because after so many years, here I was. Flight ticket with my buddy Ryanair. Checked! One casita rural in Barranco Saint Bartolome de Tirajana booked with Airbnb. Checked! One Opel Astra rented with CICAR. Checked! What else..? I have the feeling I forgot something…Oh yes. One credit card. Checked!

I had the money, I had the tools, so it was time for fiestaaaa!!! I mean, it was time to explore the Island. Gran Canaria, a marvel of the Atlantic Ocean

2016, The Highlights

A year of travels, in images.

1.Portugal

February.  The first trip of the year to a country which took me by surprise with its beauty.  My trip has begun in Porto exploring the Douro Vally. Followed by a long drive along the coast to Algarve, ending my trip in Lisbon where I spent so little time because I fell irremediably in love with Sintra.

2016, The Highlights

Epic trail. Masca Gorge, Tenerife Island

Rough, spectacular, wild…only a few attributes of this exhilarating  Pirates trail

I did some travelling since my visit to Tenerife and although I saw some beautiful places, Tenerife remains one of my favourite places. Sure, Portugal is also running for this place but Tenerife and Portugal are two different experiences…

There were many things which made me adore Tenerife but this time I will talk about the most spectacular trail I EVER DONE, Masca Gorge.

Masca Gorge is part of Teno Rural Park placed on the west of the island. It is one of the most sensational parts of the islands and if you happen to land at Tenerife Sur airport during the day you cant miss it. When approached  by car is not less spectacular, the road is winding through some scenic landscape. Indulge yourself with some adrenalin by crossing the park taking the road from Santiago del Teide to Buenavista del Nte. It will be worth it. If you add some fog , wind and twilight the fun is guaranteed. Proceed with cautious, though. The road is appealingly beautiful but none the less dangerous.

Epic trail. Masca Gorge, Tenerife Island

Romania. Autumn in the Rucar-Bran Passage

Passing through Apple County when Autumn is knocking on the door

It was Autumn! The calendar said so. The decreased temperatures outside said so. The invading yellows and reds all over the trees said so. Everything around me said so…Yep…It was time for me to admit it. The Summer was gone! No more sandals, no more Summer dresses. No more run away to the seaside. But hey…The Summer is dead! Long live Autumn!

With these in mind one Sunday morning I decided to leave Bucharest and have a taste of Autumn and I knew the perfect place for it. That place was almost 200 km away from Bucharest and since Romania is not really the land of the highways but mostly the land of the lack of highways, I knew is going to take forever to reach it. But, for 5 minutes in that place, I would have been able to endure hours of driving.

That mirific place I wanted to reach was Sirnea Village placed on the Rucar-Bran passage. This passage connecting the south region of Romania with Transylvania is the most picturesque area in Romania. No matter the season the landscape is absolutely magnificent.

Romania. Autumn in the Rucar-Bran Passage

Wanderer on Bulgarian pristine beaches

Escaping the overcrowded and noisy Romanian seaside to discover the still remaining pristine beaches on Bulgarian coastline

Saturday morning, still asleep, I was on my way to the Romanian seaside. It was supposed to be one day trip to Vadu, a pristine beach placed in the Natural Reserve of Danube Delta. Been there before and although wild, the way I like it, the presence of thousands of mosquitos, the rightful inhabitants of that marshy place prevented me from exploring it the way I wanted. I knew that it will be kind of boring, but it did not matter to me. All I wanted was the sounds and smell of the sea and the touch of sun and sand on my skin. This was the initial plan, but the fate decided otherwise…

Wanderer on Bulgarian pristine beaches